In addition to making several quality-of-life improvements to the game, Valve has also removed bots from competitive in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. For the entirety of the game’s life leading up to now, Counter-Strike has had a serious problem with players either abandoning matches or getting kicked for multiple reasons. Normally, a less-than-helpful AI would take over in their stead. Players have long sought after improvements to bots, but almost none of them, myself included, thought removing them would be a viable fix – or a possibility.
The summary of the Counter-Strike Community’s feelings towards this removal can be found in one Tweet from Counter-Strike content creator, Anomaly, “They legit removed bots from competitive. If someone on your team leaves, it’s instantly GG. We wanted more control over the bots, being able to have bots drop guns and have more complex commands, not removing them completely.” Others have presumed the removal was to prevent low-performing players from being kicked by their team just so that the top player could have a second life.
However, on the flip side of that, if a player disconnects from a match, the bots that take their place act as a sort of stop-gap against the enemy team’s immediate numbers advantage. Up until now toxic behavior has been, ineffectively, deterred by slowly increasing the length of a competitive ban; however, by removing bots you’re hurting a team for an individual’s actions while protecting a possibly toxic player from being kicked. It is possible that we’ll never see Bot ‘Dave’ again; however many others, myself included, believe this is temporary removal while Valve reworks the AI of the bots to fix, in a significant way rather than an incremental one, the many complaints about them from the community.
They’ve used this method in the past for the Negev and R8 in competitive matchmaking. Whether or not this removal is permanent – or temporary – and whether or not this will change the behavior of players will be seen in the coming months. For now, longtime and new players alike are just miffed. Valve included other changes in the patch including a fix to a glitch that would allow players to see enemies picking up guns through walls via weapon shadows, environment alterations to Engage, and some optimization fixes. The full patch notes can be found here.