No, public bot matches have a use and can teach you something you desperately need for PvP:
- Map knowledge: Where are buildables, how can I traverse the terrain, where are short cuts, …
- Objectives: What’s the gamemode about? Yes, there’s Nova’s intro before a match, but some people need to play it first to get the concepts.
- Teamwork: Both points before can be done in private matches, this not. Some people are not used to playing with a team. They are the center of their own universe, don’t ping incoming targets, facetank a 1v3+Sentry situation, etc.
I’ve played with people in Bots Battle who wouldn’t understand that you can’t damage the thumpers at the enemy spawn in Meltdown until I told them this secret after their 10th death.
I had to teach people what meaning a ping-marker on an enemy has when there is a Deande crouching on the ground.
I’ve played with people who never played any PvP game before and are intimidated by it and scared of it.
I’ve seen Galileas go 0-15 against Bots.
I always send new people to PvE and Bots Battle and you can train playing the game with those two. Get gear, get mutations, learn a character’s toolkit, find a role and playstyle for you. You can’t train to win games in PvP that way, but that’s the next step on the way to git gud.
Bots don’t need to be a challenge to be a vital part of training. In fighting games like MKX you have even less of a challenge. You spend most of your time:
- Fighting an enemy with no AI. It just stands next to you and tanks hits. Back in the days this was done by playing single player - split screen. Challenge: None. Importance: Vital. Finding characters, learning their toolkit and combo practice is important. You train it until you have a 10/10 success rate with it.
- Next step: Play against AI and try to use the stuff you learned in training, fail with it and try to improve your timing or find something different.
- Someone ruined your combo by blocking? Back to training, but now the enemy bot will be set to block your attacks sometimes and you will experience the big fun of learning framedata and which attack is safe or unsafe.
- Someone used an annoying attack against you? Back into training, pick that enemy, switch to it, input that sequence and hit save. Switch player again and play against that combo over and over until you can find a way to escape.
You can go into full blown tryhard mode in training, know your character’s moves and combos in and out, you know what happens the first time you go into an online match? You will be annihilated. No matter how much you trained before. But you continue that loop of train combos, train avoiding combos, get crushed until at one day you are one of the players other people will learn a thing or two from. I’m very much still in the get crushed phase of that game.
So, why did I write this? Training doesn’t need to be a challenge. If you play buttonmashing rounds against no-AI enemies in fighting games, it’s no training. If you are killfarming Bots in Battleborn, it’s no training.
Training is what you make out of it.
I’m playing focused training sessions for Incursion in private Bot matches 3v5. Had a thread on reddit about that and one of the responses was something like “if you want to win those easily, let them kill your sentry first and steamroll them afterwards because of their increased spawn times”. I don’t exploit those mechanics in training. I’m shooting for a 100-0. This is training to increase single player performance on my end.
In public bot matches I play teamwork focused characters. Keep my teammates at 0 death as support no matter how dumb they play, train to draw my teammates’ attention towards myself when I’m about to stun others, experiment with synergies between different characters, …
Does this make me a professional player? No. I can play a 40-0 El Dragon against Bots and can go 0-15 against people, but I know why I was wrecked in the latter one (El Dragon on Monuments with Whiskey and Benedict against you is a silly thing to do - it only was a “just for fun 10 stack” and I rebalanced the teams a bit with my choice).
You don’t need a challenge to learn concepts of a game. Coordination and communication can be trained with people against bots.
I’m also happy to have a place for lore challenges, etc. since it’s always been a bummer e.g., to see a Boldur on the team and not be able to pick Thorn because of teamcomp reasons. I don’t care in Bots Battle.