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League of Legends’ AI bot roster has gotten a large overhaul in the last few patches. First they went from seven to 40 bots, with added difficulty levels and Dominion mode support in Co-op vs. AI. Now, they bring some of that to custom games for those who want a more relaxed experience (guilty!). How does it fare?

First off, let me say that previously the custom game AI was a serious pushover. I mean, “I got 30 kills, 4 assists, no deaths without real end-game items” pushovers.

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For reference, here’s a few of my pre-AI Upgrade scoreboards.

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I’m not real good at League of Legends but these bots had serious skill issues. They retreated the instant you entered bushes, for one thing. Look at the above picture. No one hit level 18 and the AI got ravaged, 28-5 as a I destroyed their nexus. The only even somewhat impressive items here are Malphite and my Trinity Forces and Shen’s Sunfire Cape. That’s about it. Here’s another example.

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19 kills, no deaths and another rout. Here, I worked up to an Infinity Edge, but that’s the end of good items. The AI stood no chance against my barely/below average skillz. So what happened when the new AI hit custom games this morning?

Well let’s start with a disclaimer.  There are two levels of AI in Co-op vs. AI: Beginner and Normal. Only the beginner bots made it to custom games for whatever reason. It turns out that they were still much more impressive then the short-bus AI I’d been fighting. Here’s a few things that happened that caught my attention.

  1. There were many more bots to choose from, so that alone was a boon.
  2. The AI didn’t lane robotically. They would wander off to try and help struggling lanes, trade lanes, and use the jungle efficiently for travel.
  3. I got caught by Fiddlesticks coming out of the jungle behind me at one point, apparently trying to gank me. It didn’t work for him since he had less then 25% health, but the old bots would never try that.
  4. The bots started ganging up into team fights. That caught me off guard to see three or four per side fighting together. It’s a common in PvP games but the old bots were too lane-focused for that.
  5. The AI was actually deadly. I died almost as much as I’ve died in the last month’s worth of bot games during this single match.
  6. Items. The AI worked up to some nice kits for a change.

Here’s my first post-AI patch scoreboard.  I did win the match but only with the AI breaking down the way to my nexus as well.League of Legends

    Taking  a look at this, the first thing I see is the inclusion of much better gear. A Rabadon’s Deathcap, three Frozen Hearts, an Abyssal Scepter, a Bloodthirster, and more. Also, I had to get much better gear then before to be able to compete. Pre-patch, I’d drag a battle out just so I could get an end-game item or two. Now, I needed some good gear just to stay alive. An Infinity Edge and Trinity Force were the two items I completed, and I grabbed a Vampiric Scepter and Tiamat so I could lane longer. I didn’t make it to Youmuu’s Ghostblade because of those two items, but I made up for my lack of damage by outlasting my foes (yes, I know my items probably make experienced players cringe, but I don’t spend forever min/maxing item sets to find just the right combination).

    In the end, the improvements are solid. The bots could still make better use of the jungle and make use of wards on the battlefield but in the end, this is a huge step in the right direction. Now, if only Riot will finish their long-promised “replay” feature.

    Alphasim out.