The State of Heroes of the Storm A.I

Btw i like how much love you spend on the AI. I currently working on the Legendary Custom Bots in Overwatch and i know how hard AI design is :slight_smile:


I had a brawl the other day each team had 4 AI. Every time we wiped the enemy team they instantly went back to take our turret camp and then the enemy torrent camp.

Needless to say my 800 stacked butcher didn’t mind them prolonging the game.

Hey BlizzKGu,

Cheers for your work on the AI, I’ll agree with the others and say they are no replacement to a human player, but sometimes they can be amazing. A Greymane pinged to a Butcher player can lead to some devastating burst.

What I wanted to ask,
-Is there a way to get the AI to take shortcuts? Like having an Imperius or ETC jump/Slide a wall, or a Johanna to Falling Sword to enter or exit a fight over terrain? Especially on Braxis, but useful on others maps too.
-Could ability control somehow be handed the player who has pinged the AI? even if it’s just the level 10/20 talents? That might go some way to giving
coordination back to the team down a player.


Who cares about ai lol out of all the things to do to fix the game you work on ai. Guess your goal is to make every one who wants to play good leave, ban every one who types, let feeders run free. I mean you got a guy just tanking matches to see how long it takes for you to ban him. What are you making a single player moba pve hahaha

Happy to see the AI tweaks introduced in patch 50.1! I swear someone trolled us with their Deathwing pick -> AFK 5 minutes in. I couldn’t understand why Deathwing was in the air for so long!

I appreciate the recent Leaver AI change where the AI goes back to base and stays there until called by a player. Is it possible to do a party vote to park the AI back in base if things don’t work out?

Hey, thanks for the comment.

Good question, I can provide some insight into how an agent would approach each situation.

The way AI travels to a Goal (like a map objective) is the same as a move command. It’s the same as if you right clicked a tribute and just let the game take you there. This is our pathfinding at work and it’s what our agents use for traveling to Goals. While it will get you where you clicked by taking the shortest route, it does not consider other possibilities like flanks or shortcuts. Those types of decisions are simple for human minds to make, but would require a much more sophisticated pathfinding system for AI to replicate.

Once agents get within a certain range of their goal they will then begin using Tactical fight logic (using abilities). Imagine a bubble around each objective where they say “OK, I’m nearby, lets fight!”. All targeted hero abilities require a point to use. The point is found by nodes in the AI tree if the appropriate conditions are met (things like target must be below this % of health, or find the centroid of a group 3 or more of units who are X distance from each other). It’s entirely possible for a Johanna to Falling Sword onto the enemy across terrain, or ETC to slide across walls to stun someone, if the right conditions are met.

“Escaping” really just means that the Goal system has determined that there is another Healing fountain/Healing altar/objective/lane/camp on the map that is more valuable to be at than where we are right now. Because this is determined by the Goal system it will use the pathfinding system, which as I have said earlier is not sophisticated enough to find alternate paths such as sliding across a wall. Now, is it possible to “program” this behavior into the Tactical tree? Yes, it’s possible, but it isn’t straightforward or easy, and can bloat the Tactical tree and make it harder to navigate. It would also undermine our separation between the Goal system (agent movement) and Tactical system (ability usage).

TL;DR - we would need a more sophisticated pathfinding system in order for AI to attempt alternate paths to their Goals.

It’s an interesting idea, I think I’ve seen it suggested before. I can imagine maybe putting in a new ping to direct agents who are following a human to only use their heroic abilities on the pinged target. I’ll add as possible future improvement, thanks!


Had a Whitemain AI that I swear never cast Desperation Plea. Total MVP material.

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Thanks a ton for this explanation. Love the interaction with the community.


It’s great to see the feedback!

How does is affect the AI. difficulty? Are you working on all difficulties or are you working on the hardest AI. Could the AI in ranked be the most difficult one? That would help a lot when people disconnect.

There’s something i really don’t understand about the “Goal System”: why does it change with the variation in difficulty levels?

As i mentioned in a post above, when i play a “solo vs AI” game, the ally AI (which, i suppose, is the same AI that replaces a disconnected player in a QM or SL game) usually prioritizes the objectives of the map when they spawn (curse, nukes, payload, etc.) at beginner or recruit level, while at adept+ levels it seems even to “forget” what or where the objective is, prioritizing other things like camps or lanes.

As a side note, is there any chance to differentiate AIs behaviours based on roles? I find almost comical that an AI Morales or Deckard tries to take a siege camp or push a lane alone while the rest of the team dies at an objective.


It’s good to see that you are working on A.I. but really, when are you just going to add a surrender option?

I just played a game where our Hanzo left and we had to play with A.I… Not only do I now have to control my own character, I also have to micromanage an A.I. that just stands in the cleave of bosses, thus losing 30% of its HP. It’s just awful. Let me surrender vote is somebody is gone for more than 5 minutes or let me leave without punishment.

The developers already said it many times, there will never be a surrender option for HotS because “many reasons”. However, with the current AI, the game experience is really far less enjoyable.

Before the current patch, many players lamented that AI was terrible because it was lacking in the “macro section” and was a feeding machine (for example, if a player was trying to reconnect the AI just “freezed” wherever it was, even in the middle of a fight).

Now the AI must be pinged to follow, but the “follow option” is severely lacking; first of all, i noticed that the AI will do nothing unless it is directly threatened, that is, the hero who pinged the AI will have to put itself in a dangerous position just to have the AI “do something”. Even then, what follows strictly depend on the hero AI; some are really good, especially ranged ones (i’ve never seen a “real” Chromie or Ana with such a perfect aim), some not so (the damn Lucio with the active speed boost when the entire team is dying).

Also, it’s a complete mystery why the AI won’t follow the other command pings anymore; i remember the “good times” when i pinged the AIs to deliver the gems or to take a nuke and they followed the orders obediently.

BTW, one of the good things about the “solo vs AI” game is that there’s alread a “surrender option”, you can simply leave the game and start over, sometimes it is really necessary for your sanity; i just had a game as Imperius (a solo laner) in Tomb where my AI team (adept level, i just needed to relax :stuck_out_tongue:) was just feeding the enemy team… in the first 3 minutes my team had 10 deaths (5 Malf, 3 Cassia, 2 Kerrigan) and only 2 kills (mine as Imp), “we” were almost 3 levels down and the top and mid keeps almost gone, and i was desperately defending bot lane from the siege giants and 3 enemies while pinging - without success - my “allies” to help me (they were trying to take, as a full 4-men team, our bruiser camp :roll_eyes:)
If that is the AI that should replace a missing player… well, there’s something really, really wrong :expressionless:

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Why do you guys keep crawling up?

Well, just to add another “broken” AI: after the last patch, D.Va behaviour has changed again, and not in a good way :neutral_face:

While she still isn’t able to use her nuke ability (that hasn’t changed, unfortunately), now she’s also really afraid of her mech suffering damage… as soon as her mech hp fall below a certain treshold, she dashes away from the danger to the nearest fountain or hearth back. That means she’s now a little more difficult to kill, but also that for most of the game she’s back at the core, making her useless (well, more than usual :stuck_out_tongue:)
Moreover - another “bad” behaviour that hasn’t changed yet - when in pilot mode she won’t call back her mech until she’s almost dead (and, sadly, there’s more chance of her dying from overkill damage).

TBH i’m starting to think that the “real” difference in AI difficulty level is not the skillshot accuracy, team comp or use of different skins and mounts, but the behaviour of allied AI that gets more and more unhelpful and unresponsive to objectives…

So, to recap, we have the following game modes:

  • solo vs AI: if you go beyond recruit level, it’s litterally a 1-vs-5 game, with your “teammates” feeding the enemy team.
  • coop vs AI: even “elite” enemy AI can be a joke, the only problem is that if you queue solo you can get a “clown” team comp (i.e. 4 healers and a ranged assassin) against a well-rounded enemy team… even then, the chances to lose a match are very low.
  • SL / UR / QM: if you get an AI in your team… well, good luck, and prepare to get bodyblocked, not-healed, and whatever else by your new “teammate” (i had an Anduin AI in a QM who liked soooo much to pull me back in the middle to the enemy team as soon as i got out of danger, obviously leading to my death :expressionless:), or, better yet, to continue a 4-vs-5 match.
  • ARAM: well, ok, it’s ARAM so who cares? :stuck_out_tongue:

I’d like to really know what changed with the patch of february 2019, which took (someone would say “broke”) the AI to the current level; it began with the AI going for the camps as soon as they spawned, then it became totally unresponsive to pings, instantly knew when you were trying to take a camp, didn’t care about keeps and/or core defense, stood under their immortal (BoE) without moving for the rest of the match, didn’t deliver (and still don’t) gems (ToSQ) and dobloons (BHB), stood at the front gates until allied minions came (well, it was good for completing quests :sweat_smile:), and so on…


Amen. There was that sudden turning point when the AI stopped fighting and started trying to play the game, only really really badly. They were so much more fun when (and useful as allies) when they just went up and tried to kill people instead of all the “guessing” they do now. Just played an AI match on Hanamura where the moment mercs spawned, they abandoned both lanes for about six minion waves, fell 3 levels behind by level 10. Like, wtf.

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In AI games, the AI still doesn’t consistently:

  • Cap camps. I saw a Chen AI dance around a camp for 30 seconds and never capped it.
  • Get objectives. On Blackheart’s Bay, 7 coins sat, unclaimed for 1:30.
  • Lane properly. in an AI game, the Butcher (!) had the highest xp contribution (excluding me) where the game also had the Lost Vikings.
    Turn in objectives. On a game, my team had over 30 coins. I had 0. Still no turn ins for 10 minutes.

This isn’t new. All of this stuff happened before the last 2 AI “updates”.

Good job devs! You’re doing great! Not.


Maybe I havent bothered to make an account until now? That means I can’t have an opinion?

When training in Custom Games with AI Vs. AI, I’ve noticed at the start of the match that instead of lining up at the gates, my friendly AI bots run around our base, spin around in circles until well after the game starts, and only then do they come to the initial midfield skirmish late- or not at all.

It’d be more optimal if at the start of a match, and in the seconds beforehand, that friendly AI bots would line up at the gates where real players always line up to shave seconds off of their response time to mid. And they should all prioritize starting off by laning midfield, unless you have a Gazlowe, Murky, or Sylvanas in which case it’s reasonable/normal for them to start the game laning by themselves while the other 4 players go at it in midfield to establish dominance. But friendly AI is completely off at the start of the game- doing everything wrong and breaking gameplay immersion with player frustration.

Thank you for your hard work, Kevin. We know the HOTS team is operating with minimal resources, and we appreciate you making the game better for all of us. :slight_smile: :slightly_smiling_face:

Is there a way to somehow make leveling faster vs ai (for both teams) It usually ends before getting level 20, so there´s less ways to know 20th tier talents. I know QM usually last longer because playing against people usually is more challenging, but for example in Starcraft 2, Elite ai is pretty strong

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