It’s no secret that Team Fortress 2 has a bit of a bot problem, but the game also has a community that really enjoys mid-match shenanigans – and the two combined today in one of the funniest posts about TF2 bots I’ve seen so far.
Reddit user 2Noel posted footage of an Attack/Defend match in which Blu team was pitted against a bunch of bots – normally not great news for those wanting to keep their heads on their shoulders. Yet the team decided to try a different tactic to just charging into battle, instead choosing to conga their way out of spawn and onto the control points. And surprisingly, it worked. Stay tuned for the satisfying bot slaughter at the end of the match:
The question you’re probably asking right now is: why didn’t the bots shoot the Blu team members? The answer, it seems, is that the bots are programmed to avoid shooting players who are using taunts and emotes. If you look closely at the video, you’ll notice that players not engaged in the conga line (such as poor old atomdotdat) are instantly sniped by the bots, while the dancers remain unharmed.
Team Fortress 2’s community has long maintained informal rules about not shooting “friendly” players in public matches (hoovies and spycrabs being two examples), and it seems that in this case, even the bot owners are sticking to the rules. I’ve seen several other posts on the subreddit from players who have witnessed bots ignoring friendly players, so this isn’t an isolated incident. I also took a look at two TF2 bot tools, both of which offer an option to “ignore taunting players”, so it seems like this is the most likely explanation.
The video also made me a little curious to see whether anyone else had adopted this strategy against the bots. To my delight, there are a couple more examples. Last week, for instance, someone used a taunt to dance their way behind a bot before blasting it to pieces with a rocket launcher. An older video shows a player outsmarting bots by dodging their headshots with Scout’s skateboard taunt. There’s also another example of players using the conga taunt to outsmart bots, although I guess this is less useful when there are human players on the opposing team.
Of course, taunting your way to victory is one way to deal with the bots, but I imagine it’s not exactly how most people want to play the game – and there’s no guarantee that every type of bot will ignore you when boogieing. Valve has recently taken further steps to make it easier to kick bots and control their behaviour, although there’s still work to be done to eliminate them from the game entirely.