Microsoft is using cloud computing to make unbeatable raid bosses

    
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My experience in fighting raid bosses isn’t one of overcoming AI so much as learning dance steps; seeing wind-ups for abilities or telegraphs for mechanics and moving or using skills accordingly through a series of phases. Microsoft is apparently trying to change all that, using cloud computing in order to help game developers make raid bosses learn player behavior and fight back.

According to software engineer James Trott, who spoke as part of a Game Stack livestream, Microsoft has been working on an MMO-like project last year that featured a raid boss that was capable of noticing dominant player strategies and adjusting its behavior in nearly real time. Apparently, this new machine learning technology could be leveraged by game developers in the next console generation.

In fact, this new AI system is apparently so good at what it does, Trott advises developers to tone it down. “The challenge for developers is how to tone back that machine learning and simulation, given the amount of compute in the cloud, so that the NPCs and monsters aren’t perfect,” he says. “Because with enough training and enough compute, they will beat the player every time.”

Whether this newer, smarter form of raid boss will actually arrive as assumed is anyone’s guess, but no matter how far away we are from this reality, it’s still pretty interesting to consider.

source: YouTube via Kotaku

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Rodrigo Dias Costa

This is incredible actually. Even more if you consider that any monster could eventually use this (Raid bosses could be the first ones, but as the AI becomes more efficient resources-wise, it could be expanded to dungeon bosses, roaming elites, and eventually even the lowest of sewer rats).

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Random MMO fan

This is not hard to do, the question is why do this at all? You can already make boss encounter hard enough so very few people will be able to complete it, and you can also make it easy so even a solo player can complete it. In the end it does not matter except to few people who like to grind for more stats on their gear and fancy cosmetics and I personally do not like any grinding. This does not improve story in any way and unless the AI can be used to create a perfectly “human-like” in-game companion (the kind that would be able to not only fight but entertain you through conversations and animations as well as humans can do) – I do not see any reason to be excited about it.

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Jeremy Barnes

Just what 1% of the playerbase wants!

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feleran

Are you trying to say it’s a waste of time? Raids or whatever the final endgame is in a game, even if only 1% reaches there, gives meaning to almost everything else in the game. Players who are trying to push the limits keep the game’s economy alive, give reasons for media to talk about the game, create a reason for having better gear and levels – it ties everything up. Without difficult end game content a game would be empty [of meaning], no matter how much simple content it has.
I read these news and am already excited about the future. Looks really promising. Let’s see what developers can come up with.

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Jeremy Barnes

“Without difficult end game content a game would be empty [of meaning]”

I didn’t know an opinion could be wrong, but you did it, you crazy sum-a-b.

Raiding does not make a game. It does not keep a game alive (See: Wildstar). Developers themselves admit that most of their population barely even knows raiding exists.

The very idea you propose that “Raiders” are some sort of rockstars that enthrall the masses and keep them playing for content they don’t actually play is so ludicrous, it may have just invented a speed faster than lightspeed.

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angrakhan

Haha wow. You painting raiders as some sort of modern day superhero shows how narcissistic, arrogant, and misguided raiders are. You exult in what mature grown-ups realize is a giant waste of time. Your “accomplishments” are completely meaningless outside of the context of your chosen game. Even in your game the vast majority of players have no idea or interest in the fact you accomplish them.

You want to be a superhero? Quit playing MMOs and go help the homeless, the elderly, the oppressed. Help people grow, not your gear score. Quit making your own entertainment the #1 priority in your life and focus on others for once.

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athiev

I doubt that current raiders really want this! A technological change that instantly invalidates the skills and strategies that define their hobby.

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Witches

This is pointless, raids work the way they do because the boss is just a bunch of gimmicks we have to learn and adapt to, this would just make new raids pointless since this raid would just get more difficult until the only way to beat it was gear upgrades or nerfs to the boss.

Before the most efficient way of beating the boss is established people beat it in many different ways.

Also this is probably thinking of games with the one boss in raids, in raids with multiple bosses you would reach a point where the first boss would be so hard you could never reach the second boss let alone the final boss.

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athiev

It’s already trivial to make unbeatable bosses. The real point here is bosses that don’t follow a script and instead follow a strategy. Which means that players will have to make strategic collaborative decisions in real time. This doesn’t have to be *harder* than current raids, but it would involve 100% different skills.

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aleccia_rosewater

What next, AI players? People won’t even notice the difference~

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Schmidt.Capela

Nah, fairly easy to tell. The AI is the one that won’t trash talk or try to shift the blame for a wipe.

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Bryan Correll

We just have to teach the AI to blame others and be a jerk. We’ll have Bender up and running in no time!

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EmberStar

Wasn’t there an experiment with an AI that was designed to try to carry on “natural” conversations on social media and learn from interacting with real people? And in like a week, the Internet had taught her to be a narcissistic racist?

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Utakata

As Mr. Bryan suggested…one day you’ll get a mouthy bot that will do just that. /sigh

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Mewmew

Steamrolling over content isn’t fun, but neither is losing. I like difficult combat that I can learn the patterns and stages of. I don’t want it too randomized, unless it telegraphs what it’s going to do somehow so we can still learn the patterns.

There are basic ways you fight the stuff, do we want the raid AI to learn and combat that? Will randomized chaotic playing be the way to go in a game using this system?

I don’t really care to have the system learn my style and try to beat it. I like doing the opposite. I want them to do what they do well and have difficult or intricate systems to learn, but I don’t need the AI to change that up. I mean isn’t this going to give people one *less* reason to raid? Raiding is already full of elitism. They don’t like new people going in having to learn the systems. Imagine if you couldn’t learn them?

No Sir, I don’t like it.

If it ends up changing what it does but we can still see and react to it well enough, sure. As long as attacks and patterns are still recognizable.

I think people who want the PvP challenge will go in for PvP fighting. Raiding doesn’t need to be made more difficult and chaotic.

I think they may be misreading why people raid to begin with.

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Jeremy Barnes

It will be stupid because what will happen is people will do something like purposely lose, lose, lose to ‘seed’ the boss with certain behaviors. It’s going to make raiding even less enjoyable than it is for the vast, vast majority of players.

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EmberStar

I’m sure this is good news for… someone? Not me, I dislike raids almost as much as I do PVP.

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feleran

I am seriously looking forward to it. I am mostly a PvP player myself and this looks like artificial PvP or at least a step from PvE towards PvP while still not requiring any human opponents. Then bosses can have less hp so raids become more skill based and less memorization based as every fight can be somewhat different from the last one.

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seculaparsec

So you dislike pvp AND raids…why are you even on this mmo site?

Let me guess you’re the type of person who sits in towns and RPs and crafts

cringe

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EmberStar

I’m here because there’s more to MMOs than raids and PVP.

Not that it matters (nor that it’s any of your business) but I’ve never really tried to RP, and the crafting in most MMOs doesn’t interest me all that much. I’m the “kind of player” who logs in to progress the story and quietly do what does interest me solo and at my own pace. I usually have region chats disabled, but on the rare occasions I have it open I’m the kind of player who patiently answers questions from apparently new players when everyone else responds with “lol, google it noob!”

Do I think that I somehow “save the game” or drive things forward or “change the meta?” No, I don’t. Nor do I buy or sell vast quantities of item in the auction house. If I trade with other players, it’s to get a small number of items at a reasonable price, or to sell items I don’t need to a player who might rather than simply vendor or delete. I’m the kind of player who doesn’t matter to anyone unless we quit. And then only in the sense of people saying “The game is doomed, no one is logging in!”

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Paragon Lost

Skynet, a heartbeat away.

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Robert Mann

*Will beat the player every time* ASSUMING the design is the prototypical boss fight with tons of health and massive attacks that crush players when not given a means of choosing who those attacks hit.

Ideally to me this would allow combining the idea of less HP with more strategic assaults, and with some RNG generation mechanics to create more content that wasn’t static… but that’s me.

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Sleepy

This would actually get me interested in raiding. “We have no idea how it’s going to react” is a hell of a lot more interesting than “Did everyone memorise the dance steps?”

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Malcolm Swoboda

I like both. I think predictable phases are good, but I like variety in how parts of each phase plays out – as long as it doesn’t glitch and make it impossible.

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Robert Mann

Within limits, yes. There’s a reason why many people loathed the Crusade Trial raid in WoW… and it wasn’t due to a lack of trash. Faction Champs was even worse received than the vehicle fights, so having some method of controlling who is tanking and such would still be ideal, even if other things changed.

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Schmidt.Capela

Faction Champs

I consider this among the worst designed, most unfun PvE group encounter to ever blight MMOs. It wasn’t even a matter of difficulty, as with proper gear and halfway decent players it wasn’t hard; it was just too annoying.