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.