The potential of OpenAI to put all professional gamers out of work has been greatly exaggerated, but the tool has some amazing uses available that could see all of esports benefit in the longer term. Even as we speak, the OpenAI Dota five is defeating all comers online, having beaten OG and only lost something like three of their last 700 games, and the expansion of the bot to be able to play a more ‘complete’ version of the MOBA continues apace.
Should it reach the level of a human player in terms of being able to cope with every situation and character in the Dota realm though, OpenAI will go from being a novelty that works well in showmatches to potentially the future of esports training. Currently, teams travel around the world to get high level offline practice and bootcamp with their colleagues or rivals, but a fully programmable AI team would reduce the amount of travel required massively, provided teams are able to work effectively with it.
Equally, the tool could be adapted for other games, and we’ve seen such bots already exist in other gaming communities. The Smash Bros Melee scene has had a ‘TASbot’ for some time now, occasionally running exhibitions where mid-level players take on the machine to see just how good it is, presumably because top level players don’t care, or more likely don’t want to get styled on by a bot.
The same goes for CSGO, and of course League of Legends, which shares many characteristics with Dota, and it seems a largely harmless idea. You might argue that lower level players previously brought in as ‘sparring partners’ will miss out on that practice, but in theory the bot is available for them too, meaning they can hone their craft against any level of play they desire.
It will always have limitations of course, chiefly in creativity and reacting to ‘new’ options, but what is currently an amusing novelty has the potential to be a game-changing training tool in a matter of years, and across a huge number of games. For now enjoy the challenge of trying to beat OpenAI, because it could be set to become unbeatable, and change esports in a way nobody is ready for.
Image credit: OpenAI