I play with bots quite a lot, for a few reasons:
I'd honestly rather have leprosy than play pubs
Getting together premade groups involves a bit of setup usually
Despite being quite social, I often just want to play video games without other people
I've made some general observations about playing with bots, and if you want to also play with them, this might help you out. Be assured that I'm 100% sure I wasn't the only (or even the first) person to notice these things, but I haven't seen this stuff on the sub yet, so I figured I'd post. This isn't the most organized guide, more of a general "things to keep in mind" sort of deal.
1. Anyone who says bots are consistent is going to hell for lying
Primarily this relates to specials. There's something really incredibly wonky with how bots deal with specials. Sometimes they'll do an instant 180 and shoot a Runner out of the air. Sometimes they'll stand still and stare as a Packmaster runs towards the group in an empty room, full view of everyone, ignoring it completely until it grabs someone. Sometimes they'll shoot a Globadier before it gets a chance to get a single throw off, and sometimes they'll run into a Warpfire-Throwers flame over and over again until they die, attempting to melee it to death for some reason.
Point is, you cannot rely on bots to take care of specials, and you have to have your head on a swivel in every fight. They'll surprise you sometimes, but the majority of the time in my experience, it really is like playing with three complete beginners who don't know that they have ranged weapons.
Seriously though: something is really wrong with how hesitant bots are to use ranged weapons. I've had bots pull patrols because they took off running towards a Globadier that was about half a mile away, and ran straight into the path of the patrol. Speaking of…
2. Bots WILL pull patrols
The bots' sometimes utterly bizarre behavior combined with some of the truly bullshit patrol spawns in V2 means that those simpletons will pull patrols even when you yourself could have avoided them.
As such, it's good to have a plan in place for how you'll deal with it. Often with some patrol spawns I find that the safest thing to do is to intentionally pull them (so long as you aren't overdue for a horde).
Bots can deal with hordes in isolation, and they can deal with bosses in isolation, but they generally cannot deal with massed elites. As such, you'll be doing the lions share of the work.
Shade conc pot ult spam works rather nicely. Bounty Hunter can absolutely decimate a Stormvermin Patrol simply with the Crossbow.
Another decent strat is to have Ranger Vet Bardin in your group (or being played by you), and selecting the talent that makes Specials drop Bombs instead of ammo on occasion (can't remember the exact numbers). Since bots will automatically pass their bombs to you if your slot is empty, you can do some serious hurt with a few well placed bombs, especially when coupled with a strength pot.
One note about that strategy though: Especially with Stormie Patrols, throw the bomb behind the shielders. Shieldvermin being the purveyors of cheese that they are, bombing them in the face will do diddlysquat, waste a bomb, and not get anything done. Sneaking up to their side and lobbing a bomb just behind the last Shieldvermin works great.
3. Bots can (sort of) deal with bosses
It's a well known fact that Bots can dodge-dance bosses til the cows come home. However, if there is any bit of obstruction on the field (like there often is), you can bet your ass the bots will get stuck on it, endlessly trying to dodge backwards even when they can't, while eating overhead strikes.
In addition, bots are utterly incapable of multi-tasking. If you get boss + horde (which you will 90% of the time), the bots will focus on the boss pretty much no exceptions. As such, it would be a good idea for you to take on the primary role of horde killer. Hordes being as easy to kill as they are in V2, you will most likely be able to handle the majority of the threat the horde poses all on your own.
When it comes to Spawn, things get a bit trickier. Bots are notoriously crap at using their ults intelligently, and incredibly bad at dodging the Spawns grab attack. Unless you want the shittiest boss in the game to regenerate a bunch of health, you really have to pay attention to when a bot gets grabbed. At that point, interrupting ults (such as Bounty Hunter, Ranger Vet etc.) and bombs are heartily recommended.
With Troll, I'd also recommend mashing the thing in the head when it goes down as much as your horde-killing duties allow.
4. Bot careers and loadouts
Bots like simple weapons. By "simple", I mean weapons that don't rely heavily on particular combos or push-strikes. As far as I can tell, bots don't actually know how to use push strikes at all.
Careers/Loadouts I have found to work:
Career: Mercenary Captain. Hands down the best as far as I've seen. You might be thinking "what about Foot Knight?", but the fact is that while FK is tanky, his ult ruins everything, because as we established earlier, bots are total garbage at using their ults. In my experience all FK does with his ult is get himself killed, charging into the middle of a pack of dangerous things and getting cut down. This actually goes for all movement-based ults.
Merc on the other hand brings a lot of utility to the table. The occasional accidentally correctly timed ult can be a huge boon, and for gods sake, select the talent that spreads Paced Strikes to teammates.
Loadout: Executioner Sword and Handgun. Halberd, Mace and Mace & Shield are all pretty solid too, but in my experience, Exsword takes the cake. It kills hordes and elites, without relying on push-strikes or weird combos. The Handgun is there for the occasions when the bot remembers they have a ranged weapon and actually uses it to snipe some specials.
Career: I actually think all three of Bardins careers are at least decent choices. Slayer obviously does huge amounts of hurt close up, Ironbreaker is ridiculously tanky, and Ranger Vet has a great ult (AoE knockback and aggro drop) as well as fantastic support due to the bombs and ammo you get from his passive.
Loadout: Greataxe and Handgun (Dual Axes and Greataxe for Slayer). The prior loadout works great in my experience for RV and Ironbreaker, but Hammer, Axe & Shield and 1h Axe also work as melee weapons. Handgun is the same as with Kruber.
Career: Waystalker and maybe Shade. Shade has a good low-cooldown "get out of jail free" ult, and she'll drop some chaos warriors and do good boss damage. I tend to prefer Waystalker for her ult though, as well as the headshot bonus she receives from Arcane Bodkins. Handmaiden is out of contention for the same reason as FK: she just gets into trouble with her ult, so her slight tankiness really goes to waste.
Loadout: Glaive and Longbow. Double Daggers are the king in the hands of a player, but for a bot, I just tend to find that Glaive gives the bot better survivability as well as horde-killing capacity, while still retaining a strong ability to mash elites. Longbow is there for the same exact reason as Handgun on Kruber and Bardin.
Saltzyboy: I honestly don't know. I don't play with Saltz as a bot, because every career I tried just had him dying every 30 seconds. WHC is in a sorry state to begin with even in the hands of a player, BH is a damage monster but is extremely lacking in survivability, and Zealot is just as much of a dumbass with his ult as FK and Handymaid.
Career: Unchained. Best survivability by miles, and an ult that can do some serious hurt (I've even had it save us from double packmasters a few times).
Loadout: Mace and Fireball Staff. Mace because it can deal with elites, and fireball because it can deal with everything. I'll be honest, I don't play Sienna at all myself, so this is more of a "I guess this works" loadout.
Bots and reviving: Another example of extremely inconsistent behavior, bots will sometimes just not pick you up if you go down, even if they have ample opportunity to do so. Sometimes, bots will completely ignore a downed player in favor of fighting a boss. Bardin will also not pick you up while his ult is up, which is a huge waste.
Bots and FF: While bots themselves are in my opinion far too wary of friendly fire (for example refusing to shoot a runner that's on you), you better believe they will run directly in front of you as you are trying to shoot something. There's a lot of situations where you can't really do anything about this, and the bot will just take damage, but it's good to keep in mind. What really aggravates me is when the bot will so completely nail themselves to your position that you can't even see them in front of you, because they are actually overlapping with your model.
Bots and Shieldvermin: Bots can sometimes make fighting shieldvermin harder because they will often endlessly mash them with attacks, constantly resetting their block as you try to push their shield out of the way. Shieldvermin should probably be your primary focus in most situations.
Anyhoo, I hope this helps out. If you have questions, feel free to ask, I'll answer what I can.
© Post "Playing with Bots: A (sort of) Guide" for game Warhammer: Vermintide.
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