Rocket League Players Found The Optimal Way To Cheat

A red car zooms in the game Rocket League.
A red car zooms in the game Rocket League.

Rocket League’s stalwart players have had enough. For over a week, fans have been complaining that the game—it’s soccer with screaming, customizable cars—is being terrorized by a bot trained with machine learning, and that developer Psyonix is doing nothing to save them from it.

The offending “God-tier” bot is called Nexto, one of many Rocket League bots trained by the application programming interface (API) RLGym, which treats “the game [...] as though it were an OpenAI Gym” through bot-against-bot tournaments. While most of the available RLGym bots do not use machine learning (which lets algorithms make predictions based on sample data), the couple-months-old Nexto does, and it uses it well.

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Though it’s been available to battle with RLGym for a while, recently, “a person made their own tools to use a bot online and just took Nexto from the public repository to use,” one of the gym’s authors wrote in a Reddit Q&A. These new tools are “scary easy to install and use,” one widely upvoted Reddit post says. “I can easily see this spiraling out of control within weeks if some sort of fix isn’t implemented.”

Players are desperate for a fix.

“I am not sure why the dev team has been silent on the issue,” another Reddit post says. “What’s the plan to address the cheating if any? Or is this just the future of the game.”

“There’s been quite a few people finding evidence of bots playing in ranked recently and it’s genuinely kinda concerning,” says a popular tweet. “I hope Psyonix finds a way to prevent this soon because this could become a huge issue going forward…”

The developer has told PC Gamer that it was aware of the issue and is “actively investigating solutions.” In an email to Kotaku, it said that it currently had “nothing more to share at the moment. If players run into a suspected cheater during a ranked match—or any match—they can report them in-game or contact our support team. As a reminder, the use of cheats or other exploits by players violate Epic’s Community Rules as well as the Psyonix Terms of Use.”

Psyonix also instructed RLGym “not to publicly release any more bots of this caliber until they get the situation under control,” its authors said in that Q&A.

Rocket League fans should try not to despair in the meantime—bots are breakable.

“One silver lining of this whole ordeal is now there are a ton of people looking for behaviors to exploit,” the RLGym author said in the Q&A. “Hopefully someone will come up with an easy way to beat it consistently soon.” For car soccer’s sake.

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