OpenAI Five Defeated But Undaunted
Written by Sue Gee   
Friday, 24 August 2018

OpenAI's team of Dota 2-playing bots lost both the games it played at Valve's International Dota 2 tournament this week against top-ranked human professionals in games described as exciting and close.

After its recent success in the Benchmark games we reported on, OpenAI Five, the team of five artificial intelligence agents that had learned to play Dota 2 from scratch, set off to Vancouver for this year's International with high hopes.


However, although it maintained a good chance of winning for the first 20-35 minutes of both games, OpenAI Five ultimately lost the two matches it played at the tournament.  The first match, against paiN Gaming, one of the top 18 Dota 2 teams in the world, lasted around 51 minutes whereas games usually last 45 minutes. The opposing team in the second game, made up of Chinese superstar players three of whom had played on a competitive team together, won after 45 minutes after some exciting back-and-forth teamfights.

The primary reason contributing to the defeats, according to the Open AI blog post, was that these games were played against significantly better human players as indicated in this chart of the ranking of the players Five has taken on since May this year:

openai5progress(click in chart to enlarge)

Another reason for relatively poor performance was that hero lineups were provided by a third party rather than by Five drafting against humans. Finally the last major restriction on “Real Dota” gameplay had been removed. In the Benchmark Games each hero was given its own invulnerable courier (a unit which delivers items to your hero) rather than having a single mortal team courier. This led Five to develop its signature high-pressure playstyle, since the couriers constantly delivered regeneration items, allowing Five’s heroes to constantly attack towards the enemy’s base. During a normal Dota game, heroes at low health would instead have to abandon the attack to heal up. Five began training with single courier less than a week before the two matches and while Open AI doesn't consider that the courier change was responsible for the losses it does think more training, bugfixes and removing the remaining pieces of scripted logic in its model is now needed to push Five to the next level.

The blog post concludes:

These games have set a new high watermark for human vs AI games in Dota, and give us a lot to aspire to. But Five isn’t just about Dota — it’s about building AI technologies in a safe sandbox which will help us build advanced systems in the future. If you want to help us build these systems and ensure they are safe and will benefit all of humanity, then consider joining OpenAI.



More Information

The International 2018 Results

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Last Updated ( Friday, 24 August 2018 )