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I would like to hear your opinion about "life" in a sandbox game such as Mortal Online and Darkfall. I really want to love these games. They are really so close to being perfect for my playstyle. The one issue I have with all of these types of games is that they feel incredibly empty. It is not immersive to me to see noone in any town for miles and then come across someone who is intent on taking my life.
I would be fine with the hunt-and-kill aspect of these games if they at least showed some life outside of it. I realise that a game like Skyrim is able to carefully craft content in order to add NPC AI which will live a life inside a town or village, or even travel between them. MMOs might have to spend their budget on other things. But why is this completely absent from all semi-modern sandbox MMOs?
Eve Online feels alive to me in that you can find NPC ships in high sec. You see advertisements by the warp gates and such. But even that game feels like an oversized arena with guards in some areas to tone the fighting down. Plus I've never liked thinking of my character as a ship
Now, I realize that all of these games have many other features such as crafting, harvesting, mobs to fight, etc. But these do not add to the realism of the game, at least not for me.
What do you think? Is this something that would ruin a game? Why would you not like to see alive NPCs in the game? What is preventing developers from adding these features?