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Do Static NPC’s Bother You?

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  • AnnwynAnnwyn Member UncommonPosts: 2,854
    I liked Skyrim because, although they all had their own scripted patterns, they still had "pattern" of some sort. They moved around, went to work during the day and the city is booming, off to bed at night and there's not a soul except a few guards in town. It gives the game a degree of immersion that is believable even if it is repeated every day.

    I have always hated the idea of static NPCs, even more so questing where all the players will do the same quests from the same static NPC. To me, these game studios cared more about creating an RPG with online elements, than developing a living breathing world. GW2 tried to address this partly, and failed. I've not played BDO but I based on this article it seems that they've at least tried to make some NPCs more alive, which to be fair can be pretty difficult to do, but at least they tried.

    I'm not sure its ever going to happen in MMOs though...at least not for another 10 years.
  • SimplyPsykeSimplyPsyke Member UncommonPosts: 31
    Instead of just saying "things should be different" we should talk about how they should be different.
    Most Single Player RPGs still have static NPCs, some that don't (say Skyrim/Fallout) have ways of manipulating the factors that control when/where they appear that you can't do in an online world. Namely time. Say certain NPCs only appear at night (this happens in BDO), in a Skyrim you can just sleep until it is night, and boom NPC. In an MMO you have to wait for the day/night cycle to pass naturally. I think this works fine in some but not all cases.

    Secret shops, special side quets, etc are fine but if this was part of the a main questline I think it'd be problematic.

    Another option for Dynamic NPCs is to make them move around to different places, which is likely going to be limited to a pathing system on some kind of schedule. Sure it is better but if you follow around the NPC he is still going to be doing the same thing just in a larger loop. Better than standing there repeating the same lines sure but it is still semi-static.

    I will say I am actually more in favor of getting quests from a central job board than NPCs in the first place. Those can be static and it not really break immersion much (how does it get updated? might come up). Let exp rewards be earned in the wild from them and for physical rewards maybe there is an adventurer's guild house in various towns that doles them out when you visit. Or you mail in proof you've completed and a short time later you get mailed your reward.

    I think BDO takes a lot of steps in the right direction, towns feel busy and alive (when passing through), worker NPCs actually "exist" in the world, etc. NPCs that only appear at certain times. Those repeated dialog bits are the worst!

    So my question is what alternatives do people propose for NPCs to do?
  • IselinIselin Member LegendaryPosts: 17,758
    I've not played BDO but I based on this article it seems that they've at least tried to make some NPCs more alive, which to be fair can be pretty difficult to do, but at least they tried.

    BDO has a few token utility NPCs (blacksmith, stable master, etc.) with day/night scripts which is pretty basic but they're rare - most of those are static 24/7. There are also many non-interactive NPCs walking around and going about their business and that does add flavor and immersion.

    But they have also given some quest NPCs paths that they walk - some short and quick which makes it annoying when you're trying to interact with them and they run off and you have to start over. 

    The quest NPCs with the longer paths are even more annoying because they won't stop and interact with you when you're either trying to get their quest or turn it in. You have to wait for them to get to their next stop before you can... not much of a feature really and not even immersive: "Hey NPC I finished your task"... ignores you... finally at one of his stops... "Oh it's you! I'm so happy to see you!" :)


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  • Colt47Colt47 Member UncommonPosts: 549
    edited May 2016
    The bigger issue today isn't so much the fact games still have static npcs, but the fact that we have had themepark MMORPGs continually become more and more about the one big story arc instead of having a ton of equally valid story paths people can follow around in.  Case in point is the original world of warcraft, which was a themepark game, but at the same time didn't force people through any single big multi-zone / level storyline.  The later developers pushed the game into being about a single story path and streamlined a lot of stuff coming before that one story line, so the end result is having a game that is  much less fun to play through on the second go.  Static NPCs do factor into this, just not as much as the fact we have to go to that same NPC without fail.
  • Loke666Loke666 Member EpicPosts: 21,441
    qwerhelix said:
    its imposible. for a single player game, yeah maybe. but not for a mmo. making so many different things would cost billions. its like every npc would be different. its crazy. too much time to make it happen.
    It isn't really impossible to have NPCs that go down to the tavern to get a beer, work the fields and go to sleep in the night. Morrowind was a singleplayer game but it's npcs were a lot more advanced then that, they could get married and get kids if you were away for a while as one example, the game was pretty large.

    You can't have every npcs act in a unique way, that much is true but making it so all farmers work the fields in the day, hang around in the tavern a while after that before going to sleep is actually not that hard to code. Making unique scripts is something you just want for major npcs, like kings and suchs since that is almost as much work as a farmer script.

    Colt have a good point though, having more then a single story is more important, but at least having scripts for some npcs would make the game more like a living world and less Diablo.
  • GuintuGuintu Member UncommonPosts: 320
    I had a similar conversation with a friend about this. This was around when Oblivion was around and I liked in Oblivion that there were NPC's you had to look for. Certain ones would only be in the area during the day in a spot, but at night you could go to their house or the bar to find them. Sure in a way they were just moving from one static place to another but it still made the game seem more alive. We also talked how mobs also just stood in one place and walked in a 4-10 foot area only going out of this area to chase some one.

    Defiance kind of fixed that where mobs are seemingly working either on the side of the road digging or in an area fixing something, and that little thing makes the world seem more real. Even the way mobs spawn by coming out of trucks and buildings makes the game feel more alive.

    I think as games become more mature, and game studios decide to make things feel more real, we'll see more and more of this. Especially if VR becomes popular, developers will want to make people feel like they're in the game which would mean making NPC's and mobs seem more real.

    What I'd like to see is a game where when you kill a boss it doesn't return. Either by making it invisible (maybe a seamless instance so after you kill a boss and leave the area it masks the boss so you don't see it anymore) to you so you can go on playing the game without passing the same area and seeing people killing the same boss over and over again. I hate replayable missions. Nothing more jaring than killing a boss and then sitting there waiting for it to respawn so you can kill it again and again.
  • AlomarAlomar Member RarePosts: 1,295
    This concept/idea/problem falls under the overwhelming "immersion" aspect that 90% if not more of mmo's have always been severally lacking in. Don't get me wrong, many single player rpg's are not much better, but the successful and more often larger budgeted rpg's do go miles beyond the average mmo in that aspect.

    I'm a hardcore pvper who sometimes spends 80-90% of my game time in an mmo non-stop pvping, and even I put huge stock in "immersion", more specifically into graphics, weather effects, npc interactions/behavior, in-game events, etc. In recent years, a logical argument why many mmo's didn't/couldn't have these features that seem so important for an rpg could be based off of a lack of production time/technology/budget. Yet, we've now reached a stage in the mmo-verse where players expect and demand more out of each and every game, even the small details that bring "immersion". Modern technology and increased in developer capability within less time has also made this a realistic expectation.

    While BDO doesn't do anything groundbreaking, in fact what it does is the same features single player rpg's have been doing for years. Yet, things like npc's being unavailable at night, npc ship/carriage movement, constant npc movement on roads, night/day cycles, and weather affects are important "immersive" features. These are features that 90% of other mmo's don't have, and while I would like a lot more, at least it's a start that hopefully future games build upon.
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  • holdenhamletholdenhamlet Member EpicPosts: 3,771
    mmmorpg.com is running out of stuff to talk about for their mandatory BDO article of the day.
  • MyrdynnMyrdynn Member RarePosts: 2,466
    I prefer it, there was a quest guy I was supposed to meet sometime and I was on a limited play schedule, having to track down an NPC to hand in a quest is really annoying
  • Octagon7711Octagon7711 Member LegendaryPosts: 9,000
    Doesn't bother me. I think of other players as NPC who more then make up for the static ones with the crazy stuff they do and say.

    Most people in real life are static creatures of habit. They do the same thing everyday, especially shop owners.

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  • MukeMuke Member RarePosts: 2,614
    Not at all.

    Nevertheless, I do understand how they can negatively affect immersion for some people.
    Nothing more immersive then a raid Boss level ?? standing in a circle in a room while 20-40 ppl are gathering to kill him at 10ft.

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  • LeiloniLeiloni Member RarePosts: 1,263
    They don't bother me at all and I think you're thinking about this way too much. You need to get lost in a game (or in any fictional world) and just enjoy the experience. Don't nitpick all the details, don't "overthink" it. You're ruining your own experience. Besides, whatever happened to allowing your imagination to do some of the work? That's what we do with books, so why can't you let yourself get lost in the same way in a world on the computer? You can't expect every little detail to be perfectly taken care of. It's up to you to fill in the holes and let yourself be taken on a journey. Any break in immersion is on you at that point in any game that makes enough of an effort.
  • rvhausenrvhausen Member UncommonPosts: 51

    Bloodaxes said:


    Greyed said:

    It depends. If their loop is long enough then no, it's not a problem. However Arenanet and Daum both made the same mistake. They put a very vocal NPC on a short loop near locations that players are apt to linger.



    Since this article is within the context of BDO I think we all know that NPC.



    "Do it BETTER!"



    "AUGH, you suck!"



    Now you know it.



    If an NPC is going to be static then it probably shouldn't be vocal. And if it's vocal it shouldn't be on a 3 minute loop with some of the most aggrivating vocal work ever. And if it is, don't put it next to the fracking BANK! >.<




    That fucking small chick shouting at the giant really is frustrating! I mute the game if I'm going to afk there.

    Keeping with the context of BDO, I've also seen people complaining because certain npcs go away during the night and they had to wait until morning to talk to them.



    Hahaha, think I might be the only one who likes that dialogue exchange. And many of the other ones where you have to get close to the nps to hear. Shai kids everywhere seem to be pretty pushy and obnoxious, lol. But yeah, the loop delay should be longer.

    What I also like about BDO is that there are always npc's travelling the roads (almost too many), and you even cross paths with your own workers from time to time.
  • mmoguy43mmoguy43 Member UncommonPosts: 2,770
    It is what it is. The primarily backdrop nature that NPC's role is in MMORPGs makes me appreciate more advanced ones with better stories in singleplayer games.
  • waynejr2waynejr2 Member EpicPosts: 7,768
    City of Heroes did something I liked:  They had citizens walking around.  You could click on them and they could say various things like the server time. Thanks to chat bubbles they would talk about various heroes nearby and what heroic things they just did.    When npc villains came to close they would run away.  Then the Rikti Invasion started, they would run and go into buildings.   It was a simple thing that made the game feel alive.

    But total AI mobs living their lives is asking for a bit much right now.  You notice in zones in games like wow, if there isn't a player nearby they are just kind of turned off/idle.  Uses less cpu cycles that way.  Only update that which needs to be updated.

    OP asks an old question.  It hasn't been done due to resource use.  That is the simple answer.  Could they do more than they are today.  Certainly.  There is a cost.
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  • GestankfaustGestankfaust Member UncommonPosts: 1,989
    For quests and such, I like static. But I do like wandering NPCs that you can talk to or do some quests/tasks also. As long as it's not a pain in the arse to find them. I do want the world to seem alive. Hard to do to a certain point in MMOs.

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  • nimander99nimander99 Member UncommonPosts: 288
    I was really hoping ESO would have NPC's with day and night cycles like all the single player Scrolls games...
  • KyleranKyleran Member LegendaryPosts: 41,219
    No issue for me.

    I'm more annoyed by game design that results in me interacting less with other players so much that they are less relevant than the npcs.

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  • GruugGruug Member RarePosts: 1,784
    Static npc's have never set well with me. I understand that idea of quest givers and such but I just never understood why they could not put some variation in them. Roaming npc's are fine as they are just giving background and a feel of a living world. No npc's of any kind in a game just makes it feel lonely.

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  • keithiankeithian Member UncommonPosts: 3,187
    Yes its a huge neglected feature that is long overdue. I found it very annoying in SWTOR as one of the worst offenders...especially since that game had you running in corridors with a lot of empty space with nothing to do in that space. Skyrim did a great job with this and Witcher 3 isn't bad either. MMOs needs to follow those examples...but even then...they can do more :-).

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  • NanfoodleNanfoodle Member LegendaryPosts: 9,727
    If all NPCs are static yes. I rather some NPCs be static. Like vendors, bankers etc. 
  • TyranusPrimeTyranusPrime Member UncommonPosts: 306
    Absolutely! I hate NPCs that stick to me after being dryed.. Wait.. We aren't talking about static cling? oh..

    Ahem.. Yes, actually.. Static NPCs really don't aid in immersion for me.. Te less mobile and life-like an NPC is, the more stagnant the game's cities and villages feel..

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  • ShrikeArghastShrikeArghast Member UncommonPosts: 124
    I quit BDO because it was a boring, terrible grindfest with no obvious endgame, and little if no incentive to group - not because of an industry staple like NPCs.
  • GestankfaustGestankfaust Member UncommonPosts: 1,989
    I quit BDO because it was a boring, terrible grindfest with no obvious endgame, and little if no incentive to group - not because of an industry staple like NPCs.
    You tell 'em

    /rolls eyes

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  • Octagon7711Octagon7711 Member LegendaryPosts: 9,000
    rvhausen said:

    Bloodaxes said:


    Greyed said:

    It depends. If their loop is long enough then no, it's not a problem. However Arenanet and Daum both made the same mistake. They put a very vocal NPC on a short loop near locations that players are apt to linger.



    Since this article is within the context of BDO I think we all know that NPC.



    "Do it BETTER!"



    "AUGH, you suck!"



    Now you know it.



    If an NPC is going to be static then it probably shouldn't be vocal. And if it's vocal it shouldn't be on a 3 minute loop with some of the most aggrivating vocal work ever. And if it is, don't put it next to the fracking BANK! >.<




    That fucking small chick shouting at the giant really is frustrating! I mute the game if I'm going to afk there.

    Keeping with the context of BDO, I've also seen people complaining because certain npcs go away during the night and they had to wait until morning to talk to them.



    Hahaha, think I might be the only one who likes that dialogue exchange. And many of the other ones where you have to get close to the nps to hear. Shai kids everywhere seem to be pretty pushy and obnoxious, lol. But yeah, the loop delay should be longer.

    What I also like about BDO is that there are always npc's travelling the roads (almost too many), and you even cross paths with your own workers from time to time.
    I do like that town and bar gossip.  Some are pretty funny and I do ease drop once in awhile.

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