NPCs. Are they needed?, what do the game designers accomplish by using them in a MMORPG. Ever since the first MMORPGs NPCs have been there, to give you your first missions, feed you pieces of lore, buy and sell items, give you hints about the overarching goal of the game, sometimes even deceive you and make you loose valuable time or resources. The ones that give you info, normally either repeat the same things to you, or if you choose different dialog, it may give you new information, some times they will only give you new information once you give or show them something, or complete an objective. There is a story happening in the world you are going to be living in, and the other players don’t know it, so we depend on NPCs to tell the story in small chunks, as you progress.
Normally NPCs are always in the same place in a map, you will pass near them and they will have some indication that they have something to say to you, an icon floating above their heads, or some other marker, in some games they talk to you as you approach them. This works well, and has become a standard way for the designers to interact with the players, but we plan to do it a bit more interesting by giving the NPCs a life, of course we are not saying that they will be artificial life forms, that would be too ambitious and unnecessary, the most interesting interactions should be human to human, but what we are planning is for the NPCs to have motivations to move from place to place, and carry on with their own lives, that is, the shopkeeper will open and close his store, have a house to go to sleep, have a lunch break , get out of the store for this or that. Some NPCs will meet you at certain prearranged times and locations, and may change their dialog periodically, as things happen in the world.
All of these will make the NPCs in the “Real” world, feel more alive, and will give opportunities to implement other game mechanics, in the future, like heists, breaking and entering, and similar stuff.
On the other hand we will also have NPCs that will communicate with you in the “Cyber” world, mainly by chat, some will even be faceless (in other words won’t show their real identity to you), they will offer you jobs, inform you about events, ask you to go to a gathering or meet with someone, etc. They may be AFK at times, or completely disappear, whatever helps convey the story we are trying to tell.
Of course you can ignore NPCs, and try to go around the worlds of Spycursion with no purpose or background, and there may be some consequences if you fail to comply with an NPC’s request, but why would you? Our plan is to have NPCs that enhance the experience, give you valuable information, and help you get started and meet new friends and foes.
We expect to have a lot of information puzzles to put together, gathering the information and piecing together what it is beneath the surface of the daily life in this world should be as rewarding as hacking and spying more directly. Unearthing the secrets of Spycursion may change your view of the world and your alliances, and may give you an idea of what you are getting into when you decide to take a job, or hack/spy on a particular institution or individual. The NPCs may give you enough hints, to better understand the world you are living in.
There is a lot of job to do here, but we don’t have to do it all at once, and we won’t, a good set of NPC interactions will help keep the game fresh for all players, giving them an incentive to keep coming back, which is the final goal.