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New Design Dev Journal up and running, this time, we revealed new NPC interactions, with video!

Posted by CoS_Ethan on Sep 26th, 2012

This is a repost from City of Steam Design Dev Journals

What is it that all players of all games do most often? That you’re most likely to do every time you log into a game to play? I have no idea how you might answer this question, but in my humble opinion, interacting with the NPCs (non player characters) is definitely one of these. You talk to a shop NPC to buy equipment/potions/materials; you talk to a marketplace NPC to sell items to other players; you accept quests from Quest NPCs and complete them to get rewards; you report crimes to patrol guards; you repair your broken equipment at the repair shop; you learn abilities from them, or tell them that you want to change your abilities; some NPCs help you kill mobs (mobs are also NPCs, if in a broad sense); some NPCs get killed by you; some NPCs are your player character’s family members, and you laugh with them and weep over their sad stories. Just imagine, should all the NPCs (shopkeepers, patrol guards, mobs, bosses, all!) go on a strike, what would be left for you to do in the game…? I can’t think of nothing! To me it would be like living in a dead city!

Some people think that interaction between players is what MMOs are all about. Of course it plays a most important role in an MMO’s lifetime value, but so does interaction between players and NPCs, which has a profound impact on your understanding of the game world set as well as the gameplay. That’s why we want to make our NPCs in City of Steam as dynamic as we can – get them to move around, dress as per their roles and personalities, flesh them out with unique and varied personal stories, interact with the players, and do gestures, like how some NPCs will even kneel to the PvP King! That’ll be so cool! We’ve already come up with a boatload of ideas on this front, some are implemented already, others aren’t yet.

Let’s take a look at one of these ideas that is planned to be added in the game – the “NPC Beckon” feature.

It basically works like this:

“There will be quests involving players following NPCs to a specified place. When a player accepts this kind of quest from an NPC, this player immediately receives an “NPC Beckon” buff and a corresponding NPC is automatically spawned and offers to lead the way. During the journey, if the player doesn’t stay close enough and the NPC is over 8 meters away from the player, the NPC stops and beckons to the player to follow! (See? This is what the “NPC Beckon” buff is for.) On arrival at certain XYZ coordinates (that is designed to be the destination of the journey), the NPC assumes a specified location and then remains there so that the player can talk to him/her to complete the task. Once the task is completed, the NPC walks away and gradually disappears.”

If you have played other generic MMOs before, you may have noticed something different. In those games, when you don’t stay close enough to the NPC you’re following he/she just keeps walking on and disappears, leaving you with a failed quest. You’ll have to drop the quest and go back to where you picked up the quest in the first place to re-accept it and do it all over again! While in City of Steam, when this happens, the NPCs act in a more humane way: whenever they notice you’re falling behind, they stop and beckon to you to follow instead of moving on without a care in the world.

Here’s a simple video of how an NPC reacts to you falling behind:

(Disregard the *skating*…it will be fixed, no doubt. )

Besides the beckoning motion, there are two interesting little notes we would like to point out to you:

  • What if you go offline for whatever reason when still doing a quest like this?
    Well, in other MMOs you fail the quest the moment you go offline. In City of Steam you won’t. As long as you still have the “NPC Beckon” buff with you when you re-log into the game, the NPC will still be with you and beckon to you to follow.
  • What if you’re attacked during the quest?
    Don’t expect the NPC to cover you as might be the case in the other MMOs. Instead, they cower back at the attack! Anyway, you’re the valiant heroes, not them!

Feel free to share your discerning thoughts on the Forum. You never know which brilliant idea we might adopt into the game! XD

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