How to Make NPCs more Interesting and Interactive

Discussion in 'The Veterans' Lounge' started by Brontus, Dec 14, 2022.

  1. Brontus EQ Player Activist

    I was reading an interesting thread today about a quest NPC that would not stop when hailed. I got to thinking about how NPCs react and don't react to players.

    One of the things that bothers me about EverQuest is the absence of basic verbal, emotive, and physical interactions from NPCs to players. Hail just about any NPC in Norrath and you get no response, no emote, and no physical acknowledgement. I remember NPC vendors used to face you when you hailed them and interacted with them, but I have not observed this recently. Many NPCs can not even be attacked these days.

    The only NPCs that will respond in EQ are some quest NPCs and special NPCs that have specially scripted replies. The guards in Nexus are a good example of NPCs that have helpful information when hailed.

    In other MMOs, if you interact or emote with an NPC guard, you get a reaction. Salute a guard in another MMO and they will physically salute back and ask you how your day is or ask you to obey the laws in that city.

    EQ currently has a universal NPC vendor script that you get when you interact with them that goes like this:

    "Welcome to my shop Bob, you would probably find cracked staff handy."
    "Greetings Bob, you look like you could use a cracked staff."
    "Hi there, Bob. Just browsing? Have you seen the cracked staff I just got in?

    As it's good game design to include some kind of feedback in the form of text, graphics, and sound to reward player when they interact with NPCs, I'm wondering if Darkpaw devs have ever considered adding a universal reaction system to all NPCs?

    EQ has a built in faction system that could provide many interesting interactions with NPCs. Players with high faction would make an NPC smile or say something kind about the player. Players with low faction would get a colder response from NPCs.

    Also, since players have name, gender, race, and class fixed variables and levels, some really interesting responses could be forthcoming from the NPCs.

    Many guard and vendor NPCs are based on player selectable races, so they have access to all kinds of really great physical emotes that would make interacting with them more rewarding.

    Making fantasy worlds a bit more interactive and immersive might be something worth looking into. Thanks for listening. :)
  2. Jumbur Improved Familiar

    Iirc the guards in Lceanium will greet you by name, if you have helped the Combine in the past(TdS progression).

    I thought that was a nice touch! :)
    Brontus likes this.
  3. ttobey Developer

    The npc anim tree in EQ1 is very basic at the moment unfortunately. If they aren't based on a character model, they only have 16 animations.
  4. CatsPaws Just use plain English.

    You guys so need to go to Drinal: Colonial Island and check out Vlad's housing with his interactive npcs. And he's not even working for you guys!!!!!
    Brontus likes this.
  5. Qwalla Developer

    Thank you for the feedback! We definitely tried experimenting more with this in NoS and I hope the trend continues! I know Zieri got a whole bunch of fun interactions in Shar Vahl. I also tried to put a few fun things in Firefall Pass. If you've done the anniversary mission Risky Rat Rescue, go chat with Minki and Rinki again! If you're a froglok, you're sure to frighten the rat who's staring a froglok head in the cave. And there is one sad rat who'd feel very comforted if you said the right thing to him.

    We like the interactions as much as you guys do, really! It's great to hear that the players like it too, and I'll keep it in mind going forward. Hopefully we can continue to surprise you with fun, small details.
    Rondor, Elyssanda, Lyyr and 11 others like this.
  6. Zunnoab Augur

    The journal system actually working to track NPC dialog without lagging the client would be nice. It opens and closes the file every line or something rather than keeping it open like with logs, and the entire EQ process halts while this is happening I believe. It makes things like mass swarm pet death cause huge lag spikes and "turn off the journal" is EQ 101 advice.

    While a revamped NPC journal sorted by storyline would be nice, I know that's probably not a priority use of limited dev time.
  7. Iven Antonius Bayle

    Which is not a bad amount. I think the problem is that many zones look and feel dead because to many NPCs are static. Do let them walk, sit/stand or turning around a little bit every few minutes and let them do monologues and dialogues with each others like in original: Renux vs Hanns Krieghor in North Qeynos as example. The roads in North Qeynos, Qeynos Hills and Commonlands are very busy with such NPCs. NPCs like guards and animals (cats, dogs, rats, birds, bats) that do patrol a larger area do also help. Add sounds to them like whistling a song, foot steps, clattering, barking, meowing, flapping. Recorded standard dialogues about a war or the weather that do get triggered every five minutes could be also an option. Drakensang and Two Worlds made much use of such automated random voice patterns and it made the world much more alive.
    Brontus likes this.
  8. Szilent Augur

    those sorts of automated dialogue spamming out quest text & game actions is an issue, though

    NPC chatter really should have its own channel/filter if EQ is improved in this way
    Yinla, Nniki and Smokezz like this.
  9. Iven Antonius Bayle

    Basically it could be sorted with different general chat tabs and only being activated at a close distance. The distance is very large in original.
  10. Deux Corpse Connoisseur

    I would like to see halfling druids randomly deathtouched by vendors should be easy to script yes?
    Yinla and Dre. like this.
  11. Tucoh Augur

    Some of my favorite EQ NPC interactions are just the collision of two hostile factions. Whether it's Fippy getting axed by guards in Qeynos or a wandering NPC smashing mobs. This can get cumbersome when both NPCs are player-attackable or when they are part of a quest, like in ToV's Kael.

    It'd be cool to have invasions into the Onokiwan in Firefall by random saureks or invasions into the safe areas of Shadowhaven by fiends or a random tough Vah Shir patrolling Shadeweaver's Tangle.
  12. Act of Valor The Newest Member

    This is a reason why I like Highpass Hold. It's under a constant attack from gnolls and orcs, it makes the zone feel alive and dynamic.
    Elyssanda and Brontus like this.
  13. Qwalla Developer

    Have you no heart? :(
    Rijacki and Zunnoab like this.
  14. Jhenna_BB Proudly Prestigious Pointed Purveyor of Pincusions

    ThE bLoODsAbReS sHAlE RiSE BAaaaaAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaAAaaaaaaKKk!!
    Brontus and Qwalla like this.
  15. Tucoh Augur

    Add some Onokiwan children that wander away from home and get eaten by the hawks. A+++ immersion.
  16. Qwalla Developer

    Angeliana, Accendo, how do I ban someone? :eek:
    Rolaque, Celephane and MasterMagnus like this.
  17. Accendo Community Manager

    For you? Just gotta ask nicely.
    Rolaque, Celephane, Tucoh and 2 others like this.
  18. MasterMagnus The Oracle of AllHigh

    I think you meant to say Foolhardy Gnolls. Not any sort of child?

    Come on brother :rolleyes:


    Oh the gnollmanity!
  19. Tucoh Augur

    Is this a Shainai's Nightie joke or what?
    Heroes need an alternative in order to uphold goodness.

    KushallaFV likes this.
  20. KushallaFV Playing EverQuest

    Agreed, not all heroes are lawful good.