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The RPing in MMORPGs

How important are background story NPCs to you?  

197 members have voted

  1. 1. How important are background story NPCs to you?

    • Not important at all.
      49
    • Somewhat important
      109
    • Very important
      39


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I was wondering, how important it is for you the Role Playing in MMORPGs?

I am talking about having lots and lots of NPCs that are in there to give you background information about places, tell their stories and stuff like that, but do not necesarly contribute to the mechanics of the game in any other way. Now, obviously, adding those background NPCs takes time, and I can spend my time implementing other things, such as horses, running, enemy guilds - where guilds can attack eachother in non PK maps, wards, and so on.

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Voted "somewhat important"

 

Roleplaying is an important aspect, or I could leave and play some other online (strategy/shooter) game.

Not voted "very important" since I think interacting with other players in EL is even more important :devlish:

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Going with "Somewhat". To this point I've not really seen much of it, but that doesn't mean I think it doesn't serve a purpose in giving EL some added flavor.

 

The latest quests for example have helped restore some of my interest in exploration and following "storylines". I think more background NPCs would add to that as well.

 

The only problem I see is that they're "one use". Once you've spoken to them, there's really no need to speak to them again.

 

 

I think they're a good thing and will add to the game. But perhaps there's a way to (at a later point) put them to use for other purposes? Obviously quests could be written with them included, but those are "one use" things as well.

 

I don't have any suggestions on that atm, but maybe some ideas could be brainstormed over that would make them a more vital part of gameplay, if only on occasional "but more than one" use.

 

But as for the specific question being asked here, yes I think they'd only benefit the game. Giving more information about the things we're seeing on a daily basis can't hurt. Better than thinking of maps in ways like "well, Arius is for gypsum, glacmor is for cinnabar, PV is for several flower harvables and regular Lenny death..." :devlish: Puts more focus on the surroundings than what can be harved or fought there, heh.

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Well, many of them will be used in quests, of course. But some will be there to just give you the impression that the map is not empty, and that there are living things around you.

It's a strange feeling, not sure if it ever happened to you, but when playing some single player RPGs, such as Ultima 7 and Ultima Underworld, I felt better knowing that there are some NPCs around, feeling less lonely :devlish: Did it ever happen to you?

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The only problem I see is that they're "one use". Once you've spoken to them, there's really no need to speak to them again.

 

 

I slightly disagree with this comment. Say you are looking for someone who is a codebreaker for a quest.. by talking with those NPCs before, you can remember which one briefly mentioned cracking codes as a hobby. I see this as being a benefit.. if you know your NPCs better, it will be easier to do some quests. Also, some NPCs might have special abilities as well. I know one in particular does coming with the next update :devlish:

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Not important at all for me at the moment.

But when I was new to the game, it was very important. I enjoyed doing the tutorial quest, then finding out some background information about how I got here, etc. My interest decreased rapidly when I found out that most quests in the game is centered around "pls bring me 20 of this, 30 of this, 40 of this, and then I grant you new level", etc. (god quests). These types of quests are boring, and they kill the game lore as well. Especially that they have absolutely no impact on the game play, they only determine how much xp i get in a particular skill. They would be more interesting if there would be some side effect, like you were unable to do something if you follow the evil god Mortos, the good god of Aluwen or something like that. (and no, I don't think about that some gods are incompatible with each other - we already had that so far too - , but unable to do some other quests depending on your gods, some npcs wont talk with you etc.)

 

But that is not necessarily the fault of quest designers, I guess it partially comes from the nature of a MMORPG, compared to a single player game, when all of the game world is centered around the player. Like, new places are revealed when you do quests. But I think there should be more puzzles in them anyway, and they should not be repetitive, but randomly give you different tasks. Makes it harder to play in the way "OK, I want to do the wine quest, so I google up wtf should I do on the net".

 

You know what could really add to the game lore ? Make walking npc chars, who attend to their daily life. Like, there should be dwarf npcs walking around in votd, whom you could talk with (they not necessarily give a quest, just tell about how nice this place is, or they have just divorced from their wife, and occassionally drop a hint about the game work), or kill them, but also make some city militia npc, who will attack you if you kill too many npc chars, etc. Like the game world you had in Ultima 8 or Divine Divinity. Of course it would require a lot of work and maybe it would take up server space, so this is just a distant idea.

 

Oh, and a thing I missed ever since I started the game: make booze drinkable, lol :devlish: I never, ever seen an RPG game where you couldn't do that (including the aforementioned Ultima 8 or Divine Divinity). They could give you stat increase in might, but decrease reasoning levels etc, or make you fail in intellectual related tasks like using magic :w00t: Also some funny drunk animation would be awesome, lol.

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Staying close to our own thing: our french server family have taken more of a roleplay approach in the game. I haven't looked into it too deeply but from what I understand is that, every now and then, new NPCs will pop up, the players can join either of the 'sides', in that way creating teams that are seperate from guildrelations. There has been a battle over the future of the Nordcarn map there, and as a result, the NC map was restyled.

 

I'm not a very experienced frenchserver player and I'm aware that the playerbase there is even smaller, very different and a lot less developped than ours, but from what I see, it has really brought their community together, and brought more fun to the game.

 

An idea that comes to mind would be the battle for Tirnym Past, where we could actually earn the Tirnym Past map to be actually filled with NPCs and be a fully functional map.

 

Just rambling a bit I guess, but yea.. I wouldn't mind if the RP aspect were to be introduced a bit more.

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I slightly disagree with this comment. Say you are looking for someone who is a codebreaker for a quest.. by talking with those NPCs before, you can remember which one briefly mentioned cracking codes as a hobby. I see this as being a benefit.. if you know your NPCs better, it will be easier to do some quests. Also, some NPCs might have special abilities as well. I know one in particular does coming with the next update :devlish:

 

Very true. Works the same way as having taken the time to explore maps, if a quest gives a clue that mentions "a certain object that was left on the ground near a grave site" for example, having explored the maps and learning the surroundings makes it easier in that you'll know where various graves could be found other than the ones that are walked by on a regular basis (like the VotD one next to storage).

 

Knowing your NPCs would definitely be useful in that respect, and things like what you mentioned would definitely encourage people to actually visit these NPCs and talk to them.

 

 

It's a strange feeling, not sure if it ever happened to you, but when playing some single player RPGs, such as Ultima 7 and Ultima Underworld, I felt better knowing that there are some NPCs around, feeling less lonely :brooding: Did it ever happen to you?

 

Afraid I'm the wrong person to ask, EL is the only MMORPG I've played, and my single-player RPGs are pretty much limited to the days of Super Nintendo :w00t: The NPCs in games like the Super Nintendo Final Fantasys and similar games were definitely interesting, but they were also there and written specifically to further you along in game play. You had to pay attention to what most of them said to figure out what to do next.

 

Hmmm, there's ideas in there somewhere. I think.

 

 

Personally, I'm a "grinder". I play jack-of-all-trades style just for the change of pace. Whether it's just mixing something different (via different mixing skills), going and summoning a few wolves, playing ranger, or bashing feros. It's all grind, just different enough to keep it from getting dull.

 

But I welcome changes of pace. The new quests, invasions depending on mood, instances, turning my inner mule into a heckuva wine/training bolt carrier, and such. Anything that is "different" from the normal routine. I don't want the normal routine to go away or be changed, but these "distractions" from it are welcome as well. Short of pk, I try just about everything in game. New NPCs and any quests they become part of would be part of that break.

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voted somewhat important.

 

i agree with those above that talk about the use of npc's in future quests, the game has lost a lot of the roleplaying espects as i gain my lvl's.

I dont think quest always have to be like bring me this or bring me that to gain more xp etc.

 

I like the idea about doing a quest to find special/new places or even be able to make sertain items only if you have done a quest. eg. you have todo some special quest (find places, items etc) to make magic swords or find special magical items to make enhanced potions and such would push ppl to do some quests too.

 

With such quests and talking to npc's ppl learn more about the maps they visit and maybe even find places that can be of more use to them.

A reward for doing some exploring quest could even be the ability to harvest items that are there and not harvestable if you didn't forfill it. combine it with the serving of sertain gods and maps can be used more and in a different way by different players.

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Staying close to our own thing: our french server family have taken more of a roleplay approach in the game.

(...)

I'm not a very experienced frenchserver player and I'm aware that the playerbase there is even smaller

 

Maybe that is partially because people are trapped and can't get out of the starting island, unless they mess around a lot and finally the Naloj npc agrees to teleport them out of there lol. I think I understood everything the starting npcs say, but there is not a clear option saying "ok, teleport me out of here", just an "au revoir" option, and nothing happens if you do that. I still have no idea wtf I should have done to finally see that happen, and other players also said they could not get out of the island when they tried that game. However, there are some fine ideas there, like when harvesting red roses, they can sting you and you get poisoned :devlish:

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for me, it's very important, in fact EL is the only MMORPG game i have seen which doesn't really rely much on role playing, i've played many RPG games and in all of them i experienced a very nice story building, many games like NWN, Fable, WoW and so on...

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The NPC and quests added fun and playability, but I must emphasize 2 points.

 

* Are not translated, which limits its use to a certain number of players. While not an insurmountable problem.

 

* Some players dont like it.

 

In my opinion, maps without visible NPC gives a nice feeling of unexplored land.

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While I feel that Quests are fun to do and work towards, as well that they do give the maps some more life than seeing people traveling to a harvestable or just hanging out. (Which VoTD and IP seem to have become) I feel that more items should be created, not just the high end items but the middle ranged things. Everyone tends to crowd around a harvestable, spawn, or storage. This should probably somehow be fixed or worked on, would quests do this for long?

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I voted somewhat important. I think more NPCs and more storyline will make the game more interesting, maybe attract more players.

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I also voted "somewhat important." I don't think you can really compare EL to a single player RPG where the storyline is tightly woven into both a backstory and the progression of the game. Also, those games, at least the mainline quest(s,) are traditionally very linear. EL is obviously a wide-open game w/ no ending and no intentionally balanced gameplay to get your character to that ending w/ an appropriate amount of xp.

 

However, I found the talkative NPCs very interesting when I first started playing EL, now maybe not so much. Speaking strictly of the quests that have recently been added, those are very important to me. The NPC scripts and rewards are secondary - the really cool thing about the new quests is the level of community interaction they foster, which I believe is the #1 thing EL has to offer. It is 10x more fun to round up a group of players/guildies to work through a quest than doing it solo or just having someone give you all the coordinates so you can map walk to all the checkpoints and quickly get whatever reward.

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You know what could really add to the game lore ? Make walking npc chars, who attend to their daily life. Like, there should be dwarf npcs walking around in votd, whom you could talk with (they not necessarily give a quest, just tell about how nice this place is, or they have just divorced from their wife, and occassionally drop a hint about the game work) [...]

 

I've been thinking for a long time about having walking NPCs with a schedule, like Ultima 7 or Fallout 3. But yes, it's this kind of NPCs I am talking about, that just tell you daily life things, not how to save the world stuff.

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such as horses, running, enemy guilds - where guilds can attack eachother in non PK maps, wards, and so on.

Wow... did someone Necro this thread??

 

*checks the date*... ;-)

 

* Are not translated, which limits its use to a certain number of players. While not an insurmountable problem.

Actually, that is an interesting point.

 

The client can be loaded with different languages, which currently just loads different data files for certain elements client-side (Encyc, etc). It would be simple for the client to send the currently selected language to the server as part of the login/initialisation process.

 

The translations for the client-side data comes (mostly) from a team of volunteers with good language skills who want to help out. Would it be reasonable, especially for the "historic" information, to have this also translated by a group of volunteers which could be then sent from the sever in the NPC dialogs?

 

In a similar way to the client-side data, anything untranslated could just fall-back to the English, and we would be no worse off than we are now.

 

I've been thinking for a long time about having walking NPCs with a schedule, like Ultima 7 or Fallout 3. But yes, it's this kind of NPCs I am talking about, that just tell you daily life things, not how to save the world stuff.

I whole-heartedly agree with the idea of more animation and (albeit limited) interaction with NPC's. I always wanted to see them (or some of them) working in their environment with some (limited) "general" dialog.

 

The idea was thrown around of certain NPC's working at something in their shop, and turning towards you when you enter the room. I even recall this being coded client-side as a demo (although that was part of the dynamic maps work). With the limited number of animations in the code, there is of course a limit to how much "work" they could be doing, but still.

 

As for the dialog, at least a small amount of randomness would help to make the environment even more dynamic, but of course, any additional randomness means a lot more work in the backend (not only in the code, but in working out the variety of dialog).

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The client can be loaded with different languages, which currently just loads different data files for certain elements client-side (Encyc, etc). It would be simple for the client to send the currently selected language to the server as part of the login/initialisation process.

 

The translations for the client-side data comes (mostly) from a team of volunteers with good language skills who want to help out. Would it be reasonable, especially for the "historic" information, to have this also translated by a group of volunteers which could be then sent from the sever in the NPC dialogs?

While this is technically possible, it is way too much work on my part, and I think everyone should learn English. I did it, and many other people did it, and it's not too hard.

 

I whole-heartedly agree with the idea of more animation and (albeit limited) interaction with NPC's. I always wanted to see them (or some of them) working in their environment with some (limited) "general" dialog.

 

The idea was thrown around of certain NPC's working at something in their shop, and turning towards you when you enter the room. I even recall this being coded client-side as a demo (although that was part of the dynamic maps work). With the limited number of animations in the code, there is of course a limit to how much "work" they could be doing, but still.

 

As for the dialog, at least a small amount of randomness would help to make the environment even more dynamic, but of course, any additional randomness means a lot more work in the backend (not only in the code, but in working out the variety of dialog).

 

The reason why I didn't do it is because if the NPCs walk, then they might get out of the dialogue range, so you will need to constantly chase them if you want to talk to them, which is annoying. For a single player RPG it's easy, you can just make them stop if someone talks to them, but for a MMO that doesn't work well, since the server can't know when someone is actually talking to them (what would be the acceptable delay since the last talk?). Then there is the issue of people intentionally (or not) blocking an NPC path so he or she can't get to their store and so on.

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I voted to somewhat important, it gives another playing possibilites here. Only one thing I don't like in other games: the quests where NPC A send you to NPC B then NPC B send you to NPC C then NPC C send you to NPC A and vica versa (means half-or-more hour walking instead of fun with the tasks what they give you). So I would prefer the quests what has the ability to exploring new places, fight with mythic monsters, find special items and of course gives some xp and/or gc :-)

 

I have seen a walking NPC on IP in Landes Eternelles, it was hard to keep the conversation with him.

 

Another idea: if the quest NPCs would have their own personality (some of them doesn't like dwarves for example, or can speak with you at daylight or only after some levels are reached) it makes the quests more complex.

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Another idea: if the quest NPCs would have their own personality (some of them doesn't like dwarves for example, or can speak with you at daylight or only after some levels are reached) it makes the quests more complex.

 

The racial stuff would be unfair for players, because when you make your chaaracter there is no indication that the race matters.

Regarding the time of the day that can work, yes, but some people can only play so much every day, and they might have to wait days, or even a week to be able to be on at the right time.

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The reason why I didn't do it is because if the NPCs walk, then they might get out of the dialogue range, so you will need to constantly chase them if you want to talk to them, which is annoying. For a single player RPG it's easy, you can just make them stop if someone talks to them, but for a MMO that doesn't work well, since the server can't know when someone is actually talking to them (what would be the acceptable delay since the last talk?). Then there is the issue of people intentionally (or not) blocking an NPC path so he or she can't get to their store and so on.

 

What if they didn't really walk around but still had some animation to them? Like a little bit of swaying for people drinking in the taverns or maybe NPCs that just stand around outside could randomly wave like someone acknowledged them. Simple everyday movements like shifting weight from one foot to the other or scratching @$$es or stretching, bending over to pick something up, even just randomly sitting and standing, ect. Would be kind of neat to see and could add a little separation between NPCs and bots (besides the name colors of course).

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Somewhat important.

 

As far as such NPCs don't add much to the gameplay and pretty much everybody could survive without them, they still add to the game general mood.

 

Been playing several MMORPGs recently and most of them have hundrets of NPCs roaming around. Most of them holds some quests (most of them inactive till they're triggered, though), but each of them has something to say. They make the game world more interesting, even if they just stand there and look good ;P

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bring back Wandering Fool he was fun

 

 

Well in that case, get bongo to come back ;)

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