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How Independent Do You Like Your NPCs?


How Independent Do You Like Your NPCs?  

155 members have voted

  1. 1. I like party NPCs to be...

    • Extremely Independent (They have their own uncontrollable combat AI, manage their own inventory, they take a share of loot, etc)
      7
    • Very Indepedent (They are equipped and controlled by you, but may leave if you anger them)
      120
    • Somewhat Indepedent (Equipped and controlled and they might like/dislike you, but they're not going anywhere)
      15
    • Slightly Independent (They chime in with comments, but no real gameplay difference from a party of player-made PCs)
      5
    • Not At All Independent (A party of player-made pcs that you roll up with no voice/plot of their own)
      3
    • Other?
      5


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Just curious how people like their party. Are they uncontrollable guests in the party that you meet and who do what they will while they feel like it, or mindless automatons that bend to your will? Or, as likely, somewhere in the middle?

Edited by The Guilty Party
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As examples, IWD and Wizardry I-V is Not At All Independent. Wizardry 8 is more Slightly Independent. The Mass Effect series tends towards Extremely Independent. BG is in the Very-to-Somewhat Independent range, slightly moreso than Dragon Age. (I feel it's easier to lose characters in BG than DA).

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Full control in combat and inventory, very independent in 'story mode'.

 

This is a good state I think. There can be some exceptions, as let us say that your companion has a favorite weapon or ring or helmet (or hamster) that they won't unequip or allow you to sell. Of course the challenge in this is to make that piece comparable or scale-able with other level appropriate loot. It becomes less important with minor pieces, but with a weapon it could be an issue.

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Full control in combat and inventory, very independent in 'story mode'.

 

Seconded. Being the Party Leader needs to count for something (a LOT of something) in combat, but it's the bickering around the campfire that makes the game more enjoyable and intriguing.

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As the others say.

 

Mixing combat mechanics with character storyline is bad for a poll.

 

The combat AI should be moderately independent (e.g. for players who aren't so great at full tactical combat) and easily turned off for full control. And customizable a fair bit as well.

 

The character storyline should be highly independent, a true "characterization" as it were. IMO.

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Around the campfire (figure of speech), I like my companions independent right down to and including the point where they try to slit my throat in my sleep if I did something they didn't approve of. Just leaving the party is getting off too easily. Heck, they could come back later with "friends of their own" and try to throw me over the edge of a cliff ;)

 

In combat, I the player (not my character) likes to stay in control and issue orders. What I would love to see is companions sometimes "rebel" against my instructions if it's anathema to their personality. If I tell a berserk fighter to retreat, he may ignore my command, if I tell a coward to attack, he may decide to stay put etc. (a bit like leadership tests in Warhammer) The old IE games had it in limited form with "effects" like fear or rage, but I would like to see companion psychology and preferences play a larger role. Same thing goes for their equipment preferences.

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Around the campfire (figure of speech), I like my companions independent right down to and including the point where they try to slit my throat in my sleep if I did something they didn't approve of. Just leaving the party is getting off too easily. Heck, they could come back later with "friends of their own" and try to throw me over the edge of a cliff ;)

 

I would love this. Getting rid of a party member, only to run into them later on in the story, and find out they have been doing their own thing - possibly being more successful than you (sort of like how Porkey would turn up at certain points in Mother 2 to jeer at you). Or like you say, come back and try to cut you up. Of course this would mean that getting rid of a party member is a permanent choice.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm liking the ideas here, about betrayals, independent companions. Like when I finally step into a town after a long tiresome journey, I'd want them to be have comments about it, or stories they want to share, memories, whatever. And some may express a want to leave the party to go to the bar, to shop and restock on potions/ammunition, to go somewhere that matters for them.

 

By that I mean it'd be awesome if money was shared or something so they can go around buying their own equipments/potions/accesories or picking up some unique storyline items that they really like and won't part with it ever. It'd be funny if there's this dwarf who spends money only on alcohol and his/her inventory is just ale. I mean, purchase preference reveals some aspect of one's character and I think it'd be interesting to check up on what your companions pick up; maybe even offer a trade or ask for a gift. Or have NPCs who make things (traps, potions, poisons) to pick up harvestable things on the way (I don't have to know what they're picking up; it could be just done without the game really telling me how much stocked they are) and offer companions his/her homemade brews that mess up the innards. lol.

 

Having companions roam around in the town means I'll be either free by myself to explore or perhaps one or two may wish to tag along because he/she has nothing of interest, etc. And this kind of unpredictability can be used for storyline purposes, like developing relationships, getting ambushed, betrayed, etc. I know some RPGs already incorporated some of these but I don't know if it's the insignificant dialogue or the scenario was just too short or unique that I didn't really get to start appreciating the 'individualism' in each characters. More dialogues? More repeated behaviors, so I can start to predict their behavior? These are something I just think that will make roleplaying more immersive.

 

For combat, well, I guess it has to go with the traditional method (because the whole point behind this project is reviving the genre), but although I highly doubt that this is possible, a bridge over genres from cRPG to semi-action adventure: there are certain scripted events in the combats and I actually have to 'react' (or not) to their calls, like shut off the mage, heal/dispel requests, watch out for that rock falling on your head, etc. with varying results based on my performance. This could lead to situations like, two companions are near death, and you can only save one. Highly improbable but yeah just throwing that out. Maybe a compromise? :)

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I think that it is nice to have option to have interpendant characters in group:

 

If combat is real time with pausing system i would really like to not control other character just because its so much messy and i want to go through quick.

 

If it will be turn base - i expect to have full control.

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I'll side with those advocating a strong measure of storyline independence for the companions, but in melee I want them doing exactly what I order them to do. If a companion is mediocre in melee but superb as an archer, I darn well want them to maintain a healthy distance from the opposition and only engage in melee if they're outright forced to do so by being mobbed.

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Around the campfire (figure of speech), I like my companions independent right down to and including the point where they try to slit my throat in my sleep if I did something they didn't approve of. Just leaving the party is getting off too easily. Heck, they could come back later with "friends of their own" and try to throw me over the edge of a cliff ;)

 

In combat, I the player (not my character) likes to stay in control and issue orders. What I would love to see is companions sometimes "rebel" against my instructions if it's anathema to their personality. If I tell a berserk fighter to retreat, he may ignore my command, if I tell a coward to attack, he may decide to stay put etc. (a bit like leadership tests in Warhammer) The old IE games had it in limited form with "effects" like fear or rage, but I would like to see companion psychology and preferences play a larger role. Same thing goes for their equipment preferences.

 

This sums up the sort of companions I would like to see nicely. :thumbsup:

 

I also like it when there is an option to allow the companions a way to make "their own" level up choices for instance with an "Auto-update" which allows me to offer them a bit more "independence" from my rule but I do like that to be an option just in case I want to choose them myself instead... :disguise:

Nomadic Wayfarer of the Obsidian Order


 

Not all those that wander are lost...

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I like 'em independent, makes it more satisfying for when I finally break them in, crushing their wills beneath my boot as I destroy everything they value.

 

On a more serious note, I think there needs to be an option between the first two for me: I like to control them in combat (it's an IE type game, isometric for managing your party, of course you should be able to control them), but will take their own share of the loot (not like how it was done in ToEE with them always taking the loot straight away and the items before you get a chance, more they get a set amount of money and get to ask if they can have certain items, we'll then haggle).

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Oathmen and professionals would last longer in a party of adventurers, or characters with an established past. Independent and self-serving characters should generally be passed in recruitment, because they'll most likely leave, rather than "change heart." And because people are typically nonconfrontational, the independently centered companion is most likely to be ignored by the others, even left on their own in combat, rather than supported. Their value is going to be in spite of their independence, so probably not a trusted or permanent companion.

 

I'd like to see as little change in the characters' core personalities as possible. The player shouldn't be able to manipulate everyone's emotions, world views, and destinies around them, like a chosen one. (There must be wards even against ciphers, unless they're bystander, otherwise society would breakdown, because of a want for trust. Counter deception would be sweet...)

 

But I like a lot of control over the party, with companions mostly deferring to a leader in combat, staying on each others good sides for the sake of a job and safety.

Edited by Ada'tyool
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I would love them EXTREMELY independent, but it should be a GAME option how indendent you want them. Nothing worse in starting a game and some moronic fighter charges into an ambush you are trying to lay down. Guess if you win the battle you'd get his armor though and sell his stuff ;)

 

That said, I suspect some spells or items should cause this to fly out of your control. oops, best laid plans and all.

 

One thing I really did not like about BG, etc. was the way charm worked and fear and so on. The effects should have more of a gradient imo. Perhaps charm means the NPC would go and try to kiss the caster, or be jealous of some other perceived favorite of the caster ... or just try to kill you. Perhaps fear will leave them shaking in their boots or begging for mercy (love to see them live that down later). Perhaps this alter relationships later too

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While I would like to have NPC's as independent as possible I really do not think it's practically possible to have the AI handle characters as well as it should for it to work in a game as open as PE will (likely) be, especially not with a total budget of 4.1M and less than 2 years of time.

 

Making things like combat scripts that can handle all the characters even remotely effective in all the situations that they can/will encounter is not really going to happen, and given the limitations of the AI I would expect it to mainly end up being cursing at the screen and constantly reloading after it commits suicide (permanent death would likely kill all but the PC in a few hours).

 

 

That said during dialogues/events it is much easier to work with given that pretty much all of it being pre-made (writing a massive BG style dialogue tree would mainly be a matter of time) and really this is where the characters personality should, and with the limitations on AI technology, can shine.

 

This is also where I hope the game will shine and make the characters feel alive, not during combat as odds are that will pretty much just be them demonstrating a complete inability to sustain life. So yes to extremely independent characters during conversation and general character development and no to the AI controlling them during combat.

 

 

For vote that is pretty much all (sharing loot, having an opinion, leaving the party etc.) except the AI controlling combat of #1 but I will go with #2

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I doubt that companions AI in battle will rival the effectiveness of micromanaging them simply becuase it's not really possible to program them as a team not knowing which ones will be working with you nor what classes make up the team at any given point.

 

However depending on the difficulty level you have chosen I suspect it will work well enough where you do not have to hand hold every one of them for every "round" in every battle- even the standard AI in the BG games would do this to some degree and AI has improved substantially since 1999. :p

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Nomadic Wayfarer of the Obsidian Order


 

Not all those that wander are lost...

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As others have said, the pool mixed two different things. I want full (or almost full) controll of anyone in the group, witch could be enchanced with ready or custom made scripts for AI (if you want this at all) BUT at the same time I want them to be VERY idependant story-wise. Best characters in BG for me were Viconia, Edwin, Minsk, Xzar. They are all excentric, very different from most characters and not at all "copied-pasted" like in other bland games. Hell, three out of those 4 are not even completely sane, with the fourth one - if applied the mental state to human - would be most insane of them all. Not only they tell you what they don't like. It so happens all of those can actually get mad and try to kill you. That's called perfection and the lack of that is what I hated in NWN the most, along with un-killable NPCs (few aspects loved, few hated there :) ).

 

AI has improved substantially since 1999. :p

To be honest - no :) The AI still works pretty much the same.

 

IF <ENEMY IN SIGHT> THAN <CHANGE TO RANGED> <ATTACK>

IF <ENEMY NERBY> THAN <CHANGE TO MELEE> <ATTACK>

IF <HP 20%> THAN <DRINK POTION>

 

Is that bad? Not sure... Many think that the best AI is the least complicated one that does the job best... Best actual AI in game I saw so far was in Unreal (first one with singleplayer, 1999 as it seems) and I still have to wait for something better yet ;)

Edited by Crusader_bin
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@ Crusader_bin

 

My personal opinion is the AI in NWN2 was an improvement over generic BG as were the tactics in DA series even if you didn't set them yourself but to each his own -

 

I am of course aware that on interent gaming forums all AI is just stupid (along with any other game mechanic you choose to mention) but I don't pay much attention to that myself... :no:

Nomadic Wayfarer of the Obsidian Order


 

Not all those that wander are lost...

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