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Counter-arguments for NPC enemies in space.


Shaman
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A lot of you guys have been asking for NPC enemies in space to fight against. I see why you would want that added, but in my opinion they won't be worth the dev time. Here are some counter arguments:

 

  1. Novaquarks intentions with the game is to have a "common, shared virtual world, controlled by the players." Adding a second party of aliens / other humans breaks this rule.
  2. Unlike in EvE, movement is (relatively) much slower, which means that escaping danger is a lot harder, especially if you don't have much thrust. That may be good for PvP lovers, but could be an unescapable death sentence for unlucky haulers, which brings me to my next point:
  3. Having enemies scattered in space further encourages players to warp to their destination, making pirating (and counter-pirating) even harder since there will be nobody to fight. Even if NPC's are restricted to certain areas like asteroids will be, most haulers would rather warp than risk bumping into one and dying.
  4. With the way that PvP works, NPC's would have to match the damage of L cores if they want to have a chance against them, meaning that <L cores will have a hard time fighting , if they don't just simply die in one shot. The cost of running, fueling, and repairing L core constructs can cost in the millions, and so unless every NPC is carrying 10kl of gold nuggets or something it will be a net loss trying to fight them, not to mention the 50-100 million paywall to get a good L core in the first place. Unless you are in a specialised org, you will be mining for many hours to get a good PvE ship in the first place, so what's the point?

 

Thank you for coming to my TED talk.

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I'm not sure why this was not posted in the relevant thread but I digress.

 

Your fist point I would not agree with. We've already seen a number of mechanics be very different from what NQ set out in their initial vision and frankly I expect may more of that to happen. A big reason for the game being in the state it is has been that the vision has taken precedence over common sense and (technical) abilities. The change in leadership I certainly hope and really expect will change that, provided that the company survives, to a situation where the vision is what is the guideline but the reality of what is achievable and/or possible will determine to what extent the vision is left as-is or amended.

 

I agree that having NPCs in space that you may  encounter at random is not a good plan, in fact while you mention EVE, it is very clear there that while some NPCs are pretty docile, if they are not they mostly are deadly and very tough to fight. I think that the idea of having an equivalent of EVE combat sites however would be a good idea.. just like the data and relic sites. Much of the "top level" mechanics in DU, such as schematics, should have a feeder to allow players to control the availability and application of these and that would normally be sites like that. DU seems to be looking to introduce something like this with Asteroids but plan to use their "events" mechanic for this and pretty much expose you once you find such a site opening up an effortless risk of getting attacked.

 

And if NQ ever introduces NPCs into the combat mechanics I'd agree the rewards of taking them on will need to be worth it. And frankly in the general way the game is currently set up as far as introduction and distribution of items (with market value) is very shallow and not even close to suitable for this.

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5 hours ago, Shaman said:

Novaquarks intentions with the game is to have a "common, shared virtual world, controlled by the players." Adding a second party of aliens / other humans breaks this rule.


It's an arbitrary rule, though. The question isn't "does this break the rule", it's "why does the rule exist to begin with?" -- the world can be controlled by the players even with NPCs. The reason NPCs are a fairly popular suggestion is because NPCs fill a variety of important design concepts; concepts NQ hasn't created alternatives for. There's a reason most MMOs have them. 

 

6 hours ago, Shaman said:
  • Unlike in EvE, movement is (relatively) much slower, which means that escaping danger is a lot harder, especially if you don't have much thrust. That may be good for PvP lovers, but could be an unescapable death sentence for unlucky haulers, which brings me to my next point:
  • Having enemies scattered in space further encourages players to warp to their destination, making pirating (and counter-pirating) even harder since there will be nobody to fight. Even if NPC's are restricted to certain areas like asteroids will be, most haulers would rather warp than risk bumping into one and dying.
  • With the way that PvP works, NPC's would have to match the damage of L cores if they want to have a chance against them, meaning that <L cores will have a hard time fighting , if they don't just simply die in one shot. The cost of running, fueling, and repairing L core constructs can cost in the millions, and so unless every NPC is carrying 10kl of gold nuggets or something it will be a net loss trying to fight them, not to mention the 50-100 million paywall to get a good L core in the first place. Unless you are in a specialised org, you will be mining for many hours to get a good PvE ship in the first place, so what's the point?

This is more about how PvP is balanced in general than anything specific to NPCs, imo. I agree these points need work, but I also think they need work regardless of NPCs.

Personally I don't think NPCs should be randomly scattered in space if they do exist, but player built -- that would include NPC hauler convoys that would give pirates more targets.  

 

If all NPCs belong to an org, it would help tie together PvP, industry, building, and organizational politics. Sure you can pirate some NPC convoy, but it means making enemies with their owners. It's still very much players running the show. 

I think most people realize that NPCs aren't a small concept for NQ to tackle and it's unlikely they'll ever be implemented. But for most NPC concepts, they seem to add more than they take away. 

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With regard to NPC encounters. Seems a bit limited in scope to say they would have to be just L core ships. The NPCs could be anything from xs core hordes, solo scouts, pirates, explorers, haulers, airlines all the way up to giant battle carriers invading planets. Not to mention first person shooting NPCs if they put that element in the game. 

NPCs themselves would probably open up a whole load of new game loops and the potential for literally hundreds of different types of encounters from combat, to trading, to rescue, to looting wrecks, etc. The trouble is you need a dedicated dev team focused purely on NPC gameplay for a *long time* to make it actually work. 

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2 hours ago, Burble said:

The trouble is you need a dedicated dev team focused purely on NPC gameplay for a *long time* to make it actually work. 

 

That yes ! to make it actually work ...

 

Habitant

Habitants Organization

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What a bunch of BS :)

1 single guy coding (in a productive manner) for 1 month can come up with a POC NPC.
It won't be any smart AI by any AI measurement.

It can be exploited fairly easily, yes.

But it would be something new to the game. Something for us to have a talk subject, for us to shoot, for us to complain, for us to have some "lols".
It would be something batter then this we have now.

 

All good projects start form POCs.
All big failures start with big teams.

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Every person you see will be a human player - Todd Howard, Fallout 76.

Sometimes blindly adhering to a 'vision' bites you in the ass.  Sometimes you need to read the writing on the wall and adapt.  

 

As to NPCs, something like 99% of games in existence have them, even when developed by a one man team working part time.  They could easily have a prototype in a week.  It would take longer to flesh out but they could even involve the community in the process.  Major parts of NPCs development are AI, pathfinding and encounter design.  Lets focus on the last one.  In this game the major work of encounter design is really SHIP DESIGN.  Hmm, how are they going to create a diverse enough selection of ships to keep encounters interesting? Super easy, barely an inconvenience...

 

Have players submit ship designs that could be spawned as NPCs.  Maybe make a contest out of it.  They would save money on content creation and create player engagement at the same time.

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On 4/17/2021 at 6:23 AM, Shaman said:

A lot of you guys have been asking for NPC enemies in space to fight against. I see why you would want that added, but in my opinion they won't be worth the dev time. Here are some counter arguments:

 

  1. Novaquarks intentions with the game is to have a "common, shared virtual world, controlled by the players." Adding a second party of aliens / other humans breaks this rule.
  2. Unlike in EvE, movement is (relatively) much slower, which means that escaping danger is a lot harder, especially if you don't have much thrust. That may be good for PvP lovers, but could be an unescapable death sentence for unlucky haulers, which brings me to my next point:
  3. Having enemies scattered in space further encourages players to warp to their destination, making pirating (and counter-pirating) even harder since there will be nobody to fight. Even if NPC's are restricted to certain areas like asteroids will be, most haulers would rather warp than risk bumping into one and dying.
  4. With the way that PvP works, NPC's would have to match the damage of L cores if they want to have a chance against them, meaning that <L cores will have a hard time fighting , if they don't just simply die in one shot. The cost of running, fueling, and repairing L core constructs can cost in the millions, and so unless every NPC is carrying 10kl of gold nuggets or something it will be a net loss trying to fight them, not to mention the 50-100 million paywall to get a good L core in the first place. Unless you are in a specialised org, you will be mining for many hours to get a good PvE ship in the first place, so what's the point?

 

Thank you for coming to my TED talk.

Point 1 - nonsense. You can have a perfectly good player controlled world with a few PVE enemies.

 

Point 2 - nonsense. We already have to be prepared for attacks by griefers and if any players ever take up piracy, them too.

 

Point 3 - nonsense. We're already going to avoid player threats because the game is structured so that only dedicated war ships on L cores using at least advanced weapons have any chance in combat... NPCs won't change that dynamic.

 

Point 4 - nonsense. Among other things, NPCs would probably be flying less than meta ships... various core sizes... various levels of weapons and radars. Why? It's called game design... an element that's completely lacking in PVP... players lack good game design so they make horrible content. Sure, griefers in meta ships are going to find NPCs in non-meta ships boring, but the rest of us might find them an interesting challenge to take on in non-combat oriented ships.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Daphne Jones said:

 

 

Point 4 - nonsense. Among other things, NPCs would probably be flying less than meta ships... various core sizes... various levels of weapons and radars. Why? It's called game design... an element that's completely lacking in PVP... players lack good game design so they make horrible content. Sure, griefers in meta ships are going to find NPCs in non-meta ships boring, but the rest of us might find them an interesting challenge to take on in non-combat oriented ships.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This especially - it is all about game design - and players are terrible at providing main content for the most part. Side shows, yes, but the main content for the bulk of the players it just doesn't happen.

Most people play to be entertained - and getting blasted by 'elite' PvP players or being relegated to the sidelines because you just aren't there in terms of ship build or cash (more to the point) is not entertainment for most.

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A lot of your points are just systemic issues from other areas of the game that need fixing regardless.

 

How fun would it be if they had ships players built get attacked by npc and then later on down the line you get attacked by an npc......in your design....turns out the npc's copied your design and are using it to attack other players. that would be sooo fun lol.

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2 hours ago, XKentX said:

What's your problem with L cores ? They are just a couple of mil now. Do you really use anything other than L ? Why ?

 

although the cores themselves are only like 3 mill, a good PvP ship can cost 50 million if you include weapons, engines and fuel. Plus, flying around in fighter ships is way more fun than in a battleship IMO.

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