Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Do NPCs belong in RvR?

In a recent developer discussion about the campaign, NPCs being reintroduced into the RvR lakes was brought up.  Back during the 1.4 RvR revamp, NPC's were rounded up and expelled from the lakes.  Is it time that they make a return?

Before 1.4, NPCs guarded objectives and keeps. So why were NPCs removed in the first place?  Basically, I remember a good amount of complaints about players not wanting to PvE in the RvR lakes.  A lot of times this was the result of a lack of defenders, so there would just be NPCs to fight.

If you remember the old implementation of Fortresses, the Lords which were housed their were particularly nasty.  It was a tall order to defeat them in addition to the mass of enemy players.  It is a PvP area, so shouldn't it be able killing those players and not the mini-raid boss?

I think the intention of the change was good, make it all about players fighting players.  If no one showed up to defend, then they deserve to lose the objective.  However, I am not sure that the result is that much of an improvement.

NPCs are pretty common in PvP areas in other games.  DAoC and Lord of the Rings Online both had them in their RvR areas as do games like Eve and Darkfall.  And thinking back to early WAR, NPCs were never a complaint of mine (except for the city).

In fact,  I remember a lot of times where NPC guards allowed me to fight on when outnumbered.  From an offensive point of view, they do provide something to fight even if it ends up being quite boring.  Something is better than nothing, right?

Fighting in RvR will always be about the players since NPCs are usually little more than speedbumps.  That brings up another question, how should NPCs be balanced if you have players of all power levels in an area (Conqueror to Warpforged)?

I should mention that there are some NPC's in the RvR lake, specifically in the Forts.  The Generals are NPC's unless a player takes them over and the Guardian is an old fashioned boss.

So to answer my own question, I would be ok with NPCs making a return to the RvR lakes.