Mob Mode Conversations

One approach to handling the mob mode greeting problem is to allow players access to a conversation editor and allow them to edit the canned conversations that their PC would engage in while in mob mode. Nobody will take the kind of care with such conversations as a player could. A character could branch conversation trees based on who is speaking with them, when and where. A player who aims to be a merchant could open trading and even possibly negotiation conversation branches; even setting buy/sell prices based on who is asking. The player could allow friends of the character to pick him/her up and go out on runs. For example, two players plan to go to the dark dungeon of doom in the far corner of the server that evening and one can’t log in until sometime after the other.

Just stop by the tavern and pick X up. She’ll go with Y if he asks her. Then you can be most of the way there by the time I log in.

It could be a powerful tool. Combined witzh the ability to script the behavior of a PC while in mob mode, you may even be able to reap the benefits of player created content and have your streets filled with living breathing, lovingly crafted characters.

Or the streets could be full of Drizzts speaking SMS.

There is one issue that you would need to address however. By allowing characters to craft conversations to be used by PCs in mob mode, you are essentially giving your players a license to create NPCs. This should be handled with great care.
How do you control the population of player NPCs so that the servers don’t become overwhelmed?

Do you want to limit the number of characters per account or IP address? This would open up muling and multi-boxing possibilities galore.

How do you prevent players from abusing this for the benefit of their main?

How do you maintain standards? Do you only give this ability to players who have proven themselves? To all comers?

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About Dave

I’m a 38 year old American who has lived the past 9 years in Germany and India.
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3 Responses to Mob Mode Conversations

  1. Edward says:

    Assuming you charge a monthly fee, you could base the charge on the number of characters.

    There should be at least a chance that a character in NPC mode will disobey orders. The player may have directed the character to train continuously, but the character really wants to have a drink in the tavern, so a periodic discipline check could be required. Such checks could become more difficult as the length of time (or percentage of time) spent in NPC mode increases. A player NPC abandoned by the player could eventually become a true NPC.

  2. Dave says:

    This is an interesting idea. I’m not sure how uncooperative PCs would go over, but it certainly is an interesting avenue of approach. If players are responsible (and supervised), the world’s NPCs could become a mix of designer and user created content.
    Offline tasks should not be open ended. They should have defined completion times.

    A player should not be able to stack offline tasks.

    Perhaps characters that have not been played for a “reasonable” length of time could go into semi-NPC status, where they start following NPC logic, but are still recoverable.

    A PC who has not been played in 90 days becomes officially abandoned and becomes a full time NPC.

  3. Edward says:

    You would probably need to distinguish between a player’s primary character and their other characters. The primary character should be recoverable regardless of the length of time, if the player continues paying the monthly fee. You might want to give them a set amount of time after they stop paying their monthly fee to recover their primary character.

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