Dev Discussion #20 - NPC Behavior


Glorious Ashes community - it's time for another Dev Discussion! Dev Discussion topics are kind of like a "reverse Q&A" - rather than you asking us questions about Ashes of Creation, we want to ask YOU what your thoughts are.

Our design team has compiled a list of burning questions we'd love to get your feedback on regarding gameplay, your past MMO experiences, and more. Join in on the Dev Discussion and share what makes gaming special to you!

Dev Discussion #20 - NPC Behavior
Is randomized behavior in NPCs you are fighting desirable? Where's the line between interesting variance and unpredictable annoyance?

Keep an eye out for our next Dev Discussion topic regarding quest breadcrumbs!


  • Anduin KayvaanAnduin Kayvaan Member, Phoenix Initiative, Royalty
    I think when NPCs move about with various "mechanics" or "tactics" it leads to more enjoyable fights as it is not the same battle over and over again. Also I think one thing that I enjoy is when NPCs move around and interact with one another instead of just standing in one place. Give them some more life and immersion for the player.
  • NPCs having a variety of unique skills/mechanics is what prevents them from being what I call a "wet noodle fight" of slapping the guy or monster until it dies. Having rogue-like or evasive enemies be capable of dodging either passively or actively adds to their aesthetic and makes them feel more difficult to defeat. Having larger enemies with wide-sweeping attacks or crowd-control makes them feel more heavy hitting.

    In general, make sure the mechanics they focus on fit their identity as an NPC. It doesn't make sense for a gigantic creature to dodge your attacks as often as it simply blocks them and counters.
  • FreezmanFreezman Member, Braver of Worlds
    edited July 2020
    In terms of sequence of mechanics I welcome as much variance as possible. Especially for bosses.

    When you replay a fight over and over, when you have learned all the patterns then that fight becomes stale and grindy. If there's only one sequence of mechanics then winning the fight once means you've seen it all.

    But if there's a list of mechanics a boss can perform in a random sequence then fights will differ from one another. This could prolong the lifespan of content.

    Of course the challenge is designing mechanics that can work well in a random sequence. If a specific sequence of mechanics makes for cheap wipes then players will be frustrated.

    And ideally the different mechanics interact with each other in some way that actually changes what needs to be done by the players, instead of simply doing the same things but in a different order.

    For example lets say a boss has 3 mechanics:
    1) A star shaped ground AOE that extends to the walls of the dungeon from the center
    2) A flame breath that the boss uses while making a 360 turn around the room - insta kill on touch.
    3) A persistent flame wall that the boss puts up to split the room - insta kill on touch.

    Star AOE (1): The players simply see the AOE marker and move to where the AOE won't damage them and continue to dps
    Flame breath (2): The Players simply move away from or after the flame breath (depending on where they are at the start) and continue to dps.

    Combining these two it doesn't really matter in which order they come: 1->2 or 2->1. So while the randomization of sequence is nice, it's also shallow.

    Now lets say the star shaped AOE (1) leaves the ground scorched, but it doesn't deal damage after the mechanic is fired, there are just embers on the ground.

    But when the flame breathe (2) is used, those embers heat up and once again do damage. Now players have to run away form the flame breath (2) while being mindful of the AOE on the ground (1). Do the players move far away from the boss where the jumps are easy as the star's hands are thin? Or do they take the risk of jumping the thicker parts of the star while running away form the flame breath in order to continue to dps the boss?

    In these scenarios the sequence of events matters. Flame breath (2) -> star aoe (1) means no interaction, but star aoe (1) -> flame breath (2) creates a new mechanic. The interaction is more interesting, creates more variety and with a number of these mechanics present will make fights different from one another in a deeper way.

    But lets say the sequence of mechanics is Flame wall (3) -> Fire Breath (2). Flame wall (3) is going down, all the players gather in one half of the room and continue to dps. Then the flame breath (2) comes and everyone has to round around the room, oops - everyone died because the persistent flame wall (3) insta kills and everyone has to make a circle running away from the flame breath (2). Party wipes, players are angry because the randomized mechanics didn't even give them a chance to win.

    Separately these two mechanics don't pose an issue, but have chance dictate their sequence and it can create an unintended scenario.

    To summarize:

    I think having randomized mechanics is a good way of making fights more interesting and varied. It's especially potent when there's meaningful interaction between mechanics so the order in which they come in matters and changes the fight. At the same time this can create issues where some mechanics are easy to deal with on their own but too hard or impossible in some combination.

    The annoyance that players might feel doesn't really come from the variety of mechanics, but from not having a way to deal with the unintended consequences of that variety. But with some careful design I'm sure it's possible to create fair, interesting, and varied fights.

  • botbot Member
    Variance in NPC combat is essential to me. PvE becomes stale and boring doing the same thing over and over. It'd be cool if each NPC had its own moveset that it did with adaptive combat similar to Blade & Soul where the combat versus NPCs felt a lot better than the standard mobs you see in MMORPGs. I think at the very least there should be basic mobs then more advanced mobs capable of more variance in their combat. So a normal, strong, elite, and boss mob type of situation where normal does the same basic attack, strong might mix up it's attacks, elite will react to your moves and counter while mixing up their attacks, and boss mobs will be more proactive in how it approaches you.
  • KleppKlepp Member
    A situation I can think of is when you pull multiple of the same type of npc, having them all run at you the same way and attacking relatively the same time and speed. This scenario is very boring and immersion breaking.
    Implementing a predict/react type system would add depth/complexity to fights that could keep each pull interesting and engaging.
    Imagine pulling a pack of wolves, each one trying to get a better angle of attack than the first to charge in. Collision for npcs would be the first step. Maybe the “alpha” of the group hanging back and issuing commands via howls before charging in. This is one example of one species. A very familiar animal that is somewhat predictable but can still be a challenge if you aren’t paying attention. Now throw in a group of drakes or spiders etc.... Really, there are endless layers of customization (and work :D ) to be had with a system like this.
  • featherfoot1featherfoot1 Member
    edited July 2020
    #makeNPCLiveAgain :smiley: Let NPC move and change locations around the town, maybe one NPC likes to chill at the tavern during the night? or Maybe a few NPCs are not available during the night or during the day? Like say a specific guard is not available during the day because he works night shifts? Make time and Locations change for NPCs, would make people have to track them down and understand there schedule of availability, maybe you can ask for there schedule and there tell you?

    Also I do have a question about world border, would you have the world border be a annoying wall that you can see or not? what about a idea of rune pillars that kills you once you go too far past the world border?

  • I think Random behavior in NPCs no need at all. Maybe it'll be fun to teach them some patterns of behavior in the group or solo etc. And same Against groups of players and solo players. And I prefer it if it will be for every type of enemy. Man can dream.
  • NPC's in most MMORPG'S usually, if not always, have a set path, questline, dialogue, and/or behavior. An MMO taking into account NPC behavior is something new but interesting. I think that randomized behavior hits a roadblock in my eyes because that completely randomized behavior in an npc is not a good idea. I believe you should take into account the personality of the NPC based off of dialogue, the quests they give, or even how they fight; that may help better determine how an NPC may act in certain situations. If you are currently fighting said NPC, using what you know about what their dialogue is, how that acted previously, and factors like that, you can create certain fighting mechanics to help better portray who that character is and how they will fight. If you are focusing on NPC behavior and the randomness in behavior, I would be led to believe you will be going deeply in depth into the NPC's you create. Going that in depth can better help players develop a connection with that character, they wouldn't think that it's just some random NPC in the way of their adventure, they will look at this NPC as something more; they may think about their actions involving these characters and think about the long term effect it will have on the player. All of that kind of thinking and going in depth into these NPC's will help humanize them almost, that can lead to an incredibly immersive experience to players and how they play the game. That is something that I've never seen done before in my 14-15 years of playing various MMORPG'S and I'd love to see it done properly.

    I've played World of Warcraft for many many years and I've always though of NPC's as something of irrelevant; they never said anything differently, they didn't fight differently, and they didn't change what type of NPC they are based on my actions as a player. There are other MMORPG's out there that have done something similar to this, but have not gone too in depth into it.

    Lastly, I would like to thank Intrepid Studios for being connected to the community and asking what the players want, I don't see that in a lot of games now adays, especially WoW. And thank you anyone that reads this, this is just how I feel about this topic, feel free to correct me. I'm excited to play Ashes of Creation and how it will change the MMORPG genre as a whole.
  • edited July 2020
    Random behavior for NPCs in combat will be great as long as their behavior matches the character type of the NPC. For me it would ensure that the PvE side of content has a longer life span as each encounter with a mob could result in a different pattern of actions that the players will have to address.
    The only time I would think of this as annoying is if there wasn't a reasonable way to tell what action the enemy was going to do. I'm no advocate for super obvious attack telegraphing but subtle details for us to look out for and learn are nice touches.

  • I like when there's variance and responsiveness to combat NPCs.

    A lizard might not understand magic, but it understand the burny hurty things are coming from behind the tasteless chunk of tank it was chewing on, and break off to tongue-grapple and slam the caster while shrugging off tank slaps to their backside.

    Likewise, an NPC who may be aware of classes and fighting styles may choose to use CC on the tank, pocket sand and aromatic knockout drugs for example, or even a weighted and barbed net, then move on to squishy stuff.

    Alternatively, they aren't even there to engage in full, just to get close enough to steal a few consumables then run off into a crack in the wall. Maybe it sees that it can take an opportunity but won't be able to kill.

    How about retreating and calling for reinforcements? Or an NPC running into a room full of danger then charging past the players to try to kite aggro onto them?

    Even on a battle-per-battle sorta thing, the same type of enemy can have plenty of variance. Maybe the standard D'Orque Soldier has 3 fixed moves, and 2 of 20 varied moves that they may use as needed. A D'Orque Elite might have 5 fixed moves (the same 3 and a couple that soldiers lack) and up to 5 of the 20 variants, giving them more flexibility to deal with different threats.

    But even more importantly than how they fight, to me, is how they're looted, and how we have to kill them determines that. Kill a tree monster with fire, you get no bark. Kill it with axes and you get lifewood instead of ash and charred wood. Use cold attacks and it sheds its leaves and fruits, making it faster an pokier to fight, but giving you better chances at pristine leaves and fruits. Poke a giant lizard to death with a hundred stabs, the hide should be pretty much useless and perforated, maybe good for strips that can be used for repair but little else. So with that, the more difficult way to fight and enemy relates to better rewards made available, while the sloppier and more weakness-exploiting method may ruin the materials you'd gather. This can all apply to damage to gear being looted, too.
  • mcstackersonmcstackerson Member, Phoenix Initiative, Royalty
    edited July 2020
    I like randomness and the chaos it can bring.

    I think it's only an issue when there is no way of reacting to it. Easy example being a npc does something unpredictable while you are locked in an animation and you have no way of canceling out of it to react.
  • I think the element of surprise keep things interesting. The idea of random behavior and making an NPC fight unpredictable adds excitement value. However this could propose an issue of annoyance if the NPC becomes "unbeatable" due to the behavior not having a detectable pattern. In the end, this is the creation team's decisions ultimately and we will have to respect such decisions. :smile:
  • VolgaloveVolgalove Member, Braver of Worlds
    @anduinkayvaan Much agree here! The world must ebb and flow. Interactions between NPCs would be great. Imagine a couple of NPCs that don't like each other getting into a brawl and you could choose to interact with them to stop the fight or not.
    I absolutely agree with the NPC's not always being available as you are saying @featherfoot1. This is what I was going to say as part of my suggestions. This would definitely make the world more real and immersive.

    How plausible would it be to become more familiar with an NPC and maybe becoming friends with them? Getting extra items accessible if they sell things based on your level of friendship. Oh but they wanted to know about fighting interactions with NPCs. More variance is better. It would make sense that whatever skills a player has access to at say level 10, the NPCs should have the exact same skills and have good knowledge on how to use it just as players. Would avoid the noodle effect that @RLTygurr mentioned.
  • NagashNagash Member, Leader of Men
    As servants

    The dead do not squabble as this land’s rulers do. The dead have no desires, petty jealousies or ambitions. A world of the dead is a world at peace
  • Variance keeps things different even if you've fought the same thing over and over. However, NPC behavior shouldn't only be random, and should react to what attacks are coming at it. If I melee attack, they should attempt to block or dodge. If I shoot an arrow from range I'd expect some dodging after my presence is known. Likewise, it's also more believable if NPC's had "plays" that they perform to achieve a goal. Feigning attacks to provoke a premature defensive action followed by a hard-hitting attack or provoking an attack to parry and riposte.
    I verbose combat log is also appreciated. If I get completely out done by an NPC (or player), I want to know what happened to figure out what I could have done differently.
  • SzoloSzolo Member, Founder
    edited July 2020
    Random actions/reactions from any NPC is what fills a game's world with life. If you can predict the course of actions in a fight, than it is just a simple timesink towards a given goal. You just have to repeat a given sequence of actions.

    What really caught my interest about EQ:Next many years ago was the promise of every NPC being different. That every NPC will be granted an array of abilities and one (or more) weapons upon spawning, and they will be using those attributes intelligently, so every fight will test the player's resourcefulness. I really hope that the NPCs of Verra will be diverse, and they will have many and diverse tricks up their sleeves even from the same group of externally identical NPCs. Even up to the level of "killer combo" of given skills, so the players will get under the necessity of cooperating with other players to overcome that NPC.

    This could also solve majority of the bot-problems, because a bot driven character would encounter an unsolvable situation pretty fast, as it would be nearly impossible to prepare a routine for every combination of skills possible from an NPC.
    You ride that fine line of like everyone is about to die and you shall keep on casting, keep going, it awesome. Thats the best part of healing.
  • FlareFlare Member, Founder
    I like NPCs that have predictable/learnable behaviors. Enemies who's attacks are rather punishing when they hit you, but when you take the time to study their moves and attacks you can defeat them much more easily.
    In addition, an enemy that's responding to the players actions feels much better than an enemy that mostly stands around and does its thing.
    An NPC that constantly swtiches between random attacks is neither memorable nor interesting to encounter.
    And i'd love the idea of going to a tavern to ask what i should look out for when dealing with the local wildlife.
  • if by npc you mean NON-hostiles (mobs) then i would like them to have personalities ...
    to comment on you as you move past them or to do different things in reaction to your skills and emotes and to conditions of you or your passives AND reactions to your reputation with their relative groups and bonds.

    imagine you choose options in quests that are bad for a group of orcs or dwarves ... and then you go to another dwarf or orc which is from the same faction/family/circle and they have NO IDEA who you are or how your choice affected their very life ! that would be stale and trash so thats a big no.

  • MarzzoMarzzo Member, Leader of Men
    If a random quest mob NPC has a stun, please let us be able to dodge it or interrupt it.

    NPC's using abilities for damage sometimes is great to practice stunning/interuppting. Same goes with AOE, it teaches you to dodge.

    Just don't overdue it with annoying slows, stuns and unstoppable "annoyance" abilities that slow you down too much.
  • ChadathanSwaftworthChadathanSwaftworth Member, Settler
    edited July 2020
    I prefer gameplay that tests my planning over my reactions, so my very biased answer is that random behaviors are just annoying. You can have plenty of "interesting variation", lots of mechanics and strange combinations and such, without adding randomness to it.

    I can understand the value of quick thinking and adaptability as a gameplay test, and random behaviors can provide that. But please design them carefully. Put limits and rules on how the random behaviors are chosen. (e.g. No spamming the same action over and over.) Keep the bullshit to a minimum.
  • Everithing needs to come in mesures... to litle randomnes and most of the players fall asleep infront of their pc to much and the resulting chaos is only good for a few laughts and Meems...

    I would recommend the aproach the Monster Hunter franchise took in this matter.
    Where every enemy has a fixed amount of moves, but they can combine them in a random order with random intervals in between so that the player has to look/serch for "suttle" visual clues and react acordingly in order to survive.
    The better you become at predicting whats going to happen next, theharder enemys you can take on and the more fun you have.
    But there is always the tiny possibility that the Monster is going to perma CC, and kill you just becaus you where to lazy to evade one attack. Whil this may seem unfun, and it certanly feels bad if it happens to you...
    it actually keeps the Grind from gettin to boring and makes even the 30th takedown of the same monster interresting.

    This allowed MH to stay relevant for years even tough the howle context of the games is to grind monsters so you can than grind harder monstern until you can finaly grind the the Enbosses after 300 hours of game time ;D.
  • LafiLafi Member
    10,000,000% forcing me to paly reactively rather than just memorising a mech-sequence is SO much more engaging from a combat perspective. Even if its a simple side-step where i miss a straight-shot projectile makes everything i fight feel so much more alive.
    Furthermore patterns for pack mobs (wolves etc) where they actively flank you with their superior numbers is huge.
    I care so much more about fighting something random but engaging rather than something scripted and to-the-animation readable!
  • LafiLafi Member
    Everithing needs to come in mesures... to litle randomnes and most of the players fall asleep infront of their pc to much and the resulting chaos is only good for a few laughts and Meems...

    I would recommend the aproach the Monster Hunter franchise took in this matter.
    Where every enemy has a fixed amount of moves, but they can combine them in a random order with random intervals in between so that the player has to look/serch for "suttle" visual clues and react acordingly in order to survive.
    The better you become at predicting whats going to happen next, theharder enemys you can take on and the more fun you have.
    But there is always the tiny possibility that the Monster is going to perma CC, and kill you just becaus you where to lazy to evade one attack. Whil this may seem unfun, and it certanly feels bad if it happens to you...
    it actually keeps the Grind from gettin to boring and makes even the 30th takedown of the same monster interresting.

    This allowed MH to stay relevant for years even tough the howle context of the games is to grind monsters so you can than grind harder monstern until you can finaly grind the the Enbosses after 300 hours of game time ;D.

    This is a very good post!
  • cosmicthundercosmicthunder Member, Braver of Worlds
    This is a loaded question. It is part of a larger conversation on how to make a 24x7 persistent massive multiplayer game feel like a single player game or tabletop experience. Whether or not it can be accomplished: Honestly, I'm not sure. The only games that come to my mind that came closest to achieving that was Elder Scrolls Online and Star Wars: The Old Republic.

    In an attempt to answer this question, I would like to see non-hostile NPCs, particularly those found in a node, to have some measure of daily routine (i.e. go to sleep at a prescribed time, get up at a prescribed time, perform activities that make sense to a particular NPC) to provide a sense of life. Seeing NPCs stand in the same place 24x7 is easy to do but makes cities/villages feel trapped in a time bubble. However, Ashes of Creation is being developed with an ambitious mindset, so I am hoping non-hostile NPCs can be more dynamic in the pursuit of immersion.

    For creatures(non-hostile and hostile alike) outside of civilized dwellings, I would love to see a wide array of behavior sets that can be influenced by time of day, weather, seasons, and the effects of player agency. For example, animal-types that are farmed too heavily may relocate somewhere else. Bandits may decide to set up in a cave and go in/out at random times to prey on players (afterall: Why is it always the player's responsibility to seek out NPCs?)

    For named creatures, including bosses, they should have unique behavior that is more intelligent than non-named beings. They should be mobile (that means every time you visit a particular location they shouldn't always be there, waiting to be killed, like in so many other MMOGs; that's just silly). They should also be able to hide (maybe remove the nameplate) and retreat if their life feels threatened (before or during engaging in combat). Interacting with the environment against players or in favor of their well-being would also be cool. And in the event a named creature dies, they should not always respawn to be killed again later. Some may find a lore-friendly way to come back, but a named goblin shaman (Bogface) could be replaced by a successor (NazNaz). In short, named creatures should be able to seek ways to prosper themselves and preserve well being and, if it makes sense to do so, plot against players in many varied ways.

    As for combat mechanics... I would like to see a behavior set that is randomized every time players begin a particular encounter. Knowing what an NPC is going to do at a specific health percentage, a specific point in time, or a response to a player action/inaction is good, but after practicing for a while it's a simple matter of applying the knowledge gained. However, if a NPC that begins combat with a cone AoE spell may, in another enounter, decide to retreat right out of the gate to gather reinforcements. An NPC may, in one encounter, decide to heal itself at 50%, but in another encounter it may decide to stun/mezmerize/charm everyone in a particular radius around it.

    Also, and I'll end with this (because this has gotten long winded), I would like to see some changes to tank taunts. Historically one tank--maybe two in some encounters--would keep the attention of a creature the entirety of a fight. That is pretty dull in my opinion. Instead, I would like to see tanks function in other ways that makes having more than one or two tanks in a raid be desirable instead of the majority of the raid being healers/damage dealers/utility. In short, a tank should be more than just being a damage sponge and aggro magnet.
  • NPC's should be able to do things a bit differently than what they do in most games. Like "Did that dickbag actually attack me and assassinate me?" but that's a little more out there than anything that we know is currently possible, without giving every NPC an AI or VI. But yeah, them doing random stuff can be fun...the unfun random is when they decide to run away...right up the side of a mountain that you cannot climb...that isn't fun that is annoying.
  • RintaRinta Member
    If creature is expected to get killed in one-two shots regardless of what it is doing - there's not much point in it adapting / randoming. It can be a kind of visual flavour, of course. Make these bunnies blow up or break in half randomly for our amusement.

    If creature is ever expected to be killed by players who won't one-shot it - then adaptability / randomizing sounds to me like a cool idea.

    Of course it would be good if such creature had a set of its own specific actions (skills, dodges, moves etc) it can perform and combine into unique patterns, and not some uniform set for all creatures. This way players can plan how to react to this particular variety of skills and adapt to it as it changes patterns, which is a fun tactical game, and if the set of actions is different for different types of creatures - it makes for good variety in PvE. Although if it's random to the point that you lose if you don't "predict" it (e.g. random instant high damage nuke that kills you if you don't hit your 2 min cooldown shield before even seeing it) - then it also can become unfun. I think it should be possible to react and adapt on the go if you already know what it can throw at you, but maybe not so much if you don't know what to expect.

    It also may be added to creatures proportionally to their reward. Creatures that will die no matter what you throw at them (even if you do same thing every time) - smaller reward. More complex creatures that you need to react to and play around their randomized / adapting patterns - bigger reward. They don't have to be "bosses" - they may take same exact time to kill as the simpler ones, but will require different level of engagement. People who don't want to deal with the complexity can kill simpler ones and still accumulate reward.

    Another thought: if you expect players to fight a group of NPCs at once - maybe they can have a kind of "hive mind" mechanics so it's not every one of them randomly deciding for themselves what to do, but they somehow coordinate and have "group combos"? Of course it is again only relevant if these combos need to be reacted upon. If I can kill them regardless of what they do by repeating same Fireball->Waterfall->Earth Slam combo, then it doesn't add much.

    Would also be cool if creatures moved around the map and didn't all sit at the same spot / small area. They can still roughly center on specific area and eventually come back to it (players will probably riot if they can't find any lizards in lizard den), but if they walk around and mix with creatures of surrounding areas - that would create livelier world.
  • I'm not sure every NPC we fight needs to have some elaborate randomized fight sequence to make things interesting. I think that the level or loot value the NPC holds should scale with randomization of their fighting. For example I don't need level 5 grey wolfs outside of the village to have tons of random variations. However if it's a boss monster at the end of a dungeon raid it seems boring to consider that those fights would be so choreographed that the NPC heals at the exact point each fight or that he flees, transforms or performs some other ability at exact specific events related to it's health.

    In terms of balancing the annoyance portion I think it just needs to have restrictions on use(s) similar to our characters via cool downs. As an example if they have an "ultimate" ability they shouldn't have the random ability to spam that throughout a fight, rather tied to a cool down and if the fight exceeds the cool down it enters back into the randomized ability pool (likely with a higher chance to activate) as I'm sure most players would tend to use their strongest ability when available also.

    One random NPC annoyance i've had over the years is when NPCs decide to "flee" at specific points in fights (usually towards the end). While in theory it's cute programming because it feels "real" and a lot of things would do this, it's a broken concept from the start as i'll explain in a second. The NPC generally flee at the end of a fight once the player has essentially won it, however in some circumstances the player may now be low on stamina, health, mana etc and having to chase after something just to get the last hit is really annoying. To my point above - the NPCs have never been smart enough to "flee" from a fight that is already lost. For example if a max level character runs through a beginner camp and attacks a rat - the rat doesn't run before he's attacked he usually just dies in 1-2 hits. If the NPC is going to have thought enough to run it should run based on it's probable cause to win the fight from the start not after defeat.

    Master Assassin
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    Book suggestions:
    Galaxy Outlaws books 1-16.5, Metagamer Chronicles, The Land litrpg series, Ready Player One, Zen in the Martial Arts
  • sunfrogsunfrog Member, Founder
    Yes, I desire it.

  • MalfunMalfun Member
    I remember an old side scrolling game where the NPC would attack when you would get close, but then turn around when they hit the imaginary boundary of the zone they patrolled- made it really easy to gain exp and level because I could auto swing my sword at the edge until they died. Compare that being chased down by a werewolf all the way to the zone edge- it was scary and excited, and clearly more immersive.
    I would prefer a game where I forget I’m fighting NPCs for the sake of immersion and challenging game play. That would also mean not just random events, but random events guided by personality traits. The brave warrior that will fight till his last dying breath versus the timid fighter that runs away to find other NPCs when their health is low or their buddies have been defeated. You couldn’t quite anticipate which one you were fighting, so unless you were overpowered you wouldn’t always know how the battle would turn out.
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