This was a fascinating topic as it mainly explores the NPCs and how you’ll interact with them. To jump right in, Richard is going Old School and you’ll actually have to type words and phrases to get the NPC to give you information. Just like in the old days of Ultima where you would ask about Name, Job, Health, you’ll have to start thinking in those same terms for this game. That to me is amazing! Most games just scroll text along the screen and you pick your conversation piece based on predetermined menu options. As Chris stated in the chat, people don’t care about the story, click button as quickly as possible and move on to the next town.
This method, which I’m very familiar with since this is how I interacted with all the version of Ultima that I played, will make you pay attention and be involved in the story. You’ll have to understand the story and understand why certain things are important. I think this is a wonderful idea and even though many new MMO players will feel awkward interacting this way, I personally think it will make for a more interactive experience and a far richer gaming experience. This harkens back to the old pen and paper style gaming where you have to keep your own quest log of things that are important. As Richard stated, you should be a sleuth in the game. The detective isn’t given all the clues, they have to be discovered, noted and linked together. This will offer that and will be unique amongst current games.
Currently there are 30-40 NPC characters that have been placed in towns and given specific roles. They will reveal the story as you talk with them, but their involvement with you can change based on your reputation and how you adhere to the virtues. If you behave poorly in the game, the NPC may not actually speak with you or may give you extremely short answers.
Also, your “reputation” can be known from town to town. How you act in one place may follow you to another. Get into fights, attack the guards and steal and you may have a hard time buying items in the next town and getting players to talk to you.
That was the main crux of the chat and I’m excited. I want to go back to the Old School way of gaming. I think it will be great to type in questions and try to put together the right keywords to ask to learn more. Sure, it can be frustrating, but when it all came together and you unlocked the right combination it was magic. I’d love to see that sort of thing again.
Some other topics of interest:
You will have direct conversations with the NPC. If you are in a group, they may devise a system where the NPC can answer all of you at once instead of each person having to ask the same questions one after the other.
There will be a learning curve for this conversation, but Richard, Chris and Scott are very much in favor of that.
NPCs can act and answer differently based on weather and conditions. For example, talking while in the rain might not give you the best answers. As an aside, NPCs won’t talk to you while the town is under siege.
Romance may be a part of the game, but that hasn’t been worked out. Marriages will have their place and Lord British is actually licensed to marry people. That sort of thing won’t happen day 1, but the idea is there.
Can the NPC comment about the player and their attributes? Yes, and in fact there are a couple elements of the game where that is already planned. The depth of that “knowing” hasn’t been fully worked out, but the kernel for that is there as well.
Do you have to declare you are in a party or a guild? If Richard has his way the answer is no. He doesn’t feel that is necessary and wants that to be organic. He wants players to decide that amongst themselves rather than setting flags within the game. However, that remains to be worked out.
Will you be able to provoke and or attack an NPC? Yes. If provoked enough the NPC can attack. What happens if you kill them? Well, they will respawn after some time, but expect there to be some repercussions. No details on what that might be, but it probably won’t be good.
This Dev Hangout got me all excited about the game again. I love the idea of interacting with characters this way. You have to use the keyboard, think of questions, look up the important details, find the right person to ask about items and keep a quest log. I think that’s awesome! This by no means a new idea and I think it’s long overdue. I really hope they stick with this plan and I’m really excited to see demo of the conversation system. It sounds like it might be ready for the Rooster Teeth event.
More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia
- Two schools of player, Ultima versus Ultima Online
- The Virtues of Shroud of the Avatar – A Dev Hangout
- What Shroud of the Avatar game are you playing?
- Dev Update – Achievements
- Some highlights from the Shroud of the Avatar "Streamathon"
- Hangout of the Avatar 7-8-2013
- Developer Chat Recap for 5/31/2013–Housing, Adventure and Multiplayer
- Dev Hangout 5-23 at 3PM CST – Richard, Tracy and Chris discuss their progress so far
- Dev Hangout with Chris and B – Housing, Guilds, Crafting and Sandbox items
- Dev Hangout 4/30 with Tracy Hickman and Richard Garriott. The world of New Britannia is revealed!