Inspired by Friday’s post and the comments that followed… How would you handle multiple characters under a player-NPC style system?
One thought would be henchmen. You’ve started a fighter character, gotten him a sword and some armor, but now you decide you want to play a mage… So, you roll up your mage, but you don’t want to go it alone, so you pull up your characters and pick your fighter to be a henchmen. Your fighter is now an NPC pet that you can give orders to.
Immediately, its appearant that in a game with levels this probably would be game breaking and unbalancing. Even a skill based game could make this a challenge to implement. But in a game without levels and skills, one that is based on player skill and goal achievement through narrative (quests), this could work very well. A system like this would allow a player to be his own party and play it like the old days of the AD&D games made by SSI, or allow a few friends to fill a gap in their group when they can’t find a player to fill it.
These pets wouldn’t be super smart, they’d be much like current game pets, simple commands and defending the owner, etc, because you wouldn’t want pets to be the defacto method for playing your MMO. Obviously much research and legwork would be needed to make this function, and it would have to be a “right fit” for the game being designed. But for now I just like thinking stuff up until I hit that lottery jackpot…