The Daily Grind: Do you want NPC companions in your MMOs?

    
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Let’s talk about buddies! Specifically, NPC buddies. It’s no secret at all that I am a huge fan of NPC companions in MMOs. As maligned as they were, heroes were one of my favorite parts of original-flavor Guild Wars, and getting them helped save the game for me. I loved them in Star Wars: The Old Republic too. It’s so easy to get attached to them.

So with Elder Scrolls Online’s reveal that Blackwood will unlock companions, I got really excited for the MMO again, and I think this will make a good re-entry to the game for me. Seems to me that having companions will help weaker builds and solo players compete in the PvE overland so much better. Will the AI be better than companions in the single-player entries in the franchise? Let’s hope so!

How about you? Do you want NPC companions in your MMOs?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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Ken from Chicago

Pets / Companions. They are like your own personal army. Even when I only have one companion, they can be useful in having the skills I lack. A healer when I’m not one or a tank when I’m a healer. In STAR TREK ONLINE, I prefer the Engineering companion. They can further set up turrets, shield turrets, beamer turrets, medical regenerator turrets. Awesome.

One thing GUILD WARS did toward the end I haven’t others do is create npc mercs, companions that looked like your alts! I’ve never another game do that.

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Raleigh-St-Clair

Companions and pets are interchangeable in terms of them being DPS or healing on your character. In that sense they’re quite neat. They’re less neat when people start falling in love with them and wanting to, uh, “romance” them and stuff like that. People, I know there’s a pandemic, but get out more. Please. Wanting to do it with some pixels is pretty weird.

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Ken from Chicago

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Stormwaltz

Absolutely. BUT.

I don’t want pre-set characters. I prefer companions that I can customize to the point they’re a unique character of their own.

My favorite system in STO is the Bridge Officers. Rename them. Redesign their appearance and uniform. Pick an animation set that suits the personality you imagine for them. Train them up with skills that fit your imagined backstory. Now if only I could rewrite their combat barks…

When I played CoV, a co-worker had set up his Robots Mastermind so each minion would say unique things instead of the default attack calls, and could even act out little scenes he programmed in using macros.

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Stormwaltz

Look, game studios, all I’m saying is that you should look at the stupid amount of money I’ve spent on cosmetics for my own avatar, and multiply that for each possible companion I might have.

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Ken from Chicago

STAR TREK ONLINE Bridge Officers are the smartest pets / companions I’ve seen in mmos, at least, GW, GW2, WOW, COH NWO and DCUO. They are the only ones I’ve seen who can not only survive a fight if I’m knocked out but win and revive me. And yes, you can customize each of them in skills, gear and costume.

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TechnoSpice

I hate pet classes and hate having pets floating around me. I didn’t play an MMO to level up a team either.

If they’re just cosmetic or there’s some side mini game like WoW’s version of Pokemon that’s fine. But when they start being required to compete because they add stats or effects or you need partners to get through content because nobody is grouping, I get infuriated.

Even worse is when there’s pets that are immersion breaking, like toons in little cars and shizzle in my fantasy MMO. Honestly even FF14’s “character puppet” minions are immersion breaking for me.

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rk70534

I like companions. They tend to make the experience richer, both when it comes to story and on the field. But then I do play a lot of pet classes in games that lack companions too, so…

Celestia
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Celestia

I started dabbling in EQ2 over the holidays, and having a Merc makes the low levels appreciably easier.

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NeoWolf

Anything that can spice things up, add new mechanics, add new stories even romances or whatever then heck yeah throw it in!

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Malcolm Swoboda

I really don’t mind them. But I don’t want them basically useless, nor do I want them to rampage over overworld enemies like SWTOR’s 4.0+ changes. I don’t want them totally generic and interchangeable, but I don’t want any one of them to be a necessity. That’s a lot of balance that I feel by now, MMO devs just don’t care to make, or at least maintain.

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Gamhuin

Love them.
Especially if they provide occasional banter (but not constantly) and even more so if they’re further integrated into the story (like SWTOR).
I like having EQ or DDO mercs, SWTOR companions, WoW bodyguards when they’ll give them to us, etc.

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Richard de Leon III

Hell yes! Especially if i get to romance em like SWTOR and Mass Effect :)