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Posted: Feb 8th 2012 8:08AM oohwakakaka said

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i think i saw children npc's on zentia's starting town... they are running around and sometimes they walk in a line.

in mabinogi you can start your character/toon as a child and it will eventually grow up.

Posted: Feb 8th 2012 8:24AM FrostPaw said

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Yes I think they have a place in a "world" to make the world more believable. I don't think they should ever be playable, outside of a childrens game with strict chat limits though.

Posted: Feb 8th 2012 8:25AM (Unverified) said

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NPCs in MMOs have 4 functions - 1) give me quests, 2) buy my loot, 3) add atmosphere, and 4) get killed.

1 and 2 would have to be quite contrived to include children, except as one offs, 3) is okay, I suppose. 4) is an absolute no-no, as anyone who's at all familiar with the Skyrim/Fallout killable kids controversies will know. Not worth the hassle, overall.

Oh and if it's the Old Republic, 5) get 'romanced'... and let's not go there...

Posted: Feb 8th 2012 8:29AM (Unverified) said

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Sure, they can and should be in the game as occasional story items - they generally play "things that must be protected" or "things that must be rescued" which is probably the limit.

The fact is that there are a lot of people with baser instincts (reference Penny Arcade's Greater Internet Dickwad Theory) that there is no value to indulge, so children (insofar as they're in the game at all) should remain non-interactable, non-killable, non-abusable entities.

Posted: Feb 8th 2012 8:31AM belgeode said

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I've always said a world with children is a world worth saving. Maybe it is because I am a parent, and subconsciously, seeing kids in a fantasy world I am supposed to be the hero of, makes me a bit more sympathetic.

I actually wrote a blog about this last year, as related to Guild Wars 2. (I listed this as one of the reasons why I was interested in playing the game.) When I played Rift I was actually a bit shocked that there were no kids at all in that game. To me that meant the world was pretty much doomed anyway, if no one was procreating their race. (Defiant machines aside, that is). Ultimately, it was a minor reason why I ended up quitting Rift.

In SWTOR (spoiler) there are a couple missions where you encounter kids (albeit some bug eyed, overly hormonally injected ones), and their presence in the quests tugs at the heart strings and can, in my case, get you to "do the right thing". (What can I say, I'm just a big old carebear)

Anyway, look up Drewciferianisms, if you want to see the blog. It was in May of 2011 I believe, that I touched upon how important I think (the presence of) children are to a virtual world. It makes the world more immersive and believable to me... Not to mention gives you something to fight for.

Posted: Feb 8th 2012 1:48PM Makovorn said

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@belgeode Wow, I was going to quote you and instead, here you are. :) I loved that blog post and it really summed it up so well.

From my own point of view - I've always loved the World of Warcraft's Children's Week event. It was really one of the more fun events and actually very funny too. "What does zug zug mean?"

The presence of children just makes to world more believable and immersive, but I also believe it has the potential of being way more than just an "immersion-mechanic". Although not an MMO, Skyrim did proove that children in a central part of a quest's story, can be incredibly interesting and sometimes quite haunting too i.e. [spoiler] the orphaned boy who attempted to summon the Dark Brotherhood.
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Posted: Feb 8th 2012 5:57PM Tom in VA said

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@belgeode

Thank you for your perfect description of the children in SWTOR; they look almost like mannequins to me and are substantially less realistic than the adult NPCs. I am not sure why this is, but it's a bit weird.

Even so, I'm glad they are in there. I hope one day Bioware replaces these models with more realistic-looking children. I'd also like to see children of other races as well. SO far, I've only encountered human kids. The kids in Bioware's Dragon Age games (elves and humans) looked a whole lot better than what I've see so far in SWTOR.
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Posted: Feb 8th 2012 8:35AM (Unverified) said

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When you look at the situations of a lot of MMOs, I think having kids in there would make sense, ESPECIALLY in a post-apocalyptic kind of mmo world, or any world where it is bleak and there is a lot of war and madness. In those situations, it only makes sense for kids to be growing up fast and learning the ways of war themselves, and would be much more immersive (though I can't help but picture a wild Red Dawn scenario in my head). Of course, people don't play MMOs for the realistic nature of them, so naturally to avoid controversial subject matter this is easily avoided.

Posted: Feb 8th 2012 8:40AM Irem said

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My better half said once that she felt the presence of children in an MMO was one of the key signs of good worldbuilding, providing it fits with the lore. I know a lot of people think caring about the fate of NPCs is silly, but from an immersion/RP perspective, it makes me a little more invested in the idea that I'm supposed to be protecting this world I'm in. In WoW, I ended up with several characters who hated the Horde/Alliance conflict and wanted peace just because they didn't want the future of their individual races to be defined by war. In Guild Wars, seeing the woman Gwen became after meeting her as a child really showed the impact of the war with the charr.

My least favorite quest in Burning Crusade WoW was the one where you have to kill the fungal giants that are chasing the sporelings around and eating them. I'm not even a huge fan of kids on the whole, but man...at least I got a ton of rep futilely running around to try to save the little shrooms. For some reason if the game indicates to me that a defenseless NPC is in danger of dying, I'll fight harder, and that goes double if it's a child.

Posted: Feb 8th 2012 9:08AM (Unverified) said

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Yes, they should do what you would expect them to do in real life. This makes the game immersive.

Posted: Feb 8th 2012 9:20AM (Unverified) said

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Children inspire the thought that there will be a future and such make a world feel more complete in MMOs. There is a reason that EQ1 cities feel so dead and it is the lack of children and really non merchant/guard npcs. A city/village can feel alive when it has an active population and is not just a storefront.

Posted: Feb 8th 2012 9:23AM DarkWalker said

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Mostly in safe places (or as the quest objective in an escort or defend quest). And invulnerable or despawning in case of danger, for good measure. But I do think they should be there.

Posted: Feb 8th 2012 9:40AM Gaugamela said

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Children should be present in all MMOs. Even for theme parks it makes the game feel more alive and complete and more of a world.
When a game's NPCs are reduced to the bare essentials, immersion decreases and people start noticing the flaws and bugs of a game even more.

Add kids to the towns, make protecting them an objective and make them hand-out some silly quests and the game will gain a lot from that.

Posted: Feb 8th 2012 9:44AM Joaquin Crowe said

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If you think about it, a kid living in a fantasy world would think nothing of boar skinning or orc decapitation. They're in a rougher world, and the tender fragile snowflakes of our planet would die rather quickly.

Posted: Feb 8th 2012 2:00PM DeadlyAccurate said

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@Joaquin Crowe Don't be too concerned about our tender, fragile snowflakes. ;-) Our species is very adaptable when it needs to be.

I like seeing kids in MMOs because it adds verisimilitude. I don't care if they're quest-givers or simply atmosphere, but I hate seeing a world populated solely by adults. It just looks strange.
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Posted: Feb 8th 2012 9:50AM dasfunboy said

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Only if you can kill them. I hate having my immersion broken. ;)

Posted: Feb 8th 2012 10:18AM Lombardus said

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@dasfunboy
...... A substantial amount of NPCs in an MMO are unkillable. How would your immersion be broken.

There aren't that many killer babies running around in real life to justify them as a mob.
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Posted: Feb 8th 2012 11:54AM ployer said

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@Lombardus

Personally I am of the opinion that every NPC in a game should be killable, simply because it brings a lot more of a moral dynamic to a game. For example i think the system the Kingdom's of Amalur is using is pretty good where you have a non npc attack mode and a npc attack mode so you dont accidentally kill one is great though
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Posted: Feb 8th 2012 9:54AM Mikx said

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The Lions Arch vid for gw2 certainly pricked up some ears/opened some eyes. Not only are there kids, they're running around, acting like kids.

Posted: Feb 8th 2012 10:51AM TryHardSasquatch said

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I just think that the main cities should be filled with all ages. Having children running around and playing in the main cities just makes sense to show civilization and maybe even culture. Children of different races would most likely play in different styles. The greatest part about it as well is that they don't even need to be a part of the lore. Anyone who's old enough to play an MMO should know where children come from and how oblivious they are to the world around them. They don't need to be involved in the story, it just gives the cities a sense of life.

Guess what I'm trying to say is the devs of a game should put them in because it adds life and it's really easy since they don't play a part in the game. Also, if Final Fantasy XIII-2 even did it (Academia 4XX AF), then I think MMOs can do it.

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