The question of NPC control -- especially when it comes to close family members -- is brought up with some regularity on the game. Players wonder why they cannot make more use of their IC relatives, whether it is for referencing their presence at an event or deciding details about how they feel about each other.
This is quite natural and it has been a dilemma for us from the start of the game since we certainly feel that NPC usage can be quite beneficial to telling your character's story. As such, the decision regarding how to handle NPC usage was not one we made lightly. It is also a decision we do reexamine with some regularity, but we simply have not found another approach that would work.
To explain more in detail why we feel it is the only solution for the game, we'd like to detail our main concerns with allowing players to use their NPC family members more freely:
1) It is difficult enough to ensure that all players keep their own PCs updated with Events and Relations. We have already seen that when we have allowed players to use NPCs for various events, far from everyone provides the necessary updates. If an NPC that has been used extensively were to become a PC, we simply cannot have the issue of the new player finding out after they've gone through CG that X, Y and Z has happened to their character that was not recorded on the character. We have already had situations where new players have backed out of playing on the game because they were confronted with such details after the fact.
2) Even when characters are kept properly updated, we risk running into situations that make starting a new character on the game confusing and we really feel that the process is difficult enough as it is. Right now, we can be reasonably confident about telling new players that there's basically two options for characters: CG and not CGed. If we allow extensive NPC usage of potential PCs, we may run into situations where it becomes hard to provide a new player with the type of character they're looking for. If they want a character that isn't CGed, they may not want a character that has been extensively used as an NPC. Yes, some may love the idea of a lot of relations already being in place, but we see plenty of prospective players who don't want anything like that pre-determined.
3) When a player uses NPC relatives, there's always a risk of them being reduced to either supporting characters or antagonists for the PC. This is why we always stress that relations need to be written from your character's perspective. We don't have a problem with dysfunctional families, but we want to avoid current PCs coming out as being the ones who are the good guys and the rest of the family the villains.
4) While there are undoubtedly many players on the game that we could trust to use NPCs sensibly, we cannot say that this holds true for all players. This means that we would have to allow NPC usage on a case-by-case basis which is hardly likely to lead to any less resentment about the policy for those who are not included.
The first two reasons are the most crucial and it is likely that players aren't necessarily aware of what an added complexity it would mean for Staff and for new players if NPC usage was more common.
Still, we would be happy to hear suggestions from players if you think there's a way to allow more NPC usage without running into any of the issues listed above. You can also ask any questions about the NPC usage policy in this thread or directly to us on the game.
INFO: NPC Usage
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