Non-Player Characters (NPCs) are automated characters that are not controlled by a player or developer. They are controlled by programs that are written to give the player an illusion of the NPC being alive. NPCs in PlaneShift can take the form of merchants, town folk, malicious characters and hostile and friendly creatures.
Function of Non-Player Characters
Non-Player Characters are to give the impression of life in Yliakum even if there are no player-controlled characters in the vicinity. They are also vital to carry out the setting of Yliakum and give quests. Currently (0.3.019, you can speak to town folk, merchants and some special hostile characters. The NPCs are programed to respond to certain phrases, most usual chatting phrases have been implemented so far. You can elaborate and ask them more question, depending on their original speech. If the NPC had said that they had moved to Hydlaa from a certain place, you can ask them about this place. The NPCs are vital for teaching the settings of PlaneShift. NPCs also give out quests. If a certain question is asked, usually "Give me a quest", some NPCs will give you a task to do. This is a prominent game feature. NPCs are also needed for the standard MMORPG feature, the killing of enemies, or mobs (Mobile Objects).
Types of Non-Player Characters
Merchants are NPCs that buy and sell items depending on their profession. For example, Harnquist the blacksmith buys and sells crafting and mining equipment.
Mobile Objects (Mobs)
Mobile Objects are NPCs that can be attacked. These NPCs are fitted with an Artificial Intelligence (AI) so that they can fight back. There are different Mobs for different skill levels, and usually give experience points and can be looted for items when they are killed. Mobs take the form of menacing characters or creatures.
Town folk are NPCs that have no other purpose than give quests and talk. These NPCs usually have the most interesting stories to tell.
Problems have occurred recently (0.3.019) with the attackable NPCs. Sometimes, when NPC are attacked, a message will appear telling you that the NPC is "Impervious to attack". This means that the NPC Server is down or restarting, if this occurs, then go on to IRC channel and inform the developers.
Another issue has been raised that the quest system is unstable. Some quests are 'broken', players are urged to report these broken quests.