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Idea: Revamp of NPC Hirelings

Discussion in 'UHall' started by Trevelyan, Apr 14, 2010.

  1. Trevelyan

    Trevelyan Guest

    So I explained what various NPCs are to my girlfriend (as mentioned in other posts) and showed her hirelines. Theyre great for her actually, because she can hire a ranger or two and take them with her to take stuff down.

    The problem is, this novelty wont last long as hirelings cant keep up with those on horseback or hope to be able to compete against harder stuff.

    So why not give them a revamp? Great goldsink and plenty you could do with the system:

    - Be able to equip hirelings/mercenaries with armour and weapons like vendors (but unable to insure it)
    - Let them run, perhaps even use mounts
    - To go further
    • Allow their skills to be trained
    • Have NPC mercenaries/hirelings "stabled", in an inn

    To balance with tamers, they cant be renamed and cant be bonded. They would also cost a daily charge, perhaps either as a base rate, linked to their skills or linked to equipment worn. So instead of the meager 7gp for a ranger you may be paying them a few K.

    Perhaps allowing them to be "stabled" is too far, as it may upset tamers, and training of skills would essentially make them pets. However, there is a lot of potential - skills and starting equipment would influence price if you couldnt train them and you could buy them cheap and train them up. If the skills are instead untrainable, people could buy hirelings/mercenaries with the "best" skills at higher levels (use for anatomy and eval int there!) and sell them outside dungeons to people.

    I also think that it is ridiculous to have only two in their current form. If they were changed to be "better", two seems sensible, but even then why not more, say only use 1 control slot each. Especially if they cant be bonded.

    There is plenty to work with here; training, bonding, stabling, equiping. You could have an NPC warrior and give him a spellbook to train his magery and turn him into a tank mage. You could perhaps also set their AI - either using your own skills to influence theirs (or "teach" them) or through a menu, whereby you can decide what they can do (defensive, aggressive etc).

    Though to be honest this is stuff you could work into tamers. But I like the idea of taking some NPCs with me to places. With no insurance you would have to loot them if they die and may not be able to carry everything back. Plus they are only NPCs, so no matter how many arties you give them, they may just get looted by the thing that killed them when they die, which could be quite quiclkly for something like the slasher.

    So if this could be abused, you could work in a "fear" system where certain creatures cause your NPCs to refuse to attack them.

    Now, think of other benefits this could have if all they require is gold rather than skill

    • Help for miners and lumberjacks wanting to go into certain places (you could then make new areas have better resources but be dangerous, requiring you to take hirelines)
    • Use in roleplay and roleplay events (or for event moderators)
    • Help for fishermen in boats
    • Use by bards.. etc etc

    Of course, you could then incorporate fame - given how order and chaos stuff is irrelevant nowadays and that your paperdoll skill shows regardless of fame, and that fame is only really useful for sacrifice (so you get it reset to 0!), why not then make fame have a practical use in the way that it used to - it makes NPCs notice you! The more fame you have, the more NPCs you can control (or the cheaper they are, or something). Use of a "fear" system could also be influenced by your fame, and karma could also play a roll - better karma means they are cheaper, lower karma means they do more damage (or something like that)

    I don't know, this is a sort of rushed post that I might clean up tomorrow as I was just off to bed, but who else thinks that hirelings need some love (without upsetting taming)? Basically, instead of using a skill to control something, you throw gold at it. Plus you have a chance to lose whatever you give it (so, like pre-insurance!)
     
  2. Trebr Drab

    Trebr Drab Guest

    I've always liked Hirelings and wanted them incorporated into the game better, somehow.

    Another option would be as house guards. Speedman and another Dev were working on some system with that, as well as having them do labor, I think. But if UO ever does go "back" to something like their original design, NPC house guards would possible be a good thing to prevent house looting by thieves. At least, if they are trainable, offer a challenge and a means to determine who the thief was, or his accomplices.

    If UO ever does go to player built cities, this would be an excellent thing city-wide too.
     
  3. Trevelyan

    Trevelyan Guest

    Nobody else is interested in this? I thought it was pretty cool myself :(
     
  4. Hildebrand

    Hildebrand Certifiable
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    Oh I agree with you. I am disappointed with hirelings. Like so many other ancient systems in UO, hirelings were left in the dust. They never helped me when I was a newbie and it was such a let down.

    You have interesting ideas.

    This would be a huge huge task.
     
  5. Zodia

    Zodia Guest

    Beefing up hirelings has been something I have suggested too years ago. You have some good ideas and I wish they would devote the resources to the project.

    To make them truly worthwhile though, I think it might even require a skill, let's call it "Leadership". I know, I know...no one wants to jam another skill onto their templates, but to do it otherwise you might just have taming without the skill points... For these NPC hirelings to be useful, they need to be powerful... and power without some invested skill points is usually unbalancing. I'd rather have powerful NPCs that required a skill to command, rather than weak NPCs that only took gold.
    So, what if we had a "leadership" skill that was raised by commanding NPCs, or hiring them, or something else, and the higher your skill the more NPCs you could control, the more they'd listen, and certain NPCs would require a high skill to hire (like Paladins, Mages, etc).

    There could be NPC spawn points around the world, from remote islands where pirate hirelings spawned, to dark mage towers deep in the jungle where sorcerer hirelings were waiting. The most powerful NPCs wouldn't just spawn at the nearest bar.

    Then we could equip them and train them up, give them mounts. And pay them a daily wage. That would be awesome I think.
     
  6. Trevelyan

    Trevelyan Guest

    I think a no skill approach is best though - just pure gold sink. Rich people can get themselves a "gang".

    And tamers have bonding. Mercs die and thats it - dead 4 eva.
     
  7. Uvtha

    Uvtha Grand Poobah
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    Yeah Ive often mused on the npc "pet"... I think its a good idea, it just would take a lot of balancing.
     
  8. Cetric

    Cetric Grand Inquisitor
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    Could attach a skill to it, at different levels you can control different things, from fighters, to archers, to mages, etc etc etc.
     
  9. Uvtha

    Uvtha Grand Poobah
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    Leadership?
     
  10. Spelosty

    Spelosty Adventurer
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    Ooo, Cool idea. Not something I've ever thought of, but tons of possibilities. :thumbup1:
     
  11. Gowron

    Gowron Guest

    I'm quite interested in this idea.
     
  12. Hildebrand

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    Ultima had always had companions in the past. Why did we abandon this and instead concentrated on pets?

    -I like the idea of making the hireling stronger and trainable over time. Prevent hireling from getting trained via me beating on it. It should be trained on the field.
    -Perhaps have a vendor that sells hireling only armors and gear. Have hireling only craftables (hireling leather leggings, etc.) All cosmetic and not useful in combat (or should they?) Personal Attendants are an example of a follower you can customize. Take that and incorporate into the hirelings.
    Make available hireling skills that we can buy and train onto the hireling. (with limits of course).
    -Skills: Perhaps they can have skills (swordsmanship/anat/parry) and be able to make stronger. For example a new player can hire one or more and as he trains, so can the hireling. So the new player has twice as much power in theory, but also twice as much training to do.
    Give them a different gump from the pets. Otherwise what's the point? Have the same skills that are available to us players. Maybe cap each skill and have a total skill point cap too. Maybe I want my hireling to have swords/tactics/anat/healing/parry warrior. Maybe I want a mage/eval/anat/poison mage hireling. Maybe I want a mystic/focus/tactics/thrower (he'd be like a rising colossus buddy).
    -Lowly hirelings can be 1 follower slot, but as they get more skilled they eventually can be a 4 slot and ultimately, 5 slot follower each, and cost more upkeep gp per day.
    -My hireling can be an auto gold looter (takes gold from corpses). If he dies, he himself can be looted of the gold. I'm thinking Hoard Minion style pack.

    Questions to consider:
    How do we differantiate hirelings from pets?
    Should they bond? Yes, if you want to dress them and skill them up.
    Should they have hireling Skills. Example, hireling has starting skills of 1 and can be trained up in Swords/tactics/parry/healing. If so, limit of 300 skill points? (just throwing out numbers). This depends on the bonding issue.
    Should they be a few thousand gold upkeep? 7gp is way too low.
    Should hirelings be confined to certain areas only? (can't take to Champ spawn, or can't take to Fel?)
    How would they be healed? Magic? Chiv? Bandies? Self heal like Cu?
    Do we add a Leadership skill (gasp) or do we make these hirelings a gold sink?


    This would involve a lot of thinking. Perhaps another feature for the next expansion.
    -"No time for grouping?... get yourself some hirelings! Never be alone again!"

    Not that the UO heads would want to take such a risky move, but I can only hope.