Posted By Tenchikun at 9:29 PM - Sat Apr 07 2018
Many of you may not remember Asheron's Call 2. They started their game live with a similar situation with next to zero NPC vendors or quest givers. It was an extreme detriment to the game to not have a way to progress at a steady pace. They had a vision of a game which relied heavily on player crafted items and not npc's. Again a huge detriment to the livability of the game. I am truly fearing the same may occur with CoE. How things will turn out without a clear visual understanding of what this game will be like in terms of quests, npcs, ect is hard to envision and predict. Perhaps their vision was just wrong for that era and is right for todays modern gameplay.
A very large difference here, that I think is often overlooked, is that we're not excluding NPCs in our planning. Players will enter a world that already have a functional economy, with tasks awaiting completion, niches to fill, and opportunities to exploit. But, if for whatever reason players should elect not to take those opportunities, NPCs in the world will eventually do so.
Likewise, NPCs aren't capped at some level of development in comparison to players. It's true that players will, in general, produce better work, but that's about player skill, not about any artificial constraints of the system. This means that a master smith NPC will produce great quality work, even if he won't rival a player of similar skill at the same levels. That means that every area, regardless of player crafting participation, will have an avenue to supply needed materials to players, but it doesn't rule out the need to travel far and wide to find the "best."
And, let's talk about "Best" - in most MMOs, "best" for a particular class of character is a singular weapon or gear set, but in the real world it doesn't really play out that way. We each have our own strategies, our own preferences, that influence what we look at as "Best." A MEOW is similar for a number of reasons: You pick your approach to craft, combat, politics, and adventure. You decide what styles to fight with, what crafts to pursue, and how to pursue mastery of those crafts and combat styles. This means "best" for you can be markedly different from "best" for me.
This is further compounded by regionality: "best" for you might be entirely different from "best" for me because we come from different places with different resources and, thus, different crafters and skill sets. A To'resk may not want neran platemail, they may instead prefer the home-made composite because it's lighter, less likely to be stifling in the heat, but offers similar levels of protection even if it requires more upkeep. That extra upkeep might be a non-factor, depending on the To'resk, since they might not have access to the materials necessary to upkeep and repair steel platemail but do have the leathers, paper, and lacquer necessary to repair To'resk armor, not to mention access to a community of folks that know the secrets of To'resk composite armor.
So, all of this works together to create regional demand for skills and items centered around what the region can support, both from a materials and skillset standpoint. Both of which, materials and skillset, are covered by NPCs even if players never get involved. The result should be a world where "flavor of the week," when it exists, exists in specific areas rather than globally, and waxes and wanes as access to materials and skillset change in a region.
Unless you all go murder all the NPCs, players should never enter a world where the problem you're considering with that callback to AC2 can't really exist.
Hope that helps! :)