Pseudo Cloud processing of AI.
No, NOT The Thinker (though that may end up the Nickname for the MMORPGs Server System)
This proposed MMORPG game has all these NPCs running about living their 'lives' semi-realisticly (and the behavior programming eating alot of CPU on the Servers -- meaning MORE Servers $$$$ -- that the company might not like).
It is possible that most Player Client machines are mostly GPU bound running the Player's 3D rendering and would have several free CPU cores (most have LOTS of available memory these days). MOST clients could then help run part of the world simulation (NPCs) in the immediate area of the Player (and thus reuse the game state feed ALREADY being sent to the Client -- so extra network traffic wouldnt be needed for the NPC's situational environment).
Wimpy machines would be excluded as you dont want to load them down when they have enough trouble running the Basic
Client game -- the AI would be Farmed out only if the machine had sufficient extra CPU capacity).
This would of course take second priority to AI for the Players 'team' of NPCs in hazardous areas.
The 'cheat' security aspect probably wouldnt matter as the NPC data being processed wouldnt be tied to any known Player (no benefit to cheat) and AI tasks get shuffled quite frequently. The city NPCs are pretty much nerfed and can't do much harmful stuff anyway. Money/trade related behavior might be run *server-only* to avoid any use to hacking this off-loaded AI. Aloot of background/routine activities could be handled, and as soon as anything significant starts taking place then the involved NPCs could be shifted back to the 'safe' server processing
The thing I mentioned elsewhere, which has Players leave their game machines on to 'help' the Servers, could still be done. It is just that active Clients will be a bigger pool of more reliable/regular processing resources to be counted upon.