Players Character on 'Automatic' - How players may skip boring stuff...
. Look thru all this world interaction stuff you (and NPCs) can do in this MMORPG game and ALL the simulated detail the NPCs act out -- the motions of doing alot of normal things (when in sight of player). NPCs behaviors include acquiring their own new stuff (ie- buy stuff from players/NPCs) and setting up their stuff appropriately where they live/work (ie- inside their 'Residence' and shops , etc...).
Does the player need to have to do all this mundane normal stuff for his Avatar???
Here is a nifty idea: The game's NPCs behavioral programming would include doing all these things, WHY NOT allow the player to cut loose his Avatar to do the same thing auto-magically ???? You go offline (or get something to eat) and leave your Avatar (character) in your Apartment with a pile of new stuff with command mode set to 'DO STUFF" and let the AI logic run and have your Avatar rearrange your furniture.
Example - you just bought a new high quality clock ?? The logical thing would be to put it up on a wall in a prominent location. A clock already there? - move IT to a second less prominent (useful) spot (in another room?) or take it down.
This same 'prop' placement system is used by Splicers (and quests) to 'customize' their lairs/scenarios with various resources the server gives them (as defined by the scenario templates) -- just that the server will immediate autoplace anything just 'auto-generated' in that location (which the player just blundered into). The server drops a Splicer into its new 'home' and it sets up its 'stuff' - so that it will look like it has all the things it WOULD HAVE around it in its miserable brutish life).
How hard is this behavorial programming to write to make this actually happen? Its just like any other behavior in THIS game where there are rules to decide what is appropriate to do and actions scripts to carry them out. Players creating assets can eventually expand the auto-placement scripting to offer more elaborate/variations/scenario appropriate logic.
Some players may even like to leave their character on 'automatic' and watch what it does (not neccessarily go adventuring(risky)), just ordinary stuff, including the job work that character can get done when the player is offline - just now WITH the player still watching. There probably should be a 'spy mode' for players who want to remotely watch (in 3D) their 'Team' NPCs doing their 'own thing' (not only the bookkeeping-like tablet Team Task interface)...
I would have this game have part of this interface show what an NPC (or avatar on automatic) PLANS to do and allow the player to rearrange priorities/ordering (the proposed NPC task system is alot like this with 'Team' NPCs placed at a worksite and they can figure out what need to get done and actually do it without the player ordering every fiddly little step).
Motto - "Grindy games are INFERIOR games".
Planners are a well understood AI mechanism that simply calculates what needs to be done, what priority those things have, and what steps/sub-goals are needed to make those things happen. The job logic that get stuff done (goals) are just another asset that the 'Player Created Asset' system would supply (ontop of basic ones the company initially supplied).
What isnt simple is creating the scripted logic syatem to evaluate which is better/worse and some universal metrics to be able to compare different solutions/activities.
Joke - "Hey this is just like the SIMs, except with GUNS !!!"