NPCs have the worst job in all of gaming. Their very existence revolves around you, the player. They move, they go abut their routines, they give out quests, they live out their lives, but ultimately, everything they’re doing, they’re doing it for the player. Talk about an identity crisis, eh? What’s even worse is that players don’t seem to care about that- because as sacrosanct and crucial as the player is to an NPC and its very existence, almost every single player treats them with just as much disdain. They’re our punching bags, victims of horrible atrocities committed by us without the fear of judgement or consequences. And so, oftentimes, we really screw over NPCs in the most spectacular ways possible, never even giving a thought to how their artificial, coded, and limited brains might feel about what’s being done to them. Here in this feature, we’re going to take a look at fifteen such instances, some of which are scripted, while some happen during the course of gameplay.
There are a few spoilers ahead, a few of them major, others not so much, while there are also none at all in some cases. In any case, if you see us beginning to talk about a game you don’t want spoiled, go away.
ORCS- (MIDDLE-EARTH: SHADOW OF WAR)
Shadow of War is centred around one concept- the domination of orcs. Whether it’s through disintegration of their forces by killing their captains, or by recruiting them to make them fight for you instead, that’s the central theme of the game. One other way to do that is by using a mechanic called “Shaming”, which essentially allows your character to break an orc mentally to lower its level. If you do it enough, though, it can have truly horrific consequences. An orc can go from vowing vengeance against you for shaming it, to eventually begging you to stop the constant torture by just killing it once and for all, to ultimately literally losing its mind completely, and not being able to speak. No one deserves this- not even the Uruk-Hai.