One of the features in the upcoming Star Trek Online is the built-in crews that every player has on their ship. Like EVE you’ll have a ship, but you’ll also have your own Spock and McCoy to hang out with after you land on the surface. And who knows? Maybe you’ll also walk around inside your ship and interact with your different NPC group-mates.
This feature doesn’t promise to stay unique for long, as Star Wars The Old Republic is also reportedly going to have companions like they did in their single player games to hang out with. Knowing how this played out in KOTOR, you’ll probably gather potential artifical-group-mates by doing quests like the RPG Suikoden and then swap them in and out depending on the upcoming quest.
In LOTRO, it has been confirmed that the next book-update will include “customizable soldiers that you can train and bring into skirmishes.” What does that mean? Well it sounds pretty similar to the above.
Are NPC friends in MMOs the future? And is that future a good thing or to the detriment of the multiplayer aspect of MMOs?