CHAPTER 6

Artificial Intelligence in the Human–Technology System

The most obvious form of artificial intelligence (AI) in MMOs is the large population of non-player characters (NPCs), some of which simply provide information, or are economic vendors, or assign predefined missions. But a few which interact physically, as in the case of combat enemies, may exhibit real AI through their movements and reactions to the actions of the player’s avatar. Although some have a little local autonomy, most NPCs are really just interface points to the massive database that supports the world. Especially worthy of examination are those called pets or companions, essentially secondary avatars that help the player’s main avatar. In addition to giving them commands, ...

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