The Repopulation uses a mixture of generated and static missions. There are three basic types:
Static missions are available at most hubs. These typically are faction raising or collection oriented missions. But also include some introductory missions such as Patrols of the area to introduce players to the location. In general we don't have long static storyline missions. Those are handled via generated missions, which can be tailored to the local area.
Some examples of static missions are bounties on local hazards or rival factions, or providing the local NPCs with resources for their shops in exchange for services.
Although One-Time Missions can be completed more than one time, their name comes from the fact that they will only be available to the first person to complete them. These are random and rare missions where NPCs will spawn in random locations marked throughout an area. They are put in place in general to reward players for exploration. Once a player completes their mission the NPCs will despawn.
Some examples of One-Time missions are finding dying NPCs in the wilderness who need you to take care of an Heirloom until they are re-cloned, or stranded and injured NPCs in need of medical attention or a safe escort to town.
The bulk of the Missions are generated missions. If a player is flagged as Looking For Work (an option) NPCs will seek them out with job offers. The offers will typically come from NPCs in the local area and will be tailored to the player's skill set. The job offers come in the form of an email from the NPC describing their current situation. Players can then either accept the job offer, or decline it.
The generated mission system works on the concept of templates and roles. Missions are created from templates which can specify a variety of criteria. Each of our NPCs has a variety of settings that make them eligible or ineligible for certain generated mission types. This includes a mix of static and changing traits. Their Profession and Personality for example are static traits. While their Mood and Dilemma are mutating traits. Mutating traits can be altered by yourself or other players completing missions. For example, if you double cross an NPC with a Vindictive personality, they may seek revenge. Each Dilemma has a cause, and that cause can be either a player or an NPC.
NPCs on generated (or static missions) can also react to players. If you've helped an NPC in a major way they may speak about you to other players or NPCs as they walk by. If you've done something particularly harmful to an NPC they could curse you as you walk by, throw a rock at you, or spread the word of your treachery to other players. These actions all take place client side and are determined by the NPC's mutating traits'.
Unlike generated mission systems of the past, our system is fully featured. Everything that you've become accustomed to in static quests in your favorite games is represented in our generated missions. There are generated mission chains, and epic missions that have generated steps. Because the required NPCs for each mission can restrict criteria of what types of NPCs are required (based on their personality, mood, creature type, etc) it also ensures that the NPCs will always fit into the storyline of the mission. If a mission requires a Greedy Merchant, then it will choose an NPC that is appropriate. We hope that this, combined with the various random NPC chatter will help players identify different NPC personality types and make them feel like more than just a cardboard cutout.
Missions can have branched outcomes. Whenever you speak to an NPC at any given step you interact with them through a chat bubbles system. You will often have multiple options of how to respond to them and those options or failing/completing a certain step can also change the way the mission progresses. Many of our mission templates have multiple outcomes with different sets of rewards based on how the mission plays out.
These branches can also be determined by skill checks. For example there will often be a normal and safe response, but an additional response may utilizes a skill check. The skill check is displayed in parenthesis after the option. Examples of this are using Intimidation to bully an NPC, Diplomacy to try to charm your way into a better situation, or using the Hacking skill to try to gain entry to a security system. A check is then made against that particular skill and the mission can fork different ways based on if you succeed or fail. Oftentimes failing these checks can negatively impact your mission, so there is some risk involved.
Mission rewards can be either static or generated, and the rewards can be determined based on if certain hidden flags were completed. In addition to the typical Item, Credit and Faction rewards, we also feature two special reward types that I'll cover here.
The first of those is skill imprinting rewards. Since we are skills based, we didn't want to create a situation where players were being punished for the time spent doing missions. So we counter that by offering skill imprinting rewards. The skill imprinting data rewards can be generated and allow you to get an instant skill increase to a certain type of skill. For example Combat Skill Data would allow you to increase your skill in any of the Combat skill lines.
Perhaps the biggest reason for completing missions though is the ability to gain new abilities. Most mission templates have a chance to reward a player with an Ability Card from one of their Learnable Abilities. It's been mentioned before that we are a skills based game, but we also feature tiers within each skill. At each of those tiers there can be new abilities available to you, but you do not automatically receive these abilities. They must be learned. Missions provide the easiest method of learning those abilities. When an Ability Card is granted it will be for a random ability that you qualify for, and it will be based on the difficulty of the mission.