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One against Five? My kind of odds.

It's 03:00 Eve time. All's quiet in Auner until a gang of Black Watch Syndicate frigates barge into the system, with their muffled rap music playing and unnecessary chrome spinny bits on their thrusters. An executioner, two tormentors, and a punisher. The latter three go loiter at the local novice outpost, and the executioner hangs out around the small. I warp in with a Talwar in hopes that they might pick a fight that I can win.

Twigsta > come play, frigates. :)

They do not. The executioner runs away. A short while later, the two tormentors and punisher have moved on to a medium, likely with the intent of spray painting the beacon with their tag. Not on my watch. I break out the Caracal and send it flying through the gate. They've all fled in such a hurry that one of the tormentors has left its drones behind. Two Hobgoblin IIs lie abandoned in space. A paltry prize for my patience.

Twigsta > awww, no 4v1?Twigsta > you even forgot your drones!Twigsta > <loc><url>Hobgoblin II</url>Stalkerish > was kind of hoping to get those backTwigsta > hmm. Perhaps if you paid me to leave you folks alone. :)Stalkerish > well thats no fun...Reginald Sakakibara > thanks for leaving the small xDTwigsta > np. xDTwigsta > can't be everywhere, sadly!Twigsta > Tell you what! I'll leave the drones here in a can. You can try to take them if you want.Stalkerish > how about if you promise to give me 5 mil if i get them</loc>

No. No that won't do. Sure, I could twist the rules to my benefit and do some trickery, but my heart isn't into it today. I slink back to Thukker, two Hobgoblin IIs richer, and browse youtube. A few videos later, I check local again. A new message pops up! We proceeded to discuss tissue paper.

Adding Left 4 Dead Co-op Mechanics to Classic Isometric Party-based RPGs

On StratX

I played Left 4 Dead 2 for the first time ever, recently. I was immediately tickled by the way it handles players going AFK and leaving the party. It was near seamless, near-zero interrupted fun whether a player left or just took a break.

Beau Hindman invited me to an online co-op room, which is typical procedure in most online co-op games. Someone creates a room, and then invites friends or makes it public for anyone to join. In L4D2, up to 4 people can play together, with an NPC taking the place of any real player not present.

My first experience with this was half-way through a level. Beau said he'd be right back. After a short spell, his character had the word (idle) appear next to it. It did take quite a few minutes of just sitting there, but suddenly the AI kicked on and it was as if I was the only one playing the game with 3 NPCs. I could then go about playing the game as if I was just playing in single-player. Beau, however, did return and immediately was able to resume control of his character; I imagine by simply moving his mouse or pressing a button.

I would love to see the same mechanic in a party-based, Isometric RPG. I could imagine playing Avernum 4 and having a friend contact me on Skype or by phone, ask him if he wants to jump in and regardless of what I'm doing or where I'm at, he could take control of one of the four party members instantly.

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