I've been having a bit of a messaround with Andromeda lately. And it reminded me, what I think, is the best approach for NPCs combat-wise: Having them have these base-modifiers -Health -Shield -Armor None of them is obligatory. If all of them reaches 0, the mob is dead. Shield will always be the first to fall. Then armor. Then health. Only real mechanic, is shields recharge if npc is left undamaged for a bit (a few seconds.. testing will be needed) There's really nothing fancy to it, but it's a great way to differentiate mobs. Some weapons might be better to deal with armor, while others with shields. This would also help to make the weapons better overall, instead of just being "reskins with different damage outputs, and different splash-radius and range). Visually, it shouldn't be too big of a deal. I'd recommend an approach, where you can see the bars over the mobs (it's really not that invasive, when done right). Otherwise, it could be accomplished by some particles for the shield atleast. I don't have any "cheap" way to indicate armor, except for some visuals: Either actual armor (which seems like a ton of work), or armor-icons sorta hovering (tho I'm not sure how that would look. Might be able to pull it off). -- Weakpoints: The classic weakpoint is the head. But that is far from always the case. Having one or more weakpoints on a hostile, makess combat considerably more enjoyable. Having a bit of a meta-game, figuring the weakpoints is also nice. Some creatures might be brain-heavy. Others might be quite dependent on their legs, etc. The weakpoints should be fixed to each type of NPC. Weakpoints are essentially just a damage multiplier, possibly combined with temporary stuns, or the like. It can also be combat-wide effect, such as slower movement speed, or loss of attack-type. Personally I'd be more than happy with just a plain damage multiplier for the start. -- Common 'weakpoints' Quite similar to weakpoints, where more damage is taken, it is instead static modifiers that applies to any NPC. Some 'harder' than others (can be scaled for instance). If you hit the 'arm', it will have a harder time aiming/performing tasks/handling recoil/.., if you hit the 'leg', it will have a harder time moving, might make more noise, might be slower, might stumble occasionally/.. -- NPCs should be able to have weapons. This would define their attack-type. Zirax is a great start, but also limited. They don't *need* to be holding it, but can default to some pre-made attack. (For instance, if it's a melee unit-only (spiders for instance), and it got a plasmarifle, it could be spitting plasma, or acid, or w/e. It gets based on the type. Explosion-type might make melee-suiciders). It would essentially just define its attack-type (ranged/melee/statuseffects). Using http://empyriononline.com/threads/poi-rework-ai.11259/ Would do the rest, as far as logic goes. -- Elemental armor While edging towards fantasy, it is a physical concept, that some things is more vulnurable to others (Like metal have a melting point, and can become brittle if fire and water is applied), etc. Simplifying it to a more classic model, like 'ice' 'fire' 'earth' 'lighting' (...), and have weapons focus on one or two aspects, and have NPCs have a resistance rating to each of these could provide interesting gameplay, and further help on making weapon-diversity important, and encouraging picking the proper tools to combat a certain type. -- NPC spawners with more options, for stats, despawn-ability, etc, would most likely be the best approach to this; http://empyriononline.com/threads/6-0-feedback-spawners.10825/ -- I think, for the amount of labor it would require, that the content resulted would be multiplied by a lot. (hence really being a good investment of time). The npc-aspect of the game seems to be a huge part of it, but with very little variaty or love currently. I think shields, weakpoints, and common weakpoints should apply to players aswell.