A Guide on Making NPCs Fight One Another in AO

As you probably know, Vetex changed the NPCs to make their pathfinding worse and also made them despawn and move back to their original location in order to reduce lag. While this is good for performance, it is a little bit of a pain when you want NPCs to fight one another.

However, I have still found ways to enjoy NPC v NPC combat, which I will discuss below:

First off, the obvious one: Ships. NPC on ships have the benefit of not despawning. They will chase you until their ship itself despawns, taking the NPCs with it. These NPCs are the best for combat, however there’s several things to keep in mind:

  • Fortified ships tend to have lv 100 or so captains. You may want to kill them so you don’t die.
  • Ships do follow you around in a general direction, but can get stuck. Try to lead ships near land before sinking them.
  • You can just leap on the ship and aggro the crew if you don’t care for the sealeds and just want them to fight.
  • Rookie pirates/sailors/marines are pretty weak and also mostly useless other than aggro fodder. Ignore them if they get stuck, just use the captain and quartermaster.

Now, as for where to lead them. Your choices are as follows:

  • Lead them to another ship with different NPCs on it. However, I’ve noticed that sometimes GN Marines get glitchy and don’t attack. While other NPCs do work better, GN ships are still the most common.
  • Lead them to one of the three bases: Silverhold, Whitesummit, or Fort Talos. Silverhold and Talos will sink the ships for you too, making them easier to get the crew from the ships and subsequently sending them to one of the locations.
  • Lead them to an island with mobs: Windrow, Ravenna (post-storyline), Cernunno, Frostmill (not recommended), or Spire Bandit Island (definitely not recommended)

Note that NPC vs NPC combat in this game requires one to hit the other more than once. It’s generally not too hard due to the NPCs having worse pathfinding and stacking on top of each other easily. Don’t send ship NPCs at bosses, most aren’t accessible. It’s really only Carina who is close enough to shores to be attacked by ship crews. And besides, bosses will be too powerful for the NPC crews to fight anyways.

Now, how do you kidnap NPC from crews? It’s just like it sounds: get the npc to board your ship then drive off. 9 times out of 10 though, the NPC will fall off, so it’s really not too effective. Fortunately, NPCs have infinite stamina and cannot drown, meaning you can just sail to your destination and they’ll follow.

Moving past ship crews, I have one more useful randomly-spawning NPC that can fight preset spawns: Bounties.
Bounty NPCs can spawn on the following islands: Ravenna, Shell, Windrow, Harvest, Whitesummit, Whispering Caverns, Cernunno, Sandfall, and Limestone.
Of these, Windrow, Ravenna, Whitesummit, and Cernunno have mobs. However, not all of these are accessible by the mobs before they go out of their target range.

Windrow Wolf Bandits can access most of the locations. However, the one across the bandits’ camp on the opposite mountain cannot be reached.

Ravenna Soldiers are only stationed in towns after the story, so the two spawns beside Rubica and the one near Rasna are your main options. The one near the ruined building on a grass cliff next to Rubica is inconsistent at best however. The one between Tibera and Rubica is too far from either town to reach anywhere. The one on the Eastern Plains can only reach Carina if you aggro both it and her and lead them to a mid-ground.

There is only one spawn on Whitesummit, and it’s pretty difficult for NPCs to get to. Assassins just can’t reach it unless you aggro it and lead it closer, and blackwater criminals require some climbing RNG.

Cernnuno has three or four spawns, some inaccessible by cultists and others not. One or two spawns can actually be aggroed by Cernyx if you lead him there or vice versa. I’ve actually once made a criminal kill Cernyx and all the cultists as well.

Now, for places the NPC bounties can actually fight each other:

Harvest, as long as the bridge doesn’t collapse and the NPC doesn’t fall off the edge.
Whispering and Limestone, possibly, since they both have two or three spawns that are pretty close, as they’re small islands. Never actually tested it.
Windrow, if the two spawns are close enough. Haven’t actually seen a case of this, however.
Shell, as long as it’s the two spawns near one another. The one near the Ravenna outpost cannot access the other two (it despawns near the waterfall).

You can always free the criminals from Silverhold and have them fight the Navy too, but of course they won’t attack each other. And keep them away from Kai.

Miscellaneous facts on AO NPCs:
Two islands have two mobs on them: Frostmill (Ice Smugglers and Frost Brigands) and Whitesummit (Assassin Syndicate Members and Blackwater Criminals). However, the frostmill ones cannot attack each other while the whitesummit ones can.

If a bounty NPC get killed after it gets freed from jail but has not left Silverhold yet, it will not respawn. Hero NPCs never respawn.

I do not know the exact criteria for the NPCs despawning and reutrning to their original spots, but I believe it’s a combination of proximity to its original spot, how much time it has been since it was aggroed, and when it last hit its target, so that you can’t take the NPC off the island but also returns the NPC if it gets stuck.

Ravenna soldiers and Grand Navy members can fight. This means if a GN ship gets stuck at Talos or vice versa at Silverhold, you can lead one group to the other and have them battle to the death.

If a criminal NPC gets killed by an assassin, it still says they were defeated and arrested by the GN, implying the assassins turn the villains over to the GN, oddly enough.

The bounty board contains up to around 8 npcs and only one rival at a time. It means you must hunt the other rival to get yours, and also why if there are no other rivals you own spawns back usually within a minute.

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