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NOTE: This page discusses a legacy version of NPCs, which are no longer in the game currently. If you hear gunshots or helicopters, that's just the metagame messing with you. Not to be confused with characters on radio or television.
Non-playable characters (NPCs) were any character within the game that were not controlled by the player. They would spawn naturally throughout Knox County and perform various tasks, such as engaging in combat with zombies, scavenging objects and materials, and interacting with the player.
After early builds of the game, NPCs were removed. In an upcoming update, NPCs will be reintroduced with updated mechanics.
Survivors were able to team up with both the player and other survivors. The player could request a human to team up, he may answer positively or negatively based on the player's attitude and the NPCs personality. This would either end in a good relationship or a duel between the player and the NPC.
NPCs had their own general behavior patterns and objectives. They would wander around, fighting zombies and searching for items to scavenge. Like the player, the survivor had to consume food and water to survive. Survivors would loot buildings and fortify shelters by barricading or putting sheets on them. Survivors could also ally without a player, giving instructions to each other to hunt for food or zombies.
Survivors had traits and professions that the player also started with, and they too can level up skills. Survivors are also given a level of bravery; more cowardly survivors would flee from enemies while braver ones would stand their grounds.
There were 3 types of survivors: gun nuts, true neutrals, and loners.
Gun nuts were aggressive survivors who would attack the player, zombies, and any other survivor on sight after a verbal warning. These NPCs would never spawn naturally, only in scripted locations within story mode. They couldn't join the player's team or chat with the player, and only serve the purpose of being a threat.
True neutral survivors would team up with the player if they had a good attitude. They could then be ordered by the "leader" (creator of the group). They could be ordered to "stay", "follow", or "guard". The player could give their fellow group members items, and the NPCs would respond with gratitude.
Loners were solitary survivors who would attempt to survive on their own means. Loners would reject all requests to join the player, regardless of attitude. A loner that was continuously bothered with team requests would eventually grow frustrated and fight the player. Other than their reluctance to team up, they would generally act like true neutrals and not fight players without provocation.