NPC's are creatures from the game that move by only making simplistic movements in any direction. These were added into the game because the large maps felt far too empty and hunting was hard as a Carnivorous creature. The creatures that they may spawn as differ with each map. All NPCs also have a despawn time, and they will automatically disappear if they're in the map too long, regardless of if they're being attacked or not.
With the addition of them, the maps were filled with dinosaurs. This also introduced the player to more creatures they have not purchased yet, alongside creating realistic herds and packs of a singular creature.
You used to be able to tell them apart from players because they lacked Animations, however, this has been patched since.
There are still ways now to tell if a dinosaur is an NPC though.
- They tend to move by walking into a random direction every few seconds, making them very predictable. Even if attacked or taunted they won't change this pattern.
- When you attack a player-controlled dinosaur, your combat meter (The claws in the left corner) turns red. Attacking an NPC, however, won't trigger this. However, if the player grabs an NPC, it will still activate combat mode.
- NPC's do not cause bleed damage with their attacks.
- They don't make footprints.
- They can't run or jump, and so do not need to eat and drink.
A common tactic in fights is for the player to use a creature that appears as an NPC, such as an Eotriceratops or a Tyrannosaurus. They would then act like an NPC and sneak up on their target, and then attack them like a regular player. This is the main reason it's important to be able to distinguish between an NPC and a player.
Fighting NPC's and fighting players are two very different things. Even though their AI has gone through several updates, they are still much easier to kill than real people. The reason why is that they have trouble locating the player, and their attack speed is slow, only attacking once per 5 seconds. While you usually can slaughter an NPC much larger than yourself rather easily, you need to be a good deal stronger than another player if you want to win a fight.
NPCs will, however, attack you without provocation under some circumstances:
- If you are a carnivore and near a large Herbivore NPC.
- If you are an omnivore and near a large Herbivore NPC.
- If you are a herbivore and near either a medium Omnivore or Carnivore NPC.
- If you are a carnivore/omnivore and attack a Herbivore slightly larger than yourself.
Attacking a small or medium-sized herbivore with a big carnivore, however, won't trigger any reaction (except death). Skilled players can even kill large NPCs with baby dinos, however, the NPC Sauroposidon is dangerous particularly for carnivorous babies, as you can be near it without being cautious and can die in one hit.
Here are some examples of NPCs on the current map:
- Tyrannosaurus Rex
Rarely, a devsaur NPC will spawn. They aren't easy to find and not lots of people have encountered a devsaur NPC. You will most likely find them as Juveniles or Adults.
There are no pterosaur or fully aquatic NPCs probably due to the lack of AI telling the pterosaurs to fly, Balaurs to glide and aquatic animals to swim for oxygen along with the drowning glitch with NPCs.