There is Eve the story. It has four empire factions, multiple other factions, missions, needs, sales, and a story.
There is Eve the video game. Players log in, interact with the story line, shoot NPCs, get ISK, do things that the empires need done. Participate in events, and in general play.
There is Eve the metagame. This is where players interact with players and create the world around them.
Most of us play the video game to some level or another. We almost cannot avoid it. I will not give an absolute because there are many players who do avoid the video game part. Some play the story. They are a small culture in Eve but a rich one and their efforts of late have helped move the video game part forward and enrich it for others. And then there is the meta game. That is what Eve is famous for. It is the hardest, most frustrating, most rewarding, craziest part because it is all about people interacting with people.
People are hard.
Sometime, in Eve's near future Sov will be redone. One idea I have heard before is NPC's shooting Sov structures to make the owners respond to the area and defend their structures.
A NPC visited our POS a few days ago. He wandered off and vanished. A glitch perhaps. Or maybe he was curious.
Some people would find it interesting if NPCs interacted with player structures. Today, during a discussion about ESS it was said, "make NPC shoot the deployables." It made me wonder, is that what we want?
One of the most interesting things about Eve is that you can opt out of a lot of the video game parts. While the games core it is also optional. Many people spend their time playing with and against other players and only other players. NPCs are something that they have knowledge of but not interest in.
When you start Eve you can put everything down and charge into battle against other players within hours of starting. You can say, "No, Thank You." To the NPC content of the game. It gives CCP a complex dance of creating tools for players and supporting and moving forward their video game.
If NPCs were not avoidable, if they shoot player structures, if the players were forced to interact with them, how would it change Eve? If we did not have the culture where players could opt out of NPC content it would be a simple fall back. But, we expect players to shoot other players. NPCs are, honestly, laughable most of the time.
Except for incursions. In that one moment, incursions outside of high sec become death traps. They camp gates, snatch frigates, and in general ruin the area for the time that they are there. That is one of the few times that I can think of where you have to acknowledge NPCs in some way and mitigate their impact.
Now spread that out. Spread that to everything. It would change Eve as a game. It seems a small idea but it'd be a very, very large one if CCP were to force player and NPC interaction at that level.
Would it be bad?
Then I thought about our new, curious sleepers. Hmm....