Annoying NPCs and Interactions

In your opinion what makes for annoying NPCs or interactions with NPCs?

Personal opinions:

It is mildly annoying when important NPCs wander aimlessly without motivation. I don’t want to hunt down someone I have to talk to without at least some type of idea where they are or why they’re moving.

Pointless NPCs. I try to interact with them, and the only response is “Hey, get lost!” Especially when there is an important one somewhere in the mix, and I must Voight-Kampff interview the entire medieval village to determine who actually has something to say.

Single-minded NPCs. Their only reason for existence is to give you a frob. But first, you must bring them the widget. While you are searching for the widget, the NPC shuts down and won’t even speak to you unless you have the widget. Especially when there’s no realistically determinable reason why they can’t go get the widget two rooms over themselves and aren’t perceptibly busy doing anything else. I know this is a classic adventure building block, but if you’re going to the trouble to design an NPC instead of a frob-dispensing machine, at least come up with [moderately] sensible reasons for their actions. (“You need the ring, but I’ve got to keep my finger in this hole in the dam or Amsterdam will flood! Bring me some dam-spackle first! I’d love to tell you about the history of Amsterdam, but I’m a little busy preventing Amsterdam from flooding now! No, we can’t switch places instead because I’m the Chosen One.”, e.g.)

I believe HanonO has said it all, but of course I must add something–

Non-descript NPCs:(though this may go under Pointless NPCs above) Give them a personality. I tend to model my NPCs after people I know and work with. They add flavor to the game. It can also be fun to design conversations with these NPCs, even about subjects that don’t contribute to progress through the game. Write an initial appearance for the NPC that says more than just ‘A man in brown is here.’ Instead, say something like, ‘A man wearing a dark brown suit, with spats and a matching fedora, is standing here, pretending to read a magazine. He shoots a glance at you every so often.’

Also, like HanonO, I don’t like having NPCs moving from room to room a lot. They are like focused, dedicated workers–they stay where they are and do what they do. You’ll find this more or less true in real life. When they leave, they are gone. Unless they are tourists.

True about non-descript NPCs. They’re good for flavor, but ideally, everything you put in the game should have a purpose. Referring to things that the player doesn’t need to mess with will only distract them. Ryan Veeder (of Taco Fiction fame) is a master at writing descriptions that don’t pointlessly call out things to distract the player. Specifically telling the player that an NPC is walking around implies there is something important to do with them.

Brilliant! Totally agree with this! It irks me even outside of IF itself, for example the Final Fantasy games etc