AI is okay if done right, in my opinion. If anything I don't want a bunch of static bots who's sole purpose in life is 'junk trader' or 'healer', just sitting in their pre-designated shelter waiting to sell you exactly what you need - too one dimensional and convenient.
That said, the ideas posted here are excellent. I too dislike playing with pc's over npc's at times, because as much as people gripe that AI's aren't realistic, neither are players. It's very few players who actually imagine what the given scenario would be like, and almost everyone exaggerates how they'd respond. I am not a commando, I do know how to use firearms, I am physically out of shape. Uh oh, but there are never fat pc's!
If my overweight butt was really in this game world I would be actively trying to find other people constantly - who the hell would put effort into killing everyone else only to succeed and die alone? This is an endemic problem with survival gamers. The introduction of AI doesn't suspend believability, it introduces humanity! Real people wouldn't act the way some overweight mid-30's gamer does in these games, and that's sadly why we need AI's - to emulate real people.
I know that the developers have already touched on the possibility on adding NPC's to the game in future builds. However they make no mention on what type of NPC's they will add, weather they will be wandering bands of raiders, other survives, or people in need of your help.
I believe specific settlements of different factions of people in different parts of the map, might prove to be an interesting aspect to ad to the game in a future build. Groups of survivors that you could help in return for resources or a safe place to stay; Trading outposts where you could trade excess ammunition or food for medical supplies; Raiders/cannibal camps, can be cleared to increase your favour among survivor settlements, but at a cost to your mental state.
I know that this is not a clear cut idea, and might not be the road in which the developers wish to follow. But it might make for a more living world, right now the game has a large world with a survival aspect, but I don't believe there is enough going on within the world to keep people hooked.
I am also still holding out that they will change there mind on their current stance for a single player option for the game, and that you will not have rent your own server if you wish for a more solo experience. And adding the features of settlements will perhaps make the multiplayer and hopefully future single player experience more rewarding and diverse.
This is my first post and I hate it to be a suggestion, but it is what it is. I think the game has a lot of potential, and I am really trying not to get too hyped and impulsively buy the game, but right now, I could easily forget about Dead Matter and give up on DayZ if there are complex static NPCs and human AI system in place.
The static NPC could be awesome for implementing lore/story, quests, reputation system, and camps where you could rent a house/container/storage. In the camp you can exchange low tier items for other low tier items with a trader that as a very low stock of bad condition items. Traders could have a dynamic stock, so they could run out of items to trade over time. At night, no possibility to exchange, or to interact with as many NPCs because they are sleeping. Not only are static NPC good for making the world alive and immersive, it is a good feature for solo players and those that like PVE content. From my experience, online survival-shooter games focus too much on PVP and group play. I love the mental health system, but I think adding even more PvE content can only help shifting the focus away from PVP and group play. In fact, adding some NPCs with quests such as daily/weekly/monthly tasks and reward you with good items could provide another way then looting town after town, or kill player after player to get stuff: imagine a static NPCs that dynamically spawn in random locations, like in a house, or a forest camp. When you get close to them or when your interact with them, you can read/hear a short story: "zombies got inside my house, they broke my leg and one of them bit me...please bring me my gun so i won't turn into one of them, in exchange you can have this cooking pot". Stupid story/quest/item to exchange, but just so you get the idea.
I am a bit hesitant with roaming AI, but I could also see a fun feature when implementing rare groups of bandits and/or cannibals (killing them would impact your mental state as someone suggested before). Or even better but more complex: a late game event that activates after some time, after a quest, or after accumulating certain items for different quests. The event is as follow: a group of cannibals hording player bases and/or NPC camps. Players need to gather as much of their stuff, and access the bunker before a blizzard destroys everything and kills everyone outside.
I am not a developer, so I don't know what is possible with the engine the devs are using for their game. I don't know anything about coding/scripting/networking/optimization and all that kind of stuff. I just know that it is the kind of things I see in other games, and I also believe the futur of online survival-shooter game is there. It's like when there was a change from base building to base fortification in the genre. Static NPCs and human AI is the futur in this genre because they will balance the gameplay in general and move the focus away from PVP games that is best for groups of players composed mostly of no life.