McDuff wrote:*Beep* Notification: Miner 45 is unhappy.
*Beep* Notification: Fighter pilot 25 is unhappy.
*Beep* Notification: Transport pilot 3 is unhappy.
I don't want to be pestered like that, either. Which is why the word "delegation" makes me happy.
I'm usually pretty skeptical of one-word rebuttals to objections. In this case, though, I think Josh's comments that he'd like NPCs to have the capability to decompose their goals into sub-goals and actions, and to delegate some or all of those to subordinate NPCs, really does address the scenario you aptly described. Delegation -- assuming NPCs don't suck at it -- is a plausible answer to the concern that running a large organization will mean a lot of interruptions and micromanagement.
Delegation means we can go tell Miner 45 what to do if we want to (assuming he's part of our organization). But we won't have to if we don't want to, because Miner 45's boss, Manager 12, will handle keeping Miner 45's actions aligned to Manager 12's goals, which in turn are assigned in order to accomplish Leader 5's goals, which in their turn are assigned by you, the player (or CEO 1) at the top of the pyramid.
The observation that this kind of structure makes NPCs little better than drones is sort of fair. One of the necessary (but not sufficient) conditions for a functional hierarchy is that subordinates do what their superiors tell them to do.
Even so, it sounds like NPCs in LT will actually be capable of some leeway in deciding for themselves what actions to take to satisfy the goals handed down to them. That process of local goal generation from higher-level goals is something I am looking forward to seeing in LT in the most powerful way -- if it works, it will be absolutely amazing to watch, and something I believe we should want to see as a differentiator from drones that can only act to accomplish a single low-level goal.
(I'll also note that I don't think LT will be boring just because the NPCs in our factions will usually do what we tell them to do. Not every NPC will belong to the factions we run. There'll be plenty of loners, members of other factions, and outright hostile NPCs to contend with.)
So for me this comes down to, how smart/capable will the typical NPC be, really? If they're smart enough to (within fair limits) reason adaptively, then that means they fill a different role in the game from simple-minded drones. And that means it's OK to have both.
I think this question will answer itself when we see both drones and NPCs in action.