In response to Kaioken
I wouldn't be against moving the NPCs around once in a while as long as the important ones make it known when/where to find them, such as the shopkeepers having an "out to lunch" or "closed for the night" sign posted when they're gone.

However, moving the shopkeeper around from shop/food/supplier/sleep wouldn't be as big of a deal as having them as active as real players. Most people don't give a frick what the NPCs are actually doing while they're not around, so all you really need to do is make it seem like the NPC is doing other things.

I suppose those it would also depend on the type of game you're making. An intensive roleplaying game would benefit more from realistic NPCs than a number-crunching combat RPG would.
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