239: Curiosity Killed the NPC

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Flying Dagger:

SAMAS:

Should being the operative word. Realistically, many people will brand you guilty just from the accusation (certain factors like present fame, physical appearance, and wealth notwithstanding). Look what it did to Michael Jackson. It took his death for many people to talk positively about him again.

And what if I gave to both? (Actually, I'm more likely to give to Goodwill, Clothing Donation, or the Salvation Army anyway)

I can only really say what i want from a game, i feel a game is better if it recognises that the person who walked the middle path gained benefits from both camps, whereas the one who hasn't walked anywhere has gained nothing.
Like in fall out 3, where if you were a dick, people in the slaver camp would give you stuff, but if you were good, people in megaton gave you stuff. Yet if you were neutral, nothing you did would be recognised at that level. even though mostly the stuff is awful and you don't want it, it's nice to be acknowledged, one way or another.

That's because neither side would trust you all the way. After all, you're working with the other guy too, what's to stop you from taking any reward they give you and turning it against them? People in real life don't like it when others try to play them and their enemies off with each other, so trying to please two opposites ends with you pleasing neither. There's no reward for fence-sitting.

Mass effect did a nice thing where whilst you couldn't lower how evil you'd been in the past, it didn't effectively punish you for deciding to go good after halfway through. I'm currently about 2/3 good 1/3 bad on it, but instead of just having a bar showing 1/3 along the way to jesus, i have two bars each showing my progress, allowing for a more fully developped character.

I haven't played ME, so I can't say for sure how that works, but IIRC, the line in ME is less Good/Evil, or even Empire/Federation and more like Saint/Jackass. Both sides are not quite diametrically opposed to each other. Nonetheless, you only get some of both, and not all of either. Doing both great good and great bad doesn't make you both a great hero and a great villain at the same time.

The RSPCA element was if you were getting pissed off at me on a "cruelty to animals" reason for getting rid of a species. I personally think priorities need to be put in order, and it needs to be at least at the point where the opportunity cost of helping one child is in the region of 250 animals.

The correct answer, in my opinion, is to prevent the choice from happening at all. Remember, both people and animals can be relocated.

SAMAS:

That's because neither side would trust you all the way. After all, you're working with the other guy too, what's to stop you from taking any reward they give you and turning it against them? People in real life don't like it when others try to play them and their enemies off with each other, so trying to please two opposites ends with you pleasing neither. There's no reward for fence-sitting.

As a fan of developped characters i can't say i agree here, take fall out 3, because i decided not to give a beggar some water, doesn't mean i'd not want to save the city. both give me opposing karma boosts, but neither are "opposing factors."

I haven't played ME, so I can't say for sure how that works, but IIRC, the line in ME is less Good/Evil, or even Empire/Federation and more like Saint/Jackass. Both sides are not quite diametrically opposed to each other. Nonetheless, you only get some of both, and not all of either. Doing both great good and great bad doesn't make you both a great hero and a great villain at the same time.

One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. You can and at any one time should be both a great hero and a great villain. If you're simply picking one of the three of "good, neutral and bad" you aren't really that free to develop. What i liked about Mass Effect was that in some cases, the morality lines were blurred, the good choice, whilst always clearly marked, wasn't always the best choice. even with the gameplay issues (dodgy shooting mechanic, for me I also experienced major difficulty but i could have just built my character wrong) i really suggest you pick it up.

The correct answer, in my opinion, is to prevent the choice from happening at all. Remember, both people and animals can be relocated.

Modern economics teaches there will always be a choice, which is really what Opportunity cost is all about, what you lose by doing the next best alternative, as opposed to doing what's best, and it's currently far from where morality dictates it should be.

amazing article, one of the best i have seen here since the story about the goat killer, and i too lost the sheriff, and true out the rest of the game i tried to make up for it, i took the good and diplomatic way, despise that it wasn't always the choice i wanted to make, but i did the right thing to make up for one of the few good men of the Apocalypse's dead and his son now alone in a cold dangerous world.

...how awesome was/is fallout 3 ^^

You could always shoot the gun out of burkes hand, always worked for me.

OT: Its these games with the morales which have helped me realise that im a good person, all the actions I choose are the right ones, and whenever I do something wrong I feel....bad

Wolfrug:
Imagine if almost every act you perform in some way influences the future - to the extent that to go back to "undo" something you've done would require a load to a save hours and hours back in time.

Have you played the Witcher? It's pretty much that, you make a decision and the ramifications only play out at least an hour later, with artwork and Geralt narrating what happened.

ObnoxiousPotatoe:
Actually, if you're fast enough you can kill Mr. Burke before he shoots Simms.

That is what i also wanted to say. i did load this part three times till i had the sheriff survived.

At the End i even did stand myself between the sheriff and mister whitesuit-ass and catched some bullets for the sheriff. ^^

I've never played FallOut 3, but I know for a fact that I've felt this playing TESIII: Morrowind. I liked my character to be fair and just. Everytime I rescued slaves down in the mining shafts, I felt better about myself. I obviously made a lot of decisions with Murtagh that I'd take back, like killing everyone in a tavern for a stupid ring. I knew they were the supposed enemy, but just the thought of them not being there anymore (cause they were dead), made me feel uneasy.

Flying Dagger:

SAMAS:

That's because neither side would trust you all the way. After all, you're working with the other guy too, what's to stop you from taking any reward they give you and turning it against them? People in real life don't like it when others try to play them and their enemies off with each other, so trying to please two opposites ends with you pleasing neither. There's no reward for fence-sitting.

As a fan of developped characters i can't say i agree here, take fall out 3, because i decided not to give a beggar some water, doesn't mean i'd not want to save the city. both give me opposing karma boosts, but neither are "opposing factors."

Sometimes, and this isn't just a matter of game limitations, it's not a matter of saving the city, but whose side you're "on." In this case, helping the beggar is a way of showing the people of Megaton that you're willing to help one of them, thus it counts as the "Megaton" side of the Karma meter. If you don't, you're just another Outsider.

Now, there's still the problem of Karma meters being too absolute, but it will take time to make an easy, yet nuanced Karma Meter.

I haven't played ME, so I can't say for sure how that works, but IIRC, the line in ME is less Good/Evil, or even Empire/Federation and more like Saint/Jackass. Both sides are not quite diametrically opposed to each other. Nonetheless, you only get some of both, and not all of either. Doing both great good and great bad doesn't make you both a great hero and a great villain at the same time.

One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. You can and at any one time should be both a great hero and a great villain. If you're simply picking one of the three of "good, neutral and bad" you aren't really that free to develop. What i liked about Mass Effect was that in some cases, the morality lines were blurred, the good choice, whilst always clearly marked, wasn't always the best choice. even with the gameplay issues (dodgy shooting mechanic, for me I also experienced major difficulty but i could have just built my character wrong) i really suggest you pick it up.

That would require me to pick up a PS3/360/better PC first.

This was one of the things I loved about Fallout 3. I started off trying to be the caring, philanthropist hero, but there are hard decisions to be made. It isn't always clear who is the good guy or the bad guy and you can't save everybody. Really, it's a parallel of real-life in that respect. And I really enjoyed that part. I couldn't just mow down the baddies; I really had to consider the trade-offs involved in many of the choices I encountered. Not to mention that, just like in real life, it's often more difficult to do the "right thing".

Unfortunately, I found trying to be the "bad guy" wasn't nearly as easy. For one, it seemed completely counter to the overarching story of tracking down your dad, who appears to be trying to save the world. I suppose you could be tracking him down to kill him, but it's set out quite early that you should be trying to help him. Also, many of the people in the game are naturally good, so being a bad guy tends to lock you out of many parts of the game. Perhaps there are just as many areas you can only go if you are a bad guy -- I don't know, because I had enough trouble early on that I was pushed into being a nicer guy.

Funny how, even though they give you complete freedom to make your own decision, which decision you make can still be heavily influenced by the game. As you play the game, the game plays you.

Onyx Oblivion:
I usually reload. Often the Renegade option in Mass Effect is a hell of a lot more of dick move than it seems from the preview text of the option.

Truth.

I actually like to keep 2 save files, and I save often. The first is my character with all the mistakes I didn't want to make, the second is the gleaming paragon of hope I want him or her to be.

For that particular scenario in Fallout 3 I ramped the game level down to the easiest setting so I can kill Burke before he kills Lucas. Don't get me wrong, I like to be challenged in games, but I don't think I should have to "level" to have my character play the role I want him to. I shouldn't have to have a plasma rifle with maxed out energy weapons and power armor in order to kill a man during what I feel should be a cinematic sequence rather than raw game play.

In my "real character"'s game I'm the cowboy that sees Burke upholstering his weapon draws his six shooter and fires from the hip to save the sheriff. It's a shame I can't simply shoot Burke's gun from his hand and follow up with a straight right, breaking some teeth, but such is non-pencil and paper gameplay. Limited.

My "mistake character" has taken up Lucas's mantle. His son may be the "new sheriff" But I disarmed the bomb and have to be the one to keep order.

The first time I killed Burke I was filled with glee, until I turned around and saw the sheriff dead, and I literally gasped and felt terrible because I really liked that guy. I sat there for a moment feeling terrible until I remember I could reload, and did so. The second time around I was in VATS the moment that bastard stood up and head-shotting him ftw and for the sheriff's life. Later on, some faulty path-finding caused the sheriff to die anyway. Apparently that was a common thing with him. Dumbass.

I Skyrim I did the Dark Brotherhood and Thieves Guild with my character who up to that point never stolen or murdered and was a true hero. It made me feel sick, in future i'll have my normal hero characters and probably a villian character later to see what I miss by being good.

We're talking about morality in video games ...

... why isn't anyone talking about Vampire Bloodlines ?!?!

The storyline of your ghoul, you meet in the hospital at the beginning. She's (in my case she was female) been messed up by some other vamp, bleeding to death in an emergency room alone. No doctors can spare the time to help her; and many of them probably don't care.

Here I am, a recently embraced Vamp, still fresh faced and relatively humane. And here's a pretty girl, dying in pain alone .. I tried to help her. And so began the gut wrenching storyline that would see her abandon her entire life (literally!) for my sake; an unintentional lackey captivated by the powers of the blood.

Few games have made me say 'noooo damnit that's not what I planned!! that's so unfair!'; but Bloodlines did it.

What read was "I killed someone and it made me feel bad later. This game is bad because it made me feel bad."

The first time I didn't and the Sheriff died. The next character laid Mr. Burke low as soon as the gun came out. My last one nuked Megaton. RPG still means Role Playing Game.

It's amazing how many of these articles are about Fallout 3 or Fallout New Vegas.

More to the point, I wholeheartedly agree on a number of points here. For characters that you're meant to really get into and project yourself on, the freedom to make your own choices is both a blessing and a curse. It's a blessing in that you can chose how to tackle each individual challenge rather than only having one course of action. But at the same time, sometimes you can make a choice that has unforeseen consequences that lead to results you didn't want. In that respect, game with the degree of choice you get in the recent Fallout games are a lot like real life; sometimes you just have to go with what your gut tells you to do and hope and pray things turn out the way you intended them.

Now there is a drawback to this; because games can't include all the nuanced reactions of real life people and their motivations. I've never seen a game programmed to tell the difference between a deliberate killing of an unarmed NPC and accidentally hitting them with friendly fire because you were shooting at a raider/zombie/terrorist/alien/whatever and the NPC ran out right into the line of fire. For a more complex example involving moral choices in a storyline, take the Fallout 3 expansion pack "The Pitt." SPOILER ALERT!!!!!! You go into the expansion with the goal of freeing the slaves of The Pitt. You discover the people of the area have been suffering some kind of horrendous disease and the leader of The Pitt has been forcing the people there to labor in order to keep the disease from spreading, to find a cure and to create a civilized area with the promise that once they have the foundations of their new society laid, the slavery will end.

The source of the cure research turns out to be the leader's infant daughter, who is genetically immune to the disease. You wind up having to choose: either kidnap the baby from its parents and hand it over to the slave rebellion, or side with the slavers. Now, had I been able to, I would have told the leader of The Pitt that I wouldn't take his child from him, but the slavery had to end NOW and he had to let the people choose if they wanted to stay and help him build his new society or not. But I wasn't given the option of making him end the slavery. Instead I had to leave The Pitt with the status quo still going; not the ultimate ending I would have wanted.

Yahtzee often complains about moral choice systems, and I think this is the reason why; so few games are able to give you a variety of choices or to be able to explain the motives behind your actions. Instead, they tend to boil everything down into just a one-good-choice-and-one-bad-choice response. Sometimes you'll get a chance afterward to explain yourself to determine whether the one you made was out of kindness or cruelty, but you usually don't know if you will until after the deed is done.

Having to stop playing a game because you don't like the character is part of the reason I'm having trouble getting through Deus Ex: Human Revolution. However, in this case it's not so much an issue of the uncertain choices I make coming back to bite me, but the fact the course I'm almost being railroaded onto isn't the one I want to take. Because the game offers a number of non-lethal options to handle some situations, my first run-through I figured if I had the ability to do a non-lethal takedown, it behooved me not to kill anyone. But then I get up to the first boss fight. I don't imagine I need to elaborate, but for those who never played the game, the boss fights were apparently designed by a different studio than Ubisoft Montreal (the primary studio) and so could only be taken on with heavy lethal ordinance with a head-on approach.

So now I'm trying a 2nd run-through with a...tougher form of tactics. I've been trying to use non-lethal takedowns when possible, but when the jig's up, I pull out the guns. To be honest, I'm not that uncomfortable with it; I've always been of the school of philosophy that lethal force is justified in self defense and in the defense of others' lives. However, Deus Ex's habit of constantly trying to make their bad guys sympathetic makes that difficult. Best example *ANOTHER SPOILER ALERT!!!* is when in the first mission you get up to the terrorist leader holding the factory manager hostage. If you chose to talk him down, you have to sympathize with this guy and make it sound like you believe he and his people are the put-upon downtrodden who are just trying to stand up for their beliefs....doesn't exactly smack of sincerity when you've seen them plant a chemical bomb to kill innocent factory workers and have been capping them whenever they don't present you with a convenient opportunity to smack 'em with a metal fist.

Freedom and moral choice systems are a difficult marriage in games. They allow for a lot more personal choice in gameplay; a variety of playing styles so you can customize your character to fit how you want them to be. But when the inevitable limitations show up, they can be glaring, and will often put you on a path that you really don't like to be on.

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