Where’s the Gray Side?

Where's the Gray Side?

Star Wars: The Old Republic's Light and Dark Side morality system leaves a little to be desired.

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This is the exact same problem that Bioware had in Mass Effect 2. Unless you committed fully to one side or the other, you would screw up the loyalty of your team members. Adding good boy or puppy kicker rewards to the end of each side of the spectrum limits your options for roleplaying.

I wish that the reward gear you got came as a result of choosing actions, instead of basing it off of alignment. For example, in Dragon Age: Origins, you could tell a blacksmith that his daughter died, causing him to commit suicide. While this is a dick move, the guy who replaces him sells you a very strong bow. And there is no lightside darkside alignment meter.

There is a meter and you have to be full on one side to get the best option/rewards? Wow, way to ruin the choice by making it a metagame decision, Bioware. You screwed up Mass Effect 2 the same way. Nice to see that you aren't learning.

Honestly it really hasn't seemed like much of a big deal to me so far in how it affects the actual gameplay - I'm level 49 and should be hitting 50 tonight and still haven't actually used any alignment restricted gear yet. Literally the only affect its had on my character is what color lightsaber crystals I can use. Maybe there's more alignment specfic gear in the endgame? I don't think so though.

So really I don't think it matters too much.

What bugs me more is sometimes one of the choices is painfully stupid.
For example as a Sith Warrior there was a choice I had (I'll keep this as vague and spoiler-lite as I can) where I could either kill a Sith Lord I had defeated or force him to swear loyalty to me and help me accomplish my personal goals further down the line.

There have been other situations where the light side option made more sense regardless of how "Evil" you supposedly are.

That said I've managed to hit Dark 5 without any trouble and I've taken my share of Light Side choices along the way when it made sense.

Yeah this was always going to be a problem. In my opinion this binary morality system is still better than no system at all, but it does need a lot of work.

I've read some good ideas here and there and I hope Bioware are listening.

cynicalsaint1:
Honestly it really hasn't seemed like much of a big deal to me so far in how it affects the actual gameplay - I'm level 49 and should be hitting 50 tonight and still haven't actually used any alignment restricted gear yet. Literally the only affect its had on my character is what color lightsaber crystals I can use. Maybe there's more alignment specfic gear in the endgame? I don't think so though.

Couple of things. First, most people fail to notice the light side and dark side vendors in the respective capitol fleets. These provide, among other things, gear to put in your relic slot (similar to the trinket slot in WoW, they provide medium-legnth cooldown on-use effects like +XXX power for N seconds).

Second, to whomever is complaining about companion affection: if this is a big deal to you, pick up one of the Mission crew skills (as opposed to the gathering or crafting professions) which gives you easy access to companion gifts which are usually much easier to raise your companions' affections than questing.

Third, regarding the "grey side," Bioware has said for quite a while that they plan on adding more greyness to the game and benefits for being neutral. I know it's hard to review games like MMO's that are by their nature dynamic and ever-growing, but you should be aware of the developer's future plans, even if just to concede that it may happen in the future.

Soviet Heavy:
This is the exact same problem that Bioware had in Mass Effect 2. Unless you committed fully to one side or the other, you would screw up the loyalty of your team members. Adding good boy or puppy kicker rewards to the end of each side of the spectrum limits your options for roleplaying.

I wish that the reward gear you got came as a result of choosing actions, instead of basing it off of alignment. For example, in Dragon Age: Origins, you could tell a blacksmith that his daughter died, causing him to commit suicide. While this is a dick move, the guy who replaces him sells you a very strong bow. And there is no lightside darkside alignment meter.

The real shame is that they nailed it in Mass Effect 1. My Shepherd made decisions based on what felt right at the time and since your paragon and renegade points were independent of one another I was never locked out of an option. Then ME2 came along with the percentage system and made me choose one over the other. I was so unbelievably angry that my amazing space opera had turned into a game.

What I mean by that is that in ME1 I was saving the universe. In ME2 I was speccing my character. I really hope they bring back the first game's system for ME3. Not likely though, forcing you down one route means there's more 'replayability' as you can run it through again doing the exact opposite!

WMDogma:
Where's the Gray Side?

Star Wars: The Old Republic's Light and Dark Side morality system leaves a little to be desired.

Read Full Article

It's the problem when we make morality a game. Game have win conditions and lose conditions. Games are nearly always about pitting one-against-one. One person versus another, one concept versus another, etc.

The high concept here is to "make choices matter." I can understand and appreciate that. The problem comes when you take that high concept and bring it into the real world by adding "make choices matter in the game." This means you need to:

1. Encourage people to make the choice.
2. Reward them for making the "right" one. =OR= have different rewards for each.
3. Not allow them to go back on that choice.

So choosing the middle of the road is viewed as abstaining rather than voting. Making some light choices and some dark choices, when it comes down to the math, is like "going back" on your choice. So, when we boil it down, the very method being used to make moral choices "matter in the game" is actually what is simplifying (and shallowing out) morality.

Real moral choice isn't "Get revenge! =or= Show mercy!" It's "Save a bus full of middle-aged executives =or= save a single small child." Neither answer is good or evil, both have strong justifications and severe drawbacks (For instance: What about the families of those executives, if pity for the child prevails?) Even then, the choice presents you only two options. What about "Save neither," if your character believes it's not his/her place to decide life and death?

A good morality system teaches you what you (and/or your character) believes by truly testing you with hard questions. A bad morality system all but asks you your alignment up front, and then tells you where to go. "What reward do you want? Here's how many points you need. Here's where you get them. See you at the reward screen."

I don't think adding a "neutral alignment" is going to fix the problem for TOR. Allowing for one? Sure. But actually making it fit now? That's going to take more than just adding another dialogue option. It also means making the "good" and "evil" choices less transparent, or adding several options that are different levels of "good" and "evil."

And then changing how the morality impacts rewards/content access. First of all, no specific rewards for morality. Just no. That forces players to game it to keep from feeling slighted. Make rewards just rewards. Let morality be decided by how the player uses them.

As for content, different missions available to different alignments. For instance, a Republic neutral might get some "dirty work" that benefits the cause, but needs to stay hush-hush. You're "good" enough to be trusted, but "evil" enough to be a candidate for the task. Too much of either, and you're a liability.

This particular subject has come up quite a few times. IMO, the moral choices are for the most part, completely arbitrary. They rely on whether or not you are will to agree or disagree with the person.

Guy lives: +50 Light side
Guy dies: +50 Dark side
In another situation...
Tell lie: +50 Light side
Tell truth: +50 Dark Side

It would be better if there was some kind of coherence to the moral choices.

Also, it's just a stupid meta game, like having your companions like or dislike you is a stupid meta game. It's not groundbreaking in SWTOR, I would really appreciate it if people would stop treating it as if it were ground breaking. A better option would be to offer a reward based on each moral choice rather than a definitive bar to fill one way or the other. And the whole moral choice meta game is pointless without some far reaching rewards/consequences. I can blow those engineers out the air lock in Esselles, and I get berated by someone in Esselles for it, but after that it's as if it never happened. I could shoot the Imperial general responsible for genocide or let him live. Either way, it's the end of the story. All the moral choices are ultimately pointless beyond filling that bar on your character sheet.

I remember playing through Infamous. That game had genuinely good moral choices. I remember having to choose between the girl you loved versus the lives of a bunch of people. And it had far reaching story consequences.

Good or bad has no consequences. It's simple math. I want to be good and I want my companions to like me. So, I take a companion that will find affection for me if I make all good choices. Rinse/repeat on dark side characters.

Unfortunately while the movies did deal with gray areas, it also set up a very stark "good versus evil" dynamic. But it would be nice if TOR (and games in general) could get away from this since you're entirely correct, if you only reward people for being at the extremes moral choices become meaningless.

It's a shame they've put so much effort into giving you the option for moral ambiguity without having the gameplay back this up.

It's actually a step backwards. There was a character in KOTOR (Jolee Bindo, IIRC) who made a point of keeping Light and Dark balanced so as to not succumb to the temptation of either extreme. Clearly, there must have been some benefit to maintaining a balanced perspective.

RedEyesBlackGamer:
There is a meter and you have to be full on one side to get the best option/rewards? Wow, way to ruin the choice by making it a metagame decision, Bioware. You screwed up Mass Effect 2 the same way. Nice to see that you aren't learning.

Learning is for companies who don't have millions of fanboys who will buy at the drop of a hat.

It's mostly vanity stuff anyways. I haven't come across anything important I can't use yet :/

KotOR 2 touched on the whole dark side/light side thing. It explored the fact that in the end, both aren't that different and might actually enslave people. Think about it, Jedi all must follow the light side, Sith must all follow the dark side. All are constrained by the force and the rules of the people on both sides. Good, evil, it doesn't matter. All are slaves to the force. Even you, the player. Many go through first as light side, then dark side. Slaves to both sides of the force.

Goddamn I love KotOR 2.

Anyway, I kind of wish developers would do away with "morality bars" entirely. Still have choices and consequences, but let the player decide what's moral. If one choice has a reward, have it make sense in the context of the story and the choice.

Zachary Amaranth:

RedEyesBlackGamer:
There is a meter and you have to be full on one side to get the best option/rewards? Wow, way to ruin the choice by making it a metagame decision, Bioware. You screwed up Mass Effect 2 the same way. Nice to see that you aren't learning.

Learning is for companies who don't have millions of fanboys who will buy at the drop of a hat.

Grey morality gear is being worked on, it just didn't make it into the release because they were still working on the best way to implement it.

Irridium:
KotOR 2 touched on the whole dark side/light side thing. It explored the fact that in the end, both aren't that different and might actually enslave people. Think about it, Jedi all must follow the light side, Sith must all follow the dark side. All are constrained by the force and the rules of the people on both sides. Good, evil, it doesn't matter. All are slaves to the force. Even you, the player. Many go through first as light side, then dark side. Slaves to both sides of the force.

Goddamn I love KotOR 2.

Anyway, I kind of wish developers would do away with "morality bars" entirely. Still have choices and consequences, but let the player decide what's moral. If one choice has a reward, have it make sense in the context of the story and the choice.

Hello, The Witcher 2. You're doing morality right when you're not using the word morality. Decisions are decisions, and the best intention can have the shittiest consequence. To be fair, Dragon Age: Origins did it pretty well too, although it still wasn't as elegant or seamless.

I had a think about this and appanrently you can be both dark and light side. It goes in stages.
Light 1 Dark 2 etc.

So you can be, say, Light 1 and Dark 4 at the same time. Allowing you to access the rewards for up to and including those levels.

For example you would have access to all green blue and red lightsabre colours.

So grey morality allows you have access to things from both sides I guess.

Star Wars has ALWAYS had binary morality, though. Once you start using the Dark Side of the Force, every now and then, to save the universe, it's only a matter of time before the evilness of it has you slaughtering kittens in front of orphans for fun.

Hard to blame the game for being true to the source material.

Guardian of Nekops:
Star Wars has ALWAYS had binary morality, though. Once you start using the Dark Side of the Force, every now and then, to save the universe, it's only a matter of time before the evilness of it has you slaughtering kittens in front of orphans for fun.

Hard to blame the game for being true to the source material.

Han Solo totally dropped a renegade interrupt on Greedo. Light/dark as an absolute dichotomy is mostly a jedi thing.

Wait! There is ONE reason to go neutral!

You can use any colour crystal you feel like.

Yeah I know, it's not much. I myself play a neutral Sith Assassin (let's just say that since KOTOR 2 and Kreia I always pick the grey path) and I do wish there were some specific Grey items.

There was a big Q&A thing done shortly after the game was released with the Community Manager. He revealed that Neutral items are still a subject of interest with the development staff, but added that there were technical difficulties involved in making them work. Consider that the higher tier dark items require more dark side points than the lower tier ones, thus restricting them to later game use. Neutral never changes though. You're always in the middle.

That said... players still gain dark and light points. My neutral character has about 4000 of each. If 1000 dark points is "Dark 1", why not make 500 light and 500 dark "Grey 1"? I can't believe they didn't think of this, so I'm assuming it's difficult to program or something.

In the meantime, the crystal thing leaves me happy enough.

As I see it, it comes down to why YOU are making the decision. If you are making the decision for the morality of the decision, then dont complain about the fact that your character can't get the gear you want if you need to be an asshole to get it. And in the same way, if you are going for the gear, dont complain that you can't keep your saintly white hat it you are more interested in a lightsaber upgrade than someones well being, or whatever the choice may be. People seem to forget that there is a moral in morality. I tend to go for whatever choices get me the best gear, unless the morality of the situation really resonates with me.

 

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