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Thread: Moral Choice systems and gameplay

  1. #1

    Default Moral Choice systems and gameplay

    Does anyone else find that most moral choice systems in games tend to suck? Most games either have a very clear choice system with it being very obvious what the good, neutral and evil choices are in any situation. Stuff like: An orphan in the wasteland asks you for food. Do you (a) Give them large amounts of food. (b) Give them leftovers, (c) Kill them and steal everything? The problem with that is it makes playing the evil side boring, as the evil version character is usually so stereotypically evil, it becomes implausible.

    While the good side of the story, that the developers expect most players will end up doing ends up far more polished, the bad side doesn't provide the same enjoyment. Or other games go even worse, to make the moral choice system a choice between "Mother Teresa and Baby Eating" to quote Yahtzee, rendering both the good and evil sides so implausible to be boring.

    So does anyone else have any similar experiences with games, or found any games that do a moral choice system right? Other people in IRC earlier were mentioning that they had these experiences too.

  2. #2

    Default

    The problem is without clear cut decisions, the game would be a lot harder to program. I've not played any massive rpgs, but afaik Bioware seem the closest to offering this?

    I guess when you have distinct character arcs, i.e fable etc, it's hard to maintain an overall weighting without pushing a good/bad outcome. Otherwise, it would be close to "I did x wrong, y right, nothing bad or good happened overall, I was just a fairly balanced character" - so the good/bad needed to maintain direction?

    That said, I agree that the "Mother Teresa/Baby Eating" has its drawbacks, I just guess there's no easy solution at the moment for it?

  3. #3
    Butterfly Mage

    Default

    I tend to not see the point of being the bad guy. I'd take playing the hero any day.

  4. #4

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    This is a fairly well-reasoned group of individuals that probably would enjoy variety... however the "average gamer", in my experience, actually likes picking the absolute meanest thing to do, no matter how implausible. My brothers do it just because they think it's funny to be a complete douche and still have people asking you to help.

    Personally, I just wish they'd stop tying rewards to 2-dimensional systems. For instance, when I play Mass Effect 2 I have difficulty with the roleplaying part because I like to play the game and see what would happen with "my" choices, but I sometimes choose things that give me +paragon just because I know that someone is going to die unless I have enough paragon to say the right thing. Personally, I actually speak extremely similar to almust pure-neutral Shepherd. The paragon/renegade system ruins things for me.

    Even worse is when one it's a moral choice system that rewards one side BETTER than the other. I personally feel that you used to get better rewards for being good, but it was a bit more effort. Now it seems more like being bad is a good "excuse" to give destructive powers, so the only way to really have fun is to do the "baby-eating" things just to get the right power-ups.

  5. #5

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    I think until they come up with something approaching machine intelligence, this is as good as it's going to get.

    It would simply be impractical to program in all the various permutations of choice. The only solution is to have the program calculate out the story line within a pre-determined set of bounds... and we arn't even in the right century for that.

    I'd add that I find the dialog to be most amusing in this cases. Fallout is _really_ good for this.

    Go to a shop keep:

    <angry voice> You have a lot of nerve showing your face here after what you did. The whole town is looking for you!
    <sudden switch to cheerful voice> What can I do you for!

  6. #6

    Default

    Go and play The Witcher 1&2, it gets choice right by being rather gray instead of black and white.
    Example from the first game:


    <hint>https://www.adisc.org/forum/computer...8-witcher.html</hint>

    And on the "which side do you play"-thing: I tend to be the good guy. Especially because most RPGs seem to be made to be played that way which results in a more believable game world. Also I take the story of a game serious enough to think about it and "care" for what happens.

  7. #7

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    What I played of Dragon Age it had a couple grayer options (not too many though =/), though the main thing that made it a bit tough in that game was every decision effected the party (I.E. choose good, make member 1 happy, but piss off 2 and 3). Supposedly it is quite hard to keep everyone in your party but never got far enough to know *shrugs*.

    Most of them are pretty easy on which is the black and which is the white, and annoys the hell out of me. I usually play more of the hero role (just can't be evil) but often it feels way too easy to figure out. I like when things are gray and you really have to think about it (be even better if some dev. team decided to be evil and throw a timer on it as well =p).


    Granted, personally, dialog in all games is pretty annoying to me, as usually it amounts to "ask as much as you want to everyone" and no-one gets mad. You could ask them if you could kill their mother and the person you are talking to would still be willing to talk. I'd rather it be possible to...you know...fuck up in dialog as long you can either reload to an earlier point (mostly as it'd suck to screw up one time, dead end, and be forced to go through all the crap to that point again) or there is another path you can take.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Coyote_Howl View Post
    (be even better if some dev. team decided to be evil and throw a timer on it as well =p).
    Alpha Protocol does that. It's actually kind of annoying, because with a timer they need to keep the words really short, and then the prompt is either too vague to know what you're about to say, or too long and you don't get to read all the options (though it's usually just the three main "types" of answers). Also, no matter how you play it, you're a complete douche. You just get to pick your favourite flavour of douche.

  9. #9

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    It disturbs me that no one has mentioned Bioshock's system of Harvesting/Rescuing the little sisters.
    If you harvest, you get a large amount of ADAM, (used to upgrade your character).
    If you rescue, you will have to tough it out in the beginning, but you end up with more ADAM towards the end of the game.

    This seems like one of the best morality systems implemented in any game so far.
    Bioshock!

  10. #10

    Default



    Quote Originally Posted by Col View Post
    It disturbs me that no one has mentioned Bioshock's system of Harvesting/Rescuing the little sisters.
    If you harvest, you get a large amount of ADAM, (used to upgrade your character).
    If you rescue, you will have to tough it out in the beginning, but you end up with more ADAM towards the end of the game.

    This seems like one of the best morality systems implemented in any game so far.
    Bioshock!
    How is that a good morality system? All it does is trick you into thinking that bad things get better rewards. Once you find out that rescuing them gives more long term, then you just start doing that. It's actually a terrible system, since it makes being one way easier than the other, when morality should remain neutral.

    Morality in games shouldn't be objective. The idea that one thing is good and another is evil leaves no room for the vast space in between.

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