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Good vs. Evil rolepplaying rewards

good evil roleplaying campaign rewards balance decisions

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47 replies to this topic

#1
DISCBlackknight

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Not sure if this has been really addressed before in here, if it has please link to the thread and close this.

In many Bioware games, and, indeed, RPGs in general, when rpesented with choices/options in conversation or for resolving quests, the "good" choice is almost always the choice that nets the biggest/best rewards.  I dislike seeing this dynamic, and I hope that this game addresses that.  Just because the "evil" way can be the quick and dirty, doesn't mean it should quantifiably net less reward for the duration of a campaign.

Example: Do a quest to retrieve a clan's legendary sword for them, they offer you some gold and their loyalty.  Maybe I want that sword, and the clan's allegiance is nothing to me.  So maybe I take that sword, worth 3x as much as the gold, but then the clan tries to ambush me later in the game, as opposed to helping me defeat some Big Bad, or reclaim some player housing option (retake a fortress)

Just my two cents from my gaming experiences, but I usually play games through at least twice, once as a good aligned, and once as evil (if allowed).



#2
rjshae

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Evil deserves just what it gets. :p


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#3
Umberlin

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How about we move past polarized good/evil decision nonsense? I'd like to think we're well past the period where Light/Dark side points and Renegade/Paragon nonsense were the height of morality and choice in games.


Edited by Umberlin, 26 January 2013 - 10:22 AM.

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#4
TRX850

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I agree with the OP. Players should at least have the choice. If you're unconcerned with your in-game reputation causing "good" NPCs and quest-givers to ignore you, it would be a very different game indeed, and offer interesting replay value.



#5
Heresiarch

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I should say that "evil" options must be at least tempting in terms of reward. If they are not, as it is often the case, you play a villain with no incentive other than doing bad things for their own sake. Murdering innocents and eating babies isn't everyone cup of tea, so a more conventional approach to villainy will make this path more attractive and interesting to many players.


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#6
TRX850

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"Evil round every corner. Careful not to step in any."


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#7
Frisk

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"Good" and evil" is far too simplistic.   What I hope to see are morally "grey" options, where one may be "good" from a perspective of my character, but if I am replaying the game, and encounter the same situation, a different option may be the "good" one.

 

Of course, it may be a bit too much to have every choice of the "wipe out the village to stop the spread of the plague" kind, but I hope that there will be enough "grey" ones to keep me happy. 



#8
Ieo

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How do people not know the basics about PE for this? :p

 

Project Eternity won't have alignment. There is no "good" or "evil." Obsidian has already said there will only be a reputation system for various factions, so one player's "evil" will be another's "good" only depending on your alliance choices. 

 

No alignment. Kill the simple-minded good/evil concept. :biggrin:

 

http://www.vgrevolut...ys-josh-sawyer/

JOSH SAWYER SEZ:

Yes, although I should start by saying we won’t have alignment in Project Eternity. Instead of a morality meter, you will have reputations with various factions in the world that you interact with over time.



#9
Haerski

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Umberlin has a point. Writers should have more ambition nowdays and make choices realistic. With such obvious options you aren't really making choice: You just pick option "by the color" and you only have to think in the beginning when choosing which kind of character you are going to play. I think The Witcher and TellTale's The Walking Dead have already raised the bar and people should expect more than usual karma meter morals. EDIT: We don't need more than choice and consequence, but results of our actions should not be seen immediately when making the choice. What about a character who's desperately trying to do the good thing, but results of his actions reveal to be much worse than the other, seemingly bad choice. Or a character, who chooses to do "the necessary evil" and saves the day, but as result gets in conflict with law or certain purist factions and has to aswer for his crimes.

 

And why should we have immediate rewards, like money, items or exp, for making the choice? For me, seeing the consequences of my choice is more than enough.


Edited by Haerski, 26 January 2013 - 11:39 AM.

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#10
Nonek

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I'd like to play a character who has a believable and logical motivation for all his actions, and who can claim to be following his personal ethics on whatever path he chooses to pursue, no matter how outrageous and despicable they may seem on first impression. Definitely don't want the moronic upper right, middle right and lower right morality meters, as i'm not five.


Edited by Nonek, 26 January 2013 - 11:54 AM.

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#11
moridin84

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P.E not having a morality system is irrelevant. 

 

People want the option to do 'evil' things (murder, theft, betrayal, etc) and not feel like they are loosing out because you get better rewards for not doing those things.

 

This is nothing to doing with people having back/white/grey options,


Edited by moridin84, 26 January 2013 - 12:53 PM.

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#12
rjshae

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P.E not having a morality system is irrelevant. 

 

People want the option to do 'evil' things (murder, theft, betrayal, etc) and not feel like they are loosing out because you get better rewards for not doing those things.

 

This is nothing to doing with people having back/white/grey options,

 

It may not be that obvious. Taking one path versus another can have different balance drivers. Giving equal XP for both options might actually be inappropriate. Hence we can't really know if equal XP makes sense unless we see it in a wider context.



#13
moridin84

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P.E not having a morality system is irrelevant. 

 

People want the option to do 'evil' things (murder, theft, betrayal, etc) and not feel like they are loosing out because you get better rewards for not doing those things.

 

This is nothing to doing with people having back/white/grey options,

 

It may not be that obvious. Taking one path versus another can have different balance drivers. Giving equal XP for both options might actually be inappropriate. Hence we can't really know if equal XP makes sense unless we see it in a wider context.

 

Sure, sure. However we are talking about a "mentality" when it comes to designing quests, rather than specific quests.



#14
Lephys

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P.E not having a morality system is irrelevant. 

 

People want the option to do 'evil' things (murder, theft, betrayal, etc) and not feel like they are loosing out because you get better rewards for not doing those things.

 

This is nothing to doing with people having back/white/grey options,

 

It may not be that obvious. Taking one path versus another can have different balance drivers. Giving equal XP for both options might actually be inappropriate. Hence we can't really know if equal XP makes sense unless we see it in a wider context.

 

 

I don't think Moridin means "in each particular instance of choice, both options should be equal." I think he means "If I choose to play through the entire game choosing consistently bad/selfish/destructive-for-my-own-gain options, I shouldn't end up with 40% less loot/XP/character progression/party members/quest opportunities than the person who went through the entire game choosing consistently good/selfless/compassionate/considerate/constructive-for-as-many-involved-parties-as-possible options."

 

EDIT: He beat me to it... haha.


Edited by Lephys, 26 January 2013 - 02:03 PM.

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#15
AGX-17

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I'd like to play a character who has a believable and logical motivation for all his actions, and who can claim to be following his personal ethics on whatever path he chooses to pursue, no matter how outrageous and despicable they may seem on first impression. Definitely don't want the moronic upper right, middle right and lower right morality meters, as i'm not five.

 

Isn't that burden on you as the player, not the developers and writers? I understand where you're coming from with the D&D alignment thing and similar concepts like Mass Effect's binary good (paragon) and evil (renegade,) but I think Obsidian of all devs will understand the concept of nuance and realistic human(esque) motivations.

 

That said, even in the real world, people who do "evil" things typically do them for one of two reasons:


1. They want to acquire some good or perform some act to satisfy a desire, and they choose to do so in a way considered immoral or unlawful by their community/society. A thief steals something he or she wants because it's easier than working many hours to acquire the money necessary to purchase the good or service, or they are economically and socially excluded from any possibility of attaining it through legal means. Obviously there are exceptions when it comes to people who are mentally ill (i.e. psycho/sociopaths.)

 

2. They are part of a larger organization and have been convinced that they are doing something for the greater good. Psychological studies have found that being part of a group makes it easier for people to behave in "evil" fashion, even when they know and believe what they are doing is "evil." Sometimes they want to fit in, other times they have been convinced by their superiors that they must do some evil as a means to a morally "good" end.


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#16
Rostere

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"Evil" in real life means taking whatever you want with immoral means. "Evil" solutions in games should always be quicker and give more substantial rewards, but come with other problems - a bad reputation, and having to fight people.

 

Games that have equal rewards for "good" and "evil" choices and a token good/evil meter which does not make you a wanted criminal when you're evil (something the BG games actually did right - if you disregard the global, telepathic behaviour of this reputation) represent the worst solution to this. When there's no incentive to make the "evil" choice, the only reason to make it is if you're a psychopath.


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#17
Lephys

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Games that have equal rewards for "good" and "evil" choices and a token good/evil meter which does not make you a wanted criminal when you're evil (something the BG games actually did right - if you disregard the global, telepathic behaviour of this reputation) represent the worst solution to this. When there's no incentive to make the "evil" choice, the only reason to make it is if you're a psychopath.

 

The type of "equal" rewards a game SHOULD have takes into account mutually exclusive rewards.

 

i.e. For every "No no, you keep that kickass reward, because I'm a super considerate person" choice, there should be (SOMEwhere in the game, and not as a result of the exact same quest choice) a "Aww, crap. Since I greedily killed this guy so I could loot his house (which I couldn't have done without being a greedy bastard), he didn't tell me about some treasure or other quest opportunity that it turns out he knew of, so I missed out on THAT reward that only the ultra-considerate guy got" choice.

 

Words can only be so specific, without context. It's the context of "equal rewards" that's important. I don't think anyone wants "You killed that guy and looted his place? You get 500 gold! You were nice and helped him out? You got rewarded with 500 gold!" in every single choice branch in the entire game.



#18
locomotron

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Since there will be no good/evil meter, it would be quite interesting to see a balance being struck between one side of the spectrum; alternating between a better reward, or more/less effort.

 

For instance you could blackmail a questgiver into giving you a better reward, possibly resulting in him sending a few thugs to take revenge.

A good-aligned solution could be that you decline the reward, resulting in a higher reputation gain.

 

It would even be nice to see some evil quests net more rewards with less effort, as I don't think preventing powergaming should take a front seat; roleplaying should be paramount when dealing with quests.

 

something that is a bit of a dilemma is that solutions shouldn't be allowed to be abused; taking the good route for the reputation, then afterwards killing or stealing from the questgiver, giving you the best of both worlds without any of the downsides, although this is debatable.



#19
AGX-17

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"Evil" in real life means taking whatever you want with immoral means. "Evil" solutions in games should always be quicker and give more substantial rewards, but come with other problems - a bad reputation, and having to fight people.

 

Games that have equal rewards for "good" and "evil" choices and a token good/evil meter which does not make you a wanted criminal when you're evil (something the BG games actually did right - if you disregard the global, telepathic behaviour of this reputation) represent the worst solution to this. When there's no incentive to make the "evil" choice, the only reason to make it is if you're a psychopath.

 

Immoral and evil are different things. Theft isn't "evil" by most standards of morality. Morality itself is mostly subjective, a product of society, culture and biology. Morality is nothing more than a way for social animals to improve their survivability by minimizing conflict between members of the social group and dealing with those outliers who cannot or will not follow the rules. There are some few universal taboos, but there are many societies in which many behaviors the western world sees as true "evil" are considered not only permissible, but "good."

 

Every moral situation should have its own context and its own unique consequences. Unless there are all-seeing/knowing gods who actively intervene in the affairs of mortals, there should be acts of true good that go unnoticed and unrewarded, and acts of pure evil that go unpunished, and everything in between.


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#20
Haerski

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P.E not having a morality system is irrelevant. 

 

People want the option to do 'evil' things (murder, theft, betrayal, etc) and not feel like they are loosing out because you get better rewards for not doing those things.

 

This is nothing to doing with people having back/white/grey options,

 

If you are talking about overall feeling of not losing out I'm ok with that, but otherwise I have to disagree:

 

If every option leads to equal outcome no matter what choices you make, it would be quite boring. Instead, when it has been confirmed there is not going to be any morality meter, we can treat every choice individually and don't have to look each of them through polarized good/evil glasses. Again: Why do we need to get rewarded for our choice? In The Walking Dead you made a choice and people could die because of it. Was that rewarding? No, but bad things happen. Seeing the consequence, no matter how bad, is kind of reward in itself and money and items are secondary things if the story is well written.

 

What if in example given by OP you choose to steal the sword, but afterwards get attacked by the villagers who kidnap one of your companions and you could A: exchange the sword for your companion, B: Attack the villagers, which would be very hard fight, free your companion and maybe ransack the village after, C: Attack the villagers, but they manage to kill your companion before you are able to free him, D: Leave your companion to his fate, but maybe he appears later in game, lusting for revenge for your betrayal. These options are definitively not equal considering possible gains and morally not entirely black or white, but I would greatly enjoy making the choice and seeing consequences unfold.

 

I don't mind if my choices lead to loosing money, items or even companions. It just makes it feel realistic and interesting and forces you to think about your actions. If you constantly make wrong choices (I don't mean necessarily the evil ones) the game should give you harder time.

 

P.S. Also, if player chooses to steal, murder and betray, I don't want it to be easy choice. The game should really test your conscience in those situations.


Edited by Haerski, 27 January 2013 - 04:42 AM.






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