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Pacifist Run's consequences


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Doing a pacifist run feel generally good. You outwit everyone, prove the validity of your philosophy, get the upper hand on known and powerful actors. Besides, you have to be tricky and resourceful to succeed. Therefore, any success is very satisfying.

But what if there were more consequences?

 

See, it's been several hours since you started the game. You did all the quests in the first village. You could unlock a quest or two as a result if you were a pacifist. After all, if you're good at not killing people, it means some NPCs could come to trust more easily, playing a part on your reputation.

  • People would be less wary to see you arrive in town if you're not known for wiping out everything.
  • Bandits could get c0cky, believing they're not risking anything.
  • New dialogue choices could appear to convince someone who doubt your integrity. 
  • Companions could wonder why the hell they trained so hard.

If I dared to go further, I could even talk about the stronghold and how a reputation as a good and peaceful sire could convince your new citizens you're a stand-up guy and give you room for some mistakes befoe they riot. But frankly, it would be too complicated.

 

Why am I thinking about this? Well, like I said, while pacifist runs are satisfying by themselves, they can be hard, very hard. Rewarding the player with these little things could stroke his ego nicely. It's easy to implement them and would convince more players to give it a try, therefore giving Obsidian more reasons to devote time to pacifist playstyles.

Edited by Auxilius
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Going through the game without killing anybody, in the small percentage of games in which it is actually possible, is both hard and dumb and I don't think you should be rewarded for it. Same thing with Ironman mode. 

 

I happen to be one of those idiots and that is what I think. 

Edited by moridin84

. Well I was involved anyway. The dude who can't dance. 
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It doesn't sound like a full pacifist playthrough will be possible to be honest.

 

Kind of a shame, as it seems that in many games they force the player to be creative and and come up with clever solutions to problems, but it's not hard to see why this sort of game design doesn't really work with potentially no combat; it almost defeats the point of having a party as the majority of most characters' talents become useless, and there's a real risk it could just boil down to "pick the correct dialogue option/spam hide in shadows, avoid any side-quests that don't allow you to do this" which isn't clever, resourceful or fun at all.  

 

Rewarding the player for solutions which ARE creative and resourceful, pacifist or not, is probably a good idea though. 

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Going through the game without killing anybody, in the small percentage of games in which it is actually possible, is both hard and dumb and I don't think you should be rewarded for it. Same thing with Ironman mode.

 

I happen to be one of those idiots and that is what I think.

Dumb? Geez. In that case, be a truly honest and narrow-minded dude and tell you don't want people to enjoy a way of playing that is different from yours.

 

It doesn't sound like a full pacifist playthrough will be possible to be honest.

 

Kind of a shame, as it seems that in many games they force the player to be creative and and come up with clever solutions to problems, but it's not hard to see why this sort of game design doesn't really work with potentially no combat; it almost defeats the point of having a party as the majority of most characters' talents become useless, and there's a real risk it could just boil down to "pick the correct dialogue option/spam hide in shadows, avoid any side-quests that don't allow you to do this" which isn't clever, resourceful or fun at all.

 

Rewarding the player for solutions which ARE creative and resourceful, pacifist or not, is probably a good idea though.

Well, it's been done before. They're actually well-known and popular since a long time. The possibility was there and loved in P:T, same for Fallout 1&2. That was also one way to play in Alpha Protocol. Some missions actually required the player to play it cool and gave you perks for it. It felt great after a tough mission to see those little rewards.

That's why I think it's actually possible. I wouldn't consider even talking about it otherwise.

But in case the game happened to not be designed that way, like Arcanum was, well, tough luck I suppose.

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Obsidian confirmed a full pacifist run won't be possible. I can try to dig up the link later, though I'm sure it's actually buried in a forum thread somewhere.

 

It wasn't possible in PS:T, either. There were at least a few required combat scenarios. Ravel was one.

The KS Collector's Edition does not include the Collector's Book.

Which game hook brought you to Project Eternity and interests you the most?

PE will not have co-op/multiplayer, console, or tablet support (sources): [0] [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

Write your own romance mods because there won't be any in PE.

"But what is an evil? Is it like water or like a hedgehog or night or lumpy?" -(Digger)

"Most o' you wanderers are but a quarter moon away from lunacy at the best o' times." -Alvanhendar (Baldur's Gate 1)

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I could've sworn combat was required in Fallout 1 & 2, as well. But, I could be wrong.

 

Basically, going through the game killing 50% fewer things (Because you outsmart them/talk them down, instead?), sure. Going through the game without ever killing ANYthing? That would mean that absolutely nothing in the whole game world was a big enough conflict to not-be outsmarted/talked-down/stopped via a means other than killing, which would dilute the quality of the world and its potential conflicts, a bit, I would think.

 

In a purely stealth/espionage game, this makes a lot more sense. But, even then, you typically have to kill SOMEone.

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Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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Basically, going through the game killing 50% fewer things (Because you outsmart them/talk them down, instead?), sure. Going through the game without ever killing ANYthing? That would mean that absolutely nothing in the whole game world was a big enough conflict to not-be outsmarted/talked-down/stopped via a means other than killing, which would dilute the quality of the world and its potential conflicts, a bit, I would think.

I have to agree with this.

 

However, I think I've narrowed down why I have such a problem with the concept of a pacifist CRPG run: while other approaches rely on all kinds of ressources (healing, casting buffs, casting offensive spells, using active abilities), diplomacy is usually handled by a single (passive) skill. It has already been adressed in a number of threads that choosing the "right" dialogue to get a positive outcome should be more difficult, but I still thinks this favors diplomacy too much compared to other approaches.

Therefore, I think a diplomat should have to make use of active abilities and/ or magic to help his performance. A simple example would be a spell that raises your charisma to superhuman proportions (mebbe the equivalent of a shiny sparkly aura and a messianic quality to your words).

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I could've sworn combat was required in Fallout 1 & 2, as well. But, I could be wrong.

 

Basically, going through the game killing 50% fewer things (Because you outsmart them/talk them down, instead?), sure. Going through the game without ever killing ANYthing? That would mean that absolutely nothing in the whole game world was a big enough conflict to not-be outsmarted/talked-down/stopped via a means other than killing, which would dilute the quality of the world and its potential conflicts, a bit, I would think.

 

In a purely stealth/espionage game, this makes a lot more sense. But, even then, you typically have to kill SOMEone.

 

I wonder if it might be possible for the game to allow the opposition to be induced to surrender, rather than being slaughtered? That would require coding for the use of non-lethal force. I.e. some combination of subdual attacks, entanglements, and debilitating drugs (or spells) like a sleeping gas. That way, you can attempt to gain the upper hand without causing death. It wouldn't exactly be a pacifist run through, but it would not require slaying your opponents. (There might also be exceptions such as oozes, undead, and animated plants.)

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I'd have to disagree on pacifist runs being too simple. I think that while there should be more ways of overcoming an obstacle, you should not always have all the options be feasible. I would think that a pacifist walk through would require a wide range of skills and some player ingenuity, actively trying not to get into a conflict or at least not kill anything. An be more of an "easter egg" possibility, with perhaps some nods here and there that you hadn't killed anyone.

 

Having a prominent role in the game - no, I don't think it a good idea. At best if the number of kills is used somewhere I'd propose to have some zones, for example 0-10 kills you're a pacifist, 10-100 normal, 100+ mass murdered, etc.

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I'd have to disagree on pacifist runs being too simple. I think that while there should be more ways of overcoming an obstacle, you should not always have all the options be feasible. I would think that a pacifist walk through would require a wide range of skills and some player ingenuity, actively trying not to get into a conflict or at least not kill anything.

True, I was thinking of a strictly "diplomat" run.

 

At best if the number of kills is used somewhere I'd propose to have some zones, for example 0-10 kills you're a pacifist, 10-100 normal, 100+ mass murdered, etc.

this would be kind of a nice subversion of the usual "kill trackers" in CRPGs
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However, I think I've narrowed down why I have such a problem with the concept of a pacifist CRPG run: while other approaches rely on all kinds of ressources (healing, casting buffs, casting offensive spells, using active abilities), diplomacy is usually handled by a single (passive) skill. It has already been adressed in a number of threads that choosing the "right" dialogue to get a positive outcome should be more difficult, but I still thinks this favors diplomacy too much compared to other approaches.

Therefore, I think a diplomat should have to make use of active abilities and/ or magic to help his performance. A simple example would be a spell that raises your charisma to superhuman proportions (mebbe the equivalent of a shiny sparkly aura and a messianic quality to your words).

Agreed on the resource-management bit. Perhaps there could be a sort of charisma "stamina"? You know, you can only influence someone SO well in a given amount of time. It would require a pretty big reworking of the dialogue system and introduction of additional mechanics (such as some form of indicator as to the need for more potent gestures/wordings rather than lesser ones, with the effectiveness of the indicator based partly on a skill, maybe... etc.).

 

But, I definitely see the potential for something involving resources with your charisma/speech, from a mechanical standpoint.

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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I've never understood the appeal of a "pacifist" run through a game.   I prefer putting heads on pikes on a regular basis.  Oh well, to each his own.  ;)

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I could've sworn combat was required in Fallout 1 & 2, as well. But, I could be wrong.

 

Basically, going through the game killing 50% fewer things (Because you outsmart them/talk them down, instead?), sure. Going through the game without ever killing ANYthing? That would mean that absolutely nothing in the whole game world was a big enough conflict to not-be outsmarted/talked-down/stopped via a means other than killing, which would dilute the quality of the world and its potential conflicts, a bit, I would think.

 

In a purely stealth/espionage game, this makes a lot more sense. But, even then, you typically have to kill SOMEone.

 

I'm not sure about Fallout 1 but in Fallout 2 I personally won the game with something like the following

 

7 radscorpions

5 giant ants

1 human

1 mutant

 

Of course, Fallout 2 was an open-world RPG and the game was essentially a series of side quests. It's not like you could solve every quest without violence, you just had to skip the ones with violence. It was probably about half?

 

To be honest, I bet that the fact that the game could be completed without killing anyone except the final boss was a surprise to the developers of the game. 

 

Anyway, Project Eternity is going to be a linear dungeon crawler, undoubtedly with scripted fights and boss encounter. It's a different thing. Being able to solve every conflict without violence seems dumb to me. 

Edited by moridin84

. Well I was involved anyway. The dude who can't dance. 
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Yeah, it's been a while since I played the first 2 Fallouts, heh. I hadn't really factored in the option to simply not-do the stuff that requires violence (rather than simply circumventing the violence while still "doing" the task at hand). So, good point.

 

Also, I agree. with the context of the rest of P:E's design, a pacifist run doesn't make very much sense. It would be like Kratos making a pacifist run through one of the God of War games, heh. Though, not quite THAT extreme, :)

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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I could've sworn combat was required in Fallout 1 & 2, as well. But, I could be wrong.

 

Basically, going through the game killing 50% fewer things (Because you outsmart them/talk them down, instead?), sure. Going through the game without ever killing ANYthing? That would mean that absolutely nothing in the whole game world was a big enough conflict to not-be outsmarted/talked-down/stopped via a means other than killing, which would dilute the quality of the world and its potential conflicts, a bit, I would think.

 

In a purely stealth/espionage game, this makes a lot more sense. But, even then, you typically have to kill SOMEone.

Right, it wouldn't be possible if you intend to play all of PE and interact significantly with all its factions, I imagine. A faction-based reputation system without alignment would be a far more difficult (or even impossible) system for a pacifist proposal unless a player intends to only interact with a select few factions and NPCs of interest in a given playthrough. In that respect, it might be possible only in the sense of skipping content. Depends entirely on how Obsidian designs the main campaign, maybe.

 

And Project Eternity is definitely not going to be a "linear dungeon crawler." The scope is intended to be similar to the BG franchise, which wasn't linear (taking into account all side content exploration) and didn't have that many pure dungeons. The only major dungeon crawl we expect at this point is the mega-dungeon.

The KS Collector's Edition does not include the Collector's Book.

Which game hook brought you to Project Eternity and interests you the most?

PE will not have co-op/multiplayer, console, or tablet support (sources): [0] [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

Write your own romance mods because there won't be any in PE.

"But what is an evil? Is it like water or like a hedgehog or night or lumpy?" -(Digger)

"Most o' you wanderers are but a quarter moon away from lunacy at the best o' times." -Alvanhendar (Baldur's Gate 1)

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I could've sworn combat was required in Fallout 1 & 2, as well. But, I could be wrong.

 

Basically, going through the game killing 50% fewer things (Because you outsmart them/talk them down, instead?), sure. Going through the game without ever killing ANYthing? That would mean that absolutely nothing in the whole game world was a big enough conflict to not-be outsmarted/talked-down/stopped via a means other than killing, which would dilute the quality of the world and its potential conflicts, a bit, I would think.

 

In a purely stealth/espionage game, this makes a lot more sense. But, even then, you typically have to kill SOMEone.

Right, it wouldn't be possible if you intend to play all of PE and interact significantly with all its factions, I imagine. A faction-based reputation system without alignment would be a far more difficult (or even impossible) system for a pacifist proposal unless a player intends to only interact with a select few factions and NPCs of interest in a given playthrough. In that respect, it might be possible only in the sense of skipping content. Depends entirely on how Obsidian designs the main campaign, maybe.

 

And Project Eternity is definitely not going to be a "linear dungeon crawler." The scope is intended to be similar to the BG franchise, which wasn't linear (taking into account all side content exploration) and didn't have that many pure dungeons. The only major dungeon crawl we expect at this point is the mega-dungeon.

 

I remember playing Baldur's Gate.

 

When I was in the Naskell Iron Mines in chapter two I missed the entrance (it was BLACK, what the hell?) to the end boss for that dungeon, instead I went right passed it to the exit. After that I spent the next while wandering around outside, doing all the side quests trying to figure out where the heck I was supposed to do. Eventually I found something on the internet about it and realized I missed the end boss. Once I killed the end boss I was in chapter 3. I knew because a big "CHAPTER 3" thing popped up on my screen.

 

So from my perspective, Naskell Iron Mines was a "dungeon" and me being completely blocked from going pass the "chapter 2 zones" made the game "linear". 

 

I don't know what your definition of those words are. 

. Well I was involved anyway. The dude who can't dance. 
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I could've sworn combat was required in Fallout 1 & 2, as well. But, I could be wrong.

 

Basically, going through the game killing 50% fewer things (Because you outsmart them/talk them down, instead?), sure. Going through the game without ever killing ANYthing? That would mean that absolutely nothing in the whole game world was a big enough conflict to not-be outsmarted/talked-down/stopped via a means other than killing, which would dilute the quality of the world and its potential conflicts, a bit, I would think.

 

In a purely stealth/espionage game, this makes a lot more sense. But, even then, you typically have to kill SOMEone.

 

To do the Fallout pacifist run essentially required foreknowledge of the location of The Glow (and the radiation resistance items in the Hub, I think it was) as well as the location of TBS base and a high speech skill, iirc.  I never did the run so I don't even know how you stay alive long enough to get to TM.  Lot's of sneaking, I guess?

 

A strict policy of nonviolence was critical in both the decolonization of India and the Civil Rights movement in the United States.  It isn't the whole story, but it is a great deal of it.  There were, ironically, violent consequences (Ghandi and King were both assassinated).  Also, I believe desegregation was a result of political bargaining by LBJ.

 

I believe Deus Ex had a pacifist run possible, but you had to use grenades to glitch a door or doors that were supposed to remain locked during an encounter.

 

Consider that there might be unintended consequences of pacifist play: a villain is not killed/debilitated and slays an important NPC or group of NPCs, a corrupt politician or administrator isn't assassinated and takes control of a governing body or region.  I don't think pacifist options are a lesser option, but they require imagination.

 

If anyone is particularly interested in pacifist play, I believe there was a guild and possibly a website dedicated to pacifist playthroughs of World of Warcraft (1-80 at least).  I believe it also precluded other players killing things for you.

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Pacifist Runs are a nice idea/challenge (even though I find them to be ideological anathema), and it's nice to be able to do them when it doesn't negatively impact the story and such. But it doesn't look as if that'll be possible in PE, and I definitely don't think the devs should go out of their way to make it so. Alas.

 

But luckily, making modules where pacifist runs are possible is what modders are for!

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Regarding the OP... most games these days tend to have some kind of kill count. Like Fallout tracks the number of humans, aberrations,
robots, insects, etc. you kill. Alpha Protocol counted the number of orphans created, which was clever. If you can track it, it seems like
you can then check that kill count variable in dialogue. So then you could have dialogue options like, "[if human kill count <10] Well,
you seem to fight only when cornered, so I think we can trust you," and "[if human kill count >1,000]You're known to cut the throat of any
man who dares cross you, I'd rather work with someone a little more...stable."  ((And so on. Some would like the high kill count people, some the low, etc.))

 

So even if there's no true "pacifist run," the way you resolve issues and/or avoid combat or initiate combat could contribute to your reputation, which would be interesting.

 

I've also always been desperate for a "parley" option to come up in RPG combats--it gets so boring and old to have your only option be "fight to the death" or "run away/sneak past." I remember a really really really long time ago, I think it was in the original Might and Magic: Secret of the Inner Sanctum, where when you came upon an encounter, you had something like four options: fight, bribe, parley, or run. Each with its own benefits and drawbacks. Its implementation was rudimentary, but it made a lot of sense; of course you couldn't bribe the tiger, but maybe the goblins will settle for your gold rather than your lives. I'd love to be able to have an option when fighting intelligent creatures to talk them down when it makes sense. Say you're attacked by bandits. Rather than just have a pile of guys fight you to the death, give an option to click on the leader and talk -- "If we give you 500 gold, will you leave us alone? That way no one gets hurt, including you." or "Look, you're nearly dead, give up now and I'll let you and your band live. Just leave us alone and it'll stay that way." After all, a lot of people are going to be willing to back down from a fight if things are going poorly for them or another way out looks better. It's stupid that once a fight starts you have to always go to the death (save for cutscenes which force you to talk even when
you don't necessarily want to, which is its own different brand of player-disempowering annoying). Some enemies could even disengage and flee due to morale failure. Of course some enemies ARE going to want to fight to the death, but it shouldn't, verisimilitude in mind, ALWAYS be the default behavior.

 

I mean, if you're going to have options to talk your way out of things, you should be able to do it properly.

 

Which leads me to a further ramble/rant... most "pacifist runs" aren't. "Pacifist runs" are really "Avoid combat" runs, and often some  consider it okay to let companions do all the killing for you. A pacifist, by which I mean a practitioner of nonviolence dedicated to solving problems without physically harming people, doesn't always run away--they will try to find alternate solutions to problems. And sure, in real life, some pacifists will stand and take the hit (even to the death) than hurt or kill someone (sometimes they get killed; sometimes the attacker gets unnerved and backs off). While others will avoid combat by getting out of harm's way, a practitioner of nonviolence is going to find a way to talk their way out of it or (silently protest their way out of it), or at least find a way to non-harmfully create obstacles to their enemies, before simply fleeing, because running away doesn't solve problems.

 

They're also not going to condone their friends' fighting--a pacifist will not hang around someone who just kills for them, it eliminates the
point that they adhere to a philosophy that prizes all life. An ally being violent in their presence when they knowingly could stop them 
would not be acceptable--they'd feel responsible if they did nothing to save the other person's life, even if the other person was an enemy. Now, some might consider a pacifist way of life naive--after all, many famous pacifists are also martyrs (Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr.)--but they can also find ways to unexpectedly be effective (think of the impact those men had before and after their deaths). It would be really, really interesting I think to see a game that allows a true "pacifist run," but I've never seen one before (again, not an "avoid combat" run). I don't know if we ever will though--it would be hard to design (it's hard to live like that, after all). Now, I don't expect to see a "pacifist run" or an "avoid combat" run in Project Eternity, necessarily -- but if they do provide some nonviolent solutions to combat, I hope they work in some that are more robust and challenging than "sneak past" or "run away."

Edited by DeathQuaker
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I'm wondering in a world where rebirth is an accepted truth, how much life truly is prized though. At least in the Dharmic religions there are incentives for treating others right, in that it determines in what animal or caste you get reborn (or whether you are lucky enough to find oblivion)

I'm curious what would motivate someone living in the PE world to hold all life as sacred when rebirth is such a given.

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Regarding the OP... most games these days tend to have some kind of kill count. Like Fallout tracks the number of humans, aberrations,

robots, insects, etc. you kill. Alpha Protocol counted the number of orphans created, which was clever. If you can track it, it seems like

you can then check that kill count variable in dialogue. So then you could have dialogue options like, "[if human kill count <10] Well,

you seem to fight only when cornered, so I think we can trust you," and "[if human kill count >1,000]You're known to cut the throat of any

man who dares cross you, I'd rather work with someone a little more...stable."  ((And so on. Some would like the high kill count people, some the low, etc.))

The problem with this is that it is effectively a "karma system" where other people magically know how many people you've killed. I don't think that project eternity will have a global karma system, just a per faction reputation so I don't think they would implement this. 

Edited by moridin84

. Well I was involved anyway. The dude who can't dance. 
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Pacifist Runs are a nice idea/challenge (even though I find them to be ideological anathema), and it's nice to be able to do them when it doesn't negatively impact the story and such. But it doesn't look as if that'll be possible in PE, and I definitely don't think the devs should go out of their way to make it so. Alas.

 

But luckily, making modules where pacifist runs are possible is what modders are for!

I'm of the opinion it's better when they don't design for it, but when it emerges.

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I'm currently doing a 'pacifist' run on Deus Ex: human Revolution. It 'works' because you can still knock people unconscious, because it is a highly stealth based game, and because they are all, well, people. Alpha Protocol has much the same kind of situation: you can walk around knocking people unconscious, because by yourself you can hide around corners and stuff.

 

Encouraging not killing people is good when everything you encounter except bosses is basically a grunt.

 

In fantasy games, it is unlikely that it will be quite as easy to knock zombies unconscious. It is also unlikely that anyone will be particularly bothered about how many rats you have slaughtered.

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