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Pacifist Run's consequences


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Can you be a pacifist?

 

If by pacifist you mean "never kill anyone EVER, or ever condone kiling" then no. After all, it is a medievalish world and you are an adventurer.

 

If by pacifist you mean "a character that prefers to avoid combat and fights only as a last resort", then yes.

 

 

Killing zombies sure as hell doesn't count.

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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.

 

I need to reread the PE explanation of their cosmology and philosophy, but belief in a reincarnation cycle can actually lend itself extremely well to a pacifist point of view. IIRC, there are some real-world pacifist views that stem from the very idea of rebirth -- that any animal, insect, creature, could be one of your ancestors, so you must take care to protect them.

 

Also, if the cycle of rebirth depends upon the nature of the life you live--generally trying to be respectful and virtuous is the usual way of being reborn as a higher being, which could include reverence for life--if not complete pacifism, at least a desire to protect it as reasonably possible.

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But that's exactly what I said: it's the extra reasons added. it's not "you'll be reborn" but "you'll be reborn in a worse state than now"

That's not a given in PE.

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But that's exactly what I said: it's the extra reasons added. it's not "you'll be reborn" but "you'll be reborn in a worse state than now"

That's not a given in PE.

Then look at the other point I made: that since any living thing can possibly be connected to you because of rebirth, could be an ancestor in a new form, someone may wish to avoid harming them.

 

I don't know if they will make it a valid philosophy. But there is room for it in the framework they've created if they want to.

 

I will also reiterate, since gamers on message boards seem to selectively choose only parts of arguments made rather than the whole, that I do not actually expect PE to have a true "pacifist" option in the game. Only that it would be nice to have some substantive alternatives to violence in appropriate moments.

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I really think that games like these shouldn't be designed for a pacifist or non-combat approach. If a player is creative enough to make it possible, they can go right ahead, but to me, it's an unrealistic expectation.

 

However, I like the idea that a pacifist run has consequences. A few examples:

  • Sneak into a dragon's lair, charm the dragon, and make off with the treasure. Consequence: After you leave, the charm wears off, and the dragon becomes furious and razes nearby villages.
  • Convince an army to not go to war, stand down, and negotiate for peace. Consequence: Their opponent uses the opportunity to take initiative and stage a sneak attack, resulting in complete massacre.
  • Develop a reputation for pacifism. Consequence: A barbarian civilization won't even acknowledge you; any attempt at conversation is met with ridicule and insults.

Not all consequences need to be beneficial to the player; a more realistic, "gray" approach to diplomacy would be welcome.

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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.

 

The whole rebirth thing was quite popular in India right? They seem to have managed alight.

(And bear in mind that while the world is full of atheists and half assed believers now, that wasn't the case hundreds of years ago. )

Edited by moridin84

. Well I was involved anyway. The dude who can't dance. 
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I'd hope PE enables going through the game without killing, and I hope there'd be dire consequences.

 

- A mob of bandits threatens a village, you talk to individuals, get the information you came for and depart without getting involved, the village dies.

- You need the sceptre of the vampire lord, you strike a deal to get the sceptre after fouling up the holy defenses in the nearby church. You get the sceptre, the head priests ends up undead.

- You get ambushed by bandits, you buy your life with all gold and items you got.

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October 12, 2012 PC Gamer live interview (3:54)

 

Josh Sawyer:
since tactical combat is one of the core features from IE that we're trying to emulate, we're not specifically designing the game for a pacifist run. that said, we do want to give the player many options to avoid combat, either through stealth, conversation, or the use of other skills. tim and i both want to make sure that players have a lot of options to use non-combat skills across the game. we think it adds a lot to the game.

 

I expect a healthy range of diverse confrontation options, but a 100% noncombat run will probably be impossible, and I'm fine with that, because it was impossible in the likes of PS:T as well. 

 

There's also the mod possibility.

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.

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I'd hope PE enables going through the game without killing, and I hope there'd be dire consequences.

 

I just don't see any consequences shy of "You can't actually finish the game," or "the main story is crap."

 

There are certain people in the world who simply cannot be affected by anything other than violence. And that's WITHOUT magical relics and soul powers and whatnot. So, an actual pacifist run will always run you into 2 walls:

 

1) You just skip around all the threats that can only be removed/affected via force, thereby not really having much of a story. It's like saying "Well, you can 'beat' the game." Like failing to get the water chip in time in Fallout 1. You COULD say that was the "anti-water chip run." But, really, you just lost the game. You played it for a time, and now it's over because you failed at something that's the whole point of the game's story.

 

2) You just never have anything in the world/story that ever is bad enough to REQUIRE force to overcome, again leaving you with a pretty diluted story.

 

That's exactly why it works particularly well in espionage-type stealth games, and NOT in full-world fantasy epics. In stealth games, your objective almost never has anything directly to do with harming living things. Living things (usually people) are generally just obstacles to your actual objective. It's all context. You're not the guy they send to wipe out people. You're the guy they send to fix problems when they can't send in a big group of people to wipe out people. You find documents and info, and you "neutralize" threats (maybe you just sabotage weapons facilities?). The few times your objective DOES directly involve "neutralizing" a person, you can generally shoot them in the knees and take them in for questioning. People can be de-threatenized by disabling their motor functions without killing them.

 

Granted, that's still violence, if not killing, so "pacifist" is a slippery term to use. But, it also kinda refers to the game from a mechanic/gameplay standpoint, in which you chose the non-killing option, as opposed to the killing option. So, in a different sense of the word, it still holds true.

 

But, yeah... You can't shoot a psycho necromancer in the knees to stop him from leeching your lifeforce and raising an army with it. Hell... he might just shed his enfeebled body and shove his essence into some giant corpse-construct. So, yeah, there's not really any "Oh, this guys trying to kill every living thing in existence, and stop the soul-rebirth process in this world? LET'S JUST SNEAK PAST HIM!"

 

So, yeah... I'm just not seeing an actual pacifist run in P:E. I'm not even seeing the "I only killed 10 things in 60 hours of gameplay!" run, either. I dunno what the exact number would be, and that isn't the point, but I just see combat being more necessary than that. Otherwise, the game wouldn't be the game that it is. It would be something different. You can't just have both. It doesn't work that way. Either a certain amount of stuff in the game world requires force to overcome, or it doesn't.

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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October 12, 2012 PC Gamer live interview (3:54)

 

Josh Sawyer:

since tactical combat is one of the core features from IE that we're trying to emulate, we're not specifically designing the game for a pacifist run. that said, we do want to give the player many options to avoid combat, either through stealth, conversation, or the use of other skills. tim and i both want to make sure that players have a lot of options to use non-combat skills across the game. we think it adds a lot to the game.

 

I expect a healthy range of diverse confrontation options, but a 100% noncombat run will probably be impossible, and I'm fine with that, because it was impossible in the likes of PS:T as well. 

 

There's also the mod possibility.

Well, that settles it.

 

The thread went a little out of control so i didn't post a lot but I now want to say dire consequences for quests mean there is no quest at all. Imagine how people would react if the jobs you took resulted in such ways, no matter if you're doing this the violent way or not. Unless you're warned, be it subtile or not.

 

Let's consider this point under another angle. Say, killing the bandits also end in a bad way since their families go after you and you're forced to slaughter teens and mothers. So then, while tackle the quest if at the end, you can only screw up? Why going out of your way if the only result is to feel like ****e? I never saw a game do that, except for Spec Ops: The Line, except the player didn't have a choice in the matter anyway. Actually, the results the devs wanted to have was to incite people to actually stop playing, because they considered it was the only winning move.

Such game design tends to induce apathy, especially in long games and even dark RPGs like The Witcher 2 didn't dare to do that. Sure, you worked with total asses and the result was often not satisfactory, but the player never worsened the situation. If someone you didn't want gained power, it was outside your scope and your way to resolve the situation brought some good elsewhere nevertheless.

 

Of course, while I'm ranting a bit here, I admit such a new way to approach RPGs could help the medium to grow up, where every consequence of your action wouldn't be all sunshines and rainbows. But then, it needs to be a complete part of the game, one of the major themes. You're not in a morally easy world and shades of gray don't mean you're off the hook. There would no good choices nor bad consequences, only decisions and results.

It was a core theme in Spec Ops and that's why it worked.

Maybe for another game than Project: Eternity. Adventurer won't be an easy job then.

Edited by Auxilius
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Well, that settles it.

 

 

The thread went a little out of control so i didn't post a lot but I now want to say dire consequences for quests mean there is no quest at all. Imagine how people would react if the jobs you took resulted in such ways, no matter if you're doing this the violent way or not. Unless you're warned, be it subtile or not.

 

You're comparing a character in a fantasy plot facing perilous foes and dire consequences to... a mundane office job. Sorry, but I'd say it is your analogy that is a little out of control.

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I'd hope PE enables going through the game without killing, and I hope there'd be dire consequences.

 

I just don't see any consequences shy of "You can't actually finish the game," or "the main story is crap."

 

There are certain people in the world who simply cannot be affected by anything other than violence. And that's WITHOUT magical relics and soul powers and whatnot. So, an actual pacifist run will always run you into 2 walls:

 

1) You just skip around all the threats that can only be removed/affected via force, thereby not really having much of a story. It's like saying "Well, you can 'beat' the game." Like failing to get the water chip in time in Fallout 1. You COULD say that was the "anti-water chip run." But, really, you just lost the game. You played it for a time, and now it's over because you failed at something that's the whole point of the game's story.

 

2) You just never have anything in the world/story that ever is bad enough to REQUIRE force to overcome, again leaving you with a pretty diluted story.

 

http://www.the-spoiler.com/RPG/Interplay/fallout.9.html

 

Read the Pacifist section, it's brief.  You can, optionally, get the water chip and complete the game, but it appears that you may have to shoot someone in Junktown once (but don't kill him).  The run does, however, require you to cheat people, steal things, and casually "screw Keri."  Why you need to do that, I don't remember/know.

 

So, both major conflicts in the gameworld can be solved at least without killing, if not total pacifism.

 

That said, P:E will absolutely not have a way through the game without combat so it's a moot point in this case.

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I'd hope PE enables going through the game without killing, and I hope there'd be dire consequences.

 

I just don't see any consequences shy of "You can't actually finish the game," or "the main story is crap."

 

 

1) You just skip around all the threats that can only be removed/affected via force, thereby not really having much of a story. It's like saying "Well, you can 'beat' the game." Like failing to get the water chip in time in Fallout 1. You COULD say that was the "anti-water chip run." But, really, you just lost the game. You played it for a time, and now it's over because you failed at something that's the whole point of the game's story.

 

That's a pretty good example of what I was after actually.

 

There's several ways to get the chip, the "best" and canon way to do it is to fight yourself to the stuff needed to fix the water pump, so you can take the chip without causing undue distress to the community.

 

But the "pacifist" way is to talk your way past the supermutants and just steal the chip. Hooray, mission accomplished.

The downside is you just doomed the community you took the chip from and helped to spread supermutant influence that much further.

 

Might stretch someones definition of pacifist. But many things do.

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I'd hope PE enables going through the game without killing, and I hope there'd be dire consequences.

 

I just don't see any consequences shy of "You can't actually finish the game," or "the main story is crap."

 

 

1) You just skip around all the threats that can only be removed/affected via force, thereby not really having much of a story. It's like saying "Well, you can 'beat' the game." Like failing to get the water chip in time in Fallout 1. You COULD say that was the "anti-water chip run." But, really, you just lost the game. You played it for a time, and now it's over because you failed at something that's the whole point of the game's story.

 

That's a pretty good example of what I was after actually.

 

There's several ways to get the chip, the "best" and canon way to do it is to fight yourself to the stuff needed to fix the water pump, so you can take the chip without causing undue distress to the community.

 

But the "pacifist" way is to talk your way past the supermutants and just steal the chip. Hooray, mission accomplished.

The downside is you just doomed the community you took the chip from and helped to spread supermutant influence that much further.

 

Might stretch someones definition of pacifist. But many things do.

Couldn't you conceivably get through MMB before the Necropolis changes?

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You know, if they did include a pacifist run in the game, I'd like it to often have bad consequences as a result.

 

You knocked out the gang trying to mug that man instead of killing them?  Well, when they wake up (assuming they didn't just wake up and start fighting you while you were still there, as would occasionally happen in real life), they are going to want to restore their reputation and reinstill the fear people had for them by going on a murder spree, bashing into poor people's homes, raiding the place and raping the women.  Well done hero.

 

You knocked out the mercenaries that were sent in to kill all those poor farmers?  Well, that's not going to stop them from taking another job like that again later, they are mercs.

 

You can't be there protecting people all the time, and just knocking out the bad guys isn't going to solve the problem permanently. 

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I don't think pacifist vs. murderhobo is the heart of the issue here.

 

Personally, I'm the type who doesn't take sides and likes to make everyone satisfied when a dispute happens, even if I have to go an extra mile to pull it off. Even when it's not possible (and it often isn't) I'd rather try my hardest and fail. This is also the type of character I like to play in RPGs (both computer and tabletop). This leads to me generally picking "pacifist" options, not really because I have any aversion to killing when it needs to be done, but rather because "find a solution that satisfies everyone" rarely involves combat.

 

I think a better description of the things I like to do (when I have the ability to do so) in an RPG would be Idealist options, not "pacifist" per se. I have a strong feeling that when a lot of people say they'd like the ability to do a pacifist run, I think having these idealist options available to them is what they mean.

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I fear my Fallout Water Chip example was severely misunderstood. I wasn't attributing importance to HOW you got the chip. I was attributing importance to the fact that you had to get the chip.

 

I mean, sure, you've completed whatever you did thus far, if you failed to get the chip in time, but you could hardly say you "completed the game, but just with some dire consequences." You ended the game, all right, heh. But I wouldn't really use the word "completed."

 

So, yeah, point clarification: The chip is, metaphorically, the hostile sentient creatures in P:E. A water chip can't refuse to return to the Vault until you quit being a pacifist, but an intelligent, sentient being can refuse to allow you to accomplish your goal until you quit being a pacifist.

 

That even ties into my espionage comparisons. Shutting down a weapons facility and obtaining classified document don't inherently require violence/killing. Hostiles are merely obstacles. However, if an army of orcs is assaulting a town, and the game can't proceed unless that town remains unrazed (I know, cliche example is cliche), then you can't just "get past" the orc army and accomplish your goal. Your goal directly involves fighting.

 

The point being that, the very nature of P:E is going to directly involve fighting, even though oodles of portions of it won't require fighting, even if it can be used in those portions.

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 fear my Fallout Water Chip example was severely misunderstood. I wasn't attributing importance to HOW you got the chip. I was attributing importance to the fact that you had to get the chip.

  

So, yeah, point clarification: The chip is, metaphorically, the hostile sentient creatures in P:E. A water chip can't refuse to return to the Vault until you quit being a pacifist, but an intelligent, sentient being can refuse to allow you to accomplish your goal until you quit being a pacifist.

 

 Hostiles are merely obstacles. However, if an army of orcs is assaulting a town, and the game can't proceed unless that town remains unrazed (I know, cliche example is cliche), then you can't just "get past" the orc army and accomplish your goal. Your goal directly involves fighting.

   

 

I'm probably still misunderstanding, but that sounds more like bad writing than an RPG.

Like missions from RTS game (warcraft), defend town house, collect 2000 timber. Or missions from an action rpg like Fallout Tactics.

I mean.. why do you have to take the mission of defending the town and killing the army of orcs? Just because that's what level 11 is about?

 

What I'd expect would be more like being presented with a situation. There's a village that's about to be attacked by orcs.

It might be a side mission and you could just go elsewhere, or it's a central mission and you have to go in.

Then the question arises, why is this a central mission, what do I care about the town, why should I do something?

 

The situation is cliche, but I still wouldn't to be presented by a mission of "kill the orcs or game over".

 

An agreeable (and still cliche) situation would be where you need a an ancient prophecy book that's stored in village church.

Then, from the top of my head, your options might be:

 

1. Help defend the village, get (to read?) the book as reward.

2. Help attack the village, get (to read?) the book as reward.

3. Sneak in to the village and steal the book.

4. Sneak in to the village and bargain to read the book, maybe in exchange for promising to defend the village.

 

In 1. and  2. you might switch allegiance halfway through, or just beeline to the church and ignore the fight.

In 3. and 4. you might decide to help to defend or attack the village, as suits your fancy.

The crucial mission of getting the book would be accomplished either way. The side mission of defend or attack would not be crucial.

 

3. and 4. would be the pacifist choices, though without taking the 1st choice the "best good outcome" could not be reached.

 

But lets another example.

Your soul is being leeched by a demon, you have 3 days to live and the only way to cut the bond is to slay the demon.

There's only one solution, kill the demon. Or maybe that's just the obvious solution? Maybe the demon would release you in exchange for something?

Or maybe this time there is no pacifist option?

 

But most of the time, you shouldn't just be presented with a clear cut mission where you have exactly one option to choose.

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That even ties into my espionage comparisons. Shutting down a weapons facility and obtaining classified document don't inherently

require violence/killing. Hostiles are merely obstacles. However, if an

army of orcs is assaulting a town, and the game can't proceed unless

that town remains unrazed (I know, cliche example is cliche), then you

can't just "get past" the orc army and accomplish your goal. Your goal

directly involves fighting.

 

The point being that, the very nature of P:E is going to directly involve fighting, even though oodles of portions of it won't require fighting, even if it can be used in those portions.

 

Well, I've conceded that the game will require fighting.  I'm not altogether averse to tactical fighting (I quite enjoyed what little I've played of both of the Baldur's Gate games, I intend to reinstall them from GOG soon), so I don't mean to complain.

 

Railroading players into fighting, however, has more to do with, I don't know, the "scope" of the writing.  I won't even provide a counterpoint to your example but only ask, "Why are the orcs attacking the town?"  I'm less interested, in this case (being that it's a completely hypothetical scenario in a hypothetical game), in the actual answer than the actual motive.  What if a select group of townspeople are kidnapping orcen(?) children are summoning demons to inhabit the children's bodies?  What if the townspeople are stealing food and conducting clandestine raids on the orcs because of racial prejudice?  What if there aren't enough resources to support both populations etc etc etc.

 

I think one of the reasons many (if not all) of us enjoyed Planescape: Torment is because it took genre conventions (or even those of the medium, in this case violence as "the answer") and turned them on their head.

 

I really, seriously, whole-heartededly don't mind that there will not be a pacifist completion option in the game for my sake; I never have completed a pacifist run in any game, and I can't remember if I've ever even tried!

 

What I really take umbrage with is the notion that a conflict can necessarily have less gravity because the resolution isn't to be violent.

 

But most of the time, you shouldn't just be presented with a clear cut mission where you have exactly one option to choose.

 

 

But most of the time, you shouldn't just be presented with a clear cut mission where you have exactly one option to choose.

 

I want to clarify that I do have more faith in the writing that will be presented by Project Eternity.  I'm just making an argument about the nature of conflict resolution.  I like having options.

Edited by Ninjerk
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Haha... I'm a failure at examples sometimes (and by "sometimes," I mean "always." :) ).

 

@Jarmo:

 

You are absolutely right, although you misunderstood me. Er... what you say is absolutely true, but I simply wasn't intending to argue against it. My example was only a hypothetical "this is the simplest thing I can whip out of my mind, for example's sake" thing, and was not intended to be some well-thought out thing that I'm trying to suggest is how a game should be. "Dammit! The whole GAME better be defending towns from bands of orcs!" Haha. So, again, I do apologize for lacking the skill to think up examples that don't spark perfectly understandable sentiments. 8P

 

@Ninjerk:

 

I only meant to clarify my point. I wasn't meaning to imply "So deal with it!" or anything. Again, despite my shaky example, my only point was that P:E will have conflict within its fundamental structure. We can only pray it'll be more involved conflict than orcs and wailing peasants. 8)

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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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  • 2 weeks later...

 

 

October 12, 2012 PC Gamer live interview (3:54)

Josh Sawyer:

since tactical combat is one of the core features from IE that we're trying to emulate, we're not specifically designing the game for a pacifist run. that said, we do want to give the player many options to avoid combat, either through stealth, conversation, or the use of other skills. tim and i both want to make sure that players have a lot of options to use non-combat skills across the game. we think it adds a lot to the game.

 

I expect a healthy range of diverse confrontation options, but a 100% noncombat run will probably be impossible, and I'm fine with that, because it was impossible in the likes of PS:T as well. 

 

There's also the mod possibility.

 

 

Well, that settles it.

 

The thread went a little out of control so i didn't post a lot but I now want to say dire consequences for quests mean there is no quest at all. Imagine how people would react if the jobs you took resulted in such ways, no matter if you're doing this the violent way or not. Unless you're warned, be it subtile or not.

 

Let's consider this point under another angle. Say, killing the bandits also end in a bad way since their families go after you and you're forced to slaughter teens and mothers. So then, while tackle the quest if at the end, you can only screw up?

 

 

What's the logical basis for this? I don't think your typical bandit or highwayman is just putting in a day's work to support a hungry family. And if that "hungry" family has both the strength and the remarkable tracking skills to hunt you down, how is there a moral dilemma? Most soldiers in most wars throughout history have been no more than teenagers. Before the industrial age, successful completion of puberty was considered the transition to adulthood (for males, for females all they needed was to menstruate once and then they were up for sale.) Why would there be any qualms about killing a teenager who wants to kill you? There are frequently hostile female NPC combatants already, what's the dilemma there?

 

Like it or not, absent a functional penal system, killing the sociopathic killers is essentially the only morally just/societally beneficial decision when dealing with sociopathic killers. Why does Batman always take the Joker to a madhouse he's always escaped from? Because Batman is a sociopath, too.

Edited by AGX-17
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Haven't read the whole thread, or even very much of it, so take that into consideration.

 

I am always looking for a nonlethal option in my games, and love the idea of a pacifist run as well. Any time the player's options consist of more than just killing, I appreciate it. But the annoying thing to me is that a "pacifist run" is often treated as a "You're the cleverest player in Cleverville!" moment of gentle paternal hair-tousling on the developers' part. That isn't to say that pacifism shouldn't be the "best" solution sometimes (brokering a truce between two warring factions, for instance - although that doesn't have to result in an automatic win condition either), but to treat it as the unambiguous "best" solution to every problem is to rob it of its meaning.

 

Pacifism doesn't mean automatic moral superiority. That it is treated as such in many games that include it says more about the industry's crippling fear of challenging players' beliefs than it does about pacifism as an ideal.

 

If you want a ecall the German n Saving Private Ryan

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