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@Obsidian: Please make playing evil worthwhile, fulfilling & not juvenile!


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@Obsidian: Please make playing evil worthwhile, fulfilling & not juvenile!

 

 

Hi Obsidian,

 

As per the title of the thread, I would greatly appreciate it if playing evil (this is after all a deep roleplaying game) in this game will actually be worthwhile, fulfilling and not juvenile.

 

Let me elaborate:

Worthwhile: Most RPGs simply don't reward evil roleplaying; i.e. you always get the best rewards for playing the nice guy; i.e. what I am asking for here  is that you actually design the game and quests so that there is actually a good motivation in the game itself to play evil as opposed to merely my motivation as a player to play evil; i.e. that the game itself reacts "positively" to playing evil (just as it should react “positively” to playing good); don't confuse "positive" here with "good", they are in different categories.

 

Moving on:

Fulfilling and not Juvenile: Most RPGs treat roleplaying evil in a pathetic shallow fashion (even the Infinity Engine games are guilty of this) and give it only a fraction of the attention of the “good” path. Let me elaborate with an example. You meet an old lady with her cats in a hut (and she is known to love cats) and the "evil" option is usually something like this: slaughter (or torture) the cats in front of the woman and then laugh in her face. I simply ask for "deeper" roleplaying options that are not at the extremes of "save and hug everyone" to "slaughter everyone and urinate on their corpses". I know it is not easy to do and I won't give examples of “deep” roleplaying since that is your job as awesome game designers. I know this point is difficult to easily quantify (hence it can be construed in a very subjective manner), but I honestly feel that in terms of "depth of interaction/roleplaying", the "evil" side is far under-represented compared to the "good" side.

 

I know Obsidian have said that they are going to avoid these "alignment" aspects of D&D, but ultimately the designers are human and it is very easy for them to fall into the same old trap of moral extremes when designing quests, gameplay and story without even realizing it. I.e. don't fool yourselves into thinking that you can easily get away from moral duality just because the game has no clear cut alignment system; the moral duality is built into human nature and "seeps through" into how you design the story, quests, etc. Try and temper the moral duality with a bit more "depth" and complexity, as in the real world, for as I am sure you know: in the real world nice guys do not always finish first and the best things do not always come to the most good, righteous, etc. of beings.

 

That is all, thank you for your time Obsidian. Make PE something special; the series (and most likely any future crowd-funding endeavours of Obsidian regarding old school RPGs) will depend on how awesome PE will be; as they say: first impressions last.

 

-pl1982

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^ A hundred times this. PS:T was one of the few(the only) games that allowed for a trully evil playthrough without punishing you, but the effects were felt by your companions and yourself mostly because it was a very intospective game. You can take that as a start and expand it. Don't forget, people do evel actions because evil pays better,not for the kick of it.

The same should be aplies to the gameworld.

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Hear hear.

 

If anyone can do it, it's Obsidian. They have villains with complex yet understandable motives. No need even to go hyper-ambitious with it, just give us an option to play as a ruthless, end-justifies-the-means type, for example, with consequences to match. Mustache-twirling I-kick-kittens-because-I'm-ebul is just dumb.

 

For ideas on how NOT to do it, just see NWN2. The "evil" options in that were just random and pointless and made no kind of sense, either relative to each other or to any character concept other than raging psycho who shouldn't have been able to get out of West Harbor before being locked up for his own good.

 

I feel a rant coming on.

 

Take the very beginning. You get the option to slit the throats of some characters you dislike but who have not done you any actual harm. Which is a completely psycho move. No sane person would do that. A sane but cruel person might toy with them a bit to get back for the bullying, but that's it. That nets you 3 "evil points." Three. And Bevil just stands there and disapproves, then continues with you like nothing was the matter. You also get a spitload of "evil points" just by being pouty and impolite when demanding rewards for, oh, I dunno, saving a couple of kids from being eaten by wolves. Conversely you get 10 "good points" for sending in your Greycloaks to defend a village within your demesne against bandits -- even though, as the baron of the lands, that's your bleeping job, never even mind that keeping the lands safe is insanely profitable.

 

MotB did the evil thing much better; at least it provided you with a meaningful and concrete motivation for your psycho behavior, and didn't just reward plain ol' ordinary nicencess with scads of "good points." You actually had to pull of some real duck moves to get seriously evil, and even those moves made sense from a ruthless, end-justifies-the-means perspective.

 

Ranting aside, I'm feeling pretty confident about P:E, given the writers, especially the involvement of George Ziets and the fact that he's one of the main plot guys. Eric Fenstermaker is responsible for much of the writing in Chapter II of NWN2 though, but since that was the least awful part of the game, writing-wise, I'm not too worried about that either.

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Not to dispel any pre-conceived notions, but it is a common psychological affinity in serial killers to try and be "evil" for evil's sake, because that's how they style themselves. Whether you find this motivation understandable depends more on your own disposition. Not every motivation must be relatable to for everyone, it just matters that there is a motivation and that it's explored at all.

 

BTW if chaotic evil is dumb, what about "I can't for the life of me distinguish between killing babies and giving money to charity it's all so grey o god itz heavan" ?

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Depends. Since there will probably be no dialogue skills in P:E, the game could keep track of i.e. your intimidation attempts and allow you to become "better" at it by use/ try to intimidate less impressionable types. But the "karmic" variant, i.e. I've killed 10 friendly NPCs so I can unlock more intimidating dialogue options, I would reject mostly for reasons of internal consistency.

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Yeah, I think it would make sense to keep it within the dialog system itself. Tying it mechanically to, say, killing things would probably make it too gameable. Might make sense to tie it to quest resolutions though.

I have a project. It's a tabletop RPG. It's free. It's a work in progress. Find it here: www.brikoleur.com

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I also thought one could play as a pleasingly ruthless individual throughout most of the latest Obsidian games, MOTB, New Vegas, Alpha Protocol (indeed the magnificent bastard ending is very good and the final manipulation of Albatross very cold blooded,) even in Dungeon Siege 3 one could seize power rather than obey the wishes of Azunai. I don't really see this as being a problem with Obsidian games, have you played any of these OP?

Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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You meet an old lady with her cats in a hut (and she is known to love cats) and the "evil" option is usually something like this: slaughter (or torture) the cats in front of the woman and then laugh in her face.
In this situation what "evil" option would you prefer?
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How about not provide an evil path at all? By which I mean why even separate things, just provide various options. I think this push to have an "alternative" path is doing more harm than good, leading to binary choice instead of different views.

 

I think it's poor role play to designate yourself as evil, too, because that's something society decides, not people for themselves. Unless you want to do it just for the sake of being evil, in which case I think it's impossible for it to not be juvenile/silly/psycho.

 

I'd rather see different options that would reflect the player's personality (or role play) instead of role play being limited to good and evil and the role play from the player amounting to justifications behind picking the blue or red option.

 

The dialogue between TNO and Ravel from Torment comes to mind: "This may not be *your* answer, but it is *my* answer."

Edited by Sabotin
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You meet an old lady with her cats in a hut (and she is known to love cats) and the "evil" option is usually something like this: slaughter (or torture) the cats in front of the woman and then laugh in her face.
In this situation what "evil" option would you prefer?

 

Not have one? Why should a selfish and ambitious character (i'm not using the word evil because "evil" and "good" are relative and bull**** terms, everyone justifies his actions in his mind) even bother with an old lady and her cats? Not every option MUST have an evil/good/neutral option. It's too gamey and by default can't be realistic.

Edited by Malekith
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@Sabotin, generally speaking I agree. However there is a use for metaphysical 'absolute' good and evil in cRPG's as well. For example, magic items or spell effects tied to it. A holy sword that deals extra damage against evil creatures, or an unholy aura that causes the good to despair are worthwhile narrative/game elements, but to make them work mechanically you need to know where you stand on the good-evil axis.

 

They're also much overused, and badly used, in computer games, so if P:E won't have them I won't miss them. But there is still a case to be made for an absolute morality meter. KOTOR/2 worked this into the narrative rather nicely actually.

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I also thought one could play as a pleasingly ruthless individual throughout most of the latest Obsidian games, MOTB, New Vegas, Alpha Protocol (indeed the magnificent bastard ending is very good and the final manipulation of Albatross very cold blooded,) even in Dungeon Siege 3 one could seize power rather than obey the wishes of Azunai. I don't really see this as being a problem with Obsidian games, have you played any of these OP?

 

I have to admit that New Vegas did indeed do a very good job of facilitating a fulfilling "evil" route. I have not played AP or DS3, but yeah, if anything NV is a good example of what the team at Obsidian should be aiming for in terms of depth of interaction and reactivity for an "evil" route. Contrast that with Fallout 3...which is a brilliant example of how not to handle roleplaying (i.e. juvenile, shallow, etc.). PST is indeed also a good example of how to handle fulfilling and deep "evil" routes (driven by in game/narrative motivations, and not solely player motivations).

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Take the very beginning. You get the option to slit the throats of some characters you dislike but who have not done you any actual harm. Which is a completely psycho move. No sane person would do that. A sane but cruel person might toy with them a bit to get back for the bullying, but that's it. That nets you 3 "evil points." Three. And Bevil just stands there and disapproves, then continues with you like nothing was the matter. You also get a spitload of "evil points" just by being pouty and impolite when demanding rewards for, oh, I dunno, saving a couple of kids from being eaten by wolves. Conversely you get 10 "good points" for sending in your Greycloaks to defend a village within your demesne against bandits -- even though, as the baron of the lands, that's your bleeping job, never even mind that keeping the lands safe is insanely profitable.

Honestly, given the **** you deal with from friendly NPCs in NWN2, I think becoming an omnicidal maniac is the only sensible response.

 

Callum: "You! Help fight these orcs!"

 

Me: "I don't take orders from you."

 

Callum: "Oh yes you do! While you're in my camp, I OWN you!"

 

What I wanted to do right there was just kill him and help the orcs take the camp, *just* for being such an uppity little ****stain. I was ****ing *pissed* in Act 3 when he gets killed by a baddie in a cutscene. I wanted to do it, god dammit! Can I at least mount his head up on my wall? No? **** you.

Edited by Micamo
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Correct me if I am wrong, but in my understanding there is no universal good-evil division in PE, but instead each faction have their own view of morality. And only "evil" creatures that you can found from the world are creatures that always attack you and even that is because of that they see you as food, enemy for their race, etc. or they are souls that are bounded on objects (mostly by ancient civilizations) to create guardians for places or things. Meaning that there is no absolute evil creatures (or people), which of course don't mean that there aren't any maniacs, psychopaths or criminals terrorizing people, but they aren't evil in metaphysical sense, but because how they act, and therefore some factions could see their actions justifiable and even good if they are targeted against factions that they oppose or are even in war against.

 

So playing evil (what that ever means, as I don't think there is one universal interpretation for it), should work as well if there is faction which moral code you interpret as evil, but I think that all factions, at least those factions which you can join will see themselves to be the good guys of the world. 

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Correct me if I am wrong, but in my understanding there is no universal good-evil division in PE, but instead each faction have their own view of morality. And only "evil" creatures that you can found from the world are creatures that always attack you and even that is because of that they see you as food, enemy for their race, etc. or they are souls that are bounded on objects (mostly by ancient civilizations) to create guardians for places or things. Meaning that there is no absolute evil creatures (or people), which of course don't mean that there aren't any maniacs, psychopaths or criminals terrorizing people, but they aren't evil in metaphysical sense, but because how they act, and therefore some factions could see their actions justifiable and even good if they are targeted against factions that they oppose or are even in war against.

 

So playing evil (what that ever means, as I don't think there is one universal interpretation for it), should work as well if there is faction which moral code you interpret as evil, but I think that all factions, at least those factions which you can join will see themselves to be the good guys of the world. 

That's what we are asking. More "cruel,selfish,ruthless,ambitious,sadist" and less"MUHAHAHAHA I'm the eater of worlds" evil.

More Tywin Lannister, less Joker.

Not that is imposible to a bat**** crazy character to exist, but it's imposible to roleplay such a character inside the narrative of the game, as such a person wouldn't give a **** about anything every other type of character yould care about.

Edited by Malekith
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While I do generally prefer playing a selfish, manipulative, devious, Machiavellian-if-The-Prince-is-all-you-know-about-Machiavelli villain, let's not reject the bad old kill-kittens-because-it's-fun stereotype as well. Yes, I'd generally prefer being Tywin Lannister, like Malekith said... but sometimes, you just want to be Gregor Clegane.

`This is just the beginning, Citizens! Today we have boiled a pot who's steam shall be seen across the entire galaxy. The Tea Must Flow, and it shall! The banner of the British Space Empire will be unfurled across a thousand worlds, carried forth by the citizens of Urn, and before them the Tea shall flow like a steaming brown river of shi-*cough*- shimmering moral fibre!` - God Emperor of Didcot by Toby Frost.

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The whole concept of having an "evil path" is juvenile though.

Well... not if it stays in quotey marks. ^_^

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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The older I get the less interested I am in playing at evil.

 

Evil, if made real or even slightly real, is the antithesis of roleplaying.

 

Evil is about being fixated in self, and not understanding or caring about anyone else.

 

Why the hell would you WANT a 'realistic' villain? It would be bloody awful.

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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I'll just say that I'd love to play an RPG once where I'm actually drawn towards a more morally grey character because I think it's the better path overall. Like, for the world, for the way my party treats me and everything.

 

As always I think the party is a good "micro-cosmos" for this. Each one represents a certain philosophy, certain ideals, they'll favor some factions over others and so on. So what usually happens is that you have to decide between them. As has been said here, siding with the good guys is usually the better option in the game, but even if it were the other way around I'd feel uncomfortable. What if my party would simply adjust their behavior to my actions?

Example: Alistair and Morrigan in Dragon Age Origins. I liked them both, but any choice I made always made me side with one of them while the other looked at me in contempt. It felt awkward. What if, instead of starting to dislike me, they'd simply start to quip more about my doesn't-take-****-from-noone or my goody-two-shoes behavior, respectively?

 

Everytime I try to write down how I feel about this I get the feeling that what I'm asking for is "no consequences for my actions", which is of course not what I mean... I think. So yeah, I can understand if people don't agree with me here, but maybe another positive example will get the notion across.

 

In The Witcher 2, you didn't have a party. But there were certain NPCs that acted as your companions in a way: Zoltan, Dandelion, Triss and Vernon. And I really liked the dynamic between them and Geralt. They respected each other even if they did not agree all the time, they all had their own agenda. Sometimes there was tension, but you never felt like you could screw it up with these NPCs.

That felt very natural. And you didn't actually miss out on anything (I certainly didn't mind that there was no huge drama between me and Zoltan for choosing different sides in the conflict, and don't think that it would've added a lot).

 

I kind of want this feeling again, and not just in my party, but also in the world as a whole. A feeling that my actions are respected by the game (not each and every faction in the game, mind you, but the game itself) as viable options, as they were respected by Zoltan et al. Because if not, then I'll surely play my usual (chaotic) goody-two-shoes again, and I'll feel a bit sorry for it.

 

(Oh well, this is what comes out when I start rambling about this issue. I hope some of you understand what I'm trying to get at.)

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