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"evil" choices, immersion, what (not?) to learn from IWD2

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Michael Thornton as the magnificent bastard in Alpha Protocol did almost exactly this.

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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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Mask of the Betrayer also did its evil path really, really well.

 

It really was the gold standard when it comes to evil paths. F:NV and AP also gave plenty of self serving, destructive and plain out nasty choices. However MoTB was the last chapter of the NWN2 character, FO:NV and AP were games that were story complete.

 

I'm not so sure PE will give an evil path, in a way it's a foundation of future games, to give an evil and good path in the beginning chapter would give Obs a lot of work to do in future installments presuming they do expansions and sequels. Self serving and destructive choices, yes. Actually being the villain like in MotB or AP, not so much, at least in the first PE installment.


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I can totally get down with this line of thought. I usually don't play a game through with an evil PC, but usually it's just because you have to be an idiot to think that it's going to get you anywhere, and most games it doesn't "feel" like a part of the game, you know? Like in DA:O I chose the God baby path because it felt like it was a legitimate choice, that a non-psychopathic person would make. It's not necessarily an evil path, but a pure white Knight kind of guy certainly wouldn't have done it.

 

A lot of IE games' evil paths are basically like "I kind of feel like stabbing/looting/insulting someone right now-anyone will do." which is usually not an evil character I would RP. I usually play good characters who have some tick or flaw, like they have anger problems and once mad will kill indiscriminately and regret later. Haha for example, the Wolf Among Us has some great opportunities for that kind of stuff.

 

But what it seems to me is that to "win" the game is going to be some sort of "save the world" but there will be opportunities for some non-psychopathic evil, possibly dealing around the random events in the strongholds?

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I can totally get down with this line of thought. I usually don't play a game through with an evil PC, but usually it's just because you have to be an idiot to think that it's going to get you anywhere, and most games it doesn't "feel" like a part of the game, you know? Like in DA:O I chose the God baby path because it felt like it was a legitimate choice, that a non-psychopathic person would make. It's not necessarily an evil path, but a pure white Knight kind of guy certainly wouldn't have done it.

 

A lot of IE games' evil paths are basically like "I kind of feel like stabbing/looting/insulting someone right now-anyone will do." which is usually not an evil character I would RP. I usually play good characters who have some tick or flaw, like they have anger problems and once mad will kill indiscriminately and regret later. Haha for example, the Wolf Among Us has some great opportunities for that kind of stuff.

 

But what it seems to me is that to "win" the game is going to be some sort of "save the world" but there will be opportunities for some non-psychopathic evil, possibly dealing around the random events in the strongholds?

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Icewind Dale games are dungeon crawlers, your parties motivation literally has no bearing on the game at all.  So yeah.., it sucks for an evil party, it sucks for any party to be honest unless your role playing a group of random do gooders whose only motivation is to do good and there is nothing else to them.  It is only of the reasons why it is not even close to the best IE games, despite being the best mechnically save maybe NWN2 (minus the bugs).

Edited by Karkarov

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Yeah I thought the voice acting and the story of id was very good and the combat really made it worthwhile. ID2 just seems too complex and I can never get through it. I always say BG trilogy was for the party interactions (especially with mods), planescape was for intense story, and ID for the combat.

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I think my favorite over the top evil moment was in SoU after you get the woman's kidnapped child from the Thayvian wizard. It summed up everything that was wrong with delineating actions along the D&D alignment spectrum. When you returned to the woman, your choices (if I remember, this was many many years ago) were:

 

1) Here is your child, I need no reward but the deed itself

2) Fork over the cash for the kid woman

3) KICK THE BABY

 

I mean, really. I kill a wizard, drag a baby in my backpack (still alive) across the frozen hills, just to kick it in front of its mother.

 

 

As an aside, I think there is a bit of worrying for not real reason here. NWN2 and MoB were the only two games where I ad a satisfyingly  role playing experience as an "evil" character (my LE tiefling warlock is still one of my favorites). MoB obviously being the better experience but the general plot, structure and opportunities in even NWN2 make me feel like I won't have much to worry about in this case.

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1) Here is your child, I need no reward but the deed itself

2) Fork over the cash for the kid woman

3) KICK THE BABY

 

Bioware morality choices in a nutshell. I know some people thought they did better with such things in DA:O and the Mass Effect series, but I still noted a recurring theme of 'do good and lose little to nothing or do evil without much benefit just because you're a sadistic ****.'  

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I'm not so sure PE will give an evil path, in a way it's a foundation of future games, to give an evil and good path in the beginning chapter would give Obs a lot of work to do in future installments presuming they do expansions and sequels. Self serving and destructive choices, yes. Actually being the villain like in MotB or AP, not so much, at least in the first PE installment.

 

It depends on where the second game takes place. If you do a BG2 and move the story a few thousand miles away, then any differences in the plot between villains and heroes might be fairly handled by the tried and true 'whatever your character says happened in dialogue is what happened' method without the need for too many major changes. Like Revan's gender and alignment being based on your first chat with Atton Rand.

 

I think it would be absolutely awesome if Obsidian made PoE so you could legitimately play a villain, as opposed to a guy who is still saving the world but just being a huge **** about it along the way, and we could follow that path from the first game in this series until the PoE equivalent of Throne of Bhaal. 

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For a true villain RPG you need a game that focuses on that. You cannot make a whole game have two real paths. I mean you could, but it would not be financially smart.

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For a true villain RPG you need a game that focuses on that. You cannot make a whole game have two real paths. I mean you could, but it would not be financially smart.

 

You wouldn't need two paths. Mask of the Betrayer taught us that. 

 

All you need is a central goal which is not intrinsically heroic or villainous. The spirit eater curse provided plenty of incentive for either a hero or a villain to find its source, since it was going to eventually devour your soul either way. Finding a way to rid yourself of it was morally neutral.

 

How you reacted to that curse, however, determined whether you were playing as a hero or villain. You could fight your impulses or give them free reign, help those around you or devour everything in your path. I wish the mechanics of that had been handled better, since it was indisputably less frustrating to reign in your hunger rather than dealing with your spirit meter constantly going down, but the principle was sound. 

 

Compare and contrast to the original NWN2, where the goal was to stop the King of Shadows. The simple question of why my Chaotic Evil Priest of Bane would give a fuzzy rat's arse about whether the King of Shadows swallowed up the Sword Coast was never quite answered. This was the central quest and you had to follow it if you wanted to keep playing. 

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So basicaly your motivations (read game goal) have to be personal, not global good


I'm the enemy, 'cause I like to think, I like to read. I'm into freedom of speech, and freedom of choice. I'm the kinda guy that likes to sit in a greasy spoon and wonder, "Gee, should I have the T-bone steak or the jumbo rack of barbecue ribs with the side-order of gravy fries?" I want high cholesterol! I wanna eat bacon, and butter, and buckets of cheese, okay?! I wanna smoke a Cuban cigar the size of Cincinnati in the non-smoking section! I wanna run naked through the street, with green Jell-O all over my body, reading Playboy magazine. Why? Because I suddenly may feel the need to, okay, pal? I've SEEN the future. Do you know what it is? It's a 47-year-old virgin sitting around in his beige pajamas, drinking a banana-broccoli shake, singing "I'm an Oscar Meyer Wiene"

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For a true villain RPG you need a game that focuses on that. You cannot make a whole game have two real paths. I mean you could, but it would not be financially smart.

 

You wouldn't need two paths. Mask of the Betrayer taught us that. 

 

All you need is a central goal which is not intrinsically heroic or villainous. The spirit eater curse provided plenty of incentive for either a hero or a villain to find its source, since it was going to eventually devour your soul either way. Finding a way to rid yourself of it was morally neutral.

 

How you reacted to that curse, however, determined whether you were playing as a hero or villain. You could fight your impulses or give them free reign, help those around you or devour everything in your path. I wish the mechanics of that had been handled better, since it was indisputably less frustrating to reign in your hunger rather than dealing with your spirit meter constantly going down, but the principle was sound. 

 

Compare and contrast to the original NWN2, where the goal was to stop the King of Shadows. The simple question of why my Chaotic Evil Priest of Bane would give a fuzzy rat's arse about whether the King of Shadows swallowed up the Sword Coast was never quite answered. This was the central quest and you had to follow it if you wanted to keep playing. 

 

MotB was a short game with bad combat and almost no exploration (and that terrible soul draining mechanics that I turned off with a mod after 1 hour of playing it). I don't want a full game based on what MotB had.

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MotB was a short game with bad combat and almost no exploration (and that terrible soul draining mechanics that I turned off with a mod after 1 hour of playing it). I don't want a full game based on what MotB had.

 

Even if that's how you feel, you're throwing the baby out with the bathwater. What do the combat mechanics and the lack of exploration have to do with the plot?

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MotB was a short game with bad combat and almost no exploration (and that terrible soul draining mechanics that I turned off with a mod after 1 hour of playing it). I don't want a full game based on what MotB had.

 

Even if that's how you feel, you're throwing the baby out with the bathwater. What do the combat mechanics and the lack of exploration have to do with the plot?

 

Probably not much, but I need to insert my rant about MotB somewhere :D

 

As for it being a good example for Evil campaign, not it was not. At least not by the example earlier given how an evil guy might become King. MotB only let you consume people with a arbitrary mechanic that said "oh now you are 2 point more evil because you pushed this same button again", and that is not much different than random minor quests in Baldur's Gate were you could lose some reputation if you chose an evil choice. 

It is still not a true Evil campaign. 

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MotB was a short game with bad combat and almost no exploration (and that terrible soul draining mechanics that I turned off with a mod after 1 hour of playing it). I don't want a full game based on what MotB had.

 

Even if that's how you feel, you're throwing the baby out with the bathwater. What do the combat mechanics and the lack of exploration have to do with the plot?

 

Probably not much, but I need to insert my rant about MotB somewhere :D

 

As for it being a good example for Evil campaign, not it was not. At least not by the example earlier given how an evil guy might become King. MotB only let you consume people with a arbitrary mechanic that said "oh now you are 2 point more evil because you pushed this same button again", and that is not much different than random minor quests in Baldur's Gate were you could lose some reputation if you chose an evil choice. 

It is still not a true Evil campaign. 

 

 

Actually, the really evil stuff is only available if you are consistently evil throughout most of the important plot points in the game, so I'd say it did a really fine job at that. I only really discovered what a magnificient bastard you could be in the final part of the game several years after release, which is a shame.

 

 

Like the part where safiya explains her selfish plot to you and then you just go and devour her loved one, the other parts of her personality and herself at the end? That was so awesomely over the top.

And of course, you could only do this because you ate the god of death itself beforehand. And in the end, you go through the multiverse to hunt down some gods. And you can totally eat everyone of your party to make a nice crown at the end.

That's like the epitome of evil.

 

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MotB was a short game with bad combat and almost no exploration (and that terrible soul draining mechanics that I turned off with a mod after 1 hour of playing it). I don't want a full game based on what MotB had.

 

Even if that's how you feel, you're throwing the baby out with the bathwater. What do the combat mechanics and the lack of exploration have to do with the plot?

 

Probably not much, but I need to insert my rant about MotB somewhere :D

 

As for it being a good example for Evil campaign, not it was not. At least not by the example earlier given how an evil guy might become King. MotB only let you consume people with a arbitrary mechanic that said "oh now you are 2 point more evil because you pushed this same button again", and that is not much different than random minor quests in Baldur's Gate were you could lose some reputation if you chose an evil choice. 

It is still not a true Evil campaign. 

 

 

Actually, the really evil stuff is only available if you are consistently evil throughout most of the important plot points in the game, so I'd say it did a really fine job at that. I only really discovered what a magnificient bastard you could be in the final part of the game several years after release, which is a shame.

 

 

Like the part where safiya explains her selfish plot to you and then you just go and devour her loved one, the other parts of her personality and herself at the end? That was so awesomely over the top.

And of course, you could only do this because you ate the god of death itself beforehand. And in the end, you go through the multiverse to hunt down some gods. And you can totally eat everyone of your party to make a nice crown at the end.

That's like the epitome of evil.

 

 

 

Or how about the part where you devour the soul of a bear god and then use its pelt to fuse together a mass of evil souls into a new companion? Then potentially let that companion devour other people you stumble across and add their souls to its collective? Great fun. 

 

All in all, Mask of the Betrayer was quite good at letting you play not just a villain, but really a character with just about any motivation ranging from pure altruism to complete selfishness. This was because the PC's drive to get rid of or master the spirit-eater curse, at the bare minimum for themselves, made sense for anyone and everyone. 

Edited by Death Machine Miyagi

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MotB was a short game with bad combat and almost no exploration (and that terrible soul draining mechanics that I turned off with a mod after 1 hour of playing it). I don't want a full game based on what MotB had.

 

Even if that's how you feel, you're throwing the baby out with the bathwater. What do the combat mechanics and the lack of exploration have to do with the plot?

 

Probably not much, but I need to insert my rant about MotB somewhere :D

 

As for it being a good example for Evil campaign, not it was not. At least not by the example earlier given how an evil guy might become King. MotB only let you consume people with a arbitrary mechanic that said "oh now you are 2 point more evil because you pushed this same button again", and that is not much different than random minor quests in Baldur's Gate were you could lose some reputation if you chose an evil choice. 

It is still not a true Evil campaign. 

 

 

Actually, the really evil stuff is only available if you are consistently evil throughout most of the important plot points in the game, so I'd say it did a really fine job at that. I only really discovered what a magnificient bastard you could be in the final part of the game several years after release, which is a shame.

 

 

Like the part where safiya explains her selfish plot to you and then you just go and devour her loved one, the other parts of her personality and herself at the end? That was so awesomely over the top.

And of course, you could only do this because you ate the god of death itself beforehand. And in the end, you go through the multiverse to hunt down some gods. And you can totally eat everyone of your party to make a nice crown at the end.

That's like the epitome of evil.

 

 

 

Or how about the part where you devour the soul of a bear god and then use its pelt to fuse together a mass of evil souls into a new companion? Then potentially let that companion devour other people you stumble across and add their souls to its collective? Great fun. 

 

All in all, Mask of the Betrayer was quite good at letting you play not just a villain, but really a character with just about any motivation ranging from pure altruism to complete selfishness. This was because the PC's drive to get rid of or master the spirit-eater curse, at the bare minimum for themselves, made sense for anyone and everyone. 

 

And that companion was more fun in SoZ where you could take all characters you run into to him to be devoured for a substantial XP gain. That was an real evil choice where you actually tricked people into joining you and going out of your way just to sacrifice them to him :)

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Neutrality is always more interesting than good or evil; "evil" is more simplistic than "good," and neutrality is closer to real human motivations than either. Forcing the game world to deal with the nigh-insurmountable whims of a chaotic neutral PC, that's what interests me. Not some [blank] Evil piece of garbage masquerading as a sentient organism, or a lawful good paladin of "justice," a real neutral party who is only interested in their own well-being. Those are the characters who are interesting.

 

Like Bunk said in The Wire: "A Man must have a Code." That doesn't mean good or evil, it just means personally. If the people Omar was robbing weren't "in the game" he'd classify as evil, but instead they make him into neutral. Stealing from the pushers to give to the junkies and take the profits for yourself? Pure, brilliant, beautiful Neutral.

Edited by AGX-17

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Bioware morality choices in a nutshell. I know some people thought they did better with such things in DA:O and the Mass Effect series, but I still noted a recurring theme of 'do good and lose little to nothing or do evil without much benefit just because you're a sadistic ****.'  

Well to be fair the reason they do better is because they basically took the choice away without being honest about it.  For example in ME you can't be evil.  Seriously you can't.  Now you can be a really big jerk face prick, but you are still a good guy fighting for good, trying to save humanity.  You are just being a little bit of a douche about it.  There is only one moment in three games where you can arguably do something clear cut evil and that is when Samara is fighting her daughter, you can choose to help the daughter and not Samara.  That is the one time Bioware lets a Chaotic Stupid decision slip into the ME games.

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^ Well, that's pretty much the deal with all story-driven RPGs that support evil choices but have no alternative endings - you can play the assdouche all you want during the game, but in the end you still have to conform with the storyline. On the other hand, if you want to have alternative endings, you've got to have at least some form of alternative routes to these endings (otherwise you get the endings to Arcanum), which is resource-heavy and may cause problems with story coherence. That's why I'm somewhat inclined to cut such games some slack.

Now, if devs were to advertise their games with the "your choices shape the world and your own destiny" slogan...


Nothing gold can stay.

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^ Well, that's pretty much the deal with all story-driven RPGs that support evil choices but have no alternative endings - you can play the assdouche all you want during the game, but in the end you still have to conform with the storyline. On the other hand, if you want to have alternative endings, you've got to have at least some form of alternative routes to these endings (otherwise you get the endings to Arcanum), which is resource-heavy and may cause problems with story coherence. That's why I'm somewhat inclined to cut such games some slack.

Now, if devs were to advertise their games with the "your choices shape the world and your own destiny" slogan...

Not true, both BG games allowed you to be Evil and do what you do with Evil intention. Both games didn't deal with saving anyone but yourself or your friends. And you got to decide your motivations for it, not the game. 

It was still not the kind of Evil what people earlier talked about but for sure it was more evil than DAO or ME series.

 

NWN2 could have also accomplished this if the game after giving you the Keep offered you a way to deal with devils for power rivalling Shadow King and then the last mission would be about getting rid of the competition and not about saving everyone.

Edited by archangel979

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^ Well, that's pretty much the deal with all story-driven RPGs that support evil choices but have no alternative endings - you can play the assdouche all you want during the game, but in the end you still have to conform with the storyline. On the other hand, if you want to have alternative endings, you've got to have at least some form of alternative routes to these endings (otherwise you get the endings to Arcanum), which is resource-heavy and may cause problems with story coherence. That's why I'm somewhat inclined to cut such games some slack.

Now, if devs were to advertise their games with the "your choices shape the world and your own destiny" slogan...

Not true, both BG games allowed you to be Evil and do what you do with Evil intention. Both games didn't deal with saving anyone but yourself or your friends. And you got to decide your motivations for it, not the game.

 

Me and you must have played different versions of Baldurs Gate 1. Because the one I played was most definitely about saving the sword coast, not yourself. Unless you think the Iron shortage was about you - or that Seravok's attempts at starting a war with Amn was really about starting a war with you.

 

 

As for BG2.... well, that one is a little more interesting because it juggled multiple motivations. It begins with a plot that's very much centered around you, then it shifts to being about saving Imoen, then it becomes about Saving an elven kingdom. then it goes back to being about you.

 

 

PS: IMO, BG1 didn't allow for very interesting Evil gameplay. The game didn't really take evil seriously. Aside from being able to Flood the cloakwood mines with the slaves still in it (LOL that WAS delicious), the only other evil choices you got were simply being able to murder innocents... which just caused everyone to turn hostile on you, thus breaking your game.

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No, at no point were you tasked to save the Sword Coast. That could have been your motivation and probably was if you were good but if you were evil you might as well just wanted to kill Sarevok who obviously wanted you dead. He also wanted to become God which would take your heritage away from you and as a Evil character you could not allow that. 

 

The start of the game is a bit good, but you could just be a adventurer at that time and do this stuff for a reward and allies and power that would allow your Evil person to accomplish Evil goals later. Also there were bounty hunters trying to kill you at every step and any Evil character would not ignore that and try to find out who is sending them and why.  

By the time your character has amassed enough power to start making evil plans you find out about Sarevok and that Iron Throne is trying to kill you. Of course a Evil person is going to take care of that first. 

Edited by archangel979

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