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Morality as a game mechanic

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I always thought of it as a rather cheap implementation of morality. Especially in SWTOR you have these cliche and shallow moral choices. Kill innocents/dont kill innocents. They increase/decrease your morality score, and you get certain things for good or bad morality.
I really don't see the "how far has morality come as a game mechanic in video games".
If the moral choices are better (than those in SWTOR) it can be good, but the little score (with item restrictions) is not what makes it good. It is the individual decisions that makes it good. If the score thingy was quite a bit better, then that might be a positive feature aswell.

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I found morality to be of greater importance, for instance, in Ultima Online. Karma and Fame may not have had much of an impact with NPCs, but it surely influenced your relations with other players.

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I like "the Witcher" solution.
There is no good or evil solution. Just the choice between the lesser evil!

Or in other words, someone lose either way.

Kotor Choices were funny because they were overdone! Like telling a bad guy its a good idea to protect orphans or playing factions against each other, thanks to your evil plane.

Deus Ex 2 was one system I really enjoyed. There was no good or evil, just your choice. You could swap your alliance at nearly any time. And there was always the third option! Example you have to retrieve a body. Done. Now the WTO call you and tell you to give them the body. You say no, of course. Now they threat you to kill your WTO mate if you don't come back and join them again. Ok, im coming! Betraying old faction, fight, taking body with me. But instead of giving the WTO the body, I free my mate.
The only reason I told them "im with you" was to get inside. I was not bound to finish the game as this faction.

So here is my solution.
Give the player the choice between the lesser evil, and offer them an unthinkable third way(like do it my way or the hard way)

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So here is my solution.
Give the player the choice between the lesser evil, and offer them an unthinkable third way(like do it my way or the hard way)


Yes, I think this might be the best solution of all. After all, it is the same way in real life, one action might be good for some and evil for others, so it would be best for the game not to label your actions in some way, but let you play as you think its best, given your interests.

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Bioware has traditionally had a very childlike view of morality, i.e. you're either good or you're bad. KOTOR 1 was awful for this to the point of hilarity although the Obsidian take on Bioware games (like KOTOR 2) tends to do the system at better. SWTOR suffers from this somewhat but I have found it is very dependent on the class you play (which I applaud by the way). A Sith Warrior and Bounty Hunter may both be "evil" but they are bother different kinds of evil, they may even cause similar situations to happen but will do it for very different reasons (the BH being money and the SW being bloodshed/power). It is true that some of the choices are very black and white but there are plenty I have found that are more complex.

The weakness of such systems tends to be how focused on morality the game becomes, everything is seen in black or white, good or bad, right or wrong because the player can be one or the other (not both) and, like you pointed out the blog, there is no benefit for staying "neutral". Simply allowing a neutral approach goes a long way to fix this I feel along with providing benefits for following that path (which tends to be shown as harder than leaning towards either good or bad in fiction).

The DnD universe has a very good alignment system from what I understand of it, if you allow it to be governed by the players actions. It allows player's to be more than one kind of evil, neutral or good allowing for a more "adult" approach to the whole thing.

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Morality shouldn't be a game mechanic.
Game's should let the players be free to do what they want.. Having morality as a game mechanic is like having "carebear" players roleplay as evil "badasses".

True evil in it's rawest form is a so called griefer.. Most players hate and are disgusted by griefers because they are evil..
The more you grief the more your name becomes known as a griefer... aka a very evil player.

That's way better than any silly game mechanic where a kind and good hearted "carebear" can be known as an evil player when he really is not.

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Morality shouldn't be a game mechanic.
Game's should let the players be free to do what they want.. Having morality as a game mechanic is like having "carebear" players roleplay as evil "badasses".

True evil in it's rawest form is a so called griefer.. Most players hate and are disgusted by griefers because they are evil..
The more you grief the more your name becomes known as a griefer... aka a very evil player.

That's way better than any silly game mechanic where a kind and good hearted "carebear" can be known as an evil player when he really is not.


I think it all depends how it is implemented. Providing a notoriety system that is merely a title, which could also indicate criminality to degree, isn't a bad thing. The characters actually have to earn negative notoriety by doing bad things, not just making "bad" choices that truly have no negative impact on the game.

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I've recently been thinking about an RPG game in which there is no set storyline; it's just about your life. And you will die. If you're not killed by bandits or royal guards, you will get old. And then you will die. And so the game would be a sandbox one in which the player can go wherever, do whatever, become whomever, and try to make the most of their life.

In the player's life, they would be performing actions and making choices. And so I was thinking of adding a relationships mechanic; similar to a morality one. Certain actions would modify a player's relationship with an NPC or group of NPCs. For example: I help an old lady cross the street. That NPC then likes me. I kill a royal guard. The royal guards no longer like me and wish to attack me; the peasants like me because they dislike the royal guard; the royal guard's family doesn't like me for obvious reasons. And so on. The relationship you have with someone alters your interactions. Going back to the examples previous; the old lady owns a fruit store, and she now gives me discounts. The royal guards have swords, and they now try to kill me. Make sense?

So this is KIND OF a morality system; the choices made by the player affect those around them.

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I've recently been thinking about an RPG game in which there is no set storyline; it's just about your life. And you will die. If you're not killed by bandits or royal guards, you will get old. And then you will die. And so the game would be a sandbox one in which the player can go wherever, do whatever, become whomever, and try to make the most of their life.

In the player's life, they would be performing actions and making choices. And so I was thinking of adding a relationships mechanic; similar to a morality one. Certain actions would modify a player's relationship with an NPC or group of NPCs. For example: I help an old lady cross the street. That NPC then likes me. I kill a royal guard. The royal guards no longer like me and wish to attack me; the peasants like me because they dislike the royal guard; the royal guard's family doesn't like me for obvious reasons. And so on. The relationship you have with someone alters your interactions. Going back to the examples previous; the old lady owns a fruit store, and she now gives me discounts. The royal guards have swords, and they now try to kill me. Make sense?

So this is KIND OF a morality system; the choices made by the player affect those around them.


Sounds good, Especially the no main storyline part.
I always found it so annoying playing a singleplayer rpg trying to be evil while the main storyline kind of forces me to be good.

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