Puresophistry - Why a “Moral Choice” in Gaming Is Awful
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April 18th, 2013, 19:05
I agree to most of you who don't like the article and I also think that his "solution" to bad implementation is really bad.
I love to make choice in RPGs and I think there are several ways to do it. And people have different preferences to what they like.
In Dragon Age 1 they had tons of choices. But it somewhat felt like it was too "set up". I remember the situation where you could chose to use black magic and sacrifice the mother who volunteered for that - or make the trip to the mages tower. The problem is, that in this moment you think about how this game handles choices and it's mostly a good and a bad choice. And as they will probably will not implement two branches for the "go to the mages"-decision it will probably be the good choice. But I tried to decide how >I< would decice in this very situation without thinking about game mechanics. And I chose to use black magic. Because the risk of failure due to the long way to the mages guild was too high.
I think the developers should make it more open, maybe even more branched out. The problem is that the more branched out it is, the more work is invested in stuff only few people will ever see.
But I also like the very different approach The Witcher 1 took. In this game you made several decisions. There often were gray but you did not see the impact immediatly. Instead, you saw the influence of your decisions like 5h later. So it is no more "shit, I need to reload because the other decision would have been better for the world". You have to think about the impact beforehand (though it was hardly possible to predict the outcome of the decisions).
A very bad job was done by Skyrim imho. But in there you had smaller decisions within quests. Skyrim however did not show you the options and was inconsistent.
If I take a quest in such an open game like "to steal something", I want to have the option to turn the questgiver in. However in skyrim some quests didn't offer this moral decision, so every time you wonder "if I take this quest, will I be able to do it, or will it be stuck in my quest journal forever?". Skyrim did also a very bad job to show your options. A very good example was when being recruited by the assasins guild. How should you know that in this very situation you are able to kill the questgiver as a solution for the quest while in every other part of the game these are invulnerable and it will get you killed? Imho that was really bad design at multiple occasions.
But however you implement it, it would be worst to not implement them at all. I hardly remember the story of Dragon Age, Witcher or Mass Effect 2. But what I remember very vividly are lots of the small decisions I made and this is the stuff I still talk about today.
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