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Default Rampant Games - Can't I Be Just a Little Bit Evil?

December 7th, 2008, 15:38
Jay's latest post at Tales of the Rampant Coyote discusses moral choices in games. The opening:
A friend (Space Bumby) was complaining over the weekend about how her character in Fable 2 had been growing ever more pure because she wasn't eating meat. It annoyed her because not only does she not consider vegetarianism to be any kind of virtue, but her rationale was strictly aesthetic. She thought all that muscle was making her character look fat. Eating vegetarian foods - especially celery - lowered the bulk. Yet the game contributed arbitrary moral value to her actions.

What kind of moral or ethical decision is this? Scoring you because you eating your vegetables?
More information.
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December 7th, 2008, 15:38
Hmm. Okay, I'm not getting Fable 2 unless they fix that. It smells of utter failure in the good / evil scale and that is supposed to be a big part of the game.
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December 7th, 2008, 16:14
Originally Posted by Toothpaste View Post
Hmm. Okay, I'm not getting Fable 2 unless they fix that. It smells of utter failure in the good / evil scale and that is supposed to be a big part of the game.
You aren't serious right? It's hardly a game breaker.

I don't like how people always assume that a dumb program has to either anticipate your entire thought process for doing something, or that a fantasy world has be an exact copy of our world.

What if eating celery in the fable universe is considered a goodly act, and the more people that see you do it the better your world reputation is? That's surely a lesser stretch of imagination than demanding that a game know your minute reasons for doing everything.
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December 7th, 2008, 17:34
I am somewhat enjoying Fable but there are so many of these small poor decisions in implementation that it hurts the immersion level. This one is so small that I don't even care about it at all.
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December 7th, 2008, 17:49
It's a little weird that eating meat makes you evil. I can see where they are going with this thought, but it is still silly. I don't think anyone will ever make a perfect "good/evil scale" for RPGs. It doesn't and won't ever exist because everyones definition of good and evil is different. Like to some killing an animal to eat is an evil act and to others it isn't.

For good and evil the usual definitions are:

Good=help the weak and poor
Evil=help yourself at the expense of others

At least they're trying to break this model a little bit this time.

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December 7th, 2008, 18:10
@skavenhorde - I'm guessing you didn't play. Eating meat doesn't make you evil, it makes you fat in the game. (Yes, your character actually gets fatter, and people look down on you). Eating some foods (celery and tofu) gives you purity in addition to causing you to lose weight .

My take on this is: big deal. So eating right gives you a small purity bonus. It's clearly stated in the description, so if you don't want it to happen, then don't do it. Don't eat a lot of meat pies and you won't get fat. I think it fits quite well into the game world, and is just as good a way to clean off some evil than giving purified water to random beggars who won't get off their rears and find food.
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December 7th, 2008, 21:05
My god is this ever a minor complaint…..no wonder people look at us rpg fans as nut jobs.
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December 7th, 2008, 21:12
Okay, let's just get this straight: There are 2 "X vs. Y" sliders in Fable 2. the first is Good vs. Evil and that is pretty straight forward as in killing innocent villagers is evil and helping the the same bunch of villagers is considered good.

The second slider is Corrupt vs. Pure. This one is a little more obscure. Raising the rent or shop prices is considered corrupt and not evil and lowering them is considered pure and not good. Eating vegetables is considered pure because no animals were harmed in the process, whereas meat is considered corrupt. Fish is corrupt but not fattening and the only vegetable with bonuses to weight loss is celery.

Just thought I should set the facts straight before anyone starts complaining out of ignorance.

"Chess in particular had always annoyed him. It was the dumb way the pawns went off and slaughtered their fellow pawns while the kings lounged about doing nothing that always got to him; if only the pawns united, maybe talked the rooks around, the whole board could've been a republic in a dozen moves." - Commander Vimes in Thud! by Terry Pratchett
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December 7th, 2008, 21:24
Originally Posted by fatBastard() View Post
Eating vegetables is considered pure because no animals were harmed in the process, whereas meat is considered corrupt. Fish is corrupt but not fattening and the only vegetable with bonuses to weight loss is celery.
So do you become more "corrupt" when you kill garden-variety humanoids and monsters?
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December 7th, 2008, 23:07
As a total carnivore, I consider anything that promotes vegetarianism to be EVIL!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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December 7th, 2008, 23:24
"And the swine, because it divideth the hoof, yet cheweth not the cud, it is unclean unto you: ye shall not eat of their flesh, nor touch their dead carcase." Deuteronomy 14:8

I'm just putting that in as an example of this strange and wonderful morality. Nothing personal meant to carnivores or the vegetarian persuasion.
Last edited by woges; December 7th, 2008 at 23:36.
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December 7th, 2008, 23:37
With Jade Empire bioware claimed to have a new system, but it was basically the same, only now the names were Open Palm or Closed Fist. In those game I also feel sometimes that 'my' response isn't one of the options and I sometimes question if their Good and Evil options are as Evil or Good as the developer makes them out to be. I guess we are used to Bioware including such a Morality game. But does it really add anything? Okay, maybe a reason to increase the replayability?

I'd prefer a game where there are various factions, and how the regard you is governed by what you did for (or to) them. You either help them, do nothing or work against them. Your responses close off or open paths, but morality shouldn't be a part of it, they aren't all knowing and there shouldn't be a meter above your head that spells out your morality.

In some games you get respect from evil characters for, for example, stealing. Then when you steal from these evil characters they loose all the respect. Come on, shouldn't they expect you to steal from them or do they adhere to some kind of 'honour among thieves' system.

I do agree that in some games there should be a law system, Oblivion might be too rigid, since your bounty is automatically known in the whole continent. But I believe that in such a game it should be present.

I can understand that for a fantasy games (in which gods, who are presumed to be all knowing, play a role) a moral system might work. But how could fellow NPC's judge your Morality? I don't think you can use it as a system for how people regard you.

For such a system a Law system would suffice, but only the town where you committed the crime or the people who saw or caught you would know of it. To my knowledge fax machines and internet aren't a part of most fantasy worlds. And in this day and age those are the only way global law enforcement can potentially identify a criminal. Would you recognize a criminal if he sat next to you on the bus? Well, maybe if he was on most wanted. But with most criminals you wouldn't know it if he/she stared you in the face.

Now that I think of it, in fantasy games Priests and Clerics should probably be the only ones to 'see' and judge Morality. But then again not all Gods are Good or Evil.
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December 8th, 2008, 00:30
Wow! JuliusMagnus, that was like music to my ears.

Now then, if the factions were indeed aligned to good, evil or neutral gods (take three for example) who were in conflict between themselves and using the good or evil deeds of those factions to be judged (to pressure or influence) each of the other gods then indeed as you suggest morality would need be on a normal or common "human" baseline or denominator. This would fit in perfectly say with a hero "dropped" (sent?) into a world as the uninfluenced interacter for those gods. The hero would be the neutraliser or advocate, the mediator, the redeemer, a kind of eternal wanderer….?
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December 8th, 2008, 14:32
Why not punish you for eating anything that's alive? Why should we persecute vegetables simply because they do not have a face?! *rolls eyes*

Seriously though. It seems morality is based purely on the fact of whether or not you can relate to something. We comprehend when the cow is sufffering, so lets not eat that. But the vegetable is so different from us that we have no idea when it's suffering, so hey, let's go to town!

The only thing that would be truly pure would be 100% artificially created foods that were never "alive" in any sense of the word.

In regards to the game, this certainly wouldn't stop me from playing it. The $60 price tag does though.

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December 8th, 2008, 22:02
I'm tired of people applauding the inclusion of morality consequences in games, and then complaining about "arbitrary" distinctions where the game's morality doesn't match their own personal tastes. Earlier a review labeled the pro-vegetarian, anti-rent-gouging bias of Fable II as trendy (and tied in metrosexuals somehow, but the reviewer was really just lobbing words that imply "godless city folk"). But being greedy as a sin is not a recent development. Checketh thine bible, idiot. See if greed is in there as good or bad. See if there's anything the about the ease of a frigging camel passing through the eye of a needle relative to that of a rich man getting in to God-town.

And look, I don't care if you're a right wing carnitasticary, if you don't see the moral question involved in eating meat, if you seriously shut down any consideration in your mind of why it might be wrong, then you're either dumb or intellectually dishonest. I EAT MEAT, I mean most of us do because it's tasty. But I don't doubt for a second that it's a lousier way to live than vegetarianism. I'm just selfish and lazy and a little immoral.

Want to play a little game, unapologetic meat-eaters? OK. Is cannibalism wrong? If cloning worked and it turned out people are delicious, would it be ok to clone vast herds of people and use them as a food source? (If you say yes, then you win). If no, what if we jurassic parked some neanderthals? Would it be moral to clone herds of them for snacking on? If so, why? Is it because they can't talk, or is it because they don't have souls? What are you, an idiot? Anywho, keep going back down the evolutionary ladder for our species and tell us at which point it becomes ok to secret-island-clone herds of our tasty predecessor species and eat them. Explain why, and you win!

That notwithstanding, my point is there are real moral issues, and if a game is going to include morality-based consequences, then that game obviously has to take a stand on them. Don't dismiss the game's choice as trendy or arbitrary just because it doesn't jibe with your personal code.
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December 8th, 2008, 22:54
Originally Posted by skavenhorde View Post
Good=help the weak and poor
Evil=help yourself at the expense of others
As far as I have seen it's more like:
Good = Be naive, forgive everything including murder and genocide and accept no resources as thanks
Evil = Act like a borderline bipolar

The good/evil concept became popular with the KOTOR series. They didn't make sense then, they do not make sense now and real moral choices is nowhere to be seen (those in which there are no perfect answers, just choices and consequences).

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December 9th, 2008, 04:42
Nah, the good/evil concept has definitely been around longer than that, since Baldurs Gate at least, but I agree that it's never really been implemented well.

I wanted to do a replay of BG2 with an all evil party, but they didn't even put enough evil NPCs in the game to have a choice of who to include.
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December 9th, 2008, 05:17
There have been a few times Ive wanted to play a genuinely "evil" rpg char right out of the gate, but I cant ever seem to do it. I can work into it later, when i start getting grouchy over certain stupid npcs or bugs something and just start wiping people out because of it!

Dont make me go carnivorous on ya now, Molyneaux!
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December 9th, 2008, 13:02
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
Nah, the good/evil concept has definitely been around longer than that, since Baldurs Gate at least, but I agree that it's never really been implemented well. I wanted to do a replay of BG2 with an all evil party, but they didn't even put enough evil NPCs in the game to have a choice of who to include.
Baldur's Gate never really focused on the good/evil concept, but it did support the Dungeons & Dragons alignment system, including chaotic and lawful. The ending was really the same regardless what direction you took.
KOTOR/MassEffect/JadeEmpire really focused on the good/evil concept and saw it as one of it's main features. Regardless of your behavior, everyone seemed to continue to be your ally and continue to trust you no matter how psychotic you were. The focus on good/evil also meant that there were little room for developing an unique personality. If you normally play the game as a decent utilitarian you end up as semi-good, but the game simply doesn't care about the majority of the choices you did unless they are strictly good or evil. The Chatotic/Lawful system had much more depth in that regard.

I prefer when they deal with your stand on concepts like "justice", "freedom", discipline", "equality", "leadership", "sacrifice", "structure", "extremism" etc instead of black & white which is a rather inhuman concept really.

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An eye for an eye, and soon the whole world is blind. - Mahatma Gandhi
The world is my country. To do good is my religion. My mind is my own church. This simple creed is all we need to enjoy peace on earth. - Thomas Paine
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December 9th, 2008, 19:01
In TDE, there's a set of disadvantages you csan "buy" during the generation process to gain more points for skills etc. .

One of them is "being sought after". This can be I, II or III , depending on how far you are being searched for (as a character). While III is near to impossibly to play, because it covers the main part of aventuria, I and II are much better.

If they had been implemented in Drakensang, gameplay would've been much different.

That just as a note for "bounties" (on someone).

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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