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August 31st, 2007, 21:15
Today, while browsing through my old Ultima 9 handbooks, I got an idea, or rather: a thought.

It occurred to me that this system of "Virtues" is basically non-existent in nowadays games. Reputation, yes, but not such a strong, strong emphasis on the Virtues.

Which led me to the thought that the designers of the Ultima series had something in mind that is totally different from what today's designers have in mind and/or their marketing section(s).

Which led me to the thought that when looking at the goals and implemented design decisions, we can "reverse-deduce" (from "reverse-engineer") what kind of things the marketing team and/or the game designers had mind mind.

Example Dungeon Siege:

- Didn't have any "Virtues".
-> Virtues were considered not important for this game/kind of gaming/game world
-> Virtues were likely not considered to increase the sales, otherwise they would've been implemented (regarding the current trend in gaming to implement everything that could boost sales)
-> What was actually considered to be important to the game's implementation ? Seemingly everything that a) could increase the sales/or/and would be "cool" to generate at least some attention (a game must generate some money nevertheless)
-> what's actually implemented in DS are fights, struff, and collecting, at the same time as a streamlined gameplay and easy level-up
-> this means that not Virtues, but instead lots of fighting and collecting were considered important to the game
-> this means that the game was developed to things that were considered "cool" in a certain type of player
-> could this mean hat Virtues are nowadays "dead", in favour of fighting, killing, upgrading ? To become a 1337 k1ll0r ?

-> does this finally mean there have been a complete shift of philosophies ? Are the Virues considered "weak" meanwhile killing is "strong" ? Are the Virtues "dead" because other factors have become more important ? Is this the symptom of a rather material point of view (at least in design decisions) ? There are no real (rather) "spiritual" elements nowadays implemented in most RPGs I know of. Except as a filler for more combat (abilities like the diverse Auras of characters, for example).
Does this mean that the implementation of the Virtues are considered merely a loss of money (during development) ?

The bottom note:
-> On the other hand, the Virues were considered important in Ultima …

This is what I had in mind. This is actually kind of a line of several thought, one leading to the next one.

I believe that by analysing games this way, we are able to deduce (via kind of thought-reengineering) the design decisions and maybe even the philosophy that stands behind a game - stands behing the fdevelopers and the appropriate marketing.

We could do so with the Ultima series as Well. They are unique in the use of the Virtues, and this is exactl the point which currently dies out. Non-materialistic vs. materialistic point of view.

I'd like to read some thoughts from you (and please try to remain rather serious, so no comments like "has he gone totally mad ???" please ).

Alrik Fassbauer is offline

Alrik Fassbauer

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