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View Full Version : Allow Alignment-Based Decisions to Matter



samthedagger
05-23-2010, 07:23 PM
I recently bought Delara's Graveyard. I've been going through the quests to grab the Voice of the Master for all my toons. Well, today I decided to run Valak's Mausoleum and I have to say I'm a little perturbed. The book at the end was all kinds of evil. Seeing how I'm playing a neutral good cleric, I decided there's no way I'd let such a thing continue to exist, so when talking to Dead Girl for the end reward, I destroyed it. Now I'm not expecting something awesome in exchange for my decision to "do the right thing," but to get completely screwed out of any end reward because I made an alignment-based decision is pretty ridiculous. At the very least there ought to be a small bonus XP, even something like 100 measly points, for the decision to ameliorate the loss of end reward.

This isn't the only time I've been a bit put off by a quest. Purge the Heretics in House Phiarlan has you attacking unarmed commoners who scream "They were only trying to help us! Is that so wrong?" Now if I were a lawful neutral or lawful evil follower of the Silver Flame, sure, there's some sense that killing heretics is okay. But if I were playing a good character of any ethos (chaotic, neutral or lawful), there is no way I would undertake such a quest. Matter of fact, I would probably go and warn the commoners and elf priests that some over-zealous Silver Flame priest wants them dead and offer to protect them.

I understand that doing the right thing isn't always as rewarding as being evil in real life. I'm fairly certain wicked people make up the majority of the world's wealthiest people. But this is a game about heroism. There should be some commensurate reward for making a decision based on alignment. Give me experience points for roleplaying the right decision if the alternative is to get no monetary reward. Give me an alternative quest so I can still gain the same amount of favor with a different group if I choose to turn on the quest giver. There shouldn't be any quests in the game that require you to be act evil just to complete it. Purge the Heretics falls squarely in that category. If there were an alternate quest where you helped the elf priests and commoners escape from the dungeon, then had to escape yourself by battling your way through Silver Flame zealots back to the entrance, that would be great. It wouldn't even be that hard to program if you kept the same stats for the priests and just changed their names from elf priest to Silver Flame zealot. Then offer favor with House Deneith instead of the Silver Flame or something like that.

I actually refuse to do that quest with my halfling rogue because the quest specifically requires you to kill halfling mercenaries, and halflings gotta stick together you know?

Anyway, I really hope the devs come up with some alternative reward system for doing the right thing. It sucks to choose the heroic option and get completely screwed for it.

splinterx
05-23-2010, 07:28 PM
well it makes sense but, just think about it. you have a huge mmo that is extremely complecated. alainment based desicions work for nwn because its one player but past that it would take a huge amount of time and resourses to code for every possibility that could arise.

samthedagger
05-23-2010, 08:02 PM
I'm not asking for much. And it isn't like there aren't already alignment-based decisions. They just usually end up screwing you over. Take Valak's Mausoleum. You have the option to destroy the book at the end. But if you do, all that happens is you get screwed out of the end reward. Award 5% bonus XP for the adventure if you choose to destroy the book. It's not complicated to offer one of two mutually exclusive decisions. Make it an optional inside the quest. When you pick up the book, it tells you it's evil, so give the option to destroy it inside the quest. If so, you get the bonus xp. If not you get the end reward.

In fact, there are a couple quests I can think of that do allow you to make some decisions like what I'm talking about so I know it's possible. Sharn Syndicate has a quest that grants bonus XP if you complete it without killing the bank guards and more bonus XP if you don't loot the vault.

And it isn't like there are that many quests in which it would make sense to allow an alignment-based decision. I've run into two so far. Out of the content I've played that's probably 1% of the game.

Antheal
05-23-2010, 08:06 PM
it would take a huge amount of time and resourses to code for every possibility that could arise.


I'm not sure I follow. There'd be a "good" way to complete some certain quests and an "evil" way to complete these few.

rezo
05-23-2010, 08:07 PM
/sign, good idea i like it.

Uryamore
05-23-2010, 08:40 PM
I'm not sure I follow. There'd be a "good" way to complete some certain quests and an "evil" way to complete these few.
Which ignores the active, intense neutrality of certain characters.

For the most part, DDO characters are mercenaries, kill stuff and get paid. A few quests with multiple endings based on learning that the situation is not as advertised is fine (or even multiple paths in one quest, like the second to last in the Catacombs), but I do not want Haverdasher's Scorpion Hunt to have 6 outcomes that will reward you fully only if you pick the right one for your chosen character alignment.

samthedagger
05-23-2010, 08:45 PM
Which ignores the active, intense neutrality of certain characters.

For the most part, DDO characters are mercenaries, kill stuff and get paid. A few quests with multiple endings based on learning that the situation is not as advertised is fine (or even multiple paths in one quest, like the second to last in the Catacombs), but I do not want Haverdasher's Scorpion Hunt to have 6 outcomes that will reward you fully only if you pick the right one for your chosen character alignment.

I'm not asking for anything even remotely like that. Maybe you didn't read my post carefully. The main point is that I want the few existing alignment-based decisions in the game to make a difference other than "no reward for you." And it would be nice if they also added an alternative for good characters in Purge the Heretics.

Devonian
05-23-2010, 08:50 PM
Cannot agree more, Purge the heretics needs to be 2 quests, the one for the flame as is, and the one for the Hoast, who let us not forget no small number of clerics and paladins in game affiliate with these days, and who are the settings default good aligned pantheon.

Rakian_Knight
05-24-2010, 04:29 AM
I love this idea, mainly beacause of the way that I play. I don't role play but I play the character as a character instead of a bunch of maxed out specs. The best example I can give is with my level 20 Pale Master Wizard. He constantly wears the Talisman of the Vol, instead of the one from the silver flame (from Necropolsis) because of him being a necromancer who charms and dominates the people around him. I would love to see a system that would allow people who played to a certain alignment to have more then just a kick in the face.

Rubiconn
05-24-2010, 08:07 AM
My input on this is be careful- first you have alignment based decisions, then what about race decisions, would a drow kill a drow, elves kill elves etc. It may get too complicated to add that much realism and choice into a game, I know understand that in pnp you can make more alignment based decisions but those are still based on your personal bias' and feelings or what you may perceive as a lawful good decision or chaotic evil or true neutral.

Lordress
05-24-2010, 08:12 AM
/signed! with a capital S

Regarding Purge the Heretics..i did it once, kept waiting for the "punchline" as it were. You know, maybe silver flame guy was really a bad guy and you get to "get" him ect..never happened. By the end of the quest, i was pretty upset, and felt rather...dirty. So yeah, i'd have preferred some way to 'do the right thing' here. Same with the dead girl's book. If you have worked in the option to destroy it, then surely you can work in some kind of compensation for doing so. What's the point of making players choose an alignment, if they MUST go against it to complete or get rewarded for quests? (yeah yeah, doing the right thing should be it's own reward..phllt!)

Or just make it possible to have evil player characters, and these two quests can be part of 'their' base quests.

Drakos
05-24-2010, 08:30 AM
My input on this is be careful- first you have alignment based decisions, then what about race decisions, would a drow kill a drow, elves kill elves etc. It may get too complicated to add that much realism and choice into a game, I know understand that in pnp you can make more alignment based decisions but those are still based on your personal bias' and feelings or what you may perceive as a lawful good decision or chaotic evil or true neutral.
It's more complicated than that in PnP. You need to play the character to the DM's vision of what the alignment is, or your alignment will eventually shift to what the DM preceives you are playing.

As to the OP. I actually agree and think that this would enritch both the RP people and the Hack-n-Slash people. If your RP than you are getting more out of the game, if' you H&S more quests, more fun.

I would love to see some more mutually exclusive content, like the tww talisman people in the Necropolis. Maybe even exclusive quest chains. It's not like they have to add all the options at the same time, just as they add new content, think about adding some with alignment consideration.

More content is hardly a bad thing either way, so why not allow for alternate versions of quests where you are supporting the opposite view-point than the original? As it stands the alignment is primarily ignored except to restsict class choices and Magic Item usage.

thwart
05-24-2010, 08:35 AM
/signed


I totally agree with this. I also destroyed the spell book because that is what a good character should do. Of course, an evil character should not reward me for destroying the book but I do believe that an xp bonus should have been given.

The way this quest is set up, it just seems like a way to punish players for roleplaying a character. If the quests aren't going to reward roleplaying your character properly then do not give me the option to "do the right thing." Why is it important to make the book evil? Just make it a spell book and give everyone their reward. To be totally honest, I was glad I destroyed the book even though I did not get an end reward but I still totally agree with the sentiment of the OP.

As far as Perge the Heretics, I view this one a little differently. Those "innocent" people are probably only saying what they are saying because they have been caught. So I really did not have a problem with that quest. Had I not burst into their temple with more swords blazing, they would still be practicing their heretical religion. So I did a job well done.

Antheal
05-24-2010, 08:39 AM
Had I not burst into their temple with more swords blazing, they would still be practicing their heretical religion. So I did a job well done.

And if your character was a Cleric, Paladin or Favoured Soul of the Sovereign Host...?

thwart
05-24-2010, 08:43 AM
And if your character was a Cleric, Paladin or Favoured Soul of the Sovereign Host...?

Fortunately I am neither of those things ... otherwise, I would have held my head in shame.

I am also not a halfling ... perhaps that is why I always enjoy fighting those little buggers. :)

Drakos
05-24-2010, 08:50 AM
I actually refuse to do that quest with my halfling rogue because the quest specifically requires you to kill halfling mercenaries, and halflings gotta stick together you know?
Naw, halflings can kill other halflings, especially if they are heritics. That's why the Halfling race will eventually rule the world (openly, we already rule it behind the sceans), we are constantly weeding out the lesser members of our gene pool. :eek:

Memnir
05-24-2010, 08:58 AM
Unfortunately, a meaningful alignment system would have had to have been in the game from day-one.

In addition, the world of Eberron was made so that alignment was often a murky thing. Even though Purge the Heretics is always mentioned in these types of threads - it's actually a great example of how alignment is handled in Eberron.

I agree that alignment would have been a great thing for the game to have built up more than it is - but I think it's very unlikely to be wedged in and much of the game's content overhauled at this point.

Uryamore
05-24-2010, 09:33 AM
The main point is that I want the few existing alignment-based decisions in the game to make a difference other than "no reward for you."Some of them do, and in the case you cite it is entirely appropriate to get nothing for betraying your quest-giver.
And it would be nice if they also added an alternative for good characters in Purge the Heretics.The "good" alternative is not to go.
In many games, the way to make a moral challenge to a player is to give them stuff for evil actions and make good actions costly. In many single-player environs, this culminates in an epilogue where the evil players are assassinated in the dead of night and good players are later granted fame and adoration from the populace. The point is to remind people that good actions don't always pay off now, yet that is what you are asking for.

thwart
05-24-2010, 09:42 AM
Some of them do, and in the case you cite it is entirely appropriate to get nothing for betraying your quest-giver.The "good" alternative is not to go.
In many games, the way to make a moral challenge to a player is to give them stuff for evil actions and make good actions costly. In many single-player environs, this culminates in an epilogue where the evil players are assassinated in the dead of night and good players are later granted fame and adoration from the populace. The point is to remind people that good actions don't always pay off now, yet that is what you are asking for.


I slightly disagree with this. With Dead Girl, you should get no reward for destroying the book but you should get an experience point bonus for playing in character. I do not think that would be difficult to implement. I guess some of this depends on your definition of "pay off".

Alabore
05-24-2010, 10:03 AM
/Signed.

Purge the Heretics is a quest I can't quite connect with.
First time I ran it, I felt like I was murdering innocents; religious grounds for doing the deed only made me feel worse about it.

I guess I am one of those "crazy" rpg folks who tend to sympathise with fictional characters.

...

VON3 is another quest that makes little sense to me, plot-wise.
Are we supposed to save this Drow character from external harm, or slaughter her whole tribe for a lack of communication skills...?
And why are they throwing their lives at us, a comparatively minor threat, instead of parleying and joining forces vs the common foe?

...

Back to topic: I see the point in keeping it simple. Complexity fosters bugs, but some extra choices are always welcome.

I don't mind missing some non-critical loot if it allows me to play my char the way I envision it.
The way DDO works, I could repeat the quest following optimal path for full loot.

...

In a way, we are already playing our alignment by choosing which quests we should tackle first.
Early to mid level is not starved for xp, especially p2p.

I would not mind seeing some mutually exclusive choices for favour or rewards, at least early on, when working on our first couple favour ranks with houses.

Extra quests being added to game mean we wouldn't miss out on favour anyway, making exclusive choices viable and more rewarding to rpg players.

:)

TheMeanDM
05-24-2010, 11:22 AM
Agreed.

Alignment *should* mean at least a little bit of something....more than what weapon or armor or item you can (or can't) use.

Give XP for destroying the book.

Change the Good/Neutral/Evil alignment of the character "down" one step if they don't destroy the book.

Give an evil-aligned weapon/etc for giving it to her.

All sorts of "easy button" options to incorporate that won't tax the programmer's brains too much :)

SardaSlayer
05-25-2010, 12:02 PM
/signed

I really appreciate a little variety in quest driven games.

Being able to answer NPCs in character encourages me to read the dialog and participate more in it. If I can only sound like a religious zealot when speaking to an NPC then I stop reading and just click default answers to get through the speech.

Also, different consequences for a choice of action actually makes it a choice (programatically, if both paths after a decision are the same then the decision is redundant). I agree with being rewarded to follow alignment of the character but since Eberron has such a murky take on alignment that would be difficult. I prefer instead to expand the story that is provided in game with my own alignment justification.

For example with Delera's, you could envision that the quest giver is an enemy of your enemy and currently the under dog. So by giving him the book I balance the power and there by cause greater loses for both sides. Win for me when I go in and mop up the remainders of both sides.

cdemeritt
05-25-2010, 01:01 PM
While I agree I'd like to see more alignment based choices that are meaningful, I also agree at this point it will be difficult to shoehorn into the game.

The Church and the Cult is often one of the more talked about Quests when this discussion comes up, because of some of the more obvious moral issues it raises... But it goes even deeper than that... A Lawful Good Cleric, Paladin, or FvS of the Sovereign Host, you should not even be able to run this quest, after all they are of "your" faith, and you have sworn to protect... Yet if you are a follower of the Silver Flame, you should have little problems with this quest, as and heretics must be put down... Yet if you are simply a lawful good Fighter, Arcane, or other, you wouldn't have the religous zealotizim required to Murder unarmed commoners in their church... and I'd see issues here, we call people who do this evil... Now for solo play, there could be changes made to allow a Sovereign Host Paladin to get the commoners out or some other such mechanic, but, how would it work when you put a party together? It would be a mess. In P&P The live DM could make changes and decisions on how to make this work based on party makeup, however, here it isn't so easy.

However, make alignment based decisions may be very difficult to encode... but making more choices available in quests would be nice... Shavarath sort of starts this... Sins Of Attrition, you can pick the end boss to fight, and before the end fight there are 2 people and a choice... rescue them or let them die... one gives you an extra chest, the other a shrine... This quest is still pretty basic even with these choices, but it is a step. I think back to the "choose your own Story" books I had growing up, and would like to see more of this in the dungeons vs the current basically straight forward dungeons we have now. This could let the RP'ers RP, not really interfere with Hack& slashers, and give a feel of playing alignment without it having to be encoded...

Angrygreek
05-26-2010, 11:48 AM
/signed

People are making this seem far more convuluted than it is. It really isn't anymore complicated than tracking favour with the various houses and organizations around Stormreach. Instead of tracking favour, the game could simply be tracking alignment. This gets issuous though. Paladins MUST be Lawful Good. If they deviate, they stop being paladins until they atone properly. This would be messy to implement into game dynamics (although, I must say, quite fun). Ditto for a monk's need to be Lawful. Let's be honest, running through dungeons haphazardly smashing crates and barrels to bits for sh*ts and giggles isn't most people's idea of a 'Lawful Good' act. Therein lies the rub, as much as I love PNP D&D (over 30 years under my belt), you cannot directly translate it into an MMO, it won't work. Best to capture the flavour (which Turbine has done very successfully) and move from there.

Still, I'd like to see some implementation for alignment based decisions and the rewards / penalties based on them.

Antheal
05-26-2010, 08:40 PM
Let's be honest, running through dungeons haphazardly smashing crates and barrels to bits for sh*ts and giggles isn't most people's idea of a 'Lawful Good' act.

Well that could just be a part of the required party dynamic.

You need a rogue for traps and the associated exp bonus, a rogue or wizard for locked doors & chests, and a chaotic or neutral character for smashing things for the associated exp bonus...