I am sure that i am not the only one who tried in some rpg to play “the bad guy”, to get a bit of this mean Darth Vader style in my character. However, it seems to me that either game developers are unable to understand it, or they are trying really hard to teach us that we SHOULDN’T do it.
From my (long) experience in playing games and dissecting them, most RPGs tend to follow this pattern:
- Provide the player with a measurement of their alignment (karma, fame, etc…)
- Add or subtract points to this karma based on their actions.
- Tune NPC reactions to the player based on these karma values.
But very quickly (and this is the case for most RPGs) you starts to see a bias, choosing a good path tend to make the game easier for you and offer better rewards ( Aren’t good Peoples supposed to have very little self-interest?) while the evil path usually tend to be harder with, in some cases the inability to complete the game! (Fallout 2 I’m looking at you!). So here are a few questions:
- Why punishing the player for choosing the “wrong” path, why giving him the option to do so if it isn’t a real choice?
- Why considering that the only way to be a “bad” person is to act like a sadistic jerk devoid of motives?
- If you plan to create a karma system , why creating a system that is so simplistically retarded that the second you make something bad, with or without witnesses, not only the whole game world becomes aware of it, but also knows that YOU are the culprit?
It seems that most game designers simplify the idea that someone may make bad things in their game world to two reasons:
- Personal gain/greed.
- Joy of being a jerk.
If you plan to make so simple deductions (wich basically makes the player wish he did a good character) you might aswell forget entirely about implementing a karma system.
Most gamers are old enough, it isn’t the game designer’s pedagogic duty to teach us the virtues of goodness!