The Daily Grind: Are MMO morality systems impossible to get right?

I know it’s an old hat at this point, but I’m still quite appreciative that Star Wars: The Old Republic made an effort to give my character choices in dialogue and story actions. I feel more attached to my characters as a result and enjoy having a say in transpiring events.

However, I also recognize that linking story choices with a morality meter (in this case, light vs. dark side) complicates matters. Players might vote against their inclinations just to get more points for a preferred side, for starters. Then there’s the issue of developers assigning choices as either good or bad; it’s easy when it’s a black-and-white decision, but more tricky when the issues are nuanced. What happens when a player strongly disagrees with a dev’s take on a quest and is penalized in-game for it?

Personally, I’d like to see morality systems get away from the good/evil dichotomy and hew more toward a multi-attribute setup, such as what Ultima X Odyssey was planning. So are morality systems impossible to get right or are they worth the hassle to code?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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