Global Chat: The problem with being bad in MMOs

    
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I'm an excellent fighter.

Have you ever felt weirdly reluctant to go the full “dark side” in a video game that offers morality meters? MMO blogger Yeebo Fernbottom definitely relates to this in Star Wars: The Old Republic. Sometimes, it’s way harder to be bad than be good.

“This leads to a problem I tend to have with dark side and evil choices in games that have dialogue trees,” Yeebo said. “They tend to make very little sense. It’s hard to imagine a realistic character that would kill every single person they can, be rude absolutely all the time, or NPCs that would want to have anything to do with them.”

Continue on for more MMO essays, including a scathing indictment of Blizzard Activision, glowing praise for Animal Crossing, the non-stop action of City of Heroes, and more!

Fine, whatever.

Misdirections: The Candy Crush factor

“It was then that it began to dawn on me that this was something we would be living with forever in WoW, because Activision Blizzard was convinced that the Candy Crush model (from their acquisition of King) was part of the wave of future gaming, and by god, every franchise was going to get involved in it.”

Virtual Bastion: I still can’t get enough of Animal Crossing: New Horizons online

“I think the online portion of Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the absolute best part of the game. Everything about the game is enhanced by plugging into the online Animal Crossing community. Ever since the game came out, I’ve been on there discovering all new possibilities for the game and enjoying interactions I never thought I’d have!”

Inventory Full: A little something on account

“All of which is a very long preamble to explain how it was that I came to be logging in seven accounts this morning, five of which haven’t seen daylight for several years. My goal was to secure for each of them the very excellent Great Escape Crate that I mentioned a couple of days ago. I’m not sure if the offer is time-limited but better safe than sorry. Wouldn’t want to miss out on something I’m never going to use on characters I’m never going to play. Forget the irony, just give me the stuff!”

Going Commando: Character boost

“Obviously I’m biased because I generally enjoy leveling, but my point is more that even if you don’t, time to level isn’t the only thing standing between you and that mythical fun at endgame: there’s also knowing how to play your class, feeling invested in your character and the game, and more, and none of those things are included with the price of that level-up token.”

Material Middle Earth: Happy anniversary

“It’s been a great time for LOTRO too, thanks to Minas Morgul. It might not be the perfect expansion, but it’s the best content LOTRO’s seen in ages. The landscape offers the right amount of challenge without discouraging casual players. The higher tiers of most endgame dungeons and raids have been very satisfying in the hardcore community.”

24 Hours In: Go, go, go!

“Going from Lord of the Rings Online to City of Heroes is a very distinct change of pace. Even in the most intense moments – say in the instance I closed out my last run on – LOTRO is measured and methodical, certainly on the defensively spec’d warden I’ve been playing. City of Heroes is a very different experience. Especially on a Brute.”

Every day there are tons of terrific, insightful, and unusual articles posted across the MMO gaming blogosphere — and every day, Justin reads as many as he can. Global Chat is a sampling of noteworthy essays, rants, and guides from the past few weeks of MMO discourse.
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hooby _

I don’t like morality systems for a very specific reason: they only work for settings where dichotomy of good and evil is actually a thing.

But if the game world is supposed to be a more morally ambiguous, shades-of-grey kind of affair, then no choice is ever as simple and clear cut as good or evil. And that’s exactly where those choices start to actually get interesting.

Mewmew
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Mewmew

I don’t like how the morality system works really in SWTOR anyway. It doesn’t make sense in a lot of places.

For instance, if you want to do the smart thing and leave this captured turncoat alive so that they can get all sorts of information out of him, that ends up being a “light side” choice because you left him alive. They’re going to torture all the information you can get out of him for long periods of time and then kill him in the end when they’re done, how is that the “light” choice? Just because he lives for now? It’s not going to be a good life he’s living. Also, it’s a terrible strategy to have someone you can get so much information out of and just kill him, but if you want to follow the Dark path, you have to do so. Choices like that irk me. It’s looking at the very moment right there for picking light or dark rather than the big picture.

If I save a villain go who is going to go kill thousands of people after, why is that a good side choice? My choice to intervene and save them is going to cause countless people to suffer and die so that I may stop one evil person from dying at that moment. How is that a light choice? “Because you don’t know that he’s going to do that, that is his choice.” Yeah, what’s the story about the frog and the scorpion? We do know they’re going to do it. It is who they are, their nature.

Dani Reasor
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Dani Reasor

It really does depend in the arbitrary design of the choices offered. If your Bounty Hunter character’s concept is “honest mercenary who always completes a contract,” you end up in a dark place, but that’s because the jobs you’re offered are murders for hire instead of, say, hostage rescue missions.

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Tee Parsley

On SWTOR I played my Inquisitor with a concept: Ex-slave Twilek Sith who embraces the hate (though is really a Revanite); but the hate is focused on the Sith Empire. Always do whatever would weaken or cause trouble to the Empire. In their trinary moralist system that lead to grey, but as a convert to Revan, that’s okay.

Dani Reasor
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Dani Reasor

I’m always nice to other real players.

If we’re talking about a SWTOR type situation that is so heavily phased that a Maximum Douchebag playthrough doesn’t inconvenience other players in any way, then sure, burn that space orphanage to the ground. Those children were all werewolves, for all anybody knows. You’re welcome, galaxy.

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Kero Kero

What tilts me is games with PK/Open world PvP that actively punish you for participating in. Like “lol u can pvp if you want…but go f–k yourself if you do :)” and then shut you out of a bunch of content for x time.

Mewmew
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Mewmew

Those looking to cause grief are the only ones who enjoy those types of systems. The PvE players don’t enjoy it, because griefers who don’t care still just PK anyway. The more honorable PvP players don’t like it because it kills major parts of the game for them and restricts PvP in a way they wouldn’t normally need it restricted (being that they’re looking for real PvP fights and not to just grief newbies). The griefers don’t care about the game systems as much, they just want to cause misery and screw with people. And that still lets them do that.

It’s a ridiculous system that doesn’t make anybody happy other than the people who just want to screw with others. Yet a lot of games use the system.

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Kero Kero

In the majority of the games where open-world PvP/PK exists, it is something you knowingly accept in the form of either

1. Choosing the server.
2. Going to a specific area that this is possible in, where you go in with the expectation of mixed content.

I don’t think open world pvp is strictly limited to griefers. I’ve played the spectrum from mostly PvE games with PvP just for the sake of having it, to almost strictly PvP with PvE as a centralization tool. I think in highly PvE focussed games where PK is possible but not really a primary point of the game’s appeal, I agree it’s mostly just people doing it for the sake of making things unpleasant for others.

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Life_Isnt_Just_Dank_Memes

What makes even less sense is playing a Jedi in a game like SW:ToR and cutting a swath through every character. Would have been great if you could actually be diplomatic and have lots of non-violent solutions to problems as a choice. I guess most devs don’t trust that we want that.

Random MMO fan
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Random MMO fan

No, they are too lazy to offer that.

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Jokerchyld

I’m more like chaotic neutral than evil. I am a soldier of the light, but I might steal or kill someone I dont like if the situation calls for it.

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jinarra

Saw a quote semi-recently about this. “My no-consequences fantasy is BEING ABLE TO HELP EVERYONE.”

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Sorenthaz

Have you ever felt weirdly reluctant to go the full “dark side” in a video game that offers morality meters?

Nah. I’m used to ‘Evil’ morality being the over-the-top a-hole. Only time where I held back on it somewhat was in Mass Effect 1 because you -have- to do a Paragon move to not get Wrex killed. If there’s a meter though then I like to just push hard in one direction rather than go gray or hold back because I want to see what happens.

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Hikari Kenzaki

SWTOR LS/DS choices have gotten better over time, especially the LS ones. It’s a bit easier to go full LS than it used to be. But that’s mostly because they went back and made many of the choices no longer count.

The much belittled KotOR2 actually handled it better because the Exile changes the people around them, so they can be total jerks to everyone and the minions accept that as normal. At least it’s a tad more plausible they stick around. Versus the male Sith Warrior who puts his romantic partners through emotional and physical abuse that rivals the Joker.