Nov 102011
 

I ran the quest Sacrifices the other day while pursuing one of the final sets of goggles for the visual catalog.

Sorry about that whole prisoner thing

I know things are looking kind of grim right now, with you set for sacrifice to a fish-faced god and all, but look on the bright side: I’m about to get a new set of goggles!

As with any quest run solely for the completion, the most efficient approach is to bring an over-level character and run the quest through the “golden path” only, avoiding as many fights as possible and all optionals. I have to leave for work in a few minutes, efficiency will be necessary.

But I ran into a snag. An entirely self-created snag. Some background may be necessary to help explain:

Several years ago, Bioware came out with a truly amazing take on the Star Wars universe called Star wars: Knights of the Old Republic (KOTOR).

What made it amazing was not the graphics (though they were outstanding) or the story (though it was the first – and best – Star Wars prequel). No, the truly innovative features were the relationships between the protagonist and his/her companions, and the relationship between the protagonist’s actions and the outcome of the game.

Anyone who had played other Bioware games might have expected some of this. Bioware companion NPCs are not your standard wooden plot expositors, but instead are fully-fleshed out characters you quickly come to love or hate, to cheer on, and often romance, if in-game character actions count as “romance”.

Unlike any other game up to that point, character choices impact the plot and gameplay. Dozens (hundreds?) of in-game situations that force the player to make a choice between good, evil, and sometimes, neutrality. The accumulation of choices change the way that NPCs react to your character, the gameplay options open to the character*, even the way your character looks: evil actions over time cause your face to twist and darken into a menacing Sith leer.

* Not just dialog choices but major gameplay paths. The last 10-15% of the entire game was dictated by your morality. Bioware wrote a game-and-a-half, with many hours of gameplay that could only be seen by being sufficiently evil, and many others accessible only by being sufficiently good.

I don’t want to go into a slash-by-slash recap of my path through the Dark side, although it remains surprisingly memorable though eight years in the past, but I can tell you that it broke my heart to kill off my companions. The most heroic of my companions pleaded with me in the closing minutes of the game – a final chance at redemption? – but no, I wanted to see the path through and his fate was sealed.

Even the girl I had successfully romanced chose power over me, ignoring my advances in favor of becoming my Sith apprentice and seneschal.

Oh, I won all right, but it felt terrible, and as I watched my endless fleet of Star Dreadnaughts streaming forth to dominate the galaxy I actually had to fight back tears* of regret at the actions I performed to reach my exalted and feared position of evil dominance.

* In a manly way of course, very macho tears, got to get that out front right way, studly he-man tears of glistening masculinity

It was as strong an emotion as I have ever had evoked by a video game. And I learned from it: I am intrinsically a good guy. My inner dude wears a white hat. Regardless of how I view myself in real life, my fictional self is a Paladin of the highest order, or at the very least a dedicated but Chaotic Good warrior of virtue.

Now back in the present day, and I am trying to rush Sacrifices as fast as possible. Finishing on a level 16 character is all but trivial, and I am at the end in a matter of moments.

Ready to rescue Arissa. But she’s not alone. Other NPCs accompany her, bound and captured, awaiting a rather horrid fate of sacrifice and maybe worse.

I am going to be late for work! But … there they are. Bedraggled and desperate, strewn about, hopeless.

[Sigh]

I can’t leave them. I know how silly it is, I am not “leaving them” if I talk to Arissa and finish out, they are not really there in the first place.

But yet.

Dimension Door back to the quest entrance. Run the entire quest a second time, but this time I stop at the cages in the third room. I manipulate the various switches, maneuver the bridges, open the bars. Free all the prisoners. Run through the rest of the quest. Free the prisoners at the end too. Finally, facing Arissa again, free her too.

Phew.

Stupid, yes. Waste of time, yes. Completely unnecessary, yes.

But my inner dude, the one in the white hat, he gets to go to work with a smile.

Totally worth it.

🙂 😀 🙂

  14 Responses to “This is why I can never play on the Dark Side”

Comments (13) Pingbacks (1)
  1. You sir are a hero. Me i would have burned the quest to the ground for a few extra xp. An if there is no xp, let them rot.

  2. There’s a nice Bloodplate Armor sitting in that Guild Chest on Cannith…what’s a little “Dark” armor? Maybe that skull on the front will scare off the bad guys as well…come on…no peer pressure here….just put on the Bloodplate…nice way to get Deathblock at level 6 right? Blocking those EVIL insta-kill spells? Nevermind that my main toon with THIS account is named SNAKEyce. I’m not really a serpent trying to tempt you to do something you’ll regret….it’s just a little armor, nobody will get hurt except the bad guys you fight…Comic will be SOOOO disappointed if you don’t at least try it on… >:)

  3. I love Kotor! Its an awesome fun game. For shizzle the best Star Wars game Ive ever played. And dont listen to Shin! He forgot to offer cookies!

  4. I salute you, Sir! No innocents will be sacrificed, not on our watch…

  5. From atop my horse, I tip my own white hat to a fellow good guy. “Well done.”

  6. I’m no saint, and I play a poor paladin … but, I too am an intrinsically ‘good’ person. I’ve tried playing ‘evil’ characters in several games *sigh* I wimp out.

  7. I’ll never forget the self loathing I felt playing Starflight and discovering that endurium is actually a race of living, sentient beings who are being burned up as fuel for interstellar travel.

    This is probably why I never run Purge the Heretics anymore.

  8. To quote Dark Helmet… this is why evil will win, because good is dumb!

    You shoulda rescued Arissa and the ones at the end, and THEN DDoored back to the beginning for those guys. That was just silly.

    Also, KotOR rocks! As does KotOR II, in which I made a Jedi gunslinger (who I liked to the point of turning it into a prestige class for the RPG, which will never ever be used.)

    And the Dark Forces trilogy. Lemme tell ya, it was gutwrenching going DF2:Jedi Knight on the dark side, when that final choice was made… and if you’ve never played Jedi Knight, do so. The cutscenes are fantastic – they use live-action!

    And JK2, with a wiser and more jaded Kyle Katarn as a grey Jedi who understands it’s not the powers you use, it’s what you DO with them, that matter… good times.

  9. @Doc… Oh, gods… Purge the Heretics… I always have to convince my characters that it’s not REALLY a Sovereign Host temple, but a front for the Dark Six, which fact just isn’t discovered at this time, but it surely WILL be in some future update.

    After all, how else could a FvS Follower of the SH get the quest… right? RIGHT?

    … I still feel dirty afterward.

  10. I think that’s one of the main reasons I (used to) die a lot in “Proof is in the Poison”. Even though they are stupid, and deserve to be left behind, I just can’t bring myslef to leave those blasted hireling soul stones in the pools of acid…
    *grumble, grumble* stupid hirelings… *grumble*
    😉

  11. LOL I cannot run Purge the Heretics. I just can’t http://my.ddo.com/geoffhanna/2009/11/29/pawn-of-the-silver-flame/

  12. Yeah, I don’t like running “Purge the Heretics” either. But when I have, I always let each individual mob hit *me* first, ‘cuz then I’m just defending myself. Not *my* fault thay won’t stop until they quit breathing…
    😉

  13. I think all my RPG characters ever have been more or less neutral good… even if there wasn’t an alignment system, that’s how I played ’em. My few exceptions were my pirate chef (and even he I’d classify as chaotic good more than anything) and my sole (and brief) attempt at a paladin. It’s hard to be lawful good in a land where the law is corrupt… Oh, and my monk on DDO, who’s lawful good. And my barb on DDO who’s chaotic neutral, but that was mostly ’cause I wanted to play with some chaotic weapons. It’s not like alignment really MEANS much of anything on DDO.

    Maybe this means I’m not as good a roleplayer as I could be, I dunno. But that’s how I enjoy playing.

    With the Star Wars games… I’ve played evil just to see the different outcomes, but… it’s difficult. I found myself going “Well, I’m going to do *this* evil act anyway, so I can do *these* good acts first, and that evil act will counter it and put me back up to maximum darkside…” a lot. And also not being able to play for quite so many hours at a time as when going light. But when you find yourself min-maxing your DSPs to give you a shot at doing good without the LSPs totally borking things… well, that kinda says something about ya lol And even then, I generally try to get as many of my DSPs from the ones who deserve it as possible. If there’re three ways to play against the innocent farmer… well, I’ll go neutral if possible. On the other hand, While interacting with a bounty hunter holding a town hostage… I don’t mind taunting him or calling him names or even just opening up and killing him, rather than trying to negotiate. Hey, even Han shot first*, and he’s one of the good guys!

    *I don’t give a flying womp rat’s poodoo-maker what Lucas later decided happened. Han shot first, dammit!

What do you think?

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