Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Devil may Come

I figured it would be a good thing to express the flip side of being the hero in an MMO...being a villain. Certainly, there comes a time when a lot of us just want to misbehave in a game and cause people some good ol fashioned heartache....virtually of course.

Current games are very limited in their evil offerings right now. Sure, the player is usually able to choose an "evil" race and usually these "evil" races live in darker areas of the world....ohhhhhhh, I'm shaking in my booties already. That's it though. Oh, fine then, some of the quests have you doing deeds of questionable moral value (...think Dark Elf in Vanguard..), but do quests alone a villain make? There's got to be something more to being evil than just picking a faction though. Of course, we have Eve Online and the players that choose to be pirates. These players really aren't making an evil choice...or are they? We've got to think of something beyond just ganking and griefing.

Let's start from the beginning. It's my belief, in this world, nobody is really born evil, we're usually taught how to be that way...so why don't MMO start off like that. Every character starts as a neutral character with absolutely no concept of what is right and what is wrong. The only entity that knows the difference is the player behind the character. Now, the game has to support good and evil choices. OK, I've accepted the quest to save the queen from the giant ant creatures, but they're offering me more to kill her....hmmmmm. Full teams of players could sack a village for no reason. There could be quests set up in the game that ask the player to do stuff like this. As the player performs evil acts, they themselves become more and more evil.

So, why would a player want to do this? Just like being a hero, do players really want to play the bad guy? Most definitely. When I watch/listen to actors in interviews (an activity I don't do often), one of the themes that come up a lot is how much they love playing the bad guy. Bad guys are interesting to play due to the range you are given. Heroes are bound by certain rules and codes....a bad guy has no such boundaries. You can save the kitty cat from the tree by climbing up there with a ladder...or, you can shoot it out with your 12 gauge shot gun. The choice is yours how you want to interact with the world.

It could probably be argued that being an evil character is true freedom of gameplay. Bad guys play a pivotal role in any story. They are the ones with the giant "laser" pointed at the earth. They are the ones with their trigger finger one the big shiny red destructo button of doom. They are the the ones that give the hero his/her chance to be lifted up above the rest. Without the villain, there can be no hero...so why not give players that role. Why not allow players the chance to define, shape and create player heroes by being the toughest badass player on the server.

D out


Bildo said...

City of Villains does a pretty good job of this actually, but you still don't quite get that sense of "Man, I'm just so deliciously evil."

I'm hoping PotBS or Conan lets me be as vile as I wanna be.

Matthew said...

One game that did this very very well imo is Knights of the old republic 1 and 2. You actions determined what your character looked like so that by the end of the game you would either look kinda palpatine or luke skywalker ish. Plus if you were evil or good different dialogue options opened up. good times.

darrenl said...

True Matt...now if they can only do that in an MMO.