I always blow up Megaton as a good character and here's why

Post » Mon Nov 16, 2015 12:32 pm

I love Fallout 3, have played multiple play throughs for hundred of hours, vanilla and mods, and always maintain it's a top 5 game for me. I have a huge criticism, that really disappoints me, but that doesn't make it a bad game. I don't think it's bad game, I think it's a wonderful, all time great game that could have been better still. And if we could criticize Bethesda's handling of it without everyone jumping to their defense, we could ensure better future installments.

The karma system is insulting, and the morality of choices are so obvious that they are meaningless. This is immersion breaking when we are dealing with caricatures of evil like Tenpenny wanting to remove an eyesore, or just plain boring when the choices are obvious, hey kid want to blow up people for 500 caps (which is not a richly sum) or diffuse the bomb for a slightly smaller sum of caps.

And let me stop all the retorts that I want to play an evil character without repercussion. I have an impetus to do good, but I don't want it to be so obvious, and without in game repercussions when you don't. The karma system giving you a different ending is not repercussions. Part of the game could be the challenge of figuring out whats good, what's true, who's using you. It could be more fun to not easily get the outcomes you want and not simply bc a Super Mutant is in your way, but because you face dilemma.

We tend to think of being bad in games as release, lets just be bad and get some deviance out in a simulation, so games have started making being bad or good simple choices. You don't blow up megaton or enslave people for any reason other than you want to play as a bad character. There's nothing wrong with that, and you should be able to play that way if you want, but can we get a system in place for players that want a little more challenge in their morality? Being good should never be easy, it's very hard to be good, must people end up being bad by trying to be good.

I'm not proposing the game get more complicated, so that players who loved fo3's karma system can't just jump in and play bad or good bc that's what they want. Myself and other critics are asking for a little more nuance so players who want to, can experience challenge in the story, not just the combat and get more out of the experience. If you love FO3 exactly as it is, you could still kill or save everyone you want, even if the quests weren't so on the nose.

Here's how I roleplay blowing up Megaton:

When I emerged from the vault I was traumatized. I saw the wasteland, crumbled infrastructure, blown apart homes, I walked over bones and skulls, I imagined the dust was ash remains. It was horrifying. I tried not breathe any of it in, then I couldn't breathe from panic attacks, and was forced to gasp and let the ash into my body. I put my back up against a wall in Springvale and didn't move for 2 days, I was starved, exhausted, and going mad. Then I heard president Eden from the eye bot, America was out there somewhere. Safety, culture, my culture I learned about it the vault, civility, exactly the place Dad would go to. I forced myself to move and came upon Megaton.

Once inside the sheriff threatened me, Moira tried sending me into death traps, and Moriarty refused to tell me were Dad went. Everything was dirty, everyone was dirty, dressed in garb no decent person would wear, living in shacks no civilized men would live. There's drug addicts and a pedophile living openly among everyone else, accepted as one of the cult. Yes there was even a cult. The sheriff even appointed himself, these people believe might makes right. I couldn't believe they lived so close to home, and suddenly I was terrified for my childhood.

Now imagine instead of, "hey kid, you want to blow some people up for caps so we clear up this eye sore", I see a civilized gentleman in a suit. The dress of an honorable man. He buys me food, warns me about Megaton, and tells me he was here with my dad, who was able to flee. He tells me he is trapped here, and they will only let me come and go if I make runs for Moira. He asks me to accept a run so he can sneak out when the door opens, tells me to meet him at Tenpenny tower. I accept and see the Tower for myself, nice and regal, protected, with actual soldiers in uniform, civilization, free thinking honest people, that must care about the general welfare. After courting me and making me feel safe, they present the bomb plot to me, who am I to think nuking people is wrong? I grew up in a world that uses nukes to solve problems and even after it's destruction is unapologetic about it. ( I'll return to this later about the karma system being too presumptuous).

It's only later on after I learn about this world, interact with wastelanders, decompress my trauma that I realize I have been had, I was used to a very evil end and that's why I go on a crusade for good. Or maybe I reject I was used and see the whole world as mad and deserving of the same fate. To protect my ego I frame the world against myself and my allies.

There's more complexity there for me to explore as a player. More outcomes. More of a challenge to do what you want. And more immersive as evil people never say, I'm evil, want to go be evil together? They are going to lie and manipulate outcomes. How is any of that bad for the game or player experience? Why can't we have npc and quest chains like that?

Is it bc we have to have the karma system? How is that good for player experience to have bethesda tell others what they think right and wrong is? I for one am not interested in their morality, I'm interested in my characters. The world is home to different people, from different cultures, with different values. Who is bethesda to tell us what's right? Especially when they are imposing contemporary values on a post apocalypse world?

Is it wrong to torture? How about when it saved lives and you weren't skilled to get that information any other way? is it right to let a criminal live bc they didn't really pose a threat to you? How about when they kill the next innocent sap they are a threat to. What's selfish? Is it keeping all of my food and not sharing with you? Or is it you wanting food from me that you did nothing for? I don't know, but I know I don't want bethesda making those decision. The best judge of morality is judging moral consistency; how alike your moral choices are.

Wouldn't that be a deeper better experience for players? Where you do what's right by the people you care about so their loyalty towards you grows, but ostracizes you from others. Could you see where it would be a rewarding experience to get the atmosphere, exploration, and setting of FO3 with nuanced quests and challenging story arcs?

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Glu Glu
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Post » Mon Nov 16, 2015 8:57 am

Interesting take on blowing up Megaton. I agree the karma system is messed up. You can make up for wanton murder by giving water to beggars. :bonk:

Have you played Fallout New Vegas? It also has karma problems, but the factional reputation system makes more sense, and it has more varied and nuanced factions and quests.

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Taylah Illies
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Post » Mon Nov 16, 2015 7:49 am

That's a pretty interesting way to rationalize it. I'd never thought of it that way before. Makes me glad that the karma system isn't even in Fallout 3. I get to decide what's right and wrong, not some pop-up.

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Ludivine Dupuy
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