Monday, May 12, 2014

Good and Evil sides in an MMO

Good vs evil is good in movies, not in my MMOs
First I want to say that this post will be about what I want in an MMO, and I am willing to admit that I may be in the minority.

As I was reflecting on my last post about Wildstar and watching others have fun in the game, I realized there was something larger at work for me that I didn't capture in that post.  I now understand that I don't want to play an online game where some of the people are playing the 'evil' side.

I have never role played in an MMO, but I do have roles for my different characters.  I wish they were as clever as those in Tome of the Ancient but it is nothing so complicated.  When I created Kanter, I knew that he would be a herbalist and alchemist.  It didn't have anything to do with how it would help him earn money or be stronger, it was all about what kind of hunter he was.  He has never changed professions since the beta for that reason.

I play good characters.  I admire people who can play evil characters in television in movies, but I've always been the kind of person who gets emotionally involved in whatever I'd doing or watching and I can't imagine playing an evil character myself.

That could still allow me to play the good side, which is why I played Alliance in SWToR.  However, that leaves half the players (hopefully, for balance) playing the evil side.  With all the bad behavior in MMOs, I don't want to encourage it others by having their NPC role models do horrible things.

Superficially the Horde is the 'bad' side in World of Warcraft, but Blizzard has done a lot since Warcraft II to make it more complicated.  Yes, there are evil characters, but I don't feel like either the Horde or Alliance is being portrayed as evil.  Having your new Horde character hit lazy peons on the head is a far cry from performing experiments on people that kills them as happens at the beginning of Wildstar for the Dominion side.

I know there are a lot of people enjoying Wildstar right now and I'm very glad about that.  The combat is interesting and even though I proved yet again that I can't do jumping puzzles by dying three times while trying to jump up a cliff in the game, I think it is great there is a lot to do besides combat.  We need more polished MMOs with different ideas and I believe Wildstar contributes to it.  But it isn't for me, and, I don't believe I'll ever seriously play an MMO that has a side that is portrayed as evil.


  1. I'd actually had very similar thoughts about this in beta-ing Wildstar. I play mostly Horde in WoW but it never feels like I'm playing the bad guys to me. I never feel like the Alliance is the bad guys either, there's a lovely amount of grey area. Blizzard's done a really good job of making it more red and blue than black and white.
    I tried some Dominion Side in Wildstar to see if they came across as evil as they seemed when playing Exiles and they really did. I was surprised. I do like Wildstar, not sure if I can add a sub but I can also say that if I played it I'd probably keep myself more strictly to Exiles than I keep myself to Horde in WoW.

    1. I am sure I'd be happier playing Exiles, but as mentioned in my post, it goes beyond that for me. I don't want anyone playing an evil side. NPCs that are evil aren't an issue, but forcing people to role play evil in quests is distasteful and I believe is encouraging bad behavior. I thought it interesting that Tobold posted something similar the same day.

  2. Good and evil are merely a point of view. Lets take a solid example Star Wars, yes The Empire blew up a planet in SW 1, Well the Rebels blew up 2 Death Stars. Don't you think there were civilian contractors working on those Death Stars. Alderran must of had an early warning and could evacuate. I could go on and on. The Dominion I feel are not evil, they respect Order.

    1. In the broadest sense you are right. This is a video game, nothing is really happening to anyone. If you can separate your actions in the video game from real life that is a good thing.

      However, you seem to be implying that since both sides in any conflict end up killing people, they are equally at fault. I don't think George Lucas would agree with you about Star Wars and I don't think the designers of Wildstar would agree with you about the Dominion. Part of the 'fun' of the Dominion is that they are over-the-top authoritarian to the point where killing people (NPCs) during experiments or intentionally poisoning civilians is just part of keeping order. To me, this is evil. However, they certainly are playing it for humor and it's fine to play that role. It just isn't something I want to do.