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Another failed Alignment system.


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Alignment in games has always had some problems, no doubt. But it seems that even in TOR, no effort has been made to progress the concept in the slightest. A great majority of the decisions I've come across essentially boil down to: "Be a total jerk = dark", "Don't be a total jerk = light". 'bout as shallow as Fable.


There are a few good choices here and there, but they are few and far between. However, I would like to point out a shortcoming in even one of those better moments of choice:



On Taris, you are sent to find out what happened to a crew carrying vital information for fighting the Rakghoul plague. You discover that an explosion is about to kill somebody and destroy the information, and you can choose to save either.

Saving the woman results in light-side points, saving the information (and millions of lives from it) results in dark-side points.


That seems entirely backwards to me. If any points should be awarded at all, it should be in reverse. The dark side is fueled by passion, and saving the woman is clearly motivated by the emotional connection one person has toward another as a fellow sentient being.

Meanwhile, saving millions with the information is the choice where emotions do not cloud one's judgement.




At this point, choice and alignment do not reflect a person's alignment. All the numerous neutral/gray Jedi would be represented terribly with a system like this. They would choose the "good" options, but this describes nothing about their philosophies.


The alignment system misrepresents characters.

This brings about the concept of grinding alignment points; gaming a system where gaming doesn't belong.



In addition, alignment-based items make absolutely no sense to me. Having an extremist point of view should not make a person more powerful, or somehow more able to wear certain types of clothes. This again forces a person to grind points, devaluing all choice in the game.





What should be done? Well, I've got a few small ideas. While in most games I dislike alignment systems entirely, it is a big staple in the Force.

I think alignment could possibly be based on some sort of slider setup. "Emotion/Peace, Passion/Serenity, Chaos/Order, etc." This would show a character's inner philosophies and the like, without sacrificing the value of a character's choices.


Or perhaps yet, choices could influence these sliders, culminating in Light and Dark reflecting a summary of one's various outlooks.

And no alignment-based gear; that's just silly.



How do you think Alignment in TOR could be improved?

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I personally wish your alignment would affect your companions alignment.



Perhaps the more affection you have with a companion the more they shift towards your alignment.


I also think darkside corruption should only affect force users, as it is the darkside of the force that causes the corruption.

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I think alignment rewards should be more location-based than equipment based. Alignment-restricted equipment seems weird, but there are 'evil places' described in Star Wars that are inherently Dark Sided.


Why not have places that strengthen dark sided characters, while debuffing light-sided characters, depending on how strong their alignment is? Do the same for the reverse. So a neutral's "reward" would be that he/she is unaffected either way, competent everywhere.


As for dialogue, that's tougher to get into as it's all down to writing. I can see the Taris situation you described working just fine if it were bent a little. Make the injured woman offer you a valuable, stolen relic in exchange for your help. A light-sided choice would be to refuse, a neutral to accept the deal, and an evil person would simply take the relic without comment and leave her there.


Games tend to go from "normal, rational person" to "********" instead of good to evil, it's true. I think it's largely because they want both the good and evil people to end up in the same position.

Edited by PibbyPib
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I agree that alignment points feel much more arbitrary than organic. They feel more "well, we have to make X % of the dialogue alignment-changing, so we'll roll a dice and say that here, here and there, you'll have choice impacting alignment. Okay, so now let's see what pseudo-dilemma we could shoehorn in this situation !".


Oftentime, the actual alignment points are for a very shallow, superficial and sometime even insultingly stupid take on the situation, rather than a real evaluation of the situation.

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