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The effectiveness of "Morality Points" in video games

Games have been keeping track of player morality in games more and more frequently. Fallout’s karma system and Mass Effect’s "Paragon/Renegade" system are two well-known examples. However there are many games, such as those in the Elder Scrolls series, where player morality is not tracked. What are the benefits of tracking player morality in games, and what are the drawbacks? Are players guided to do good or bad things because they want to achieve a moral standing, or because they have a planned personality for their player?

  • I would definitely say some of us have a planned personality for a character! In skyrim I have one "bad character" and one "good character." I can't complete all aspects of the game while sticking to one moral code of a character and it would feel inconsistent to do many good things in a row then suddenly kill someone for a daedric prince out of the nowhere. It is my own drive to stick to one value set and not because the game will track it like when I played Fable. Nerd problems... – Slaidey 6 years ago
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  • For the potential writer of this topic, I would also look at how as videogames are increasingly integrated into our lives, morality measures should be included in our conception of virtual "play." – 12jm9 6 years ago
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  • @Slaidey: I completey agree with you. I don't feel that tracking morality is as effective as the player's drive to create a character with a real personality. – LiamCollins 6 years ago
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  • Have you played Metro 2033? There's a morality system in that game that doesn't present itself in an obvious way until the end. The player isn't even aware that they're /making/ moral choices or not until then. I think that's an effective way to run things. Players should be allowed to build their own characters based on what they want to do, not based on what colour they want their lightning to be. – Snowskeeper 6 years ago
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