Middle of the road viewpoint

Pages

AuthorTopic: Middle of the road viewpoint
Shock Trooper
Member # 2599
Profile #0
I started playing without reading anything, and I find that if I answer questions in a way that I think is reasonable, I am not accepted by either side.

For example, I don't think it is reasonable to use serviles as cannon fodder; the shapers have a responsibility to provide a safe work environment for their serviles.

But if a creature has gone rogue, yes, of course it should be killed. It would be quite hypocritical to say otherwise, since most of the game is spent killing rogue creations.

With GF1 and GF2, there was always the awakened, a middle of the road faction for servile rights without all out war on the shapers. And it was possible to play pure, independent of the 3 factiions and not using any canisters, will enough books and people who would train to make it possible to not join any faction or use any canister, and still be able to win. I miss this in GF3.

I prefer to play games that appeal to my sense of ethics. Since both sides are unethical in GF3, I find the game far less satisfying than GF1 or GF2. Does anyone else feel the same way?
Posts: 201 | Registered: Thursday, February 6 2003 08:00
Lack of Vision
Member # 2717
Profile #1
Interesting point, but I think it is actually more realistic that the more extreme elements of each faction are entrenching. Usually, the liberalization of ideas occurs during a peaceful time when disagreements can be explored with little fear of violent consequences. During times of war, a line in the sand tends to get drawn - you're either with us or against us.

The world of Geneforge is now literally at war - and serviles and shapers have to choose their sides and be very clear about where their loyalties lie. Remember, the Takers always seemed to hate the Awakened as much (if not more) than the Obeyers. This was because if they, fundamentally, believed that the Takers were correct to be pissed at being abandoned to die by the Shapers, then they should agree with their views.

I'm not sure who said that truth is a war's first casualty - perhaps rational inquiry and agreement to disagree and the second and third casualties

Z

--------------------
Pan Lever: Seventeen apple roving mirror moiety. Of turned quorum jaggedly the. Blue?
Posts: 186 | Registered: Thursday, February 27 2003 08:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 1249
Profile Homepage #2
Realism or not, I also miss the Awakened faction and "not joining" possibility. I usually don't want to play on the evil side.
Posts: 259 | Registered: Saturday, June 1 2002 07:00
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #3
I have the same feelings - as both Mike and Zorro.

I believe that in a time of crisis moderation can sometimes be very immoral. GF3 seems to portray such a situation, where the only available choice is a choice between evils. I don't feel that the game loses its ethical standards, though: to me the least of evils is always an entirely right choice. The question is, which one really is the least of evils?

It isn't easy to tell. But I submit that it should not really have been so easy to tell in the earlier games, either. There were serious problems with the Awakened, in my opinion. And the nonaligned option was really a Loyalist path.

--------------------
We're not doing cool. We're doing pretty.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
By Committee
Member # 4233
Profile #4
Given that the player is such a hot shot, it's a shame he/she can't create his/her own faction - it seems many of the poeple in the game you can help would gladly join with your saner choices.
Posts: 2242 | Registered: Saturday, April 10 2004 07:00
Shaper
Member # 5437
Profile #5
Typically I prefer not to join any faction, but I side with the Awakened most of all. It makes sense they would not appear in G3. Everyone was against them, and they were not very strong.

I finished playing for each side to see the different outcomes. The first time I played as a rebel, but honestly that was because I wanted to see if I could use the Geneforge. I didn't like fixing the Creator. Knowing it would make more rouges that would kill innocent people who aren't even Shapers. The rebels are too extreme for me; I would prefer a slightly more peaceful method of liberation.

The Shapers feel themselves to be all-powerful creators, and I suppose they are. They have no compassion for their creations, so I don't like helping them very much. It is pretty much impossible to remain neutral in G3; I also miss that.
Posts: 2032 | Registered: Wednesday, January 26 2005 08:00
Raven v. Writing Desk
Member # 261
Profile Homepage #6
I agree. I particularly miss the nonaligned option. That said...

It's interesting to see how the sects (and, accordingly, the ethical axes) have shifted. In GF1 the Obeyers refused to think for themselves. This is hard to justify without having a Shaper upbringing, which of course, none of us players have. So the rebelling sects were the obvious moral winners -- the Takers, too, had a position it's easy to sympathize with, even if their methods were questionable. In GF2 we did see more problems with the Awakened, yet the other sects got even worse -- Zakary was not just hypocritical and manipulative, but also incompetent; and Barzahl and the Takers were not just violent, but also pretty much insane. Again, each viewpoint had justification, but the Awakened remained way way more reasonable than their peers.

In GF3, axes have shifted. The early forced choice questions, instead of focusing on the difference between absolutist control, idealistic peace, and violent rebellion, instead simply contrast strict order and control vs. chaotic freedom. Answering them honestly, I actually had to think about many of them, which NEVER happened in the earlier games.

It also seems to me that the ethical balance is different from earlier games. In these questions, the loyalists are presented in a very different light -- not as tyrants who torture intelligent beings, but as humans who made some mistakes but are just trying to keep everything from going to hell. Perhaps my view is colored by my own feelings, but that's really different from what we've seen before.

Oh, and while I'm commenting on game differences... the boats. The boats! Does having to spend 10 minutes walking to get back to the earlier islands, should you happen to want to, annoy anyone else?

--------------------
Slarty vs. DeskDesk vs. SlartyTimeline of ErmarianG4 Strategy Central
Posts: 3560 | Registered: Wednesday, November 7 2001 08:00
Apprentice
Member # 5649
Profile #7
I think that this is GF3's biggest flaw. It may be a deliberate flaw and something which makes sense from the world's internal logic (the sides are now more polarized and extreme, the moderating influence of the Awakened has vanished, etc), but it leads to some very unsatisfying outcomes - especially when the Drakons are seen to be just as tyrannical rulers as the Shapers.

I particularly wish that there was a moderate Shaper faction - along the lines of Khyryk's views.

With characters like Khyryk and Diwaniya, Jeff has done a good job of making the Shaper NPCs more attractive and multi-dimensional than the caricatures (a la Zachary) which we saw in GF2, but this subtlety hasn't been extended to the factions and the dialogue options.

I play each of the factions because they each offer a quite distinct game (which is a good thing). But that's a choice based purely on exploring the game - not about "this time I'm going to play the good/bad guys." They're both the bad guys.
Posts: 9 | Registered: Thursday, March 31 2005 08:00
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #8
I kind of hate the boats, too, and yet I think they are right. The slight annoyance I have as a player in getting between islands makes me actually think of them as islands separated by difficult waters, and I think this contributes to the atmosphere of the game.

--------------------
We're not doing cool. We're doing pretty.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Apprentice
Member # 5667
Profile #9
I have a feeling we haven't seen the end of the Awakened, it would not make much sense to bring them into the plot of GF3. As the Awakened would have no reason to be anywhere near the Ashen Isles. Nevertheless, I feel confidant that they still have a role to play in the future world of the shapers. It was too bad that neither side this time was around was all that appealing. All things considered, I think the Loyalists path is the best of the two; justifications aside, I just couldn't forgive Latalia for what she had done!

--------------------
Whatever happens, happens.
Posts: 48 | Registered: Monday, April 4 2005 07:00
Infiltrator
Member # 4592
Profile #10
Boats: true, they give you an idea how treacherous it is to navigate between the islands. It was a okay the first few times. Then it became an sufferable annoyance (I postpone any inter-island traveling as much as possible). I do wonder: most, if not all, games have points where the reality of the game and opur reality compromise (saved games, for instance), so I wonder if having the choice of which island to travel would not have been such a compromise.

Am I remembering this right: I believe this happened in Gull island (yeah. . . 99.999% certain it was there). I was approached by a lone servile in one of the regions (It was a cave/lab place). This servile had the Learned title. He told me that she could try to talk on my behalf so that I would join the side of the rebels. He struck me as an Awakened. Do you guys know whom I'm talking about?

With the war raging so strongly, I actually think it makes some sort of sense that there are no Awakened since they might have been swallowed by the rebel factions (they might have existed as a small settlement, if that. I'm sure (sure?) that they wouldn't have lasted in such a situation. The Shapers would want to see them gone, and the rebels would probably have given them an ultimatum: with us or against us. Period.

What I ended up liking more and tied the whole game for me was the end text. For some reason when I read that I felt more excited than I had at any other time (almost) throughout the game. The realization of the war finally sunk in (probably because throughout the game I was thinking other things or thinking about the different fights so I had just taken for granted we were at war (yeah, yeah, war. but how the heck do I kill these two annoying Servant Minds, stop healing each other damn you, kind of distractions). I think (I'll have to wait until I play GF2 again and play GF3 again) that this text ending was the one I've liked the most.

Well. He promised that bad things were going to hit the fan, and they have.

I also tried to play this game Middle of the Road at first (well, I lie. I was playing a Shaper who simply thought we, as Shapers had been too rough on certain rights of the Creations), but as the gam progressed, I found my answer were more and more geared against the rebels and servile rights (almost 3/5 in favor, instead of 5/5 as they had used to be)

It seems that in GF4 we might start as a non-Shaper, which is mighty interesting. It also seems the plot will be rather different, I wonder what that will be (fast forward a year or so while we kill time as we anxiously await for GF4 and discuss such things. Heh)

--------------------
quote:

"I suffer from spiritual malaise," said Cugel meaningfully. "which manifest itself in outburst of vicious rage. I implore you to depart, lest, in an uncontrollable spasm, I cut you in three pieces with my sword, or worse, I invoke magic."
Random Jack Vance Quote Manual Generator Apparatus (Cugel's Saga)
Posts: 604 | Registered: Sunday, June 20 2004 07:00
Apprentice
Member # 5620
Profile #11
i didnt like the boats either.

[ Wednesday, April 13, 2005 12:59: Message edited by: archangel_14 ]
Posts: 15 | Registered: Thursday, March 24 2005 08:00
Raven v. Writing Desk
Member # 261
Profile Homepage #12
Let me add that I'm thrilled to hear about the non-shaper in GF4. The shaper apprentice thing was really smart and fitting in GF1; in GF2, it was okay; in GF3... well... old hat, and not really very fitting.

Boats: I understand that the hassle is somewhat realistic, but GIVEN that you don't have to actually walk through all the areas you are passing through, if you decide to, say, trek all across Dhonal's isle, it doesn't make any sense. The voyage from island to island can't possibly take as long as that does, and it's likely less eventful. But you are forced to walk through the docks. *shakes head*

--------------------
Slarty vs. DeskDesk vs. SlartyTimeline of ErmarianG4 Strategy Central
Posts: 3560 | Registered: Wednesday, November 7 2001 08:00
Guardian
Member # 3521
Profile #13
Interestingly enough, I never liked the Awakened in GF1 and GF2. In GF1 I saw them as harmless, confused weaklings, much less pragmatic and intelligent than the Obeyers or the Takers. In GF2 there were hints of danger to the survival of the Awakened philosophy, with Tuldaric's crazed experimentation growing at odds with the genteel moderation of the Awakened servile leaders.

With the Awakened becoming weaker and more hypocritical in GF2, what has happened in GF3 is entirely plausible. I always thought the painfully naive Awakened philosopy would be overcome by the brutally realistic Taker doctrine, and in GF3 that seems to be what has happened.

In terms of moral balance, GF3 is an ultimate failure. GF1 succeeded in portraying the three factions with at least a bit of moral parity, and even Trajkov was almost a sympathetic character. GF2 managed only to balance out the Awakened and Loyalists, with the Loyalists being cast as likeably incompetent restorers of order and the Awakened falling somewhat from their white knight status.

GF3 portrays the Loyalists in much the same way as in GF2, although with the greater number of major shaper characters the incompetence gets spread around a bit more. Rahul is the only effective Shaper commander, but he's also close-minded and unimaginative, though oddly likeable. Even the arrogant, patently incompetent Diwaniya is a fairly sympathetic character. That he's hopelessly in over his head makes his conservatism in governing Harmony eminently reasonable, as he could hardly hope to eliminate the rogues on Harmony by creating an army of creations that would undoubtedly go rogue themselves. His humanity comes out in his horrified response to the slaughter of Lankan and his supporters.

Agatha is power-hungry, corrupted and has no real redeeming qualities, but the fact that the rogue serviles are responsible for the corruption, as well as the knowledge that Agatha is deposed and executed once the Shapers regain control of the isles negates this. And Khyryk is the Sharon of GF3, a closet rebel shaper with the moderation and sense not to join the brutal rebels.

On the other hand, the rebels are more morally bankrupt in GF3 than they ever have been. Litalia is heartless and inhuman and kills with abandon, while Akhari is nothing more then another in an endless line of power-hungry, amoral drakon lords. Lankan on Harmony is a sympathetic character, but his willingness to throw his lot in with the woman who is responsible for his troubles in the first place is downright idiotic. And although he might desire the canister out of purely altruistic motives, his loss of basic humanity as a result of the transformation is troubling, to say the least.

I suppose that was an extremely long-winded way of saying that the Loyalists are the only morally supportable faction in GF3. Feel free to disagree.

--------------------
Stughalf

"Delusion arises from anger. The mind is bewildered by delusion. Reasoning is destroyed when the mind is bewildered. One falls down when reasoning is destroyed."- The Bhagavad Gita.
Posts: 1798 | Registered: Sunday, October 5 2003 07:00
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #14
I'd agree completely, except:

Vast slaughter still happens if you support the Shapers. The Shapers are powerless to prevent the periodic emergence of Litalias, and indeed their recurrently reckless research spawns them. Hence as far as pragmatism goes, Shaper Loyalism still brings massive violence, but makes it be all for nothing.

That is, you can't only count the cost of rebellion against the Rebels. By failing to be supremely competent, the Loyalists enable this and future rebellions, and should bear some of the shame, in a pragmatic morality.

--------------------
We're not doing cool. We're doing pretty.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 2599
Profile #15
quote:
Originally written by This Glass Is Half Stugie:

... Khyryk is the Sharon of GF3, a closet rebel shaper with the moderation and sense not to join the brutal rebels ...
I guess this summarizes my position quite well. I just started the game again, this time closing all position dialogs. I never state my opinion. I just let my actions do the talking. We will see where this takes me.

Personally, I think the position questions about rogue creations make no sense. Even rebels slaughter rogue creations on sight because they are mindless and dangerous.

Those were some great well-reasoned posts. Gives me some food for thought.
Posts: 201 | Registered: Thursday, February 6 2003 08:00
Raven v. Writing Desk
Member # 261
Profile Homepage #16
The Khyryk/Sharon point is a good one. I'm especially fond of the opinion question you get from Khyryk, where you have 3 options to answer: the standard two, plus one that agrees but points out that his isolation hasn't accomplished anything, either. GF3 basically says there is no perfect way to handle things.

Interestingly, I can't really think of a major NPC from any of Jeff's games that doesn't have some kind of flaw like this. At best you get competent administrators like Rahul or Micah, but in terms of people who have the clarity of vision to potentially change the world for the better, they are either recluses like Khyryk or Solberg, or they go way overboard, like Erika. The only exception I can think of is Bon-Ihrno, and look what happened to him!

--------------------
Slarty vs. DeskDesk vs. SlartyTimeline of ErmarianG4 Strategy Central
Posts: 3560 | Registered: Wednesday, November 7 2001 08:00
Infiltrator
Member # 2245
Profile Homepage #17
I thought that only two factions was a huge improvement. I think that the Awakened in the the two past Geneforge's were placed there by Jeff to give the player a morally correct choice (not that I ever joined them. LOL!)

GF3 is far more realistic in its portrayal of an all out war, with no holds barred, no prisoners taken. When fighting against a superior force such as the Shapers, it comes as no surprise that the rebels would use underhanded tactics. The killing of innocents, while immoral, is good military tactic during war (eg. Vietnam War).

To be honest, I felt more sympathetic for the Shapers. Despite their glaring flaws, they are more morally redeemable than the rebels. They resist canister abuse, they create new environments out of swamps and deserts and repopulate it with life. And they constructed a great civilization.

The only thing which disappointed me was the plain incompetence of many loyalists. I guess when you are faced with 50 foot drakkons, you are going to be a bit rattled, but you'd expect them to have a little more discipline.

--------------------
VIVE LA TAKERS!
VIVE LA REBELLION!
VIVE LA GHALDRING!
Posts: 522 | Registered: Friday, November 15 2002 08:00
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #18
I always liked the Awakened, because they sounded humane and decent. But the more I thought about them, the more problematic they began to seem.

When they started getting some real power in G2, they were also clearly losing their original moral compass, and I found myself missing the noble days of old Ellrah back on Sucia. But now I compare Dhonal's Keep to Ellrah's Fort, and Ellrah's dream just seems ludicrous -- something that could only ever seem plausible to ignorant serviles, or apprentices, in the isolation of a place like Sucia Island, where the reality of Shaper power was a fading memory.

Dhonal's Keep is a cultural backwater, but it still makes the Awakened ideal look ridiculous. Serviles are something the Shapers make, the way they make wands and crystals. They are not going to negotiate with them as equals, at least not without such a fundamental change in outlook as to be tantamount to ceasing to be Shapers.

Quixotic folly is not moral high ground, especially when it gets a lot of people killed. The Awakened are an understandably attractive sect for serviles, but should not seem any more moral to a disillusioned Shaper than any of the other sects.

[ Friday, April 15, 2005 10:29: Message edited by: Student of Trinity ]

--------------------
We're not doing cool. We're doing pretty.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Infiltrator
Member # 5567
Profile Homepage #19
I really miss the non-aligned path. Like that, you could be good or evil, or anything.

--------------------
How many shapers are there?
Why is Drypeak controlled by Zakary?
Why is Barzahl a Guardian?
How does the Geneforge work?
What's as small as nothing?
Why am I asking stupid questions?
--------------------------------
Shaper teacher : "DON'T TOUCH THAT!"
BOOM!!
apprentice :*little voice* "Sorry..."
---------------------------
CSM RIFQ
Neopets Do join, it's fun. Do you know what is the answer to the greatest question ever? It's here.
Posts: 576 | Registered: Wednesday, March 2 2005 08:00
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #20
But the non-aligned path was Loyalist, just bypassing Zakary.

--------------------
We're not doing cool. We're doing pretty.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Apprentice
Member # 5652
Profile #21
What I like in GF3 is that even though you have only two factions, rebels and loyalists, you have many different opinions within those factions.

Before you get to Litalia and the drakons you get the story of lankan and the normal townsfolk, who are disgruntled with the shaper's Ironhanded rule. The serviles on gull were obviously mistreated, which made them understandable in rebelling. When Greta leaves you on Dhonal (If you followed the loyalist path, I have not yet played as a rebel), she simply says that she doesn't believe in the shaper ideals; she doesn't rebel and attack you.

With the loyalists you have Khyryk, not exactly the Iron-fisted loyalist that Alwan becomes, and Diwanyia is horrified by your slaughter of the rebels.

Consistently you see many people, whether townsfolk or shapers, not agreeing with the shaper orthodoxy, but not reblling out of fear or loyalty.

What I would like to see in GF4 would be some sort of reform movement/faction. Instead of having the shapers combat their problems with brutal execution, have some of them respond with parity. That would make a good middle ground viewpoint similar to the awakend.

I like how you have to choose which side to help, like on harmony when both sides are moderate, which then affects how the story turns out. As the rebels get more fanatical and the shapers get more brutal, then you have the option of switching sides.

--------------------
"Many minds make quick work of uncertainty"
Posts: 36 | Registered: Thursday, March 31 2005 08:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 2599
Profile #22
quote:
Originally written by Student of Trinity:

... Serviles are something the Shapers make, the way they make wands and crystals. They are not going to negotiate with them as equals, at least not without such a fundamental change in outlook as to be tantamount to ceasing to be Shapers...

This reminds me very much of the Bicentennial Man, where a robot seeks and finally gains freedom. At the end, the reasoning went something like, "For any sentient being that understands and desires freedom, freedom should not be withheld." Serviles are created, just like robots, but if they progress to the point of desiring freedom, freedom should not be withheld. I don't think one would have to cease to be a shaper to have this viewpoint. In fact, I think one would feel pride that your creation has grown and matured to this point, just as when one of your children becomes a mature adult.

As for the issue of full-scale war, it is very foolish to take extreme action that pushes people to support the other side. With enough atrocities, even those who would have remained neutral will side against you. Shapers could have strongly bolstered their forces (or at least have reduced the strength of their opponent) by taken an enlightened position toward serviles, thus enlisting smart serviles to their position. For example, I thought it was absurd for serviles to remain in rebellion against the shapers once they realized that their rogue problems were actually being caused by the other side. But I think that the shaper’s hard-line position was somewhat responsible. Even if the shapers were not responsible for the rogues, they were responsible for callously sending serviles into dangerous situations. A moderated shaper position would have increased their strength during the war, not reduced it, in my opinion.

[ Sunday, April 17, 2005 16:34: Message edited by: Mike Montgomery ]
Posts: 201 | Registered: Thursday, February 6 2003 08:00
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #23
I don't think it would be really be possible for the Shapers to just lighten up a bit. Their whole advanced civilization runs on servile labor, and many of their projects would cease to be viable if serviles had to be treated as human beings.

Moreover, even if they were to refrain from abusing serviles arbitrarily, they would need to retain the principle that they would be allowed to abuse serviles if they wanted to. Decency to serviles must remain a Shaper virtue, not a servile right, because freedom is inherently a slippery slope.

If I can't make my servile mine for crystals in a rogue-infested arctic waste, how can I even make him blacken my boots and wash my dishes? Only the servile himself could say whether the cold and the rogues were worse than the shoepolish and the dishwater. And if today I accept his assertion that the cold and the rogues are so bad that I may not compel him to them, then what will I be able to say to him tomorrow, when he decides that the dishwater is also too much to bear?

As to the Shapers placating waverers with restraint, it is an old political chestnut that the most dangerous time for a repressive government is when it begins to reform. Every concession undermines the government's legitimacy, by admitting that its principles are invalid; and every liberty granted emboldens the people to demand more.

Only if the Shapers retained complete control would it be possible for the Shaper regime to liberalize slowly enough for the change to be evolutionary rather than revolutionary. So pursuing that vision would amount, in the short term, to thorough Loyalism -- crush the rebels, so that the Shapers alone will decide how their society evolve.

I'm not saying that an Awakened-style middle road is completely impossible. But I think it is so problematic, so unlikely to deliver more good for less evil, that the middle road ends up being no more morally attractive than the two extremes.

--------------------
We're not doing cool. We're doing pretty.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Apprentice
Member # 5667
Profile #24
quote:
But the non-aligned path was Loyalist, just bypassing Zakary.

Only in GF2, in GF1 you had the option of making yourself a god and saying "to heck" with the rest of the world, an option that was missing from the two sequels.

--------------------
Whatever happens, happens.
Posts: 48 | Registered: Monday, April 4 2005 07:00

Pages