I remember getting this game for my Apple IIc and was blown away by the immersion. Questions taht I found myself asking I traversed the world were
Wow there is a day night cycle and NPCs react to the time of day?
I need reagents for spells?
I can only find Nightshade at night?
I have to be compassionate? and Humble? How do I express humility? How do I tell if I am the right path?
Recent talk about Bioware's Dragon origins and the attempt at creating gray areas in the story has me reflecting back to this pioneering game. With all the technology we have, I think developers have degenerated over the years in addressing the moral compass of our heroes and villians. Menu options reduce down to little more than classic dilemma of "yes I want to save the kitten" or " I must molest and kill this puppy" Even with a nice meter to tell us that we are getting more good.
Back in the 80s, Garriott created a pioneering game with a central focus on a character that is the pinnacle of virtue. Your gameplay had to focus on the idea of choosing every action as virtuous. There were chests that you could steal to get that magic axe but at the cost of losing my status as an Avatar of truth. My character was guided by virtue and not by just killing everything.
Granted, a rehash of Ultima 4 is not needed today but we need to apply some of these gameplay mechanics to today's game. We need an RPG that does not evolve around the hero being a killing machine. Even in Oblivion, non combat attributes seemed designed towards ultimately getting better weapons on the cheap.
Is it possible to create a game where combat is strictly for survival as opposed to the center point of the game focus?
What about a hero that is diplomatic with kings and townsmen? He is barely able to use a dagger but his skills in speech allow him the to hire the best knights of the countryside to protect him as he goes on quests.
Make a game where mages are scholars that need to read books so the player actually use his knowledge from reading the game lore to create a better character with better spells? Don't just make learning spells an automatic recipe or a game of blind trial and error. Make knowledge in the gameworld inherently powerful.
Are games like these possible and would they sell? read