Stolen Pixels #109: Let me Tell You About “Evil”

By Shamus
on Jul 22, 2009
Filed under:
Column

I should have linked this yesterday, but I wasn’t paying attention. I am linking the comic twice today, in an effort to make up for it.

Enjoyed this post? Please share!



1313 comments. That's a baker's dozen.

From the Archives:

  1. Randy Johnson says:

    I loved overlord 2, but I usually felt more like a good guy, since I went for oppression. The evilest thing I did was tell Fay she would be my first mistress for the final battle ( I was in love with salamanders at that point), and then switched it to Kelda at the last second.

  2. Alarion says:

    I’ve noticed a strange bug on the site, Shamus. On the main page (http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/ , the one you reach when clicking the banner) I’m seeing “Experienced Points: E3 Killjoy” as the latest entry (from the 12th of June).
    And when I klick “Home” from this article I’m linked back to this article. Is this recursion really intended?
    I’m currently using Firefox 3.5.1 and Windows, if that helps.

    Regards
    Alarion

    P.S.: And one odd thing about the navigation bar (the one with Home, Webcomic and so on): whenever I klick something, that item will jump left or right, the space between it and the item tnext to it being reduced instantly – very notably so, not only a few pixels. That’s kinda odd, having moving links.

    Edit: Okay, forget about the new entrys not showing. Works again. You blog seems to induce some very strange behavior in my browser. O_o

  3. Teron says:

    Hehe… what would be more amusing is putting Gnarl in the big empire catapult and firing him at empire soldiers. But much more work. Or you could use him in the forge, he’s got to be worth at least a few browns… Anyway, great comic, keep on Overlord 2 for a while.

  4. Nyaz says:

    Hmm, this particular Overlord seems to think a lot like I would.

  5. Selifator says:

    A lot of games suffer from the do-evil-because-I’m-evil complex. Which is a very silly premise and doesn’t make for interesting gameplay. The revenge plot of Overlord was good enough, but since you weren’t actually killed in the game by the Heroes, I didn’t really feel the need to get out off my shiny tower and kick their asses.
    For me that could have been solved by a simple prologue in which you play the O’Lord and are killed by the Heroes. That would have been a direct reason to go out there and be evil.

  6. Daimbert says:

    Oddly enough, in general I’m the precise opposite of what’s being presented in the article and tangentially in the comic: I don’t mind games that tell me what to do, as long as they DON’T tell me WHY I do it. For example, in KOTOR, I really liked the fact that in general they didn’t tell you your motivations, which means that I can decide to take a certain action for whatever reasons I want. The best moment in KOTOR for me was in my first run when you get to the main reveal and the main villain asks “Doesn’t that make you mad?” and I replied “No, it doesn’t” while internally my character was, in fact, thinking “Yeah, it does, but I’ll be DAMNED if I’m going to let YOU know that.”

    So a game where I have to invent reasons for invading farmlands is better to me than a game where the game invents them for me. But, then again, I HATE sandbox RPGs (Morrowind induced a psychotic rage in me where, after wandering around in a village having no idea what, if anything, I was supposed to do, I attacked a guard, got killed, and uninstalled the game. This was less than a half-hour in.)

    On another note the:

    “You can’t do that! That would be …”.

    “See?”

    lines were absolute classics [grin].

  7. MadTinkerer says:

    I think the real problem of Overlord 2 is that it doesn’t take into account players who haven’t played the first game. If, like me, you’re someone who loved the first game, “you’re” already an “experienced” Overlord who wants to get down to the world domination and lair accessorizing (which the Mistresses are a central part of).

    It’s like how Half Life 2 Episode 1 assumes you already know and (more or less) like the characters from HL2. On the other hand, Ep1 does a pretty good job in the opening scenes of establishing sympathetic characters who need you (and vice versa) to help out in a desperate situation. I haven’t played OL2 yet (still focused on finishing the OL1 expansion before some DRM glitch locks me out again (DO NOT install any patches, official or otherwise, after installing the expansion. Even if the official website says a patch is okay, you’ll probably need to reinstall the game. GRRR.)), but I take it the game basically assumes you’re already motivated by “EVIL!” as defined by the game itself.

    Again, I don’t know how OL2 handles things, but I actually really liked the “benevolent” option in the first game. The grovelling peasants made me feel like Doctor Doom: “That’s right, I could kill you, but I won’t! Good peasant! Now excuse me while I smash up all your property for the occasional random loot drop.” I do hope they kept the option in the sequel, otherwise it’s not as meaningful to just go all Sauron-y.

  8. Rutskarn says:

    I like the comics where you give yourself a bit of room for the characters to banter and set up a punchline–those are usually the funniest ones. Especially when the punchline involves poking holes in something that makes no sense.

    I liked this one particularly.

  9. Daimbert says:

    Oh, and one more thing that I didn’t like about the article that was linked in the comic was the argument that “We care about characters that benefit us in the gameplay”. I don’t. The characters I tend to use in parties are characters that, for whatever reason, I happen to LIKE. I come to care about characters because they’re well-developed characters that I happen to like, or that my character would happen to like. If forced to choose between a useful character and a character I like I will choose the character I like, even to the extent in Persona 3 of having two characters in the party at all times that had the same weakness, which makes the game HARDER.

    None of my characters in KOTOR2 could possibly like Kreia; therefore, they associate with her only enough to get what benefits I need, and no more.

  10. Adeon says:

    I have any problems with motivation for the Overlord. Gnarl states that the Empire is trying to tunnel down to the Netherworld as part of a plan to exterminate all magical creatures. Since the Overlord is a magical creature who lives in the Netherworld destroying the Empire seems like the sensible thing to do and if you can subjugate or kill a few innocents in the process so much the better.

  11. Nyaz says:

    That reminds me – was there ever any particular reason why you were the evil bastard in Dungeon Keeper? I remember liking that game a lot because I got the opportunity to be a nasty S.O.B. because I got to be evil and awesome (and smack imps! That was fun.)

  12. Selifator says:

    The Overlord isn’t magical, he’s Evil. That’s totally different. All the magic ran away because the pure Evil Awesomeness of the Overlord scared them.

  13. Joush says:

    It’s especially odd in Overlord 2 because the first act features the conquest of Nordburge, the place that hated you for being different and threw you to the Empire to die as a child, and saving Kelda, the only child ever to be nice to you, from slavery.

    Even if you weren’t generic evil that would be ample motivation to walk in with your ass kicking boots on.

    After that however, motivation just sort of peters out, with Everlight being a somewhat glaring example of a place you have no reason to care about.

    Oh, and to Nyaz, in Dungeon Keeper you are guided by sort of a sprirt of malevolence to spread evil and corruption in order to secure your power base before either another Keeper or the Forces of Good come to kill you, and also because you are evil and every land you take means more power for you.

Leave a Reply

Comments are moderated and may not be posted immediately. Required fields are marked *

*
*

Thanks for joining the discussion. Be nice, don't post angry, and enjoy yourself. This is supposed to be fun.

You can enclose spoilers in <strike> tags like so:
<strike>Darth Vader is Luke's father!</strike>

You can make things italics like this:
Can you imagine having Darth Vader as your <i>father</i>?

You can make things bold like this:
I'm <b>very</b> glad Darth Vader isn't my father.

You can make links like this:
I'm reading about <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darth_Vader">Darth Vader</a> on Wikipedia!

You can quote someone like this:
Darth Vader said <blockquote>Luke, I am your father.</blockquote>