Picking at the bloated carcass of geek culture...occasionally!!!

Bad Reputation

In Video Games on April 23, 2010 at 4:26 pm

After downloading a new patch to fix the old patch, I was up and running on Mount & Blade again. After humble beginnings a guy with a sword and a lame horse, my character had become a respected lord with an army of over one hundred veteran soldiers. It was great to be back but I can see myself getting over this game soon. Why, you ask? Well, I have become frustrated with the roleplaying/character development part of the game. In particular, the game concept of renown and reputation.

A lot of games, especially those from companies like Bioware or Besthesda, understand this concept well. Either within your party or in the game world at large, you are able to change the perception of how others view your character. Your actions have consequences in the world at large and this creates a sense of truth in the reality of the game. Like in Fallout 3, where the radio DJ praises you or condemns your work in the destroyed Washington D.C. wasteland. Or in Fable 2, where townspeople will flee from you on sight based on evil acts you have committed. It is a very nice way to increase immersion in video games.

But it can be frustrating, too. See, in Mount & Blade, I am running into a problem of not receiving sufficient appreciation for my good works. My character has single-handedly doubled the size of his sovereign kingdom, fighting armies four times his size as he lays siege to enemy castles and towns. Am I a hero for these efforts? Do I find my wealth and reputation rising with every decisive victory? Well, not really, to be honest. I might go up a point here or there in renown or honor, but nothing significant. Even when I request the right to control a city I personally seized, the king usually gives it to some other schmuck .

What game does this the best? Has anyone ever played a game where the world’s population gives you credit that matches the scope of the heroics your character is achieving. Games, like Fallout 3 and Dragon Age: Origins do a pretty good job, but it never feels quite right. Or am I too desperate for the approval of a collection of 0’s and 1’s?

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  1. Knights of the Old Republic did this well, but I’m always bad at that part of the game. If I come across some old guy that needs help, it’s my natural inclination to kick him off a cliff and then, suddenly, I’m a bad guy. It’s not fair.

    • I have the opposite inclination. I always feel bad for imaginary characters and will sacrifice wealth and power to aid them. If there is a quest that has a reward but also an “Keep the money because you need it more than I” option, I always take the latter. I know that it’s not real, but I find I don’t even enjoy pretending to be a bad guy.

  2. I think I read something about someone in a similar situation. Military genius, not appresicated by the king… Ok, I’m going to give you a big heads up. Don’t believe those witches, they’re trying to trick you. Mcduff was born by way of a Caesarean section and therefore not technically “of woman born” so keep your guard up.

    • McDuff was the original loophole exploiter. Talk about the letter of the law versus the spirit.

  3. Maybe we’d work good as a team, you could help the old guy out and then I could rob him… everybody wins!

  4. man, knights of the old republic was actually the MOST realistic game I’ve ever played. I started, doing some good things, some bad things, then there was this big conflict that kind of freaked me out. Then, one day while I was drinking at a bar I noticed how much more I liked playing cards than getting shot at. Next thing I know: I’m a gambling addict. My character in the game was a gambling addict, but as the player I actually felt the same way. Perfect synergy. Wonder whatever happened to that guy?

  5. Scott Brown where are you!?!?

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