It’s interesting to me that despite the numerous inducements to go corrupted in Chaos Rising – the nifty corrupting wargear, the ever-growing list of corruption traits, and the bullshit difficulty of some of those secondary redemption mission goals – most of the people I’ve seen writing on the Relic forums, as well as both Fyre and me, have gone as pure as possible for at least their first run through the game. This is in spite of the fact that players who strive for purity will only get a single purity-based trait, as well as having to deal with irritating missions and occasionally needing to literally cripple their troops with redemption items that cause them to take more damage in return for purging a bit of corruption after each mission.
Fyre’s turn away from the Dark Gods in particular is a bit of a surprise. Seriously, Kidd, I though Khorne was your boy. What happened?
I can’t speak for anyone else, but in my case it’s a matter of self-image. I know that the Force Commander, Tarkus, Cyrus, Thaddeus, and (mostly) Avitus are righteous hero types. I’ve been through the fire with them for 20 hours already, and to see them fall to Chaos seems pretty damned wrong. I’m going to try it out, of course; I want to see all of the stuff Relic took the time to craft for my enjoyment, after all. But my initial playthrough, the goody-two-shoes purity one, that’s going to be the canon version of the story for my guys. All the others are going to count as what-if stories.
I did the same thing in the first Mass Effect. The Baker and I sat down to play the game together having already huddled up and determined to make our Commander Shepard a scary badass biotch with incredibly severe makeup. By the second hour of the game we’d gone totally Jimmy Stewart. Our terrifying space lesbian coddled aliens, let criminals off with warnings, and preached tolerance and understanding like it was going out of style. The urge to be good, at least for the first trip through all the content, was just too strong.
Tender, baby-soft spoilers for Chaos Rising and Star Wars after the break.
Speaking of Mass Effect, as one must when talking about episodic morality plays, is anyone really curious to see if Relic will pop a further expansion that allows you to pick up from the end of Chaos Rising as either a pure or corrupted player? At this point I’d say that Dawn of War 2 is showing a pretty classic franchise trilogy structure. The original game’s story more or less stands on its own while leaving the door open for more crap to go down in the future, but the second game explicitly introduces looming threats and unresolved questions, ending with a situation that is out of equilibrium and lacking in narrative finality. Unlike the ending for the original DoW2 campaign, which really just sort of sets the stage for the multiplayer to run on infinitely, the ending of Chaos Rising reveals that very little has actually been solved by the events of the campaign, and that there are at least two or three extremely dangerous boss characters still running free and plotting against the heroes. This is common in all kinds of media; think of the original Star Wars trilogy, for the easiest example. At the end of the first film, the Death Star is gone and everyone is getting medals for being awesome. At the end of the second film, Han Solo is a popsicle and Luke suddenly has an evil dad who wants him to turn to the dark side.
Enough babble. I’ve talked at length about my feelings on picking an alignment in games. How about you? Do you usually try out the good guy story first, or do you start killing babies as soon as you can? If you normally play good, would the chance to be way more kick-ass tempt you to go evil right off the bat?