Opinions WC Trestkon's convo with Phas?

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Opinions WC Trestkon's convo with Phas?

Post by Dark Reality »

I found the Trestkon/Phas convo kind of forced on Trestkon's part; I mean when you go to kill him and he moves all your weapons to the lobby.

The whole bit about PDX and Scara being the same power-hungry and faceless entities but preferring Scara's style didn't really sit well with me. It seemed like he was whiny.

When Phas asked why, Trestkon should have said "Hey, it's just a game, and I'm playing it how I like it. Do something." Because "IRL" Phas, Scara, Kashue, and even Trestkon are just regular people sitting at a computer after work or school, right? The angle I'm playing Trestkon is, he quit 2 years ago because stuff got too real online (I've been there) and now, called back, he's just going to have fun, and Scara's goals are most like his own. So the second part of his explanation fits, but he came at it from an angle I didn't expect. I get the impression from that, that PDX is the "right" path and WC is the "wrong, but you know it's wrong so let's roll with it" path, as opposed to a kind of grey/ambiguity in both of them. Because PDX is sort of an oppressive government, and WC is of course the corrupt corporation. WC didn't kidnap DD so they're not exactly the villain; I have a feeling there's something else behind the curtain, as it were.

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Re: Opinions WC Trestkon's convo with Phas?

Post by chris the cynic »

That conversation is, by far, my least favorite part of TNM.

That said, WC is evil. If you didn't figure that out before joining that would, in all likelihood, mean that you committed a murder without even bothering to find out why anyone would want your victim dead. So either you joined a group you knew to be unashamedly evil or you are quite evil anyway. Either way, evil goes with WC.

There isn't a lot of gray to be had with WC because WC is the land of, "Evil is pretty. Look, it comes in hues. There's a whole spectrum of evil that most people think of as being simply black."
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Re: Opinions WC Trestkon's convo with Phas?

Post by Jonas »

I'm not gonna contribute much because I wrote it and anything I say will kind of "blow it" as it were, but I will say this: There is no ambiguity. PDX are the good guys, WorldCorp are the bad guys, and unashamedly so. This comes up again later.
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Re: Opinions WC Trestkon's convo with Phas?

Post by deuxhero »

Don't the flags acctually call world corp "evil"?

Luckly in that scene Trestkon had some accuracys to the way I was playing at least with the "annoyed by the way he has been treated." bit.
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Re: Opinions WC Trestkon's convo with Phas?

Post by Dark Reality »

chris the cynic wrote:That said, WC is evil. If you didn't figure that out before joining that would, in all likelihood, mean that you committed a murder without even bothering to find out why anyone would want your victim dead. So either you joined a group you knew to be unashamedly evil or you are quite evil anyway. Either way, evil goes with WC.

There isn't a lot of gray to be had with WC because WC is the land of, "Evil is pretty. Look, it comes in hues. There's a whole spectrum of evil that most people think of as being simply black."
I disagree. (I don't disagree with Jonas, however, because Jonas is a dev and the devs' word on what is and isn't in their world is pretty much the final say, however...) There was no murder. If you mean Silver Dragon, that's just an avatar someone's controlling. There's no real death in TNM, so far. Deus Ex had real death, but when you go and say "this isn't the real world, it's a virtual community like MySpace meets Deus Ex", you pretty much absolve the player of any moral restriction. Trestkon is not a moderator, so killing isn't even the same as banning. Phas says early on, I think, that killing someone means they have to start over. That's it.

Another aspect of being that one step removed from reality is that good and evil become virtual good and virtual evil. As I've covered, how evil can you really be? If I kill all of the NPCs in a map, all I'm doing is aggravating some people IRL because they have to start over. A sole tear runs down my cheek. Really, it doesn't. Likewise, how good can you be? Even the most heroic act won't be known or cared about in the real world. And that's why siding with Scara doesn't bother me.

I'm really a good guy in real life, or at least I try to be. However, I kill Louis Pan in DX more often than let him live. Same goes for the boy asking for food on the docks. Because, you gotta figure, when he grows up, the only mates available will be much older. They don't come right out and say it in the story, but I assume that the reason the only children are male has something to do with the Grey Death virus. Despite Jurassic Park saying that everyone's female to start with and we need an extra line of code to become male, in the womb, I think that's pretty much what happens. Realistically, Ion Storm just made one child skin and it happened to be male and got reused a few times, but I like tying DX's shortcomings into the story itself, such as the exclusion of the WTC from the skyline, when Ion Storm said it was probably destroyed by terrorists... and then it actually was, months later.
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Re: Opinions WC Trestkon's convo with Phas?

Post by JC_Helios »

I think you're viewing this a little too.... simply, Nathan. It's not just some faceless, mindless, representation of you.. The 'people' in Forum City may have been created to represent people at a computer but the avatars actually have their own lives, their own personalities, etc. I don't think everything said and done is directly controlled by the forumite. Think of it like uhh.... Toy Story or something: "What the avatars do when the puppeteers are away". For instance at one point Evil says he's been watching your feed for ten hours waiting for you to wake up... I don't see some guy sitting on a forum for 10 hours waiting to see "Trestkon" on the online users list....

But, yeah... Trestkon does seem a little whiny when talking to Phas, but almost all "turned" good guys are whiny. They either feel mistreated, or they get corrupted by some powerful evil force, or they're just a psychopath.
Scara hardly seems like someone possessing powerful magics capable of corrupting Trestkon :P and if Trestkon was a psychopath it'd be hard for most people to relate to the character.... Same thing with: "Woohhoo, YEAH! I'ma just playin a game an havin some fun Phassy-boy!"
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Re: Opinions WC Trestkon's convo with Phas?

Post by Arnaud G. Vasquez »

This is my opinion:

Anything the player does in Deus Ex affects only a video game. The same is true for The Nameless Mod. There is no "good" or "evil" in either of them, and nothing that either JC Denton *or* Trestkon does affects any sort of reality whatsoever. There is no real death or life in either - they are both just collections of data. As such, the player should play as he wishes, doing whatsoever he wills within the parameters of the game. There are no actual consequences whatsoever.

Therefore, I find the hypothesis that TNM is somehow "less real" than DX to be asinine. Neither of them is real whatsoever. Neither of them affects anything in reality, save for the hours spent playing them. Kill who you want, or kill nobody at all. Neither of them has any sort of ultimate good or any sort of ultimate evil. It is up to the player to decide his own path, but to claim that Deus Ex carries more of a moral impact is - in my view - completely and utterly asinine. It is asinine.
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Re: Opinions WC Trestkon's convo with Phas?

Post by Jonas »

This is the best thread ever.
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Re: Opinions WC Trestkon's convo with Phas?

Post by Arnaud G. Vasquez »

Jonas wrote:This is the best thread ever.
I find the developer's sarcasm to be heartbreaking. Nyet...

Humor me; allow me to expound.

When I play DX, I cannot bring myself to let Tiffany Savage die. That has nothing to do with Deus Ex itself, though; it has to do with how I choose to play the game. Deus Ex's role is simply allowing me the freedom to choose whether or not I can execute anything I would consider "good" or "evil" rather than funneling me into an arbitrarily programmed decision. It pains me to think of letting her get killed (or, Despot forbid, shooting her myself)...but that is a viewpoint I am choosing to release on a construct of data. All DX provides me is the option to invest my feeling.

Well, why isn't it the same in TNM? The world is virtual, but what stands of that? Deus Ex's world doesn't exist any more than TNM's world does. They're both video game realms. However, I can still decide to project my conscience into the game...

...and as for regarding the issue of killing and such in TNM, I have noticed that perhaps actions in Forum City affect more than just "avatars"...

Example 1: Deus Diablo has been kidnapped. I am assuming he could just log out and get out of it? He could then contact the administration and gain release; failing that, he could probably find a good enough hacker to "break out" his character...and while I won't give away any details about who has truly kidnapped him, I will claim that their identity is irrelevant in this instance. It would seem that his kidnapping has actually affected him, not just his character.

Example 2: During the "flavor" conversation in front of the bombed PDX HQ in Day 1, one of the men mentions to the other that it might "still hurt like mad to be shot" even if a player like DD is invulnerable. Why in blazes would it hurt like mad to be shot if the player were merely viewing a monitor with his character's data?

EDIT: I had other examples, but I bloody well forgot them overnight. I'll post more later...but anyhow, I question the underlying notion that Forum City, in the framework TNM lays down, is merely a virtual world causing no impact whatsoever on reality.
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Re: Opinions WC Trestkon's convo with Phas?

Post by Jonas »

No, fuck! I wasn't being sarcastic, I love this thread! It's totally awesome that people are actually giving honest thought to the morality in our game! :D

Sorry if I sounded sarcastic.

[EDIT] Also while I admit I never gave as much thought to these principles as the game deserves, I think "What the avatars do when the puppeteers are away" is very interesting and could be a really good interpretation.
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Re: Opinions WC Trestkon's convo with Phas?

Post by Arnaud G. Vasquez »

Oh. Oops. ^_^;;

I'm so used to online sarcasm that raw honesty deceives me at times. Thanks very much for not bringing the banhammer to us swiftly and allowing us to debate...pseudo-intellectually, at the very least. Consider your game a success then! =B

EDIT: Example 3! I cannot believe I forgot this initially - take a look at SymGeosis! Scara tortured him and took everything away from him, turning him nutty and batty and all other sorts of insane. How is that plausible in the slightest unless Forum City extends to some facets of reality as we know it?

Also, while not strictly evidence, the conversation with Sgt. Gelo is *very* insightful and revealing, I think - the metaphysical meshing with the literal, or vice-versa?
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Re: Opinions WC Trestkon's convo with Phas?

Post by chris the cynic »

DXNathan wrote:I disagree. (I don't disagree with Jonas, however, because Jonas is a dev and the devs' word on what is and isn't in their world is pretty much the final say, however...) There was no murder. If you mean Silver Dragon, that's just an avatar someone's controlling. There's no real death in TNM, so far. Deus Ex had real death, but when you go and say "this isn't the real world, it's a virtual community like MySpace meets Deus Ex", you pretty much absolve the player of any moral restriction. Trestkon is not a moderator, so killing isn't even the same as banning. Phas says early on, I think, that killing someone means they have to start over. That's it.
So that means that, as long as I'm Buddhist or Hindu, I can kill people without any moral restriction? After all, killing people means that they have to start over. That's it.

Also, I think everyone around you is lucky that you, apparently, do not believe in reincarnation. Or are you a serial killer in real life?

(Remember that death and new account creation in Forum City is specifically described as being like reincarnation.)
Another aspect of being that one step removed from reality is that good and evil become virtual good and virtual evil. As I've covered, how evil can you really be?
Evil is a thing defined entirely by intent. It is not a question of results. It is true that the examples of evil we tend to use (see Godwin's law for the most common one) are examples that got results, but if the people and organizations in those examples had failed to harm anyone while still being otherwise the same they would remain evil. We simply wouldn't be aware of them, and would thus need different examples.

The key thing about evil is not the damage it does, for good can do equal damage and evil can simply fail to have an effect, it is, instead, intent. For example:
If I kill all of the NPCs in a map, all I'm doing is aggravating some people IRL because they have to start over.
You are intentionally causing suffering for your own personal gratification.

Congratulations, you are evil. (At least your character is.) A better definition of evil is not known to me.

Perhaps you'd like to torture small animals afterwards. Actually you'd want to use psychological torture instead of physical torture to make the analogy will work, so small children might work better than small animals. Though if you can figure out how to preform psychological torture on small animals the original analogy will work.
Likewise, how good can you be? Even the most heroic act won't be known or cared about in the real world.
You are who you are in the dark.

If you are good that means you are good when no one is looking, when no one will know. Being good when doing so won't be known or cared about is arguably a more pure example of good than doing so when everyone will know and care.

If your morality goes out the door when no one other than you knows or cares, you're not good. You may not be evil, but you are not good.
I'm really a good guy in real life, or at least I try to be.
Thats fine. Although given that you think that forcing someone to reincarnate against their will isn't murder, good is something you only do when you will be found out, and causing discomfort to real world people for no reason other than that it gives you gratification isn't bad ... well, I have some doubts.

But anyway, TNM is not Forum City, so you can kill everyone there guilt free anyway, even if you are good in real life. Just don't expect the people you are killing, or their friends, to feel the same way. Scara might, provided you don't kill him, but Scara has chosen to embrace evil. Yes, it is Forum City evil rather than IRL evil. If your character thinks that is a significant difference then your character probably belongs with WC.
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Re: Opinions WC Trestkon's convo with Phas?

Post by chris the cynic »

Oh yeah,
Arnaud G. Vasquez wrote:This is my opinion:

Anything the player does in Deus Ex affects only a video game. The same is true for The Nameless Mod. There is no "good" or "evil" in either of them,
The way I view things everything exists within a context. Within the context that is Deus Ex, or that is The Nameless Mod, there is good and there is evil. As such it makes sense to describe things as good and evil in that context. Good and evil in that context does not translate to good and evil within the context that is your life.

It doesn't make sense to say that a person is good or evil because of how they play a game that effects no one else, but it is in no way innappropriate to discuss whether the player character, as the player plays it, is good or evil.
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Re: Opinions WC Trestkon's convo with Phas?

Post by Arnaud G. Vasquez »

All right, that's fair. My take is that the only good or evil in a game is projected into it by the player himself; the game offers no standards in the absolute sense. What the player accomplishes within the game, considering it good or evil, is what plays out to respectively be good or evil. Do I believe that murder, theft, and lying are wicked? Yes I do - absolutely. Do I believe that a lie Trestkon might slip to Silver Dragon, for example, is an evil deed? That, of itself, is the player's determination.
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Re: Opinions WC Trestkon's convo with Phas?

Post by Moonbo »

Amen Chris :).
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