Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Ethical Choices of Tabula Rasa

I managed to sneak in an hour or so of Tabula Rasa late yesterday evening. I was dying all day to play it, always a good sign I guess, but had some things I needed to do around the house before I could get to the fun stuff. But finally around 930pm I was able to log in to Foreas and get to some Bane killing. Little did I know that what awaited me was a question of Johnny Bildo's morals rather than his accuracy with a rifle.

I was stocking up on ammo at the Landing Zone Outpost when I saw a blip on my radar that denoted an eager NPC was nearby, ready to ask me to go whack some foozle no doubt. I did my clickity-click thing to him and lo and behold, this dude wanted me to deliver some drugs to a few of his "clients" across the Concordia Wilderness. Just moments ago the good doctor of LZ Outpost was telling me about some missing medpaks from the lockers there. Her idea was that the base commander was stealing them himself because he seemed paranoid and over-worried about said drugs. Turns out the drug of choice among AFS recruits is a powdered form of the medpak goodies, which the dealer assured me was more safe than trusty old caffeine.

Anyway, for the moment I chose to help the dealer out. He needed money, and with my knowledge of what things were like in WWII and Korea and worse, Vietnam, I figured the soldiers could use a little help relaxing. On my way out of the base towards the first contact, I ran into the base's commander, who of course proceeded to question me about the missing drugs. I gave him no answer then, and talked once more to the dealer. He pleaded for me not to rat him out, that just as the soldiers needed the drugs, he needed the money.

I sauntered back to the Commander, and the choice was mine. Err on the side of the law and hand the stolen goods over to the Outpost Personnel, or err on the side of righteousness and give some roughed-up soldiers a (from what I know) harmless chemical drug?

I gave the Commander some excuse or another, and went on my way to the delivery points. Each soldier was more greatful than the next, and though one seemed more of an addict than I would have expected... I still felt good about my choice. Call me a liberal all you want, but in the war those guys are waging, they need all the chill time they can get.

This is just the 1st example of one of the many quests Garriott and crew claim are present in Tabula Rasa that challenge the player to act on moral grounds, with perhaps some gray area between choices. As far as I know, these quests have no real lasting impression on the story arc you follow or your character, but I'll be damned if they aren't more intriguing than your basic go here and kill this or get that. Totally dig them. Bring on more, please.

Now tonight... tonight I aim to go to my 1st TR instance. I never did one in beta, due to both time and the simple fact that I knew if I got the game, I wouldn't want those spoiled for me. So I'm definitely looking forward to whichever one I go to. Here's hoping I can get it together.


Pvthudson said...

I cloned and did it each way with one of my clones

brackish said...

I have really yet to see the repercussions of choosing one way or the other and I have completed three of these quests. Also, apparently there are three of those quests in Wilderness (one at beginning camp with the deserter and another involving some cure?)and with the exception of the first and one you mention, I had no idea that this mission was one that offered an alternate solution. Possibly a new quest tag would fit these to tip off players of this system in TR, because as you said before: not knowing about these systems can do more harm than good.