osengar64's This war of mine (PC)
| [January 28, 2016 01:40:37 AM]
| For the last entry on This War of Mine I went completely against my normal play style for these types of games.|
I generally try to play with some set of moral laws adapted to the world I am in - it is OK to scavenge and kill because that is the world I am in.
This time though, I tried to play more Utilitarian. I would take what I needed in order to eliminate the greatest sources of unhappiness in order to increase the total happiness of the population.
With this style, I allowed myself to fight for supplies I would need, kill other survivors, or make sacrifices 'For The Greater Good.'
Overall I lasted.....5 days before my last survivor was over tired and starving.
I believe this could have worked out better if I moved slower, scavenging from safe areas enough to build weapons, then challenge other survivors (my first survivor died looting a house) or the military (my second survivor died looting the supermarket).
By the time the survivors died, I had a level 2 workshop and a level 2 metal work bench and was a single weapon part away from crafting a gun.
If I was ranking progress on how much stuff I had and could craft, this would probably be the most progress I made over the course of this game. However, this attempt left me feeling...unclean.
As I said earlier, I don't tend to play these games following a Utilitarian approach. I prefer to follow a stronger rule set for moral and amoral actions - more Kantian.
What is even more interesting, I would classify myself as Utilitarian over Kantian in my real-life decisions. In the game though I get to step away from my choices into a world I would consider more ideal, with a generally clear set of moral right and wrong choices. While it is nice to imagine a rational system with a universal right and wrong for any action, but to me it is not that simple.
The real world does not fit well into a strict classification of right and wrong, as there are many little details that are left out. For this reason [Western] society is more Utilitarian, as it allows for circumstances to alter the moral obligation.
But sometimes it is nice to play a game that has an authority give you a strict set of moral laws - Mass Effect's Paragon and Renegade, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic with the Dark Side and Light Side, Black and White with the strict Actions are Good or Actions are Evil, and so on.
In these strictly regulated environments I hold myself to stricter, more universal moral standards. In this environment, actions I would normally take have very slim, if any, moral footing.
So in this playthrough I went off the deep end of Utilitarian morality. Sacrifices would be made so that the total happiness of the survivors was greater than any discomfort I would cause.
Instead of having strict rules now, I performed the utility calculation as I was making decisions. For example, when I was stealing from other residents I had an end in mind: I needed parts to construct weapons/upgrades. I often found food and medicine in the places I was looting, but I would leave it.
If I took the food, I would slightly increase my happiness - I had plenty of food this playthough, but would greatly decrease the targets happiness, so I left the food behind. However other items were available. Since I was trying to eliminate a great source of unhappiness (military occupying the Supermarket), and I needed crafting parts to make that possible, I would steal these. Often these materials were very common in the places I looted, meaning taking them would slightly decrease the happiness of the original owner, but moderately increase my happiness.
So I would take them and leave. Unfortunately getting caught stealing never factored into my equation. When I was caught it greatly decreased the happiness of the person I was stealing from, to the point that they used murder as an equalizing force.
Overall, I really enjoyed This War of Mine. I would strongly recommend it to anyone looking for something interesting to play. There is definitely more to explore in this game that my three brief playthroughs have accomplished. On my own time I am excited to see what else I can do. Perhaps continuing with my second playthrough rule set, or reattempting the Utilitarian approach to see if a slower, more controlled game works better.
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| [January 27, 2016 12:07:15 AM]
| This playthrough I allowed myself to stand guard...so far it seems my fears were unfounded when I believed guarding would kill people. So far I have managed to drive off every raider with only minor injuries to my group, granted I am only using a kitchen knife to defend against looters.|
So far the three rules I set for myself seem to be working out. I have made it through day 9, gained a new survivor (Boris), and have traded enough materials for medicines, that I can then trade to another group of survivors for food at a really good price. Unfortunately success is less interesting to me for this game. If I am lucky enough to be able to survive with my supplies and never have to venture beyond my trading points, what is the point of being in a war-zone?
Granted, picking up Boris put a strain on my limited resources, but I have managed to stretch my supplies to accommodate. Boris so far is my best scavenger. His 17 item carry capacity more than makes up for his slow running. I have yet to explore high danger areas, but even so I would be cautious my first time there, only running to save myself. The high carry capacity on Boris will also allow me to scout these areas and consolidates materials in places closer to the doors, away from any danger so I can enter over different nights and collect all resources quickly.
So since nothing interesting happened in the game, I'll reflect a little on the choices I made.
For example I went to scavenge the Garage and found the owner's son in dire need of medicine for his father, and willing to trade heavily to get a small ammount. I took advantage of this as I scavenged lots of medicine, but little food and other supplies. I was able to trade the medicines over in exchange for lots of materials and food, which kept my people fed, and he got medicine to help his sick father.
I believe I violated Kantian moral law here. Despite the son offering me the deal willingly to get medicine, he was under extreme duress. His father is sick and he had no means to cure him, so he was offering outrageous trades for even a little medicine. This is not a rational decision as he is trading food to me as well as easily found scrap items. By taking advantage of it I used him as a means to an end, which violates Kant's second formulation.
Yet the decision may not be completely amoral. From a very short sighted Utilitarian perspective, I acted well within my moral bounds. My not having food decreased my overall happiness as my survivors would start to starve; and his not having medicine decreased his overall happiness as his father was sick. If I set my forward view to the immediate future, my survivors would live another day with the food and his father would survive another day with the medicine.
By making the trade I gain something that increases my overall happiness, while giving him something that increases his overall happiness, therefore I acted in a way that maximized total happiness and therefore morally.
I had not intended to play using Utilitarian moral theory until my next play-through, but it seems I got a head start.
For the final attempt I am going to apply Utilitarian theory. Simply act in the way that maximizes happiness. This is vastly different than my usual attempts to follow laws and avoid violence. With this theory I will try to ease the suffering of people living within the warzone.
This sets my moral obligations as removal of any people that reduce overall happiness, making it my duty to act violently to kill occupying soldiers or looters.
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| [January 25, 2016 01:38:01 AM]
| I've completed my first ever play session of This War Of Mine. So far I am liking the game a lot. The entire game is based around you controlling three people trapped in a ravaged city in the middle of a war-zone.|
You must make choices on how best to keep the three alive by scavenging resources used to build up your shelter.
I decided to play the first time as if I was playing Fable or Mass Effect. In such games I always choose the good side as I believe it is what I would do in a similar situation.
Perhaps I overestimate myself in these games, as I tend to subscribe to the Utilitarian morality more than Kantian.
Still, when I play these types of games I tend to follow Kantian moral theory and abide by a set of moral laws which I believe are correct regardless of the consequences.
I decided on three simple moral laws: Keep all three survivors alive, scavenge only from unoccupied locations, and never kill another person.
For the first couple days this went well. Then the nightly raids started happening. Because I was very strict in never kill, I never kept guard at night, as the guard may kill some of the bandits or the bandits kill one of my people.
I tried to reason around "Killing is wrong." I added "unless you are defending your possessions," however this did not fit with my law: the consequence of keeping my possessions has no bearing on the action of killing. I still killed someone, and the act of killing is wrong.
As a result my survivors made it to day 7, when all my food and water was stolen and two of three were starving.
In my opinion this game, so far, shows a great flaw with the Kant's first formulation: it only works if it can be applied to a rational system.
In a crisis, such as the game depicts, survival takes precedence over rationality. Survival instincts are primal and do not often coincide with rational actions. As more and more people fall into survival mode, the rational system breaks down, leading to a breakdown of Kantian morality.
Consider for example my stealing is wrong law. If everyone was acting as I was and only scavenging from unoccupied locations or bartering for their items, I would not have to worry about standing guard at night and possibly killing someone to protect my resources.
However, bandits come around and steal from me every few nights. By Kantian theory, they are acting irrationally, and I am the moral superior.
I could state that a person acting irrationally is not a rational being and thus my moral laws do not apply to them, but this violates Kant's second formulation as people are known to be capable of acting rationally. By opting out of my moral laws, I would deprive the person of the choice to act rationally, thus using them as a means to an end (that I could do as I pleased to them because they were irrational).
So despite my best efforts I could not change how I played or rationalize doing anything to protect myself lest I accidentally violate one of my moral laws. As a result I lasted a week in the war-zone. At least I die happy knowing I hold the higher moral ground, except that dying violates my first moral law.
Perhaps I am being too hard on Kantian theory, as the thought of universally applied laws is appealing. However, I find the system to be too rigid. Morals should not change easily, but when trying to overcome overwhelming adversity, morals should be allowed to adapt to the changing environment. In a pure survival situation, killing in order to steal objects may be morally wrong, but killing to protect your resources may be morally correct, rather than having a single universal moral law that says killing is wrong.
For my next play-through I will alter my rules to fit more with the situation: Keep all three survivors alive, scavenge only from unoccupied locations, and only kill in defense of self or property.
The change to the third law should add a more utilitarian approach. The formula is my three survivors and N bandits. If the raiders steal from me they get minor happiness, but they cause my survivors great unhappiness. By fending off the raid I cause the raiders minor unhappiness, while giving my survivors great happiness.
I will discuss how this approach worked in my next game log.
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osengar64's This war of mine (PC)
Current Status: Playing
GameLog started on: Sunday 24 January, 2016