Thursday 28 January, 2016
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.