Emotional response deficit
Johnny Walker has written about his observations concerning Peter Molyneux and the future of ’emotional’ gaming. It’s an interesting read and one I recommend taking a few short minutes to pour over.
Done that? Good. I agree definitely with the idea of “localising” the good/bad effects. Keeping things on a global scale seems prone to failure, without some sort of world-spanning reputation mechanic.
For example, if you piss too many people off in one village, your evil rating would increase in that particular instance. Imagine ransacking a village one day, then returning to it on another only to be pelted with rotten vegetables and being verbally abused – maybe even physically assaulted – until you left.
You could then extrapolate this exponentially throughout the world. If the village you terrorised was some miserable backwater, then perhaps only the outlying farmsteads and neighbouring villages would treat you with caution, if not outright contempt. However, go on a killing spree in a major city and I would expect my reputation to preceed me just about everywhere I went.
You could couple this sort of “radial reputation” system into a character’s appearance for your marketing gimmick. But the real gameplay mechanics would come down to something more sophisticated and real-world. The more negative your reputation, the more you’d struggle with persecution in the world. Something gets stolen or someone gets murdered, the authorities automatically smash down your door in the wee small hours and drag you off for interogation. This would force you to sleep rough, or – much more interestingly – start relying on the criminal underworld for supplies and work.
Taking this idea further, you could then engage in some interesting double-crossing to curry favour with certain parties. Maybe even regain your nobility if you wished, or reveal yourself to be a treacherous brigand otherwise.