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Officially Unofficial Weekly Discussion #4: Shades of Gray (The Alignment System)


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Week 4: we're back again and it seems natural transition into discussing the alignment system following our discussion of Praetoria.

 

What alignment do you find yourself playing usually? Why? What content is a must run as a hero, vigilante, rogue, or villain? What do you think about tip/morality missions? What about Null the Gull? How would you handle the alignment differently?

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I'm actually liking the story content written for the Vigilante alignment, not just the side-switching tips themselves, but actual arcs that cater to those who are "morally flexible". 

 

That, and I always thought that "arresting" mobs by using what would be considered lethal force was a bit of a handwave.  

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AE ARC's (So Far!)

--------------------

15252 Child of the Tsoo - [SFMA] Ninjas, sorcerers, and human trafficking (Origin Story - Stick Figure/Storm Lotus)

50769 Hunt of the Eclipse - [SFMA] Finding something that was lost to Arachnos for nearly 20 years (Origin Story - Daisy Chain)

53149 Spells as a Service - [SFMA] When a young hacker makes a connection between magic and mathematics and encodes it into a computer program, chaos breaks loose!

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Vigilante on the characters I play the most, but I'm not impressed by the tips.  Murder, casual disregard for life... where's the actual vigilante content?  Where are the manhunts for my character?  Why am I blowing up a Crey lab instead of storming the place to grab evidence and a responsible party to truss up for the cops?  When I wander over to the Rogue Isles, it's the same thing on the road to Villain, just more killing and destroying, but at least that makes sense for the transition, the decay of morality and integrity.

 

There are some bugs in Vigilante tips and morality missions that annoy me.  The tip that sends you to beat down Flambeaux and blow up the building can be completed without fighting Flambeaux.  The morality mission with Ghost Widow has her as a targetable entity, which is exceptionally frustrating when you're trying to tab through the Arachnos to get to the second boss.  In fact, the whole mission with Ghost Widow is a mess.  You can dump her where you "save" her, her presence isn't required at the end.  And Doc Lametum drops out of combat long, long before he's close to being defeated, so you're screwed out of the rewards for fighting the spawn he's in unless you burn everyone else down with single-target attacks.

 

And I'm pretty damn sure the Hero and Vigilante tips for Polar Shift are mixed up.  The Vigilante tip specifically states that you hear gunfire and Longbow must already be there when you enter the mission, but no Longbow spawn in that one, they spawn in the Hero tip.

 

Messes which should have been cleaned up before the content was released on the original servers, a terribly narrow definition of "vigilante", it's just sad.  I wanted Batman, I got Azrael.  I stopped reading the text and just run the content, and the only reason I'm interested in the content is because more Vigilante tips stay in-zone, so I'm not traipsing all over the city for one-off missions.

 

The Hero and Villain tips are just standard mission content, nothing exceptional or particularly interesting.  Haven't done any Rogue tips yet, but I've been working on villain badges with my Ice/Willpower sentinel, so I'll get around to them.

 

I'd like to see Vigilante and Rogue coupled, so it's possible to switch between them instead of going the circuitous route.  The Hero-Vigilante-Villain and Villain-Rogue-Hero leaps never made sense to me.  The behavioral transition is too abrupt, conceptually.  I suppose it fits the shit-tastic writing that portrays Vigilantes as nothing more than sociopaths and murderers, but it's not very satisfying.  A more gradual shift would be appealing and set things up for some better Vigilante and Rogue content in the tips and morality missions.

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Get busy living... or get busy dying.  That's goddamn right.

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Honestly, I'd have to think about what I play regularly. I think most of mine are hero, just because. There are a few that would specifically either (a) need to go back and forth for one reason or another or (b) would *fit* the idea of a rogue or vigilante, and so get that alignment. And I'll usually do that switch through Null.

 

As far as tips? Eh. 40 merits. I'm not particularly fond of most of them. Redside, they probably bug me the most, as the actual alignment selection missions can railroad you into "you're doing something utterly out of character and flat out stupid" that my characters wouldn't do. I just grit my teeth and get through them.

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Primarily on Everlasting. Squid afficionado. Former creator of Copypastas. General smartalec.

 

I tried to combine Circle and DE, but all I got were garden variety evil mages.

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2 hours ago, SeraphimKensai said:

What alignment do you find yourself playing usually?

 

Heroes.

 

But this isn't really a complete answer.

When I play villains, they are always rogues.

 

2 hours ago, SeraphimKensai said:

Why?

 

I'm playing City of HEROES.

 

Character conception. I have vigilantes based on character conception versus wanting to run missions in the Rogue Isles.

 

And for the villains side, character conception.

My villains are always rogues because none of them are subservient to Arachnos.  Why? They are supervillains and not minions.

 

2 hours ago, SeraphimKensai said:

What content is a must run as a hero, vigilante, rogue, or villain?

 

The content that fits my character conception or those that I'm pulled into by other players.

 

I don't always play the same content. I try to check out content based on character conception. 

 

I'm not sure how this question is related to the alignment system.

 

2 hours ago, SeraphimKensai said:

What do you think about tip/morality missions?

 

I really didn't like what the alignment system did to the game. I don't know if I'm really for or against it at this point.

I do think that the tip/morality missions are the best part of the alignment system.

I think that I don't play them as much as I should with some characters.

 

2 hours ago, SeraphimKensai said:

What about Null the Gull?

 

Without being able to start a character as a Vigilante or Rogue, being able to set a character's alignment from the get-go is nothing more than character creation options that should have been/be part of character creation. A this point these options are no different from accepting fortunes, speed buffs, team teleport, or group fly.

Wouldn't it be cool to be able to start as a Vigilante or Rogue with a different training/tutorial mission for each? Break the Law and Break Arachnos? Breakdown and Break Bones?

 

3 hours ago, SeraphimKensai said:

How would you handle the alignment differently?

 

I wouldn't have added it to begin with.

 

When the superhero mythos began, it was very clear who was hero and who was villain. The heroes were clearly in a moral position that they needed to do what they needed to do because the villains were clearly unredeemable villains whose crimes were clearly against the average citizen and/or society/countries in general. If you were a vigilante, everyone really knew you were fighting for good. Anyone nefarious in any way was obviously a villain.

Sometimes this was broken for alternate/anti-hero situations during the Silver Age, but it was really always pretty clear if a character was really a hero or villain. Spider-man being one of the early examples of this.

Deconstructionists are really the reason for overtly grey areas in retconned and newer superhero comics in America and the superhero medium in general. This really has its greatest impact on on American comics through British authors.

I blame this and the television show Heroes for the alignment system and Praetoria. The Devs didn't know which way to go and picked the deconstructionist path. Which lead to the Deconstruction of the City as a whole ... bringing about it's Sunset.

 

The alignment system was added to City of Heroes as another "funnelling" mechanism.

In this case, the funneling was directed at giving villains more players to game with and to merge the Black Market with Wentworths (all currencies) in order to stabilize the villain economy (everything cost more on the villain side) ... and most probably the Praetorian economy as well.

It came in when the development process was already widening out the options for players by introducing Praetoria and more funneling was required. Additional co-op zones were also added for additional funneling of the Heroes and Villains into contact areas where they didn't even need to change alignment in order to game with each other as the process to shift alignements through tips became fairly necessary as soon as the alignment system was released.

 

The alternate character tutorial in Galaxy could have been done better. It should have allowed gateway options that determined if you were a hero or villain (or vigilante or rouge) rather than asking you if you want to be a hero or villain ... and, if it is going to simply ask you if you want to be a hero or villain, why not ask if you want to be a vigilante or rogue as well?

 

 Oh, almost forgot, I would have added a 4th and 5th (and maybe 6th) alignment based on how your characters XP was generated. 

If a majority of your character's XP was generated in the AE below level 50, you would gain the Door-Sitter Alignment.

After level 50, if a majority of your XP pre-level 50 was from the AE, then you would retain the Door-Sitter-Alignment until you gained more XP then you gained during leveling. Once you gained more XP than you did by door-sitting, there would be two paths; 1) if a majority of your post level 50 XP was from the AE, you would gain the Farmer Alignment; 2) if you gained more XP post 50 from non-AE missions, you would be given the option to pick an alignment.

Players would not able to use Null the Gull or Tip missions to change alignment from either Door-Sitter or Farmer to other alignements. Door-Sitters and Farmers could only run AE missions or missions in Co-op Zones and would be unable to join non-AE or non-co-op teams nor are they able to get any contacts while they are Door-Sitter or Farmer alignment.

The 6th Alignment would be AFK. This would be locked and not removable. If a majority of your character's XP was gained AFK in AE before level 50 (how would anyone even be able to realistically be able to track this), you character gains the AFK alignment. Like Farmer and Door-Sitter, you are neither hero nor villain (nor vigilante, nor rogue), you are teleported to the AE in the Pocket D, locked into the AE area, unable to move, but able to access the auction house and use the email system. You're character's body is directly linked into the AE and can not survive if you are not linked into the AE's systems. You live in a constant virtual reality with no ability to escape.

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Redside, best side!   Can anyone hear me?   Is anyone in Mercy?  Want to run a DFB?  Wait, you’re an npc.  Damn

 

So Rogue and hang in Atlas.  F-ing sigh.  Longbow giving me stink eye.  Me not being able to attack them.  At least in Rogue Isles you can fight the establishment 

 

Villain Alignment power for Brute!   Damn, never get to use unless I want to mostly solo.  Rogue. Damn

 

 

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4 hours ago, SeraphimKensai said:

What alignment do you find yourself playing usually? Why?

 

Rogue. My nostalgia is all Redside, I never played CoH on live. Rogue just offers flexibility when I want it.

 

4 hours ago, SeraphimKensai said:

What content is a must run as a hero, vigilante, rogue, or villain?

 

This is a bigger question that deserves it's own Topic. 

 

I think most of the newer stuff is worth running. It's usually fun. Yeah it may be out of character for your concept but that's the price you pay for playing an MMO versus authoring your own stack of issues. At least some of them provide dialog options that justify why you're being railroaded (Bane Spider Rueben's arc comes immediately to mind).

 

4 hours ago, SeraphimKensai said:

What do you think about tip/morality missions?

 

I think they're dumb.

 

When HC came online was my first time interacting with them and the novelty struck me. But since that time I've shifted my opinion, especially after having a long stint on Rebirth where running them was a requirement. It became clear to me they were a time gating mechanism (since there was a cooldown period for how many you could run back to back).

 

Luminara's opinions on the actual writing and play mirrors my own feelings. Some real wasted opportunities for story telling. 

 

5 hours ago, SeraphimKensai said:

What about Null the Gull?

 

Not as elegant as an in game mechanic but far more convenient. 

 

5 hours ago, SeraphimKensai said:

How would you handle the alignment differently?

 

Nothing to say here specifically, I think this is what it is. CoX is limited by early design concepts and there might be a better system but I don't think I have good answers here.

 

But I also don't think there are good answers to be had, either.

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5 hours ago, MistressOhm said:

That, and I always thought that "arresting" mobs by using what would be considered lethal force was a bit of a handwave. 

 

 

BatmanDebutFirstAppearance.jpg

 

... and onto the concrete sidewalk below!

 

178f08c58c5240473fa1109d7a771b8eff331809

 

Whoops! Did Batman just intentionally break that guy's neck?!

 

main-qimg-8467fcbe543151d630074db1a0114a

 

Ah, the good old days before the Comics Authority!

Edited by UltraAlt
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If someone posts a reply quoting me and I don't reply, they are most probably on ignore.

Some of them even know that I have them on ignore.

But that won't stop some of them from bullying and harassing people, because some of them love to do it.

It's who they are. There is a group of them that have banded together to do it. They think that it is acceptable.

Ignore is a tool to improve your gaming experience. Don't feel bad about using it.

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I just wish the cycle flowed in the opposite direction. To me, heroes "go rogue."

 

Villains don't go rogue; they are already rogue from societal norms. 

 

Villains who want to do less crime (and/or more good) but still want to practice their methods become vigilantes.

 

Rogues slip more into villainy.

 

Vigilantes begin to see heroism as its own reward. 

 

And yes, I can see heroes on the path to vigilante and then to villainy. The problem for me is rogue. Going rogue. Heroes go rogue, not villains. 

 

 

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Regardless of a character's final concept, I always level as a hero since it's much easier to organize for group content. 

 

At cap, I typically play whatever fits my concept best. Usually that means either vigilante or rogue. I'd like to see more content that takes alignment into account and lets players make choices. Give us a TF with a branching story where the team leader can change which missions they run through based on the dialogue options they pick or optional mission objectives that alter the story. 

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Mostly I'm a Vigilante, but have been playing my WS as a redside toon and I've been enjoying it a lot.

I wish when they'd implemented the system they'd added the morality options to other things or outcomes depending on your alignment... For example, vigilantes get a temp power to summon PPD cops after Posi 2 for handing him over to the police, and rogues get a revive temp power because we've stolen his tech for ourselves.

@Xiddo on Excel. Alts: Agent Betel - V_archetypeicon_dominator.png.5633ed21aff3ea441cdd024895843d4a.png Athosin - Archetypeicon_peacebringer.png.9e329a8a509066a020fd4635ccbb4385.png Nisotha - image.png.c44c4b37be8839626cedeee9a8966397.png Anapos - V_archetypeicon_corruptor.png.f105930c83b316a39d147c7de8c7e017.png Atomic Chilli - V_archetypeicon_brute.png.b1e0b25149b74ff24ce1fd3603064e6e.png Bainbridge - image.png.fc49fb2cec0488ed5cd6d82f5ea9260a.png

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Almost all Vigilante but its only for ease of movement through the zones.

 

Alignment only matters to me on specific characters in which I have already defined their theme or story.  The Munitions Mistress was a hero who steadily went nutso due to the trauma of the First Rikti War, slipping from Hero to Vigilante then Rogue and finally Villain but the events of the Second Rikti War have caused her to  seek redemption and return once more to being the good girl (for the most part).  On the other hand, Krystala was once a member of the Circle of Thorns but rebelled and went renegade so she moved form Villain to Vigilante.  I think I have maybe one or two pure Hero characters and they are for theme (Blue Aria and Trinity Six) and only one pure Villain which is my Demon Summoning Archduchess of Hell Glasya and that is totally theme (so hot).

Girls of Nukem High - Excelsior - Tempus Fabulous, Flattery, Jennifer Chilly, Betty Beatdown, Kitty Conflag

Babes of War - Excelsior - Di Di Guns, Krystala, Tideway, Runeslinger, Munitions Mistress, Operative Violet, Boom Boom Britta

 

Several alts and of course my original from live on Freedom, OG High Beam (someone else has her non OG name)

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I go Vigilante by default so I can side switch and if you're a rogue, when you run Market Crash you'll count as a red-sider and the all-blueside team can't TT.  

 

That said, I think the villain tip missions are the most interesting with a better mix of enemies. 

 

I liked the implementation of the morality system as it was implemented.  However, I get that null the gull is needed in today's game.  Without it, red side content would almost never get run by teams... similar to gold side content now.

Active on Excelsior:

Prismatic Monkey - Seismic / Martial Blaster, Storm Dragon Monkey - Electric / Dual Blades Tank

 

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I just want to add another comment here.  Lately I've been playing a lot of mid-level toons with XP turned off so I can more easily play non-level 50 content.  Among this content is the lower level tip missions.  This content is pretty good, and nobody ever sees it.  It's worth checking out.  In fact, perhaps they should look at making these missions available at 50 through Ouroboros or some other system.

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Active on Excelsior:

Prismatic Monkey - Seismic / Martial Blaster, Storm Dragon Monkey - Electric / Dual Blades Tank

 

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I like being able to join teams/TFs on both sides, so usually vigilante or rogue. I will run tips (rather than radios/papers) if I have time to kill, but I'm not impressed with the content or the "moral" choices. If I'm hero or vigilante, I'll switch to villain or rogue If I want one of the patron pools for my epic. I'll also switch sides to pick up some of the accolades.

Uunderdog - Radiation/Radiation Scrapper | Uundertaker - Radiation/Dark Corruptor | Uun - Martial Arts/Invulnerability Scrapper | Uunison - Gravity/Storm Controller | Uuncola - Ice/Temporal Blaster | Uundergrowth - Plant/Martial Dominator

Uunstable - Super Reflexes/Staff Fighting Tanker | Uunreal - Fire/Time Corruptor | Uunrest - Dark/Tactical Arrow Blaster | Uunseen - Illusion/Poison Controller | Uuncool - Cold/Beam Rifle Defender | Uunderground - Earth/Earth Dominator

Uunknown - Mind/Psionic Dominator | Uunplugged - Stone/Electric Brute | Uunfair - Archery/Trick Arrow Corruptor | Uunsung - Dual Pistols/Ninja Blaster | Uunflammable - Fire/Nature Controller | Uunflappable - War Mace/Willpower Brute

Uundead - Dark/Dark Tank | Uunfit - Water/Martial Blaster | Uunwrapped - Dark/Dark Dominator | Uunchill - Ice/Kinetics Corruptor | Uunpleasant - Energy/Energy Stalker | Uunbrella - Radiation/Radiation Sentinel | Uunsafari - Beasts/Traps MM

Uungnome - Nature/Seismic Defender | Uunsavory - Poson/Sonic Defender | Uunicycle - Broad Sword/Shield Scrapper

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Troo is agnostic in pursuit of their own goals.

 

I miss they days of needing to be a redsider in order to play a Brute, Corruptor, Dominator, Mastermind, Stalker..

 

Edited by Troo

"Homecoming is not perfect but it is still better than the alternative.. at least so far" - Unknown  (Wise words Unknown!)

Si vis pacem, para bellum

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Going through Rogue tips today... escort, escort, escort, needle in a haystack hunt in the biggest damn warehouse map in the game, needle in a haystack hunt for a glowy that isn't a glowy because it's a boss... and the writing is just as bad as the Hero and Vigilante stuff.  I'm either doing it for the money, or to stop someone from gaining more power than I have, or stop someone from destroying the world... because I can't be rich and powerful if there isn't a planet to stand on.  And, of course, I'm confined to the Rogue Isles if I want the Rogue morality tip, because there are no Rogue options in the tips that drop in Paragon, it's a one-way ticket to Hero.

 

Yeah, the whole alignment system is crap.  It's inflexible, both the way it functions and the imposed motivations created with the sub-par writing.  I say rip it all out and replace it with a copy of the Praetorian morality choice.  Let anyone run any tips with any alignment, making a morality choice at the end of the mission, thus allowing the player to decide how it ends, and, consequently, which alignment path to follow.

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Get busy living... or get busy dying.  That's goddamn right.

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Almost all of my toons are vigilantes. I prefer red side but the pop. is small so I am doing blue stuff. But when there's a call to red, I am there!

 

Also, I like to team. Therefore, Vig provides for the most flexibility and opportunity to team.

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On 11/15/2022 at 4:51 PM, SeraphimKensai said:

Week 4: we're back again and it seems natural transition into discussing the alignment system following our discussion of Praetoria.

 

What alignment do you find yourself playing usually? Why? What content is a must run as a hero, vigilante, rogue, or villain? What do you think about tip/morality missions? What about Null the Gull? How would you handle the alignment differently?

Rogue for me.


Seemingly  heroes aren’t in the business of actually fixing anything, so why not go Rogue? 
 

I like the bird, makes for quick swaps on the fly for accolades when needed

 

Not too sure how I’d make it different. Maybe clean up the tips to better reflect alignments and create real choices?

I'm really just kinda tired of being negative, so instead, I'll try being a little more like the opposite. Heard that leads to more of a fun time.

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I generally have a pretty firm idea of the morality of a character when I make them. Some are more heroic, others are more villainous, and others in between.

 

Overall, I'd say that most of my characters end up in the vigilante role, as the ones I play the most often (my little alien Rikti-hunters, the plane-shifted D&D adventurers, and my mage cabal) don't have any qualms about killing people or breaking the law in order to get things done. Quite a few have run afoul of Longbow or other heroes when they're after something specific, and see no problem with laying a smackdown on some goody-goody who tries to talk them out of it.

 

Though lately I've been having the urge to play a full-blown Red Side Best Side character again, and just go around gleefully caving in skulls and wrecking peoples' sh*t.

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In general, I play as a vig, but will switch to rogue when I need invader, usually done between level 4 and 20, whenever I think about it. When completed, I'll knock out the spiders and family, generally using an alt with fire ball for faster results. 

I'll get Atlas Medallion around level 23-24, and I'll switch to rogue for the villain equivalent of Freedom Phalanx Reserve - for some reason, I can never remember if it's born in battle or high pain threshold. I think it's HPT, But, fortunately, I know the requirements, so I don't really need to know the name of it. 

After I clobber Akarist in "The Unlucky Artifact" at level 30, I'll pop into Monster Island and kill myself and use a couple of experienced to "pay off the debt", and get the FPR accolade. I'll head to pocket D, switch back to vig, and then stay vig until level 40-45, when I'll run Mortimer Kal for the Flames of Prometheus to convert into a notice of the well when I ding 50. After I get the Flames, I switch back to vig and remain there until I pretty much "rest" the character and start a new alt. 

I typically only visit the gold side just for the explorations  - for the free merits. Red side is just for accolades, unless I'm on a badge character, or just need a change from blue. 

I haven't done tip missions or morality missions in quite some time. I pretty much have only done those on badge characters. There's really no reason to do them otherwise, as they're all the same, and the payoff is pretty sad, compared to other arcs and tfs. 

If Null the Gull didn't offer the switch, I would probably just stay blue. Just not a fan of the red side. 

If I could be king, I'd simply remove the alignment system. No villains. No heros. No praetorians. Just characters. All zones accessible to any character, any level. 

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I generally play Vigilante or Rogue, gives me mobility. That being said, I really enjoy the redside missions, the writing is just so much fun!
I've leveled a toon through tip-missions, but I definitely like having Null there!

Archetype Concept Compilation -- Powerset Concept Compilations: Assault Melee

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The Great Archetype Concept Battle: Final Round

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Archetype Proposal Amalgamation

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I think given the lack of responses that we can sum up by saying most people just don't care about the alignment system.

 

So my question is whether that is because they don't change alignment (I assume most players are just Blue all of the time) or because they just use Null to do it and it is so easy they just don't think about it.

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2 hours ago, DougGraves said:

I think given the lack of responses that we can sum up by saying most people just don't care about the alignment system.

 

So my question is whether that is because they don't change alignment (I assume most players are just Blue all of the time) or because they just use Null to do it and it is so easy they just don't think about it.

I would hypothesis that the active forum population is a rather small sunset of actual players. Cipher can pull some stats and collaborate that or disprove it.

 

But given the amount of people that don't know how to unlock things like Cimerora, I wouldn't think it a far leap that some might not be sure how to do tip missions or speak to Null the Gull.

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