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The Steam achievement %s are interesting to look at.  While these won't cover all players -- only those dedicated enough to finish the game, and only those playing on Steam -- we currently get

 

2.4% Awakened

2.3% Servants (note, this does not include the non-aligned good ending - I did that first and no medal)

1.5% Takers

1.3% Barzites

 

3.2% Normal, not higher

0.7% Veteran, not higher

1.1% Torment

 

1.0% Solo (never made any creation)

0.6% Pacifist

 

I'm actually surprised that the Pacifist % is even that high, and makes me wonder if there's half a percent of the usual Steam achievement-cheaters in these numbers.

 

But it is interesting that Veteran is higher than Normal.  I think that speaks to the general difficulty level of the game.  Despite this, I've seen remarkably few complaints about difficulty level on Steam, so I guess the names/descriptions for difficulty levels were well chosen!  Whoops, natural 1 on math check.

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54 minutes ago, Slarzahl said:

But it is interesting that Veteran is higher than Normal.  I think that speaks to the general difficulty level of the game.  Despite this, I've seen remarkably few complaints about difficulty level on Steam, so I guess the names/descriptions for difficulty levels were well chosen!

If your stats are from people that finished it, then I am not surprised to be honest. Dedicated players finish the game that came out just over a week ago and they probably do veteran (Torment-dedicated probably haven't finished yet. 😄). I am not even in Mehdab yet.  

 

If you give it a year, then you will see normal going more than veteran. 

 

5 minutes ago, Iguana-on-a-stick said:

I am very interested to see that the "solo" score is that high compared to the normal faction endings.

I mean, if 2-3% only complete Normal or Veteran, how the hell does 1% complete solo and 0.6% pacifist?

 

Because it's the early days. 

Edited by alhoon
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That I do find surprising. I honestly expected that people that have finished the game so early would be more veteran-difficulty types.

I am also stunned that 2.3% fell for Lying Zackary's the Deceiver's lies and aligned with the Servants. Even the change of the name from loyalists / Shapers to Servants, to bring the realization of what you are closer to home, didn't make it. I am honestly surprised. Frankly, I didn't expect the Servants to be neck-to-neck with the Awakened, although it is still early days... 

 

When do you plan to update this list again, if you do? May I suggest an "update" to not delete the previous numbers so that we could compare the early-days with the longer-trends? 

Edited by alhoon
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Just now, Slarzahl said:

Anyone can view the numbers on Steam, I was just kicking some discussion off.

Really? Oh, you mean from the achievements? 

 

But it shows me different numbers. 

Pacifist is 0.3% 

Gifts not needed 0.4% (I assume that's solo? No creation - but nothing about having others join you) 

Emerge a legend is 0.3%

Emerge a hero is 0.7% (So, 0.4% for just veteran)

Emerge victorious is 1.5% (so 0.8 for just normal) 

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I see that various (4) faction achievements/medals require a "good ending". That suggests not just finishing the game allied w/ 1 of them. Should I be worried that I've, ah, over-indulged in canisters during my 1st run, which I'm not done w/ yet? I know the non-aligned ending text...would go bad for me, but that's something different than an achievement/medal.

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3 minutes ago, Mechalibur said:

Canister use doesn't matter for the achievement. Just don't do anything like kill the leader of the faction you want to join.

Thanks. I just came back to edit my post b/c it was in error anyway.

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6 minutes ago, Mechalibur said:

Canister use doesn't matter for the achievement. Just don't do anything like kill the leader of the faction you want to join.

Crap... so, I can't kill Pinner to free the Awakened from a pacifist, naive woman that is going to lead us to disaster? 

Frankly, I may do that anyway. Even if it is not "the good ending". The problem is ... I like Pinner. She is a kind, gentle Servile. But not a war-time commander. We need 10 Pinners after we grab the Shapers by the throat, burn half their forts and dismantle their Empire. 

Edited by alhoon
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7 hours ago, alhoon said:

Really? Oh, you mean from the achievements? 

 

But it shows me different numbers. 

Pacifist is 0.3% 

Gifts not needed 0.4% (I assume that's solo? No creation - but nothing about having others join you) 

Emerge a legend is 0.3%

Emerge a hero is 0.7% (So, 0.4% for just veteran)

Emerge victorious is 1.5% (so 0.8 for just normal) 

 

I don't understand how it would be showing you different numbers.... I still see the same ones.  Caching issue for one of us?

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I think there's also a matter of players not familiar with the series other than Mutagen (maybe) and Infestation not realizing that a core theme is that there are no good guys with power in this world. The Awakened are the only faction who the player is introduced to as if they were "the good guys".

Unaligned/Loyalist: players may not even realize this is an option, but it has the same basic problem as the next.

Servants: slavery of the worst kind. These guys are basically the Dutch East India Company on steroids. But they failed before game start and caused ALL THE PROBLEMS. Joining them is basically admitting that there isn't a good answer, so you're just gonna clean up the mess and eventually pretend it never happened.

Awakened: want peace. Maybe a bit naïve, but seemingly their hearts are in the right place. You're first meeting has them saving you from an ambush. They want to talk the Shapers into letting them live on their own. Until you see more of the game, it's hard to take issue with them.

Takers: they want you dead. Even joining them, they only tolerate you because you are useful. To a new player, they're really hard to sympathize with once you talk to two Taker Drayks, and certainly after talking to a single Drakon. Sure, maybe they are "just really militant Awakened who got lost along the way", but how many of them are even polite to you before you join them?

Barzites: Everything that's wrong with the Unaligned/Loyalist path, but ALSO they're addicts and insane. Unlike the Takers, they don't think they have a moral footing. They don't even care about being right or wrong, only about being powerful. In a way, they reveal some of the moral problems with the Unaligned/Loyalist path because they do still follow (parts of) Shaper Law. 

To a player who is just meeting this world and is used to games where there is a Light Side or a Good Path and a Dark Side or an Evil Path, which one do you join? According to Steam stats, most gamers play the Good/Righteous/etc. path of a game before the Evil one. The Awakened are the closest GF2 has to a 'good guy' path.

 

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14 minutes ago, earanhart said:

I think there's also a matter of players not familiar with the series other than Mutagen (maybe) and Infestation not realizing that a core theme is that there are no good guys with power in this world. The Awakened are the only faction who the player is introduced to as if they were "the good guys".

 

[a nice breakdown of the factions]


To a player who is just meeting this world and is used to games where there is a Light Side or a Good Path and a Dark Side or an Evil Path, which one do you join? According to Steam stats, most gamers play the Good/Righteous/etc. path of a game before the Evil one. The Awakened are the closest GF2 has to a 'good guy' path.

 

 

The Awakened are the good guys. But morals don't often win wars. In a few cases, yes. Not often. 

 

As for the Takers, BEFORE you are given a chance to be tolerated, they are fighting you and they are fighting those nice people you met that want peace. They are presented as dangerous radicals that would use every trick at their disposal to win. 
Which is exactly what they are, BTW. 

The fact that for them it is a fight for the right to exist, not the right to be free, is not something that comes up until after you have been attacked a bunch of times by Takers. 

Edited by alhoon
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I would argue that the Awakened want to be the good guys. But they're also living in a time of war and that's not conducive to having a black and white morality. Enough of them are shades of grey that it's hard to call them actually good, but with the exception of Tuldaric all of their major players (even going down to Brodus Blade) display some desire to be good. But we see too many of their actions and moral failings. "Guards" who hide in the bushes when enemies pass rather than running back to send word. Assassination of the leaders of the closest thing to an ideologically allied party. The target practice rogues. They are close to being "good guys", and they want to be "good guys", but they ain't there.

I suppose it comes down to the ancient question of "is it the action or the desire to do good that makes a man good?" 

 

None of the other sects seem to want to be "good". The Takers are moral, sure. But it's the morality of survival and strength. They don't care about the Commons. They might not be evil to the core, but they also aren't good. The other three options . . . are slavers. 

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The awakened are not Slavers. Tuldaric's target-practice creations are rogues they have captured, and those are unintelligent beings. You don't see Taker Serviles used as target practice. 

Furthermore some soldiers being not-exactly-brave doesn't paint the faction as non-good. The Awakened morals are good morals. How closely the individual Awakened follows them is up to the person. The Shaper doctrine is oppressive and evil. The Taker doctrine espouses intellectual genocide (and for a good reason...) and no-holds-barred fight (again, for understandable reasons). The Barzhites... well, they don't even pretend to not be evil, they just think they should be allowed to be evil and powerhungry and the Shaper Law is too tame for them. 

 

The Awakened assassinating enemy leaders and dangerous radicals is absolutely justified; those three Drakons Drayks leading the ideologically closer party, are in open war with the Awakened, sending monsters to kill them and pests to ruin their lands. This is killing the leadership of the enemy army to end the war. The Takers are not attacking the Servants in full force. Noooope, they save their vengeance and the majority of their energy to fight the Awakened. It is no surprise that the Awakened want the leaders dead in a (predictably naive) assumption that this may lead to the Takers humbled, returning back to the Fold.  

No, the Awakened killing the leaders of the enemy faction that targets them is the Awakened attempt to give a second chance to the Takers, before they will have to crush them with the Barrier of the Winds. It is what is required to extend a bloodied olive branch to the Takers, hoping they will take it (or some of them will take it) before the Awakened press the "I win" button. It is mercy towards the mid-rank and rank-and-file Taker Servile of "we can kill your leaders and we can defeat the Shapers. Join us before it is too late". 

 

Edited by alhoon
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The Awakened aren't perfect.  Is that disqualifying to "being the good guys"?  It's the good guys, not the perfect guys, surely... is "good" really supposed to be a binary quality?  There's no shades of good?

 

The Awakened do some things that aren't good, by any standards, but it's kind of ridiculous to hand-wave their intentions, their actions, or the outcome of their actions and say "yup no difference from the other factions."  Their ending is less destructive than the others, full stop.

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35 minutes ago, Slarzahl said:

The Awakened aren't perfect.  Is that disqualifying to "being the good guys"?  It's the good guys, not the perfect guys, surely... is "good" really supposed to be a binary quality?  There's no shades of good?

 

The Awakened do some things that aren't good, by any standards, but it's kind of ridiculous to hand-wave their intentions, their actions, or the outcome of their actions and say "yup no difference from the other factions."  Their ending is less destructive than the others, full stop.

And on top of that, their ideology is the most benign. In fact, they are too good to win a war against the Shapers. The Awakened want justice, peace and freedom. Nothing more. 

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Since I very much grew up with these games, it's kind of funny to see how my viewpoints on the different factions have developed over time. It's even more interesting to see the bits of nuance and "humanization" that have been added to them in these remakes.

 

When I was younger, there wasn't even a question, it was Awakened in both G1 and G2. And if it were just me, acting in my own self-interest and for my own moral comfort, it still probably would be the Awakened. The moderate viewpoint is appealing. But in G2 we start to see some systemic problems that are hampering their capabilities as a serious movement. For one thing, by committing themselves to never learning to Shape, they rely entirely on defectors for their research. The few we do see are either Tuldaric (a canister addict who is taking way too much on himself and going to burn out) or a handful of junior Shapers without the background experience to seriously spearhead the kind of research the Awakened would need to survive. Thankfully, we do see in the remakes that there's a general understanding that war will be necessary to achieve freedom, but they're still hamstringing themselves by intentionally fighting a defensive war against a continent-spanning superpower. We do see that the scope of the conflict is limited by their restraint in the endcards, and that's admirable. It's also going to be a long, grueling war of attrition they way they've set themselves up.

 

A faction I've come really full circle on is the Takers. The remakes have added nuance to their viewpoints in a way that makes me think that there could be a road to a real society if they win. I know this series is a tragedy, and G3-G5 show how they go completely off the rails, so that version of the future is definitely not going to come to pass, but in talking with the Takers, especially their leadership, it feels much more like they're a fully realized philosophy with genuine merit instead of mindlessly rabid vengeance fetishists. They have a real relationship with the common humans of Terrestia, probably informed by their early contact with Trajkov. The bitterness and vitriol of the serviles, especially those from Sucia, is much more understandable now. When I was a kid, Toivo pissed me off. Now, especially knowing his studies into how the serviles were first created, I think his restraint in not immediately cutting our throats is admirable.

 

Luckily, being older also means I can recognize a lot of the red flags hanging on everything any Barzite ever says ever. Boy howdy.

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The Takers certainly have a philosophy that can sound reasonable on its own - the Shapers are perpetuating slavery and there's no way to free the serviles (and commons to a lesser extent) without drastic action being taken. The biggest issue for a lot of players, I think, is how awful the Takers are to you personally.

 

In the first game, your first encounter with a Taker is a spy that asks you to murder Ellhrah, the leader of a faction that's been quite reasonable to you. While most serviles you encounter treat you as either an equal (the Awakened) or a superior (the Obeyers), a significant number of Takers you meet are either violent (requiring leadership or stealth to bypass) or dismissive of you. Only a few actually make an attempt to reason with you like Gnorrel or Eko Blade.

 

Second game is more of the same. The first Taker you're likely to meet asks you to kill an Awakened guard who's keeping the roads safe from rogues. Unless you do that, you likely have to fight or sneak your way around Taker encampments separating the Taker and Awakened lands who want to attack you on sight. Syros is willing to work with you and explain their philosophy, but even if Zhass-Uss is friendly, several of the serviles there want nothing to do with you.

 

Now that's not to say they're jerks for no reason. There's definitely a history that guides their actions, but from a player perspective, I can see why a lot of people have an adverse reaction to them.

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18 minutes ago, Mechalibur said:

The Takers certainly have a philosophy that can sound reasonable on its own - the Shapers are perpetuating slavery and there's no way to free the serviles (and commons to a lesser extent) without drastic action being taken. The biggest issue for a lot of players, I think, is how awful the Takers are to you personally.

 

In the first game, your first encounter with a Taker is a spy that asks you to murder Ellhrah, the leader of a faction that's been quite reasonable to you. While most serviles you encounter treat you as either an equal (the Awakened) or a superior (the Obeyers), a significant number of Takers you meet are either violent (requiring leadership or stealth to bypass) or dismissive of you. Only a few actually make an attempt to reason with you like Gnorrel or Eko Blade.

 

Second game is more of the same. The first Taker you're likely to meet asks you to kill an Awakened guard who's keeping the roads safe from rogues. Unless you do that, you likely have to fight or sneak your way around Taker encampments separating the Taker and Awakened lands who want to attack you on sight. Syros is willing to work with you and explain their philosophy, but even if Zhass-Uss is friendly, several of the serviles there want nothing to do with you.

 

Now that's not to say they're jerks for no reason. There's definitely a history that guides their actions, but from a player perspective, I can see why a lot of people have an adverse reaction to them.

Also very true! The Awakened especially put a lot of time and effort into thanking you for doing fairly minor favors.

 

It also doesn't help that the qualification quests to join the Takers are intentionally unfair. I had a little bit of a chuckle when I took stock of who I felt I could realistically kill to satisfy Amena Blade's quest... and realized that the easiest option was Learned Pinner by a LONG shot. Great little gameplay and story resonance moment there, if you want to really do the most amount of good (or least amount of harm) you've got to bust your ass in a wretched boss fight to kill Barzahl.

 

Plus in the Taker ending, you're not the Kwisatz Haderach, you're just someone who facilitated the revolution. That can kinda sting if you're looking for gamer back-pats, but I appreciate the bracing realism.

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2 hours ago, Val Ritz said:

But in G2 we start to see some systemic problems that are hampering their capabilities as a serious movement. For one thing, by committing themselves to never learning to Shape, they rely entirely on defectors for their research.

This isn't fully true -- in their ending, they raid Rising, going on the offensive to absorb the research and resources of the Barzites.  It's not clear to me that this is any less effective a setup than what the Takers have, particularly given Akkat as an example of problems with their approach (which they have to turn to a Shaper to resolve).  The Barzites presumably have a few more actual Shapers, but most of the "Shapers" we see are just canistered-up commons.

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8 minutes ago, Slarzahl said:

 

This isn't fully true -- in their ending, they raid Rising, going on the offensive to absorb the research and resources of the Barzites.  It's not clear to me that this is any less effective a setup than what the Takers have, particularly given Akkat as an example of problems with their approach (which they have to turn to a Shaper to resolve).  The Barzites presumably have a few more actual Shapers, but most of the "Shapers" we see are just canistered-up commons.

 

Yeah, the research staff at the Radiant College is also surprisingly thin, and even if you sabotage the facility instead of killing the head researchers, I don't know that they'd willingly subject themselves to Awakened rule, not in any kind of way you could trust.

 

Now, the research into optics and targeted modifications would go a long way to solving the ecological problems that the Awakened have, since their valley is kind of awful for supporting a decent population. Maybe someone like Carnelian, working from first principles and using that research, could extrapolate out more effective Shaping techniques that could still be used responsibly in defense of the Drypeaks, then teach them to willing students.

 

The main difficulty that I see is when you talk with servile mages, they appear to be committed to not learning or becoming capable of the Shaping arts at all, and that's going to introduce some hard limits on what Medab is capable of. They'd essentially be a rebellious common government with one big exception in the form of the Barrier of Winds.

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4 hours ago, Slarzahl said:

They are not too good for that.  Read their ending.  They do just as well as the Rebels eventually do, and create a less miserable existence for their own members.

 

I will see how the new finale plays out, but an eternal stalemate (even if it is that) is not victory.

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Every Awakened leader we've seen has been willing to compromise their ideals when necessary, and "no shaping" isn't even a core Awakened ideal.  But more relevantly than that, the Awakened in their ending aren't just "Medab," they have all of Drypeak; and similarly the Awakened even during the game aren't just the serviles.  Carnelian and Raeche and Charye are part of the Awakened, not just Tuldaric; and given how little fuss is made over those other three, it's hard to imagine they are the only such people.  Like any RPG, one imagines people exist in the world who don't show up in the game.  They aren't without Shaping.  It's just not super widespread for them.  It's not super widespread for the Takers, either.


The Awakened end up with the full benefit of Barzahl's work greening up the valley.  He obviously got it working better in the Rising area, and the whole map ends up Awakened territory in their ending.

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Here's a few things I noticed back in OG2 that feel even more pronounced now that hamper the Awakened as being either the good guys or the ones with a shot of surviving:

The only Awakened who are willing to go the least step above and beyond their orders in support of their cause are Brodus Blade (who very much grumbles about having to even be there at the time) and Xander who isn't exactly in a stable mind-set. Every other Awakened you meet in dangerous area refuses to budge from the exact location they are set or told to patrol, or to assist the Apprentice even with a bit directions. "The rogues are heaviest near the burnt tree to the east, and we've mostly seen Vlish" type things would go a long ways towards showing their goodwill to the Apprentice. This isn't one or two cowards, this is a systemic pattern throughout their military (which is most of them we see), which means it is encouraged by their leaders. 

 

Unrelated, but next point: where are the Awakened Drayks, Thahds, or Battle Betas? We have conversations with examples of all three. Sure, the battle shaping line aren't known for their stability or intelligence, but players can speak with multiple types of them and they seem to want a place to belong and a role to fill, even after going Rogue. Telling me the Awakened couldn't get one to till the soil, or work as a guard in Medab? As for drayks, back before the three factions split we are told that everybody got along. Back when Zachary as helping all of the Sucia escapees to rebuild the secrets of Sucia. And the Awakened couldn't convince a single Drayk to agree with them? The explanation I can think of here is that the Awakened don't care about Drayk Rights. They'd be happy to let Drayks remain Banned. They only want Servile Rights. Being persecuted is not an excuse for ignoring the other person persecuted by the same enemy. But the only Drayk we see in Awakened lands is specifically there to sabotage them (and even at that doesn't do a great deal that way. Locks them out of one mine and a swamp that they don't seem to have use for.) We don't see any evidence that the Awakened have fought a Drayk at all until/unless the Apprentice joins them.

 

As for the war between the Takers and the Awakened, gotta ask how much effort the Takers have put into that? We see them send exactly ONE Drayk, and a few skilled Serviles. Most of the problems the Awakened are having appear to be from actual Rogues, and even moreso from former Awakened Rogues. Yes, the Takers do attack Fort Muck, but most of the other Taker units in Awakened lands are infiltrators and spies. We don't see a single defensive construction by the Takers from Medab to Zhass-Uss. The Awakened aren't a major focus to the Takers, or at least haven't been for long. Between the Takers and Barzites, we see some very impressive defensive structures (walls, mines, barracks, etc.) that have traded hands several times and still have active defenses on both sides. That's a key difference in those wars. And we don't see any sign of Barzites in Awakened lands (other than at Freegate itself). We know the Awakened have agents in Barzite lands. And the Awakened have control over the only entrance and exit from the Improved Lands. It doesn't make sense that the Takers started or even maintained the aggression between them and and the Awakened. Why initiate a second war front when you're already at a stalemate with the guys to your south? Especially when they are the only path you have to getting raw resources such as food that you can't produce yourself. I doubt it was Learned Pinner who started the Taker/Awakened war, but the Awakened being the first belligerents makes more sense than the Takers attacking unprovoked. And the Takers have better control over their military Serviles and Drayks than the Awakened do.

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1 hour ago, Slarzahl said:

Is a war with no end in sight victory?  Because that's what the Takers and Barzites get.

 

But the Taker and Barzhite war have "no end in sight" just for the forseable future. It is easy to assume the Takers may win after 20-30 years of extremely brutal warfare that leaves entire provinces as ruined wasteland, crawling with shredbugs and whatever those new pests the Takers threw on the Servants are called.  
We can assume the Barzhites have a decent chance to win throwing armies of cannister junkies on enemy Guardians to the same effect. 

For the Awakened, at most, they will get the valley at peace and shadow-road a few thousand serviles there, with an eye on how much population the valley can support and all the while fighting renewed Shaper attacks. And after the Serviles start growing too many there will be a system of saving those that are the most helpful to the Awakened Nation, not those that want liberty the most. You will have Serviles saying they don't want more Serviles to come and that the Awakened Nation's obligation is only to the Serviles-within-borders etc. Asylum committees will be set up and all.  
Pinner's ideals are pure but what about three leaders down the line? How long before the Awakened Nation gets an anti-immigration movement and how long, in the face of Shaper Retaliations of stealing Serviles and increasing population, that xenophobic faction gains power? 

 

Is that what Elirah would want?  

 

 

3 hours ago, Slarzahl said:

 

This isn't fully true -- in their ending, they raid Rising, going on the offensive to absorb the research and resources of the Barzites.  It's not clear to me that this is any less effective a setup than what the Takers have, particularly given Akkat as an example of problems with their approach (which they have to turn to a Shaper to resolve).  The Barzites presumably have a few more actual Shapers, but most of the "Shapers" we see are just canistered-up commons.

The Takers have the Geneforge though. They can make Shapers not just Cannistered-Commons like Rawals agents (not capital A, the cannistered-up people he uses). 

The failure rate of the geneforge for humans is ... well not that bad! Presumably not as bad as the Tuldaric's ritual on Serviles. 

 

  

37 minutes ago, earanhart said:

The explanation I can think of here is that the Awakened don't care about Drayk Rights. They'd be happy to let Drayks remain Banned. They only want Servile Rights.

 

I don't think that is remotely true. I think the Drayks decided to abandon the Awakened and join the Takers. Because the Shapers don't want to talk to the Drayks, they want to kill the drayks. Wyx places it very well. 

Also, Wyx is a rogue drayk. That you can command. Which Lying Zackary the Deceiver tells you it is impossible. Not hard, impossible. 

 

 

37 minutes ago, earanhart said:

We see them send exactly ONE Drayk, and a few skilled Serviles. Most of the problems the Awakened are having appear to be from actual Rogues, and even moreso from former Awakened Rogues.

 

It is not the Barzhites that put up those Spawners, and it is more than "A few rogues". The Takers are spamming Rogues, Litalia-like tactic of making them, sending them away and then severing control, and they send them to starve the Awakened. 

The Awakened are downright besieged by the Takers, while the Barzhites have much less of an issue (well, they are stronger) and the Servants are taking the less attacks (they are far away though).  

 

  

37 minutes ago, earanhart said:

We don't see a single defensive construction by the Takers from Medab to Zhass-Uss.

 

Because the Awakened are "Defend and talk it out, even in the face of a freaking siege". The Awakened plan is to give 50 chances or so to the Takers. They eventually kill their leaders hoping to stop much of the bloodshed and give a chance to the Takers to sue for peace before the "I win" button of hundreds of powerful flying Drakons taking down the Takers. 

Zhass-Uss is not attacked and the Awakened have not sent spies to them, which Pinner admits it was a mistake.

 

  

37 minutes ago, earanhart said:

but the Awakened being the first belligerents makes more sense than the Takers attacking unprovoked.

 

Not really, no. The Awakened are seen by both Takers and Barzhites as the weak-link. The Takers attack because they are not afraid of retaliation. Many of the Takers hate the Awakened because they are ideologically impure. Check civil wars; the moderates have it worst and those branded as traitors to the cause are the first to be attacked. For pragmatist Takers, the Awakened are easy targets for loot, glory, and research. 

If the Takers take over the Awakened, they can open a second front on the side of the Barzhites to squeeze them like bugs, and have a big buffer zone for the inevitable Shaper retaliation. 

It makes absolute tactical sense for the Takers to attack the Awakened when in a stalemate with the Barzhites and it is also very understandable for the rank-and-file that hate the "traitors". 

 

Edited by alhoon
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59 minutes ago, earanhart said:

This isn't one or two cowards, this is a systemic pattern throughout their military (which is most of them we see), which means it is encouraged by their leaders. 

 Also to address this: The awakened do not want to fight. They want peace. 

Which is my main issue with them. They take the blows to the chin and try to go high when others go low. At some point, you have to punch back. The Ghandi resistance cannot work when you are a small community of villages surrounded by monsters. 

When you find the Taker spy, the Awakened are happy to let him flee. 

 

 

Another thing I noticed: There are many Awakened that are too servile (not the race, I couldn't think of another word to show they are too awed by you and quasi-worship you and seem happy to serve you). Some are ex-obeyers, obviously, but I can see why the Takers are getting Sucia-cleansing flashbacks. 

What I mean is that, honestly, for every Awakened Servile that tells you 'I want to fight' or 'you go clean that mess your people made!' you find someone that goes biiig eyed and say "Shaper! Shaper! Will you save us with your awesome power?" or "You returned one of my ornks! Here is a reward worth x20 what the ornk is worth!". 
Pinner herself was brow-beaten by an apprentice, because I did not kill that Taker Drayk and still joined. That Drayk deserves to live, as far as I am concerned. I may take down the Roamer-making but unless I have to, I won't kill that Taker in the mines. 

 

Example: 

Screenshot-2024-04-16-025048.png

See that? He simply bows his head happily and obeys my order. The guy is an obeyer / Servant in the wrong side of the tunnel. 

I am pro-Awakened and I am of half of a mind to help the Takers kill those guys. I do not want absolute purity of ideals but the guy is 80% Servant and 20% Awakened as far as I am concerned. People like him will flee the Shapers when the time comes or worse, they will become the 5th column that will hamper Awakened effort. 

The Rebellion needs to wean out those people from the fighting force. No, not KILL poor Alvarny, but certainly not give him a weapon when facing Rogues (as they scare the loyal Serviles and he is mostly loyal) or Shapers. He can go fight bandits or something or better, work in the fields and stump those critters the Takers or Barzites send out to destroy crops. 

Edited by alhoon
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Let's spin your stance back into my earlier question then:

 

Can a moderate make a claim to moral goodness when genocide is on the line? 

 

There's a reason that EVERY Dryak left the Awakened (if they ever joined them in the first place). Ellrahs dream never included any non-Servile Creations (as it is communicated to the player of the games). Even in the face of MULTIPLE full Shapers working with them (to inckide Zakary at that point), the Awakened failed to make even ONE of the reptilians sympathetic to their cause. They ain't the "good guys" to other Creations. Only to Serviles.

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32 minutes ago, earanhart said:

Let's spin your stance back into my earlier question then:

 

Can a moderate make a claim to moral goodness when genocide is on the line? 

 

That... is a very interesting question. 

I don't know the answer. I disagree with you that the Awakened are happy for the Drayks to be genocided as the Awakened always talk about thinking creations. They even include the Gazers in that, which the later Rebels do not. 

 

But I am not sure all the Awakened are willing to fight to the end for the Drayks, no. They are willing to talk it out with the Shapers. But if it comes to the Shapers saying "And you will not allow Drayks in your lands, or no deal!" ... 

I don't know, I honestly don't know what the Awakened would say. I am sure some Awakened will say "No. They are thinking creations." But I also sure some Awakened will say "sad, but we had to compromise to end the war." and the "if we have to throw the Drayks under the bus in order to end the war so be it" faction would grow in power as the war goes on. 

 

ON THE OTHER HAND:
Barrier of the Winds. There is evidence that the Awakened will align with a "new generation" of Drakons that are not Takers. 
And I doubt even the Awakened will be that stupid to turn on their most powerful guards if the Shapers say "get rid of them, and then we talk." 

 

So, to surmise: It is certain that the Awakened will push for Drayk/Drakon rights. I am not so certain if they will go to the end for the Drayks. 
And I am actually certain they will never ever fight with the tenacity the Drayks will for the Drayks' right to survive. Heck, the Awakened are not willing to fight for their survival with the tenacity that Taker Serviles fight. It is not like the Awakened are not aware what will happen to them if the Shapers win. Even the Obeyers have been purged in Sucia. Let alone the Awakened. And yet, the Awakened are fighting a battle for their own survival with one hand tied behind their back. Against 10 foes. Their plan is to fight with one hand tied behind their back and a big stick in a small corridor so that the 10 foes will come one at a time. 

 

 

  

32 minutes ago, earanhart said:

There's a reason that EVERY Dryak left the Awakened (if they ever joined them in the first place). Ellrahs dream never included any non-Servile Creations (as it is communicated to the player of the games). Even in the face of MULTIPLE full Shapers working with them (to inckide Zakary at that point), the Awakened failed to make even ONE of the reptilians sympathetic to their cause. They ain't the "good guys" to other Creations. Only to Serviles.

 

If I was a Drayk, I would be against the Awakened too, but not for the reasons you say. Well, kinda.

From what I remember the dialogues with the Awakened leaders (plural) they always say "all thinking creations" which includes Drayks. 

But what the Drayks see is passiveness that will lead to their extermination. Lack of the conviction needed to avoid the genocide. When you are standing on the oil soaked field and the enemy is approaching with the torch, it is not the time to discuss whether you should first shout to the enemy to not do it, to try to reason with him as he holds the torch that will set you and all you love ablaze, before shooting him. 

 

And thus, we are back to your question: 

When genocide is on the line, is a moderate approach even morally good? 

I don't know. It is a hard question. 

But I know what a Drayk would think. 

 

 

=================================================================================

 

Back at being angry at Alvarny. 

 

I cleared the enemy encampment. And what do the Serviles do? Do they try to reclaim the supplies of the enemy? How about fortifying the enemy caves so the Takers won't simply slip inside again? 

Nope, they are tired (understandable) and so they all go back. Not a single guard left for the camp or the other camp. Just a patrol on the road. Which worked so marvelously the previous time. 

 

Edited by alhoon
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49 minutes ago, alhoon said:

And thus, we are back to your question: 

When genocide is on the line, is a moderate approach even morally good? 

I don't know. It is a hard question. 

But I know what a Drayk would think. 

This is why I say that the Awakened want to be the good guys but aren't. 

They're certainly the closest thing to it in these mountains, other than possibly Sharon who has the opposite problem (willful ignorance).

 

But to a first time player, before deciding which team to support, they appear to be the only moral choice. This boosts their initial popularity, in addition to being the first group you encounter that aren't slavers.

 

Edit: I will say for clarity sake that the Awakened are the only faction who aren't clearly the bad guys here. But whether or not they are good is easily debatable.

Edited by earanhart
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1 hour ago, earanhart said:

Let's spin your stance back into my earlier question then:

 

Can a moderate make a claim to moral goodness when genocide is on the line?

I think the problem here is calling the Awakened "moderate" in the first place.

 

They are "moderate" in the sense that they aren't ideologically inclined to genocide, but that's a truly weird term to use for that.  It is absolutely clear that they are willing to fight and kill when necessary.  Look at Pinner's reasoning behind the Spy Drayk quest, as an easy example.  Culturally, they're as radical as anyone else with the changes they are basically forcing on existing society.  They might be the closest thing Geneforge has to Professor X, but they're also the closest thing Geneforge has to Magneto (who was right).

 

What exactly about any of the other factions looks better via the genocide lens?

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I would argue the Takers look better through that lens. From everything they've seen, it's very much a "one of us will not survive" situation. If they were to find the Sholai homeland, would their masses be happy to just go over there and not have to deal with Shapers. Their leaders, clearly not. But the "get out of my house" drayks? Maybe, maybe not. Their leaders burned that bridge before it could be built. And it's possible that the act of Taking your Free is too important to them and they need the war. Which would firmly put them into the no-excuse evil box alongside the Barzites. But as to the excuse of genocide? If it's truly you or me, your children or my children, morality doesn't play in. That's not even grey, it's not on the white/black spectrum. And I don't see any evidence of the Takers as a group thinking the outcome of the existence of independent Creations being anything other than the binary survival of one group or the other. And even their leaders aren't totally on the "kill all Awakened" board. There is that one Awakened merchant in Zhass-Uss. They could easily have been killed or even just refused access to food and shelter until they left a long time ago. Their existence is tolerated. Sure, probably someone is keeping an eye on them to make sure they don't try to send information home, but they don't appear to be mistreated. Merely mistrusted.

As for the other sects viewed through the genocide lens, well . . .
Barzites make no excuse for their atrocities. They simply don't care.

The Loyalists see it as maintaining the old order and (at least nominally) protecting the Commons from a Shaper War when two factions have their powers. Which is at least defensible, but then there's all of the other stuff wrapped in their issues.

And the Servants are trying to buy their way back into the Loyalist camp by killing off the other three.

 

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30 minutes ago, earanhart said:

And even their leaders aren't totally on the "kill all Awakened" board. There is that one Awakened merchant in Zhass-Uss. They could easily have been killed or even just refused access to food and shelter until they left a long time ago. Their existence is tolerated.

 

She hides the fact that she's with the Awakened and won't tell you her allegiance unless you're also Awakened. This leads me to believe she's fearful for her life if she were to be discovered.

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Even outside of conversation, she states she is from Medab. And she makes a point of telling you. "You might want to know, I am no Taker. I come from Awakened lands." Sure, she isn't saying she's a member, but she also makes a point of implying it. That seems to indicate her fear isn't that great. I read it as an open secret. She keeps her mouth shut about politics, and no one bothers her about it, but everyone knows. 

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1 hour ago, earanhart said:

And it's possible that the act of Taking your Free is too important to them and they need the war. Which would firmly put them into the no-excuse evil box alongside the Barzites.

I disagree. Vigilantism is not good, but seeking revenge / justice over the slights you suffered doesn't put you in the no-excuse evil box. 

And it can be argued that Taking your Free is not just suicide-by-Shaper but a desire to die a free being, which is frankly admirable and their most endearing quality. 

 

Edited by alhoon
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I would argue that revenge is always a morally bad act. It is simply doing to others what they did to you, and often worse. And the Takers seem to be more about revenge than justice. 
As for 'death-by-Shaper', I don't think that's any Takers goal. They think they have a chance with the Drakons (and the series shows they actually do). The ones on the front lines today are giving their lives for future victory. That's not suicide-by-Shaper. We've seen a few of those Creations in other games. What I meant was that in the Awakened dream where Shapers say "you know what, sure. We'll leave you alone here. Do your thing" the Takers would probably STILL be gunning for war. And not merely territorial expansion. That their philosophy leads to the belief that they need to be the ones who CLAIM their victory. They must TAKE Free, rather than be handed it. Granted, we'll never know because the Council is, well, the Council.

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1 minute ago, earanhart said:

in the Awakened dream where Shapers say "you know what, sure. We'll leave you alone here. Do your thing" the Takers would probably STILL be gunning for war. And not merely territorial expansion.

The Takers would be right for many reasons. 

1. The Shapers would come for the Awakened Nation sooner or later, even if a peace holds for 10 or 40 years. 

2. The Shapers were hunting and killing them for no reason, there's no reason to think they won't do so again. 

3. Putting the interests and Safety of Drayks, Drakons and rogue Serviles aside, the Shakers need to be taken down, because they are an evil, oppressive empire. The Common don't have it bad, compared to Creations or compared to other totalitarian / Theocratic / non-democratic regimes in history. But the Creations? No, they have reason to want to end the Shapers. 

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9 hours ago, earanhart said:

But as to the excuse of genocide? If it's truly you or me, your children or my children, morality doesn't play in. That's not even grey, it's not on the white/black spectrum. And I don't see any evidence of the Takers as a group thinking the outcome of the existence of independent Creations being anything other than the binary survival of one group or the other. And even their leaders aren't totally on the "kill all Awakened" board.

I agree that iff it's truly you or me, there's no moral third way.  But this justification hinges on whether it is that way in reality.  I vehemently disagree that feeling that way is justification for genocide.

 

And it's not truly that way -- the Awakened ending proves that.  The Shapers don't stop attacking, but this is no surprise.  Nobody is under the delusion that the Shapers can easily be dissuaded, not after the burning of Sucia.  The Awakened concept isn't "we don't need to use force with the Shapers."  It's "we don't need to kill people just because their leaders are attacking us, if they themselves are not."  And the result is that, after a little while, the Shapers put in only a token war effort.  It's not clear that there are any meaningful casualties for the Awakened at all.  This so-called "moral" approach is also a pragmatic one, because the Awakened are actually willing to take Shaper psychology into account, and that pays off.

 

The problem with justifying genocide based on the feeling that "it's us or them" -- this has been the fatuous justification for plenty of real-world genocides.  (And we could use a different verb tense there, too, but let's stay away from that topic with a ten foot pole plz.)  Historical hostility is a justification for use of force, and there are times that means going on the offense.  But there's big gap between "going on the offense" and "every X must die."

 

To jump ahead in the series: the justification you've presented here for Taker genocide would also apply to Taygen's genocide, wouldn't it?

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Ah, Taygen... Taygen doesn't do half-measures. The Takers are willing to leave some friendly Shapers and when they form the Great Rebellion, Shapers that change sides (Litalia, Greta, the player character, etc) are tolerated or even elevated depending on how far they go. 

Taygen? Taygen even kills the batons, the living tools, the doors. He sends the Shapers to the dark age. 

 

I also completely agree that "They are out to get uuuuuuuuuuus!!!!" has been used to justify genocide since time immemorial, way before the word genocide was invented 100 years ago. Another very common trope to justify genocide is "they did it first!!" / "Juuusticeeee!!!"  

See the Rwandan Genocide that started as retaliation by the Hutu against the Tutsi. 

 

That said: I am still not convinced the Awakened way leads to anything but a prolonged stalemate that is doomed to end in a collapse 30, 50, 100 years after the game ends. But I will have to reach the ending to find out. And I am still at level 11. 

And in the case of the Drayks and Drakons? They are right. The Shapers are out to get them. 

Edited by alhoon
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They aren't willing to leave neutral Shapers alive, though.  Even sympathetic Shapers who stop short of actually joining the Rebellion -- see, yet again, Khyryk!  They're just making exceptions to genocide when it's convenient for them.  That's something else that's happened in historical real-world genocides.

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