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The Man with the Steel Voice: Proper moral reflection

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Story and Lore > Spoilers
The Man with the Steel Voice: Proper moral reflection

KorinHyvek's Avatar


KorinHyvek
04.29.2012 , 07:18 AM | #11
Ungh. Would be really nice if we had someone who was an actual scientist in this quest. Is the cleaning solution actually causing further mutation, or just driving the existing mutants mad (and perhaps driving some of the bigger and more reclusive ones out into the open). If it's the former, we're dealing with the aforementioned carpet bombing solution. With the latter, we have something of a dilemna. The best solution is to try to relocate the settlers while cleaning the river and containing and treating the mutated beasts... But then, that's a job for an actual hazmat team. Something a single Imperial Agent or hired gun is not up for the task.


Ultimately, I'd have to say make the choice you feel your character would make, and stop caring about a measly 50-100 alignment points.
The Ferrin Legacy, Ebon Hawk
Major Volner Ferrin // Darth Hessar

Bytemite's Avatar


Bytemite
04.29.2012 , 10:38 AM | #12
Quote: Originally Posted by Skirlasvoud View Post
To go back to the BP analogy: The Oil Spil created a rare, three eyed, carnivorous dolphin that threatens to whipe out the normal dolphins. BP hires a few biologists and proclaims the three-eyed dolphin to be a rare species natural to the enviroment and makes sure that the species is allowed to live, no matter how dangerous it is. Other ecologists protest, but by then its too late and the three-eyed dolphins wipes out all other life in the gulf.

They then get a group of lawyers to argue against cleaning the mess up, since this would endanger the three-eyed dolphin. In fact, they excuse all further oil-spills as a natural, biological occurence that stabilizes the ecology in favour of the three-eyed dolphin.

Scientists come up with a solution to revert back the gulf to its normal state, but by then the three-eyed dolphin has evolved legs and BP warns that fixing the enviroment might cause dolphin attacks on major coastal cities. Instead, PB emancipates the three-eyed dolphin, gives it human rights and causes several more oil spills in other territories. A decade later and we all suffer under an opressive PB-Dolphin Empire that rules the world.


Can you see a pattern emerge? If you don't fix it and only make apologies for the current state, it will only get worse.

Its like the steel voice says: "If only I had acted sooner, when I new what the Hutts were doing and I was still young."

The light side option just makes things worse down the line.
In the realm of logical arguments, this is what is known as a slippery slope. I think that term applies in this case in more ways than one.

You can make all kinds of justifications about what will be good later on, but in matters of ethics and morality it's what you do NOW that is the determining factor. You can say ends justify the means, etc. etc. but inherent in this argument is the idea that you're risking doing a little evil now for something you're hoping will turn out better in the long run. But you actually don't have any guarantee it will turn out better for either the wildlife or the civilians, and if it doesn't you'd only have done evil. Even if it turns out good, you still would potentially have done evil to start with, and you were willing to make that choice. So there's your darkside points right there, even before you start to get into what the actual motivations of the old man might be. Road paved with good intentions and whatnot.

What you have is two possibly conflicting stories. You have a story from an old man who says he can purify the water. His previous treatments haven't done the job, but he has this new final formula that he believes will neutralize the pollution. You talk to the settlers, and they say his previous treatments purified the water, but mutated the animals even more (these are CHEMICALS, you know, not just a magical fluid that will disappear when you put it in the water after it neutralizes the existing pollution), and that the more mutated animals have or have nearly killed other settlers.

One or both could be lying, but one of those scenarios potentially results in deaths and further ecological destruction via replacing one source of river pollution for another. When you confront the old man about this, he says he knew all along that the chemicals would negatively effect the animals, and he says that he thinks that the settlers deserve to die. His motivations when he admits to them starts to edge into the territory of the disgruntled worker and revenge.

If you're willing to risk the lives of civilians and wildlife for environmental justice, well, there's a reason that environmentalist groups like ELF who go around blowing up radio towers are considered eco-terrorists.

However, to be fair, it does kind of stick in the craw that Bioware is trying to suggest that the status quo is the best possible option. I don't disagree on that count. Hutta seems like a pretty terrible place, and even as a hero character the best you can do is keep it from getting worse. That's pretty sad. Maybe in the future there will be a quest you can discover in the Muckworks that cleanses the river without the horrible mutation and death.

Blackholeskipper's Avatar


Blackholeskipper
04.29.2012 , 10:47 AM | #13
Quote: Originally Posted by Bytemite View Post
these are CHEMICALS, you know, not just a magical fluid that will disappear when you put it in the water after it neutralizes the existing pollution)
I don't see how putting purifying CHEMICALS in a river where factories are already dumping CHEMICALS all day long has to be bad. Chemicals differ in their effects (they use CHEMICALS for drinking water and sewage treatment too you know...). Anyway, by choosing the light side option you are helping the Hutts and indirectly sentencing the villagers (who, let's not forget, are being paid to live there so they can pretend the river is clean and no safety hazard) to death by pollution.

And the problem with this quest is not that it's a measly 100 evil/good points, it's that many quests in this game are like this. In quest Black Science for example, you have to steal bioregenerative plans from Lord Grathan's Estate. Then this dude pops up and says he's going to use it for good so don't steal it (stealing it being the dark side option)! But guess what, he works for Lord Grathan who is obviously psychotic and evil and is going to use that technology to do more evil. So how is stealing it evil?? It makes no sense! There should at least be dark and light options for the same choice (depending on your REASON for doing it).

Bytemite's Avatar


Bytemite
04.29.2012 , 10:53 AM | #14
Toxicologists say that ANYTHING is toxic at a specific dose.

But more simply, pollution is pollution. You're putting something in there that wasn't there in the first place and it has a negative affect on the wildlife. I got to call it like I see it.

There are so many case studies where something that was introduced into the water to cleanse it ended up making the resulting solution even MORE toxic. The surfactants used in the BP oil spill made the oil more mobile and the surfactant used has some toxic elements of its own.

You know some surfactants are food grade? Doesn't mean they aren't toxic. You can make the water more potable, but that doesn't mean you solved the problem or that you've headed off long term side effects.

The chemical used in water treatment is chlorine, by the way. I wouldn't recommend drinking it straight.

This really is a case of choosing whether to make it worse or not. But, I WOULD like an option to eventually try to make it better, as you're right, the pollution levels as they stand are likely going to have bad long term effects as well.

Doesn't mean that it's light side points to drive that car off a cliff.

Blackholeskipper's Avatar


Blackholeskipper
04.29.2012 , 10:57 AM | #15
You realize we're talking about Hutta here? A planet covered in Hutt factories that dump their toxic waste directly into the environment? I imagine pretty much anything can improve the environment at this point. Simply put, villagers shouldn't be living by a river that's so polluted (again, they are being PAID to live by an UNSAFE river so they can PRETEND that it's SAFE).

Spartanik's Avatar


Spartanik
04.29.2012 , 11:03 AM | #16
Quote:
I think back and I can recall a game like KOTOR having a far more elegant system: Intentions matter, not results when they're ambiguous.
Not realy.
Allthough i tend to agree with your acertion of swtor, i think its a nice touch to have shades of grey and not black and white decisions. Yes you might helping Hutta enviroment to fit humans , however you will be dooming the alien Mutated species that live there. so yeah you get dark side points naturaly, since Those aliens dont have a place to go, while that old man could "easly" find another place to live. Just my opinion.
Besides You cant say that the KOTORs had elegant decisions, , they were the most basic, there is, act like a jerk and in selfish ways you get dark side, act like a hero and helping others you get light side, couldnt be more basic. The kotors had great stories, but the dark and light side system, allthough interesting, the decisions werent that original that i remember.
Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
Also
Quote:
HK47: Statement: You are like a delightful random cruelty generator, master, poisoning all you touch with your presence. You are a testament to all organic meatbags everywhere.

Bytemite's Avatar


Bytemite
04.29.2012 , 11:05 AM | #17
Quote: Originally Posted by Blackholeskipper View Post
You realize we're talking about Hutta here? A planet covered in Hutt factories that dump their toxic waste directly into the environment? I imagine pretty much anything can improve the environment at this point. Simply put, villagers shouldn't be living by a river that's so polluted (again, they are being PAID to live by an UNSAFE river so they can PRETEND that it's SAFE).
They shouldn't? Then who are we doing this "purification" for? The wildlife? Do we know if the wildlife isn't mutating further?

Maybe that Twilek settlement on Tython should pack up. It's dangerous after all.

People are going to make their choices. Some people smoke you know. 60% greater chance of getting lung cancer. It's not up to anyone to tell people where they can and can't live. Especially when indications are that without that money from the Hutts to live there, judging by the rest of that world, they'd be living in pollution anyway AND starving. No call to kill them via an outbreak of unusually aggressive beasts.

KorinHyvek's Avatar


KorinHyvek
04.29.2012 , 11:14 AM | #18
There is a way to make things better on Hutta, but it's beyond the scope of the game (and didn't happen in Canon, so it can't happen, sadly. Plus, the Hutt's like Hutta being a big cesspool of toxic waste; They're not going to let anyone fix it); It's not some handfisted solution like the Old Man's, it would be a long, grueling process involving billions if not trillions of credits, and years if not decades of dedicated work by a veritable army of ecologists. Imagine an Oil spill. Picture now much work goes in to cleaning it up. Now dump oil not on a small part of the ocean, but the entire. booping. planet. Then continue dumping oil on it for a couple hundred years, just because what you've already done doesn't make it seem enough like home. That's what the Hutts have done. The Old Man's solution may purify the water in that one river... But without the aforementioned army of ecologists to continue the work, it will just eventually get polluted again and meanwhile there are a bunch of colonists who got displaced and/or killed by rampaging beasts.


There is no good answer here, unfortunately.
The Ferrin Legacy, Ebon Hawk
Major Volner Ferrin // Darth Hessar

Ranadiel_Marius's Avatar


Ranadiel_Marius
04.29.2012 , 11:32 AM | #19
Quote: Originally Posted by Blackholeskipper View Post
Simply put, villagers shouldn't be living by a river that's so polluted (again, they are being PAID to live by an UNSAFE river so they can PRETEND that it's SAFE).
And that makes it right to kill them with radioactive fish monsters?
A Primer on the Emperor(yes this does have spoiler)

One Night Stands and Similar Encounter (spoilers again, and I am probably going to repost this sometime in the future)

Blackholeskipper's Avatar


Blackholeskipper
04.29.2012 , 11:33 AM | #20
Hmm when you put it like that... Still, if it's so morally ambiguous to start with, then there should be a light side option for using the chemicals (trying to clean the river) and a dark side option for helping the villagers (to spite the old man). Right now it feels like the quest punishes you for trying to do some good instead of maintaining the status quo.

EDIT: I was replying to KorinHyvek btw. Radioactive fish monsters? Who said the chemicals you put in are radioactive? The monsters are mutated to begin with. Besides, the place was unsafe to begin with, they could easily move away.