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Change "Kill" Text for Dragons and Hatchlings

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The text for the kill action has been brought up a lot recently. Personally it's a small thing I'd like to see changed. Quoting Keileon from a past thread on a similar topic:

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I'd rather just have the kill message be changed to be less charged with guilt-- as I said here:

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My only problem with the kill action is that the message for success sounds like straight-up murder, but there are no consequences to the player when the dragon dodges. It's like the dragon just goes "lol, can't get me, better luck tomorrow" and isn't concerned with the fact that you just tried to kill it. If one of the two messages was changed, there'd be less of a disconnect between gameplay and roleplay.

 

For example, if the dragon would dodge:

You grab a knife and wait for a chance to kill the dragon, but you never get the opportunity. You'll have to wait for another day.

which would at *least* make it clear you're supposed to wait to try again. Even though it's more inclined towards assassination/murder, it could still very well be that the dragon hasn't worked up its own nerves.

 

But... maybe also changing the death message to be less of a blatant, why-would-you-do-this betrayal, would help empathic players get past the idea of stabbing their dragons. This way they can more readily tell themselves that it wasn't just cold-blooded murder.

You take your knife and stab the dragon, watching the light fade from its eyes as its body goes still.

This is a much more neutral message, which players can reason as whatever kind of kill they want. There's no preloaded implication of anything except that you used a knife to do it.

Let it be on the player to decide why a dragon dies. There's no need to complicate it with mercy killing or experimenting or whatever. Keep it simple.

 

I'm also of the opinion that it doesn't even fit at all compared to the other actions which result in death:

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"You take the egg and smash it on the ground, killing whatever was forming inside."

"[Vampire Dragon] bites the egg and it cracks open, killing the developing embryo inside."

 

 

Versus the needlessly guilting Kill messages, under spoilers for those like me who just hate seeing it:

Spoiler

"You take your blade and stab the hatchling, watching the life slowly leave its eyes as it stares at you, wondering why you betrayed it."

"You take your blade and stab the dragon, watching the life slowly leave its eyes as it stares at you, wondering why you betrayed it."

 

My concrete proposal is this: Change the 'Kill' text messages and the 'Dodge' messages to something less dated and guilting. Here is one set, by Keileon:

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Dodge: You grab a knife and wait for a chance to kill the dragon, but you never get the opportunity. You'll have to wait for another day.

Kill: You take your knife and stab the dragon, watching the light fade from its eyes as its body goes still.

And a similar one by myself, tweaked to be even more vague:

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Dodge: You wait for a chance to kill the dragon, but you never get the opportunity. You'll have to wait for another day.

Kill: You kill the dragon, and watch the light fade from its eyes as its body goes still.

 

Feel free to add thoughts. Thanks to everyone :)

 

Edit: By @Arcy

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How about

You kill the dragon with a powerful magic spell.

 

- is more interesting than "the dragon dies"

- no guilt/betrayal aspect, can be imagined as a mercy kill, spell gone wrong, whatever you want

- much more fitting (we're adept magic users, why are we trying to kill dragons with a knife?)

- gives in lore reason for kill slots (have to recharge)

 

I don't really care what it gets changed to, but I feel like this is perfect for everyone

 

Edited by Paintra

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Obvious support, since I'm the one being quoted and referenced lol

There's just no reason it has to be so charged with emotion.

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I wouldn't mind if the message was changed if that helps people.

 

 

However, in case it remains as it is, a suggestion for those who struggle with stabbing dragons because of the message:

Maybe you can imagine that you and your dragon are practicing for a theater play? The dragon pretends [sad things it says in the message] because it wants to be a great actor! And wow, it really is convincing!

 

Those who feel bad for killing dragons regardless of what the message says:

Ignore the message and imagine the dragon agreed to being killed because it wants to become something new. (See also: funny little fairies in Gunnerkrigg Court.)

Dragon becomes Zombie: "Oh cool, I'm a Zombie, thank you human!" *tries to eat your brain, but, you know, in a thankful way*

Dragon stays dead: "Hey, nice, I'm a spooky ghost, thank you human!" *floats through the wall of your house, floats back in again* "Haha look what I can do!"

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9 minutes ago, Confused Cat said:

They never actually mentioned how that boy Alistair's parents passed their "test", did you notice?

 

Making the message a tad more neutral seems to be in line with the rest of the game mechanics, as outlined in the first post, so I support this.

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Me too - I'm fine with text changes.

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As mentioned in the other thread, I have no problem whatsoever with changing the text, if that is what people want.

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I think the current kill text is more dramatic and less boring than the suggested alternatives though.

 

Why do we need to "help" empathetic players feel better about stabbing their dragons to death? If they don't want to, they never have to. I find the neglected dragon text too sad and disturbing, so I just... don't make them. No big deal.

 

I have no issue with killing and neglecting your pets being described in negative terms, they are in fact negative actions and it's fair that the dragon at least gets a reaction in when you do it.

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There are people who actually cannot cope with such text. Hypersensitivity to these things can spoil their play. Changing the wording would help people like that while harming none. "The dragon dies" is enough, surely ?

 

The messages as they stand don't bother me, but i am aware of people it bothers  - and of people in my real life (who don't play here)  who would be seriously and genuinely upset by those messages if they showed up in a game they loved.

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Full support, for the reasons stated in the OP and replies. The current text generally doesn't match the aesthetic of the rest of the game; it seems particularly dramatic and not neutral. I also think this would help a lot of players feel better while hurting no one. Just like with the freeze text, the suggested kill text would be open to interpretation. If you want to remember the old text as canon or rationalize the kill action as something gorey, the neutral text leaves that option open!

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Text changes are fine. I'm a little iffy on the part about "watching the light leave its eyes" as being neutral, but it doesn't really bother me in the long run. So, neutral support in that I'm okay with it, but have no strong opinions about implementation right now. 

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31 minutes ago, tjekan said:

Why do we need to "help" empathetic players feel better about stabbing their dragons to death? If they don't want to, they never have to. I find the neglected dragon text too sad and disturbing, so I just... don't make them. No big deal.

 

I have no issue with killing and neglecting your pets being described in negative terms, they are in fact negative actions and it's fair that the dragon at least gets a reaction in when you do it.

The Neglected descriptions are actually all much more neutral than the killing text is, in that they describe the condition of the dragon without directly faulting or involving the player. "This egg is very sickly looking, like it has a disease." is a neutral description, as are the ones that follow it. They describe how the dragon looks, and provide an explanation for it. They don't say, "This hatchling follows you around on unsteady feet, pleading for you to take care of it." Neglected descriptions do not directly fault that player. Killing does, and in doing so creates a specific narrative about killing dragons - it is always, in canon, murder. But it doesn't have to be - as others said the motive is totally something we can just leave up to the player.

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1 hour ago, tjekan said:

I think the current kill text is more dramatic and less boring than the suggested alternatives though.

 

Why do we need to "help" empathetic players feel better about stabbing their dragons to death? If they don't want to, they never have to. 

Because inclusiveness is important. It doesn't bother you, that's great. It does bother others and that is something we can fix. Changing the text hurts no one but will make the game better for some people. And that is a good enough reason.

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It could be even more neutral than the first-post suggestion, too.  (I already suggested this on the other thread, but people only responded to the other part of my post there.)

 

"(Name) seems healthy and alert.  It probably won't die today."

"(Name) dies."

 

EDIT: As Olympe points out later in the thread, these are probably too detached.  I now support either Arcy's proposal, "You kill the dragon with a powerful magic spell," or the extremely generic "You kill the dragon."

 

These are so bare-bones that they could be read as a sinister assassination-type thing (oop, no chance to assassinate the dragon because it's too alert), but anyone who is roleplaying some cause of death that isn't killing with a knife can probably read their own story into it.

 

For example, some people were suggesting a mercy kill option.  You could read "healthy and alert" as "it's wasting away from something, but this is one of its good days and it would be a shame to cut one of its few good days short", and the "dies" as an effect of mercifully putting it to sleep.

 

I'd personally be fine with any kill message, but I think a super-open-ended kill message has some cool possibilities.

Edited by Pilauli

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7 minutes ago, DragonLady86 said:

Because inclusiveness is important. It doesn't bother you, that's great. It does bother others and that is something we can fix. Changing the text hurts no one but will make the game better for some people. And that is a good enough reason.

 

But they don't NEED it to be fixed. I mean if the idea of killing a hatchling bothers them, they can just not do it. The option is already there for people who want to do it and already avoidable for people who don't.

 

It's no skin off my nose if it's changed, but I don't see why it's an important goal to find a way to coax people who don't like the idea of killing their pets into doing it. It's not a necessary part of gameplay. If they're too empathetic to want to stab their dragons to death, isn't that fine?

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I think the argument is that there are some people who find "whether the kill text is guilt-trippy" to be a deciding factor in whether they are okay with killing dragons or not.

 

Changing the text wouldn't make anyone do anything they didn't want to; those who have very strong objections to murdering pixels could continue not murdering pixels, but if there is anyone whose problem is hurting the pixels rather than murdering the pixels, they could more easily pretend that they chose a method to murder pixels that doesn't hurt them.

Edited by Pilauli
tweaked a couple words

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Right, the idea of killing a dragon isn't the key problem here; the idea of murdering one is. A neutral description allows the player to kill without putting them into a narrative of betrayal and malicious intent. Assisted suicide, behavioral euthanasia, mercy killing, fulfilling the wishes of a strange dragon who has no greater desire than to live eternally through zombieification.. dark alternatives for someone to roleplay through? Sure, but the point is there are other options here for the backstory besides betrayal, and opening up the text allows people to explore that for themselves without the site telling them they just brutally killed an animal that trusted them. Doing so can make the site more accessible for people who want to use the Kill option but aren't comfortable with the current flavor text, and there's no real reason not to accommodate them since making the text neutral doesn't lock anyone out of creating a murderous intention for their player - it just opens up other possibilities too.

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18 minutes ago, Sundew said:

Right, the idea of killing a dragon isn't the key problem here; the idea of murdering one is. A neutral description allows the player to kill without putting them into a narrative of betrayal and malicious intent. Assisted suicide, behavioral euthanasia, mercy killing, fulfilling the wishes of a strange dragon who has no greater desire than to live eternally through zombieification.. dark alternatives for someone to roleplay through? Sure, but the point is there are other options here for the backstory besides betrayal, and opening up the text allows people to explore that for themselves without the site telling them they just brutally killed an animal that trusted them. Doing so can make the site more accessible for people who want to use the Kill option but aren't comfortable with the current flavor text, and there's no real reason not to accommodate them since making the text neutral doesn't lock anyone out of creating a murderous intention for their player - it just opens up other possibilities too.

 

Best way of putting it so far. And - it hurts no-one. Why wouldn't one be OK with reducing hurt to other players ?

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As someone who still struggles with killing dragons because of the message, I certainly support changing it. I have learned to avoid reading the message, but still it would be nice to have something more neutral.

I see no reason to object just because it may not bother you.

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40 minutes ago, olympe said:

Quote removed - Infinis

Is this kind of response really necessary on a suggestion about changing text to help people feel better about utilizing a built-in game mechanic? 

Edited by Infinis

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41 minutes ago, olympe said:

Quote removed- Infinis

The sarcastic tone of this post is rather passive aggressive and is quite inappropriate and childish. Are you actually making a point or are you just stirring up trouble? I just can't tell.

 

If you are actually trying to make a point, then you should know a simple text change is clearly not the same thing as altering game mechanics, and so your reasoning definitely doesn't hold to any significant extent.

Edited by Infinis

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41 minutes ago, olympe said:

Quote removed - Infinis

Wow is this completely unnecessary and rude too!

Edited by Infinis

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3 hours ago, Fuzzbucket said:

 

Best way of putting it so far. And - it hurts no-one. Why wouldn't one be OK with reducing hurt to other players ?

 

Only because I literally don't understand how it creates hurt to other players. I understand how people could be sensitive enough that reading text about stabbing a baby dragon to death and watching it die might upset them, sure--but since doing so isn't necessary to the gameplay and they can't even SEE that text when someone other than themselves does it, it makes no sense to me how it could hurt them just by knowing other people are doing it.

 

It sounds like what people are saying, though, is that it's actually got nothing to do with players being sensitive/empathetic and feeling upset by text about cruelly slaying hatchlings-- it's more just that people feel like the specific text about stabbing the dragon to death is not how they imagine the death taking place, so they simply want a more generic text so they can imagine euthanizing it, poisoning it, paying someone else to kill it so they don't have to see it, using dark necromancy on it, etc. instead of having to stab it down by hand. Yeh?

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While I certainly do understand the sensitivity angle, my issue is that it's both extremely out of place compared to other text and inherently charged with implications that negatively impact the roleplaying experience.

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I don't really see the problem with the text for killing one of your pets to turn it into the living dead having a different mood than the text for like, giving your pet a name. The former is inherently creepy/Halloween/horror-movie fare. I would pretty much expect a text about killing your pets to create an army of pet zombies to be a little more Gothic in tone, wouldn't you?

But if it's making people feel like their style is cramped, it's no skin of my nose if it gets changed. Maybe they want to imagine strangling their dragons to death with a steel garrotte, who am I to judge? XD

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