MORAL SYSTEM OR MORALE SYSTEM?

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Expeditions: Conquistador uses a morale system to relay to the player how they are perceived as the leader of the expedition. When developing the concept for the game, our designers contemplated the various trials and difficulties of leading an expedition. One such trial of leadership is the handling of morale. Morale is the confidence, enthusiasm, and discipline of each of the members of the expedition at any given time. It shifts beneath a leader’s feet like the sea.

Good leaders know when to listen to their advisors and when to go against the grain, when to attack and when to avoid conflict. Good leaders see the big picture, and they know when they must be stern and when they must be lenient. Most of all, good leaders know that you cannot please everyone all of the time.

A player-challenge we delight in, here at Logic Artists, is Expeditions: Conquistador’s challenging of a player’s moral code. As a player, managing Morale can be incredibly immoral. Morale depends on two major elements: the character makeup of your expedition, and the moral choices of their leader (the player). Each of the expedition’s characters bring with them their own moral compass. Some will be like-minded (with each other and the player), some characters will be found opposing other members of the expedition, and the rest will float somewhere in between.

This means that while the game affords the player the freedom to choose whether to (for example) attack a village or attempt peaceful diplomacy, the results of that choice will echo in the personalities of the members of the expedition. Some will be happy either way, some will be displeased, some will be indifferent. As the player’s own morals begin to shine through the context of the game, their choices can become more difficult as they risk driving some of the party members to mutiny.

But that is not all, we’ve made the player’s choices a further challenge. We’ve made character morale directly determine the chance a unit has of scoring a Critical Hit in combat. So now the player’s choices, good or bad, success or failure, could seriously boost or impede the quality of the troops in combat. We feel that this makes sense as that which makes up morale (confidence, enthusiasm, and discipline) are also the qualities of a good fighting force. It challenges the player’s own moral code: will you (as a player) stick to your principles, will you take the hardline with your expedition? Or will you listen to your crew, will you give a little when it is warranted to keep the balance? Or do you try to maximize your damage output in combat by making choices that positively affect your combat veterans?

You choose, good luck!