Reading The Escapist Magazine, I've come across an interesting article called "Are you evil?". The author writes about playing evil characters, distinctions between just being evil and "really evil" (for example, killing low-level players, being nasty, and so), and about how people in real life can be good, but the environment can transform you into an evil person (or at least, behave like a bad person and do bad things).
This reminded me how real are the things said in the article. At Berks Worlds, after around 5 years of playing either as a player or a GM (administrator), I've seen lots of examples of good and bad behaviors.
We've had a big variety of players:
- True good players: The typical book knights, honorable and always ready to help others.
- Normal, semi-neutral players: People who usually play good, but sometimes (for example when angry) can do behave evil.
- Neutral players: I was one of this category. I had a semi-monopoly of carpentry market, and I built relations with both sides. I could sell to anyone, and I always avoided battles between guilds (until I finally entered into one...). To me, some "bad players" (the reds or PKs, called in UO) had more honor than some "blues" (the good ones).
- Greedy, good players: This ones got banned because of bugging in-game, usually for money or free items (duplicating items with hacking tools, for example).
- Chaotic-neutral players: This ones changed sides as they seemed fit.
- Chaotic-good players: PKs with honor, who somehow roleplayed their role of "yes, I'm bad, I will kill people, but only those worth it", not killing unarmed people (or resurrecting them after that), leaving their horses/mounts alive...
- Chaotic/evil players: The pure PKs. Those who enjoy killing for the pleasure of disrupting peaceful play of others. Their fun comes from killing everyone from the opposite faction, whenever its a low-level player or not.
- True evil players: Those can be sometimes stealthed into apparently good people. Usually manipulative, they try to find game exploits/hacks to gain advantages. The greed of being more rich or more powerful sadly corrupts some people in MMORPGs. They know they will be eventually catched, but stil they bug. It becomes worse when the advantage is used against other playres (bugs with a magic spell, for example; we had a nasty bug with old potions that allowed players to get to 2.000 strength, instantly-killing others...).
I'm sure I'm leaving more categories, but it's a good example. One interesting "special" class that usually appears at online communities are the players that behave good or bad at the game but become really evil at forums (insulting other players, being too prepotent, flooding with stupid posts, and such).
They can be really nice in real world, but the semi-anonymous feeling of internet makes them behave bad when posting at a game forum.
As a conclussion, even now, in single-player games the option to be good or bad can be achieved. In Bioshock you can harvest the little sisters (young girls) or save them. If you harvest them, you get more Adam (a special liquid used to get better powers, more life or "mana"); if you save them, you get less. Will you be greedy, or noble?
I choosed being good for the first walkthrough, and now I'm playing bad.
My motivation? I don't know, in other games like Star Wars: Kotor (I & II) I always play the Dark Side, because I love the idea of being a powerful dark-jedi/sith, being able to do my will even if it's being evil.
Maybe that's why I choose being true neutral at AD&D/DnD...