We’re concerned about Nature. We strive to preserve what’s left of our flora and fauna. So Zodiac Eclipse over at Destructoid wonders why we’re always killing animals in our games.

Not monstrous ones; the ordinary critters like bears, wolves, snakes and the like. He uses Lord Of The Rings Online as his example, but almost any RPG would serve as well.

We’re always encouraged to kill animals. NPCs task us with bringing back pelts, claws, and whatnot. Why? Well, it’s something to do that will reward us with money and experience.

When buzzing around the outdoors, we’re sure to come across some den or lair with animals inside. They’re not bothering us; they’re sticking to their home ground. But we go in and wipe them out anyway. After all, we’ll gain experience, and very likely, some Good Stuff, too.

This isn’t the same as the man-eating tiger/bear/giant snake that’s an actual menace. A creature that’s really dangerous to the population should be removed. However, that’s one animal.

We wipe out everything. So maybe it’s not surprising that all the predator-types always attack. They know we won’t leave them alone, that we’re going to chop them up the first chance we get.

In reality, of course, it’s the game designers who set this up – and we go along with it. We receive all sorts of benefits for these massacres, and nothing else matters. Hey, we’re out here to save the world, so whatever we do is a Right Thing.

Suppose it were different? What if invading some animal’s home and killing it (or them) brought no rewards? No experience, no loot? What if you didn’t get anything for killing animals in the wild that weren’t bothering you?

Would you go ahead and take them down anyway? Or would you leave them alone, because there’s nothing to be gained from their destruction? And would there be any reason at all to include natural animals in a game, if they didn’t provide some reward?

Those About To Die: Woodland Animals