This is a thing that I find particularly bothering. I think some people on this board would agree that violence is treated too lightly in many cRPGs. Some time ago, I had discussion about Corwin (with @Woolie_Wool
, I think), where he pointed out, that from *her* point of view, Charname is crazed murderer, regardless of him alignment. I argued, that in Baldur's Gate world everyone is so prone to violence (hello, Marle), Charname is basically normal, perfectly adjusted member of society.
I believe the problem is that both of us have a point. Baldur's Gate usually doesn't allow to resolve conflicts in any other way. It's not *built* for that, as every character in a game is described from combat point of view - how many hit points they have, what are their saving throws, how hard they can hit, and so on.
It's not exclusive to BG, of course. In Mass Effect, our Shepard will be probably more murderous than Pablo Escobar. Hero of Neverwinter also does little else than killing. Dragon Age? The same. IWD don't even mention it. There is storytelling conflict, when game wants to be serious, to tackle on things like death, responsibility, morality, etc., but *forces* you to be Mr MurderMan. You can't have it both. You can't reduce murdering people to everydays chore, and then talk about ethics. I scoff a little everytime Baldur's Gate gives me possibility to accept someone's surrender. Oh, so I can not murder Tarlesh? Cool, I'll have 345 victims instead of 346!
Recently I started playing Planescape: Torment: EE, and there are indeed more options to talk your way out of trouble and avoid bloodshed, but it's based on very limited mechanics (from what I can observe; I did not finish the game and use P:T:EE as an example) - you have enough Wisdom, or Intelligence, or whatever, you get additional lines of dialogue you can click. That's it.
Meanwhile, Deus Ex: Human Revolution uses additional possibilites of conversations differently. It's based in cyberpunk world, and your character can have implant of sort, than analyzes *techno-bla-bla* of people you are talking to, to figure out what personality they have, and approach them accordingly. If they are Omegas, they can be easily threatened, but don't try that with Alphas. You can even release some pheromones to make them find you more convincing. Also, you can play stealthy and knock people out instead of killing them. During my first playthrough, it felt *heavy* when I decided for the first time that *this guy* has to die.
I'm not saying there is better writing in DE:HR than in P:T:EE, or that it's deeper, or better - but it has more interesting mechanics of non-violent problem conflict. And it's not what I see often in cRPGs. Even if you can be silver-tongue devil, you'll still just be clicking things in dialogue box. Meanwhile, combat will offer you countless possibilities: spells, feats, special attacks, potions, and other stuff. To put it differently: fighting Aec'Letec has much more replayability value than, let's say, convincing Marle not to attack you.
And this is my problem. I'd like to have a cRPG where I can be sneaky diplomat, but I'd like some exciting gameplay to that diplomacy. Something more than clicking high-Int option, like in Neverwinter.
So the question is: how do you thing you can make talking to people as exciting as fighting them? Have you played a game that explores some mechanical possibilites than negotiations, bargaining, threating offers? What "diplomacy gameplay" options you would like to see?