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Dishonored chaos system guide

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Posted by: Andrew Clouther

If you haven’t gotten your hands on Dishonored yet… what are you doing?  You realize it’s out now, right? (view the review) While playing, at the end of each level the game will tell you if your chaos is high or low.  Chaos is the hidden mechanic that determines the difficulty of each level, how NPC’s perceive you, and even the final outcome of the game.

There is no bar, meter, anything really which lets you know how you’re doing as far as chaos goes.  At the end of the level when it tells you that your chaos is either ‘low’ or ‘high’ refers to your overall chaos thus far.  Chaos is generally generated through a lethal play style.  The more things you murder the more the city of Dunwall goes mad.  The opposite can be said about playing more nonlethal; less bloodshed means people are less freaked out.

Why does chaos matter?  When you murder a bunch of things in one level, the following level will be affected.  A high chaos will mean more guards, more security systems, more weepers (plagued zombie like civilians), more rats (hordes of animalistic killing machines), and the final outcome of the game will be different.  With that said though, your chaos level can change depending on if you change your methods while playing.  On my first play though, my chaos was high for the first two levels but then I switched to nonlethal and kept it low for the remainder of the game.

To keep chaos at a low level, the general rule of thumb is to kill less than 20% of the characters in a mission.  Committing “good deeds” such as saving a woman’s life from guards lowers chaos.  You can also take nonlethal objectives to lower chaos.  Here is a bulleted list of acts that raise chaos levels:

  • Killing guards / overseers
  • Killing civilians
  • Killing Weepers
  • Killing with rewired traps (watchtowers, Arc Pylons, Walls of Light)

These acts don’t affect chaos:

  • Knocking out guards (note if guards fall, drown, explode, etc while unconscious - they count as killed)
  • Killing rats
  • Killing Hagfish
  • Killing River Krust
  • Killing Wolfhounds

Hopefully this guide can help you with all your chaos needs and know-hows.  Remember that there is never a time in Dishonored where you have to kill anyone; you can literally play the entire game without killing a single person.  Also remember playing nonlethal isn’t the “correct” way to play, it’s just another way to go through the game.  Play how you want to play and enjoy which ever ending you get.  The last level is greatly different depending on how you played – which is awesome.

Tags: Dishonored, chaos, Dunwall, good deeds, killing, guide

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