Ah, Dishonored 2 [official site]. A chance to right the wrongs with my approach to stealth in the original Dishonored. A clean slate where no-one has yet been massacred and no guards have been panic-killed and the guy in the chair in that room didn't get accidentally stabbed because of a previous stabbing session which left me with a bit of a hair-trigger stab-finger. It was thus reassured that I have embarked on my non-lethal playthrough of Dishonored 2.
Six people have died so far.
I can definitely explain...
I've tried to keep the following spoiler-free but you might still want to leave reading it until you've played that first mission if you're worried about accidental environmental spoilers?
That first guy
The first one was maybe slightly more my fault than the rest. He was a guard doing a circuit of a room as I waited in the hall to pick my moment for a sneaky choke hold. It actually worked out and there he was, lying on the floor asleep. Unfortunately the waiting and the positioning had taken a while and I'd forgotten whether these people could regain consciousness after a period of time.
The idea of waiting in that room to potentially deal with the next room's inhabitants and having the guy wake up and kill me suddenly loomed large. Was this going to just be a domino rally of choking and sleeping? So I sort of stabbed him to make sure that didn't happen and his arm fell off.
I carried the arm around for a while but I'm not sure what the plan was there. In retrospect I maybe could have used it to distract the guards in the next room but I think I left it in a fruit bowl.
The two blokes in the next room
In this room I had the option of killing or not killing a key target en route to accomplishing my goals, but there were also two other guards wandering about. I decided to choke one out from behind a flower pot while the others were facing away. I think I fumbled the choke because I find the key bindings a bit peculiar for Dishonored 2 and just sort of stood behind him faffing a bit. I did start the choke but at that point one of the others was like "THAT'S EMILY KALDWIN". Shut up, dude!
My choke felt like a bit of an empty gesture at that point given at least one person was getting a stabbing so I just flailed at the two guards one after another until they fell over. The key target had been spooked to the point that he had rushed into the previous room. I wondered whether he would maybe calm down in there and forget about my interruption but for that to happen I should probably have hidden the rest of the first guard's body and not just, for example, moved his arm to the fruit bowl.
That key target guy
So he was already freaked out but I was hoping he would be facing away from me and I could get in a bit of stealth, just in case I'd need him alive later on. I hid round a corner and tried to assess the situation.
He was not only NOT facing the other direction but was, in fact, walking towards me. It was at that point that I realised I wasn't actually hidden behind anything. I was just standing in a corner and hoping he wouldn't notice me. He noticed me and the next few seconds got a bit stabby.
The two guys who noticed me choke a guy out on a staircase
I think the title probably explains a lot about this situation, but in my defence I thought the hedge or wall or whatever that I was choking the guard out on was taller and thus I wouldn't be spotted. LESSONS WERE LEARNED. Possibly not by me, but maybe more generally somehow?
One of the deaths was a guy I was really proud to have sneaked behind without him detecting me so I feel a bit like maybe he should have just ignored me for a bit longer and everything would have been fine. Really this is mostly his fault not mine. He could literally see I was being stealthy. He saw me knock someone unconscious and definitely not stab them. I honestly don't know what these people's problem is.
The other one just ran over because the first guy got involved and wouldn't calm down. So I calmed him down. Permanently.
I mean, I definitely wouldn't say that Dishonored makes me a good person. Especially now I come to write this stuff down. It all felt so reasonable at the time.
Other deaths which aren't canon
So, the next bit was really hard to do stealth in and several people died multiple times, including me. But the successful version of that mission didn't involve their demise so I figure I don't need to count those. Especially because if I did it then pushes the non-lethal playthrough body count up into double digits. Also, if we're being strict about mentioning deaths I'd have to admit to falling off a window ledge for no good reason and accidentally shooting someone while eavesdropping from a rooftop.
But in the interests of explaining how the stealthy playthrough fell apart this is how the remainder of the mission unfolded:
I threw a distraction bottle to clear the way for me to sneak past. Instead of arcing to the other side of the street I managed to throw it at my foot and thus the guards came over because... yeah, that's reasonable. There was a fight and two people died. I would have probably acquiesced to that but the game was less keen as one of the deaths was Emily Kaldwin.
This happened a few times in various forms. Not the bottle, but the discovery and deaths bits. In the end I just booked it to the end of the mission, sprinting through the streets with a... herd? of angry guards trampling behind me as I prayed they wouldn't remember they have pistols or whatever. In the end I plunged into the sea and paddled around until the guards forgot I had ever existed, then boarded the ship. JOB DONE.
Oh, and in case people are going to quibble the "non-lethal" business, here is the game's official end-of-mission stance on the matter. IN YOUR FACT, "FACTS".