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I just started playing Mass Effect 1 and I'm a little confused about the conversation system. I understand that during regular conversation, the top right spoke leans towards the paragon alignment and the bottom right spoke leans towards the renegade alignment. Does this same system apply to choices on the left in an investigation branch? Meaning, if I choose to investigate something listed in the upper-left of an investigation branch, does that count towards paragon and vice-versa

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The left-side conversation options are always "tell me more" dialog choices, and will simply expand the conversation. They should never give paragon or renegade points.

They exist to give more story and lore to those who enjoy such things.

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I think some of the love stories require you to ask more about the person which are usually the "left-side" options. At least, I think so--I don't have proof. – Mufasa Sep 23 '10 at 0:46
Looking through the Mass Effect morality guide that tzenes has posted, I can see one item from the "Find the Beacon" quest that was on the left side which has alignment ramifications (the shutting up Manuel option). I can't remember offhand if that was in a "Tell me more" branch or in the root level. – Daniel Auger Sep 26 '10 at 23:49
It's on the root level. – Raven Dreamer Sep 27 '10 at 0:19

If we look at this image we see an example of a dialog wheel: alt text

On the right side we have the standard conversation options. These usually correspond to (from top to bottom) Paragon, Neutral, Renegade; you will sometimes receive points for these options.

On the left side you have the special conversation options. These correspond to (from top to bottom) Charm, Neutral, Intimidate. Their effect is based on your Charm/Intimidate skills respectively. While standard conversation options will sometimes give you points, special options (with the exception of neutral) will always give you points.

A complete list [spoiler] of which options give you what points can be found here for Mass Effect and here for Mass Effect 2.

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Just to clarify: do the left side items always give you points in a "tell me more" branch, or only in the main branch, or both? – Daniel Auger Sep 26 '10 at 23:54
Only in the main branch, to the best of my knowledge. While there may be a morality option on the left-side, there will never be a morality option embedded in a left-side dialog option. – Raven Dreamer Sep 27 '10 at 0:19
One thing that doesn't quite show in the screenshot above (as the player doesn't have enough Intimidate points) is that Charm options are always blue and Intimidate options are always red. These don't always give paragon or renegade points, but it's safer to always assume they do. – GAThrawn Oct 13 '10 at 15:14
@GAT can you come up with an example of when using Intimidate doesn't provide renegade points? – tzenes Oct 13 '10 at 15:17
no I don't have any examples for Intimidate, but for Charm, everywhere I've read says that "Paragon points are often awarded" and although I don't have an example I can remember coming out of some of the on-Normandy crew conversations without noticeably being awarded Paragon points after I'd used the blue Charm option. – GAThrawn Oct 13 '10 at 21:47

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