| Mail |
You might also like: WoW Insider, Joystiq, and more

Reader Comments (13)

Posted: Nov 19th 2007 8:07AM Ghen said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
I think a game built around perma-death would be fantastic. I'm a huge roguelike fan and hardcore diablo II player. Thing is with current MMOs, the level cap + raiding aspect doesn't lend itself to perma-death gameplay very easily.

Any game that has you die multiple times a night is missing the point IMO. I don't want to be part of a war of attrition, I want to be an unstoppable hero.

Posted: Nov 19th 2007 8:12AM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
Deaths in WoW are most definately not "free", especially in endgame raiding. An evening of wipes in all purple gear definately pounds that fact home with an embarassingly large repair bill. This is not to say that the WoW death penalty is as rough as some past games have been, but it's still there, and the further you get the more significant it is.

In the end, it's all another time sink. Every mmo has these in one form or another. Death = repairs = gold = time. XP penalty = grinding = time. Do I think the repair bill model is better? Well, I do think that in the current WoW design philosophy raids would be a lot more painful if an evening of wipes learning a new raid encounter meant you lost a level or two. And it certainly feels less annoying to me than xp penalties.

In the end, I think perhaps the important way to look at it is to add up all the various forms of self-propelled time sinks (that occur simply as a function of day-to-day questing, instancing and raiding) the game has and see how they stack up when determining how harsh the game's time wasters are as a whole.

Posted: Nov 19th 2007 8:26AM Scopique said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
It depends on where the death occurs. If you're just out grinding XP and get in over your head, death is a joke. You're probably not using tactics, might just be killing time, etc. If you die, you get a slap on the wrist and jump right back into it.

In raid situations, though, it's a different story. Player's are most certainly using tactics, and are more focused on both completing the goal AND staying alive.

Most current MMOs are ALL about combat, so death is just a speedbump to keeping the action going. If a game focuses on other activities, and would downplay combat, then the death penalty could be more harsh, in an effort to make people think twice before just mashing buttons out of boredom.

Posted: Nov 19th 2007 8:26AM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
I also believe WoW's penalty scales pretty harsh. Raiders who die a lot get the short end of the stick. I think its ass to have to farm gold in order to butt-up against the bleeding edge in content. Other than the high-end, the penalty between 1-60 it's pretty much a joke, but there is some time involved in running back to your corpse... Nothing like wiping in EverQuest's Fear back in the day, but still there is a penalty there. I don't know, I used to be on the hardcore side where I wanted a stiff death penalty. I'm not so certain anymore, I would say now that it really depends on the MMOG.

I would like to see some innovation when it came to death penalities. Exp loss is boring, money-grind, etc. I can't really afford the time anymore for someone else's mistake. But I don't think I should get off scot-free either. EVE's death penalty is similar to perma-death when it comes to "gear" loss. Insurance helps alot, but the loss is still a kick in the teeth. The risk always runs high, and the rewards are great. The feeling of success is even stronger when defeating your player enemies, but when it's your turn to lose that ship, it sucks. haha.

Posted: Nov 19th 2007 4:46PM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
I think WoW needs a new endgame model where it would be more like EVE yet still retain raiding for fun and profit. EVE has a great endgame model, land wars and political intrigue. If you're dying on the dungeon-of-the-week it's just a repair bill, but if you're dying protecting your guild territory, it's a patriotic gesture :)
Reply

Posted: Nov 19th 2007 9:01AM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
Final Fantasy XI is one of the worst. You lose a significant of XP when you die, and it causes no end of grief in parties. You dread being the one to cause the wipe.

In certain fights, it's even more useless. If you are in a long fight, die, get a raise, and die again you can end up not completing the mission and losing 2x the XP (and still need to do the fight again).

The impact is concrete, as SE has been working to negate XP loss in certain battles and zones. In the new expansion, all of the new zones will feature death with no-XP loss. Surprised they aren't doing it across the board.

-Ten

Posted: Nov 19th 2007 1:46PM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
I actually prefer EQ's method of handling it, I think todays mmo's just make it too easy really. There has to be a risk vs reward cenario in any high end encounter. In eq it was that you would spend the next 2 hours trying to recover your corpses from some dungeon you had all but cleared, but this made the kills that much sweeter. This was before enrage timers and instancing though so I don't know how much it would be able to be put back into the game.

I think I yearn for something a little more difficult, where characters that you had to have skill to play. I remember in EQ that top notch players were always in demand no matter the time of day, I would log in my shaman and get /tells from 5-6 different parties because a good character played well made things so much easier in the game. You would find a group and stay with them till you logged off ... none of this disposable grouping we see today in WoW (and others) where you get your quest done or your 5 man dungeon done and the whole thing just disbands.

I think it comes down to the more sociable side of me really, I'd end up talking to people in EQ and learn things about them personally and end up making allot of friends all around the world (about 50% of them I still talk to 6-7 years later), so forced grouping did something for the game imo.

Posted: Nov 19th 2007 9:07AM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
My opinion is fairly simple.
There is no best choice.

The MMO Market is mature enough to propose various gaming experiences based on what various types of players are expecting from it.

I consider myself as a semi-hardcore veteran (EQ/UO/SWG/WOW/EQ2).
I would be glad to find a hardcore MMO, with big death penalties, corpse retrieve, hard goals to achieve.
Just to make sure I get the pleasure of getting it done.

I stopped WoW because everything was related to time spent online.

There should also be MMOs for casual players, semi hardcore, ... whatever.

Posted: Nov 19th 2007 10:57AM Grizz said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
Games like AC2 (god rest its code) had so little penalty (a temporary debuff). That we used it as a free trip back to town.

There should be a penalty.

But I quit Final Fantasy Online because losing levels when you get bad groups sucks. Its like treading water, you get nowhere but tired.

Posted: Nov 19th 2007 12:29PM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
Harsh death penalties is the very best way to kill group play. If someone in a group makes a mistake which results in an entire wipe of the group people will prefer to solo things. Take Guild Wars for example. Everyone prefers to take their heros/henchies with them. Group play is pretty much dead.
Harsh death penalties stops players from experimenting new tricks and tactics. Why try something different if it might cause death penalties? Everyone is afraid of trying something new and this sucks, imho. I'm so sick of hearing "no, no, we cannot do this, because it might fail".
After all games are GAMES. This is not real life. If you really want harsh death penalties try real life. For example you might try free climbing. If you make a mistake - well that's it. No respawn. THAT's real risk for sure. I am a rock climber myself. And maybe because of this I do not need wanna-be "risk" and punishment in games ;-)

Posted: Nov 19th 2007 1:51PM Durinthal said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
I think that one text-based game I've played (DragonRealms) has the death thing nearly perfect. Permadeath is possible, but easily avoided by gaining "favors" that require a little bit of experience each. Anyway, once you're dead you have a few different options:

1. You immediately choose to "depart" and revive at the nearest graveyard (not always that close) and have to run back to your corpse while naked, losing a little bit of experience in the process. (Since this is a text-based game it's easy to run right through rooms with monsters in them, so I'm not sure if losing all your equipment is the best idea.)

2. You wait for a cleric to come around, or alternatively have a friend drag your corpse to the nearest cleric. The longer you remain dead, the more your spiritual health degrades and the more experience you lose. Once your spiritual health runs out, you're automatically forced into #1 above. A low-level cleric can restore your spiritual health, ensuring that you won't lose any experience if you choose to depart. A high-level cleric can also resurrect you on the spot, keeping all of your items on you and saving a run back from the graveyard.

The penalty for most people dying is minimal as a result of this system, as long as they aren't stupid about it, but there is still a risk involved.

Posted: Nov 20th 2007 1:33PM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
Harsh death palties are fine when there is little investment in a character, such as CoX (Pre-crafting at least). If your character was killed, no biggie, you start fresh and have the same resultant character. In other games such as EVE, the loss of time and investment easily turns players off. Weeks of work can be lost to the simplest thing such as an imature 12 year old in his Tech 2 HAC decidint to shoot you.

WoW's repair bill and corpse run based systems are the better choice, as was already stated: THESE ARE GAMES! It's no fun to lose all your work. There is a wide range of ways to handle the penalties though to make sure things do not get set to easy mode. Wepon fatigue, or player fatigue can easily work as the character can recover from these and continue after a respite/repair. XP penalties are fine if there is a method to pay odd said debt that does not risk repeatedly racking up more debt (EG; debt caps or paying off with easier grinding than where you last were). Level loss is not realistic or entertaining, and can cause additional worries.

Death penalties need to be harsh enough to make you fight that much harder to stay alive, but they also need to be lite enough that players will continue to play rather than leave in frustration.

Posted: Nov 29th 2007 8:04PM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
In my opinion, if you have no consequences then there are no risks. And if there are no risks, you really aren't experiencing the game (especially if you want to be heroic, as that always implies risks). WoW for example is a joke with regards to death. The only time it actually becomes substantial enough of a consequence is when you die multiple times while raiding.

I think there are two approaches to permadeath that can allow it to become a viable option in a game. One is making a game based upon a player's skills, not their character's skills. The other is making it so the game fosters a strong sense of community.

With regards to a game based upon a player's skill, no matter if they die permanently their skills used in the game are always retained by them, since they are their own. They would still lose things though, as they would permanently lose any equipment / resources and social standing they may have acquired over time but it as least isn't all encompassing and a total loss.

With regards to a strong community, the idea is the show the value of life and community so that players help one another more often. For example, I remember a MUD where the higher level characters in a town often raised the newer lower level characters after they died. Why would they do that, especially for free? Well if you focus on your community and lead by example, these lower level players can over time bond with their community and in turn assist it as well. Therefore, you want to help the lower level characters because they in time will eventually be helping others.

If anything in games involving permadeath, it's usually the lower level characters that have the most difficultly. Usually at higher levels, most characters usually a myriad of ways of being able to be raised back from the dead or reincarnated, either involving good standing with their deity or magical items that can bring their soul to a remote location for easy raising. It's really no different than the cloning offered in EVE Online, as each of these options usually involves expending funds to obtain them (i.e. magical materials to make item, tithes to the deity's church, etc).

"I'm so sick of hearing "no, no, we cannot do this, because it might fail". After all games are GAMES. This is not real life."

Well said woeye. I think games gives us the ability to experiment and explore things that we might not otherwise would risk in real life. If people and designers don't take risks, then we're just rehashing the same old thing over and over again.

Featured Stories

MMO Week in Review: QueueAge

Posted on Sep 21st 2014 8:00PM

StarCraft II: An MMO player's perspective

Posted on Sep 21st 2014 4:00PM

One Shots: The sacred bosom dance

Posted on Sep 21st 2014 10:00AM

Engadget

Engadget

Joystiq

Joystiq

WoW Insider

WoW

TUAW

TUAW