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Reader Comments (23)

Posted: Feb 13th 2010 8:57AM Wisdomandlore said

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I remember playing FFXI, where death could lose you several hours of work, or even level you down. There were several deaths I recall that made me want to quit the game...but then again, death was also something to fear, and close calls were filled with tension and dread.

Nowadays death is, at the worst, a minor annoyance, and at best, a shortcut. Many players use misadventure deaths in LOTRO to teleport around the map (since death by falling or lava doesn't incur repair costs). In WoW I used it to skip battles in caves and such. Just train to the boss, die, and run your spirit back.

Developers need to go back to the drawing board. Punishing death penalties weren't good, sure. But these boring ones that make death nothing aren't good either.

Posted: Feb 13th 2010 9:51AM Holgranth said

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Depends on the game. I think WoW's death penalty suits it well. Its not too severe once or twice but mess up multiple times on a boss and your going to lose a few hours worth of gold earned.

Eve, Darkfall, Runescape and so forth all have more hardcore death penaltys that suit the more sandbox risk vs reward theme.

Posted: Feb 13th 2010 10:24AM dudes said

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Death penalty's should exist, makes players more careful and less gung ho with an avatar so more care is taken. No death penalty might as well get avatar's running in hamster wheel's since there are no real consequences for messing up, the same task is repeated over and over until success or quitting.

Posted: Feb 13th 2010 10:47AM Averice said

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I'm against any sort of death penalty that involves a permanent loss of experience and/or items. I don't mind a death run back to the corpse, or getting auto ress'd at the local spawn point, or maybe having to pay a little in game currency, but that's it.

The penalty is often time more than anything else. After a 5 minute run back to your corpse or from the spawn point back to where you just were, and then 3 minutes spent rebuffing regaining health/mana, you're going to be careful and not want to die again. Time is all the penalty needed imo.

Posted: Feb 13th 2010 11:15AM (Unverified) said

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I remember when eq2 was new and the death penalty was perfect!! They learned a thing or two from eq1s brutal penalty and I liked it alot. Experience debt, temporary sickness, and you had to run and grab your corpse to get all you stuff back. I think there was armor wear too its been awhile, but just aggravating enough to make dying something you wanted to avoid but not log out over. The day they changed it somewhat spoiled the game for me....i knew WOW had influenced their decision. Aoc, Vanguard, Wow all games i play nowadays are just too easy on the penalty. I know alot of players will use the old school outdated argument over it, but i think some mmo basics should never have changed.

Posted: Feb 13th 2010 11:28AM Pingles said

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I like severe death penalties. I have played games where I just kept throwing my body at a boss until I lucked into defeating him. I quickly lost interest in the game.

Posted: Feb 13th 2010 12:04PM Istalon said

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I started MMO's on City of Hero's. The penalty was XP. The cap being up to 25% of the total XP required to get to your next level.
I had a hate love with that. I knew people who went to max level with XP debt. But what I remember now, years later, is the fear I felt when I might die, and the flush of exhilaration when I managed to survive. I played a nuker and developed a "squishy sense" for when the poopie was going to hit the fan. No one wanted the penalty and groups worked to coordinate so that it wouldn't happen. The saving grace was that you could pick up rez's or healers got rez's early on. So you died but could pop back up on the spot.
LotRO did it by making you run from B.F.E. through god knows what to get back to where you died, plus equipment damage. I just hated that. I still worked hard not to die, but I had no love in that relationship. No love because you could be going through a difficult raid, manage to survive a difficult encounter, and if your healer died and no one else had a rez, it was over anyways. Often mobs had respawned between your group and the healer and signature or not, he wouldn't be able to fight his way through. Game over on what could have taken you hours to achieve. Talk about time wasted.
All I know that games like Champions make dieing at worst a five second inconvenience, while you fly/teleport back. A minor rebuff that keeps you from finishing a mission. It made surviving while others died and ran back not seem like so much of an accomplishment.
I think there needs to be some penalty, and to me, XP debt was better. All the postings here show that what you like is very personal though. That makes me believe there is no "one" answer.
Who knows, maybe they can come up with a game where you get to chose your penalty. Talk about spawning a whole new list of forum postings on how to use each to your advantage, lol.

Posted: Feb 13th 2010 11:40AM Joshua Przygocki said

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To be or not to be – that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And, by opposing, end them. To die, to sleep
No more – and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to – ‘tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep
To sleep, perchance to dream. Ay, there's the rub,
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause. There's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life.
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
Th’ oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of th’ unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered country from whose bourn
No traveler returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pitch and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.—Soft you now!
The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remembered.

Posted: Feb 13th 2010 11:45AM (Unverified) said

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I was so tired of previous F2P MMORPGs all doing the same thing, which was basically you lose a percentage of EXP, meaning it set you back in time.

Runes of Magic never takes away EXP but puts it into a debt, so you make less, while paying off that debt. Also things like dying too often actually starts to affect overall TP gain, so you definitely get the sense of not wanting to die, or too often, while not being so annoyed by the EXP loss.

Posted: Feb 13th 2010 2:16PM MewmewGrrl said

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No offense but XP debt is pretty much equal to XP loss, I'm unsure how you feel they are much different. Let's say I'm 200 xp to level 13. I die and lose 100 xp, so now I have to gain 300 xp to hit level 13. If I die and get xp debt and have to work off 100 xp worth of debt, I still have to get 300 xp to get to level 13. It sets your future self backwards, and in the end it's the same exact thing as losing xp really.

Now let's say you just leveled and have 25 xp. You die, you lose 25 xp now and are back to level. But with xp debt, you'd still earn 100 xp worth of debt, so it ends up actually WORSE in some situations. The only time it's better is in games that actually let you drop levels, but thankfully not many of those are around anymore.

Now I don't like a system where a death can set you back DAYS of work (aka EverQuest original system), but I also don't like the no xp penalty at all death. Such as Star Trek online, where I just can spawn in the same area I just died pretty much. There is nothing to fear at all from death, it's a few second inconvenience and that's it. It makes it so I really don't care if I die or not, and playing just really is too easy like that. I like a good mix of penalty vs. reward. I hate to bring it up, but WoW did a pretty good mix, maybe a little too weak on the penalty but still better than most others and that's one of the reasons (out of many) it shot up to where it is. It does a lot of stuff right. I'm completely bored of it and you couldn't pay me to play it now unless it was a hefty sum, but they had a nice mixture of penalty vs. reward there.

Of course you can't please everybody, there are always those that want something different.
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Posted: Feb 13th 2010 6:30PM (Unverified) said

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A lot of past F2P games I've played literally just take XP that you had previously earned away from you. Say you were at 20% to next level, then you die, they'd take some of that away. Let's say it then becomes 15%. You have to re-earn that.

RoM's Debt, will not do that. If you die, you will incure a percentage of your characters current level as "debt". Then as you continue to quest or grind, 70% of what you earn goes to pay off that debt, while you still gain 30% of it. There's also an element of TP loss to that occurs exponentially as you die more often. It might be getting too detailed but not only dying creates a debt system that's not as annoying as just erasing earned XP, but if your a frequent victim, you will be losing more TP in the long run. There's definite advantages to this. It keeps a feeling of not wanting to die or die repeatedly up, and keeping in your face annoyance low.

If I'm 2% from next level and die, I can still fairly quickly get to next level, and still work toward paying off that debt, while in older ways, that difference would just increase. Also if I remember correctly, the bonus you get from reaching next level would go toward debt as well, same with any world or daily quests, the xp reward will all go towards paying off that debt.

I hate WoW's death. One of the most annoying things to me, personally, is having to walk back to your corpse. It's just boring to me. At least with RoM's I can immediately get back in the game, and continue to earn 30% of continued xp gain, while keeping in mind that I don't want to die again.

I "feel" a whole lot better and less annoyed at RoM's way, while still being given a good reason to try not to die. It plays on the conscience a whole lot better, I think, than most other systems.

I can't remember, but do you even lose anything at all when you die in WoW?
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Posted: Feb 13th 2010 12:00PM (Unverified) said

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Whatever it is, "Don't take me out of the game"

Posted: Feb 13th 2010 12:54PM Stormwaltz said

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I've found that the complete lack of a death penalty in STO has encouraged me to start doing raid-ish content and PvP. I've never done anything like a raid, and I haven't ventured into any game's PvP+ territory in over 5 years.

It's liberating to know that one jerk won't wipe out hours of work.

Posted: Feb 13th 2010 1:04PM Tizmah said

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I want a death penalty, yes. I'd like a rather rough one, HOWEVER, I don't want one that makes hours and hours of previous XP it took to level to suddenly disappear.

I think that is highly unfair, because if you die in a single player game, would you like the save point to be hours upon hours away because you made one simple mistake in a boss fight(legit mistake or lag/glitch even)? No.

So I'd like a good death penalty, but not one that laughs at the work I accomplished.

Posted: Feb 13th 2010 2:18PM (Unverified) said

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I know I am in one of the smallest minorities there are in the broader MMORPG demographic... I'd like to see someone do permadeath. I'm cool with Fantasy having a resurrection which involves your mates having to haul your body somewhere to resurrect you (assuming none of your casters has the spell), but the insta-respawn really breaks the immersion for me.

Posted: Feb 13th 2010 2:59PM (Unverified) said

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I was actually thinking the other day about what an MMO with permadeath could be like...

I was thinking was that the leveling system would be one so that with each level gained, your difficulty at being killed increased at an exponential rate. So, while around level 5 you may still be pretty squishy & easy to kill, it's not such a big penalty to have to lose everything & create a new character (hell, lots of games get you to level 5 or more before you leave a tutorial area).

But then around level 30 or so, you're near boss-level in difficulty to kill, but it's also a long way from character creation, so if you get stupid in a battle & mess up & die, then you've really messed up & you have to start all over again.

But for such a system, I think it would also be important to have lootable player corpses. Perhaps your death was cause you took a wrong turn & fell off a cliff or something. If no one else finds your body, perhaps you might be able to regain your loot with a new character (although of course most of your gear you wouldn't be able to use until several levels on).
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Posted: Feb 13th 2010 2:48PM (Unverified) said

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I think it depends on the combat pacing of the game.

In games where the combat is fast & you can kill or be killed within a minute or so, there should be a light death penalty. If battles are decided in mere seconds, they shouldn't set you back weeks of work.

While in games where you and an opponent can go for several minutes before deciding each other's fate, then you should have a steeper death penalty. Knowing that there's a big risk at stake if you should die helps to add tension to games with slower combat systems. Plus, the slower combat gives you time to consider your risk & reward options: stay & finish your opponent in another 20 hits & get great loot, or flee & prevent losing what you earned over the past 20 battles.

Posted: Feb 13th 2010 11:01PM Graill440 said

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Entertainment is all about being fresh when you log on to play, you do notwant to log onto a grind or more work, thats what you should be leaving for a short time. People that get wrapped up in avatars or "think" they need to keep something because of time invested need to re-evaluate themselves, its this thinking that keeps the MMO industry as stale as it is, in any genre.

Death penalties should be severe game changers, the only thing you should get in the mail is a semi comical letter describing your last avatars actions and what caused their demise. Then consequence needs to be assesed depending on the situation and how they...ended, but devs are hopelessly ignorant of how to accomplish this. This being said there cant be levels, you might get some of your gold back in the form of some "inheritance" along with the torn up equipment your unfortunate other had. And again the world would have to be so rich and alive that this again would be out of reach of current devs in the industry because of linear thinking and money oriented models.

Posted: Feb 14th 2010 12:13AM Durinthal said

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I'm a fan of both corpse runs and even permadeath as a worst-case scenario. Death should have a bite to it.

XP penalties are only a passing nuisance at worst and aren't immersive in the least, at least with how they're handled 95% of the time. I feel the same about equipment damage: it costs more to repair my armor if I die in 10 seconds than if I stand and take a beating while getting healed for 10 minutes?

Posted: Feb 14th 2010 12:58AM (Unverified) said

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Masochists!!!

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