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Reader Comments (30)

Posted: Mar 28th 2010 8:23AM zetetic said

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I hate death penalties. They are blatant time wasters.
The death penalty back in EQ1 is what made me give up on EQ1 within the first week and made me look suspiciously on WoW (though I did get into WoW once I found out what the death penalty was like).
Now I feel it is just an outdated mechanic no longer necessary.
The fact of dying in a game is annoying enough. For me I feel like I'm not playing well and I need to think better about the battle.
STO not having a death penalty means I can quickly get back into the battle and try a different tactic.
Also, I don't feel like I'm being punished for being a crap player (or being a victim of lag).

Posted: Mar 28th 2010 9:27AM Boruk said

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This is the kind of attitude that pulls out some really crappy game design now.

Sure the EQ death penalty was hard, but that made you play well ALL of the time and LEARN your class and how to operate. If you played a healer and weren't good, causing your groups to die over and over...word got around fast and you really never got the chance to be main healer again just because people knew you were going to cause them die a lot.

Now, I am not saying you are completely wrong though. There needs to be a change to find a happy medium in-between that EQ design to the WoW design that still forces players to be afraid of dying and working to play their class well.

Even just going so far as taking the experience penalty from EQ, the Lotro affect of Dread, and the WoW side of things of being a ghost might work if tooled with enough.
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Posted: Mar 28th 2010 11:28AM (Unverified) said

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"I hate video games. They are blatant time wasters."

FTFY

You obviously don't understand how video games work. If you remove penalties for failing, EVERY game turns into a boring button-masher. Sure, you could remove death penalties altogether, but you'd have to replace it with some other kind of penalty. Whatever that penalty is, it's going to waste your time.

Heck, this article isn't even about death penalties, it's about difficulty! Please level up your reading comprehension skill.
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Posted: Mar 28th 2010 8:35AM (Unverified) said

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Posted: Mar 28th 2010 9:28AM (Unverified) said

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Oh How boring STO was on many levels. There is no reasonable complimentary opposite to winning. You win in space and on ground, you get a battery or such (a weak reward), you lose on space or on ground, you miraculously reappear next to the fight to battle like a button mashing mindless drone without consequences again.

Lack of consequences to death has turned that title into a series of suicide runs for the same exact reward I get for battling tactically and strategically. The grossly equivalent rewards for those that die often is enough to leave this game.

The lack of any penalty for being a suicide player is astounding. So, as a Klingon that must rely on pvp matches to level, when these suicide players enter a match just to roll into klingons without putting up any fight, but just to die repeatedly and quickly to get the match over so they can rinse and repeat, that's considered good game-design and fair play at my game-play expense?

There are several things missing, underwhelming and poorly implemented in STO, and this has got to rank at the top of the list. . .they, those that die purposely and repeatedly without consequence, advance their own rush for experience at others game-play and immersion expense are exasperating a real problem; they are rewarded handsomely for being losers; figuratively and literally by Cryptic.
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Posted: Mar 28th 2010 9:01AM (Unverified) said

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No death penalty means no strategy. In STO, for example, the only character or ship "build" you really need is one that is 100% offense. There's no point in defense, debuffs, healing, positioning or anything else. Just go in with guns blazing. If you die, oh well. Respawn, rinse and repeat.

Games with a death penalty force you to think, to strategize, to use teamwork.

Posted: Mar 28th 2010 9:27AM Seffrid said

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Death penalties are an integral part of the challenge in any game, and as the modern crop of spoon-fed players have demanded the reduction in their significance so the challenge of MMO's has been dumbed down, and with it their overall entertainment value sadly. By the way, I'm about as far from a hardcore achieving type of MMO player as you can find.

The death penalties in EQ1 were part and parcel of what made that game so worthwhile to progress in, but anyone who quit within a week because of them clearly wasn't suited to the game at all. Out of my initial guild in that game the one player who complained of dying the most was the first to the level cap and he grew to overcome his frustrations and really got the most out of the game.

I personally prefer death penalties to be balanced so that they make you think twice before taking on a tough challenge but don't discourage you totally from doing so.

As for the original question, if I feel I'm getting nowhere with an encounter then I'll come back to it later. My gameplay is 99.9% solo so the issue of what the rest of the group think doesn't arise. I don't mind dying a few times in a good cause, and sometimes it's a tactical part of thinning out the mobs, but I'm not a total masochist and at some point I'll realise it's time to quit and have another go in a level or two's time.

Posted: Mar 28th 2010 9:54AM (Unverified) said

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The incredibly harsh death penalty in EVE Online is what makes battles in the game exciting. If you lose your ship, that's it, that's a couple billion ISK down the drain. There's no way you can ever recover that ship, you can only hope one of your friends will pick up what loot wasn't destroyed in the explosion (since many modules are actually more expensive than the ships they're fitted to, this can really soften the blow). But if you're lucky it's only your ship that gets blown up; if you're unlucky, the opponent will decide they want to make the humiliation complete and blow up your pod, which involves the loss of (sometimes very) expensive implants and, if you forgot to upgrade your clone, losing part of the uncovered skill points (I believe it was 10%),which sometimes reflects days or even weeks of training. Not to mention upgrading your new clone is fairly expensive as well.

But the death penalty is exactly what makes the game so exciting. Every time you press the 'Undock'-button, you essentially agree to non-consensual PvP, you agree to the risk that your ship might be destroyed, with no chance of recovering it but to buy another one. It makes you consider every single thing you do in EVE, and adds a layer of excitement to everything, even mining in hisec. I haven't mined in my Hulk in ages because the number of suicide ganks have risen lately and the Hulk is worth about 200 million ISK last time I checked.

Posted: Mar 28th 2010 9:56AM (Unverified) said

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I'm sorry, that's "losing millions of ISK". Billions is only the case with capital ships, but it's not like every pilot has a capital ship.
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Posted: Mar 28th 2010 10:00AM (Unverified) said

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While we're not really talking about how much we like/hate death penalties, it does kind of go along with the question and my answer to it.

It's not so much the number of deaths but how quickly frustration arises and futility becomes apparent. I don't mind wiping all night on the same raid boss if there's progress being made but when people start backpedaling or the same mistakes are being made it quickly becomes apparent that it's a huge time sink and not worth it to continue. This frustration becomes exasperated by steep death penalties.

Posted: Mar 28th 2010 11:13AM (Unverified) said

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stop being lazy thats all it is.
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Posted: Mar 28th 2010 3:13PM Wisdomandlore said

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I don't mind dying if I'm making progress. If it just feels like I'm throwing myself against a brick wall (something all too common in PUGs), then I'm done after 2 or 3 deaths.

On the topic of death penalties, older games like FFXI and EQ had the spirit right but the mechanics wrong. Death needs to be something to causes tension. But it shouldn't eradicate hours and hours of work. Modern games have fixed the mechanics and lost any sense of tension in death. Players in LOTRO often use death as a quick travel mechanic, for example. Developers need to find some middle ground.

Posted: Mar 28th 2010 11:52AM Pingles said

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As long as the penalties scale over levels I rather enjoy them. I *love* the thrill of taking on a challenge with a harsh penalty.

But I have played games where the penalties were too harsh early on.

Later on, when I know the game mechanics and learn how to recuperate that's one thing. But punishing new players is some tough love I can do without.

Posted: Mar 29th 2010 10:15AM (Unverified) said

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Couldn't agree more. Death penalties are a necessary evil.

My example is from Lotro when returning to one of the camps in Mirkwood with my 63 warden. I happened upon a nasty looking signiture warg with around 16k-18k morale (I can't remember the exact figure) which wanders a large territory of the forest. I can always use more mithril flakes so I decided to take on the creature.

Regardless of whether I did win or lose the bout, it was firmly in my mind that if I was defeated, I would almost surely lose track of the animal and even if I didn't, the dread effect would stop me from trying something like that again (for at least 5 minutes :P ). This sense of risk versus vs reward drives me as a player to be on top of my game and intelligently pick which fights I commit to.

Take that away (a la STO) and you take away that factor, removing the risk and therefore the challenge.

As to the answer to the actual question... As I mostly solo, I will attempt a challenge once or twice before I decide to come back later - I can get a pretty good idea if it is just too difficult or if I am playing badly in the first attempt.

oh I won the battle with the warg btw :) Off my tits for hours afterwards :p

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Posted: Mar 28th 2010 12:10PM (Unverified) said

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If a group wipes on trash, or start playing the "Blame-game" upon dying, is usually when I'll stop playing for the time being.

As far as having a death penalty, if I come to a hard quest, but all I have to do is burn down a boss before the Adds kill me, and it only costs me a little bit of game currency, then the death penalty is too weak.

Posted: Mar 28th 2010 12:25PM J Brad Hicks said

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I don't count it in deaths. I count it in strategies. Against any hard content, as far as I'm concerned, the cycle goes like this:

100 Attempt strategy (n)
110 If successful, END
120 If not successful, did we do it right?
130 If we didn't get it right, goto 100
140 If we did it right and it still didn't work, do we have a new strategy?
150 If so, add 1 to n and goto 100
160 If we don't have a new strategy, END

As long as anybody else on the team has at least some kind of an idea, some kind of an experiment they want to try, I'm game to keep trying. Once everybody on the team admits that they're out of ideas and how of things they want to try, I'm gone; I'll come back when we have new ideas.

Posted: Mar 28th 2010 12:41PM NeoWolfen said

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For me I see Death Penalties as largely an anachronism if im being honest..

When you weigh the measure of what they add to a game and what they detract from a game, the scales always fall more heavily on the detraction side of the equation.

Some people through years of being programmed to think that way via games that do so however, honestly believe a game isnt meaningful unless there is a penalty a point if you will to deaths..I just don't agree.

For me and apparently to many designers at least from thier own stated design concepts the driving rule for most game concepts is "is it fun"? I dont find death penalties fun myself, they take time away from actual play, the reduce quality of play and in some games with stiffer penalties they are downright mortifying and potentially crippling when you die.

I have always seen the Death Penalty Pro/Con argument as always being inherently tied to the fundamental play choice we all make.. PVE or PVP.

In PVE death penalties do not add to the story or the experience or the game play, as noted they instead detract from it, unlike say NPC death, which can and has more meaning to a story than our own largely meaningless in game demises.

Unlike PVP where death penalties add to the challenge, risk and payoff of participation..the competitiveness of the experience.

So I huess it all comes down to choice, what is your preferred playstyle.. personally speaking I have never been a fan of PVP, it just doesnt do anything for me, it is not the style of play I personally find rewarding.

Coming from a PnP RPG background the story has always been key for me and not the competitiveness of PVP..so I have always fallen firmly into the PVE'er..so called Care Bear category.

And because of this as noted Death Penalties have as a result never been viewed as a positive, I get my challenges through how I play and the story, not from the difficulty or challenge other players bring.

So If I as a PVE'er die It doesnt make me feel challenged, or the obstacle more worthwhile if I eventually overcome it.. it simply makes me annoyed as it is time away from the story, or time where I cannot partake in the story because my character is hindered by some death penalty for a time.

Posted: Mar 28th 2010 3:15PM VioletArrows said

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On the original question, it depends on what happened and why. Earnest progression, I'll try and stick around as long as the raid/group leader wants everyone to (even though usually after the 6th wipe I start feeling physically stressed enough to silently beg to stop). No direction at all and nobody will stop and think a minute, three strikes, I'm out. Me soloing by myself and I'm*so friggin close DAMMIT* depends on how I feel at the moment but I'll usually give it a few more tries. Can't get two steps in without something bad happening, 'fuck this noise' *teleport*.

As for the death penalty itself. I've tried games where there weren't any and while it wasn't bad (as death/removal from the situation itself is usually enough of a warning/deterrent for me to do better), it wasn't really that great either. I've also played games where some psychopath thought that the death penalty should be so severe it pretty much made playing the whole game a terrifying experience, and those games usually don't last a day before they're in the trash/recycle bin (my luck and internet connection are too shitty for games like that). Permadeath is for the crazy bastards and they can keep it.

A lot of games though have a decent medium and while I'm still irritated at the salt in the wound that is the penalty, I just deal with it (or log off and do something else until my BP comes down).

Posted: Mar 28th 2010 3:40PM (Unverified) said

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In a pick up group, I will give it a few tries before I get frustrated and give up.

As for penalties... anyone remember when EQ2 first released, they gave xp debt to EVERYONE in the group if someone dies!! There were times in high agro areas that the group would already be %15 in debt before even starting the grind because one guy kept dying on the way to the group. Talk about harsh lol.

Posted: Mar 28th 2010 5:20PM (Unverified) said

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For me I see lack of Death Penalties as largely akin to support for entitlements in game-play for just ‘subscribing’. Pretty petty and shallow as usual.

When you measure gameplay by how much your entitled for not actually gaming and call it fun, it’s actually a drain on the game-play of others since the shallow single-player attitude dumbs-down the game-play of others and detracts from what should be an immersive world of risk/reward, action/reaction.

But the programming of young gamers with hand-outs and fed-ex quests for a fantastic reward continues, and those same people think that that type of game-play is enriching, meaningful and warrants a sense of accomplishment. I don’t agree, but call it lazy and worthless; the most recent example of this has been with the mass player-base exodus from Star Trek Online.

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