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Reader Comments (44)

Posted: May 28th 2010 8:15AM Morioch said

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I would, but depends on the game and how it handles death.

One of the ways death could be handled in a way that might not alienate so many people, would be death leading to a form of afterlife where you character's soul could continue battling waiting to be spun back into the world.

Posted: May 28th 2010 8:34AM Arkanaloth said

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" would you play a permadeath mode if your favorite MMO enabled it..."

indeed a simple question, with a simple answer: No

", and if not, what changes would be necessary to entice you into trying it? "

answer 2: There's nothing they could change to make the aggravation of it plus the utter boredom of starting AGAIN in the same bland baby zone worth it.

Posted: May 28th 2010 10:39AM mysecretid said

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Agree with Arkanaloth. For me, MMORPGs are about seeing and experiencing a game world. No amount of reward could make a recurring "back to the beginning" death loop worth it for me.

Besides, if I somehow needed to reassure myself that my e-peen swung low by means of a permadeath penalty, I could implement that in every MMORPG game I play: my character dies? I delete them. That's your hardcore right there -- no special coding required.

Any company-handled variation on this (special rewards, et cetera) isn't so much permadeath as just an elaborate (and slightly morbid) new means of grinding special loot, or earning bragging rights. Boring and boring.

If anyone needs a game to tell them how badass they are, well, that's just ... deeply regrettable, in my opinion.
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Posted: May 28th 2010 8:43AM (Unverified) said

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Nethack + PVP = WIN!



It would be a really hard sell for me to buy into a permadeath MMO. While I haven't lost Net connection in a while, it does still happen. I'd hate to lose my character because my idiot neighbor dug up the cable lines.

Posted: May 28th 2010 9:03AM TheBahn said

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To answer the first part, not only no, but hell no! If there were a permadeath option on my MMO, I would not like it one bit.

To answer the second part, I think I'd have to be enticed with serious loot. I know that sounds terrible because the lure of fabulous prizes is essentially bribery, but that would certainly make me think twice about a permadeath option.



Posted: May 28th 2010 9:07AM alinos said

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it would be cool if they had a permadeath server but your char go kicked onto another server

the only real issue would be when you have the lvl 70's in noob town ganking new players

thered have to be some sort of progression of permadeth servers that seperated the playerbase every 5 levels or some such

Posted: May 28th 2010 9:12AM (Unverified) said

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The current state of affairs in MMO's, where death penalties are either minor or non-existent, is usually a death knell for their long-term financial success.

Why is that you ask?

Because today's gamer has such a short attention span, and is in such a mad rush to get to the end game so they can complain about the lack of it, that it quickly leaves no population in the lower levels for new subscribers. Having little or no death penalty does nothing to help this phenomena.

Do I think Permadeath is the answer? No, not in MMO's. But, I do think a permanent hit on physical characteristics and attributes might be an interesting way of dealing with it (call them battle scars). After a certain number of battle scars (25-50 depending on the difficulty of the game and if there's PvP), the players avatar would simply be virtually useless in battle, save for maybe providing a morale boost to a group or raid.

The MMO in the above example that can successfully integrate non-combat activities along with combat ones, will still keep the veterans around that have avatars that can't lift a sword or remember a spell incantation because of battle scars. These players may very well roll new characters once their 'mains' have grown senile and incontinent (yes, that's the word I wanted!)...but still be able to drag them out to give inspiration buffs to the young whiper-snappers or to maintain their manors.



Posted: May 28th 2010 9:17AM TheBahn said

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What examples are you thinking about with regards to MMOs that have suffered financially because of minor death penalties?
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Posted: May 28th 2010 9:50AM (Unverified) said

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"Suffer financially" does not have to mean fail financially. Other than WoW (which some might argue has a moderate death penalty with the whole corpse run thing), I would argue that every game has 'suffered financially' because of little or no death penalty.

As I mentioned in my first post, I believe the lack of any permanent 'scarring', due to avatar death in MMO's, only serves to promote the exceedingly fast race to the end game. As the end game is nearly always unfinished in new MMO's, this causes many of the initial player population to post multitudes of negative posts in various forums, which causes so much negative publicity that it deters new players from even trying the game. That, and the fact that in many of these games, the lower-level areas are so sparsely populated after the first few months that new players get the quick first impression that no one plays!

Again, my words were not 'fail financially'...simply 'suffer financially'. It's just one man's opinion that many MMO's have not done as well as they could have if they would have had a more challenging environment (and that includes a harsher penalty for dying).

Now, I've heard the whole argument that if you want a harder death penalty, "go play the game of life." Also, I can also agree that network issues should NEVER cause a player to get hit with a penalty of any sort. That said, I still believe that a small, but permanent degradation of physical attributes at death, would actually be a financially positive mechanic.
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Posted: May 28th 2010 11:38AM (Unverified) said

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Adding permadeath wouldn't do anything to deter players from seeking to rush to endgame. The reason players rush is because most MMOs are tremendously backloaded, you need to be at the endgame to be competitive in PvP, to get involved in raid activities, and to get equipment that won't be outdated in a few levels. Death penalties don't deter this, they just make the leveling experience even more hostile.

Some games make the leveling experience a game in itself, such as WoW with a great many instances and quest chains to complete. I have a great number of friends who prefer the leveling part of WoW over anything that endgame has to offer. This is great if you like PvE or do not have any friends at endgame you want to join, but it doesn't do anything to make the endgame any less significant for joining raids, engaging in arena PvP or getting equipment that won't be rapidly outdated.

The only thing that will stop players from rushing to level cap is to get rid of level cap. That's not necessarily a bad thing.

-SirNiko
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Posted: May 28th 2010 9:17AM MewmewGrrl said

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I've played in Perma-Death mode on Diablo 2 in the past and another MMO (the name slips my mind at the moment, but I have done it in another), and would again in the future too, depending.

One thing is a score board, some board that forever shows your level, stats, accomplishments, etc. That way if you get to a high level and die, at least something remains.

But the other thing is that I do this once and that's it. I don't re-start a new character after I die, and most others don't like to either. So that is one reason I can't see a game living that does this exclusively, people just end up going away after losing a few characters, but it's semi-neat for an extra server option.

Most games are built upon the fact that death is no big deal, so it's set up to be pretty easy to die in many spots. Some high level death traps and other spots of the game may need to be altered in order for people not to get too frustrated.

Just knowing the character can die and be gone, it doesn't feel like it's even there, it doesn't feel permanent and like I own anything. Perma-death games just really aren't for me, tho I will try a little bit sometimes, I do it for the competition of trying to get higher than others and listed on scoreboards, I really don't enjoy playing it otherwise (it's too tense, never relaxed).

Posted: May 28th 2010 9:45AM Birk said

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I died about 15 times in AoCs Tortage Underhalls yesterday, so Im not too keen on the idea of permadeath haha.

I do think AoC needs a more stringent death penalty; and I think it also needs less places to be resurrected at after death. As it stands, sometimes one might die just to be taken back to a specific place.

There is a debuff that comes with dying, but its fairly minor.

Posted: May 28th 2010 9:51AM Its Utakata stupid said

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I think I would spending most of my times on the character creator re-rolling if the games I played had that. I doubt I would be the only one. :)

Posted: May 28th 2010 10:01AM OmegaDestroyer said

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Permadeath can add a sense of risk to the game but I don't know if I'd want it in MMOs.

I played hardcore in Sacred 2 and it was a refreshing slap to the face when a character died and couldn't be revived. It was an odd feeling of loss, coupled with anger and annoyance at having to restart. Really not cool losing a character due to a glitchy boss with 1-shot kills either.

I wouldn't want permadeath in my primary MMO, Champions, due to the grind it takes to get up to 40. However, it could use a better death penalty and maybe resurrections that can be used during battle.

Posted: May 28th 2010 10:30AM (Unverified) said

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Instead of Permadeath they need a perma life system. Giving rewards in combat situations where your alive longer. Dying would yield either removal of the buff or a debuff.

permanently loosing a character in todays mmo genre is probably the least appealing thing you could do, im sure it appeals to the truly hardcore players, but other than that its definitely not for most.

Posted: May 28th 2010 10:34AM Meagen said

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I think a better idea is the Survivor title in Guild Wars, which you get for achieving certain (large) total XP milestones without dying. The first time you die your Survivor progress halts (although you retain any title you've already earned), but the character can still be used to play the game normally. It has the same challenge in trying to stay alive, without the frustration of completely wasting hours or days of gameplay with a single mistake.

Posted: May 28th 2010 10:41AM MCGusto said

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I really wish permanent death had a place in more MMO's. Not to say I wish all characters in those games played with perma death rules though.

To me, the ideal setup would be something like the following: (note, I will use World of Warcraft just to help explain it better)

Upon character creation, you have the option to select normal play, or perma death rules.

If you select normal, you level, quest, craft, raid, etc with no risk of ever permanently dying. This would be the main PVE and PVP character for most users.

However, if you selected perma death, your character will get access to exclusive crafting recipes that can only be obtained and used by characters on your account that are in perma death mode. Also, the materials needed to craft these items could only be obtained through semi-rare drops from mobs which would mean you couldn't level up a perma death character and leave him happy and safe in town, you would be forced to risk your characters life, quite literally, to acquire the materials and patterns.

For example, while leveling your perma death character you are running around questing, as you kill mobs, there is a very small percentage chance that a rare perma death recipe will drop. This recipe could be anything from cooking, tailoring, jewel crafting, etc. These rare crafting patterns can only be learned by a character that is playing in perma death mode. The patterns could be transferred to any perma death character on your account only. However, once your perma death character learns the recipe, he/she could craft the item and sell it on the AH. Basic idea is that only characters in perma death mode would be able to craft these rare items.

To encourage users to spend money on these items, especially those items that are not geared for characters at the level cap, there would have to be a compelling reason because lets face it, not many people want to spend much money on gear that will be out leveled quickly. For these items, I think the stats/armor should be roughly 15% higher. Also, I think these items, when crafted, should be given the ability to teleport your character to a city/quest hub/something. Here is the catch though, when the item is created, you don't get to pick where it would teleport you to, it is randomly generated by the crafting process. So you could create those Super Awesome Elven Gloves of Uber Pwnage, and each one created may have the ability to teleport you to a different city or whatever.

Generally speaking, this gear would be quite expensive on the auction house since the number of perma death characters that could craft them would fluctuate frequently due to them dying while acquiring materials and additional recipes. Therefore, the pre level cap gear would almost exclusively be used by people leveling their second, third, maybe even tenth character. One of the biggest complaints I have heard through almost every MMO is about the amount of time it takes to travel from point A to point B.

This gear would definitely help out those alts who have the additional money to spend. For the new players coming into the game, they would still likely not be able to afford this rare and expensive armor, and therefore they would still be inclined to explore the vast world that awaits them (which is one of the leading reasons developers don't like to include fast travel -- they hate to spend all of the time designing a world that is never explored and feels empty).

What about end game gear though? Why would these perma death characters even try to get to the level cap? Why would they risk a raid, or group instance/etc?

I will tell you why! End game bosses, when downed by a group that includes a perma death character (one who is on the bosses agro table, thus making sure the character can't sit idle in a safe spot far away) would have a

Posted: May 28th 2010 10:43AM LizardSF said

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I'd like a system of limited resurrections, where it took a long time or an arduous quest to get a "new" one, so that you would be unlikely to die permanently from one bad decision, or a system crash/disconnect, but you would not just charge a monster a dozen times and die each time because you didn't care. The upside of a harsher death penalty is that it encourages intelligent and careful play, and adds a real level of excitement. The downside is that it also encourages elitism and arrogance and a "If you're not the best, we won't group with you" community -- which means new players have no one to teach them the ropes and the game dies its own form of permadeath when it can't attract new players to replace old ones.

Posted: May 28th 2010 11:25AM GRT said

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This is what I'd like to see, too. You could even accumulate resurrections over time. One per (real life) week or something. So you could 'save up' your resurrections if you wanted to try something crazy, but generally a death would be worrisome.
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Posted: May 28th 2010 12:58PM Durinthal said

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That's precisely the system I want, and the one that my favorite MUD used to have (then they got rid of permadeath as a possibility and just gave you a debuff or something when you didn't have any points left).

Hardcore (one death and you're done) doesn't work in the existing style of MMOGs where every fight ends in under 30 seconds.
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