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

Reader Comments (96)

Posted: Jul 20th 2011 5:37AM Papke said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
So, I only read through about half of the posts, so I apologize if this has already been said.

When people condemn perma-death in an mmo, they often seem to mention how it would be a loss of time and effort; referring to the time they would have spent leveling a character and accumulating shiny loot. However, I believe perma-death if perfectly viable option, but not in today's common mmo mindset. I once made a post on some forum, or another, where I mentioned that I wanted an mmo that did not emphasize equipment and loot. Someone called me idiot and told me to find a different genre of game. Well, I don't believe the possibilities for mmo's end with gaining experience to be able to equip the next piece of equipment in a couple of levels.

When I look at the current state of mainstream mmo's, I see corporate America. You start out at the bottom, with nothing, putting in your time, doing meaningless little tasks to grind your way up to the next pay raise or promotion; maybe even getting that phat little bonus if the boss drops some random piece of junk that you won't even be using two levels later.

Perma-death, on the other hand, is a much different beast. But, you can not use the same level and equipment-based approach. One possible example of a way to implement perma-death could involve being able to allocate all of your skill points at character creation. Equipment wouldn't really improve on skills or stats beyond the fact that a stick does more damage than a fist and you're not going to find a more aero-dynamic stick that is going to fly faster into someone's noodle to add an extra 4.3 dps. If you want a stick that does more damage, you're simply going to have to get a bigger stick.

Death doesn't have to be the horrible loss that everyone thinks it will be either. For example: The longer you stay alive in game, the more skill points, or even new skills, you will be able to invest with your next character. If you add new skills to play with after you have to make a new character, you make death something that might even be rewarding in a way, as it rewards you for learning how to use the dodge button.

That's obviously not the only approach you can take with it, nor is it probably the best. But it's different. I believe mmo's need to start moving away from the "rpg" mentality to stay fresh and innovative. Making one change, such as having minions, and calling it the next huge innovation in mmo's is pathetic. Although, I do understand that the level grind and the gaining of "loot" is a hook to keep people playing and shelling out the dollars. After all, people are less willing to stop if they feel they are walking away from an investment. So, it makes sense I guess.

But, I want to see more first-person shooter mmo's, third-person mystery and exploration mmo's. Hell, even though I'm not a big fan of them, I would even love to see a real-time strategy mmo!

Let's break out of the idea that mmo is a genre and remove the boundaries that have been created.

Posted: Jul 20th 2011 7:45AM nomoredroids said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
I honestly just think developers should just stop listening to their community about the features they put in their games. If they put in permadeath and it is implemented well, nobody will care, though if you ask them they're going to scream bloody murder. Look at Demon's Souls. None of the devs asked their fans: would you guys like to play a soul-crushingly difficult game that punishes you for the slightest mistakes? Who would say yes to that? They just did it, and they did it well, and look at the result: an immensely popular game!

I think Devs should just make their games, release their games, and let whoever wants to play it, play it, without thinking will this be the next WoW?

Posted: Jul 20th 2011 8:18AM N620AA said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@nomoredroids ...really?

Pass the blunt along. FIGHT THE POWER!

In all seriousness, developers won't "just make their games," because making games costs money. Money they need to earn back by having people play their games. And making MMOs is considerably more expensive than making single-player games, and involves continued costs even after release.

Also, death penalties don't make a game difficult. They make it nasty, they add downtime. Hell, some of the hardest games out there have NO penalty other than having to load from the last save if you die. You, like so many others before you, confuse a punitive game with a hard game. They're not the same.
Reply

Posted: Jul 20th 2011 10:15AM nomoredroids said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@N620AA

Wow! I never knew I didn't know the difference between punishment and difficulty! Super glad you could step in there and tell me I'm confused! Maybe you can help me out again, since I'm extremely confused by your first couple of statements, as they don't really have anything to do with anything that I said. But, then again, maybe I'm not confused. You seem to know what I'm thinking better than I do, so perhaps you could tell me if your first statements are confusing me or not.

Also: what is a blunt? Do I know what that is? How do you "pass it?" Did I eat it? I can't remember. Please help me!

Since you did address one of my points, I should at least say that the reason MMOs are full of a) derivatives that do not challenge the formula and b) games that try to get as far away from the traditional MMO as possible is because developers are worried about the money. They seem to be afraid to put a foot out and try new ground. No creative endeavor can survive a fearful creator. They may never stop worrying about the investment, but if that's the case, they'll never create something great.
Reply

Posted: Jul 20th 2011 11:10AM Palebane said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
I think you misunderstood me. I don't gank people. I enjoy hunting down PKs. I was expressing my opinion. I don't expect everyone to follow my ideals.
Reply

Posted: Jul 20th 2011 11:15AM Palebane said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
I don't see what's sociopathic about coming together to defend one another. I find it incredibly antisocial that players expect the game mechanics to police the playerbase.
Reply

Posted: Jul 20th 2011 11:48AM ElfLove said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
Why not ask the industry to start producing games with a super harsh or permanent death MMO system?

Sure it might be a very niche market but the MMO world has such great diversity that I could really see a game with those kinds of penalties selling well.

If you build it they will come.



Posted: Jul 20th 2011 11:57AM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
I strongly feel that MMORPGs should have consequences. But I also feel that what is more important than consequences is that people should have fun.

Consequences are a part of the having fun part of the equation. If there is no down side to loosing and no rewards, game play quickly becomes boring and as a result it would not be fun.

But if rewards are too good for the difficulty in getting them, you have the same problem in that getting everything, or doing things with the rewards becomes too easy and we get back to the boring and not fun,

Now what about the negative consequences of failure. As the author points out, some consequences like permadeath may appeal to some, but for most people the possibility of loosing the character that they put a lot of work into is often a reason to not try a game or leave when they loose their character,

But you also do not want the consequences to be so minor to generate a zerg mentality either. I really feel that WoW is close to having the negative consequences right. If you die too often, you are put into a timeout and have to wait to resurrect and play again. (Some games do the same thing with a rez sickness debuff which works also.) You also get accelerated durability loss that increases repair costs but even when broken you do not actually loose what you worked hard for, This is enough to discourage a zerg approach to doing things, but not stiff enough to make most people afraid to try something new. This discouraging doing new things is is just as bad as boredom due to being too easy. As players become afraid to try things, they soon step back and and ask why are they paying for the game when they are not doing anything due to the fear of consequences.

So while I favor consequences, I also recognize that the type and severity is a fine balancing act and partially based on an understanding of your target audience and how big of an audience that you want.

Posted: Jul 20th 2011 12:17PM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
I do want to comment specifically on persistence.

Persistence can be on an individual character level or on the server level.

If it is on the server level then the first time a group in SWG killed HK-47 then he is dead. The entire quest chain fizzles out only one group had a chance to get the results of that boss fight. This means that a development team either needs to not bother adding content to the game or is pretty much only writing content.

If also means that a small group of dedicated hardcore players will go out and finish all the content and leave the rest of the server looking for something to do. So this is a very obvious problem for persistent games.

So what about making the persistence on a per character level. The problem of only a limited few is resolved. But what WoW discovered with Phasing is that it becomes very hard for veteran players to help newer players or their friends if they are not in the same phase of the changing persistence. If not done very carefully it removes the multiplayer aspect and meeting new people. If not done to a fine enough level it really is not persistent to most people that advocate a persistent game.

The other area where players talk about persistence is in being able to place player structures anywhere like in SWG. Game developers have discovered that absolute freedom in doing things like this result in their not being able to find suitable locations for new content outside of already existing NPC areas. Thus new content is funneled into very few locations and can not be spread out among the entire game world. The solution has been to restrict where and then to instance where player structures can be places. Which then results in complaints about it not really being persistent because it does not change the game world for most of the other players.

Persistent games are interesting and worth discussing, but to date making one that is commercially viable on a large scale has yet to be created, So far the commercial persistent games are limited to things like KoTOR and Warcraft. When you take these games and try to make them MMORPGs persistence seems to be the first casualty to make them profitable.

Posted: Jul 20th 2011 1:39PM Jetflame3 said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
I'm with you Matt! Another great Soapbox, I think you and I have a similar opinion on how we like our MMOs as I tend too agree with what you're saying, and on that note these post are the only reason I still visit massively. As most of the posts on here nowadays are just theme-park mmo news which I'm not all that interested in. Don't ever quit writing, you at least have no fear in telling it like it is, and i rather enjoy your rants.

More on topic, consequence for your choices, I 100% agree. I miss games like the one in the picture you've got up there (Loved D2 haha). I think there should be a reason for people to PvP more but also too fear it all in the same.

Posted: Jul 20th 2011 2:42PM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
The last time I felt anything for my characters was FFXI back years ago.
Oddly, my rose colored glasses hold FFXI higher than any game has EVER managed to, the nostalgia meter is off the charts. I think its because of FFXI harsh death penalty (don't know if its still the same way, but it was rough years ago).

What MMO's need, are options. Currently when you create your character, you can choose realms/server/shards based on PvP or PvE (with some RP) in most big MMO's.

Why not have servers with different degrees of difficulty? PVE-CA servers for casual players. PVE-DP (No...not that DP! Death Penalty!) for hardcore players wanting hash environment challenges.
Nobody would be able to complain about difficulty or time-restricted play, because they can spend all their time on a server that is easier and more tailored for people with time restrictions. Meanwhile hardcore players could have their harsher death penalty servers and bask in the glory of being leetsauce.

The trade off has to be greater reward somehow... but that's all up to Devs to figure out.

Heck, throw in servers tailored around solo players even, give people a different place they can level characters when they just want to be alone for a while or hide from their guild. :P

Posted: Jul 20th 2011 3:56PM StClair said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
I find that I only enjoy PvP in situations where there is little to no consequence, persistence, or investment.

See, I'm not very good. I know this and I acknowledge it. There are many who are younger, faster, more experienced and/or better geared. My win/loss ratio is rarely going to be above 50/50.

In games like Team Fortress or Call of Duty, the only penalty for losing is that I have to wait a few seconds before I can respawn and jump right back into the game with everything I had before. I'm not crippled if I lose several times in a row (as I often do). And so, rather than being discouraged and afraid, I can simply go out and have fun doing my best and trying to get some fair kills before someone gets the drop on me. And over time, who knows, I may get a little better.

But I'd never even get in the game in the first place if I had to ante up a dollar, or a half hour of grinding, or 50 gold in repair costs or whatever before each attempt. You see "challenge" and "accomplishment", I see a daunting barrier to entry.

Posted: Jul 20th 2011 4:31PM StClair said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
(or, to put it another way)

What would, oh, baseball be like if, before every at-bat - that is, before you actually get a chance to play "the game" - you had to climb a mountain to get to the diamond, or spend weeks assembling a full set of batting helmet, cleats, gloves, etc (to replace the set you lost the last time you struck out), or buy your gear for cash at the pro shop? How many would-be baseball players would burn out after a few games or innings, or never try, and instead go play... say, soccer, where (again, for the sake of analogy) you can just show up in a jersey and they let you play?
Reply

Posted: Jul 21st 2011 10:43PM Shadowstorm said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
Consequences can encourage smarter play and more immersion, but really, what reward is great enough when there is a significant risk of permanent death? If you could potentially die trying to kill the person picking flowers, what possible reason could you have for attempting to do so in the first place?

It's like having a choice of making money by having a regular every day job, or making a little more money becoming a mercenary attempting to kill well armed vicious killers that you have no intelligence on.

Posted: Jul 22nd 2011 11:32AM hansh0tfirst said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
Yeah, no disrespect for Matt Daniel, but I'm not buying it.

Time and again I've seen gamers clamor for more 'consequence' (up to and including 'permadeath'), but ultimately in my experience it's little more than hollow internet-tough-guy posturing.

While perhaps not a direct parallel, I'm reminded of the 'ole (pre-CU) SWG adage: "Jedi should be rare… for everyone but me."

Sometimes you have to read between the lines, but just as often you don't. The typical premise of those advocating for harsher penalties and whatnot–despite all the bluster–is an underlying confidence they'll personally either be exempt or savvy enough to avoid the worst of it.

Really, it's just a schadenfreude-fueled call to keep those pesky outsiders (aka, 'n00bs' and casuals) away from the inner sanctum of the meta-gamers, min-maxers and multi-boxers. The greatest irony being they're usually the most risk-adverse players within the community.

Posted: Jul 22nd 2011 2:16PM Figure said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
I think that the people that end up playing in games where this is an option quickly find themselves playing with the option that doesn't involve permadeath or other 'too harsh' penalties.

The people that want this option really haven't experienced enough of it to know better. Having played Diablo's hardcore mode for a substantial amount of time, I can tell you that blowing days of effort just to watch as your character is permadead due to lag or a variety of factors beyond your control just kills your desire to play.

Featured Stories

Make My MMO: December 21 - 27, 2014

Posted on Dec 27th 2014 8:00PM

One Shots: Grim Raider

Posted on Dec 27th 2014 2:00PM

Engadget

Engadget

Joystiq

Joystiq

WoW Insider

WoW

TUAW

TUAW