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General: Community Spotlight: Death Penalties

StraddenStradden Managing EditorHalifax, NSPosts: 6,696Member

Community Manager Laura Genender takes a look at what is being said on our forums about Death Penalties in MMORPGs.

This week on the forums, poster ASmith84 posed the community a question: "Why Death Penalty?"

"Why do people want a death penalty?" He started the discussion, "What is so great about losing XP? It just makes you play the game longer which makes you pay more. Why do people like this?"

Poster Ghostleader replies, "I don't know about most people but I like death penalties because of the feeling that if I lose I'll actually lose which makes me play better and actually gives me a bit of a rush when PvP as opposed to other games where I lose nothing so there's no reason for me to feel like I need to stay alive."

Read the whole column here.

Cheers,
Jon Wood
Managing Editor
MMORPG.com

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Comments

  • LumsterLumster LeipzigPosts: 230Member

    Well I always try to stay alive no matter what the penalty is.

    Even when I played WoW it always pissed me off when I died. I just can't stand corpse runs and even losing 1 silver.

    When I did die in WoW then it was usually not my fault, you know how random groups are.........and now that is the point why I never ever gonna play a game with really harsh penalties. There are so many factors I have no control over, lag and noobs ftl. What happens when you get disconnectes? Other people make stupid moves and I have to pay for it? Why should I have to pay for that?

    I am pretty sure games in the future will be more innovative than the "GRIND 4 MONTHS TO 70" thing, so losing XP might not be a real option anyway.

    Losing gear due to decay or whatever is fine with me, good for the economy but they should be easy to replace.

  • SteakpuncherSteakpuncher LondonderryPosts: 255Member

    I for one think that each game needs a different death penalty, and it needs to be tailored to the individual game. I know many people like the idea of just having a corpse run (WoW) losing some items and exp (Lineage2) or risking everything you have when you die (Darkfall).

    Certain games however just don't mix with certain types of death penalties. WoW which although sails as the flagship "easymode" game has an longwinded endgame to stave off boredom due to the fast paced levelling. Losing items in WoW is just not a viable option, and losing exp is even more unlikely as it would detract from the fast placed levelling that casual players enjoy.

    What people sometimes seem to forget when talking about death penalities, are that they are universal in games. Everyone suffers the same death penalty. Which is why in a game like WoW corpse camping and ganking low levels is extremely common. People can kill someone over and over, knowing full well that if they die its just a quick corpse run for them as well. There is little fear of death, which leads to easy griefplay.

    In Lineage2 the death penalty is a lot harsher, but as a consequence, if someone kills you in PvP, you die and more than likely just experiance the level loss. Your murderer is now PK-flagged and should you find and exact your revenge on him, he lose more exp and will probably drop one of his items as well.

    Death penalties usually balance themsevles out in the end, with the "hardcore" one's detering ganking and greifing due to the risk of revenge being taken on you. The "soft" death penalties however promote the easy greifplay because you don't have anything to lose apart from 10 minutes of your time and a few gold for a repair bill.

     

     

     

  • tigris67tigris67 New York, NYPosts: 1,783Member

    I'm so pissed off at Everquest 2 for doing away with death penalties. When I first started the game on release, I remember thinking that the death penalty was the only thing they got right! When you died, you left behind a spirit shard that you had to go recollect to gain a portion of your exp back and even then you had more that you lost. I come back today and they've basically wowified the system leaving you with a 10% gear reduction that you must go mend to fix and little to almost no xp loss. No more shards, no more need to go retrieve your body or anything.

        What happened? I thought the old system was a nice mix of things and a bit of a change from EQ1? sigh, its just too easy now and dyeing is something that happens to me all to often because I simply just don't care sometimes... I know where ever I die will not matter a bit since I won't ever have to go back to that area to retrieve anything.

     

    Damn us masochists.

    Hi! My name is paper. Nerf scissors, rock is fine.
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  • tombear81tombear81 ManchesterPosts: 810Member

    A game should have quite harsh death penalities. As it stands most MMO games are very soft and allow even the most useless and talentless player to pick up where they left off and just attempt the same thing over and over. Ironcially this type of playing still moves them towards the sacred "end game point" ( I wont discuss what i tihnk of that here). The player doesnt learn, doesnt learn how to help team mates better, doesnt see a lot of content (they die to learn in instances). Of course it keeps the incompetant subscribing when they would otherwise leave.

     

    The truth is many MMO's are so soft anyone can finish them provided there persisant. It makes the genre a mockery to games which require twtich or strategy skills to progress. I can only think of a handful of MMO's which break this mould somewhat. Actually I can onl think of Eve ONline right now.

     

    Were being dumbed down big time with regard to this and it makes most games boring for me.

  • LumsterLumster LeipzigPosts: 230Member


    Originally posted by tombear81

    A game should have quite harsh death penalities. As it stands most MMO games are very soft and allow even the most useless and talentless player to pick up where they left off and just attempt the same thing over and over. Ironcially this type of playing still moves them towards the sacred "end game point" ( I wont discuss what i tihnk of that here). The player doesnt learn, doesnt learn how to help team mates better, doesnt see a lot of content (they die to learn in instances). Of course it keeps the incompetant subscribing when they would otherwise leave.

    The truth is many MMO's are so soft anyone can finish them provided there persisant. It makes the genre a mockery to games which require twtich or strategy skills to progress. I can only think of a handful of MMO's which break this mould somewhat. Actually I can onl think of Eve ONline right now.

    Were being dumbed down big time with regard to this and it makes most games boring for me.


    Dude you gonna fall off your horse, NO mmo needs any talent whatsoever. All you need is some common sense, even for EVE (to play it, not to be uber 1337).
    Just because some people enjoy a different gaming style doesn't mean that they are unskilled and dumb.
    Start dealing with the fact that many people don't think its fun to be punished in a video game and grind another three hours XP because they did one mistake.

    Let people play the way they want, the market will decide the future of penalties.

  • LucifrankLucifrank Brooklyn, NYPosts: 355Member

    I am pretty ambivalent about death penalties. They don't make a game more or less fun or more or less rewarding for me. As I've said in a multitude of previous rants, gamers who define harsh, time sink death penalties as "risk" really need to step away from their keyboard and take a walk in the real world. As a previous poster stated, even if I'm playing a game like WoW with relatively light death penalties, I'm still trying my best to stay alive. Corpse runs and paying for equipment repair is a more-than-adequate death penalty in my opinion.

    While experience loss is something I'm not a huge supporter of, I can see its place in certain games. However, I feel level loss should NEVER occur in any game and I think I'd go so far as to say I wouldn't waste my time on a game where repeated death could ultimately equal a loss in level. It's just too much of a potential time sink and doesn't add to the gaming experience in any way, shape or form. Dying should have its consequences, but if death penalties equal retreading ground I've already covered time and time again in a game, I'll get bored and move to a more entertaining title.

    Item damage and loss is probably most fair to both hardcore and casual gamers. Unfortunately, item loss in today's gear oriented games where players spend weeks and sometimes months grinding out a dungeon for certain types of uber gear is just not feasible. If games become more skill oriented and less gear dependent, sure it'd be a hassle if your armor and/or weapon is destroyed if you die X amount of times. As long as it doesn't create a time sink where you have to spend several weeks regrinding the same old crap to reacquire comparable armor.

  • SovrathSovrath Boston Area, MAPosts: 18,457Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by tombear81


    A game should have quite harsh death penalities. As it stands most MMO games are very soft and allow even the most useless and talentless player to pick up where they left off and just attempt the same thing over and over. Ironcially this type of playing still moves them towards the sacred "end game point" ( I wont discuss what i tihnk of that here). The player doesnt learn, doesnt learn how to help team mates better, doesnt see a lot of content (they die to learn in instances). Of course it keeps the incompetant subscribing when they would otherwise leave.
     
    The truth is many MMO's are so soft anyone can finish them provided there persisant. It makes the genre a mockery to games which require twtich or strategy skills to progress. I can only think of a handful of MMO's which break this mould somewhat. Actually I can onl think of Eve ONline right now.
     
    Were being dumbed down big time with regard to this and it makes most games boring for me.
    Well, that's only because you value that type of gameplay experience. I'm sure most people would rather not have harsh penalites because they don't equate their worth with having great twitch base skills or having great strategy. They just want to enjoy themselves.

    It seems that there is a whole group of "hardcore" players who want/need to be penalized or else the gameplay experience doesn't "mean" anything.

    There is also another group of people who just want to sign in, have some fun and then get back to their lives.

    The idea that a person has a greater intelligence or has greater worth because they want/need/thrive off of harsh death penalites is ludicrous at best and at worse shows that there is a break with anything that really matters.

    It's a game.

    You are not saving livess, you are not solving world problems or making the world a better place. You are "playing". Heck, a good portion of society views playing "video games" to be the arena of  geeky misfits who have problems dealing with society. Go to a dinner party and start talking about pk'ing, fighting mobs and grinding and you will have most people looking at you like you are 13.

    Now, if you want to talk about the idea of having great challenge in order to push yourself, then that at least makes more sense. A harsh death penalty does allow for a more higher stakes game. Sort of like gambling. How many of you do slots and how many of you are betting thousands in Black Jack?

    Also, what is considered "harsh" is a bit subjective. for instance, I don't like huge xp death penalties but can live with them. I absolutely hate the death penalty in WoW as it is so completely tedious to have to run back to your corpse. For the few times I've played that game and died more than twice, I just logged out. I hate tedium and that type of corpse run thing is just horrible.

    As far as EQII, they really did a diservice to that game. The death penalty (sans corpse run) was fine. As a matter of fact I prefer an xp debt death penalty. However, now if you kill 2 mobs you've caught up. There is almost no point.

    In short, games have to "know their audience". If you have a hard core pvp game there better be a stiffer death penalty (but one that doesn't break a person's character if they die too much). If  you have a casual game for people who want to put in an hour or so here or there, you can't have a harsh death penalty or else there will be no sense of actually enjoying the game.

    Contrary to what many of this board feel, most people don't want or need to play games (because they are games) that slap them in the face if they do one wrong thing. They just want to have a good time without pledging their lives.

  • fansedefansede Raleigh, NCPosts: 960Member
    Originally posted by tigris67


    I'm so pissed off at Everquest 2 for doing away with death penalties. When I first started the game on release, I remember thinking that the death penalty was the only thing they got right! When you died, you left behind a spirit shard that you had to go recollect to gain a portion of your exp back and even then you had more that you lost. I come back today and they've basically wowified the system leaving you with a 10% gear reduction that you must go mend to fix and little to almost no xp loss. No more shards, no more need to go retrieve your body or anything.
        What happened? I thought the old system was a nice mix of things and a bit of a change from EQ1? sigh, its just too easy now and dyeing is something that happens to me all to often because I simply just don't care sometimes... I know where ever I die will not matter a bit since I won't ever have to go back to that area to retrieve anything.
     
    Damn us masochists.



    If I remember the original EQ2 correctly, if you were in a group and anyone died, the whole group suffered. Too many times, I had idiots who would do silly things like fall to death or rush in an area without help or prep and the whole group suffered. This turned me off to EQ2. I can accept responsibility for my actions, but others actions I should not have to.

  • mindmeldmindmeld StockholmPosts: 226Member

    The problem is there is no 100% way to satisfy every customer ,the trick is to find the middle road so that as many player as possibly will think its ok.

     

     

    -Semper ubi sub ubi!
    always wear underwear

  • SovrathSovrath Boston Area, MAPosts: 18,457Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by mindmeld


    The problem is there is no 100% way to satisfy every customer ,the trick is to find the middle road so that as many player as possibly will think its ok.
     
     
    I think part of that is "being on board" with what type of game it is.

    If it is marketed as a Hardcore game then people should not complain about dropping items, xp debt, etc.

    If  it is a casual player's game then players need to accept the fact that the death penalty is not going to be severe. If you install a severe death penalty for a game that is played maybe an hour or so per day or every other day then players are going to leave as they won't be able to really enjoy the game having to be constantly dealing with death penalties.

  • JPR1985JPR1985 none, QCPosts: 212Member

    One thing about death penalites, that I find kind of suprising, is that companies do not make it more realistic on RP servers. On an RP server, you want to BECOME that character, and talk like that character, and make yourself so immersed in that world that everything has meaning. Death should be quite more painful, as in not exactly perma-death, but close enough to the point that when you are with a group and someone gets killed, there is actual mourning for the guy.

    I have always been a fan of perma-death options, ever since hardcore mode in d2. Twas a long time ago, I know, but was a great feeling to be a lvl 90 and knowing that you hadnt died once. To me they could do that today, while still pleasing the crowd, with just a few adjustments.

    For example, a set amount fo lives per 24 hours. Let's say, you have 3-5 lives. That is enough to be able to go to far away places and explore dangerous caverns, without really being hindered. But of course, I think that if you DO die, you should still lose some of the value in your gear, like either it being worn down from 100/100 durability, to 80/100 durability, and making it so it cannot be fixed too 100, and the cap is now 80 for that piece you are wearing.

    For one, that would make people play in a smarter way, it would please the people who die from lag, since you DO have a number of lives, and it would tremendously help the crafting economy, as the armor and weapons you have, can and will break, making it that you have to go buy another. This would also slow down greatly the process of people who are heavy levelers, as if they died 3 times in a day, they know that 1 or 2 more and they lose everything, so perhaps they give it a rest, and go crafting, or just explore ad commune.

    To me this is the PERFECT system, and any game that would come close to this would be my new favorite home, and I hope some of you agree with me. Alright thanks for reading!

  • kvariumkvarium Quebec, QCPosts: 33Member

    There is no game with a greater death penalty then EvE online.  If you where to sell the ingame currency needed to build the biggest ship in the game, a Titan, it would be worth about 10,000 US dollars.  These can not be built by a single person, they are built by groups of thousands of players.. but only one gets to fly it.  So far, 3 Titans have been lost in the game...  And this is why those who play EvE love it.

  • RyowulfRyowulf Greensburg, PAPosts: 668Member

    You draw more flies with honey than salt.

    Rather than a death penalty there should be a bonus for not dying. Nothing huge. A perk that's nice enough to encourage living.

    A person makes a mistake or something happens outside their control, why should they be slapped down for it? People need to get out of this mindset that its a good idea to hurt someone when they do something. Challenges are good, something earned is better than getting it easy, but a death penalty is just a time sink that hurts a game in the long run.

  • uncusuncus Fonda, NYPosts: 528Member

    Originally posted by mindmeld


    The problem is there is no 100% way to satisfy every customer ,the trick is to find the middle road so that as many player as possibly will think its ok.
     
     
    Maybe a step towards that would be to let the PLAYER set the penalty! 

    Make the base some minor xp loss and gear damage, then add steps either way with corresponding rewards.  For example, 2 to the left - No dp - 50% xp gained + loot down one table; 1 to the left [easier side] - gear damage, no xp loss - 75% xp gained; 1 to the right [harder] - more gear damage - 110% xp gained; 2 to the right - loss of some gear BUT have corpse run - 125%xp; 3 to the right - loss of all gear/carried BUT have corpse run- 140%xp; 4 to the right - loss of all gear NO corpse run  + loot UP one table - 150%.

    Ammend:  For PvP, slider could include being looted - 10% items + all cash carried at 3 right, and full looting at 4 right.

  • WierdalWierdal Vancouver, WAPosts: 18Member

    My first MMO was UO and started back when Trammel wasn't even around. That game worked well for the death penalty that was instated. Now with the insurance system that is in place it removes the "fun". For most of the game and many of the expansions you could use GM crafted gear from other players or yourself. That too me was one of the reasons full looting was enabled in the game. Although there were some weapons you wouldn't use such as your Silver/Vanquishing katana / halberd. Miss the days of those types of weapons in that game.

     

    Now for the death penalties that are in games now. For the most part that's what works best for that type of game. The slider idea wouldn't be interesting to try and work with. Good general idea and might work who knows.

  • CelestianCelestian DFW, TXPosts: 1,151Member Uncommon

    Make your own death penalty if you like it so much.

    When you die delete all the gear you have on, heck do the same to your inventory!

    You guys are sadists. Death penalties are there for nothing more than to drag the game out keep you paying. Just like huge exp requirements and other grinds.

    Enjoy that if you can, I find having fun keeps me playing.

  • goblagobla somewherePosts: 1,411Member

    Death penalties are retarded.

    Live bonusses are the way to go.

    People shouldn't be punished for something that's part of the game like dying.

    Instead people should be rewarded for staying alive.

    Double XP and gold on quests if you don't die while doing them.

    Extra points in PvP for each subsequent kill without death. 1 point for the first 5 people, 2 points for the five after that etc.

    Higher drop changes if you kill a boss without any deaths.

    Don't punish players for something that's part of the game. Reward those that can avoid it.

     

     

    We are the bunny.
    Resistance is futile.
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  • AnofalyeAnofalye Quebec, QCPosts: 7,433Member

    Players need to care about not dying, but not cry when they died.

     

    Debt-system as in CoV work for the overwhelming majority of players; most players tried hard to avoid death, but if they died, they are not depressed.

     

    However, a minority of players, including me, will actually laugh and not care at all about this death system.  So you need a side system that doesn't affect most players, but that has the potential to affect me.  Lives per month designed in a way that merely between 1% and 5% of the players may actually run out of lives eventually (and merely for a few days for most, a week or two in extreme cases)...that could work for me.  Give it a buffer, like you only start losing lives after X times or whatever...

     

    PS: A slight punishment for dying is not only acceptable, but it is desirable.  Don't lose xp, put a debt, as in CoV...or for someone like me, removing me 1 life and the potential to be unable to play my character for a few days, now that would worry me enought so I would try to avoid death.  Dying in itself is 90% of the penalty, but there need to be a little something more, DEBT (light) is working for most players, for those which laugh at debt, you don't put more debt, you find something else...like lives per month...the idea is not to cripple a player, it is to play with a player.  Now, telling me that I can't play my main for more then 187 hours this month since I died too much...peoples will tell me to relax and enjoy life while my lives are refreshing...not many will cry for me, of that I am sure!  

    - "If I understand you well, you are telling me until next time. " - Ren

  • vickykolvickykol Oakland, CAPosts: 104Member

    I have no inherent opposition to death penalties, but I do have some specific thoughts:

    -- Death caused by a groupmate/third party player is annoying, but I can live with it.  Death caused by game issues (lag, stutter, etc.) just plain sucks and can stop me from playing.  This is why I don't play Vanguard much (it happened again last night -- I was revisiting after two weeks away). 

    -- When the game becomes "one step forward, one step back" I back off and try to figure out what I am doing wrong.  If it becomes "one step forward, two steps back" I leave.  That is why I left Eve.  I am just too slow to play it, and nothing is like playing for a week of missions building up isk just to lose it all on a bad encounter.  I was tired of being my corp's pet charity case. 

  • OzmodanOzmodan Hilliard, OHPosts: 7,189Member Uncommon

    Any game that implements any sort of a harsh death penalty is slitting it's throat.   Basically the kiss of death for a MMO.  True some very small niche games will survive if they do everything else right as the hardcore will play it, but they are a very small pool of players and it is quite risky to try to cater to this segment.

    I constantly see the hardcore complaining that death penalties are not harsh enough, but did you ever think that if they did you would not have anyone to play with?

    Everyone forgets that these are games, people play games to have fun.   A harsh death penalty is never fun.

    This is one of the reasons Vanguard flopped, too harsh a death penalty.  Just stupid design in this day and age.  I won't be surprised when SOE makes it less harsh, I can guarentee it will be changed before the end of the year.

    If you notice, not one of the new games coming out has a harsh death penalty.  Case closed.

  • CactusmanXCactusmanX Hendersonville, NCPosts: 2,218Member

    I don't feel I need any incentive to not die, call it a pride thing but I hate dieing whether there be a penalty or not, I enjoy the feeling that my character is so good he hasn't died yet, that somehow he is unbeatable, like John McClain. 

    But if there is a death penalty, I think it should be a little time sink.  I think that losing gear or XP is too much of a time/money sink, rebuying gear, going to town/your house, killing X ammount of mobs.  Instead I would suggest something more along the lines of  "You are now unconcieus, you will wake up in 10 minutes," where you lose smaller ammounts of time that effect your gameplay immediatly and then let you continue on as normal, rather than losing gear or XP, which does not end your play immediatly but will make you go  back to makeup all the stuff/XP you lost which would most likely take longer than 10 or so minutes ( more like an hour or more). 

    And while I am at it, I have to say I think it is unfair to just have a penalty punishing you for dieing but not reward you for living, maybe little buffs to defence or health regen could be used to make you character more grizzled after winning so many fights without dieing, just like John McClain (in keeping of the other Die Hard reference I made earlier), but of course all of which would go away when you do die.

    Don't you worry little buddy. You're dealing with a man of honor. However, honor requires a higher percentage of profit

  • TaeraTaera Community Manager Austin, TXPosts: 1,078Member

    Originally posted by mindmeld


    The problem is there is no 100% way to satisfy every customer ,the trick is to find the middle road so that as many player as possibly will think its ok.
     
     

    Hey, I got an idea! They should let us pick our own death penalties!

     

    ;)

    Laura "Taera" Genender
    Community Manager
    MMORPG.com

  • DrekorDrekor Griffith, ONPosts: 22Member Uncommon

    Death penalties are what the game allows them to be. A game like shadowbane where there is full inventory loot works well because you didn't need to carry anything worth much in your inventory. If you tried that in a game like WoW, heads would roll because you need to carry around a ton of random garbage in your bags. I prefer a harsher death penalty(full loot 4tw) but it has to fit the game.

    Drekor Silverfang
    The Shipwrecked Pirates

  • goblagobla somewherePosts: 1,411Member

    Originally posted by Taera


     
     
    Hey, I got an idea! They should let us pick our own death penalties!
     
    ;)
    Interesting...

    I actually think that could work really well.

    A drop down menu where you can choose your death penalty. Based on this you get certain bonusses.

    Harsh - 25% more XP and gold gained from kills/quests and small change to get rare items. PvE deaths cause 10% XP loss, PvP deaths against moderate DP players drop 10% of your gold, PvP deaths against harsh DP players drops 10% of your gold and a random equipped item.

    Moderate - 10% more XP and gold gained from kills/quests and a very small change to get rare items. PvE deaths cause 5% XP loss. PvP deaths against moderate and harsh DP players drops 10% of your gold.

    None - 0% more XP and gold gained from kills/quests and no change to get rare items. Deaths cause nothing.

    In order to gain rare items, more gold and XP you have to risk something. But if you don't feel like it you can switch it off.

    You should only be able to change your DP in town or something like that. To avoid people switching it on when they see a person low on health and then switching it back off.

    Although I still personally think the whole concept of a death penalty is bad. Bonusses for living longer should be given instead. If you have to do Death Penalties then do them like this. I could see something like this working very well.

     

    We are the bunny.
    Resistance is futile.
    ''/\/\'''''/\/\''''''/\/\
    ( o.o) ( o.o) ( o.o)
    (")("),,(")("),(")(")

  • mindmeldmindmeld StockholmPosts: 226Member

    Originally posted by Taera


     
    Originally posted by mindmeld


    The problem is there is no 100% way to satisfy every customer ,the trick is to find the middle road so that as many player as possibly will think its ok.
     
     

     

    Hey, I got an idea! They should let us pick our own death penalties!

    hehe you never know it could happen in one way or another :D

    -Semper ubi sub ubi!
    always wear underwear

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