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MMORPG.COM News: Outside the Box: Perma Death



  • VinadilVinadil Member Posts: 42

    To those in the EVE discussion... they at least have definitely put in enough death penalties to make people think about the way they play.

    Most people in this discussion need to broaden their view of "play time".  Some of you are what I call "Lazer-tag" people.  In a game of lazer-tag there CAN be fast paced action, there CAN be team-work, and there CAN be fun times had by all.  But, that requires you to have a group of like-minded people who work well together and enjoy competing in a fun, equal field.  It only takes a few times of playing with the idiot 12 year old who uses his HAND as an invulnerable shield and runs like a maniac through the field not caring if he gets shot to show you the weakness of such a system.

    THAT is most MMO's out there.  Sure it is nice to not suffer a death penalty yourself, but in the end it makes it so that people CAN play like idiots, and enough of the population DOES so such that it lowers MY enjoyment of the game.

    Other people are "Painball" people.  It is basically the same game... just in paintball you don't generally see people running around not caring if they get hit.  The PAIN involved in getting hit changes the way people think and act.  It is a positive, not a negative as in the END it adds to the game enjoyment of ALL the people.

    Perma-death in a free PvP world is yet one more way to reward the people who play the game correctly, and in the end ADD to the enjoyment of ALL the people.  PD is yet another rule in the MMO arsenal, one which noone has used really.

    The fact is we won't know if it works until Mourning or The Chronicle come out... which MIGHT be this year heh, and then we will all get to see.

  • VotanVotan Member UncommonPosts: 291

    Originally posted by BillTanner

    Well, there seem to be a lot of carebears here. image
    Also a lot of people with poor reading comprehension.  image
    The guy is not saying to put perma-death into an existing, level-based, grind-yourself-into-a-coma game.  He is talking about using a system of OPTIONAL permadeath in a FUTURE game which is DESIGNED from the GROUND-UP to accomodate such an OPTIONAL system.  If nothing else, look at the words in all caps.  Almost all of the negative posts here refer to the fact that they don't want to grind their characters back to their old levels to play with their buddies.  That doesn't have to be the case!
    Some people say it takes away the fun by risking death.  For me, I question what is fun about endlessly killing rats to get loot, when everyone can get that loot.  In a lot of MMOs, it's just a simple equation: More time = more loot.  There is nothing else to it.  No skill, no daring, nothing.  Just pay your subscription and log in.  That's not fun for me.  Permadeath, in a future game designed for it, would be an exciting way to break out of that stultifying grind.
    And besides, like the author says, it doesn't have to be for everyone.  There can be regular chracters who get to do most things, like craft or assist on quests/missions, and then there are the main characters who risk permadeath but gain more rewards.  If you don't want to die, then play regular.  If you're worried about keeping up with your friends, play regular, or risk it all as mains - chances are you all will die at some point and stay roughly equal.
    I know of at least one game in beta right now that has full looting at death and an afterlife, plus the concept of main characters that will risk permanent death, so the idea is out there and being worked on.
    Good article Nathan!

    Bill at least what some of us have done is said is we can not think of a system with a hook that will keep people playing it.  Perma-death means start over even with a cloan of lineage it still means having to redo whatever content over again, or play the game taking almost no risk, or losing the ability to group with your friends in a meaningful way....fun...Of course it would not work in the existing games, and I can not think of a system even with all that has been mentioned that it will work in long term.  As I posted before you make a game with no skill or level curve or such a small one, people will not, as has been mentioned above become attached to there character...aka the main reason to continue to play even after the game has become the same old or in simple terms willing to continue to pay for a sub even though they may only play minimally.

    If you are talking about a very small niche game then you could probably find a select few that would be interested, but if you are trying for a large commercially successful game over the long term then perma death will not work or attrack the vast majoirty gamers.  Why would you spend the millions of dollars that it takes to develop these games to target the smallest minority of gamers....seems to me getting funding would be fun when you present we are not targeting the largest audiance we are targeting the smallest one....

    Make the game simple with no curve at all people will get bored fast, and there is already a ton of single player/multiplayer games that offer fast no character attachment that we play with no subscription fee.  All this may sound somewhat good on paper but having main character with perma death and also characters that are not perma-death seems to me defeats the entire concept of permadeath.  Then what is the point, perma-death is a sideshow as most people are not going to play main chars, only when there is vertually no risk at all.

    I love PVP and to me perma-death is a complete barrier to people's willingness to participate in it.  We have already struggled to get game companies to include pvp after Everwasteoftime, now you want to add a further barrier to large participation in PVP or having PVP in the game that is more brawling or dueling and not intregal part of the game? 

    And that one game is not even on the most anticapted list.  Great they have a unique ideas but have also designed a system in which your main will only be played in a carebare state, you will use you're other characters a majority of the time.  That seems to kind of defeat the purpose of perma-death.

    And you think perma-death would break the "stultifying" grind if your character dies and you want to continue playing you have to do it all over again!!! 

  • VinadilVinadil Member Posts: 42

    Eh... Votan, so many of your concerns are level/grind induced.

    Say that a person jumping into the game TODAY could after a couple hours play with someone who has been playing for 5 months and actually CONTRIBUTE to what they are doing?  That is impossible, impractical in most MMO's on the market today because of the level/gear grind and the fact that things like "to-hit" and "damage-done" are modified by both level and gear.

    But, say the "point" of the game is not to kill mobs and gain levels/gear, but instead to... aquire resources, complete team-work quests, siege and conquer enemy cities, etc.  Say the combat is split 50/50 with PLAYER skill (the guy hitting the keys) and CHARACTER skill (it is after all an RPG, so the avatar needs to "grow" over time).  Well, even with noobie gear, a somewhat skilled Player will impact battles, not to mention resource gathering, scouting, etc.

    The game I am waiting for is not PD on a character level... it is more PD on an EMpire level.  IE, point of the game is to build player-run empires, which can then be TOTALLY destroyed by other players... at which point the losers have to start completely over.

    People with your arguments would only play ONE game of football if they lost.  "Dang, I lost... well I am not starting ALL OVER again to play a WHOLE NEW game!!!"  OF course people will start over, if the game is FUN.  MMO's tell you that before you can play a new game of football you have to spend 16 years learning the game again.  Wha?  I already LEARNED the game... why do I need to go re-learn everything?!?!  People who win get bigger ticket-sales, buy better gear, hire the best people... but that does not guaruntee they will ALWAYS win... look at the Yankees.

    Anyway, most arguments against PD, or heavy death-penalty systems, are so entrenched in the mind-set of the current MMO that they are not truly valid.  Fact is people start over in games ALL THE TIME, and still *gasp* say that they are fun.  The problem is not with the starting over... the problem is with the game design that keeps people from having fun.

  • VotanVotan Member UncommonPosts: 291

    Vindadil, there are plenty of empire builder games out there already that you can do this (Civ series, Warcraft Series, Empire Earth, Rise of Nations, Age of Wonders, Age of Mythology....I guess I am having an issue with why I would pay $15.00+ a month to play a empire builder/character builder when there are some very, very good ones on the market that I can play with no monthly sub...These games I have and will start over no problem because the games are meant for you to only invest 2-24 game hours and then there is one winner and you will then start a NEW game.  I currently play Civ 4 and love it.  While not a MMO it has thousands of people playing online every night.

    Even with a 50/50 split you will have to start over, your character is 50% less effective than your friends... now you run into a group of people enemy players that are all at 100% effective you are at a very distinct disadvantage and probably meaning the perma death of all your friends by including several characters that where 50% less effective than the others. Fun in these games are for the most part the friends you play with along with the game itself.  Sure people start new chars in games all the time but having one or two of your friends killed off and now are 50% less effective than everyone else I am sure may be a fun concept for you but not for most of us.

    These games cost multi-millions of dollars to produce, having a MMORPG what we are talking about consist of building a charcter over time, that is the concept of an RPG.  Building up an entire empire over say 10 months of game play to have it completely destroyed, along with your 50/50 character and you are saying a majority of gamers are going to say ok, I lost congrats and now start all that over again after all that time invested in building it up?  No most are going to be so pissed off they will stop paying that sub. 

    Or are you saying that everyone will be able to have an instant empire with very minimal time invest?  If you are then that also becomes very stale, very quick as everyone will have everything thus no hook in continueing to pay that $15.00 sub.  There are plenty of very good multi-player RPG's that have minimal time invest for max level, there are a ton of empire builder games out there that all offer FREE game play once you purchase the box...To get people to pay that sub you have to offer more than that, and killing off that time investment the hook in all MMO's is your character, and even in your concept your empire is something that you will work at 20-50+ hours a week (the average time played for MMO players) over months, and after all that investment no matter what it is, the tons of resources gathered, the weeks to months setting up your defenses, gathering players to support your empire, getting your character to that 50/50 max whatever, building all of your buildings over those many months and hours to have it all premantly destroyed?  That sounds like a lot of fun....

    The concept of perma-death will only work in a setting in which there is minimal loss of time invested.  This would work great in a single player/multiplayer game where the game turnaround is 20-60 hours of game play, not 20-50 hours a week for months.   If there is a minimal loss of time invested, this means the game is what I would call a easy mode game where you get to max whatever really fast.  Now the average MMO player is online playing whatever game 20-50 hours a week every week, the hook for long term play does not exist if everything is easy mode. Single/Multiplayer yes, MMO no.

  • PlanetNilesPlanetNiles Member Posts: 101

    By shear chance I was writing the section on perma-death in my project's proposal document when the email regarding this article hit my inbox. I've only just gotten around to reading it.

    Most of what Nathan Knaack talked about I'd already considered, some of it I had even included in the proposal; deaths-door and afterlife are already a part of my vision.

    What saddens me is the absence of immagination in the MMORPG commuinity. Everyone seems to be assuming that the next generation of games is going to be just like the last but with whatever feature they happen to like most. Not true.

    Not every game is going to be level based or have a system in which PvP between an experienced player and a new comer is going to be imbalanced against the latter. Hit Points may very well go the way of the Dodo. Psudo-mediaeval fantasies may very well become a minority and perma-death may very well become standard.

    Nobody complains "but my character levelled now he's totally ruined" because levelling is seen as a good thing even though it might take a player away from their favourite part of the game. Perma-levelling changes a character as irrevocably as perma-death but I hear no complaints against it. Fact is MMO's are games and, unlike RL, just because your character died doesn't mean that the game comes to an end. IIRC correctly there's at least one game reviewed on this site that has a perma-death system in which when a character dies they respawn as a member of a different species on a different world.

    Congratulations you died, now you can experience a new part of the gameplay.

    Mystics, spritualists and religious people the world over believe that death is just a transition and in an MMO this can be literally true.

    "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference."
    -- The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

  • AutemOxAutemOx Member Posts: 1,704

    Does anyone else feel that removing the grind will undermine the entire point of permadeath?

    I mean, if you have nothing to lose, then why have permadeath at all?  If your new character will be just as powerful as your last character, then why bother trying to keep your last character alive?  Why take the game seriously and try to survive?

    I think grind has a place in a permadeath mmorpg.  Maybe not as much of a grind as some games like EQ or EVE Online, but something more like WoW or Guildwars, where you level fairly quickly.

    When I think of permadeath, I think of a PvE permadeath.  The idea of PvP permadeath bores me.  If you have too much to lose in PvP, then people start getting way too careful, and you end up standing around for hours a time before engaging the enemy  image 

    Play as your fav retro characters: cnd-online.net. My site: www.lysle.net. Blog: creatingaworld.blogspot.com.

  • GlipkerioGlipkerio Member Posts: 2

    There is one MMORPG I know of that is implementing a form of permanent death, Trials of Ascension (www.shadowpool.com). I've been following this one since it was announced and they have stuck to their guns on the idea of Permanent Death Over Time. That is, you are allotted a certain number of lives and once they are expended your character is gone forever.
    I really do like the idea mentioned in the article about rewarding the achievement of goals without any deaths. Some games do this to an extent, like Guild Wars, but I really would like to see it expanded much much further. Many games have such weak penalties for death that you can just keep throwing yourself at a challenge and eventually you'll beat it, it makes me pine for a game that would really reward the planning, exacting execution, and teamwork.

  • VotanVotan Member UncommonPosts: 291


    The average player puts 20 hours a week into the game. This means that for every 10,000 players, the equivalent of 100 man-years of time is expended every week, quickly turning into man-millenia per week for the successful game. Even at extremely low efficiencies, converting this effort into entertainment value rapidly exceeds the input of the game companies staff by orders of magnitude. Beyond the first few hours of play, it is this hidden resource that is really holding players in the game. No matter how hard game companies worked to create the world, the fact is there efforts are just background and context for the real attraction.  So you are going to need more than good game content to keep players interested. You are going to need a hidden resource or hook to keep them paying that $15.00 a month.

    Now having no measure of this in your game hit points, stats, levels of anything that is going to show your hours of play is accomplishing something is something that will fail.  Again people invest far more hours into a MMO than a single player game.  If you are going to incorporate this into a game why would I play something with no measure?  If perma-death exsist and any form of long term accomplishments are errased no matter what they are what is the hook to make me re-play whatever it is to get me back to my pre-permadeath state?

    "IIRC correctly there's at least one game reviewed on this site that has a perma-death system in which when a character dies they respawn as a member of a different species on a different world.

    Congratulations you died, now you can experience a new part of the gameplay."

    Congrats you died your friends did not, now you have been permantly seperated from them enjoy your new content by yourself....this is an outstanding idea.

    No matter how much game companies invest in the quality of graphics, the depth of content, or the promotion of the game, in the end what keeps the players in the game is each other. In many cases, these players have been playing with the same friends for years, having migrated together across several games. There is no acceptable reason to tell a player "No, you may not hang out with your friends."

    Which if you have perma-death with any kind of measured accomplishments, stat, skill or whatever measure you have giving accomplishment to your players for investing that 20+hours a week, you are going to seperate gamers from there friends, or worse force those friends to have to invest time otherwise spent playing the game to help get your friend back to par with the group by whatever measure and then repeat this for every permadeath.

    "Not every game is going to be level based or have a system in which PvP between an experienced player and a new comer is going to be imbalanced against the latter. Hit Points may very well go the way of the Dodo. Psudo-mediaeval fantasies may very well become a minority and perma-death may very well become standard."

    So what you are saying is a player that has invested that 20+ hours a week for 5 months is going to be on the same par as a newbe?  Going to have no hit points?  No stats, No way to improve your character vs someone who has just picked up the game is going to be of the same power?  Why would I play a game like that, I can not think a one reason to invest MMO time in it.

    A MMO game that will launch in the coming years will have a price tag of more than 15+ million dollars at minimum before it takes in any money most will cost more if you are going to have up to date graphics engine and the delays that will come.  You are going to need to maintain a player base, if the concept of perma-death creates any dispruption in guild and friends playing together and is to painfull with time loss your game will fail horribly.  If you have no measure of success or advantage from newbe to a player who has invested 6 months of play time in your game it will fail. 

    Permadeath with any kind of significant time loss penalty, or a game where time investment in your character is really meaningless after all those hours of time spent playing I simply can not balance this in my mind to see how this can be put successfully in a MMO with giving your player base a reason to continue to invest those 20+ hours a week and not feel that permadeath has robbed them of there weeks, months of time investment or there time invest is really meaningless if everything is easy mode where permadeath really has no meaning at all as you lose nothing.


  • AmarantharAmaranthar Member EpicPosts: 4,311

    If you're going to make permadeath work in a game, the game itself has to be designed around having permadeath in it. Furthermore, the type of permadeath would also dictate what the rest of the game is like, and visa versa.

    There's three basic types of permadeath, always, after so many life counters, and situational (if eaten, against MOB Bosses, etc.). There's all kinds of ways to build a game too. Untill you have all the elements together, it's really hard to say what's going to work. And this is making this whole topic very difficult, because you have to quantify a statement with what else is in the game. If this, and if that....

    I think permadeath can work, in all forms, depending on the rest of the game being designed for play styles to match. This can certainly cause the game to fall into categories of nicheness, some being more hardcore and selling in smaller numbers, others being with more wide appeal and selling in larger numbers.

    But games generally want to be hugelly successful, and sell large numbers. With this in mind, it forces the details of any permadeath system to be less aggressive. The easier permadeath is on the player, the more copies can be sold and kept paying monthly fees. There's going to be a ladder here, stepping down from easy to each next harder form, and each step causing fewer subscriptions. But the top rung, the easiest on the player, still has to maintain at least one of the core values of having permadeath.

    There's only one thing that jumps out at me in a general way. Allowing permadeath by players on players as a general play style, day to day activity, is going to cost alot of subscriptions. The main reason is that there will be a small percantage of hardcore players who will use it in the most advantagious way to dominate the other players. For a game that accepts a smaller sub base, and wants only hardcore gamers, this is fine. Otherwise it's trouble.

    Limiting player to player permadeath is the very first thing to make it work in a game plan for wider distribution.

    Once upon a time....

  • VinadilVinadil Member Posts: 42


    Your concerns have been voiced countless times, and I am sure that they resonate with a large portion of the player-base.  But, the fact is there ARE people out there wanting to play games with a better risk/reward template.  Now, to my knowledge the only game attempting the PD/Empire building thing is The Chronicle.  and, they have given you the "out" of playing a regular character.

    Darkfall Online is doing the Empire Building model with no PD.  Why play it instead of Rise Of nations or any of the other (sub-par image) RTS games out there?  well... for the "community" you seem to hold to so dearly.  Did you ever play Shadowbane?  For all of its faults it was the ONLY game to ever successfully do full PvP and player-made cities.  It was a HORRENDOUS PvE game, and yet many thousands of players filled it for several years.  Over 100,000 people bought the box and had a subscription.  Most of our indie developing houses would be ECSTATIC at having 100.000 memberships.

    A game that has player-driven content (empires, or PD which = epic storylines) also manages that whole developer - player content issue.  When it is the 10,000 people spending 20 hours a week who are creating the content, it takes a LARGE load off the dev team.  That is why you play RoN is it not?  You don't play for 3 days and then WAIT for the next X-pack.  You play a game and in 2 hours you start the SAME GAME... because it is the playing of it that is enjoyable.

    I enjoy the MMO version of that for the same reason I enjoy the MMO version of any game... there is MORE community, and there is NO winner.  Tell me what MMO has a winner?  What MMO "Ends"?  None of them do (well outside stuff like A tale in the desert maybe).  I have spent 10 months building an empire to watch it fall to the ground in a series of epic battles.  It did not make me enjoy the game any less than when I watch people destroy my Persian empire in Age of Empires.  The enjoyment comes from the playing AND the accomplishing.  So it took my 8 months to accomplish a goal... well, I DID it, and I ENJOYED the journey.  To me that is the mark of a good game.  It is not for everyone, but it is for enough people that it can make money, that is for sure.

  • rickf7666rickf7666 Member Posts: 5

    The basic problem I have with PD is the basic idea that defeate automaticly equates to death. I've played a lot of pen and paper RPGs and in many defeat does equal death. And of corse they do give you an out. The prime example being D&D and resorection spells. But then again you have a GM who is controlling what happens and can adjust the dificulty of the enemies according to the player. Which you can't get with a MMORPG. I play EQ2 mostly, and the only time I get killed is when suddenly every mob for a hundred yards turns toward me. And even when that happens I can usally run away. But back to my point. My favorite P&PRPG is Champions (other wise known as the Hero System). They have two stats for damage, Stun and Body. The effect is that it is possible to knock some one out without killing them. Now all you would need is some sort of system in place to deal with being defeated with out dieing.

  • delateurdelateur Member Posts: 156

    I really enjoyed this article because it covered all the bases and didn't try to rework any existing games to make permadeath "fit." I will agree with many others out there that there is simply no easy way to implement permadeath in any game, existing or conceptual. The reason for this is, as others have stated, more technical than anything else. A disconnect is nobody's "fault," per se, because it was not a conscious decision on the part of the gamer, or the client, or the network, or any other facet of the technical requirements to play the game. If you create a system where a person, through no fault of their own, can permanently die, that is, in my opinion, just as unrealistic as current systems of immortality. I see countless people bragging on CoV message boards about how they always solo on the highest difficulty setting. I also know that if there was a permanent death system in place, there would be far fewer posts like that. It's not that all of these people are dying repeatedly, but rather that most of them would simply not risk dying just to face harder opponents, a bit more xp, and bragging rights. Immortality creates gameplay that attempts anything, even things that are quite unreasonable, because when there's no true risk, it's all reward, so why not at least attempt it?

    However, the idea of rewarding living seems quite compelling to me. I make every effort to immerse myself in the MMOGs I play, as that is the best way to distract me from any grind elements the game possesses. Dying shatters that illusion, for me, so I do my best to never die, even if it isn't harshly penalized. I'd love to see a game that does more than reward you by not penalizing you for dying. I think that would not only encourage true teamwork, but for those who enjoy soloing, it would give them a sense of real accomplishment and further distract from the grind elements that most MMOGs to date possess.

  • VotanVotan Member UncommonPosts: 291


    I play RoN or Civ for a limited time and not the same way I would play and MMO.  It is a multiplayer game I play with some friends for only so long before it becomes old and there is no impact to the game company when I stop playing RON. I may play RoN for 2 months and not pick it up again for 7 to 8 months or maybe never again.  Games like RoN an Civ make there money from box sales only, have significant less cost and really no overhead once the game is on the shelf.  If I really enjoyed my time I am highly likely to purchase RoN 2 or Civ 5 which is where they make all of there revenue.  It is not the case with an MMO they need to recoup investments, pay for overhead on a monthly basis and need subs long term to make back the money outlay from launch. 

    I am sure there are players that want to have a permadeath game, my arguement is more on the lines of if a game company is willing to put up 15-20 million dollar effort to find out if it will attract enough players to make it worth while for game companies and investors to make there money back.  I have not seen a large segment of any player base crying for permadeath, I have seen them requesting lots of things but that is most definatly not something that would even make the top 50 things players would request in a next gen MMO, and will not be the attraction that is going to pull many current players away from what they are playing now.

    You say now that so what you spent 8 months only to lose everything, my point is that this WILL erode your player base quicker than not and the point of these games is to extend subs as long as possible not code stuff into a game that would most definatly reduce that base quicker than average.

    And using Shadowbane as an example of a game that left it up to the players to police themselves build cities and those same players drove away a significant part of the player base away from the game rather quickly when it is left up for the players to make the content.  They put player built cities in and still failed cause the overall gameplay was sub par.  Shadowbane at its peak had 50k paying subs not 100k.  Wolfpack’s initial projections were for 50,000 – 70,000 subscribers in order to be cash flow positive.  Shadowbane had approximately 40,000 subscribers in December 2003, and some estimates put the current number under 20,000. This was not a successful MMO. It was a money loser.  Check MMOChart.com they have the most accurate sub counts for MMO's and where I got this information. 

    Not to continually repeat myself but The Chronicle first is allowing for a complete out of permadeath by having other chars that can not be killed off, creating a situation where just about everyone will carebare there main, and use other characters for the most part of there gaming.  I fail to see this a permadeath game.  On top of The Chronicle is still in vaporware status and we do not know if this game first will release, and if it does wether or not it will even be successful.

    I do not think any of us know how many box's and subs it will take to make up for development cost, some games like Horizons have still yet to recoup there money and bankrupted the orginal company so it is hard to make a statement like enough people to make money. 

    So for a game like Shadowbane which at launch had very dated graphics compared to current products on the market still needed 50k to 70k subs to just break on expenses never mind turn a profit.  Are you so sure permadeath can sustain 125k, 150k+ subs depending on the cost to make the game on an annual basis, not just at launch or under 6 months as games have gotten much more expensive to make since Shadowbane released.  I know for sure I can not say yes or no to that question but I am more inclined to think no unless it is implemented flawlessly as to not cripple the player once it happens.

    It interest me to see what the next gen game offers its players, if they can put in permadeath in some way I have not thought about or seen and it works I would play it.  I am not against permadeath or for it either I want a fun game, one that is not going to punish me hard if I should make one mistake or lag out, LD.  What I have seen and heard I am going to have a significant penalty for a death of a main in The Chronicle if that is my sole character.  That no matter how you slice it is a time sink that will limit my play time with my friends....



  • ClatraClatra Member Posts: 7

    For the sake of simplicity I will use the concept of 100 character levels -- these levels can be based on whatever metric makes sense...

    Going way outside the box, and pulling a few ideas mentioned by others with me...

    A lot of players (meaning me and a couple friends) prefer a main character/toon to be a humanoid (ignoring undead possibilities for a moment). Humanoids are born to die, therefore for a toon to feel like an extension of myself, my toon must die -- the cells that make up the tissues simply cannot generate fast enough to replace the old, damaged ones. Do you really want to live forever? Do you just want to retire your toon so you cn move on to the next game or do you want to know you died a good death (Last of the Samurai)?

    Well what if there were a technology/device that made a perfect copy of your toon at crucial points in her career/life? The game Tabula Rasa (TR) considered adding that -- say at levels 25, 50, and 75. TR also considered that you can go back and play from those points whenever you wanted. Save games in an MMO! Multiple copies of your toon at various levels! Now imagine permadeath happened at level 80. Instead of restarting from level 0, you have the choice of level 0, 25, 50, or 75! Think nonlinear, think time travel of important objects. This also helps alt-addicts like myself.

    But what about your buddies who are all level 80, you ask? City of Heros/Villains offered a sidekick feature that (using my 100 level example, not CoH/V's) your level 75 incarnation could form a special bond with a level 80 buddy so you are a little more powerful (say 77) and your buddy is a little less powerful (say 79). Then in a team with a bunch of other 80s, the mobs would be scaled appropriately for the overall team level. And the lowest level toon in the group gains XP faster, allowing that player to catch up while not hindering the group (there are, and should be, limits to this to discourage excessive powerleveling and twinking).

    Way, way outside the box now...

    What if dying once you reached a high level was incentivized other ways? Sure, passing on genes/traits/prestige/wealth can be an incentive (I believe Conquer Online features powers that can only be gained by a 2nd character once your first character has been sacrificed) but what about having a mountain or a quest named after you? What if upon your toon's ultimate death it transformed into an intelligent weapon (a la PnP D&D) or unique device (how about something really different like a crafting table) that only your next toon could use? What about content that can only be reached by reincarnated toons so you do not repeat the same quests again and again? Some present games offer unlockable character types once you hit a certain level (CoH/V) or accomplish something very difficult (the original Star Wars Galaxies) -- in summary why not have *death* of a high level toon be the key to those unlockables?

    I know people play games to escape reality and everyone has a slightly different vision of how "real" their perfect virtual reality would be. I believe that more mature players want their toon to be lifelike and, therefore, capable of having the toon's death mean something (which is what most pro-permadeath folks are really looking for). I also believe that more mature players are loyal to a game longer -- whether that translates into a successful money-making MMO, I do not know. I believe that it can be successful if it is combined with rock-solid servers, engaging gameplay, stellar customer service (the likes of which do not exist in 99% of the MMO companies today), and straightforward communication by devs (also rare from today's MMO companies) who *never* patronize their subscribers.

  • slapme7timesslapme7times Member Posts: 436

    Originally posted by ennsta
    I find permadeath quite appealing, but maybe that's not strange given my EVE background. However, I could not see it in action in EVE - and this is the main point which a lot of the repliers here really missed in the article - that this is not referring to any current game, it simply wouldn't work there.
    Breaking the mould, thinking outside the box or whatever you want to call it means you have to approach something differently than you have before to make it work. This also seems to be a problem with some posts here, where comparison to current MMO's is used as an example to not do something. That sounds quite futile to me, since if we intend to always compare to the previous examples and thus limit us by them, how on earth are we going to innovate?
    MMO's - or MMORPG's - or MMOG's? Anyways, massively multiplayer games are just massively multiplayer games. That's what the ground we should build upon to create something new, not taking WoW, SWG, EVE or whatever as something which is "right" or "wrong". That simply isn't the right approach.
    Nathan suggests we can do a game which features permadeath if we design the game from groundup to support it, and I tend to agree with him 100%, this can be done. But if you persist on taking a concept, like permadeath which is especially complex and apply it to a game which didn't consider permadeath from its very inception, it's not going to work - and that's the premise which this article was written with, it doesn't work in any current game.
    Instead, I'd suggest you sit down for 30 minutes and create your own game, but from the beginning include the concept of permadeath. I'm sure all of you can come up with (and indeed some already have) with a game which can feature permadeath at it's core. Here's a really quick and dirty one, I'll steal a subset of SW Empires at War since I just played it last night for familiarities sake and I happen to like spaceships!
    Star Wars CommanderDon't be the Tie Fighter, Be the Star Destroyer Captain
    Game features:
    You are the commander from anything from a squadron to a fleetYou fly anything from smaller corvettes to massive capital shipsYou advance yourself as a character, going through schools, missions and combatYou advance your squadron and fleets pilots also as individuals, gaining experience through schools, mission and combatBy advancing you and your pilots, you can expand you own ship and the ships of your pilotsThe combat itself is RTS, where taking out larger ships takes a very long timeYou play on a galactic map where higher ranking officers control the route of the conflict against the opposing forces on a galactic scaleCombat is always matchmade to a certain extent regarding opponents (your officers do this on the galactic scale or is somehow enforced)Your capital ship is always shielded by your fleet, you are thus almost always the last one to be attacked with full forceAll ships have targetable subsystems to disable individual functions and abilities of shipsCombat generally takes 30+ minutesPassing the ranks of Captain (which enables you Star Destroyers and Mon Calamari Cruisers) makes you a known entity in the game, a hero and can be permanently killed.You die permanently if you are unable hyperspace out during your combat (and thus eventually killed) Length of combat and ability to put your men in front of you as "human shields" enable you a lot of tactics to stay alive and run away and of course leaves a "emergency rout" function in case of disconnects.The aim of this game is to win the encounter by destroying your opponents forces. If you sit alone with a semi-wrecked Star Destroyer and he still has 2 Nebulon B's and a Mon Cal, youre shit out of luck and have to retreat, loosing the encounter and have to build up your pilots fleet again.The encounter itself has a number of smaller victory conditions, which is the main reason for you doing the encounter. Capture resources, a space station, special abilities, good school, weapons upgrade facility and of course annihiliate the opponents forces.This is a PVP and PVE game, where you can utilize PVE to gain the fleet (Schools etc.) but it's slower, than doing fleet encounters (PVP) where pilots gain experience faster.
    This is my stolen-licensed-10 minute version. It's massively multiplayer and features permadeath and couldn't care less about what other MMO's have done to date since that isn't an requirement. The aim is not to make permadeath work in WoW, the aim is to make a game where permadeath works. It's not perfect but then again, maybe we need more than 10 minutes to create the perfect MMO image
    Nathan(The one from EVE)
    ps. EVE does in a sence have something close to permadeath as discussed here, however it's quite hard to achieve. You would have to have your pod killed, repeatedly, without having a clone. However, the chances of you doing that to yourself (as in, you don't buy a clone) are slim at best.

    these are some really great ideas by ennsta... i've always drooled over the idea of a game where every turret, ship, whatever is controlled by the player. not like the current crap offered tho :)

    it would be great to have someone start on a planet and earn money or reputation, be promoted to command a star destroyer, and then from a guild to fly it, having them log on inside the ship every time, to control the turrets / ties/ whatever.

    i think people are way to afraid of the one shot one kill factor as well... it would be so cool to fly an xwing through 15 star destroyers trying to dodge lasers knowing that 1 or 2 could cook you, having hundreds of craft being piloted in realistic ways by other players

    ie- no flying with the brakes on while shooting at a star destroy control tower because you'll explode.

    you could see some really awesome things happen with games like that, i have no clue why there is so much terror over the idea of having you as annset said, being educated or promoted to gain abilities, rather than getting a character or xwing with 50000 bizillion shield power.

    i think even the fact that we talk about "introducing perma death" results from a short sightedness on what games can do.

    --people who believe in abstinence are unsurprisingly also some of the ugliest most sexually undesired people in the world.--

  • slapme7timesslapme7times Member Posts: 436

    i think the problem over perma death an many other mmo issues stems from a lack of vison by designers.

    why make a game in a certain way that it asks players to be something they arent?

    wow puts you into a game world, into a prebuilt society that people break by randomly yelling in general chat... but why expect them not to?

    why not make a game thats so open ended, that you can literally do whatever you imagine doing?

    have the game start at a plane crash site... or 20 different ones, putting characters in a world where they can only communicate with what they have, only do what they can together manage to do?

    every game attempts to guide the player, hoping the player will enjoy the path he/she treads on.

    this has been a staple of games for years, it has asked nagging questions of developers about how to develop unique ai, how do develop compelling game experiences beyond the simple pong and tetris.

    the thing is that with internet spreading as is has, all a developer really has to do is invent game mechanics that allow the player to do what they want, ad in 5,000 other gamers and... you have a fun game. a unique game.

    dont humans themselves have the best ai, isnt that really who we want to kill, want to cooperate with?

    if you were the last person on the planet, what would all the money and games and whatever in the world really matter?

    that to me is the draw of the mmo, a game that allows interaction.

    games like wow are fun, but nobody build ogrimmar, it was just a designer decision.

    nobody chose to ally themselves with the horde or alliance, they just picked a character.

    wouldnt it be awesome to see players name their provinces, set up their own police forces, their own rules and laws?

    in a game where you could pick up a rock and bash someones head in while sleeping, where you could literally fight with each other until the entire society was destroyed and everyone starved to death, how much more player involvement would there need to be?

    in war, eventually there is always a truce, when both sides realize there is no reason to fight, that there is a mutual goal to having peace, even the most insane and brutal of dictators dont want to kill allt heir people, just make examples of some and scare them into obedience.

    this is called enlightened self interest, and you see gamers attempting to put it into games that wont support it.

    have you ever passed up killing someone in a game, even when you could have gotten xp from it, could have done it easily with no negative reprocussions?

    this exemplifies the desire of aplayer to commune with even hated enemies. Imagine if you had a peaceful society, with no police where everyone knew at any moment they could pick up a rock and bash someone instantly to death, but chose not to simply because they were working together to build something better?

    games cant have cooperation, unless they give players the opportunity not to cooperate, to see how negative a lack of communication and cooperation could be.

    games that offered perma death, and of course a rebirth, not the end of the game would infuse this idea of survivalism into a game. imagine watching xenophobia play out when 2 different groups of people cant communicate? but when they have the option of again picking up rocks and killing the other group? will they decide to cooperate when they know the reprocussions are death?

    this brings up so many options..

    unity for example. when you live with a group of people, people who you come to know it's not longer just a random mix of players, you feel like an individual,a nd also part of a group.

    anyone who's played a cs server without penalties for team killing has seen an entire team eradicate each other on purpose with tk's

    but it will be players who must decide on how to deal with dangerous members of society, and it will also be the choice of players to kill and risk being killed in return.

    imagine contructing a community with a church and religion, with schedules and community events created entirely by players?

    where you can lead someone into a dark alley, kill them, and walk away without anyone knowing?

    members notice the missing player (their absence) find the body...

    do they now need a police force?

    how will they decide who murdered the person?

    will they vote? will they establish a curfew?

    fantastical, but awesome.

    i think a major way that games could move toward group cooperation right now would be to simply not allow players to dissapear when they log off.

    players should simply go to sleep when they log off.

    the idea of player and world existence at all times would be important, imagine waking up, unlocking the door to a house you and your neighbors helped build to find 5 dead bodies in the street.

    wtf should you do now?

    the idea of running out of things to do in a game... is becoming so archaic.

    developers need to realize that their players can make their own content, provided developers give them an intuitive playground to do it in.

    this way you dont need to rp... whatever your society decides to do will be the world, maybe you'll all speak in modern dialects. so what?

    the game will become a second life, and will for the love of god be nothing like the ill fated game with that title.

    there wont be any talk about bills and what not, because when you log on, your character is hungry, and while dealing with the fact that it hasnt rained in 15 days, the lake nearby dried up, and there is no food.... your neighbor is asleep and looks mighty tasty...

    do you really want to die? nobody will know.. it's just you 2 trying to find your way home... you can bury the body... or say wolves ate it....

    haha see how bitchin' that would be? what about in game swearing? well what if your religious leaders (players) dont like it and give you a fine, and you dont pay it so they ask you to leave, and you dont leave so they decide to kill you?

    will you pay? will you kill the pope? haha

    --people who believe in abstinence are unsurprisingly also some of the ugliest most sexually undesired people in the world.--

  • slapme7timesslapme7times Member Posts: 436

    more questions?

    what will your currency be?

    will you start by just trading objects for other objects?

    will you develope a currency accepted by all?

    language? will everyone on different planes speak different languages?

    what will you do if you run into another group you cant communicate with?

    will you stay with each other as more an more words gradually move from wow gibberish to communicable speach?

    if 2 groups split will language slowly deviate from each other until you can no longer communicate?

    all these ideas are expored in games like spore, and to a lesser extent the sims, however the multiplayer is key. it's not about being god and controlling everyone, it's about being an individual and trying to balance how to best live and progressin commune with those around you. seeing players react to you would be the game. if you kill someone you hate, will everyone in the community hate you? it's not up to a bunch of numbers and statistics giving you control, it's about how much loyaly, fear respect admonation you can force out of those around you, or coerce. again, players will be forced to make logical decisions based on how they think people will react. is it really of value to murder everyone around you just because you can? or would it be better to decidedly lead them and use them as manpower?

    it could be that one side of the world is divided by a mountainrange from the other, and one hemisphere is embroiled in barbaric combat while the other experiments with governments, human rights, laws etc.. all decided by players, all to be torn down by players if the (majority)proletariats destory the (minority)bourgeois who also happen to have all the land/money/power/women

    --people who believe in abstinence are unsurprisingly also some of the ugliest most sexually undesired people in the world.--

  • tombclOnetombclOne Member Posts: 22

    In the end they are just games.... people play them to escape reality/day to day life and the stress that they can deliver, Not be reminded of them. There should be some form of loss if you die, but lag and crashes will get hundreds of people killed each day leaving them to restart and do content they might have done 15 times already.

    I just get the feeling any game they make with this system will end up being nothing more than an overexagerated Counter Strike game. I can understand why people would like it too.... but there are way to many dishonorable gamers that would just see it as an opportunity to ruin someones game time... and putting in safeguards would defeat the purpose of what alot of the people posting want.

  • slapme7timesslapme7times Member Posts: 436

    were supposed to try to make it work, think of a game that could use it, not just bash it =D

    i like the idea of lineage... sounds incredibly cool that you could kill some old guy, and then have the same character reborn as a son want revenge...

    haha great huh?

    --people who believe in abstinence are unsurprisingly also some of the ugliest most sexually undesired people in the world.--

  • tombclOnetombclOne Member Posts: 22

    hehe dont get me wrong.... i dont mean to sound like i am bashing the idea, i just really cant see how anyone could get it to work without it causing alot of grief to players in one way or another. be it griefing players or connection problems.

    A Turn based combat sytem seems obvious to mebecause lag wouldnt really factor in, not a very popular style anymore.... but it would encounter less overall problems compared to a WoW style setup.  Could offer people a chance to flee a fight like in some of the old old rpg's.

  • slapme7timesslapme7times Member Posts: 436

    i think it's begging the question...

    why are mmo's set up the way they are?

    the idea of risking life to battle animals meaninglessly for xp all day.. it just doesnt make since.

    i think good games can exist where death is not common. games can exist where death only happens by old age, but when it comes is determined by the player.

    it just seems like all games are heading to a more open ended form of gameplay.

    once graphically games reach the point where there is nothing left that designers can do, people will start to wonder about ideas like this.

    games that truly never end because what happens can always be changed in some way by players.

    it would just take an incredibly nice interface and a insanely detailed game engine, but all those things will come with time.

    once cp power and dev time no longer goes to graphics, it can be transfered more and more to physics engines, combat engines etc...

    once games hit the graphical wall, there will be nothing left to do but become more ingenious.

    i suppose that's whyi dont see the revolution to be much of a move forward in gaming... it's more like a waste of time.

    --people who believe in abstinence are unsurprisingly also some of the ugliest most sexually undesired people in the world.--

  • BeliarBeliar Member UncommonPosts: 12

    I like the heir idea.

    In fact i know a specific MMORPG where they want(ed?) to implement something like that.
    That would involve 2 Players who "die" when the heirs are born.

  • PlanetNilesPlanetNiles Member Posts: 101


    I'm sorry I wrote a long response to your post but the MMORPG.com seems to have eaten it (twice) because I read ahead while I was doing so. I don't have time to rewrite it all so here are the bullet points.

    • You seem to be making a lot of assumptions based upon very little information. I'm specifically keeping quiet about most of the elements of the project I'm involved in because it's in the earliest satges of development.
    • Perma-death should, for the most part, in irrevocable otherwise it isn't Perma-death.
    • Perma-death need not take you away from your friends anymore than levelling does.
    • I said that a combat between an veteran character and an inexperienced character should not be balanced against the inexperienced character not that it should be balanced against the veteran. While Fortune favours the brave the odds favour the more experienced. A system wherein a Vet and a Newb' are on a par would be one where both would be able to work together against a common threat. However the Vet would have the easier time of it.
    • If you want to get a grasp of our general design philosophy I recommend taking a look at Raph Koster's "A Theory Of Fun For Game Design".

    "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference."
    -- The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

  • Nerf09Nerf09 Member CommonPosts: 2,953

    Shadowbane failed because it was an everquest clone with slapped on PvP as an afterthought just like all the other everquest clones.  PvP will never work with everquest clones, nomatter what funny-bunny extraneous rules are put in.

  • FaktoFakto Member Posts: 1

    Something that would take the sting out of permadeath is another old idea, one in which a player could designate a future character to inherit some amount of the current character’s wealth, items, reputation, attributes, and/or skills. I believe that a system like this would make permadeath slightly more appealing to even casual gamers. Instead of simply passing the traits on to the next character, they could be reserved in some personal quest. For example, your super warrior character has an awesome, expensive sword you had someone craft for him, but while dueling another player, he was permanently killed. When you create your next character and designate him as the heir to your super warrior, you are informed that at any time you may begin a quest to retrieve the item. This quest would be scaled in difficulty for the former character, so the second character would have to wait until they were about as strong to win back the sword. The same could easily be done to earn a portion of the deceased character’s monetary wealth. As for attributes and skills, perhaps the subsequent character would only gain an aptitude for those that the former character had developed to high ranks, so that Son of Super Warrior gains strength a bit faster than he normally would because of his lineage. Maybe an heir has a talent for a skill in which the former character had reached high ranks, so that he not only advances faster, but tops out 5-10% higher than usual. If this bonus was cumulative, one could imagine people playing entire lineages of characters, each time producing an heir with a bit more potential. Suddenly there’s a bit of persistence to a permadeath system, and it’s not as bad, is it? You might play for six months and then voluntarily retire your character so you can start over with an heir to achieve even higher skills, but the second character dies in a castle siege after only one month. Never fear, for the family line lives on in a third heir with distant bonuses from the grandfather and somewhat fewer bonuses from the father.

    That already exist, Square Enix new MMORPG named Tree World =) ... And hi works like UO in skill stuff, only for china atm >.<

This discussion has been closed.