Penalizing Death

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Penalizing Death

Post by aaaantoine » 21 Dec 2007, 22:31

Currently in TMW (at least in the eAthena universe/server), there is no penalty for dying other than returning to the start point. This is a role playing game, and death of a character should not be taken lightly.

I will list the usual penalization methods and propose some of my own.

Arbitrary Penalties (Instant Gratification)
These penalties were crafted by game developers to keep players "in the game" regardless of how many times they die.

Loss of experience / skill points
As seen in: Final Fantasy XI; The Realm Online; Diablo II (Nightmare, Hell difficulties)
Pros: Regression of a player's character development will cause a player to become much more careful about what they do.
Cons: Stat loss can be agonizing at higher levels, where it's typically exponentially more difficult to gain any amount of skill.

Loss of currency
As seen in: Diablo II; Dragon Quest series
Pros: Hits the player where it hurts: the wallet. A player grinding or peddling for a new hat will be especially careful not to die.
Cons: Can be counteracted via banking. Useless if the player has no currency in possession. Only affects players who care about money.

Loss of items
As seen in: Asheron's Call; The Realm Online
Pros: A good way to get the message across. Don't die, or you'll lose your shirt.
Cons: A player could lose some very rare items this way. Like that pair of jeans he spent hours grinding for, or that special event item that will never be recirculated again. If it's an equipped item that's lost, the player will have to worry about replacing it (and if he can't, he certainly won't be able fight the same caliber of foes as before).

Deterioration of items
As seen in: World of Warcraft
Pros: More or less forces the player to spend money on equipment repairs if he dies a lot.
Cons: Depending on the item deterioration rules, suffers from the same problems as loss of items.

Debt (XP or Currency)
As seen in: City of Heroes
Pros: Does not actually regress the player's current build or possessions, but instead makes it harder to progress temporarily.
Cons: Making it harder to progress will discourage the player from playing, depending on the severity of the penalty. Also, this is useless when applied to an end game character, unless it's currency debt.

Temporary skill penalty
As seen in: World of Warcraft; Asheron's Call; a variety of MMORPGs that I can't think of off the top of my head
Pros: Makes it more difficult for the player to go back to doing what he was doing when he died.
Cons: Players can just wait it out. Or, they can go on fighting smaller prey until the penalty expires.

Semi Role Playing Penalties
These penalties were conceptualized as a means of adding some continuity to the game.

Corpse retrieval
As seen in: World of Warcraft; Ultima Online; Asheron's Call
There are two existing approaches to corpse retrieval. One is the classic approach of leaving all your possessions at the location of your corpse, sometimes free for other players to loot. The other is to require (or encourage) you to travel back to your corpse before you can come to life and interact with the world again.
Pros: If you're dead, and your spirit ends up some place else, corpse retrieval makes sense. It acts as a time penalty of sorts, and requires you to finish up where you left off.
Cons: In the case of UO and AC, allows players to steal all your stuff if you can't get back to your corpse fast enough. In the case of WoW, allows a player to corpse hop in a PvP scenario, or locks the player into a dangerous situation.

Time penalty
As seen in: WoW (PvP), to a mild degree
When a player dies, that player cannot be played again for a set amount of time. Optionally, while the player is waiting to resurrect, hangs out in a spirit world, where he can converse with other (dead) characters. The point is to simulate death as we mortally know it, but allow the player to continue playing his character at another time.
Pros: Creates a greater sense of world continuity and fear of death without penalizing the character's experience or possessions.
Cons: Depending on the length of time, this could be anything from mildly inconvenient to a complete show-stopper. In a group scenario, this could ruin a designated night of cooperative play (again, depending on the length of time penalized).

Player resurrection required
I haven't seen this one either, but I'm sure it's out there
This concept is a lot like permanent death, except that the player can be revived by another player at any time. Depending on the availability of a resurrect power, this could either be a devastating time sink or a mild inconvenience.
Pros: Promotes at least some sense of world continuity, but allows the infinite power of magic to do its thing. Inspires the development of a community; death could perhaps be used by political powers as a means of imprisonment.
Cons: A lone player out in the wilderness is pretty much screwed into a permanent death. A group that loses their healer better have resurrection scrolls handy (or are similarly out of luck). Death could also be used by jerks as a means of imprisonment.

True Role Playing Penalty
A penalty so severe, only the most realistic of true role players could appreciate it.

Permanent Death
As seen in: Real life; many pen & paper RPGs; single player RPGs (though players of these games have save points to fall back on)
Pros: The most realistic representation of death. Players will act accordingly to avoid it.
Cons: Due to the nature of online gaming, one could easily lose a highly developed character by accident. Forever. This penalty cries loudly for some sort of compromise.

Remember, the severity of just about all of these penalties can be tuned.

I welcome the further development of this list, along with any other discussion as to what death penalty should be applied to The Mana World (if anything).
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Post by Jaxad0127 » 22 Dec 2007, 00:13

I like the spirit world idea, with a small change. When you die, you're sent there with a timer. If you leave before it's finished, you're penalized proportionally to the time left. If you leave after it's done, no penalty. Higher level chars need to spend more time to not get penalized. The penalty for leaving early could be most of those listed above, but I think a money/skill penalty would be most appropriate for this. While in the spirit world, you can't access your inventory, and so you can use items, change equipment, fight or trade. To expand on that, everyone could be in the same clothing (like simple robes) while there. Because you wouldn't be able to fight, there shouldn't be any monsters.
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Post by Brolly » 22 Dec 2007, 06:01

I've always been partial to a system where players buy resurrections in advance.

The lower level you are the cheaper the resurrections are. Under 10 free. Under 50 100gps. etc.
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