You need to get the masses to play your game and right now the masses are not playing PvP even though they have a choice to.
Name me one PvP oriented MMORPG.
You MUST have the player associate with their character. You are not going to get this by randomly changing the player’s character around every time they die.
There's no random changing. Players can have multiple live offspring at any time. A father can have 10 sons. When the father dies, the player can pick any of the 10 sons to continue play. Nothing random about that. Besides, even in non-permanent death settings, players constantly create new characters (also called CNCS, I think, Create New Character Syndrome).
Also, in our pre-design (I am NOT completely set on permanent death yet, because it will only be used if it can be perfected) death doesn't happen nearly as much as it happens in current MMORPGs. In Everquest I could die up to 10 times a day in early levels, and 1-3 times an hour at higher levels. Death should be avoidable. That does NOT mean that you have to play it safe 24/7, it just means that if you get into a situation where you think you might die, you have the ability to escape and avoid dying.
If players spend 2-3 hours a day playing, they should only get really close to death once a week if they play the game in a normal fashion (in other words, once every 20 hours or so). The more risks they take, the more times a week they'll risk death.
I don't think it's impossible to shift player focus from individual to family. I don't think it's bad to have players change characters once every 20 hours.
Players are individuals they associate with individuals not with groups.
Where did guilds come from then? Do they exist merely because the might of the many makes the individual a little stronger? Or do players like to feel part of something larger? I think players can associate with groups just as much as with their one individual character. Especially if they control the entire group.
Why would a player keep playing this game or even start playing this game if there is other options out there.
Really, the number one motivation to play this game would NOT be character growth.
You game resolves around one major point. An increased penalty for dying coupled with PvP which is a system designed to teach people to kill other players.
Not quite. The game focuses on giving the player complete freedom in what they want to do. Just like in Daggerfall you didn't have to do anything you didn't want to do. PvP, death, character growth... those are all just extras. Players will be able to play the game without necessarily having to focus on character growth. Imagine playing a game where you don't have to invest any time in order to enjoy it: you can get into it right from the get-go. For example, if you don't want to spend hours making your character grow, just pick a fully grown avatar. It will not be quite as powerful as an avatar that has been created from the ground up, but you'll be ready to see some action in an instant.
I personally hate having to invest time in order to increase my enjoyment of the game. I like having the OPTION of investing time in order to further increase my enjoyment of the game.
An adventure is not. "I made level 5 and decided to go out of town then I saw another player and ran back to town as fast as I could so I wouldn't get killed."
Why not? I've had just as much fun, if not more, in Everquest running from powerful enemies that would surely kill me as I've had from killing enemies that didn't stand a chance. I still vividly remember naked corpse runs where I had to avoid just about every creature in sight, especially that nasty high-level dark elf NPC that had just killed me minutes earlier.
If that scenario happens every now and then, it is part of the great adventure. It might be different from the accepted 'I want to hack monsters', but variety is good.
EDIT: Of course, you shouldn't have to run back to town EVERY time you see another player or monster. That would indeed NOT be an adventure.
An adventure is "We got down to the bottom of the dungeon and there was this huge frigging dragon down there. Half of us got killed but we got him in the end"
Depends on what the penalty of death is. If the only penalty is a little bit of ep loss, which can be made up by simply killing that same dragon 3 or 4 times, then is it really an adventure?
I used to feel good about sacrificing my character in Everquest because there WAS a penalty for dying (although not a severe one). Without a penalty upon death, there would have been no sense of glory in my sacrifice. With it, groupmates thanked me for my bravery. The ultimate sacrifice would be one where you sacrifice yourself knowing that it will mean the end of your character: permanent death.
I am a big fan of the belief that without evil there can be no good. Without risk there can be no sense of achievement. Permanent death is the ultimate risk. I'm trying to figure out if it indeed does lead to the ultimate feeling of achievement. I know that if I were to find myself at the top of the power pyramid one day, the biggest of all the snakes in the vicinity, I would certainly feel like I've achieved something. That feeling should be available to all players, hardcore gamers and casual gamers. The way they reach that achievement, the road they take, the tactics they use... it's all up to the player.
NOTE: I'm sure a lot of players have already noticed that to feel like the items they own are an achievement, it works better if those items are rare. Due to the fact that MMORPGs are created for thousands of users and because of the fact that character growth is the main motivator, these games usually end up giving each player an opportunity to gain just about any item they want. Some items are rare, but how rare is an item when you see all your classmates wearing it?
There needs to be some sort of method for making sure that the items that are intended to be rare remain rare. Item deterioration seems like the obvious choice. That way, you can still give every player the chance to obtain every item, but you will not find a large number of players wearing the same rare item. They find it, use it, then have it fall apart.
I think permanent death can do for characters what item deterioration can do for items. I have to admit that I have no clue about how to correctly implement it, because there are simply no good examples out there yet for the MMO genre (if you think there are, let me know!).[edited by - Silvermyst on September 2, 2002 4:48:43 PM]