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Dak Lozar

Players as monsters in MMORPGs

52 posts in this topic

Let me explain a bit why I''m against permanent character deaths.

The problem is that even if your character dies, I doubt it will be as big an event as you guys make it out to be. The player will probably just say to his friends: "hey, its me! Yeah, that guy really nailed me, huh. If he''s not already dead maybe we''ll go knock him off.". It just doesn''t seem that dramatic to me.

The way I see it, it just doesn''t seem to matter too much to me whether or not you die. You just create a new guy and go on.

Is there something I''m missing here?


----------------------------------------
Whenever I see an old lady slip and fall on a wet sidewalk, my first instinct is to laugh. But then I think, what if I was an ant and she fell on me? Then it wouldn't seem quite so funny.
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maybe the reason it isn''t that big is because nobody ROLE PLAYS! if everyone played their part, then they would definately think twice about death and such things, and even be remorseful the next time around.

It doesn''t have to be game over when you die, just the end of something you were working on, and the start of something else, such as an afterlife or the revenge of you or something.
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quote:
Original post by The Senshi

Let me explain a bit why I''m against permanent character deaths.

The problem is that even if your character dies, I doubt it will be as big an event as you guys make it out to be. The player will probably just say to his friends: "hey, its me! Yeah, that guy really nailed me, huh. If he''s not already dead maybe we''ll go knock him off.". It just doesn''t seem that dramatic to me.

The way I see it, it just doesn''t seem to matter too much to me whether or not you die. You just create a new guy and go on.

Is there something I''m missing here?


----------------------------------------
Whenever I see an old lady slip and fall on a wet sidewalk, my first instinct is to laugh. But then I think, what if I was an ant and she fell on me? Then it wouldn''t seem quite so funny.



The thing is: If it''s a game where people build their character over time not just w/ stats and skills, but w/ a distinct role in a world then they won''t want to lose that character.



"The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom." --William Blake
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From a marketing point of view, permanent player death is a very bad idea. In RPGs, MM or not, players enjoy become attached to their characters, working long and hard to make them as cool as possible. In MMORPGs they even build relationships under that persona. When that character dies, so does the player''s connection to the game world, and the player may stop playing your game altogether. Think if you got 40 hours through ff7 and then your save file is erased. Are you going to start over again immediately? Not bloody likely. Maybe in a week or two, maybe never. After a permanent death, what''s the point of making a new character? Not only will you suck for a long time, but the new one will probably die before long anyway. it seems very discouraging.

Your support for Permanent death seems to be based on encouraging realistic role-playing and avoiding trolls through the FEAR of death. There are other ways of making the players fear death, without making it so totally devastating. Loss of experience, equipment or money, embarassing social stigma(?) you get the point. Maybe it would be possible to resurrect your character, but only within a certain time limit or a certain number of times. Maybe for a hefty price you could "save" your character like in a regular RPG, and when you die your character would be returned to that state.

Another way to discourage PK is to have a bounty hunter system or a police force within your game. An avid PK''er may soon find that he has a huge price on his head, with sheriffs and other PK''ers out hunting for his hide.

I have recently been toying with the idea of having a whole party, or even a whole clan/family of characters in a MMORPG. If you have 5-8 characters, permanent death would be a tragic loss, but you would still have a strong presence within the game. New characers could then be "born", or NPC characters could be recruited to join your party. With a little equiptment and training, you could make up for the loss of your character without losing your progress in the game. This could also add a lot more strategy to battle, something in dire need, as I''ve noticed that MMORPGs tend to have very simplistic, boring battle systems.

Theoretically, concepts like player-run stores and even player-built cities could flourish if you had a whole clan of characters. Some characters would have duties, like minding the shops, while others would be the clerics and warriors. An A.I. Major-domo would basically run your entire clan for you, until you step in and take control of specific parts. Imagine taking control of your most powerful warrior, getting together a 5-6 person adventuring party, and going on a quest. while you''re party is away, your castle might be raided by goblins, so you take control of the captain of the guard and organize a defense. the possibilities are endless, and largely unexplored.


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Bah. Was I foolish to think that just because I typed in a Username It would show up on my post? Well, the registration Nazi''s seem to think so. That last post was written by me.
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Two thing capcommunist said i agree with whole heartedly. Number one, the whole market standpoint. THe other is the family.

Maybe death doesn''t have to be "the end" but it should be something so big and tragic that it has to be feared and kept away from. That is what needs to happen. And then if you have a status like thing, say you are a known murderer/PK and you are killed, then you suffer more than an average person, and say you are a well respected person, then you don''t suffer as bad, and can bring your character back with minimal loss.
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Capcommunist might be right... but by his logic, gambling should be a monetary failure. It''s not, and niether would this be. A few points to consider:

1. The very system would make death infrequent. Try for a moment to imagine a system where items and monet just don''t pop off of a body when it dies. Where murder and thievery will be acts no longer performed by self-styled adventurers, but by murderers and thieves.

2. You assume that people pay to succeed. The don''t necessarily want that! A system with a greater degree of realism would still be fun to play, because it would still be in a world that is alien and mystical. I''m still playing a person I could never be! The illusion of realism simply reinforces the fantasy.

Many people accuse me of assuming that I know better than the player, when they are doing just that themselves. Pay attention. Just because it''s the way it''s done doesn''t mean it''s the best way. Remember that we are using a dated system that was created for an entirely different style of game... and we''re simply fooling ourselves if we say we''ve got it as good as it could be!

Of course, if you don''t want to create a realistic environment, by all means have scrolls of ressurection.
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You seem to be putting realism ahead of fun because you think realism will *be* fun. I live in the real world, and it''s not usually much fun. I Don''t invent new ways of making games more realistic, I invent new ways of making them more fun.

You *could* have a RPG with taxes and credit payments, loans and accountants, but it would suck. So would a game where hundreds of hours of hard work are destroyed in 3 seconds because you forgot to equip your new chestplate. People make mistakes. People let their stupid friends play their games. people misjudge their opposition, and people die. As a game designer you have to accomodate that, or people won''t play your games, and your publisher will never work with you again.

*IF* you''re dead set on permanent character death, at least find a way for the game to continue beyond that point, as opposed to beginning anew. There''s a reason the industry is slowly moving away from the "extra life" mentality. Even games that still have a set number of lives are usually made exceedingly easy, so that even inexperienced gamers can enjoy the product.

Seriously, destroying countless hours of the players hard work is not the way to encourage sales. that''s the bottom line.

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You ignored my point.

The physical laws of reality do not make reality not fun. If they were to remain in place, but someone allowed you to live as a samurai warlord without consequence for an hour or two, you''d say "right on!"

Those physical laws would change the way the game is played. If you make combat not IDEALISED... if you make it brutal and often deadly... fewer people will engage in combat recklessly. Generally you will only die if you deserve it, took a risk, or were killed by a psychopath. The issue is, it''s completely not worht the psychopath''s time and effort to kill strangers and hence lose HIS character.

Since I think all games are gravitating toward active administrators anyway, it would be a cinch to fix/prevent freak deaths anyway. But charging off to war with a deadly enemy will mean so much more if the enemy is REALLY deadly.

Realism isn''t what''s not fun. It''s our lives that aren''t fun, because of all the crap that we''ve heaped on top of reality. Fantasy settings don''t have that crap, and a lot of people would probably like to hang out in a "better" real world. If death isn''t as common as it is in traditional MMORPGs, you won''t have that problem.
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We all know that Landfishian Philosophy has no compliance with marketing.

"The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom." --William Blake


Edited by - Nazrix on July 7, 2000 11:41:58 AM
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quote:


But charging off to war with a deadly enemy will mean so much more if the enemy is REALLY deadly.




I like that a lot, and I think that is what I have been trying to express the whole time.

People will think twice about letting their characters be played with by others, they will think twice about charging off against some super powerful wizard. They will actually think about things. So what if the timid players are too scared to go off and kill that big eyed deer in the meadow cuz they are afraid it will kill them.

This will make it so that they will cherish their characters. They will cherish the bonds they form with others. All because it is a real life, and if you die you start over or with some sort of loss or such.

Lots to ponder here, and all very feasible.

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I think that the important thing to consider here is that when using permanent death in a game, it's assuming that the game will not be combat-centric.

Not every single player will be loading up on weapons to go slay some monsters. There would be other things in which to partake. Politics, socializing perhaps

...but if a character does choose to go into combat, there would be a hell of a chance the player is taking.

And the player would probably have a good reason for combat...

i.e. revenge, protection, self-defense...not just cause it's fun to see someone's blood splatter

These reasons for combat would induce much more role-playing in the game. You'd be fighting for a reason, and hopefully, the rest of the game would be designed the same way...you'd be doing things in the game for an acutal in-game _reason_



"The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom." --William Blake


Edited by - Nazrix on July 7, 2000 11:54:14 AM
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How would you treat a character who dies at the hand of another character?
If life is this delicate, who would be adventuring? The game would become a giant 3d (or iso) chat area.
I don''t think permanent death is the answer. If a player loses a character that he has been playing for a extended time period... what will he do next? Create another character? Or, quit playing?

There must be better ways to increase the players awareness that life is precious and should be treated as such.





Dave "Dak Lozar" Loeser
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This leads to a more important question than whether to have permanent death:

Can we think of something better for characters to do besides killing or mundane work (like in UO)?

quote:

How would you treat a character who dies at the hand of another character?



In the game I envision, the society would take care of this itself.

If the player was killed in cold-blood, then human-controlled players would be hired to avenge the players death perhaps.

or

A human-controlled ruler would dispatch his knights to dispose of the murderer.

Granted that player would still have to create a whole new character, but the killer would probably be killed eventually.

If someone doesn't want to be killed, they would stay in the protection of a city like in real-life.


This leads me back to the original question:
What will the player do while in the confines of the city?

"The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom." --William Blake

Edited by - Nazrix on July 7, 2000 1:04:14 PM
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quote:
Original post by Dak Lozar

[quote] Original post by Dak Lozar

[quote] Original post by Nazrix
This leads to a more important question than whether to have permanent death:

Can we think of something better for characters to do besides killing or mundane work (like in UO)?


quote:
How would you treat a character who dies at the hand of another character?

quote:

In the game I envision, the society would take care of this itself.

If the player was killed in cold-blood, then human-controlled players would be hired to avenge the players death perhaps.

or

A human-controlled ruler would dispatch his knights to dispose of the murderer.

Granted that player would still have to create a whole new character, but the killer would probably be killed eventually.

If someone doesn''t want to be killed, they would stay in the protection of a city like in real-life.


OK, I got you... sounds good.
Maybe this raises another question Prisons?? Do they exist?
quote:

This leads me back to the original question:
What will the player do while in the confines of the city?
~snip~



Hmmm... what will the player do while in the confines of the city? Hmmm... LOL, that is a good question. What I do now, In UO, is gather food, and other resources that I need and then head back out to the guild house. Not a lot of my time is spent in the city. I suspect this isn''t true for a lot of people. In fact there is a guild that hangs out next to the East Bank in Britain on GL. They spar and chat... not sure what else they do.. but it appears that they are having fun




Dave "Dak Lozar" Loeser

Edited by - Dak Lozar on July 7, 2000 1:13:33 PM
Fixing nested quote errors

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If a player turns "Bad" then their abilities could change as well. So if a wizard turns bad then their spell do as well.

As mentioned earlier, a player turned bad would have to go somewhere else. But what if they could constuct this "somewhere else".

Taking Gauntlet as an example, if a character dies then they turn into a death. At this point they then go around constructing generators.

Taking this idea to a RPG, when a player goes bad then they turn into an evil swordsman, wizard, bowman etc. This is sort of a RPG/RTS game in away. The evil wizards new spells could be things like "Create horde of goblins" etc.

The only problem with this is what if everyone is evil, then you will have to have the equivant good thing like dungeons. I guess this is where towns and raids come in.

But how does some one evil buy new items. I don''t think they should be able to get them from towns/shops. There would have to be evil blacksmiths underground trading systems. Gees this is becoming more RTS as i think about it. Not that its that bad.

The one thing i foresee about absolute death is that a lot of people would want to kill the big guy. Would this kill the fun of the game or would it become more fun.

I love Game Design and it loves me back.

Our Goal is "Fun"!
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Prisons...not a bad idea.

I once played a MUD(Faerun) where you could be put in jail for committing crimes, and also could be put in hell if you did not make monetary offerings to the god you worshipped.

In either hell or jail, the player would just sit there for quite a long time in real time. The punishment was not death, but boredom. You couldn''t do much of anything. I don''t really think this is a good solution though.

Perhaps, having to pay some sort of fee for committing small crimes.


quote:

Hmmm... what will the player do while in the confines of the city? Hmmm... LOL, that is a good question. What I do now, In UO, is gather food, and other resources that I need and then head back out to the guild house. Not a lot of my time is spent in the city. I suspect this isn''t true for a lot of people. In fact there is a guild that hangs out next to the East Bank in Britain on GL. They spar and chat... not sure what else they do.. but it appears that they are having fun



Yeah, UO''s activities can be pretty entertaining. What I would like to see is more of a community. Where players can take part in activities other than killing, mundane working, and socializing...

Where''s that darn fish of land when you need someone to get your thoughts together...



"The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom." --William Blake
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quote:
Original post by Paul Cunningham

If a player turns "Bad" then their abilities could change as well. So if a wizard turns bad then their spell do as well.



I would rather leave this alone. I don''t like forcing morals on the players... but if the killer understands that absolute death is a factor, it will immediately become harder than is worth his time. If he loses his own character, it will be some time before he can kill again (I.E. building another character up from scratch) whereas the roleplayer who he killed can just make another one. Since he would not be concerned with the power-level of his character, he could get right in and witness the consequences of his former character''s death.

There''s another thing. That would be very gratifying in a way, watching people mourn your character''s passing. If you were powerful or influential in the town or it''s politics, you could watch the strife that occurs in your absence... an ego trip of sorts. Who hasn''t imagined that kind of thing in real life?

quote:
Nazzlie
In the game I envision, the society would take care of this itself.


Our opposers hate to hear that, and it isn''t exactly true... we could easily tend to FREAK character deaths by active moderation, something I think will be entirely needed in role-playing based RPGs, anyway.

We should return this thread to it''s original topic and start a little clubhouse to figure out the rest... I''m on it.
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So in order to make the game more fun, your solution is to discourage combat? I just don't understand that at all. In most cases combat is the underlying basis of the whole game! If your'e going to discourage combat you have to at least replace it with something else, after all this is a *game*, not an online role-playing chat-room. When you say a victim of PK would not be concerned with the power levels of his character, I wonder what you intend for him to be concerned with. Isn't the power level of your character the underlying challenge and reward of all RPG's?


Take your samurai example. Yeah, I'd take that offer. But the key is the words "no consequences". Permanent death would be a huge and devastating consequence, a *real-world* consequence that would anger me greatly. Weeks of hard work would be destroyed in an instant, don't you think that would be just a little bit upsetting? Maybe I'm the only one, but when my Seiken Densetsu 3 save file was erased, I was heartbroken. My characters were so perfect and so personalized that it felt like I would never be able to get them back. I loved that game, but I haven't played it since.

You say I've missed your point, but haven't you also missed mine? I'm not a big fan of discussions where each person takes turns restating his argument, so I'll make this brief:

I agree that death needs to be a bad thing. The player needs to want to live. I also think that if you make death *totally* and *completely* devastating, you'll make people so scared to lose that they'll never even gamble. Having a realistic game is great, but if I'm scared to even play it, then somewhere along the line you've failed to do your job as a game designer.






Edited by - capcommunist on July 7, 2000 4:30:20 PM
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I've noticed that a lot of people consider player killing something we should be trying to elimate. I think we *should* encourage it IF it's within the players role. If everyone is a good guy, you just end up with a chatroom. For roleplaying you need bad guys. And bad guys are almost always much more interesting when they're other players.

Player killing isn't something which should be discouraged. It sets up all sorts of interesting revenges and side plots. The problem is with player killing that has nothing to do with the game. I wouldn't be upset if I got killed by a bandit on the way to another city, because, hey, I should expect it when I'm walking alone in the woods. It fits into the game.

In other words, you shouldn't design your game to force players to change their morals (which permanent deaths would force them to do). Instead, you should just balance it into the gameplay and make sure it doesn't disrupt the other players too much.

Let players decide for themselves what they enjoy.

----------------------------------------
Whenever I see an old lady slip and fall on a wet sidewalk, my first instinct is to laugh. But then I think, what if I was an ant and she fell on me? Then it wouldn't seem quite so funny.

Edited by - The Senshi on July 7, 2000 4:53:29 PM
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I''m certainly not ignoring you. I value my opposition, they reinforce my idea. Keep it coming!

quote:
Original post by Capcommunist

So in order to make the game more fun, your solution is to discourage combat? I just don''t understand that at all. In most cases combat is the underlying basis of the whole game! If your''e going to discourage combat you have to at least replace it with something else, after all this is a *game*, not an online role-playing chat-room. When you say a victim of PK would not be concerned with the power levels of his character, I wonder what you intend for him to be concerned with. Isn''t the power level of your character the underlying challenge and reward of all RPG''s?



War? Revenge? Political intrigue? Social standing? Power? These things mean nothing to you? This is how we''ve rated real-world "level" since the beginning of time. Do you really feel that a number is the best and only way to watch your character improve?


quote:

Take your samurai example. Yeah, I''d take that offer. But the key is the words "no consequences". Permanent death would be a huge and devastating consequence, a *real-world* consequence that would anger me greatly. Weeks of hard work would be destroyed in an instant, don''t you think that would be just a little bit upsetting? Maybe I''m the only one, but when my Seiken Densetsu 3 save file was erased, I was heartbroken. My characters were so perfect and so personalized that it felt like I would never be able to get them back. I loved that game, but I haven''t played it since.


Now imagine your Seiken Densetsu 3 save file was a person. That person made an enemy, or a stupid mistake, and her life was taken as a result of this. Would you not take heart in the idea that your Seiken Densetsu 3 save file would be avenged by it''s warlord brother? Would you not leap at the opportunity to slay her assasin yourself? (remember that death would be a rare occurance, but the life of a murderer is forfiet in feudal law)

When a character dies in the game I envision, they don''t vanish from the world. They DID things, left impressions on the community, made friends. Thier death is not a LOSS to the fabric of the game, but actually brings people closer together. Death becomes an EVENT in the game that affects everyone. That is something most MMORPGs need...

quote:

You say I''ve missed your point, but haven''t you also missed mine? I''m not a big fan of discussions where each person takes turns restating his argument, so I''ll make this brief:

I agree that death needs to be a bad thing. The player needs to want to live. I also think that if you make death *totally* and *completely* devastating, you''ll make people so scared to lose that they''ll never even gamble. Having a realistic game is great, but if I''m scared to even play it, then somewhere along the line you''ve failed to do your job as a game designer.



I read to understand everything you say. If I felt you were right, I would concede. That may still happen. Not likely though.

Look at what you just wrote. Death IS totally and completely devestation. We are understating death and it''s affects. But DEATH is what makes us truly alive! Until our characters face such a landmark threat, the essence of all that is fear in humanity, we will continue to behave like children in these virtual playgrounds (dominated by bullies, no less)





Edited by - capcommunist on July 7, 2000 4:30:20 PM

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Players taking the roles of Monsters?

Let''s assume the following:

a) Monsters are tougher than players (to create a challenge)
b) Players that play characters can gain ''power'' and become stronger. They will be able to beat up tougher and tougher monsters.
c) Players that play Intelligent Monsters will be able to gain power as well, but they start out significantly less powerful than other monsters of their race. Simple example:
Goblin, 50 hitpoint, 10 strenght, swordskill 25.
Player Goblin, 30 hitpoints, 8 strenght, swordskill 10.

Each monster type has a set maximum development stage. Example: that player goblin might develop into a champion goblin, 250 hitpoints, 25 strenght, swordskill 50.

Still, player controlled Monsters will ALWAYS be somewhat weaker than their counterparts (regular monsters of the same type). The player controlled Monsters will have the aid of Player AI and THAT is what should make them a little tougher to fight.

Players will only be able to control certain Monsters (for example, only those that they have defeated the ''champion'' type of...in this case, a player would have to defeat a champion goblin before the slot ''goblin'' would open up in their character creation screen).

As player controlled monsters would have a low power compared to player controlled characters, ''powergamers'' would probably not play monsters. PK''s might (although PvP in my opinion should also be a part of character interaction) but will most likely not bother because the monsters would simply not be all that powerful. My guess is, the best targetgroup for the role of monsters would be roleplayers. They would be pleased playing monsters no matter how weak they are.

Of course, in players having the opportunity to control monsters, each type of monster would in effect become a ''race'' and would have to be worked out in detail. Where do they live? What do they do to survive? Etc...

I''d love to see an army of 100 goblins, with 20 player controlled goblins try to take over a human village with 40 player controlled characters.

Silvermyst
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If you really you mus impose artificial boundaries to restric an outdated system, that would be the way to do it. My question is, how much more powerful are "monsters" to humans in a setting? If a certain race happens to be more physically powerful than humans, why penalize the player for choosing to play one?

Again, absolute death would make this attempt to balance obsolete. Survival in rare combat scenes becomes a matter of player skill and common sense. It matters not what race you are, combat will ALWAYs be a risk.
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I don''t know if this has been mentioned yet, but what about the following. A player dies and loses some experience. He either has a choice of losing the full experience or getting it back if he kills another player as a monster.

When the player dies he becomes a monster. He can choose to kill himself or go off in search of a player to kill. If the player succeeds in killing the player driven monster then the player is revived(ie like traditional EQ/UO/AC) and given back half of the exp loss. If the player driven monster kills a pc then the player gets revived and has all experience returned or say 90% of it returned.

This could provide a way to incorporate players as monsters while not having to cater to the whole world for economy reasons. A player would never know if the monster it was fighting was a player or a Server driven monster. This would add to the excitement of every combat.

Not sure how to calculate experience for the PC from this but the idea should be worth a few posts.


Kressilac
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IF for some reason I was inclined to use an EXP based system, I would love this idea. (that''s the best you''ll get from me =p) However, why are you giving more points back for suicide? If anytrhing, I think you should get more points for playing the monster, and probably never get back all that you lost for dying! Great idea though.
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