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Permadeath and Massive PvP

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I guess this only applies to MMO's but it could apply to any character that can be stored online. I don't know of any games that support the latter but oh well. I read 2 articles: Here (Permadeath) and Here (Massive PvP) I was more concerned with the Permadeath aspect. but both brought up good points. permadeath is a bit harsh just on it's own. People wouldn't get anywhere. YOu might get a level 5 or 6 but soon after everyone turns on them, they'd have to start over. The question is this: how do you have permadeath without the chaos? Secondly, griefers would LOVE this as they could inflict more frustration on others so how would you regulate them? How could you keep the game interesting if permadeath was around? My partial solution: (it's a bit long but a few things need to be in place first before permadeath can work.
  1. First the whole level system would need to be redesigned. Almost to the point of non-existance. I say almost because people must still learn how to do things but it shouldn't be even focused on in the game. Have careers that require real skill instead of the skill building of constant repetition. Here's what I mean: In most MMO's I know, or just plain RPG's, you could increase your skill by practicing it until you were a master of doing it. I would plan that say a news reporter needs to know how to collect stories or know who to be around for breaking news. It's not a skill that would be measured in game but a skill they'd actually learn outside of it. Another outside skill is learning to spot scams. Yet another in FPS's or Flight combat... it's a skill the person learns not the character they are playing. A newb who needs to look at the keyboard for everything he does will die every time. But some things might require the character to gain skill. For the most not though. So basically change the skills from being almost all statistical and linked with the character TO -> being learned by the player and kept with them What does this accomplish?
    • Well first it doesn't mean the person spends most of their time leveling up their character. They don't have to relearn skills they already know. At least getting their character back to speed won't take long.
    • Secondly, It lets them focus on other aspects of the game. Contributing to the community. Building a story. Getting "stuff". You don't also have to build your character while things are going around you cause you're not strong enough yet. It also evens the playing field a little.
    • It's one less thing for exploiters to um... exploit. How can they level up by cheating when you don't level up?
    • Also it's one less thing the coder has to worry about.
  2. The fear of permadeath not so high. Face it. Permadeath will scare off a lot of people. But what if permadeath wasn't always permament? Well in real life if gets shot in a a war... they don't always die. Sometimes they get incapacitated. This could be the case. Not every time you die, is really death. Take a Space shooter for example... maybe your escape pod ejected and you get to fight another day. Or a medival massive battle where you get defeated but you're just wounded beyond play... you're not dead yet. There are, however, times when death is inevitable... like the odd malfunction or if 1 on 20 where just stupidity put you there... or like assassinations. (Assassination being different from a regular griefer kill). Death is there. It doesn't always happen but it could. What does this accomplish?
    • It doesn't scare everyone off cause they can never advance in the game.
    • With the first point, you don't have to worry about having to learn everything over again.
    • Death has a price... people won't be so foolishly running off to battle.
    • It encourages a tighter community to protect others.
  3. Well now that there's permadeath and it's not always going to happen when you're hit, there's still the issue of griefers. For those who don't know, griefers are people set out just to ruin the day of someone else. In other words A--HOLE's. Now don't get griefers mixed up with exploiters, exploiters fing bugs to cheat or use tools to do so. Griefers are just morons. I'd fully plan to Ban the exploiters from playing at all. The other games don't offer permadeath so it was just mainly annoyance. What do we do about them if there IS permadeath? One solution would be to have admins ban them from playing. My solution isn't so drastic. Yes I want them gone but they'll find ways back. So why don't we leave the players to deal with them... and give them tools to do so. If you kill for the sake of killing, and you're killing non enemies... you'll be labeled a "wanted person" and all access to anything with the exception of outlaw posts, will not be available. All automated security will attack them. even some outlaws might not allow trading with them. It's up to them if they want to allow them. Outlaws not being as bad as "Serial Killers" I also thought of having certain authorities (like armies and police) to have extra starting power and better training than anything else. They'd have responsibilties and rules to follow so griefers can't just join an army and attack their teammates without punishment (one of which includes bannishment from the army) What does this mean?
    • It means the community will have to deal with griefers.
    • They aren't left totally in the dark and defenseless.
    • It still means Light army can still hunt and kill dark army people.
    • It also means Each army will have to train it's people so they don't wander off away from protection. Also requires the army to protect others under their rule (like the store owners and freelancers).
Conclusion: With the combination of less need for character building, permadeath not always happening, and better tools to fight those who would abuse permadeath,... Permadeath might be possible. What do you think? [edited by - trapdoor on October 9, 2003 11:44:05 PM]

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Other points
  • With little to no character building, the focus is on whatever your character''s career is. If it''s newsreporting, it''s on fame and money acquisition. If it''s the army, it''s on land ownership, pleasing your citizens, protecting them too, individual possessions, and also individual Rank and status. If it''s Crimelord, it''s being able to do things (smuggle, steal...) the best.

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The game would have to be fun at every level. No one wants to start over if it means mindlessly hacking at baby rabbits for 2 weeks before you are competent enough to try killing a mama rabbit.

Keep it balanced so that there is some skill involved in the combat every single time. OK maybe some people like clicking "begin battle" and sipping a cup of coffee while waiting for their character to claim victory over the next kobold, but this is boring to me. There needs to be something that keeps you on your toes in PvP whether you are level 1 or level 1000000.

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Well like i mentioned before, the level system is almost gone. People who are starting might have the same skill or more skill than someone who has been playing for a year or so. It all depends one what kind of games they are good at. The only thing they might have to start over is the possessions. And they might have to restart their career.

I did think of something for when you die. Maybe a will. You could have 25% of the value of the stuff available to your new character... but the rest go elsewhere or disappear. Your character still dies and you can''t have the name again but you have to start a totally new character.

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If you can create a new competent character without trouble, it is the promised land of griefers. Griefers will make their character and attack "proper people" without fear. No matter how many griefers your roleplayer village militia kills, they keep coming.

If the only thing that is lost in death is fame and roleplaying-value, you are creating permadeath for roleplayers, and deathmatch for griefers.

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Well by making a new account, it''s still linked with their "master" acount. the one they registered with. you might not be able to have more than one master account (depends on what kind of registration I''ll have... more on that later). But each master account can have only a few active characters but unlimited dead players. Anyway... the purpose of this is so every player kill they do is recorded and if it is recognized that they are indeed a griefer, they may be contacted by an admin OR have to deal with my own special punishment.... a dedicated griefer server. I think i''ll have may AI players (ones griefers won''t be able to tell are NPC''s). There won''t be any notice that they are on a griefer server and they won''t be able to go to the main server either unless they hack the game.... which will then result in a full Banning.

Since payment would be linked in many forms... it might not be possible to monitor the griefer with that... Suppose a family has 2 kids that play the game. One is good and one evil. why should the good one suffer cause the evil one is a moron?

Now as to registration, I was thinking it must be something like you apply for an account. Must like Project Entropia. You don''t get to play right away (you won''t be charged until you''re in either). But if many people abuse the registration by giving false info then this will happen:
Registration requires a real phone number, real address and real names. They are given and ID number. They then call in with that number to an automated phone system and enter in their ID. Then they are called by the system and have to enter it again. This will then at least confirm they are near the phone number they registered with. No entering in bogus data. This way we can ban the phone number given and require them to call into tech support to get it removed. There they talk to an actual person who can ring them out for being a griefer. If the ban is lifted they are now on probation and will be monitored closely by moderators.

Would this be going to far? Getting personal info and calling home everytime they bother people?

------------

So how would you make it work? Without getting rid of permadeath and PvP.

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Permadeath, properly implemented, can work quite well. In fact there''s at least one MUD I know of that''s been around for 12 years with permadeath. Sure, every now and then someone tries to abuse it, but they rarely do much damage, unless there''s a group of them working together and teaching up their buddies so they can actually kick someone''s ass.

Personally, I don''t understand what turns people off about permadeath. So you lose your char. Go make a new one who might be even cooler. Of course I also believe that permadeath only really shines in a level-less class-less system heavily focused on RP. If all you wanna do is log on and kill stuff, then just go play EQ or something. *snicker*

Anyway I''ve got a lot to say on this but don''t wanna spam up the board with it. I''ve had 3+ years of experience playing a MUD where permadeath works well imo, and while it might not be as massively multiplayer as you''re thinking of, it''s one of the more popular free MUDs out there and has a comparatively large player base. If you wanna talk more about this lemme know.

If a squirrel is chasing you, drop your nuts and run.

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Totally willing to hear about something where permadeath works well. You don''t want to spam up the board with it? well look at my first post .... it''s a frickin essay! Spam up all you want. as long as it''s on topic

In regards to PvP w/ permadeath being just a deathmatch for griefers... a well implemented registration might keep them somewhat away. player killing itself isn''t bad. If you want you can be a criminal or a crimelord... somewhat liek the mafia. You don''t just kill anyone for pleasure, you kill others for actual reasons... like money, power, or the they are a threat. IT''s the psycho mass killers I want to stay away. If requiring actual valid contact info (i.e. No 555-xxxx numbers or 123 fake street), this means they could be contacted and possibly banned more accurately. I just don''t know if this is too far.

I guess as far as a level-less class-less system, my idea fits well. There are skills, just so you can''t do everything right away, but it''s not the focus as you can finish fairly quickly. Classes... well there are but they aren''t fixed. You pick a race and each race as pros/cons but you can change careers whenever.

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if you sign up for a commercial MMORPG, they get your address and credit card number, etc... so whether you charge or not, i do not think it is too far to ask for this info to register. it might stop a few people from registering (if they are paranoid), but i think it is an alright price to pay considering it will prevent griefers from killing real players repeatedly.

EDIT: be sure to say this is only for this purpose in your disclaimer, though... i.e. the "we will not sell your information or call you other than if you are breaking our TOS agreement" clause.

[edited by - krez on October 12, 2003 8:10:32 PM]

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"Griefers" are still customers. Instead of trying to get rid of them try to get them on their own "server of death and chaos". Some people prefer deathmatch. It doesn''t mean they are better or worse, just different and need their own place.

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