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# Permadeath and Massive PvP

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trapdoor    130
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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trapdoor    130
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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5010    122
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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trapdoor    130
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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juuso    289
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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trapdoor    130
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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onyxflame    203
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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trapdoor    130
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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krez    443
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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5010    122
"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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krez    443
griefers are not just people that like deathmatch-like gameplay. they are people who like deathmatch-like gameplay against people who don''t want to play that way; the thrill for them is ruining someone/everyone else''s fun.

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trapdoor    130
I agree with krez. which is what i''m trying to deal with. I don''t care if you''re a paying customer, but intentionally ruining the game for others isn''t called for. if they want deathmatch, they are probably in the wrong game. When you see a griefer, you know. They are very obvious. In Deathmatch games, they are usually only noticeable when they shoot you and tell you off for no reason. No politeness,

I want to make another thing clear. There is only 1 server. Or at least 1 galaxy. No parallel stuff or different universes. Everyone can meet everyone. There might actually be 2 universes, only if the second is where i want to put all the "on probation" or banned users. Let them share the world with their own kind.

Note: I just talked with someone who is a griefer. It might actually be a good idea to design part of the game for griefers.... give them something to do or distract them and they might leave the rest of the people alone. If I say designate areas for free4all or have little deathmatch rings.

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Merle    122
What if the number of allowed permadeaths was an account option?

For $X a month you can have up to five permadeaths a month.. for$2X you get 10. Die too often, you have to wait (or perhaps pay a small fee per extra life?).

Of course, the model doesn''t quite work for griefers. They, of course, want unlimited deaths. Maybe that''s something you ask at signup (and that you can change once a month). If you choose the "griefer" model, you can die as often as you want, but this way there''s something in the system that knows what type of player you are. One can then use that to "soften" the deaths of the regular players in some way.

For example, maybe griefers can''t permakill other players. The death could be a more minor setback. You''d have to work it in with the reality of the game, of course.

I like the idea of certain areas being flagged as deathmatch areas, too. Maybe normal players who enter these get some sort of incentive (in-game or financial) for entering. This way the griefers can just hang in those places, and both sides are (relatively) happy.

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onyxflame    203
Ok, you asked for it. (You obviously don''t know how long I can go on about something. )

First off, this MUD is different from most because it''s focused on RP and gives you more to do than just killing stuff. So death happens mainly from being stupid enough to try something you can''t do, or political assassinations. Death is definitely *not* the focus of the game, it''s just something that happens now and then.

Also, the skill system is coded in such a way that skilled chars are much much better than newbies. A newbie can walk in and try to kill a good fighter and make absolutely no dent in him, whereas the skilled char can kill the newbie in 1 shot if he so chooses. However, it takes long enough to get that skilled that the griefers get turned off before they ever get that good. Generally when a griefer *does* show up, he treats everyone like crap to the point that players get pissed and kill him before he can do too much harm.

Death itself I consider to be more realistic here than in most other places. If you die, your body starts to rot, and if you aren''t rescued by a healer in time, your body poofs and you permadie. (You have the option to send a "deathtell" to ask someone to rescue you, however this will make you lose some skills.) However, you can purchase an amulet for a large amount of money and ensure that when you die, your soul goes into the amulet and you lose no skills...however you can''t send deathtells. If you''re in an amulet, you can have a healer put you in a different body if you so desire, or if your original body rotted away or got butchered.

Another note which I think probably increases the successful implementation of permadeath is that all organizations are player-run. No one *has* to belong to a guild, they only join it if they have the right skills and their ideals agree with the guild''s ideals. For instance, you can learn healing spells and use them outside of a guild, but if you want to be all goody goody you can join the healer''s guild. Castles work the same way, except they try to perform pretty much all functions, and they''re involved in political stuff.

So generally, players are used to dealing with griefers and assorted other idiots themselves, since they run everything else. The problem with a game such as this is that you get another type of idiot, known as an ooc cheater, who shares info about game stuff with his friends, such as who killed him. To make things even more complicated, experienced players are allowed to have 2 chars at any given time, which although it increases the likelyhood of cheating, gives people a chance to try something different without having to give up their favorite char. It also means if one of their chars dies, they''re not as torn up about it because they can just play their other one.

What all this produces is players who know the gameworld well enough that they can have char after char that lives for years, and players who never quite figure it out and die every few weeks or months without really ever having made much impact. (And of course the idiot newbies who log on and attack some skilled char and get killed for their trouble and cuss out the mud and its players. Those are rarer than you might think, though.)

Hope this is useful to you, there''s much much more but this post is long enough now. If you wanna see this MUD for yourself ask me, I don''t wanna just post the addy and have everyone bitch at me for advertising heh.

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

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trapdoor    130
could you explain ooc cheating a little more?

i think as far as griefers go, I can distract a lot of them by giving them something to do in the game or the ability to be themselves and be accepted if they stay in a dedicated part of the game. As for the rest, i think they can pretty much be handled. There might be a few though that cause too much of a nuisance and I might have to intervene.

I''d give the army a much bigger advantage over any regular player. But they have to responsibility to maintain the peace between the regular users. So they''d take care of them. The only problem i can think of is what if a griefer tries to be part of the army, and uses the power to attack others? They''d get kicked out but they could always start another character and do it again.

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krez    443
OOC cheater == someone who uses out-of-game means to share information about in-game stuff. i.e. someone who posts a website about all the combinations of runes for magic spells (that players were supposed to learn by trial-and-error), or where the secret hideout for some group is (by creating a character, joining the group, and then using the secret information with the old character, or telling others)... that type of thing.

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syn_apse    122
ok, i haven''t read most of this, so i''ll start here...

quote:
Original post by trapdoor
What do you think?

i''ve had these ideas before, and afterward i can''t imagine not having them. however, the concept of permadeath didn''t even enter into my decision. because even from a tradional multiplayer pov there needs to be a clear idea of what happens when a player''s character dies.

my specific thoughts were related to a game that i had concieved as a rtsrpg, but the design would easily lend itself to an mmo, so these ideas would apply just the same.

as for the methods of gaining experience, i had two thoughts that apply. the first was that if you were to have to start over, there should still be a reasonable period where you are "catching up" to your past levels. and the length of that period should relfect two things: your past levels, and how long it took you to gain them. some players become attached to certain characters, and if those characters die then another character usually takes their place. thus it is best to get the players back into their preferred roles quickly, but not too quickly; you want to give them time to progress along a different path.

one solution to this is that xperience should be gained not through repetition but through competency and efficiency. the only attribute that really relies on repetition is strength, and even strength can be weighted to increase or decrease progress as needed. if you were efficient in your past life, then you shall progress more quickly in this one.

however, some players are better than others, and some take much longer to reach a preferred state. these players wouldn''t progress as quickly with increments based on efficiency. thus they must have their grades weighted in some way.

another thought was that sometimes a player will not necessarily want to rush to return to his previous state. and there must be some way to measure that drive, whether an attribute that evaluates performance or an option that can be set.

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onyxflame    203
Well, ooc cheating goes a little farther than that on a RP mud. Telling your friends who killed you, or telling your friends who your new char is and getting them to teach you, or figuring out who your old enemies are playing now and killing them with no IC excuse, etc. Recently a lot of players were deleted for going even farther than the usual...they''d managed to acquire some of the game code and posted it on a website, along with assorted info about who they needed to kill to rule the world.

I think rather than trying to make the griefers happy, you should do as much as you can to make the game as boring to them as possible, so that they''ll only screw it up with a couple of chars at most before they get sick of it and go on to torture someone else. Of course with a pay game there''s a bit different philosophy, but then again would the kind of players you WANT to pay for it play there if they knew they were likely to run into griefers who thought of it as a nice place to have fun?

I dunno, my ideas are decidedly nontraditional on this front, so no one probably even has a clue where I''m coming from. Everyone else is happy just killing crap for xp and worried about losing all their skills if their chars permadie. So if that''s the kinda stuff you want, I don''t see any reason to have permadeath, just make it be an unrealistic EQ clone or something.

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

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trapdoor    130
I don''t think i''ll worry too much about OOC cheating. Main reason is that it''s a futuristic MMO. Their character could have communicated otherwise. I think one thing i might do for names is this:

First name | non unique. Whatever the player wants.

Last name | unique. Fixed to the master account (unlimited character accounts: with only either 1-3 active at a time... but unlimited dead characters) This means once they pick a last name... all new characters will have the last name and be identifyable.

Clan name. | something to easily add your clan name to your name without touching the other 2 names.

---

I''m not sure how easy it would be to track those who try and make 2 master accounts. Otherwise is they use the same account and 2 dif characters, they''d know cause of the last name.

As far as griefers go. I think I need to split them up into the kind of griefer they are. There''s those who taunt others and try and kill them, there''s others who just kill those who might have something of value. But there might be more than just one kind of griefer. The guy I talked to was one who killed people if they had something of value.... putting them into the criminal category. They wouldn''t just kill anyone or they wouldn''t hang out in newbie areas and kill them for fun.

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krez    443
i wouldn''t even consider someone a greifer if they kill people to loot them of their valuable items. they are a criminal, no doubt, but if you allow for that in your game they are not a greifer. if you do not want people to do that, make it so you can''t loot corpses. otherwise mark them as "criminal", and let the police/guards/bounty-hunters handle them. part of life is trying not to get killed by someone who wants your stuff.

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trapdoor    130
I''m more leaning towards griefers being that someone kills aonother player for their enjoyment. Then usually taunting them. Basically they TRY to annoy others or ruin their day/game.k

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trapdoor    130
Here''s another thing to think about.... I''m going to use a family tree type look at the whole Death situation. When someone dies, they make a new character.

As an aside, their death can still exist in the world. Like a memorial or tombstone. They don''t just disappear....

Back to the family thing. When someone dies their new character will have the same last name as before. This way it''s easy to identify someone who has a new character.

Here''s the issue. If Joe Brown gets assassinated and Beoni Meir is next in line to take over the guild/business... what''s to stop Jim Brown to join the guild and regain the guild? This would then get rid of the point of assassinations. They''d just create a new character and join again.
There would have to be restrictions on that.

A few could be:
• the character cannot rejoin the guild for at least 2 weeks.
• The character can rejion the guild but the head of the guild cannot give up his position for say 20 days.
• The character can rejoin but has to rise in ranks the way everyone else does (on the system... not human controled)
• Maybe a system of power and influence and you can only rise as fast as you gain it.

I don''t think the person should be able to resume from where they left off. They have to regain that position normally like everyone else would.

But what about the option of wills? This would probably defeat the purpose of them.

----

There are different types of permadeaths:
• there''s assassinations... Either by a gun in the FPS mode where you are running around. Or a bomb on a ship. Where the ship is destroyed (possibly for good... depending on damage)
• fight deaths... carelessness when running around in FPS mode.
• space battles... the rare case where your ship is destroyed with you in it. This case the ship might be salvageable, but sometimes not. As with all of them. they are very very rare.

Assassinations would require that 1, you got a weapon inside the city and past the guards. 2 are either not wanted or a criminall.... or you have purchased fake ID and passed with it. 3. are able to place the bomb or use the gun before getting caught. Like i said, it''s not easy.

Fight deaths i haven''t even thought out yet. maybe like a land battle or something. It''s possible that this is the most common way of dying. Sometimes you''ll just be incapacitated but there''s a good chance you''re gone for good.

Space battles will be rare. I think i''ll have medical conditions too. That way if you defeat a very skilled pilot, he won''t be able to fight for a couple days as a fighter again... although he could do other things. Space battle deaths would also mean that if wills are used, there''s a chance your ship won''t make it into the will... main reason would be it''s damaged beyond repair. Any cargo might or might not make it regardless of the condition of the ship.

-----

anyway. my main question is what would I do to keep people from getting their positions back so easily?

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krez    443
i don''t see how they would get their positions back quickly (if at all). even if it is obvious that it is the same player behgine the new character, in-game they are sompletely different. unless it is something like a royal family, where the heir takes the crown, it shouldn''t matter who the first character was; the new one would have to independently earn the respect of the guilds.

"hey, you''re Joe Brown''s son, eh? welcome to the Guild, and maybe someday you will follow in your father''s footsteps..."