Sign in to follow this  
PinFX

Death Systems in MMORPGs

Recommended Posts

Previous WuXia Discussions: - The Quest for the Perfect PvP+ System - Magic and the Elements - Skills and Attributes Does death invalidate life? No, it defines it, and in this way gives life value. Death is a tricky thing especially in MMORPGs, because players expect the rewards for their efforts to be permanent. If too harsh of a penalty is implemented, players will become discouraged and lose their hard work. On the other hand, if the penalty does not exist or is too light, players will be running around throwing the lives of their characters away as if they were nothing (bad). A good system of death is essential to an MMORPG, and it is a huge factor in the overall appeal of a game to players. Here is my sketched outline of a system of death. As usual its pretty out there, but hopefully it can get some more discussion going. I'd also like to talk about other innovative death systems like the one found in Realms of Krel. Check that out, here: http://www.realmsofkrel.com/death.html
Quote:
Death Death is not permanent in WuXia. How a Character Dies During a combat, when a character’s health reaches 0% the character becomes unconscious and is disabled. At this point the character begins to bleed, (10%/END) every 10 seconds. Once a character bleeds to -10% health, then death is triggered. During the period while a character bleeds, the character may be attacked or healed by others. Judgment To put a larger focus on death without penalizing characters too much, a heaven and hell system may be implemented. This works with a "judgment system", which is basically a passive alignment system that has no affect on gameplay until a character dies. - A judgment rating begins at the value of 0, and is governed by actions in PvP, GM-quest rewards, and organization affiliations - Players sent to hell are forced to play mini-games successfully or suffer temporary penalties upon revival - Players sent to heaven get to go shopping in unique stores - Players must stay in heaven/hell for at least an hour (player may log off) - Heaven/hell are game world zones where players can exist simultaneously - This system gives consequences to 'evil' players without basically crotch-blocking them during actual play (also implements the don’t-get-caught mentality) - The judgment system is not visible during normal play, its a passive attribute that only the server and prominent religious characters can see - A player receives other penalties as well as being sent to heaven/hell for death - After a character the mandatory time in heaven/hell, the character is then reincarnated and his/her 'judgment rating' is reset by 80%. Penalties for Death Aside from going through the judgment process after death, a player suffers a permanent 1% penalty to all skills and loses all equipment. All time points are lost and none are gained during a stay in hell. Transcendence The transcendence system works in conjunction with the Judgment System. The premise is that when a player's judgment rating passes a certain threshold (negative or positive) then the player becomes "transcendent" of the judgment. - Transcendence triggers when a judgment rating surpasses ±500 - Bonus. For certain actions, transcendent characters are awarded a 15% bonus. - Auras. Transcendent characters have auras which are clearly visible. - On death, transcendent characters do not go to heaven/hell, but their judgment rating is moderated by 20% and if it goes under the threshold they are no longer transcendent. - Instead of being sent to heaven/hell, transcendent characters reincarnate (with the same penalties as normal death) in alternate planes - Transcendent characters can travel to these alternate planes through certain world areas at will. - Alternate planes for transcendent characters are like islands of alternate existences, and can be built upon by players. - The transcendent threshold is VERY high, a death without a transcendent threshold resets the judgment rating by 80%, making transcendence extremely hard to attain.
[Edited by - PinFX on September 21, 2004 10:56:15 AM]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
interesting ideas...
especially the heaven/hell/transcendence thing, although they're pretty specific to a quite religious based mmo.

about the unconciousness, I was surprised to see that when I read your post, becaused we agreed using a similar system with my team a few weeks ago :)
actually, it's not exactly handled the same way, but the principle is the same.

you don't have any negative health. 0 still means dead, but when you fall below a given treshold (it depends on the character stats/attributes), you fall unconcious, and your life passively goes down (relatively slowly), it can be represented as a blood lost as you pictured it. below another treshold (still undefined, depends on the character's stats too), you will be waked up by the pain, but your life level still goes down if you do nothing about it. when you reach 0, you die.

we considered using a similar approach to yours, but it seemed better and clearer to us to do it that way, as the unconciousness limit depends on the character's stats, if you are really tough and strong minded, you will be able to stay concious longer, but it will also mean that when falling unconcious, you won't last as long as if you falled unconcious sooner. (that's not the case with your approach, although you can tweak it to behave that way, it seemed to us more or less like a hack, well it's a matter of taste anyway ;))



what I like with the idea of adding unconciousness to the characters (in a general way, not only players, but any living creature, mobs too), is that it adds a whole load of interesting gameplay possibilities.

- it's nice for friendly duels, and fights. a fight isn't "won" when the opponent dies, but when he/she/it falls unconcious. you can still finish him off if you like, but you have the choice to keep him alive, and still win the fight.
- you can defeat a mob, but leave him alive (I'm not sure this would be done very often though :D), and some kind of special mobs (not simple goblins or whatever crap, but special mobs like a big great dragon) can remember you didn't finish him off, and thank you later, or want to take revenge.
- it can also be a way to get pets, or something more or less like pets. (if you defeat a creature and gain its respect, it'll obey you, with some moderation perhaps depending on the type of creature, on your stats, on how you defeated it, etc..)


and about the death penalties, we have a slightly different approach, more like wow's death. when you die your spirit goes out of your body to the nearest cemetary, and you have to re-integrate your body yourself, and evolve in a different, changed in many ways, environment (you're more or less in ghost form), and you have access to special quests.

it has some similarities with your hell/heaven approach too.

Quote:
Penalties for Death

Aside from going through the judgment process after death, a player suffers a permanent 1% penalty to all skills and loses all equipment. All time points are lost and none are gained during a stay in hell.


we don't loose directly any equipment or skills, the inventory stays unchanged on your body, but other players can search your body and get your stuff. (it introduces a whole load of gameplay problems, I'm aware of that), and about skills, it depends what happens to your body.

we don't have a real "XP/level" notion, instead, the "level" is computed from the total skills points you have, only to give the players an clearer idea of their global skill.
it's clearer to see "lvl 25" than: "skill 12681.5" :D
(and more importantly, doesn't completely disorient players coming from previous MMOs, altough nothing is directly based on the level any more, no "skill will be unlocked when you reach level 20" any more...)

by total skill points, I mean the summ of all your skill points, even the ones you didn't use to gain/improve skills yet...

well, this skill level gets affected directly by local skills changes.
so when you die, nothing changes (in fact, you should still gain skill, you know you made a mistake, otherwise you wouldn't have died, so you could gain experience in some way...), BUT, the penalty comes from your body damages. when you reincarnate, you have to spend experience points to "repair" in some way your damaged body. if you have no more body (swallowed by a nasty troll %)), you'll have a big penalty. if it's only slightly damaged, you'll have a small penalty.
if you have unused skill points, these will be consumed, if there isn't enough of them, or none, the remaining skill points will be taken away from your skills (witch skills isn't determined yet, as we have a localized damage system, it will probably depend on what body parts have been damaged).

this also introduces new gameplay aspects. that can be very annoying to the victim of course, but everything more or less is..
you could hound on somebody you just killed and completely destroy its corpse, or only specific parts to lower him on some areas. (again this will probably lead to abuses, I don't know, what do you think?)

and I really like your transcendent concept, although tightly bound to a religious game background.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mmh, just read the description of Realms of Krel's death systems on the page you linked... very interesting approach to permadeath. it doesn't make it sound so bad and frustrating after all... in fact it makes it more or less needed to be able to reach very high levels in skills. this could be quite a cool way to introduce natural character death when it gets too old...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by PinFX
Penalties for Death

Aside from going through the judgment process after death, a player suffers a permanent 1% penalty to all skills and loses all equipment. All time points are lost and none are gained during a stay in hell.


What if the character is carrying the super ubersword of insta-death or something, which took them forever to get. Suddenly, they die. No more sword. I don't know about you, but this would piss me off.

I read the link you gave, and I have to agree that their death system looks good. Children inheriting your items is a good thing. However, from what I read, it makes it benificial to use your second best weapon, while leaving your best weapon in the personal vault. I think that to make this better, if your body lie there for a while, the child gets what was on your body. A patrol man or guard came across your body, and gave your possesions to the child... or something.

Also, I haven't read anything about your game, so I'm wondering, "what are 'time points'?"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
btw, about player death and body damage, we had a discussion with my teammates the other day about being able to take away character's body parts for crafting (yes, I know, this sounds weired :D)

but for example, you could need a piece of barbarian skin, and elf mage teeth and some other stuff to craft a special spell (or an enchanted weapon, whatever...).

even if it's quite a strange idea, that might lead to killing sprees for body parts (and strongly encourage pvp in a weired manner), I thought I'd just throw it in there (not feeling like creating a new thread just for this...)

also, I saw you created some sort of thread series about your mmo gamedesign... are you planning on making one about crafting?

we also had a quick thought about gaining animal ressources (dragon skin to make a shield/armor, werewolf skin/teeth for whatever else, etc...), and not simply having the whole thing dropping off as simple loot. you'll have to get it off yourself, and the quality of the final product will not only depend on your skill to skin/extract those body parts, but also on how you killed the animal. if you used a massive golem 1-ton granite axe to kill a sheep, you obviously won't have the same wool quality as if you used a bow and a small arrow or a knife...
anyway, nothing really original that's just some random thoughts :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by sBibi
btw, about player death and body damage, we had a discussion with my teammates the other day about being able to take away character's body parts for crafting (yes, I know, this sounds weired :D)

but for example, you could need a piece of barbarian skin, and elf mage teeth and some other stuff to craft a special spell (or an enchanted weapon, whatever...).

even if it's quite a strange idea, that might lead to killing sprees for body parts (and strongly encourage pvp in a weired manner), I thought I'd just throw it in there (not feeling like creating a new thread just for this...)

also, I saw you created some sort of thread series about your mmo gamedesign... are you planning on making one about crafting?

we also had a quick thought about gaining animal ressources (dragon skin to make a shield/armor, werewolf skin/teeth for whatever else, etc...), and not simply having the whole thing dropping off as simple loot. you'll have to get it off yourself, and the quality of the final product will not only depend on your skill to skin/extract those body parts, but also on how you killed the animal. if you used a massive golem 1-ton granite axe to kill a sheep, you obviously won't have the same wool quality as if you used a bow and a small arrow or a knife...
anyway, nothing really original that's just some random thoughts :)


lol. Deep evil voice: "I have come for your teeth."

That does look like a good idea though. Combined with childhood, you could do some interesting voodoo stuff...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
What if the character is carrying the super ubersword of insta-death or something, which took them forever to get. Suddenly, they die. No more sword. I don't know about you, but this would piss me off.


clearly, this wouldn't happen in a system where the inventory stays in place on the body, no just vanishes in void.
you can have a couple of friends stay and watch after your body until you reincarnate, or take your inventory for you, if you really don't want to loose anything, or hunt down whoever took your stuff... or pay someone to do it for you (ie headhunters)

Nathaniel Hammen> lol, yes :D we had a long laugh while discussing this ^^
EDIT: btw, this would be really useful for necromancers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by sBibi
Quote:
What if the character is carrying the super ubersword of insta-death or something, which took them forever to get. Suddenly, they die. No more sword. I don't know about you, but this would piss me off.


clearly, this wouldn't happen in a system where the inventory stays in place on the body, no just vanishes in void.
you can have a couple of friends stay and watch after your body until you reincarnate, or take your inventory for you, if you really don't want to loose anything, or hunt down whoever took your stuff... (cf headhunters)


Of course! I'm an idiot. Plus, anything that promotes teamwork in an MMO is a good thing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
sBibi, yes I'll be making a crafting thread, but thats a long ways off.

If you follow the link at the top of this post you can see the skill and attribute system I outlined. Skills are what you might refer to as volatile character properties, or properties that can be lost. Since I have other stuff such as skill decay in my design, I didn't have too much trouble putting in the 1% skill penalty. Among other things, it balances out the appeal of having a character with a little of every skill.

Nathaniel, the situation you describe in which a player loses an uber broadsword can and will happen in a world using the system I describe. However, we can look at it differently because 1)Most of the time players will be using normal weapons, not uber weapons, 2) Unique items are truly unique, there can only be one of each unique item in a game world, so that item will stay in circulation, and 3) Although that player might have worked hard to attain the uber weapon, the person that killed the player probably also worked really hard. This fits in my general design concept of shared and limited resources, which increases competition and player interaction by providing an ongoing struggle among players to control resources.

Quote:
Shared & Limited Resources, Player Competition

In most MMORPGs, monsters are the main resources, providing players with experience to advance their characters and ¡¥drops¡¦ to equip them. As WuXia changes the role of monsters as re-spawning entities located in specific areas, it also removes infinite resources. Because all resources in WuXia are limited, the value of items, character skills and social connections are all raised because the ability to ¡¥power-level¡¦ (or kill as many monsters in as short a time as possible) is no longer a big part of progressing a character. Sharing resources among players is the next step, by making more resources that are important but do not permanently attach to characters (i.e. experience, levels), players are encouraged to interact with each other because these resources can be shared or taken away. As players struggle to accumulate power, they will realize that they must step on the shoulders of others to truly gain more. Because of this, players are forced into conflict, and through this conflict alliances are formed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
anything that promotes teamwork in an MMO is a good thing.


Yes, but anything that requires that you only be with people that you trust is bad. Trust is built, but it shouldn't be required or you end up with something like UO, where if you were new to the game you were easy pickings for anyone who was anitsocial.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Personally I'd like more of an MMO/local hybrid with an easy-come-easy-go attitude to stats and equipment to keep things fluid, but a lot of MMO players are into long-term characters and advancedment, and that's there prerogative.

Anyhow, City of Heroes apparently has a good approach to stat loss from death: its not a loss. Its debt, that you must pay off with your _future_ xp, not your existing attributes. Plus, its not purely cumulative, and its not purely blocking you from getting more XP - it just slows it down a lot.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
In the mmorpg im currently designing ive been thinking alot about this kind of thing, in a lot of mmogs ive seen you simply die and either suffer no or very little punishment or you simply lose some items and junk and get respawned back at a town.

My ideas on the subject are similer to this but i like the idea of the heaven/hell thing mentioned at the beggining of this thread, my orignal idea was to make a kind of hades place.

{For those of you who dont know, hades is the greek under world, heaven and hell in one bucket kind of thing, you could leave by getting to an area and proveing you deserve to be reborn}

In my underworld then you would be able to leave by proveing you deserve to be reborn, so you would simply have to compleat a quest or so in some underworldly like maps and then get given the key to leave that world, it fits in nicely with my storyline to so im gonna go with that probs but i like some of the ideas you guys have.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Anonymous Poster
There's one big issue with the "Judgement" or "Hades" world after death, especially with PinFX's proposed 1 hour wait time in Judgement.

Imagine you've got a couple hours to play with your close friends tonight, so you all head out for a little adventure. Early on, you bite off more then you can chew and you unfortunately die.

Suddenly, instead of the normal grind of finding your way back to rejoin your friends, you're now in a whole new world.

If you have have a couple hours to play every night with your friends, death is going to became a real pain, everytime you die, you may end up spending so much time getting out of the afterlife and travelling back to your friends, that it just becomes not worth it.

The afterlife concept has merit don't get me wrong, but to ask a player to go through that everytime they die is a bad move imho.

One suggestion I would make, is to just not send the person to the afterlife after EVERY death. Perhaps base it on number of deaths per time period. Maybe after every death, you lose some of your Life Force (For lack of a better term), you recoup this force over time, but die too many times in a short period of time, and drop your life force to nothing, and next time you die, you're sent to the afterlife to prove yourself worthy of more.

By making this slight change it will keep some of the risk of dying, while giving you something you can fine-tune.

Another way of handling this issue is by determining whether you go to the afterlife on how badly you were injured when dieing. The more you try to bite off and lose, the more risk of entering the afterlife. The more you risk (fighting tougher creatures), the more of the reward, so afterlife would be a good risk for battling higher level creatures.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ugh that previous poster was me, since I can't edit that post here are a few additional thoughts.


A way of combining those two ideas above would be like this. Allow players to take negative damage, so if you have say 100HP left, and get hit by a dragon for 1500 damage, you're now -1400. Your negative HP stays with you even after you are revived, and slowly diminishes over time. Just like in the first concept, if you die and go past a threshold of negative HP, you head to the afterlife.

Another way, if you had religious concepts in the game, would be to base it on how your god(s) feel about you, fail to keep up with pleasing your gods, and they'll drag you to the afterlife. Keep your god(s) happy and they'll spare you.

Their are a number of other ways to determine when people head to the afterlife, in fact, you could turn it right around and make it a bonus, not a detrement, but thats a whole other beast. The fact is, if it removes the player from normal gameplay, you can't expect to have players put up with it everytime they die, especially when it removes them from their ingame friends.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hmmm I see your point, and I think your suggestions might be good. The only solution that I can think of would be to leave time points (or points accumulated linearly over real-world time) out of the death penalty and require the use of them to get out of the underworld.

However, the whole point of the 1 hour real-time stay in heaven/hell is making death impactful and realistic in PvP or events. Very often in MMO PvP battles, people will die and just come back right away, the only thing stopping them from returning instantly being travel distance. Since speedy travel will be facilitated by an array of items, mounts, and special skills, distance would no longer be a barrier. In the real world, when peopel die, they don't come back and regardless of your religous beliefs you can't interact with that person again. I want to represent this isolation to a very, VERY limited extent in the design somehow.

I think to battle your problem I'd have to implement more design barriers to make dying something that does not happen often (like the -10 HP system).

PS. The standard go out with your buddies to grind against monsters routine of 1st generation MMOs does not necessary apply anymore.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by PinFX
However, the whole point of the 1 hour real-time stay in heaven/hell is making death impactful and realistic in PvP or events.


If PVP is the point of your game, then removing them from battle for 1 hour is too harsh. If you've ever played planetside, imagine after every death you couldn't play for an hour?

But, if PVP is not the main focus of the game, then why not just make the chances of entering the afterworld higher through PVP battles, and events?

Another idea would be to link it to alignment, fight someone of similar alignment and risk going to the afterlife. Fight someone of a total opposite alignment and you would have a far lower chance.

Quote:
Original post by PinFX
I think to battle your problem I'd have to implement more design barriers to make dying something that does not happen often (like the -10 HP system).


Their are a number of solutions to the issue I raised, balancing it through how often people die is not in my opinion a good idea.

People will always find the quickest way to die :)

Death is inevitable in these games, you make it harder to die, people will just push themselves further.

I really think it needs to be based on something that is partially withen the players control, but is a concious decision they make. IE: Should I really risk getting my butt handed to me by that dragon and risk going to the afterlife? Yes, the treasure that dragon holds is worth it. Or No, I really don't think I have a chance, why risk it.

The afterlife is a perfect opportunity for implimenting risk/reward in death. In most MMORPG's, the punishment for death is the same regardless of whether you die by a sheep, or by the biggest baddest creature in the game.

Sure you have a higher chance of dying, but that can be overcome with group tactics, since the only risk is a little walk back to the battlefield for those that die in the process.

In fact, I would suggest raising the difficulty of exiting the underworld, make it a big challenge, something that doesn't happen often, but when it does, its a whole new experience.

Quote:
Original post by PinFX
PS. The standard go out with your buddies to grind against monsters routine of 1st generation MMOs does not necessary apply anymore.


That may be the case with the design you have in mind, but I'm hoping you have something to replace it with that includes a group of friends, and something to do thats fun and can be done in a couple hours a night. And if you do, then just apply what I said to that instead.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
interesting idea, not unlike my own.

i originally started with perma-death. i then decided that an "after-life" would be quite cool, and would allow for some interesting game play situations.

essentially your in game alignement would determine the realm you go to upon death. the only set goal in death is to regain life. so you can attempt to complete this goal, with each following death in the afterworld raising the bar to ever make it back to the prime plane. characters that never made it back to the prime plane could be summoned back to the prime plane as NPC's.(just for sentiment sake or novelty.)


Permadeath handles soooo many of the common issues in current MMORPG's that to me it seems like the logical next step. although it will have a new set of issues all its own.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What if there was permadeath, but the player still got some benefit from that character? Such as summoning it into battle as an allied NPC or using its powers for something... (special items?)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this