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IronLion85

Permadeath and why and how it can work

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First, let me apologize for "beating a dead horse", but I truly believe the horse is alive and well and needs to be beaten a lot more before it's dead (I don't really beat horses). It’s true that much of the current gaming community doesn’t like the idea of permadeath. I think that’s mostly because they are a little afraid of change. MMOs all look and feel very similar to each other. I’m sure most of you know what I mean. Here’s the formula: Get stronger than everyone else, get stronger weapons, get prettier armor, rinse, repeat. It’s weird that these games are known as MMORPGs, because there’s basically only one role to be played. I’ve been reading up as much as I can about peoples’ objections to permadeath and what people like about it, and I’ve found an idea or two here and there about how it can work along the way. Because I’ve noticed people misunderstanding this in the past… There is absolutely no way that permadeath would work in any current MMO. They’re designed so that characters will die often, they don’t seem to have any substantial alternatives to combat, and the range in power between characters is much too wide. A game with permadeath would need to be designed extremely differently from the way current MMOs are put together. They would really be an entirely different beast altogether. Don’t even think about comparing a permadeath game to any current MMO on the market, because it wouldn’t make any sense at all. There are people out there that would play a game with permadeath. I currently do not play any MMOs and have only played one in the past (Asheron’s Call). I also played a trial version of EQ2 and hated it. There is a market out there that hasn’t been tapped. Might even be a market that doesn’t even know it exists yet. Here are some reasons why and how a permadeath game could work (I might expand it later): Pluses • Realism… I would call a game that implements permadeath correctly an MMOSG (massively multiplayer online simulation game). • Sense of danger/ excitement/ fear (the good kind like when you watch a good scary movie) when in questionable situations • Need to make real choices to protect your character’s well being (challenging) • Encourages players to pursue activities other than combat and fighting • Makes acts of bravery, heroism etc. far more epic and interesting • Characters who have managed to live long enough to acquire a lot of skill/ unique and “special” items will be rare and respected (something players will very much want to accomplish). • A more real sense of accomplishment in general when things are done well • Forced role playing (in this case forced isn’t a bad word- simply, if players have to fear the death of their characters they sort of automatically play a role because they're not preoccupied with getting "loot" or being better than everyone else.) • Playing the game feels like you’re living out a story because of all of the above. • In game economics would improve (compared to other games) because there will be goods that are genuinely needed for survival. • Discourages “grinding” Problems and their solutions PvP (griefing): • Guards in and around “safe” cities and other areas that attack and/or kill players that initiate combat • Have plenty of “safe” areas that are obviously safe (larger cities, some towns, out posts, forts, castles, heavily traveled roads etc. etc. - the presence of guards should make the safety obvious) and dangerous areas that are obviously dangerous (the middle of the woods far from any city, rarely traveled roads, anywhere far from civilization etc.). • Skill and Attribute levels are never visible to other players (with some possible exceptions). This will stop a lot of griefing because the player will not know whether it’s even remotely safe to attack the person they are thinking about targeting. • Give XP/ skill upgrades for disabling a character (knocking them out etc.) but not for killing one (this, of course, would mean that there would be an option to knock someone out when combat is initiated, and maybe it should be the defualt option as well). • Narrower range of character “levels” (in quotes because a permadeath game should not be level based IMO). There should be characters that can take on 4 or 5 “noobie” characters, but they should be extremely, extremely rare, the majority of characters should be more evenly matched (this will have the same effect as and reinforce the disallowing of assessing skills – most characters will normally not be sure if it’s even safe to attack someone). Playing isn’t fun unless you’re taking risks, and no one wants to risk their character’s lives • Make the safe parts of the games fun enough to where people would want to play the game for the “safe” content alone (crafting, creating a business, expanding the business, politics, playing certain roles etc.). Players quit when they’re characters die: • Make content interesting enough for players to want to start over again (obvious). • Give very minor bonuses to “heirs” of deceased characters that correspond with the old characters best attributes (a character who gained a lot of strength over his life time might pass on 1 or 2 more points of strength to his “heir” upon the new characters creation – this should be a very small bonus and should only happen if the player manages to keep their older character alive for a considerable amount of time…say two real life months. The longer they keep them alive the more bonuses they can pass on when they are killed or die.) • It should be hard to die. In real life people don’t die that often, not even in the middle ages. Characters die from disconnects, computer crashes or because they need to log off quickly etc. Players unplug they’re network cables or log off to avoid death: • Allow resurrection of a character a limited number of times in these situations, warning the character with a message each time (lets say three times as an example). If it happens three times warn the character that they will not be resurrected in case of disconnection or logging off for another (lets say for this example) month. To be honest, it’s not a big problem unless this character staying alive has a negative effect on other players. The only way it would have that effect is if the player were able to do it over and over and over again. If a player is that desperate to escape death let them do it a few times, it’s better to favor the people who don’t cheat than to punish everyone for the people that do. Are there any holes in there anywhere? I guess the feedback I'm asking for here is: 1. What problems didn't I address/ do my solutions not solve the problems I did address 2. Any other ideas as to how permadeath could be implemented in an MMO. 3. Anything you have to say at all... of course. [Edited by - IronLion85 on July 20, 2006 2:41:21 AM]

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Permadeath is definatly an interesting idea, but it has to be very well thought out before implementing. I think the most important thing is to encourage the player to continue playing after death. I would expand the family side of the MMORPG, remember that their heir do not only inheirit genes but also property, and maybe their parents have been good tutors?

PvP (griefing), I don't like PvP being called griefing. I can see how a lot of people feel more grief when beeing killed with permadeath though.

A game that is implementing most of the things you have mentioned, except permadeath (which is what the whole post is about...) is darkfallonline.com . You should take a look at the game and the forum, they have a lot of great ideas even though the game is not out yet. To mention a few features, the game includes realistic PvP (no artificial restrictions), full loot and a skillbased system.

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Personally LOVE the idea of an option perma death, kinda like a 'hardcore' world, where everyone there has one life, but have the option of an alternative in the case of less experienced players. A learning curve can be pretty stiff if you have this sort of one-life-to-give mentality toward exploration.

Got a lot more, but am soooo tired.

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Original post by UknowsI
Permadeath is definatly an interesting idea, but it has to be very well thought out before implementing.


That's kinda why I wrote this entire thing out ;).

Inheriting property from past characters is a good idea, but if they start getting too many bonuses they become too powerful compared to other players, and too much imbalance in a game with permadeath is bad news.

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Original post by UknowsI
PvP (griefing), I don't like PvP being called griefing. I can see how a lot of people feel more grief when beeing killed with permadeath though.


Didn't mean that PVP was griefing, I meant that griefing was the problem that comes with player vs. player in a game with permadeath.

I'm sure darkfall is a good game (actually think I already checked it out), but I can guarantee you I wouldn't be too into it. Without permadeath (or pretty severe penalties for dying) it is destined to be pretty similar to other MMOs.

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Original post by Peachy keen
Personally LOVE the idea of an option perma death, kinda like a 'hardcore' world, where everyone there has one life, but have the option of an alternative in the case of less experienced players. A learning curve can be pretty stiff if you have this sort of one-life-to-give mentality toward exploration.

Got a lot more, but am soooo tired.


The problem with creating an alternate world is that a permadeath game would need to be designed around the idea of permadeath, and just as permadeath wouldn't work in a game designed around the idea of character resurrection, resurrection wouldn't work in a game designed around the idea of permadeath. They are too different.

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I haven't played any MMO games and don't have that much desire to design them, so my opinions are based a bit on what I've read about them and general design ideas.

From what I've read about MMOs, I think the biggest problem for the non-techinical design issues is how to deal with the anti-social griefer types that derive the most pleasure from your game by spoiling it for other people. Permadeath gives them plenty of ways to cause massive grief to other players, and not just from PvP. Pretty much anything that gets people into a dangerous situation would be ripe for exploitation; drawing people into unavoidable conflict with hordes of monsters, picking fights, getting guards to attack innocent victims etc.

The next big thing is what to deal with the loss of a player through permadeath (which you've noted). If a character which a player has put a lot of time into dies, there's a big disincentive to keep playing. The only way I see around this is by giving the player a very short expectant lifespan. If the character was going to only live for maximum 24 hours of real time, say through rapid aging, or from being in a dangerous environment, then there isn't as much loss.

The other alternative is a MMO game with no death at all. There's heaps of other ways to deal with losing challenges then just killing off a character [grin].

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Original post by Peachy keen
Personally LOVE the idea of an option perma death, kinda like a 'hardcore' world, where everyone there has one life, but have the option of an alternative in the case of less experienced players. A learning curve can be pretty stiff if you have this sort of one-life-to-give mentality toward exploration.

Got a lot more, but am soooo tired.

I'm pretty sure he explained several times that the game needs to be designed around the idea. Having it optional completely defeats the purpose. If a game were designed correctly for permadeath, disabling permadeath would make the entire experience a complete joke.

The idea is to simulate the real fears and little voices you have in real life. The one telling you not to try and jump over that gap in the cliff to reach the awesome sword treasure. If you go ahead and risk it all, that sword might be the greatest achievement of the month, rather than another random trinket.

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With permadeath, I think you would see people actually holding others for ransom. Say there's an option to kidnap someone where the kidnapper has the option to kill the victim at any time (so disconnecting won't save you). With that, the guild that the victim is in (or the victim himself, if not a member of any guild) has to either pay the ransom (Dr. Evil: "One million dollars!"), say goodbye to their good friend, or attempt to rescue the person (or maybe he can try to break himself out?). Just as frequently, you'd have people getting mugged/robbed much like we see in the world today--either give them all your loot, or they'll kill you (of course, giving them your loot would just make it easier for them to kill you, but... some people are stupid enough to fall for that--perhaps this problem is solved by having an actual mug option; rather than just mugging as a form of roleplaying, have it so that you have to surround the guy, overpower him by so much skill or whatever, and then you initiate a mugging [i.e. a trade window pops up], where afterwards the person giving up their loot is teleported automatically back to town--the mugger must accept the trade to finalize).

Atop permadeath, though, I feel you'd have to accompany it with a new health system. I'm thinking on the lines of more realistic wounds. You get stabbed, say, in the arm, and due to that damage you either can't use that arm at all (unable to attack?) or your attack strength is severely weakened. To heal, you'd heal like we humans heal; go to a hospital, get the arm wrapped up, rest for several days, and then you're back on the streets. This way, the permadeath feature becomes more discernable in the game. It creates a sense of death before death ever occurs. It creates risk. Not only that, if the person is forced to heal for a few days (not actually forced, but it wouldn't be recommended in their condition; maybe you only heal while in a safe zone?) then they are also forced to do other things--as IronLion said, have safe content such as "crafting, creating a business, expanding the business, politics, playing certain roles etc.". Basically, it's my thought that you can't just add permadeath. You have to add the things leading up to death as well.

[Edited by - Omega147 on July 20, 2006 3:00:00 AM]

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Original post by Trapper Zoid
From what I've read about MMOs, I think the biggest problem for the non-techinical design issues is how to deal with the anti-social griefer types that derive the most pleasure from your game by spoiling it for other people. Permadeath gives them plenty of ways to cause massive grief to other players, and not just from PvP.

This could be a real problem. If realistic enough, it wouldn't be difficult to kill an elite player with a brand new one. Players could join into a game with only this as their goal.

Another potential problem is players risking everything with brand new characters to start their game off. If you know there is a big reward for a high risk, just keep creating new characters and trying to get that reward until you succeed.

I personally hate MMO as an ingredient to any game.

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One way to get around the .. ive died problem and all that time i put into this character is wasted is allow the player to 'save' the character to a sort of backup, this would then save the player specific state ( Inventory, Skills, Stat's etc ).

If the player then dies at a later date then they could restore there character from this saved one ( this way they wouldn't loose all they have achieved in the game but they would still be set back! and wouldn't be able to just run in somewhere where they would almost certainly die! just to quickly get one item )

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Original post by IronLion85
I'm sure darkfall is a good game (actually think I already checked it out), but I can guarantee you I wouldn't be too into it. Without permadeath (or pretty severe penalties for dying) it is destined to be pretty similar to other MMOs.

To loose everything you are carrying is quite a bit worse than most MMORPGs out there, and I think it will be enough to add some excitement. But permadeath would of course bring even more excitement. I can imagine assassinations and the use of poisoned food and the likes would add a lot to such a game. Assassinations and poison is in most game nothing but fluff, but with permadeath it will be meaningfull.

Permadeath has been discussed countless of times at the darkfall forums, and this is a quite good discussion on the subject: http://forums.darkfallonline.com/showthread.php?t=19389&highlight=permadeath

How skilled will new players be? If your character is fun to play from scratch, it will be a lot easier to get over a death. The downside is as earlier mentioned that people can make a lot of new characters just to kill older players since they have nothing to loose themselves.

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Original post by MButchers
One way to get around the .. ive died problem and all that time i put into this character is wasted is allow the player to 'save' the character to a sort of backup, this would then save the player specific state ( Inventory, Skills, Stat's etc ).

If the player then dies at a later date then they could restore there character from this saved one ( this way they wouldn't loose all they have achieved in the game but they would still be set back! and wouldn't be able to just run in somewhere where they would almost certainly die! just to quickly get one item )

I don't understand how this would be any different than being teleported back to a town. It just adds the inconvenience to backup your game regularly.

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Original post by Omega147
With permadeath, I think you would see people actually holding others for ransom. Say there's an option to kidnap someone where the kidnapper has the option to kill the victim at any time (so disconnecting won't save you). With that, the guild that the victim is in (or the victim himself, if not a member of any guild) has to either pay the ransom (Dr. Evil: "One million dollars!"), say goodbye to their good friend, or attempt to rescue the person (or maybe he can try to break himself out?). Just as frequently, you'd have people getting mugged/robbed much like we see in the world today--either give them all your loot, or they'll kill you (of course, giving them your loot would just make it easier for them to kill you, but... some people are stupid enough to fall for that--perhaps this problem is solved by having an actual mug option; rather than just mugging as a form of roleplaying, have it so that you have to surround the guy, overpower him by so much skill or whatever, and then you initiate a mugging [i.e. a trade window pops up], where afterwards the person giving up their loot is teleported automatically back to town--the mugger must accept the trade to finalize).

Atop permadeath, though, I feel you'd have to accompany it with a new health system. I'm thinking on the lines of more realistic wounds. You get stabbed, say, in the arm, and due to that damage you either can't use that arm at all (unable to attack?) or your attack strength is severely weakened. To heal, you'd heal like we humans heal; go to a hospital, get the arm wrapped up, rest for several days, and then you're back on the streets. This way, the permadeath feature becomes more discernable in the game. It creates a sense of death before death ever occurs. It creates risk. Not only that, if the person is forced to heal for a few days (not actually forced, but it wouldn't be recommended in their condition; maybe you only heal while in a safe zone?) then they are also forced to do other things--as IronLion said, have safe content such as "crafting, creating a business, expanding the business, politics, playing certain roles etc.". Basically, it's my thought that you can't just add permadeath. You have to add the things leading up to death as well.


Yeah I think permadeath would add lots of interesting stuff like that (kidnapping, mugging etc.). A lot more stuff than I listed or could even come up with probably.

I agree with you about the health system. Lots of new features would need to be created to support a game with permadeath, and you would need to start from scratch taking very few ideas from current games.

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Original post by clayasaurus
Maybe give the player a 'house' to store all his items in, so when he dies he at least gained something.


Yeah, that's a good idea... sorta goes with the idea of an heir (say only an heir that you've already created can have access to these items once your character dies). That would certainly take some of the sting out of death.

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Fantastic subject and good thoughts to open with.

However I don't think you found the solutions at all. Let's look at them through a looking glass:

Quote:
Problems and their solutions
PvP (griefing):
• Guards in and around “safe” cities and other areas that attack and/or kill players that initiate combat


Safe cities and areas should be 100% safe. If I walk away from my computer and someone has killed me, I don't care whether the perpetrator was also killed by the guards after he killed me. I care that I was killed. Unless you want to make an ultimate hardcore game, I'd add safe areas that are 100% safe.

Quote:
and dangerous areas that are obviously dangerous (the middle of the woods far from any city, rarely traveled roads, anywhere far from civilization etc.).


Those area's would actually make you watch your back again. Nice.


Quote:

• Narrower range of character “levels” (in quotes because a permadeath game should not be level based IMO). There should be characters that can take on 4 or 5 “noobie” characters, but they should be extremely, extremely rare, the majority of characters should be more evenly matched (this will have the same effect as and reinforce the disallowing of assessing skills – most characters will normally not be sure if it’s even safe to attack someone).


The fewer noobie characters you need to take down an experienced character, the easier it is to kill someone with 'no risk' because you're not using a serious character anyways. There are a few ways to combat this: Skills/spells/abilities that you gain at a certain threshold level (where you go from noob to non-noob) that allows you to escape noobs or survive noob gangs.
I think levels are fine, but I think you're right that the upgrade should be narrower. A highest level character should be maybe 5 times as strong. Note that is x5 HP. Not 5x hp and 5x damage and 5x better skills. Because that is roughly 5x5x5=125x as strong.


Quote:
Playing isn’t fun unless you’re taking risks


This is completely untrue

Because if it weren't this would be an oxymoron:

Quote:
• Make the safe parts of the games fun enough to where people would want to play the game for the “safe” content alone (crafting, creating a business, expanding the business, politics, playing certain roles etc.).


I think that the most important thing is, that death is at the center in the game design.

I've read once about some designers getting together and thinking about a viking game where the goal was to die at the peak of your ability in combat. If you died in a little skirmish or if you died of old age it would be a disgrace and your son would have a harder time proving himself. If you died gloriously in combat while storming Rome and failing, your son would live a life of prestige even before his first battle. Every time you die, you play your own son next. It's wildly interesting concept.

Rather than making character level a persistant goal, make family prestige a persistant goal. Something that helps you get further into the game and makes townspeople look upon you more favorably. The best way to gain family prestige by far would be to die. Any ideas how this prestige could be translated to an in-game advantage?

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Original post by UknowsI
How skilled will new players be? If your character is fun to play from scratch, it will be a lot easier to get over a death. The downside is as earlier mentioned that people can make a lot of new characters just to kill older players since they have nothing to loose themselves.


If I could make a game like this new characters would definately be fun to play. A new character, for example, that decides he's going to be a swordsman would start with a reasonable amount of skill with a sword (with tons of room for improvement of course.) However, more importantly, with a narrow range of character "skill" there will be more content in the world for every skill level.

If that's not clear... in your average mmo lets say character levels range from 1-100. Level 1 characters can only fight level 1-4 monsters, level 5 characters have trouble with level 10 monsters etc. etc. all the way up to 100. Well lets say that in that same game they decided to do away with levels 10-100. No more ridiculously powerful characters means more content for all the 1-10 level characters. You will be more likely to compete with more monsters than in the other system no matter what level you are. (I'm not sure if that makes sense, but maybe some of you know what I mean.)

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Original post by Dunam
Fantastic subject and good thoughts to open with.

However I don't think you found the solutions at all. Let's look at them through a looking glass:

Problems and their solutions
PvP (griefing):
• Guards in and around “safe” cities and other areas that attack and/or kill players that initiate combat


Safe cities and areas should be 100% safe. If I walk away from my computer and someone has killed me, I don't care whether the perpetrator was also killed by the guards after he killed me. I care that I was killed. Unless you want to make an ultimate hardcore game, I'd add safe areas that are 100% safe.

and dangerous areas that are obviously dangerous (the middle of the woods far from any city, rarely traveled roads, anywhere far from civilization etc.).

Those area's would actually make you watch your back again. Nice.


• Narrower range of character “levels” (in quotes because a permadeath game should not be level based IMO). There should be characters that can take on 4 or 5 “noobie” characters, but they should be extremely, extremely rare, the majority of characters should be more evenly matched (this will have the same effect as and reinforce the disallowing of assessing skills – most characters will normally not be sure if it’s even safe to attack someone).


The fewer noobie characters you need to take down an experienced character, the easier it is to kill someone with 'no risk' because you're not using a serious character anyways. There are a few ways to combat this: Skills/spells/abilities that you gain at a certain threshold level (where you go from noob to non-noob) that allows you to escape noobs or survive noob gangs.
I think levels are fine, but I think you're right that the upgrade should be narrower. A highest level character should be maybe 5 times as strong. Note that is x5 HP. Not 5x hp and 5x damage and 5x better skills. Because that is roughly 5x5x5=125x as strong.


Playing isn’t fun unless you’re taking risks

This is completely untrue

Because if it weren't this would be an oxymoron:

• Make the safe parts of the games fun enough to where people would want to play the game for the “safe” content alone (crafting, creating a business, expanding the business, politics, playing certain roles etc.).

I think that the most important thing is, that death is at the center in the game design.

I've read once about some designers getting together and thinking about a viking game where the goal was to die at the peak of your ability in combat. If you died in a little skirmish or if you died of old age it would be a disgrace and your son would have a harder time proving himself. If you died gloriously in combat while storming Rome and failing, your son would live a life of prestige even before his first battle. Every time you die, you play your own son next. It's wildly interesting concept.

Rather than making character level a persistant goal, make family prestige a persistant goal. Something that helps you get further into the game and makes townspeople look upon you more favorably. The best way to gain family prestige by far would be to die. Any ideas how this prestige could be translated to an in-game advantage?


Depending on how you implemented "safe cities" they might nearly be 100% safe. Perhaps guards would attack someone who even drew their weapon (long before they could attack you with it) for example. The goal would be to make these safe areas safe enough to where you don't need to worry one bit about being killed. Or... perhaps you can only knock people out in cities on top of them being guarded. A player might be able to injur you enough to disable you before guards arrive but will never have enough time to kill you.


"Those area's would actually make you watch your back again. Nice."

You SHOULD have to watch your back in dangerous areas. I don't see the problem there. If you don't want to be afraid of dying stay in the safe areas and craft or do some business. Or were you really saying that that's a good idea?

Levels are not a good idea for a permadeath game. Skills levels, yes, character levels, no. I truly believe a group of "noobs" attacking a higher level character would not be a problem, most people would probably travel in groups anyway. If I were to make this game I would make running away from battle an extremely viable option as well, so if you were being attacked by a group you could run away, and a more experienced character could run a lot faster and further than a group of noobs.

"Playing isn’t fun unless you’re taking risks

This is completely untrue"

I was trying to imply that that might be a complaint that someone would have, I wasn't making a statement. I know not to contradict myself ;).

"I think that the most important thing is, that death is at the center in the game design."

I completely agree with you there, most game elements need to be thought up with permanent death in mind.

[Edited by - IronLion85 on July 20, 2006 4:13:34 AM]

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I think people who read this thread should read this again:

Quote:
A game with permadeath would need to be designed extremely differently from the way current MMOs are put together. They would really be an entirely different beast altogether. Don’t even think about comparing a permadeath game to any current MMO on the market, because it wouldn’t make any sense at all.


I think the permadeath philosophy should be embraced, not toned down in any way. No resurrection, no saving. If a character dies, he's dead. You might get a tombstone in your family estate stating some of the accomplishments or statistics considering that character and add the ability to add a line or two to sketch on the tombstone.


This might also be the first MMO where not only a wedding is a grand event, but also a burial, where characters come to pay their final respect to Korghan the Babarian who protected the city from gnomish assassins. Of course the same player: Gorghan, son of Korghan would host that burial.

I do think it would be good to have plenty of carry over to new characters. All the equipment, gold and prestige. Still... any ideas on advantages by prestige?

[Edited by - Dunam on July 20, 2006 4:17:35 AM]

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Original post by Dunam
I think people who read this thread should read this again:

Quote:
A game with permadeath would need to be designed extremely differently from the way current MMOs are put together. They would really be an entirely different beast altogether. Don’t even think about comparing a permadeath game to any current MMO on the market, because it wouldn’t make any sense at all.


I think the permadeath philosophy should be embraced, not toned down in any way. No resurrection, no saving. If a character dies, he's dead. You might get a tombstone in your family estate stating some of the accomplishments or statistics considering that character and add the ability to add a line or two to sketch on the tombstone.


This might also be the first MMO where not only a wedding is a grand event, but also a burial, where characters come to pay their final respect to Korghan the Babarian who protected the city from gnomish assassins. Of course the same player: Gorghan, son of Korghan would host that burial.

I do think it would be good to have plenty of cary over to new characters. All the equipment, gold and prestige. Still... any ideas on advantages by prestige?


The cool thing about a game with permadeath is you wouldn't need to address prestige, it will be there whether you acknowledge it or not. Permadeath would do that. If your character lives long and goes adventuring he might get famous without you gaining "prestige points" or some other fake thing like that. The simpler the game systems the better.

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[quote]Original post by IronLion85
Depending on how you implemented "safe cities" they might nearly be 100% safe. Perhaps guards would attack someone who even drew their weapon (long before they could attack you with it) for example. The goal would be to make these safe areas safe enough to where you don't need to worry one bit about being killed. Or... perhaps you can only knock people out in cities on top of them being guarded. Try to find solutions, don't just point out the problems.</quote>

The solution is to disable attack/skills in safe areas that could hurt other players. Just because there is permadeath there shouldn't have to be omnidanger.

Quote:
Original post by IronLion85
"Those area's would actually make you watch your back again. Nice."

You SHOULD have to watch your back in dangerous areas. I don't see the problem there. If you don't want to be afraid of dying stay in the safe areas and craft or do some business. Or were you really saying that that's a good idea?


Yeah I wasn't being sarcastic, I like how a forgotten tomb isn't just cool but also ominous.

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Original post by IronLion85
Levels are not a good idea for a permadeath game. Skills levels, yes, character levels, no. I truly believe a group of "noobs" attacking a higher level character would not be a problem, most people would probably travel in groups anyway.


Here you are assuming player behaviour. You are forcing people to travel in groups, but I much enjoy travelling alone.

Quote:
Original post by IronLion85If I were to make this game I would make running away from battle an extremely viable option as well, so if you were being attacked by a group you could run away, and a more experienced character could run a lot faster and further than a group of noobs.


Cheers!

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Original post by IronLion85
"Playing isn’t fun unless you’re taking risks

This is completely untrue"

I was trying to imply that that might be a complaint that someone would have, I wasn't making a statement. I know not to contradict myself ;). You're nitpicking a little bit don't you think?


I may be, but I feel it is an important point. Many game designers set out to add risk to games. But most of the time people play games to avoid risk. If I wanted the most realistic fighting game ever with all the risks, I would just sign up for a freefighting competition. We play games because games are safe. Politics board games are a safe place to backstab friends. FPS games are a safe place to kill people. I believe this game should be a safe place to die. What I'm saying is that death shouldn't be 100% negative. Although your character should truly and honestly die, the progress of this game could be measured in more things than skill alone. Dying might be a stepping stone to learn skills that your previous character didn't have the aptitude for. The character before that did have the aptitude, but back then you didn't have the money yet.

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Original post by IronLion85
"I think that the most important thing is, that death is at the center in the game design."

I completely agree with you there, most game elements need to be thought up with permanent death in mind.


Fantastic.

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Okay, first I have a bit of a problem with letting people die from disconnects. Sure, some people may use that as a way to cheat the system but some of us simply have troubles with connections. So no permadeath from disconnect!

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Also, I imagine in a game there may be at least a few ways to allow a character a second chance. But these must cost something. In a fantasy setting I can think of a few ways to 'cheat' permadeath while retaining the effect.

1. ghosts- when you die, you die. but its not always over. You become a ghost and can wander the world but can't interact in physical ways. Also, your possesions are sort of kept safe through a 'will' or estate. So you can theoretically find someone to ressurect you (which will be expensive) by spending money from your estate.

2. Perhaps ghosts can become some type of monster. Higher 'level' the player was when they die, the more powerful the monster they become. examples, vengeful ghost who refuses to depart, zombie if a necromancer animates your corpse and you agree to keep playing.

3. Also... if it would fit. If someone dies and they don't have enough money to afford a ressurection (i.e. newbies that just started) . There could be a chance for an organization of 'soul slavers' to summon your ghost and offer you ressurection in return for working for them. Basically do jobs for them like craft items for sale at the market, be semi-forcibly organized to kill monsters or whatever. Basically, told to do things that may make it easier to play the game ( kind of like a tutorial but not) . This only continues until you 'pay off your debt' and then you're free to go. or you can refuse and lose the character.

===========


Basically, have a system of permadeath with some opportunities to escape for the weakhearted ones. though stuff like your char becoming a monster, slave, ressurected should have some effect on a decendant, like limiting whatever bonus they receive from the parent.


wonder how permadeath and a 'death tax' would affect inflation in MMORPGS?

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heh, quick posting. This is like a chat room.

One thing about the prestige, I didn't mean arbitrary prestige points to actually show 'look at me! look at me! I'm at level 23... uhm I mean prestige level 23!'
My goal for adding 'prestige points' is that you could still advance after a death. Not necessarily character strength, but maybe it's your standing in court and allows you access into new areas in the castle. Maybe the only way to be a magician is if your father was liked by the king. Maybe the only way to be a priest is if your mother performed certain duties to the church. Maybe you can convince a hunter to give training to your son when he comes of age. Many ways in which you aren't just playing with your current character, but also planning for the next in line. This is why I mentioned prestige, but I feel these examples are already better, more refined versions.

*edited to include answer to shadownose's post*

The game has permadeath. After a disconnect your character should go on... say... 30 seconds. If he dies, it's permadeath. Don't forget that death is not final in such game. This is not a MMO as you know it. But to make losing a connection completely safe is too easy to abuse, despite how the bad connection people may suffer. I've been one, I know it sucks, but it's the least bad solution.

I really like the ghost idea. But if I were designing the game, rather than being still on the player side, you would go to the computer side as a baddie. After permadeath, there is also a single-lifed ghost that can harass players and give more challenge than a giant bat.

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Quote:
Original post by Dunam
The solution is to disable attack/skills in safe areas that could hurt other players. Just because there is permadeath there shouldn't have to be omnidanger.


Hmmm. I'm hesitant to want to disable anything (I'm all about realism) but you may be right about this one, it would be nice to have a place where you don't need to worry at all. The only problem I can think of with that is what if your character got pickpocketed in town? You couldn't do anything about it?


Quote:
Original post by Dunam
Yeah I wasn't being sarcastic, I like how a forgotten tomb isn't just cool but also ominous.


Yessss exactly.


Quote:
Original post by Dunam
Here you are assuming player behaviour. You are forcing people to travel in groups, but I much enjoy travelling alone.


As do I, I guess the running away part solves that though.

Quote:
Original post by Dunam
I may be, but I feel it is an important point. Many game designers set out to add risk to games. But most of the time people play games to avoid risk. If I wanted the most realistic fighting game ever with all the risks, I would just sign up for a freefighting competition. We play games because games are safe. Politics board games are a safe place to backstab friends. FPS games are a safe place to kill people. I believe this game should be a safe place to die. What I'm saying is that death shouldn't be 100% negative. Although your character should truly and honestly die, the progress of this game could be measured in more things than skill alone and dying might be a stepping stone to learning things your previous character didn't have the aptitude for and the character before had the aptitude but not yet the financial situation.


People play games to avoid REAL LIFE risks. Games need to give players choice, and for players to decide they need to weigh RISKS and rewards. Inheritance of financial and material goods is a better idea, I think, than getting bonuses in skill or attributes from "ancestors" is. I think you're right, and that would be a huge incentive for someone to keep playing when their first character dies.


The most important thing IMO is to take emphasis off of the character and put more into the world. You don't want your players to be overly concerned about improving their characters, you want them instead to be interested in travelling the world and seeing new things and exploring exotic destinations or making some interesting new sword or article of clothing or castle etc. That way when a character dies the player is eager to make a new one to get back into an engaging, interesting world with a good story etc.

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Quote:
Original post by IronLion85
If that's not clear... in your average mmo lets say character levels range from 1-100. Level 1 characters can only fight level 1-4 monsters, level 5 characters have trouble with level 10 monsters etc. etc. all the way up to 100. Well lets say that in that same game they decided to do away with levels 10-100. No more ridiculously powerful characters means more content for all the 1-10 level characters. You will be more likely to compete with more monsters than in the other system no matter what level you are. (I'm not sure if that makes sense, but maybe some of you know what I mean.)

Yes I agree. Most MMORPGs have some artificial barriers to stop you from killing monsters you are not supposed to kill. Ultima Online did this in a good way imo. They had a skill based and not level based system (which makes it easier to even it out, but it's possible with levels aswell) where you usually was able to kill anything you wanted to kill. It just took a lot of time, and a high risk of dying, but it was usually possible (Atleast for a mage). A starting warrior had around 60 HP and an experienced warrior had around 100 HP (if I remember correct), this way it was a lot easier for the experienced warrior not to die, since he could take almost twice as much beating before he had to heal, but it's still not so much more that he is in another league when it comes to fighting. But the game was also designed in a way so the experienced warrior would kill the inexperienced warrior in a fair fight each time, and they would have to gang up to bring him down.

In a permadeath game it would also make a huge different if you make the game as a life simulater or a dungeon crawl. Both The Sims and Nethack are good games imo, and you would probably want to find a good balance between the two. Nethack is an excellent example of how permadeath may work in a single player RPG, but it makes it quite easy to give up forever after dying far down in the dungeon.

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