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Dunam

There is life after permadeath

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Ok so the other permadeath thread seems to go on and on about the commercial viabilities of a MMO with permadeath and how to deal with griefing. And whether griefers should be banned. And how long. And why. And whether they should go to hell. So here a fresh thread! The one thing that struck me as interesting is how a game can allow you to continue after death. Either as a ghost or as a family member. In a futuristic game, a clone might make more sense than a family member. Or maybe reincarnation. I do not think permadeath is interesting, because you punish players. I have another reason. Eternal life is very effective game mechanic that makes all your spent time an advancement. However, because nearly every (M)MORPG uses that mechanic to deal with the 'I don't want to have wasted time' issue, I'd like to look at permadeath. But I still want to have a mechanic in place that protects players from playing badly for one moment/day. One cool mechanic that could do this is if the souls of your deceased characters are saved and you can enchant one item with the souls of a previous character. So then Fizbin the ice-wizard, who died to a goblin ambush attack at the age of 31, could enchant a staff to give (+1 ice damage, +3 ice damage vs. goblins) Another mechanic mentioned that helps but doesn't solve on its own, is to disaccentuate character advancement and make character strength come from other sources. For the purposes of this discussion, a few assumptions: -90% of the time, a death should occur between 12 and 36 hours of gametime -A (m)morpg: It can be massive, doesn't have to be. -Death is permanent -Any theme

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"One cool mechanic that could do this is if the souls of your deceased characters are saved and you can enchant one item with the souls of a previous character. So then Fizbin the ice-wizard, who died to a goblin ambush attack at the age of 31, could enchant a staff to give (+1 ice damage, +3 ice damage vs. goblins)"

That sounds like a pretty awesome idea.

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Maybe we should focus on the soulbound items for a moment then. How would that work? Would it be a soulstone that can be switched from weapon to weapon (possibly at a cost)? Would it be a soul-effect that can be bestowed a unlimited or set amount of times on different items, making it possibly to build an economy on your death affected items? What other paremeters can be taken into account when deciding such bonus?

Here is my list (you never get all these, a few are randomly picked):

How did you live life bonuses:
-Character age (old characters give stronger effects)
-Attribute changes (if the character had extreme attributes you can have something like +4 magic, -2 fighting in case of a magical character)
-Skill related bonus (each skill has a hidden effect tied to it: The skill you used the most gives it's hidden effect)


How did you die bonuses:
-Bonus against the type of creature or effect that killed you
-Loot or XP bonus against the creature type that killed you

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Sup Dunam,

Quote:

The one thing that struck me as interesting is how a game can allow you to continue after death. Either as a ghost or as a family member. In a futuristic game, a clone might make more sense than a family member. Or maybe reincarnation.


Can we please stop calling tempdeath something it is not? Having the ability to reincarnate after death is NOT permadeath, so don't bring reincarnation in there. :)

The rest of your post is awesome, especially the concepts of items. It could be abused though, if a player decides to create alot of characters and run them into ice golems.

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I, personnaly, don't think that soulbound items are the way to go to get Permadeath included in a (M)MORPG. The Family Ties is more like it, in my opinion.

Let me outsketch it.

The main trouble most people seem to have with Permadeath is "I don't want to know I have wasted time on a character, just to have it removed after I lost it". In my opinion, the best solution is to let the character know for a fact that the character is going to die ANYWAY.

Let's have the characters ageing, and dieing naturally after, say, two months real time. You may notice visual changes on them, like suggested in the other thread, giving clues about your age, maybe have scars, or hair whiteing, or a limp appearing, or anything, if the character comes too close to Age Death.


Then, if you know for a fact that your character is going to die, why bother playing at all?

Because, as in many other online games, this game is all about gaining power over the rest of the players. In this respect, I don't think it is a good enough incentive, but some people just love to brag about something, even a virtual achievement. Therefore, you must be assured that you will have som character to keep playing with. So here comes the meat of the core Permadeath mechanic: Breeding

Breeding is a way to keep what you would call clones in EvE. They are offsprings of yourself and (that is important) of another character of opposite sex. They retain a variable portion of each of the parents' maximum stats at the conception moment, and are fully playable after, say, two weeks. In the meantime, you have to care for them, a la Sims, maybe, by bringing to your Family Estate( another important piece here) food, clothing to your growing child, or anything else. For the last four days before you can take over as your own child, you can TRAIN him to a future career, either by finding him a master (another player preferably, or an NPC if need be) which will give him basic skills, or by mastering him yourself. A Master is required to care for the pupil, as it is someone else's life he is protecting. The master shall give the pupil food, clothing, and if the context requires it, weapons, or train him into building his own.

The Family Estate is where your leftover characters are and work while you're not playing them and they are alive. Reasonnably, the ageing characters should go away from home after some time to become NPCs and be able to get married by anyone willing to. This is also a place in which you can store some of your "loot" (but I prefer the term findings), and where you can rest your characters without any threat on them. Being there also allows you to switch between your different family members characters, and play for a while the merchant uncle, before going back to the adventuring father. Maybe buying dogs could give a boost against burglary and to morale as well...

Ideally, this whole Family Estate system would trigger two things.

The first one would be Factions war, which would require a massive raid on a town, and the abduction of children as either slaves to the hometown, or as unnatural offsprings, that is save characters, or "lives", if you must put it this way.

The second would be a continuous creation of "Neighbourhood quests", like "Grandpa has been drinking and fighting at the inn. Go and pay for the disaster, and then find something to heal Mister Hopkinson.", or maybe "The dog has wandered again. Go find him". The reason for such a quest system could be the discrete inclusion of bigger neighbouring ongoing quests which would definitely give a "lived in" feeling to the world. "This is the fifteenth person going missing in the neighbourhood this week. A fifteenth male. Something is happening to them after they've gone to the pub, and this is hurting the commerce. Explore this and try to bring them back if possible." Tis could be a possible avenue of questing. Even more so if it happened that the males in question had been meeting in some secret lair to prepare a line of defense against some dark and mysterious danger, like, maybe, a potential invasion, or even worse, someone had convinced them an invasion was pending, and collected their treasure to arm them (understand con them...).



Moreover, if there were many leftover characters, it would mean more NPCs. If they were males, this would mean more guards and/or merchants in an area. But this can only happen if there is enough food (crops, cereals and veggies) being grown in the surroundings. Maybe a balancing mechanic can be devised to maintain a reasonnable balance between the food providers and the profit shearers. And this could, in turn, be made into an auto-regulating system which would balance the number of guards in any area, and possibly, the number of THIEFS in any area.



As a conclusion, I can onhly say that the only reason I can think of for putting Permadeath at the center of a game would be WAR, and that dieing as a soldier would be a great loss both to the character but to the nation as well. But sometimes, accomplishing feats of stupid bravery could grant your family some benefit, and thus to the player as well...

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Original post by SymLinked
Sup Dunam,

Can we please stop calling tempdeath something it is not? Having the ability to reincarnate after death is NOT permadeath, so don't bring reincarnation in there. :)

The rest of your post is awesome, especially the concepts of items. It could be abused though, if a player decides to create alot of characters and run them into ice golems.


Hey man,

Reincarnation may be that the soul is returning, but in such way that you do not carry the same name or body. I mean reincarnation in the traditional sense, where you don't retain memories (or at least recall them without extensive spritual training). I mean reincarnation that could have landed you into the body of a different race (we'll avoid animals for now) and is born into this world fairly oblivious to previous existence. But there may be some things retained.
I wouldn't have considered reincarnation without the implications of the loss of your previous life.

That's why I asked to assume that death is permanent, but now I'm thinking that's the wrong word.
So instead, let's assume that death is non-reversible and has a deep impact on your game experience.

(I don't mean to be authoritive... any of my assumptions can still be disputed! I use them in the hope of making discussion easier, not harder.)

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Hey fournicolas, another enjoyable post

It is logical to have a game that uses death, also to have multiplication, but my question is, who cares for the kids? Who gets the kids? How would 'training' them work?

The family estate does offer some interesting gameplay, particulary a leverage to offer meaningful optional quests. I mean if your brother is causing trouble again, you don't have to protect him.

And glorious deaths in war would be interesting. It would be particulary good to have some 'death' skills. Like:

Kamikaze
Make one final attack at 4x normal strength. Then you die.

Seppuku
Die to give all allies of lower level within 100 m +100% damage for 1 hour. (non-stacking)

Sacrafice
Die to fully heal all allies of lower level within 20 m

The last Journey
Die in city. Only for 40+. You receive no tombstone, and items on you are lost. Your future characters can now do the 'find lost ancestor' quest where they can find the items back with new magical enhancements

Divine Intervention
You can't die in the next 10 seconds, then you die.

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I don't remember what the name is, but, there is an star wars MMORPG where *very* few players can have the option to create a character that can become a Jedi after doing a lot of advancement with another character; however after you become a Jedi, even thought you gain amazing powers(supposedly a Jedi can beat 7 characters of the same level in a 7 vs. 1 fight) if you do die, you permanetly become a 'blue glowies', some sort of ghost, that can only chat with other players.

[Edited by - Coz on July 23, 2006 7:51:56 AM]

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Original post by Coz
I don't remember what the name is, but, there is an star wars MMORPG where *very* few players can have the option to create a character that can become a Jedi after doing a lot of advancement with another character; however after you become a Jedi, even thought you gain amazing powers(supposedly a Jedi can beat 7 characters of the same level in a 7 vs. 1 fight) if you do die, you permanetly become a 'blue thingie', some sort of ghost, that can only chat with other players.

Star Wars Galaxies?

Anyway, with reincarnation and the likes it just sounds like a fancy way of saying that you get a penelty when you die. It would be just the same in teory as giving an XP penalty or skill penalty, just that you have to change name and apperance aswell. Of course there are a few minor differences aswell, but I don't think the consequenes will be that much different.

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[quote=Original Post by Dunam] But who cares for the kids?


Well, I would have thought it would be fairly obvious. YOU care for your own.

Let's assume, for the sake of the holistic design we're having here, that it needs a male character and a female character to have children, and that the parents CANNOT belong to the same player, or at least to the same account, because the creation of the offsprings require a sort of "trade" between both characters, to activate the instant creation of the offsprings.

If the second parent is an NPC, then it is automated, and the creation happens whenever the playing parent says so. One offspring is created.

If the second parent is a PC, then a change occurs. TWO offsprings are created, of random gender, and are randomly attributed to the parents. This way, even if the "soulmating" becomes a trade of its own, because I can only assume that there will ALWAYS be players who will try to make a little extra cash from those games and will sell their own offsprings from mating time, since the attribution is random, then there is always a chance that one of two parents will get nothing in return. Let's say there is a 50% chance that you get one child, 25% that you get two, and 25% that you get none, or something like that.

And who REALLY cares for them while they're only infants? Well, the rest of your family, if you're wealthy(old) enough to have one, maybe your guild's babysitter, if your guild has one.

After being infants, your offsprings (or back-up lifes) become children, and are randomly assigned character traits from a pool in which the parents' own traits are presented thrice at least, so that the child DO have a fair chance of resembling the parents in some way, and they more or less evolve on their own, in the streets, maybe, before they can be adressed to trademasters.

Then, we assume that your back-up lifes are teenagers, and that they ar eold enough to learn a career, and are therefore to be teamed with a tradesmaster that will "teach" them some of his skills. I imagine the system to be a sort of passive XP regular system, in which the apprentice learns both from his master's successes, and from his own failures. This way, your next character may get higher skills from simply watching a master crafter doing what he does than from randomly trying to patch things together. But there will be a limit to how long the training sessions can last, and they will be left to be after they become "of age", and are left on their own.

From that moment, depending on where they are on your world's map, and where their family estate is, they will want to go back there (another additional mission generator: bring me back there and I will do something for you) and when back at home, they will start working on your behalf. There should probably be a limit to how many characters you can play at a time, and how many you can care for. Maybe this limit could be related to how long you've played the game, or maybe it is only related to something else, like prestige or personnal wealth. Should be dug...

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