# Long respanwn time to encourage self-preservation?

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Death in most combat-oriented video games is a small matter, at most a fifteen-second delay before you can rejoin the fray. I've been reading the "No tactical thought" and other threads, and am wondering what the reaction might be to an MMO where "death" results in a crushingly long (like 72 hours) "respawn time". With that sort of dynamic, it could be entirely possible for a guild to be literally wiped out and taken out of play for a protracted period. What I'm envisioning is a good excuse for players to surrender in combat and to flee from combat and to behave in-character in awkward circumstances where dying and respawning at the nearest town is currently the most appealing option. If you could continue to level your guy's physical attributes while working as a slave, would that be enough to convince players to serve their in-game enemies without becoming fed up? If getting turned into a zombie gave you a choice between eating the brains of the living to keep "alive" or just starving and waiting three days to respawn as a human (and the eating of brains gave you XP that carried over and continued to level your toon in the long run) would players embrace their shambling avatar's unique needs? Lost in the desert, and knowing that it'd be days before they'd get to play again if they die, will people crawl toward a mirage instead of just falling on their sword and teleporting to the nearest church?

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 Original post by Iron Chef Carnagewondering what the reaction might be to an MMO where "death" results in a crushingly long (like 72 hours) "respawn time".

My first thought about that is "nobody likes to lose". Immortality helps soften many issues with MMO games, like griefing or dying because of a glitch. If someone lost a weekend of playing because of lag, they'd go to another game.

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 Original post by Iron Chef CarnageWhat I'm envisioning is a good excuse for players to surrender in combat and to flee from combat and to behave in-character in awkward circumstances where dying and respawning at the nearest town is currently the most appealing option.

I think you imagine the reaction of a mature player. The way I see nine tenths of the MMO population, they'd die and spend 72 hours whining in the forums that it was hax/lag/blackout/epileptic seizure and that they required to be able to reenter the game.

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 Original post by Iron Chef Carnage If you could continue to level your guy's physical attributes while working as a slave, would that be enough to convince players to serve their in-game enemies without becoming fed up?

This would be really very dangerous for a game company. If a parent discovers through the news their fifteen year old daughter is a slave to a group of guys in a game of the internets, the four lawyers of the apocalypse would come.

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 Original post by Iron Chef Carnage If getting turned into a zombie gave you a choice between eating the brains of the living to keep "alive" or just starving and waiting three days to respawn as a human (and the eating of brains gave you XP that carried over and continued to level your toon in the long run) would players embrace their shambling avatar's unique needs? Lost in the desert, and knowing that it'd be days before they'd get to play again if they die, will people crawl toward a mirage instead of just falling on their sword and teleporting to the nearest church?

These are good ideas, and they are closer to feasible. Whatever lets the player keep playing can work; a dark death world, running around in spirit form, turning into some kind of undead creature... As long as it doesn't last long and doesn't cripple the character.

I've found the same problem when directing pen&paper rpg games. stronger consequences for death seemed a good way of fighting stupid behavior. However what it produced was less or unhappy players for the next game.

With all of this I must say that if anyone manages to get something like this to work, it would make a great game.

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 Original post by Iron Chef CarnageDeath in most combat-oriented video games is a small matter, at most a fifteen-second delay before you can rejoin the fray. I've been reading the "No tactical thought" and other threads, and am wondering what the reaction might be to an MMO where "death" results in a crushingly long (like 72 hours) "respawn time".

Ouch. That is crushingly long. I think that the humiliation of being caught off guard or underestimating your opponent and the long walk back to your corpse is enough of a punishment. 72 hours (3 days) is way, way too long. Can you imagine someone saying, "Oh well. I died, I'll exit this game and re-run it in 3 days." I think that 30 minutes is appropriate if you're bent on a time-based punishment.

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 With that sort of dynamic, it could be entirely possible for a guild to be literally wiped out and taken out of play for a protracted period.

If you could prevent the creation of of alts/toons so that a guild can be wiped out would be very interesting. However, billing should take into account days (if still using the 72 hours thing) where someone can't play otherwise there will be irate people paying monthly that can't log in.

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 If you could continue to level your guy's physical attributes while working as a slave, would that be enough to convince players to serve their in-game enemies without becoming fed up?

No. I want to be the hero. I play MMOs to feel like a hero and to experience adventure. I don't think that there is any kind of incentive that would make me watch my character slave away.

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I believe a stat punishment could be a little less harsh, though it might work should the player be allowed multiple "charactors". if this would be the case, it would encourage the use of multiple charactors and slow down the typical MMORPG process a bit (which might actualy keep a player interested longer). 72 hours is a bit much though, even with THIS requirement, I would say 24 hours would be sufficient. _OR_ perhaps this is a requirement only on a PVP server, and the person can switch to non-pvp play with that charactor for a while. Or perhaps you have a combo PvP server marking particular players non-pvp. IE 24 hour ban on player killing and getting killed by a player if you die.

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I swear to god, I will slap the next amateur game designer who thinks that punishing players more makes games more fun. It doesn't. It just turns players from selfless heroes into flinching statisticians.

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A girl utterly crushed stare into long distance: It was just an accident, it was only five seconds. Why?

Then again if girls would cry, or hit gamepad just because of that, they need to work on theirs stability. ^_^

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I disagree with this for the reasons already given but I believe some line of this thinking has merit. If we take a similar approach to prey, where death transported you to a spirit world where you had to regain your lost health and mana that would be interesting. With the right game I believe an action packed clawing your way from hell would be a interesting take on respawn. I'm not sure about the specifics but if the escape from hell was very tense and emotionally draining (but fun) it would provide a nice counterpoint to the normal game structure and provide sufficent motivation not to die. Other players may enjoy this hell experience and purposely get themselves killed - that's okay too.

Actually the whole game could be played on three levels, earth, heaven and hell. I've always liked the Constantine (movie + comic?) universe.

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Well, a 72-hours-punishment for letting your char dying is indeed a bit hard.

I really like the idea umbrae suggested. The method of Prey would be fun.
Or what about this: The player dies. Now he has a choice. He can rewalk on earth 30seconds later, but with a disease which makes him weaker for like 1Hour. Or he can respawn as a sort of ghoul/undead/mob for a certain time and wander the world in order to eat other non-dead-players. For each player he eats, he will recover e.g. some health or get a bonus stat over time when he reborns.
:)

Most MMO's already have the idea with the dead-disease. But I think, they implement it still not hard enough. Like in WoW. The player dies, respawn and has like 10 minutes long reduced attributes. Boaf. Just the time he needs to get to the nearest mob-place. So the player don't realy care if his character dies. :/

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I'm going to go against the flow and say that I think such a game could work well. Although "not punishing players" sounds reasonable, the fact is that almost every game has some degree of punishment for failure. The only question is how much. And that degree of punishment seems to be proportional to the way in which people play the game. Some games have worked well where death effectively means character deletion. While some gamers recoil at the very idea of this, I remember a time when 99% of games didn't even have save facility, and we still had fun. There's definitely scope for trying different things here.

I think the following caveats would have to be borne in mind:

- you can't aim at 'the general game playing population'. You'd need more mature players who appreciate they are playing a more cautious game.

- you need to justify the more cautious gameplay in such a way that makes that tension enjoyable. In a game like Thief for example, it made sense that you were somewhat weak compared to everybody else, stealth was the name of the day, and that playing cautiously made sense. When killed you'd lose all progress on that level (back to your last manual save, that is).

- consider what the player is going to do during that downtime. Are they just going to go to a different game? Are they going to create a new character on your game? What's going to make them want to log on again in 72hrs?

- are you always able to give people a real option other than dying? Many games don't allow you to flee all that easily, or avoid deadly confrontations. Some make certain disadvantages so negative that you may as well die. It's true that maybe they will wander in the desert for days instead of just killing themselves, but can you guarantee that they'll feel elated when they finally reach safety? Can you guarantee that they will in fact reach safety, or do you just succeed in wasting the time of many players this way?

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The idea could work, but it shouldn't apply for general gameplay. Special evnts, and certain areas would be sufficent. For instance two clans could go to war, and set a length of the war say 48 hours. During that period no memebers of those clans respawn after being killed. Percentage of surviving clan members would go into calcuating which clan one the war.

Also certain dangerous areas could be marked with respawn delays, that player would be warned about on entry. So the player would know that by entering the forbidden desert they will have to wait 24 hours to respawn.

What might also be very interesting is if certain enemies inflicted soul corruption effects on characters. If you are killed by a zombie you have 30% of becoming a zombie.

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I think a 72 hour wait would be an instant twinkie denial situation.
Any game forcing such a wait on me would be uninstalled before the time is up.

A forced delay might work if there was something entertaining to do in the meantime. Maybe respawning could work in a kind of 'dead man's boots' fashion; after death you take control of a monster of roughly similar level and have to kill a player of equal or greater level than yourself before you can respawn your main character. As a monster of course, you can respawn indefinitely.

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I like that 30% chance of turning into a zombie or something like that. What if you then had to go on some quest to "redeem your soul" or something like that? I like the harsh punishment for dying thing. The gameplay would have to change considerably. I'm only familiar with WoW, but PvP always looks like one big ADD fest (not talking AD&D here). People don't spaz about like a dozen wolverines caught in a tornado in real life. Formations used to matter and such. I think rogues would be even less popular with non-rogues in a game where it took 72 hours to respawn.

The 72 hours would probably be a lot more popular with parents too. Imagine if your kid couldn't play anymore because his character died. That slavery thing seems really cool for a game. You could then organize slave revolts. I don't know how you'd manage what tasks a slave would do though.

It's true that this would only appeal to more mature gamers. And not that I'm a super-mature gamer, but I'd totally go for a system like that. I don't really have the reflexes or graphics hardware for the ADD fest type of game.

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Quote:
 Original post by Iron Chef CarnageDeath in most combat-oriented video games is a small matter, at most a fifteen-second delay before you can rejoin the fray. I've been reading the "No tactical thought" and other threads, and am wondering what the reaction might be to an MMO where "death" results in a crushingly long (like 72 hours) "respawn time".

There's an obvious problem with that. If you force the player to play something else for 72 hours, will he come back?
Thats plenty of time to dig into a new game. Which I could then get hooked on and continue playing.

I personally believe that sure, punishing the player for screwing up can be fair, but don't do it by locking me out of the game. If I want to play a game, I should be able to. If I just got killed, you'll have to find another way to punish me than taking 3 days of my life. My time is a limited resource.

Having 3 days where you're simply playing under some restrictions in the game could possibly work (but even so, I'm not a fan of "time-based" punishment. Many MMO's have something like that where for x minutes after you died, you can't fight/have lowered stats or whatever.
The result is just that you get annoyed and bored.
I think a much better route to go would be to tell the player to work to overcome that penalty. The simple example would be to drop you a level when you die. Then the time that would otherwise have been spent sitting around in the middle of the city where you respawned, waiting for your stats to recover, now has to be spent killing monsters to recover. Which means the player can actually play the game.

Of course, that's just the most obvious example, but really don't think my playing time should be confiscated out of in-game punishment. What happens in-game stays in-game. If I get killed in-game, I get punished in-game. I don't get punished by having to stay away from the game for 3 days.

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Quote:
 Original post by Iron Chef CarnageDeath in most combat-oriented video games is a small matter, at most a fifteen-second delay before you can rejoin the fray. I've been reading the "No tactical thought" and other threads, and am wondering what the reaction might be to an MMO where "death" results in a crushingly long (like 72 hours) "respawn time".

Yet Another Reason To Hate MMORPGS.

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So a lot of what we're seeing here is "three days is too long for X reasons". And some people have come up with alternative punishments. For those who don't believe that the player should be punished, well, risk enhances rewards. When there's more on the line, the gameplay is tenser, and achieving your goals becomes more meaningful. Now, if you're going to punish the player for things outside their control, that's a different matter. Thus, having major punishments for death means, among other things, making certain that it's difficult to accidentally die. It also means, as mentioned above, that if the player gets into a fight that he cannot win, then he needs to have an alternative to dying to end it.

Why do people engage in PVP in MMOs? I haven't played them much at all myself, so I'm guessing here, but I'm going to say at least one of 1) stealing gear/loot, 2) gaining prestige, 3) griefing, and 4) politics. Obviously 1 only counts in a system where it is possible to steal other players' items. 2 may not actually take anything from the killed player, 3 is difficult to control, and 4 can mean a lot of different things depending on the game and the guilds. So the way I see it, the player should have at least two choices - either a) surrender, avoid the death penalty, and give up the full "lost a battle" penalty (e.g. lose some items from inventory / enemy player gets full prestige gain for having "killed" you / your guild trades influence to his guild), or b) die, avoid the "lost a battle penalty" at least in part, but suffer the death penalty. Assuming you do a decent job choosing the penalties, these should actually be balanced options.

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How about if you're just locked out of PvP? You can log onto the PvE server and carebear and grind and continue to train your character, but you can't push the world's boundaries and you can't contribute to your guild's reputation and might while you're "dead".

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 Original post by Iron Chef CarnageHow about if you're just locked out of PvP? You can log onto the PvE server and carebear and grind and continue to train your character, but you can't push the world's boundaries and you can't contribute to your guild's reputation and might while you're "dead".

I would find that ok except the part of having to log to a different server.

I wouldn't mind losing the chance of entering PvP for a certain amount of time. However you'd have to find a plot way of explaining this.

Maybe you like a similar idea:
- Zones are owned by a faction.
- Players must win/conquer a zone to be able to pass to the next. (They can only advance one zone at a time, like in strategy games).
- "Dead" players can defend a war zone but can't attack. i.e.: They can be in their own zones and fight anyone who enters but they can't enter an enemy's war zone.
- "Dead" status suggested duration would be an hour.

That way, people will want to stay alive, they'll be able to keep playing if they die and you get a free "too fast moving frontier" balancing force.

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 Original post by DerakonFor those who don't believe that the player should be punished, well, risk enhances rewards. When there's more on the line, the gameplay is tenser, and achieving your goals becomes more meaningful.

That's one of the things that happens, yes. Another thing is that players throttle back their playing style, playing more conservatively and advancing through the game more slowly. And a third thing that happens is that players get pissed off.

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There's a whole continuum between LEGO Starwars and NetHack. Both of the bookend games have merit, although they attract different types of gamers.

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Original post by Sneftel
Quote:
 Original post by DerakonFor those who don't believe that the player should be punished, well, risk enhances rewards. When there's more on the line, the gameplay is tenser, and achieving your goals becomes more meaningful.
That's one of the things that happens, yes. Another thing is that players throttle back their playing style, playing more conservatively and advancing through the game more slowly. And a third thing that happens is that players get pissed off.
That really depends on the game, though. For example, if I'm playing Devil May Cry and I die, then I lose my progress on the current mission. To a certain extent I can play more cautiously, for example by spending more time shooting things and less time in melee, but a) I have to take risks to finish the mission, regardless of how I play, and b) a more "cowardly" playstyle has hidden risks, too. For example, the longer I spend in a given fight, the more likely I am to make a mistake and get hit; thus, it's in my own best interests to kill the enemies as quickly as possible. However, cautious play by shooting enemies is a slow way to kill them, so I'm increasing my exposure. In other words, no matter what I do, there will always be danger, so the game retains its tension and excitement.

Now, it's certainly the case that in many modern RPGs, the player can simply retreat to a "safe" zone (where "safe" is defined as "can't be killed unless I leave the computer to go make dinner, without logging out") and beat on fluffy bunnies until they're a lot more powerful. I contend that that's an issue with the game design you've chosen, that you can remove risks by grinding. Certainly in a system like that, a heavy death penalty will make players so risk-averse that they'd rather experience boredom than danger. So one of two things will have to happen - either you change your game so that death is always a possibility, but can be mitigated through skillful play, or you remove the death penalties so that players are willing to risk their skins.

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Why not have a mechanic like this: You die. 30 seconds later you spawn at a town (one that's close to the battlefied). Catch? No weapons and no armor. Therefore, you can go back out to the battlefield, but you'll only be slaughtered anyway. So therefore you wait until 'trackers' find your weapons and armors for you and bring them back to you. The amount of time it takes depends on the level of tracker.*

*the loss of money is left out for simplicity's sake.

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 Original post by DerakonTo a certain extent I can play more cautiously, for example by spending more time shooting things and less time in melee, but a) I have to take risks to finish the mission, regardless of how I play, and b) a more "cowardly" playstyle has hidden risks, too. For example, the longer I spend in a given fight, the more likely I am to make a mistake and get hit; thus, it's in my own best interests to kill the enemies as quickly as possible. However, cautious play by shooting enemies is a slow way to kill them, so I'm increasing my exposure. In other words, no matter what I do, there will always be danger, so the game retains its tension and excitement.

Which is fine as long as the game designers correctly predict the exact level of difficulty to put in. Which they usually don't, and never do consistently. By mandating a minimum difficulty level, you're setting your players up to resent you. This is something Chen's flow theory stuff was getting at--players will happily choose their own optimal difficulty level, as long as you don't fuck with them.

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Ultima Online had an interesting system. When you got killed (by a player or a monster -- frequently with assistance of the Lag Monster) you turned into a ghost and had to run back to town to a healer to be resurrected (with no possessions) and then either go back to your corpse to get all your items (whatever wasnt looted or hadnt all been cleaned up by the system after an interval) or back to get new posessions (in bank /house etc..). Very high level mages could ressurect ghosts if you could find them and they wanted to help you. The running back part could be tedious because ghosts were restricted to terrain blockage the same as non-dead players.

Thus you had a new mission when you died : first to get back non-dead and then to get your equiptment back.

They did nerf more and more over the years adding rediculously contrived mechanisms like 'insurance' for expensive 'special' items (and unloosable status for certain things) and a general inflation of abilities (leading to cheap resurrection scrolls) and cheaper replacement of items due to player mass production. When I started playing you had much more incentive to expend effort to reclaim your stuff, but later it was simpler to just buy replacements (or get replacements from the house full of easily stockpiled items).

An interesting twist for a 'ghost' system would be to allow ghosts to interact
(in UO you could talk to each other) to have an alternate realm that you had to fight you way back to the living world...

Watching the stupidity in UO where the comnpany did little or nothing to stop the plague of Insta-PKers that they had enabled, I thought that if they had an ounce of interest left to improve (fix) the mess, that they could have had the ghosts of the PKer's endless numbers of victims be able to impair the PKers actions when they serial attacked newbies one after another (but then a solution like that would be too intelligent/imaginitive for a game being milked by the management with little dev moneys made available ... lost opportunities and lots of \$ lost for them -- all a shame).

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I think one thing that hasn't been touched on yet is group play.

An MMO includes challenges that are meant to be beaten by groups of people (hence the Multiplayer part...). Because players are only human they tend to make mistakes or things happen beyond their control.

A long respawn timer will discourage group play. I mean who wants to log in just to get killed right away when your one of your teammates' cats jumps on his lap and barfs all over the keyboard? It also deeters people from working together. You lose one person early on in the fight, forget trying to help the others, I am running out of here so I don't die, seeya suckers. In addition, many groups or guilds would constantly be unable to do stuff because two or three of their players decided to play yesterday and accidentally got killed.

Extreme death penalties also prevent people from going into new content. People want to play the game, not go into unknown or new content and risk getting locked out for 3 days. To counter that developers would make the content easier, and that takes away all the risk that you claim to want.

In short, an MMO with long lockouts is going to be a failure. Buy game, log on, get eaten by wolf because you don't know how to play yet, find out you are locked out for 3 days, cancel subscription, uninstall game.

Ultimately I think there should be a penalty for death. However it has to be small enough so that people are willing to take on new challenges. Playing cautiously is one thing, but playing the game in constant fear of dying only limits what the players can and will try. Why try to beat CoolNewMonster when I can beat up OldMonster for 1/2 the xp with little or no risk?

I like the idea of multiple death penalties. You can either pay a fee to be resurrected (easy way out) or you can do a ghost-quest, perhaps as mentioned above become a monster and kill another player or fight your way out of the underworld. However the longer and harder paths need to come with some benefit. A small stat buff, xp buff, unique items, or other small incentives would go a long way.

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 Original post by terminateIt also deeters people from working together. You lose one person early on in the fight, forget trying to help the others, I am running out of here so I don't die, seeya suckers. In addition, many groups or guilds would constantly be unable to do stuff because two or three of their players decided to play yesterday and accidentally got killed. Extreme death penalties also prevent people from going into new content. People want to play the game, not go into unknown or new content and risk getting locked out for 3 days.Why try to beat CoolNewMonster when I can beat up OldMonster for 1/2 the xp with little or no risk?
I used to play Maple Story, and if there's one thing that doesn't make a game fun, it's having the whole thing be one big spreadsheet, and calculating the XP per minute you get at various activities, with the knowledge that every second spent doing or going somewhere else i time wasted. Level grinding and perfectly familiar game content is the problem in most games. An excuse for people not not explore every inch of all the content in the first week the game is out would be, in my opinion, a good thing.

And if you cut and run when one of your teammates bites it, then that fits right into my idea, of people showing self preservation and not just metagaming through situations.

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