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Legendre

Losing all items when your character die.

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Legendre    985

I am developing an online multiplayer RPG in which if your character dies, you lose everything in your inventory. However, you do leave behind a corpse from which you (or anyone else) can loot your items from.

 

I have been doing some research on other games that implement this and discovered two incredibly popular ones: 

 

Realm of the Mad God (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Realm_of_the_Mad_God)

Runescape (http://runescape.wikia.com/wiki/Death)

 

So I suppose players are open to "item-perma death". To avoid making it too painful, I am going to make premium/paid or rare/legendary items safe from this. E.g. Like Runescape, you can pick 3 items to save from item-perma death.

 

What do you guys think about this? And what kind of pitfalls would you suggest I avoid?

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DpakoH    1204

So you lose every item, but you get to keep the character, did i understand correct? if yes, i do not think i would like it. maybe if you die you can lose some random items from your inventory that are not equipped or something like that... just a suggestion from a fan of perma-death games :)

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HappyCoder    5052

I feel like losing all of your items when you die may frustrate users and they may stop playing your game at that point because they don't want to have to go through all the work of trying to obtain their items again. I also feel like this would cause powerful characters to continually become more powerful as they can loot whatever good items they want from other users and keep them or sell them for gold.

 

What reasoning do you have for such a system? It sounds like a more realistic way to handle dying in a game but realism in a game shouldn't control gameplay mechanics. Your top priority should be to make the game fun.

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powerneg    2010

i wouldn't recommend saving premium and/or legendary items, the premmy-thing would come very close to "selling power" and the legendary-rule would mean someone would reach a certain level where he/she can actually acquire legendary items first.
(although it could work if implemented differently:
legendary:just add "safe" items(on every level) that are less strong but cant be stolen
premium:well, it might work, you need income in some way anyway, a premium might for examplebe able to select one additional item that is safe or you could say "for premiums boots are always safe" and have boots never be overpowered but still be important enough that it's something you want to replace quickly after death)
selecting "x" items that are safe sounds like the best road to go though, you could implement various skills related to this, which is core to most RPG'd

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Legendre    985
I feel like losing all of your items when you die may frustrate users and they may stop playing your game at that point because they don't want to have to go through all the work of trying to obtain their items again. I also feel like this would cause powerful characters to continually become more powerful as they can loot whatever good items they want from other users and keep them or sell them for gold.

In Realm of the Mad God and Runescape, you lose all your items when you die (you get to save 3 in Runescape). Yet, RotMG is a hugely popular indie game, and Runescape is the 2nd most played MMORPG (WoW is 1st).

Perhaps it can be done in a way that does not frustrate users?
What reasoning do you have for such a system? It sounds like a more realistic way to handle dying in a game but realism in a game shouldn't control gameplay mechanics. Your top priority should be to make the game fun.

I thought of using the traditional permanent item system but it doesn't really fit with my game. Its not about realism. My game plays somewhat like Realm of the Mad God.

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Legendre    985
i wouldn't recommend saving premium and/or legendary items, the premmy-thing would come very close to "selling power" and the legendary-rule would mean someone would reach a certain level where he/she can actually acquire legendary items first.


True. I will probably not sell premium items or have ultra rare/legendary loot...to avoid frustrating players who loses them.

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Legendre    985
So you lose every item, but you get to keep the character, did i understand correct? if yes, i do not think i would like it. maybe if you die you can lose some random items from your inventory that are not equipped or something like that... just a suggestion from a fan of perma-death games smile.png

 

Well technically your character dies lol. But you get to create a new character at the same level with the exact same abilities so essentially you only lose the items.

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Gava    277

I used to play a MMORPG that had a mechanic similar to this but implemented in a different way called Argentum Online. Every player had a bank account where they could deposit items/money, This account was only accessed from a NPC in most cities. So you would go out to loot, if killed all the items you where carrying would be tossed on the floor but anything deposited on the bank would remain (you only had access to the banks items when alive and tacking to the banks NPC). They had a revival system where you had to walk to town and talk to a priest (your player transformed into a ghost when dead) and you wold come back to life(with no items though). There was also a revive magic that other players could use to revive you but since you dropped everything on death you usually lost most of your gear in the meantime. Some items couldn’t be lost though, mostly faction amour (this was obtained though a quest and couldn’t be bought so getting another one was impossible) but even the best faction amour was mid tier.

The bank account had no limit on money deposited but had a limit on items (it was an odd item cap, You could have up to 30 item stacks of 10000. this allowed to have tons of low value items like potions but restricted the expensive ones since having 10000 of any equipment was insanely expensive).

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hpdvs2    1017

It was common in games to expect to lose your items if you died.  However, there is a mechanic for this I've been liking more and more, Insurance.

 

In a thief plugin, for Minecraft, that a friend is working on, we discussed how to keep it fun despite the fact your stuff can be stolen. In our case we added bounties, but Insurance is the key item that would cross over here.  What I recommend, is for players to be offered "life insurance"  they pay x Amount, and will be insured for X*100, or some odd factor like that.  so if I paid 1 credit, I would then be insured for 100 credits.  Then when my player dies, I can go to the insurance office in my town (similar to a shop) where it shows all the items I had with me at my death, and then I can purchase them back with the insurance money, or my own cash as well.  Then I don't lose things as much, and I have the option to buy them back, so I don't have to go on some crazy quest to get them.  But as soon as I fund more money into the insurance, it wipes out what was recorded from my previous death.  That way its only for future deaths.  You could of course increase this ratio to X*1000 or something you deam more reasonable, but it provides protection for important items.  

 

 

Another idea is to cast spells of return.  Perhaps they cost a lot, particularly depending on the Rarity or Value of an object, but once cast, the items always returns to your bank vault on your death.  Or back to your inventory just as you had it, equipped or not.

 

But this way, your players do have a way around this.  It costs, but it puts the power with them.  Usually after losing an item or two of value, most players will start taking advantage of insurance and/or spells of return.

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Legendre    985
Or perhaps I can make it so that most items are like power ups in shoot'em ups and FPSes - semi-easily replaceable and non-distinguishable?<br /><br />With "rare drop" or items that are hard to get means no one will be pissed losing items?

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Ravyne    14300

If you're doing a pay-to-play model, you might have it such that items acquired as loot are subject to being lost -- perhaps after a certain number of deaths, or on a dice-roll during death -- but that items bought through a real-money transaction wouldn't be subject to such loss. You could also augment this with being able to enchant looted items for a smaller fee, such that they are treated in the same way as paid items. Further, paid/enchanted items could either be permanently safe, or just have a really high resistance from being lost.

 

I'm not a huge fan of pay to play if it means buying an advantage over other players, but it seems to me that successful $$$-to-Play games that are enjoyed by all types of players are those that are selling convenience and time-savings, rather than pure advantage, and that the model I described above would fit into that category.

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On a 2D orpg I worked on (as a tile artist and scripter) with a couple friends online, we made only the currently equipped items be dropped on death, while keeping the items in your inventory mostly safe. We also choose a random non-equipped inventory item and dropped that as well, to make sure you usually drop something.

 

It worked out fairly well. A player could then choose to go into combat with their second-best equipment instead of their first-best, and in the worst case scenario, only lose a random one piece of their first-best equipment.

Edited by Servant of the Lord

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Ashaman73    13715

EQI got such a feature. It depends on a lot of factors:

1. Do you provide some bank space which will not be affected by the perma-drop ? How large is it ? How easy to access ?

2. How hard is it to obtain items of similar quality ? It is very expensive (crafting) ?

3. How hard will it be to recover a corpse if you lost your primary equipment set ?

 

I liked it back in EQI, but it introduced some interesting gameplay. For one many stripped all their equipment and put it into their bank to travel from town to town, so that you didn't loose any valuable items during this kind of death-run. On the other hand, you got punished for exploring unknown terrain. If you entered a hi-level area a single hit was deadly and there wasn't much you could do to recover it on your own. On the other hand many other people helped you to regain your corpse, often hi-level characters of your own guild.

 

From a gameplay perspective it is permadeath light and introduces some counter intuitive behaviour. E.g. if you want to explore a dangerous dungeon, you normally would equip the best items, but here you would leave useful equipment back at your home. With permadeath you would prepare to confront the dangers, accepting the risk, with item-drop you would probe the dangerous areas first with crap-equipment, leaving the good equipment for the already easy areas. And there's the danger of introducing some balacing issues when you have gear-dependent character classes (e.g. warrior vs mage).

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dakota.potts    455
I played Runescape extensively about 6-8 years ago.

You can keep your items in a bank, including money. When you die, your 3 most valuable items are saved and you drop everything else. In PVP areas, if you attack another player, you drop all of your items upon dying. This is signified with a skull over your head that everybody can see.

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Legendre    985
Corpse runs were never fun.  But I guess it can add to the overall experience. 

 

I didn't intend to have corpse runs. But I did intend for players to leave a corpse behind when they die, so other players can come across corpses of their fallen comrades.

 

But...that will just degenerate into corpse runs.

 

Current solution: players lose all items permanently when they die. No more corpse runs. (no rare items that takes a lot of effort to get, to avoid frustrating people)

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Are corpse runs really a problem that need to be fixed?

In the small ORPG I worked on (no longer active) that I mentioned above, corpses could be picked up by anyone, and they completely disappeared after a "random" 0 seconds to 5 minutes, unless another player was near the corpse.

 

A map with no players on it had all item drops cleared every 5 minutes. If you died 25 seconds before the map was cleared, your corpse only lasted 25 seconds. If you died 10 seconds after a map was cleared, your corpse would last until the next clear in 4 minutes and 50 seconds. This was an unintentional side-effect of maps clearing monster drops that nobody wanted to pick up, but we liked it so we left it in.

 

Players A) were frustrated by the inconsistent timing of their corpse disappearing B) actually seemed enjoyed the scramble to get their corpse - Is it still there or isn't it? Anticipation/anxiety C) hunted with a friend so the friend standing by the corpse would keep it from disappearing, or so the friend can pick up the items and return them later.

PvPers would kill someone, stay by their corpse for them to return and kill them again. This was an understood and accepted risk of hunting in PvP zones.

 

You could make the corpse not be retrievable by the player who died, and fade after 3 minutes. But why stop corpse runs at all - are they really all that bad?

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Legendre    985
But why stop corpse runs at all - are they really all that bad?


It feels bad on the player's end. They will think its a deliberate death penalty and a compulsory chore. E.g. there are quite a few articles on the net about the "dreaded" Everquest corpse run.

I rather have the player get on with the game, than feel frustrated trying to retrieve his corpse over and over again.

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DaveTroyer    1060

I like the idea of all the players loot going away when they die, but my thought to help the player deal with such a lose is to have loot drop a lot more often and limit how much they can carry.

 

Say the player has a weapon slot, a magic slot, and an armor slot, plus 3 spaces to store things in their invintory. Well, they will fight a gang of 4 roaming bandits and they get 2 pieces of loot from each of them. Even if their inventory was completely empty and had nothing equiped, they still need to leave 2 things behind.

 

By getting the player used to leaving loot all over the place, they become less attached to their gear. It will make starting over a little more bearable, even if the player had nearly end-game gear and screwed up right before the big bad end boss fight.

 

But thats just what I think about it biggrin.png

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Legendre    985
I like the idea of all the players loot going away when they die, but my thought to help the player deal with such a lose is to have loot drop a lot more often and limit how much they can carry.

 

Say the player has a weapon slot, a magic slot, and an armor slot, plus 3 spaces to store things in their invintory. Well, they will fight a gang of 4 roaming bandits and they get 2 pieces of loot from each of them. Even if their inventory was completely empty and had nothing equiped, they still need to leave 2 things behind.

 

By getting the player used to leaving loot all over the place, they become less attached to their gear. It will make starting over a little more bearable, even if the player had nearly end-game gear and screwed up right before the big bad end boss fight.

 

But thats just what I think about it biggrin.png

 

Good points. This is pretty much how I am going to design it.

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Reavermyst    133

It's a neat concept but very frustrating in application. I've read that Sony Online Entertainment's Wizardry Online has a feature just like that, but it's the kind of feature that promotes an extremely hardcore player base.  Unless said items are easily retrievable and/or attainable, you can expect a game that'll attract a small niche of players who may stay a while.  Anyone outside this niche are more likely to quit in a short amount of time.  Implying that this is a multiplayer game we're discussing of course.

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Ravyne    14300
I like the idea of all the players loot going away when they die, but my thought to help the player deal with such a lose is to have loot drop a lot more often and limit how much they can carry.

 

Say the player has a weapon slot, a magic slot, and an armor slot, plus 3 spaces to store things in their invintory. Well, they will fight a gang of 4 roaming bandits and they get 2 pieces of loot from each of them. Even if their inventory was completely empty and had nothing equiped, they still need to leave 2 things behind.

 

By getting the player used to leaving loot all over the place, they become less attached to their gear. It will make starting over a little more bearable, even if the player had nearly end-game gear and screwed up right before the big bad end boss fight.

 

But thats just what I think about it biggrin.png

 

Good points. This is pretty much how I am going to design it.

 

That's all well and good if the rest of the design supports it -- but you pretty much have to go down a line where one's effectiveness is generally defined by the player character's attributes (e.g. attack power is more a function of my strength and acumen, than the quality or "specialness" of my sword), or alternatively that my effectiveness as a player is linked to my ability to play the game well (e.g. by playing more strategically, or simply "getting better"--usually by exploiting weaknesses in AI or level design than by any actual skill). Once you've gone down the road of dropping loot all the time with no recourse, you've created a game where you can't have meaningful differences between like items (e.g. swords) for like players (players with more money obviously can buy better equipment, and there are plenty of ways for rewarding more money to more advanced players). This may be your design, I just want to point out that the drop-loot-all-the-time model is somewhat at odds with the RPG staple of gaining better equipment.

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Legendre    985
It's a neat concept but very frustrating in application. I've read that Sony Online Entertainment's Wizardry Online has a feature just like that, but it's the kind of feature that promotes an extremely hardcore player base.  Unless said items are easily retrievable and/or attainable, you can expect a game that'll attract a small niche of players who may stay a while.  Anyone outside this niche are more likely to quit in a short amount of time.  Implying that this is a multiplayer game we're discussing of course.

 

Two very popular games: "Runescape" and "Realm of the Mad God" has this feature too.

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Legendre    985

Once you've gone down the road of dropping loot all the time with no recourse, you've created a game where you can't have meaningful differences between like items (e.g. swords) for like players (players with more money obviously can buy better equipment, and there are plenty of ways for rewarding more money to more advanced players). This may be your design, I just want to point out that the drop-loot-all-the-time model is somewhat at odds with the RPG staple of gaining better equipment.


Two very popular games: "Runescape" and "Realm of the Mad God" has this (drop all items upon death) feature too.

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Ashaman73    13715

[quote name='Legendre' timestamp='1357901891' post='5020264']
Two very popular games: "Runescape" and "Realm of the Mad God" has this feature too.
[/quote]

[quote name='Legendre' timestamp='1357901966' post='5020265']
Two very popular games: "Runescape" and "Realm of the Mad God" has this (drop all items upon death) feature too.
[/quote]

It is risky to argue that a feature, because it is contained in a popular game, is automatically a good feature. A feature lives in the context of a whole game. It might be good in one game and very bad in an other game.

 

You need to define the context with this in mind. E.g. if your items are really generic, drops often and are just more like tools, then item drop is really ok. On the other hand, if you have many unique items (to which the players get attached), seldom item drop and equipment which serves as instrument to make the character unique and special, then item drop could be very frustrating.

 

There are game features you just can add and there are game features where you need to build the game around it. Perma-death and item drop are such game features.

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