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Can a game allow your character death relevance...

- - - - - character death game relevance

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32 replies to this topic

#1
Aurelius

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Been a nagging annoyance for a long time, so time to have a mild rant =)

More and more, the tendency has been for bigger boss monsters and 'events' that are suicide runs - and often multiple suicide runs - for characters who try them. Eventually the monsters get beaten down, usually after multiple deaths and general mayhem for the players while they figure out workable tactics.

But it's a mmoRPG, where you are meant to have some connection, however remote, to the character you're playing. I can't see any way that gets strengthened when in order to just be present at important events in the life of the shard, your character becomes a masochistic lemming.

I'd not advocate drastic things like perma-death (if you want that, you can have it - just don't res your character!) or crippling of long-developed warriors, mages or tamers, but there is a limit to the scope to get people to relate to characters who then merrily get dismembered on a regular basis, leap up as good as new and then die horribly yet again a few seconds later.

Surely it's not impossible to get some sort of importance to a character death, rather than it's utter lack of meaning in the game now? Can't we have new and serious things to do where repeatedly dying isn't the only way to figure it out?

Or is that in the 'too hard' category? Easier to just stick a few hundred more resists on the monster, let it hit for a few hundred more points damage and blow up in a massive fireball, and have an apparently random 'weakness' that makes no sense in any way, so people can injure it - whilst still dying multiple times.

Challenging, yes, but involving and immersive in a game world? Pretty much the opposite.

#2
DiP

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Couldn't agree more.

Sadly, the only thing that matters in death now is insurance (items). I don't know what they could add in game (death mechanics, events, pixel crack, etc.) to make death something other than a minor annoyance, but I do know the only thing that would make people think twice about running off the edge lemming style is the possibility of losing their "stuffs".

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Thanks again Maddux!

Adri: women don't discuss men while in the bathroom, we sacrifice small animals and smoke tampons *rolls eyes*


Adam: aye and in order to expedite the production of solidiers, i kill off the old people (Carp was right, Adam IS evil!)

#3
Cymbria Devereux

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I am sorry to say this, but I tend to agree.

I like to think though when I die, and I really do try to make it as least often as possible, everyone between the dungeon and Heartwood can hear me screaming as I fall off my charger!

[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]


#4
Evolus

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Maybe like a 1 hour timer or something after you die?

Either way, people would be upset about either choice. hehe

#5
Adri

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rofl @ masochistic lemming

It would make it more interesting if there was some sort of repercussion. Maybe not an hour long, that's a bit of a wait. Maybe instead, not being able to be rezzed until the creature which killed you is dead. Or not being able to be rezzed during battle. Perhaps even if someone tried to throw a rez, they would become the instant target of everything around.

Either way, if it were changed, it would give UO players the screaming meemies.

#6
Galen

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For my part....Death usually has major consequences for me. I have a very hard time getting back "in the game" after a death. Even in PvM I'm often looted, to say nothing of PvP.

Also my UOA dress macro always seems to not work or be delayed, and in PvM on a big monster I have a habit of rarely being back in time to get looting rights.

And that's to say nothing of the great meanings death often has in RolePlaying contexts.

*shrugs*

-Galen's player

#7
Cymbria Devereux

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In PvM you can still loot the corpse of the creature which looted you and get your items back, unless it was gold that was taken. But I've retrieved bandages and a quiver from something I did not have a chance to kill. I don't carry a regs bag, but I've heard they've been found and returned as well.

[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]


#8
Aurelius

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And that's to say nothing of the great meanings death often has in RolePlaying contexts.


True, character death can get 'meaning' in a RP setting, and it can be quite painful for the player involved when their character dies - I really, really don't like my characters getting killed - but the point I'm trying to make is that repeated character deaths are becoming expected in almost any event or occasion that is part of the game as controlled by EA/Mythic, be it the current cycle, or past events, or the peerless bosses (until people had the hang of them).

There's almost an expectation now that to take part means multiple character deaths, which surely makes the 'character' more of a playing piece than a 'character'. Seems to me to be a slide away from what the point of the 'rpg' bit of mmorpg means towards something much more mechanical and distanced from the player.

#9
elffyb

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Think purist.

You die ... you are dead.

Remove all the extra character slots also down to one to minimize twinking yourself.

You could hold mock funerals :)

Housing would become more plentiful. If you die with one character I would imagine your house going IDOC.

The economy may become less item based. People would no longer have gimp templates relying on those items.

Banksitting will quickly become more popular :)

#10
DiP

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Yes, you CAN have self-imposed restrictions/disabilities/penalties/etc. to dieing, but that's it.

The point Aurelius is making is there is nothing the game does to you when you die (chance of losing items aside, as that's easily avoided).

Posted Image

Thanks again Maddux!

Adri: women don't discuss men while in the bathroom, we sacrifice small animals and smoke tampons *rolls eyes*


Adam: aye and in order to expedite the production of solidiers, i kill off the old people (Carp was right, Adam IS evil!)

#11
elffyb

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I was suggesting those as a purists start for server enforced rule-set.

#12
Pennywise

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Been a nagging annoyance for a long time, so time to have a mild rant =)

More and more, the tendency has been for bigger boss monsters and 'events' that are suicide runs - and often multiple suicide runs - for characters who try them.
Challenging, yes, but involving and immersive in a game world? Pretty much the opposite.


I believe the intention is to build community, where no one is superman, but relying on others to play in unison to defeat objectives.

From a marketing perspective, this would help EA, as it will provide an incentive for players to attract new members.

There would be no fiscal growth were the game to only be relegated to a "first game shooter," with players able to conquer all tasks and move on to the next market brand.

#13
Aurelius

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I believe the intention is to build community, where no one is superman, but relying on others to play in unison to defeat objectives.


Perhaps that's one of the aims - get a load of people together at once for a shared objective, so you might help build 'community' in some way. But if the method involves distancing people from their character and making it more explicitly a playing piece, you head off into a different (and probably harder) problem.

I'm not sure that the idea of 'community' gets advanced much either though, since so many parts of the playerbase and their preferred playstyles don't get much, if any, involvement in what's going on. I agree completely that the 'superman' soloing everything is a problem in any multiplayer game, but I'm not convinced forcing people to develop tactics by imposing multiple character death on them supports any level of involvement in the character they play, and makes the idea of 'character death' almost trivial since you watch it happen with such regularity.

#14
dhekke

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I once played in a RG freeshard wich had this discussion of what death should mean.

My opinion is that, first of all, this is a fantasy game. Extraordinary things should and do happen, that's the definition of it, so something like perma-death is absurd, since it would cripple exactly what Aurelius goal is.
When you are a newbie you die a lot. You don't know what you can and cn't attack, and where you shouldn't go. Now imagine if everytime you get mauled by a zombie, you had to start over... that doesn't make sense, and you wouldn't want to keep playing the game.

A good idea that I saw about this is a stat-penalty on death, say 10% on all stats for 1 hour, or 30 min, cumulative, so everytime you die, you would die more easily next time. It would stop the suicidal-lemming behavior for sure, because after 2 or 3 deaths you wouldnt last at all, and would be forced to sit out.

But along that, many monsters should be nerfed, because the amout of players needed to take them down would be unreal.
Major system changes would have to be made arond this death-cap.

Also, some deaths simply are unintentional, sometimes I get killed while hunting by myself. It isn't suicidal, it just happens that a titan paragon spawn next to me, and since I'm pure warrior, I can't recall away, and running doesn't work much either, so I stand against him, and try to fight and run at the same time... doesn't work... I get killed, my horse gets killed, I lose gold and bandages, and the insurance money and that is penalty enough for me.
I don't have a lot of money, so losing something like 20k (insurance, bands, horse and my gold in the backpack) is a big hit. I wouldn't even have insurance, but UO is now item based and I'm not rich enough to just keep buying armors every time I die...

Applying penalties to a game system isn't easy, since you should consider every single possible gaming style and experience.

We are Ultima Online


#15
Magister_Returns

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Factions. If you die to another faction character, you suffer a decent penalty to skills for 20 minutes.

~M

#16
Aurelius

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Factions. If you die to another faction character, you suffer a decent penalty to skills for 20 minutes.

~M



Which is a reasonable 'disincentive' in terms of faction activity - but I feel it's more along the lines of 'a penalty for dying' rather than anything that makes the 'death' of a character have any impact.

The thing that's nagging me isn't 'should there be a penalty for death', more a 'should there be any sense of importance in a character death', and how can you make a character in a mmorpg more than just a 'playing piece'.

#17
Aurelius

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@ dhekke - some excellent points there, especially the one about us repeatedly dying as newbies, which in in a twisted way part of the fun of getting into a new game. The problem, I think, comes later on, when we have pretty well established and skilled characters.

Of course we still get them killed at times, but I'm getting uneasy that 'events' in particular, but also much 'new content', virtually requires multiple character deaths before you can hope to get the hang of what is happening, and the result of that is likely to be less involvement of the player with the character as a 'character' and increase the perception of it as an expendable piece.

I'm not convinced penalties for character death can help address that distancing much, it's more about how you get people involved in relating to their characters - which need not be to huge depth, there's no way I'd suggest it becomes compulsary to play that way if you don't want to. It's just a nagging feeling I have that if it's a RPG, things that seperate the player from the character should be avoided where possible, and I'd far prefer not to keep running into events or situations where your character repeatedly becomes mincemeat 'just because'. Occasionally, fine as a 'challenge' for those folks who like that - but it seems to have become the default for almost all events in the last few months/years, and I'd be very interested to know if anyone has a better way to address this -I wish I did :o

#18
Chad Sexington

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The obvious answers are perma-death and "remove insurance."

The less obvious and more practical answer is to record all stats and make them viewable by the public. Not only the number of times you've died, but translated in efficiency in a particular area.

Example: How many times did you die to the Dartk Father? How many times from each of the other gauntlet bosses? How many much damage did you deal? How many artifact drops did you get? And all in how much time?

Your rating for Doom equals XXXXX.

Then make that rating meaningful in some other part of the game. Maybe another part of the dungeon or required to obtain a deco or wearable item.

Have ratings for many areas, monster types, and/or bosses.

Have individual ratings give you access to certain things or combine ratings for other perks.


Another idea is to translate the ratings into percentiles of the entire shard population. With ratings alone, people would figure out the best way to deal with an area, post the tactics, top out, "win" that part of the game, and never go back. Everyone would be highly rated.

If split into percentiles, a clear ranking would be set.

#19
skreid

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Funny, a lot of the ideas in this thread have already been implemented... in WoW.

In WoW, there's a certain amount of wait if you want your ghost to appear at your body- I think it's along the lines of 5 minutes. Or, you are sent to a graveyard and have to run back to your body.

^^I also agree that some sort of stat count system should be implemented.

#20
CescoAiel

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But none of the provided answers dealt with the real question: How can a game allow *relevance* to your characters death?
These are all incentives to make you try to prevent death, but with bosses and events that are per definition suicide runs being actively pushed by the devs, doesn't UO just do the opposite?... What relevance is there in your toon's death if you are forced to go on suicide runs again and again to figure out what the hell is going on, and how to deal with it? What relevance at all if even large, effective groups that do peerless or spawns successfully get mauled and used for mincemeat?...
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