Where’s My Game

My thoughts about what a MMORPG should be.

The Death Penalty

This is one of the most controversial topics to ever face any game, not just MMORPG’s.  My first MMO was Everquest.  Though I got in right around Planes of Power, so I never got to experience the crazy death penalties my friends talked about.  Basically when you die, you are transported to the nearest city, or wherever you are bound, and stripped of all your possessions had to run back to your corpse and loot everything.  I think there was a time that if a person found your corpse they could loot it as well.  When I started playing I do not remember if there was a guild hall to summon your body, but I do remember having to get a Necromancer or a Shadow Knight to summon my corpse for me.  On the other end of this spectrum is Age Of Conan.  I have played games that have fallen in between these two death penalties, but I have never seen a more worthless death penalty than Age Of Conan.  In fact I would go as far as to call it a death bonus.  I call it a bonus because there is so little disadvantage to dieing that I would actually use it to transport me across the map because it was quicker.  At worst you would lose like four attack points, and even that might be a little exaggerated as I never really paid attention to the death penalty.  You would have to die several times in a row without recovering your tombstone to even notice a difference and even then it was not much.  You would not lose experience, you would not lose any items, your armor doesn’t wear down, there is no reason to fear death or to run in and do something stupid.

Death needs to be handled delicately.  Make it to easy and it gets exploited, make it to hard and you piss people off and they quit playing.  I am assuming that most game developers would rather error on the side of too easy in fear of losing subscriptions.

I say for the most part make dieing unpleasant.  At the very least lose some experience, and better yet, lose some experience, make your armor less effective, and give you a penalty like reduced movement, or lesser defense or something that says, holy crap I just died I don’t want to do that again.  There needs to be a reason to do things in games, and even dieing needs to have a reason.  There is a large group of monsters guarding the gate to the tower that my group needs to get into.  In games where there is no penalty I would just run right up to them get myself killed and let my group pass through unscathed.  I would like to see that same scenario with a better death penalty in place and have to think about that one for a second.  Is it worth me dieing for my group, or should I actually have to use my brain for a minute and figure out a better solution to this problem.  Can I pick off a few mobs individually?  Is there a way around them?  In most instances, there is not thought behind what your choice is, especially concerning death.  I am getting a little off topic, but I will cover the thinking in games later.

Basically death needs to be there, and a penalty needs to be there.  What exactly the extent of the penalty, that will be a discussion for later.  Let me know what you think about the death penalty in the games you play, and what you would like to see in a death penalty.


July 3, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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