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The General Store

A collection of articles created by me regarding anything that has some faint relation to an MMO(s).

Author: Nalestom

Shouldn't I Be *Dead*?

Posted by Nalestom Friday February 20 2009 at 4:53AM
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I've seen it all too often, both in professional and novice MMO's. You're fighting in a high-level dungeon, barely holding off mobs that are 4-6 levels higher than you, and for that large difference, you're doing pretty good. You're dealing out quite a bit of damage while staying out of trouble just enough so that you don't annoy the healer. Suddenly, you find yourself dead, and you aren't sure what happened. Did a member of the opposite faction sneak up behind you and snipe you with an arrow? Or did a mob spawn off to the side of you?

No, you're tank and healer experience a bout of lag, therefore transferring all of the aggro over to you. And your 500-HP butt couldn't withstand a blow without keeling over.

The healer endlessly apologizes, complaining about the modem and the ISP (Internet Service Provider) and everything that could have possibly interfered with his connection (Meanwhile, the tank is still warping around the zone because of his lag). It's fine, though, because you lost a measly .5% (Yes, that is a decimal point in front) of your total experience, which is nothing compared to what you were getting per kill. You'll probably earn 10 times the amount you lost just by killing a single monster! Plus, you didn't lose any of your treasured gear, and you respawned at the beginning of the zone. A simple minute-long walk will bring you back to where you were fighting, and then all will be well.

My point? In most MMO's, the death of your character does not carry a high enough price (Unless your cause of death is from another character through PVP. In that case, all that is affected is your kill/death ratio and PVP ranking, whatever that may be).

So, what would an ideal death system be? Well, one of the best death systems I have seen so far in my history of gaming is actually from RuneScape. While I may sound like a complete idiot for even mentioning anyting good about that game to some people, I ask them to think about it. In RuneScape, death holds a very high price. You don't lose experience, you don't lose any levels whatsoever, but you do lose all of your beloved items that you carried with you except for the three most valuable items. So, while that highly expensive weapon that you just bought may be safe, almost all of your precious, valuable, and good-looking armor is lost unless you are able to find your body and recover them.

However, the games we shouldn't idolize for their death methods could be Everquest I and II, World of Warcraft, Adventure Quest, Dragonfable, etc. I know for a fact that (with the exception of World of Warcraft, as I have only played the trial, so the death system may or may not change in the later levels) each of these games do not take away anything important except for a little bit of experience or perhaps nothing at all. The only real penalty is having to walk all the way back to where you died at and revive there to continue fighting.

The reason I am ranting on and on about this is that I am tired of seeing people who regard death as a "minor annoyance" in a game. Death shouldn't be realistic (for example, when you die, it counts as a permadeath, and you have to start over from scratch) but it should be highly undesirable for anybody of any level. They should lose something important to them, like an item, or perhaps even a hefty amount of experience, for those higher-level players who farm enough money to replace anything.

I highly advise the developers of MMO's to rethink the "traditional" death system and come up with a more substantial price to pay for those who love to die. After all, death isn't death if you don't "die".


caemsg writes:

i despise the minor death peanilties of current games yes i hate loseing items but it means im lot more likely to try not to die

i like the SQO death penilty where if you are killed you respawn to terra in a jump suit or tunic depending on your faction and all youre items gone unless someone looted your corpse youre PP reset some stat and skill loss and a death count which affects PP gain more deaths less PP gained
its not such a harsh price is it i love it when i die i know about it and it matters because im not going to be able to recapture my objective and if i kill some one their death matters because it is 1 less opponant to worry about for the rest of the battle

these other death peanilities?? if you can call them that are too little and are meaning less and you cannoth have a good game when there are meaning less mechanics

Fri Feb 20 2009 7:16AM Report
fansede writes:

 New to the genre?

Death penalties are always an issue


Fri Feb 20 2009 7:32AM Report
TenchiMuyo writes:

I like Res sickness idea. It makes sense. Your body was dead; going into rigor mortis (I know, it takes a while to do that, but MMORPG time has NEVER been = to irl time), brain tissue starts decaying, so on. So your strength, agility, and intelligence would definately go down. Your charisma of course, being a pale corpse, would also go down.

Perhaps add 'Short Term Memory Loss', which causes a realistic alternative to simply 'Death Experience Penalty!!!11!1'.

Just make it make sense, and I'll go with the flow. Hell, even add an 'Experimental Resurrection' option, where a mad scientist resurrects you instead. He can do it in the field, and you get less stat penalties for your res sickness, but there's a .5% chance every 3 seconds to be rooted for 4 seconds, or something like that, from an electrical short circuit from the resurrection.

Fri Feb 20 2009 9:44AM Report writes:
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