This week’s Community Spotlight focuses on the thread “Do you think permadeath would bring people together or tear apart MMO society and grouping?” by Emergence.
Permadeath is something we’ve discussed in previous Community Spotlights, however, Emergence’s thread puts an interesting twist on the topic. Forget whether permadeath is a sound idea or not, instead, Emergence asks us to focus on the effects of permadeath on a game’s community. Will players group more or less in an MMO featuring permadeath?
“Subject: Permadeath in any MMO, current MMO or imagined.
Argument 1: Permadeath would cause players to group together more often, binding together to protect each other. Players would respect one another so they could find groups to tackle content, insuring their character's lives.
Argument 2: Permadeath would cause players to group less, tearing them apart in fear of death. Players would fear death because of another player's bad choices. Players would be paranoid about other's skills and abilities, newbies would be forced to solo, and mistakes would be unforgivable (friendships broken, guilds destroyed).
Devil's Advocate: What if progression was fast or content did not scale with group #? Dungeon A's mobs are the same with 1 person as it is with 5, so 5 is ALWAYS less dangerous. Or would it be ALWAYS?”
MimiEZ feels that the community in a permadeath MMO would definitely suffer:
“I think it would overall tear up the community. Just looking at myself, I wouldn't want to play with anyone except my real life friends, and I wouldn't want to group with them that much even, if there was permadeath. The community would be very seperated, people only grouping with the same 1-5 people, people only crafting things for those people, making it just better to be a regular online game instead of an mmo.
In a game with permadeath, survival would be the main point of the game, and you can't build the same type of trust or sense of survival in a game that you can in real life. In real life you would never go toward danger, but just looking at horror game lovers, you may be cautious, but you still go into the darkness.”
Sleepyfish feels the presence of permadeath would foster a better community:
“Permadeath in a game where PVP mattered would create a society of cautious, polite and helpful people honestly. Take UO the Baja server which was full pvp, one of the most harsh servers in UO, had one of the most helpful communities in Ultima Online.
But by definition PVP would be serious business and hard to do. PVE would truly be a risk especially against large 50 foot creatures.
I would respect any player pvp or pve that played for years and didnt die.
I imagine dying in games like this would be very very hard. Not one shot deaths like in other mmorpgs.”
NetSage thinks that grouping would be both positively and adversely affected:
“First of tldr. But, I would say both in all honesty.
Starting out it would be chaos as those who chose to kill early would have the advantage for a long amount of time. However I think they would be the minority shortly allowing the rest to band together and with numbers to at least even the playing field. While the community would probably start to flourish within the established areas venturing to far would probably get you killed by the rouges. Or, if it's more even there would be constant wars and I'm not sure how it would work out.”
I’m of the mind that such a system would probably balance itself out. If everyone just ended up killing each other, no one would get anywhere. Assuming that people were able to not kill each other long enough to progress through the game, I think lines would be drawn in the sand and people would still venture out together. Reputation would matter, and other players would band together to protect the overall population, which would probably serve as somewhat of a deterrent. I can’t say I’d personally risk my neck to find out though!
So, what's your opinion on the effects of permadeath on a MMO community? Would playesr group less? More? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Please keep in mind that this is NOT a discussion on whether or not permadeath is even viable. Assume a particular MMO already has permadeath, how would it affect the community?