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MMORPG Game Concepts  » Idea for Perma-Death

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30 posts found
  jeddak

Novice Member

Joined: 3/14/05
Posts: 270

This too shall pass...

7/31/11 11:52:50 AM#21

Permadeath is a favorite idea of mine as it solves many problems that plauge mmo's. But I suggest that it's kept simple: you die you enter the spirit world and wander the earth in search of rebirth. What this rebirth works off of I don't know but when it happens you start over. In a skill based system it could be a simple process of acquiring skills (maybe all at once in rerolling your character). you reenter the world with no one knowing you and no equipment and that's a fun part of finding your way back to whatever you want to do. Players will want to keep their life.

UO,EQ (best mmo's). Been in lotro for almost 7 years mostly in pvp as a lovable spider: Mummy

  Gravarg

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 8/24/06
Posts: 3215

7/31/11 11:57:10 AM#22

I like the idea of creating an entire family.  I never have liked the idea of being some kind of hero in a game.  I'd rather just be a normal person that has to fight for thier life or family.  DAoC had this feeling for me.  I wasn't much of a hero, but part of an army,  this is where most online pvp games go wrong imho.

  grimm6th

Novice Member

Joined: 10/22/10
Posts: 978

7/31/11 11:57:24 AM#23
Originally posted by jeddak

Permadeath is a favorite idea of mine as it solves many problems that plauge mmo's. But I suggest that it's kept simple: you die you enter the spirit world and wander the earth in search of rebirth. What this rebirth works off of I don't know but when it happens you start over. In a skill based system it could be a simple process of acquiring skills (maybe all at once in rerolling your character). you reenter the world with no one knowing you and no equipment and that's a fun part of finding your way back to whatever you want to do. Players will want to keep their life.

smells like a death run.

I used to TL;DR, but then I took a bullet point to the footnote.

  Plasuma!!!

Novice Member

Joined: 9/19/05
Posts: 1874

There's a formula for everything, even famous quotes.

8/02/11 4:58:51 PM#24

I've recently been tossing around an idea that specifically revolves around splitting the game in two layers to accommodate some level of a "perma-death".

The top layer of the world is barren and naturally dangerous, with all kinds of deadly living and environmental hazards to avoid. The lower layer of the world is resource rich and relatively calm. Users in the top layer would work together and only fight for sport or on terms of black and white, while users on the lower layer could do just about anything they want to anyone so long as they are prepared for the consequences.

The two layers are connected, but the only way for a user to interact with the lower layer would be to activate a special mode, which is only temporary and requires some time or effort to build up. The perma-death would apply to the lower layer where there is micro-progress, but not to the top layer, so the user still has some kind of macro-progress that they can maintain.

I was thinking of a setting, something like a spirit world for the top layer and a physical world for the lower layer. Read on for details, otherwise feel free to ignore or use the idea for something else.

 

 

 

 

In the spiritual world, it's a PvE endeavor - users band together to survive the natural horrors that live there. However, they need resources to build better stuff and do more than merely survive. Users would find resources in the physical world, which is bountiful but still limited. Other incentives for gathering resources for the spirit world could be an arena or strict factional PvP (ie: heaven vs. hell) and territory control.

There are two resources here: energy, which is used for "special abilities" and invading the physical world, and experience, which is required to craft things from physical resources. Both energy and experience can be collected by fighting off hazards. Experience can be collected more efficiently by engaging in arena or factional PvP, but that will often require the use of special abilities. Energy can be collected more efficiently from hazards in claimed allied territories, but taking territories will require experience to, say, craft fortifications - and there may be some factional opposition.

Combat and that sort of toe-to-toe competition is a given. How the mechanics work is entirely up to what technologies are available for the project or what the goal of the design is, ie: what genre it appeals to if applicable.

Crafting is how users advance their characters. In crafting, they make tools that they can equip on their spiritselves to do more of one thing or different things. So crafting can augment or grant special abilities, stats, etc.

Factions could be your standard fare red vs. blue. Arena battles might be sport-like games such as capture the flag or mini-conquest, open world PvP would revolve around territory control.

Death or defeat in the spirit world should carry only a slight penalty. Maybe just respawn sickness or a minor loss of some spirit resource like experience or energy.

 

 

The physical world is where free-for-all PvP would take place. As spirits, users would somehow gain enough energy in their realm that they could "invade" the physical world and take control of a random non-player character, or puppet, which resides there. They can stay there as that puppet for however long they like, and even bounce back and forth at will, but when their character dies (which is vulnerable at nearly all times, even while they are not playing it), they are jettisoned back to the spirit world until they decide to build up the energy to try and take over another puppet.

There is a certain limit to the number of puppets in the physical world, as determined by technological constraints, but the world should never run out of them. They spawn infinitely, and how that happens is up in the air. They could be children of posessed families, which would enforce some interesting connections between users that are, say, father and son while still competing for resources. That gets things complicated, but it's a possibility.

While possessing a puppet, they can try to collect high-value physical resources and port them back to their realm for crafting needs. There are infinite resources in the physical world, but some are better than others and take time to procure or manifest in the world, so there's a constant struggle to obtain them before others do. Because everyone needs these resources for crafting, and porting them isn't instant, there is a great incentive to kill others' puppets in order to take what they've collected or prevent them from outing their puppet to others as a witch.

Collected resources are slowly faded into the spirit world over time as long as they are on the user's puppet. Rare resources take longer than more common ones. To speed up the process, users can make their puppets perform a ritual that will send all their collected resources back to their realm upon completion. This ritual is very obvious and takes a little time to complete, thus doing so in public will immediately make the user an obvious and easy target to other users, and the NPC puppets will assume it is witchcraft.

Resources are collected... somehow - staring at nodes, probably. Maybe walking around in specific locales like mines and caves, or digging up dirt and hacking at trees with some kind of density map defining the concentrations of randomly rolled resources as a guide. Common physical resources might also be collected by doing things for some of the townspuppets, IE: quests that are being done routinely by NPCs and everyone else.

By now, it's probably obvious that the goal for the player should be first and foremost to blend in and be mundane as possible. Users with new puppets should be able to blend in just fine, as they always spawn in populated establishments and most NPC puppets have busy lives, running and jumping everywhere and performing their duties - actually, it would be nice if players could be allowed to make convincing NPCs without inhibiting their ability to collect resources, so that's a big polish point. The puppets have their own societies with laws: witchcraft, killing, even assault, are crimes which they will punish with death, so one would have to be discrete about when and where they take out their enemies or perform their rituals, and even more wary of users with puppets in high positions, for they could start a witch hunt. They key to survival around here is to be paranoid of everything, but without appearing so.

 

 

 

The controlled puppets can be outfitted and upgraded to enter more profitable areas, but this makes them more obvious to other users if they are found out of their element. The puppets can also be used to perform other rituals or spells that improve their abilities, but this will make NPC puppets wary of them. Some users may decide to join up with other users and roam about as gangs of murderous and thieving witches and warlocks or live peaceful lives together in a prosperous resource collecting commune, while others may choose to find roaming groups of NPC puppets that look similar to theirs, in order to protect themselves from such predators and remain in reach of the law (which will let them use towns as safe places to log out, since the law enforcement is very powerful there).

Combat isn't the focus in this part of the game, but whatever is used in the spirit world could also be applied here in some way - more incentives for crafting and all that.

Crafting isn't too meaningful here. Users can only craft useful items in their spirit world, and anything they do that resembles crafting in the physical world is either to get a different kind of resource to take home or to make an effort to blend into puppet society a little better.

There are no factional ties in the physical world and no official means of identifying whether or not a puppet is an NPC or a user (so no floating names).

Death in the physical world means that all the stuff that the user had in the physical world is lost. It can be found later if they know where they died or where they had stuff stored when they return to the world, but it is unlikely since they are assigned a random puppet in a different place after each death, and their killers (if any) likely took everything for themselves.

How often or even how does death happen? That's where I hope some creativity could be employed - this world is about espionage, collection, and survival: freak "accidents", blackmailing / betrayal, assassination, and etc. would hopefully be possibilities, at least more likely of a possibility than somebody just being beaten to death with a stick.

How often it happens is a matter of how much there is to explore. If there isn't a lot to build up to and one three-or-six-hour session can pretty much show a user all there is to see and do in this realm, death might be pretty common (and the energy cost for getting a puppet might be low), if stuff takes a long time to explore, death shouldn't happen too often since it's definitely going to stretch across multiple sessions.

 

 

The design is left loose and open at this point for the possibility of exploring the details: more kinds of interactivity (such as non-combat alternatives and user bonding), creative special ability and hazard ideas, how puppets interact, crafting and combat mechanics, etc.

  xS0u1zx

Novice Member

Joined: 1/05/07
Posts: 215

8/02/11 5:04:23 PM#25
Originally posted by Plasuma!!!

I've recently been tossing around an idea that specifically revolves around splitting the game in two layers to accommodate some level of a "perma-death".

The top layer of the world is barren and naturally dangerous, with all kinds of deadly living and environmental hazards to avoid. The lower layer of the world is resource rich and relatively calm. Users in the top layer would work together and only fight for sport or on terms of black and white, while users on the lower layer could do just about anything they want to anyone so long as they are prepared for the consequences.

The two layers are connected, but the only way for a user to interact with the lower layer would be to activate a special mode, which is only temporary and requires some time or effort to build up. The perma-death would apply to the lower layer where there is micro-progress, but not to the top layer, so the user still has some kind of macro-progress that they can maintain.

I was thinking of a setting, something like a spirit world for the top layer and a physical world for the lower layer. Read on for details, otherwise feel free to ignore or use the idea for something else.

 

 

 

 

In the spiritual world, it's a PvE endeavor - users band together to survive the natural horrors that live there. However, they need resources to build better stuff and do more than merely survive. Users would find resources in the physical world, which is bountiful but still limited. Other incentives for gathering resources for the spirit world could be an arena or strict factional PvP (ie: heaven vs. hell) and territory control.

There are two resources here: energy, which is used for "special abilities" and invading the physical world, and experience, which is required to craft things from physical resources. Both energy and experience can be collected by fighting off hazards. Experience can be collected more efficiently by engaging in arena or factional PvP, but that will often require the use of special abilities. Energy can be collected more efficiently from hazards in claimed allied territories, but taking territories will require experience to, say, craft fortifications - and there may be some factional opposition.

Combat and that sort of toe-to-toe competition is a given. How the mechanics work is entirely up to what technologies are available for the project or what the goal of the design is, ie: what genre it appeals to if applicable.

Crafting is how users advance their characters. In crafting, they make tools that they can equip on their spiritselves to do more of one thing or different things. So crafting can augment or grant special abilities, stats, etc.

Factions could be your standard fare red vs. blue. Arena battles might be sport-like games such as capture the flag or mini-conquest, open world PvP would revolve around territory control.

Death or defeat in the spirit world should carry only a slight penalty. Maybe just respawn sickness or a minor loss of some spirit resource like experience or energy.

 

 

The physical world is where free-for-all PvP would take place. As spirits, users would somehow gain enough energy in their realm that they could "invade" the physical world and take control of a random non-player character, or puppet, which resides there. They can stay there as that puppet for however long they like, and even bounce back and forth at will, but when their character dies (which is vulnerable at nearly all times, even while they are not playing it), they are jettisoned back to the spirit world until they decide to build up the energy to try and take over another puppet.

There is a certain limit to the number of puppets in the physical world, as determined by technological constraints, but the world should never run out of them. They spawn infinitely, and how that happens is up in the air. They could be children of posessed families, which would enforce some interesting connections between users that are, say, father and son while still competing for resources. That gets things complicated, but it's a possibility.

While possessing a puppet, they can try to collect high-value physical resources and port them back to their realm for crafting needs. There are infinite resources in the physical world, but some are better than others and take time to procure or manifest in the world, so there's a constant struggle to obtain them before others do. Because everyone needs these resources for crafting, and porting them isn't instant, there is a great incentive to kill others' puppets in order to take what they've collected or prevent them from outing their puppet to others as a witch.

The goal for the player should be first and foremost to blend in and be mundane as possible. Users with new puppets should be able to blend in just fine, as they always spawn in populated establishments and most NPC puppets have busy lives, running and jumping everywhere and performing their duties - actually, it would be nice if players could be allowed to make convincing NPCs without inhibiting their ability to collect resources, so that's a big polish point. The puppets have their own societies with laws: witchcraft, killing, even assault, are crimes which they will punish with death, so one would have to be discrete about when and where they take out their enemies or perform their rituals, and even more wary of users with puppets in high positions, for they could start a witch hunt. They key to survival around here is to be paranoid of everything, but without appearing so.

Resources are collected... somehow - staring at nodes, probably. Maybe walking around in specific locales like mines and caves, or digging up dirt and hacking at trees with some kind of density map defining the concentrations of randomly rolled resources as a guide. Common physical resources might also be collected by doing things for some of the townspuppets, IE: quests that are being done routinely by NPCs and everyone else.

Collected resources are slowly faded into the spirit world over time as long as they are on the user's puppet. Rare resources take longer than more common ones. To speed up the process, users can make their puppets perform a ritual that will send all their collected resources back to their realm upon completion. This ritual is very obvious and takes a little time to complete, thus doing so in public will immediately make the user an obvious and easy target to other users, and the NPC puppets will assume it is witchcraft.

The controlled puppets can be outfitted and upgraded to enter more profitable areas, but this makes them more obvious to other users if they are found out of their element. The puppets can also be used to perform other rituals or spells that improve their abilities, but this will make NPC puppets wary of them. Some users may decide to join up with other users and roam about as gangs of murderous and thieving witches and warlocks or live peaceful lives together in a prosperous resource collecting commune, while others may choose to find roaming groups of NPC puppets that look similar to theirs, in order to protect themselves from such predators and remain in reach of the law (which will let them use towns as safe places to log out, since the law enforcement is very powerful there).

Combat isn't the focus in this part of the game, but whatever is used in the spirit world could also be applied here in some way - more incentives for crafting and all that.

Crafting isn't too meaningful here. Users can only craft useful items in their spirit world, and anything they do that resembles crafting in the physical world is either to get a different kind of resource to take home or to make an effort to blend into puppet society a little better.

There are no factional ties in the physical world and no official means of identifying whether or not a puppet is an NPC or a user (so no floating names).

Death in the physical world means that all the stuff that the user had in the physical world is lost. It can be found later if they know where they died or where they had stuff stored when they return to the world, but it is unlikely since they are assigned a random puppet in a different place after each death, and their killers (if any) likely took everything for themselves.

How often or even how does death happen? That's where I hope some creativity could be employed - this world is about espionage, collection, and survival: freak "accidents", blackmailing / betrayal, assassination, and etc. would hopefully be possibilities, at least more likely of a possibility than somebody just being beaten to death with a stick.

How often it happens is a matter of how much there is to explore. If there isn't a lot to build up to and one three-or-six-hour session can pretty much show a user all there is to see and do in this realm, death might be pretty common (and the energy cost for getting a puppet might be low), if stuff takes a long time to explore, death shouldn't happen too often since it's definitely going to stretch across multiple sessions.

 

 

The design is left loose and open at this point for the possibility of exploring the details: more kinds of interactivity (such as non-combat alternatives and user bonding), creative special ability and hazard ideas, how puppets interact, crafting and combat mechanics, etc.

After managing to read through all that.   The idea of perma-death is well... That it's permenant.

 

If you can play a spirit in the sense you explain, then it is the spirit that is your main character and thus cannot die.  Making it just like every other game where your toon is immortal.   Yes the NPC toons you speak of die, but that is not your main character, it is a puppet.  It's like...  I'll use world of warcraft's warlock class that can enslave demons, just because they die doesn't imply permenant death.    Basically even the npc's that were enslaved will eventually respawn for the next spirit to possess them in your game.

It's an interesting idea you have, but in no way permenant.

  Plasuma!!!

Novice Member

Joined: 9/19/05
Posts: 1874

There's a formula for everything, even famous quotes.

8/02/11 5:09:59 PM#26
Originally posted by xS0u1zx

After managing to read through all that.   The idea of perma-death is well... That it's permenant.

 

If you can play a spirit in the sense you explain, then it is the spirit that is your main character and thus cannot die.  Making it just like every other game where your toon is immortal.   Yes the NPC toons you speak of die, but that is not your main character, it is a puppet.  It's like...  I'll use world of warcraft's warlock class that can enslave demons, just because they die doesn't imply permenant death.    Basically even the npc's that were enslaved will eventually respawn for the next spirit to possess them in your game.

It's an interesting idea you have, but in no way permenant.

Wow, you read damn fast.

 

It is as you say, the user is immortal. However, there is some potential for the puppet to have just as much value as any toon. Outfitting them probably takes time (a lot of time, if you want), and any large time investment that can be lost permanently is just the same as a perma-death.

Think of it like somebody who spends a massive amount of ISK outfitting their ship in EVE. Losing it won't hurt them, it will devastate them - even though they still have their character's progress saved.

 

The trick is to sneak in some kind of giant potential loss to give the ups and downs more definition, but without the down making the player depressed enough to quit.

Although I'm pretty sure it's not a bad idea to allow some players to treat puppets as pets. It's not like everyone who plays the game will want to role-play the farmer's wife.

  miceinblack

Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/27/10
Posts: 122

8/02/11 5:25:24 PM#27

I like the idea of perma death but if we are talking a MMO system you have one big problem which is Act of God. People can have computers crash or even lose power in electrical storms. My apartment lost power for four days as did a good portion of Chicago in one of the storms up here. That means if I get disconned and killed then I am automatically permadeathed because I can't log in the 30 minute time frame. Good way to tick off the player base if a large percentage was permadeathed from a power outage. The only way permadeath would be viable for a MMO is to have like a 3 strikes or even a two strikes system within a certain time period. I like the 30 minute log in thing but you'd have to have some sort of second chance in place for those circumstances where it is impossible to log on. You could still have a penalty such a forced week rollback or something but not permdeath on the first strike.

  Palebane

Novice Member

Joined: 10/18/04
Posts: 3247

8/02/11 5:51:14 PM#28
Originally posted by parrotpholk

There is zero way for permadeath to be a good mechanic for an MMO.  It has been debated to death but honestly your player base would be so small that just the electric bill for your one server in your basement would be a stretch.  

 That is a rather prevential attitude. Perma-death could be incorporated into a game in a way that makes it unobtrusive in the sense that most players would not even notice it. You are right that it wouldn't work in the context of most modern MMOs, but who's to say, further down the line, that it wouldn't make for more immersive and engaging gameplay if done correctly, outside the context of current MMO models?

Vault-Tec analysts have concluded that the odds of worldwide nuclear armaggeddon this decade are 17,143,762... to 1.

  Plasuma!!!

Novice Member

Joined: 9/19/05
Posts: 1874

There's a formula for everything, even famous quotes.

8/05/11 1:19:09 AM#29
Originally posted by Palebane
Originally posted by parrotpholk

There is zero way for permadeath to be a good mechanic for an MMO.  It has been debated to death but honestly your player base would be so small that just the electric bill for your one server in your basement would be a stretch.  

 That is a rather prevential attitude. Perma-death could be incorporated into a game in a way that makes it unobtrusive in the sense that most players would not even notice it. You are right that it wouldn't work in the context of most modern MMOs, but who's to say, further down the line, that it wouldn't make for more immersive and engaging gameplay if done correctly, outside the context of current MMO models?

I can only see the exact idea of perma-death working if people enjoy rolling alts over and over, with no care for what they accomplish inside the game. Not a lot of people are into that because it's stupid.

So you want to have something for posterity somewhere. A record of what they've done, perhaps, or even a lobby where death means that your character is deleted, but you go back to that lobby as your personal avatar, and can keep re-playing the prema-death game with a different character each time. Some people will be careful and make their lives last as long as possible (maybe incentivize them to do so?), other people will operate as though their characters are a wall of bards. That happens with every game.

Also, such lobbies don't have to be boring, so why not include some activities for people to enjoy there? Mini-games? Or it could be an entire other game itself.

Oh, I'm repeating myself.

  Mendel

Hard Core Member

Joined: 7/22/11
Posts: 651

8/08/11 5:42:51 PM#30
Originally posted by Belight
  • FFA PVP with very stiff penalties for killing players and sieging territories that are of positive alignment.

I am always fascinated when someone brings out this concept.  Exactly what kind of 'stiff penalties' exist in a game?  I contend that there is nothing that can be done in the game to 'punish' a criminal (of any sort).

FFA PvP exposes every player to the danger of being killed without reason or motive.   In the real world, that is a 'crime', unsocial behavior, and the 'murderer' is pursued and punished.  If a murder occurs in game, the perpetrator can simply log or change characters to avoid 'jail', and there are no viable monetary / property losses, because all the in-game assets are fictional.  There simply are no social taboos about crime that can exist in a game, since the perpetrator can simply ignore any in-game consequences.  Justice, as we know it, simply cannot exist within a game environment.

I've seen many people on forums claim that Open World PvP fosters roleplaying.  They will continue saying that until someone kills them while they are RPing a response.  I can't count the number of times I've been killed while typing /say I refute your claims, good sir, and furthermore thing that if a babboon were to complain of hemroids, I would suspect you!  

Open World PvP, while it can encourage some roleplaying, is usually a code word for griefing, in my opinion.  At what point does this unsocial behavior cross the line into cyber-bullying?  I don't know.  But, given our overly-litigious society,  I do expect to see lawsuits involving cyber-bullying and gaming in the near future.

 

Logic, my dear, merely enables one to be wrong with great authority.

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