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r1ft Gaming Blog

A mirror of my gaming blog at The jaded game designer turned corporate lackey. Feedback is always welcome.

Author: Daedren

Fighting Death: The Fragile Hero/Heroine

Posted by Daedren Friday June 8 2007 at 7:48AM
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It constantly amazes me how easily a character can die in most, if not all, current MMORPG's. Whoever originally thought up the system "Player gets to 0 hit points, dies instantly" system really must have worked hard on that one. Can't we do any better than that? The answer is yes. Yes we can. And we're damn well going to do it.

The Fallout series implemented a system where a character was knocked unconscious, then bled to death over time (or died instantly if horribly injured). This alone is miles above most any mechanics that you'll see on the market today.

However, we're going farther. Much farther. So far you might not even believe it.

And now, for our tentative ideas of ...

Mommy, what happens when Daddy gets his ass kicked?

Here's a scenario. Our brave vaulter has decided to go alone and take on some slavers. For some reason, he wants to go in and kill everyone of them at a certain location. However, our vaulter isn't feeling well today. Maybe some bad rat-kabobs. Oh no! He pissed himself mid battle! He could be going... he could be... yes, he is... he's down!

Now what can happen? Chances are, you were just knocked out or incapacitated. And that can lead to...

  • Slavers take his valuables, and throw him in a cesspit.
  • Slavers try to heal him, tie him up, and sell him as a slave.
  • Vaulter was knocked unconscious. Nearby there were other vaulters, who bested the Slavers. Vaulter 1 is revived or aided up. Or he's left to die. Whatever.
  • Vaulter surrenders before. That's right, surrenders. What kind of hero surrenders? Well, one thats going to smooth talk his way out of this mess, maybe?
  • Bubo the slaver thinks your cute. He fixes you up real nice, and you get to be his bitch. Oh, and don't worry: people will find out.
  • Slavers kill our poor vaulter.

That's only a simple scenario. There are so many different things to do in these situations. I think that's a good sample of what *can* happen in a given encounter. The options are going to be numerous, and they'll keep you laughing, crying and praying for a while.

To maintain viability and overall realism, encounters will be made with this mentality in mind. Situations of what can happen will vary depending on what you are fighting (carnivore animals being less forgiving then say, some poor brahman you just got your ass kicked by) and intelligent encounters will really be sky's the limit.


Now that we've cleared up that dying itself won't be as common as in other games, it still leaves the question:

Where does a Vaulter go when he dies?

This system is of course, up for review and discussion, as we speak! Finding a perfect balance of realism and practicality is the ultimate goal here.

So, I won't release details until we have them all, but I can say a few things.

  • Mutation due to radiation along with bio-genetics, grafting and other science things are going to make things pretty interesting.
  • Friends or NPC affiliations might be having to drag your bloody corpse (or whats left of it) out of places you died. Hope your Pip-Boy stayed intact to your ragged body!

In conclusion: actual character death will be much more uncommon than other games. It will be more realistic. Expect to be knocked out, held down, captured, surrendering, sold and beaten as your punishment for getting in over your head!

On a last note, not many people survive a point blank shot with a Desert Eagle. This will be taken into consideration. ;)

cmagoun writes: I have thought about this some as well. The ideas you posted here open up a lot of possibilities. The first neat consequence of a "unconscious, bleeding, but not dead" kind of system is that so long as your teammates remained nearby, you could still be revived. You are out of the fight, but as long as your team ultimately triumphs, you would likely be ok. Such a system makes soloing inherently more dangerous without having to resort to tons of "group only" encounters like other games do. (Not that group only encounters are necessarily bad, but it breaks my immersion to be able to hunt one rat, knowing that the one right next to it is an uber-rat that will kick my behind...) Fri Jun 08 2007 10:25AM Report
cmagoun writes: Another option for a character who was captured in your system would be that he would be incapacitated -- meaning that you would actually have to log into another character and take a mission to rescue yourself. Sort of like a corpse run, but one that ties more into the story of the game. Fri Jun 08 2007 10:27AM Report
Paragus1 writes: In the old table-top Dungeons and Dragons, zero HP put you down but not dead. At -5 HP you would start bleeding to death and lose 1 HP a round, and at -10 you were ultimately slain. Adding incapacitation would be a nice twist. I know the Everquest games have it possible to be down but not dead, but usually since it is such a fine line, it is a rare occurance. I know Darkfall is trying to do this in a PvP setting where you can take people out of the fight and not kill them. Should make for some really fun smack talking after a failed attempt on your life :) Sat Jun 09 2007 3:43PM Report writes:
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