View Full Version : on the subject of death...

September 25th, 2006, 12:22 PM
I was just wondering, what is the proper penielty for death in an MMO, i've seen two versions of death peniltys...

EQ- you die you lose X exp, you need to corpse run or summon... you have an option of hunting down a cleric for a rez that will cut your stats for a few minutes but give you back a majority of experiance lost...(EQ1 you can loss a lvl if your not carful)

WoW- apon death you recive a 10% wear and tear on all your gear that has duriblity, 25% if you choose to rez via spirit healer which also sends you off with a 75% stat penilty for X time depending on your lvl, you also have an option of rezing which eleminates the ghost mode run which depening where you've died can save time... you never come back with full health and mana so you get about 30 seconds of down time regardless... also if you keep dieing a timer will pop up and you'll have to wait before you can rez yourself agian... no exp is ever lost in death

so basically WoW makes you pay for death literally, and EQ makes death inconvenant... now i'll just have you know that i do play wow and i don't think it is a bad game, but i feel the WoW death system encourages zerging in some areas, like AQ the first boss is close enough that a weaker inexperiance guild could manage to take it down with a few zerg waves as long as they managed to keep the boss in combate, also people that know very little about thier class can get to a high lvl fast, which means they are lvl 60 and still trying to figure out thier place in the group(i know i was one of them) but on the plus side if someone screws up they don't drag the rest of the group down too much so the group is less likely to get mad. After i die in WoW i don't feel like it is a big deal, though i do get irrateded with ghost mode. When i play EQ and die i feel like it is a bigger slap on the wrists, i mean death in EQ is bad for your health or at lest exp bar and in EQ people may get upset if someone dies consistently or wipes the group with a bad pull, but hey you don't get to max lvl without knowing what you're doing, unless someone power leveled you in which case... well let's not go there =P

in my opinion WoW has a freindlier death system that i feel might be too weak and EQ has a reasonible system that can test the patiance of a group.

So which system is better? I guess with both games rasing the lvl cap i'm courious on the subject of death.

September 25th, 2006, 12:39 PM
ask this question of ten people, you'll get eleven answers (there's always one in the crowd who has to ask the voices). I think the harshest of any game I have played is Eve where, unless you insure the hell out of your ships and keep clones up to date, you could concievably lose EVERYTHING. Pays to insure :D The most lenient I have seen is City of Heroes, wherein you get XP debt and that's it. EQ2 is sort of a hybrid between CoH and WoW with XP debt, equipment wear, and being low-stat groggy for a while. All of them have their own spin on things, but I think the way EQ2 and WoW do it is probably the most balanced- you take a slap for dying, but it's not so harsh that it stops being fun.

Yes, fun, the whole reason why people are supposed to be playing these games in the first place.

I think what happens is that some people forget that games are meant to be entertaining and fun and make bloody careers out of their gaming. Those people worry me at many levels (especially psychological), but they are generally going to be the most vocal on the subject of in-game death, and are not representative of the majority of players. So, while most players are having fun (yes, with the occassional grumble as we do a corpse run or scoot our pod back to station), some people just love harsh death penalties in game. I will grant you, some love the challenge, so this is not an indictment of those who love them some corpse runs, but most people seem to prefer the more lax penalties.

Gavin Darkhart
September 25th, 2006, 12:54 PM
they don't compare.

really, they don't. you can't take one aspect of any game and compare it to a single aspect of another game accurately since the entirety of the gameplay within the game is effected by each part of the parts.

in other words, you could compare WoW with "X" change in death penalty to WoW with "Y" change in death penalty if you had the opertunity to play them both, but you could not compare WoW's Death panalty to EQs death penalty because the games entire framework to support that panalty is completely diffrent.

September 25th, 2006, 01:04 PM
What I think has already been said, but to address your AQ boss scenario. While it seems feasible, it isn't. The respawn on the trash around the prophet is fairly quick in that you get about one chance to try before it is better to wait out the repop. If you resort to attempted zerging, you will more likely than not end up with a long night and a hefty repair bill and still not get past it.

September 25th, 2006, 01:04 PM
There needs to be a happy medium somewhere between the 12 hour corpse run in EQ to what is availible in WoW. Personnaly i like the EQ "fear" factor that if you stick your nose in someplace you shouldnt be, you will need some help getting your stuff back (but 12 hours is excessive).

September 25th, 2006, 01:24 PM
There needs to be a happy medium somewhere between the 12 hour corpse run in EQ to what is availible in WoW. Personnaly i like the EQ "fear" factor that if you stick your nose in someplace you shouldnt be, you will need some help getting your stuff back (but 12 hours is excessive).

happy day for you... they DID fix it awhile back... now if you die in no man's land you can do one of two things... wait a few days for it to pop in everrest or go to the guild lobby spend some plat on a soul stone and have it summoned, then maybe hunt down a cleric to rez it... so no more 12 hours unless your broke and can't get a loan. Still EQ kinda wacks you on the nose for snooping where you shouldn't be.

September 25th, 2006, 01:40 PM
The biggest issue with the death penalty in EQ1 was that it was too harsh both in terms of the potential negative consequences to your character and xp, as well as the time interruption it created for groups. Because of the massive interruption that death would cause (in terms of rez time and rebuffing), it lead to people playing things a bit too safe. The new OoC regen system helps out quite a bit, provided you've got someone to rez you in group, as you don't need to wait through 2 med cycles to recover from the rez, then get rebuffed, the mana regenerates through the buffing cycle. Note, you need to wait for rez effects to wear off before the OoC regen kicks in. As noted above, the introduction of summoning altars and the ShadowRest zone helps temper the penalty a bit more, but even with all those changes, its still "harsher" than many newer games.

It is a fine line though, in games where buffs have less overall significance and XP debt reduces over time, you will find people occasionally taking a few crazy risks towards the end of the night, knowing that the next time they play, they'll be back in normal operating mode.

Zapp Branigan
September 25th, 2006, 01:42 PM
I think the debt system in CoH works well. No exp loss so you can't lose your level, you just cut your exp in half untill its payed off (Which is like a half hour tops), and in the long run you end up with more influance (money) by the time it comes to buying upgrades.

WoW is still pretty soft for a death penalty, yeah you might have hefty repair bill at the end of raid day but you make a lot more then what you pay from the loot you get the other 6 days of the week.

edit** weeee, another thread sent to the forums of obscurity by my post!

bob the goat
September 25th, 2006, 02:11 PM
In WOW, in ZG, on the Bat boss, I made the mistake of dropping AOE on bat adds when my Feign Death was on cooldown. I died in the first minute of the fight. I ran back and ended up being one of the 4 people that were standing when the boss died. (luckily one was a pally) The druids got yelled at for battle rezzing a frekin hunter, but then everyone laughed when they heard me say I ran back and helped finish the fight. Death in WOW is an inconvenience in most areas. When you have a full tier two set you can easily spend 8-10G in repairs from one night of raiding. When you are in Un’Goro and make the mistake on dieing on the East side of the zone, you have a 10 minute corpse run. On the other hand, when finishing the Onyxia quest chain you have to go deep into a cave filled with blue dragonkin and whelps. It is a Super hard area. I stripped all armor and ran. 8 deaths later I made it to the NPC and finished my quest. It was easier to die than to get 5 people together to finish one silly quest.

September 25th, 2006, 09:39 PM
I've seen high end WoW raiders claim that the repair bills for raiding (with the skyrocketing costs from having to repair high tier sets) is the single biggest argument in favor of keeping gold sellers in the game.

You've got to pay for those repairs SOMEHOW...

September 26th, 2006, 10:16 AM
I waffle a lot on this subject.

Essencially my stance is this:

For games that focus on casual intencity (WoW, CoH, EQ2) an 'easy' death penality is definately best as death is still a bad thing due to the incovenience, but it doesn't kill your efforts for that day/week

I still loved the difficulty factor EQ1 presented back when it wasn't supposed to be a casual game. I can remember a number of days where coming out of the day more or less exactly how I started it was a very good and satisfying thing after biting the big one early in the day. Ever been the only >48 cleric on a Naggy raid that wiped? Yeah, that was one of my days, and I took great satisfaction from it.

I, for one, would be delighted if they introduced a game where the death penalty was one step above permanent so long as the rest of the game played around that concept as well as EQ1 did.

September 26th, 2006, 06:32 PM
DAoC has different death penalties for PvE and RvR deaths.
PvE deaths mean a loss of xp but it will not drop your level. First death of the level is a very slight loss, second more and third (and cap loss) is around 10% of the xp needed to gain another level. You can gain half that exp back if you get rezzed or get back to your grave and pray at it.
In addition to this, you get rez sickness which reduces your dps and spell duration. An NPC healer or (on ToA servers) a perfector can cure this. Being rezzed with higher level spells reduces the duration.
There is also constitution point loss if you are not rezzed. 1 for first death 2 for second and 3 for third onward. The same NPC healers that cure PvE rez sick cure this con loss, at level 50 the cost to cure 3 points of lost con is 17 gold.

RvR death penalty has no con loss, and there is a different version of Rez Sickness that reduces damage/duration by less but also snares your movement.
If not rezzed in RvR you also end up back at your border keep with a bit of travel to get back to your hunting grounds.

September 26th, 2006, 10:13 PM
The other point that's might be interesting to discuss: Do we die too much in MMO games?

Part of the reason we see these death penalties that are all over the board is that death is unnatural, and there's no uniformly accepted way of handling it.

Should future MMO's de-emphasize death as a regular tactic? If you die, should you have a set number of lives before fully reincarnating and starting over?

September 26th, 2006, 10:34 PM
They tried that, with jedi in SWG. Look at what happened there, it's not a good idea to give limited deaths or make death penalty too harsh in games where there is any sort of challenge to survive.

September 27th, 2006, 08:45 AM
I'm not necessarily advocating permadeath. I'm thinking more in terms of a limited number of ressurections, after you've used them up, you're reincarnated with a subset of abilities and an inheritance of equipment.

I'm thinking it would need to be a 20 level game, not an 80 level game for this to really be viable, but it might be an interesting twist on the norm.

September 27th, 2006, 08:50 AM
I've seen set number of revives on MUDs were you'd have to reincarnate after that and basically start over. If you maxed you character you could optionally reincarnate as another new character with one item from your old character. It was essentially like starting a new alt everytime you ran our of deaths or if yo ugot bored of end game. It worked better for a MUD (I think) as it was more about roleplaying. It is definately a difficult question to answer.

{edit: having a shorter level cap would have an interesting effect in that type of MMO, I'm just not sure what that effect would be}
{edit2: I played Ryzom (http://www.ryzom.com/home_page?set_language=en)'s free island for a while. Anyways, it was a neat MMO and when you died you sat there for 5 minutes uncousious until your were rezed (which was done via healing). After that you respawned and had a debt to work off. It seems pretty standard (except for the wait), but if you give people a long enough (uncouncious) time before death, a perm death or limited death game play may work better.

September 27th, 2006, 10:29 AM
My idea on MMO death:

Scenario #1: Single death in group. You character falls and is dead, but the will of your group mates holds your spirit close to your body indefinately until a cleric or other holly character can resurrect. Uppon ressurection you must lay still for a minute or so and then you are back as you were with no additional penalties.

Scenario #2: Solo death. With nothing to hold your spirit to your body it goes flying free. However, as you are a hero of this world the Gods do not bind you to heaven and instead deflect your soul back into the body of another living being. The chosen NPC may be a holly monk that has near invulnerability to their surroundings or a random mob somewhere in the vicinity of where you died. Once you find and collect your broken corpse it is then taken to a holly shrine/river/monument/etc where your body is healed to where your soul can reunite with it and the NPC goes on their merry way. Death penalty is a disorientation that lasts for several minutes as you get used to not being the wolf/monk/golem that you controled to haul your corpse around.

Scenario #3: Group wipe: Much like solo death in that a local creature/monk/whatever is inhabited, except that once you reunite with your group over your broken bodies you can collectively will each other back into each other's bodys. This, however, requires a good deal more time to recover from in terms of laying still and disorientation, but if your selected spot is safe enough you can resume where you left off without having to fight your way down again. Having a cleric or other holly figure in the group will shorten the downtime as they will be able to recover themselves faster and then lessen the effects on everyone else.

Senario #4: Raid wipe. What does any great and powerful creature do when it kills off a hoarde of attackers? It eats/burns/destroys the remains! Thus, uppon termination of a raid force against a powerful foe the spirits of the heros must band together and fight the spirit of the creature that destroyed them in order to coerce it to have the bodys taken to a location where a great ceremony is held to reunite all the slain heros with their bodys at the same time. And what if the spirit battle also fails? The gods step in and plunge everyone's spirit and bodys back together to awaken in a dark and unplesent place deep within the earth as naked skeletons. Solo, groups, and raid quests then take effect where you must find and reclaim your flesh and your equipment before you can see the light of day again. Penalty in the end? Either having to lay still for a minute if the spirit battle went well, or the whole matter of having to find your stuff first before you can make any progress once more.

As far as solo and raid deaths go, there may be quests and other goodies to be had by deliberately ending up in these situations. Perhaps one raid encounter simply cannot be killed, but a band of skeletons that went through great hardship to rise from the depths of the earth could sneak into the raid target's lair and slay it when it's unsuspecting. Or, perhaps, an NPC will not talk to you unless you are inhabiting the body of a wolf.

I dislike artificial time penalties on deaths (gold takes time to gather to pay for repairs to stats or equipment, exp debt adds time onto how long it'll take to level again, etc). Death, in MMORPGS, needs to have a bite that anyone can recover from with some effort that isn't just waiting for a timer, artificial or not, to expire.

September 28th, 2006, 04:15 PM
Vanguard (http://www.vanguardsoh.com/), the MMORPG that's coming somewhere near January 2007, has a variable death penalty set on a mob-by-mob basis.

You'll be able to tell what death penalty a mob has by considering its threat level. Death penalties can range anywhere from none at all except maybe a warp to the beginning of a dungeon, or to eating corpses and not giving them up until the mob is killed. Generally, the higher the death penalty, the better the loot. A great way to link risk with reward.

More info to be found here, in a post by a dev that's too long to quote here:

September 28th, 2006, 11:25 PM
ask this question of ten people, you'll get eleven answers (there's always one in the crowd who has to ask the voices)
You don't give me enough credit. There's enough voices for me to supply more answers.

Right now I want a death penalty that means something.
WoW's death penalty is too light... 10g repair bill oh noes it's not high enough, I need better gear... 25g repair bill for one suit and I've burned through three? Oh noes, better hit MC for mats and more clothes.

I really wish Lineage 2 had content. Chance of dropping an item on death sounds almost perfect these days.

Mabey I should crank out 99 levels in Diablo 2 so I can make myself a perma death character.