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Let's talk about player death

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by BeefSupreme, Oct 27, 2014.

  1. BeefSupreme

    BeefSupreme

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    Or: what does your game do when the player fails? Unless you're making a zen game (or your game is just ridiculously easy) it's going to happen at some point. If you're making a masocore platformer, it's going to happen a lot. So what are some design decisions re: player death that you've encountered that infuriated you...or that you thought were really cool?

    I'll share a couple:

    I quit playing EverQuest back in the day because not only was grinding xp for levels extremely tedious, but you actually lost xp (and possibly levels) when you died. I think WoW fixed this rather elegantly by giving you an experience debt when you died instead, so instead of losing hours of progress, you just wouldn't gain more levels until you paid it off. The difference being that hard earned levels and abilities are not removed from your character in WoW.

    In Hotline Miami, one hit from anything kills you. The levels therefore require quite a lot of practice (and a bit of luck) to get through. And sometimes, it feels really frustrating. When you die, however, the game places you back at the beginning of the section you were on pretty much instantly. This really worked IMO to reduce rage quitting by not giving the player a break to think about. Yeah, that guy shooting you might have been cheap, but you're already playing again so you might as well have another go.

    I was playing some Super Mario 3D Land the other night. I had the TV on in the background, and only half paying attention, yet I had a pool of 60+ lives that wasn't shrinking very much. A far cry from playing old school Mario games where scavenging for lives was a thing. And if you die five times in a row on a level, it spawns an item box that makes you invincible and lets you fly. Yawn. Why even bother to have lives? Just for the illusion of difficulty?
     
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  2. TheSniperFan

    TheSniperFan

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    MMORPGs:
    Don't play them, don't care, don't see the appeal in having a second job I have to pay for.

    Hotline Mami:
    It's a fast-paced game where you die A LOT. Since it's fast-paced, the key is to minimize the time between dying and retrying. No slow, dramatic animations, fading the screen out and playing a sad score on the violin. Just let the player retry instantaneously.
    If HLM would have a dying screen that you couldn't skip quickly, I would have probably spend half my playtime watching it, waiting for it to go away. Not good.

    The illusion of difficulty?
    I'd say you're right. If you have a game where you need to deliberately try to get a Game Over, a live system is unnecessary.
    Is it a bad thing? This depends on your target-audience. Casual gamers? No problem. Baby's first game? No problem. Dark Souls fans? Big problem.
    If you want to make more people happy, add difficulty levels.

    Perma-death: Yay or Nay?
    That's a tough one and I don't think there's an answer other than 'Depends on your game'. The biggest problem with perma-death is that there's no middle-ground. It's either infuriating or bringing tension to a whole new level.

    Imagine perma-death in HLM. You die once, you have to start the whole game all over. That wouldn't be fun at all.
    Project Zomboid did it right. It's a survival game (and a really good one on top of that) and the premise of perma-death makes you so much more cautious. It makes leaving your house genuinely terrifying if you're poorly equipped, but in need to get loot.

    Penalties?
    Well, depending on your game, a death without any consequences might as well not have happened at all. If the player is afraid of dying, your're doing something right. ;)
     
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  3. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    I agree it definitely depends on the game type. Some genres (such as an RTS) I think it would be very appropriate to make a big deal out of losing the game and take some time to "end the campaign". For action-oriented games definitely just kill the player and re-spawn within a few seconds. If restarting from a checkpoint then just drop them back and let them go. If re-spawning at the point of death then do the ghost "safety" thing for a couple seconds to give them a chance. At least that is the way I am doing it in my platform game.

    I think you hit the nail on the head though. Too many games make too big of a deal over dying and show a little animated movie thing or whatever and it just creates a disconnect. Get the player back into the game-play asap. Makes good sense.
     
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  4. JoeStrout

    JoeStrout

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    Yeah, I have mixed feelings about permadeath games. I played a lot of Nethack (and related rougelikes) back in the day, where permadeath is a central design tenet of the game. I never actually beat them, though I heard rumors of folks who did.

    On the one hand, it definitely increased the tension. On the other hand, nothing sucked more than losing a game that was going well in some stupid way, especially if it felt like it wasn't my fault.

    So I would say permadeath works only if (1) your game is designed to be replayed many, many times, and (2) death doesn't come from stupid random stuff, but from actual failure of some sort on the part of the player. And the first part implies (1a) a game lasts no more than a few hours, even if you make it all the way through; and (1b) you probably want to use procedural generation so there's sensible variety on each play.

    Of course there's an in-between take on this... Rogue Legacy has permadeath, but each time you die, your next character inherits some of the abilities (and loot, I think) of the last one. So it's not completely starting over. I haven't actually played this one yet, but it seems like a clever solution to me.
     
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  5. BeefSupreme

    BeefSupreme

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    I'd say if lives don't do anything, just get rid of them. I guess 100 coins = 1 life is so deadly engrained in Mario that it would be tough to get rid of.

    I've seen perma death used mostly in separate "hardcore" modes, and that's fine with me. I'm not a huge fan though, and I'm really bad at roguelikes. I don't even think I would try permadeath HLM, that would be insane. Actually, I say that, but the idea of a survival mode would be interesting. Maybe it just depends on the context.

    Otherwise, I'd say that the rule I've between trying to follow is that the player should never lose more than 10 minutes of progress.

    If a game has an epic battle that takes 3 hours, and I have to start over if I die, chances are good that I'm not coming back.

    One mechanic (perma) I do like is where maybe you lose your current character, but there is some sort of retained progress for your next one.
     
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  6. BeefSupreme

    BeefSupreme

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    One thing that drives me nuts is when checkpoints aren't obvious. Deciding between continuing on our backtracking for 5 minutes so you don't lose an item you just got is, well...boring =P
     
  7. BeefSupreme

    BeefSupreme

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    Absolutely. Ever play ZHP: Unlosing Ranger VS. Deathdark Evilman?
     
  8. Teila

    Teila

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    I worked on a game that was supposed to have permadeath. We had a huge number of followers and they were huge fans of the permadeath feature. This was an MMO and the players were able to transfer all items to an heir after they died. The game actually gave the players three strikes and then they were dead, so two near deaths first.

    After the game failed, we picked it up some of the pieces, namely the lore, and are making a smaller, tighter version. I had decided to drop permadeath. Little did I know what impact this would have on the remaining fans. Now we are considering reinstating permadeath with a few extra caveats.

    Personally, I would be okay with a permadeath game. I play one every other month or so, a tabletop game, with permadeath. So far, my character hasn't died but she has come close. But then, I try not to do stupid things that would get her killed. Occasionally, we have a player stop in and play one time, just because nothing else is going on or he wants to play the game. Inevitably, that character dies because, well, they don't care. They don't plan to come back and so they take stupid risks, often putting the rest of us at risk.

    What would be the rewards of permadeath, especially in an MMO or multiplayer game? Death becomes meaningful and therefore the fight to stay alive becomes important. One approaches problems differently. Do we have to barge into the dragon's lair and steal his eggs or can we wait for a bit and see if we can sneak in there while he is out feeding? The annoying dude in the game that keeps harassing people? Well, typically you can kill him but he comes right back and continues his behavior. Wouldn't it be nice to get rid of him and force him to once again experience "newbieness" like those he harasses? And wouldn't battles be more exciting if one side actually wins something?

    I do agree that permadeath doesn't work for all games, and probably not worth it for most single player games. Nor does it work for all players but it sure would be nice to have the option to try one! Instead it seems to be the taboo in most games these days. Players want to kill everything in site but only if they have magical protections. ;)

    BTW, I am a hard core role player, so that might make a big difference in my opinions of permadeath. :) I can certainly see why many people would find it frustrating. Just thought I would add a different view.
     
  9. RockoDyne

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    The best deaths are the ones you learn from.

    I'll regale you with a more recent death I've had in nethack. I'm probably around the seventh level of the dungeon and out pops a yeti. Needless to say, I'm low on health and mana, so the only course of action is to GTFO and pelt the thing with anything I've got in the inventory. I scrounge through my inventory, where the only thing I find is a wand of cold. Even more needless to say, a wand of cold against a yeti is real F***ing useful. I decide to use it anyway, so I head for the corridor, dart around a corner, and wait a turn or two. The yeti comes into view, I zap the wand, and here is were I elaborate on some technical details of the wand of cold. The wand of cold fires a beam, and beams in nethack have the unique ability to bounce. So I zap wand, beam passes through the yeti who gives no F***s, beam bounces off the wall, beam passes again through the yeti who still gives no F***s, and hits me in the face, killing me instantly. I love nethack.


    Back to the conversation. Hotline Miami has a pretty high turnaround because that encourages experimentation. What has to be thought through is right there. It's very comfortable with using trial and error as an analysis tool, so it doesn't make any sense to punish the player by sending them further back then the puzzle they are on.
     
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  10. BeefSupreme

    BeefSupreme

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    Very interesting. So we also have death as an influence for social interactions. Quite like the psychological aspect of death in real life. Out of curiosity, what made you decide to remove perma death before putting it back in?
     
  11. BeefSupreme

    BeefSupreme

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    Man, stories like these are what make me keep trying rogue likes, despite not being very good at them. The constant fear of starvation really stresses me out, and when I'm not playing the game makes it hard to want to come back. I had the same issue with Don't Starve. I love everything about the game, it's just too stressful!
     
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  12. Teila

    Teila

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    I chose to remove it because honestly, I was afraid people wouldn't play our game and that grieving would be a nightmare. Permadeath seems far too final and too hard core for a game aimed at role players and social interactions. But then I received a lot of flack from fans who really wanted the permadeath. They wanted it back in the game. And these are not the PKers who just want to grief other players, getting high on seeing others suffer.

    So we are putting it back in. Our game is about so much more than combat so death will not be as common in other games. We figured that would balance the equation a bit. We also have plans to make killing as meaningful as dying. It will all have to be tested before I can say it will work but I am hopeful.
     
  13. BeefSupreme

    BeefSupreme

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    That's cool. I've been wishing lately that more games would move past combat as the focal point. Then again, all of my game designs start with weapons and enemies, so I shouldn't be one to complain.

    Sounds like you may have found a niche with your particular game mechanics. Hope it works out!
     
  14. RJ-MacReady

    RJ-MacReady

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    Any given episode of AVGN is full of deaths that aren't his fault, I think that's 90% of what defines a "game that sucks ass".

    In PSO for Dreamcast, the original version, there wasn't permadeath. However, there was something better/worse. When you died, whatever weapon you had currently equipped dropped and anyone could pick it up. And they did. If you died in a room with a monster you couldn't defeat, it could be gone forever.

    This spawned debates about if it was wrong to take the items since it was in the rules...

    As long as the death is clearly your fault, anything goes. There's also an interesting thing where people enjoy causing their characters to suffer, for example a boss fight where you go down 3 times is much more fun than a fight where you finish without even having to heal.

    Also, I don't agree with losing ten minutes of progress max... I am the kind who likes losing in a dungeon, and I usually don't connect to a game until it hands me my ass when I was trying my best to survive.

    Cool topic.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2014
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  15. BeefSupreme

    BeefSupreme

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    Wow, we're very different gamers. I find myself drifting more to the casual side as I get older. And my reflexes aren't getting any better =P I think with so many cheap games these days, my willingness to stick things out has gone down a lot. I end to save obsessively in open world games.

    PSO sounds rough. I definitely wouldn't have lasted. But yeah, that's how they made it so nothing wrong with doing what they let you.

    I think in the TOS it states that to become Community Wizard, one must sacrifice an Aurore fang to the altar of Carmack, then spin around while reciting an Iron Maiden song backwards. Just FYI.
     
  16. JoeStrout

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    One thing I've always wanted to see is something where death isn't the end, but just a transition. Quite literally. So, suppose once you're dead you become a ghost. A ghost can't do much, and is pretty dull, but you can go around and spook people when the conditions are right, which maybe earns you XP. And if you earn enough XP, you can become a specter, which can do a bit more than a ghost. And so on.

    So basically once you're dead, your life as you knew it is over, but if you're really attached to that character, you can continue to play it, just in a very different form with different goals. And hey, there should even be a way for to work your way back to eventually getting resurrected, though this should be very, very difficult. Most players will probably give up and just make a new (live) character. But I'd like having the option.

    Heck, I'd play that.
     
  17. RJ-MacReady

    RJ-MacReady

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    Haunting - Starring Polterguy

    In my house, we had something called Sega Channel. I grew up in North Town which basically is one of the country's highest rated crime areas. We did not go outside much, so my parents compensated by giving us ample video games... I have either played or obsessively watched be played so many effing games. This was one that I will always remember. You're a ghost, you haunt the crap out of this poor family. You can "die" though, as a ghost... which takes you to the underworld. Then, you can find your way back. This game was so refined that it actually will give you the creeps.

    Why not make death part of the game? If you were a ghost you could get to the other side of the door. Problem is, you have to die... no worries though, if you can get back to your body before a certain amount of time passes, you'll be fiiine. Ghosts wouldn't be able to carry objects through walls or doors, but they could interact with things... etc. Fun times would indeed ensue. Then, as a ghost, you will be chased by some kind of "reaper" enemies which will drag you to hell... that would be the only true game over.

    Only problem: I can't make it. Lol.
     
  18. BeefSupreme

    BeefSupreme

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    I always thought it would be cool to have a game where you can possess different bodies. They would rot and fall apart over time, leaving you to find a new one. Maybe have a possession level or other mechanic that lets you inhabit more powerful forms.
     
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  19. Teila

    Teila

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    You must be channeling me because my programmer and I had this discussion last night. LOL I think we are going to try adding ghosts. I played a text game years ago which had permadeath. Once the character died, they had three days to "wander the world" as a ghost. It was intended to give them closure, allow them to see the reaction of people and to say goodbye. In multiplayer games, people get very attached to their characters and others get attached to them as well. I am embarrassed to say I remember crying when a friend "died" in a game and feeling pretty stupid about it. :)

    Anyway, a ghost could be a pretty neat reward and I can already see ways of tying it to our game lore as well. It certainly adds a new dimension to the game.
     
  20. JoeStrout

    JoeStrout

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    Hey, don't feel stupid about that; I'm pretty sure I did the same back in the day. MUDs were substantially more powerful than anything I've played since... I don't know if it's because I just had more time to get sucked in then, or if the text medium forced me to create more imagery in my head, which somehow resonated more strongly with me than pictures on a screen. Or maybe because players back then were generally better behaved, and actually did some frickin' role playing now and then.

    But at any rate, yeah, when a character died in those games it was a big deal for everyone. The ones I played didn't have the three days as a ghost to get closure, but it's a brilliant idea.

    But I like the ideas @Misterselmo and @BeefSupreme are tossing around even better. Let someone stay a ghost as long as they like, unless they're caught by the reaper or dispelled by a powerful cleric or some such. In the meantime, let them try their hand at ghostly skills — manifestation, communication, possession (at high levels), etc.

    Of course you don't want legions of ghosts ruining the game for everyone else. Here are some ideas to limit that:
    • Ghosts are tied to the place where they died, or better yet, to wherever their body is, and can't stray too far from that (unless summoned somehow). Higher level ghosts can of course stray further. But this could naturally lead to a practice of burying bodies at some cemetery, which players who want to avoid ghosts would simply avoid.
    • Ghosts are substantially weaker in daylight than in darkness. Even manifesting a spooky moan should be beyond a low-level ghost during the day.
    • Low-level ghosts can't even see each other. (But I think it might be fun for higher-level ghosts to see and communicate.)
    • This one may be harder, but good: perhaps ghosts can communicate more easily with people they often spoke to when alive.
    Then of course you could have people who do see dead people, seance rituals which can summon and communicate with any ghost who's online, etc.

    Oh, and while dying should be a serious setback for anybody, I think it makes sense that high-level characters should start out as somewhat higher-level ghosts. If you just join the game and walk off a cliff the first day, your ghost should be pretty much completely useless. But if you've been playing one character for two years and have a bad day, the ghost should already have some half-decent ghost powers.
     
  21. wccrawford

    wccrawford

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    The one on Wii U is similar. I was playing it and had a ton of extra lives almost immediately.

    My wife played it and lost all her lives and was forced to replay from the last 'save', which was only 1 world back. Later on, though, she was forced back up to 4 or 5 levels at a time, and it was super frustrating for her. I ended up playing old parts of her save over and over to get her dozens of lives so she wouldn't be so frustrated. She eventually quit playing anyhow from frustration.

    If their goal was to coerce people into being careful, they failed. Neither the experts nor the beginners benefit from this system. I suppose there might be some middle-area players that bank up a bunch of lives and go after that level over and over, but from what I remember of those days on the NES and SNES, it was still horribly tedious and frustrating both.

    In a linear game that has a failure state that forces you to start over, lives made sense. (SMB1) But when you can save the game at various points, backtrack, and generally have infinite anything if you grind, it's just adding to the grind.
     
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  22. Teila

    Teila

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    Great ideas, Joe! I love the idea of tying the ghost to a area or to their body. Your ideas could make an entirely new and creative game!

    I played MUDs for years and then moved to creating MUDs and finally to graphical games. My switch to graphical took longer than most because I didn't want to give up the imagery in my head. Even now I think my images surpass that of any graphical game although I have found a few exceptions that have come close. I am guessing this is why I am so picky about the models and terrain in our game.

    As for ghosts communicating, my idea is that only certain people can communicate with the ghosts. Others might hear the moan or see shadows, but only characters with specific skills can understand them. Not sure how to fit that into our game, but maybe priests or priestesses or shamans could communicate with the ghosts. Maybe it will be a random skill that a character has at birth, against their will sometimes. It should be rare enough to be special.

    My hope is that while death can be devastating to a player, the ghosts, even if only for a short time, might blunt that grief by giving them something interesting, a sort of reward for the life their character lived. Now, I have not really run this by my fans and our game is supposed to be "realistic" so I will have to really implement this in a subtle way. But then ghosts are sort of in that gray area, aren't they? Real or not? :) Did you see a shadow or a ghost? Was that moan just the creaking of door?
     
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  23. JoeStrout

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    Yeah! In fact shadows might be a great way for ghosts to manifest... talk to your programmer about having objects that aren't rendered nonetheless cast shadows; I'm pretty sure that's doable.

    Anyway... good luck on your project, and please keep me posted, as it does sound pretty awesome!
     
  24. Zaladur

    Zaladur

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    Heh I also am designing a game at the moment where death turns you into a ghost with a new set of abilities. Though, its not a video game, so I'm not sure how much translates to this forum.

    On a related note, how to players like to see death handled in a party based RPG? When one party member dies, are they down for good until you reach an inn or use an expensive revive? Are they brought back up at the end of battle with 1HP, as long as one party member lives? It can be an interesting mechanic, as death of one character can cripple your team for future battles, but not send you back and have to repeat content.
     
  25. Gigiwoo

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    Incremental games call this 'Prestige'. And I love it as a player. In some cases, the post-death reward system can be more sophisticated that the original gameplay. Taken to extreme, it's a game within a game within a game. A Dark Room did this splendidly, as did Clickerheroes.

    This discussion has given me an awesome idea for my next game! Gotta go!

    Gigi
     
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  26. BeefSupreme

    BeefSupreme

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    @JoeStrout Sounds like you're on to something really cool here! You could do so much with an afterlife...it could be a whole other reality with its own quests, dangers, etc. Maybe you don't know where your body is and need someone on the other side to lead you to it, or walk into the light to reincarnate as a different character.

    @wccrawford Maybe it's a problem with trying to makes games for everybody...but everybody has different skill sets and expectations. It's one thing I've been dealing with in my own design: how much experience with games am I assuming the user has? Some things might not be accessible to everyone, but maybe that's OK. I remember getting my wife hooked on Castlevania for the DS, and one of the first concepts I had to teach her was that you shouldn't stand right on top of an enemy while you're attacking it. That kind of spacial separation seems obvious if you've been playing games for a while, but it's surprising how much we take for granted. And I think in the end, I'm making kind of a faster paced shooter, so I don't think I'm going to worry too much about teaching people to play their first game.

    @Zaldur Well, unless you've got some super unique mechanics that can only happen IRL, I don't see why we couldn't discuss it. PnP -> CRPG is nothing new :D

    As for your other question, I guess it would depend on the overall feel of the game. Having 3/4 of your party wiped out and having to retreat to the surface can be an exciting and memorable thing. On the other hand, if you want to make your game more accessible, a 1hp revive system can be pretty convenient. Maybe having one or more characters knocked out of a single battle is enough of a challenge.[/USER]
     
  27. Gigiwoo

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    You have permadeath in a game that allows PvP? Unbelievably risky - and a complete turn-off for me. Permadeath, can be fun, especially in conjunction with a prestige system (i.e. development transfers in some way). Permadeath + PvP == opportunity for haters to competely destroy my experience. And life is too short for that much frustration.

    Gigi
     
  28. BeefSupreme

    BeefSupreme

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    But what if all the players band together and lay the smack down? I think it creates the potential for the players to police themselves in a way. Isn't that how Eve Online works? I've never played it, but that's the impression I get. If there were way more griefers, then it wouldn't work of course, but it could be interesting.
     
  29. Zaladur

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    My girlfriend and I host themed party nights with a bunch of friends, and I find myself treating them like I am designing a new game each time. We are currently running through Harry Potter nights, and are planning a Chamber of Secrets party. Chamber of Secrets Spoilers below:

    Each 'night', or half hour, the Basilisk will attack random players based on their location. If they do not have an item that protects them (resulting simply in petrification), they are killed and come back as a ghost. As a ghost, players are unable to perform magic or brew potions, but they gain new abilities, like projecting a Housemate from the Basilisks Death Stare, or spying on other Houses at night to learn more information on the potential killer.

    We wanted death mechanics to allow the players to still participate throughout the event, since 'restart' options are not available in real life. Additionally, death allows comeback mechanics. Overall, i'd say that death is a negative event. The more deaths your house has, however, the more resilient your House is to future deaths, as your ally ghosts can protect remaining members. Additionally, it could be an advantage to have at least one death in your household, as you gain the ability to obtain more information about the killer.

    The challenge here is making death in a game without a restart function. Large team battles where one player is wiped out early means that the teammate is bored with nothing to do. You could allow the player to come back in some way but sometimes death is thematically a better option for your game. It can give the killing player more satisfaction and heighten tension. So, why not make it so that, after the initial shock and disappointment from dying, you suddenly see the change of events as an opportunity, and embrace your new role for the remainder of the game?
     
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  30. Teila

    Teila

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    This is exactly what I thought and why we removed it. But we have modified the way it works enough that I think it will work. I can't be sure until we try it. Also, our game focuses on role playing. It doesn't have the common features that attract a lot of combat oriented players so it might not be an issue at all. Combat, in fact, is a very small part of the game.

    I completely understand your point of view and have heard that from a handful of fans over the years. But many more, and mostly role players, are convinced it won't be a serious issue.

    So, we can abandoned permadeath and not try it or we can give it a chance and see what happens. It will turn some people off but my hope is that other features in our game plus the fail-safes we have put in will balance the issue. Our game will be a niche game for a number of reasons.

    But as I always tell my team, this is why we test games. Sometimes things we think will work, do not work. However, on this, I would like to take a chance. One wonderful thing about being an indie game developer is that we can take risks that others won't. It will not be hard to turn off the permadeath feature if we need to do so but it would make more sense to try it first.

    Honestly, there are other things in our game that will probably make you not want to play it. :)
     
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  31. Gigiwoo

    Gigiwoo

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    Are there other options? I can think of lots of variations. For starters, death from PvP might not trigger permadeath. This, in turn, could open a world of possibilities such as playful battles, experimental gameplay, and designated PvP areas. So many possibilities to go outside-the-box.

    Gigi
     
  32. Teila

    Teila

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    Gigi, why do haters destroy people's fun? What is the motivation that makes them do this and what is the motivation for them to continue to do this? How do we use game mechanics to stop it?

    Other than making death from PvP non-existent or easy to recover from, are there other options? You could have PvP free zones or PvP could be allowed only in arenas, but that seems like a game within a game.

    I have asked myself these questions many times.

    I am not sure I know why haters do this, why they seem to get off on making others suffer. I am sure there are many reasons from frustrations in their real lives, immaturity, or really seeing this as the goal of the game, something some games actually encourage.

    I do have a few ideas for using game mechanics to stop it from happening as much. When a player dies and can recover almost immediately, revenge through PvP is encouraged. It becomes part of the game. You die, you come back to life, and you chase down the player who killed you....or in some cases had some other part in your character's death. Those that prey on newbies can continuously kill them without any remorse, because hey, they will come right back and they still get credit or the thrill for killing them.

    So, what if one doesn't recover from death as quickly? In SWG, players went to the cantina to recover and had to sit for a while, socializing, giving them a break from the adrenalin rush after a big fight. Not sure if this made a difference, but if healing were a longer process but still allowed the player to do something interesting, would that deter some folks from killing over and over again?

    Also, what about reputation systems? I see them cropping up in a lot of games but I think they could be more dynamic and more interesting. My son plays a game where "killers" are banished to another place. Seems drastic to me but it is an interesting idea. I prefer a solution that allows the players to stay within the community.

    As BeefSupreme says, players can band together to rid the world of such people. In a non permadeath game, death has little consequence. It makes killing nothing more than tripping someone while they are walking and delaying them from getting up. Eventually, they return. So "haters" although I refer to the as grievers, can simply pop back up and kill again. But with permadeath, one can rid the world of the killer and do it within the context of the game. A posse gathers to catch the notorious killer with the bad reputation....a bounty hunter, or even NPC guards.

    Permadeath is a very touchy subject. Ironically, it is the role players, often tagged as "Care Bears" in games, who are the most accepting of permadeath. It is very hard to be a serious role player without consequences for death. It is hard to be a hero if you are not really putting your life on the line.
     
  33. Whippets

    Whippets

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    As a heavy RPer and long time carebear in MMORPGs, I like my games to have meaning, and for actions to have consequences. Personally, I prefer FFA PvP and PK in games. My first "3D" game (to play) was RuneScape, which had large areas of PvP and PK. It certainly added spice when you had to go into dangerous areas, and you saw someone with a skull icon above their head (signifying that they'd recently killed another player).

    Having FFA PvP and PK in a game has to be controlled in some way with game mechanics, as well as being meaningful as part of gameplay for both parties, whilst keeping griefing to a minimum. Yes, there will always be the occasional a-hole, but you're just as likely to find one of those by stepping out of your door.

    Reputation systems, justice systems, renumeration systems, all help to keep things running smoothly, for aggressor and victim alike, as well as providing an understandable framework in which to play.

    In the end, people who like these sorts of mechanics will play, and those that don't, won't. Most of us making games with such mechanics know we are making niche games that will suit small but happy minority.
     
  34. wccrawford

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    My point is that there is *nobody* who enjoys that "feature" in that game. It's completely out of place. They aren't trying to please "everyone" with it.
     
  35. Gigiwoo

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    Maybe they're bored? Or maybe it's fun to 'game the system'. Maybe anger, a power-trip, the challenge, or as a way to punish the development staff or other players for some perceived slight. There's all kinds of personalities on the internet. Deleting accounts, warnings, flags, and other punishments all sound like time consuming activities (i.e. man hours!) with minimal impact (just another game for the griefers to play - how long can I go before I get caught and create a new account!). Maybe limit how/when/voluntary the PvP may occur or reduce it's impact (ex PvP doesn't trigger perma).

    Gigi
     
  36. Teila

    Teila

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    We plan to do things that are not OOC punishment or require lots of manpower. :) Reputations and NPC behaviors will be built into the game mechanics. New accounts will have a delay before they can PvP.

    In the end, if a player wants to try to ruin a game, they will do it no matter what you put in place to prevent it. Even without permadeath, dying over and over again is ruining the game for a role player. Harassment is ruining the game. I have played games where players make multiple accounts to throw elections or spy on other factions. Some pass information through outside chats. Others camp mobs and don't let others gain XP.

    Only testing will tell us if our ideas work but again, I am willing to try.
     
  37. BeefSupreme

    BeefSupreme

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    So rather than having any design intent behind it, it's just a legacy system that hasn't been updated with the rest of the gameplay?
     
  38. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    Dark Souls. Nuff said.
     
  39. BeefSupreme

    BeefSupreme

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    Hmmmm...could you maybe elaborate for people who haven't played it?
     
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  40. Teila

    Teila

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    Oh, it is a game? I thought maybe he meant we all had "dark souls". ;)
     
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  41. BeefSupreme

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    lol, maybe he did.
     
  42. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    Dark Souls is a brilliant grim revelation that it's ok to die and die a lot with unyielding difficulty, but come back for more. It even punishes you for dying on top of that.

    The reason it still works is quite clever, the game is built so that even if you die or fail, you get a tiny bit stronger, but not so much that you can just repeatedly die as that's counter productive. It's just a well tuned balance, and bosses are also balanced. Ultimately it's really a fair game.
     
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  43. wccrawford

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    That's my take on it, yeah. Having certain things in a Mario game is expected, such as 1-up mushrooms. Without a lives system, that item can't exist. They attempted to add the 5-deaths system that makes it easy for you, but failed to recognize the frustration that would exist if the player was relying on that mechanic for each new stage. Since each area is progressively harder, it dooms the unskilled player to a perpetual cycle of relying on that mechanic.

    Instead, they should have just made the penalty for losing all your lives be a black mark on your account, counting how many times you had to be given a set of 5 lives. There's still a penalty, and there's a goal to work for, but the player is much less frustrated by it.
     
  44. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    The thing is, you remove the frustration entirely, you remove the fear factor of failure. It becomes pointless and bland. The bigger the pit, the higher the peak.
     
  45. RJ-MacReady

    RJ-MacReady

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    Space Station: Silicon Valley.

    This is fun, name it and I've already played it lool.
     
  46. RJ-MacReady

    RJ-MacReady

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    If death means exiting the dungeon, and a boss fight goes on for 35 minutes after a 1:45 minute dungeon, there are very real emotions being felt that moment.
     
  47. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    It's best not to use mmo timesinks in a discussion about gameplay or player death ;)

    These aren't life or death mechanics, but purely artificial means to drag content out longer and thus should not be factored into useful discussion about death mechanics, since they're not related to actual gameplay, but a bigger thing, namely keeping you spending money.

    While MMOs do contain useful game mechanic discussions, a timesink isn't one of them. That's a monetization strategy.
     
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  48. RJ-MacReady

    RJ-MacReady

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    Make it so if somebody kills somebody else in PvP, unprovoked (not an agreed upon duel) they gain a vengeance, a bloodlust against that player. When that player is near, they see them on the radar as hostile and if they're attacked again, they go into hulk rage and are basically berserk. If they dont get revenge then they become more spiritual, and magically powerful... the point is, rather than try to legislate it out, make it part of the game. Taboo goes bye bye
     
  49. RJ-MacReady

    RJ-MacReady

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    Lol. I was doing this back in the 2000's offline...
     
  50. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    Doesn't matter if its on or offline, things like that are timesinks to drag out content longer than it needs to be. It's not a good decision.