The Death of the Death Penalty

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A multiplayer game has to have a death walk or another penalty for losing, because there's no way to reset without ruining it for other players.

A single player game should simply set the player back to the point before things started to go wrong, usually somewhere before encountering the mobs that killed the PC.
A quick kick to the load menu will do nicely.

Failure should always have a penalty like death. Players should be glad there's no perma-death or limited continues in the games they play. If there was, they would have to play the game well to keep playing. But those days are gone, no one wants to be hassled when they play poorly, and everything is catering to the lowest denominator. Sometimes I wonder why people don't give up entirely and watch a movie instead of playing a challenging game.

I entirely agree that death should be much harsher than it is. Especially in MMOs. You mentioned Ultima Online. Dying in UO in the Second Age *was* something to be avoided, so any risks you took, in combat or adventuring, had more gravity to them. If you owned precious items, you did not walk around dungeons flaunting them. If you and your buddies decided to start murdering and robbing people, you had to realise that there could be painful repercussions. Predators play a dangerous game, after all.

The rewards of facing dangers like that (losing valuable gear - for good, spending hours or days rebuilding afterwards) were priceless though. Real courage, real responsibility and real character. All I see in games without that kind of danger are apathy, materialism and ridiculous (and pathetic) displays of status and bling.

Having said that, don't forget the experience of dying through no fault of your own. There are few things more enraging than Death Through Game Glitch. Whenever I died alone in the wilderness of Britannia it was usually because the game lost connection, or just lagged me to death. In UO we called that "bad weather". I called it "bad ISP".
I doubt there's an easy solution for that problem so I'll just go ahead and say I support a harsh death in offline games, and something softer in MMOs.

Just not too soft. I hate games that nanny and hand-hold the player.

Shamus Young:
Experienced Points: The Death of the Death Penalty

Is it time to retire the death penalty in games?

Read Full Article

In some games perhaps, but games like WoW? Instant rez during a boss fight suddenly seems less of a challenge to me. Like all that work I did getting my Kingslayer title before Chill of the Throne was removed was worthless if death meant nothing.

I dislike the fact that games like WoW are changed by the LCD (not monitors you dolts, lowest common denominator) whiners who complain that "x is too hard" or "y doesn't drop enough" or "I should have Shadowmourne appear in my mailbox when I make new toons as a BoA". Ok the last is a stretch but you get my meaning. Lowering difficulty because a few people are complaining that they can't "do it" (learn a bossfight when there's innumerable sources out there) because "its too hard" (I don't know how to play my class). I am not the best WoW player, I don't claim to be. I'm not someone who raids every night of the week, I'm lucky if I can get in one raid per week and I am ok with that. I don't down on players who don't know every aspect of the game but are willing to ask questions and learn. I do however get disgusted with the entitlists I see on a daily basis. People who complain because Portals were removed from Dalaran and now they have to walk/ride/fly or hire a mage (which makes mage portals viable again). WoW's death penalty is light, and it takes usually 20-30 seconds to get to your corpse unless you die in an enemy city, then they tell u to go fuck yourself and hike.

SnipErlite:
I think XP removals are one of the best death penalties. Just wastes some of your time without punishing you un-necessarily (Y)

Ugh, no thanks. Gold penalty > XP penalty any day.

Why?

Because if you lose gold maybe you can't afford to buy the new shiny you wanted as soon. If you lose experience you could lose the level and skills you already earned. Meaning you then have to backtrack to easier content to grind it back before you can even re-try what you were doing if you were diving into new content. (This happened to me more than once in Everquest. In fact, it became sort of a running joke that whenever I hit a new level once I got 50+ I was almost guaranteed to get knocked back to the last level at least once within the next hour, given that death was something like a 15% XP penalty so any death would de-level you until you got at least that far into the new level. It sucked.)

Making me repeat stuff I've already done in order to try new things is not cool. Take the gold.

Relevant question - what's the penalty for failing in a non-video game?

Answer - Total and complete loss of everything you did and you have to start all over from the beginning.

So why is a minor setback to progress in a video game such a big deal to people? It's WAY less than you are hit with in every other kind of game.

Next relevant question - why are failure penalties so harsh in non-video games?

Answer - because a central concept of non-video games is to get you to improve your abilities through effort, and the fear of failure is a fundamental motivator.

So there's a clue to the answer to the death penalty conundrum in video games. If the game is fundamentally conceived around getting the player to improve their gameplay, harsh death penalties are a positive motivator. If the game is essentially conceived to give people a distracting experience, death penalties are counterproductive.

Shjade:

SnipErlite:
I think XP removals are one of the best death penalties. Just wastes some of your time without punishing you un-necessarily (Y)

Ugh, no thanks. Gold penalty > XP penalty any day.

Why?

Because if you lose gold maybe you can't afford to buy the new shiny you wanted as soon. If you lose experience you could lose the level and skills you already earned. Meaning you then have to backtrack to easier content to grind it back before you can even re-try what you were doing if you were diving into new content. (This happened to me more than once in Everquest. In fact, it became sort of a running joke that whenever I hit a new level once I got 50+ I was almost guaranteed to get knocked back to the last level at least once within the next hour, given that death was something like a 15% XP penalty so any death would de-level you until you got at least that far into the new level. It sucked.)

Making me repeat stuff I've already done in order to try new things is not cool. Take the gold.

I don't mean taking away skills and levels. Like a Titan Quest XP penalty, without level rollback (rollback was only present in hardcore mods of the game). Just something that will make you have to spend a bit of time recouping in a similar fashion to gold.

Taking away skills and levels I agree is bad.

Death penalties need to be absolutely removed. They invariably punish bad coincidence encounters and only encourage you to re-grind your already grinded progress. EVE Online is a dastardly offender as if you get shot in your pod (after losing your ship) and you didn't update your clone, you can and will lose up to a year worth of real-time training.

Shamus Young:
We can look at this by taking these ideas to their extremes. A game where death is permanent would only appeal to the hardest of the hardcore masochists.

That's true. Masochists love them some Roguelikes. And extremely high-speed Tetris 0.e;

Optimystic:
No, those are infinitely worse - for the simple reason that screwing up even once makes you feel like your entire playthrough should be canned no matter how far you managed to get.

At best you will force completionist players into compulsively saving-and-reloading to avoid tarnishing their record - the very behavior you're trying to get away from. At worst, they won't be ABLE to save and reload, and instead be trapped at the mercy of checkpoints, at which point they will play frisbee with your game disk and play something that won't immortalize their failures in carbonite.

That's a good point, but the sort of behavior that zero-death-rewards induce in the completionists is very similar to the 'hardcore mode' that erases all of your progress in The Witcher 2. The difference here is, quitting after one death is voluntary. If you absolutely have to have every single reward available, then yes, you'll feel like dying once ruins your entire game. But you don't have to stop playing, so the level of difficulty depends on the player, and if they are prepared to start over for a small bonus, then that is up to them.

A mechanic like this will work best in a level-based game, like the indie platformers we get a lot of. There's no compulsive quick-saving possible there, and the borders of a level are often very clearly defined.

I always thought death in MMOs and the like, were suppossed to make your success even better.

Sure, you died, lost a chunk of EXP and maybe some gold ((probably from repairs))....

But doesnt that just make you want vengance?

For most games, saving and reloading is enough of a penalty. When a particular fight is difficult, It's irksome enough to have to go through even just twenty seconds of walking to start it again. It's not fun to be irked.

For games like WoW, the best death feature would probably just to have the encounter reset (so enemies heal and return to their patrol routes or such), and have the player's ghost appear directly over their corpse, allowing the current level of leeway in the exact location of reappearance (within 40 yards of the original death; far enough to get out of aggro range). Some classes can already escape from combat with no penalty besides a cooldown on their escape ability, and that capacity has absolutely no effect on the game's difficulty.

Michael O'Hair:
Failure should always have a penalty like death. Players should be glad there's no perma-death or limited continues in the games they play. If there was, they would have to play the game well to keep playing. But those days are gone, no one wants to be hassled when they play poorly, and everything is catering to the lowest denominator. Sometimes I wonder why people don't give up entirely and watch a movie instead of playing a challenging game.

Well, timesinks are hardly challenging penalties. Skill at corpse-running or fighting trivial mooks between a save point and a boss doesn't separate the men from the boys. Neither does enforced exp grinding. The third example is especially poor, because games with mechanics that allow exp grinding but severely punish failure are actively encouraging the player to avoid everything until it becomes trivial. And even then, it's still better than the chance of losing difficult-to-obtain items, because that discourages the player from using, or even bothering to get, valuable items at all.

And, uh, who are the 'lowest denominator'? The people who don't actively take pleasure in their talent for wasting time on the trivial, uninteresting elements of a chosen pastime? I'm not sure that cliche has been correctly applied.

I never understood the purpose of graveyards as a general respawn point (although they're important to have around as a failsafe mechanic where corpses might not be retrievable). On more than one occasion I've been waiting for a friend to finish a difficult raid boss before going somewhere, and had to sit through almost as much time spent on graveyard runs and reapplying buffs as actually fighting. This is why raiding in WoW is also called 'the waiting game'.

Not a fan of nasty death penalties at all, oh you want to play diablo on hardcore... have fun with that then. I think counterstrike has one of the est death penalties, you die and have to wait the 3 or 4 minutes for the round to end..... never gets any easier no matter how many time you die :(

LTK_70:

Optimystic:
No, those are infinitely worse - for the simple reason that screwing up even once makes you feel like your entire playthrough should be canned no matter how far you managed to get.

At best you will force completionist players into compulsively saving-and-reloading to avoid tarnishing their record - the very behavior you're trying to get away from. At worst, they won't be ABLE to save and reload, and instead be trapped at the mercy of checkpoints, at which point they will play frisbee with your game disk and play something that won't immortalize their failures in carbonite.

That's a good point, but the sort of behavior that zero-death-rewards induce in the completionists is very similar to the 'hardcore mode' that erases all of your progress in The Witcher 2. The difference here is, quitting after one death is voluntary. If you absolutely have to have every single reward available, then yes, you'll feel like dying once ruins your entire game. But you don't have to stop playing, so the level of difficulty depends on the player, and if they are prepared to start over for a small bonus, then that is up to them.

A mechanic like this will work best in a level-based game, like the indie platformers we get a lot of. There's no compulsive quick-saving possible there, and the borders of a level are often very clearly defined.

The key you are missing is that "hardcore mode" is an option, and generally is one that is only unlocked after completing the game for the challenge-mongers. It is not a core part of gameplay.

So you have a choice: make hardcore mode mandatory, leading to the situation I described above, or make it voluntary, in which case it's not incentive anymore as most people will play through the game once and move on. Even games with tons of replay value - e.g. Mass Effect 2 - had a majority of players play through the game just once. In which case you're spending a lot of time and money on content most players will never see or be interested in.

So I stand by my original argument, that punitive death systems can die in a fire in single player but can be an integral part of multiplayer; particularly class/role based multiplayer where you need a specific type of character to avoid dealing with them. You therefore need to recruit and protect this person to your team. For MMOs - i.e. "SUPER-multiplayer" - it makes even more sense, not less.

Good points but Too Human suffered from bad gameplay mechanics that almost certainly killed you multiple times in every level. it was unavoidable. WoW is a lot better ballanced from what i hear

[quote="Azuaron" post="6.251471.9329378I think it really depends on the game, and a lot of it depends on the narrative restrictions of the world. For instance, I have no idea how Bioware's going to handle death in their Star Wars MMO. If your ship blows up while you're in it, that's kind of hard to survive. Escape pod to the nearest world and loss of your ship? And planetary death, maybe picked up by an ambulance and sent to a hospital? In WoW it's all well and good to be a ghost and get resurrected, but the narrative of Star Wars places certain restrictions.
[/quote]

Maybe when your ship loses all it's health it really means your ship has taken heavy damage and must return/retreat for repairs?

Planetside beatings could be like you said could be getting KO'd (though it'd be funny the 1st few times if a video plays of your character getting throw down the nearest pit) MAybe you get medivaced to your house/ship/inn/hospital/etc. For who actually gets you out.... A Wiza... [i]Jedi/Sith[/i] did it.

dastardly:

They don't want to experience a stiffer penalty. They want others to experience a stiffer penalty.

Bingo.

Being punished for playing a game is and always has been a stupid idea. Sure, having an obstacle to overcome makes for better play in any game, but any emotional response on my part, other than "Oh, rats." is missing the point of playing the game.

On a side note, this is also one of the reasons why my attitude is souring towards WoW, and MMO's in general. The amount of hatred and vitrol people are oozing in those enviroments is frankly astonishing, and I hate feeling disgusted with people whom I do not even know, when they insist that things should be harder for others then they were for themselves.

Whiskey Echo!!
Mythgraven

Death in gaming needs to die in general. The fact that we're still asking 'how do you make the players care without killing them?' makes me indescribably sad. It's like asking 'how do you induce peril in a book/movie without killing the main character?'

It's called plot. It's called action, tension, suspense, consequence...

Of COURSE the main character isn't going to die now. Of COURSE Solid Snake isn't going to be shot dead by some random guard. So why bother making me watch it? Why make me try again, in some kind of do-over time warp? What's the point? To prove that I did it wrong?

How about instead you jump to snake being captured, and have that sequence ready for me when I fail? And if I fail at a later portion in the game, you have a different sequence. And so on.

Plot-induced consequence > 'game over'

I liked how the developers of the newst Prince of Persia for 360 recognized this issue and tried to fix it. I liked less how they shrugged, threw their hands up, and had Elika save you every time you fell. Adding floors to the pits in a platformer does not address the fundamental problem of death in games, and why it happens. It's a weak shortcut, and it's lazy game design.

Which is really the only reason death still exists in games to begin with.

I guess what it really comes down to is a failure to clarify terms. If you're talking about a GAME--as in, fucking, checkers--then yes, you need a lose state.

If, on the other hand, you're trying to create one of these new, artful, experiences that push the boundaries of interactive fiction in new and unexpected ways...then there's really no way to justify slamming the player's head into a brick wall every thirty seconds.

What about minecraft, spelunky, and roguelikes?

mythgraven:

dastardly:

They don't want to experience a stiffer penalty. They want others to experience a stiffer penalty.

Bingo.

Being punished for playing a game is and always has been a stupid idea. Sure, having an obstacle to overcome makes for better play in any game, but any emotional response on my part, other than "Oh, rats." is missing the point of playing the game.

On a side note, this is also one of the reasons why my attitude is souring towards WoW, and MMO's in general. The amount of hatred and vitrol people are oozing in those enviroments is frankly astonishing, and I hate feeling disgusted with people whom I do not even know, when they insist that things should be harder for others then they were for themselves.

Whiskey Echo!!
Mythgraven

teknoarcanist:
Death in gaming needs to die in general. The fact that we're still asking 'how do you make the players care without killing them?' makes me indescribably sad. It's like asking 'how do you induce peril in a book/movie without killing the main character?'

It's called plot. It's called action, tension, suspense, consequence...

Of COURSE the main character isn't going to die now. Of COURSE Solid Snake isn't going to be shot dead by some random guard. So why bother making me watch it? Why make me try again, in some kind of do-over time warp? What's the point? To prove that I did it wrong?

How about instead you jump to snake being captured, and have that sequence ready for me when I fail? And if I fail at a later portion in the game, you have a different sequence. And so on.

Plot-induced consequence > 'game over'

I liked how the developers of the newst Prince of Persia for 360 recognized this issue and tried to fix it. I liked less how they shrugged, threw their hands up, and had Elika save you every time you fell. Adding floors to the pits in a platformer does not address the fundamental problem of death in games, and why it happens. It's a weak shortcut, and it's lazy game design.

Which is really the only reason death still exists in games to begin with.

I guess what it really comes down to is a failure to clarify terms. If you're talking about a GAME--as in, fucking, checkers--then yes, you need a lose state.

If, on the other hand, you're trying to create one of these new, artful, experiences that push the boundaries of interactive fiction in new and unexpected ways...then there's really no way to justify slamming the player's head into a brick wall every thirty seconds.

It is my estimation that, if a game doesn't feel dangerous or challenging enough, it needs better gameplay, not a stiffer penalty for failure.

Punitive deaths would suck the fun out of PvP.
Being ganked while off-guard usually set you as a serious disadvantage.
And being punished for something you couldn't possibly have prevented would suck balls.
And I wouldn't want to engage other players in PvP because 1: It'd make me feel like a douche if I win and 2: failing would suck balls.
I'm no carebear, but I'm not an absolute asshole either.
And I'm not a crybaby, but I don't want the game to rip off my head and shit down my neck either.

Natural deaths plx.
A bruised ego is enough.
It may not be hardcore, but the alternative is stupid.

I think Minecraft drives the point home pretty well. The penalty for death is dependent on how far you are from your spawn point. If you're right on top of it, you hit the respawn button and the only thing that happens is your inventory gets messed up and your armor gets unequipped (and damaged, but that's not because of the death, really). If you die in a dungeon, outside at night, or anywhere that a bunch of mobs are surrounding you, you have to charge in and risk /more/ stuff to get your old stuff back. Dying near lava can cause some of your stuff to be destroyed instantly, and dying while lost means you're unlikely to find the stuff before it disappears. Then, of course, dying while simply too far away means you just won't have time to make it. It's a really interesting, unplanned, and varying punishment. A newby probably won't lose much when he inevitably dies on his first night, but a noob will lose everything when he gets overconfident and brings everything with him into the lava pit. It's unpredictable, and it makes you keep on your toes about enemies and have a huge fear of death yet it still manages to give you the feeling that death is cheap.

TL;DR version: Sometimes the game can give the same basic punishment for death but have the actual effects vary greatly depending on where the person is.

For most other single-player games, however, I think the question of what the penalty should be ought to be related to the difficulty. Take the genre of Platform Hell. The difficulty levels are insane and you're required to pull off insane feats of timing that require millisecond-level accuracy. However, I've often found that they tend to be easy to a point, because you don't have to go through a huge amount to get to the part you need to work on. The checkpoints are right there. It's more a matter of memorizing the actions than getting the skills down. For there to be any punishment of death greater than putting you back to the last save point would be insane. Now compare that to platform games that are lighter on the difficulty such as Cave Story. They may not have you playing as characters that die whenever you so much as graze a bullet, but you still have a lot of challenge to go through, and since save points are fewer and more far between, they're still very challenging, and they can be the sort of challenging you can do on your first try, so death should be a lot more significant.

TL;DR version: The penalty for death should be greater when the gameplay is easier, but much less when the game is harder. It's all about finding the balance.

This is probably the first article which shamus ever wrote, with which i completely disagree, mainly because shamus for the first time fails to understand the topic about which he is writing.

You're looking at the harsh-death argument from the wrong context, shamus. You analyze it purely by gamelogic and gamebalancing. But that is not what fans of permadeath are about. They do not "enjoy their progress to be deleted". They are not "masochists".

What people who like harsh death, or even permadeath, like about it, is that it makes playing the game more enjoyable for them, during the phase where they DO NOT DIE. Harsh death, if done right, can immensely raise immersion and "connection". If one knows that death is permanent, one values ones own life, and actions, higher. An attack on some other being (or on you) no longer is analogues to "Rape - its like saying hello in japan". By being aware that one can permanently die (or with harsh consequences), one "lives" every action of ones own char more conscious.

Or in short: life becomes valuable, and events that deal with life get more impact.

That is why some people like harsh death - not because they like being punished, but because it makes things valuable, which otherwise are rather "trivial". What they like about it, is that it makes them care more about life.

---

EDIT - P.S.:

I should perhaps mention that i'm in the design-phase of a small-scale online gameworld, and current plans are that it will have harsh death penalty - harsher than ultima online. Players won't lose everything, but a lot. This however needs to be seen in context, because plans also are that combat is not a primary focus of the game, and that people would only die if they fight to the last drop of blood (retreating at a cost will most of the time work). That way, death would be feared, life be valued, and yet people wouldn't pay the harsh price "by accident".

For the record, the reason I raged at the 20 second death animation was because the gameplay of Too Human was so poor that it was difficult to not die repeatedly, often during a single encounter. During the first boss battle against Loki (which incidentally is as far as I got), I think I spent more time watching Valkyries raise my corpse to heaven than I did pointlessly throwing Baldur at the enemies.

One example I can think of for good use of a more severe penalty than death itself, is shooting games, particularly "realistic" objective based ones. Take the Battlefield Bad Company series as an example. These games have a gametype where you push forward by destroying objectives. The additonal time spent waiting to respawn(aprox. 10 secs) buys whichever team plays better a little time to regroup, or easierly destroy the objective, if your playing defense or offense respecively. If there was no timepnealty, that advantage would become less pronounced, and thus a major part of that gametype would disappear, and the defense would always have the advantage by always spawning almost next to the objective.

dastardly:

Greg Tito:
Experienced Points: The Death of the Death Penalty

Is it time to retire the death penalty in games?

Read Full Article

A death "penalty" in games really should only serve to ensure that death isn't a normal play strategy. There are times when people use a quick death to fast-travel from one place to another, or use corpse runs to inch through an area without actually fighting... but other than that? It's bad form to punish a player for playing the game, and it's an even worse idea to punish them for taking risks once in awhile.

Most of the death penalty proponents will almost always push for a "full-loot PvP" mechanic, claiming they want to feel the danger... but, of course, a quick look at the tactics they use shows they aren't the least bit interested in danger.

When someone pushes for a stiffer death penalty, I usually just invite them to self-impose the penalty of their choosing: drop some of your gold, take a 10-minute break, randomly delete one of your items, or something else like that. If they choose not to, the evidence is clear. They don't want to experience a stiffer penalty. They want others to experience a stiffer penalty.

In eve online the death penalty (if you have your affairs correctly in order) is the loss of the ship you were flying and all the stuff in it.

Without this mechanism the pvp simply wouldnt work organically.

Going on the article in eve, this is a natural death penalty since its not something that can be avoided. It's interwoven into the economy, politics and gameplay of eve.

Its not so much about feeling the danger - you get used to that fairly quickly tbh, its more about the depth that can be added to a game by making pvp about resources, and not simply arbitrary "claim points" or however the game might handle it.

I personally see nothing wrong with death being an integral part of gameplay, as long as the designers follow through and ACTUALLY design the experience of dying to fit with the game. If death is properly intergrated with the other gameplay systems, and not a hinderance or annoyance to continued play, then it is a well designed system.

The majority of games i know about simply use death as a "sorry you failed mechanic". But a few reputedly do it well; conker's bad fur day made death an enjoyable experience which fitted right into what the player had been doing up until then... and then of course demon souls, where the vast majority of gameplay is designed squarely around your attempted reincarnation.

But the important thing to remember is that games are about challenge, and the whole point of a challenge is that you can fail it. There is no sense in punishing people who fail at a challenge you've created, as if to say that they "shouldn't have failed" - when the whole point of a challenge is that some people SHOULD fail it.

Sneaklemming:

dastardly:

Greg Tito:
Experienced Points: The Death of the Death Penalty

Is it time to retire the death penalty in games?

Read Full Article

A death "penalty" in games really should only serve to ensure that death isn't a normal play strategy. There are times when people use a quick death to fast-travel from one place to another, or use corpse runs to inch through an area without actually fighting... but other than that? It's bad form to punish a player for playing the game, and it's an even worse idea to punish them for taking risks once in awhile.

Most of the death penalty proponents will almost always push for a "full-loot PvP" mechanic, claiming they want to feel the danger... but, of course, a quick look at the tactics they use shows they aren't the least bit interested in danger.

When someone pushes for a stiffer death penalty, I usually just invite them to self-impose the penalty of their choosing: drop some of your gold, take a 10-minute break, randomly delete one of your items, or something else like that. If they choose not to, the evidence is clear. They don't want to experience a stiffer penalty. They want others to experience a stiffer penalty.

In eve online the death penalty (if you have your affairs correctly in order) is the loss of the ship you were flying and all the stuff in it.

Without this mechanism the pvp simply wouldnt work organically.

Going on the article in eve, this is a natural death penalty since its not something that can be avoided. It's interwoven into the economy, politics and gameplay of eve.

Its not so much about feeling the danger - you get used to that fairly quickly tbh, its more about the depth that can be added to a game by making pvp about resources, and not simply arbitrary "claim points" or however the game might handle it.

In these cases, the "death penalty" isn't as much about penalizing the player as it is maintaining the viability of the economy. A lot of games don't really care about that anymore, as non-combat gameplay is increasingly marginalized.

Star Wars Galaxies had a great player economy... until they removed item decay. Then you only ever had to buy one weapon and one suit of armor. That meant the armor and weapon makers weren't getting any repeat business, so they quit (It took a LOT of work to be good).

EVE still values crafting/economic gameplay, so it makes sense for ships to be destructible commodities.

Sorry Shamus, you seemed to have missed the point of the death penalty. It's not there to punish or subtract from the experience - it's there to add to the other side of that experience!

What's the difference in WoW between someone who dies in an instance 3 times and someone who dies 0 times? Nothing. In the end they both come out the same. There's no reward for staying alive.

Death isn't the penalty - not dying is the reward.

UO rewarded people who would not die in any number of ways - you keep the loot you found on the mobs, you loot the corpse of a person you fought, or you simply get to a city without losing your house key. The consequences of dying are the exact opposite - you're corpse is free pickins' for anyone who walks by.

As they remove the death penalties from games, they remove the rewards as well. Now, in some games you get... coins, tokens, cards, points... bleh.

Ever play those older RPG's where you fight, say, 5 fully armored "Knights of Awesomeness"? When you make it out the battle alive, you get some token reward like 5 gold pieces and a cracked short sword. What happened to that full plate helmet? What about those over-sized two handed swords?

That's what MMO's have become. You go into a special area, fight other players and get points to be traded in for items later on. It fails the logic test. If your opponent goes down after a long battle, you have every right in the world to take anything you want from their corpse. That sword they were slashing your face with is now yours! That's your reward, not some meaningless token that can be traded in for a generic item everyone else will also be wearing once they kill X number of bad guys.

The harsher the death penalty the better
I think its time for game developers to seperate the wheat from the chaff.
If it gets any less harsher we will all be the equivalent of the space ship crew in WALL E fat bloated slugs that swish around on giant armchairs except THAT WILL BE YOUR BRAIN.
Its time to accept spartan law that some people are better then others and they shouldn't be punished for the weakest link.

A punitive system and a reward system are not opposite, they are different sides the same thing. In order for superior players to be rewarded the lesser players must be punished for their inferior skill. Otherwise everyone skilled or unskilled would be equal and the game would be a joke.

Oh, there is a HUGE difference in WoW when you die 3 times compared to none. It has everything to do with spawn time, especially in larger dungeons. If you die too often you start from the beginning with the mobs coming back...aka you wasted 1+ (Vary) hour of your time for nothing. I have gone through such a process so many times that I don't even keep track anymore. Also dying in an MMO depends on whether you team is good, bad or you accidentally glitch the entire dungeon to attack you.

Though I do agree. I would also like that shiny sword that mobs tend to have that I cannot equip for some reason. Must have the tech from MGS that the weapon only functions in the hand of the appropriate NPC.

Yes and no. Death Penalty should focus less on how the game should **** you over. (Losing equipment=spent time on the game for nothing. You know how in real life, if you do not insure your home you will lose everything from a disaster and you want that in a game?) It should be more of a learning experience. "How did I die there?" "How do I prevent it?" "Oh now I get how I died.". But a game has to have a good pace as well as an entertaining experience for the entire level. Games in the past had you start from the beginning like Mario, Megaman, and Zelda. You did not mind though because each level was enjoyable on it's own. You enjoyed the experience each zone gave you and didn't feel "**** I have to do this again..." like we do for a lot of games right now.

Oh and I also hate the "superiority" complex "hardcore" gamers seem to believe they have when they play a "difficult" game. Could that haloduty fan beat the game on hardest difficulty? Sure that would be impressive. I would like them to do the same on Tetris with the highest speed. Than I would like them to beat an RPG using the default weapon and armor given in the beginnig of the game. If they could do that....than yeah they would be hardcore, but have a lot of time too....

I don't think Ive every agreed with a single opinion shamus has had in one of his articles. This article is no differnt. I dont care about making shit accessable.

I play NV on hardcore and a mod that gives cap and other forms of money weight though so I must be one of these masocists hes talking about though. Excuss me for thinking failure should be punished.

Without Death, we'd all be playing some version of WoW themepark where all our wildest dreams come true and circle-jerking together. No thanks.

Give me Death or ....give me death.

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