Friday, June 10, 2011

Shared Topic: Dying

Sharden asked
How do you think dying in an MMO should affect the characters? In WoW we have a relatively insignificant repair cost from durability for a PVE death and no consequence for dying to another player. Do you think this is enough, too much, or needing improvement? 

1UP
I had thought a bit about dying in our MMO. As a fairly avid video game player since the 90's, I've had my fair share of virtual deaths. In many of those games, dying meant returning to a save-point; be it one manually triggered when I thought I was doing good, or the milestone-type rebirth you get in a Wii game, dying seldom meant an actual death. Usually the death was fairly painless. Sure, you may have to replay a portion of content over again, or lose one of those precious "lives" you have gathered in the game, but you went on.

In Warcraft, the world does not stop; the game does not go back in time upon your death. Despite all my best efforts, The World of Warcraft does not revolve around me. You die and now you need to resurrect yourself. Easy. It costs a little gold and you may find yourself in the same fatal situation as before and end up dying again, rather quickly. What are some of the alternatives?

ain't easy being green?
Real-Life: You die, your dead. No resurrection allowed unless, well of course, depending on the religion you follow. Imagining an MMO were you'd build a new character each time you die. The game would be shallow. Maybe only a few levels to go through. Leveling would likely only be done via non-violent means. There would be absolutely no PVP functionality. Maybe they'd call it "The SIMS Online"? (which does have a dying method, but 'natural' causes. The penalty being ~2 hrs until you can res.) When you die, maybe if you did enough good deeds in the game, you could transform your toon from one being to another. (I wanna be a frog and swim all day).

EverQuest: (Based on a conversation with a co-worker, this is how I understand the process.) The resurrection process in EQ is a bit more like WoW raiding. If you die while playing the game, you cannot simply run back to your body in ghost form and click the "accept resurrect" button. You could either run naked from your 'camp'-point (not a graveyard) to your body and then pickup your gear. OR you could have one of their healing classes summon your corpse to you, but only a select classes could do this. You would take gear damage and you would also lose a bit of your XP. Imagine during progression raiding, with numerous wipes, you could possibly drop a level.

Now, consider the WoW death penalty again. You die. You run as an untouchable ghost from a local graveyard (now much closer in Cataclysm). You click the resurrect button and you've only take a 10% durability hit. A few gold out of pocket and you're back to normal. If you find your corpse is un-retrievable, you hit the 'return to graveyard' button, chat with the spirit healer and take the 25% durability hit. Done.

In vanilla EverQuest the death penalty was severe. Players would lean forward in their seats, one-hundred percent focused on the game during combat. [...] In WoW, with its less severe death penalties, players often multi-task during routine game play; such as watching TV or surfing the web.  ~Dan @ Massive Thoughts
As Dan eludes to, the death penalty imposed on a player helps increase the intensity and the involvement of the player. High death penalty and they will be doing everything possible to avoid dying, even if it means running out of a zone with a chain of mobs chasing you. Lower the death penalty and they will be less involved in the game; caring less if they die.

Speaking of... hmm..This reminds me of the "__ made it to max level in 4 days played" articles (back when getting to max level meant an easy 2 weeks  played). See at low-levels before you have a mount, running is the slowest piece of the game. These players would purposely die when they finished their last quest, res at the spirit healer, res-sick, but be within a few hundred yards of the repair and quest turn in location. This would not be possible in EQ.

Is the death penalty in WoW OK? Based on Blizzards philosophy of opening the game for all players, a minimal death penalty is ideal. Clients are punished for dying, but usually not more than some time lost and a bit of gold (which is usually repaid by the end of the next quest). Making it more painful, IMHO, would limit participation. Blizzard encourages PVP, which typically includes numerous deaths, by making it 0 cost to participate (including the healing, mana and minion replacement). In many ways, this is what keeps WoW alive. Players have a harder time getting bored with the game, because they can take risks and not get painfully punished. PUG Heroics? Sure! PUG a raid? Why not! Work on that Childern's Week PVP Achievement? Heck ya'!

No comments:

Post a Comment