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Perma Death- How to cause anguish for fun and profit.

Discussion in 'Codex Workshop' started by Damned Registrations, Mar 20, 2008.

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Do you like permadeath in your RPGs?

  1. Yes, but god damn do I hate rock piercers now.

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  2. No, but I'm so cool I'd never die anyways I swear.

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  3. Here Lies Kingcomrade, killed by a Fascist Liberal.

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  1. Damned Registrations Prestigious Gentleman Furry Weeaboo Nazi Nihilist

    Damned Registrations
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    I'm kinda curious what everybody's stance on this is. Personally I like it, as long as your game isn't going to be a linear copy every time you die. In roguelikes, this generally means it's fun, as long as you're skilled enough to get past the "Fuck not another death to mutant rabbits" stage on a regular basis. In most RPGs however, there is quite often some lame ass introduction to wade through that drags the fun out of it. I could never play a hardcore game on an infinity engine game for this reason. I can barely stand having to talk to Gonorhean every time I want to make a new character in BG, let alone every time some lame ass kobold rolls a 20 with one of his 2 magic arrows. I figure it would be really cool in something like an MMO or sandbox type of game however- In an MMO you can often start out from anywhere in the game world, so, assuming they fixed the retarded single path quest treadmill they tend to have, there would be a nice bit of variety for every new character. Playing Something like daggerfall with permadeath seems like it might be cool too, especially if all the really powerful artifact shit was scattered randomly but still up for grabs if you were skilled/crazy enough to go for it early on. This assumes no level scaling of course, which blends everything in the game into the same dungeon anyways.
     
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  2. DraQ Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    It would need to be really randomized for me. For example I never tried Wiz8 Ironman. The game is pretty replayable thanks to the sheer amount of fun it offers as well as varying party builds, but it'd probably drive me up the wall to keep dying at the begining:

    *party lands on Dominus, gets killed by Gregor*
    *make a new party*
    *party lands on Dominus, is pwnd by glitchy wall of doom*
    *make a new party*
    *party lands on Dominus, makes it through the monastery, gets group raped by a legion of Higardi bandits on the Road to Arnika*
    *make a necklace out of random passerby's eyes, ears, nose, teeth and genitals; get shot by the police*

    Even if I'd persevere it's not fun to do the same thing over and over again, hence large degree of randomness would be needed.
     
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  3. Flux_Capacitor Augur

    Flux_Capacitor
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    Having the option the switch it on or off when starting a new game is always a viable option. It seemed to work well with Diablo's Hardcore mode and Wizardry 8's Ironman mode. It really isn't a whole lot of extra work for the developer's, either.

    Permadeath can also have problems if there are bugs in the game (and its inevitable there are some) or lag. Having your game wiped out by a crash to desktop or character killed in an MMO because of lag isn't much fun.
     
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  4. Serious_Business Best Poster on the Codex

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    Yes. You can't play JA2 without the ironman mode. Otherwise you'd just reload everytime you get hit. There are people who play like this, especially because it takes 2 seconds to save and load a game. It takes the whole point out of the game. You'll save, do something risky, if it works fine, if not reload. Pure faggotry, gay queer etc you get the drill.
     
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  5. cardtrick Arbiter

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    Voted Yes, but I want it optional. My game is definitely going to have the option, and I really hope that AoD will as well.
     
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  6. JarlFrank I like Thief THIS much Patron

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    Forced ironman is the suckiest concept ever. Optional ironman, like Diablo and JA2 have it, is the best concept ever, as you can choose how you wanna play your game. Choice and consequence even before you start the game, wowza!

    Ironman in MMORPGs would be real fun, though. Most MUDs already have this, and it makes them a lot more fun and interesting. Losing almost all your health and then being killed of by your party members so they can loot your corpse makes you change your view on MMOs completely. I want an MMO with such rules. It would be great.
     
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  7. Zomg Arbiter

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    Optional "iron man" is fucking idiotic, because both modes can't be balanced at the same time.
     
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  8. Nael Arcane

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    It is alot of fun. There are a few NWN2 PWs (Persistant Worlds) that use a permadeath or ressurection system for death.

    One of my favorite systems was in a PW whose name I can't recall at this time where if you died, the only way you could bring your character back is if a cleric of sufficient CL, and similiarly aligned to your character found your corpse and casted Resurrection.

    Everquest 1 was somewhat similiar to this. If you died, you would resurrect at the city of your binding with none of your items or gold and a severe XP penalty. You could opt to wait however for a cleric to show up and resurrect you with a much smaller XP penalty.

    IIRC, some Meridian 59 servers were permadeath, but griefing on these servers was harsh to say the least, and it was only for the most hardcore of players who had a good crew to back them up.
     
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  9. DarkUnderlord Professional Throne Sitter

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    Nonsense. It's what I do in X-Com all the time. :P There's nothing quite like having your entire team massacred because you walked them right into the path of a sonic grenade, only to go "uhmm... right then!" and reload to try and avoid it. Sure it started to seem odd that out of hundreds of alien encounters, I never lost a single man (boy those aliens must've sucked) but I enjoyed that more, using the team members that had upgraded (and could therefore actually hit things without running out of ammo), a lot more, than training up new guys over several hundred missions.

    I don't see that as any different to how I played Doom 2. I mean, I always reloaded there when I died. The fun for me is in the gameplay, not on how much I get pissed off by walking into an INSTANT DEATH situtation which you can only avoid with fore-knowledge. "Right, so when I get the blue key, the doors will close and I'd better whip out the BFG because I'm about to be surrounded... Or wait... Was that the next level?". Turning games into memory tests is not my idea of fun. If I wanted to play Memory, I would.

    An optional Ironman mode like in ToEE where you can't leave without saving (or however they did that, dunno, never used it) is my preference. Because sometimes, on the rare occasion, I do like to run through Commando style after all my other guys have died, just to see how far I'd get with my "Why not open the door?" approach. As opposed to the paranoid, "okay, better re-heal everyone just in case behind the next door is death" and then playing a lot slower and painstakingly cautiously.
     
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  10. someone else Arcane Patron

    someone else
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    The poller didn't say whether he meant game imposed or self-imposed Ironman. Edited : Oops this is the RPG design discussion board.

    I think ironman fits strategy games that RPG. I remember back in 97 my Diablo clan played Ironman(back then we don't call it ironman). I wonder if that influenced ironman in D2, but then the clan is small and low profile so I guess not.

    In X-com, in a no replay game, you keep a larger team of soldiers and constantly rotate them so they each get experience. I'm afraid of those blaster bombs that destroys the morale of the landing team causing you to hit the abort mission when most of the survivors panics/berserks.

    I enjoy rogue-likes though I don't like those hard to avoid, the RNG hates you, save-vs-death deaths.
     
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  11. SuicideBunny (ノ ゜Д゜)ノ ︵ ┻━┻

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    Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Torment: Tides of Numenera
    depends on how it's done.
    non-perma death with characters dying all the time for story reasons is annoying, just as perma-death that serves no purpose other than frustration..

    however, i'm all for perma-death in mmorpgs as a tool of change, and would love if normal games actually bothered with proper ending slides differing depending on how far into the story you died, or better yet, something like reign implemented with the company structure...
    the player characters are officers in a company, if they die, they get replaced by others or new ones, if the company dies, the players are in big trouble or it's simply game over.
    the best part about this is that companies are entities with their own kinds of attributes which determine the companies' abilities, and get used up temporarily through company actions, while running out of a certain amount of attributes after company combat means death.

    hmmmm.. perma death, limited amount of resources/officers depending on how well your company is doing, some slight changes to npc reactions after character death, and death slides upon company death would be sweet..

    not a big fan of ironman games, since they only increase combat challenge, without adding anything to the story.
     
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  12. mondblut Arcane

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    Hell no. The games are made to entertain, not to frustrate.
     
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  13. DraQ Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    Indeed, but being unable to think "Oh well, I'll have to reload then." makes for a much more authentic experience.
     
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  14. mondblut Arcane

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    I rather reload than start over.

    And I believe that the question games should provide to player is "what should I do to survive", NOT "what I shouldn't ever, under any circumstances, even dare to try". Putting in things the player shouldn't ever touch is a waste of time and resources, unless done for lulz - and lulz and permadeath are mutually exclusive.
     
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  15. DraQ Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    I think there are several things that can be done to reduce frustration in perma-death system:

    1. The player should always be able to see it coming. Learning by dying isn't fun even when reloading is allowed.
    2. The PC shouldn't be put against impossible odds. Most games do, but allow for cheating the probability by loading. It isn't exactly the best design. It'd be better to put the PC in a situtation, that, while perilous, he can be reasonably expected to overcome via proper use of skills and information.
     
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  16. Damned Registrations Prestigious Gentleman Furry Weeaboo Nazi Nihilist

    Damned Registrations
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    I can kind of see where you're coming from. A lot of the fun of roguelikes died when I realized that it's more effective to find a shop to try and sell scrolls to identify them than just reading them at random. No more death by walking down stairs with an iron ball and chain around my leg, alas. OTOH, I find that in games without permadeath, I don't bother thinknig about how to survive at all- there is no tension to be had. I just think of the fastest way to do anything, regardless of efficiency or safety. Who cares if I run into a boss monster and it rips my head off? Trekking around carefully would take longer. Much easier to blaze my way through, drop dead, then reload and heal just before door number 6.

    My first dungeon crawler was a game called Shining in the Darkness for the genesis. It didn't have permadeath, but you couldn't save inside the (Fucking gigantic) labyrinth either. And it could easily take a couple of hours to get back to where you died- especially when you're about 8 years old and don't own any graph paper or enough skill to map on blank paper accurately. This made every battle with a new monster tense and interesting- I had to be very careful not to let everyone get too weak, or I could die to some unknown threat, or at the very least would be forced to retreat and plod all the way back in. Not so while playing Baldurs gate. Oh look, an ancient wizard. *Yawn* I'll just charge him with melee and hope I roll well. Oh gee, my whole party is near death and I have no healing. Guess I'll just save scum to get to the end of the dungeon- backing out to heal would be a pointless pain in the ass.
     
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  17. mondblut Arcane

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    Well, lack of tension is necessary evil.

    Fact is, players love to experiment. They like to do all kinds of strange things - just for fun, out of curiosity, trying to push the game's limits. This is particularly true for CRPGs, where players are used to intellectual challenges and freedom to do lots of different things.

    An entertaining CRPG must encourage experiments and reward inventive thinking instead of punishing it with all kinds of fiery deaths and near-permanent injuries. Rewards should be rich, while punishments rare and either easily curable, or clearly foresighted. If a game makes player afraid of experimenting, this game is not fun. And when player cannot load a saved game when things went hairy, he WILL be afraid of experimenting.

    Of course this doesn't apply to games which are all about experiencing various fiery deaths for lulz and restarting. But that's a separate niche of games whose features shouldn't be forced upon a different kind of gameplay.
     
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  18. galsiah Erudite

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    You seem to be assuming that PC punishment = player punishment. That's not necessarily true even outside lulz+restart games. Setbacks in most current games tend not to provide entertainment since they don't open up interesting gameplay/content, whereas success does. There's no reason to avoid PC punishments - just so long as they don't punish the player.

    Clearly PC death is a special case, since in most situations it means a reload. However, any other setback can perfectly well be an opportunity to provide the player with entertainment - not a punishment of the player in any sense.

    Of course it'd be difficult to get nearly all setbacks to be entertaining, but it's certainly a possibility for individual cases. A blanket assumption that "Setbacks aren't entertaining" is needlessly limiting - and quite obviously nonsense.

    Further, I'd say that PC punishments that are "easily curable" are some of the worst kind - since they only act as a time-sink [[EDIT: assuming a game with no real time pressure - which is less than ideal]], and are therefore almost automatically a punishment for the player. Interesting complex setbacks that open up difficult cures - or are never entirely cured - since a "cure" tends to imply a total absence of long-term effects; i.e. a situation with no direct interesting consequences, positive or negative.

    Unpredictable fiery deaths should be few and far between (probably non-existant), but interesting, entertaining PC punishment can reasonably be around every corner.
     
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  19. Demnogonis Saastuttaja Magister

    Demnogonis Saastuttaja
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    It's a cool difficulty option, and there should be some extra reward for completing the game with it. There's simply nothing to lose by having that.

    If it's forced, I think it'd be good if the game was somewhat random, non-linear and perhaps have stuff like that you could fight your way back from hell (and be marked by it somehow), be resurrected (perhaps as a undead monster, bound to someone's will or maybe your lover trades her life for yours), perhaps there could be a necromantic path that'd let you become an undying lich, vampire et cetera, you could buy clone bodies in a sci-fi gameto where your mind would be transferred on death, and so on.

    Aside perma-death or ironman stuff, I'd at least like my games a bit harder. NWN2 for example, has only one hard fight. *Minor spoiler* If you betray your companions, you have to fight all that min-maxing and cheesiness you have done yourself.
     
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  20. Nightjed Liturgist

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    i voted no, but i would play ironman if it had benefits like extra xp, or in diablo's case a much higher chance of rares and uniques, and i agree with DraQ only very random games can survive the frustration of dying 8 times without leaving the first area (i got raped by those insects in the path from the monastery to arnika in w8 quite a few times myself)
     
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  21. Damned Registrations Prestigious Gentleman Furry Weeaboo Nazi Nihilist

    Damned Registrations
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    This is something I really enjoy about nethack. Situations like being forced to zap a wand of dig directly down to escape a horde of enemies- placing you even deeper in the dungeon, without sight of the staircase back up. Or running out of food and going all cannibal on some town guard, incurring the anger of your god, and then searching for something suitable (I.e. a dragon or the like) to slay and offer in hopes of mollifying him.

    Actually, in general, permadeath isn't really the problem so much as save scumming. Games which don't allow you to save without stopping play and don't allow you to stop without saving tend to be far more interesting.
     
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  22. Human Shield Augur

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    The reason people reload is that playing the same thing again is annoying (MMO players seem to enjoy it thou). But removing risk by always reloading can cut out some of the fun.

    Just put a meta mechanic that tracks reverting character status, like fate points. So if you have 10 fate points and get your arm crippled, reloading would cost 1 and reloading from death would cost more. Then you have the fate points have a purpose or have them reset at certain points (you have 10 to claim an area in JA2 and if you run out you have to retreat or something).
     
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  23. Claw Erudite Patron

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    Actually, if I understand you correctly I'd do it the other way around. Reloading at death should be more acceptable, while reloading just because you aren't happy with how well the fight went is more costly.
     
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  24. Human Shield Augur

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    And you don't think people would suicide if that was the case?
     
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  25. Oarfish Prophet

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    I voted yes. Permadeath adds a tension to single player gameplay that is only otherwise attainable though competitive multiplayer gaming. That said, it's only going to be a viable choice for games that have emergent or at heavily non linear gameplay. There's just no point in adding permentent death into mainstream games as they are - all it will do it interrupt the drip feed of holy narriative. For most recent RPGs its even worse - you repeat the exact same scripted battles with less than satisfying basic gameplay.

    As usual, Toady's approach is good - having a persistent world full of the legends of your previous adventures and the ruins of your abandoned fortresses is attempting to make the player treat the world and its history as the game rather than any individual play through. Oh for a way to automate the transfer of components between players spore style.
     
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