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Why so few games with permadeath/ironman/hardcore modes?

Discussion in 'General RPG Discussion' started by Meredoth, Jan 1, 2022.

  1. Harthwain Magister

    Harthwain
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    I would argue it comes down to the design. For example, most Warhammer-related games are designed with permadeath, lethatl combat with no saving in progress, some nasty effect when overusing the magic, randomness baked in (dice rolls), etc. However, they are either short/quickfire affairs or they offer you ways to prolong your suffering (such as hiring replacements in place of the fallen comrades). Nowadays we have roguelites that allow you to earn extra content and other character-related bonuses on death, so you don't feel like your run was "wasted" and you get more toys to try out. And this, I think, could be the way for making a quite deadly cRPG worthwhile. Another way of dealing with dying is by making death less inevitable (so it is not "all or nothing" kind of deal).

    I agree with what you're saying, but I think the flaw lies in not giving the player enough meaningful choices when it comes to avoiding death. In combat you could run, surrender or bribe opponents. Running would be good if you're fast. Surrender is better if you're rich/respected enough to "make someone pay your way out of it" and bribe would be just you trying to either even out the odds or making the problem go away entirely. Or perhaps you fall in combat, but your companions don't and you win the battle. Then you get a wound that you need to treat (which is either very costly to heal or takes a long time to do so. Or both).
     
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  2. Reinhardt Arcane

    Reinhardt
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    Fuck off, nigger. Early game is best part of BB. Or any rpg.
     
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  3. Nortar Prophet Patron

    Nortar
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    Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    That's your answer.
    If permadeath is what really gives you a kick, you can play any game this way.
    And if you can't keep it up, unless it's artificially enforced by mechanics, you're just a weaksauce hypocrite.
    Similar to that demagogy I've seen recently (was it Rusty's?) that "I don't want to be OP in my game, but I'll use all the cheese and OP shit I can, coz it's in human nature". Yeah, right.
     
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  4. rusty_shackleford Arcane

    rusty_shackleford
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    I agree. If savescumming is what you want, then you should be allowed to backup saves and cheat. Nobody is going to stop you. But how about you stop enabling shit games with your demand for built-in cheats?

    Absolute irony from people who whine incessantly about "choice and consequence" but don't actually want an ounce of consequence in games because it might inconvenience them.
     
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  5. Nifft Batuff Cipher

    Nifft Batuff
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    I can respect permadeath in games. I think it is a bit autistic and repeating the same PacMan level over and over again is not my definition of a fun or interesting game.

    But it can make sense as a reasonable rule for a competition with other players (like in the old roguelike games, developed on multi-users mainframes, or arcade games, where you share a score list). In any case the resulting permadeath-based game will be necessarily shorter and limited in scope. And also a bit shallow.

    What I don't respect and absolutely despise, is when a single player game forces you on limited saves just because. And this is a modern trend due to sereval factors, one of them is the consolitis culture that soiled the PC games (and paradoxically now consoles and handhelds are less afflicted by this than PCs, since they usually allow an easy hardware suspension of the game.)

    If you want to implement some kind of permadeath in your game, you are welcome (if it makes sense in the scope of the game), but if you don't allow me to save my game when I need to exit, and then to resume exactly where I left (not at a consoletard savepoint), you are a true shit.

    And just to be clear, Dark Souls is not a good example because:
    It has no permadeath
    It has save on exit and you can resume your game exactly where you left (not only at save points)
     
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  6. Nortar Prophet Patron

    Nortar
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    Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    True that. Where's a will, there's a way. And that's the whole point.
    Arguably permadeath is easier to "implement", - all it takes is enough determination, nothing else.
    And if you lack it, than it's back to being a weaksauce hypocrite, who really wants a pat on the back for overcoming difficulties and sticking with chocies.

    But why do you think everyone who is not running permadeath is automatically a savescummer?
    It's as if you don't see any alternative, the way some raging feminists see every man as a serial rapist, just because they are "equipped" to be one.
     
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  7. tritosine2k Augur

    tritosine2k
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    This just looks like an easy target for compulsive + pathetic rabble rouser attempts. Yeah dude, embracing prude + HC streamers did so "much" good for path of exile.
     
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  8. laclongquan Arcane

    laclongquan
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    Jarlfrank said it best. And the most important point is the thing about "discourage experimentation and encourage conservative style"~

    As a veteran gamer I dont fear losing hundred of hours of gameplay. If I can play that long? I can play it again, no problem, as long as shits are interesting.

    I do mind the fucking "dont take risk" mindset come from playing such method. Because it's the central philosophy of playing hardcore: dont take risk or you lose it all. You can avoid bad end hundreds of times but the next one will get you and all is lost.

    There's no such "multiple routes" in a permadeath game, there's only "safest".

    Playing a permadeath game is suffocating to death.

    Sure, savecum has its problems. Multitude, in fact. But all can be compensated in one way or another, and at least you dont get suffocated during a savescum playthrough.

    When you see a most dangerous boss in front of your eyes, your first reaction would be running away because death will make you lost everything. Going up against boss? Try different things? You must be kidding~~
     
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  9. Justicar Dead game Glory to Ukraine

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    After finishing a game on ironmode.

     
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  10. Ravielsk Prophet

    Ravielsk
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    Because it requires the game to be very carefully designed around it. Otherwise it simply forces the most boring chickenshit playstyle.

    From my recent experience on TurtleWoW where they implemented a "mortal challenge" it did not work out. Especially because its a low pop server and WoW was explicitly designed around having a lot of players everywhere at all times. So some basic bitch quest were utterly incompletable without multi-boxing or a group because the mob density was too high. Also you could only group up with other "mortal" players, who were also within a 5 level range, so sometimes there was literary no one to help you. The end result was that the only real way to complete this challenge was to very slowly farm mobs several level below yours because that was the only way to gain exp without being one shitty mobs spawn away from starting over. Or get carried by someone but that was against the rules.
    Its similar with Stellaris where most events or actions operate on a dice roll. So you might get a super-rare ecumenopolis planet or you can "accidentally" cut yourself of from half your empire. Or the AI empires that just cheat so blatantly that setting them off in the early game is pretty much a death sentence and if they are purifiers its just game over. Again the only way around it is to essentially memorize all the potential outcomes and strategically ignore stuff until you are prepared to deal with the negative outcomes and to to generally be as passive as possible until you can just steamroll everything.

    Point being a game with perma-death has to be designed around the idea from top to bottom. You cannot just take slap it on and call it day.
     
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  11. Gradenmayer Learned

    Gradenmayer
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    Any western RPG will corrupt/soft lock/bug out my savefile at least 3 times.
    You are brain damaged if you trust saves in RPG games to work as intended for even 30 hours.
    Trusting them to not fuck up a singular autosave is an even higher magnitude of retardation.
     
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  12. Serus Arcane Patron

    Serus
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    It has been already said but i'll repeat. Games designed around permadeath should be designed differently than "traditional" games. Some people (Jarl you too...) think about 100h+ game, with very high randomisation and no tools/options to flee combat or lower the randomness by smart play. And the risks that, if you go blind, mean death. Those games often have a lot of storyfaggotry as well.
    YES, for those kind of games permadeath mechanics are nonsense.

    In addition, permadeath games are not meant for people who have a small child crying and wife screaming from the kitchen. Neither are many other kind of games. I'm sorry but not everything is meant to be played by everyone. A permadeath game can or not be tedious but it sure as hell requires attention at what you are doing.

    On the other hand, a game that is some or all of the following:
    a) Shorter makes usually a better permadeath game. If you die after 10 hours it is more likely that you will replay the game with a different build and have fun doing it than after 100 hours - when you might throw the computer out of the window instead.
    b) Without randomness causing situations when you can be killed in one blow due to a single bad dice roll. At least after the first few hours.
    c) Smart play and/or preparation should allow to escape bad situations. The skill is to make those preparation and to know when to escape. That teleport spell will be useless turn after your party is dead, but turn before can save you. If all fights are always to the death it probably isn't a good permadeath mechanic.
    d) Good incentives to take some risks but always inform the player in some way - directly or not - how high the risks are.
    e) A game that meant to be replayed. No linear sotryfag game without good mechanics makes good permadeath game. A game that makes you want to try other professions, build, etc on other hand...
    f) In case of non-roguelikes, non-action CRPG, party based would probably be easier to design and balance.

    Good examples are obviously well designed rogulikes. They tend to be b), c), d) and e). Sometimes also a) but that varies. The ones that are long have even stronger other points, especially b) and c). Obviously not f).
    However the principles can be applied to more "classic" CRPGs. Problem is that most games are made with one play through (sometimes just to follow the story) in mind. See first paragraph. In addition some popular systems used in crpg are simply not meant for permadeath. Low level D&D and derivatives tend to be very random and also popular.

    Last thing. Some morons claim that there is no point because you can savescum even in a permadeath game. Some permadeath games don't even hide saves. Sure you can. You also can - in any game - find a proper tool and make yourself immortal, have infinite money or even teleport past difficult places. You can. But there wouldn't be a point, would there? And i know, some do it anyway. The goal is to beat the challenges created by the designers, having fun in the process. It is true for all kind of computer games, no matter the genre.
     
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  13. JarlFrank I like Thief THIS much Patron

    JarlFrank
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    Roguelikes solve the problem of permadeath by making their dungeons random in order to create "replayability", but in practice you end up replaying very similar levels over and over again because procedural generation sucks and can't even remotely compare to hand-made levels and encounters.
    But in a hand-made game you don't wanna replay the same content over and over if you die, so it's better to not have permadeath in those.
     
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  14. Reinhardt Arcane

    Reinhardt
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    I remember only two games i actually enjoyed ironman in many years - BB and Thea.
     
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  15. Darth Canoli Arcane

    Darth Canoli
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    Exactly, the only way to make it fun in a RPG is to make failures part of the game, every failure, except a few critical ones wouldn't end the game but open an alternative side story.
    You're beaten to a pulp by an Orc Chieftain? He makes your team prisoner and you can try evade through persuasion, thieving skills or even someone from your faction could pay a ransom, in this case, you'd have a debt to repay.

    And so on with different outcomes, making you miss some content but making the game more re-playable and even offering some new opportunities after a failure.
    Like getting caught while trying to climb a mage's tower to steal legendary treasure and the mage could offer you a way out through a new quest (like in Conan novels/comics, Cugel's novels and so on).

    Permadeath isn't the answer because even the less linear RPG would be boring if you had to restart 10 times and replay the first two hours.
     
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  16. PorkaMorka Arcane

    PorkaMorka
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    Conventional CRPGs are NOT designed for Ironman and generally they don't allow you to live with the consequences of your actions and continue your playthrough after things have gone wrong. Every time you fail, you are expected to reload. Also clicking through endless dialog would get worse on the 4th time through.

    It would be great if tactical RPGs were designed with ironman in mind, but let's be honest, most quote unquote tactical RPGs can barely manage to be tactical to begin with, let alone properly design the game for ironman.

    A game designed for Ironman would be quite different from a conventional RPG where save scumming is intended; see below.

    Ironman is great in Battle Brothers, but it's a challenge mode for when you've already learned the encounters. If you fail at the same spot repeatedly or lose easy fights because you don't understand them, then early game will get tiresome, but good players won't fail repeatedly and developing your party through the early-mid game is the best part, so for experienced players the game shines in Ironman. Often when you get late enough into the game you will want to start over anyway.

    Battle Brothers is well suited for Ironman because there is a range of outcomes between complete success and total failure: you might, for example, win a hard fight, dagger some good loot, but lose a decent character in the process. This makes for higher stakes, more memorable fights, even though you're dealing with a limited set of procedurally generated counters.

    Characters are also more disposable and replaceable than in a traditional RPG and the encounters are designed to be fun even when you've played them before. Progression also hits a soft cap relatively early and there are some decent catch up mechanics in the DLCs, making it easier to train replacements.
     
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  17. jackofshadows Magister

    jackofshadows
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    Low demand, what else. As others have pointed out, you can't just slap such a mode on a more or less conventional cRPG, you have to design a game around it for proper experience... and only a few people enjoy that. And you can always self-impose that mode wherever with optional house rules like OP did. I can't imagine how much of a wimp one must be in order not to be able to do that if they so desire.
     
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  18. octavius Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    octavius
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    I dunno...most older CRPGs can be played more or less Ironman, in my experience. What you say is probably true about modern CRPGs, though ( I have little experience with CRPGs newer than Oblivion).
     
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  19. Unorus Janco Lurker

    Unorus Janco
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    Yeah, but no. Early Wizardry games can be played in very short sessions on autopilot if you want to (they're perfect games for busy people) and the challenge comes from forcing the player to adapt to unlucky rolls.
     
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  20. Serus Arcane Patron

    Serus
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    Not "replayability" but replayability. Sorry to be an ass. We had this conversion already. You personally don't like some aspect or mechanic of games, that's it. Just like I don't like storyfaggotry. But those are still stories to be enjoyed (for what they are, by storyfags) and replayability to be enjoyed by random/replayability -fags :D. Whether You or I think it makes bad or good games is irrelevant. They still are real elements of games. However You seem not to just think that random vs pre-made is a poor choice but that it isn't a real choice at all. That there isn't any real replayability to be gained by going random, ergo "replayability".

    You seem to willingly fail to comprehend what purposes randomness serves in games (roguelikes and other crpgs). It is not about level design. OF CURSE the hand made ones will be most of the time BETTER. This is not the point being contested. You basically make a strawman, over and over again, every time this discussion repeats. The point is, it is always the same encounter and location with same loot and same everything else. It is always the same, for the 1st time and for the 5th time. Otoh thanks to randomness you can be surprised. You can or must use different tactics. You find different loot. Etc. This is impossible if the game is strictly pre-made (like BG2 iirc). In BG2 the memorable combat in the inn is always against the exact same party in exact same environment. In a randomised one that party could have some different members. Or the combat might happen in a differently built building so your tactic from previous game wouldn't work, You'd have to come up with a different one. Instead of an amazing katana for the 5th time, you could find an equally amazing different magical item.

    You also seem to conveniently forget that randomness and complete lack of it are not the only two options. Even in the most random roguelikes only some elements are randomised. Many elements are randomised even in many "hand made" crpgs. There can be elements that are partially randomised like a location being mostly hand made but with random twists. Loot that is half static and half randomised. Say in Wizardry 8, i think you like this game. In W8 there are unique items that will appear in one game but not in other. You can have a pool of hand-made encounters/locations/quests that is chosen randomly at the start of the game. Case of Underrail, a "hand-made game" without doubt - and yet here we are. Same goes for many classic RLs or tactical/crpgs (TOME, DoomRL, DCSS or Battle Brothers). Another examples of non-roguelike with mixed design is Darklands (another game you like unless i am mistaken). There are other genres, like adventure, that are usually "very hand made" and yet some randomisation gave us interesting games like Blade Runner.

    You know that there are people who enjoys replaying ironman even fully hand-made games? Tell them, not me, that they are "loosing" their time. However I agree that some randomisation is such games is preferred. I wrote it in my first post iirc so i guess... we can agree on that. However even more importantly they have to be mechanically sound. This is why some people DO replay Kingmaker or even IE games in ironman. Because making new builds and facing the challenge is the fun for them. At least i think that's why. But it doesn't mean they wouldn't enjoy those games more with some randomisation.

    I'm sorry for the wall of text.
     
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  21. Cryomancer Arcane Glory to Ukraine

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    IMO certain games require the threat of permadeath to be good. For eg, can you imagine a adaptation of tomb of horrors, a dungeon that can easily kill a epic level party with the ability to save scum + walktroughts? Anyway, Wrath of the Righteous did got finished by some streams in the "ironman" mode on normal difficulty. And I with a pure RP build reached pretty far in my first kingmaker run (no desire to play wotr in ironman)
     
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  22. Nifft Batuff Cipher

    Nifft Batuff
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    What concern me here is that, while I agree with all the points, these points (with the exception of f) broadly describe the game-loop of the classic coin-op and arcade games. A genre that I consider to be the opposite of classical RPGs.

    Another thing that also I see, is a paradox concerning the inherent randomness of classic roguelikes and point b. I agree that randomness should be avoided or reduced in permadeath games (and with randomness I include also the presence of bugs and the wife in the kitchen). But at the same time you need some randomness to overcome repetition and meta-gaming based on previous knowledge (that is exactly what happens with arcade games).

    I also agree with JarlFrank: this random procedural generation is also purely aesthetic, it could be enough to mess with your meta-knowledge of encounters and resources placements, but it is not what can keep you interested for several plays.
    (edit: I see now that you already wrote about in a previous post)
     
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  23. gurugeorge Arcane Patron

    gurugeorge
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    Strap Yourselves In
    There's a bit of a contradiction between the idea of getting immersed in a story, and "learning" a game by trying and failing. If you're going through a story, you don't want to be stopping and starting and repeating (in fact wearing out the immersion of) the same sequences just so you can learn some gameplay tricks, on the other hand if you're into tactical gameplay, story doesn't really add much, it's just something to string the encounters together.

    It's definitely true that Ironman gives you really deep immersion, but it's broken as soon as you fail some stupid thing that you couldn't reasonably have foreseen from cues in the environment. On the other hand, if the game is well-designed, there are always clues that what's coming up might be beyond your abilities, so you can avoid it. (In fact, making avoiding fights part of the gameplay is an important part of the Ironman experience - it contrasts with the gung-ho "I have an awesomebutton" forward momentum one usually has.)

    I think there's not so much Ironman around partly because most players want a linear experience (i.e. not a stop-start experience, but one that flows through the story, maybe only having a learning sequence with big fights or big boss fights). I know I'm like that most of the time - I'm like 70/30 that and intricate tactical gameplay that you have to learn, or the kind of repetitive cramming you have to do for IronTower type games.

    It's not impossible to blend the two game modes, but it's probably just harder for devs than plumping for one or the other mode.
     
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  24. Yosharian Magister

    Yosharian
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    Because most people aren't fucking masochists

    I do like permadeath in some games though like Project Zomboid

    which is not an RPG and yet strangely is still a better RPG than many RPGs
     
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