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Old 03-02-2003, 02:17 PM   #1
Crystal
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I saw a thread for something similar from back in May of 02, but I wanted to open up a new one to cover more areas.

The IMP's on my MUD have been debating this discussion back and forth for a while now and we never seem to come to an agreement. We're trying to figure out the best way to implement a death system, where people can still have fun for a length of time.

They want to do the permadeath system, and I don't. I've never played one so I've never honestly seen one in the works. But to me it seems almost futile to build up a character or an environment, to have it killed so easily.

On the other hand, one of us suggested creating a system where some of their points, etc, were carried over to their new character. (Strictly roleplaying related points, not character stats).

For those who have created a permadeath system, what is the advantage in having one? How do you deal with people who are upset about losing their long time character? Do they get to carry over anything to a new character? Is there any chance of resurrection? How often do people experience permadeath? Does anyone suggest a better death system?

I may not have such a hard time with permadeath if there was a slight chance for resurrection as well.

I read in the previous thread, that someone implemented a way to reward the player of a well known character who had just died, by giving their new character a little something extra. Does anyone ever complain about favoritism? What types of things are you willing to give the new character?

Any ideas/discussion is greatly appreciated.
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Old 03-02-2003, 04:51 PM   #2
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We don't use a one-kill permadeath system (our casualty rates are reasonably steep), but all forms of death gradually wear down your character. ICly, your patron deity restores your soul at your Temple, but the process is imperfect. If that doesn't get you, natural or artificial aging eventually will. To answer your other questions:

For those who have created a permadeath system, what is the advantage in having one?

Variety, consequences, and footholds. First, the major players in your game change frequently. Nobody can hold a position forever, so new characters can generally get a shot at being the leader of Cabal X or Religion Y. Also, all deaths are meaningful, and not just something you can gain XP to erase. When death is meaningful, people roleplay it very differently from when it's a minor nuisance. Finally, it gives "up and coming" players a chance to compete with the old veterans. Since everyone has to start fresh every once in a while, you aren't overshadowed by these 5-year old characters that have taken time to master every skill, etc.

How do you deal with people who are upset about losing their long time character?

We don't. One of the reasons that we use a diversified class system is so that each character plays out very differently. So when you're moving on to your next one, it's a whole new experience, and not just trudging back up through the same ranks the same ways. One of the most common sentiments expressed on our Battlefield forums (the place on our website where major characters get a chance to say good bye) is "Well, I'll miss being X, but I'm really excited to play this other combination."

Some people get attached to their character, but when all players know that all characters are finite, it's all part of the process.

Do they get to carry over anything to a new character?

Nope. It's our strict philosophy that every character begins on the same footing, out of concern for fair competition.

Is there any chance of resurrection?

Nope. Once final death arrives, it's all over.

How often do people experience permadeath?

Combat-heavy characters may see it after 150-200 hours of play or sooner. Age gets few characters, but becomes a concern after about 500 hours of play (race matters a lot here). In our experience, that's been plenty of time for deep, well-developed characters to mature and do most of the things they want to do.

Does anyone suggest a better death system?

I think most games would benefit from having some form of permanent death system. The most important thing it does is tell the players "The clock is ticking. Make the most out of it."
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Old 03-02-2003, 08:46 PM   #3
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I think I need to emphasize the "meaningful death" benifit that Valg pointed out above: Realism of environment brings realism of RP. It's my primary reason for playing permadeath MUDs. Some place where you can run to the healer and get your kid or a fallen soldier revived simply isn't going to fear death the way we do. It's silly. If you don't have permadeath, the realistic way of RPing a death is in fact not RPing it: carrying on as if it were a normal occurance, because it is. Personally I don't think non-permadeath MUDs very interesting. I try not to play them: the one non-permadeath mud I play was the first mud I played. It's like my home, and it's also pretty well made.
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Old 03-03-2003, 01:25 AM   #4
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Permadeath is an integral part of the mud I play. That's just the way it is, so no one complains about it too much. Old experienced chars die now and then, and the players miss them and maybe whine a little about how they died, and then move on.

How our system works is this. If you die normally, your body lays there rotting, and if no one preserves your corpse (via a spell) it'll eventually rot totally away and you permadie. You can be resurrected by anyone with the appropriate spell (generally members of the healer's guild but others have been known to have it) at a high enough skill level to successfully cast it. However, you're likely to lose some skills, especially if you lay there rotting a long time or send a deathtell to have someone rescue you. On the other hand, if you've invested in an amulet, you don't lose skills upon death because your soul is in the amulet instead of your rotting corpse. Any mage with the appropriate spell (again usually of the healer's guild but occasionally others) at the appropriate level can then put your soul back in your original body, or in any other suitable body. (Souls in amulets can't send deathtells.)

You can die an infinite number of times, providing there's someone around to get you alive again. However, corpses are easily butchered, and even amulets can be destroyed, although the ways of doing so aren't common knowledge. So the more enemies you make, the more certain your chances of biting the dust. It's also become common practice to have an enemy's amulet hidden in a deep dark secret place for a long time (some for months or years of RL time).

It's entirely possible to have chars who live for several RL years under this system. I know of some who've been around for 10 years or so. How long any given char will live depends largely on how many stupid things they try to do and die from, as well as who they make their enemies. So what actually happens is the newbies go through a char every few days or weeks or maybe months, and the old players have chars who live on and on and on (sometimes longer than anyone can put up with them ).

And regardless of what char you used to play, you don't get any special benefits when it dies and you make a new one. However, people who've played for 6 months or more can request a 2nd char, although having both logged on at the same time is a no-no.

Anyway hope that wasn't too much annoying detail, but you asked for it.
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Old 03-03-2003, 02:49 AM   #5
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For those who have created a permadeath system, what is the advantage in having one?

I'm not a MUD coder or builder, but one of the two MUDs I'm currently playing regularly has a "death means death" system.  On Armageddon, when your character dies, they die.  No resurrection, no ifs buts or maybes.  And if the man-sized scorpions, irate templars or blazing noon-day sun don't get you, ol' Father Time certainly will.  Your character ages and eventually keels over from decreptitude.

And I love it.  To the extent that I find it difficult to go back to less "rigorous" systems.  

(The other MUD I currently play has a typical half-arsed sort of perma-death, whereby you can permakill a PC, but only at significant cost to your own character.  Following most deaths, a character can be resurrected, but with a hit to stats and skills.  I believe its lack of true permadeath to be a weakness of the game, purely my subjective opinion, but it certainly has sufficient strengths to keep me addicted.)



It is difficult to take death seriously if all it entails is the minor annoyance of the loss of a few xp.   It is much easier to RP the terror of a character fleeing for his or her life when you know that if they fail to escape, that'll be the last you see of them; their terror is your terror.  The adrenaline rush is indescribable.

Also, I enjoy a challenge, I appreciate being provided with goals to pursue.  A major challenge to any new Armageddon character is trying to figure out how to stay alive, a major goal, finding their next glass of water.  It can be terrifically satisfying to finally keep a character alive for more than a few hours.

People do get very attached to their characters, but because of the limited life-span, I think on Armageddon they get less hung up on creating an "uber-character", and experiment more with different roles.   There's no point in spending endless hours maxing out skills because you will lose them, one way or another.  You might as well get out there and live your character's life, because, as Valg puts it, "the clock is ticking".


Maia the masochist
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Old 03-03-2003, 11:39 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by
There's no point in spending endless hours maxing out skills because you will lose them, one way or another. You might as well get out there and live your character's life, because, as Valg puts it, "the clock is ticking".
Are there any statted equipment that would require at least attacking if not killing a mob for? How does a permadeath system work if some objects that are 'desired' require mobkilling? Do you just not have special equipment? Are the mobs really low level? Or is the equipment easily accesible by other means?

Which brings me to my next question, really. If people -do- want to get up their skills, how do they advance them on a permadeath MUD? I know several MUD's require mobkilling in order to 'level.' On ours we'll probably have ways of training your skills, but not through 'hunting,' (I've always hated that anyway).
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Old 03-03-2003, 12:26 PM   #7
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On the mud I play, you can feasibly go through an entire char lifetime never killing anything. There's some quests where you hafta kill things that are blocking your way, but you don't HAVE to personally complete said quests in order to get their rewards. Most random npc's have nothing of value to bother killing them for, just bad eq that you can buy from someone or craft yourself if you really want that crappy tin longsword.

We have no levels, it's a totally skill-based system. All skills are practiced by using them and sometimes getting "improves" or points in that skill. There's no hard-coded limit on how high a skill can be, although sometimes you run into obstacles such as having nothing else to do that's hard enough to improve your skill.

Combat skills are practiced by sparring, i.e. trying NOT to kill whatever you're fighting. Mage skills are practiced by repeatedly casting spells and such. Thief skills are practiced by attempting to pick locks of the appropriate difficulty, rob people, and so on. Crafts are practiced by acquiring the needed materials and repeatedly attempting to craft things of the appropriate difficulty with them. There are no limits on which skills any given char can learn, although it's extremely difficult to make a decent fighter/mage, and members of the healer's guild don't tend to have high ambush or something.

Any common item in the game can be crafted, whether hauberk or candle or apple pie or leather whip. Of course certain materials such as dragon scales are very rare and need to be quested for.

Basically the key in this mud is to make as many friends as possible, because even with the best skill list in the world you can't do everything. Sometimes you're just the wrong size to get through that door in some quest, or maybe you can't see well enough, or aren't good enough at speaking the language a quest clue is written in. So yeah people die, but killing is a very small part of the world (although fear of death is a significantly larger part hehe).

Oddly enough, we never seem to have funerals. Death of YOUR chars may not be common, but death in general is so common that the most that ever happens as a result of it is for a few people to post notes on a board mourning the loss of their friend. (Well, unless you're talking about someone getting revenge for the death of someone important. That's a whole 'nother story. )
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Old 03-05-2003, 06:52 AM   #8
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Out death system hasn't been coded yet, but this is our plan:

- Permanent death (our MUD try to aim for realism)
- Chance of not loosing it all, you may recreate a completly new character with half (might be less, not final yet) the amount of experience the dead chracter had.

This leads to death being a terrible thing, explainable both in RP and realism terms, but still gives some chance of getting back into the game without starting from zero.

Problems might include, highly powerful players killing the competition, which won't be allowed without RP reason. Players creating a character which is a copy/resembles a lot of their former character, well it have to be controlled. On the other hand, deaths won't occur frequently.
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Old 03-05-2003, 08:37 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Crystal @ Mar. 02 2003,13:17)
to me it seems almost futile to build up a character or an environment, to have it killed so easily.

one of us suggested creating a system where some of their points, etc, were carried over to their new character.  (Strictly roleplaying related points, not character stats).
I've only been playing Armageddon for a 5 months or so and the permadeath system was a BIG turn off for me at the beginning. But after my first character (who died within 5 hours) I loved it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
what is the advantage in having one?
Everyone has said the main reasons (makes people WANT to live and not risk their lives, etc). Another reason is it also helps stop old characters from easily killing off newbies (which some muds have trouble with), because there is always SOMEONE who is stronger then you.

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Originally Posted by
How do you deal with people who are upset about losing their long time character?
This is actually quite difficult to do, and the Imms can't really do all that much about it. It's up to individuals to stop themselves from getting so wrapped up in their chars that they get REALLY upset when they die. Many people have left Arm, and Arm even has a page where it recommends 2 other muds that are quite different from Armageddon for when people get frustrated with Arm. Having said that, some people have been for YEARS.

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Is there any chance of resurrection?
For the first 2 hours if you die, then your resurrected. But other then that, no. And if you do die, then your suppose to treat the previous body as someone else who looks a bit like you.

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How often do people experience permadeath?
Depends. One person I know has been playing for 5 years and has gone through 5 chars (because she asked for her previous 4 chars to be destroyed because she wanted to move onto new chars), but I've gone through 49 chars and I've been playing for 5-8 months.

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Originally Posted by
Does anyone suggest a better death system?
Permadeath systems AREN'T for all muds. If the concentration is on fighting type chars and killing then I would be VERY wary of a permadeath system due to the fact that it's impossible to survive without fighting. However if the mud is like Arm, where characters can become one of the most influential people in the entire game and not use a single skill EVER, then I suggest the permadeath system.

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Do they get to carry over anything to a new character?
When Arm first made the transition from a H&S mud to a RP mud, a system where some stats were carried over existed, however that was taken away pretty quickly AFAIK. I don't know what your mud is like, but with Arm there are no "rp points" in the traditional sense.

Armageddon has a system where certain races and guilds aren't playable by starting people. As you play the game, and get a better understanding of the game, certain guilds and races are opened up to you. The reason for this is that some positions in Arm are EXTREMELY difficult to roleplay well. An example are wizards. In Arm most people don't know a lot about magic and wizards are feared by most people. What use to happen was wizards were popping up all over the place and were treated like normal people. However since the Karma system came into place, they've become very mysterious and it's VERY difficult to play them successfully.

Some positions in Arm are only playable by e-mailing the staff and saying "I would like to play char X". If they think your able to handle the role, they help you A LOT in putting the character together. This isn't favouritism and for the most part people don't accuse the staff of playing favourites. It's this way that "RP points" are sort of incorporated into Armageddon with the permadeath system. You don't get "RP points" for completing a quest or anything. The staff just watch you play and if they see that you understand the game and play realistic characters you'll be awarded "RP points". So you could play a char who doesn't do ANYTHING right and find out that you can now play that Half-Giant char

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Are there any statted equipment that would require at least attacking if not killing a mob for?
Not too sure what you mean by this. But if you mean "is there any equipment that needs you to be on level X to use" then no. Any race and any guild can use any piece of clothing/weapon/armor. The only deciding factors in not being able to wear certain items or use certain items is weight and whether or not it's too big for you.

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How does a permadeath system work if some objects that are 'desired' require mobkilling?
Just because there is a permadeath system doesn't mean it's impossible to become strong. One way is to spar with other people. All military organisations will give you an opportunity to do this. Another method is to attack animals that are weaker then you. When your char first starts out nearly EVERYTHING can kill you. However with knowledge of the area and the animals it's possible to escape death and become strong.

Another method is also to fight/hunt in groups. The code is set up so groups are given a bonus when attacking someone else.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
If people -do- want to get up their skills, how do they advance them on a permadeath MUD?
Like OnyxFlame's mud, Armageddon has a level-less system. But unlike his mud, there is a cap on how far a skill can advance. For example Pick-Pockets can advance the steal skill up to 100% whereas Burglars can only advance the steal skill up to 80% (I just made those numbers up. The percentages are actually hidden from players). The reason is guilds are suppose to represent what you've learnt over the years, and some people would have learnt how to be better pick-pockets then other people.

Also, skills don't increase by using them successfully but by them failing. Everytime a skill fails you are actually increasing how good you are at that skill.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
Do you just not have special equipment? Or is the equipment easily accesible by other means?
There are numerous special and rare items. Certain items are only craftable by people in certain Clans or with certain skills. Also the more you increase in your skill, the more you will be able to craft. An example is someone with their tailor skill at 50% can craft a piece of linen into 20 different items. But someone with the tailor skill at 100% can craft a piece of linen into 80 different items.

You can also RP creating an item and then send in the log with the item description and if the item is reasonable then the Imms will create it for you. This item may/may not be craftable by other people.

However at Armageddon getting the coolest armor or having all of your skills at 100% are OOC considerations (for the most part). You might find this page interesting. Towards the bottom it's got an outline explaining the difference between OOC goals and IC goals (which might be applicable to your mud ).

Good luck, and I hope your mud changes for the better
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Old 03-05-2003, 12:00 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Also, skills don't increase by using them successfully but by them failing. Everytime a skill fails you are actually increasing how good you are at that skill.
On DM, skills don't necessarily increase by successfully using them either. Take crafting for instance. Every craftable item has a difficulty, and depending on your skill level and aptitude this difficulty may either be too easy or too hard for you to learn from trying to make said item. When you try to craft something, 3 things can happen. Either you successfully make the item (some items such as food have varying qualities even when you succeed), you just play with the tools and make nothing, or you can't figure out what you're doing and you make nothing. Any of these results can result in improvement of your skill, but the best rate of improvement is when you sometimes make the item and you sometimes fail.

I know this got kinda off topic, but since I've played both muds I wanted to clarify the differences between them heh. Of course DM is more concerned with skill practice than Arm is too.
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