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Old 04-28-2008, 10:24 PM   #1
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What types of games are impacted the most by permadeath?

I was at the gym today and I was thinking about our permadeath discussions here. I came to the conclusion that I actually believe AFS (Armageddon Feature Set) type games are the LEAST impacted by a concept like permadeath. Now, before anyone has a heart attack, hear me out. I understand that permadeath is a core concept for AFS muds. So what I mean when I say they are the least impacted is that players' day-to-day experiences and enjoyment are affected less on an AFS mud than on other types of muds. Perhaps that is part of why permadeath works on those muds - it is actually less disruptive and less of a negative for overall enjoyment than it would be on other games.

Imagine a spectrum from left to right:

Pure Hack-n-Slash ......................|...................... Pure Role Play (MUSH)

RP enforced games and AFSes are to the right of that center line, obviously.

I believe that the further to the right you move on that spectrum, the LESS impact permadeath has on increasing excitement, tension, etc. Why? Because the farther right you move, the less someone has to lose from dying permanently. If the whole point of the game, and if all the fun of the game is the role play, then it really doesn't matter what your character is. How good your stats, skills, or any other "trained" abilities are don't matter that much. Yes, you lose a little bit from having to "give up" a fun character, but for creative people this is not a big deal. In fact, one could argue that it is more fun to make new characters frequently to keep things fresh and new. No matter how awesome a character is in a game, book, or movie, I can only take so much of that character before I am bored with it. Daemon Sadi is possibly my favorite fantasy literary character. But after reading 3 or 4 books with him, I've had enough for a few months.

Now, the farther left on that spectrum you move, the more devastating permadeath becomes. If you have actually spent months or years leveling up a character, perfecting his skills, perfecting his gear, etc., then permanently dying is absolutely devastating. This would be like losing a level 70 tier 6 character on WoW, or something like that.

Role play experiences are not linear. As long as you are having role play experiences, you are at the pinnacle of "fun" for that type of game. In a hack-n-slash game, a lot of the fun is linear. If you are bored with the low or mid-level gameplay, then dying permanently or starting over would be a HUGE issue. You would have a lot of grinding ahead of you just to get back to the type of fun you actually want to have (high level or "end game" content). But when the main purpose of the game is role playing, you can get right back to that same type of fun immediately upon re-entry into the game world with a new character. Dying and rerolling is not actually a significant setback.

Looking at permadeath in this manner, you also see another of its pros on games that are almost pure RP with virtually no "hack-n-slash" or statistical/numerical character development. A coded feature that forces people to give up an old, beloved character (because it died) and make something new helps prevent people from stagnating. Sometimes, as a game developer, you have to save players from themselves. Players will often do things out of habit or stubbornness and not realize it is actually impeding their enjoyment. So having permadeath in more pure RP oriented games helps give people a nudge to give up an old character and start something new.
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Old 04-29-2008, 03:11 AM   #2
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Re: What types of games are impacted the most by permadeath?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Threshold
I was at the gym today and I was thinking about our permadeath discussions here. I came to the conclusion that I actually believe AFS (Armageddon Feature Set) type games are the LEAST impacted by a concept like permadeath.
As there is only one "Armageddon Feature Set" game, this is little more than a personal attack on that game. I realize you're very protective of your own game and possibly insecure in regard to possible comparisons with other MUDs, but repeated attempts to demean and attack other games is really uncalled for.

If instead you are attempting to address permanent death in all Role-Play Intensive games and simply fail to comprehend that other RPIs do not feature the same exact characteristics as Armageddon, I'll address your points as if you were referring to all RPI MUDs and not just Armageddon itself.

Quote:
Now, before anyone has a heart attack, hear me out. I understand that permadeath is a core concept for [RPI] muds. So what I mean when I say they are the least impacted is that players' day-to-day experiences and enjoyment are affected less on an [RPI] mud than on other types of muds. Perhaps that is part of why permadeath works on those muds - it is actually less disruptive and less of a negative for overall enjoyment than it would be on other games.

Imagine a spectrum from left to right:

Pure Hack-n-Slash ......................|...................... Pure Role Play (MUSH)

RP enforced games and [RPIs] are to the right of that center line, obviously.

I believe that the further to the right you move on that spectrum, the LESS impact permadeath has on increasing excitement, tension, etc. Why? Because the farther right you move, the less someone has to lose from dying permanently.
This might be true if there weren't fundamental differences in the philosophy behind what "pure hack n slash" and "pure role play" games are attempting to do. This really appears to be more of an attack on RPIs but let's suppose for a moment that it isn't.

Quote:
If the whole point of the game, and if all the fun of the game is the role play, then it really doesn't matter what your character is. How good your stats, skills, or any other "trained" abilities are don't matter that much.
This is your mistake. You may not comprehend this but there is an equally incredible investment in their characters by both role-players and H&Sers. The hours of killing and leveling done by a H&Ser is complimented by the hours of role-playing done by a RPer. In some ways, RPers require far more time because some, but not all, H&S MUDs allow botting.

A professor at my university used to bot a couple characters on MUDs. In a conversation with him, he once pointed to a computer in his office and boasted how much experience he just earned without having to even type anything. Now, if his character were killed, his loss was very little since none of the time it took to level and train the character had detracted from other things he could do because he hadn't been doing the leveling and training and so forth himself. Was there a loss, yes. He would have to re-engage the process and then go about his life as normal until the program had botted through the game to the point it had gotten his character to the first time. But the loss to him was very minimal.

By contrast, role-playing isn't really something you can do with a bot. Sure, you could try but in the end it would result in some really, really pathetic RP. There isn't an AI in existance that can match the human mind in response and interaction. While it might be possible to program a routine to go out and raise the skill levels, slowly, of a character on a role-play game, the character will be no better off for role-play than if they'd just started.

Quote:
Yes, you lose a little bit from having to "give up" a fun character, but for creative people this is not a big deal. In fact, one could argue that it is more fun to make new characters frequently to keep things fresh and new.
You lose a lot if you were enjoying the character. Many role-playing games, RPI or not, have a policy prohibiting creating similar characters. Additionally, every character is unique and the experiences and opportunities of a character are not always possible more than once. If your character were in a situation where they were subject to unique opportunities for role-play, the loss of that character might forever shut the door to those opportunities again. No amount of effort on a new character could recreate that and the fun of the role-play in that situation might be forever lost to the player.

Quote:
No matter how awesome a character is in a game, book, or movie, I can only take so much of that character before I am bored with it. Daemon Sadi is possibly my favorite fantasy literary character. But after reading 3 or 4 books with him, I've had enough for a few months.
Most role-players have more patience and discipline than this. They're possibly more imaginative than you and capable of finding more in a character, enough to sustain the character for a very long time. Role-playing may not suit your tastes but the same is not true of all. Personally, I've played the same character on games for years and not even touched upon a significant portion of its potential.

Quote:
Now, the farther left on that spectrum you move, the more devastating permadeath becomes.
Opinion, not fact.

Quote:
If you have actually spent months or years leveling up a character, perfecting his skills, perfecting his gear, etc., then permanently dying is absolutely devastating. This would be like losing a level 70 tier 6 character on WoW, or something like that.
Something which would be completely attainable again. The only possibility for loss would be unique equipment. But levels and skill advancement is, unless it consisted of unique skills not attainable again, something which could be recovered.

Quote:
Role play experiences are not linear. As long as you are having role play experiences, you are at the pinnacle of "fun" for that type of game. In a hack-n-slash game, a lot of the fun is linear.
While role-play may not be linear, there are still linear routes to some experiences. The difference in role-play linear experiences is that quite often they are one-time experiences. No matter how much you try, you can never attain the opportunity again. At least with H&S, you have the chance to go through the "grind" again.

Quote:
If you are bored with the low or mid-level gameplay, then dying permanently or starting over would be a HUGE issue. You would have a lot of grinding ahead of you just to get back to the type of fun you actually want to have (high level or "end game" content). But when the main purpose of the game is role playing, you can get right back to that same type of fun immediately upon re-entry into the game world with a new character.
The thing is that you can't necessarily get into the same role-play content again. The "same type of fun" role-play might be possible, but not the same role-play. When I played H&S, I made the same exact character three times and each time was able to reach the same exact, actually achievements and levels that I had the time before. In fact, each time I was able to get slightly further in some ways by doing the same thing over because I could avoid the mistakes I'd made the previous time. What took me 18 months to achieve the first time took me only 12 months the second time and 10 months the third.

By contrast, when my characters on permanent death role-play MUDs have died, everything about them was lost. It couldn't be achieved again. The opportunities and experiences of that character were gone and even if I had made another character like that again, there could be no way to reverse the course of in-game events and replay them again for the benefit of the new character. The chance was gone forever.

Quote:
Looking at permadeath in this manner, you also see another of its pros on games that are almost pure RP with virtually no "hack-n-slash" or statistical/numerical character development. A coded feature that forces people to give up an old, beloved character (because it died) and make something new helps prevent people from stagnating. Sometimes, as a game developer, you have to save players from themselves. Players will often do things out of habit or stubbornness and not realize it is actually impeding their enjoyment. So having permadeath in more pure RP oriented games helps give people a nudge to give up an old character and start something new.
Agreed, some players do that very thing and you're absolutely correct that it's necessary to provide policies to prevent such things from happening. Many role-play MUDs have such policies prohibiting players from picking up where their former character left off.

Personally, I've found that permanent death enhances the sense of loss of any game regardless of whether or not it's H&S or RP. I would offer that a better chart would not be a "Pure H&S - Pure Role-Playing" line but rather a grid of that horizontal scale crossed at the middle with a vertical scale featuring "Permadeath" on one end and the inverse on the other. Various types of games find their way into the corners of the grid while others congregate near the middle.

Take care,

Jason

Last edited by prof1515 : 04-29-2008 at 07:50 AM. Reason: Bah, typos!
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Old 04-29-2008, 09:06 AM   #3
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Re: What types of games are impacted the most by permadeath?

Quote:
Originally Posted by prof1515 View Post
As there is only one "Armageddon Feature Set" game, this is little more than a personal attack on that game. I realize you're very protective of your own game and possibly insecure in regard to possible comparisons with other MUDs, but repeated attempts to demean and attack other games is really uncalled for.
That's just misleading and pure propaganda. AFS is no more of a flame than RPI, when in actuality RPI causes way more of a flame through its inherent misleading nature than AFS. Let's not forget that these discussions all started because some player dared used this rather ambiguous term in the wrong way and got flamed for it. Trying to better the community by using a less confusing term and, thus, attempting to end the confusion is hardly a flame, nor is the above post. The above post is a theory and an attempt to discuss the theory divorced from the utter ruin of the other thread. You know very well that AFS is not an attempt at a flame. Your statements, however, obviously are.

Quote:
Originally Posted by prof1515 View Post
If instead you are attempting to address permanent death in all Role-Play Intensive games and simply fail to comprehend that other RPIs do not feature the same exact characteristics as Armageddon, I'll address your points as if you were referring to all RPI MUDs and not just Armageddon itself.
Calling something an AFS is hardly declaring that they all have the exact same characteristics as Armageddon. Rather, it means that they share feature choices that are similar to Armageddon. Otherwise, it wouldn't be Armageddon Feature Set, it'd just be Armageddon. Saying that something is a Godwars style mud is neither a slam on Godwars nor a declaration that the game is just a rip off KaVir's original work. It's naming a very well known style of mud and paying KaVir a bit of tribtue on the side. You said it yourself that two of the original three AFSes were either Armageddon or a spin off. Sounds like they deserve the tribute. Lastly, this isn't a discussion about AFS muds or even muds in general. It's simply a supposition about permadeath and how it impacts players, not characters, on a scale based on having RP and not having RP.

Quote:
Originally Posted by prof1515 View Post
This really appears to be more of an attack on RPIs but let's suppose for a moment that it isn't.
We could have started out with that supposition in the first place since there was an attempt to divorce it from the flames flying around in the other thread. You could have left out the personal flames in the first place and gotten to the discussion. Maybe try that next time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by prof1515 View Post
This is your mistake. You may not comprehend this but there is an equally incredible investment in their characters by both role-players and H&Sers. In some ways, RPers require far more time because some, but not all, H&S MUDs allow botting.
I think the problem you're having here is that you somehow think that it's an insult to link hack n' slash muds or even the big MMOs to your preferred mud choice in some way. It's not. We all play games for entertainment, and as much as you might like to have a clear line in what is "best", most people play all sorts of games for a variety of reasons. Permadeath is a concept that is actually shared by several games and is not exclusive to AFS muds. The question is whether or not the presence of roleplay makes permadeath less "harsh" because of the rewards of roleplay. The given example was taken from WoW, and thankfully, you've been smart enough to stay away from the sheer amount of time and mindless effort it takes to get to level 70 with Tier 6. (I was smart enough to stop before I'd gotten there.) You might not actually know what kind of hideous grind it actually is, but guess what? There's a pretty big number of people doing that grind right now and doing it gleefully. Losing a level 70, Tier 6 character would be far more devastating to the players who chose to play WoW than losing my beloved character on a roleplay enforced mud.

What Threshold is saying is simply that permadeath succeeds best when there is roleplaying behind it, and the loss of a character is less senseless because of the roleplay and allows players to keep trucking on with new characters. There's appeal to keep coming back for more.
Quote:
Perhaps that is part of why permadeath works on those muds - it is actually less disruptive and less of a negative for overall enjoyment than it would be on other games.
If you put down your flame thrower for a second, perhaps you can see that what is being said is that the presence of roleplaying makes roleplay enforced muds able to support permadeath whereas other games rarely succeed. Even in Diablo II, Hardcore is just an option. Muds are really the only type of games anymore that have permadeath on a regular basis. Roleplay muds are much more suited to permadeath than hack 'n slash muds because of the the roleplay aspects. Very few "pure" hack 'n slash muds have permadeath because the impact of permadeath is much more distressful than on a roleplay enforced game.

If you are arguing the opposite, then I'm thinking perhaps AFS muds, where permadeath is a required feature, must have the most masochistic players around. If death actually creates the sense of wastefulness that one might get from losing a level 70, Tier 6, I wouldn't come back for more. Whereas even on Threshold, players who have had up to 10 years of developing their characters have suffered permadeath or roleplayed it out themselves. Some have also experienced it involuntarily and keep coming back for more.

Quote:
A professor at my university used to bot a couple characters on MUDs. [snip] Was there a loss, yes. [snip] But the loss to him was very minimal.
Granted, anyone can really bot any game as long as they have the required programming skills, but those aren't really people who are playing the game. They're playing a programming game, not the actual computer game. Of course there wouldn't be a sense of loss there, but that's not what is being proposed or discussed. We're talking about real time invested into a game by the player, not some botting scenario, and trust me, you aren't getting to level 70, Tier 6 by botting.

The same goes for a character that just botted on any game RP-enforced or not. You didn't really do much in the game. You have no emotional investment except in the program that you created. Permadeath for people who bot would be like having a sector of their hard drive crash and destroy all the bots and scripts they've created. Again, I stress that they're not playing the actual game they're botting. Their game is creating the bots in the first place.

Quote:
Opinion, not fact.
The whole post is an opinion. That's the point. Again, let me restate it for you: Permadeath for players in non-roleplay environments is a devastating, game-stopping experience. Not so for games that heavily support roleplaying if not outright enforce it. The further left you are on the spectrum, the more likely you're never going to come back to a game if your character permanently and was deleted at death.

Quote:
Something which would be completely attainable again. [snip] But levels and skill advancement is, unless it consisted of unique skills not attainable again, something which could be recovered.
The point isn't whether or not it's completely attainable again. The point is that there's no incentive to do it all again unlike being on a roleplaying game. Because of the roleplaying factors, it would be worth creating a new character and leveling again. It'd be a new experience because your character won't be the same level 70 in the same Tier 6 when you are done.

Quote:
While role-play may not be linear, there are still linear routes to some experiences. [snip] At least with H&S, you have the chance to go through the "grind" again.
That's why permadeath is so devastating in a non-roleplay enforced environment, and that's Threshold's entire point, which I'm sure you could deduce if you bothered to actually read the post instead of forumlating your next flame as you skim. There's no point in going through the grind again if your character permanently dies on a game where the end result is going to be almost exactly what you had before you died.

Quote:
The thing is that you can't necessarily get into the same role-play content again. The "same type of fun" role-play might be possible, but not the same role-play.
Again, you show that you clearly understand the point that's being made.

Q: Why does permadeath work on certain games?
A: Because the presence of roleplaying gives players incentive to come back for more. The loss of a character is not completely devastating and game stopping to the player.

Quote:
By contrast, when my characters on permanent death role-play MUDs have died, everything about them was lost. It couldn't be achieved again.
But that doesn't matter to the player because you played for the experience that character had, not to have a level 294 warrior with the Blade of Ultimate Doom. The gear loss, the time invested in leveling the character pales in comparison to the actual life the character had. That's just simply not true without the roleplay experience. In Diablo II, you played Hardcore in order to see how high you could place on the ranking charts, and that's what made it worth creating another Hardcore character. Losing the actual character didn't matter that much as long as you placed high enough.

You're basically agreeing making the same points as Threshold but flaming him in the process.

{Sorry for all the snipping. I broke the character limit, guaranteeing no one is going to read this post!}
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Old 04-29-2008, 10:05 AM   #4
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Re: What types of games are impacted the most by permadeath?

I just get tickled when a poster assumes the worst about another.
I got bored with the Wheel of Time after book four, knowing there were umpty-billion others, and it simply didn't hold my interest. Some people got to book seven before they came to the same conclusion. However, it's because I'm impatient or undisciplined? I stuck with the Thomas Covenant books from get-go to gone-for-good. What judgements should be passed on me for that?

Is it possible that it's because the WoT books are tedious, poorly wordsmithed, trite and commercially exploitive? That perhaps one man's T-bone is another man's drivel?

I sincerely wish some of these presumptions about the poster were kept to oneself.

I've gotten tired of characters played by others because I thought they were pedantic, predictable, or otherwise pathetic, but that really doesn't imply that I'm less imaginative or disciplined, does it? Ten years of listening to a character do a weak rendition of Jar-Jar Binks' accent should have -some- terminal point, no?

RPIs. RPEs. RPGs. Know what takes the fun out of many of them? Attitudes of players. Wish there was a perma-death for that.
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Old 04-29-2008, 11:10 AM   #5
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Re: What types of games are impacted the most by permadeath?

The overall question is, "What types of games are impacted most by permadeath?"

By the context of the argument, it appears that this question is asking what types of games are impacted in a negative fashion by permadeath. This question could delve into questions such as how permadeath systems impact player retention, levels of abuse, twinkery, boredom, etc...?

So the theory is, "AFS-type MUDs are impacted less by a permadeath system because there is less to lose that cannot be replaced since most people are interested in role-play and role-play is an ongoing trait of AFS-type MUDs."

I definitely believe that the coded focus of H&S games does cause permadeath systems to hit closer to home in terms of what it takes away from the player, but I also believe that's a fault of the H&S game design and that certain changes could help alleviate some of the issues. Issues that seem to help lessen the sting in AFS type games would be:
  • Coded and Non-Coded Routes to Power. AFS type muds don't necessarily require coded skill to attain high levels of authority and/or IC power, and so there isn't always a grind involved in one's ascension to perceived or actual power. Hack and Slash character power is generally always defined by their coded ability and rarely by their in-game position.
  • Diversity of Play. By combining skill sets with a RP intensive game world and character personalities, players can derive completely different experiences for each character. One could choose the "Warrior" guild option five times in a row and never repeat the same role. Hack and Slash games usually don't contain the RP world or personality element (other than the personality of the player, which generally remains static), so the repeatability of the same character would be much lower.
  • Constantly Evolving World. AFS type muds generally have an infinite amount of potential threads through which one could lead their life, and since time progresses for all PC's in roughly the same manner -- no one moment is exactly the same as any other. This makes for a more enjoyable romp through the same playground between different characters, as the people you meet, area you walk through, and conditions under which it is being affected can be completely different than the time before.
Both Hack and Slash and AFS, or RPI, games require an investment on behalf of the player.

The investment on part of the Hack and Slasher is contained almost entirely within their achieved coded successes. If asked to describe their character, they would probably respond by listing pieces of particularly glowy or humming gear that ***DEVASTATES*** you in the face since skill distribution is likely fairly similar at the upper echelons of each class choice.

The investment on behalf of the role-player is in both the coded success and the role-play experiences the character has attained. When asked to describe their character, they would probably provide you with a few personality traits, physical appearance, background story, current job, and perhaps a blurb about how proficient they are in some of their skills if that's been a focus of their character.

Losing either character would result in a sense of loss for losing that investment of time and energy. However, I would wager that AFS players would be slightly less frustrated because they still have a wealth of memories and experiences from which to draw when they remember that character. When people talk of their characters, they don't talkabout the leet gear they had, or how fast they downed Zone 27 -- they talk about the stories of which they were a part. They relay encounters and convoluted plots in which they participated. Something remains of that investment even after death, and that may also factor into why permanent death isn't quite as harsh to AFS type games.

Now, I mentioned that I wouldn't necessarily place H&S on a linear scale by default because it would be possible to create a H&S game that was better designed to support permanent death. You could increase the complexity of the classes and class choices, allowing for many varied paths to power and methods of improving that don't focus on the same grind day after day. It could still be fairly devoid of RP, but still be a more interesting interface so that repeat characters wouldn't swiftly become boring and/or aggravating. You could alter the world in some way so that the zones change or evolve somehow so that the experience of moving through them can be different from week to week, month to month, year to year.

So, my answer to the initial question would be this:

The games that are impacted most by permanent death systems are the ones whose game design and game world offers the least about of unique repeat play, complex character development, and most rigid linear ascension to coded power.

-LoD
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Old 04-29-2008, 11:11 AM   #6
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Re: What types of games are impacted the most by permadeath?

I'm starting a different thread to avoid derailing this one discussing the inaccuracies in an earlier post....

Quote:
Permadeath is a concept that is actually shared by several games and is not exclusive to [RPI] muds.
I never suggested that it was. I said that the emotional impact of losing a character, be it on a RP game or a H&S game, is equally devastating to anyone with a committment. For me, I voluntarily quit my H&S characters over and over when I got tired of the game. I rebuilt them without much concern. Losing my characters on RPI, where I knew I could not simply go out and repeat the events and role-play I'd experienced with them was far more important to me. To someone else, the inverse might be true. Neither has a trump on the impact of loss, though.

Quote:
The question is whether or not the presence of roleplay makes permadeath less "harsh" because of the rewards of roleplay.
It doesn't. Loss is loss and for different people, what they lose has differing value to them. For some a H&S character is nothing. For others, it matters.

Quote:
The given example was taken from WoW...[and] you might not actually know what kind of hideous grind it actually is....
Actually, I've never played WoW and aside from watching someone else do it for a bit, I've avoided it altogether. My experiences with H&S was on text-based games and some old console games but never any of the present graphical MMOs. And the times that I lost my character on H&S didn't matter. The only time it really did was when it was done personally to **** me off by another player that had been told to stop harassing me by one admin but let off the hook by another. Favoritism is something I don't tolerate and one of the primary reasons I have quite games in the past including RPIs.

Quote:
What Threshold is saying is simply that permadeath succeeds best when there is roleplaying behind it, and the loss of a character is less senseless because of the roleplay and allows players to keep trucking on with new characters. There's appeal to keep coming back for more.
While I'll agree that there's more depth to role-playing worlds which would allow for new experiences with new characters, that doesn't make losing a character easier. It makes it harder for some since the experiences they've lost are gone and they can't just go out and level back up to them.

Quote:
If you put down your flame thrower for a second....
Again, you accuse me of flaming where none was present. Please desist from doing this.

Quote:
...what is being said is that the presence of roleplaying makes roleplay enforced muds able to support permadeath whereas other games rarely succeed.
They rarely succeed because they're rarely attempted. The vast majority of H&S games are not permadeath. As for their success ratio, there are other factors besides permadeath that cause games to go under. What proof is there that permadeath results in the failure of H&S games to succeed?

Quote:
Very few "pure" hack 'n slash muds have permadeath because the impact of permadeath is much more distressful than on a roleplay enforced game.
There's no evidence that it is any more distressful. There is evidence that for different individuals there are different levels of attachment. To each their own. There is no absolute. For some, losing a character on a H&S is nothing more than a setback in points while losing a character on a RP game is a devastating loss, almost like losing a family member. For others, losing a role-play character is just another chance at something new while losing a H&S character is a source of incredible frustration.

If you are arguing the opposite, then I'm thinking perhaps [RPI] muds, where permadeath is a required feature, must have the most masochistic players around.[/quote]

I'm not arguing the opposite, I'm pointing out that the impact of loss is dependant upon the individual's investment, not on the type of game. Let me state that I believe that there is no difference between the loss of a character in a permanent death role-playing game and a permanent death H&S game. The difference is in the player playing them. For some, the impact of losing hours of killing stuff to gain levels and equipment and whatnot is a greater loss. For others, the impact of losing the character that they have role-played is a greater loss. It's not the game type that matters. It's the player playing the game.

Quote:
The point is that there's no incentive to do it all again unlike being on a roleplaying game.
Some people actually enjoy the grind. I'm not one of them but I know some that do. To each their own.

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...I'm sure you could deduce if you bothered to actually read the post instead of forumlating your next flame as you skim.
Again, attempting to defend your strengthen your opinion by trying to color my statements as attacks does nothing to combat the fact that an opinion is worthless unless the facts support it. The facts do not support a conclusion that permanent death in either type of game has greater impact. It is dependant upon the player.

Quote:
Q: Why does permadeath work on certain games?
A: Because the presence of roleplaying gives players incentive to come back for more. The loss of a character is not completely devastating and game stopping to the player.
But that's really just an opinion. The best that can really be said is that permadeath doesn't work for certain types of players, be it on a H&S or a role-playing game.

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You're basically agreeing making the same points as Threshold but flaming him in the process.
I didn't flame him and am quite frankly wish you would stop assuming as much. I agree with him on some points, disagree with him on others. I'm not flaming him, I'm pointing out inconsistencies in his position which is not the same thing as flaming him. If all players conformed to the generalizations he's using his position might be more accurate but not all players do. I myself don't as I proved back in 2001 when I literally junked equipment and stuff that most players on my old H&S might not achieve if they'd played for a decade, then deleted my character. I didn't care. There was no emotional loss for me. It was just a game. By contrast, when I lost a character that same year on the RPI I played, I was depressed for days. I've known people that have been depressed for even longer at the loss of a character while others have shrugged it off and started work on their next. It's not a matter of which type game they were playing. They'd likely behave the same if they were playing the opposite type of game (though usually their distaste for the other type would prevent them from even trying).

Take care,

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Old 04-29-2008, 11:44 AM   #7
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Re: What types of games are impacted the most by permadeath?

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So, my answer to the initial question would be this:

The games that are impacted most by permanent death systems are the ones whose game design and game world offers the least about of unique repeat play, complex character development, and most rigid linear ascension to coded power.
Quite right. Using the WoW example was a bit simplistic since WoW isn't designed for permadeath. Most games designed without roleplay enforcement behind the core design don't go the permadeath route. There's really just one sub-set of games that do it consistently, and you have to wonder why that is. Sure, it could be a chicken and egg thing: Do HnS games design without permadeath because players wouldn't keep dying and playing, or is it because it's been tried and players stop playing whenever they die off?

I personally love the grind of a typical HnS game, and I'll level up several characters at once. However, I also do it with the understanding that those characters will always be there. Any progress I've made with the character will always be saved. Again, personal preference.

So, the theory isn't completely accurate since we have very few hack n slash games with permadeath to compare with the RP permadeath games. Still, it seems logical to deduce that permadeath tends to succeed better in a specific type of setting.
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Old 04-29-2008, 11:52 AM   #8
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Re: What types of games are impacted the most by permadeath?

While I agree to some extant, I think it also affects games that have really developed characters in roleplay as well. For example, if you work for a year on your character, building up relationships, political structures, etc., it is very harsh to start over as it were. It would be similar to being an NFL coach having to recroute the entire line up every time you lost a game. Yes yes, it is harsh, but really does it make for a better coach? Highly unlikely.

This begs another question and I'll post it on the other permadeath thread so as to not derail this thread.
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Old 04-29-2008, 12:36 PM   #9
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Re: What types of games are impacted the most by permadeath?

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Again, you accuse me of flaming where none was present. Please desist from doing this.

Most respectfully, prof, you may not have intended a flame, but your earlier post sure looked, smelled, and smoked like a flame to me.

I think that permadeath can be painful in both situations. I don't know of any pure H&S places that are permadeath (though pretty much all muds I come across claim to be role-play intensive). Personally, I find it harder to create a character that is distinct and recognizable and that I like to play than I do to grind through levels.

Once I played a mud that involved hack and slash and some roleplay too. I created a pretty decent character, who spoke and acted pretty consistently and whose personality was decidedly different than mine. In the end, I quit the mud not because he died and lost all his equipment (and I remember thinking "Man, I lost my Stormshield! I'll NEVER get one of those again), but because the imms decided one day that my name didn't sound fantasy-ish enough and said I had to start over with a new char. Losing my equipment sucked, but losing my personality was a show-stopper.
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Old 04-29-2008, 02:08 PM   #10
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Re: What types of games are impacted the most by permadeath?

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If asked to describe their character, they would probably respond by listing pieces of particularly glowy or humming gear that ***DEVASTATES*** you in the face
Man, I hate when I get devastated in the face. When being devastated is the only option, I usually hope for a toe or an ear lobe.... NOT IN THE FACE!

Don't devastate me, bro!


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Losing either character would result in a sense of loss for losing that investment of time and energy. However, I would wager that AFS players would be slightly less frustrated because they still have a wealth of memories and experiences from which to draw when they remember that character.
I agree. I think that is why permadeath is not only tolerable, but enjoyed in a sense on AFS muds. It reminds me of a concept from the Highlander TV show, and also expressed more recently by Achilles in the movie Troy: the fact that when someone is mortal, and therefore fleeting, this can make their life seem more precious. The farther a MUD is to the right of the spectrum from the OP, the more the gameplay is about the experience, not the experience points. And since nobody can ever take away your experiences, dying permanently is not as big of a deal.


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Now, I mentioned that I wouldn't necessarily place H&S on a linear scale by default because it would be possible to create a H&S game that was better designed to support permanent death.
I agree. Obviously, any game related issue charted out on a single spectrum is going to be somewhat simplistic. But sometimes it helps to simplify things just to boil down the question and get at some of the core issues.

I think the key for making permadeath more tolerable, and have less of an "impact", is to create a goal for the players that exists outside of the character. For Hardcore Mode Diablo II, this external motivation was competing on the ladder/ranking. For AFS muds, it is experiencing interesting role play.


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The games that are impacted most by permanent death systems are the ones whose game design and game world offers the least about of unique repeat play, complex character development, and most rigid linear ascension to coded power.
I don't think it has to do with unique repeat play, or having complex character development. Diablo II has virtually zero unique repeat play (randomized maps are a very minor change), but permadeath Hardcore mode is still very popular and fun.

A lot of RPE games have incredibly complex character development systems, as well as many HnS muds, and that actually makes the prospect of permadeath WORSE. Complex character development options is something that increases the impact (particulately the negative impact) of permadeath. AFS muds tend to allow for complex character development, and that is what makes permadeath still have SOME impact on an AFS mud. I think without this, death would have virtually no meaning on an AFS mud.
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Old 04-29-2008, 02:12 PM   #11
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Re: What types of games are impacted the most by permadeath?

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Once I played a mud that involved hack and slash and some roleplay too. I created a pretty decent character, who spoke and acted pretty consistently and whose personality was decidedly different than mine. In the end, I quit the mud not because he died and lost all his equipment (and I remember thinking "Man, I lost my Stormshield! I'll NEVER get one of those again), but because the imms decided one day that my name didn't sound fantasy-ish enough and said I had to start over with a new char. Losing my equipment sucked, but losing my personality was a show-stopper.
Oh man, that really stinks. They didn't have any way to just change your name or anything? How long had you been playing this character?
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Old 04-29-2008, 04:37 PM   #12
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Re: What types of games are impacted the most by permadeath?

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Oh man, that really stinks. They didn't have any way to just change your name or anything? How long had you been playing this character?
Well, that depends. If his name was "IROCKU" we might change it too, but then, he'd never get past creation really. So, hmm, who knows, maybe the MUD started to get more RP'ish.
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Old 04-30-2008, 11:35 AM   #13
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Re: What types of games are impacted the most by permadeath?

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Well, that depends. If his name was "IROCKU" we might change it too, but then, he'd never get past creation really. So, hmm, who knows, maybe the MUD started to get more RP'ish.
No, the character was TC (variously titled "the brave", "the bold", and briefly "the not quite so bold as sir lancelot")

I played him for about 2 years. And despite the funny titles, he was a fun and memorable character-- an over-the-top, sort of John Wayne-ish paladin.

I tried to argue that it should be pronounced "Tck" but that didn't really fly. The mud did try to get more formally RPish, but the irony was that he was actually a pretty well-defined character. His name just happened to violate the new policy of nothing that looks like initials, and no exceptions were made.
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Old 04-30-2008, 11:51 AM   #14
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Re: What types of games are impacted the most by permadeath?

Yeah...that's just ..off. There's really only three options I can see that an admin should have made there. None of the three are deleting your character and making you start over.

1.) Ignore your name and grandfather it.
2.) Change your name.
3.) If the mud had binary pfiles and couldn't easily change your name, have you make a new character and reimburse it with the previous character's level and stats.
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Old 04-30-2008, 12:45 PM   #15
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Re: What types of games are impacted the most by permadeath?

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Yeah...that's just ..off. There's really only three options I can see that an admin should have made there. None of the three are deleting your character and making you start over.

1.) Ignore your name and grandfather it.
2.) Change your name.
3.) If the mud had binary pfiles and couldn't easily change your name, have you make a new character and reimburse it with the previous character's level and stats.
Yeah, that is the way I see it, with exactly the same 3 options.

A shame.
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Old 05-01-2008, 11:50 AM   #16
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Re: What types of games are impacted the most by permadeath?

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No, the character was TC (variously titled "the brave", "the bold", and briefly "the not quite so bold as sir lancelot")

I played him for about 2 years. And despite the funny titles, he was a fun and memorable character-- an over-the-top, sort of John Wayne-ish paladin.

I tried to argue that it should be pronounced "Tck" but that didn't really fly. The mud did try to get more formally RPish, but the irony was that he was actually a pretty well-defined character. His name just happened to violate the new policy of nothing that looks like initials, and no exceptions were made.
Well, that's too bad, as it seems you had a good bit of history going with Tche (the name we probably would have suggested for you if you were on NW).
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Old 09-21-2009, 08:14 AM   #17
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Re: What types of games are impacted the most by permadeath?

I think permadeath affects a certain type of -player- more than a certain type of game.

With that said, I don't play any hack-and-slash MUDs, but if any of them require the sheer number of hours that being top-tier in WoW does, I'm betting it would affect them the most.

If I was offered the choice between permadeath in WoW and permadeath for a character that I played in a pure RP MUD for over a year previously, I would choose the pure RP char. No hesitation.

But that's probably because I have about 300+ DAYS played on my WoW character (with minimal afk).

That's not to say that permadeath wouldn't have affected my pure RP character. It had a rich history and storyline that took a year to develop; there was immense character development and building of relationships. To start again would be, ick. Fortunately, that particular game didn't have permadeath/PK.

I would honestly prefer that TI (the MUD that I am playing currently) didn't have permadeath. But I suppose I can understand how it helps make the game more realistic.
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Old 02-11-2010, 08:53 PM   #18
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Re: What types of games are impacted the most by permadeath?

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I think permadeath affects a certain type of -player- more than a certain type of game.
This is my opinion.
The discussion seems to assume that things all fit neatly on a sliding scale - which for the most part they do - but we're not really taking into account that different sorts of players pick muds at the different points on the scale.

It's been said that the cost of permadeath is when the players loose the effort they've invested into a character. That is the truth. But what the player feels they've lost will vary based on the type of player they are.

In roleplay muds, you'll find that players tend to fall into two general categories. You've got the ones who make a character and play it for years. I know PCs that have been around for over eight years, and have played almost every day. And then you've got the players who keep wanting to try out new character ideas, who delete their old characters and constantly create new ones.

Obviously, permadeath is going to have a different impact on those players, despite both being on a roleplay mud.

Similarly for hack and slash. Loosing years worth of levelling is lame, and upsetting. And if it's not worth the effort to build your new character back up to the previous level then you'll leave the game. But in my world, I'll only play a hack and slash game if I'm *enjoying* the game. I don't care about being the best, or having that sword - I care about the enjoyment of working my way through the game (and I stop playing when I get to the end...) - so for a player like me, loosing my character isn't much of a loss. I get to try out a new character type, and play through the game again. If the grind isn't fun, I wouldn't be playing in the first place.

The benefits of permadeath also vary based on the players. I strongly do not enjoy hack and slash games if there isn't a chance of loss. That loss doesn't have to be permadeath, it could be temporary death, loss of items, lower position on the scoreboard, etc. - but there has to be a way to "not succeed" so that when I do succeed it's more meaningful.

An easy way to have a loss mechanic is to add combat and death to the game. You go out, hit things until they die, and if you're successful they die. If you're unsuccessful, you die. Then you come back to life and repeat. There is a clear point where the player feels "I lost that encounter" - without temporary death, it's much harder. How do you show the player that they lost the encounter? Even if they break their PCs arm, or loose items... it's not easy. There are certainly game mechanics that could be used. For example, you could have a fantasy world where their magic amulet detects that they are about to die, and teleports them to the hospital. Or you could have death permanent, but have a clear indication when they are about to loose the combat, and plenty of opportunities for them to retreat.

In roleplaying intensive muds, death is often less necessary as a loss mechanic. If the game is very social, loosing a job, gaining the scorn of the priesthood, or whatever social game mechanics are in place can provide the loss. When combat is a focus, players want a "conclusion" - usually death. In a roleplaying game, if combat is less of a focus, it is easier to avoid death as a regular occurrence. Especially if the combat has social meaning, for example, a duel of honor has a conclusion without needing death.

Another thing to take into account is player escalation. Ever watched how players react to each other? When one does something that upsets another, a regular response is to try and pretend it doesn't bother them (which is easy from behind a keyboard) - that continues while the player gets more and more upset, until it gets to the point where they are so upset they explode, and want to get as much revenge as possible. Molehills into mountains. Even when there aren't OOC feelings involved, players often respond in... I don't want to say inappropriate... perhaps I should say unrealistic ways. Someone insults them, they pull a sword. Having an argument, they choke the other person. Someone scoffs at them, they throw a rock at that person's head. Seriously, now. Imagine if someone in real life *threw a rock at your head* - that's the sort of behavior we tell our children not to do, but in a MUD it would be a very moderate response. There are a number of reasons for these extreme responses. No (or few) consequences for the player. Other players have extreme responses so that is the "normal" reponse. They are playing the special hardcore tough assassin psycho (but so is everyone else), and so on. The end result, though, is that situations escalate much faster than they would in real life. Throw permadeath into the mix and... well... situations will escalate to death much faster.

That tends to be less of a problem in a hack-n-slash mud, because if roleplaying isn't expected the combat mechanics probably already take pvp into account. In many cases the options would be "fight the other PC" or "don't fight the other PC" - so everyone knows the rules, and is on an even footing. In a roleplay mud, things are often much less balanced, and the "rules" are murkier. I've regularly seen players on roleplay muds do things like drop their weapons because there was roleplay from other players about wrestling the weapons out of their hands, and do other actions that disadvantage themselves - that's great, it's always wonderful when players put roleplay first in that sort of situation - but it only works when the other players will be equally considerate. If someone roleplays headbutting you, so you roleplay that you're stunned. While you're stunned they roleplay grabbing your sword, and you allow that to happen, then they roleplay putting a knife to your throat while questioning you, and you go along with that for the sake of the story.... then they decide to escalate the situation and kill you (well... kill your character, but you know what I mean) - that's fine, if you want your character killed. If you don't want your character killed? It's more problematic. Will that other player now let you roleplay grabbing their wrist and wrestling *their* weapon away? Maybe. Maybe not. If not, the situation has become somewhat unfair, not because of game mechanics, but because of player actions. If the scene leads to death, then you might feel that it was unfair due to the players acting under different assumptions of "how the game is played" - if that death is permanent, that's a significant situation that can be very upsetting.

You could argue that the player shouldn't have allowed themselves to be disarmed, etc. and that it was their choice when that happened. That is a valid argument, but that will lead to a different sort of roleplaying, and a different sort of game. It's equally valid to argue that since you allowed yourself to be disarmed, the other player should also do the same when it's appropriate in the story. Neither is right or wrong, as long as both players have the same assumption.


In Ironclaw, (a RP enforced game) we pussyfoot around this issue somewhat. We have temporary death, but there are certain situations that can lead to permanent death. If someone dies from a sword fight, the church priests resurrect them after a few days. If the player chooses to, they can have the priests not resurrect their character, or say that the resurrection was unsuccessful. (And that allows the characters to roleplay that death is a dangerous thing, and that not everyone returns) - it is also assumed that the PCs are special, and the average peasant on the street wouldn't be resurrected.

We have some situations where there is a risk of permanent death. Some characters have been excommunicated by the church which, among other things, means that they won't resurrect the characters if they die. Being executed for a crime also means they wouldn't resurrect the criminal. One character once "declared war on the Church" and tried to rile up mobs, and got burnt at the stake for his troubles. And occasionally there are special events that give extra options for characters that are willing to risk permadeath (for example, going out to personally duel with a feared pirate captain while the other players fight with the crew) - in all these cases, there are clear warnings to the players so they know what they are risking. And many players still choose to take the risk, if they think the story or benefits will be good enough. The significant thing is, the players choose if it's worthwhile. They can allow their character to go out with a bang, in something that's significant to their personal story. They won't loose their character just because they ran into another player who decided to kill them off, or because of a bad dice roll. But... that's just our compromise. Others wouldn't want the option at all, and then there are people who would like the chance of loosing characters from bad dice rolls. It all depends on what works for your game.

... it's worth noticing the concept of "going out with a bang" - we've given players big events for permadeath, like being burnt at the stake. In many hack-and-slash games, the permadeath wouldn't be a big event. "The eighteenth spider crab killed me" or "Bob attacked me while I was walking to the hospital to get healed" - that's not fun. Even in a hack-and-slash, if the death was "I fought my way to the witch-lord and, knowing I was mortally wounded, I stabbed my sword through his chest, locking us both into a death embrace. Wrestling together, we tumbled over the cliff to our deaths." - even if that isn't seen by any other players, the player in question can feel "Yeah, my character is badass" rather than "Oh, I died. I guess that's over."
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Old 02-12-2010, 07:47 AM   #19
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Re: What types of games are impacted the most by permadeath?

I'm worried about you guys who are worried about the implications of permadeath. But I have good news. If you don't see the value of games with permadeath, you'll be happy to know that they are easy to avoid. If you're looking for a game to play, avoid the ones calling themselves rpi (as much as you'd like them not to, that's what they'll be calling themselves. It will not occur to them to refer to themselves are AFS games.)

If you're looking to create a game and you don't think that permadeath has value, then you needn't include that feature.

Please. Enjoy your gym time. Don't worry. Be happy.
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Old 02-12-2010, 07:49 AM   #20
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Re: What types of games are impacted the most by permadeath?

And remember to hydrate.
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