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Old 02-15-2010, 08:21 PM   #41
silvarilon
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Re: What types of games are impacted the most by permadeath?

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Originally Posted by KaVir View Post
Hold on a second...you're the owner of a commercial mud where paying customers can have their characters permanently killed by a legal system that even you admit upsets the players - but you also play a character in the mud who effectively dictates the law to everyone else, and is so "unpleasantly nasty" that a few players have even gone so far as to attempt suiciding their characters on you?

Isn't that a huge conflict of interest? Or have I misunderstood something?
What you just described is pretty reasonable, given the information in this thread. But I certainly haven't explained things in terms of how I balance fairness vs PC power.

We do have a legal system that can lead to permadeath, and my character does have some influence over it - however, there are many checks and balances. All the laws that lead to permadeath are clearly marked, and the players are given plenty of warning. Things like "If you are roleplaying a slave, and have a weapon without permission" (slaves have to be approved by staff, who run them through the IC and OOC rules) or "If you keep claiming to be a noble when you aren't one" (we had a character claiming to be a king. Since this hadn't come up before, he was contacted and told that it could lead to his execution if the in-game authorities heard of any future incidents, but they would ignore the past claims) or "If you don't retract your statement of heresey and make a public post about converting" (It's a religious setting. You don't have to *believe* but you have to at least not walk around spouting heresy, or you'll be executed. Even in those cases, when caught they are given the chance to just say "Oh, I see my error and convert" that first time.) - there are other crimes, like "assault" or "destruction of property" that might be more subjective, but none of the more subjective crimes can lead to permadeath. And that's where my character would most often be consulted, when there is a question about a subjective crime. Also, I didn't just grant myself that power for my character, I roleplayed being interested, learning about the crimes, and constantly giving consistent advice when asked, until the other characters would ask. Officially, my character has no power in the legal system other than that given by the other players through asking for advice. - I have roleplayed my character into gaining in-game allies, that sometimes are helpful. And I have roleplayed my character into a position of respect (from some characters.)

So... my character has little to no ability to use that influence to get someone executed. Certainly my character does not "dictate the law"
And even more certainly, me running the game has little to do with my character's in-game position, any other player could have done exactly the same.

Secondly, when I said that the legal system upsets the players, I was specifically referring to how the legal system doesn't encourage the violence escalation that we were discussing earlier. If two people pull swords and fight each other, the legal system charges *both* with assault, even if one was attacked. That's more the players wanting to play the hero who can pull weapons and kill "bad guys" with no consequences, and not really anything to do with my character having influence on the legal system.

Thirdly, the legal system is totally, utterly, dependent on evidence gathered by players. I'm constantly striving to "put the power in the hands of the players" and let them take more and more of a role in running things, rather than having staff always "at the top" - staff will always play characters like the king, but we make an effort to make those characters fade into the background (the king hasn't even come out in the past two real life years...) and let the players make the real decisions. We need systems so an abusive player doesn't ruin the game for others. The legal system is one of these cases, instead of a staff magistrate deciding if someone should be punished, the players gather evidence and enter it into the system. When they have enough "points" of evidence for the crime, the criminal can be arrested, then has to choose a punishment based on the number of "points" against them. What that means is that staff can sit back entirely, and let players follow up the crimes. The players can charge each other, gather evidence, arrest, the criminal's player chooses the punishments, and life in the game goes on. Hopefully with fun roleplay at each step. But it also means if the players don't *want* to enforce certain rules, well, they just won't gather any evidence for it. So to have someone executed, you're going to need to find a lot of evidence or witnesses. Makes it very hard for one character to be an OOC dictator about it.

We also have other checks and balances, of course. For example, no staff ever puts in a game change that benefits one of their characters without getting the change approved from another, unaffected staff member. Including me. So if my character is in conflict with, say, a poisoner I wouldn't change the laws to make murder an executionable crime. I might suggest it, but I'd have to leave the decision to someone else. More likely I'd wait for that conflict to end before making the change, to be doubly sure that we don't unfairly benefit our own characters.

As a side note, on the "unpleasantly nasty" - the suicides really were players who wanted to delete their characters and play something new. They decided to target my character because of the nasty attitude they thought they could be the hero by killing the "bad guy" - it wasn't because my character had actually *done* anything to them.

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Holy crap, at least it wasn't just me thinking that.

Sounds like a dictatorship where you pay to be at the whim of the dictator... whew.
Actually, yes. The game is entirely a dictatorship. I'd like to think it's a benevolent dictatorship, because I run a game with the intention of making it as fun for the players as possible. But it's not a democracy, it's not a commune. I listen to ideas and suggestions and debate, and then make the decision I think will be best for the game. That's a dictatorship.

Hopefully I'm doing a good job, and hopefully by running things well we make a better, more consistent game for everyone.

I certainly don't *roleplay* a dictator character in the game, my characters are all pretty low, socially. Mostly because I spent almost all my free time building the game rather than playing it, which makes it hard to climb the ladder. And I don't allow staff to take shortcuts just because they're staff, if they're playing a character they play it *exactly* the same as the other players. Including myself. The influence my characters have (well, only really one. The others have zero influence) is entirely due to the fact that I've been playing the same character for years now, and have slowly built up trust with the other long-term characters. If I played more instead of building and coding, I'd probably have gotten to this point in a matter of months instead of years.

And... tying that back in with the larger discussion... permadeath would mean more to me than some other players, since it took me years to get here, while someone who can play more could get there in months. So, even if we're loosing the same status, it's a larger "hit" to me, since it'll take me longer to get it back. Also, this point of a "dictator" character, there are some players that DO have more OOC power than others. Some have more friends, some some are staff on games that let staff give rewards directly to their characters, or make game changes that benefit themselves. Some have better weapons that make them significantly tougher (maybe through a chance drop, or for some other reason) - all those things make the competition of PC vs PC more unbalanced, which affects how happy players are with a permadeath situation. Unbalanced isn't always bad, someone who's put in effort for the past two years should certainly have an advantage over someone who hasn't.
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Old 02-15-2010, 10:20 PM   #42
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Re: What types of games are impacted the most by permadeath?

1. 6-page explanations of a point, doesn't make it any more, or less, valid. It just makes it long. I skimmed.

2. Part of what I actually bothered to read, said something about if we were up for the same job as diplomat and I got the job, and you killed me, and all my efforts were wasted...well um...political roles = people with enemies. If I was stupid enough to NOT set up my own personal cadre of spies, assassins, thieves, and guards, then whoever hired me was even more stupid than I was. And, kudos to you for getting rid of my character's incompetent self, and, why didn't anyone stop me before I got that far in the first place?

3. Another phrase I actually managed to read was something about how Harriet the Spy wouldn't benefit from permadeath. Here's the scene:

I'm a spy. You catch me. I call my pal the assassin to kill you. But wait..you rezz, because this isn't a permadeath game. So you're alive 20 minutes later, 4000 exp points, 56800 silver pieces, and one pair of gold-laminated bracers shorter, but alive. And tell everyone about my pal who killed you, and now a posse goes after the assassin. But wait! This isn't a permadeath game! So the assassin gets killed - and rezzed, and killed, and rezzed, over and over again by each of the posse, til his player is so fed up with dying he goes off to play WoW on a RP server, because even that has to be better than this. Meanwhile, you've gone and told everyone about my spying activities, and now everyone knows I'm a spy, I get fired from my spy job with the competition, and no one will ever hire me again, because spies aren't any good if everyone knows they're spies. All because this isn't a permadeath game. So much for Harriet the Spy.
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Old 02-15-2010, 10:46 PM   #43
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Re: What types of games are impacted the most by permadeath?

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Since even you were willing to recycle a character concept for this reason, would you prefer that games with permadeath have some method of avoiding this type of early, PvE character destruction?
Armageddon does have a 2-hour "newbie resurrection" period for new accounts. It used to be for everyone, but experience showed that veteran players sometimes used this 2-hour period to do exceptionally risky things, knowing that if worse came to worst, they would "respawn." It's more of a grudging convenience to newbies than anything else.

But no, PvE or PvP character deaths don't frustrate me in the least, because the game is organized exceptionally well. The vast majority of the time, when my characters have died, it's because either a) I was doing something stupid, b) I ****ed off the wrong people, or c) I went link-dead or had a really slow connection. Link-loss aside, the rest is part of the greater story of the game: life is hard, **** happens, people die.
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Old 02-15-2010, 11:37 PM   #44
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Re: What types of games are impacted the most by permadeath?

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That's a pretty extreme view that I don't think I've heard before. Can you elaborate on that?
DonathinFrye kind of proves my point when he states "players that enjoy permanent death" - as if players enjoy permanent death, that's like talking about "players that enjoy getting banned" - while keeping a straight face.

I think many people are familiar with the so called "abusive admins" who treat players like dirt, and some people put up with that. There appears to be a niche for players that like being abused, and since abusive admins eventually get bored and/or sloppy, the only way to provide guaranteed abuse is to hard code it.

Some women find themselves unable to leave a man who beats them, and these AFS people apparently find themselves incapable of leaving behind an equally unhealthy situation. What I don't quite understand is why they try so hard to get others to join them, though I guess it makes for quite the bonding experience when you're being abused together.
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Old 02-16-2010, 01:29 AM   #45
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Re: What types of games are impacted the most by permadeath?

You have made a lot of assumptions, Scandum. I don't play a PC on my permanent death game. I don't abuse people. I am friendly and understanding on the forums, moderate when there are OOC disputes or someone is having trouble with a character concept or finding the kind of roleplay they want. I encourage them to take risks and be willing to accept the rewards and consequences for those risks, whatever they may be. For combat characters, or politically-driven characters, this may mean death. But Atonement is designed to let the characters shape the world entirely ... all of the clans are player-created, there is no admin-controlled government, the environment is codely changeable and controllable by the pcs, the AI's numbers and tactics shift depending on the ongoing battle between PCs and the NPCs ... everything is geared to make there be clear and believable IC consequences for IC action.

In my mind, it is hard to say that the IC consequences for IC action approach is justified without permanent death. Jazuela makes an excellent point above as to why.

I've played on RPIs, PK MUDs, H+S, every kind of MUD imaginable. I have seen abusive admins in every genre. That's a people thing; oftentimes, the worst abusers are power-gamers. I'm not sure what you are basing your insults off of, whether it be personal experience with a specific MUD, or just a general misconception of the motivations of RPI/AFS admins; however, I doubt that you've played my game (correct me if I'm wrong). Atonement's extremely unique, even for an RPI. Give it a try and then make silly accusations about me (or other admins that you do not know and whose games you have not played) being sociopaths or abusive.
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Old 02-16-2010, 02:39 AM   #46
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Re: What types of games are impacted the most by permadeath?

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1. 6-page explanations of a point, doesn't make it any more, or less, valid. It just makes it long. I skimmed.
That's fair. I'll be more concise.

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Originally Posted by Jazuela View Post
2. Part of what I actually bothered to read, said something about if we were up for the same job as diplomat and I got the job, and you killed me, and all my efforts were wasted...well um...political roles = people with enemies. If I was stupid enough to NOT set up my own personal cadre of spies, assassins, thieves, and guards, then whoever hired me was even more stupid than I was. And, kudos to you for getting rid of my character's incompetent self, and, why didn't anyone stop me before I got that far in the first place?
Sure. If it's a game about assassination and murder then that's all true. If the focus is elsewhere, then being able to kill off other PCs like that might actually be distracting from the real game. Depends what game you're building.

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3. Another phrase I actually managed to read was something about how Harriet the Spy wouldn't benefit from permadeath. Here's the scene:

I'm a spy. You catch me. I call my pal the assassin to kill you. But wait..you rezz, because this isn't a permadeath game. So you're alive 20 minutes later, 4000 exp points, 56800 silver pieces, and one pair of gold-laminated bracers shorter, but alive. And tell everyone about my pal who killed you, and now a posse goes after the assassin. But wait! This isn't a permadeath game! So the assassin gets killed - and rezzed, and killed, and rezzed, over and over again by each of the posse, til his player is so fed up with dying he goes off to play WoW on a RP server, because even that has to be better than this. Meanwhile, you've gone and told everyone about my spying activities, and now everyone knows I'm a spy, I get fired from my spy job with the competition, and no one will ever hire me again, because spies aren't any good if everyone knows they're spies. All because this isn't a permadeath game. So much for Harriet the Spy.
Uh, Do you know the character "Harriet the Spy"? It's a children's novel (and I believe there is a children's TV show about it too) - Harriet the Spy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
My point wasn't that death doesn't add excitement, it was that *some* story types don't need death, and if death can happen too easily that distracts from the real gameplay. The story of Harriet the Spy wouldn't have had the same meaningful ending if the angry classmates just tried to kill her (and won or lost) - instead, the lack of a "kill her and be done with it" option helps to escalate the situation by allowing other, ongoing, forms of competition.

And I know Harriet the Spy is a children's book, and we're talking about games for adults. There are plenty of examples of adult stories that also wouldn't work if death was involved.

None of this makes you wrong. Your example illustrates one of the frustrations with temporary death. It doesn't make you right, either.

Fun gameplay comes from overcoming obstacles. Those obstacles might be "finding a way to kill the opponent" or they might be "find a way to defeat the opponent without killing them" or it might be "work with your allies to achieve something" - all work, if the game is designed for it.

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DonathinFrye kind of proves my point when he states "players that enjoy permanent death" - as if players enjoy permanent death, that's like talking about "players that enjoy getting banned" - while keeping a straight face.
Players might not enjoy permanent death (or might...) - I think for the most part the useful discussion is about players that enjoy a *game* that includes permanent death.

DonathinFrye makes some pretty compelling arguments about why and how permadeath can improve a game, without you needing to be masochistic to enjoy the results.
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Old 02-16-2010, 08:16 AM   #47
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Re: What types of games are impacted the most by permadeath?

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Atonement's extremely unique, even for an RPI. Give it a try and then make silly accusations about me (or other admins that you do not know and whose games you have not played) being sociopaths or abusive.
Just for the record, I wasn't calling anyone in this thread an abusive admin, yet.
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Old 03-05-2010, 05:25 PM   #48
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Re: What types of games are impacted the most by permadeath?

I think that PK/HnS games don't use permadeath because then they would stop being able to retain new players, as veteran players would kill them all: you would end up with a few virtually unkillable characters. And because of that, you would devolve into 80% of staff work going towards 20% of the players, since most players would never reach a high level, or explore far-off areas. As a result, staff members would lose their feelings of accomplishment and usefulness. So you end up with a game that no one staffs or plays - a rather masturbatory experience for the head admin, who shuts the game down.

But that's just one sociopath's opinion.
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Old 03-07-2010, 10:29 PM   #49
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Re: What types of games are impacted the most by permadeath?

I note that we tend to be thinking of permadeath in terms of "competitive PVP" with direct combat.

i.e. Character 1 goes out with a sword and kills Character 2.

But the topic can be so much wider than that. Perhaps there is no *direct* permadeath, you can't just kill off another character at your whim. But there could be permadeath results of possible actions.

In my game, a character can kill off another character, but it is only temporary. Magic is used to resurrect the murdered character.
But if you get caught for a crime and executed, there is no resurrection.
Other actions might also lead to permadeath. We've had permadeath from: Declaring war on the church and being burnt at the stake, as well as "claiming to be a king" - we've also had characters who annoyed the church enough that they refused to ressurect them anymore (which means if any of them does get killed by another PC it would be permadeath)

In all those cases, the player takes some action before their character risks permadeath. It means that another player can't bully them by just killing them off. And it means there has to be some opportunity for story before they risk permadeath (so no meaningless permadeath)

I could imagine more achievement based games also using this idea. Maybe certain tough monsters have ways to permanently kill off characters if you fight them. Maybe there are defensive skills that can permanently kill the attacker. Maybe there are risks the players can take that could lead to their death (for example, a magician may be able to summon a powerful demon, but if they do it badly the demon eats them)

All those options would allow the positive impact of permadeath, without the possibility for high level players killing off all the noobs and dominating the game. And would allow the players who don't wish to risk permadeath to avoid those risks.

Of course, it also means you can't just walk up to another PC and kill them - while your character might have a good reason to do that. But, y'know, that's the tradeoff of not being able to bully other players. What you might use for good roleplay, someone else would abuse.
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Old 03-08-2010, 01:51 AM   #50
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Re: What types of games are impacted the most by permadeath?

Ahh, see, I wouldn't consider that permadeath. I view permadeath as a game feature, and game features are those things that can be reliably expected to occur in the course of gameplay.

Permanent death that only happens in very specific circumstances and is avoidable is not, IMO, permadeath. If we were going to use that definition, I'd say that you can certainly have that kind of death in any sort of MU*, and there are non-RPI games that have that sort of thing.
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Old 03-08-2010, 06:15 PM   #51
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Re: What types of games are impacted the most by permadeath?

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Ahh, see, I wouldn't consider that permadeath. I view permadeath as a game feature, and game features are those things that can be reliably expected to occur in the course of gameplay.

Permanent death that only happens in very specific circumstances and is avoidable is not, IMO, permadeath. If we were going to use that definition, I'd say that you can certainly have that kind of death in any sort of MU*, and there are non-RPI games that have that sort of thing.
I'd agree with this. The purpose of permanent death as a feature is fairly straight forward. The purpose of circumstantial permanent death is less clear. Why should execution sentenced by one clan, or refusal to resurrect by another clan add anything to the gamplay/environment of the MUD when typical death means nothing. In my mind, this seems as though it would (if anything) empower admin or favored characters/clans to have the most ultimate advantage in a MUD without persistent permanent death: they can destroy other characters, permanently, whereas the other clans cannot possibly act in kind.

I can't claim to have played the game at all, and it may create some interesting dynamic that isn't evident to me, but I lean towards thinking that partial implementation of permanent death is the weakest approach in what is typically a black/white issue.
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Old 03-08-2010, 10:48 PM   #52
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Re: What types of games are impacted the most by permadeath?

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I'd agree with this. The purpose of permanent death as a feature is fairly straight forward. The purpose of circumstantial permanent death is less clear.
I'll agree with you on that. Permanent death as a feature (i.e. my PC can get in a fight and permanently kill another PC) is very straightforward. And it has straightforward implications, some of which are good, some of which are bad.

Circumstantial permanent death is less clear precisely because it depends on the circumstances.

The purpose of those game mechanics would depend on what you are trying to achieve with your game.

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Why should execution sentenced by one clan, or refusal to resurrect by another clan add anything to the gamplay/environment of the MUD when typical death means nothing.
What it adds is the ability to strongly differentiate your clans. Join clan X and you have power over sentences of executions. Join clan Y and you have power over resurrections. Join clan Z and you have better resources to buffy you in combat. Join clan A, B, or C and you get various social advantages.

The way you would differentiate your clans would depend on the game you're making. If you're making a game primarily about combat, then having one clan able to resurrect would be hugely unbalancing. If you're making a game where it's easy to avoid combat, then having one clan able to resurrect has a smaller game impact.

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In my mind, this seems as though it would (if anything) empower admin or favored characters/clans to have the most ultimate advantage in a MUD without persistent permanent death: they can destroy other characters, permanently, whereas the other clans cannot possibly act in kind.
If implemented badly, yes.
If implemented well, every clan or character has the same potential - their choices would lead them towards different strengths.
In my implementation, the clans can only implement permadeath on other characters when certain conditions are met. I.E. the character that is going to die has taken some action to lead towards that event. So, that inherently makes it a rare event, and not relevant if we're talking games where "every character can kill off each other" - in games with more plentiful death, having one clan holding the keys to permadeath does seem very unbalanced.

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I can't claim to have played the game at all, and it may create some interesting dynamic that isn't evident to me
The game is intended for politics and social roleplay, so the dynamics it creates are primarily political. Want someone removed, you've got to catch them out in certain ways. Drive them into doing something that would get them executed. Want to save a character from the gallows? You'll need to get the right characters on-side. Your clan might not have the right abilities, but your clan will have something else that you can barter with.

It shifts the emphasis. In a "pure" permadeath game, if you have an enemy you always have the option of walking up to them and killing them. That will often be the easiest option, and thus the one taken most often. It leaves little reason for players to come up with Machiavellian schemes to manipulate their enemies into a misstep. That is perfectly fine, since most games aren't trying to push for scheming politics. For games that are pushing for something different, the careful control of permadeath can provide an achievement. Being able to protect yourself from permadeath, or being able to permadeath an enemy is something that motivates players. So if you create the gameplay mechanics to achieve that based around the "core gameplay" of your game, you'll be encouraging more players to interact with your core gameplay.

Regardless of whether that core gameplay is the combat system, politics, fighting monsters, buying treasures, or whatever.

But yes, limiting permadeath does "weaken" the impact. I'd still argue that a good design in limited permadeath has the potential to strongly reduce the negative impacts while only mildly reducing the positive impacts. But, in the final tally, permadeath is always going to be an issue of personal preferences. And players will self-select the games based on their preferences. So there will always be a demand for both types of games.
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Old 03-09-2010, 01:37 AM   #53
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Re: What types of games are impacted the most by permadeath?

I think that any game that has only permadeath and players last longer than a year, there is either:
A) Something wrong with the system
B) Something wrong with the Administration (eg, making sure buddies don't die)
or
C) Worthless to begin as a new player because the game is stacked against you.
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Old 03-09-2010, 02:04 AM   #54
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Re: What types of games are impacted the most by permadeath?

Re: Silv ... I understand what you are suggesting. I agree with some of it, though I'm still fairly fuzzy on the benefits of circumstantial permanent death. Premeditated scheming politics could be said to even be enhanced by permanent death - when your life is at stake, I definitely believe that you play more carefully and craft more elaborate plans. The idea that anyone could walk up to anyone else at any given time on an RPI and kill them is a little off (for most). If it was done without IC reason or proper roleplay, it would become an investigated issue on most. If it was done around v/NPCs or other PCs, it would almost certainly result in the capture of the law-breaking offender. If it is done out in the wilderness, it is fairly easy to escape and report the attack. There's actually a surprisingly few number of "twink" player-kills that I have seen. Many RPI players even recognize the wonderful roleplay value of a "good death scene" and help give that to their victims when possible, even in murder. What you're suggesting happens, rarely, but always gets reported and handled by the staff.

It's all about the environment and community that you foster. For players who don't respect the culture of separating IC/OOC and "twink" kill other characters, they tend to be unable to have long-lived characters or find themselves in position of enough power to kill other characters to begin with. They tend to go play other games, where death means less and they can find success more easily.

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I think that any game that has only permadeath and players last longer than a year, there is either:
A) Something wrong with the system
B) Something wrong with the Administration (eg, making sure buddies don't die)
or
C) Worthless to begin as a new player because the game is stacked against you.
I'd agree, most of the time. The PCs that last longer than a year on the RPI MUDs that I have staffed for are (almost always) without fail social characters. Crafters, city-workers, etc; they are those who don't have reason to involve themselves with potentially deadly politics, dangerous adventures or war. It seems like a boring way to play (to me, personally), but there are quite a few players out there who prefer a purely social/safe role.

Of course, there are no entirely safe roles on Atonement; the life/death of the entire playerbase is oftentimes left in the hands of the PCs to work together in aims for survival. Even our social/crafting/safe roles are still kept aware of the fact that death could come knocking on the door to Deck One at any time if the characters become complacent.
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Old 03-09-2010, 08:01 AM   #55
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Re: What types of games are impacted the most by permadeath?

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I think that any game that has only permadeath and players last longer than a year, there is either:
A) Something wrong with the system
B) Something wrong with the Administration (eg, making sure buddies don't die)
or
C) Worthless to begin as a new player because the game is stacked against you.
Hardly.

I've found that in permadeath games, it's really up to the player to decide if he is going to put his character in a dangerous situation that would possibly/likely kill them. In a roleplay-focused game this is perfectly acceptable; unless you are playing a suicidal person, it is reasonable to assume that self-preservation should be on your character's mind. In a H&S or PvP-focused game with permadeath, you're talking about players that want to keep their characters because of some attachment to them (for example, because of the progress they've made with it).

As for Administration acting as a long-lived character's guardian angel, I can't say I have broad experience over all permadeath games to give you an accurate answer. I know from being a player of Armageddon that long-lived and/or "important" (authority or leadership) roles have as much of a chance dying in a dangerous situation as they do living through it. Sure it's a setback when an established character dies, not only to the player of that character but others depending on that character for plot advancement and the like. But it helps keep things realistic.

Your last point would hold some merit if we're talking about a H&S/PvP-focused game with full permadeath. In such a game, old players would find newer ones easy targets (unless there are rules in place to prevent killing newer players like that). In a roleplay-focused game, old characters aren't necessarily out to bag new ones - indeed, it's generally the exact opposite if anything.

/Not a staff member anywhere, but found this topic interesting as a player.
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Old 03-09-2010, 12:17 PM   #56
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Re: What types of games are impacted the most by permadeath?

You're not suggesting that new players have the same power/skills/abilities as a brand new player are you? Surely any player that has been around for a year or two could kick a new player's arse and therefore has much more limited risk of death. Moreso the longer you are around.

I haven't played these types of games for well over 5 years, but I can tell you the whole premise back then was tag and bag new players. A big reason I couldn't stand Arm. And those pking had the attitude of "Well too bad, it's a harsh game! Intensive Roleplay." Riiiiight.

Perhaps the attitude has changed there and other similar games because of the lack of ability to bring in new players. But I doubt the style and power base has changed.

Which brings up another argument about Level vs. Leveless systems. I maintain there is no difference when a Leveless system has skill levels rather than Guild or Player levels. Any levels at all makes it a Level system. I tend to laugh at games that call themselves leveless yet have 13241234 skill levels in say crafting, swimming, hand to hand combat, etc. Correct me if I'm wrong, but what's the difference between a Level 242 Mage and a Mage with of Spell Skills at 242. Both can beat the pants off of a Level 1 Mage and a Mage with Spell Skills at 1.
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Old 03-09-2010, 12:47 PM   #57
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Re: What types of games are impacted the most by permadeath?

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Originally Posted by Newworlds View Post
I think that any game that has only permadeath and players last longer than a year, there is either:
A) Something wrong with the system
B) Something wrong with the Administration (eg, making sure buddies don't die)
or
C) Worthless to begin as a new player because the game is stacked against you.
If many characters lasted longer than a year, I would agree with these statements. If a few characters lasted longer than a year, but most lasted a month or three or five (as is the case in Armageddon) then I think these statements are false.

Quote:
You're not suggesting that new players have the same power/skills/abilities as a brand new player are you? Surely any player that has been around for a year or two could kick a new player's arse and therefore has much more limited risk of death. Moreso the longer you are around.
No, old players definitely have an advantage over new players, even if they are both creating new characters (btw, I sometimes find it hard in your posts to understand what you mean because you seem to be using the term 'player' to mean both 'player' and 'character'). Old players know where to find things in game and generally how the gameworld works - an example of this in Armageddon is that old players don't try to play characters that have ideals better suited to Tolkien-esque high fantasy or modern-day life.

In Armageddon, old characters may, or may not, have an advantage over new characters - power is as much a function of the social game and karma, as it is of skill development.

Quote:
I haven't played these types of games for well over 5 years, but I can tell you the whole premise back then was tag and bag new players. A big reason I couldn't stand Arm. And those pking had the attitude of "Well too bad, it's a harsh game! Intensive Roleplay." Riiiiight.
Perhaps you shouldn't make blanket statements about games that you haven't played in years, and from the sound of it, didn't play for very long to begin with.

Yes, sometimes new players get their characters killed quickly. If you read the game documentation and follow the recommendations we make about your first characters, this will happen much more rarely. But if you're going to get butt-hurt about your character dying, you're probably not well-suited to a permadeath game.
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Old 03-09-2010, 12:50 PM   #58
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Re: What types of games are impacted the most by permadeath?

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You're not suggesting that new players have the same power/skills/abilities as a brand new player are you? Surely any player that has been around for a year or two could kick a new player's arse and therefore has much more limited risk of death. Moreso the longer you are around.

I haven't played these types of games for well over 5 years, but I can tell you the whole premise back then was tag and bag new players. A big reason I couldn't stand Arm. And those pking had the attitude of "Well too bad, it's a harsh game! Intensive Roleplay." Riiiiight.

Perhaps the attitude has changed there and other similar games because of the lack of ability to bring in new players. But I doubt the style and power base has changed.

I can't speak for ARM, as my head-staffing experience has been entirely with Shadows of Isildur, and now Atonement. However, it is a bit of an IC cultural thing, I believe, in most cases. Forced conscription and humiliation of PCs doesn't happen on Atonement due to the setting. On SOI, it is common practice, though, for orcs to act this way towards new orc characters. A lot of players loved the rough roleplay of orcs ... and a lot of players hated it. At least on SOI, you had (if anything, too many) different spheres/races/play-areas spread out. It was very easy to avoid this sort of play there if you wanted to. From my experiences as a player on ARM, I'd say that it's probably a little harder there - but not too much so.


Quote:
Which brings up another argument about Level vs. Leveless systems. I maintain there is no difference when a Leveless system has skill levels rather than Guild or Player levels. Any levels at all makes it a Level system. I tend to laugh at games that call themselves leveless yet have 13241234 skill levels in say crafting, swimming, hand to hand combat, etc. Correct me if I'm wrong, but what's the difference between a Level 242 Mage and a Mage with of Spell Skills at 242. Both can beat the pants off of a Level 1 Mage and a Mage with Spell Skills at 1.
Well, I'm not really a fan of waving the "level-less" flag infront of my game, but I think that you're mostly wrong here. Whether or not your skills have numerical values attached to them, the system itself is still significantly different than player levels. It's an entirely skill-based growth system as opposed to a level-based growth system (which oftentimes can/does include a skill-based growth system as well). I think that you can safely say that a skill-based system that does not utilize experience-points/levels is fairly different than an XP/level-based system.

With that said, it's still a system. It's not some magical answer to power-gaming. But with a skill-based system like RPIs use, that obfusicates the numerical values of stats/skills from players, the general idea is to encourage less meta-gaming/power-gaming and more improvement through natural progression. Most players don't even really understand how skill-growth truly works in these games, and that little bit of mystery is meant to drive players towards more realistic immersion. It has mixed results, and there are still players who obsess over their skill-levels, but having staffed at PK/H+S MUDs as well as RPIs, I can safely say that it does manage to help lower the overall focus on meta-gaming in an RPI's community.
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Old 03-09-2010, 01:08 PM   #59
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Re: What types of games are impacted the most by permadeath?

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Well, I'm not really a fan of waving the "level-less" flag infront of my game, but I think that you're mostly wrong here. Whether or not your skills have numerical values attached to them, the system itself is still significantly different than player levels. It's an entirely skill-based growth system as opposed to a level-based growth system (which oftentimes can/does include a skill-based growth system as well). I think that you can safely say that a skill-based system that does not utilize experience-points/levels is fairly different than an XP/level-based system.
No matter how you slice it, it still comes up numbers. You can call it sewer trenching, but there are still numbers attached to the advancing of skills.
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With that said, it's still a system. It's not some magical answer to power-gaming. But with a skill-based system like RPIs use, that obfusicates the numerical values of stats/skills from players, the general idea is to encourage less meta-gaming/power-gaming and more improvement through natural progression. Most players don't even really understand how skill-growth truly works in these games, and that little bit of mystery is meant to drive players towards more realistic immersion. It has mixed results, and there are still players who obsess over their skill-levels, but having staffed at PK/H+S MUDs as well as RPIs, I can safely say that it does manage to help lower the overall focus on meta-gaming in an RPI's community.
Oh come on, wether you are sitting in a farm all day to increase your farm abilities or killing an orc, it's the same thing. Meta-gaming happens regardless of the environment or structure.

NWA is built mostly around social power control, but still people love to level. If there was no growth ability no one would play any game.
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Old 03-09-2010, 01:11 PM   #60
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Re: What types of games are impacted the most by permadeath?

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Perhaps you shouldn't make blanket statements about games that you haven't played in years...
You are probably right.

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But if you're going to get butt-hurt about your character dying, you're probably not well-suited to a permadeath game.
It's funny to see the good old Arm Admin attitude hasn't changed in the slightest.
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