Cathode Tan - Games, Media and Geek Stuff
logo design by man bytes blog

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

You Died Of Cholera

This is in direct response to Corvus' And Miles to Go Before I End Game.

I'm a big fan of permadeath. I think it's great for both immersion and tension. I'm also fairly certain it's a great way to clear out virtually any modern MMO game. Permadeath worked before people would spend money on a monthly basis to build up a character. I mean, if I've invested $100 in a character only to have them deleted? Ugh.

And when it comes story-driven games ... permadeath has that annoyance of giving rise to really kinda sucky endings. Imagine if Frodo died of gangrene before reaching Mt. Doom? "You Died Of Cholera" makes for a funnier t-shirt than it does drama.

I think, however, clever compromises would be neat. I think some of this came up with the death Round Table.

Inheritance - You die, but your stuff goes to another. Another you happen to play! You might not get to keep all your stuff ... but that +10 Sword Of Severe Dragon Dislike won't go to waste.

Afterlife - This is actually old school. In the roguelike Avatar, when you died you went ... elsewhere. You could fight your way out of the afterlife to return to the mortal realm (or abandon all hope). A friend of mine and I actually had a whole concept of keeping track of life's goals and having various planes of existence interconnected. So if I went to a higher plane - my comrades could worship me and I could occasionally grant them with boons.

The Search For Spock - Death is reversible ... but requires a lot more than just a rez spell. You better have friends willing to go venture into the Cave Of Despair to worship at the Night God to plead for your soul ... because otherwise it's game over, man, game over.

For the record, Dreadnought will use a version of inheritance. Not to get into too much detail, you'll lose the equipment you carried but will have a storage bin for keeping backups. There also might be brain damage (skill loss).

tagged: ,


Anonymous said...

Inheritance is quite a good answer. It seems to me it would work best in system which didn't overly rely on items to increase character power. Friday's post will touch in inheritance in a fashion...

Josh said...

Humorous ... whilst I agree ... Dreadnought's "level up" setup is currently mostly item based.

Actually Dread's setup is a pretty big departure from strict permadeath. I want to restrict it, but I also want to reward the prepared.

Anonymous said...

You've probably already said this and I either missed it, or have forgotten, but is Dread going to be single player or multiplayer?

Because my thoughts on perma-death vary greatly between the two game types.

Hell, my thoughts on perma-death in MOG actually va... well, I'll wait until Friday for that as well.

Anonymous said...

I just looked at your revised design doc and answered my own question!

And yeah, permadeath (particularly permadeath with an escape hatch of sorts) is a particularly valid and compelling design decision for a single player game of the sort you're building.

I still think you're part of a conspiracy to keep me from getting any work done...

Josh said...

No we're not.


I mean, no I'm not...