[MUD-Dev] Re: pet peeves

Matthew Mihaly diablo at best.com
Thu Feb 18 15:05:53 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999

On Thu, 18 Feb 1999, Ola Fosheim [iso-8859-1] Gr=F8stad wrote:

> Matthew Mihaly wrote:
> > I used to agree with you completely, but JC Lawrence made some really
> > excellent arguments for things that permadeath can bring to a game that
> > pretty much cannot exist without that risk, ie a massively heightened
> > sense of risk (and thus passion) about what you are doing. When the ris=
> > are high, so are the passions.
> In what way?  I don't have much interest in permadeath so I can't speak f=
rom my
> own experience on that one, but I know that the risk I feel in PvP is not=
> much a matter of loosing stats as it is a matter of having another player
> exercise their power over my character. I loose stats when dying for a mo=
> no trembling there. Now, facing a sworn enemy which I really hate, yes I =
> from the tension that comes from the risk of loosing _face_. The risk of =
> humiliated! Similarly, when attacking someone innocent, I tremble from th=
> immorality of my act, causing real grief to a real human being, just for =
> sake of staying in character or exercising power. I believe _immersion_ i=
s a
> lot more important than how many levels you loose when you die.  Now, if =
> played MUDs like I play shoot'em'ups or Monopoly, then death wouldn't mat=
> all that much anyway. Yes, passion might be good, but real passion comes =
> social context, immersion and perceived risk, not necessarily measured ri=
> What this means is that perceived risk is not invariant, it depends upon =
> individual player's mentality. (And really, I think there is enough passi=
on in
> immersive MUDs. What are you going to do about lag-death whining?  And, i=
> permadeath likely to increase antisocial behaviour by presenting the
> environment as a truly hostile design?)

Yes, I agree that losing face is a MUCH bigger deal than losing stats. It
is you vs. the other person, not character v. character. However, when
death is such an infrequent thing, as it must be in a viable permadeath
system (Genocide not withstanding), think of how much bigger of a rush you
will get, knowing that if you fight to the death with your opponent,
either you or he is going to lose your character entirely.=20

I don't think permadeath works in a system where it is possible (and where
it is desirable, due to a lack of "justice"-type measures) to easily kill
someone, however. Nevertheless, in a permadeath system where both death
and murder have huge consequences, I think you'd end up with some quite
interesting politics, subtle manouvering, etc. I'm talking off the top of
my head, but I can imagine a properly-executed permadeath game being much
more "realistic", which in this sense is desirable I think. Real-life
politics and intrigue are very interesting primarily because there is such
a risk involved in attempting to murder someone, that very rarely do
conflicts degenerate into seeing who has the biggest guns around. A
weakness in my world (to my mind) is precisely that...conflicts almost
inevitably, and quickly, end by seeing who can kick whose ass. Things are
slowly moving away from that a bit, due to implementation of various
measures, but it's always going to be a part of Achaea. While I like a
good fight, I would prefer more intrigue and subtlety, and this is what I
think a permadeath system assists with.

Disclaimer: I've never played a permadeath game, so the above is all
speculation based on what JC said.


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