[MUD-Dev] Re: pet peeves

Ola Fosheim Grøstad <olag@ifi.uio.no> Ola Fosheim Grøstad <olag@ifi.uio.no>
Thu Feb 18 23:31:05 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999

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 risks
> are high, so are the passions.

In what way?  I don't have much interest in permadeath so I can't speak from my
own experience on that one, but I know that the risk I feel in PvP is not so
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 monster,
no trembling there. Now, facing a sworn enemy which I really hate, yes I shake
from the tension that comes from the risk of loosing _face_. The risk of being
humiliated! Similarly, when attacking someone innocent, I tremble from the
immorality of my act, causing real grief to a real human being, just for the
sake of staying in character or exercising power. I believe _immersion_ is a
lot more important than how many levels you loose when you die.  Now, if I
played MUDs like I play shoot'em'ups or Monopoly, then death wouldn't matter
all that much anyway. Yes, passion might be good, but real passion comes with
social context, immersion and perceived risk, not necessarily measured risk
What this means is that perceived risk is not invariant, it depends upon the
individual player's mentality. (And really, I think there is enough passion in
immersive MUDs. What are you going to do about lag-death whining?  And, isn't
permadeath likely to increase antisocial behaviour by presenting the
environment as a truly hostile design?)

There is technically no major difference between loosing levels and permadeath.
What permadeath does is to guarantee that experienced players risk a _lot_ more
than newbies. I personally think loosing 5-30 hours is enough to make death a
real threat. Loosing 2000 hours and absolutely everything you have achieved
isn't fun. There is no need to make a game less fun unless it actually
contributes to overall game play?  We'll see how well Middle Earth does, and
how it eventually deals with "permadeath" when released. I think they only plan
on using permadeath as spice though.
Ola Fosheim Groestad,Norway      http://www.stud.ifi.uio.no/~olag/

MUD-Dev maillist  -  MUD-Dev at kanga.nu

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