[MUD-Dev] Re: PermaDeath

Sayeed yu219121 at YorkU.CA
Fri Feb 19 01:20:06 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999


At 11:31 PM Ola Fosheim 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 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!=85

<SNIP PERCEIVED RISK IS NOT INVARIANT...>

-DANGER-
While I agree that saving face and overcoming challenges can be very=20
thrilling, I also believe greater danger makes victories sweeter.

"Oh boy, Lord Deimos, let's throw ourselves at him a few thousand=20
times then take his gold, he has lots of gold!"

Even role-played, I wouldn't find this as heart-stopping and exciting
 as it would be if I actually had to take great care to plan out my attacks=
=20
and preserve a precious life.  When much being risked, we instinctually=20
feel excited, and if we emphasize with characters even a little bit, then=20
we'll feel a thrilling "fight/flight" response when he/she is in danger. =20
It's easy to say that perceived risk depends on an individual player's=20
mentality, but just as easy to see that same mentality being affected by=20
its environment.  When someone attacks me I feel excited, why?  I=20
risk pain.  When I climb a mountain without gear I feel VERY excited,=20
why?  I risk death.

-RISK/REWARD-
The key question here, however, is "Why do I risk?"  I risk to gain. =20
That is the issue which makes permadeath so hard to swallow in=20
MUDs.  I risk to gain protection, gold, silence, whatever, but in=20
all cases I voluntarily risk only for rewards, and rewards are made=20
sweeter by that risk.  In an epic fantasy we might see main characters=20
risking their very lives for some altruistic purpose, usually to save=20
the world from an villain.  Frodo risks his skin stabbing a troll=20
because he is helping to gain the safety of Middle Earth.  Luke=20
SkyWalker risks his skin fighting stormtroopers because he wants=20
to gain excitement FROM that risk and to help prevent the Empire=20
from taking over the galaxy.  Would he randomly slaughter stormtrooper=20
after stormtrooper, risk his life, for its inherent excitement/fun?  No. =20
Would Frodo be convinced to leave the comfort of Bag-End, risk=20
his life fighting orcs, merely for entertainment?  No..

That's where MUDs come in.  Noone wants to risk their character's=20
lives fighting meaningless orcs, getting killed for a few pieces of=20
gold.  Why would anyone make random, everyday, COMMON encounters=20
which have so little reward so full of risk?  On the other hand, If=20
players were on a quest to save the Mudworld, and knew that killing=20
every orc COUNTED, then perhaps they would feel the risk justified.


<SNIP no need to risk 2000 hours of play>

>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/

-MIDDLE EARTH-
It will be very interesting indeed to see how Middle Earth turns out. =20
At this point maybe I should qualify my terms.  There is a 'negligible risk'=
=20
of death, and then there is a 'high risk' of death, let me call it a
'possibility'=20
of death.  A player would undergo a negligible risk of death, (where=20
the risk is very small), if the reward for that risk equaled or=20
exceeded the risk itself (I'm not saying these are easy scales for a
developer=20
to judge).  A player feels that a possibility of death is justified if the=
=20
reward for that risk was great.  What Middle Earth is trying to do is=20
make the risk/reward situation semi-concrete.  In their world (as I=20
understand it), there is always a negligible risk of death, but only=20
players and higher level creatures will choose to make a "death blow,"=20
with the would-be victims companions being given measures to stop even=20
that blow.  Normal creatures will still render players unconscious and take
their=20
gold, but only the higher level creatures will actually cause permadeath.
To discourage player killing, death is taken VERY seriously, and criminals=
=20
are given the option NOT to kill but to loot.

-THREE EXAMPLES-
1.) EXAMPLE:  I venture into the woods of the Shire alone, looking=20
for adventure, and find a grumpy dog lying in wait.  After a battle, it=20
renders me unconscious, but I eventually heal and can pursue it again=20
or go after other prey.  If I had killed it, I wouldn't really be able=20
to brag, but then a grumpy dog isn't much of a risk.

2.) EXAMPLE:  After killing many grumpy dogs, I'm ready to try my=20
hand at orcs.  If I'm smart, I'll take people with me.  I kill orcs=20
aplenty, and they give decent rewards, but then I look towards the=20
Orc Chieftain.  The chieftain might, now and again, deliver a death blow,=20
but I brought friends, and when I'm unconscious they can choose to "guard"=
=20
my corpse (disallow death blows) and then drag me away.  Also, the Orc=20
Chieftain isn't the most vicious creature, and luckily my friends might be
able
to drive him away.  Medium Risk/Medium Reward.  If my friends and I=20
hadn't, on the other hand, killed many grumpy dogs, then taking on a=20
chieftain would have been a high risk for us, and might actually have caused=
=20
our deaths.

3.) EXAMPLE:  The Balrog can pretty much take on anybody.  If you're trying=
=20
to take it out, it has great gold, and the best bragging rights of all,=20
but it ALWAYS kills.  Then again, didn't defeating it turn Gandalf White?
 High Risk/High Reward.


-ROLE PLAYER'S PERSPECTIVE, GAMES & THE REAL WORLD-
If you're talking about 'immersiveness' from the point of view of a=20
Role-Player, forms of permadeath implementation seem pretty attractive. =20
As I see it, the goal of Role-Players is to totally divorce the idea of=20
a Game from a Mud, and to completely immerse themselves in the mud=20
WORLD.  There, they enjoy a world of excitement and escape from the=20
everyday.  If they are completely immersed in the mud as a realistic=20
world, then it provides enjoyment and has longevity with them.

What is this 'Game' role-players would like to forget?  Well when I=20
look at a game, I see a microcosm of the 'Real World,' yet with much=20
'Real World Risk' removed.  Using real world skills and abilities, we=20
play games like monopoly, soccer, or any other game, but it has little=20
risk for us in the real world, and adversely affects us less than 'real
world'=20
activities.  When, for example, someone chastises their friends that=20
"It's only a game, why are you making it more than that?" it's generally=20
because they're mixing the game with the real world, perhaps sabotaging=20
foils so they win at fencing. =20

Though all games cross over into our real lives in some ways, role-players=
=20
want muds to do solely this.  They want muds to, as much as possible, BE=20
our real worlds.  This is a role-player's immersion.

What makes something a game is to have less risk in the real world. =20
To make a real world there must be things which are risked.  Therefore,=20
for role-players to be immersed in a fantasy world, for it to be their=20
real world, there needs to be risk in those worlds.

Using a good 'reward justifies risk' implementation, permadeath could be a
very viable option in some muds.

'Til,

'Sayeed.
yu219121 at yorku.ca







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