- Created on Wednesday, 13 January 2010
- Written by David McDonald
Ressurection, Elysium, Valhalla, and ghostly avatars are the methods used by most every game in some form or another to provide players with continuity. ALBA will step outside this box and provide Perma-Death! The much feared hot topic in MMORPGs...
Why is continuity so important? Essentially an MMO and specifically MMORPGs rely on players identifying with their avatars so that they are compelled to build skills, achieve recognition and obtain power. If your avatar is killed every other week and you have to start building your character from scratch then interest will wane quickly and you will leave the game to find something else that fills your need for achievment.
Remembering my old pen and paper D&D days I can still shed a tear when my character of 2 years was killed in a freak avalanche inside a ruined keep. The dice rolled the wrong way and all checks failed....... so endeth the life of Gnatfluff the gnome. A good game will give players the immersion needed for a sense of ownership, responsibility and dare I say it, affection for their characters. To lose the time, effort and emotion invested in building a character up is dissapointment itself but to lose the "character" traits of your avatar just adds salt to the wound.
So in an effort to reduce the player population from leaving their games due to this dissapointment most developers give a ressuraction style feature that allows your character to return to life after dying. Completely unrealistic of course but it does allow a players investment in their character to be retained.
The problem with this approach is the lack of risk. Every player seeks rewards for their gameplay and the higher the risk the higher the rewards...but what risk is their really? You face an opponent that is more powerful than you and you die? so what/ Run to the nearest shrine, pop into Elysium or go fine someone with a res spell and you are back in the fray. Some games apply skill and ability penalties, but those can often be recovered by power gamers pretty quickly. Sure, you may lose your uber-cool sword-of-godly-sharpness-and-vanquishing but you got it once so you will get it again.
I believe to have a real risk/reward system the risk must be more real while still allowing the time and effort a player puts into a character to be rewarded.
ALBA will have permanent death. If you are killed, your character is gone...forever. However we will provide an inheritence system whereby your legacy can continue through nephews, neices and other relatives. Should you marry then you will also be able to pass your inheritence on to your son or daughter. Immersion is the paramount objective here and by providing a chronological family tree your families activities in ALBA can be recorded for all time.
So to close off this musing, there will be permadeath in ALBA with some of the sting of death removed through inheritence. You can keep your hard earned assets and pass some of your knowledge on when you die so your efforts are never truly wasted.
Oh and did I mention that everyone has a "natural death" attribute? You will never know what it is but as you age you will move ever forward toward your death by old age deadline........so be good to your family!