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Thoughts on perma-death. Share yours!

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"Permadeath," the idea that if your character dies in the game world they are truly dead and you must roll a new character and start over seems to get a pretty strong reaction, either for or against, from most players.

Those against tend to cite reasons like:

I put too much creative work into my character for its death to be beyond my control. It's only up to me when their story is over.

I don't want to die forever because I accidentally walked off a cliff when my phone rang/cat bumped my hand/someone knocked on the door/there was a game glitch!

I don't want to die forever in PvE at all!

I don't want to die forever in PvP because some gank squad caught me unawares while I was out harvesting.

I don't want to die forever in PvP at all!

Those FOR permadeath cite reasons like:

It's more realistic and therefore creates better and more dramatic RP.

If no one can ever be killed then roleplay conflict becomes meaningless.

And then many people who advocate FOR permadeath often look at it differently.

Some want total permadeath no matter how or why a character died, no exceptions.

Some want permadeath to be an OPTION for the player who was killed, where they can either accept that their character was killed and reroll OR decide that their character was "left for dead" and managed to crawl off and recover once their enemies had left.

Some want permadeath to ONLY happen via PvP and of those some want the victor to be the one who decides if they killed their opponent or not.

So, what's YOUR take? Do you or would you play on a server with permadeath? If yes, under what circumstances? If no, why not? Have you had any experience with permadeath? If so, share your story!
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Posted Aug 10, 17 · OP
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I like perma-death in pvp situations. Especially if the winner gets to choose what happens with the looser. Means that if you loose in pvp you don't necessarily die a perma-death but it depends on what the winner wants to happen. That adds alot of RP value in my opinion. This game plays in a harsh setting where people die all the time, so it would just be realistic if player characters can die too.

As for PVE perma-death, if its done in events, certain areas and such, than Im fine with it. But if it is just me dying to some bug and no one sees it, there is no RP value to it in my opinion
Posted Aug 10, 17 · Last edited Aug 10, 17
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I am absolutely in favor of perma-death requiring permission from the player of the character that would be dying. Games are played for escape after all, and while some people enjoy that risk or feel their character's story is ready for that kind of ending, others do not want to have someone who had a lucky roll of the proverbial dice having life-or-death say over their video gaming in that regard.
Posted Aug 10, 17
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Fia
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I do not like it when the choice of what might physically happen to a character, within an RP scenario, is taken away from the player of that character and given to another player. This includes death, rape, or injury.

However, it's awesome roleplaying if the player of the defensive/defeated character chooses death for that same character. If they choose to say no, that should be respected as well. The outcome of a character's fate should ultimately be up to the player who put time and effort into creating that character...not the attacking player.

And to add, I have experienced permadeath during Pen and Paper gaming. The first time was while my husband was GMing. lol No one could ever accuse him of "admin abuse" even then. ;)
Posted Aug 10, 17 · Last edited Aug 10, 17
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I am kind of the mind Marvel had when questioned about the lack of deaths within the cinematic universe. That they saw no point in having it, unless there was absolutely nowhere for the characters to go. Granted that might have more to do with sales and merchandise than narrative, but I still think it holds a ring of truth. Most of my favorite stories contain a largely consistent cast, with only the occasional pivotal death to spice things up.

In RP though, I rarely feel the death of a character is ever given that sort of gravitas. And sure its feels a bit forced to cry over every single character. But I struggle to feel much of anything Whether it be me killing of a player or me dying, beyond a anticlimactic.

"Well time to roll another character."

Partly I think the blame of that lays on the GM for my PnP group back in the day. He was very fond of strict realism within his setting, and your character could barely be three sessions in before he simply dropped dead without a warning. No character growth, no arch, just a pile of dead lemmings, that occasionally derails the plot and kills the entire campaign.

I am not oppose to Perma-death but personally I don't get anything out of it. Even as a pretty strict RPPVPER, I am not bothered thinking that I leave someone bloody and broken rather than dead.
Posted Aug 10, 17
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Naatok a
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I came to online RP from permadeath MU*s. For you youngsters out there, MU*s are (apparently still alive and kicking) text-based Multi-user coded RPGs.

For my part, I want perma-death as mandatory for all situations that do not involve some issue with the server, be that bugs in Funcom's code, bugs in mods, or issues with the host server's own internet and/or server provider.

Although I would have no issues with putting client-based bugs, PC or network related issues on the exclusion list, it simply isn't practical from a server administration standpoint. Perhaps if Funcom gets serious about giving admins and players adequate logging, that may change. But I don't see it happening, honestly. It is hard enough with the present logging system (or lack thereof) to track things happening from the server perspective.

Beyond this, I would prefer a player character death to be permanent, whether it be PVE, PvP or PvT (player vs terrain).

My reasons are simple:

  • It discourages players from attempting unrealistic, childish and/or stupid actions with their characters when it comes to navigating in the game world
  • It discourages players from attempting unrealistic, childish and/or stupid actions in PvE situations
  • It discourages players from attempting unrealistic, childish and/or stupid actions in PvP situations
  • It discourages frivolous aggression and use of naked force
  • It encourages players to actually learn how to maneuver and use weapons within the game world
  • Death is the final arbiter of conflict. It always has been in RL and it always will be in RL It should be that way in a survival game. Especially a survival game based on R. E. Howard's Hyboria

I've witnessed so much stupid activity from players in MMORPG and Survival RPG online games I'm surprised I have any tooth enamel left from clinching my jaws and gritting my teeth. Far too often, people assume that just because they CAN do something stupid and/or unrealistic with their character in a game world that they should.

Players either tend to consider game mechanics as arbiter of reality, or they want to ignore the game mechanics altogether.
That is one of the reasons why Funcom removed armor protection damage mitigation from gravity well impact trauma situations. I used to see the most ridiculous actions from players who consider themselves role players on role play servers before that code change.

But ridiculous behavior in game still occurs. Some think it is funny to have their character bounce around like a kangaroo, or leap off the top of waterfalls to the ground 7+ meters below without taking a scratch. It isn't funny. It's stupid. We are role players. If we're in game, our actions and our speech in local chat should be role play as much as is feasible. If you want to RP a bouncing bunny, go to Helo Kitty's Island Adventure, IMNSHO.

I use this example, not to focus on role play and maneuvering in the game world. It is just an example. I chose an example that I think most players think of as rather innocuous activity. My opinion differs. To me it is as immersion breaking as any other unrealistic activity in game.

So, that is just one reason from my bullet point list of reasons why I support perma-death.

I know many role players either have computer equipment that barely allows them to play the game, much less allows them to maneuver and fight effectively. I know many role players who do not know how to maneuver and fight effectively in game. I don't consider either of these to be a valid reason for excluding KOS, perma-death, or even PvP from a role play server.

A player with under-powered computer equipment is capable of avoiding combat for the most part by being cautious in the game world and/or by joining a clan with player characters who don't suffer the same handicap.

A player who doesn't have the skill to maneuver, aim and strike given the combat system CE has, can acquire that skill. It takes persistent practice, like any other human endeavor.
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"The oh so eathing Velvet Darkness they fear - Heed! - wherefore delve a barrow?
When in my arms "O! Come here" - I say, elsehither is naught but sorrow!
For what deemest thou so dear thy blood - When through my veins it could flood?"


-Theater of Tragedy, "Bring Forth Ye Shadow", from "Velvet Darkness They Fear"
Posted Aug 10, 17
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I am of two minds with PVP perma death. Losing a character that is close to yours does facilitate drama and builds your characters story in a way that you didn't intend it to go. Which is a good thing, it gives characters a motivation that is more than the usual tavern RP or whatever. Conflict with real consequences really adds something and really makes a character's story come alive.

It also changes the dynamic of how people play their characters, because frankly you're not going to run around as a big swinging badass with real consequences for your character being a dick. As some members on our server quickly found out after several rerolls. For conflict you have to play it smarter, be smarter in how you engage things. Conflict to just PVP is gonna get you stomped, really quickly.

One example of this is on The Exiled we had a group of raiders that would bother and harass my clan, pretty much every day. So I IC went around and rounded up and bribed several people to go kill the antagonist clan. It put an end to our raider problem and most people enjoyed it...maybe not the clan that got stomped but that's the price they had to pay.

On the other hand it does require a certain level of maturity and a sense of fair play from people. If you are playing a group of bandits who swoop down from the hills and kill people without warning, or wait inside someone's keep for them to log on and then attack while they are still loading in, that is not great for rp and it's not great for the community at large. It is a group effort and at least being sporting about it will keep most of the objections that people have to perma at bay.

I do know that losing a character to something beyond your control can be devastating and it should be upsetting, it's only natural. I've been extremely upset at several of my character deaths before. But it's also an opportunity to play something or someone else, try out a new character concept or something do something that takes you out of your comfort zone. As well it allows you to see the impact your character made on people and how they deal with your characters loss.

To sum up, perma death builds stories and takes them in unexpected directions, which I believe is a good thing, but it requires a mature attitude from the community to not be abused.
Posted Aug 10, 17
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For me, personally. I find it an almost essential part of an immersive role-play experience. Of course, your character's story is something that you work hard on, one that has lots of emotional and personal investment...but that's what makes permadeath so great!

Don't get me wrong. My intention is not to bash anyone on their own personal beliefs & methods, but for me personally, role-play should be about immersion, the chaotic factors of every moment in-game and not just when "you feel like RPing", which to me leads to nothing but a lot of tavern RP or lots of mock wars with no casualties (How does this make sense?). I enjoy real plots of intrigue, the costs -- and gains -- of doing battle.

Even if not permadeath, being taken as a thrall at random, especially as a defeated character is a journey all on its own. I realize to many people, their preferred method of role-play is essentially drive a character down a very directed path, where certain fates are avoided just because the player behind the character does not want it to happen. Again, for me personally, I find this unimmersive, and quite dull...but of course, whatever floats your boat. What's fun for me, is a chore for you, and vice versa.
Posted Aug 11, 17
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Well, as I rather expected, there's a lot of differing views on this topic. I don't think any of them are right or wrong, they are simply matters of preference. And, of course, since the beauty of this game is private servers, nearly everyone can find a server with the playstyle of their choice. I play on servers with permadeath and I play on servers that are decidedly "care bear." I have fun on all of them because I know cool people on all of them.

But from a purely personal standpoint, in a "perfect world" the following is what I would find most enjoyable.

Conan is a low magic and very dangerous world. The possibility of permadeath SHOULD be a given. However, I prefer that this only happens via PvP and DM run events. Regular PvE, well, I'm gonna die now and again! LOL So I'd prefer not to have to reroll every time I'm out harvesting by myself, go afk in what I THINK is a safe spot... and return to find my character has been stomped into goo by some rhino. Ditto not liking dying to a game glitch or bug. I like deaths to be "meaningful" because that adds to stories, my own and those who knew my character. I do feel death to "friendly fire" should be a thing because you need to be able to coordinate with the people you are running with. If everyone is just swinging their sword willy nilly, that's bad storytelling as well as just being OOC foolish.

I also believe permadeath adds to realism, which is very important to me in RP. Without it... well, we all know there are people who like to be assholes on the internet and say things they would NEVER say to someone's face because they know they can get away with it and there will be no repercussions for their vile behavior. The same thing happens in roleplay communities, where you have "badass" characters acting in outrageous ways because they know darned well no one can do anything about it. Except, on an RP PVP server, you CAN. And you SHOULD. Go ahead, be a rude and insulting bastard if that's your thing. Just know that, as in real life, you MIGHT one day pay for it with your life. And even if you don't play a jerk, it pays to have situational awareness. If you're just out bopping from resource node to resource node and you aren't ALSO constantly looking around and being aware of your surroundings... well then you kind of deserve to get filled with arrows and bludgeoned by some desperate bandit who wants your stuff.

Now, confession, I am pretty bad at PvP generally in games even though I think it can be a lot of fun. In AoC I either went out with a full escort of badasses or I traveled very carefully and often by stealth which meant, yes, I got places much more slowly. If I came across an enemy in RP I wasn't above hiring assassins to kill them. You can play realistic characters who aren't awesome warriors nor should anyone be ashamed to do so. MOST people, throughout history, have NOT been badass warriors. And yet they could be extremely interesting just the same. And from a roleply/storytelling perspective, this is especially true. If you can't craft an enjoyable character OTHER then by using the "badass warrior" trope... well you might want to work on that. And I don't think doing so detracts at all from the "hardened survivors" aspect of this game. So yes, permadeath causes players to play their characters in a more believable and realistic fashion. And that's why I think the inclusion of permadeath, under specific, but not wholly uncommon, circumstances, is ideal.
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Posted Aug 11, 17 · OP
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My feeling is that death comes too easy to allow it to be permanent. On a perma-death server, I once saw a person hack down two people in seconds over a verbal slight. If looking for realism, this would not have happened in real life. The first person might have been wounded seriously before the second had time to respond, but to reduce both to piles of bloody flesh in such short time was unrealistic and, had it happened to me, I would have quit the server on the spot. As it was, something happened to my base a day later, so I wound up quitting the server anyway.

Some online combat systems require a great deal of damage to be dealt before a character falls. it would take this, and not a Ginsu system like CE has now, to make perma-death viable as a roleplay option.
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Posted Sep 1, 17
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