Thursday, July 10, 2008

Dear Age Of Conan Developers...

... its not really a "death penalty" if you can quickly get over it or wait 30 minutes for it to go away. Its more of a "death inconvenience" in that case.

I bring this up because of rumours that Age of Conan is not living up to the hype. I guess I'm spoiled by Eve where killing someone typically causes them real loss: loss of the ship, modules, and whatever they were carrying. In some cases, the loss can amount to hours, days, even weeks of effort to replace. That's a death penalty and as a result it makes PvP that much more visceral.

An upshot of that harsh death penalty is that manufacturers have a real market for their goods as items get destroyed or lost to the enemy. In a game where you never lose any gear, does the "crafting" (ugh) system have much meaning besides being a hobby for your character?

5 comments:

  1. I'm going to be contrary.

    "That's a death penalty and as a result it makes PvP that much more visceral."

    I fail to see how two clunky metal boxes can invoke the word 'visceral' for anyone. A harsh death penalty makes PvP more costly, nothing more, nothing less.

    It's the combat mechanics that create the visceral (or not) experience. If the mechanics are exciting to the point where you are absorbed by the combat, then the system is a good one.

    (And remember, not everyone is a masochist who loves to see their hard work vaporized every time they make a stupid little mistake. That type of (IMO ridiculous) death penalty sucks the fun right out of a game.)

    "In a game where you never lose any gear, does the "crafting" (ugh) system have much meaning besides being a hobby for your character?"

    You're showing your inexperience with MMORPG's outside of EVE. ;)

    Crafting systems in all successful MMOs form a big part of the game economy. Consumables (potions, scrolls, buff foods, whatever) will always be in demand since you need them to play at your character's maximum potential, gear creation skills will always be in demand assuming that the items you can create are worth wearing, and resource gathering skills will always be in demand since they provide the raw materials that fund both of the previous crafting endeavors.

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  2. visceral - 1. Having to do with the response of the body as opposed to the intellect, as in the distinction between thinking and feeling. Often described as intuition; cf. gut feeling, gut reaction.

    I stand by my choice of word :) And I'm not rehashing the death penalty difference of opinion with you AGAIN. ;)

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  3. Interesting. I don't play 'swords and wizards' MMORPGS, but I have friends that do. Whenever I talk to them about it, and they ask me about Eve, they always wince about how much death hurts in Eve.

    I think that light death penalties in WoW et al is purely a financial decision. People (and mainly younger people) don't like things to be too hard. If they have been grinding to get that item only to have it stolen after they die would probably cause a ragequit.

    Eve is a more mature game and thus with age we are better able to deal with loss. However, WoW has 8 million players, Eve has 300,000.

    Personally, I like the harsh death penalty. Things have more value, because you have to spend *time* replacing them

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  4. Nhi'Khuna1:24 pm

    I DO have allot of experience playing MMOs and have played just about everything out there in the mainstream (japanese and korean grinders are the notable exception). Eve's penalty system is very visceral in that you -feel- the loss of your ship (if you want to get esoteric about it losing a ship is akin to losing a character), I have no experienced many MMOs other than Eve that is able to capture that risk of loss. As a result, folks often talk about going into pvp with hands shaking and sweating, feeling visibly nervous, their voices shaky... You can imagine that morale plays a HUGE factor when you are being Fleet COmmander and asking your fleet-mates to put their coveted ships on the line.

    Visceral? I'd say so.

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  5. @ombey:

    "People (and mainly younger people) don't like things to be too hard. If they have been grinding to get that item only to have it stolen after they die would probably cause a ragequit."

    Welcome to WoW misconception #1. The "not hard" label only applies if you have zero interest in the end game, or competitive PvP. If you think end game WoW raiding is not difficult than you've not played the game very much. The intricate encounters can really test a group's ability to organize, adapt, and react.

    "Too hard" has exactly nothing to do with insane death penalties. All a harsh death penalty does is impose the risk of huge loss on players, which creates an environment where experimentation and thinking outside the box can be costly gambles.

    "Eve is a more mature game and thus with age we are better able to deal with loss"

    I fail to see how "happily accepting that my leisure activity can result is my in-game progress being massively set back" has anything to do with maturity. This is just typical nonsense that lovers of the death penalty mechanic like to spout. It's grounded in nothing but pure fantasy, tinged with an air of superiority.

    @Nhi'Khuna:

    "As a result, folks often talk about going into pvp with hands shaking and sweating, feeling visibly nervous, their voices shaky."

    As above, you see this all the time with high-end raiding in WoW. The Lady Vashj encounter is among the most memorable I've ever participated in precisely because everyone was so on edge, so scared to fail, and so willing to let it all hang out to get her down. After a month of attempts we took her out, and the explosion of relief and euphoria over Ventrillo was absolutely amazing to hear.

    (And guess what - we didn't lose a piece of equipment, or our entire toon every time we wiped while learning the encounter).

    Also, note that WoW raiding isn't cheap - the consumables that you burn through in a night can take a week to re-acquire, depending on your schedule..... it's not like a player can go into a big fight unbuffed and expect to succeed - so people claiming that nothing is lost are also missing the point big time..... it's just no where near as harsh.

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