Updated Fri, Jan 02, 2009 by Dalmarus
November 12, 2007 - By Dalmarus
Perspective is an interesting thing in the fact that two people can see and hear the exact same thing and come to two completely different conclusions about it. One person thinks it’s the greatest thing to happen since sliced bread, while the other believes this marks the end of the Golden Age and the game as we know it has come to an end.
With Thom’s Producer Letter, he stirred up more than a few hornet nests. I think this was actually a good move, as it got more community response than anything else I had seen in quite some time. It was a good sign to find so many people so very passionate about the game we play. Even amongst all the ranting and raving, it brought a smile to my face. People were finally ready to make a stand.
So many people spoke out about one particular part of that letter, that Thom even made a follow-up post a couple of days later in an attempt to clarify his statements further. What single thing within a Producer’s Letter could drag lurkers into the forums to post in droves? The possibility of removing the xp penalty for dying. Within a matter of hours, the thread was filling up with cries of disdain.
Although I didn’t post my
thoughts on the topic in the
thread, let me state them here. Personally, I’m with the camp
that do not want the death penalty removed. Am I one of those hardcore
that think pain is everything in a game? Absolutely not. I barely spend
fraction of the time I would like to playing the game. That puts me
square in the
“Casual Player” camp without a doubt. So why would
I want something to remain
in the game that has the potential to make me lose an entire
week’s worth of
playing time? The excitement it brings to the game itself,
As a player that truly loves to go exploring, there is a distinct thrill in the knowledge that I have to keep my wits about me, or the game will make me pay for just prancing into an area I have no business being in at any particular level. While some may cry that this is nothing but cruel and unusual punishment, let me explain why I feel this way.
There is a certain other game that shall go unnamed within this newsletter that is generally referred to as the 800-pound gorilla of MMOG’s. I played the game for about 3-4 months, and found some things reasonably enjoyable. One thing that drove me insane about the game though was the fact that I never cared if I died. Ever.
Why not? Because I never lost anything from it. There was never any incentive for me to make sure I kept my character alive, aside from a small amount of coin, which was easily obtainable.
Some people may say that’s not such a bad thing. I think it is. Removing the death penalty would remove a certain edge to the game that I think is one of Vanguard’s core concepts.
While there is no arguing at all that the 800-pound gorilla obviously has to be doing something right, that doesn’t mean it’s right for Vanguard. It certainly doesn’t mean that it’s right for the players that gravitate towards Vanguard in the first place.
“But it’s a business,” you say. I won’t argue that fact at all. SOE will do whatever they feel is right to get the most money they can, and more power to them. Taking away fundamental aspects of the Vanguard experience and changing them out to be more like the 800-pound gorilla is no guarantee that they’ll make more money.
Those that are happy playing games
other than Vanguard will
continue to play those other games as long as they are happy. If
happy, the last thing they would want to play is a clone. Rather than
more subs this way, I think they would actually lose subs as the core
grows despaired and leaves. Vanguard has a very passionate and distinct
base not unlike another SOE game that went through an unwelcome change
core game as well some time ago.
I’m not trying to say that a game needs to punish players horrifically for making mistakes, but I do feel there needs to be a certain amount of sting to death. Not enough to make people leave, but enough to keep that edge of excitement while you’re out hunting about. Without it, there is no tangible thrill of success when you arise victorious by the skin of your teeth from a particularly grueling battle.
Not only does a moderate death penalty promote concentration and focus while you’re playing, it also discourages random “Leroy Jenkins” moments as well. That’s something I’m truly grateful for within Vanguard. I don’t want to play a game where people run full bore ahead without any real worry of potential consequences.
On top of everything else, the death penalty as it stands within the game is not very harsh at all. With careful hunting, you’ll rarely die. While hunting areas a bit more ambitious, you may die, but you’ll be cognizant of your location and attempt to die in an area you’ll be able to retrieve your corpse from. In either of these cases, after you recover your corpse (and with equipment all being bound these days, that isn’t very difficult), it only takes several kills to recover any xp loss.
The death penalty only truly hurts when you’ve died at the bottom of a dungeon and have no way to get your corpse back. Maybe the party you were hunting with has to leave, or perhaps you need to run out and head off to work yourself. The question then becomes do you continue hunting as normal, until you can eventually get a group that can go down with you, or do you decide that you won’t be back down there for quite a while and use the altar to summon your corpse and absorb that xp loss?
It’s the feelings about your character and the choices like these that make the death penalty a good thing. If there was no death penalty (and to me, a bit of coin to fix your equipment doesn’t count), then it lessens the thrill of accomplishment in the game.
If the death penalty were ever removed, my thought every time I died would be, “Eh.” That’s not a feeling I ever want to have in Vanguard. What about you?
Leave a comment HERE!