Corpse runs are an MMO tradition. The impact of death, however, and those corpse runs can be an extremely sensitive subject.
The Pantheon twitter asks the following:
If your character died in an extremely difficult area, would you bother to try and get your corpse back or just leave it to rot and take the exp hit/loot loss?
I think we can all agree that no one would leave an EverQuest body full of loot to rot. It's simple untenable. However, the topic raises a few mechanical discussion points.
EXP Loss on Death
I'm a believer in experience loss when you die. This entices careful, thoughtful gameplay while discouraging recklessness and exploitative play.
I have often left a corpse to rot at the bottom of a dungeon when the game still gave me back my hard-earned loot. Sometimes that 10-20% experience isn't worth the time or the risk of losing more exp.
When loot isn't the defining characteristic of your avatar, then losing a corpse is suddenly a lot more tactical. Irreplaceable loot requires systems for corpse recovery. If the game had a loot system like UO, then sometimes you go out knowing that a death might mean losing a sword or some leather armor. The decision then requires thought, and I like that.
If the gear I'd retrieve is not worth more than additional EXP or time lost, then I will happily let the expendable gear rot. It's still not fun to lose my gear, but knowing I can simply buy more from a thriving game economy is often the better road to take.
Hard and Difficult Areas, and Irretrievable Corpses Being a Thing
Let's take a moment to reflect on what a rare set of circumstances we're talking about here. Areas so dangerous and so difficult that you can't retrieve a body are rare enough in 2019. How many games design a dangerous, unforgiving world anymore? Not many at all.
For those of us who can appreciate the implications of a tough world -- such as group dependencies, social constructs, slower gameplay, etc. -- I think we can also agree that permanent and game-ending punishments do not need to be present to still create the atmosphere we want. There are some penalties that cross the line and go beyond tipping the scales beyond a balance between risk and reward.