It’s time for the next installment in my ‘what type of game do you prefer?’ series. I decided to combine parts 4 and 5 into one blog entry due to their more focused questioning. If you haven’t had a chance to check out the first three parts then definitely do so before or after reading further. Part 1 asked gamers to focus on graphics vs. gameplay and decide which was more important to them and why. Part 2 was the PvP breakdown where players had to decide if they wanted a gankfest, sheltered pvp, rvr, or absolutely no player vs. player combat. Part 3 was the solo vs grouping debate and where the perfect balance was for you. Combining the first three parts: the type of game I want is a good looking game that runs well with great content, where the focus is on RVR and fighting for your realm’s mutual goals. Any PvE content should be fully developed and friendly to both soloing and grouping and be beneficial in some way to both.
Let’s just right into part 4. I know that in Part 3 I told you this next part would deal with end-game PVE end-game content but I believe establishing parts 4 and 5 first is more beneficial. Part 4 focuses on death penalties. Which type of death penalties do you prefer?
If you die you lose items and experience. The harshest possible death penalty.
Death is a loss to experience and a hit to durability with a corpse run.
Only experience is lost during death with or without a corpse run.
Only durability is lost during death with or without a corpse run.
Death is merely a run from the graveyard to your corpse. Nothing more than a timesink.
If you die, so what? Death penalties are old and do not exist in my ideal game. No penalities.
There are several choices and they are rather specific this time. I’ve tried to include every possible common death penalty that I can remember being in a game. The big debate these days seems to be if death penalties should exist at all. Players have moved into this new meta phase of gaming where they want everything to be convenient and not hinder their enjoyment factor. There are however still players out there who enjoy a risk involved. Where does your enjoyment end if you die? Do you want to have to repair your gear due to a durability hit or regain lost experience? Or like one of the options says, are death penalties something of the past? Should they be abandoned completely?
My personal view on death penalties fluctuates all the time – it seems the mood I’m in plays a key roll in deciding just how tolerant of death I can be. Lately I’ve been in the mood for some risk or at the very least minor penalty for death. I think given the type of setting you’re in this can vary, but I a run from the graveyard to your corpse is a given. However, I am no longer a fan of experience loss. Back when I was younger and devoted probably 15 hours a day to Everquest I could deal with experience loss in stride. Now it seems when I play my time is slightly more precious to me so the thought of losing that time in an exp penalty does not sound fun. I would go for a light penalty in the form of a corpse run. I believe strongly though that your gear should remain on the corpse until you get back to it. In order to avoid your gear being stuck on a body that is irretrievable you can have it summoned to the graveyard for a durability hit to your gear.
Moving on to Part 5 we deal with a very specific game mechanic – Gear Binding. What type of binding do you prefer:
There should be gear that binds on equip and acquire, as well as no-trade throughout the game.
Good gear should bind on equip, but be tradeable.
Good gear should bind on acquire.
Nothing should bind ever.
Crafted gear should bind, but nothing else.
Now there’s a toughy. Should gear bind when you put it on? Should there be gear that magically attaches itself to you permanently when you pick it up? Again this might deal with the type of game you are playing whether it be a scifi or fantasy type game, but this principle is still capable of being present in most all MMO type games. The economy is affected greatly by the decision to include or exclude binding. In Everquest since there were so few binding items it felt like money or currency had zero value. Items became valued based on their rarity and the world turned into a barter system. Crafting is also directly affected. If nothing that a crafter makes binds then eventually the market is saturated with hand-me-downs and crafters are obsolete.
I wrote on article on this back in September called “Don’t bind on me!“. I was very much against binding but I think my opinion has shifted slightly. I think there are some items that should definitely bind. The very hard to obtain gear should bind on acquire to increase it’s “ooo ahh”. Quest related gear, whether it be epic or otherwise should also bind on acquire. Crafted gear should bind on equip. I think that the majority, if not most all, of gear should be available to everyone in some form or another. It makes for a better rvr game (my choice of game) and a good economy.
Combining all previous parts into one description, the type of game I prefer is: a good looking game that runs well with great content, where the focus is on RVR and fighting for your realm’s mutual goals. Any PvE content should be fully developed and friendly to both soloing and grouping and be beneficial in some way to both. The death penalty should be light yet reasonable enough to discourage death. Certain items should bind on acquire/equip but in general gear should be available to everyone.
What do you think? I would really like to learn more about where players stand today regarding death penalties and binding. Remember, there are no right or wrong answers because we are simply building a theory on what our favorite or preferred game would be. Any feedback is welcomed. Part 6 will definitely deal with end-game PvE content and should be up tomorrow.