What’s fun about a death penalty?

seriously Jack? You’ve been designing games for how long now?

When posted a question of a death penalty or lack thereof, he admits that the community has strongly requested it and it will be in an upcoming patch. “What is fun about a death penalty” he jokes but then tells us a deep, dark developer secret that the only reason why a death penalty is incorporated into a game is to get the player to play longer.

/starts up Game Design 101 class


I’m being very snarky and a bit of a douche…I know…but, birds of a feather a guess ;)

Here’s what death penalty does: it gives the player pause and stops them…or at least makes them reconsider…from doing stupid shit. Believe it or not, it is a gameplay element that adds fun to the game because it forces the player to learn, and learning is interesting, it’s engaging and it’s fun. Putting a barrier like that in front of the player forces them to think of new ways to tackle a problem…especially if that barrier stacks up a la Guild Wars.

“Ohhhh Darren. You’re such a hardcore gamer for actually wanting a death penalty”

I see your point, oh disembodied reader…but that assumes that a good balance between using the carrot and the stick are “hardcore” concepts to begin with.

Quite honestly, there is a death penalty in STO of sorts and that is time. Setting the player back 10 seconds is enough to drive the typical ADD gamer absolutely crazy…but this is Star Trek. When you lost a ship, it was gone. You didn’t see the armada that got it’s ass whooped at Wolf 359 just reappear 10 seconds later. I’m not saying to take your ship away a la Eve…no…but at least incorporate some kind of representation that your ship has been destroyed beyond an explosion and countdown timer. I know Jack…an egg timer is much easier to design, but lets put some effort into it, ok?

…and, what’s really funny is that a death penalty is a conspiracy to keep the player playing longer. Huh? Out of all the things that keep the player playing longer, death penalty seems to make up maybe 0.01%. With the exception of Eve…most MMOs put a debuff on the player which may last 2 minutes at most. The whole concept of an MMO centers around how to keep the player around longer…from expansions, to leveling, to raiding.

/shakes head.

Does anyone else get the feeling that we’re working backwards when it comes to games. It’s almost like we started out on a really nice 10-speed bike and now we’re being relegated to 1-speed with training wheels and our special helmet.


D out.

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