Author Topic: Brainstorming Permadeath: Making Death Significant But Not Annoying  (Read 10631 times)

Offline x4000

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Re: Brainstorming Permadeath: Making Death Significant But Not Annoying
« Reply #30 on: January 16, 2012, 08:59:55 AM »
Actually, a lot of what you describe was very close to the "Personas" design that we were talking about for a while.  But for various reasons we've been moving away from that lately.
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline BoG

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Re: Brainstorming Permadeath: Making Death Significant But Not Annoying
« Reply #31 on: May 02, 2012, 12:55:49 AM »
Hello everyone.
So, I bought this game on Steam, and I'm enjoying it. Particularly, I like the roguelike elements in the game. Of course, it doesn't feel quite right. Many have mentioned that in this thread. I read someone talk about death being like losing a life in Mario, and sadly, that is what death feels like at this point. I would say this absolutely needs to be fixed.
As I've been playing, I think the best way to accomplish your five initial goals while at the same time making death more than just "losing a life" would be to increase the unique attributes of new characters. Others have said the same thing. I was thinking that specialization might work well. Allow players to keep all of their spells and enchants when they die, but give characters elemental specializations. Perhaps one character is talented with ice, but unable to use fire. When the player encounters an enemy with strong ice resistance, they're at a disadvantage, and may lose. If they die, they can overcome this with a character who specializes in something else. As others have mentioned, certain perks would work well too. Even special powerful spells that only that character can use. Not only would it make death more painful (as it should be) but a larger variety of characters would make the game more fun.
Another idea I had involves upgrade stones. I never actually use them, but would be forced to if they disappeared when I die. To make this less frustrating, you could then increase the number of upgrade stones that can be found in the world.
I hope what I said provides something new, and that it's workable in the game. Whatever happens, I hope for the best! I'll continue to enjoy the game.

Offline Epitaph64

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Re: Brainstorming Permadeath: Making Death Significant But Not Annoying
« Reply #32 on: May 03, 2012, 02:34:10 AM »
I like this in principle but I feel like it needs to be limited --- if these bonuses just keep piling up until you get a character who's as powerful as a fresh one four levels up, you're really not going to want to do anything risky with him.

This reminds me --- NPC crafting skills are gone for good, right?  If they're coming in later, losing their established trust and willingness to help you would be a good penalty.

Yeah, that could be good though. We have the transfer scrolls at the moment. Why not have a super good character that we don't want to risk on something extra dangerous?

Offline Guswut

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Re: Brainstorming Permadeath: Making Death Significant But Not Annoying
« Reply #33 on: May 05, 2012, 12:15:02 AM »
The player character in the game feels fairly impersonal, which, as mentioned already as being something that was going to be looked into, makes it fairly easy for me to risk them. The upgrade crystals is a decent idea, but being able to carry a stack of them makes them only seem valuable if I die a few times in a row and start to run low on them.

Mechanically, I would think that having the death of the player character cause some slight damage to the glyph making sense. Something like mana regeneration is lowered by 10% for five minutes (most likely only counting the ticks that the character actually moved, instead of just standing still, etc), or the monsters in the chunk and four nearby chunks to where you died became enraged (one tier harder for ten minutes, etc).

Oh, wait... What about if dying affected the windstorms? Every time you die, a bit of your power strengthens the windstorms, possibly causing a non-storming tile to randomly storm (either for a certain amount of time, or in a way that allows you to go on a mission to that tile which may have a decent reward although be fairly difficult). That adds a macro aspect to it, gives a good reason to not die (especially if it usually makes the tile you die on storm), but it doesn't feel overly out of place nor grindy.

Offline LostSoul

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Re: Brainstorming Permadeath: Making Death Significant But Not Annoying
« Reply #34 on: May 06, 2012, 03:51:27 PM »
Why not something simple, effective, but more to the point neither overtly damaging to previous activities, nor directly annoying? When the glyph bearer dies, all missions on the continent where they die are despawned and no missions will be available again for X amount of time. Since missions are the lifeblood of the game ultimately, having all missions disappear and a good chunk of time before more missions can begin spawning again is definitely a setback, but at the same time not one that is going to force you to keep going back and redoing what you've already done.

I'd also suggest having the penalty itself scale with the content level. The higher up you are, the longer it takes before missions start generating again, while at the lower level dying carries a minimal punishment as you're still learning the ropes.

That being said, part of me also thinks that a character that you keep alive longer should intrinsically be more valuable than one that is fairly fresh. Considering that the player can mitigate the risk to a more experience character by taking over a newer one, having a more experience character die is still within the players control. So what if the "kill x of monster y to unlock" deal also gave that character a minor increase to their basic stats: health, mana, damage. Nothing large (like maybe 1 or 2% each at most) that you'd be immediately incapable of recovering from, but just a nice boost for the characters that live the longest. These tallies would be kept on a per-character basis so every character can unlock them, but doing so isn't really that necessary.

Another distinct possibility is that more experienced characters unlock additional purchase options with their stones, giving them more control over what they ultimately get (in exchange for the more specific enchants being exponentially more expensive). So for example, a new character could only pick just a very basic "buy an enchant" and that's it. They don't get to specify anything more than that. A more advanced character can specify which slot-type of enchant, while even more advanced ones can control which sub-type of enchant and (should they live long enough) even a minimal quality level. Obviously a character that lives long enough to unlock these options is going to be a prized commodity and may even be naturally retired in order to preserve that capability.

Offline Drjones013

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Re: Brainstorming Permadeath: Making Death Significant But Not Annoying
« Reply #35 on: May 07, 2012, 01:16:40 PM »
With the high availability of shards and the new shop it seems like we could do more punitive things with enchantments. What if there was a percentage chance that a player's enchantments could be permanently destroyed? This would make exploring with your rare enchantment character nerve-wracking and could make the use of glyph transfer scrolls useful again. The percentage chance of loss should be fairly low, say 5%, but the fact that it could happen at all should leave most players on edge.

Offline omegajasam

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Re: Brainstorming Permadeath: Making Death Significant But Not Annoying
« Reply #36 on: May 07, 2012, 07:43:57 PM »
Making it easyer to re-name them would make it easyer to get more attached.

I think the problems gotten worse now that upgrade stones are something you never run out of normally. There would have to be some intrinsic advantage a long term charcter has over a new one to make them worth while.  Upgrade stones no-longer do that (Which I'm not too disapointed about after finding myself grinding a few times)

Offline Ontogenesis

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Re: Brainstorming Permadeath: Making Death Significant But Not Annoying
« Reply #37 on: May 07, 2012, 08:22:03 PM »
Hmmm. Have you considered maybe having a selection of unique spells (or just buffed versions of current spells), that a character can only have one of, and is randomly assigned to your potential choices? This would each character unique, make death feared (as there's no guarentee you'll find another character with the same buff) and shape play style.

Alternatively (or in addition to), each character could be random in their:
> Unique spells/ buffed versions
> Unique gameplay stats (e.g. jumping, detection)
> Resistances (e.g. to certain spell elements/melee)
> Other random effects (e.g. automatically be able to breathe underwater, resistant to wind storms etc.)

Just some thoughts  ;D


Offline Remliel

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Re: Brainstorming Permadeath: Making Death Significant But Not Annoying
« Reply #38 on: May 10, 2012, 08:01:43 PM »
What would make me care more about a character's death without mechanical impact? More customization. Give me ways to customize the name more easily. Give me a way to establish more of a background. Maybe even get married and start a family or something. People still gotta do that, especially in Neo-Postapocalyptia. More appearance options.

Hell, give us vanity costumes that we can put on that could get lost if we die. You can buy them in the new store or something.

Offline tigersfan

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Re: Brainstorming Permadeath: Making Death Significant But Not Annoying
« Reply #39 on: May 10, 2012, 08:48:09 PM »
What would make me care more about a character's death without mechanical impact? More customization. Give me ways to customize the name more easily. Give me a way to establish more of a background. Maybe even get married and start a family or something. People still gotta do that, especially in Neo-Postapocalyptia. More appearance options.

Hell, give us vanity costumes that we can put on that could get lost if we die. You can buy them in the new store or something.

The family stuff for the NPCs is a possiblity, but not in the near future. There's just too much involved in that to make it happen anytime soon.

As for the costumes and such, this is pretty much impossible with the way the art is done in the game. We would basically have to have a completely new character for every single costume combination available.

Offline Orelius

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Re: Brainstorming Permadeath: Making Death Significant But Not Annoying
« Reply #40 on: May 10, 2012, 09:08:41 PM »
I feel that death is sill rather trivial because any investment you make into a character is optional.  In roguelikes like DCSS, you level up and rise in power, and find items that help you, all of which are lost if you fall.  In AVVW's case, you keep your items and decide when to level up, and your unused 'XP' carries over to new games.  This just disincentives using upgrade stones at all and encourages stagnation, in my opinion.

It's just that death is neither annoying (because it really has no impact unless you want it to), and not significant (because it has no impact if you don't want it to).

Offline Remliel

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Re: Brainstorming Permadeath: Making Death Significant But Not Annoying
« Reply #41 on: May 11, 2012, 04:20:22 AM »
What would make me care more about a character's death without mechanical impact? More customization. Give me ways to customize the name more easily. Give me a way to establish more of a background. Maybe even get married and start a family or something. People still gotta do that, especially in Neo-Postapocalyptia. More appearance options.

Hell, give us vanity costumes that we can put on that could get lost if we die. You can buy them in the new store or something.

The family stuff for the NPCs is a possiblity, but not in the near future. There's just too much involved in that to make it happen anytime soon.

As for the costumes and such, this is pretty much impossible with the way the art is done in the game. We would basically have to have a completely new character for every single costume combination available.


Ah, that's too bad. Maybe something can be done with a future expansion. Good to know where some of the limits currently stand right now though!

Hmm.... Other ideas: Perhaps being able to build some sort of legacy with your character. When they die, of course, they can't build it any farther. The next glyphbearer has to take up the duty and make their own legend.

How this manifests could be a number of ways. There was a suggestion on the Tracker for some kind of memorial object. This could be an idea if you have it dynamically record and track the successes and failures of the character. Maybe some kind of Hall of the Glyphbearers addition to the settlement? A building you can enter that would contain these and provide a service... Which is something else I wanted to suggest.

Offline Vi_O

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Re: Brainstorming Permadeath: Making Death Significant But Not Annoying
« Reply #42 on: May 12, 2012, 05:59:08 PM »
Hi everyone,

I've bought the game about a week ago and I've had a lot of fun with so far ^^ I'm glad there's still a lot of releases and even this brainstorming board for feedback, as I feel like the game is constantly evolving and that's great :)

Well, we're here to talk about : The Significance of Death.

As what have been said before, we've got basically two main ways of making it significant :
-> Punishing the player for dying
-> Making it some kind of gameplay enhancement

I think there's more things to prospect on the enhancement side (personal opinion), so here's my idea(s) about it.

1. Ghost to scale.
I think the strength of the ghost should scale at the strength of his former alive self. Maybe not in term of its upgrade. More like its "fame" (I've seem this is the thread before) it could be as simple as the number of foes he killed. For example, if the hero killed less than 100 foes in his life, he should not even spawn as a ghost, for he is so weak. In the other hand, the more he killed in his life, the more he'll be dreadsome. Maybe even stronger than an overlord at some point, making for some epic battle he could not have fought otherwise.
There can be even more customisation : the ghost can use the same spells than before dying // The ghost has the same strength and weaknesses than before // The same enchants // The same *** (replace by wathever you want :) )

2. Exorcism
Basically, you've got a noble hero, fallen in battle, that lies in an battlefield full of hostile foes. From a roleplay viewpoint, someone would like to bring back the corpse to the settlement and bury it. Hey, what about that Shrink spell that can takes elements from the landscape to put it in the settlement ? He could bring it back easily.
For more fun, the ghost could be invicible until exorcised in this way and even following the character that is transporting its corpse on his way back. Character that of course could not use any teleport while fleeing. Then at last, the spirit is relieved and leave to a better world/merge with the cristals/stay as a guardian/I dunno what else or is pissed of and gives a last fight (but is no more invicible.)
Alternatively, you can just make the ghost very strong but beatable and the exorcism just make it weaker or defeat it without a fight.

3. Ghost by night
Come on, everyone knows that ghost only comes out by night. That Gives people opportunities to avoid/exorcise it more easily :)

4. Ghost summoner
What if the overlord can summon ghost as easily as it summons lieutenants ? What if (if you combo with the exorcism idea) the ghost it has summoned is invicible 'cause his corpse is still in corrupted land ? Trouble.

5. Rewarding
I think that if you intend to make it more challenging, you should reward the player when he succeed in vanquishing the former glyphbearers. Nice enchants, rare ingredients, some achievements or even guardian ghost that helps at the overlord battle. I don't know what but something at least.

That's all ! (for now...) I know these ideas won't be implemented like that but I hope it'll help to think about the issue.

Offline Robby89

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Re: Brainstorming Permadeath: Making Death Significant But Not Annoying
« Reply #43 on: May 20, 2012, 08:14:31 PM »
I think there should be an obituary to log specific character use, the missions they accomplished, the time and place they died, and how they died. And perhaps a bit of a bio the player can add to spruce it up. I have a bad habit of making my characters last a good while, and somewhat getting attached. I'd like to view the names and logs of characters of their accomplishments and their history. I'd even like to see which character put that previous characters soul to rest after he was destroyed. Death shouldn't be overlooked, this is a good way to show off what player did what and which characters they been using for a while.

Sure the current log system has some of this already, but it doesn't have specifics. Why have all these names and individuals from different time periods of we treat them like the same meat bags? They deserve a little more respect than that. Especially if you go through the trouble of programming a random name and stat generator. Not to mention the numerous rescue missions! Food for thought.

Offline Snave

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Re: Brainstorming Permadeath: Making Death Significant But Not Annoying
« Reply #44 on: August 23, 2012, 03:17:20 PM »
Here are four small solutions without harming the flow of the game, but that also tie in to the settlement aspect:

1. Reward longevity, rather than punish death.

Provide a personal buff to the starting stats of the next set of characters you're offered if the previous character had achieved certain personal achievements. Like an extra 10% bonus on one of the three core stats if their predecessor beat X missions, another 5% for Y minibosses (diminishing returns), and an entire extra bonus (those bonuses such as +9% water damage or whathaveyou that everyone gets two of randomly) if the predecessor had beaten a lieutenant or overlord. Thematically, having been possessed by a strong glyphcarrier, the glyph seeks out a stronger new glyphholder. Each of these bonuses of a given type would be achievable once. So if a character beat two lieutentants, it only counts as one bonus for the next carrier. That way, its posible, through good gameplay, to maintain buffed characters throughout the game rather than having the wave-like progression of not being able to pass any benefits forward.

2. Tie longevity and retirement to settlement building.

Let me see my active character's profession and mood and influence their mood directly via personal achievements. That way, I can build mood such that glyph transfer scrolls will mean something. Rather than go farming silly trinkets to cheer up my NPCs, I could actually jump on, take control and try to make them feel accomplished personally. At present, I only seem to use those scrolls to go kill off Wild Garden NPCs, because the other villagers don't seem to like them very much (some benevolent master I am). Also, if I kill off a 1k+ mood NPC, well, that's a genuine loss, but a strategic one rather than one that affects regular run and gun gameplay.

3. Settlement-wide mood swings.

Little settlement-wide mood boosts for continent-wide achievements. So say, for every new square freed of "wind", little mood boosts. Similarly, moderate mood boosts per lieutenant defeated. However, the game keeps track of these achievements, so when a "hero" character dies, a value between a percentage (20-50%?) and a flat cap (50?) of these boosts accumulated by that particular hero are snatched back as a settlement-wide mood dip. If a given resident has low mood already, the dip can be "softened" for them personally so nobody dips below zero, or even below 100 (too depressed to really notice the hero died). Settlement-wide mood dips for continent-wide loss of a hero. Afterall, nobody cares if a nobody dies, but the great hero who defeated 2 lieutenants and cleared 50 squares of wind single-handedly? Furthermore, this adds a new content vector for settlement bonus structures.

4. Neutral Ilari that hurl insults.

There is only one in the game, and it's in the tutorial. Add more as a (very) rare find in caves. Have them fling customised insults at your character based on its personal achievements, or lack thereof. Unlock new insults with continents!
"Your past five predecessors lived for an average of 4.3 days each as glyphbearers. You've been a glyphbearer for 4 days now. Does this make you feel significant? Powerful? Valued?"
It'd be funny at the least.

Of course, these solutions would require tracking a lot more data on a per NPC basis, but it'd really make the settlement and its inhabitants feel more alive.

On the topic of new glyphbearers, it'd also be nice if the game explained early on where they... ahem... came from. The "mystery" clues kinda allude to them being survivors out in the wilderness that the glyph "found" and teleported to the settlement upon your last glyphbearer's death, but this story thread gets left hanging as a potential plot hole for quite some time early on. Not to mention you can still choose glyphbearers from terrain types unavailable on your present continent from Continent 2 onwards, which is a little weird.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2012, 03:43:11 PM by Snave »