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Brainstorming Permadeath: Making Death Significant But Not Annoying

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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).


--- Quote from: tigersfan on May 10, 2012, 08:48:09 pm ---
--- Quote from: Remliel 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.

--- End quote ---

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.

--- End quote ---

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.

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.

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.

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.


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