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Perma-Deeeeaaaatttthhhh  

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How would you feel about perma-deaths? If the player dies, they must start all the way from the beginning whether they stick with character or make a new one (and yes, start at level 1 too). Now, of course, some may not like this, but I figured it may make the game more strategic and such. Now, I would have escape available too. I imagine most games who do perma-deaths would allow unless you're gonna make your game a "fight or die" type of game (which actually sounds kinda cool).

 

What do you guys think?

Edited by Lord Vectra

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If the game is short and some features are randomised (such as enemy variety, item looting and such). Your game has to be 100% balanced though if you want to do this to keep it fair and prevent as little annoyance as possible.

 

If the game is designed around it, I think it can be fun. As long as it's short and enjoyable. I imagine if the game was too long, people would start getting annoyed everytime they progress and die.

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Largely depends on the length of the game. Roguelikes use permadeath a lot, for example, because a full playthrough is typically less than an hour. In contrast, I don't want to invest thirty hours in a save to lose it in one boss fight if you're thinking about this as an RPG mechanic.

Now, it could still be tweaked as an RPG mechanic by permadeathing party members, rather than basically resetting the save, but they would probably be blank canvas characters (mercs and junk) which could have replacements hired. But again, starting them off as noobs isn't going to work because the player would still have to go through the game from the start to grind them back up...only to possibly lose them in the exact same fight they lost their original party. Not a great deal of fun.

 

Escape option could go either way. Savescumming is a more interesting quandry for this.

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Doing this on a per-character basis is roughly what The Final Fantasy Legend did, and I think it worked pretty well there. Not quite exactly permadeath, even if you ignore savescumming - it is possible to revive a fallen character, but there are limits - you can either revive them for a fairly small fee at a House Of Life (there's one in most towns), but only three times per character (though an item to give them extra revives does exist, but it's very expensive); or you can use a Revive item which is even more expensive, and IIRC can still only be used outside of battle. Most importantly though, the ability to recruit new characters to replace fallen ones exists, and as you get further in the game, the recruitable characters become stronger (though still somewhat underlevelled for the point in the game you're at).

 

Even without the "there are ways to revive them, it's just limited and/or expensive" system, I think that something along these lines could work very well, assuming your RPG was made such that generic characters will work well for it. But I think forcing the player to restart the whole game might be going a bit too far, personally.

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An easy way to grasp this concept is to play Fire Emblem. They have a great balance to their standards on perma-death.

 

How I feel? Well, a game's a game. Like Takeo mentioned, if everything is fully balanced, then I wouldn't care about the perma-death. There are other games that pulled perma-deaths that infuriated players, so you'll need to decide how much the characters are developed. This doesn't mean make another Aerith moment! XP

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Wouldn't savescumming defeat the purpose of it. I was thinking of something like XCOM Ironman where it autosaves every move you do, and you can't save the game yourself unless you're in an area autosaves aren't available.

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Yeah, one of the only series I have seen that wasn't a roguelike do a form of permadeath very well was the SaGa series, of which Final Fantasy Legend is part. I think Romancing SaGa 2 did it the best. Your main character had an inheritance thing that let them pass on skills when they died, but none of the other party members you could get did. Characters had multiple 'lives' in the form of LP (bit more complicated then that really, it was more like HP was for light wounds and LP was for serious ones almost), but it was very hard to recover them. All of the characters were of generic classes and a new slightly different character of the same class could be requited if one died, but you lost your stat gains. Still let you just restore the game all the time I think, unless there was an autosave thing I forgot about.

 

There is a reason most games with true permadeath are roguelikes or shorter games with limited arcade-like lives/continues, and even most games with arcade-like lives/continues nowadays do let you save your progress and skip stages you already beat somehow. Both do it for the same reason: To make the challenge more meaningful. Arcade-like games are games that are meant to be memorized and blazed through like a master, every inch ingrained into your memory. Roguelikes on the other hand are the complete opposite and meant to test your skill with improvising and dealing with unexpected situations and unknown variables. Sure roguelikes have tricks to memorize and strategies to follow (sometimes there is too much of it even I think), but the point of them is that each time you restart can lead to radically different gameplay experiences.

 

Regardless, both kinds are served best when the total playtime for any given playthrough is relatively short, maybe not even exceeding an hour. Both kinds find their longevity in repetition, either desire to master an arcade-like game or to find something new and interesting in a roguelike. This is one of the reasons why I find, for example, The Binding of Isaac a better roguelike then Tales of Maj'Eyal despite the later being far far more traditional in a lot of ways (and btw, people need to stop with this 'roguelite' nonsense, as far as I am concerned roguelike = randomized dungeon crawling, which is really the only thing a lot of them have in common). I mean, I really like Tales of Maj'Eyal as an rpg, but as a roguelike it's far to predictable and long. Even if you do sort of have multiple lives on the default difficulty setting and have an infinite lives mode, death just sets you back so far and you basically have to grind through stuff you have already done again to get back up to that point. There is just little point to playing with permadeath if I am gonna slog through the same kind of stuff over and over. It's not like there is any arcade-like mastery to be had, it's still random enough for that not to be really possible and too long to really memorize everything even if it wasn't.

 

Is it possible for a longer game to use permadeath well? Sure, you just need some kind of progression. I am not a fan of the Rogue Legacy-style permanent character upgrades, but what if you only needed to do story events once? What if every new character started in more or less the same world, but as another person? Maybe the character needs to start over, but other things don't? Otherwise you just start to repeat ever larger sections of the game every time you fail and, especially if it isn't randomized like a roguelike, that shit just gets old. :P

 

Also:

18 minutes ago, Lord Vectra said:

Wouldn't savescumming defeat the purpose of it. I was thinking of something like XCOM Ironman where it autosaves every move you do, and you can't save the game yourself unless you're in an area autosaves aren't available.

Yeah, savescumming defeats the purpose. But you also gotta ask yourself: If you always want to savescum in the first place, doesn't that mean the game fails to make permadeath an important aspect? I mean besides just blatantly wanting to cheat, shouldn't a game's failure state be central to what makes the game compelling? It's like the Dwarf Fortress motto: Losing is fun! And trust me, it's more fun in Dwarf Fortress to watch everything fall apart into a spiral of death despite your best efforts then it is to have no hardships happen to you at all. ARMOK DEMANDS BLOOD!

 

 

Edited by Kayzee

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Kukuku... when character die, they dead forever right?

That kinda troublesome, I have made something like that long time ago, let say... you in place where level 50 above and all your friend dead and only you one left, then you get new ally but at level 1, if that so then you need go very far to raise your ally level.

eh? you make new ally level equal to hero? then it would be no more than revive them right?

 

I like Ogre Battle Tactic system about this, when your ally die in a battle you can chose to revive them or no, if after the battle you leave them dead(or because you can't revive them)they gone forever, it's sound fair than when your ally die then they just gone without giving you a chance to maintain them.

 

in the end I don't really care about this expect something like a character die in battle then they gone forever, after they gone the scene changed into something else, it's giving dynamic in game.

 

why I'm talk about this? I think I'm too much drink cola, don't mind me just have fun making game!

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I've never been a fan of permadeath. It's hard to strike a balance between making a game challenging and not putting the player in an unwinnable situation. Either the game becomes far too easy or there's enough ways to avoid permadeath that it defeats the purpose or you're forced to start all over. As Takeo said, if it;s a really short game where starting over isn't a big deal, it works fine, but for a longer game balancing is almost impossible. The only game I've played that did it well was a turn based WWII strategy game. 

 

Having a character pool would be a necessity. I game I mentioned before, "Soldiers at War" (creative title, no?) had a pretty large one. Somewhere between 20-30. "Final Fantasy Tactics" had permadeath on a few maps, but ultimately was an example of so easy to avoid, it defeats the purpose. I only ever lost a character once and I played that game a ridiculous amount of hours, easily over 200. They died a turn before the last enemy slip damaged to death. It was still annoying despite it being a pretty meaningless loss. I find permadeath to be really annoying in almost every case.

 

 You consider classic games like Super Mario and Sonic as permadeaths. You do have to start all over if you run out of lives. But you can earn extra lives. Those games were also pretty short overall especially if you skip levels in Mario.

 

Personally from a development standpoint, I'd much rather attempt to make a challenging game where the player may have to try a level or a boss fight a few times to beat it when worrying about balancing between overcompensating for permadeath and making player rage quit. It feels like a far easier place to design levels and battle systems from. I'd want the player to have enough options in combat to make it diverse and encourage them to tinker around and try new strategies. Permadeath can detract from that because if the player idea doesn't pan out, you're down a character. It's not worth the risk so players will stick to whatever tried and true strategies they have. Now they're just doing the exact same thing over and over in battle. That gets boring pretty fast.

 

I would be open to a "hardcore" mode that has permadeath as part of the increased challenges.

Edited by lonequeso

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