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awera
05-13-2012, 12:57 PM
One thing that I dislike in Din's Curse is "instant death" that often happens when there's a sudden cave-in or other similar reason and your character dies without you having any reasonable chance to predict or evade such an event.

This feels especially unfair when you're playing in the "permanent death"-mode. My opinion is that in every situation, whether the player dies or not, should be a matter of skillful playing (or the lack of it) by the player's part instead of luck. However, this is just a personal opinion, so I'd like to hear what the developers and other people think about the issue.

Bluddy
05-13-2012, 01:17 PM
One thing that I dislike in Din's Curse is "instant death" that often happens when there's a sudden cave-in or other similar reason and your character dies without you having any reasonable chance to predict or evade such an event.

This feels especially unfair when you're playing in the "permanent death"-mode. My opinion is that in every situation, whether the player dies or not, should be a matter of skillful playing (or the lack of it) by the player's part instead of luck. However, this is just a personal opinion, so I'd like to hear what the developers and other people think about the issue.

This is why I think permadeath is not a good setting for ARPGs like DC. As a realtime game, you'll always have cases where bad things happen too fast to react to them. In a rogue-like, when bad things happen, you usually have a turn or 2 to do something. This isn't the case here. Permadeath (or 'hardcore') mode is really built for turned-base games. The best mode that approximates that for an ARPG is 'semi-hardcore', where you get heavily penalized for death (with a VIT penalty), but not to the point that your character is dead right away. I hope Drox will have a similar mode.

Castruccio
05-13-2012, 04:13 PM
But why not leave the option for hardcore permadeth in for those who like to tool around with it? There is no sense in removing perfectly good features. I have several hardcore characters, and it's a real thrill to see how far I can get before chance or my own idiocy kills them.

I think it is just as fun, and perhaps more fun, to die as a consequence of chance. I like seeing what sorts of calamities the game can produce.

Bluddy
05-13-2012, 04:17 PM
But why not leave the option for hardcore permadeth in for those who like to tool around with it? There is no sense in removing perfectly good features. I have several hardcore characters, and it's a real thrill to see how far I can get before chance or my own idiocy kills them.

Oh definitely. I'm not saying permadeath should be removed. I just think semi-hardcore is a better fit for an ARPG. But permadeath can certainly be fun as well.

Valgor
05-13-2012, 05:24 PM
There'll always be Escape Pods that give you a chance to get away and recover; though I don't know if those will be disabled in hardcore mode.

fab
05-13-2012, 06:30 PM
In Path of Exile (http://www.pathofexile.com/) (Diablo like which is open beta this weekend btw, or min. 10$ support pack to get a key) they have a really good idea:

You play in the hardcore league, and when you die, your character moves to a different league. You don't lose everything. You can still play. yet the penalty has the same significance since you can no longer join Hardcore games with that character.

Valgor
05-13-2012, 06:53 PM
Good idea. So when a hardcore ships gets blown up, it's not destroyed for good but rather becomes a regular ship with an entry in the hardcore hall of fame.

kerzain
05-13-2012, 07:01 PM
In Path of Exile (http://www.pathofexile.com/) (Diablo like which is open beta this weekend btw, or min. 10$ support pack to get a key) they have a really good idea:

You play in the hardcore league, and when you die, your character moves to a different league. You don't lose everything. You can still play. yet the penalty has the same significance since you can no longer join Hardcore games with that character.

The penalty of having a character moved from hardcore to default upon death has vastly different implications in a game like Path of Exile than it would in Drox Operative. Path of Exile is a persistent world multiplayer game, where each league has a completely separate economy and playerbase from the other. On the other hand, Drox Operative is a single player & LAN based game, and it makes no difference if your character is flagged as hardcore or normal if you're still able to continue playing it when you manage to get yourself killed.

In essence, single player games offer no death penalty whatsoever if you're just having a label/flag changed in the game. True hardcore mode is the loss of all items and progress at death. What PoE is doing is more like a carebear mode, for those people who think they're hardcore, but really don't have the balls to go full hardcore.

If Drox Operative plays anything like Din's Curse or Depths of Peril, then implementing a system similar to PoE's wouldn't really do anything more than force the player to lose that particular mission/match/instance/scenario/whatever and then start up the next. I guess the flag for the save game would change from Hardcore to normal, but what else is at stake here? Anything? Nothing important it sounds like.

Hardcore mode isn't for everybody, and it's a bad idea to change an existing mode simply to appeal to more people -- especially when you'd simply be turning the mode into something that it isn't. There are other modes for people who just can't bear the thought of risking everything every time they dare load up a save game.

Now, I'm all about extra features and game modes and the like, and I'm sure we could all come up with several new ways to implement different types of penalties for deaths and the like than have been in past Soldak games; but I think it's a bit egregious to suggest that a single player & lan party/co-op based game try to incorporate game elements from a game centered around a persistent world & economy intended to cater to thousands of simultaneous players. What's best for one game is not what's best for the other.

kerzain
05-13-2012, 07:09 PM
Good idea. So when a hardcore ships gets blown up, it's not destroyed for good but rather becomes a regular ship with an entry in the hardcore hall of fame.

Bad idea, because the door is left wide open for risk taking above and beyond what you might normally find yourself doing in a true hardcore mode. Luck would play a much larger role because of the lessened/eliminated penalty, and as such the elimination of a true hardcore death penalty would for all intents and purposes artificially inflate the hall of fame stats.

Simply put, by taking away the threat of losing everything, people would be more willing to do stupid and less strategic thinking, always knowing there's a dumb crutch to fall back on if they mess up.

Valgor
05-13-2012, 08:14 PM
What's there to loose in a game anyway? The time you spent playing a specific character/ship is already gone by the time it dies, and won't come back.
You do know you can still access a dead hardcore character's stash in Din's Curse, so you don't necessarily "loose everything" ... I hope that's the way it's handled in Drox Operative as well.

Besides, the game could always prompt the player if they want to continue playing their hardcore ship regularly or delete it instead.

aReclusiveMind
05-13-2012, 09:24 PM
I enjoy the fact that hardcore mode forces me to play more defensively then I normally would. I find that hardcore mode makes me look at certain resistances and items I found unnecessary in normal mode in a whole new light. I start trying to optimize my play around reducing risk/damage rather than trying to optimize damage/reward knowing that a death isn't a huge deal.

In the past I have also engaged in my own personal semi-hardcore mode where I see how far I can get before I die. At that point if I enjoy the character I just continue playing. Next time around I see if I can get my next character further along before the first death occurs.

It is hard to say which mode I will use in Drox Operative yet. I suspect I will want to dive in with hardcore mode and the hardest difficulty just to test the waters and see where I'm at. :)

Bluddy
05-14-2012, 12:00 AM
Exactly. There's nothing like hardcore/semi-hardcore mode to make you tense and to force you to consider every move you make as if you really were in the dungeon. IMO It's the best way to immerse yourself into the game world.

PixelLord
05-14-2012, 10:50 AM
I enjoy the fact that hardcore mode forces me to play more defensively then I normally would. I find that hardcore mode makes me look at certain resistances and items I found unnecessary in normal mode in a whole new light. I start trying to optimize my play around reducing risk/damage rather than trying to optimize damage/reward knowing that a death isn't a huge deal.

In the past I have also engaged in my own personal semi-hardcore mode where I see how far I can get before I die. At that point if I enjoy the character I just continue playing. Next time around I see if I can get my next character further along before the first death occurs.

It is hard to say which mode I will use in Drox Operative yet. I suspect I will want to dive in with hardcore mode and the hardest difficulty just to test the waters and see where I'm at. :)

Hardcore and semi-hardcore are both present in Drox. I've tested hardcore and, as you'd expect, find myself devoting a lot more focus on shields and armor. It's pretty much like DC as you need to get a ship to level 25 to unlock it, and death is permanent. No shared stash either. I didn't try to see if I could survive in an escape pod. I'll try to test that and let you know. There are no cave-ins, but there are several other things that can destroy your ship if you're not careful. :)

Shadow
05-14-2012, 11:19 AM
As PixelLord mentioned both normal hardcore and semi-hardcore are in the game right now.

Here's how they currently work:

In hardcore, death is permanent.

In semi-hardcore, the death penalty is 2 Structural crew points. If your base Structural crew points get to 0, death is permanent. It's less points than DC because Structural impacts you structure points (health) and impacts which structural types of components you can equip (armor, structure, etc.).

Neither of them can access the shared stash or repair completely broken components/crew.

Escape pods work in all modes, so they are really important in hardcore.

Valgor
05-14-2012, 05:33 PM
I would have liked to see death in semi-hardcore mode deduct from Command instead of Structural,
as each loss of a ship would decrease the Operative Guild's faith in the player's ability to properly captain a starship.

Shadow
05-14-2012, 07:57 PM
I would have liked to see death in semi-hardcore mode deduct from Command instead of Structural,
as each loss of a ship would decrease the Operative Guild's faith in the player's ability to properly captain a starship.

That does make a lot of sense. We would run into a lot of problems really quick though, like if you lose access to a ship and no longer have slots that you have components in.

aReclusiveMind
05-14-2012, 09:36 PM
The other nice thing about hardcore is that you might let some missions pass you by because they are just too dangerous to be worth attempting. This would likely lead to other consequences. Consequences are usually associated with being negative. Perhaps for me their negative natures harkens back to my youthful days when I was told "You'd better do thing XYZ, or there will be consequences to pay!" In all actuality though, consequences in games promote critical thinking and decision making. These are two things that help keep life, and games, interesting each day.

One thing that really impressed me about Din's Curse was the plethora of options you were presented with when creating a new world. Knowing hardcore mode is in Drox Operative already makes it more exciting and increases replayability in my mind.

Valgor
05-15-2012, 05:23 AM
That does make a lot of sense. We would run into a lot of problems really quick though, like if you lose access to a ship and no longer have slots that you have components in.

Well, just don't let it dip below the last "Command-Up" and start deducting Structural at that point.
This would mean they've lost most of their confidence in the player and start issuing worse and worse ships. Should the player manage to reach the next Command-Up without further deaths,
their Structural points could be restored to the new ship type's default.

By the way, is there still an XP debt in Drox Operative? If so, will there be a Soulstone equivalent (a Black Box or Flight Recorder) ?

PixelLord
05-15-2012, 10:22 AM
By the way, is there still an XP debt in Drox Operative? If so, will there be a Soulstone equivalent (a Black Box or Flight Recorder) ?

Yes. And it actually is called a "Black Box" in the game. Nice one, Valgor! :)

Shadow
05-15-2012, 11:04 AM
Well, just don't let it dip below the last "Command-Up" and start deducting Structural at that point.

That's possible. Of course now that I think about it, deducting Command points is pretty harsh (not that is necessarily a bad thing for a death penalty in semi-hardcore) because the only way to get Command points is through leveling up and applying some of your crew points to it. Other crew attributes can at least be bumped up by found crew.

Valgor
05-15-2012, 12:43 PM
Of course now that I think about it, deducting Command points is pretty harsh [...] because the only way to get Command points is through leveling up and applying some of your crew points to it. Other crew attributes can at least be bumped up by found crew.

That's why I suggested it. Seems like an adequate way to punish semi-hardcore players since it's more of a set-back than just losing a few hull points.

Valgor
05-15-2012, 12:48 PM
Yes. And it actually is called a "Black Box" in the game. Nice one, Valgor! :)

Well, isn't Black Box one of the terms these things are commonly called in aeronautics?

How about losing all quest log entries along with the regular amount of XP so there's actually a reason to go back in and retrieve the Box;
'cause if they don't, the player has to fly back to where they got their quests and/or talk to all the races involved and explain why they need the details once more?

awera
05-16-2012, 02:20 AM
I'm glad of all the discussion about the hardcore game modes that this thread has spurred. Still, my original concern was with "luck-based" deaths. In Din's Curse examples of it would be death by:

-An unpredictable cave-in, for example caused by an earthquake.
-Getting hit by a lightning bolt during stormy weather.
-Stepping onto an invisible teleporter trap, and you end up surrounded by monsters several levels stronger than you, who then proceed to kill you.

Death by these kind of means are what I call pretty much "instant" and "luck-based", since they happen suddenly and can't be prevented by any reasonable means. I think it's not an ideal state of things that a player can play a flawless game and still end up getting killed by a purely luck-based cause, because the outcome isn't related to the player's skill. (In Din's Curse, you can take some measures, like avoiding visiting the town during storms, but that's what I'd call "unreasonable" measures.) Chess is an example of a game that is pretty much completely skill-based - there are no random factors that can suddenly ruin a player's game.

I imagine that luck-based deaths stem from the fact that death has become such a "routine" occurance that can easily be "avoided" by restoring a saved game. In hardcore modes however, death suddenly becomes a lot more serious concept to deal with, and suddenly the same is true for luck-based deaths.

Another question is, what do luck-based deaths "add" to the game, do they make it more fun to play? I don't think so, which is why I'd like Drox to have none. Of course, others may have differing opinions about this, and I think it would be important to hear their views too, and some have already been mentioned in this thread.

In addition, I have a couple of other ideas too:

-Hardcore modes could have some (small) increase in gained rewards associated with them, like a certain percentage more xp/money/such (something more practical than just a score modifier). They'd motivate more people to try it.

-The player could buy an insurance that could work along these lines (the number are completely arbitrary): He'd have to pay 5-25% of his ship's total worth every certain amount of days/weeks. If the ship would blow up, he'd receive 60-90% of the worth in cash. For every "blow up", the amount he'd have to pay would increase and the amount he receives would decrease. With a bad enough track-record the player couldn't get insurance at all anymore.

kerzain
05-16-2012, 02:48 AM
I'm glad of all the discussion about the hardcore game modes that this thread has spurred. Still, my original concern was with "luck-based" deaths. In Din's Curse examples of it would be death by:

-An unpredictable cave-in, for example caused by an earthquake.
-Getting hit by a lightning bolt during stormy weather.
-Stepping onto an invisible teleporter trap, and you end up surrounded by monsters several levels stronger than you, who then proceed to kill you.

Death by these kind of means are what I call pretty much "instant" and "luck-based", since they happen suddenly and can't be prevented by any reasonable means.I have to disagree with your stance here, if only because what you consider "unreasonable" doesn't gel with what I'd consider "unreasonable" given the type of game that Din's Curse is.

When there are earthquakes and storms occurring, this compels me to go find and destroy earthquake and storm machines as soon as possible. Sometimes this means simply avoiding combat in favor of doing some rapid exploration. Yes, there's the small chance that you might get smooshed by falling debris, but those odds go up the longer you keep trying to adventure/grind/kill/quest while those machines are still running.

Dying from these machines is not purely random. They make it more likely you will die sure, but so does the very existence of boss monsters, and hoards of baddies you're not particularly prepared for all crammed in the room. The idea is to adapt, and be as prepared as you can.

As for teleporter traps, there's a very quick fix for those (aside from being forced to train or equip any trap related gear/skills/abilities/classes), and that fix is using your emergency evac. You gotta save that sucker for a real emergency, and if you're being TPd into rooms you can't handle, that sounds like a pretty good time to whip it out.

Now, if you've used the evac, then eventually a quest may pop back up offering to restore it for you. This would be something worth doing. Thing is, if you've burned your evac, and you haven't been able to keep the quest giver alive for it, you'll probably have some extra difficulty here. Welcome to the challenges of hardcore.

I think it's not an ideal state of things that a player can play a flawless game and still end up getting killed by a purely luck-based cause, because the outcome isn't related to the player's skill. (In Din's Curse, you can take some measures, like avoiding visiting the town during storms, but that's what I'd call "unreasonable" measures.) That is not what I'd call an unreasonable measure at all. This is hardcore, this means you have to make certain sacrifices to succeed. You need to plan around the idea that the town might very well be off limits to you at some point, and at least there's something you can do about it.

Chess is an example of a game that is pretty much completely skill-based - there are no random factors that can suddenly ruin a player's game.ARPGs are not chess, not by a mile. With all the random quests, monsters, and loot itemization there will always be at least some degree of randomness tangled up in your chances for success.

I imagine that luck-based deaths stem from the fact that death has become such a "routine" occurance that can easily be "avoided" by restoring a saved game. In hardcore modes however, death suddenly becomes a lot more serious concept to deal with...This is exactly why people play hardcore in the first place.

Another question is, what do luck-based deaths "add" to the game, do they make it more fun to play? I don't think so, which is why I'd like Drox to have none. Of course, others may have differing opinions about this, and I think it would be important to hear their views too, and some have already been mentioned in this thread.I touched on earlier in this post, and I'll reiterate here, your idea of a purely luck based death, and "unreasonable measures" to prevent such death is different than my own. It's because of these differences that your argument isn't working for me, not as it stands right now.

In addition, I have a couple of other ideas too:

-Hardcore modes could have some (small) increase in gained rewards associated with them, like a certain percentage more xp/money/such (something more practical than just a score modifier). They'd motivate more people to try it. Within the basic concept for hardcore mode: This mode already has an audience. It sounds like what would work best for you would simply be a different/new mode, and that sounds more appealing to me than making significant changes to an existing one.

-The player could buy an insurance that could work along these lines (the number are completely arbitrary): He'd have to pay 5-25% of his ship's total worth every certain amount of days/weeks. If the ship would blow up, he'd receive 60-90% of the worth in cash. For every "blow up", the amount he'd have to pay would increase and the amount he receives would decrease. With a bad enough track-record the player couldn't get insurance at all anymore.Since this doesn't sound at all related to a genuine hardcore mode I don't really have any input on this.

Valgor
05-16-2012, 06:18 AM
Here's another idea for rewarding hardcore players :
Allow access to the shared stash once per cleared (finished all important quests/allied with all major powers/whathaveyou) sector.
Coupled with an increased rate of finding good components ("Hi-Tech Find%" instead of Magic Find% ?), this could add some more incentive for players to try hardcore once in a while.

Shadow
05-16-2012, 10:29 AM
Well, just don't let it dip below the last "Command-Up" and start deducting Structural at that point.

This makes it harder for the lose condition to kick in though.

-An unpredictable cave-in, for example caused by an earthquake.
-Getting hit by a lightning bolt during stormy weather.
-Stepping onto an invisible teleporter trap, and you end up surrounded by monsters several levels stronger than you, who then proceed to kill you.


There are many random dangers in Drox like traps, asteroids, and monsters but there really isn't anything equivalent to the cave-ins or weather related lightning like DC has.

There are teleporter traps though.

Valgor
05-16-2012, 10:59 AM
This makes it harder for the lose condition to kick in though.

How so? Are racial relations somehow tied to the player's Command stat?

Shadow
05-16-2012, 02:53 PM
How so? Are racial relations somehow tied to the player's Command stat?

The lose condition is you lose when the base stat hits 0. If I don't let command go low enough to lose a ship and only then modify the Structural stat, then you have 2 stats that are taking the hit and Command can never get down to 0.

aReclusiveMind
05-16-2012, 07:25 PM
The reward for playing hardcore is the adrenaline rush you get when you nearly die to one of those traps. In general, if you build defensively, you can avoid "instant death".

As for the stash, I personally prefer to have the shared stash be usable by all of my "hardcore mode" characters. Any non-hardcore characters should have a different shared stash. This is mainly because I enjoy trying different builds and sometimes getting the necessary items in one playthrough just isnt going to happen.

Valgor
05-17-2012, 07:02 AM
The lose condition is you lose when the base stat hits 0.

D'oh. Sorry, that must've slipped from my mind.

awera
05-18-2012, 12:48 PM
Thanks for all the replies, it's good to hear everybody's views about the issue.

Many single-player RPGs utilize a system where the player gets rewarded more (with XP or money bonus, for example) the harder difficulty level he plays at. In Din's Curse, a similar rewarding system is implemented to the level of "hecticness". My suggestion for Drox was to treat the hardcore-mode, and other modes that give disabilities to the player, as extensions to the difficulty level, that each could give a bonus that is cumulative when several of the said modes are chosen simultaneously. So the player would be rewarded by the difficulty of his game, and not how fast he gets things done. This might partially be already implemented if defeating higher-level enemies (than the player) gives more XP than defeating lower-level enemies.

The insurance idea was assuming that in the case that the player's ship would be destroyed (but the player would survive via an escape pod), the destroyed ship wouldn't "re-appear", but the player would have to use the money to rebuild his ship. Apparently that's not how things are in Drox, but if there's enough interest, this might be a consideration for an alternative game mode.

From what the devs have said, I'm hopeful that death will be more of a matter of skill in Drox than it is in Din's Curse, though it's true that even in Din the player can take certain measures to reduce the probability of "luck-based deaths" like kerzain explained.