|BioWare: The Old Republic will be tough and fair|
|Posted: 01.02.2011 00:00 by||Comments: 1|
BioWare is dealing with the delicate matter of death in an MMO, as they are working hard to balance the punishment for dying: they have to make sure dying is not a slap on the wrist, but not annoyingly frustrating. In other words, trying for the perfect risk/reward balance, according to the game's chief combat designer.
BioWare developer Danny Schubert stated in an interview, "Miscalibrating your death penalties can very insidiously destroy your game from the inside out. We don't want people to ignore the cost of death, but at the same time, we also don't want players to avoid taking chances.
"We want them to take risks," he added. "We want them to try wacky new strategies, and exotic new builds. We want them to wonder if maybe they can solo that boss creature. In the name of creating a sense of fear and risk, overly harsh death penalties can inadvertently make people stop taking them."
Schubert continued on how dying in an MMO is a tough chore in making sure the player remains involved: "If death sucks too much, players will stop taking on higher level creatures or even equal level creatures, and instead only take on creatures that are lower level than them - even though those creatures carry far less reward, the fact that they offer far less risk, might make them seem safer and more efficient to the player. Of course, now the player is fighting boring, ultimately non-threatening enemies, and is being bored to death."
Tough penalties can make grouping harder as well. "I'm sure we've all been in some pretty bad groups in our MMO playing," stated Schubert, "How likely are you to group with a healer or tank that you don't know if the penalty for failure is disastrous? How hard is it for new players to learn the skills they need to contribute to groups if other group members feel they can't risk taking on a new guy?"
He adds that gameplay won't be 'a cakewalk', and that there will be plenty of challenging encounters: "Does that mean we want the game to be a cakewalk? No, we want there to be tough fights. We want there to be complex fights that might take multiple tries to get right. We want to put in challenges for groups of players that require good tactics, good teamwork and flawless execution to pull off.
"But I would separate the idea of 'challenge' and 'punishment'. I would rather our challenges be gated by whether or not you have the skill, the gear, and the teamwork to succeed than whether or not you have the credits and/or time to wait out the forced downtime in between, you know, the fun part."
Let us know what you think.