Embers of Caerus is a low-fantasy sandbox MMORPG in development by Forsaken Studios. It aims to be the most immersive Medieval simulation ever seen, with a vast world to colonise and explore, with diverse terrain and many secrets to unfold!
Death is a key point in any MMO game. In this developer blog we present how we intend to handle death, rebirth, and the balance of PvP and its impact on non-PvP players.
Posted by DaveBelcher on Dec 11th, 2012
This, the first video in a series of feature videos we released as part of our "Feature Week" during our kickstarter campaign, covers the much debated topic of death. Please note that we subsequently updated the system, based on community feedback and internal discussions, changing "Karma" to "Stigma" and slighly updating how it works. This updated system is presented after the video below. Enjoy!
Disclaimer - ALL numbers are purely theoretical, and only given as an example to clarify a system or point.
Karma has been renamed to Stigma and we've revised the system slightly and tweaked it to better represent (without as much confusion) it's purpose. I will give a very brief outline of how it works, with some figures (though the figures are for example only, and are in no way an indication of the numbers of the system that will actually be in game)
Stigma is a rating that is essentially used to indicate how commonly a player kills or mutilates other players. The purpose of the stigma system, is to mitigate some of the potential damage in the form of permanent loss of skills for players that are not constantly engaged in battle or eager to fight. Meanwhile, players who constantly kill or mutilate others will lose this mitigation and face the natural effects of death.
The rating does not take into account other players affiliations, criminal or murderer status, or anything of the sort. It is merely a measure of how often a particular character kills or mutilates others. However, it does (silently) take into account the stigma rating of anyone you kill. This is done in an attempt to lesson the effect on a character that is only defending themselves out of necessity, and not engaging in combat and killing or mutilating others as a choice or intentionally, while not removing the effect from them entirely.
(Theoretical numbers for example only)
So for example, say you have 0% stigma as you've never killed someone before, and you kill someone who also has 0% stigma, you would gain 10% stigma. If you kill again, and the victim has 0% stigma, you again gain 10%. If, the next time, you decide to not only kill (another 0% stigma victim) but mutilate the body, you would gain 10% for the kill as well as another 15% for mutilation.
In three kills, the character has now raised their stigma level from 0% to 45%.
Now, your own stigma isn't taken into account when you kill someone, but theirs (which you won't know) does. The lower their stigma rating the more stigma you gain. The higher the victims stigma, the less you gain. However, even if they are at 100% stigma you would still receive a gain to your stigma rating. So for example, if you changed those three earlier victims to 100% stigma ratings, you might only receive 6% stigma for the kills, plus 15% for the mutilation, giving you a total of 21% stigma rating.
It is also important to note that stigma fades over time if you don't kill anyone else. If you continue to kill, your stigma will continue to climb until it hits 100%, and remain there so long as you continue killing and mutilating other players. This will be balanced to insure that players who are only fighting because they are forced to defend themselves and accidentally kill someone can return to 0% stigma with relative ease.
Keep in mind though, you don't necessarily need to kill someone to defend yourself, nor mutilate them!
Next, your stigma rating ties into permanent skill loss upon destruction of your body. Depending on your stigma rating, you can lose anywhere from 0-10% of your total skill pool, with higher stigma meaning a higher loss.
This then brings the question of what the purpose of statues if you lose skill based on stigma. Well, lets start from the beginning...
Every player character has a default statue that protects up to a certain amount of skills. As a character grows their skills, they require a higher quality statue to help protect the skills. If you don't have a high enough quality statue to cover your skills, you will lose 15% of your skill total up to the point at which your statue protects you.
For example: (theoretical numbers only!) Assuming you had 100 total skill points and your statue only protects up to 90, you would lose 10 skill points divided amongst all of your skills. If you had 100, and your statue only protected up to 75, you would only lose 15%, or 15 points, not the full amount the statue doesn't protect.
Statues do not protect you from the loss based on stigma, meaning that someone who has maxed stigma score, and no statue that remotely protects them could see a total of 25% skill loss spread across all skills. The point here being that you do not want to fight without a statue protecting you!That then brings us to the next logical step - 'well, what happens when you die and use your statue? You said it's a one time use, and if someone kills us before we can get another statue we're going to take a huge hit!'
Simple answer... without going into detail (sorry): You will have ways of acquiring another statue without being exposed to more skill loss by another death. Meaning that if you die again without a statue protecting your skills, it's because you chose not to get one with sufficient quality, not because someone camped you and prevented you from doing so.and finally...
We completely and totally understand the concerns about teleportation, and we're not over-looking the fact that death could be used to bring soldiers home to defend their lands, or in a number of other ways. We actually have a solution for that which is planned, and has not been mentioned thus far. It certainly does not eliminate all potential abuses of the system, but it makes them much less likely, and far more painful.
Everyone who dies and respawns in a new body suffers a temporary penalty to things like stats, skills, health, energy, and resilience as part of the recovery process (jumping into a new body isn't easy, even for an immortal soul!) If your body is destroyed near your binding point, there is a standard temporary penalty applied, which lasts for a fairly short amount of time. If, however, your body is destroyed extreme distances from your binding point (hours away, for example) that penalty is not only magnified, but the time period it lasts is also increased. With the penalty and duration increasing as the range does. So as you can imagine dieing on a distant continent, could be extremely painful!This makes it virtually useless for an army to use the death system to return home from a distant campaign in an emergency, as their soldiers will be suffering grievous penalties for a long period of time which will make them much easier to dispatch, and far less effective in combat. This means that players should make an effort to bind to the nearest possible place to where they plan on exploring/adventuring to lessen the penalty as much as possible.
Combined with the cost of statues and the threat of permanent statloss, we believe the abuse of this system will be minimized and it will be a non-factor in wars, and economics.
I hope that these tweaks, and my explanations help! As always, if we find a better solution, or something that we can change or tweak to improve the game, we will!