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Don't Suffer Together (Pooled Health Drain/Automatic Resurrection Discussion)


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So during the most recent Rhymes with Play stream for DST, there was discussion of how the ghost mechanic takes a lot of the impact and fear of death out of the Don't Starve experience, and they are absolutely right. Because of this, ghosts are going to take a less significant role in the base survival mode for DST, at least that's the current plan. They will likely be back in some form, though at the moment the devs have not ascertained exactly how.

 

In place of ghost form, a mechanic was discussed and demonstrated where when a player dies, they can respawn immediately, but at the cost of a global health pool drain of 1/3 everybody's max health. I just wanted to bring up a couple points on what this new mechanic introduces and make some observations.

 

*hours pass*

 

Okay, a good couple hours of thinking on this and trying to articulate the thought process behind the death mechanics in DST, and I've come up with a decent summation and some potential solutions for the problems it introduces, which I also cover. First though, here's a sorta TL;DR version for those of you short on time:

 

Death should impact gameplay in DST as much as it does in single-player Don't Starve!

It should do this without booting players from a server unless it is set as a permadeath server!

The previous solution with ghost form didn't work because it was kind of boring though haunting was cool!

The devs have come up with the new mechanic explained above as the current solution!

But the new problem is that a single player can destroy the entire world by dying a few times!

A griefer could ruin someone's 3+ hour play session in >15 minutes just by dying and that's not cool!

Then a very stingy online community could develop that will ban innocent players for even dying at all!

That's bad! Let's not do that! Don't Starve Together should be fun to play Together!

Instead let's look for a tweak to this current system to make it so that all players have a countermeasure!

The countermeasure should allow players to replenish their max health, perhaps with the Telltale Heart?!

Players who fall below 0% max health enter ghost form and will have to find another player to resurrect!

Even though ghost form is boring it is necessary to punish and contain griefers!

This way ghost form is not completely scrapped but significantly less common to have to deal with!

Inexperienced players will hopefully be recognized and allowed to resurrect, griefers will hopefully not!

Griefers will likely leave the server once they hit ghost form or search long and hard for a Touch Stone!

This period of peace from life force draining will allow long-term players to recover their max health!

Almost everyone is happy and really what more could you ask from a multiplayer survival game?!

 

/TL;DR

 

So let's look critically at what can be added to the new solution to remove the more severe hindrance while retaining all the awesome fixes it allows, all while still retaining the intense impact of death as much as possible! You've seen the short version, here's the long one:

 

Here's the new solution and its problem: When one person dies, they respawn and everyone suffers a permanent 1/3 reduction of their max health. If one person dies a lot, everyone dies and the whole world resets and any exploration progress or base building that got done is gone with it, and everyone wakes up to a fresh new world. This is good because it means you care about everyone else not dying and Don't Starve Together will maintain a much more co-op conducive environment, meaning more good samaritans and less blood-crazed bandits, much unlike many other popular multiplayer survival games before it. This is really cool and awesome and stuff.

 

The reason the new solution is bad is because if that one person who is dying a lot is dying on purpose, or just very inexperienced and dying very frequently, then the people who don't want to die and who have made sweet bases and have been surviving for hours beforehand are being punished and losing all that progress without doing anything wrong.

 

How do we fix this problem? I've given it some thought while writing this post, but can't really give a perfect solution for how to solve this complex and multi-layered issue. What I can offer though is a thought process that leads to the current choice of what happens upon death, and some thoughts on where to go from there to fix the flaws mentioned above. Please, if you have your own suggestions post them in response to this thread! I want to see what your ideas are to make the latest solution (or an entirely new solution) work as well as possible!

 

We've established that death needs to matter in DST, and we've established that just killing the player doesn't suit that consequence well in a persistent server where they can just respawn. The world itself in a way is a living entity made up of fluctuating resources that players inhabit and directly impact with their actions, and only by killing/resetting that world can you truly drive home the impact of death in a multiplayer setting as much as it matters to single-player. Kill one person and everyone else doesn't mind so much, but reset the world and everything in it and suddenly everyone will care a heck of a lot more. This should have some form of moderation however, and that's the main point of discussion here: How to best create that moderation in a way that players can directly control.

 

In multiplayer, Permadeath is firmly set as a server option, because not everyone wants to be booted and locked out from a server as soon as they die in it. Players need to be able to keep going until the world itself dies. Still, an individual player cannot be removed from the action for a long period of time upon death, because that gets boring fairly quickly and may cause some more impatient players to simply leave the server upon death, thus the partial removal of ghost form since it was really a limited-interaction spectator mode while the player attempts to find a source of resurrection, which has limited entertainment value for a game as slow-paced and multifaceted as Don't Starve since ghost form limited the gameplay focus as much as it did.

 

And so we come to the current scenario: Let everyone have equal measure in the world's fate, albeit indirectly. @SethR has stated many times that it is very important that the mechanics of Don't Starve are always grounded in the world of Don't Starve, and that a meta does not develop in excess where features are introduced simply because it is a game and so must have certain mechanics. We're not going to have a respawn timer just because respawn timers are what you do when you die in some multiplayer games, if you die, there has to be a reason you come back, or that the world resets. So going back to how every player can share influence over the world's fate: Have it so everyone shares a global life force, and when one player dies, everyone feels the consequences of it because their own individual life forces are sapped to resurrect the player who died, eventually killing everyone once the life force has run out and thus killing/resetting the world.

 

The problem we're facing is that one person can have an imbalanced effect on other players' fates by simply dying multiple times over. Even more so if multiple players are dying in short spans of time on larger servers. Maybe there can be a slight sliding effect depending on how many people are in a server, so if there's 3 players or less, the max health drop is 1/3, while if 8 players are in a server, the max health drop could be 1/4 or 1/6, something so that unless a majority of the server's population dies at once, the remaining survivors can do something to save themselves. There needs to be a way to introduce consequences for the one or few player who die repeatedly (without being too harsh if they are simply an inexperienced player) and not punishing other players who haven't made any mistakes.

 

The best way I can think to give the other players a countermeasure is to allow them to restore their individual life force, perhaps by ingesting the Telltale Heart as a consumable for living players. This way, the Telltale Heart can still remain a valued item even with ghost form being less important than before.

 

Now, in the case that a player's life force drops below 0% during this whole process, they and any player who has not ingested a Telltale Heart to recover their max health will enter ghost form, and will have to resurrect by way of a Touch Stone, Meat Effigy, Life Giving Amulet or Telltale Heart. No need for a ghost health bar or ghost death, we understand now that dying and having to select a new character matters very little to the actual process of dying in the first place, and again, booting a player from the server should be limited only to permadeath servers. Players in ghost form should be allowed to roam the world as long as they want and cause mischief, that is after all what makes a ghost a ghost, spirits can remain to haunt their place of death long after they die.

 

Besides, if a player dies excessively with this system in place, that's their business to keep haunting the world until they resurrect on their own merits or leave the server. In this way, players who just want to grief as much as possible will be filtered out eventually, having wasted the safety net of other players' life force resurrecting them, they will have to seek out the exceedingly rare Touch Stones or try to convince another player to craft a Telltale Heart for them, and if their past behavior was wasteful and/or rambunctious they will find it difficult or even impossible to do so.

 

In the end, players who want to remain in a world on the long-term can at least fight back against those who die intentionally or frequently by retaining their own life force. This doesn't cover every situation, and griefing will at best leave every player on the server with severely weakened survivability to external elements such as the semi-weekly hound attack or getting caught in freezing or scorching weather, but it's better than everyone keeling over dead at the same time, and in this way those who end up caught in the somewhat monotonous state of ghost form will at least have to present their case if the other players are suspicious to their frequent deaths before they earn their resurrections.

 

I also wrote a metric butt-ton about the positives and negatives introduced by the current system, probably way more than anyone would ever want to read. Still, I left my initial observations in the Spoiler tab below.

 

THE ULTRA EXTENDED DIRECTOR'S CUT I WROTE WAY TOO MUCH EDITION

 

THE GOOD

 

Death effects everyone. Resurrection occurs automatically. This is a positive reinforcement to be a good samaritan and help strangers to survive for the well-being of everyone, and that's a great concept to work towards in order to distance gameplay away from the kill-or-be-killed mentality of multiplayer-centric Survival games like DayZ, and more towards a cooperative survival experience. It is also to keep things running smoothly so nobody is refused resurrection and thus is taken out of the gameplay loop for a significant period of time as they were with ghost form.

 

I like this concept as an option for Friends Only/Private games. If you know who you're playing with you know either that you can trust them, or that you can't, and at least knowing that and being aware of the people you are playing with makes the experience more relaxed. This doesn't stop your friends from being jerks when you play together, but you can at least be on the same level of understanding as them that there are consequences for everyone if anyone dies.

 

I also like that it allows death to have meaning and consequence again. A big issue with ghost form was that if you run out of Life Force, your ghost dies, and you are taken back to the character select screen to pick a new character (or the same character, I don't believe it mattered) and start anew. This made death mean essentially nothing, as you could simply return to your location of death, nab all your items back and return to your base better off than you were pre-death.This directly went against the idea of Don't Starve being an uncompromising wilderness survival game. Some compromises must be made to implement something as huge as multiplayer, but treating death so lightly would've been disastrous for keeping gameplay tense, which is a lot of what has kept Don't Starve so engaging in all my time playing it: Death ALWAYS matters. It was necessary to alter/remove emphasis on ghost form, even if the awesome ghostly character art and haunting mechanic will have to be reserved for a different situation/game mode.

 

 

So, those are a couple aspects that I think this Pooled Health Drain/Resurrection mechanic works well to improve the experience for. Now I want to talk about some of the problems it introduces.

 

 

THE BAD

 

Players have no say in who is resurrected. This ties back into the idea that resurrection is automatic, and the fact that a single death drops everybody's health by 1/3. For such a dramatic consequence, there is very little control to prevent abuse of this system. While a player should not be refused the ability to play the game because they are considered a stranger by the other players, what is worse is if you give that player no personal penalty for dying, and instead punish everybody equally for their actions. As I mentioned before, this could work well in an environment of familiar friends, but with strangers, likely of varying skill levels and varying intentions, a perfectly adept group of players could have a long-term server ruined single-handedly by just one ill-intending or inexperienced stranger. That leads into my next big concern...

 

What if a player joins a server and kills himself on purpose? So to lay out the scenario, you're on a public server with a good friend and a couple strangers. You've all been playing for 3 hours now in relative peace and you have a fantastic base under construction with your friend who you luckily encountered early on. Things are going really well, when a new guy joins in by the name of Dis Guy. You don't see him, you don't know where he is, but you keep going about your business as normal and leave him to his devices.

 

Suddenly you see the message, "Dis Guy has been killed by a Tentacle!" Ooh, that's rough. You've never seen the guy, you couldn't have helped him if you wanted to, but he died and you, your friend and the other players on the server all just suffered 1/3 of your max health bars. That's okay though right? Tentacles are deadly and it's just 1/3 of your health anyways. You can get by as long as you keep that log suit and football helmet you made handy for any hound attacks.

 

Not even 5 minutes later, it comes up again, "Dis Guy has been killed by a Pigman!" Okay, this isn't cool. You've done nothing wrong and you're being brutally punished for this guy's blunders. If a Pigman killed him he must have provoked it somehow, so there's a good chance he either hasn't played the game many times before or is doing this on purpose. Regardless, everybody on the server is close to death now, and you still haven't even encountered Dis Guy. Before long you hear the hounds baying in the distance, your health is dangerously low, but you throw on your log suit and football helmet, grab your spear and prepare for battle.

 

Just as the hounds start to charge you, he appears, Dis Guy runs up among their ranks. You know he's going to try to distract them and get himself killed going on his past behavior, so you try your best to fight off the hounds closest to him without hitting the guy yourself. You're taking a lot of damage, your armor durability is dwindling quickly, but Dis Guy is completely unprotected and suffering the same health drain as everyone else, so one or two bites from a hound will kill him, and by effect everyone else, and thus the entire server would reset itself, wasting the previous 3 hours of slow, deliberate progress in less than 15 minutes. There's a good 5 hounds and you're overwhelmed by their bites, and Dis Guy is even punching you here and there to interrupt your attacks, so you try to run, but you see him standing right on top of the hounds, waiting for them to notice him and kill him off in one fell swoop. The fate of the server is down to you, so you run back in and give them your all. If either you or he dies, the server is gone.

 

In the end, you manage to kill every hound and barely stay alive yourself. Monster meat clutters the ground before you. Dis Guy seems moderately disappointed at your success.

 

Then, just as you're typing in chat to ask him to be more careful so everyone else doesn't lose their progress, Dis Guy picks up some monster meat, eats it, and everyone dies. The server resets, and your base is erased from existence.

 

Or maybe he somehow managed to find a spear previously, pulls it out and finishes you off, and everyone dies. The server resets.

 

Or maybe you react and kill him in self-defense! Oops, the global health drain is still in effect, your justified attack of a hostile player kills everyone, the server resets.

 

No matter, what, if a player wants to sabotage a server, it is very easy to do so under these rules and there is NOTHING you can actively do to prevent it. If left as it is, the community will probably become VERY stingy over this mechanic. There could be players blacklisted or IP banned just because they died unintentionally to something silly like bees soon after they first spawned. Password-protected servers would be abundant, griefers galore because of how easy it would be to screw over someone's world, it could be a very bad time if we want to keep the community open and lively.

 

I know Jamie said DST is a co-op game first and foremost, and any game with co-op can be griefed, but this level of potential destruction is unacceptable. His analogy to Left 4 Dead, where you can shoot your team mates or kill yourself to make the odds of making it through a level harder, is an acceptable level of griefing potential, because damage done to friendly entities is dampened significantly, and the other players can continue on if you throw yourself to a horde of zombies. Levels are generally short in L4D anyways, while in Don't Starve Together, the stakes will be much higher because just by one player injuring him/herself, he/she can not only kill everyone, but by doing so reset the world itself, and wipe any progress made in it. As such I think it's appropriate to seek a better solution rather than leave things as they are.

 

This is just one of those things you can't plan around, if you allow any single player's action to impact everyone else significantly, someone will abuse that power. By giving a stranger the ability to kill himself and have it hurt other players, someone out there will join a public server and kill himself or others just to see the world burn (or in this case reset). It's not hard to do either, especially in Don't Starve, dying is not difficult. You could munch down on a handful of red mushrooms, piss off a Tallbird, take a jog in the swamps unprotected, most things will kill you right quick if you provoke them to. Even if you can't find physical threats, if you just join a server and go AFK you'll soon be killed by the night monster or starve to death within two days' time.

 

 

So those are two really significant problems introduced, how might this system be remedied? This is by far the hardest part, so we should make it a collaborative effort. I'm almost sure my ideas for fixes will have their own flaws, but the idea is to fix the largest issues then break down the smaller ones and fix them over time.

 

THE FIXES

 

(And then this portion ties back into the main post above)

 

Okay, it's 4AM, I'm really tired and incoherent, as this post probably is as well. Tell me what you think guys, I hope this is at least sort of helpful towards keeping death impactful without hurting the gameplay experience for others should someone come by try to undermine an entire server single-handedly.

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Simple, make it so you can't kill people by resurrection, and resurrection that takes 1/3 only works if all players agree to it, and are above 1/3 health.

 

I feel like that would essentially be the same as having a server option for whether the 1/3 health reduction occurs.

 

As for a response to the OP, I agree with you that there should be a way to mitigate the penalty of dying. The current system seems pretty harsh, and as you pointed out, vulnerable to griefing (on the stream they said they thought it would be okay because other games have griefing, and this is dealt with by banning griefers, but I don't think that applies so well to Don't Starve because games can last tens of hours and having such a large time investment be obliterated by a few random griefers would be pretty unacceptable, even if you can ban them. There will be enough people playing that banning will only slightly reduce the number of griefers you see, I think, unless they have some sort of global reporting system, which would be a lot of work to counteract just one mechanic).

 

Maybe the remedy for the max health penalty could be more difficult, though. One thing that comes to mind is maybe you can kill Glommer with a ritual to restore 1/3 max health to all, as that would limit it to once per full moon. The problem with that is it doesn't apply to vanilla games... Although I guess you could apply it to Chester or something, fill him with telltale hearts on a full moon, causing him to be sacrificed (still respawning in a few days, but it takes resource investment and can't be spammed).

 

Personally I liked the ghost mechanic better, though, so maybe that could be tweaked to improve the experience instead of being scrapped. One idea would be that for each ghost in the world, players maximum health is reduced by 1/(number of players), so if you have four players and three die, the last one only has 25% health until the others get resurrected. That tweak incorporates the coop incentivization, but doesn't really touch the ghost experience problem (death being drawn out too much, interfering with Don't Starve's "oh **** I just died in an instant"). I can't think of a good solution to that problem, but then again I'm not sure it's really a problem. If the ghost system was brought in because one player dying permanently was not fun in coop circumstances, then I don't think you can truly solve that without also reducing the impact of the "oh **** I just died in an instant" moments. The current respawn system I don't think captures it either, since you're just like "welp I died now gotta get some more grass and twigs before night", and (if we keep the no-mitigation strategy system) "arrrrgh I just permanently reduced the health of my team", the latter of which seems very anti-fun. Becoming a ghost with the potential of permanently dying still seems more impactful to me, and it seems very easy to tweak exactly how impactful it is by tweaking the duration that you have as a ghost.

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it must be i am inverse as the hours get longer, but why not simply make it that any non-player death cannot trigegr this, but player death does (so no grief suicide?) 

 

The catch is using a global chat to warn others what greifer player is trying to do and to somehow limit or cap the available health/resurrections a dying player constantly dying in a short time can take, of course. 

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Personally i would like it to just be a server setting i liked the ghost mechanic better because while i love the threat of death in the single player when i play multiplayer me and my friends normally just goof off and mess around i don't think that my character should be punished for something someone else did why not make this new mechanic the hardcore or hardmode mechanic.

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Its a good mechanic for password protected friends only servers, but not for public servers.

  :spidercowers: tl;dr anything(though I've made a long post before.) I like rezecib's idea of being able to bring that 1/3rd back though sacrificing innocent creatures is a bit dark. It could be something that sends you on a wild Moose chase, like having to to get one of each of all the hard to get items/excessive ammounts of an item then craft them with a prestibulator to make an item that summons a boss when used that everyone fights to get their 1/3rd health back(like say use the ingredients for telltale hearts but 4 times as much plus other monster materials).

As for the griefing problem the only solution I see while having a public server is having permadeath, though they could probably still destroy all your base with a hammer (or maybe you could have a houndius shootius that shoots everyone who gets near but you...)

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I see.....

 

Personally, I think bringing back the ghost mechanic in all it's ethereal goodness. To all you people who complain about the boredom of basically being in a spectator mode: Don't Starve Together has boredom to some extent. Also, I don't see how being stuck as a ghost is boring. You're fighting for your life.

 

Also, there needs to be some way to reset or slowly undo the max health penalty damage. Like mentioned above.

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I see.....

 

Personally, I think bringing back the ghost mechanic in all it's ethereal goodness. To all you people who complain about the boredom of basically being in a spectator mode: Don't Starve Together has boredom to some extent. Also, I don't see how being stuck as a ghost is boring. You're fighting for your life.

 

Also, there needs to be some way to reset or slowly undo the max health penalty damage. Like mentioned above.

 

I agree,losing some of your max health permanently doesn't sound fun.

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I dont like the idea of shared penalty for everyone, I was only able to skim through this monster of a post before I had to sleep.

 

And thats all I can really say, I dont like it at all, I would basically want anything else besides something that makes other players suffer for the mistakes of one.

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Hang on, haaang on... To prevent ghosts griefing, Klei made it so ghosts hurt everybody within an instant? (in an survival game, where there is only one life...) Sounds kinda counter-intuitive.

 

I like Warewolves' idea. People should not be killed by some troll ghost. Ideally, you could take a third of (non-fighting) players current health, and give that health to the troll ghost. If there is too much health in the health pool, the life givers just loose less health, until it fits.

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i still dont see whats wrong with permadeath, and so long as that remains an option that's what i will choose.

 

Of the 3 ideas; permadeath, ghosts and shared stats, the one i would least want to play is one where stats are shared and i get punished because someone else died.

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I haven't even played this new version yet (haven't obviously only played at PAX) and I am already pining for the ghosts. I LOVED it, I loved how you could easily ignore a player who had been a jerk and not provide revive assistance, and help only the cooperative people. It wouldn't do much good to grief such a server, you'd get on, you'd die, nobody would help you revive, you're gone. I love that.

 

That's why they're doing the closed beta though right? To gauge this feedback, for all we know, this PLAYS a lot better than it looks/sounds, and they'll surely tweak as necessary. I trust the devs to not pick an option we hate as the only one available. Granted, if they wanna include one we hate as an option because it's fantastic and maybe non-forum members really loved it, yeah that sounds fine to me, but you get what I mean.

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For me the idea of losing max health because of someone's death is terrible... at least for public servers with strangers. I would accept it as some hardcore mode.

 

How about that. You can die 3 times and health decreases each death as it is now but without penalty for other players (or better without health penalty at all!). You can resurect as it was in previous mechanics, by touch stone, meat egiffy (which I guess should not have health penalty in multiplayer), amulet or tellatale heart. After 3 deaths you are almost done for. You are not ghost and you can watch other players or your dead body. Resurecting you from now would cost A LOT of resources. Some sort of tellatale heart x5 or x10 maybe, maybe with deerclops eye in recipe and shadow manipulator to prototype i dunno. Resurection would also work when the dead player quits the game.

 

As it goes for penalty for everyone to be cooperative... I would say maybe non-permament health loss or some serious sanity drop? You know in reality I would go crazy if my friend died.

 

 

 

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I do not like the sound of the new revive mechanic. Sure before someone could have a chance of setting a forest on fire or spawning a treeguard, but now its a guaranteed erase the world on death three? Doesn't sound that great to me. Especially because I know that my friends are not the greatest at the game and well...

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If you want to punish someone for death, but not boot them out of server completely, take their time.

Say, if ghost perishes, it's then sent to adventure mode map or harder and has to escape it in order to return to the main world. Other players could enter that purgatory world to help with revival.

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I think, that if DST is supposed to be mod-compatible, It doesn't even matters how they do the game, if you don't like it, just mod it, I'm sure modders will add a lot of different ways for the servers to be.

 

This is true but some people prefer to keep their mod-usage very limited. I personally won't use anything more than a mini-map mod to keep my bearings and not have to hit tab to check the map view every few seconds, and otherwise I'll occasionally check out a few character mods. Still, I'd prefer that the base form of Don't Starve Together is one that's solid enough to remain challenging and co-op survival-oriented without being excessively easy to abuse by griefers, without any sort of tampering via mods or otherwise.

 

Plus, you don't necessarily control the mods used in a server, especially ones that impact integral mechanics of the game that can't be implemented on a character-by-character basis. If you want to join a public game with random, new people to play with, it's the server creator who decides what's in or out, not you.

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I liked the ghost idea far more, this new mechanic seems odd to me. I've definitely got mixed feelings on the whole thing. I'm sure things will change and be tweaked as the game goes along in beta, but these are my thoughts so far with the information we have.

 

EDIT: wow, wall of text! If you want a TL;DR, go to the last paragraph.

I thought the whole point of bringing a mechanic like this to DST was to help balance the scale of new players vs. old players. New players will die time and time again, as we all did, and it would be a very frustrating and unsatisfying experience for people to invest a lot of time and effort into a group world to have their buddy accidentally wreck it. Now, one core mechanic of DS is permadeath, I know, I get it. But we all also know that in vanilla, you can pretty much live forever once you learn to craft revival items. It takes some time to get there, but we can do it while we're all alone in a world, trying to survive. Add in several other players, and it will take far longer to get to the same "I can revive" point as we're trying to coordinate with one another, share resources, etc.

Ghosts and Telltale Hearts seemed like a great alternative to this. You absolutely can still die, and the responsibility is on you to find a revival item ASAP. Your friends can tell you where touchstones are or offer you their own revival items, but ultimately, the responsibility rests with you to prepare for the eventuality of your death. If you take too long to revive, then you alone suffer the consequences of your mistake. And if you didn't learn from your mistakes and die once too often? Game over for us all.

This new way of going about it feels like a step backwards to me. I understand wanting to add back in a sense of urgency and immediate drama to death, but this introduces a pre-defined amount of deaths, no matter what your skill level. "No matter what your skill level" being the operative part of that statement. Being smart, crafty, and learning from your mistakes doesn't matter anymore, as one person can still destroy it all, and much more quickly now that we're ALL carrying the burden of their death. It also seems like it forces a very specific manner of gameplay while reducing players ability to adapt methodology and survival based on their surroundings.

For example, my partner and I want to play with our friend, who's a noob. He owns DS and has played around with it a bit, but prefers to play this style of game co-op rather than single player. So, knowing he will have a VERY STEEP learning curve and make a lot of mistakes, he's not going to be allowed to fight anything. His job for at least the first season will be to run away from everything scary, and just explore and gather materials. So we can protect all our hard work and effort by not letting him die, our jobs are now to become the warriors, the only ones who fight for those tougher materials.

This sounds pretty boring. The alternative is co-op gameplay as far as food and building is concerned, but leaving him to learn how to fight and otherwise survive of his own accord. That's much more fair and normal for the DS world, but re-introduces the original frustration and imbalance of new players vs. old players. We'll be restarting worlds over and over again.

All that said, if there's a way to recover the loss of shared health later on, then I can see this new mechanic working out. Alternately, or perhaps combined with that, make the max health penalty unique to the character who's dying, forcing that sense of urgency on him to learn instead of depending on us to carry him.
 

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And if you didn't learn from your mistakes and die once too often? Game over for us all.

 

Thanks for the thoughts! Can you explain to me what you mean by this part here? 

 

The current core issue with ghosts is: what happens when the ghost expires? Do you simply revive? If so, then what's the downside to just waiting the ghost stage out? If you can't revive, then it's basically a permadeath mechanic with some softness to it.

 

Happy to walk through the thought process here.

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