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Ghost players and Benefits.

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So lately, I've been seeing a lot of servers and a lot of streamers using a ghost player to help them out (a little too much :p). Ghosts either continuously haunting farms to grow crops way too fast, or luring spiders/bees out and getting everything in the area murdered. I'm sure you guys already know about this, but it's becoming more and more common now. There needs to be a small chance to light all of these things on fire, to stop this ghost abuse and misuse D: 

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I think I've talked about this before, but this is a bit of a tricky situation.
What ghosts can do right now is pretty cool and fun, actually, but at the same time I agree with you that it feels a bit broken.
It seems like the current death system would work well for a softcore mode, but that the default should be a little closer to single-player. I'd still really like to see short-lived ghosts + ghostcatchers... Although now that I've played DST more it might not be enough. Perhaps if staying in the ghostcatcher would halt ghost dissipation, that would work.
My now-old ghostcatcher idea summary:

Description of the system:
When you die, you become a ghost for a short period (around 10 seconds). Telltale hearts can be used to resurrect you in that period. When the ghost times out, you die, and are prevented from respawning on that server until the world is reset (disconnecting and reconnecting doesn't change this). What you could do otherwise is up for debate, but this could mean you are banned from the server until then, or locked into an observer mode, or several other possibilities. (the previously shown ghost implementation was similar, but with a longer ghost period and no banning upon death, which is what trivialized ghosts and death in general)
This addresses common scenario of an accidental death while foraging with a friend by providing a period where premeditated mitigation can be applied. Another scenario that I think needs to have a mitigation method would be where you have an established base, but are out alone and die. For this, I suggest the following:
A ghostcatcher structure can be built, perhaps for 4 boards + purple gem + 10 spider glands. The recipe could be changed to adjust balance. Players can activate the ghostcatcher, pairing them with it and causing an individual -30 max health penalty like a meat effigy. For any player paired to a ghostcatcher, when they time out as a ghost they appear as a ghost at the ghostcatcher with a renewed duration (around 20 seconds). This enables players near the base to sprint by and help, or for resurrection materials to be stored in the base, such as meat effigies, which mostly restores the single-player behavior of a meat effigy being a safety net regardless of where you die.
Analysis of the system:
The ghost system has the attractive feature of being agnostic to player cooperation (you can cooperate with a ghost, but if you aren't going to, the ghost phase ends quickly). The current system of maximum health penalties is very heavy-handed in terms of forcing cooperation. I think there are communication issues here, but it sounded like you agree with us on that point.
The ghostcatcher functions just as well for solo and group play, although like many other things in the game implicitly facilitates group play by being a public good (non-exclusive, non-rivalrous). That is, nobody can prevent you from pairing with the ghostcatcher, and you using the ghostcatcher doesn't interfere with others using it. This is essentially the same interaction with groups vs solo play as you'd see with a firepit.
We can also look at this system as compared to others from a design goal perspective:

  • Death needs to be impactful.
  • Desynchronization between players is not fun and there should be mechanism to avoid it. An example of desynchronization is one player being dead without any method of revival and the other still being alive.
  • Griefing is not fun and there should either be metasystems for dealing with it, or preferably death as a mechanic should be relatively resistant to it.
  • Game mechanics should not force particular playstyles any more than necessary. For example, you shouldn't feel compelled to cooperate or to compete based on the mechanics, the motivation to do either should be intrinsic to you.
Okay, so how do these systems measure up against the design goals?
  • The first revealed ghost system fails (1). Death is not impactful because you can reconnect and respawn, and being a ghost just adds an annoying addendum to death. It doesn't really have problems with the rest of it, as desync is very easy to solve (reconnect), griefing isn't that much of a problem (death has no impact anyway), and you can decide to help the other players or they can help themselves just fine.
  • The most recently revealed global health penalty on death system brings back (1) in a big way. Probably too big, since it's permanent and irreversible. (2) is solved by having the consequences of death be directly tied to the world, rather than individual players. (3) is a huge problem, any random person can join and add a permanent penalty, even several times over. (4) is in bad shape, because you are unreasonably compelled to cooperate, competition or opposition are completely suicidal.
  • My suggested ghost + ghostcatcher system restores (1) by preventing any method of respawn after ghost-death. (2) is in good shape because players have means to prevent desync by thinking ahead (having telltale hearts, preparing a ghostcatcher and resurrection materials at a base). (3) isn't a big problem because a random person joining and dying isn't going to affect much of anything. (4) is met because you can decide to help ghosts or not, and even have methods to help ghosts that are far away if you prepared for it well beforehand, but no mechanic is compelling you to help them if you don't want to (you could even be really evil and make a ghostcatcher for them, then burn it while they're away if you want to).
Granted, my design goals may not be their design goals, but I think this is at least a reasonable subset of goals for attempting to scale Don't Starve's single player toward multiplayer.


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When you die, you become a ghost for a short period (around 10 seconds). Telltale hearts can be used to resurrect you in that period.

That's a very good idea although it is a dream. I don't think so the most players are thatvtolerative as you are rezecib. But I shall not repeat myself. I find it a very good idea.
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@greenglacier, Yeah, actually having played DST a fair bit since I first made that suggestion, I think I'd give the ghosts more time than just 10 seconds. Maybe a minute by default, and the ability to persist for a day if they stay near the ghostcatcher, perhaps.

Yes. That sounds far more tolerable for the less experenced and hot blooded players too.
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Why not have ghosts drop player sanity? That would it would prevent just having a player play as a ghost to benefit the team but still provide the deceased a chance to be resurrected. The ghost catcher seems like a good idea, but why create that when you could just create a meat effigy instead? Perhaps instead of giving you the -30 health, create a machine like you said that will keep you trapped in there (like a bird cage and only one ghost per machine) until you are "freed"/resurrected by an ally. So therefore your penalty for dying would be being unable to move about and such. And of course the health loss that's already implemented. If there is no ghost machine then maybe players have to find your dead body and resurrect you that way? 

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I suppose but that's too much of a loss (the 30 perm health) for something that only adds 20 more seconds to ghost form and then your screwed. I agree that the current system is too easy, especially in comparison to RoG singleplayer, but your methods also seem too hard. Though I like the idea, just maybe a toned down version instead of 10 seconds as ghost and then banned.

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@Rahzeil, Yeah, agreed. The tuning is definitely something that would need to be looked at. I said above that now that I've played DST a fair bit since making the suggestion originally, I think the numbers there should be a bit bigger, like a minute of ghost time before going to the ghostcatcher, which would give an extra day of ghost time. I kind of like your idea of being trapped in it and being able to stay there until someone comes to resurrect you, but on the other hand it would kind of suck to just be stuck there. Also it would be a bit annoying if people needed to let you out just so you could go haunt the meat effigy/amulet that was right next to the ghostcatcher.


Edit: Uh oh but now it looks like this topic is kinda hijacking the thread :(

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