Journal Discussed – Incapacitation, Spirit Walking, and Permadeath

If you have not read this week’s Chronicles of Elyria developer journal yet you can catch up with the abridged version here. In a nutshell it is about death, Death and DEATH. Basically, there is a lot of dying in this game but of different levels with different consequences. 

There were quite a few questions raised in the forums mainly by community member Ender who, rightly, wanted a bit more information about how this was all going to pan out. The disadvantage to the Developer Journal is the 2000 word limit, as I am sure we would get reams on each topic if Jeromy ‘Caspian’ Walsh had the chance! However, he was on the forums to answer some of the concerns raised especially with regards to Spirit Walking, griefing and going to the toilet. 

Spirit Walking occurs when, after you are incapacitated (your health reached zero and your character lost consciousness), someone chooses to go above and beyond to make sure you are properly dead and rip your soul from your body. Which isn’t nice to say the least! It also reduces the lifespan of your character so you want to avoid it as much as possible. Don’t worry most NPCs aren’t that evil and there is a high price to pay if you are caught doing it as a player. However, is that price high enough?

The system punishes griefers very heavily. Is it really worth Coup de graceing someone to take their sword and backpack if it’ll mean losing a month of play time on your character?

To explain the “coup de grace” is the action required to take someone from being incapacitated to spirit walking. At that point, you can loot their backpack, but also risk being caught and jailed. It does not appear you actually serve the jail time rather it will reduce their life expectancy. Now here is the question will it stop griefers?

First a follow-up question, what is a griefer anyway? Personally, I do not think it includes everyone who commits murder. If someone is playing the game and leaning heavily towards the dark side they may well become and assassin or other such mercenary. That is a legitimate play style. They have to have skill at planning their attacks and leaving no evidence so as not to be caught. Griefers are those that do not bother to put in that skill and just want to cause problems for others rather than create interesting player-driven content of finding and hunting an assassin.

So back to whether reducing a players life expectancy is a deterrent to those who grief. Will those who are doing it just to offend, antagonise and generally disrupt others game time be discouraged by a financial decentive? Afterall, with each new life costing money-losing a month of playtime means you are effectively paying more. Looking at the number of griefers in subscription based games, no. There needs to be more there, more to the system. Perhaps there is. As I mentioned these are 2000 word developers journals. Perhaps there are things we can do as players to try to control those people who are disrupting our gameplay. City guards chasing them down, binding them, forcing them to face the stocks! Though that is speculation, the extent of the justice system is not yet known. For me, it is too early to start saying the game will be overtaken with griefers, but I am concerned jail will not be enough and shall certainly be keeping an eye on it.

One of the other points Ender raised was regarding Spirit Walking and going offline. It was made clear that you have a time limit in the spirit world. You have to get your soul back to your body before that time runs out or perma-death. Perma-death means you are off to buy a new life before you can go back into the world. If you go offline, or away from your keyboard are you going to have made a costly mistake?

What happens if you lose server connection…” Time stops. You remain in a coma for some long duration on the order of several days. There’s no OPC for spirits, so we won’t punish people for DC’ing while spirit walking.

…or you must go to the toilet?” If it takes you a couple hours I’d seek medical care. If you’re 95 yrs old (in-game) and you’re on your last breath… you might want to say a prayer for your character while hitting the head.

So it looks like that is a weight of our minds. No perma-death for outages or logging off, which really is a relief. However, if you are leaving behind an older character you may want to log out or perhaps try to take regular toilet breaks when you are alive!

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