COMMUNITY - FORUMS - GENERAL DISCUSSION
[Sticky] On Dying at Sea
+35

Hi everyone!

I've seen a couple of threads over the last two weeks about permadeath at sea and I wanted to talk a little bit on how our thinking on this topic as changed, so here goes!

The reason we want death to be a big risk on the seas is two fold. At the most basic level, dying at sea doesn't work well with our spirit walk mechanic: When your body is at the bottom of the ocean more than a kilometer down, how do you get to it as a spirit, and once you do, how do you get back to somewhere without just drowning again?

On a slightly more abstract level: Nothing makes the world smaller than easy travel. It's true on Earth and its true for every online gameworld I've ever experienced. When travel is easy, a vast majority of the world's contents are just "stuff to be ignored while you travel" and you end up, without even meaning to, diminishing your own experience which, to be clear, we see as bad.

It can be hella convenient to travel quickly and easily, but that's not the same thing as "good" for a game. In the real world, we like to mitigate risk and save time, but games aren't the real world and we can't consider them as the same, even if we want them to feel similar. That sort of harkens back to the thing you'll see me say from time to time, "Verisimilitude > Veracity," where I basically mean "with games it's better to feel real than be real because a lot of what is real isn't really fun. But the feel of accomplishment that successfully dealing with 'realness' brings is pretty much the best there is, so if you can feel real while still cutting out all the unfun bits, you've made a good experience."

So our thinking was "We can't let "stepping off a boat and drowning" shortcut travel in any way, because you'd both foreshorten the sense of the world's size, and you'd also step away from any sense of water travel being "real" in a useful sense. This is what led us to the idea that drowning in deep water should result in permadeath. It kept the seas dangerous, which is definitely something we wanted, and it prevented any "I don't want to sail back, so I'll just jump off and die-teleport back home" nonsense that some death mechanics can inadvertently incentivize.

However, permadeath is a very harsh penalty. We definitely know that. And so we've been talking off and on about how to handle that for, sheesh, the last year or so? For a long time, at any rate. I'm sure the conversation actually even precedes my time here; I'm really just talking about my part in it. Anyway, the point is, we know it's harsh and we've been looking at other possibilities.

One such possibility is the idea that instead of dying permanently, when you drown you'll black out, as if you had been CDG'd. At that point the currents will take you, and if you're close enough to another shore, your body will wash up there, and your spirit will also appear somewhere in the same area, allowing you to complete your spirit walk, When you do you'll come to wherever you ended up, with no ship to get you home.

In that way, there's still some risk and you can't actually predict where you'll end up, so its "fast travel" ability is severely reduced, and it's still very dangerous since you could find yourself stranded. At the same time, you're potentially not so afraid of losing your character and your legacy that you're afraid to set out on the water at all.

Anyway, it's just an example of the sorts of things we're considering. I'm not really trying to sell you on any one particular approach. Rather, I'm taking a moment to explain that we're open to changing this to soften the penalty, but we do have a few factors we need to consider that still necessitate a certain level of "harshness." This isn't me saying "we're doing away with harsh penalties for water death" - just that the form those penalties take could change.

Thanks for reading, hope that helps! :)


  • Snipehunter
6/11/2019 7:58:32 AM #16
+1

I've always seen instant perma-death as a bit of a problem since this is a game that relies on an internet connection which may go out through no fault of the player. At a certain moment, that could and will, lead to the collapse of characters.

If I happened to be in the water for some reason, not even in any real danger, and then get disconnected and drown, I would be understandably upset to find my character perma-dead upon finally being able to log back in.

So I am all for the idea of being knocked out in the deep sea and floating with the tide to where ever it may take me, and more importantly, give another character the chance to rescue me.

Avoiding the simple walk-the-plank and fast travel issue, when a character falls unconscious, wouldn't it make sense to black out the screen during that time? I think ARK does something like this. There's not going to be a mini-map so there isn't a way to tell where you would be floating off to. When you woke up you'd have no reference for knowing where you are.

I am curious how spirit walking (or swimming) will work out in the water. Will you just spawn in the spirit world a certain distance from your body and have a counter start running down? Can you spirit walk with your body still floating on the water? When you catch up to it, will you be able to start swimming? As far as swimming mechanics go, will you have to actively move or tread water to avoid drowning?

So many questions...


6/11/2019 8:35:45 AM #17
+1

Posted By Lady Grace at 10:26 AM - Tue Jun 11 2019

I would simply add that you cannot wash up on an undiscovered continent - if the currents would put you on YoruLand, you permadie until that fateful day when someone makes it there alive.

Otherwise, yes sailing as far as you go and rolling the dice would be a "discovery mechanic" lol.


Oh and another possibility - you are found by Selkies, and are trapped in Oceanus' domain watching fish until they thow you out back onto a beach - which should always be back on your starting continent as the Selkies boot you out of their ocean, but never be close to a major city because those are scary and dangerous for Selkies.

This is the main counter-argument for blacking out and washing up on a random shore, in my opinion. People can and will exploit it for the sake of finding new land, especially those with money to burn on throwaway souls/sparks. Merchants, aristocrats and nobles would probably be quite happy to throw away money on such a venture if they have it to spare, both in and out of game, for the prestige and potential economic advantage they'd gain from being the first pioneers on a new piece of land.

That said, permadeath at sea has always struck me as a harsh penalty, and I do think it needs to be changed. I would personally keep blacking out, but I'd make bodies float. Each blackout represents a death, and the loss of spirit that accompanies it. Between blackouts, the lost soul can swim until their energy runs out, or choose to give in and permanently die. If they have the appropriate training, they could starfish to float on the surface, minimising energy usage but maximising their exposure to sun and wind-based weather effects.

It's not most peoples' idea of fun, I get that, but this is one area where verisimilitude could be abused to cheapen other mechanics, and I think the original plan is really the best solution to preventing it. Failing that, a modicum of realism would at least give the soul a fighting chance at keeping its current incarnation, while still punishing the risk-taker whose fortune turned for the worst. I feel that giving the individual the choice to give up their spark is also important; being stuck in a body and waiting for it to permadie in the open sea would be a chore, and if there's minimal to no chance of finding land, for most it would definitely be a preferable choice.

Depending on where you go with friendly/sizeable surface-level aquatic life, such an approach could also lead to interesting discoveries about interactions between certain species and drowning sailors.


To touch Divinity, one must be prepared to brave Reality.

6/11/2019 9:15:48 AM #18
+4

I personally think that the risk should remain. It's honestly what made the sea the great frontier of our past. Rather than space is now. Now Imagine that either sea or space didn't actually kill your character if something catastrophic happened? Hell people DIE even today on LAKE OKEECHOBEE because it's a little rough and at it's deepest it's 15 feet deep on a good season. This is from hypothermia. I don't think it's too dangerous, to not fall off a boat and be retrieved before you die of suffixation or losing the ability to regulate core temperature. It make the feat sailing to the next continent less good, overall would make the whole sea experience much worse for those that should risk it for the biscuit.

Basically if you just "Wash" up on shore, you'll have FAR more people just racing west or east or north in search of the continent. Because there is next to no risk. If they CDG on an unimportant character that'd be roughly 150-180 deaths before they realize they need to buy a new spark soon enough.

6/11/2019 10:18:01 AM #19
+2

Maybe it could be perma death on sea if you lack the right skills or have to low skills?

This way the best mariners could get a second chance to wash up on a random shore (without any items) if they end up in the water without stamina to swim.

This way we keep the sea dangerous for most people, and the demand for good sailors would create good stories.


Tribe: Dras---Explorer---Adventurer---Cartographer.

6/11/2019 11:05:02 AM #20
-2

One thing this thread got me curious about, will there be any sort or fast travel mechanics or are they planning to totally forego them?


You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to get angry. JAMES 1:19 NLT

6/11/2019 11:09:48 AM #21
+0

Posted By Gunghoe at 05:15 AM - Tue Jun 11 2019

Basically if you just "Wash" up on shore, you'll have FAR more people just racing west or east or north in search of the continent. Because there is next to no risk. If they CDG on an unimportant character that'd be roughly 150-180 deaths before they realize they need to buy a new spark soon enough.

What great advantage would players gain from doing this?

If there truly is one then perhaps players could be restricted to washing up only on shores they've already visited regardless of the location they actually drown at?

Another option is to put it on a timer, 1st drowning of the day you wash up on shore, 2nd you perma die, could be 24 hrs or longer even.


You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to get angry. JAMES 1:19 NLT

6/11/2019 12:45:45 PM #22
+0

Blacking out and washing up on shore is an amazing idea. Maybe some loss of say...stuff you're wearing? Like a random or...heaviest attached item something that if you still had it on you it would drag you to the one true god.


-Baron Wayland Ade'Braeden, Judicator of IronCall, Duchy of the High Seas. ][Imgur Friend Code: 2D1330

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6/11/2019 2:52:49 PM #23
+2

I like the conditional approach rather than the simple but harsh permadeath. For example what if: - Your char is wearing air bladders as a form of life vest? - Your ship sinks in sight of land? - You lose all your gear except a ring or an earring?

In the kind of circumstances above, it would make some sense that the char survives and gets washed up somewhere. In a harsher circumstance though, the harsher penalty might make more sense.

Great conversation! Thanks Snipe <3.

6/11/2019 4:19:22 PM #24
+4

Posted By Kyleran at 1:05 PM - Tue Jun 11 2019

One thing this thread got me curious about, will there be any sort or fast travel mechanics or are they planning to totally forego them?

The plan is not to have any fast-travel. Nothing hinders you from inventing trains or catapults with gliders or stuff like that... which would fasten your travel... but there will not be any teleport-like fast travel.


Friend Code: 30EF47

6/11/2019 5:25:37 PM #25
+1

I vote for adding a collection of small islands that are targets to wash up on so you live, but you need to hope someone can find you to rescue you or you'll starve to death. Maybe also add in some volleyballs for company.


6/11/2019 5:45:22 PM #26
+0

I hope that the danger of sea travel gradually abates over time, with technology improvements. It makes sense for land caravans to be the starting way to move most stuff -- and the starting economy will be small enough that that won't be a huge anchor on it -- but, if the economy grows as it might, we will need sea trade to support it. Hopefully a coastal trade will augment caravans as the start as well. With road banditry, it may even be the case that coastal trade will be and should be safer and more cost-effective than caravans.

I am also intrigued by the possibility of washing up on a deserted island. Robinson Crusoe gameplay -- or "build a raft and go home" gameplay -- might be quite fun. Certainly more fun than prisons.


The above opinions are mine alone and do not reflect those of my Kingdom or Duchy.

Count of Arden, in the Duchy of Fioralba, in the Kingdom of Ashland, by the Grace of Haven.

https://chroniclesofelyria.com/forum/topic/17117/naw-the-duchy-of-fioralba

https://chroniclesofelyria.com/forum/topic/14124/naw-kingdom-of-ashland

6/11/2019 6:09:10 PM #27
+0

Posted By Gromschlog at 12:19 PM - Tue Jun 11 2019

Posted By Kyleran at 1:05 PM - Tue Jun 11 2019

One thing this thread got me curious about, will there be any sort or fast travel mechanics or are they planning to totally forego them?

The plan is not to have any fast-travel. Nothing hinders you from inventing trains or catapults with gliders or stuff like that... which would fasten your travel... but there will not be any teleport-like fast travel.

Thanks for the reply, not sure what about my question made it downvote worthy....so might as well give folks a good reason to do so...but this isn't the thread to do it in.


You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to get angry. JAMES 1:19 NLT

6/11/2019 6:43:33 PM #28
+7

Ah, to be clear: When I was saying that you could potentially wash up on shore and that you'd then have to spirit walk to your corpse, I was saying that your spirit would also appear on the land your body washed up on and would have to find its way back to your body. I didn't mean to imply that you could spirit walk on water - that's not a feature we want to support.

Posted By Wolfguarde at 01:35 AM - Tue Jun 11 2019

Posted By Lady Grace at 10:26 AM - Tue Jun 11 2019

This is the main counter-argument for blacking out and washing up on a random shore, in my opinion. People can and will exploit it for the sake of finding new land, especially those with money to burn on throwaway souls/sparks. Merchants, aristocrats and nobles would probably be quite happy to throw away money on such a venture if they have it to spare, both in and out of game, for the prestige and potential economic advantage they'd gain from being the first pioneers on a new piece of land.

One thing to consider here: This isn't a game with fast travel, or a minimap. You may find yourself in a new land that you discovered, but now what? How do you get back? Your boat is gone. Presumably, some or all of the things on your person are gone or badly corroded/spoiled, too. It's hard to imagine that this is advantageous.

Even if you wash up somewhere civilized, there's a really good chance you don't speak the local language, and you probably don't have the resources to engage someone to sail you home either, let alone build your own ship to resume your journey.

Just knowing where you even are is going to be a challenge: You'll have to puzzle it out from the stars, and that might not be possible if you lack the necessary instruments and can't communicate your need for them to the locals, right?

Which isn't to say that "dying at sea is a way to get to a new land fast" wouldn't be true - If even the possibility exists that remains true. I'm more saying that if things did work that way, it would very likely be the worst possible way to discover a new land, and perhaps the challenges you could face are themselves worthy bits of gameplay?

Depending on where you go with friendly/sizeable surface-level aquatic life, such an approach could also lead to interesting discoveries about interactions between certain species and drowning sailors.

I do like this idea as a storyteller and DM; the idea that a drowning sailor's fate may require intervention from the elements of Oceanus' realm itself is definitely good story. :)

Hope that helps! :)


  • Snipehunter
6/11/2019 6:48:52 PM #29
+1

Posted By Snipehunter at 11:43 AM - Tue Jun 11 2019

Depending on where you go with friendly/sizeable surface-level aquatic life, such an approach could also lead to interesting discoveries about interactions between certain species and drowning sailors.

I do like this idea as a storyteller and DM; the idea that a drowning sailor's fate may require intervention from the elements of Oceanus' realm itself is definitely good story. :)

Hope that helps! :)

Ooo. I like this. So many MMOs start with the "washed up naked on an unfamiliar shore" trope. It would be cool to make that a midgame experience rather than the opening sequence.


The above opinions are mine alone and do not reflect those of my Kingdom or Duchy.

Count of Arden, in the Duchy of Fioralba, in the Kingdom of Ashland, by the Grace of Haven.

https://chroniclesofelyria.com/forum/topic/17117/naw-the-duchy-of-fioralba

https://chroniclesofelyria.com/forum/topic/14124/naw-kingdom-of-ashland

6/11/2019 8:02:20 PM #30
+7

@Snipehunter

In a QA dev vid a while back it was mentioned that once a new continent and playable race was discovered players would be able to take their accumulated SP and spark into any NTC in the new race they could afford.

If becoming a certain race that’s not available at launch is a persons goal then the loss of their current spark wouldn’t be much of a cost for gaining access to the new race and taking their spot among them. Also I would assume discovering such a race would be an element of continuing the story so the act alone would be worth some serious story points.

Lowering the risk for such an incredible reward doesn’t seem to fit in the same spirit of other activities we’ve seen.

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