Hello there! I'm back! Are you happy? I sure hope you are. On episode 1 we've discovered some interesting things about basic principles of game design, for better or worse, and I've got a useful feedback on where to put my ramblings on forums. It's a valid point that I had to bridge my jibberish and Wildstar a bit better for it to fit General, so this time I've actually tried. Nah, I'm kidding. In case if you are extremely interested in whatever was main focus of previous episode - you can find it yourself. It's not gonna be that much relevant for today's topic, so let's not waste time on it. Pour a glass of wine, take your pants off and let's rock'n'roll. Now, I'm patient and considerable person, and tend not to jump the gun if something really touches extremely complicated subject. However, recent Wildstar Wednesday did that, and I have a nagging feeling that Carbine may listen to playerbase maybe bit too closely. Yes, this may happen. I'm not saying this is The Case, in which such a disaster happened, but preventive measures won't hurt anyway. I'm talking about that dreaded line about their changes to how interaction of mobs and players goes, and what are rules of such engagements, which every single vocal person applauded (if I missed someone preaching that this is damaging - I'm so sorry, let me know so I can hug you and be friends). Do you notice what's wrong with this bold change? Okay, for rest of class - giving even slight motivation to helping other person playing a game is decent notion, but both parties shouldn't be awarded for it. You may recall other games of MMORPG genre, in particular right now I have WoW or SWTOR in mind; all those gems that used "WoW formulae" to their maximum capacity: you don't get rewarded for cooperation, you share same reward that a first person would've failed to achieve. I must clarify, because this question is going to sprawl one way or another - I'm fine with people helping out each other and engaging in a jolly cooperation, but someone has to be penalized for it, otherwise a challenge becomes an option. And in previous episode we touched on that subject already. If you are impatient type and want to voice your opinion already, without reading through explanation of a statement I'm going to make, I'll give you that opportunity: Death is good for you, for her, for anyone. Get right on it, I'd like to hear your opinion, maybe it's gonna open my mind to something I'm overlooking. For rest that actually want an explanation before punching someone in their ugly face, here is a visual representation of three parties interacting with each other for my example: A rock dude. He is smoking a cigar and has something that looks like beer cans stacked on his armor. This guy screams hardcore and would probably be an Ultramarine Terminator in WH40k, killing any foe by sheer amount of hardcore he emits. This is a Powerhorse Party. A cuddly thing. It has two pistols, but so pink and cuddly and hillarious, that it can't be any threat to anything. Look at this tail! How can anything so adorable be dangerous? This is a Newbie Party. A big scary monster. Look like a mature Stitch from "Lilo and Stitch". I can take bets on how many chuas you can fit in his mouth at once. This is a Menace Party. In the case of that horrible, antisocial, absolutely terrible traditional closed tagging environment if Newbie clashes with Menace, a Powerhorse won't have any reason to intervene and save Newbie. He'll probably observe how little pink creature is being torn apart by mighty claws of bear thing, probably whisper something like "u r bad" afterwards and go on with his business. What a jerk, amirite? No. In the case of open tagging, a late messiah of MMORPGs, this whole scene goes all wrong ways: a Newbie charges at Menace, but this time a Powerhorse has a reason to help anyone - loot, money, experience. Outcome of such interaction will be a dead bear thing, happy chua and slightly satisfied knight. Menace reached one of possible outcomes and fulfilled his role, Newbie overcame a barrier and Powerhorse did a valiant notion to help someone and got his share. However, while this sounds like a perfect finale, it's not. Because Newbie had to die. He made a mistake, and got absolutely same reward as if he didn't. Powerhorse should've let little bugger charge in and die, but instead he's got rewarded both with material goods and satisfaction over helping someone else. This is what I like to call a "natural selection lite". If you reward missteps and try to diminish death in games, a perfect state of failure, you brew up a volatile learning curve. Imagine a caveman that decided to touch lion's testicles. He'll have a hell of a time to reevaluate what he did and why it wasn't healthy for himself, if he survives of course. But games are not real people, real lions and real testicles, yet. Death isn't the end, it's a message that you did something wrong and you should be more careful next time when going for a bigger reward and personal satisfaction. Don't bite more than you can chew. Don't head for a job at Google if you just learned how to install Windows. Don't touch anyone's balls (perfect advice for any situation really). And what's even more wrong, is that there is a playerbase that greeted open tagging and praised how good it is: they can now help other people. You could do same thing with closed, don't you know? Oh, right, no extra reward for you, or you must share with person you are helping if you party up for that occasion. You need that candy to help someone, otherwise a psychological satisfaction of being white knight won't be enough. Karma doesn't pay repair bills. Who is jerk here again? So, I'll give you my story when I realised that death is good for me, especially in expansive mmos. It was a Vanilla WoW period, and, naturally, I've ran out of quests to do - it was a usual thing when you don't know where to go in Vanilla. So I've decided to check out that lush green Feralas area, maybe there is something for me to do. As a hunter, I was pretty good at avoiding things that tried to eat my night elf ass, going deeper and deeper into jungles in hope to find something suitable for me. I've died once, died second time, died third time, and only third death actually taught me something - I'd better go somewhere else, there are bears everywhere 10 levels higher than me. Lesson learned, memorized, applied. <Here should be another interesting death example, which uses another game as example. I'd like to get an approval from moderation before i've brought it up.> So, after these three colorful scenes of people being bad at game and suffering a failure with such a scary name as "death", what's the moral we can get out of it? Chua must die, bears are scary and powerful in any game, and death is healthy for you. Cheers.