Of Death Penalties

Playing The Lord of the Rings Online™ Volume 1: Shadows of Angmar™ this weekend, I was reminded that it has a soft death penalty but one that still encourages you to stop playing the game. When you die, you take item damage and get dread. Dread reduces your hit points (“morale”), reduces the effectiveness of healing on you, and increases damage to you; if you have too much dread, you may cower and be unable to act. For reasons we can discuss another time, Turbine seems big on giving any significant boss a dread aura, and the biggest ones dispel hope (the counter to dread). Which, for the record, is not fun.

The dread lasts for ten minutes and is worse in later zones. It does not stack. If you get a rez, you do not get dread. Minstrels can clear one person’s dread every ten minutes.

Dread basically encourages you to stop doing whatever you were doing for ten minutes. If you failed the first time, your odds are worse with fewer hit points and more incoming damage. If you had a lag spike or got an odd add while fighting, ha ha, better luck next time, take the debuff anyway. There is no healer to cure your dread. That long-timer, single-target Minstrel ability is the only dread cure in the game. You just wait. When you have a team wipe, the rezer typically takes the dread hit and runs back to rez folks, but then you wait anyway because you do not want to fight whatever just wiped you while someone has dread. This increases downtime, solo or in groups. Which, for the record, is not fun.

But at least it is 10 real minutes. You can log off and go play something else.

: Zubon

5 thoughts on “Of Death Penalties”

  1. LOTRO is a classic timesinky MMO. Not that it’s necessarily bad, being forced to spend time in a game increases the immersion of the world and the whole simulation of living in the setting.

    I do just marvel at how cunningly they’ve snuck the timesinks in, practically everywhere. Crafting, hobbies, riding a horse, death penalties, etc. One thing about Turbine, they do traditional MMO with a few twists quite well.

  2. You mention about the minstrels and rezzers, but what about when you are soloing (like I tend to do).
    I was playing yesterday trying to take advantage of the double xp weekend but constantly getting my ass whipped but some mobs at Dwaling but I just couldn’t wait for the dread to go away so I keep trying (and keep dying) until I finally gave up and logged off for the night (I’ll have another go today).

  3. Generally speaking, if the penalty for every death manages to make me long for the experience loss of Perfect World, the development team has managed to screw up rather impressively.

    There are better and more useful ways to prevent zerg rushing than implement a ten minute timeout.

  4. We always save the dread removal for the Guardian. That way way can usually keep rolling for the dungeon unless we’re on a hard boss. Otherwise yes this is a poor mechanic.

  5. You people have got a few things wrong.

    Without some kind of death penalty, what is to stop people from Zerging fights? This was a major issue in Everquest, and one that continued on with Everquest 2.

    A game should be challenging, but also require thought and planing. Getting killed, and running right back in without a better plan, some help, or at least waiting until your dread is gone is plain stupid.

    10mins in game, compared with the hours each week most people spend in MMO land is minor. Try old EQ1 some time. Corpse runs, massive exp loss, I will take a little dread and some item damage any day.

    I have played 12 MMO’s, almost all to the end game raid level. So far LOTRO has the most accommodations for players to make the world a challenge, but not to make it a pain in the ass.

    If you want mindless and easy, WoW if the game for you. If you want something with heart, soul and spirit, play LOTRO.

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