Star Citizen Perma-Death
Star Citizen Permadeath
The concept of Star Citizen Permadeath has been around for a while now. The idea is based on an old article, that was released back in 2013, called “Death of a Spaceman”. In this article Chris Roberts basically shares his vision of character death in the verse and how he would like to have it implemented in the game.
The driving force of this concept is the will to make Star Citizen unique and not just another game where death has no meaning. With the introduction of Perna-death the developers want to make players to think twice before acting, calculate all the risks and have a feeling of real achievement when completing a difficult task.
When we are saying Perma-death in Star Citizen we don’t mean actual permanent death and deletion of your character immediately, like with the Iron mode of other games. Players will have several lives, chances to resurrect before that permanent status of death can occur.
Star Citizen consists of two games. The Squadron 42, single player campaign and the Persistent Universe, the multiplayer part of Star Citizen. Dealing with death in Squadron 42 will be easy, since it is a single player game. There will be save points to which you can return after each death and continue playing. To make the gameplay more challenging and memorable the developers could decide to not allow us to save often, only before or after a mission, which seems to be their intention.
What interests me the most though is how the Persistent Universe treats the concept of Perma-death and in general character death.
Perma-Death in the Verse
Based on the article, players will have several lives before a permanent death can occur. Even when that happens, you can continue playing with the heir of your character, retaining all your assets, ships, money. But you will lose some reputation and relationship with NPC factions. Every single life lost before the permanent status of death will also age your character, adding wear and tear to his/her appearance, in an attempt to show your battle scars, combat experience etc.
At least that was roughly the idea back in 2013, more than five years ago. Things have changed a lot since then. Although the general concept of character death in Star Citizen remains the same, new features and the expanded scope of the game create questions about the implementation of that concept.
First of all regarding aging, wear and tear on the appearance of characters.
Star Citizen today attracts a modern audience and gamers as a whole are a lot more attached to their characters and the way they look. This is why many players spend a lot of time, even hours, on the customization screen when creating their in-game avatar. A fine example of this is the recent implementation of the character customizer in Star Citizen, even with limited options for now and the demand of the backers for an increased variety in the future.
Even the developers understand the importance of having the freedom to customize your character and make him/her look exactly the way you want. That is why more customization options are planned for the future. So i think it is safe to assume that altering the appearance of a character without the consent of the player will not bode well with a very big part, if not the majority of the players’ population.
The goal of Permadeath in game, will be to make players to think twice before acting, make decisions matter. This can work very well in a single player game but not in an MMO, where conflict and warfare will play an important role. If you have played open world PVP MMOs before then you know very well that high risk will not make players think twice, will only make them bring more numbers. This will result in the creation of very big groups, preying on smaller targets to eliminate the risk of defeat from “fair” fights.
The loss of reputation also does not sit well with me. It does not make sense to punish players for dying by taking away hours of their hard work in-game.
Last February in a “Calling all Devs” episode, Chad McKinney mentioned, regarding a Perma-death question, that the developers want us to have multiple characters with some of them aging and getting worse over time. A statement that actually creates more questions than answering how this concept could be implemented in the future. I think it is obvious that the concept of Perma-death is still a work in progress. The developers are trying to figure out how to implement it in game taking into account the evolution of Star Citizen over the past few years and the new direction the project has taken. Especially after the introduction of planetary surfaces, player owned outposts and the upgraded importance of warfare in the verse.
It is my personal opinion that the cost of death in Star Citizen should be monetary only. Paying an insurance cost to get back your ship, equipment, cargo and maybe a small fee for resurrection every time. Not the loss of your reputation or even character in any way. Especially in a game where you could die dozens of times everyday.