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November 20th, 2008, 08:48
In single player character games traditional permanent death is fine with me - I am used to it, and though I see the weaknesses and problems it creates for designers, It is still my preference. I hate savepoints (fine for arcade games, but disliked in RPGs, and almost senseless in freeroaming RPGs). Other options like ghost mode, purgatory adventures, resurrection at a special place (or runestone a la Spellforce), etc. can certainly work occasionally, but only within specific designs - I don't see them as a real alternative for "save anywhere" on a broad basis.
For party based games, I can also live with the "every one's a medic system" as long as the mechanic has some basis and justification in the gameworld (high level spells, resurrection at temples, etc.) I didn't like it in KotoR where everyone just got up after the fight - maybe sensible gameplay wise, but too silly for my personal taste.
Hardcore mode can be a fun challenge, but it should be exactly that - a mode, an option you select when starting a new game.

An option thats missing IMHO is "no death" - I am thinking of the Mount & Blade mechanic here where its a hardcore mode (save on exit) but you never die, but may be captured, loosing army and wealth. It actually works very well in the sense that the penalty, really keeps you on your toes, judging your own strength before comitting to a fight, but where building back up is not so unforgiving that you get frustrated. I could see this working for some CRPG designs as well.
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