The Daily Grind: What was the worst MMORPG for corpse runs?

No, saying that you don't care is not actually an answer.

Pretty much every MMORPG has some sort of corpse run – that is, when you die, you have to run some sort of gauntlet to get back on your feet, by way of punishment. In the long long ago, you were literally running back to your corpse to collect your stuff before a player or monster looted it, either as a ghost or as a naked and defenseless person. Over the years, it’s become a bit more sanitized in themeparks especially; you might take a minor damage hit to your gear, or you might just be ported to a distant location and have to fight your way back – but you don’t actually risk losing your kit, just a little bit of your time (and pride).

I bet a lot of our readers remember some truly horrific corpse runs from early MMOs. I recall one mangled Fear raid in EverQuest where it took us nearly two days to get a hundred bodies recovered from the zone. It’s hard to imagine that flying here in 2019.

What was the worst MMORPG for corpse runs? Do you have a particularly harrowing tale to tell?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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Rolan Storm

Everquest… 2.

Hear me out. When you started betrayal quest you had to die erly on, but you NEVER get a chance to go back. Not. Ever. They changed it after I heard, but back when I was there – it was just like that. Corpse runs are not fun, but that one was nightmare of perfectionist.

Also Conan Exiles got me back into whole corpse run hoopla this weekend. Darn good game, but corpse runs I did not miss. :)

Fenrir Wolf

It’s fair to say that all of the old titles were terrible in this regard, isn’t it? The MMORPG is one of the genres that I can’t say has aged particularly well. You can go back and play some games and they’ll stand up as if they’d been developed today — Toejam & Earl: Back in the Groove shows how true this is — but others? Mmh… Not so much, yes? And MMORPGs fall under ‘others,’ unfortunately.

So they were all direly rank in this regard, and their needless frustration was only mitigated by a helpful, lovely community. That’s why though Ultima Online might’ve been one of the very worst, it was indeed mitigated by the fact that so many players were always ready to help you without exploiting you. A different time. A very introverted one, at that.

That I could rely on the community was why I played Ultima Online for as long as I did. Could you imagine the state of Ultima Online if it had had more contemporary players bandying about within its hallowed halls? The corpse runs would’ve been utterly intolerable. All of your hard-earned stuff would be nicked before you got within an inch of it. UO actively relied upon the decency of its community.

So all of you good kids out there who were kind to anyone who needed it in UO? Thanks. You gentlefolks were responsible for some of my better MMO memories.

Toy Clown

Everquest, hands down. It’s where “Train to zone!” was born. We learned to either fight in out-of-the-way places, or fight near the zone line so we could outrun a some poor sob with a mob train on their heels.

Gee, Bree, was it our guild you helped do a recovery out of Fear? Haha! Our guild decided to go for a quick epic piece run for a rogue, which wasn’t supposed to take more than 2 hrs and we ended up in a death loop that lasted 8-9 hours of pure hell that resulted in nearly getting fired from my job because it took all night to get our corpses. We ended up calling in a top-end guild to come get us out in the morning when enough got on. It was an experience that changed the way I played MMOs and why I get antsy if I’m in group content for more than an hour now.

Bruno Brito

I don’t recall jackshit about LOTRO corpseruns, but the normal runs were already painful, so i’m willing to bet the corpseruns must have been hell on earth.

To be fair, tho, i found dying on SWG, both legends and basilisk to be painful. So is dying on project 1999.

Why did we had such hardons for punishment?


Asheron’s Call by far, though I did love them so. A buddy of mine died in a dungeon that had a jump over a pit that was full of acid. He missed the jump. 6 hours later we finally recovered all of his stuff. We could only cast IIIs or IVs so it was a chore to say the least.

By the way, I love them because they are adversity…as close to real adversity as you can get in an MMO. You get to know people for how they truly are when dealing with a death mechanic that actually means item/XP loss.


It was basically to a big part my fault cause I like exploring around a lot but when I tried Tibia for a second time roughly 11-12 years ago I died on a spot with many slimes that were a lot stronger than me. I kept making runs to go back get my body and just died again and again. Since you lose exp AND downlevel I managed to downlevel from lvl 26 to lvl 18 from the amount of deaths. Oh and the best part? didnt get my body and lost my items finally, lol


The worst I’ve played past my first or second death — or, in other words, the worst one that didn’t manage to drive me away — was vanilla WoW. Players took gear damage that could get pretty expensive for high-end gear and had the option of either doing a corpse run that could take up to about 10 minutes for the worst spots, or taking far more (and more expensive) gear damage together with a debuff that made the character useless for non-trivial content for the next 10 minutes.

Anything harsher than that and I typically leave at my first death. Which usually happens quite early, because, as I often say, if I’m not dying at least once or twice per hour I’m likely bored with the game, so I tend to push harder and harder until I die; playing safe, avoiding deaths through carefully not tackling more than I can safely handle, just isn’t enjoyable for me.

My favorite “corpse run” was actually a bit of an exploit in WotLK; you see, you were supposed to only be able to get into Dalaran — and get its flight point and access to its portals — after completing a certain quest line, but dying in the neighboring Storm Peaks granted your ghost a flying mount because otherwise there would be many places where it would be impossible to recover your body. So, if you killed yourself in the Storm Peaks to get the ghostly gryphon, and approached Crystalsong and Dalaran from high enough at the correct heading and position, you could get your ghost to land in the floating city, rez at its Spirit Healer, then pick its flight point and set your heartstone for one of its taverns.


For graphical games, then early DAOC, especially the grind between 49 and 50. The exp and time loss could set you back hours. Nothing today comes even close to early games like IOK or GSii/iii/ iv though. Remembering Rift rescues in GS that required parties to rescue the parties, that went to rescue someone and their gear ;)!


EverQuest. Better when you could have a friend haul your corpse to the zone or something. Someone even wrote a song about corpse runs in EQ (Ear Worm warning!)


The original EQ hands down. Unless you were a Monk, you usually had to keep some CR gear in the Bank or risk giving someone who was willing and able permission to drag your corpse back to you…(and yes, there were people who would screw others over and drag a corpse to a worse location and NOT tell the person whose corpse it was – along with other things.

And in the original EQ your corpse could/would rot after a few RL days (SOE even gave a warning that Corpses could just vanish as a result of a patch, so CRs were especially important and players were way more careful the day prior to/off a Patch); taking any gear still on it with it.
The above is why I only played a Monk, because they were not a gear dependent as most other classes and depending on the location and situation, a Monk could survive and fight well enough to recover his own corpse and gear.