The Daily Grind: Which MMO provides the most opportunity for ‘worthy deaths’?

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

MMO designer Damion Schubert recently penned a lengthy thread on Bluesky all about death – death in MMOs, that is. He opined that game designers must try to find ways to give players what players consider a “worthy death” rather than a bullshit one if they want players to respect and yes enjoy the game. He has a long list of worthy deaths – failing to get to the exit fast enough, not getting out of the fire, mistiming your parries, missing a jump – as well as of the kind of deaths that players consider obnoxious, like “[d]ying because you couldn’t escape the attack zone because when you pressed ‘O’ your hero picked a flower instead of rolling out of the way like you expected.”

“Dying because you didn’t get out of the ring of fire is a ‘worthy death’,” he argues. “Dying because you took burn damage even though you were CLEARLY out of the fire is, you guessed it, ‘fucking bullshit’. […] One of the designer’s key jobs is to minimize true ‘fucking bullshit’. Because obviously it maps to player frustration. But it is NOT necessarily about making the game easier, as much as it’s about making the game communicate to players better. Because what we’re really talking about is whether or not players stay in the flow of the experience. Whether or not the players stay immersed in the game, or whether or not they’re yanked out of the gameplay by crappy UI or unusually cruel or nonsensical design decisions.”

I thought it’d make a fun topic to discuss because MMO players most definitely understand the feeling of, “Oh man, good show, it got me good that time” and “are you kidding me, this game is trash.” Tell us about a time when you died in an MMO and thought, damn that was awesome, let’s do that again… and then tell us about a time when you died in an MMO and thought it was pure cheap trickery and wanted to just ragequit over the whole ordeal. What were your most worthy and least worthy deaths in MMOs? And which MMO is the best about providing opportunity for worthy deaths without too many dumb ones?

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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