The Weekly Raid: How Should MMORPGs Handle Death Penalties?

With the recent launch of Albion, a full loot open PvP MMORPG, the question of death penalties has come up again. Earlier MMORPGs tended to have harsh death penalties. Games like Ultima Online, RuneScape, EVE Online, and EverQuest all had players drop everything they were carrying on death. Ever since World of Warcraft, death penalties have relaxed considerably. A meager durability hit on equipment is all most gamers can expect nowadays.

Albion Online has managed to find a decent compromise. There are three tiers of regions, each with their own death penalty. In Green regions, players cannot be killed nor do they drop anything. In Yellow regions, players can knock each other out and force a small silver drop but they can't finish another player off. Red and Black regions allow full loot where death means everything you're carrying is lost. The saving grace is your gold and silver stash are safe.

Will this tiered death penalty system serve Albion well? What are your thoughts on an ideal death penalty system? Should death have meaning in a MMORPG? And if so, what penalties or consequences should players face for dying? Share your thoughts below! Also, share your worst or most vivid MMORPG death story with us! Here's mine:

I recall one particularly terrible situation in EverQuest where I accidentally walked off the ledge of an active volcano. My poor character fell headfirst into molten lava and died instantly. My newly spawned naked character had no way of recovering my corpse. Even if I could sneak my way past the goblins scattered across the mountain paths, there was no way I could survive long enough on the lava itself to get to my corpse. I eventually ended up requesting the help of a Necromancer who, using an in-game coffin could summon my corpse to him. Oh did I mention death in EverQuest also led to a considerable loss of experience points?

Lifelong gamer always looking for the next virtual adventure. I'm still waiting for the next big MMORPG. Until then, you can find me hopping between multiple games.