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Meta Role Playing: Impermanent Death

I don’t play on a RP server.. and in fact I don’t think this type of topic is touched by roleplayers. My perception is that roleplayers overlay the rules and norms of the “real world” onto the “game world” and play based on those rules. Regardless, I think this is an interesting mental exercise.

If Azeroth were real, what would be the cultural implications of an impermanent death?

That is.. in our outside-the-game culture, death is permanent. This leads to laws against the taking of life.. grief and anguish at the loss of life and a general dread of death that permeates our society. Because we don’t want to die we do fewer risky things. Even when we do risky things, we make provisions for our continued life after the risky activity. I’d -never- consider jumping out of an airplane without a parachute, regardless of how thrilling it is, because I’d be guaranteeing my death (something I can’t fix or reverse).

Death is impermanent in the World of Azeroth. At worst you have a long corpse run. What kind of cultural norms would result from this changed natural law?

This morning I -finally- figured out the answer to one of the things that has bugged me the most about Azeroth. That is, why is it that 10 minutes after I finish killing Mob X, it’s back in its same place doing the same things over again? My answer: the mob did a corpse run.

I’m not entirely sure why it is that higher level boss mobs take so much longer to do the corpse run.. but for some reason some of them can take upwards to a week.

The impermanence of death would also encourage the world’s inhabitants to engage in more risky/adventurous behavior. At worst, if the risky behavior results in death you’d have to run back to your corpse (or ask a friend for a rez). This leads to toons swiming across the great ocean and corpse-hopping even though they get exhausted.

Medical science is reduced to bandages.. or kill the patient. It’s easier to rez the patient and then heal them to full health than to do complex surgery.

Execution, as a punishment, is no longer an extreme punishment. In fact it would be a lesser punishment than imprisonment or limb removal (as shown by Zul’Jin, removal of a limb/eye is permanant and the loss persists through death).

I would think that this would make the Scourge a worse threat than the Burining Legion. The demons from the Burning Legion can kill you (at which point you can rez). The Scourge can turn you into mindless zombies or undead thus imprisoning you forever.

I’m not sure what to make of ghosts. Are they simply people who haven’t released? Or is there some kind of way to remove the ability for you to rez at your body? Not sure.

If death is impermanent.. who’s buried in all those graveyards?

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7 comments to Meta Role Playing: Impermanent Death

  • Wow, these are some Deep Thoughts for sure. I’m going to need to think on this a while. Maybe I’ll do a blog posting on it as a response.

    PS: The anti-spam word I was asked to enter for this comment was “pwned.” I kid you not! I was pwned before I even posted.

  • gt

    Mobs doing corpse runs… I am going to ponder that all day I think.

  • Hruktar

    Ghosts would be dead people who have lost their corpse while corpse running. Indeed, one of the major punishments could be to execute someone and then eliminating their corpse in some way (like burning it to ashes or by acid), thereby forever condemning them to remain in ghost form.

  • Skarlarth

    The reason those bosses take up to a week to respawn is because they are not there. They are all botting AFK’ers! Ban them all Blizzard!

    Great topic.

  • K

    That’s an interesting topic to talk about. I was going to suggest what Hruktar did about ghosts – them being unable to find their corpse.

    I may “steal” this topic to talk about myself. It’s… interesting. Death not being the only thing that would have cultural implications.

  • Heh :) I’ve thought along similar lines before, particularly when doing quests that rely on death, sympathy for a bereaved person, or the threat of death as a motivating factor. You see the NPC die in front of you, the questgiver turns to you, crying, begging you to avenge their loved one… and I can’t help but think “But I have a rez spell! Can’t I just bring them back to life for you instead? No? Okay, killing twenty of the enemy it is then. *sigh*”

  • Shastarian

    Very nice article, very thought-provoking. I like the “mob corpse run” part, it makes alot of sense.