DISCLAIMER: THIS CONTENT IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. IT IS NOT A RECOMMENDATION TO PURCHASE ANY ASSETS. ANY PURCHASES MADE IN THE PROJECT OF GAME ASSETS MENTIONED BELOW ARE DONE SO AT YOUR OWN RISK. THIS IS NOT FINANCIAL ADVICE.
- Permadeath is a feature that can enhance competitive games from MMORPGs to FPS. A player’s character starts from nothing. The more battles the players win, the more skilled their character becomes, and the more the owner gets rewarded. but if they lose, their character dies— permanently, and the NFT representing it gets burned.
- The concept encourages skill, tactics, and more calculated risk-taking— At first, players won’t have much to lose, which incentivizes risk-taking, but, as they progress, the stakes continue to escalate, as does the intensity and overall experience. The result? A game where only truly skilled players can survive long enough to turn their characters into valuable assets. And those who do put in the work are able to sell their characters on the market for some sweet cash!
- For games that charge an up-front cost to play (like NFT minting price), permadeath may create a barrier to entry for many users due to perception that game as a money-sink rigged against new players. Proponents of permadeath claim the risk gives additional significance to their in-game actions.
- “Permanent death” in Web3 gaming can help shift the focus from play-to-earn to play for fun and earning rewards for challenging themselves. This is where players start thinking about their characters as digital assets, instead of objects in a game.
- Difficult and high-intensity gameplay is not for everyone. Permanent death forces you to play harder and more conservatively and is punishing for beginners before they build up their skills, which undoubtedly ruins the fun for more casual gamers. Without careful game design, It could also lead to a handful of highly-skilled pros dominating all competition and preventing others from advancing, which ruins it for everyone and turns gameplay into "grinding" for skilled players who might “farm” noobs in PVP.
Imagine a world where character death in video games is permanent, just as it is in real life. We're not just talking about a temporary injury here—we're talking about your character being gone for good. That's what @WhosDaveStanton is proposing with his new concept called Play-to-Die, which he introduced in a recent blog post. In this concept, your NFT gets burned when your character dies, and all your progress is lost.
“There is an opportunity to introduce this concept into crypto gaming that will unlock new experiences in gameplay, new opportunities for gamers to earn and potentially create some of the most enticing spectator experiences.” - Dave Stanton
What does Permanent Death of NFT Characters Mean?
Although each game will have its own implementation, generally permanent death (or permadeath) means the character loses most, if not all, of their weapons, items, abilities, or any other sense of progression. Stanton believes that player ownership of NFT characters gives them more value than traditional game characters, so introducing a concept of loss by dying in-game is much more interesting and engaging than before.
Thanks to NFT technology, this "permanent death" could become reality.
- NFTs represent digital ownership
- NFTs can be bought, sold, traded, or used in other contexts outside of just one game
Players start from nothing, and the only way to "earn" is to keep winning. If they lose, their character dies—and the NFT is burned.
The more battles the players win, the more powerful their character becomes. But if they lose a battle? It's all over for that character. The player starts from scratch with a brand new character, and they’ll have to put in the time and to build up to elite status—if they can!
So what does this look like?
“Well, if the game is popular enough, any player could start from nothing and purely on merit build up a highly skilled character. Theoretically, highly skilled characters would be rare since many would die all the time in game. They can then play with this character or sell it to someone who wants a skilled fighter but doesn't want to put in the work to achieve it—creating earning opportunities for good gamers with little to no capital. Rarity isn't random (like with current NFT mints) but based on skill, effort and survival!” according to Dave Stanton
???? The concept encourages skill, tactics, and more calculated risk-taking— At first, players won’t have much to lose, which incentivizes risk-taking, but as they progress, the stakes continue to escalate, as does the intensity and overall experience. The result? A game where only truly skilled players can survive long enough to level up their characters to become valuable assets. And anyone who put in the work will be able to sell their characters on the market for some sweet cash!
Skilled-to-earn: Earn through building valuable skilled NFT characters.
- Given that Permadeath is a more merit-based system, the potential value of a NFT character is determined by the skill level of the player who owns it. The more skilled a player is, the greater their chances of success. The game must be balanced enough so that every starting character has an equal chance of success, otherwise it will become unfair.
- If you're good at playing games, you're more likely to build up a stable of valuable NFT characters and items than someone who isn't.
- Many will build and rebuild the same or similar characters in order to build their personal brand/content business.
???? For a Permadeath game to succeed, the game need to focus on rewarding player skill as much as possible. If a player has a great play style, it will be reflected in their character’s stats, which will make it more valuable. If the game want to make sure that all players have an equal chance at success, they should make sure that every play style has an equal opportunity for success. The best way to do this is by making sure that there is no “right way” or “wrong way” to play your character; rather, it should be up to the individual’s playstyle and preferences.
New Experiences, Behavior, Mindset & Gameplay
The Play to Earn mindset was very common in the first wave of web3 gaming. This mindset encouraged players to only play if the rewards are high, behave in certain ways that are conducive to earning money as quickly as possible. Players don’t need much skill, nor even to enjoy playing— they just needed enough time and motivation to grind for rewards.
To change the way we think about Web3 games, the games themselves must evolve.
???? “Permanent death” in Web3 gaming is a feature that can help shift the focus from playing for profit to playing for fun and embracing challenge. This shift occurs when players start thinking about their characters as precious digital assets instead of immutable objects within a game. Monetization is still a feature, but given the level of skill and time it could take to level up characters, it won’t be the motivating factor for most players.
In Dave Stanton’s view, if permadeath is adopted in crypto gaming, we will see many new merit-based economic opportunities with low barriers to entry for gamers and a potential revolution in video game viewing because games will feel more visceral & high-stakes. Similar to how sports fans feel watching a game knowing the athletes are putting their bodies and in some cases even their lives on the line.
Players seeking to risk permanent death feel that the more severe consequences heighten the thrill of both challenge and achievement. The increased risk renders acts of heroism and bravery all the more compelling; top players have not invested significant time but also risked everything in countless trials leading up to the match at hand. Without permadeath, such actions are "small actions".
Richard Bartle, writer, professor and game researcher, described the advantages of permanent death: “restriction of early adopters from permanently held positions of power, content reuse as players repeat early sections, its embodiment of the "default fiction of real life", improved player immersion from more frequent character changes, and reinforcement of high level achievement. Bartle also believes that in the absence of permanent death, game creators must continually create new content for top players, which discourages those not at the top from even bothering to advance.
What are the risks of permadeath concept?
Permanent death in crypto gaming could be a tough sell, but it largely depends on how the concept is implemented. Done poorly, and it may drive players away.
Crypto Raiders is an early example of a game that has permadeath, but also charges a fee every time a player wishes to restart. This would turn off many gamers, in general, as the game could be perceived as a total money-sink in the beginning while you’re still learning and leveling up your skills. This paid model could also be extremely costly for serious players who want to grind by creating multiple characters in order to stockpile rewards (in MMORPGs, the best rewards often come from raids, which limit the rate of participate per character)
Another optional feature would be to allow players to buy a more powerful character NFT in order to skip the trials of leveling up and start off with an advantage. Proponents of permadeath claim that the risk and sacrifice along the way gives additional significance to their in-game actions; who knows if that remains true for for the buyers who skip the early levels.
Many games without permadeath already impose an in-game penalty for restoring a dead character, but the penalty is relatively minor compared to being forced to create a new character. Therefore, the primary change permadeath creates is that every decision a player makes is more significant; without it there is less incentive for the player to take in-game actions seriously.
Those players who prefer NOT to play with permadeath are unwilling to accept the risk of the large penalties associated with it. The penalty often means a great deal of time spent to regain lost levels, power, influence, or emotional investment that the previous character possessed, so this preference is totally understandable
- This increased investment of time can dissuade less-hardcore players. Depending on the design of the game, it may involve repeating some content that the player has already experienced.
- Difficult and high-intensity gameplay is not for everyone. Permanent death forces you to play harder and more conservatively and is punishing for beginners before they build up their skills, which undoubtedly ruins the fun for more casual gamers. Without careful game design, It could also lead to a handful of highly-skilled pros dominating all competition and preventing others from advancing, which ruins it for everyone and rewards only skilled players for "grinding" and “farming” noobs in PVP.
The permadeath mechanic is certainly not for everyone, and it’s not right for many (or even most) games. It can be frustrating, but also adds a level of gravity to a game. It forces you carefully consider every decision and its consequences. When Web3 games implement permadeath, you can bet they will be hard as well. The whole idea is to make the game more challenging and immersive. For many, this adds to the fun, and that’s the whole point, right? Not to mention, beating a game with permanent death can provide greater satisfaction and more impressive bragging rights— two more reasons why many people are ready to embrace this feature.