As you’re running through the woods you begin taking automatic gunfire. You hear the bullets whiz by you and see dirt kick up behind you. Bullets are flying everywhere.
What’s your reaction? Do you try to run at the person, sight up, and take a shot? If that’s the case, then maybe you’re playing a game that doesn’t value your character’s life. And those games are okay! I love Battlefield, but the consequences for dying in a Battlefield game are minimal. As such, it’s not uncommon for me to die A LOT in that game trying to rush a point or objective in order to take it. I know I can charge in – and if I die? No big deal!
But what really gives me a thrill in games are the ones that add meaningful value and emphasis to your life in the game. DayZ mod was the gold standard for adding meaning to your character’s life. When you die it mattered. The loot you had on you mattered. Maybe the vehicle you took out is lost, destroyed, or worse…stolen.
This to me adds so much weight and importance to decisions we make in a game. I love in a game when I start coming under fire and my immediate reaction is fear and the desire to get down or take cover. This brings in more realism and allows for a much intense situation.
DayZ mod was sort of like a pre-cursor to Battle Royale games. I love Battle Royale games, but it’s easy to say: “dang, I died…oh well time to queue up for the next game.”
Your life does matter in BR games, but the loot you lose is quickly replaced in the next round and there’s always “the next game.” In DayZ mod, that loot was more than likely lost. Unless of course your friends fought hard to try and save it for you and risked their lives in doing so.
All the hard work you put into finding that backpack, that sniper rifle, that assault rifle? Kiss it goodbye. And through that, it added significant value to your character’s life.
I’ll be the first person to admit that in a game where respawning is quick and easy I don’t pay almost any attention to dying with that character. If I rush in, kill a couple people, help capture the point, and then die in a blaze of glory – so be it. It means that any decisions I make has minimal consequences. And having consequences can be an important part to adding meaning to the choices you make in a game.
Not in DayZ mod though. Before going down to loot a city, I would perch up on a hill, a forest, or find some spot with cover on the outskirts to scope it out. Then after I made sure it was clear, I’d quickly rush in and loot. There was no wasted time because I wanted to avoid contact with the enemy when looting. And if I did come under fire, you better believe I wasn’t just going to rush in and die carelessly.
Nope! I was taking cover. Peeking shots. Having my friends lay down suppressing fire while I tried to get out of there. I love that feeling in a shooter: when the bullets start flying around me and it fills me with fear instead of indifference.
Hell Let Loose gives me that same feeling too. Respawning can be a big set back in Hell Let Loose. Often times you might be in for a good run back to where you died. More importantly, your loss could mean the difference between winning and losing a capture point, which is no easy task in Hell Let Loose.
When machine gun fire rips over head, and I start seeing the suppression mechanic in the game I get fearful for my character’s life. Because I know this life, and thus this respawn of my character, has value.
Adding value doesn’t necessarily have to mean just losing items. Maybe in a survival mode, “respawning” literally means having a new character. So all those skills you learned will be lost if you don’t make it out alive.
It’s something I feel that’s been missing from the horde of zombie or survival games as of late. Oh, I died? No big deal. I can just respawn and get it all back without much of an issue.
Mindless zombies that are generally easy to avoid, even if there are hordes of them, become terrifying knowing it could wipe out your character’s progress. One mistake. One error in judgment could be all it takes. It means that the person who plays smarter, not just the more skilled player, has an advantage as well.
And that adds value to other game mechanics as well! For example, if my life has value, then I better make a really well designed base. One that has multiple exits of escape. One that can hold off the hordes of zombies. Likewise, it makes those loot runs even more special. I better bring out my best gear to help me survive. I really should put a lot of effort in scouting and working with teammates to minimize risk. Maybe two of us will go in together to loot the town, and the other two teammates will provide sniper cover from the hill overlooking the town.
Just a simple act of making your character’s life important can make so many other things in the game that much more meaningful.
I’m not suggesting it necessarily be like a “hardcore mode” in Diablo either, where you could spend weeks and months building a character up to have it only lost. Instead, maybe losing your skill progression sets you back a few days. That can be enough to add value to your life.
Well, that’s it for this blog! Hope you enjoyed. Feel free to follow and message me on Twitter if you’d like to chat about this topic and more. Likewise, hit up my YouTube channel and Twitch channel to see more content. Thanks so much for reading, friend!