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The closer look at death penalty
-part 3-

In previous parts of "closer look at death penalty" articles we have described how death penalty looked in the past and how does it look now. At this part we are going to take a closer look at one of the most frustrating cause of death - so called "kick death" (death where a player had no chance to protect himself).

As we have said before most players had an occasion to feel how it is to die by kick or freez, as our poll shown over 50% of tibia deaths is caused by kicks (please note that the results are taken from the poll where everyone could vote - so it might be a little bit biased, but it still shows the image of the problem). The last changes in death penalty has reduced the frustration of death a bit - but still dying is painful and costly - which in normal circumstances is not so bad thing, but in case where player died by not his fault but kick/freez it born huge frustration.

So what can be done to solve or at least reduce this problem? Before answering this question we should better understand what causes the kicks and if a player (a.k.a you) can do something to remove the problem by himself.

What causes the kick death in Tibia?

We can divide it to three different categories:

  • Problem caused at players side
  • Problem caused on way to tibia server
  • Problem caused by tibia server

So lets take a closer look at it.

Problem caused at players side

To category of so called "problem caused by players side" we can put things which in theory can be "fixed" by player. For instance:

  • ISP (Internet Service Provider) - which can be changed to new one
  • sudden lost of electricity - which can be secured by using UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply a.k.a battery back-up)
  • computer resets - by fixing/changing the computer
  • viruses - which can be fixed by securing the computer
  • etc.

Some of this problems can be easily fixed (like keeping the computer virus free), other ones aren't so easy to be dealt - for example changing ISP. The truth is that for casual player most of this problems can't be fixed - due to insufficient funds, lack of other ISP around etc.

Problem caused on way to tibia server

To this category, we can add some random problems, such as:

  • rare random problem caused by yours ISP
  • some problem on way to tibia server - the signal from your computer goes to tibia server passing several other route servers - if one of this ones will fail then you will loose connection with Tibia server, even if other sites works - that is because way to this sites doesn't require passing this specific router.

Player is defenseless in case of such problems. Similar is with the last category.

Problem caused by tibia server


Tibia servers are for sure well defended from loosing electricity, viruses etc. But still there can be some factors which causes the kicks, one of the most well known problem are DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks - done by hundreds of infected computers. Its very hard to protect the server from such attacks, as we could see in not so distant past there was several weeks full of kicks caused by DDoS, luckily it seems that CIPs has reduced this problem - but from time to time such attacks does go through tibia server defense. There can be of course some other causes of mass kicks like some bug in tibia which takes full server CPU power, some bug in Tibia client causing kicks (like in case of last October 2009 patch) etc.

As you can see player has very small potential to protect himself/herself from kicks, that is why loosing hours of gameplay only because of some random reason which couldn't be predicted is so frustrating. Changing the death penalty helps to reduce the feeling of injustice but as long the lost is counted in hours (not to mention the in game money which is not so easy to gain) the frustration will stay. Many players were thinking about the solution to this problem, and here are the most possible to implement.


Suggested solutions to kick-death

First lets see how does kick in tibia is treated nowadays. When you loose connection with tibia server you are loged out from game automatically if you doesn't have battle mark, but if you do have it (for example because you are hunting) then the character stays one minute in game - which is enough time for character to die several times - if he is hunting semi hard creatures (usual stuff which is being hunted for exp/money). So what solutions was suggested by players?

There are two categories of proposals concerning kick problem:

  • changes in death penalty
  • changes in "log out" method

CHANGES IN "LOG OUT" METHOD

Since character left without any player supervision may die in matter of seconds there were several proposals suggesting to reduce the time of staying online after loosing connection. The suggested time range differed a lot, some suggested 30 seconds, others 10 and there was even proposals to instantly log out the character from game.

There are pros and cons for such solution:

Pros:

  • reducing the chance of player death while being kicked - or even eliminating it if log out would be instant.

Cons:

  • there is a chance of abuse of the log out option - while being surrounded by many creatures, player would be able to just turn of the computer and latter ask a friend to clear the place for them - so he/she could log in back in safe spot
  • pvp - as above but running from other players etc - this argument was often used to destroy the whole proposal. The thing is that Tibia server does detect when a player is fighting with other players or creatures - so in case of pvp fight the time of being online after kick could be 1 min as it is now.
  • if it would not be instant log out after loosing connection, then more fragile vocations (mages, paladins who use crossbows/bows) would be still in high risk of death.

As you can see this proposal has its weak points, but still it would be a step toward the better gameplay. Usually in pvm fights players die by combo where - they weren't able to predict it so there would be no situation of x-loging or rebooting the computer. Probably the number of abuses of instant log out would be a small % compared to number of saved lives from real kicks and freezes.

The mutation of this proposal was to make a player "invisible to creatures" while connection is lost until he will be loged out (after 60 seconds). That way other players would be still able to kill such player but creatures would not hurt him.

CHANGES IN DEATH PENALTY

There was several proposals suggesting changes in death penalty, since now it seems unrealistic that the whole system would be changed, lets concentrate at proposal which could be used only in case of lost connection (tibia server knows when that has happened so in such case different death penalty could be used).

My favorite solution is the one suggested by Spandrel (he stopped playing tibia because of the death penalty) - he suggested that instead loosing exp and skills players should loose stamina. That would be interesting solution - lets say that after death while being kicked player loose 20h of his stamina, he doesn't loose his experience, skills or blessings though. That way the player would be "punished" for his death, but the punishment wouldn't be so harsh since usually when player has kicks he doesn't hunt anyway. It would rather not be abused to get fast teleport to town, since loosing 20h of stamina is not worth it.

What are pros and cons of this proposal?

Pros:

  • After kick-death player will not be frustrated of lost hours of gameplay and money which he has spent on blessings.
  • The lost stamina will be some kind of "small" penalty

Cons:

  • As with instant log out proposal it could be abused while being in very dangerous situation
  • At lower levels players would probably prefer to loose their exp and skills which they can regain in less than one hour than loosing 20h of their stamina.

Its only few suggestions which can be/used to be found at proposal boards. As you see there are ways to reduce one of the most annoying things in tibia - which is kick death. Lets hope that CIPs will see that kick death is a real problem and will do something with that, till then I wish you dear reader zero lags, freezes or kicks :].

 
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