Making death matter is another way a Zeus can add more realism to their missions, and simply improve their missions for the players taking part. There are many ways making death matter can work for a Zeus mission, and the effect it will have on the mission and the player’s experience makes it an easy thing to include while designing your operations. However, not all operations hosted by a Zeus would call for making the death of players matter.
Here I will describe why you should make death matter to your players in zeus ops, how you can do so, and different scenarios that might call for either making death matter or not.
Why Make Death Matter
The first thing that it’s important to cover is why you as a Zeus should make death matter to players in ops. Besides what I mentioned in my introduction with realism and improving mission quality, making death matter is the number one way to simply and effectively make your missions more tactical. When players start to fear for their (in-game) lives while they are doing an operation, they are less likely to act brashly, more likely to work as a team tactically, and more likely to think about the aspect of going down in a firefight when engaged. By making death matter to players, you also allow for more impactful and creative mission making. If players can just push through a town or an obj and have a simple respawn point right outside of town, then there is no reason to set complex patrol routes, add detail to AOs, etc, and instead, you’ll find it easier to just add more enemies. You cannot force your players to move slower, and players will take advantage of not worrying about death to move first and think second. But, if you make death matter, you can decrease the amount of ai you use, and increase the detail that goes into smaller areas in the mission because your players will be spending more time carefully picking through and moving into objectives. You can be more creative in how hostile AI is placed, how hostile forces react to contact, and can add “enemy activity” to your AOs. In essence, it is a simple yet effective and impactful way to improve your ops and the details within them.
How to do it
Making death matter is rather simple in concept. You no longer just place a respawn point right outside of where friendlies are and instead create alternative and more interesting ways that players can respawn and get back into the AO with their squad. There is where you, as a Zeus, can get creative! There is an endless amount of ways you can set up for friendlies to get back into the action if they die on the field. Here is some examples:
-Have dead players respawn at a FOB or similar and have them be reinforcements for their team, either with AI as well or without
-Have BLUFOR supply routes that go near AO, which dead players can hitch a ride on.
-Simply make the dead players heli-shuttle back to their team for a local friendly installment
-Have respawn points designated as radios or barracks that BLUFOR can either control or capture so that they can respawn there
These examples are simple ways Zeus’ can make deaths matter while also improving the immersion and tactical aspects. They add simple complexity that is not hard to implement, but well worth it. Even if your players never die and need to respawn, their experience and mission will still be improved because they will be taking the fact that them dying will take them out of the action for a while into account. Let your Zeus creativity help you come up with however you want players to respawn, with the simple goal of making death matter.
When to Consider Not Doing it
Now obviously, not every situation or operation will call for a way to make death matter. In some cases, a simple respawn point outside the AO and away from the team a little bit is all you need as a Zeus. Some missions where making death matter would not be worth it or would be hard to implement include: behind enemy lines/stealth missions, PVP missions, and short operations. In cases like these, making death and respawn take time, and making it matter can be difficult or even a detriment to your Zeus mission. Along with this, it is important to note that making death matter in your op becomes easier and easier the more people you have taking part in it. The opposite side of this is that very small group missions often require quick respawns and support because death is exponentially more impactful to the effectiveness of the squad. It is up to Zeus to consider if they should include making death matter-weighing the pros and cons-, and how complex they can make it.
Along with this, Zeus should not punish players with the making death matter if they die due to being Arma’d, or a similar situation. If a player glitches out or dc’s, or something happens to a player that causes them to die and it’s not their fault or due to the mission, then putting them back with their squad is fair. No need to “punish” a player for dying if it wasn’t a fair death.
Making death matter in your Zeus missions is a great and easy way to improve your mission and the experience for the players, and to improve the simulation-side and teamwork of the operations. It is completely up to the Zeus and how creative they can be to decide if making death matter is good for their mission, how they want to implement it, and how it will impact the experience they are trying to give.
Side note: If people want to see specific ways that I would implement making death matter, or have any questions, Please let me know. Improving the quality of Zeus missions on NAK is a great way to improve the size of the player base and interest in operations. More players equals more types of viable operations and an improved player experience for those who like larger-scale operations.