Death in Marvel Heroes is an odd thing. It happens through mostly lag up until you’re done the main missions, so a lot of people will never really see it – and if they do, people around them have 3 minutes to revive them. That part makes sense to me. Neverwinter puts a debuff on you once you get revived that way, the timer is shorter too.
If you play alone however, say in the mission terminals at the end, death is a different beast. Scaling here reminds me a bit of Rift, where the mechanics of the game prevent you from doing content too far above your level. 3+ and you get an experience, damage intake and damage output penalty, starting at 20%. You will get 1-shot. Dying does two things.
First, it brings you back to the last checkpoint. Sometimes this is the door to the zone, sometimes (like in Castle Doom), it’s invisible markings on the map since the map is so darn big. Second, if leaves every enemy at the state they were when you died. Boss at 60% hp when you died? He will be when you get back.
Doctor Doom last night was 4 levels above me, took 5 minutes to kill and he killed me 8 times. While I was happy to beat him, there was missing that “perfect run” feel that you get in other ARPGs. Could I have done him in a clean run? Maybe not last night due to skill lag but it certainly felt possible. I remember trying to kill Belial in Diablo 3 for a few days in Inferno. It was extremely frustrating. Dying here had a repair cost plus a full reset of the boss himself. Finally I got lucky and he died and I never wanted to see his face again. The consequences here were such that I never wanted to play that part again.
I will be trying Doctor Doom again, hoping to improve. It becomes an analog test with varying degrees of success. I can improve on that. Belial on the other hand, I was ready to punch through the screen. When I beat him, it felt more like a digital switch – either I won or I didn’t. When I did, I never felt an ounce of challenge in him again nor a desire to even attempt it.
I find it a difficult balance to show people “hey, this is tough but when you get through it’ll be worth it” and “hey this is tough, let’s pull out your hair”.