Diablo 3 Survival Bonuses and Death Penalties
Playing Diablo 3 is mostly about the adventure, killing enemies and gathering Diablo 3 items in order to get stronger and go on more exciting adventures. But with the danger presented by the many foes that stand in your way, there is much to consider for one's survival while being attacked. It is that threat of being killed that gives Diablo 3 much of the thrill in gameplay. However, at its current state, Diablo 3 doesn't really offer much in the way of incentive and punishment when it comes to one's survival. Sure, dying does mean that you have to run all the way back to where you were from the checkpoint, but that's merely an inconvenience and not entirely a penalty to be wholly avoided.
The thing about Diablo 3 at the moment is that there isn't much lost when a character dies other than just durability lost from equipment, which can then be repaired through the Blacksmith or an NPC vendor. There is more thrill in playing on Hardcore mode, wherein slain characters remain dead and the only option is to stay alive, no matter what. However, most players do want to be able to keep playing their characters, despite coming up against mishaps. Playing a character is a time investment that most wouldn't want to lose, so there has to be some way to reward this commitment and punish mistakes that go along with it.
This is where survival bonuses and death penalties come in as they make playing the game more tense. With higher difficulty and Monster Power levels, survival becomes much harder, but such is the cost of ramping up the challenge in order to get more incentive courtesy of higher experience and item drop rates. If you do get to survive the onslaught, then perhaps survival bonuses should be awarded to the players at a certain point, like bonuses to stats, gold and magic find, experience gain, or so on. This is an interesting concept since it means that the game gets a bit easier the longer you stay alive. However, with other things like Nephalem Valor and so on, perhaps it can get a bit too easy.
It's almost unanimous though with the topic of death penalties as a lot of RPGs do have them. Plenty of titles nowadays do things like deduct experience from those who die in combat, while some even make you drop your items. In fact, that was what the old Diablo titles did to you if you got careless, but it's no longer the case in Diablo 3 to not discourage players. However, this is also a time when games like Dark Souls exist, so perhaps the perceived weaker hearts of today's gamers is rather exaggerated. In turn, death penalties would give more excitement to the game as it would make for a more hair-raising experience.
As the new expansion Reaper of Souls comes around, there is much to expect in the way of this topic. It would be interesting to see how Blizzard addresses this issue, whether they will implement something more in the normal gameplay mode that is near like in the older games or not. In any case, Blizzard is set to change the game with Reaper of Souls upon release.