How could the permanent death of a character be made more palatable to gamers?
The main problem of game-ending character death stems from the player's perception of the return on their investment of time and effort. The more time and effort the player puts into improving a character's intrinsic assets (abilities, knowledge, relationships, progress), the higher the perceived cost of the loss of that character.
So the key questions related to permadeath are all related to the amount/number of personal assets that a character can accumulate in a game:
- How long does a typical game last?
- How much can a player invest in a character? (In other words, how much "character" can a character have?)
- Can accumulated player character assets be transferred upon death to another character?