Quoting from the healing and death page of guild wars 2,
Players who have recently been downed several times will take longer to revive each time. If no one revives you, you can spend a small amount of gold to come back at a waypoint. It's as simple as that, and why not? Why should we debuff you, take away experience, or make you run around for five minutes as a ghost instead of letting you actually play the game? We couldn't think of a reason. Well, we did actually think of a reason--it just wasn't a good one. Death penalties make death in-game a more tense experience. It just isn't fun. We want to get you back into the action (fun) as quickly as possible. Defeat is the penalty; we don't have to penalize you a second time.Now the interesting thing about this compared to a board game like chess, or a quake live match, is if you lose/are killed, well, you just lose. That's the end of the game. While the idea (perhaps not very good idea) of a mmorpg has you...well, still there - the games still going.
Really death in a mmorpg is perhaps more like being hit by a single bullet in quake live. Or perhaps a rocket!
And yet it still involves hurt that matters in the bigger picture.
I'm not sure a lack of a death penalty works out, as dying doesn't matter in terms of the bigger picture. It'd be like whether you dodged all the rockets or got hit by every single one in a first person shooter doesn't matter in terms of the bigger pictures. So instead of 'ROCKETS!!!!1!' it becomes 'Oh, rockets...whatever'. And it's correct - it is indeed just a matter of whatever because it wont affect a thing.
Now I'm inclined to agree on the whole ghost thing, as you can't lose at it except to get literally lost and waste alot of time. That is boring.
And a debuff? It's a death spiral - it's like if your hit in a FPS, you become slower and so get hit even more. So I somewhat agree there.
But after going past those options, they seem to have gone to the extreme and have no penalty at all! Unless you count that small gold fee they mention.
Not to mention the whole 'tense <> fun' thing - plenty of people lose matches of FPS each day - the tension of whether you lose is part of that.
Now what I imagine they'll have is that you die, come back and you waddle up to where you were before in a mission or 'quest' and keep going. Why bother having death at all in that case, since your just going to waste time running back from a waypoint (same as the whole ghost thing) or someone raises you on the spot and...big deal, it wouldn't have mattered if you die. The whole 'downed and last ditch dramatic attempt to live' isn't dramatic at all, because it doesn't mean much except for potentially a ghost run.
I don't think this works out at all. But I'll grant it's what alot of other games roughly do already (that's not to say that it works in those games either).
It just seems to generate the illusion of danger/danger of losing. Really when you look at it, defeat isn't a penalty at all - it just has the illusion of being so.
But in reality all they are coding is an inconvenience, as much as the ghost walk.