|If you can't beat me...I wont punish you. Just kill you.|
Picking up an article link from Tesh's blog...
I think there's a double speak in terms of the use of the word 'penalty' going on. That article makes the first mistake, saying a level with checkpoints and a level with no checkpoints requires the same amount of skill. This is simply not true - try throwing a single coin in a cup. Not so hard. Now do ten in a row, with your count reseting if you miss one. With check points, your only throwing one coin into one cup - fail and you just try the one cup again. Ugh - I hope no ones going to make a two girls, one cup joke after than analogy...
Is it actually punishment to be sent right back to the start? In the linked article, he talks about great tests of skill. But the very thing about a great test of skill is that unless your sent back to the start, it's not a great test of skill. If you 'have' to hit the bullseye to move on...but then when you shoot your own foot your still allowed to move on, then you didn't HAVE to hit the bullseye. Indeed the great test of skill involved at most required you to hit your own foot.
But not being allowed to move on is just a punishment, right? Totally not needed for challenge!
No, actually it is needed for real challenge. For a simulation of challenge, where we pretend we need to hit the bullseye but when we hit the nearby tree we move on anyway, you don't need punishment. So if you want a simulation of challenge rather than actual challenge, I'll pay the point.
Also I will pay that having a large punishment for death generally works out in most mmorpgs as your risking $100 to earn $2. The monster that could make you pay through the teeth is only going to give up a tiny scrap of treasure. It's not the traditional way gambling goes - on the other hand, in traditional gambling the house always wins.
There are no 'great tests of skill' without a 'punishment' of being sent back in some way if you fail the test.