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mowens's avatar

Gamers: Why does health recharge?

Asked by mowens (8379points) August 25th, 2010

It used to be in multiplayer first person shooters, you had to worry about your heath. There were heath packs everywhere that respawned. It added an element to free for all play that is lacking in today’s first person shooters. You had to guard the health. Has today’s youth been spoiled by the ease of today’s first person shooters? If you are in a fire fight and get hit too much, all you have to do is hide for 3 seconds and you are perfectly fine. This entire scheme is dumb! Why do games now use the rechargeable health? Which do you prefer and why?

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21 Answers

Seek's avatar


I mean, I’m a tabletop RPGer first, and D&D does have a rechargeable health system – you have to sleep, rest, hole yourself up in an inn somewhere for a while, and you gain something like one HP a night (depending on your DM’s rule, of course ^_^)

I think video games in general are way too damned easy, compared to tabletop gaming (there’s no way to just get lost and have to start over), but that’s just getting ridiculous.

Blackberry's avatar

I know what you mean, although I think it is because they just assume the player has those packs on him instead of running around finding them, trying to dodge bullets with 2% health lol. I completed a challenge in Modern Warfare 2 where I dodged death 5 times because I would get shot, recharge my health to full and keep on moving.

Otto_King's avatar

Heath or health??

ucme's avatar

Gotta keep the punters keen.

That0neguy01's avatar

Ah, well that is the shear beauty of Halo Reach soon to come out. health no longer regenerates, its all about health packs now. and this will be very good because its so true what you say about regeneration. its pathetic and its ment for people who r too scared to fight and go hide to get their health back up. we have been spoiled lol. but ya Halo Reach, im definitely pre ordering and cant wait to play this game. health packs are just one of the several huge improvements

mowens's avatar

@That0neguy01 That makes me so much happier about my preorder.

@Blackberry Come on, in Halo, someone can get on a hilling frenzy just because their health recharges. There is no skill in killing the same people over and over. You keep the better guns, and have full heath. Of course you are going to win. But, if you had 50% health, that changes the way you take on your next opponents!

Seek's avatar


And and, when you do get killed, you just recharge somewhere else, and get to keep all your stuff (or find it within moments).

BS. You die, you’re dead. New character, start over.

bobloblaw's avatar

This is actually a topic that I’m extremely interested in (game design theory, etc).

To answer your question, I see it as a mechanic. It’s use and effect varies. Sometimes it’s used to make your character incredibly strong (e.g. the Halo series where you can actually take a lot of hits) or its used to keep you from barreling into a hail of gunfire, but still wants you to stay in the game (e.g. the Call of Duty series where your character can only take a few hits). For the former, it makes sense: you’re a super soldier and should be able to take a lot of hits and have heightened blah blah blah. For the latter, it also makes sense: you’re a regular soldier and shouldn’t be able to take a lot of hits and, thus, should be a bit more tactical while taking the occasional risk.

The sensitivity of the amount of damage you take dramatically alters the game in terms of your tactics, split second decisions, etc. I wouldn’t say that it necessarily makes games easier, but it tends to reflect a shift in design elements. Developers seem to be more interested in letting you play and experience the game instead of pulling you out of it every few minutes via “death.” They’re trying to keep the experience realistic, but recognize that, for this particular genre, dying quickly wouldn’t be fun.

I don’t necessarily like one over the other. I don’t really make a value judgment about the mechanic. It’s just a rule that is imposed by the designers just like any other game (video game or tabletop). A game can still be just as challenging w/this mechanic in place as if it were not. It’ll just be a different kind of challenging.

@That0neguy01 I don’t understand the cowardly player argument. It’s a video game. Are you blaming the players for using a game mechanic, to their advantage, that the designers put into the game? Isn’t that just… playing the game?

@Seek_Kolinahr If I recall correctly, D&D 4E also has the mechanic to suddenly resuscitate after your HP goes to zero by rolling… I forget… above 15 on a d20? Would you also fault 4E for having that mechanic?

On the topic of ‘simply starting over,’ I’d say tabletop gaming and video games are fundamentally different in the sense of who controls the experience. With video games, you don’t really control the experience. It’s the developer/programmers/designers. In tabletop gaming? It’s the DM, then it’s the players. Fundamentally, tabletop gaming is designed to be an as-you-go sort of experience while video games, no matter how non-linear they try to be, is fundamentally a linear experience. I suppose, it’s a question of which you prefer.

Seek's avatar

4E isn’t D&D. If Gary Gygax were alive, he’d spit on it.

DeanV's avatar

Because there are very few games where it is genuinely fun to die.

Some of my favorite games don’t have regenerative health. Half-Life 2, in my opinion the best FPS game ever relies exclusively on health packs.

jerv's avatar

I prefer those that require the use of items or abilities to regain health. If you want to make things that easy then why bother having a health gauge at all; just have everyone run around in God Mode with infinite ammo! I like my FPS games to have at lesat some degree of realism, and until I can recover from a real-world gunshot wound or twelve in only a few seconds, I see the way health recharges in most games at utter bullshit.

@Seek_Kolinahr That’s what Clerics are for, and I don’t think Gary Gygax would waste the time or saliva. Personally, I might take the time to piss on it though.
As far as I am concerned, real gamers use 3d6 :P

@dverhey Part of the fun of a game is challenge and a test of skill. If you don’t like dying then don’t lose health/HP! If that means that you have to actually develop some skill in how not to get hit then so be it.
It also forces FPS players to fight like they have a pair. If you are at 2% health and can’t recharge then you’ll either sneak off to a health pack or go out in a blaze of glory. If you are the type to just hit and run then you should use tactics instead of a built-in automatic cheat code.

bobloblaw's avatar

@jerv I think that’s a gross oversimplification of how the mechanic actually works in many games. There are many other mechanics you’d have to consider. For example, you’d also have to consider difficulty level. Playing in any Call of Duty game is substantially harder on higher difficulties than it is on lower difficulties (death is very, very frequent). This applies to most FPS games, including the much reviled as being “too” mainstream Halo series.

DeanV's avatar

@jerv Oh, I know. I definitely know. I’m the person why sits behind cover for way too long lobbing grenades over the wall and leaning out from behind the car, whatever. It takes me an unreasonably long time to actually complete some games because a lot of the time I won’t come out from under cover until the area is completely clear.

That being said, sometimes the fun of playing FPS games is to fight like you don’t have a pair, run forward, get shot multiple times and then run backwards before you die. I mean, sometimes I play Call Of Duty just because I’m tired of getting one shot killed from across the map in Counter-Strike.

Berserker's avatar

Well, things evolve. Call of Duty or MAG is now about strategy and team work, and not merely trying not to die. Just cuz you think it’s dumb doesn’t mean it is.

I see your point though. I don’t understand why medieval or fantasy based beat em ups like Knights of the Round or King of Dragons doesn’t exist anymore. Why the hell should I have to hunt frogs and pick mushrooms in order to keep on clinging to the end of my life bar when I could just walk over roasted warthog or pheasant?

Oh and what the fuck are zombies doing in WWII anyways? Damn you, Normandy! dAAAMN j00000

Seek's avatar

And what the hell is a freshly roasted pheasant doing lying around in the wilderness?

Berserker's avatar

Never mind that, what the hell is it doing coming out of dead soldiers?

Seek's avatar

And why are those BugBears doing carrying around wads of cash?

Berserker's avatar

Probably they encountered some party that didn’t have high enough levels.
I denno, when I used to play those kinds of games, I used to like making up scenarios for all the illogical stuff, and I had fun doing it.

CherrySempai's avatar

I definitely prefer when the games don’t use automatically recharging health. It used to get scarier and scarier as you lose health and need to make sure you stay safe and find more health.

However, I play Warcraft III, not first person shooter, so the health thing goes both ways. Health regenerates extremely slowly for all of my units (changes depending on time of day/ground for some races), but there’s always ways to get health (from shops, certain structures, or hero ability.) This is a very different topic between RTS and FPS, but I can definitely see where you’d be annoyed. :] If I was chasing a unit and all they had to do was hide behind a bush for a few seconds to regain health, I wouldn’t be playing this game.

What bothers me, though, is how losing health doesn’t effect the unit’s speed, fighting ability, or accuracy. You’d think if you had 10/4500 health, you’d be moving at a slower pace or at least panting a little. If I get a hero down to 6 health, the fact that he was made faster than me shouldn’t just let him get away on foot. I worked hard to do that, and he just frolics off like he wasn’t even scratched. Grr. <.<

jerv's avatar

@bobloblaw I have seen it implemented in different ways and with varying levels of success. I think my favorite implementation of automatically regaining health is Mercenaries 2:World in Flames since the rate of regeneration and the delay before it kicks in are such that it doesn’t feel cheesy the way others do. If you go into the middle of a raging firefight, you will probably die since the only way to regain health in combat is to use items; you really can’t hide long enough to regain any meaningful amount of health, However, if you win or escape totally (which generally requires a vehicle for enough speed to get away and to soak a few hits for you while you get out of range) then you are back at full health in a minute or so. In other words, you can’t cheese your way through a gun battle, but you don’t have to waste time or items to continue with the story.

I find Call of Duty‘s regen to be a little too quick to not be considered cheesy.

@dverhey I feel that long-distance one-shot kills are realistic. (The Barrett M82 is quite real) Just take advantage of the fact that most snipers are easy to flank and they really aren’t that big a problem ;)

That0neguy01's avatar

@bobloblaw Well even though the option to hide and recharge is there, dosnt mean you have to always do it. if im half dead, i just go for it. better to die with a fight then die hiding an someone throwin a frag in my hiding spot. idk if its just me but i find camping in video games like these just sad

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