The Vault Hub had an opportunity to interview Jumpgate Evolution's producer Hermann Peterscheck, who touched upon squads, tradeskills, death penalty and role playing possibilities:
How are you planning to handle death penalties, similar to JG:C, or a new system totally?
Hermann: It will be quite different for all kinds of reasons. As said above, when you change some part of the design, it implies changes in other areas. As an example Evolution will give you rewards for completing certain missions - if you lose those items on death, as you would in Classic, how can you get them back? Also, if we put more emphasis on getting "rare" objects, then taking them away becomes a very steep penalty. Also, I think that taking items from people is a major way to get people to never want to play again. It was fun for the murderer in Ultima Online that when you killed someone all their stuff dropped - it was a bit less fun for the victim; and, of course, the murderer to victim ratio is what will end up defining the number of people playing the game. If enough people leave the game is "empty" and then "no one wants to play an empty game" syndrome sets in. So as you can see, the choice of death penalty has all these implications. Also, as MMOs have advanced the death penalty mechanics have changed which, in turn, changes player expectations. I think it would be hard to get away with a death penalty where you drop all your stuff and lose half a level of experience, since there are these other games out there where that doesn't happen.
On the other side we have the horrible problem of death being meaningful. If I die and I just click a button and pick up exactly where I left off with all my stuff and no time sink, then I'm not really motivated by a sense of danger. Although FPSes do this, are you really afraid of dying in Quake beyond how it affects your score? In counterstrike, on the other hand, you REALLY care about dying because once you die you have to wait until the next match. So I feel that death penalty should sting enough to make people want to get back in and succeed but not hurt so much that it makes them want to quit. It's a tricky thing, now isn't it?
Read the rest at IGN's Vault Hub.