To those unfamiliar with the term, Deathtraps are 'rooms' that, when you enter them, eat all your gear. It's gone. Just like that. POOF!
If an MMO had deathtraps (hacking doesn't count, and EVE is an anomaly) players would be screaming bloody murder.
And they'd be absolutely right to.
Deathtraps served a few purposes on MUDs - the purposes varied depending on the architecture and design of the MUD, but broadly speaking, Deathtraps were there to:
- Get rid of grandfathered gear, or old, overpowered gear no longer available, thereby putting newer players on more even ground with older ones
- Foster community through having the players come together to support one of their own
- Serve as gold sinks, because everything is gold, eventually, and deathtraps eat that, too. Gear is just transmogrified gold! XD
- Impart a sense of risk to some areas where they fit with the atmosphere
- Increase immersion by forcing (or trying to force, anyway!) players to pay attention to their steps
In an MMO, I don't see Deathtraps fulfilling any of those functions. Because MMOs aren't free. Especially not the F2P ones.
Once money enters the equation, it brings with it a sense of entitlement. Throw a 'massive' franchised feel into it, and there goes the sense of community. Help the other guy? Why should I! I'm not paying <Subscription amount of your choice> here a month, or I didn't spend <amount of your choice> in the cash shop to be at someone else's service, Nosirree! Yes, I'm generalising, how else are nuggets supposed to frolic on their soapboxes?
In LegendMUD (and others), I'd risk my hard-won, oftentimes customised gear, to help a friend with corpse retrievals. Because in the smaller communities that MU*s encourage, the human connection is worth more than gear or stats. You *know* those people. And even if it's just a newbie that happens to have their tragic death announced on a MU*wide channel, if they ask for help, if people are around, they tend to help gladly. Sometimes, the newbie doesn't even have to ask. There isn't a culture of 'L2PN00b!'. I believe it's because in MU*s, the communities are small enough that there's always the thought that this newbie could become a friend. That you're proud of your world, and you want them to love it too. Because the world itself is a labour of love.
In a context like that... Deathtraps and harsh death penalties make absolute sense. MMOs are not the same beasts. Just something for those who consider harsher death penalties the Holy Grail of MMO excitement to ponder.