I actually enjoy seeing character deaths, since they tend to be quite rare so they're a refreshing experience by itself.
As similar to ill_intent's opinion, what tends to be the worst character deaths are the long drawn out dramatic ones. A longlasting aftermath of said death usually is much more enjoyable; dragging out the death itself usually only ends up making it a chore and squeezing all the realism out of it. Drama can often work well, don't get me wrong, but not very much in RPGs, which is often beset by the need to move the plot to make this work properly. MuvLuv Alternative (a Japanese visual novel) is a good case of where long drawn out scenes and large amounts of drama actually does work well, thanks to its excellently done monologues.
For the causes? Is there ever a "wrong" cause of death? Random deaths, inevitable deaths, death by choices and etc. - they all work, it's usually how they are handled that is the problem. While meaningful choices are often brought up as important in RPGs, a reactive choice can be just as meaningful as a proactive one.
A game that I usually like to bring up on this issue is Eternal Filena (an old Super Famicom game), which has quite a few deaths throughout its plot, but they generally tend to have lasting impacts and/or written in a manner that it's easy to accept them and the need to move on.
I know I'm late to the party, but this brings up something I reeeeeeeeally wanna see:
(For those who haven't played the DLC to SOTW)
It hurt to see Rowinda die no matter what, and so I thought when (PLEASE make it when, and not if) a sequel is made, maybe she could come back as a ghost or something? I see it as working in canon: at the very last scene, after Riley says about her "Lava Diving" spell, she pops up laughing; so I would guess she's still alive, just in a different plane of existence.
I am very much against unavoidable deaths of main characters, I am ok if it is situation as in chose who to save and who to let die, because then there will be at least one ending where both of those will be alive, you will still be able to avoid death of your favorite character and because this tends to bring out even more emotions out of a player as s/he knows that it is because of his/her choices that that character is dying, like Geth vs Quarians in ME 3. True even then I would say don't ever do protagonist VS his/her lover as in the end whatever you choose both are getting equally bad end of it.
Other then that it might be ok if it is some minor character, likable but with no big rule, but I definitely think it is mistake to kill everyone's favorite main character and that in 99.99% cases it will just ruin a story, especially if it is character driven story.
True fake deaths are ok, true it can be tricky to do them right.
I think fake deaths are worse than real deaths because it's like "remember all that emotion I made you feel? Yeah, it's all for nothing, don't trust any future deaths either." Completely removes the element of danger from the story that adding the death was supposed to introduce.
I think depends how it's done. If it's like in Walking Dead, it's a bit ridiculous honestly. But if it's like Game Of Thrones, I think that one was pulled off well. I mean, once in a while, using powers, at right point of the plot, etc not done regularly.
Troyen wrote:I think fake deaths are worse than real deaths because it's like "remember all that emotion I made you feel? Yeah, it's all for nothing, don't trust any future deaths either." Completely removes the element of danger from the story that adding the death was supposed to introduce.
Maybe this is a difference between how deeply we get ourself in a story, because just imagine this situation in real life, you think someone you care about died and it turns up s/he didn't, you would first feel very sad but then very happy when you find out that person is still alive not say sr*w you all I felt was for noting and stop caring for him/her. And while rare and usually different then in fiction sometimes fake deaths happen in real life too. True I do agree with Jack that it depends on how it's done.
Excuse my pulling a Mormont here, but I gotta know what's up w/ this:
The other night I played the DLC to SOTW, w/ Shea as the MC as Krimm as his wife. Althea and Chalassa were also together, it seemed. But this was something that made ZERO SENSE:
In the Realm of Blood, after the waves of demons were called off by Jul and Althea was given the impossible decision, I chose "Kill myself" just to see what would happen w/ her not as the star but w/ Chalassa.
Out of nowhere, ARTAS shows up even though he hadn't left the physical world and pushes Rowinda in.
But that's still not the most weird thing: DECEIT then appears, gloating over Rowinda's death; even though he himself was supposed to be dead since Jul was now apparently in charge.
Oh, and in the part where Althea speaks to Jariel, she blames herself...Artas is never even hinted at.
Glitch? Weird thing that happens only w/ Kindle Fires?