It's been almost six months since the new changes to death xp was instituted and I can't help but think it's had a negative impact on actual mechanical activity. The more people try to hunt, the more people who I talk to that go and complain about the xp loss rate. The more I hunt, the more I talk with people who are hunting.... the more I come to the conclusion that these changes are actually meant to do more than punish death. It's meant to punish player activity in the form of PVE. It's meant to force people to roleplay/emote, due to the fact that death is an inevitability (unless you just emote/roleplay) and to make them feel like its not worth it to hunt for experience.
What I mean is this.... that the flat rate of 1% xp loss escalates as you increase in level, which increases the higher you get. At level 100, you'll lose about 35k experience, at level 125 you'll lose about 117k, at level 150 you'll lose about 400k xp, at level 175 you'll lose at least 1M xp. A lot of bashers I talk to hate this concept because depending on our level (and experience boost), it can take anywhere from 1-7 hours to get everything back. We (the consistent bashers (while being a minority)) bash because we like the increase in numbers, we like to feel as if we're progressing in level and experience. We bash because we want our level rank to increase. Most current consistent bashers bash because they want to get to level 200 and become the next person to achieve this accomplishment (Coribhell, Trikal, Isia, Wylliam, Neron).
While yes, XP is just a meaningless number to the vast majority of the populace. XP means a lot more than that to those of us who actually enjoy bashing. However, we are being punished for actually enjoying something more than just mindless emotes or sitting in a room for hours on end and talking with people. We enjoy going out there and grinding, committing genocide of entire areas, slaughtering entire villages or a plethora of animals. We like the feeling of seeing that number go up just as much as a crafter loves seeing their design approved or as much as a roleplayer loves seeing new people to roleplay with.
We don't get that satisfaction anymore because of how much experience we lose when we die. Instead, we get frustrated, we get flustered, we get angry, and we don't want to do what we love doing. Everyone says death didn't mean anything which is why the change happened. Of course death doesn't mean anything. In this game, we're essentially an immortal mortal. We know this game doesn't have permadeath that some MUDs do, we know we're going to come back. We know that its just a small timer before we rise back up and are wandering around Sapience again.
So why would it matter how much/little experience someone loses on death? To punish their activity.
Should it matter that you die on a hunt? No.
Should it matter that you died because you angered someone? Maybe.
Should it matter that you died in an enemy city? Absolutely.
There are circumstances that would be suited for extreme xp loss (dying in an enemy city which is likely due to the fact that you're raiding). However, what we have now is an extreme xp loss for death as a whole... which is punishing to those who actually want to hunt, or do something more than just be a drone for roleplay circumstances. This is punishing to a point where the people who DO enjoy hunting... are slowly reaching the point where we don't and we don't even want to login and play because what we love doing is no longer a viable option.
Additionally, I even talk to people (people who don't use forums or even those who are shy about their opinion because they feel that it doesn't mean anything nor would change anything) who will take lower level people hunting just to powerbash them to level 100 and even they tell me that they hunt the low level areas that offer the lowest risk of death possible because, they too, do not want to die and lose a massive portion of their xp. And they hunt the low level areas, because even though they aren't a consistent basher, they like seeing their newbie levels rising instead of dropping because of death.
Some would argue that the promo item effigy makes this all meaningless. But the effigy as an artifact is a joke. 25 credits for a single use item is, at best, just a con. An item like this would best be suited as a gold/multi-use item instead of something that is just as expensive an a chalice (which can be used for 24 hours). Additionally, with the new changes the soulbind artifact is made effectively useless because you'll save 35% of 1% loss. Which at level 150.... is only about 15k xp, give or take a couple thousand.
As a solution, I would suggest changing xp loss back to the way it was before. Or even reducing it to a lower flat rate. 100k xp loss (this is at most, 30-60 minutes of bashing for anyone) for dying a normal circumstance (PVE/PVP), but keep the 5% xp loss staying for dying in an enemy city (because again, you're likely raiding and people don't like it when you do).