This ties back to some thoughts about death penalties, permdeath and all the other silly ideas that recursively come up in the discussions. It come up in a thread about Vanguard but my comments are in general.
Shorter and straight to the point.
Simply put, harsh death penalties make you aim lower and lower (and grind more and more), bland death penalties make you aim higher and higher (and retry and challenge).
In two words: risk mitigation.
The process described is EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE of creating tension. It is about removing it in potential. It’s about encouraging the boredom and repetition.
What you didn’t “get” is that harsh death penalties (and harsh environments in particular) create “community”.
Also. Don’t confuse again journey with destination. “Risk” and “tension” are good in the *journey* (WoW has plenty of these). If we reduce the risk and tension to just a penalty on the experience points, we only continue to put the focus on the wrong element.
So yes, there’s good tension and bad tension.