I guess this is one of those inconsistencies that drives me crazy when playing games of this type.  Heck, even in non-mmo type games we see this type of thing (remember Aeris from FF7?  oh sorry, spoilers!).  Yeah, I know it’s all part of building a good story, but do the plot elements and gameplay elements have to be totally exclusive?  Maybe simple fixes like instead of player death, they just get knocked out, that way it’s not a big deal if a NPC stays dead.  But when you start making exceptions to the rule, you start wondering why the heck you even have Phoenix Downs in the first place.  I suppose this all goes back to my earlier questions about immersion, so for me this type of mechanic disparity is kind of troubling.  Sigh, least they could do is make it so you see their ghosts when you’re doing corpse runs… that’d be amusing!  Heh, come to think of it, from the NPC point of view, all player characters are basically zombies!  >D

Ps!  The last comic, the Steamboat Mario one is actually for sale!  Head on to the SHOP for more details!