Other (explain below):
TL:DR – Reasons I think the other ideas should be avoided (or implemented), and finally my idea for how log in and out should be handled (bottom).
Since the whole idea is a continuous single shard, I wonder what the purpose of removing your character magically from the universe would be. Especially when people are talking about making extremely long distance journeys. Having your character magically disappear can also lead to being easily abused. Sneak onto someone’s ship, log out before they take off, log in after some hours and kill everyone on the ship without anyone having known you were onboard. (similar to how people sneak into other people’s bases in multi-shard games).
The cryo/bed idea is nice, as it gives the requirement of players having to go to the appropriate item to put their character to bed. It makes the item a valuable commodity (necessary) and also would give a place for those “empty bodies” to be placed. This does of course give rise to many issues as it could not and should not be used like a resurrection node. It also makes it so new players can’t log out (assuming we have to construct all initial beds.) If this is implemented though, I hope that it would be more like Minecraft in the sense that the materials for it might be low for the first bed. To keep a sense of realism it should only be 1 person per bed unless the bed is specifically designed for 2. Also, have the option to craft better looking or difference versions of space cryo/beds. I would also prefer that the person in the bed is shown.
The “ragdoll out” method doesn’t make much sense to me as it has been stated, as then we would have corpses all over the place. Even if they disappear after a while, where would you log back into? Do you magically just pop back into existence where you logged out? At one of the previously mentioned cryo/bed items? At a resurrection node? Too many unanswered questions for me on this one to make it worthwhile. Unless I completely don’t understand what is meant by ragdoll.
My idea – I hope that no one else mentioned this, but here goes. I think our character, just like our ships and other creations should have persistence. You can log out anywhere you want, but your character will remain in the game. This would require you to ensure where you log out is relatively safe. Whether this be a base, or a ship. Thinking along the lines of pvp; if someone attacks and takes over your ship, chances are you’ll be going to resurrection node regardless of if your character is there or not. This method forces people to have to secure locations for themselves as well as their belongings. I makes it so people can’t just anger quit and magically avoid an attack. I makes it so when your control point is getting taken over, you can’t just log out in the control room to log in and initiate a recap to try and steal it back later. It forces you to take responsibility for your character and its life. Could people try to grief with this? Sure they could (thinking man in a box/hole), but if we have the option to kill self, then this eliminates the possibility of being griefed. Again, if they found you and your ship/base, you were probably already headed to a resurrection node anyways. So you lose nothing that you weren’t’ going to lose anyways. Gameplay aspects aside, it would make the universe seem that much more lived in. There are no (or at least possibly an extremely limited number of) NPCs in game. So basically, following some of the other ideas, it’s either going to be barren 1/2 the time or filled with corpses. Having other characters (even if no one is “driving” them) would add atmosphere, immersion, and liveliness to the game. Course, if they aren’t moving it will just look like a bunch of mannequins. At this point I’d like to add another idea I was thinking. Character scripts: since we can have various things working automated even when we are logged out (IE: machines running, automated flight, automated skill learning, etc.) Why can’t we have a basic (STRESSED BASIC) script / command for the character for when we are logged out? I mean for things such as, walking to a destination, being in a defensive position (try to protect yourself), working on a craft, maybe even mining. I can already hear the people screaming “NO!”, because this is basically “botting” and might lead to REAL botters. I counter – automated machine mining will FAR outpace anything a single character will do. Multiple characters won’t help you (and be less likely due to subscription model) as if you are found, people can just kill you. Nothing you could do with your single life being scripted would ever amount to something more than what your machines could do on their own.
I had more reasons and ideas, but I’ve already written a novel on this. Anyways, I think having your character stay just adds more to the game. Having your character do basic activities while you are gone, adds even more.