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The Inane Ramblings of Devour

OR : How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Game!

Author: Devour

Religion, Opium of the Masses

Posted by Devour Tuesday October 28 2008 at 5:34PM
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To diverse gods
Do mortals bow;
Holy Cow, and
Wholly Chao.

 

Welcome to the second of a long maybe not so much awaited but still definitely happening right now blog on the state of game designer's ability to distinguish between erotica, games and marching armies of fingers with little acorns for helmets.
   Religion is probably the largest, most influential thing in the world. It influences morals, law, mores, EVERYTHING. And, yet, it's probably the least looked at thing in MMOs, no doubt because developers are scared of pissing someone, somewhere, off. In a realistic, grim setting, we'd see very little from gods, prayers going unrewarded, day to day life trotting on with boredom and toil, no real point in praying.
   But, most MMOs aren't real life, are they? Gods could do wondrous deeds, change the world, punish their flock for not following the precepts of their faith, reward them with artifacts and magic to herald their religion.
   But, no. Instead we get a few quest descriptions that mention it, and some fluff in the manual. We have paladins grouping with practitioners of dark magic and stealing from the innocent, whereas they'd be excommunicated at the very least for these acts.
   Anyway, moving onto the point, instead of the shaft of the cucumber, developers are missing out on a major point of contention, which would really sway the roleplaying masses in their favour. The ability to found your own faith, to create sects and splits off. Anything, just give a few GMs the power to roleplay Gods, and you have a new, bright dawn for mortals.
   Now, onto how this fits into this blog. For the most part, religion has been a reason for war, conflict and conquest, and I envision it would be the same in an MMO that included the system. Your God orders you to go kill someone? Damn, you better do it, otherwise you might be stripped of your powers granted by him or her, OR IT DUN DUN DUNNNN. But, yes, the idea of divine mandates with appropriate rewards would mean players quickly factionalised into worshipping a god, maybe pantheons slowly emerging as they came together under a single banner.
   Religion is, in the end, just one of the many, many, MANY missing features from MMOs, due to developers instead focusing on a linear quest grind, rather than simple systems which would increase the enjoyability factor of each MMO tenfold.

FOR THE LAZY GITS

- Religion is a major driving force in real life, for pretty much everything, despite not having a major basis.
- Religion in fantasy has a major basis and should be a major driving force, but most game developers as a whole seem to ignore this.
- Introducing a cleverly designed religious system into an MMO would lead to an increase in complexity and enjoyability to roleplayers from this.

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