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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.

Trashcantoy writes:

religion isnt a major force in my life since im an atheist, BUT i agree that a religion adds a new dimension to an mmo. i thoroughly enjoyed black&white so id definitely try an mmo with gods in it, be it npcs or players, it sounds like a lot of fun.

Tue Oct 28 2008 5:47PM Report
megafluxmega writes:

alot of offline rpg's use religion (sacred 2 for example). but in the mmorpg-verse it is a double edged sword. it could alienate alot of people (not that i care) just by putting it in the games. i LOVE pointing out to bible thumpers in mmorpg's that what they are doing is in-fact a sin! thats right video games are an abomination and not only are they participating, they are worshipping in the form of $. usually shuts them down pretty quick. add to that that not all religions are based on monotheism (just the bigger dumber ones) and people are almost sure to disagree. remember they want to make as much $ for as little effort as possible (apparently), adding a large amount of religion would be like adding gay sex, bondage, drug use, antisemitizam, or animal cruelty.

now im personally for all those things in games, but im willing to bet the general population isnt, and the last thing you want is a bunch of stupid people starting protests denouncing your game on the 6'oclock news because you have drug induced satanic puppy rape in it.

Tue Oct 28 2008 6:47PM Report
Death1942 writes:

if you look at the evolution of DnD and even some of the more popular fantasy settings you will see a heavy influence of gods at the start.  some terrible war or plague (read: humans) emerging then all of a sudden the gods are gone.  though i accept gods are a wonderful idea in this setting it does tend to end in a horrible and bloody mess. 

another thing to consider is Devs want you to be the hero.  not some servant of a god.  they want you to be THE gods.  its a stupid idea and i hate it but thats pretty much every MMO out there.  a realistic MMO would tell you (and rightly so) your just another adventurer who needs to work (shock horror) to earn their reputation.  you gotta strive to make yourself better.

Tue Oct 28 2008 8:14PM Report
Hawkeye666 writes:

The actualy quote is "Religion is the opiate of the masses." It's from Karl Marx\, I beleive.

From a marketing standpoint it would be very difficult to add religion to a game without making the marketing slime department very very nervous. But having said that it would make a great addition to an MMORPG.  The game mechanics might be a bit hard to create at first, after all its not like you can stop in a fight and kneel to pray for 30 seconds. Unless of course you save some really blessed armour.

And I'm pretty sure those stories about satanic puppy rape are way over blown. After all I've been to many a satanic  ceremony and those puppies were always willing... Oh wait...did I say too much?

Wed Oct 29 2008 4:06AM Report
Mequellios writes:

I'm not religious in real life, but I've always enjoyed the idea of religion in MMOs. I'm very inspired by the myths of Greek Mythology and even Christianity.

The idea of a supreme being being the source of your great power is indeed, an intriguing feature that more fantasy MMOs should incorporate.

Wed Oct 29 2008 4:10AM Report
daltanious writes:

Religion (with accompanying gods, witches, ...) is the worst human invention ever, did much more harm through history than discovery of atom.

And I'm happy there is not to much opium .... ups, religion, in games, War have it maybe to much for my taste, but ... it is the game.

Have same problem with a lot of movies "selling" stuff under table ... but ...

Thu Oct 30 2008 5:31AM Report
Devour writes:

Urgh, do you even realise what this blog is meant to be saying? It's suggesting that we have FICTIONAL religions in a game. What was the main driving force behind war in the Crusades ages?

Thu Apr 16 2009 8:43AM Report

MMORPG.com writes:
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