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When Gods Choose You: A Dynamic Deity System Based on Player Behavior

The concept of an extended religion system goes beyond the game's current scope, but we'd value community feedback on this little design experiment while we await the release of alpha 2.

The world of Verra has 7 primary Gods. This proposal introduces a new system focused on its 'minor gods'. Rather than players actively choosing a minor God to worship, envision a dynamic where a deity approaches YOU based on your gameplay behaviour. If a God identifies with your playstyle and the way you spend your time, they may approach you to instigate a relationship. For instance:

- Spending over X hours in ships might attract attention from the God of the Sea.
- Avoiding combat and mobs might draw attention from the God of Pacifism.
- Relentless participation in castle/node sieges might appeal to the God of War.
- Spending over X hours appreciating vistas might evoke the God of Landscapes.
- A penchant for collectible items might attract the God of Longing.

In this system, the trends of your in-game actions trigger an encounter with a God NPC who offers unique quests that manifest as risk/reward ‘bargains,’ each designed to reflect the God’s nature. The God of Coin might, for example, dare you to double a portfolio of gold. Your success or failure would determine the nature of the God’s subsequent reward or retribution. As you deepen your bond with a particular deity, you may unlock increasingly severe risk/reward bargains, as well as other quest types such as ‘pilgrimages’ which take you across the land of Verra.

We envision a system where the data-tracking of player actions begins at a certain level, with the first divine encounter happening after a minimum number of gameplay hours, and only if the player meets the behaviour criteria for a given God. If the player refuses a God’s initial proposal, the same number of hours must pass before another God approaches. Importantly, players would only be allowed to engage with one minor God at a time.

We've meticulously crafted profiles for 13 minor gods in this spreadsheet. We’d love to get your thoughts on these designs and to hear any ideas you have for minor deities. All the best from Canada!

Comments

  • I think the game should tempt players to do different things too rather than rewarding them when they keep doing the same things more often. Because if players are aware of such systems which reward spending over X hours doing the same thing, players will do that for the purpose of interacting with the God not because they like the activities.
    So maybe the list of gods should be increased, also with Gods which try to tempt players to do something they don't usually do.
  • It's an interesting idea but i think i prefer the current idea where we pick who we worship and go down a path of light or dark for different rewards such as augments and abilities.

    Although for those that choose to not pick a religion, this could be interesting way to help suggest to players what path may be currently ideal to their play style but then it involves another progression tracking system to be implemented which takes up more development time.
    Having gods and affiliate deities is common in many polytheist religions so it could definitely bring some interesting progression options depending what path you go down.

    As for unveiling and interactions with gods that's a big risk for lore and story development if rushed or not timely handled accordingly. Lots of games lose their identity when the story driven from its roots and focused around gods and some bigger fate and destiny thing which can stem from this.

    Definitely looks like you put some work into that spreadsheet though! (just skimmed it over to be honest)

  • NoaaniNoaani Member, Intrepid Pack
    To me, this kind of thing seems like a concept that a single player game could be built around.

    The problem with it in an MMORPG is that it will force players to take actions they may otherwise not wish to take.

    Using the OP's example, if I have the attention of the God of pacifism, that will make me perhaps not want to get in to a fight against someone, or even just against some mobs, for fear of losing that attention.

    In a single player game where you can save and load, and you can do multiple runs of the game as a whole, this kind of thing could work.
  • Noaani wrote: »
    Using the OP's example, if I have the attention of the God of pacifism, that will make me perhaps not want to get in to a fight against someone, or even just against some mobs, for fear of losing that attention.

    In order to attract the God of Pacifism, players have to spend a significant amt of time playing like a pacifist, so presumably this tension wouldn't occur too frequently. And if it did, players could just opt out of their progression track with that God. They'd lose the negative, but also the buff.

    The criticism I really like from your post is the idea that this might pressure people to play differently - which could totally happen if one of the Gods gave a boon with a game-breaking advantage, and suddenly everyone has to grind as a 'pacifist' to attract one specific God. But as long as you avoided designing awful buffs, I think you'd be in the clear!
  • Gods is in lore always make things really interesting, and can be fun to see their influence in the game world.
  • It's a fab idea, for sure. I mean, if you're the kind of person who likes sailing on the sea, why wouldn't you want to meet the God Of The Sea?
    I do think that being able to pick your own god that you follow is important, but that doesn't mean that other gods wouldn't be interested in you.
    This link may help you: https://ashesofcreation.wiki/
  • RoxiRoxi Member
    edited October 2023
    it turns out that the relationship between the character and the gods can be represented in the form of a table (as in wow reputation)...
    the main thing is that the reputation is dynamic... both + and -
    5ls3nob7lngp.gif
  • I wonder if there will be an idol or a shrine in your characters residence that can reflect your religion and path choice accordingly (light to dark). Be an interesting furnishing to have does not have to be something extravagant.
  • I wonder if there will be an idol or a shrine in your characters residence that can reflect your religion and path choice accordingly (light to dark). Be an interesting furnishing to have does not have to be something extravagant.

    you can build a chapel in the freehold... and no one forbids you to hang a picture of your god, or his symbols. Like the portraits in Steven’s stream about freeholds.
    5ls3nob7lngp.gif
  • Roxi wrote: »
    I wonder if there will be an idol or a shrine in your characters residence that can reflect your religion and path choice accordingly (light to dark). Be an interesting furnishing to have does not have to be something extravagant.

    you can build a chapel in the freehold... and no one forbids you to hang a picture of your god, or his symbols. Like the portraits in Steven’s stream about freeholds.

    true, I suppose that's always an option but I was thinking of something more unique per se. Having visual affects alter your religious shrine or object or even just the object itself on a spectrum could be fun thing to have. Imagine seeing a shrine in a tavern and you're like.... huh the barkeep is a dark worshipper of this god as one example haha
  • NoaaniNoaani Member, Intrepid Pack
    Roseburia wrote: »
    Noaani wrote: »
    Using the OP's example, if I have the attention of the God of pacifism, that will make me perhaps not want to get in to a fight against someone, or even just against some mobs, for fear of losing that attention.

    In order to attract the God of Pacifism, players have to spend a significant amt of time playing like a pacifist, so presumably this tension wouldn't occur too frequently. And if it did, players could just opt out of their progression track with that God. They'd lose the negative, but also the buff.

    The criticism I really like from your post is the idea that this might pressure people to play differently - which could totally happen if one of the Gods gave a boon with a game-breaking advantage, and suddenly everyone has to grind as a 'pacifist' to attract one specific God. But as long as you avoided designing awful buffs, I think you'd be in the clear!

    If the buffs aren't worth it, the system isn't worth it.
  • AzheraeAzherae Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    I'm not sure how much work I'd be willing to ask them to do.

    Fallen London and Sunless Sea are entire games unto themselves, and even they don't get it right ENOUGH for me.

    That said, I would appreciate it if they could reach at least the Fallen London tier of Qualia distinctions, for Religion at least.

    It's usually best left as fluff. As RP fluff. There are ways to make it mechanically distinct without making it mechanically IMPORTANT, and I'd argue that if Ashes cares enough to HAVE a Religion system, that's where it should aim.

    I doubt anyone needs more detail on this. But just in case it helps the Intrepid Religion Design team.
    Go play Fallen London sometimes/in your downtime, if you haven't already.

    But you're not looking for successes, you're looking for shortfalls and immersion gaps. It contains a lot of places where the player makes an identity choice that could be reflected in their options for Actions, while still being mostly fluff.

    Sure, there are players who minmax and metagame even the absolute tiniest of these when they are provided. Skim through the guides as a reminder of just how pedantic people can get about .4% efficiency increases.

    But I'm talking about the fact that you can (at the expense of dev time, but hopefully if you're reading this, this IS your whole job) add gameplay (not even just dialogue) options where there's two or three ways to get the fundamentally same success toward a goal, but with different paths, and you can throw a lot of this stuff in there.

    Just remember there will always be literally that player who will go 'Well the left route to this dungeon boss is 4 distance units shorter, but on the other hand Archetype A takes 0.5s longer to open the door using their ability than Archetype B does on the door to the right route, so YMMV'. In a guide. On the YouTubes.

    Flavor is important though. I support it.
    Sorry, my native language is Erlang.
    
  • DygzDygz Member, Braver of Worlds, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    edited October 2023
    I'd rather learn more about what we can do with the current major gods before trying to theorycraft a different feature for minor gods.

    (I have downloaded Mask of the Rose, but haven't had time to play it yet.)
  • I’m good with deities staying in the imagination of those who care to worship them. Sailing the high seas or venturing into the mountains is its own reward.
    AoC+Dwarf+750v3.png
  • CROW3 wrote: »
    I’m good with deities staying in the imagination of those who care to worship them. Sailing the high seas or venturing into the mountains is its own reward.

    So, just ignore them when they give you the quest. Maybe it's your mind playing tricks on you, or you've been on the funny mushrooms. There'd be no reason you have to take their quest.
    This link may help you: https://ashesofcreation.wiki/
  • @daveywavey ignore a god? SUCH INSOLENCE!

    LOL.

    But serious, adding gods and theirs appearances would set the tone and theme of the game quite early assuming the game's story is based around the gods this early. Religion is a relatively integral part of the game but having gods appear changes things quite drastically :smile:
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