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Hidden Pearls: GodVille – Massively-multiplayer Zero-player Game (Doubt It You Even Knew This Concept Could Exist at all!)

Hidden Pearls: GodVille – Massively-multiplayer Zero-player Game (Doubt It You Even Knew This Concept Could Exist at all!)The title of this post says “massively-multiplayer zero-player game” and you may think that I’m making a mistake here due to English being my second language, but i am not. How could a game be a multiplayer and zero-player at the same time?! Turns out, it’s really possible! A weird genre indeed, but it does exist even while it’s pretty much safe to say you have never heard of it. I’m talking about GodVille here, a proud exemplar of a genre it did not created, but greatly improved. This game has a great deal of people playing it and all the attributes of an MMO – cities, monsters, quests, items, PVP, even pets that characters can tame and care for. Yet, at the same time there are no direct actions that you can take in this game, even upon your own character besides creating it. Intriguing? So let’s find out more how that even works!

Before we go any further, i must say that you haven’t head of GodVille not because it’s a bad game, but merely because it’s a Russian game and there was no English (or any other, for that matter) equivalent of it until recently. The game has no graphics and every action and item are described by words that are full of humor (mainly wordplay) and internet meme references, which is quite hard to translate. But lately someone set on doing it and there is an English version now, so you can try it out. The game itself is really unique in concept and an interesting thing to learn about. So, where to begin…

Godville website

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What a “normal” game is supposed to be? You have a character, you click your mouse somewhere – the character goes there, you fully control it, as simple as that. Some games had taken it to a next level, like The Sims series did – you have a character and can make it do things, but it also has a certain amount of freedom to do things without you. Another step was Majesty series – you cannot make a character do something directly, it’s being controlled by AI, but you can influence AI into doing something you want by taking indirect actions (like making a hero kill a dragon by putting up a significant amount of gold for the dragon’s head). Normally, MMOs are up for “direct action control”, but when Majesty’s way of “influence action control” is taken and walked even further, that is when GodVille happens to be.

GodVille - Dwarf Fortress refence (Boatmurdered is DF succession game). In this game, you are the God. There are other players and they are Gods too – kind of Terry Pratchett’s “Small Gods”, i believe – and all of them are competing for the world dominance or something like that. Every self-respected God has a Hero. When you start a game, you create both the God – i.e., you – and the Hero, who will be your representative in the world of GodVille. The Hero does all the stuff that you would be doing in a “normal” MMO: hunts monsters for experience and levels, gathers and sells items for money, fights with other Heroes in your name, improves equipment, joins guilds and even (at some point) tames a pet monster for himself. At the same time, you cannot tell the Hero to do something, you’re a God after all – Gods don’t lead people by hand now, do they?

Your Hero basically plays the game for you, while you can only influence the Hero’s actions by “doing good” or “doing bad”. When “doing good” you can make a bush to burst into blossom, or a rainbow to shine, or even to heal your Hero – the outcome of your actions is mostly random. On the opposite, when “doing bad” you can strike your Hero with a lightning – or to help the Hero by doing this to a monster he is currently fighting or scaring a merchants who was trying to scam him. Also, you can speak to your Hero by typing a message and sending it over – Heroes understand simple sentences, like “heal yourself, faster!” or “kick him in the nuts!” but not always, and even when understood, the Hero may refuse to do as you say. All these actions require divine energy called Prana that is produced when the Hero is praying to its God. You can save up some energy for later use in a manner of “God battery” and, because GodVille is a F2P game, you also can buy Prana charges for real money.

Godville mobile versionSo, if the game is practically playing itself on its own, why would anyone want to watch it and even pay for anything? That’s the tricky part. You see, GodVille is also a parody game. It’s full of humor and internet memes are all around it. For example, my Hero currently has an item called “Shield of Impenetrable Stupidity”, and other items are fun too. All the monsters and actions have some humor in them, both Russian and English versions have its own humor references. The game is true hilarious at times, and there is ability to suggest new items and stuff by the players themselves (new stuff is approved by vote and then by moderators), so the game never gets repetitive or old, there’s always something new to make you smile. Also, GodVille’s team is keeping players busy by leading contests and filling GodVille Wiki. I don’t know what is going on in English versions (both versions are separate) but one of the latest contests in Russian one was to take a picture of yourself wearing a makeshift pieces of armor mentioned in the game, which was hilarious too.

While you can’t directly command your Hero to do anything, how do you interact with other players? Heroes encounter each other and either make friends (when other Hero and his/her God are added to your Friends list, so you can message the other God) or start a fight. Heroes fight by themselves, but you can help by giving commands or taking influences (good or bad, as always), and the Hero who wins will take everything from the loser – both money and items. There is even an Arena when Heroes can fight each other on purpose to earth money and stuff. Also, players can invite friends by email so their Heroes would meet and be friends. And the last but not least, there are guilds that Heroes can join – they will choose guild by themselves too, but you can try to persuade your Hero to look for a certain guild.

Godville mobile version GodVille doesn’t needs you to be online, it goes on even if you won’t visit for a week or more. Your Hero can die, but if you’re not around to resurrect him, he (or she) will be “reborn” on his own after several days of unpleasant undead existence. He won’t be happy with you, but will carry on his business. All Heroes fight for their Gods, and the big goal of that to gather some insanely huge amounts of gold bricks to build a Temple for the Hero’s God. In over than 3 months of playing, my Hero currently has only 8.3% of bricks and has little less than 25 levels, so i don’t know how long it takes to build a Temple and what good comes of it. But I’m not playing much, just a couple of minutes every day when I’m bored, need to cheer up or have nothing else to do it these exact 5 minutes.

It’s just that kind of game – to cheer you up when you have time to make a pause and eat Twix, like they say in that annoying ad. So, if you’re up for some fun – give it a try  :) There are different means to access GodVille right now – first, it’s website is here, and there are also Android and iOS clients, and several PC clients getting available lately.

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