Throw on your crown of thorns or sassy robe and rule over your people as the authoritarian crusader or tree-hugging communist that you always knew you could be.
Genre: Simulation, Strategy
Developer: Ludeon Studios
Publisher: Ludeon Studios
Release date: 20 July, 2021
RimWorld has taken the world by storm as one of the best cutthroat colony simulators out there. Its wide-ranging and deep systems can keep even the most hardcore strategy gamer engaged while its difficulty options make it accessible even to a complete novice. Every new colony has a brand new story for you to experience and shape on a procedurally generated world.
Royalty was the first DLC that came our way for RimWorld and it brought plenty of new additions, not the least of which was the empire and its hierarchy. Now we’ve been brought Ideology which was promised to deliver significantly deeper and game-changing cultural mechanics. To say that it’s a success is an understatement.
Beliefs and Their Societal Impact
Ideologies have the potential to drastically alter your RimWorld experience in an impressively wide variety of ways. Though there are an abundance of pre-generated ideologies available that are convenient categorized by the level they will impact your colony, I decided to custom design one myself. The depth was staggering but after about an hour of messing around, I’d come out of the other side of it with a society that put their faith above all else and expected others to do the same or perish. They have no need for comfort and sought out furnishings that were little more than slabs of rock as penance for their past deeds. After all, pain brought them that much closer to their venerated deity, Saint Baylan.
Ideologies have one to four core memes (no, not those memes, internet) that determine the major beliefs that define them. The aspect of my colony that I outlined above were four such memes, though they expand to cover around two dozen elements that change up your experience in their own ways from minor touches to major alterations. An ideology that is simply based around embracing individual freedom may not hold many surprises for a veteran RimWorlder, but one that fills its meme slots to the brim with nudism, cannibalism, blindsight, and tunneler certainly will. The latter will find themselves at their best when living in subterranean environments, feasting on the flesh of others while seeking enlightenment through the loss of vision… all while running around as naked as the day they were born.
Precepts are the smaller fine-tuning beliefs that won’t change up your experience too drastically but will flavor your communities to your liking. These tend to focus on the day-to-day norms of RimWorld, such as marriage, executions, slavery, and what rights come with being a member of the colony, though these are only a small portion of the many drop-down lists available. If these types of systems interest you, you’ll likely be spending quite a bit of time exploring and tweaking them as you progress.
As your colony prospers and your memes and precepts have an increasing impact on its development, new roles for your colonists will be implemented. Leaders and moral guides are the real heavy hitters here, though specialists add further customization options to your settlement.
Leaders are, well, leaders. They strengthen their allies in battle, boost their colonists’ productivity, and give riveting speeches that will hopefully inspire rather than offend. Though its mechanical benefits are nice, I personally loved it for the roleplaying element as we now have an official figurehead running around if we want one. If you’ve already picked up Royalty you can tank them up to have a true noble barking out orders and proudly representing your people.
Royal guides are everyone’s favorite smiling priest. They lead religious ceremonies and also bring joy to your colonists when they need it most. They’ll also convert those who follow any of those other pesky belief systems to your own. If your faction is anything like mine, there is only one true faith that should matter to anyone.
Specialists don’t carry as much narrative weight as the other roles but they do offer a new method for organizing your workforce. They lose the ability to engage in certain activities but they become true experts in their chosen field. With a healthy population, this can be a nice boost to your chosen specialization, but early colonies may not have the flexibility to embrace them fully.
There’s no question that Ideology is a strong addition to RimWorld that brings in a variety of new gameplay elements and increases the variety within the longstanding ones. Ideologies can have a huge impact on the way that your colonies operate and new minor systems like slavery and relic hunting deepen the stories that you can tell.
I highly recommend Ideology if you’re already a devoted RimWorlder as it makes the experience that much better without bringing any notable flaws, only a bug or two that will likely be ironed out soon. For those who are curious but haven’t settled a colony in RimWorld yet, I strongly suggest that you give it a shot. Few games out there can compete with the depth and raw beauty that come from your own unique stories that can be shared with your friends for years to come.