My friend Matthew recently joined the Eastern Orthodox Church, and being the worst kind of lazy pseudo-intellectual, I usually prefer asking him questions about it rather than doing any of my own research. As interesting as our discussions always are, he's always failed to mention to best part: at least one Russian Orhtodox priest has designed an MMORPG.
Throwing religion into role-playing games is hardly new -- it's a handy way to define character classes and develop a rich background story -- but I don't think any developer has approached it quite like Father Maxim has. He recently submitted a design document to the Chancery of the Moscow Patriarchate, hoping to get the Church to back his project. Father Maxim is convinced that the game is a "necessary" way to teach young people about Orthodoxy: "Young people spend their time in [a] virtual world, and it'll be better if they spiritually develop instead of 'shooting and killing,'" Maxim says.
Father Maxim's un-titled game seems to have some of the staples of your typical RPG, but leveling up is based on how well your avatar follows the Ten Commandments, which leads me to believe that the game will feature some sim elements as well. Players will be rewarded for their good behavior and "suffer hardships" if they deter from the path. This seems a bit counter-intuitive, since lying, cheating, and stealing tend to be easier than being honest and hardworking, but I'll chalk that up to philosophical differences between Father Maxim and me.
I'm positive we could come to some sort of agreement over vodka and caviar.
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