RimWorld is an amazing game by anyone’s standards. It presents a vast world that transcends most genre definitions. But it can be loosely defined as a storytelling-based colony simulation game.
Players need to manage a spacefaring colony that has been stranded on an otherwise uninhabited planet.
The journey back to the stars requires essentially going through the entirety of a culture’s technological and social development.
RimWorld presents players with a huge landscape that incorporates a large number of different mechanics.
All of these simulated processes interact with each other and the various entities within the game. This creates emergent gameplay that lends itself to the game’s other major component – storytelling.
RimWorld gives players the chance to create the kinds of experiences that become legends in our world.
The game is so huge that the average playtime is currently around 131 hours on Steam. But it’s not at all uncommon to see players who’ve logged over a thousand.
It’s clear that there’s a lot to bring people into the experience. But at the same time, the number of options can be a little intimidating.
And one of the biggest questions new players have centers around two DLC options. People often wonder what the difference is between RimWorld Ideology vs RimWorld Royalty so we’ll discuss this below.
What Is RimWorld Ideology?
RimWorld Ideology and Royalty are both DLC packages for the base RimWorld game. Each is similar in that they bring some new mechanics into the game.
Ideology focuses on, as the name suggests, ideologies. It essentially means that your colonists can have religious beliefs.
But don’t be fooled, these aren’t the same religions that you’d find in the real world. Instead, RimWorld focuses on its strength of emergent storytelling when presenting religious options.
You essentially have a choice between creating your own ideology from scratch or using the game’s pregenerated options.
Designing an ideology from scratch highlights just how much goes into these new mechanics. You can quite literally spend hours working through the system, let alone actually using it within the game.
Of course if you want to just jump into the ideological system, the pre-generated options are fairly fleshed out. Whichever option you go with, the ideologies will impact the behavior and mood of your colonists.
The end effect is as wide-ranging as characters who lean into cannibalism or those who push the limits of humanity with cybernetics.
One of the most important parts of Ideology stems from its impact on storytelling. Different faiths lend implicit characterization to colonists. And it also enriches their interactions with the world as a whole.
However, ideological systems also have a strong impact on gameplay. In many ways, Ideology can be thought of as a cultural personality system that adds some additional richness to the game world.
What Is RimWorld Royalty?
RimWorld Royalty might seem somewhat shallow at first glance. Discussion of RimWorld Royalty tends to focus on its titular feature – royalty. Having royalty in the RimWorld might seem like a minor addition when compared to the richness of full ideological systems.
And it’s true that the royalty from RimWorld Royalty is somewhat limited. Much of the royalty system simply comes down to simple tasks or the type of fetch quests seen in MMOs. Royalty would be somewhat lackluster if that was the only mechanic it brought into the larger game.
Thankfully RimWorld Royalty does have a wealth of other options. One of the most readily apparent is a new psychic power system called psycasts.
This is a huge enough system that one might normally expect it to be a DLC release unto itself. The system is fleshed out extremely well and works within the larger living ecosystem that is RimWorld.
Given that the system’s royalty comes from spacefaring refugee ships, you can also enjoy a wealth of new “ultratechnology”.
This includes everything from plasmaswords to zeushammers. And as a nice bonus, it even has some amusing extras such as geese and guineapigs.
Comparison of RimWorld Ideology vs Royalty
These two DLCs seem extremely different on the surface. At first glance, one seems to focus on kings and emperors and the other on religious ideology. But it’s important to keep in mind that there’s a lot more to unpack with each of these packages than their names suggest.
Both Ideology and Royalty dramatically change the gameplay experience. The trappings of the two packages are different. But the underlying element shared between them is quite similar. The two DLC options provide new material and motivations which impact the behavior and survival ability of colonists.
The main difference between the two comes down to where the bulk of the changes come into play. Ideology can be thought of as a more advanced system for behavioral modification. It instantly changes the underlying goals of colonists while still sticking to the original storyline and ethos presented by the vanilla RimWorld package.
In contrast, Royalty brings some huge changes to the storyline. The lore and connections to spacefaring empires cast any play session in a new light. And it offers some interesting options to change around the standard play style.
After all, a system normally focused on survival changes considerably when a technologically advanced monarchy arrives on your doorstep.
Currying their favor suddenly becomes as viable a path to safety as crafting, farming, or fortification would be.
And of course the psionic system provided by Royalty also changes the nature of the game. It’s an entirely new way of relating to cultural and personal development. How you work with it, or against the competition’s own cultivation of those skills, can change the course of the game.
Not to mention that Royalty just adds some inherently fun options. You can essentially create a titled psychic who roams the land followed by geese and guineapigs. Nonsensical, perhaps. But it’s also incredibly fun.
Meanwhile, Ideology is more focused on underlying motivations. It’s not the world changing package that Royalty is. Rather, it can be thought of as a system that changes how your colonists relate to their world and each other.
Ideology most certainly does impact gameplay. And at times this can be in as significant a way as Royalty. But Ideology’s strength really does come from a storytelling perspective.
It adds more depth to the worldwide narrative you create while playing. And it also adds additional motivations to your colonists as they create meaningful lives for themselves. In many ways, it gives them a meaning to their lives beyond survival or the specific intent that you as a player present them with.
In short, both are excellent packages. But Royal is more focused on larger changes to the game’s mechanics. While Ideology works more with the underlying motivation of the people within the game’s world.
Does RimWorld Have Multiplayer?
A vast living digital world seems like the perfect match for multiplayer gameplay. And most people are naturally eager to play RimWorld with friends. However, RimWorld technically doesn’t have multiplayer.
Or at least it doesn’t have official multiplayer support. It’s quite possible that an official update might add multiplayer somewhere down the line.
But at the moment if you’re playing the game in exactly the way the developers intended then you’re doing it alone. With that said, there is an unofficial way to play RimWorld as a multiplayer game.
RimWorld’s developers made sure that it was easy to mod. And RimWorld is so open to modding that people have even been able to add unofficial multiplayer support to it.
Zetrith’s Multiplayer mod is available on Steam Workshop, GitHub, and even the official Ludeon forums.
The mod technically allows for an infinite number of players. But in practice, it’s best to keep it down to about eight or less.
It’s also important to keep in mind that this is a co-op mod. So individual players shouldn’t get their hearts set on the idea of taking down their friend’s colonies.
However, the mod does support multiple colonies running concurrently with each other. As such players can still compete in a wide variety of ways. Settlements can even be run out of sync with each other.
The multiplayer mod isn’t official. And it does take a little work to set up for the first time. But it adds a whole new way to relate to the game which new and old fans alike are sure to enjoy.