Replaying after ascension (descend feature)

An idea regarding how the ascension stage could “end” has been brewing in my head for a while now and I wanted to share it to get some feedback.

So we know that once the player gets to ascension stage, they basically unlock unlimited editing tools and can mess around as long as they can entertain themselves. After that they can optionally start a new game with different settings / try to go for a different build. My idea basically is that what if that wouldn’t be the case? What if there was a button in the ascension stage to “descend” and start a new game instead?

I think we could take a page from the idle clicker genre playbook here and give the player a choice of a few ascension perks for the new game. For example I was thinking something like: 10% discount on mutations, leaving a hidden weapon or tech cache on the new starting planet. If this design is added probably a few more needs to be added in addition to those. I think those benefits should be able to stack as well if the player ascends again with the same save. At the end we could have like a silly achievement or something for ascending 10-50 times (which would be a pretty considerable achievement only hardcore players would go for). I think a pretty fun idea would be to give the player a golden membrane that is superior to all others after they’ve ascended multiple times (similarly to how you get a golden cauldron in getting over it, if you finish it dozens of times).

I think in the long term this would be a pretty nice design to encourage players to play the game multiple times. Though, I can foresee some problems as well with this. Mainly the fact that subsequent playthroughs would be easier for the player, which isn’t exactly the best, but I think perhaps the incentive to play the game multiple times outweighs that a bit (and maybe one of the ascension perks wouldn’t really give any benefit so players can pick that). The second is that this might not fully fit with the theme of Thrive, but I’d say that we can handwave that by saying that ascending and using unlimited power multiple times has broken the fabric of reality in the Thrive multiverse so badly that the ascension perks are fine.


Something I clarified on discord:

I’m saying that you could start a new game but you get the ascension perk you picked, by descending from the ascension stage. This has no impact on normally starting a new game and having different saves

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Nice idea you have here! I think that the bonuses you get could be counteracted by an attached downside, which instead of simply making your species stronger, could add an interesting and new twist to gameplay.

Something like; “Born Anew: Start from the beginning again with 150 MP each generation, but all of the species in your world still remain as they are now.”

Or “Aggregation: Your planet has 50% more resource abundance, but there are only half as many planets in the galaxy.”

Modifiers like this could make the save worth playing again, without making it entirely unbalanced.
This, plus additional features being unlocked for additional saves could make for compelling motives to replay.

Perhaps the effects could even stack up as you replay the game until your playing with all of them active at once.

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I think it would actually be better for accession perks to be overpowered, because any “balanced” perk would work well as an option for game setup, and I think players would feel left out for not getting to play in a different kind of map without first beating what is likely to be a very long game.

Another way to make ascension more unique might be to hone in on a time travel angle. If we seed our randomness with things like auto-evo, we could make the promise that every progresses as you remember until you mess it up. I could see that being interesting.

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Being able to select modifiers for a new game without having to beat Thrive first, does sound like a pretty good idea, but then all the modifiers need to be ensured to be balanced. Perhaps we could make it so that the player needs to win in one save and then they can forever in any new games select any modifiers they like. Otherwise some new player might pick a combination of modifiers that “ruins” the game balance a lot and gets a very negative first impression. I’m not entirely certain though how big of a threat that is.

As much as I like this idea, I did not suggest this as our simulation probably diverges very fast. For example any external effects that happen early in the playthrough would be like a butterfly effect on the later populations and that probably makes the results pretty different in a few auto-evo cycles.

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I love the overall idea! The buffs (and potential downsides as mentioned by @Buckly) sound fun. But I think the most exiting prospect is this:

This isn’t a mere stat buff, but an actual narrative element which reminds the player of his previous species’ achievements. Finding traces of your own past impacts on the game world is one of the most gratifying experiences in a game imo.
The new species would likely revere their technological benefactors as god-like beings. Very exiting stuff!

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