On the occasion of my hero, “Muddill”, reaching level 60, an update of progress with my favorite Zero Player Game, Godville. (http://godvillegame.com/)
Godville is is inspired by Progress Quest (http://progressquest.com/) and other games that required no input from the player in a thin parody of the RPG grind where the hero is sent off on various trivial tasks in order to pad a game’s running length. Godville turns that idea on its head by taking the ZPG idea… and turning it back into a multiplayer game that now boasts thousands of somewhat committed but nonetheless fanatical players.
The game’s premise is that you, a deity, have too much going on in your celestial realm to dirty yourself with mundane adventuring, so you recruit a hapless follower to do your will, using encouragement or punishment to show your divine influence. The hero will then go about his or her business with no input from you provided you check up on them every few days. Maybe resurrect them if they should happen to die without a wandering priest nearby to raise them (one will always eventually show).
OR. You could help your hero with battles, send them to the arena to battle other heroes, send them to dungeons which are actual real dungeon crawls, find hidden boss monsters, solve crossword puzzles for beneficial aura rewards, build temples (to you), build arks (for your pets), oh yeah — capture and raise pets, compete with other guilds and individual heroes for recognition in towns and pantheons, and….
Godville is one of those games that seems simple — and is simple — but can go as deep as you like.
Now for the bad news: Godville is a free to play game, available on the browser and most mobile devices. Your hero will get by just fine with no input from you.
But almost all actions you would take to influence your hero require “Godpower”. Godpower regenerates slowly over time, or quickly when the hero gains a level, completes a quest, or wins a duel. You can build up charges of unused godpower to let you refill it to help win in the arena or defeat a boss monster. If this isn’t happening fast enough for you, you can buy charges with money.
I haven’t paid money to play the game yet, and I doubt I will — but I’m not playing at the elite level, either.
I started off about four years back playing this on the iPad, one of the first mobile games I ever played. I drifted away from it for a couple years, checking in on my hero every few months, until I found out it was available on a browser. I’ve been checking in every day. I belong to the #1 guild in the game (you can influence this), chat occasionally with guildies in the special guild chat, sometimes duel with them…. it’s the casual alternative to casual MMOs :)