Following on from my previous post about infinite growth in a finite world, we come to prestige systems. Fundamentally a prestige system exists as a solution to the problem that arises when a user gets to the part of the progression curve that gives too little reward for too much work/waiting, and gets bored.

A prestige system gives the user an incentive to return to the start of the game and play through again, this time with some bonus. Despite the fact that the user will lose some or all of their progress, the hedonic rewards are great enough at the start of the game (especially with the bonus that the prestige system provides) that a restart appeals. In some cases, games unlock content that can only be played through on subsequent replays (CivClicker was one of the first to do this, with multiple gods to be worshipped but only one could be worshipped in each playthrough).

Prestige systems are very easy to add to a game, but difficult to make into interesting experiences. Giving some small multiplier to progress with each reset is a simple but broadly unsatisfying reward, while additional content can be extremely time consuming to produce.

One of the things I most want to improve on over the original game is the prestige system. In CivClicker, resetting allowed you to keep certain upgrades, any bonus from your Wonders (if any), and your cats. This made resetting desirable, and with the option to pursue other gods I think there was sufficient reason for people to do it. However it never seemed like a natural extension of the gameplay - you would reset when you'd gotten bored, usually after completing the Wonder in order to get the bonus, but it didn't feel like an achievement so much as it felt like self-sabotaging.

I'm hoping to bring back one of my original goals for CivClicker II, that was scrapped for the original because of time and mental energy constraints - that of advancing through tech levels until you get to spaceflight, and then leaving to colonise another planet. In the original Civilization games, the equivalent was the space race victory which you could achieve after completing the Apollo Program wonder and building a colony ship. It's a natural way to reset while carrying over bonuses, and should hopefully feel like a real achievement.