Psychic powers add to Rimworld’s already complex gameplay.

User Rating: 7 | RimWorld - Royalty PC

INTRO:

Rimworld is an indie game that supports the implementation of many mods. After all, it has so many systems such that there are bound to be mods that tweak this and that. For example, there are mods to tweak stack sizes, thus allowing resources to be stacked to very high numbers and still occupy only a tile.

Yet, there can only be mods as long as there is a framework for them. One notable omitted framework prior to the Royalty expansion is that there is nothing that truly sets an individual colonist apart from the others. They may have talents and interests in certain skills, as well as different body sizes, but they are ultimately just one more worker and/or fighter to the judicious but uncaring player.

Royalty would add more character and capabilities to the player’s colonists, as well as additional tools for combat-related and non-combat purposes. It also introduces a new kind of faction, as well as interactions with it.

Pain somehow improves the dissipation of neural heat. Apparently, getting psychic powers turns a person into a masochist.
Pain somehow improves the dissipation of neural heat. Apparently, getting psychic powers turns a person into a masochist.

PREMISE:

In order to gain the additional storytelling provided by the expansion, the player would need to generate a new playthrough with this expansion enabled.

As for the additional storytelling, the expansion introduces imperial factions to the titular planet. There is just one for every playthrough, but one is plenty enough.

The imperial faction is the most technologically advanced and is very well-off. It is unclear as to whether this faction has interstellar holdings, but it clearly has space-faring capability. Furthermore, this faction has something that gives it a major edge: psychic powers.

Regardless of the story that the player picks to determine the starting conditions, the imperial faction starts as being ambivalent towards the player’s faction.

What it would do would depend on the player’s actions towards it. It does not expect subservience, but the faction does expect favours in return for favours.

THE EMPIRE:

The titular additional faction is colloquially called the “Empire” faction in the documentation. It may have a different name in-game, which is to be expected when the game procedurally generates this faction.

As to be expected, this faction has an aristocratic bent. It has a hierarchy of nobility, with higher tiers having greater privileges and – peculiarly – greater psychic powers.

This faction happens to have considerable – limitless even – manpower, wealth and resources. Indeed, in-game text and documentation strongly imply that they have orbital holdings. They have holdings topside, but surprisingly enough, not a lot of them. Whatever there are, are well-defended.

DON’T MESS WITH THE EMPIRE:

Going to war with the Empire is a difficult prospect; the faction will not be wiped out if their planetary holdings are annihilated. The Empire’s attacks on the player’s colonies would be lessened, but they will still come anyway. Indeed, after they have lost their holdings, their attacks are made with transport pod and shuttle strikes – both are worse than the usual raids, mainly because of how close they deploy to the colony.

Furthermore, if the player antagonizes them at any time other than close to the end-game, the player is likely screwed. The Empire fields very well-armed and –equipped soldiery, and they may be led by nobles with considerable psychic powers.

On the other hand, this is the quickest way to obtain and use the additional items and gear that the expansion provides. Furthermore, it is possible to make peace with the Empire. It is not an irrevocably bloodthirsty faction after all.

IMPERIAL SERVICE:

The Empire faction is also a frequent quest-giver. Indeed, it is likely to be the most prolific. This is just as well, because the Empire has a lot of goodies to give in return for the player’s service.

One of these goodies is “Honor”, a resource that is non-tangible but is otherwise valuable. This will be described later.

If the player wants more tangible rewards, then the Empire can certainly offer them. Advanced weaponry, end-game materials and gold are among these.

However, the favours that the Empire may ask can be quite daunting. One of the quests involves lending several colonists to the Empire for many days. Another example has the player making a lot of goods of good or better quality to send over to their holdings in a caravan.

HONOR:

The main and unique reward that the Empire can provide is Honor. This is a resource that can only be given to individual colonists; the player chooses which to give the Honor to. This is generally not a problem, because none of the other colonists appear to mind. (However, there is a potential problem concerning their personalities that will be described later.)

An individual colonist can collect and accumulate Honor. Honor in turn grants titles, which can be achieved in a manner that is not unlike typical video-game level-ups. However, Honor can also lost, typically by angering or annoying the Empire. (Angering the Empire involves things like attacking them, of course, whereas annoying them involves the titled colonist using too much of his/her privileges.)

TITLES:

When colonists gain titles, they also gain the perks that are associated with the titles. Typically, higher titles grant more perks and privileges. Of course, the colonists have to accumulate enough Honor to qualify for these titles.

These privileges include the ability to call down resource drops, temporary members and gear. These requests have long cool-down times, but the colonists can use them anyway in return for losing some Honor. It is possible for a colonist to be demoted if too much Honor is expended. This limitation is of course there to prevent the player from abusing the privileges.

Among these perks is the bestowment of psychic talent. Unlike the other privileges, this cannot be withdrawn because it has become a permanent trait of the colonist. However, regaining any lost titles will not render the colonist eligible for bestowment again; to gain further bestowments, the colonist must achieve higher titles than he/she previously had.

These titles do not give the colonists the privilege to live among the stars like the nobility of the Empire, however. That privilege is only granted as part of a new end-game method to finish a playthrough, which would be described later.

This is actually a rather easy quest. In fact, the player might want to hold back on supporting the ones who are requesting for help, in order to maximize the body count and loot.
This is actually a rather easy quest. In fact, the player might want to hold back on supporting the ones who are requesting for help, in order to maximize the body count and loot.

CONCEITED:

Decent people who gain titles would not believe that they are much different afterwards. Other than desiring the trappings of nobles, there are no other changes to their personalities after they gain titles, including the very high ones.

However, those with notable personality flaws, like jealousy and arrogance, would gain the “Conceited” trait upon achieving significant titles. They become unable to do certain jobs, starting with cleaning. Higher titles make them less productive, such that at the highest achievable rank, they do not do much of anything at all.

This is a serious problem, because characters with major personality flaws often have burning passions in skills, which make them the player’s go-to choice when performing jobs associated with those skills. With the Conceited trait, their productivity plummets.

BEDROOM AND FOOD REQUIREMENTS:

Regardless of whether they are conceited or not, colonists with significant titles will eventually want the trappings of nobility.

Some of these trappings involve stuff that has been around in the base game. These include the foods that the ennobled colonists would eat. As their ranks rise, they expect to eat better food. For example, at the highest rank, the only meal that a noble would want to eat is a lavish meal. They will still eat anything else if these are only the things available, but they will get a mood de-buff.

These also include the furnishings and layout of their bedrooms. Their bedrooms have to be increasingly bigger and more ostentatious.

CLOTHING & THRONE ROOM REQUIREMENTS:

The other trappings involve the additional content that the expansion provided. There are clothing for nobles, which are beautiful but expensive to make. Most do not have many benefits in combat, though some types trade some beauty for more practicality.

Throne rooms are a type of room that is introduced in the expansion. Throne rooms are any rooms that have throne seats in them. This room can be merged with other rooms too; the nobles do not mind that.

Throne seats will be described later, because they are associated with the gameplay elements of psychic powers and meditation.

HOSTING QUESTS:

If the player could put up with the aforementioned requirements, the player could also pursue the hosting quests that the Empire faction sometimes offers. A guest member arrives at the player’s colony and would live there for some time. This is not unlike the hosting quests in the base game, but with the additional complication that this guest must be alright and content throughout the duration of the quest.

Otherwise, they might leave early, causing the quest to fail. The imperial faction will also be displeased with the player.

IMPERIAL END-GAME:

The ultimate reason that the player would put up with the increasingly greater demands of ennobled people is that the Empire provides a method to finish a playthrough after at least one of the player’s colonists has reached the rank of Count or Countess, the highest achievable rank.

This ultimate quest requires the player to host a Stellarch or even the leader of the imperial faction. They have considerable requirements, just like the Count/Countess. During their stay in the colony, they will attract a lot of attacks. The attackers will attack the guest whenever they could.

If the guest survives to the end and is kept content and the Count/Countess survives, a shuttle arrives. The player can load as many colonists as he/she wants into the shuttle, as long as the Count/Countess has boarded it too. Everyone on-board leaves for space; this effectively ends the playthrough.

A single thrumbo would have been no match for any Imperial delegation, but two are too much. As amusing as it looks, don’t do this though; the imperial faction will hold the player accountable for this wildlife attack.
A single thrumbo would have been no match for any Imperial delegation, but two are too much. As amusing as it looks, don’t do this though; the imperial faction will hold the player accountable for this wildlife attack.

ADDITIONAL GEAR:

The expansion also introduces new gear. These are gear pieces that the imperial faction happens to use a lot of, in addition the high-tech gear in the base game.

Some of the additional gear pieces are – amusingly enough – medieval weapons. There are axes and warhammers, which are introduced in this expansion. The player can make these too, with the right tech.

Other new gear pieces include ostentatious powered armor. These are practically more beautiful variants of powered armor that had been in the base game. These are mainly there to provide some protection to fussy ennobled colonists, who would want to wear pretty things. These armor suits also have benefits for psychic colonists, as will be described later.

There are also advanced melee weapons, like the mono-sword, which is a sword that is treated with sci-fi edge-sharpening. These inflict considerable damage and have high armor penetration, very much ensuring that melee fighters that manage to close the distance would destroy their target. Most of these advanced melee weapons can only be obtained as quest rewards (or loot from slain imperials).

Some of the additional gear can only be obtained after the player has found the means to unlock the additional techs that are introduced in the expansion.

ADDITIONAL STRUCTURES & FURNITURE:

The expansion also introduces additional defensive structures. These have powerful sci-fi weapons, such as what are practically railguns. These are automated defences like the ones that existed in the base game, of course. The new ones happen to have generally higher electricity consumption too.

There are additional furniture too. The throne seats have been mentioned already. These additional furniture and furnishings are mainly for improving the Beauty ratings of rooms.

There are also musical instruments, which provide High Culture recreation, i.e. recreation for high-ranking nobles.

ADDITIONAL TECHS:

Most of the aforementioned additional stuff can be had after unlocking the additional techs that the expansion introduces. Some of them can be unlocked the usual way, whereas some others require “tech blueprints”, which are items that the expansion introduces. Incidentally, these items are associated with the imperial faction too.

Examples of these techs include tool/utility cyber-limbs. These render the limbs useless for any job other than the jobs that they are specialized for. However, the bonus performance that they provide to the jobs that they are specialized for is considerable.

MECHANOID CLUSTERS:

The Mechanoids are automatons that appear to be inimical to humans. They are tough and powerful, but the base game only has a few types of them such that experienced players can eventually figure out how to counter them. This expansion introduces new types of Mechanoids, including static emplacements. Incidentally, they are introduced together with a new type of random event that hurls a bunch of them into the player’s colony to threaten it.

These bunches of automatons are referred to as “clusters” in-game. The static ones can spawn more mobile mechanoids over time, if the player does not eliminate the clusters soon.

Eliminating them is not easy either. The static ones have long-range weapons and scripting that can detect the player’s forces from afar. Antagonizing the cluster will also awaken it, if they are dormant in the first place.

PSYCHIC POWERS - FOREWORD:

Psychic powers are the other major addition of the expansion. This introduces new options for the player to deal with problems. Indeed, many of them are meant to be used as solutions to concerns and issues.

However, as with many things in the game, there are drawbacks to their usage. These are more than mere limitations, because they can harm the psychic individual if the player has them abuse their abilities a tad too much. The limitations will be described later.

BECOMING PSYCHIC:

Innate psychic powers are rare for anyone that is not already a VIP in the imperial faction. Before the start of the playthrough, it is very unlikely that the player could generate any colonist with psychic powers; these carry a lot of weightage, so the balancing scripts are not likely to include these for any individual colonist.

Therefore, any of the player’s colonists would have to gain their psychic powers from scratch. There are two ways to do this. Either way, any gains are permanent; they cannot be taken away.

THE “NATURAL” WAY & ANIMA TREES:

The first method is only available to colonists who have tribal backgrounds. The tooltips that describe these backgrounds will indicate whether the colonist can utilize “nature-based” meditation or not. Nature-based means of getting psychic powers is slow, but does not have any other prerequisites.

As for how the nature-based method is implemented, the backstory of the game has been retconned a bit to introduce the presence of “anima trees”. These “trees” are actually extensions of a “world spirit”, which is presumably some kind of super-entity that resides within the planet itself. The spirit would grant psychic powers to anyone that has communed with it for long enough.

The starting landmass always has at least one anima tree. The anima tree obviously looks different from other trees. Instead of boughs of leaves, it has fronds of white tendrils that sway in the wind. it is often far from where the colonists are stranded.

The player can send colonists over to commune with it by assigning the colonists to that tree and setting apart some time for meditation in their schedules. When the time for meditation comes, the colonists go over to the tree to do so. The amount of time that the colonists have spent at the tree will be accumulated and ‘remembered’ by the tree (for lack of a better word).

As the tree receives the attention of its ‘supplicants’, the tree begins to grow “anima grass”. This is more of the white ghostly tendrils, except that they are coming out of the ground around the base of the tree.

After enough grass has grown, any colonist with the tribal background can receive a blessing from the tree in order to gain psychic capability. The grass disappears after the ritual.

To improve the power of an already psychic colonist further, the tree has to grow more grass than the last time. This means that increasing the power of a psychic colonist can be a time-consuming endeavour with considerable opportunity costs.

The grass grows slower if the player tries to develop the area around the tree, for ease of convenience of communing with it. Floor tiles and walls have particularly adverse effects, for example.

IMPERIAL BESTOWMENT:

After an ennobled colonist has reached the prerequisite rank, he/she also gains the privilege of gaining psychic powers. Higher ranks give greater psychic power.

This attainment is granted through a bestowment ritual. The ritual is implemented as a quest, which the player should enact within several days. When the quest is enacted, an Imperial delegation is sent to the colony, with the VIP being the one that would bless the recipient.

The ritual is short, but the imperial faction will hold the player responsible for any harm that befalls any member of the delegation, including even the security detail.

DRAFTING ONLY:

The player can only have a psychic colonist use his/her psychic powers when the colonist is drafted. This is a work-around for the lack of direct controls for colonists outside of drafting. This is perhaps just as well, because most psychic powers are meant for combat.

There are some that are meant to be used for non-combat benefits. Having to draft psychic colonists to use these can seem odd, though of course experienced players would have used drafting to micromanage colonists in noncombat situations.

The on-planet Imperial holdings will send trade caravans too, but don’t expect them to offer a lot of high-tech goods.
The on-planet Imperial holdings will send trade caravans too, but don’t expect them to offer a lot of high-tech goods.

MEDITATION:

In the base game, some colonists recuperate from dreariness by praying. This activity has been folded into the new kind of solitary recreation: meditation.

Colonists can meditate by praying, brooding on throne seats and supplicating to anima trees. They refill their recreation meters while doing so. In the case of psychics, they also regain their “psy-focus”, which is the energy that they expend to use their psychic powers.

PSY-FOCUS:

Speaking of which, psy-focus is a meter that psychics gain when they become what they are. Using psychic powers drain the meter; eventually, overuse would drain the meter, preventing them from utilizing their capabilities further. Psy-focus also drains automatically over time when the psychics are not using their powers.

Meditating is the only way to regain psy-focus. Thus, to maintain a sufficient level of psy-focus for when the player needs the psychics, the player should set the psychics to mandatory meditation for a few hours in their schedules. Therefore, the player has to make trade-offs between the productivity of these colonists and ready-access to their psychic powers.

POWER LEVEL:

The power level of a psychic character is indicated in-game as the number of “amplifiers” that he/she has. This does not make a colonist more powerful, but it enables them to learn and use psychic powers of greater potency. There are six levels of power, beyond which there are no more.

LEARNING PSYCHIC POWERS:

The first psychic level that a colonist gets also comes with a free power. Usually, this one is of use during combat, typically for the purpose of hobbling enemies.

To obtain more, the player needs to find psy-casts, and have psychic colonists use these. Each psy-cast comes with a specific power that it can endow.

NEURAL HEAT:

The most significant limitation in using psychic powers is “neural heat”. Neural heat is a meter that builds up whenever a psychic colonist uses his/her powers. Higher-level powers accumulates even greater heat.

If the neural heat accumulates to high levels, the psychic burns out. He/She has reduced consciousness and considerable chances of suffering breakdowns. Obviously, the player will not want the psychic to turn out this way, so the player will want to manage the usage of their gifts.

Neural heat eventually dissipates over time. There are few ways to accelerate this, however.

NEURAL GEAR:

Neural gear pieces area also among the additional content that the expansion introduces.

There are apparel items among these. Some of them are dedicated to psychic augmentation, meaning that they are terrible at giving their wearers any protection. Some others are slightly modified combat gear; these only give small bonuses.

Then, there are psychic foci, in the form of “eltex staffs”. These are analogues to the wands and staves that fantastical wizards use, i.e. they are meant to augment the use of psychic powers instead of being used as actual weapons.

VISUAL DESIGNS:

For all the additional content that can be had from this expansion, there are not a lot of additional visual assets. There are sprites for the new items, but of course, these do not come with many new animations.

The psychic powers could have had animations of their own, but since most of them are either telepathic or mind-warping powers, there is not much that the graphics designers did. As for psychic powers, there are the warping effects that can be seen when the psychic powers affect their targets, but little else.

SOUND DESIGNS:

The expansion comes with a few additional sound tracks. The other new sound assets are for the new gameplay content, such as the use of psychic powers. The new types of mechanoids also have sound effects for their weapons, which somewhat help in knowing when they are attacking.

SUMMARY:

Royalty introduces a considerable amount of additional gameplay to Rimworld, while also implementing gameplay frameworks that can lead to the implementation of mods. It even has a new end-game method.

On the other hand, this expansion is mainly there for people who could not get enough of RimWorld. There are not a lot of things that can excite someone that is already tired of it.