Some of you might have noticed, how some time ago I added subtle reputation counters to the game. Now I feel like it's a good time to develop them further and I gonna talk about them for a bit.
Unsurprisingly, Strive was always planned as an "actions and consequences" type of game in mind. I do not respect 'good-vs-evil' mentality in any form, so instead I try to go for 'kind-vs-mean' and sometimes even 'grey-vs-grey', although last one is pretty hard to make on reasonable level as we are already kinda involved into every story and our benefit is the main driving reason.
Anyway, reputation system in its core is very simple and initially was planned as a future countermeasure to limitless attacks and kills of strangers. I didn't quite done anything last time with it though, as punishments require actual work both writing and coding put into them. But besides just punishments, I also made reputation differ depending on your location, so for enslaving someone near Gorn, your Wimborn reputation does not suffer in a bit.
Now we are getting to actually using that system. Firstly, primal idea behind of reputation - provide player with choices and different ways to play the game. Player MUST have an option to play meanest possible way, and that also must give some benefits (some black market sort of things perhaps). But on the other side there must be consequences for either play style. Secondly, reputation should be obvious. If player decides to go nuts, it should be apparent, that game treats you accordingly and not only make some minor changes on the background.
After measuring my options and how I can achieve such thing, I think most reasonable option, not involving hundreds of optional encounters written, is to make every slave to (initially) have an affiliation with some group. Bad reputation with their native group would make them threat you worse and wise-versa. Affiliation will obviously not affect everyone, and for example, monsters won't have any real concern what others think about you. This partly will resemble and maybe even replace caste system, as I'm not quite satisfied with it yet (although, arguably, because it depends on more content worth exploring), however, it won't be permanent: slaves living with you will eventually grow less concerned about your global reputation and switch to your usual loyal servants, however, those working in public will become more affected by your reputation. This also suggests, that slave employment might see some medium rework, but that should be very easy (and worthy of work).
Of course, there still will be daily events and random encounters tied to reputation, but I don't think they are impactful enough on their own. Overall, currently I'm aiming on improving overall exploration and management aspects while also polishing existing parts (there's a lot I want to make look and feel better, next version will have new inventory and item usage system). Let me know what you think about these ideas in the comments or if you have something interesting to suggest. Next time I'll be talking about my long time enemy - endgame gold and equipment.