An altereality is a complex of assets and activities which stands somewhere between game and reality, though a bit closer to the latter than most alternate reality or enhanced reality games in that it aims –over a rather protracted period of time– at actually changing reality fundamentally. At the same time, in its design and construction it is fully gamefied, using the full range of formal elements which have come to define exploration/adventure, role playing, and strategy games in particular: a backstory which integrates historical and fictional (in this case magic realist/fantasy/and science fiction) elements, resulting in a world which, while fundamentally ours, is enhanced by the backstory and other game elements so that it comes to be seen differently, characters (player and nonplayer, historical and fictional, with multiple classes and levels), quests, rewards, artifacts, a game currency, and an ongoing narrative which keeps the game moving.
The underlying structure of The Desire to Be God is simple. The “game” itself begins with simple tasks and gradually becomes more and more challenging. Those entering are presented with a series of challenges or “quests.” These involve discovering, identifying, engaging, analyzing, interpreting, evaluating, and cultivating the resources of various sanctuaries and then deploying them in the struggle with the Saeculum and with darkened sanctuaries. Or perhaps they will choose to side with the Saeculum …
In the process participants master and demonstrate increasingly complex skills, including
❖ sociocultural intelligence collection, analysis, and interpretation (including eventually, the preparation of sophisticated long range estimates);
❖ reading, analyzing, interpreting, and evaluating texts from humanity’s principal spiritual traditions (including those of the Saeculum)
❖ taking, defending, and promoting positions regarding fundamental questions of meaning and value; questions within the hermeneutic and scientific disciplines which support our philosophical and theological quest for wisdom, and questions of strategy, operational art, tactics, and organization
❖ mastering spiritual disciplines which allow them to live the ways of their choosing, and
❖ identifying and cultivating emerging and high value leaders and
❖ deploying those leaders in the ongoing political and spiritual struggle.
As participants progress, they are recruited by various virtual organizations and promoted through their ranks. These are registered on an interactive website with a design which integrates elements of a browser game and a learning management system.
It is possible to enter and progress on one’s own, without any assistance beyond that of basic tutorials included on altereality websites and the collaboration of fellow players. The “gamemasters” who contact participants will also provide some help. This also means that one can progress without payment of any kind. But may of the missions, especially at the higher levels, are very difficult and those who become intrigued by the game may seek tutorial support, teaching, political mentoring, and spiritual direction, for which qualified participants will be free to charge. There will, however, be no “pay to win” or “pay to level up” options. There is no “victory.” Anyone who accesses higher levels without the necessary capacities will quickly find themselves in situations they can’t handle or don’t want to.
The journey –and the struggle– continue.