Despite the fact it’s been more than five years since the original version debuted on iOS, BitLife is still chugging along on both iOS and Android platforms, still maintaining a great deal of popularity among longtime players while attracting new ones in the process. Much of this is because developer Candywriter is still updating the game significantly from time to time — not as frequently as they used to, but still on a fairly regular basis. With these significant updates come new features or sets of features, as well as new ways for your Bitizens to live their virtual lives.
Whether we want to admit it or not, there’s always one cult or another making the headlines for their bizarre teachings and practices and how they brainwash their followers into leaving their old lives behind. That’s probably why Candywriter launched the Cult Update a few weeks ago, which means you can now be a virtual cult leader in the BitLife universe.
With that in mind, this BitLife strategy guide contains all you need to know about the Cult Update’s many features, so keep on reading if you want to make the most out of these features while gaining followers, revenue, and assets through your shady (yet, once again, virtual) operation!
How to Start Your Own BitLife Cult
When creating a new cult in BitLife, you’ll first need to go to the Commune option under Activities, which has a white candle icon on the left side — tap on this and you will be directed to the Plots sub-menu, where you can choose one from a list of five different locations to build as the headquarters for your cult.
Each of these locations varies in size and cost, and has an accompanying Appeal bar — the larger and costlier the plot is, the higher its Appeal would be. This affects your ability to recruit new members to the cult, and the Appeal bar may fluctuate as you move forward, depending on how well you use the buildings within the plot and how many buildings there are all in all, among other factors.
The next thing to do is to choose a name and philosophy for your cult, commune, or whatever you wish to call it. You can choose your name or have the game pick one for you by tapping on Pick Random. As for the philosophy, you currently have four choices in the drop-down menu — Alien, Anti Establishment, Armageddon, and New Age. We haven’t seen any direct signs that it is, but this will likely become more important as you deal with your followers and grow your community.
Next, you will be asked to choose three rules to make up your Doctrine. These may run the gamut from forbidding your followers from listening to recorded music to earning or coveting earthly possessions. This doesn’t seem to be particularly relevant in terms of actually operating your cult, so feel free to pick any rule you wish out of the many random ones in each of the three drop-down boxes.
The fourth step in creating a cult is to choose your honorific — again, this could be one of your choice or one chosen by the game at random. This also doesn’t seem to affect gameplay, so feel free to choose whichever cult-y name you wish. Lastly, you will be asked to choose your monthly membership fee and annual membership fee — the more followers you amass, the more they will contribute to your bank balance through those initial membership and annual payments.
After you’ve done all of the above, you will be briefed on how many members you were able to draw into your cult, as well as basics such as the name, location, philosophy, totem, and membership fees. The totem will be chosen at random by the game, but you can always elect to change this at a later time.
The Commune Main Menu
While we’re still on the topic of the basics of the BitLife Cult Update, let’s look at the Commune main menu, which can either be accessed via Activities or the Family menu. On top of the screen, you’ll see your cult leader’s name, and a Charisma bar that determines how well you can convince your followers to do anything and everything under the sun.
You can also take a look at an overview of your cult, which includes many of the same things mentioned above, plus details on your Totem, number of years you’ve been active in the cult, how many followers you currently have, and your annual revenue. This will be discussed in a separate tip, but you can also view your plot, tap on the plot tab, and manage your cult further through one or more of several commune-specific activities.
Right below that top portion, you can view your commune’s rule book (through Doctrine) and codify new rules, You can curate your commune’s image by choosing one of several designs that will be present on the heads of all your members.
Membership lets you increase or decrease entry and annual fees. Philosophy lets you change your original philosophy to another one, Rebrand lets you change your honorific title, Recruit allows you to make public appearances and perform speeches in hopes of drawing some local members, Selection allows you to reward your loyal followers by letting them lodge at your plot, Step Down is the way to go if you’re planning to retire from being a cult leader, and Totem, as we mentioned, can be changed if you’re not happy with the one the game chose for you at random.
While this might seem like your ground zero for all cult-related activities, it isn’t the only menu you’ll need to visit on the regular while managing your cult. You might not have to visit it as often as the menu for your cult facilities, which we’ll be discussing in a bit.
Recruit Communards via Selection
As a cult leader, you can easily recruit dozens, and eventually hundreds and thousands of members, but not all of them will be able to live in your commune. That’s where Communards come in — these are preexisting members of your cult who may be interested in living in your facilities, which would automatically make them more vital to your cult’s success (or lack thereof) than any of the unnamed Bitizens who count themselves among your followers.
Depending on how large your plot is, you will only be able to recruit between four to ten Communards — before purchasing a plot, you can view this under Dwelling Capacity, so that’s something you will also want to consider before starting your cult. Before choosing followers to select as Communards, you will be able to view their basic information, including their name, age, birthplace, occupation, net worth, and number of years as cult members.
More important than these basics is the Loyalty bar underneath — a green bar suggests they have a good chance of sticking with you till the very end, while a red or orange bar could be a warning sign they’ll eventually leave the cult, blow the whistle on you, and put an end to your operations!
As far as the basic details go, Net Worth is probably the most relevant piece of information — the higher the Net Worth, the likelier they are to make big-money donations to your commune, may it be in cash or kind. We saw several instances in our play-throughs where our Communards donated small planes, and while that might not factor in your cult’s financial success, that’s an additional asset that could add to your Net Worth.
Should You Recruit Followers Via the Recruit Feature?
If you want to recruit followers locally, just choose the Recruit option in the Commune menu — this will lead you to a dialog box where you can choose the location for your recruitment efforts and the message you wish to convey to the random people in the location.
It doesn’t appear that the location and message matter too much here — if your efforts are successful, you could be adding a few dozen followers to your ranks, though you may also end up with no new followers at all, even if your Charisma bar is all filled up. But that’s not the worst thing that could happen during a recruiting trip.
The third primary outcome from a recruiting trip is the involvement of local law enforcement, and while you may still end up recruiting some people despite getting chased by the cops, there’s also the possibility you may get arrested for disturbing the peace. Even if the dialog box says you’re only getting warned by the police, that shouldn’t be taken all the time — this might be something Candywriter fixes at a later time, but a “warning” from the cops could also mean an arrest!
And that means two years in jail for your first offense — it doesn’t appear you’ll be stripped of your cult leadership if you get thrown in the slammer, but you won’t be able to manage it either, and that could cost you some hard-earned Loyalty while you’re behind bars.
All in all, the Recruit feature can work well if used sparingly, say, about once or twice per year before hitting the Age button. But be warned that it does come with some risks. Just like in the real world, nobody in their right mind wants to hear some rando preaching about the end times or aliens while they’re doing their grocery shopping or relaxing at the pub after a long day at work.
Visit the Plot Menu for More Cult-Specific Activities
In the Commune main menu, you’ll be able to view your basic info as a cult leader, as well as the basic details about your cult itself. Below that — the third option from the top — is the tab for your plot, which is where you can access a sub-menu packed with cult activities. This is what we were talking about earlier — you’ll probably be visiting your plot the most often as you do more cult-y things and grow your following while improving your Charisma and Loyalty stats.
Tap on your facilities’ address and you’ll see the meat-and-potatoes of your plot — the type, size, dwelling capacity, building capacity, etc. Tapping on Communards launches a list of everyone you’ve recruited to live in your plot. Construct lets you start construction on new buildings for your commune, such as an Amphitheater, Assembly Hall, or Meditation Yard.
Outreach Mission can only be accessed if you have at least two Communards, and this is where you can organize international recruitment trips. Perform Ceremonies allows you to choose from a list of ceremonies (some would require more Communards than others). Structures let you interact with the buildings within your plot. Teach allows you to guide your followers through different types of lectures. Lastly, Workshop allows you to make and sell merchandise for your commune — or, in other words, have your followers do all the dirty work for you to earn more money.
Yes indeed, these are all very “cult-y” things, and we’ll be exploring many of these in greater detail as we push forward with this guide. All of them are important in one way or another as you continue your quest for more followers, more loyalty…and more money.
Communicating With Your Communards
As we noted above, the Communards menu contains a list of everyone you’ve recruited to live in one of your dwellings, and depending on the Dwelling Capacity of your plot, you can have up to four…or up to ten.
You will first be able to see each member’s name and Loyalty bar, and tapping on each tab will lead you to a sub-menu that looks very similar to your average NPC sub-menu with many of the usual options — Ask Out, Befriend, Compliment, Conversation, Gift, Hook Up, Insult, Rumor, and Spend Time. But there are also a few cult-specific options that are worth discussing.
The Educate option allows you to teach your Communards about your commune’s tenets, principles, or whatever you want to call them — these will be random topics depending on your cult’s main focus, and if all goes well, your Communards will become more loyal to you, as seen in the Old Loyalty vs. New Loyalty comparison.
But that also means you are running the risk of making your followers question your teachings — if you’re teaching them with a rather low Charisma stat (say, 60 or below), there’s a good chance you will end up decreasing their Loyalty if not outright alienating them and giving them a good reason to defect.
The Expel feature is self-explanatory — if you feel a Communard has outlived its usefulness (or if their Loyalty is a lost cause), you can kick them out. But take note that you run the risk of repercussions from the expelled member if you choose to toss them out from their dwelling — and effectively, your cult!
Although Communards may reward you if they’re buying in big-time to your teachings, you can also manually request an Offering, and choose whether you want them to donate money or an asset. The value of the offering will depend on their net worth and bank balance, so keep this in mind before requesting this!
The last cult-specific feature is Promote, and this is where you can promote Communards from Neophyte to Adept. It would seem that Adepts have a bigger impact on your cult’s Loyalty than Neophytes. Aside from taking loyalty into account, you’ll also need to factor in their Craziness, as those with high Craziness stats have a greater chance of turning the tables on you or sowing mistrust within your cult if you give them a higher rank. Conversely, you can also demote Communards who you’ve promoted, though it’s fair to say they likely won’t be too happy to be knocked back down to Neophyte.
Build New Structures to Improve Your Plot’s Appeal
Regardless of the size of your plot, you’ll want to improve its Appeal, as that’s going to attract new followers while helping prevent existing ones from leaving in droves. (And that is especially true for your Communards!) Depending on its Building Capacity, you can add anywhere from one to three more new buildings, but we would strongly advise saving the construction of these buildings for instances where your Appeal needs some sprucing up, or if the stat has gone down quite a bit from its peak.
It isn’t guaranteed, though, that adding a new building will solve your Appeal problems, so you’ll need to pay attention to the Reputation of the contractors you’re dealing with. Don’t deal with anyone whose Reputation bar isn’t 70 to 80 percent full or greater, as there’s a chance the new building if shoddily constructed, will end up lowering your plot’s Appeal rather than increasing it. If their Reputation isn’t on the up-and-up, you can always quit and restart again, or try again the following year.
When it comes to the costs of building the new structure, you can either apply for a loan, pay for it in cash, or ask your followers to shoulder the expenses. Choosing the first two options could help improve your followers’ Loyalty, as that shows you’re willing to spend some money (which, to be honest, may include some of their own money they’ve previously donated) to make your facility better.
And while making your followers pay for the construction can work if your Charisma and Loyalty bars are filled up, this could backfire on you if they aren’t — expect to lose a ton of followers if you make such a demand at a point where you aren’t too convincing yet!
You can interact with your new buildings by tapping on Structures and choosing any one of the buildings you’ve constructed. After doing this, you will see an Enjoyment bar that shows how much your followers appreciated their time in the structure — if they enjoy themselves, this could lead to slight increases in both your Charisma and your cult’s Loyalty!
Outreach Missions Can Attract Members from All Over the Globe
Looking to grow your commune outside your hometown and home country? BitLife has made this possible as well through the Cult Update, as you can go on Outreach Missions to your choice of location. Pick an international city from the drop-down box and you can fly there with a select group of followers to spread the word and attract more people.
Aside from choosing one out of five cities (you can always re-roll this by leaving the Outreach dialog box and reassessing it), you will have to choose the class of travel (Budget, Economy, Business, First, and if you have your plane, Private), and the recruitment message. You can also choose anywhere from one to thirty people to fly with you in your international outreach mission.
Once you’ve touched down and started preaching to the people of the city you’re visiting, you will encounter a few potential situations, such as potential followers offering to pay you money just so they can join your cult, or people heckling you during your lectures. It will be in your best interests to accept the money in the first situation (or not), and when it comes to hecklers, you can either ignore them or sic your followers on them. The latter option is a great way to build Loyalty, though it might also end up landing them in jail and adding to your lost followers count.
After your outreach mission has ended, you can view the postmortem stats, which would include the number of followers gained and followers lost. Although in most cases you’ll only end up recruiting about 100 new people or less, there’s also a chance you’ll be bringing home thousands of new followers — we’ve seen the latter possible with cult leaders whose Charisma isn’t exactly close to 100 percent, though we’re not sure if this is a fluke or not. That said, better Charisma still usually leads to more followers recruited.
Some Ceremonies Work Better Than Others
BitLife’s Cult Update comes with five different types of Ceremonies you can organize as a cult leader — Affirmation Ceremony, Drum Circle, Communal Fast, Healing Ceremony, and Spiritual Journey. What’s in it for you with these ceremonies, and how can they help your stats as a cult leader and your commune in general?
Affirmation Ceremonies consist of you creating a film to promote your cult — and possibly yourself as well. You can choose the budget for such a project, as well as the type of project — do you wish to create a short film or a feature-length movie? You can also choose the lead star of the film, and while you wouldn’t have any familiar Hollywood names among the choices (despite BitLife being known to reference real-life celebrities in certain features), you’ll have your pick of named cult members, including your Communards and you as the leader. If your movie does well, you may see a boost in Charisma and Loyalty, but if it doesn’t, expect both stats to decrease.
Drum Circles are just like the ones you may have seen or heard about in hippie communes, and while the Grateful Dead is among the many artists you can choose to soundtrack this ceremony, you’re sure to see an unlikely name or two — Doja Cat drum circle, anyone? We would suggest shorter ceremonies here, as longer ones tend to make your followers fall asleep.
Communal Fasts will have you asking your followers to abstain from food for anywhere from one to 14 days for the reason you choose in the drop-down box. Expect to see dialog boxes notifying you of cult members who couldn’t spend much more time without food, begging you even for a single bite. You can then give in to their request (while also calling them a traitor), allow them to eat without question, or ask them to stay strong for the good of the fast. We’ve noticed this doesn’t work too well in terms of building Loyalty within your commune.
Healing Ceremonies are not recommended in most cases. These let you pick a cult member with a certain illness or affliction as well as one of several dubious methods of therapy, from incense burning to even slapping them. In almost every instance we tried, the Communards we chose didn’t get any better — much like in the real world, any healing is almost surely a coincidence. And this tends to impact their Loyalty negatively — wouldn’t you have your doubts after such a pointless exercise?
Lastly, Spiritual Journeys can make a big difference in the Loyalty of your followers, but they can also be costly. Depending on the “product” sold by the local street chemist and the size of the dose, you can easily end up spending millions of dollars, and naturally, this ceremony isn’t guaranteed to work in the first place. And since you’re essentially giving drugs to your followers, there’s a chance some followers, including your Communards, might end up dead. But in terms of increasing cult Loyalty, no ceremony seems to have a bigger reward.
Teach Your Children, Er, Followers Well
One integral part of running a cult is spreading your teachings to your followers. Choosing the Teach option in your plot’s menu will lead you to a screen where you can choose one of two topics — so far, it’s just History and Culture, but we’re imagining there will be more added as BitLife receives smaller updates in the coming days and weeks. You can choose anywhere between one and 90 minutes for the length of your lecture, but you’ll also have to keep your Charisma stat in mind when doing so.
If your Charisma is still on the lower side (60 and below), it may be best to stick to shorter sermons (30 minutes or less), as making them too long with your Charisma so low will likely bore your followers, reduce their Loyalty, and maybe even cause some of them to leave your commune. But if you’ve got a rather high Charisma rating (80-85 and above), that’s when you can go nuts with the duration — go the full 90 minutes if you wish!
After choosing the topic and duration, you will see the effect of your sermon, which will include the number of people who fell asleep, and your Charisma bar after the lecture. A sermon with so-so results or worse (i.e. the bar halfway full or less) may result in a significant loss of Charisma, as well as the ripple effect of decreased Loyalty, so once again, be careful when choosing the duration!
Head to the Workshop to Manufacture Merchandise to Sell
It arguably isn’t a cult without the leader asking their followers to work on some arts and crafts that can be sold at a later time for additional cash. You can mobilize your followers to do just that by tapping on Workshop, choosing the type of product you wish to have them manufacture, the location where they’ll be working on the product, and the production time in days, which can be anywhere from one to ten.
Longer production times mean potentially more units constructed, but that could also lead to your followers losing steam and tiring out — you may need to experiment with this a bit until you find the proverbial happy medium.
The main benefit of using the Workshop feature, as it seems, is increased Charisma if your people can sell most of the units if not all. Any money you earn through the sales of merch will usually be negligible compared to the joining fees and annual fees you earn each time you hit the Age button and move on to the next year of your virtual life.
So if you’ve lost a great deal of Charisma points, a successful merchandise construction/sales run just might be what you need to get at least some of those points back. Just don’t expect to make a huge fortune out of it.
Review the Commune Ledger Before Adjusting Fees
Going back to the main Commune menu, the most relevant tab you’ll likely be visiting (aside from the ones we’ve already discussed in depth) is the Membership tab. As we noted above, joining/entry and annual fees will make up the bulk of your earnings, so if you aren’t exactly making as much money as you expected, it might be time to raise the prices. Or is it really?
There are, of course, some potential pitfalls to raising the costs of entry or annual membership to your commune. Existing members may not react kindly to the changes, and they may decide to walk out of your commune and stop following your teachings. Conversely, reducing the prices is almost always a popular move with existing followers, and it may even help you attract some new blood, though the drawback, quite naturally, is lesser revenue per member.
This is why it’s important to pay attention to the Commune Ledger at the end of each year in BitLife — this report shows you the number of followers you gained and lost, the total membership revenue, your net earnings (revenue minus the cost of operating expenses — the bigger the plot, the more it costs to operate), your total followers, and their Loyalty.
Pay attention to trends in Membership Revenue and Net Earnings, and if you decide to make changes, see how they affect these figures the next time you hit the Age button. This will help you come up with the best pricing strategy, though in many cases, you might not even have to bother with changing the fees because of how the money keeps rolling in.
Rewarding and Punishing Your Communards
Every now and then, you’ll get dialog box notifications in BitLife where you will have to interact with one or more Communards. This may happen when you hit the Age button, or it may take place in the middle of a ceremony or some other activity. The situation varies, but in most cases, you will be asked whether you wish to reward, compliment, or ignore a Communard for their good deeds, or punish, ignore, reassure, or expel someone who disobeys you or questions your leadership.
In such cases, you always want to choose positive interactions for those uplifting comments or acts of obedience. But when it comes to difficult Communards, it may be worth considering their Loyalty before choosing your course of action. Those with low Loyalty may be better off expelled, while those whose Loyalty is higher usually learn their lesson after a punishment. (Some of them, however, choose to leave even if their Loyalty somehow increases!)
In addition to your Communards, family members may also interact with you and ask you to put an end to that cult business once and for all. In such situations, you have the choice of agreeing with them, ignoring them, or telling them to mind their business. Agreeing with them will automatically end your leadership of the cult, but pushing forward with the cult and telling your family members off could harm your Relationship bar!