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Divisions inhibiting RP
Everyone in their own tiny box. Alone.

From the beginning it has felt like SD is a game which was designed around a much larger player base, and that frankly, the world and the number of sub-divisions are too large and too many, and for me personally has eroded out almost all the enjoyment there is to be had -- which is not a lot, SD is a pretty miserable experience most of the time.

To me it seems insane to take a small player base, then cut it into two quasi-non-interacting sectors, then further sub-divide again and again with hard walls or chilling effects until it's better to just not RP with people at all. Topside is the -worst- example of this. Taking a miniscule player base, splitting them further into three sub-sections, and then -- presumably under the conception it will spur engagement and conflict -- discourage them from interacting with each other. The degree to which RP is actively discouraged under the auspices of 'theme' is astonishing to me, and more or less makes it seem like the GMs enforce it more for their own entertainment than ours. It's basically killed off whatever enjoyment I derived originally from the game just seeing constantly how lonely and miserable most people are, and the response being, well that's the theme. Except when it comes to plots where reality and believability can be thrown out the window, and theme takes a back-seat to whatever ridiculousness has been cooked up.

Seriously. Allow players to develop their own stories instead of forcing stories on them. Enable RP instead of this constant chilling effect, divisions, and isolation. SD has a small player base, and kind of a horrible reputation so it's not like it's likely to grow dramatically. Squish players together instead of spreading them out varnish thin. I feel like this is simple stuff, but like, the vision of the game has been shaped by combative solo types instead of social players, and for them they don't care if people are broken into tiny subgroups, and they find conflict more enjoyable and they want everyone to play like and enjoy things like them as well.

Whilst I appreciate you taking the time to write up your opinion on this matter, I will say this:

Sindome at its very core is based on conflict. Either overt and violent or hidden and political/social, it has always been the nature of the In-Game world and matches the theme we are trying to set.

The GMs are tasked to make that a reality. I'm unsure what you mean by 'whatever ridiculousness has been cooked up', I'm not familiar with any situation recently that could potentially come close to this kind of description, though I'm not as deeply involved in the IC world as our GM staff.

We have no current plans to consolidate any In-Game factions.

I and any other game staff would be more than happy to have a discussion MOOSide with you surrounding your concerns - or alternatively you are free to email either [email protected] or the senior staff directly (myself, Slither, Johnny) with your concerns. If you'd like to speak with me in-MOO, please raise a Service Request.

Some topics of note:

https://www.sindome.org/bgbb/game-discussion/game-problems/is-there-a-problem-with-topside--346/

https://www.sindome.org/bgbb/game-discussion/ideas/the-corporate-and-mixer-divide.-1535/

The way I understand it, topside is ideal for people who scheme in private and play the long game. If you don't see everything that's going on, then topside is working as intended. 😉

Just recently (in relative Sindome history) has the playerbase been large enough to open up topside for players.

If you want faster action, MYX LYFE is for you. 😊

Topside has been open up forever.

Cue “you don’t see everything” line.

While I appreciate the links ynk, these are not really the issues I'm raising. I'm not talking about a lack of action, I'm talking about limiting players from interacting. It's a moot point, since it's not going to change, but I wanted to express my disapproval and regret about how things are managed.
I do want to say that it only limits it as much as you want. You can communicate privately, through proxies, through public conflict or even public niceties if you want to take that particular risk.

I would also like to point out (it's been said before but could bear repeating) that IN CHARACTER RULES are not OUT OF CHARACTER RULES.

If someone tells you you cannot do something IN CHARACTER, that is not an OOC RULE that you have to abide by. There may be IC consequences if you are caught, but that's IC.

If you wanna be a corpie that consorts with Mixers, or a Mixer that consorts with Corpies-- the IN CHARACTER 'rules' around those interactions, are there to promote the IC divide between the HAVES and the HAVE NOTS. Which is a critical component of cyberpunk as a genre and a mainstay of our theme. It's not something we are going to get rid of. It's been a part of the game for the entire life-- even back when we had 10 players (or less) online at any time.

Instead of looking at it as a way to 'keep people apart', look at it as a way of 'making the RP you end up having together, more interesting' and providing a themely direction for it to take, themely risks, and something to plot around.

If we took every player in the game and through them into a room with no conflict, that wouldn't be fun.

As for your own personal enjoyment of Sindome-- we know the kind of game we are creating. It's the kind of game we want to create. It works for some people, it doesn't work for others. If it's not for you, it's not for you.

I do think some consideration should be given to not always assuming players are not capable of interesting themselves without a GM or GM-proxy calling them up and berating them for utterly benign behaviour in service to 'making it interesting', punishing them for arbitrary reasons, or forcing them to engage in plots in order to simply just exist. Abuse and hostility coming down from above is the default mode of interaction in a lot of cases, and it gets old pretty fast.
NPCs are present in the game to keep things moving, enforce the theme, and create conflict. Don't take it personally OOCly if they aren't nice to you. That's not what they exist for.
@0x1nm: If you're being told to do something (by NPC or PC), here are a number of options to take:

- Do it

- Don't do it

- Tell the person to do it themself

- Hire someone else to do it

- Create rumors against said person and plot their downfall

- Half-ass the work and call it a day

- Don't do it and say you did and blame them for losing your work

Choose whatever option is most fun to you (or most likely to be interesting). If your character wouldn't do that, find a way to make them do it!

Ynk, again I appreciate the effort but I'm not a new player, I understand how all these elements function, and I know how to play in the expected 'themely' fashion. I just object that it infests every element of the game to such a degree. I don't need direction in how to enjoy myself, I know how to, I just keep being prevented in acting by actions I have zero recourse against because they're non-specific and semi-arbitrary game forces with no fixed identity and no way to interact.

Anyway this is not going anywhere. My frustrations have been noted.

I'm still developing my thoughts on this, and have been for some time.

But for me it's more important to let 0x1mm know they're not alone in their opinions. I feel largely the same way as presented in the OP, and want to show support by at least expressing that.

Yes, I get lots happens behind the scenes. Yes, I get none of us players have the full picture. Yes, I get there's nothing OOCly preventing you from interacting with members of a certain faction or group.

It feels like whenever this discussion happens, there's very little nuance to it. I can't remember anyone addressing the Cost-Risk-Benefit component of interacting with members of certain factions. Particularly Corporate Factions. It never really gets to that point. Yes, I often hear it's about IC consequences IF YOU GET CAUGHT. But the way things are set up, initiating that sort of contact with certain factions you're not supposed to doesn't ever seem worth it. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I get there are clandestine, discrete approaches you can make towards making that sort of contact. There are IC ways you can approach this to mitigate risk. Still seems like a suboptimal method of generating conflict.

Why not go for a more Cold-War approach, where the Public Statement on the matter is it's "fine" for members of corporate factions to interact with each other... But behind the scenes there are many IC rewards for fucking over members of different corporate factions? That would encourage an entire playerbase to RP way more. That would encourage conflict way more. Rewarding players for spying on their neighbors is way more conducive to the Cyberpunk themes of paranoia, betrayal, and conflict beneath the surface then... Get fired for not hiding well enough that you hang out with your neighbor who you're not supposed to.

Look, I get this is about RP first, particularly conflict based RP. But I think many, many players can attest to how much RP has been centered around what you can get. Chyen, status, contacts, connections, drugs, weapons, influence, power, and everything that falls between or beneath that umbrella. What you can get is such an important driving factor of RP.

What you can gain is the mentality of narrative excitement and compelling conflict.

What you can lose is the mentality of the most consistently successful financial investors. And while on the surface level that's very appropriate for Topside... It's not conducive to RP.

There are better, more themely ways to encourage and propagate conflict.

That's articulate well. There's never really felt like any gain, only loss to be had -- and RP itself was treated as a 'reward' you get for taking risks. RP should be the default, separate from winning and losing. I had always profited to the maximum extent by interacting with no one, and taking no risks. Knowing a few of the most successful and most risk-seeking players, they rarely benefit from that behaviour, they just enjoy it for it's own sake. They might like, break even if they're good at it.

If I have a chum that I'm not allowed to talk to at a rival corp, sure I can risk our jobs hanging out with them, but what's being communicated is, stay in your lane, all interactions must be hostile, and do things only if you want to lose things. It's like, what's the point? I'm trying to make the world a more vibrant place by getting out there and RPing with people -- I don't know why so many barriers are being placed in front of that.

I get what 0x1mm is saying. The game isn't a great fit for me either and I've been playing for two and a half years. What keeps me chipping away is that I like aspects of the game and RPing with my fellow players, even if I loathe PvP. We often hear a refrain of "that's the game" and I'm not sure what to make of that. The game is designed with very specific intentions. It captures a broader demographic than the hardcore PvP types it's looking for, and a lot of players are left to sort of founder in misery, exploring new parts of the game in the hopes that things will click for them but in many cases being disappointed.

The easiest solution is to say, it's just not the game for them, and that's certainly true. I have mixed feelings about that. It seems almost as if we're saying, "This is what we're targeting, it's a competitive PvP game and that's how it is, that's how it always was." Well, true, but like, does it always need to be just that?

I look for example at the changes a year ago to the ganger gameplay. By anyone's standard, they encompass a severe softening of the difficulty, challenge, and mortality for ganger characters, and it's been an amazing change, one that's breathed new life into the gangs. Toning things down for gangers, even though it's anti-themely and requires some suspension of disbelief at first, had a huge positive impact on the game. It certainly seems like other changes are happening in major areas of Mix centric gameplay to make life not completely atrocious for people who are just little minions and pawns, which is a good thing.

I don't have anything specific to offer here in terms of suggestions for 0x1mm's concerns, other than to say, sometimes we do tone down the game, and it can be really beneficial, it can draw more people in and it can make more action happen.

We've definitely seen talk on other threads and maybe even at the Town Hall regarding how corporate gameplay can in some ways stifle activity because consequences are so harsh. I do think we should stop treating corpies like they're winning the game, have everything everyone wants and if they fuck up a little they should be done and it's their own fault. It's a different gameplay sector with different goals and expectations. Corpies aren't winning the game, they frequently seem to express how little fun they're having (or did when I played a corpie) and they often avoid doing anything because a lot of these players are risk-averse to begin with and if you give them a strong set of rules they just follow them instead of trying to do more. And when they do, they're often met with disastrous consequences. Their principle source of motivation (this is not every player, obviously, but maybe a typical one) seems to be mandates from their superiors. The danger of falling to the Mix is used as a constant stick to spur them to just enough action to avoid plummeting over the precipice. Meanwhile, the more intrepid topside players actively destroy the competition, accelerating their 'garbage out' departures. While that's fun, it's actually a pretty Mix centric way of looking at the game (eg, all corpies will eventually fall or leave because they get bored) and that's a bit of a shame. I don't think topside should be a waiting room for Mix survival stories but it often seems that way because the gameplay is focused on burning other people out while avoiding that fate yourself.

So, my read is, yes, it's a competitive PvP game, that's the game, but I don't think we should necessarily rule out listening to the playerbase if they're disengaging because they don't like the game they're playing. I totally agree that topside, you can and should break the rules if you want to have fun. But I also think we should be addressing that lack of fun, as well. I think the gangs are a perfect example of where easing up on the throttle a bit (by placing IC/OOC guidelines for behavior) has really been beneficial in rejuvenating a sector of the game. I'm not sure how you'd go about implementing things differently topside, it sounds like there's no appetite for it, but the problems are frequently presented.

What about people who don't like division, conflict, challenge and misery and just want to socialize and RP? That seems to be the other question. One way of thinking about it is to think, if there was no conflict, there wouldn't be much to RP -about-, but I definitely agree that the player base is probably wider than the diehard competitive junkies. I think this is actually well known, which is why GMs try to support people who are causing chaos and action and enable villains because really, a lot of people do shirk from that side of the game.

Ultimately, it's an imperfect place to carry on RP as a simulation of real life, it's just too bananas, dangerous, anxiety-ridden and unfair. I've been in this boat before, it's unpleasant, but the best move is to disconnect a bit and just internalize that it's a game, it's just characters, and do the things that are fun. If you get caught, oh well. It's really hard to do that (for me, too) but it's that looser attitude that can help make the experience less stressful.

Slither, you are one of the few staff members I feel comfortable enough with directing feedback towards. I feel comfortable doing it because of the ways I see you responding to feedback all the time. You have such patience, understanding, resilience, and such passion for all of us. And it always just feels really, really good to hear about updates from you, or possible changes down the line, or when you make posts to get our feedback. I know I don't always respond to every update to post, but it always feels good to see updates from you.

This feedback comes from that kind of positive place.

"It's been a part of the game for the entire life-- even back when we had 10 players (or less) online at any time." I know it's not always super beneficial to so narrowly isolate and scrutinize specific parts of a post into a vacuum like this. I felt compelled to address specifically this, because I feel this specific isolated portion of your response here is a huge deterrent to progress I think you would really want to Sindome.

Based on what I've heard of "The Old Days," there are many things I am thankful for not having been part of Sindome's entire life, even back when we had 10 players or less online.

I'm so glad whenever any Staff member talks about Decking, they don't say "It's been this way since the beginning."

I'm so glad "It's been this way since the beginning," hasn't been the mentality behind improvements to help files, how disguises work, or any number of the huge wealth of content generated for this game representing many many thousands of hours of passionate, dedicated work done on Staff member's personal time not compensated by anything other than cultivating richness in the game and the community.

What I'm getting at is "It's been this way since the beginning," is in my opinion is a very dangerous way to approach many different discussions.

"Which is a critical component of cyberpunk as a genre and a mainstay of our theme," hell yes, I can get behind this. There can be a discussion to be had here.

With this other thing I isolated from your same post, I now feel encouraged to add to the discussion with questions like "What things which could be done differently, which would better reinforce Cyberpunk and Sindome themes? We want conflict, and we want conflict to happen all the time; What are ways to improve on the execution of vehicles for that conflict?"

I know this might come off as me, someone with very little experience here trying to tell someone with extensive, vibrant experience how to do things.

This is not that.

This is: Different aspects of this community and site tell me feedback for improving upon the game is welcome; Here is a part of Slither's response which could discourage feedback for me personally, and here's a part of Slither's response which encourages feedback for me.

Thank you everyone for taking the time to read into this, and I hope everyone continues to look into this matter with open minds.

I'm wondering if it would ever be beneficial to do an anonymous survey (similar to a post Town Hall survey) to get a sense of what people are liking and disliking about the game, to see if any patterns emerge.
Well, I think to have a truly honest and in-depth conversation about this we need to separate whether the more severely rigid parameters of current topside conflicts is the issue or whether it's separate issues arriving from passive players who don't know how to maximise their enjoyment from topside versus mixer life.

And I'm not using passive as an insult or critique. We all have different playstyles and we all have to find out what works for us. Some people like being in charge, handing out assignments, creating conflict, putting together events, etc and others have more fun reacting to what's put before them.

Because the issue of boredom/lack of fun Crooknose speaks about is one that's cropped up for topside players long before the re-emphasis on megacorp conflict that was reintroduced at this level about a year and a half ago. You get a weird combination of players trying out topside who realise it's not exciting enough for them in the way they enjoy excitement. Then opposite of them you have people who want and enjoy a slower kind of experience trying to touch base with those who easily get bored and burnout/send their characters back down. And right in the middle you have a smaller collection of ones who are super into creating conflict of all kinds but it's not a kind of conflict the first group likes and it's a kind of conflict that might overwhelm the players in the second group.

So it all gets compounded.

@crashdown: Super well put.

The thing is, I totally get Slither's point about that being the game, the GMs want characters who are competitive, who create problems and who aren't afraid to start shit because there aren't enough of those players and they completely drive the game, I absolutely understand that those are the players we want to attract and keep, but I think we also need to accept that a lot of players aren't like that and consider ways they could be nudged with carrots rather than sticks.

Topside has a bit of an undeserved reputation, honestly. People see the loudest examples of Topside's social structure coming around to bite people and what doesn't always come off is the nuance behind things and why someone's fucking up was drummed out as an example.

The 'Cold War' comment earlier is pretty apt to describe Topside. Each corp is looking out to further their own interests and will view the others as either enemies to crush or tools (to probably be crushed later.) The result is a lot of slow burn conflict and fake niceries as everyone tries to produce results that'll net them favor and rewards.

You can rub shoulders and as others have pointed out, who you interact with is a risk and risk is a good thing. Just understand that things will probably go better for you if you're using that risk to get results for yourself, drive conflict and you have a bit of savviness about what's socially acceptable. The rewards for themely Topside RP are there if you try for them, but you do have to take the step to reach for them. And the punishments for fucking up are cruel to stick the lesson about how things work in a megacorp- but honestly, the Mix is no less cruel or is even crueler.

I strongly, -strongly- urge anyone struggling with Topside or turned away by the isolation or slow burn to just try to embrace that antagonism is good. Stoke fights and look for people to make enemies of and you won't be lacking for RP. Don't be discouraged by the backlash or feel too broken up that you, Joe Genetek, are probably going to have a hard time being good chums with Jane Saedor-Krupp in public.

Holy tl:dr

Grizz, donde es Las popcorn?

I have no lack of enemies or hostile RP but thanks for the advice anyway. Frankly I'm living in the worst level of consequences that most players have not even a notion of, so 'get out there and take risks' rings pretty hollow.
Thanks for the extra clarification. I'm sorry I didn't understand at first.

Would that be an appropriate topic to XHELP about? So you could speak candidly about your struggle to find any way forward?

Is there not enough reward to break the rules? (As in, the risk of falling outweighs the rewards?)

Just because something has 'been this way since the start' does not make it a bad thing. Sure, there are things that were one way and were changed over time. This is not something we are looking to change. This is a core part of the game. Corpies and Mixers alike, have consequences if they are ICly caught being friendly. This is the game you have chosen to play. If that doesn't do it for you, that's OK, but there also comes a point where you have to accept what the game creators are telling you about the game they are running.

Based on the feedback from this topic, there are a number of people who do not see this as a problem-- either they have bought in to what we are providing, have leaned into the RP to the point where the benefits outweigh the risks, or they aren't into it but they deal with it because they like other aspects of the game.

NPCs are not in the game to be nice, or make people feel good. The game is about struggle. The game is about your character having bad shit happen to them over and over, and how they deal with it and the kind of person they become because of it. There are no happy endings here. You don't win Sindome, you just continue to survive.

I can't address every concern raised in this thread because a lot of it would involve revealing IC info, or pulling back the curtain so the player who has an issue can see what's really going on (you don't know what you don't know). However, what I can say is that we aren't making oatmeal here. Oatmeal is what you get when everyone gets what they want. It's bland, tasteless, nothing. It will keep you alive, but no one is happy eating it plain.

We know what we are about, and what we are about is conflict. I understand that there are people who find this game and who do not like conflict or do not understand or appreciate what we are going for in terms of theme and they stick around because they like the social aspect of the game or the sim aspect of it. I'm not knocking those people-- but you are not our only audience. This is a Cyberpunk RPG. If you don't want GMs pushing you to get involved in plots, or NPCs that are assholes, or the possibility of dying over and over because you offend the wrong person-- again, this isn't the game for you.

I ask that everyone take a step back, re-read what I've said, and ask yourself if you are asking us to change core concepts of the game and the way we run it because it's going to create more RP-- or because it's going to make your life easier.

in the past when ive been dissatisfied w/ the game ive talked to gm's and conversations were generally productive. sounds like you're in the same boat, you should try giving an xhelp and talking about your frustrations
Slither you've re-framed this as a corpie/mixer thing, which although I referred to as one of the divisions in the game, is not actually the subject of my complaints or issues. There are a lot more barriers to RP that just really don't have to be there. Not like, happy fuzzy RP, but -any- RP, period. I think it's a bit of denial to say there's like, no issues and things are ticking along just as planned, because vast segments of the game are RP ghost towns. The overwhelming mood of players is boredom and loneliness. Whatever your view, I believe the majority of players are here to form social connections with others within the scope of a fantasy setting. Sometimes that can be fun in a combative way, but I think social interactions of all kind, through a gamut of cooperative and antagonistic contexts, should be fosters and not inhibited. Right now OOC consequences that masquerade as 'just' IC consequences are the norm, and they disproportionately effect players in for the long haul and who value their social connections to other players.

The impression both here and in the forums, and through GM communication, has always struck me very much that the staff, or certain parts of the staff (Cerberus most infamously) resented part of the player base the game had acquired. If you don't want to provide that experience -- fine. I don't find the 'our way or the high-way' stance very productive, but I am combative myself so I can hardly blame you for taking it.

Actually. You're very right, I was just needing to boil it down to a crux (I thought I liked mixed metaphors), finding a sole antagonistic purpose, and one has just conveniently revealed itself to me.
I'm not really agreeing with the point of the post, but I've always looked at the sectors in a top-down view, with the higher you get the more anti-Mix it is. But in reality, Green -is- more Mix friendly (or at least, attractive) with the mall (with SHFL) and the unaffiliated (at least overtly?) restaurants/bars. There also seems to be a higher concentration of service Mixers working at these spots.

It would almost make more sense for a cube hotel and courier to exist on Green. There's very little reason for a non-corpie to be on Gold besides run crates or update, with all the hangouts being in corporate buildings. And running crates from Gold to Green is kind of a pain in the ass, and with the lev pass, you're quick to leave before it expires.

Another aspect I sometimes wish Sindome had, mostly inspired from INCORPORATED, is a slight tone down of Corpies in the Mix. Sure, corpies can be sneaky, but it's pretty much KoS for a corpie in Red. Whereas corpies would spend money on cheap drugs, cheap booze and that Mixer 'flavor'.

I think the game could benefit from more mixing of the classes, which is not always a peaceful prospect. Like, I took a picture of my coworker playing pool with a Mixer at Grunens and spread a rumor they were dating the dirty Mixer so I get promoted instead.

Please don’t ever put a cube hotel and courier on green.

Children play there.

Count me in as disagreeing with this thread.

Send an XHELP asking for guidance. If you feel trapped and you're not enjoying yourself, I'm sure folks can help you.

Newb input here for whatever it's worth. I know the OPs post was mainly frustrated with the divide of people within the classes, but just a note since someone mentioned mixing corpies and mixers. Doing that too much might damage the fantastically awkward in between - the service mixer.Theres so much RP to be had as a service mixer. It's really a lot of internal, silent struggle and great for character development. It's really hard and you dont belong anywhere or to anyone and its -great-. Maybe it's not everyone's style and it can be lonely and so sad, but the story generated can still be great if you push it. Please dont put a cube and courier on Green...
Hey everyone, thanks for your continued participation and feedback in this post! This is a bit of a long post, me trying to address the variety of things that have been raised.

0x1mm, I am going to step through some of the things you've said and address them, since you've said I've missed your point.

"Slither you've re-framed this as a corpie/mixer thing, which although I referred to as one of the divisions in the game, is not actually the subject of my complaints or issues."

The reason I believed you were talking about the Topside/Mix divide what because of the second paragraph of your first post where you state:

"To me it seems insane to take a small player base, then cut it into two quasi-non-interacting sectors, then further sub-divide again and again with hard walls or chilling effects until it's better to just not RP with people at all. Topside is the -worst- example of this. Taking a minuscule player base, splitting them further into three sub-sections, and then -- presumably under the conception it will spur engagement and conflict -- discourage them from interacting with each other."

So yes, that is what I was addressing, and have been addressing this entire time.

Let me break this down further.

"small player base"

I disagree. We have a big player base for a MOO, especially an RPI game. I've already stated the reasons why the theme pushes people into distinct groups. You can either agree with that or not, but it is the way this game works.

"vast segments of the game are RP ghost towns"

There are places in the game we do not continually devote GM resources to because there isn't a need for them to be there. There are also places in the game people try to get jobs and we don't hire for, because we don't want a single player to be the sole PC character at a corp.

This is surely an issue, and will always be an issue. People (players and GMs) come and go. A popping corp right now might be a ghost town in 6 months. A corp or gang or faction with no players might be full up in 6 months. The game is cyclical. Players in certain areas ebb and flow.

It has no solution aside from reducing the size of the world significantly, at which point the complaints would be about the world being too small. There are many places in the game that are 'destinations'. Places to go with a group, RP, and then leave. These places support plots and plans. They aren't meant to be inhabited all the time. Space and the Badlands are good examples of this. Blue is a lesser example.

We recognize that spreading players out too thinly leads to a lack of RP for them. This is something we've known for a long time. We actively keep an eye on this already.

Alternatively, you (the player) just don't see what is going on. This is a real possibility with some factions (not so much corps).

"The overwhelming mood of players is boredom and loneliness."

Seriously? This is why I have a hard time with this post. You are presenting your subjective opinion as objective fact. I didn't hear about any lonely or bored players at this past town hall. I just searched the town hall log and the word 'bored' does not appear a single time. Neither does the word 'lonely' and the word 'alone' appears only in the context of '... let alone a...

I have heard very little on xhelp, or game help, about bored people, or folks who can't find RP. This is YOUR opinion. This is YOUR experience. Please consider that your experience is not the only experience. It's terribly frustrating to have to make this point.

"Whatever your view, I believe the majority of players are here to form social connections with others within the scope of a fantasy setting."

I never said any differently. What I did say was that Sindome's theme is proscriptive in certain senses as to what that social interaction can look like, without there being in character consequences. That's the game.

"Right now OOC consequences that masquerade as 'just' IC consequences are the norm, and they disproportionately effect players in for the long haul and who value their social connections to other players. "

I disagree. Furthermore, if you want to play a character who interacts with someone from the 'other sectors', play a character in those sectors if you don't want to be sneaking around. The theme restraints on your in character social interactions come with the potential for in character consequences, and that's a good thing in the eyes of the staff. You might not agree, but that's our opinion on it.

If you wanna just be able to talk to whoever and do whatever, you can do that-- but there will be consequences. The same way there are consequences for other in character actions. This is not an OOC punishment-- you just see it that way because it continues to affect your character, and thus, you OOCly. I can't do anything about that. Your character is your character.

"You're phrasing this in that there's not a whole lot of 'neutral' spaces for people to mass-gather and RP, right?" -- Ephemeralis

Different sectors have different bars that are typically considered to be neutral turf. Topside has at least one, and the Mix has at least one. These are 'neutral' in that people of the same class should be able to go there and RP without fear of being ghosted on the spot in the middle of RP. They are this way specifically to give people an opportunity to RP. Obviously, they are IC rules and people can break them and cause trouble, but when that happens there are IC consequences, which we have done a good job (at least to my knowledge) of enforcing both in the short term and the long term. However, no where in game is truly safe. You're supposed to have that tickle on the back of your neck when you're out and about-- even if you're strapped or have a bunch of body guards.

The SIC is also the ultimate level playing field. You can RP with anyone on the game at any point, barring a deadzone. You can use an encrypt to get a party conversation going, like an old party line phone service.

Progia's offer an alternative to SIC for 1:1 conversation. Pretty much everyone has one and you can use them to communicate with people across sectors and in relative safety.

Radios offer the ability to have multi-person communications without using the SIC or progia.

The Grid is another way you can communicate with relative anonymity with anyone else in the game.

I do not agree that we need more places to gather-- we have enough.

"The impression both here and in the forums, and through GM communication, has always struck me very much that the staff, or certain parts of the staff (Cerberus most infamously) resented part of the player base the game had acquired."

I'll be frank, resentment is a tougher word than I would choose. I haven't seen resentment, I've seen frustration. There has been frustration around folks who begin to play the game, do not like parts of it, and ask for them to be changed without understanding why they exist, considering that they might be that way because of purposeful choices, or considering that other people like things the way they are.

And why wouldn't there be frustration around that? This isn't the first time I've had this conversation on the forums. Not everyone agrees with, or is on board with, the artistic vision that the staff has for the game. Does that make them wrong? No. Does that make the staff wrong? No. There are plenty of great games that I don't like because they don't fit what I'm looking for. That's OK.

However, it can be frustrating to have to continually defend and re-defend the decisions one makes during the time they spend working on their hobby. It's par for the course when it comes to game development, or really, any artistic or creative endeavor, but that doesn't make it fun.

"If you don't want to provide that experience -- fine. I don't find the 'our way or the high-way' stance very productive, but I am combative myself so I can hardly blame you for taking it."

I disagree that I am being combative. I'm being reasonable and saying something that I've learned I have to say over the years. See, I'm a people pleaser, and I've gone great lengths in the past to make players happy, only to have them have more complaints or more changes that they want. Over time I realized that I have to say no. And sometimes that means telling someone that hey, this is the game we're making. We don't want to change that thing you want us to change, even though you are 100% sure it will make the game better, because we don't agree. Take it or leave it.

I'm not going to apologize for telling folks that if they like the game, but don't like core concepts of it, it might not be the game for them. Or maybe it's ONE of the games for them but not the ONLY game.

Sometimes folks need to hear that. Calling for things to be changed that we are not going to change, and getting more and more frustrated that their ideas are not listened to-- that's not an experience I want anyone who plays Sindome to have. It's not that I don't think these ideas have merit, they do, but they aren't the game we're trying to make.

Sindome is a lot of things, but it can never be everything.

I've always thought (and previously posted on this somewhere, a long time ago) Gold sector was a sort of under-utilized and slightly misconceived area and could really help to bridge a bit of some of this. Sure there are corp HQs there, and sure there are spots that are exclusively for corpies, where they go to BE CORPIES and to BE SEEN (KMB) where mixers stick out and should get bounced instantly. But it also has areas mixers regularly need to traverse to to pay SIC bills, update their clones, do deliveries, and a mall with items they possibly can't get elsewhere that are priced in a range that's, theme-wise, mixer-accessible, whereas the mall on green is clearly more corpie-targeted.

We even have ambient population in room descriptions on Gold describing mixer gang members loitering around nervously, etc. Yet the way Gold is treated IC'ly, it might as well be as well be Green -- mixers shouldn't really hang around long, hoodies can get you shot almost on sight depending on your behavior, crime is almost impossible to manage, and corpies feel almost complete safety there.

I think it'd be really interesting and much more healthy if Gold was more of a mixing ground, if the law presence and general restrictions were eased to some degree, if there were more places there where mixers and corpies had room to mix. I know how that might be received, and I'm NOT suggesting literally mixers and corpies getting drinks at the same table and singing kumbaya. But some kind of grayer area that at least opens up more chance meetings and clandestine meetings alike. Yeah these can already be done, but the current settings really impose a feeling that you can't and shouldn't, even if you should for Great RP.

It'd just be a lot healthier and interesting IMO if Gold had more of it's own identity. If Red is the Mixer and Green is the corpie, Gold could be the Service Mixer, the in-between.

@Jameson I don't disagree with you there. In fact, I think what you're describing is already possible. There are places (Sing-A-Rong) which I've seen Mixers at. Crime is not impossible on Gold. There is plenty of pick pocketing, for instance. There have been a number of instances of high profile murders, robberies, etc. Ever heard of a character being permed? Probably got killed on Gold. Crime is not impossible, that's an IC perception-- one I've actively tried to remove (see news posts from the past).

The issue is when Mixers treat Gold like it's Red. You can't walk around Gold with a machete and think you're not being stopped by the Jakes. You can't hang out on a street corner nervously and NOT keep an eye out for the Jakes. You can't go to KMB dressed like (and smelling like) shit and not get bounced. Mixers have to do a better job of trying to blend in if they don't want to stand out-- or they need to embrace that they stand out and just roll with it when the Jakes show up and fuck with them. That's what Gold is about.

I think Gold is great as is. And I think it's really awesome there's no place to live there. You -can- live at the Hab, but not comfortably or safely. The crushing weight of wanting to retreat to red so you can interact with others but the fear of doing so is great. You can hangout in some bars on Gold, but if you're dirty or you're acting up, of if you encounter an asshole corpie you'll get the boot. It's still topside.
Gold has ALWAYS been the middle ground. The only two things I’ve seen change about GOLD in 15 years is the addition of some shops, and the ic policy of what you can’t or can wear, and xhelping prior to commuting a crime.

I think it’s the player perception that it’s safe and untouchable. It’s not. Nobody wants to admit they had a bad plan, or a bogus idea. Sometimes it is.

I fully agree with Slither on this. Everything he said is what I think put in words far better than I could have managed.

I just want to reinforce a point that others have made... As a GM, I do not have a desire to end any and all interactions between characters of different corps or different gangs or different social status. I am cool with them. But HOW you go about these interactions matters a LOT.

If you are a corpie and want to hang with a mixer, do it. But know that if you are caught that the IC world will react to it and it will probably not be a favorable reaction. SO take the risk and take steps to mitigate it. Use some of those cool new disguise items that are not outlawed topside. Meet in clandestine locations. Have lookouts ready to warn you if heat is coming in. That is all great RP.

Same for if you are in Corp A and you want to meet with rival Corp C. Do it if you want to accept the risks. But do it in a themely way. Make cool RP out of it. Be ready for backlash if you get caught. Some of the most successful topside characters I have seen HAVE done this. They establish connections with people all over the dome but they play is smart (as smart as their character can) and have plans for when they will be caught.

So to the OP: No. I don't want to prevent you from hanging with character of other corps or factions or whatever. I WANT you to go hang with them. But I want you to do it in a themely way and I will not pull punches if you get caught and can't squirm your way out of things.

Have fun RPing!

1. I love all your posts, Slither. 💚

2. As a starting point for those interested in being bad on Gold... There are plenty of places frequented on Gold with no ambpop. 😉

So I am not going to comment on a large portion of this, but I do want PC's to see a little behind the curtain on the build side.

First, let's chat neutral ground. Safe places are hard in Sindome, we are well aware of that on staff side, as Slither said the goal is to give you a little bit of that back of neck nerves when you move around, but that does not mean there are no places where you can sit and hang out. The thing is the locations are only safe when you are IN the room. I won't name names here, but there are bars on every sector that are considered neutral ground and doing shit in them will cause IC consequences that I know our GM's try to make loud enough to make a point.

Second, Gold Level is not supposed to be a closed down safe place from a build perspective. It is where the corporate war is waged, and it is not closed off to mixers or free of crime, it's the city center, PC's need to be smart about it but they can and in my opinion should do crimes up there. Judges will respond, but it's where they earn their money, they should HAVE to respond and are likely to do so with a delay as they move through busy streets.

Lastly, I wanna chat about corporate division. Yes the corporations are factions, yes they are often at odds and have complete power in their buildings, but they are also ALL about reputation and image. If a member of one corp that was at war with another showed up in their building, the owners of that building are unlikely to harm them, perhaps have them followed, but it hurts the bottom line to be killing or abducting folks in your building using your services. Topside conflict is a conflict in the shadows, murders, schemes, slander, all this is done well you smile and shake the hand of the person you are fucking over. VS shouldn't be scared to go to KMB, NeoTrans shouldn't be avoiding using VS services, NLM people can take flights up to space or drink in NeoTrans port even as they plot to fuck each other over or kidnap someone off the street on their way home.

Conflict is what makes this game fun, loss is often not as bad as you expect it will be, take risks, be brazen, be clever. No power is insurmountable, no place is entirely secure. You probably will NOT be fired for your first fuckup. All this conflict is designed to create RP, not crush it, find ways to plot that will create RP rather than just be effective, the more people that do this the more fun the game is.

All of these posts have been extremely encouraging to read. Thank you everyone, thank you for taking the time to break so many things down. Thank you Slither, thank you Mobius, thank you Blinder.

I'm glad we cleared up that the Corpie/Mixer divide isn't the thing the OP was hitting at.

"Topside conflict is a conflict in the shadows, murders, schemes, slander, all this is done well you smile and shake the hand of the person you are fucking over." This is how I've always looked at topside, and Sindome in general. Where I'm coming from with my suggestions is I think there are better ways to get more of this.

Yes, I understand there are a lot of things I don't know (You don't know what you don't know), and yes I understand there are some things in place which already line up with my suggestion.

As a baseline, if it were publicly "acceptable" most of the time for members of different Corporate factions to interact with each other while there was broad Corporate Culture designed to encourage and reward espionage and subterfuge, there would be more conflict because the barrier of RP entry is lower, while it's easier to understand that fucking over others is a Good Thing.

If the Baseline, business as usual attitude is that interaction among members of all corporations is publicly "acceptable," while conflict is encouraged through reward(And this is better understood and conveyed through IC means on a broad level), there are big windows for cross-faction relationships to build up. Then suddenly bouts of outright Corporate War have a lot more meaning because characters who have previously established relationships with well-understood benefits of interactions are at odds due to their corporation's conflict.

I get things like that do already happen. Some Corporate Divisions have lasted longer than others.

I get that things are set up this way to create RP, not crush it. But it just feels like there's a lot of unnecessary working against typical human psychology to get that atmosphere of conflict int he shadows, paranoia, and scheming. When instead there are ways to get more of those themes while working WITH typical human psychology.

You don't get people to go into your casino by telling them "YOU COULD LOSE MILLIONS IF YOU'RE NOT CAREFUL."

You give them a free spin. You tell them you COULD WIN millions if they really try!

If you want a bunch of people in a room to fight each other, you don't tell them they MIGHT lose their job if they talk to people from certain groups. (But you probably will NOT be fired the first time you fuckup and get caught!)

If you want them to fight, you have someone spread rumors that you might get paid a million dollars if you talk shit to people from certain other groups. Or spy on them. Tell them it's okay to talk to people from certain other groups, as long as you're keeping a close eye and reporting to whoever about what they're up to.

I know there are things like this CURRENTLY in game. And some of that is based on PC roles currently being filled.

If any Staff members understand what I'm getting at, and at least consider how this kind of suggestion would help enhance the core of Sindome, I hope there start being discussions behind the scenes of setting it up so that concept of conflict through reward can be propagated with less and less GM intervention, sort of like how selling items to certain Gangers can be.

Speaking of which, please look at this https://www.sindome.org/bgbb/open-discussion/theme/-important--ganger-roleplay-changes-206/

Please look at how many parts of Slither's post there could be applied to the way Topside division works, and how the mentality behind the 'Ganger Code' changes come from a place of both alleviating OOC issues, AND creating more RP.

Please. Look at all of the parallels. From what I can tell this "Experiment" did not fail, and ended up getting really good results for Staff and Players alike.

Take the reasoning and mentality behind the 'Ganger Code' changes, and please look at Topside divisions in a similar way.

I'm not begging for more content. I understand this is a hobby, a passion project, and something people take time out of their busy lives to contribute to.

This is what I'm begging for: "Please consider viewing Topside dynamics from a similar lens as you did with the 2018 'Ganger Code' update. Please be open-minded in considering how that benefited the game and created more conflict, and how a similar approach could do the same for Topside."

I just want it to be understood where I'm coming from.

armingo,

I think that's a really excellent parallel to draw, and potentially extremely fruitful to consider.

Someone earlier mentioned something alone the lines of asking/stating, are the risks a scale larger than the regards to such a degree that it really does impact RP? I think sometimes (especially topside) it can be. I'm not against Big Risks. I'm not against people being asked to sometimes risk everything. Sometimes characters should fall, should lose a lot, should lose everything, should even perm. But it does feel like the rewards vs. the risks are so imbalanced -sometimes- that people will just....turtle up, get complacent, because they truly enjoy their social connections or role or whatever, and even if their character should want to take risks, the player just doesn't. There are ways player can lose without losing everything.

I didn't know ganger code wasn't here forever, can't imagine how that RP would work without it.

And I am surprised that the general population seems to think that topside the warfare should be in the open, and mingling limited. That's what red is for where you have hard-division of turf, crossing which may get your killed robbed etc. Mingling between corpies is how espionage and subversion starts, and should absolutely be a key and core thing. I don't know if that is not communicated well enough, or what is the issue - new here, but maybe something a kin to a code for the corpies is the way to go. Like Code of Conduct you sign together with slave-wage contract.

I know this thread isn't just about Mixer/Corpie lines, but that seems to be the largest context of it. So, having played this game for a few years but always playing 'Mixer' PCs, I've recently had a chance to try my hand at Topside. I'll admit, I was intimidated by the concept. How to create and foster RP, how to generate conflict and likewise form alliances - in a Corporate setting versus the more in your face style of the Mix - and still find pleasure in the Game. Now, I'm enjoying it immensely. It IS fun for me. I DO find it full of intrigue and drama, conflict and engagement. It's a different play-style, but it's there.

I don't think the sub-divisions are too large. If anything, I like the nuances and the fluidity of the game's cycles. I've seen a Corp (or Mix group) be on top and then I've seen them fall and become the 'low man on the totem'. There's a risk to the game that I like. That actions have consequences. That it's not just 'point and shoot' but requires plotting and effort. (Not that point and shoot isn't fun too.)

The core theme of Sindome is conflict. It's not about winning, it's about holding on to what you can while waiting for the inevitable loss of everything. I think maybe some people forget that? Or, become frightened of that concept? It's just as risky Topside. There -are- cliques and power struggles. There are top-dogs and those that want to be top-dogs. And, the loss is intended to be greater because the gain is greater. At least, that's how I've always viewed it. But, it's also exciting. I've not been bored the entirety of my playing. Does it mean that every second is filled with 'drama'? No, but that doesn't mean it's boring. The Game is only as good or bad, boring or lively, as you make it.

As for the social and economical dissection of the masses? I think it's not harsh enough. This is a dystopian world, Sindome. It is all about the Haves and the Have-nots. It's about the Haves pointing and laughing at the Have-nots all while looking to take more from their fellow Haves. It's about the Have-nots hating the Haves but secretly wanting what they have as well. It's about looking down your nose at a 'dirty Mixer' hanging out in Green Sector's or Blue Sector's 'fine establishments'. It's about living in upper class flats and being horrified that some Service Mixer is living next door to you. Does that mean your PC has to act that way? No. But, if your PC doesn't, you have to accept the risks that you're going to be viewed as a 'sympathizer' - as not following the 'rules' of Corporate life.

You want to socialize with someone who's in a different class than you? Sure, do it. But expect your fellow Haves to see it as an opportunity to knock you out of the game and take your power. Or, consider the Have-nots as seeing it as a chance to knock you off your pedestal so they can get revenge for all your pretentious behavior. The divide is there to provide RP, but I think people blur it for the purpose of OOC reasonings - fear of conflict, wanting to RP with a certain character despite the theme, wanting the rewards without getting the hazards - and I think that does a disservice to the Game and the Playerbase. Please don't take that negatively or as confrontational or even accusatory, anyone. That's purely my opinion.

The Game doesn't say you can't blur the lines or RP with whoever you want. The Game actually encourages it. But, with the BIG BOLD WARNING that if you get caught, better be ready to face the consequences. Because, the core theme of the game is exactly as someone earlier pointed out. 'Stay in your lane'. That's what this environment is built around. Mixers are to be dirty mixers staying out of the pretty little lives of the Haves. And the Haves are supposed to be little worker bees doing what the Corporations want and presenting a unified front of Power and Prestige. The Player's job is to push the boundaries of that lane and try not to get caught. It's not the Game's responsibility to expand that lane to make it less risky.

And, as some others have said, it's not rude or snippy to say if you don't like the theme, don't play. It's simply saying that you don't HAVE to play the game if you're not happy with it. I think it's a bit hubris to demand a game that has been functioning with a core theme for a long time to suddenly do an about-face simply due to a personal dislike of how things are played. I find that to be a message that is insulting to all the Players and GMs that have worked so hard to create the themely environment moreso than having those that aren't happy to be offered politely and with respect that maybe this isn't the game for them.

Slither, I think it says so much about you that even when dealing with criticism you take the time to try to break things down and answer each point. I'm a people pleaser too, I can totally understand how doing this for 10+ years you start to realize that your project is your project and that giving people what they want doesn't always satisfy them, or just leads to the next complaint.

I had this super long post but I think what it boils down to is that first off, we should accept that people can feel OOCly upset when their IC connections are disrupted, either through a player leaving, perming, joining a rival factions, falling to the Mix, going topside, etc. For many players, the fun of playing and the enjoyment of socializing go hand in hand.

People don't like to talk about this, but it's a thing. The game is a thin veil over real social interaction, an excuse to act like it's "just a game" because people are both desirous of and fearful of emotional connection. I'm not saying every player feels this way, but I think we attract a fair share who do. It's a text-based RP game. Even the really great role-players and the out-there characters may be papering over a desire for connection that they fear won't be met.

However, the game's theme and staff messaging often explicitly decry connecting with other players. I'm not talking about moosex here when I'm talking about connections, I understand why staff bring it up because they want people out doing things, but it's also a good example. There's even a helpfile which is sometimes promoted via OOC shout explaining to people why they shouldn't make sex and relationships the focus of the game. I've been told IC on several occasions about advice given ICly by a then-high level staff member's alt to the effect of, love is a mistake, relationships make you weak, they waste your time and open you up to harm and exploitation.

Moreover we are often told on the forums that the CP ideal is that everyone is in it for themselves, to never share your true self or intentions with anyone. I think to a certain degree, the game attempts to enforce a worldview of disconnection, loneliness and distrust and then we act as though it's just a game and doesn't affect people OOCly.

Not to call a spade a spade, but does anyone really believe that? We already have a term for it, bleed. It's letting your IC feelings affect you OOCly and letting your OOC feelings drive you ICly. I just can't personally get on board with the supposition that you can make things ICly miserable and people will OOCly love it. Show me the person who's just died and lost all their gear and failed who thinks, 'God, I just love what's happening right now.' I've ICly lost all my friends, wealth, assets and relationship in a single stroke and it was horrible. Other people get permanently killed by someone else. I've watched players who have been around more than a few blocks perm their characters via Judge or the suicide booth because they were that done with shit that they couldn't even manage a real ending, and then staff-puppeted SIC alias or alts ICly mocked them for it.

By the way, I'm in no way impugning the staff, I've been very OOCly upset on probably too many occasions and gotten a lot of support. I know their RP is IC, not OOC. The point I'm trying to make is, it's just not true to pretend like people aren't OOCly affected by things that happen, and I think we often invoke the setting and the "It's just a game" mantra to help grapple with our own feelings of guilt, oppression, loneliness, etc. Staff may have developed thick skin against these things over time, experience and separation from their characters (which I'm sure happens quickly when you're forced to RP lots of different people) but the average player doesn't necessarily have that kind of separation. The message often seems to be: develop that toughness, disconnect, separate, pull back, etc.

Which makes sense! And I'm not disagreeing with that advice. Disconnecting a bit has helped me. All I'm saying is, the underlying issue is that many of our players are here for connection, not competition, and the theme and it's enforcement directly contradict that desire for connection and instead try to create a sense of loneliness and mistrust, on purpose--with the intention of it being overcome by intrepid players, sure, but not all players are intrepid. We put misery forth as a theme, I just don't think it should be surprising when people get caught up in that feeling.

I feel like I didn't put a bow on how this connects to the original post in my last post. The OP's point was that the game is designed to divide people and that stifles RP. My point is that lots of players come here for connection and that the IC world pushes disconnection heavily, with major IC consequences for rulebreakers. Although these things can be gotten around, often to great benefit, many players don't either:

- Believe they can overcome the rules they're bound by;

- Believe they'll get away with it;

To go back to my earlier posts and the idea of the gang treaty which armingo also picked up on, all I'm suggesting is looking at ways that corporate play can be structured to more effectively enable the players to take risks without fearing that they'll lose everything.

While not true of every topside player, I think it could be accurately said that topside players tend to be more risk-averse and more willing to trade freedom for security. They're a self-selecting pool in that sense, the one's who don't fit that mold are often drummed out, and the ones who remain tend to be rule followers, not rule breakers, so when we put a lot of rules in their face saying they can't do something, they tend to follow them.

Very well said, Crooknose.

I bleed every day and I love it.

Yeah, +5000 to Crooknose's posts, which articulate a lot of things I've wanted to say (and probably failed at saying) in the past.

I absolutely believe the game can offer space for both connection and conflict, and I think to some extent it does -- after all, to -some- degree what happens in the game is what the players make happen. GM's can push, and even shove players in certain directions, but the players still decide for the most part what happens: if they betray, who they betray, how they betray, for instance.

We even see newer players show up here on the BGBB sometimes literally asking the question 'Um, can I play a Good Guy?' And the answer is basically sure, but be prepared for the world and people in it to make you suffer. Which is TOTALLY OKAY. That's the theme. To an extent.

I've actually always found myself disagreeing, TO AN EXTENT, with just how extremely hard SD's theme has been shoved toward the constant extreme that to 'be CPAF' every character in every situation and decision must be driven by total self-interest, ready to fuck over every person they know, no matter what, for a 10-chy bowl of noodles.

Maybe I'm sort of a purist, but my genre cardinal directions are always Neuromancer and Blade Runner. They both have betrayal, truly sketchy allies, really brutally bad shit happening to good people, etc. But they also have complicated moments of intimacy, comradeship, and love.

Looking back on my ~17 years with Sindome, there are absolutely rich memories of being fucked over, betrayals I never saw coming, betrayals that thrilled me because I know I was fucking someone over that -they- never saw coming. But just as rich if not richer are, yes, the friendships I made along the way. The years-long allies that -never- betrayed my oldest characters, the ones that actually shared absolute trust. The love stories.

Never forget that allies, friends, faction-mates, lovers, can all fuel rich RP just as much as conflict with the fiercest rivals.

Slither talks about oatmeal, and I love that analogy. But it's true no matter what it's made of, right? No one enjoys eating shit-oatmeal every day, either. Variety is the point. Balance, to an extent, is healthy.

I think Crooknose is right to acknowledge that bleed is inevitable. I don't think ynk is wrong to embrace bleed. Fuck it, I'm right there with you. Sometimes it bites me, I feel more than I should, but it's just who I am and I think it makes my RP better -- it's certainly what has always made this game enjoyable to me.

CPAF to me is about a million other genre conventions, from setting, technology, class divides, on and on and on, that can be so richly embraced and explored without necessarily ALWAYS pushing every character into being a sociopathic, selfish island-unto-themselves. I agree it makes for a lonely player experience, even if it can be fun to play that kind of character at times (and I'm not knocking anyone who plays that way, if you enjoy it!) I feel like gangs are sort of the perfect metaphor for balance, you fuck over everyone else, but you've got your gang's back.

Fuck this got long, sorry. I just think it's important, and clearly a lot of people are thinking deeply on it, which I think is fantastic. And Slither / other staff members, really appreciate the detailed responses, I'm sure many others do too.

@Ephemeralis: I should clarify, I embrace bleed out, where I feel for everything that happens to my character (and surrounding characters, too).

I don't bleed in, where my feelings affect my character's actions.

I have a very strong imagination and Sindome feels so real to me. I love it.

This thread has touched on a lot of core elements of the "game", in so far as I have perceived them in the few months that I have been playing here.

I feel the need to talk a bit about bleed, OOC humanity and where it crosses with the IC theme of the game.

There are days that I seriously consider not playing here. I had that thought again last week. On the surface, Sindome is a toxic environment. I mean that from a mental health perspective. It is an environment of near constant conflict, and people treating each other like shit. It is a game where the 'safe' way to play it is to assume that EVERYONE is out to screw you over, and therefore you "cannot" trust anyone. That is not a healthy headspace to be in.

As humans we NEED to feel safe. We need to be able to trust those around us. We need to be love, share love and receive love.

Sindome seems to be setup to punish love. "Don't love anyone, they might screw you over. Don't love your 'friends' enough to back them up, lest you get pulled into their conflict(s) and harmed over it. Love is dangerous. Love will get you hurt."

The staff has made it crystal clear that they want to foster conflict. They want a hostile, paranoid world. While that does not mean that you cannot go against the grain by doing things like forming relationships with other characters, I think it is important to do so knowing full well that the person on the other end of the keyboard is likely manipulating you.

It is even more important to check your own personal headspace. In my case, I sometimes struggle with whether or not I want to put effort into creating a character and seeding plots in an environment that is setup to sabotage my efforts. Beyond that, I struggle with whether it is even healthy to log into the MOO, as opposed to going out and fostering "real" relationships with people out in the world.

I'm not sure what I'm trying to say here, other than offering a suggestion to take an honest look at your reasons for playing here. And if your reasons are along the lines of developing close, safe relationships with people, maybe reconsider playing on Sindome for all of the reasons I mentioned above.

This place is toxic. I don't mean that negatively, as in the staff are particularly malicious or malaligned. It's just that the theme that is being cultivated here is one of oppression. If you aren't mentally healthy, it's probably going to affect you at some point. And I say this as someone who has life-long struggles with depression and anxiety.

I agree with that.

So many terrible things that have happened in-game, even since I joined. I easily cry twice a week based on in-game events.

However, I also feel there's an overwhelmingly positive theme in SD: always push forward. Through all the death, tragedy, losses, and more, this sticks out the most to me. We're survivors, and we can survive again. Even if your character crashes hard and has to start over from scratch, the world still shouts at you with resounding calls of "Get up, baka!"

You're heavily discouraged from giving up.

It's something that the real world is lacking. It's something I personally needed to hear a long time ago, but I'm happy to have it with me today.

@Hek and ynk: Totes agree with both of you. It's a game that draws in a lot of sensitive, artistic people to a pretty harrowing or, as Hek said, toxic environment. But as ynk says, there is also an underlying and frequently reinforced message of showing grit in the face of despair and pushing through hardship which is an important experience in life.

We're told we can't win, but like, I think that's sort of the reason for this thread. If you're playing a game where you can't win, then either you're playing for the endless thrill of brutal conflict, like some Norse warrior taken to Valhalla to fight forevermore (and I'm sure we all know players that really do love the slog), or you're playing because it's a flash setting where you've made friends and you contribute to and take from the game what you can while having your own fun. And it's the latter group of players, who might be more connection focused, for whom I think the idea of more leniency to have fun without constant IC threat of losing their job is appealing.

@ynk

You make a good point. Though my character hasn't failed spectacularly yet, the impression that I get from reading the messages is that failure is expected and that staff (and to a certain extend, some other players) are there to help your character pick themselves back up.

To quote Nelson Mandela, "Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again."

I know it's not the point of this thread, but failure isn't always inevitable Hek.

The players who eventually become good probably failed spectacularly along the way. There are also characters for who this is true, who have taken huge risks, been beaten down over and over and then managed to thrive. There are also characters who just seem to do nothing but succeed, but that's because their players have been through the fire in previous incarnations, I can pretty much guarantee you.

I know we're told we can't win, but that's not entirely true. It's just very difficult to win. I recently saw an extremely veteran character retire and get a hero's exit from the city. That's winning, to me. There are also characters who have basically self-sabotaged to have an interesting exit because they felt like they had won the game.

The game's not unwinnable, in the conventional sense. It's just that we're being directed to enjoy the struggle because while winning is something vague and probably impossible for the majority of characters, the struggle is constant and will intrude whether we want it to or not.