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Is there a problem with topside?
Anecdotes within

Before I give my opinion I'll say that the Mix is where most of the RP and the gritty cyberpunk stuff happens. Sure you can engage in the cyberpunk RP topside but it's not that harsh as you would think. You can see this is the tendency due to previous bgbb posts, conversations on OOC Chat and decisions made by PCs across history "escaping" the boring life in Green.

Your points aren't wrong, they're actually quite spot on. But in my opinion topside caters to a specific circle of players which don't get off combat builds. And that's fine. Like Cerb once said, there are some absolutely useless, forgettable, irremediably boring characters topside. And that's fine. It's their play style, long as they have fun and don't break the rules. Also don't forget in the Mix there is no much platform for an aspiring decker, singer, rigger, because of themely reasons.

For the record there have been quite a few notable topside personalities. Media stars and TV hosts, including Aki, Frijol, notorious Street Judges, and VPs. Though these seem to be a thing of the past and I haven't seen anyone worthy of mention in quite a while. The Mix is home to all the fallen ex Corpies who had to struggle and claw their way to the top and carve a niche in the underworld. Isn't that much more interesting?

I have a friend I used to rp with. We'd do a combination of action/gritty stuff, but her greatest talent is the slow burn storyline. Just when things are going one way, she'll pull out the ace card and hit me with a plot twist. She would plan these things for a year ahead, and it was always fun when she delivered them.

Topside is made for people like her.

If you like to rp getting into subtle traps and feeling like everything you do is checked by other pieces on the proverbial chessboard, then topside is your thing! If you like Amberite plots and constant power struggles, having it all while fending off those coming for you like soldiers aiming for a beachhead, then topside is for you!

The pervasive loneliness and boredom IS a challenge, but it's one that is the trappings of that "perfect" life. The perfection of topside is a lie, and the things you get up to there--betrayal, competition, and secret meetings with your Mixer input--are the grime beneath your seemingly faultless image. The challenge is to seem like you aren't doing anything wrong, yet secretly you have TONS of irons in the fire.

Things like Grunen's, KMB, and Uphoria are intermittent scenes for meeting your friends and foes over drinks, smoothies, and a nice dip in the pool. In other words, it's just a brief respite from the bloodsport.

Topside has lots of spats between all of its corporations, although I cannot reveal what they are here. But! I guarantee you they are there. How do they happen?

People allow their players to be petty, messy, and do sly shit to snipe at someone else. The key word is "sly", which means others may not notice it. You won't see it in the news, but it's happening!

My advice is to take an easy start by picking a corporate citizen (if you're topside) and just start fucking with their life. Then, boom! You've got a rival. More people will jump in and life will be more fun.

If you need suggestions, you can IC'ly ask a coworker how better to serve your company. They might have an errand for you to fulfill.

Also, you know you're on your way when you start plotting shit topside and you even feel like this when you're eating:

That's when you know it's working!

Breaking this into two posts to hopefully encourage more of this ridiculous wall of text to be read by more people.

Ephememaralis, I generally agree with all of your points.

To answer your question, while I do believe there are problems with topside, I do not believe several of the very accurate points you bring up are problems from my personal perspective. And some other things are not problems from the Staff perspective (conjecture of course).

"Topside fosters risk aversion" and "Risk is an unintelligent choice in a topside environment,": For the former I look at it as more of a glass half-full rather than half-empty kind of thing. I think Topside forces players to seek out their own fun and risk, if they want it. For the latter, yes risk is an unintelligent, unoptimized choice. But risk is the fun choice a lot of the times. It depends a lot on the player and circumstance, but I think it's up to the players to seek out that fun, and escape the surface level boredom of topside.

Progression appears to make you continually more isolated: Hadn't thought about this, but the way you describe it makes it sound like another theme-appropriate thing that comes at the cost of the player experience. I think the only way to "fix" this is for it to somehow become more ICly known how isolating Success can feel, and for players to prepare very early for that, because from my very limtied perspective it's possible to mitigate the loneliness with enough planning ahead of time.

A lack of "grand narrative": I think this is true, unfortunate, and intentional. From my limited perspective, everything is going according to keikaku(translator's note, blah blah blah). In my next ridiculous wall of text, I'll go more into conjecture and reasoning for this, but I think the lack of a grand narrative topside is meant to encourage more topside players to get involved with the meat of the game: the grand narratives in the Mix. Down there is the main draw. I believe Topside players are meant to mainly be entities to support and fuel what goes on down there, rather then do their own thing. It makes more sense after all for Staff time to be dedicated to plots that affect the majority of players, and then using different elements of design inherent to the game to coax the minority into participating in that.

"The topside faction "split" segments an already very small playerbase.": I agree with you, and I believe that this is a theme-accurate choice that makes sense for the world, at the cost of strongly mitigating opportunities for RP and conflict within this already very small playerbase you spoke of. For there to be consistent conflict, consistent interaction is needed. Yes, it makes sense to just ban your employees from publicly interacting with employees from another corporation. But it would also make sense to instead "allow" interactions to take place, with lots of secret caveats that encourage more of a cold-war feeling. I have suggestions for this I'll keep to myself, because I think they could be good alternatives to explore that would keep things themely, and enable more conflict and havoc to go down.

A very cool person once told me that making something against the rules only makes it more fun. Like how crazy some US high schoolers go over getting booze at their parties. To a degree, I agree. But with regards to the faction "split" there is not often favorable enough benefit(in the form of potential fun) to balance out the cost and risk. Many Topside players(Sindome players in general really) are careful about what they reveal and share, since all data can be monetized. This is smart. But some players are awful about allowing this to turn them into brick walls who try to surreptitiously leech your data without being any kind of conducive to the conversation or more importantly RP. This is a valid strategy. But it's also a fairly common, unfun one that is going to keep topside players thinking twice about whether it's ever worth it to initialize clandestine meetings with opposing factions. Like, why do it if you're not gonna try to make the process of fucking my shit up fun for the both of us?

All of that makes me believe that splitting the small topside playerbase is an intentional aspect of the game's design meant to funnel topside players into getting involved with Mix plots and stuff, because that's where a lot of the content is. Way more players means Staff has to prioritize the plotlines that will affect the greatest amount of players. That's gonna be Mix stuff, and it's just more efficient to force Topside players to participate in those plotlines from the shadows, rather than dedicate too much time to catering to a smaller player base.

tl;dr

I believe two main types of gameplay are what Staff wants out of Topside players: Either fuck with each other, or bankroll mix shenanigans. Like introducing different species of ants to an ant farm, tossing in some tasty sugar, and deriving enjoyment out of watching them kill each other over it.

And yo, whenever you don't want to do either of those, there's always typefucking.

(Just being crass for fun. I personally hope the Topside playerbase increases to the point of there being lots more incentive for GM attention towards things like intricate, grand plots that are somewhat more accessible to topside players as well as mixers.)

I had a corporate character pre-kmb, pre- any corporations having accessible towers, paid enough to etch by, and with a smaller player base with the same “problems “ . You’d have to call that dirty mixer fixer to hook you up with a poncho to go slum it in red to actually play with anyone.

I guess it’s just the natural flow of living in the “safe”(🤫) zones to be a bit bored with it after a bit or not be keen to start fucking with your fellow topsides because losing your job and forced into the lower unwashed masses Might as well be a death sentence. I am a fan of corporates only ever getting fired over betraying their business. No idea if that is policy or not but that might encourage more people to keep a basement of dead mixer hookers, kidnap rival corporations employee for interrogations, equip terrorist on the understanding they bomb the other corps tower, etc etc. Hey, Billy might be a sick demented bastard, but hey loyal to the corporation. His kids say the pledge of NLM in school. He’s OUR guy. He got a fine for what? Fuck that junior over in ZMI, right?

I kinda feel like isolation is actually CP. You can't trust anyone in Sindome. No matter where you are, you are alone. Feeling part of the crowd anywhere means someone hasn't stabbed you in the back yet. That deep, pervasive loneliness that the city bores into you is what happens when you become paranoid about everybody else.
Agreed with Grizzly's points. If you can do anything illegal and get away with it (i.e. the WJF does not catch you, but your corporation knows), you shouldn't get fired and sent to Red. Sometimes you have to break and bend the rules for your purposes.

Like if Billy is a deranged psychopath but he's the best corpsec NLM has had, you shouldn't fire him over that one time he littered in Gold or he was seen shagging a Mixer joygirl in KMB. When corporations grow multiplanetary sizes, who the fuck cares about PR.

I agree with Grizzly and Villa, but I also believe there's a chance some of that is going on already. I don't know when the last time a topsider got fired for getting their rocks off with a mixer joygirl, but I think there is evidence to meritocracy-based leniency for some of the corporations. But in both Grizzly and Villa's suggestions, there is an employee described who has proven themselves an asset to the corporation. I am not sure how often topside characters prove themselves to be good assets to their corporations, and I am not sure how often the corporations look the other way at different types of shenanigans and fuck-ups.

But, if Staff feels that a bit more leniency can lead to more game conflict and rp, there are different IC things which could happen to make this leniency a bit more obvious to others.

I’m not saying asset. I am saying devoted employee, Who will do what is told, wear the corporate pin on their jacket, and pledge their nationalism to the corporation, not necessarily a highly competent person who never makes mistakes.

Let’s use corpsec as an example. Corpsec should be a pretty powerful tool. They should, in my opinion, be the police, the army, and the CIA rolled into one with their respective duties. They should be doing black operations against other corporate entities that would require UN intervention. The problem with competence as opposed to loyalty is that most of these corpsec agents aren’t that tough stat/skill wise when compared to max or near max use solo’s, syndicate operators, etc etc. while that is not the end all, it does play a role in what you can do without being slaughtered by math every time. We also know that the progression hill can be steep and long, so by the time your team has hit that tier of being able to shoot that dirty mixer “in self defense “ and have the judge thank you for giving them tips on shot placement, most if not all of that team has decided to just go be cat splicing joys in the mix instead, where the play is more visibly organic. The CIA like syndicate members can juggle multiple operations spanning across the dome without much of any gm participation. The Gangers can do a lot too without GMs, patrolling their turf and being the law in their neighborhoods, being very visible in person and on SIC.

I think it just doesn’t feel as organic and flexible topside. It didn’t for me, and it sounds like to this day it still doesn’t for many.

But like I said, I don’t know what policies are actually in play, I’m just speaking on what sounds like a similar experience in a different time. Maybe it’s time to re-evaluate what a corpie is by job (a help expectations if you will) to help better inspire and guide the player so that kiss everyone until they betray each other is the best you got, maybe GM’s should be giving them a little more to do in terms of excitement, maybe both, of hell maybe they should fire all of you and replace you automated robots?

I think in some ways the stifling isolation and inability to trust is a necessary counterpoint to the benefits of being corporate. Being a Mixer has a lot of drawbacks, starting with the violent lawlessness that rules your world. Corporate citizens are mostly safe, but their lives lack a critical element of fulfillment that comes from being in so much danger you can only worry about survival.

In order to try and get fulfillment, typically they climb the corporate ladder long enough to start realizing how much of a sham the environment they're in really is. There's a progression to the whole thing. At that tipping point, I feel like you either embrace your position and revel in it or else start getting up to some shady bullshit because you want to be part of the bad kids club. Both are things that involve taking on increased risk, but because life is so sterile, it starts to seem worth it.

That's how corporate characters evolve into influencers, or fall back to the Mix, or both, which drives their stories forward. I've seen lots of characters have their time in the sun, crest, and then end up in the Mix. Someone needs to lose, right? The corporate characters who survive and make a mark are no doubt feeding souls to the underworld. There are also lots of people who just prefer the corporate playstyle because they don't like combat or danger, they just want to RP in peace. Some of them continue on ad infinitum, just enjoying the game, which is fine. Others become victims in the plots of their colleagues and end up in the Mix themselves.

I feel as though GMs do give corporate players leeway when they fuck up in a reasonable manner while trying to do some themely shit, at least in my experience. It's often the victims who get the short end of the stick, but that's why you don't want to be a victim.

As a returning player who previously played a topside character, I feel vindicated to see that my experiences are also common for other people.

One thing I see that seems to be a problem though is that it seems sto me that I wasn't the only one whose breaking point manifested OOCly, rather than ICly. Instead of realizing that I should alleviate my sense of isolation and boredom, I just upped and left, like most other corpies who "skipped town."

I'm not going to say that there wasn't already gigantic hints from GMs "STOP BEING BORING AND TAKE SOME RISK", but I felt like there was still a huge pressure to not fuck up in Topside. I was worried that I would fail in an "unsatisfying" way, and so I was paralyzed to act. I think that stemmed mainly from be being a new player, but I think that's precisely the problem with Topside.

It just didn't make sense for most immies to be granted access to Topside that easily in my opinion. I understand there's a mechanical shortage of (interesting) characters topside, but ICly the place should also be swimming with wageslaves flying in from around the world. I feel like ssomething should be done to stop corpie players from recruiting random mixers to join their ranks, and something to decrease the incentive to do so.

Addendum: Er, I mean as in, it seems to me that people are thrust into Topside before they understand what they're getting into. A non-meta way to give people more heads-up in my opinion would be to make it a higher bar to get hired in corporate. Deckers would get the short end of the stick yet again, but I feel like that's a reasonable tradeoff.
I have had two real topside experiences. One was a few years ago and was very unsatisfying. I was a new payer and didn't understand Sindome well. I wasn't proactive enough. I grew board and the character died a boring death because of it.

Since then it has pretty much been all mix for me. I love the mix. It is where I most like to play. I enjoy the more direct style and faster pace. But I did have a second corpie experience a couple of years after the first. And it went much better.

The difference? Me. The second time around I decided to be far more assertive out the door. I pushed boundaries. I was a jerk. I started with the the decision to be ready and willing should the fall happen. Saw it as inevitable even.

The play experience still wasn't the same as the mix but it was far better than the first real attempt. And I still prefer mix play - it fits me better. But just by having grown as a player, my experience improved a hundred fold.

That's not to say that the observations made here aren't valid. I agree with most. I also agree with Grixzzly's comments 100%. But I've never experienced NPC bosses just dropping the hammer as soon as the slightest mistake was made so I think we can all afford to take risks and try to create some fun RP, corpie or mixer.

As someone that has played the same corporate character for the better part of five years straight, I cannot tell you how stifling topside life can be. You can have all the brilliant ideas in the world to create tension, stir drama, and create roleplay for not just yourself but other people. It won't matter if you don't have other characters that will take the bait and help you make these interesting stories.

When you have a distinct lack of quality interaction that amounts to more than casual bar RP, or hanging around doing run of the mill things with no sort of incentive to do more than that from the big megacorp, you're going to start doing shit just for the hell of doing it. You'll take any kind of meaningful interaction with the rest of the game for the sake of doing it. And when you get to that point, it's hard to try and rein in those terrible habits you've gotten into when you need to for sake of sticking to the theme.

I honestly wish that the corporate world wasn't seen as such a stalemate, but there's only so much a handful of people can do before they feel burnt out and draw back to just idling and eventually disappearing.

I just don't know what to recommend that actually fits within the realm of reasonable expectations on the part of the players and GMs.

@Napoleon This read a lot like Mix problem too, because what you described as lack of quality interactions leading to just small bar RP sums up what everyone who isn't in major gangs or been around a couple years to know all the established characters are doing.

I've been catching myself drawing back to idling a lot lately. I've had a lot of plot ideas and I generally throw myself out there, but timezones and just people not biting it makes things really hard.

One thing to keep in mind about the topside 'theme', corporate rule in a cyberpunk setting, image is everything. I would imagine, topside would involve a lot more shadow plays, back room dealings, and proxies than anything you would find in the Mix. In that type of setting, when your dealings become known you either have to be rich enough to squash things, or you go down. So smart players in the corp scene are going to do their best to make it look like anything that happens, is just some more Mixer baka.
Also, some of this might be left to uninspired characters/players. I know for me, were I to play a corporate themed character, the last thing I would be doing is sitting back waiting to collect a paycheck. No corpie worth their platinum card will be satisfied making the bare minimum. I would be making files on everyone I worked with, contacts met. I would be looking for leverage against anyone with more influence or power than me, and I would be using the wealth I had to make moves to make even more Chyen, and in turn gain more power. There is SO much room for AMAZING cyberpunk roleplaying for a ruthless corpie. As far as isolation from fellow players, the reality should be the opposite. Maybe you don't personally come in contact with lots of randoms, but there will be tight quality roleplaying with your proxies, allies, stooges, giving those players opportunities to look for weaknesses in you to exploit, also the impact you and your plans could have on the rest of the player base is pretty huge. Be a job creator, hire those body guards for that meet to run the scanner just to make an impression. Do not EVER walk or take the train, instead relying on taxi's or personal drivers. Ambition, ruthlessness and absolute indifference.
As far as RISK, the risks a corpie takes may not be as cut and dry as those living the day to day struggle in the Mix, the risk may not be dying in gunfire. A corpie's life and worth are determined by credit scores, the latest tech and fashions and watching the rest of the 99% struggle and lose. As soon as these things are taken away, they are worthless, broken. That is what they put on the line as they manipulate, hire runners to kidnap their bosses daughter, paying a decker to run a surveillance operation. When they fail, they are usually happy to pull the trigger themselves.
Having gotten a better look at the bigger picture of topside mechanics, I figured I would lay out my two cents on the matter. It was stated earlier that topside comes with a large degree of risk aversion, which I would agree with to a certain extent. However, I feel that this would be mitigated if there were more reasons to take risks built into the system. As it stands, a majority of the actual decision making is tightly controlled, requiring a lot of GM intervention. And though topside jobs pay a decent amount more, the resources for ambushes, hiring solo's or even taking aero cabs aren't really there.

To get anything requisitioned a GM has to take the time to review things and give consent, PR are set out to conduct interviews and assess new hires, only to have their recommendations require a sometimes lengthy wait on a GM, Reimbursements are the same. It is my thought that the current "stopping point" in this chain be pushed up another notch. Give a player control of the books, having someone in that position, ok'ing reimbursements instead of an NPC. Maybe even two people, each checking the work of the other, each looking to gain the advantage. Have this position then answerable to "The CEO" (GM's). This VP spot is a coveted position and rightful goal of any aspiring corpy. If a player in this position completely abuses their power, there will be 5 other employee's who have been gathering paydata and waiting for the time to pounce ready to swoop in and drop a tip to the Globe. In turn, this player would know full well if they fuck up it will be them on the holovid committing seppaku.

I advocate giving more power to the players to request things, try and write things off, and to generally try and game the system, all of which would create a lot more opportunity for people to be putting things on the line. Requisition comes in for a suit of Xo, give them the chance to lie, cheat and steal to fill that request another way. This would have said player out in the world, looking to blow corporate money illegally, talking to fixers, leaving trails for detectives, and all around putting themselves on the line to make an extra 10k. Naturally, this would give their boss an opportunity to keep an eye on the reports, looking for excuses to fire someone.

Loosening up on the Reimbursements would be huge. Allow corpies to use their money to take cab's, eat food with clients, foot the bill on some drinks, at the end try to write it all off. Maybe their boss is lazy and ok's the whole thing, maybe they only give back some. all of this would create opportunities for people to cheat, and get caught cheating. The VP could then request reimbursements for bonus' and what not, things to reinforce the theme of that position. Conflict is the real name of the game in Sindome, and creating systems that can create this kind of conflict amongst the player base organically without requiring GM's is a huge plus. So why not take a few more risks as a game, and allow people to take more risks in game?

I can see arguments for game balance, but the brutal nature of the dome, and the tight control by the GM's to affect the story arc's should help keep things in check. Phone's get jacked, people get robbed, and corpies given the freedom to be out breaking the law and squandering money get caught and lose it all.

I am sure there are a ton of reasons I don't know about that would make this more difficult than I think it would be, but something like this could really make things more interesting topside, giving topside players more resources to play the part, and hire hitmen to take out rivals, try and fund drug operations out of hotel rooms and making stupid mistakes getting themselves permed.

PS: I love you guys, and have been having a blast, so please no offense to the suggestions!
There can and have been players in those positions. There can and have been players who can hire people on their own, approve reimbursements and such. It is just a matter of whether there is a PC suitable and successful enough for the job -- it's not easy to get there :)
I understand, the problem with critiquing such a mysterious game is all the mystery!
“Loosening up on the Reimbursements would be huge. Allow corpies to use their money to take cab's, eat food with clients, foot the bill on some drinks, at the end try to write it all off. Maybe their boss is lazy and ok's the whole thing, maybe they only give back some. all of this would create opportunities for people to cheat, and get caught cheating. The VP could then request reimbursements for bonus' and what not, things to reinforce the theme of that position. Conflict is the real name of the game in Sindome, and creating systems that can create this kind of conflict amongst the player base organically without requiring GM's is a huge plus. So why not take a few more risks as a game, and allow people to take more risks in game”

I just had a similar discussion with Staff about this same sentiment as it pertains to the seedy underbelly of the mix side organizations. It’s very interesting that we run into the same feelings. Interesting suggestions, and I have to say I am for something where a player approves fund dispersment but may be summoned to answer for blatant abuses .

There's nothing stopping players from putting in those kinds of reimbursements right now. They've been done before and they've succeeded before too.
Yes, you can put in for reimbursement for anything you can think of, I think we get that. It’s hard for me to go into detail without IC detail so I will just say that it has appeared as if the belt was tighter than it needs to be. Mileage varies I’m sure. In many instances I’ve been called by my NPC boss and bitched out for OTHER players requests. It was to the point where they just stopped putting them in. This slows down the pace of hiring people for anything from mundane tasks to making good deals on things because nobody wants to be coming out of pocket for everything. I mean it’s a multi-planet mega corporation not K-Mart. The 25k solo you hired to take out the rival organizations moneyman may cost you 25k, but in the theory of ambience, taking that person out now costs your rival organizations a ton to reoutfit and drives business to your organization. Or the corporate scandal someone has hard info on, that’s news at ten. Ratings! I could go on with some of the things I’ve seen and experienced that appeared to be overprotective of the company money but I don’t want to drown out the thread and make it sound like a complaint against the staff.
Regarding corpies, keep in mind that most PC corpies are wageslaves. In my opinion, they should have their requests scrutinized and denied unless there is good reason. After all, their bosses have no reason to lavish these nobodies with flash they'd rather use on themselves and those that stand out.

If people want to get get management to loosen the purse strings a little, they need to do this by gaining status and that takes time and effort on our parts. It means that we have to do something to drag ourselves up out of the wageslave masses. Getting hired is just the beginning.

That sounds like it just reinforces risk aversion and boredom. I mean we are playing Sindome not IRS accountant simulator.
I would have to agree with Grizz on this. Instead of encouraging players to NOT use the reimbursements, instead we encourage them to give it a shot. Spend that money on cabs, and then try and come up with some good RP as to why this should be covered. Reimburse as much as the roleplaying deems feasible. Fix Requisitions so there is more leeway to abuse things, and get caught abusing. Let the PR guys try and fill the positions with cronies and embezzle some money. Let the Grid guys dig through things looking for paydata. There are other ways to limit these actions than to just say no. Plus, there is a HUGE range of things to spend money on, and so many ways to lose almost all of these things, why not put more in the game world, while also adding more ways for people to get caught fucking up. I guess my main point is just that, there is already a solid foundation of hierarchy and coded systems, tweaking these just a little bit could really create a lot more player drama and RP. Now, this is coming from me with no real idea of the backend of things. Maybe some of the cost and limitations are in place because the Moo simply can't handle more than a few people driving cars around, something like that. I just feel the way it is now is so close to being something wonderful, it is just not quite there yet.
And thinking about this, led me right into the ideas for Grid 3.0. All of these kinds of cheats and term abuses could generate paydata in Grid 3.0. Do some decking around a VS node, crack some ice, and then find yourself able to view all the of requisitions of certain employee's, or expense reports. Beyond viewing them, maybe they can insert some themselves opening up even more avenues of back stabbing and treachery. Think about paying a decker to slip a bunch of false approved requisitions into the system, and getting that rival shit canned.
(This might be a bit disjointed because I have not fully fleshed out these ideas for myself. I want to get them up here to promote discussion and get people thinking about this.)

According to the theme, the corporations require a steady supply of workers to keep the economy running. In other words, it is cheap "slave" labor provided by mixers without any other option that keep the corporations working. The labor works in the factories and handles all of the other menial jobs that ultimately result in products for the corporations to sell.

The way the game is currently setup does not reflect that dynamic at all. Or if it does, it is limited and not at all overarching in the way that the theme implies that it is. As a player it feels like there are two completely separate MOOs. Or if not completely separate, at least extremely removed from each other.

What I am going to lay out here is a potential system to more closely integrate the economy so that everyone has more reasons to interact and everyone has the ability to affect the economy.

Corporations produce goods. That should be the foundation of the economy. Every "job" that a player has should be tied into the production of goods. Those "goods" can be measured.

The foundation of the system that I am imagining is the basic "work" system that is already implemented at SHI. We all know how it works, so I won't dive into detail. The important thing is that there is a location where players "work", and there is a system to track the work.

Currently, SHI is the only corporation with a work system. In an ideal system, every corporation that employs players should have a work system. Furthermore, the work locations should be in the Mix / Red sector. Why? Because that is where the labor is for one. Two, it provides the most opportunity for roleplay and player engagement.

Fundamentally, each corporation should have a weekly "work" quota. I have no idea what that quota should be, but the admins can probably figure it out. A simple formula might work along the lines of (# number of players times X unit of work = ## work per week). Just for discussion sake, let's say that each player needs to work for 30 minutes a week, and there are 5 players in the corporation. The corporation needs to generate 150 minutes of work per week.

Even this simple system creates RP opportunities. Who is ultimately responsible for the work getting done? The senior employee (Vice President or whatever)? Each individual employee? The buck has to stop somewhere and the work needs to be done.

Why does the work need to be done?

There are so many ways to incentivize and punish here. An obvious one is weekly pay. If the corporation misses their quota, then everyone's pay gets cut by whatever percentage they missed it by. Or it could be more focused where only the senior player gets penalized. After all, they are the "manager" and are responsible for meeting production goals. An incentive might be that if a corporation hits 200% of their quota for three months in a row, everyone gets a bonus. 10K or whatever. There would need to be an upper limit. Enough to incentivize people to work more, but not so much that the payouts get out of control.

With the basic work system and quotas in place, the potential for corporations to affect each other is created. If the work locations are in the Mix, or to a lesser extent in Gold, corporations (and their contractors) can attack each other. Make it dangerous to go into work. Give those corporate security staff something to do (protect their employees). Make corpies want to work hard to get promoted so that they can work on Gold and not have to risk their lives going to work in the Mix. Make corpies fear getting demoted because by doing so they will have to go back to the Mix. Where do the gangs come down? Do they get hired for security? Do they attack corpies and extract tolls? Do they play both sides?

Work being done, or not, could affect the availability of goods. For example, if Viriisoma employees do not generate enough work quota, players should not be able to buy Viriisoma gear (nanos, etc.) Same goes for Saedor Krupp (cyberware), ZMI (weapons), etc. etc. Create some real reasons to work, and consequences for not working. Just as stores do not get stocked if crates do not get delivered, equipment should not be created by corporations with lazy employees.

Work quota should be able to be banked and "stolen". This mechanic would represent corporate espionage, executive kidnapping, etc. Some of it could be automated by players with the right skill. Maybe a "steal" verb where a decker could deck the system. Or a "kidnap" command for a solo. Maybe "seduce" for charisma based characters to lure employees away. This aspect is complex and probably more of a version 2 or version 3 idea.

Is this worth further discussion and refinement? Is putting corporates to "work" something that would make the MOO better?

This is interesting, Hek. I feel like I need to re-read and process. In principle, I like the idea of corporations having interests in the Mix for more interplay between the two sides, in whatever form that would take. It could give CorpSec more opportunities to hire Mixers to mess with their rivals interests in Red, create a proxy conflict.

I just wanted to mention, the reason it can feel like two different games is partly lore based. I mean, there's the theme, which obviously in intended to drive corpies and Mixers apart, but on top of that, I'm not sure the Mix is actually the industrial center you're imagining. We've got the SHI factory, the power plant, and I'm sure there are other ambient factories as well, but my impression of the Mix was that it was an Escape from New York type scenario, like overpopulation and an inability to police properly led the WJF to pull out and abandon the Mix to the gangs, poverty and lawless crime basically.

TERRA is their token solution, but my own impression was always that the Mix was, like, not even really part of the city as far most corpies are concerned, just an unfortunate problem for which there's no simple solution, a ghetto for all the elements of society that don't fit their well manicured scheme. A dustbin to throw people in when their purpose has been served.

I should have made a comment longer than a sentence. In the examples listed by mindkontrol to which I originally responded, there used to be approval for things like meals with clients, etc, etc. If this is a policy that's changed, I'd encourage it to reverse back to give players more of a reason to try their hand at putting in reimbursements to allow to skim a bit off the top for sensible requests. It can get really creative, especially depending on the department, for what you can put in and try to scheme off of plus in a way it'd encourage more player interaction. So again if that's been reversed, I hope that goes back. It's been a bit since I've had a character in a position to test out those kind of situations.

Hek,

I like the depth you went into but a short response is: No, I don't think it would.

My longer response?

Working topside is a tricky situation. If you're like me, when you have a character with a topside job you struggle with how much your character should actually physically be in your workplace's spot. I'd always feel guilty if I didn't have my character in at work for hours a day, because I'd think I'd be letting staff down, not performing up to expectations as a player. I'd tell myself it didn't matter what else my character did for their work performance, if I also didn't have them in there at work for set amount of time I was failing and I wasn't doing a good job, I wasn't a good RPer.

So if you add a 'work' component to the equation, I think you're going to find a lot of people going in to work just to do that which takes them away from RP opportunities and RP situations. It'll lead to probably some OOC resentment, I think you'll see less people applying for topside jobs and then if you're either in a corporation that doesn't have many PC employees hired or a corporation that doesn't have many PC employees that have the time to go in to work to type work, you're punishing players who do have time by either making them do more of the lifting or taking away their flash. For the players who don't have a lot of time to play, it'd be forcing them to choose between RPing or.. going in to type work for chyen, essentially. I'd rather those players have RP opportunities for their limited time rather than stressing that they haven't met a mechanical quota.

I think 'work' is a gulag death sentence that should never exist outside SHI but Hek brings up an interesting concept of accolades which I think should be taken seriously.

Why don't we run topside like a corporation? Note: I'm terribly out of touch and apologize if half of this is already in play. That said, I would like to propose the following...

In the struggle of the Have's vs Have-Nots - we have Do'ers and Do'nothings. If you work for a corporation topside - you have quarterly goals to meet. e.g.

* Generate x amount of y quality drug. Experiment with batch on Mixer test subjects to be rounded up by CorpSec.

* Write a new disease $cript and purposefully infect mixers with it under the guise of drug testing.

* Generate x news stories a quarter. One involving an NLM Employee.

* Organize local Corporate employees for NeoTrans Space Tour.

* Acquire McGuffin in space asteroid belt while operating under guise as tour vessel.

Failure to meet these quarterly demands means you get fired, demoted, or just killed in the office publicly by CorpSec then expected to show up for work the net day.

Successfully meeting these quarterly goals means you get promoted, bonus pay, or just that neat thing you wanted to requisition.

As you climb up the ladder to middle management - you'd just be in charge of bigger visionary goals that require herding wage slaves.

In that same vein, have some of those early goals be to establish an individual corporate culture, tenants, and handbook (punishable by termination if lost or stolen) for employees. Imagine it was faux pas for Viriisoma employees to engage in public displays or even outbursts on SIC involving sexual content but middle management enjoyed the perk of complimentary access to KMB VIP...just out of sight. On the contrary, NLM would push sex sells and be doing just the opposite.

To me, it just seems like topside is missing accountability, direction, shit to do, and a sound methodology for people to follow. Naturally, the real gritty plot stuff which makes the dome spin would be creamy filling to this recipe but it just seems like people topside needs shit to do and they should be held to a higher standard of doing things which help the game flow. If the right foundation is laid and expectations set - a lot more could visibly happen while leaving room for subterfuge.

I think these 'goals' and 'objectives' should be left to the player moreso than staff having to handhold people and tell them to do X and Y all the time. Maybe for R&D jobs it could work but I don't see why staff would have to tell a CorpSec Agent to plot X and such.

And I'd expect an employee who's supposed to be doing news to at least have a quota and produce something anyway. I think these are already kind of in effect, just not written down or public -- BUT the only difference is that if you don't achieve them, there doesn't seem to be any major punishment going on (at least from my point of view) other than just a warning. I think demotions and being fired should be a little easier topside if you're not performing well. Because if you don't perform as well as others and occupy that spot, you're basically roleblocking other PCs who could contribute to the game more than you because the spots are full. Maybe then it's time to just try something different if you've been stuck at your current job and obviously haven't done well and have been just stuck in a loop for six months.

I just think punishment should be strict. These are corporations with thousands and thousands of applicants each day. Why would they keep an employee who isn't on par with their coworkers and even the employees of a rival corporation? This has OOC implications too because when good plotters and players are in one corporation. To give one example:

John, James and Jane are part of Corporation X.

Adam, Andy and Amy are part of Corporation Y.

Let's say John, James and Jane are great plotters. They do things constantly, plot, fuck others over, hire people. They get promoted in their selective careers and Corporation X starts to dominate.

Adam, Andy and Amy aren't as good as John, James and Jane. They try but they just can't plot as well as the others, leading to Corporation Y dwindling and losing most of it's presence in the game due to employees not being able to achieve anything. In the current state of things, Adam Andy and Amy wouldn't be demoted or fired.

This leads to things getting stale with Corporation X dominating the corporate world all the time, and other PCs who would be better fitting the role get roleblocked and cannot rival Corporation X by working in Corporation Y since Adam, Andy and Amy aren't being punished and are hoarding that role.

Maybe I'm a little bit harsh but I think for the sake of topside not getting stale and to avoid monopolization of corporate power and the corporate scene, employees who can't keep up and are stuck in this loop of failure in their jobs should be replaced with other PCs. Such is topside life. If you're not good enough, you're replaced.

I think that regarding PCs wanting more opening, I feel like some of the responsibility lies in the people below them or people looking to get hired to be trying to get these people demoted or fired.
Yeah but the thing is that if these people who don't plot and don't do anything with their jobs don't give people SOMETHING to use against them, then you can't get them demoted. It's a pretty big paradox and a struggle. They don't do much, thus they don't get promoted but also won't be demoted.
If you don't do anything with your job, then that probably means you're not doing the job well enough. Besides, from Slither's video, there's really nothing stopping you from taking people down with manufactured dirt.
The problem as it stands with regards to 'Doing your job to get ahead' is most of the jobs with the exception of PR have very little to actually do. Let's take the easy example of Requisitions. Requests are placed into the system, fairly rarely, the Req officer punches some buttons to order, it arrives in a day or whatever, and you deliver it. For long periods of time there is simply nothing to do.

I do like some of the idea's Hek put forth, however, I feel like this type of serious integration would require A LOT of work by Johnny, and though it would be great, I feel like a lot could be accomplished with the system as it is. Some minor tweaks to the existing framework could still add a lot more depth to each role while also bringing more opportunities for people to be caught or framed, etc. Requisitions for example, have the money transferred to the agent first, and allow them to purchase the items from the term, have the items pop out unboxed, allow for Req agent to box said item for delivery. This would give Req agents the opportunity to get out in the world to find this stuff for cheaper, breaking the company rules, making some extra money, and opening themselves up to all kinds of opportunities for RP. They could flat out take the money and run, getting a fat severance while incurring the wrath of whatever corp they work for. Just this system alone would give corpies so many options to abuse and get caught abusing the system. Giving corpies more ways to make more money would imo only help the RP of the theme, by allowing them to take more chances. Sure they could sit in their apartment and collect UE and cash, but they could make a hell of a lot more getting out and doing something.

I would hate to see any more of the 'work' type shit like at SHI. Mind numbingly boring tasks like this should not be used.

As far as quota's based on real in game economy, this would be pretty hard to implement without the entire process being overhauled. However, I think you could get something close with the VP position managing the other employee's by simply having somewhat random goals each week or month. One month they could have a lot of leeway to allow req's and reimburses, while another week they could have to tighten up and operate things carefully.

As far as these NPC's in VP positions currently, maybe what is needed is a slight laxing on the criteria for said positions. Just put someone in there if they have been working for awhile, promote the most senior PR, or top Req or whatever, but get someone in there give other corpies a target, and to get this kind of manipulation going.

If part of the apprehension is the fear of abuse, just make it very clear that these top positions with the most power also have the most risk. Fuck up, get caught, and you are likely to disappear, or will be found having 'committed suicide' on holovid with the corpsec agents just out of camera, or you might just wake up in Banuspiro Park, naked with corp access stripped and accounts drained.
As a veteran player who's spent 98% of my accumulated (non-idle/gone) time in the same role, I can say that it takes a lot of initiative, creativity, and self-starting drive to make things happen for you and around you. A lot of these ideas suggested by ReeferMadness below like:

* Generate x amount of y quality drug. Experiment with batch on Mixer test subjects to be rounded up by CorpSec.

* Write a new disease $cript and purposefully infect mixers with it under the guise of drug testing.

--- are things that the players can actually do, or at least attempt to. If you're not sure how to go about achieving a goal or taking the first step to doing it, reach out to the GMs and see what you can do.

When you make a corporate character, or decide to make the transition from the Mix to topside, you have to be prepared to shift from being reactionary to an active instigator. Even if you're not the best of planners, figure out what your strong suits are player and character-wise and go for that shit.

Social-loud mouth who can bring people together and network with the best of them, as well as create fun roleplay situations outside of gathering into bars, clubs, and the like? Look for the career paths that actually let you do those things and rewards you for doing them well.

More unobtrusive, detail oriented, and thrive in information gathering? Etc, etc, etc. Stay away from jobs that let you become complacent like bartender jobs, janitorial, and etc. I always considered the Service Mixer positions to be stepping stones to figuring out what you want/need to do. Make it a means to an ends.

Napolean, the real issues isn't whether or not these things can be done with the help of GM's, of course they can. The real issue is adding some elements to the individual roles systems, that further allow manipulation and subterfuge and the consequences of failing such activities.
I think you get the most from Sindome as a proactive player. It doesn't matter if you are topside or in the mix or whatever. That list of Reefer's for example was awesome and you can tell that the guy behind it is a proactive player. They came up with ways to stand out in various jobs and make a name for themselves.I encourage corpies to go and do some of those things and come up with more of their own. But it starts with the player.

And I have no idea why people keep saying that topside characters can't do subterfuge or commit fraud and all that. It is possible. It can and does happen. If you aren't seeing it then maybe you need to start doing it!

And why would anybody do these things? Because it makes the game fun. You having your character do cool things is what makes this less of a bean counting simulator and more of a fun RP experience that results in fun stories.

Subterfuge is happening. Faud is happening. There are PCs up there with a lot of pull. But none of this was handed out. It was achieved by proactive players/characters.

To Grey0's point about the perception of whether things like fraud are going on or not, if they are being done "right" then people SHOULDN'T know it is going on.
I know things like this ARE happening, by goal with these ideas was to tweak the systems so that there is more of an opportunity to get into these types of things WITHOUT relying on as much puppetting and lengthy GM aid.
Without being too meta, I'll just say it's mostly just you.

Seek and ye shall find. Instigation leads to instigation. Don't, and you'll find squat.

I really appreciate the feedback.
Admittedly, I've only been back for a very short time, so if I've missed something, be gentle please. My comments are a based on a combination of past experience and trends combined with what I've read here, and seen since returning.

As ReeferMadness mentioned, part of the CP theme is the haves, the corpies vs the have nots, the mixers. To that, I'll add that the other part of that, a -key- part, is about always wanting more. More flash, more prestige, more power, more control, bigger office, better title, more territory, more gang members, to be feared, more, etc ... What you have, is not enough, ever, and when you want more, you take risk.

The corpies want more which comes at the expense of the mixers, gutting drug potency and increasing addictiveness, demolishing an existing apartment building and displacing families to make way for a new mega-store to sell more stuff to mixers they don't really need and can barely afford anyway.

Mixers want more and they want it from the corpies that continually piss on mixers because housing becomes more scarce, and expensive. The products they buy are bad quality and over priced, they force advertising down mixers throats, the corps make the weather crap on red, cause brownouts of sic. Don't forget about all the rude treatment mixers get topside. Spit on by old women. Glared at or insulted by corpie workers, harassed by Judges for no reason, etc ...

These are two groups who actively -hate- each other.

Topsiders, if you're bored and considering engineering a fall to the mix, why not engineer the fall of a mixer instead? As was mentioned before, pick someone and mess with them, but make it a mixer. Maybe his/her name keeps coming up on your TPS report as a problem. Maybe you heard he was abusive to one of your co workers. Maybe you saw him on the train and just didn't like him. Doesn't matter. Find a reason to make an enemy. If your boss doesn't like it, then your down in the mix the way you planned anyway and now have a plot you started to play in. If you can sell it to your boss that it was for the good of the company, well, sounds like a reason for a promotion to me. Promotion? More flash, more power, more ability to piss on mixers and put make the corp more profitable.

Mixers, there are 60 million of you. You're tired of the weather, the brown outs, living in squalor, crappy but highly addicting drugs, barely any food, being kept down by the corps and the judges, etc ... Sure, infighting will be natural as some jostle for more [whatever] locally, but I'd think some would be organizing a fight against the powers that be.

Why? They want -more-.

I think a bit of class warfare would not only be in theme, but would liven things up for topsiders and mixers alike.

Just my .02chy

I am also in the camp of proactivity breeds activity. But I should also caution that you should be reactive to things around you. Often times you have storyteller attention in this game and you might not realize that's exactly what is happening, it's pretty cool when the GMs decide to give you a whirl.