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Plagues aren't very fun
Cures cost in both chyen and time

First thread here, sorry if this isn't the right spot.

I've watched some experiences lately of people getting sick IC and it feels like it boils down to paying a lot of chyen (sometimes 10k+) for a short five-ten minute interaction with someone who can administer a cure. Then you idle in your apartment for a few days. You get to ham up being sick IC but that's about it.

Am I approaching this wrong? I can see how it makes hustle for a few people but it seems to do so at everybody else's OOC cost.

You're not alone but they sort of are what they are at this point.
Choosing to sit in an apartment is a choice. If that isn't something that interests you and your playstyle, and it fits your character, you can find a way to be outside. Maybe they think they're cured when they aren't.

Maybe they're angry at the person who got them sick if they know. Maybe they're angry at the corporations for the cost of treatment being so high. Maybe they stage a protest or a storming of a tower. Maybe they hire someone else to do that for them. Maybe they use that as a reason to plot against parties who are better off, the corporations, doctors, fixers, etc in the future.

There's a lot that can come from a disease plot, whether immediate or in the future.

"If it fits your character" is the big thing here. Make an enemy of everybody you meet because you got them infected. Storm a tower and get shot to death by CorpSec or the Judges and fined into oblivion when (if) you clone out.

It feels like the "calculus" just isn't there if you're not playing a very specific type of character. I saw on that other thread that 0x1mm linked that the response to this seems to be "log off if it doesn't interest you" which seems like the short of it.

I think its a bummer this doesnt create some RP at the hospital. I think it'd be interesting to be "admitted" (voluntarily) and for you to stay in a bed in a ward. But once you sign up, the hospital staff wouldn't let you leave until you test clear. You'd have access to crappy hospital food, a lounge with a tv, maybe a few public phones, a tv that people argue over, board games, and of course harassing the nurses. I think this would make nurse rp AND patient rp more fun and give people opportunity to interact when they might not usually. Not to mention you'd be signing up for hospital guards to chase you down and bring you back if you escape.

It should feel privileged because the vast majority can't afford it or just don't have the right connections. We the PCs are special though, so. Yay.

This could be a player lead thing ofc, but itd take some ooc pushing.

I also think cures are too expensive just all around.

As it is now you get the jab and are sent home and told not to go anywhere. Zzz

You're making assumptions about what will happen as if they're a certatinty. While odds are high some of that might happen, it isn't 100%.

If your character doesn't want to do that stuff and would stay inside, that's absolutely cool to do. But again that's a choice. Your character can use that to motivate them in the future. It could motivate them right now and they could make a call or three.

People can be invited over if they want.

Plague stuff isn't everyone's cup of tea. But what our characters do, what we as players do when encountering plague stuff is completely our choice and we make what we make of it.

To be fair, intentionally opaque gameplay does not lend itself super well to invisible killer boolean scripts in my experience. There might be a better reception from more players in terms of outbreaks if there was more in the way of interactive and comprehensible mechanics.
A lot of it feels extra grungy for me as well because like, if I go out and do stuff while the game is telling me that I feel terrible and a hair's breadth from death, I feel like I'm just no-selling the weight of catching the disease.

If I was in bed IRL with horrible disease #1 and horrible disease #2 simultaneously, you know? I wouldn't be getting up and being flash. I'd be dissolving into my bedsheets.

It can be a difficult roleplaying needle to thread.

Some players will see just about any amount of playing into it as overdramatic lazy malingering, and others will see any amount of playing around it as gamey no-selling. My sense is the game's theoretical expected ideal is players being dangerously outgoing to their own detriment but still pantomiming terrified respect of the situation.

With how things are set up, is it safe to assume that most people just log off. Is that the goal of having multiple back-to-back plagues that put people into serious debt? Have them become a cuboid and leave the game for a week or so?

This has been the worst week and a half in the game so far.

I should have had coffee before posting. -- By 'worst' week I mean as in for RP and just sensing a vibe of people unsure what to do. I love this game. There is no bad time otherwise.
Epidemics in Sindome are akin to the Disasters button in SimCity, similar purposes.

Now how much fun someone has when it gets clicked is probably going to depend a lot on how much they share the perspective of the User, or of the Sims.

I just wish it had more to interact with. Other than just - doing nothin.
There's a plague going on in the mix all the time, you just aren't aware of it because it's buried in ambience. When it's rubbed on your face and you get a reminder of how shitty it is in Red, that can be unpleasant, but remember it's all part of the game. Sticking to your cube is an IC decision and there is nothing that stops you from going outside and making the best out of it.
These are not my favorite aspect of the game either. I generally have my PCs try and take some basic common sense measures then go about biz as usual and hope for the best.

I understand that it's a hard balance as we do have medical oriented PCs.I just think that it's easy to slow down the game a lot and take a lot of fun away from a lot of players in an attempt to cater to liven things up for characters in medical field. I'm not saying it should never be done but it is a hard thing to balance.

I just try and weather these periods and play as usual to the best of my ability. Get through it.

The whole 'sticking to your cube is an IC decision' thing is absolutely unfair when you can't afford the meds if you get sick. That just feels icky.
It's tricky to encourage players without making what could amount to false promises, and I would never personally blame any player for just keeping their head down during. I usually try to keep my head down, not very successful historically.

But crises like outbreaks are definitely a chance for newer players to show off what they can do under difficult circumstances and there are plenty of veteran players and staff members who will take notice of that kind of stuff (even if they're isolated themselves); whether it's characters trying to entertain people in isolation, or playing at Epidemic UberEats, or being a first responder, or something totally their own.

There does also tend to me some help for characters through NPC and other PC channels for getting treatment when characters can't afford it, though I will couch that tepid assurance because there is an actual risk of death or financial cost to characters, it's not an illusion. If you get creative enough someone will save you, mostly.

If I had to suggest having a calculus about it to new players I would say, if you feel like making an effort and still facing a loss is going to burn you out then keep your head down, but if you're willing to roll the dice a bit to have a chance to main stage yourself then it's a much easier time to do it than any other.

> The whole 'sticking to your cube is an IC decision' thing is absolutely unfair when you can't afford the meds if you get sick. That just feels icky.

The meds are far from unattainable even for newer players, and a minor setback at most. Just don't expect them to be handed out in a vending machine, you have to RP around it just like any other adversity.

You're also not likely to get sick immediately as soon as you leave your apartment. There has to be some contact or interaction with someone who happens to be sick. This is probably the PvE equivalent of staying in your cube as soon as you see your arch nemesis' alias on SIC. You can do it but it's 100% your choice.

> The meds are far from unattainable even for newer players, and a minor setback at most. Just don't expect them to be handed out in a vending machine, you have to RP around it just like any other adversity.

Uhm, I haven't had that experience. Cure for mystery disease #1 set my character back almost half of their wealth and then cure for mystery disease #2 was completely unobtainable due to being three times as much again. I don't think it is very fair to say this. I wouldn't call losing potentially all of your savings over several weeks a 'minor setback'.

I know Sindome is meant to be a long term thing but those were long term savings that I could've put towards a plot or something fun, but instead they evaporated because I wanted to play the game in the limited time I have to do so. You can argue the same can happen for murder/theft and yeah, it can, but at least I get a nemesis I can really lean in to out of that, you know?

It's gonna take me a month to pay off medical bills from a previous issue. I get it's part of the game but when every bit of cash goes into paying off something from weeks prior - it really gets frustrating when players are constantly surprised you're not able to save or afford these lil things.
Apologies - not on par for the topic but I had to just - chime in.

This has been a unique experience but definitely one that I feel that has cut off RP for a few things. We'll get back to it tho.

But there's people your characters can lean into out of plagues too.

1. Who made your character ill? Do they know?

2. Is some asshole charging you extra for a cure because it's during an outbreak? Price hike? How does that make your character feel?

3. Did someone steal your cure from you?

4. Did someone charge a normal price but wouldn't budge when your character couldn't afford? Wasn't open to making deals with your character? There's someone to lean into hating/plotting against.

5. Did your character feel desperate enough to try to do something, well, desperate to get the chyen? Did they make a hard oath/promise to repay the person if they cut them a deal? Did they try to make deals? Did they sell their soul to do it or did they promise something unsavory?

Desperate situations exist to make your character try to think outside the box for ways to acquire chyen or favors or what they need.

Sitting at home is a choice. And I don't have anything against that choice or playstyle. But it is a choice. Just like it's a choice for your character to feel desperate or not if they don't have enough. Or if they're cutdown to nothing by the situation.

That's very themely for Red especially. Desperation.

I will just add I think the pricing on the ebola treatments is somewhat dated and doesn't really fit into the current economic landscape of the game, in my opinion. There does come a point where new players are less likely to want to roll with things if they're hit with overtuned obstacles too early in their playing careers.

We can talk them up about what is possible if only they try but there are some game elements that can stop players from playing outright and my feeling is we have to be careful about subjecting everyone in the game to them regardless of their experience.

> 1. Who made your character ill? Do they know?

The things that show you when you're ill are delayed a lot of the time from my experience so you can't definitively know OOCly, let alone ICly. You can blame whoever or whatever, but then you start to tread into small-worlding and I don't feel very comfortable with that.

> 2. Is some asshole charging you extra for a cure because it's during an outbreak? Price hike? How does that make your character feel?

Unless I'm a fixer-type character or someone really clued in on things (and I don't suspect many people are), I'm not going to know. I could ask someone and take their word for it I guess.

> 3. Did someone steal your cure from you?

This at least gives me a clear nemesis to go smoulder over.

> 4. Did someone charge a normal price but wouldn't budge when your character couldn't afford? Wasn't open to making deals with your character? There's someone to lean into hating/plotting against.

I see where you're going with this but it still isn't very fun to me.

> 5. Did your character feel desperate enough to try to do something, well, desperate to get the chyen? Did they make a hard oath/promise to repay the person if they cut them a deal? Did they try to make deals? Did they sell their soul to do it or did they promise something unsavory?

This sounds great on paper, but I need you to look at this through the lens of a newer character with very few connections or means to get any of this stuff: what are they supposed to do? Who am I meant to sell my soul to? I'm nothing, nobody, relying mostly on the OOC good will of people trying to key immigrants into things and spending a lot of their money in the process.

There's every chance for them that I just won't log on again after I've had my entire point for playing upended without prelude or warning because I went outside to run crates on a plague day.

You're right that it is a choice and its a choice that a lot of people are going to make because the alternate is not anywhere near as accessible as you're making it out to be.

I feel as if seasoned players might forget what it's like to be brand new and to have nothing. Some of these comments often come off as dismissive when a newbie is struggling.
That's a fair shout, I apologize. It is often difficult to keep the new player experience well in mind and balance out gameplay objectives with what can reasonably be expected.
Oh no! Nothing was taken the wrong way. I'm very sorry if it came off sharp. It's a hard thing to balance. It's just fitting when you're constantly panicking about paying rent—just like in real life—and then you get told it's not that big a deal by those who don't have that worry.

I couldn't risk leaving the cube because I'd never be able to pay for the cure. Was it my choice, yes. Did it mean I just stayed logged off - yep as well. Did I enjoy it, no. Not at all.

* The things that show you when you're ill are delayed a lot of the time from my experience so you can't definitively know OOCly, let alone ICly. You can blame whoever or whatever, but then you start to tread into small-worlding and I don't feel very comfortable with that *.

There's characters whose primary purpose in-game is to gather data. That's a great opportunity to reach out for those types of characters or to work with people to see if you can start narrowing it down based on experiences. Following a paper trail. Or figurative vomit trail.

* Unless I'm a fixer-type character or someone really clued in on things (and I don't suspect many people are), I'm not going to know. I could ask someone and take their word for it I guess. *

Asking people and doing this type of stuff are great ways to interact with other characters if that's something your character would do/you find fun.

* I see where you're going with this but it still isn't very fun to me. *

* This sounds great on paper, but I need you to look at this through the lens of a newer character with very few connections or means to get any of this stuff: what are they supposed to do? Who am I meant to sell my soul to? I'm nothing, nobody, relying mostly on the OOC good will of people trying to key immigrants into things and spending a lot of their money in the process.

There's every chance for them that I just won't log on again after I've had my entire point for playing upended without prelude or warning because I went outside to run crates on a plague day.

You're right that it is a choice and its a choice that a lot of people are going to make because the alternate is not anywhere near as accessible as you're making it out to be. *

For this point from you and also a comment from QueenZombean, you aren't wrong that a lot of us are older players And sometimes we do forget what it's like. But you're also assuming we haven't gone through it on new characters, whether in the past and current times. I'm someone who has had plague like events happen to my new characters multiple times. New as within weeks to a month old.

And it's perfectly cool if plague stuff doesn't appeal to you, you don't find it fun, or your character chooses to stay inside. Not everything is for everyone. But it's important to remember options are on the table, what we do with those options are up to us, and if you're feeling up to even a tiny adventure, go try some of the options. Even if they're done in small steps and scaled to how you want your experience to go, just getting your feet wet.

I can tihnk of no other time in the game's history while I have played have there been more options for charity and free stuff available to new characters than there has been over the last eighteen months, lasting to this day in the right here, right now. Nibble on the bait and see how that works out. It might be fun!

I definitely agree with Crashdown's mentality here, but the ideas presented are just ideas. They're example questions you could pose to yourself to try and create plot/RP from something you might otherwise not enjoy. It's not an exhaustive list of scenarios you could try to create or play to and you don't have to use them. However, there's a point to be made here that plots are what we make of them. Sometimes we have to get creative to find fun for ourselves in RP situations we might not otherwise enjoy.

We also have to be willing to take risk sometimes, be willing to fail, and be open to rationalizing why our character might do something that is "something my character wouldn't do".

Me? I love outbreaks. I think there's a lot of fun that can be had from them. All I have to do is rationalize the risk. "I'm not going outside because there's plague." "But wait...my boss won't pay me if I don't go to work. I might get fired."

OOC we know this isn't the case, but my character? Maybe not, right? That's one ambience-based example that could justify going out during an outbreak. "I might not be able to afford medicine, but if I don't go to work I won't get paid. I might starve to death. I won't be able to pay rent," etc. Risk has been created for the alternative (staying inside) and now it's a choice. Often times they don't have to be ambient. If I'm a dip, I might see it as a cash grab and ask for medical help at some location so I can pickpocket medical staff. Being the smug dip I am, I head to a clinic and buy medicine from the same people I just stole from. If I'm a tailor, my livelihood depends on well crafted clothes and speedy turn-over times. If I don't buy material today, I'm going to miss a deadline and lose a customer. Cab drivers, doctors, fixers...whatever. There's a million reasons to risk going outside no matter what job you have. All you have to do is make one up.

Even clone-less characters can reason their way into doing dangerous things. It's up to us to give our character a reason to make the choice.

Last thing here. I want to touch on a tool we all have that can help circumvent a lack of contacts/network.

5. Did your character feel desperate enough to try to do something, well, desperate to get the chyen? Did they make a hard oath/promise to repay the person if they cut them a deal? Did they try to make deals? Did they sell their soul to do it or did they promise something unsavory?

This sounds great on paper, but I need you to look at this through the lens of a newer character with very few connections or means to get any of this stuff: what are they supposed to do? Who am I meant to sell my soul to? I'm nothing, nobody, relying mostly on the OOC good will of people trying to key immigrants into things and spending a lot of their money in the process.

Pubsic is a fantastic way to plead a case for help. We don't always need to know someone or be someone for someone else to want to take advantage in a desperate situation (or any situation really). What we need is for everyone else to know we're looking for help/trying to create RP. Pubsic is a good way to send a blanket statement for doing stuff like offering services to someone in exchange for plague medicine or money to get some. We may not always get the RP we're looking for - or any at all, but the odds of finding RP are better when people know we're looking. If we hide inside and reach out to no one because we don't have contacts, we're always going to get 0 feedback.

I feel like it's worth noting in terms of infection that you may be pretty careful in terms of how much you expose yourself to public spaces, managing your risk- only to be infected by an ambient NPC because you spent five minutes in a public space. A space that might not even really make that much sense for there to have been an infected ambient NPC to be in- a space that's actively guarded by both ambient and active NPCs, with a disease whose symptoms are pretty visible and hard to conceal. I don't find that fun.
I do agree that players would likely feel less apprehensive and confused and avoidant of these mechanics and situations if there was some degree of graduation to them rather than just an invisible switch that secretly gets flipped and then they're instantly sick.

Disease being something more akin to a progression than a state would make a lot of sense to me (if it was a video game imagine a Infection % progression bar), so that characters could have degrees of exposure of different kinds and attempt to mitigate them through things like face masks, gloves, vitamins, drugs, rest, food, et cetera. They might feel themselves getting sick during the course of roleplaying but be able to pull back from the edge through other means, take a few hours downtime, and then get back into the thick of it.

Likewise have disease become more of an identifiable threat through ambient messaging ('the crowds are heavy with sick people coughing') and status lines on characters ('He is in critical condition. His eyes are bleeding and each breath scatters droplets of blood'). Have the methods and pathways of transmission more overt and deliberate.

I'm warmed somewhat to the theory of outbreaks in the game, but never really felt personally the game mechanics were there to support them properly.

This has been helpful to get ideas and stuff at least, so thanks to anyone who has given suggestions.

It isn't like the end of the world or anything just a bit of a... very large unexpected bump in the road? Just wasn't expecting to get hit so hard financially over it.

I think there are some potentially unfair assumptions here.

Did you lie, cheat, promise, steal borrow or otherwise RP your way into a cure?

It's not that simple. To do this you need two things. A lot of time and someone to play ball with.

I am not saying there aren't PCs and, occasionally NPCs, who will engage in this. But there seems to be this assumption that everyone knows them or can easily find them. That these others will even engage with them or take the risk of dealing with them.

There is a long of storied history of oldbies avoiding putting much time or resources into new players given how frequently they cycle through. Again, I know some will and I love them for it. But just assuming that anyone can pull these things off feels a little dismissive to me.

This is also one of the few things most characters can't do on their own. Another character, NPC or PC will have to be involved in most cases. As soon as this is the case I don't think there's room to say that the one guy just needs to make it happen. They can't on their own.

Further, you have the time investment. Maybe a player has time to log in two hours a day on most days. They might not OOCly even HAVE the time budget needed to just 'RP to a solution'. Maybe getting ebola impacts a career player for two days but it could impact a more casual player for weeks.

And assuming this time budgeted player has used their two hours a day to make the money to afford the cure and can just buy it, the impact is still pretty rough. It might take them a month to earn back what some players feel comfortable with calling 'easy money' or 'pocket change'.

Heck. If you can't lock down one of the PCs able to help during your short play window then you're going to have to wait on a puppet request. Just lining up the treatment could take someone with limited time days or weeks. Same thing for RPing your way to a savior. And these activities might be of little interest to some players. In most cases you can focus on the things that you enjoy more in the game and avoid things you enjoy less. But not here.

These things can impact ALL players, even oldbies. But mix it in with a new player who is learning the ropes and it can seem insurmountable. I fully agree that there is a lot one can do during these plagues. Or even if you get infected. I just don't feel comfortable with the implication that it's simple or easy as not everyone is in the same boat ICly or OOCly.

I am not saying plagues should stop and are terrible. And I honestly love the positive suggestions made on ways to play through these situations and infections. I just think it's important to recognize that these things don't hit everyone equally. Something that seems easy to you might be a nightmare to another, sometimes for reasons beyond their control.

Grey,

My responses were strictly to two people who commented they felt plague RP meant the only thing to do was sit isolated or logoff and stay logged off until it was over. By their own words that was what was happening and the default decision.

I apologize if it seems I was singling you out crashdown. I did love all your suggestions on how one could find RP instead of stay inside.

My post was more about how the posts, when taken together, seemed dismissive of the impact they had on some players. I don't think anyone was trying to do that but when 8 looked at thread as a hike that was the impression I got.

Honestly, I failed pretty badly with my post. It was poorly focused and badly worded. It came out like an attack and was combative. I apologize to everyone for that.

Maybe if it doesn't already exist, there should be some sort of system to make plagues and stuff easier on new players? Maybe as simple as not being able to be infected by other players if you have been in the city for less than a couple weeks, but still able to get sick from like environmental stuff.

To try to put myself in a new player's shoes:

If I was a new player in my first month or so of playing and I all the sudden had to pay tens of thousands of chyen for cures and not be able to go outside without vomiting everywhere, I think I would seriously consider quitting and not coming back. Even more so if my character had no clone yet.

I don't particularly care for the short depression in veteran player activity that happens but I don't think there's actually much evidence to show that outbreaks negatively impact new player retention in the strictest sense.

Johnny would have more accurate stats than what I can look at in my logs, and the sample sizes are pretty small but the last three outbreak events actually somewhat coincided with population surges in those years.

Text gaming tends towards the extinct side of things so there being major events going on (good or bad) seems to be a possible attractor for players, or at least not a significant deterrent.