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MacGuffins 2.0
Iterating on the concept

MacGuffins in their current state feel very much like a 1.0 or even 0.9 beta product.

They "work". That is about all that can be said about them. They are what they are. And characters can do what they do with them.

The "roleplay" around characters doing what they do with them is pretty stale / practically non-existent.

The potential conflict to be had around stealing them is practically non-existent.

Here are a couple of ideas that iterate on the MacGuffin idea and could be fairly easily implemented. These are ideas that have the potential to open them up to more of the playerbase. These are ideas that give topsiders and Mixers more reasons to interact.


MacGuffins pop up in the markets. "Browsing through a pile of drek, you spot a (briefcase). 'Ohhh. You wanna git yer hans on that? 69,420 chyens! Not a chyen less!"

Random Locations

Character steps into the Drome bathroom to ... do whatever you sickos do in the Drome bathroom. MacGuffin is on the floor. Plot Twist - As soon as the MacGuffin is picked up, the chatter system gets a description, "A petite tomboy in a yellow hoodie picked up a briefcase in the Drome bathroom last Tuesday."

Random Locations + Hidden

Bored waiting for the levs? In the habit of randomly 'search' ing locations? What is that briefcase? And why is everyone chattering about me picking it up?

PubSIC - Hey tall shabby guy in the red ProTek trenchcoat! I saw you pick up that briefcase and I'm telling the WJF! Thief!!

Skill / Class Checks

What if the MacGuffin is 'worthless' until a character with the right skill does what they do with it?

What if the MacGuffin can only be 'activated' by corporate character? (Using the same code that lets the WJF magically know who does or does not get hassled at the lev stations on Green.)

What if the MacGuffin self destructs or otherwise becomes worthless if it is removed from the Red sector before a corporate employee assesses it?

All of these ideas are ways to force both sides of the divide to interact for Fun and Profit.

In my experience, MacGuffins seem to break for no apparent reason at all, refuse to show objectives, can't be interacted with or don't update and other such very buggy behaviors.

The biggest issue with MacGuffins and interactivity is that if you have SIC alerts, or bingbong alarms or weewoo sirens, or whatever else you might think of that draws attention of the mix to it, then you're going to either dogpile the shit out of the corporates doing it themselves, or expose CI's to be burnt- CI's which are often a complete pain in the ass to get in the first place.

Also players being players will probably just do the contested shit at 4AM DST, or some other totally gamey thing. I totally support MacGuffins getting a rework, I really dislike them in their current implementation. I think they'd be fine as some sort of training device, and if that's what they're intended for, great. But I really don't want arbitrary bullshit busywork in my leisure time activity game. I want to do stuff with other players, write stories and make content. MacGuffins are none of those things, as it stands.

Bugs with Macguffins

If that's your experience I would ask that you @bug it with as much detail as possible. I've reviewed all the bugs in the system and there are none about macguffins being buggy. I may have fixed one or two issues between when you posted this and now, but it sounds like you were seeing more systemic issues that were making them not work well.

Not Busywork / Purpose of Macguffins

I don't consider macguffins to be busy work (per the comment TalonCzar made) as they are completely optional and sit on top of the existing job system. Not doing them doesn't have a negative impact on your career. Unless something has changed, promotions aren't gated behind 'do 10 macguffins' or anything. Thus I don't think it is fair to call them busywork. They are system that is there to be engaged with if you want some IC job stuff to do that you can base RP around.

Macguffins are essentially chained fetch quests. The goal of them is to involve more than the player who receives it. This is done by having a variety of skills be needed to move the macguffin forward.

Request for Feedback / Ideas

I picked this thread instead of the Anonymize Macguffins thread because this one is more aptly named for what I'd like.

I'm looking for feedback on what we can do to improve the macguffin system.

This does not include (at this point):

- making mixguffins

- syndiguffins

- making gigantic changes to how the system works that require a complete re-work

What I'd like to know / like feedback on:

- what makes them boring now (IE: not enough need to go to different places)

- what keeps them from being a thing that more people need to interact with

- why no one ever attempts to steal them (and how we fix that)

- why no one ever attempts to sell them on the blackmarket (and how we fix that)

Some thoughts I'd like feedback on:

- should we make more macguffins need to be completed at interesting locations such as places on Blue or Green or in the Mix or in the Badlands?

- should we make more of a hard coded rule about the # of people that need to interact with a macguffin?

- should we figure out ways to force macguffins to change hands outside a corporation?

- should we focus macguffins on skills you can't fake with a skillsoft to prevent one or two people completing them?

- what would make them more fun / engaging tools to create RP?

- what stops them from being good RP tools currently?

- are the payouts too much? too little?

- what have peoples (without revealing IC info) experiences (positive or negative or neutral) been with Macguffins so far?

- any suggestions that haven't been covered here that don't fall under 'a huge amount of work or dramatic changes to the system that make it unrecognizable from what it is now'

Comment away!

I must admit that I've never interacted with a MacGuffin at all. So maybe this idea is already something that exists and I'm not aware of it. But here goes!

Maybe MacGuffins can be actual corporate secrets that corpies have a vested interest in protecting - the skeletons in a corporation's basement. It could be trivial stuff or serious stuff, but the main thing is that corpies do not want this data to get into the hands of mixers, or even people in other corps, because it would cast shame upon their corp if it's exposed. (Note: I feel like these secrets shouldn't target individual PCs but rather the corporation as an entity.)

These MacGuffins could be in the form of e-notes, briefcases, e-memory modules, photos on cameras, Grid nodes that people can scrub, etc. Maybe one is hidden in plain sight inside a corporate tower and you and your chums have to find some way to steal it without getting caught. Maybe one ends up in the Park. Maybe it's simple to get but then you have to pass it on to someone with a particular skillset to be able to use it. Once you're in possession of the corporate secrets, you can do whatever with them - use them as blackmail, share them with the masses, betray your own corporation, etc.

This will spark more collaboration and competition, where corpies have to work with mixers and vice versa, and topsiders actually have a reason to plot against one another. Additionally, it'll encourage the flow of chyen when people hire runners or deckers/other specialists, or even muggers and/or solos to steal the MacGuffin back before it can be opened.

Having never seen or interacted with a MacGuffin myself (that I know of), my only offered input is: figure out a way to make it painfully visible to people other than those with an immediate need to know and/or vested interest in keeping it to/for themselves. I.E Corporate staff, Syndicate, Etc.

Topside MacGuffins: Always a training excersize. If a MacGuffin STARTS topside, it's for training. The suits tell whoever, corpsec, etc. Do this with this, it has to meet person x, y, and z people, if your security team or you have to step in directly for any reason, you fail to meet the standard. Biometric scanner on the case will know the moment a security member touches it outside of soverign ground, and the job is an immediate fail. For the training events, there's a bonus in pay the following week. Maybe a couple of kay for each team member/stock leverage for the company, etc.

A fail harms the reputation of the security head (PC) and stocks. As does refusing too many training ops in x period of time. Make it a number that doesn't qualify it as 'busywork'. Mayby you have to accept two of every ten that cross your desk, security chief. Too much failure or refusal ain't a good look.

Plot Twist: Sometimes those training opportunites are actually legitimate jobs, and your suit there just disguised it as a low priority op to dupe you and the public both. Hope you don't fuck it up. Have a nice day.

MacGuffins in the Mix: A job went wrong, a corporate operate has been burned and is laying low in the mix. He/She/They thrusts a case into your hands. Or whispers a room code to you in passing. Link it to something/someone that said player can begin interacting with and go from there. Ultimately it has to return home, or be exploited for the gains it could bring you. Unfortunately you didn't get much data, only way you can know where it goes is to get it open. Good luck.

I think the fact people have never heard of Macguffins is indicative of a huge lack of demand or interest which defeats the purpose largely.

I'd try increasing the macguffin payout to certain orgs exponentially and see if that makes a difference.

Hi Slither,

Just coming back in to reply to your comments.

I want to say I've done less than two dozen of them, and I've not personally had them fritz out on me during my participation, however, I've seen the following things just as being a link in the chain of doing them: them not updating for new objectives, them throwing TB's when you attempt to check them, and them sort of just becoming non-interactive like they're a bricked phone or something IRL. Next time I see one of these things happen- as I haven't been able to get my hands on them recently- I'll bug accordingly.

As for them being busywork, if I were to try and break down my impression to be more mechanically-minded, here's what I think: If these are to be devices that are to issue a chain of tinyplots that are designed to make RP happen outside of their corporation, they don't really seem to hitting the mark. Yes, there are some tasks which by their very nature require the involvement of other large institutions. However many of the tasks tend to be something like find: "A tailor, a tinker, a soldier, a spy" and if/when you have all of those in your corp it feels like passing around the fedex tablet to sign for packages at the office. It works around the office key in the course of a hour or so and then winds up being a chyen dispenser for those who get involved.

To answer your questions:

-Boring: I really like the idea of involving different archetypes and doing tasks that involve rooting around in the dome for things and places. I think more tasks like go here, do this thing, interact with this object, talk to this NPC, visit this social hub, etc. might be nice. I don't *think* these need to be clandestine if they were perhaps named a bit differently. I.E. "SHI E-Tablet 7.1" instead of SKSKSKSKSKSK THING

-More people: There isn't any reason to take these outside your corp or trusted friends circle ICly, and I think that's a big opportunity for improvement. The only thing is- I worry that if something like adding a lockout system that persists week over week so you don't just use the same people every go-around, that then with player numbers in roles always fluctuating, if you'll be able to get the subtasks done at all. In addition, adding the ability to SKIP a subtask at the cost of losing all the added benefit of that subtask because people in role XYZ simply don't log in regularly would also be nice. This way when that part-time player role gets rolled off the top or near the top, it's not resulting in potentially a dead-end macguffin.

-Why nobody steals them: If I'm not mistaken these straight up keep a record of 'usage' and ownership transfer. Say you steal it and then want to ransom it back, right? Are you not then just shooting yourself directly in the foot? I know there's been talk on XOOC as well about the inability to really extract the value of the item when it's been stolen as well- possibly due to limiting factors of secondary markets. I might suggest adding a back alley NPC on gold or something that takes 'missing' macguffins and doles out nice fat wads of chyen for doing so- especially if the macguffin is 'fresh' and still relevant.

-Locations: I don't think blue or the badlands is going to offer much, if any additional RP. What could be interesting, however, is going to frequently populated or popular areas in the mix. For example, places where former corporate NPC's might have some insight on fixing a macguffin task. As mentioned above, however, if we want players to not go turbo risk adverse mode, there's an issue with the object names being just a bit too on the nose.

-Number of people: I think the number of people right now is about spot on. Decent risk exposure, not too little, not too much.

-Moving outside corps: Yes. I think the idea with these are that they're supposed to get us paying people to go do menial tasks for 'us' the corporates, right? Two issues being: one, sometimes they don't pay sufficiently for people to actually be motivated to do them mix-side (we really need to address how significant the income gap is becoming across the divide here, but idigress) and two, it needs to be done in such a way that 'trusty fellow X in Y sector' isn't just the person getting the job every single time.

-Skillsofts: I'm not really sure how you'd go about doing this. I suppose you could make the timers more aggressive so that people don't have time to slot a soft, or make the checks harder so that lower level, faster loading softs aren't going to check the box, but then my concern would be 'Are we excluding "legitimate" players because they don't play the game 12 hours a day?'

-More fun: I'm not sure how to make them more fun or to have them create 'deeper and more meaningful' RP. I think it comes down to who's managing them, really.

-Not good RP tools?: I think they have the potential to be great RP tools, but as a tool it's really up to the players to make them into compelling plots and jobs or to just go 'go do this thing, get paid' and hand it over.

-Payouts: If I think some of the points addressed above are corrected, such as making sure that they don't just get used by a handful of the same people week to week, aren't getting done by a single organization, etc, I think the payouts could probably be UPPED if anything. CAVEAT BEING: I think the ability to do embezzlement and fraud with these is too high, and contained too much by the people who are turning them in. If the 'go do this thing, filthy mixer' task is supposed to be high risk and pay 15K or something, there's no reason or incentive to actually pay that out if you can find some bum to do it for 2K and pocket the 13 yourself. Could argue that's good theme, but players being players tend to.. game systems. Maybe there could be a way to indicate what the 'value' of your work per task should be, so you know if you're getting F---ed over or not?

Sorry for the wall of text, that was a lot of questions to work through! Hope it's helpful.