It's boring. The @who reports that there are so many people in whichever sector I'm in, so I wander the streets looking in every direction and I sit in public places and... ghost town.
The help channels and the boards all emphasize that you should treat NPCs as people. So I did. I elaborately roleplayed when I first got in, and... silence. Performing for an empty theatre. I think it was a week before an NPC actually did something, and by then, it was just to ICly slap my character on the wrist for being rude (which also happened to ICly not make much sense, considering the character's situation, but I told myself "naaah, they're probably right") before shooing my character away dismissively.
Elsewhere on the boards, it's also advised to take @notes, to help promote roleplay. So I did. My @notes would probably be pretty extensive, but as it turns out, the world is quiet enough that I'll be connected for hours and hours and... generate two or three small paragraphs. But I manage it. Character motivations and suspicions outlined. The result? Continue on.
So the character goes broke and finds out that, magically, none of the automated systems, which continue to advertise for labor, want to deal with him until next week, nevermind if he didn't actually do more than a day's work at some places. I found the forum post explaining the reasons for this--to promote making money off each other and roleplay. Cool.
The boards and several places in the game promote the idea of making money off players. Turns out all the players are broke, not interested in buying things, and nobody knows where you can make money outside of automated systems or what they themselves can employ you to do. They say the best money is in the business you create yourself. Explored that option, too, being sure to take @notes along the way. I guess the @notes helped my character get a response--he was ICly told to fuck off. No avenue for the character to try and inevitably fail, no potential negotiation, no roleplay value whatsoever. Just no.
And so, without money, and without those pesky jobs that were so detrimental to my roleplaying (As it happens, I was able to get more roleplay out of people with SHI and crates in one day than in all the rest of my time online not doing those jobs), my character goes forth to boldly roleplay elsewhere in the world. Wait, I said it was a ghost town, right?
As it turns out, about the only roleplay that my character HAS gotten has been the result of me forcibly involving the character with others, ignoring the anti-social tendencies that half of the characters seem to exhibit, the kind that tells me that everyone else has important places to be, important things to do, and important people to see, and that there's no time to interact with someone unfamiliar.
Thus, a strategy develops. Go somewhere and stare at a wall for hours to rack up the day's UE. Do this every day for a couple of months, pumping up some kind of skill other people will find useful or that you can use to their detriment. When the day comes that you can codedly make a difference, THEN you can run around the world offering people things or being a nuisance, and maybe you'll get some attention and roleplay out of it, but until then, apparently no one gives a crap whether you play or not. Staring at a wall. This is precisely what I feel this game promotes.
...This is not to say that my entire experience has been bad, as I've run into two or three people who did genuinely seem interested in roleplaying or involving newbies. That's about it, though.