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Topside Inactivity Causes?
Discussion of percieved activity issues topside

This is a post to discuss the perceived lack of activity topside, its causes and how that compares to the theme Sindome strives to achieve. From there we can start working towards potential solutions albeit those should be discussed in a different thread. Specific solutions people feel merit discussion can have their links posted in on this thread with a short explanation as to what it is but discussion of the solution should take place elsewhere.

What follows from here is my opinion and open to critique:

Whilst the risks and lack of activity topside are perhaps being a little overblown (crime does happen topside, but perhaps not enough), enough people have suggested it is an issue that I feel it should be treated as one and analysed accordingly. Perception issue or not, perception is how we gain our enjoyment of the game. What is being referred to here is mainly a lack of criminal activity topside and as with any activity whether or not it happens can be broken into two base factors; risk and reward. If the perceived risk outweighs the perceived reward then people likely aren't going to try to do something.

Risk:

Judges

Corpsec

Fines

Loss of Equipment

Loss of Job

Clone Death

Banishment

Share price goes down/up

Reward:

Paydata - (This has a really intangible value unless actionable in another way to make money)

Physical items - More easily stolen from mixers

Promotion - This could go either way

Share price goes up/down

At least five of the risks of crime topside aren’t present in the mix but the reward doesn’t rise proportionately (or if it does the nature of the rewards available are far more obfuscated) which is why crime is so much more rife in the mix than it is topside. To an extent that is how it should be, corporations pay for the security and so they should get it. From what players have been saying however it seems this security has gone too far and the vast majority of players are no longer willing to operate topside, the risk far outweighs the potential rewards associated with doing annnnd that is where I feel sindome is perhaps why topside is stagnating and a potentially somewhere sindome is falling a little short of the theme.

Thanks for reading. I look forwards to hearing your own opinions on this matter!

Relevant further discussion at time of posting:

Increased Mix / Corp Interdependence:

https://www.sindome.org/bgbb/game-discussion/ideas/increased-mix---corp-interdependence-1954/

New Topside Crime Protocol:

https://www.sindome.org/bgbb/game-discussion/ideas/new-topside-crime-protocol-1952/

No NPC Judges on Gold:

https://www.sindome.org/bgbb/game-discussion/ideas/no-npc-judges-on-gold-1951/

Some topsiders left recently either due to disagreements or getting banned. That's another cause. Can't be bothered to get into this discussion properly, just laying it out there, since it wasn't mentioned.
I think one issue here too is lack of GM time for support of crimes, especially if the person criming (is that a word? It is now!) is doing something solo, vs another plot with many people involved elsewhere. Some people are active during times where there are no GMs available and as a result can't really get up to bad things.

This is no way a slight towards GMs. They are volunteers and already doing a ton for the game. I've just never seen this mentioned in this conversation. I appreciate everything they do for sure!

The issue is people scared of taking risks or moosexing in their apartment topside.

I don't think it's the GMs fault at all.

People ARE doing crimes topside, frequently. Topside players ARE active. There is topside/nix fraternization. A lot of this is uninvolved or uninformed players fretting over something they don't really have eyes on.

Topside is a much slower and quieter game and probably needs some fresh PCs right now but otherwise it's probably fine.

I think if topside players stick around topside and new topside players stick around, there will be plenty more activity. It just happens to be pretty easy to fall, or to get bored. Hang in there! *insert cat poster here*
I also agree with Vera here, but blaming GM support on this is just completely untrue. It's easy as 'xhelp and wait for confirmation'.
It's actually stupid hard to fall now unless you want to.
I think that the structure is there for topside. I just think that a lot of it is that there needs to be something that draws people up there and makes people perceive that it moves and shifts a little more. That and what was brought up at the town hall being remedied would fix a lot of topside play. But Yeah, it's not necessarily the GMs fault if at all. It just needs new life and people wanting to make it better.
How so, @HolyChrome?
Not to get into specifics, but the GMs recognized the fear of risk a while ago and have given topside players much more elbow room to take that risk without fear of being immediately chucked to the Mix.

There are of course still boundaries, the difference between actually trying to shoot someone in the street and getting caught -hiring- someone to shoot someone in the street, but finding these boundaries are part of the mystique of FOIC.

There's been some instances of these in the past year, so you can certainly ask around without having to get a job, huck a grenade at your boss, and see if that gets you shitcanned lol

Appreciate the input.
That's very good to hear @HolyChrome. That wiggle room is good I think when that catches on, it'll help. When I was playing topside last. There wasn't that at all. And it was rather stifling I remember.
Exactly why it was changed, SL.

The GMs have been very adamant about that front (admittedly much to my chagrin at times) but it's a vast improvement and any nitpicking I have is outweighed by the amount of activity I've witnessed.

Still waiting on the PC culture to catch up to this change, but yes it's very helpful too keep things from becoming stifling.
There's plenty to do topside.

If you're a corpie not getting enough activity, invite someone to a drink at a bar. Reach out. Get the ball rolling.

So this is a group of players that -think- topside is stagnant and want to change everything based on that perception?

Guys, FOIC, -then- make your suggestiins. Plenty goes on, and just because you don't know about it doesn't mean things are stagnant.

This thread sums up why I'm probably never making another corp character.
Topside has much less roleplay and activity compared to the Mix. Including in the avenues that topside is sort of catering towards; politics, intrigue, social roleplay, content creation. I've played both within the last few months, in several different roles on both sides, and it's like night and day. However there are also fewer players, if topside and the mix had similar populations I doubt there would be dramatic activity differences.
Considering your usual approach to being resistant to certain themes such as the divide, 0x1, I'm curious if that may be a contributing factor.

The matter of corp feuds were already addressed recently and seeing policy changes.

Considering your usual approach to being resistant to certain themes such as the divide, 0x1, I'm curious if that may be a contributing factor.

The corporate-mix divide (or intercorp divides?) are a contributing factor? Definitely. That was my experience absolutely. I don't think corporate life would suddenly come alive if those divides were loosened though. As I say, there are just so many fewer players.

It's simply not for everyone no matter how populated it is or how much support it gets. It's going to be cliquey and hard to navigate for some no matter what. For those people it will be boring, but that's also themely in a sense. The terms wage slave and corporate grind are called to mind. It's sort of part of it all, no? Maybe some wild parties, and general decadence, but there is a cost.
The play style is defo opposites, though I am curious what topside would be like if it had as many players as the Mix... just imagine it.
There was a time when Topside had a good 20 plus active players in it.

It wasn't drastically different.

From your perspective, Talon.
I'm just saying that right now, due to the limited player count, there's only -so- many intrigues and connections and plots you can make. What if there were a good 40+? You'd really be able to pick and choose then.
Yes, more PC's to interact with would be nice. I feel that might always be the case. Even in the mix. KEEP VOTING! xtmc xtms
These are all hypotheticals based off hypotheticals. Find out IC.
This is just speculations, nothing meta about it. I like simple discussions like this. Less drama for once, more dreaming.
I remember when there was that many topside characters. It was dramatically different and it was wild. So there was a definite difference in my opinion. It just takes a certain kind of character.
@mirino

I also agree with Vera here, but blaming GM support on this is just completely untrue. It's easy as 'xhelp and wait for confirmation'.[i/]

It is as easy as that, however, I've tried five+ times in the past for permission over the course of months, and no one was available on any of those occasions. So it isn't completely untrue. I wasn't "blaming" the GMs, I'm just saying it's a factor that I haven't seen thrown into the discussion here. I'm happy other people are getting it done though.

I totally understand the need for GM support in these situations to RP out the Judges if shit goes sideways. I wouldn't want to be doing crime out there anyway if that wasn't the case. Also, like I said, no shade thrown the way of the GM's, they're busy as hell.

Ugh, boofed a bracket there. If it messes up again I'll just leave it be.

@mirino

I also agree with Vera here, but blaming GM support on this is just completely untrue. It's easy as 'xhelp and wait for confirmation'.

It is as easy as that, however, I've tried five+ times in the past for permission over the course of months, and no one was available on any of those occasions in the timeslot I play in. So it isn't completely untrue. I wasn't "blaming" the GMs, I'm just saying it's a factor that I haven't seen thrown into the discussion here. I'm happy other people are getting it done though.

I totally understand the need for GM support in these situations to RP out the Judges if shit goes sideways. I wouldn't want to be doing crime out there anyway if that wasn't the case. Also, like I said, no shade thrown the way of the GM's, they're busy as hell.

Regardless of if Topside is boring or has few players, what I do think is that it feels very split up as of late.

Maybe if they felt slightly more threatened by Mixers they would consolidate more often and bond under a common enemy.

There are a few major issues with topside shenanigans. The risk of getting caught doing anything, even something stupid, is high. Thus, you really need to have a solid plan or the reward needs to be very high to be worth putting your cushy life on the line. This means a lot of this stuff needs to be plotted by GM's. There just is not as much lower risk lower profit opportunities topside. Everything is an all or nothing gamble in a lot of cases. Which leads to, the coded systems as is have little room for manipulation. In my experience, the GM's are tough as nails. Almost nothing is getting Ok'd unless you have very good reason for having it, and even then, it will likely be declined if it is of any real value. I think topside would benefit a lot by loosening things up a bit. Let topside players comp more things like cab rides (The cab perk sucks, and player cabs facilitate player relationships), dinner tabs and cyberware. Give corpies more resources to be the corpies the game needs, out there shaking things up, hiring thugs and propagandists. In my time topside I wanted to do a lot of this stuff, but spent most of my resources trying to get the basics covered, transportation, clothes, watch, etc..The actual coded systems could be tweaked in small ways to make things a lot more fun as well, for instance..

Let's consider the req terminal. If I were in charge all items ordered come into req unwrapped. Player takes unwrapped item, puts it in wrapping unit which encases in a carton. This will allow players to potentially outsource the acquisition of gear pocketing the difference. This puts them into contact with players who have the gear cheaper, allowing more interaction between topside and the mix. Allow the player in charge of req to ok orders themselves. This means requests would be fully under their control allowing them to make false orders and gives them the opportunity to try to game the system for profit. All orders are still logged, so this also gives other players the opportunity to investigate these crimes, all without GM's having to do anything.

Also, I say OK MORE THINGS and let players have more control. Let players comp a lot more stuff and use their money to run schemes and plots. There is a lot of stuff needed for a corpie to be a corpie from clothes to implants to transportation. It all costs a TON and it can all be taken away so easily. Let topside players get this stuff more and in turn they will lose more stuff. As is, you need to work and work hard to get all the stuff real corpie take for granted, and being able to take that stuff for granted is part of what makes a suit a corpie. Let the PR rep reimburse cool recon implants here and there, gathering info can be a huge and fun part of this role. Let HR hire and fire without having to OK every single person with the boss. Hold them accountable, but let the players take the reigns.

Baron is absolutely right to keep repeating the thing about 'just because you don't see it...'

But there's absolutely a self-fulfilling prophecy where there's a pervasive view that topside is 'boring' so some people don't pursue it or ever even try it, or try it very briefly / superficially, don't understand how to play it differently than the mix, and just give up and reroll a mixer, perpetuating the view. And yes it can be more 'slow burn', but it absolutely does not have to be.

I do NOT agree that it was 'not drastically different' when it had more players, say, ~1.5 - years ago, or so, topside play was rather fantastic at times, this was also before all the inter-corp mingling became so taboo so I'm excited to see that getting relaxed again. topside player count is definitely a factor, I've seen it at both extremes over years and years and years and years, and it's always been one of the biggest factors.

Something i think might help a bit, and it's been rehashed already a lot and it's something that can just sort of be handled ICly how people feel like I guess, but treating service mixers a bit more in kind with how they're acting -- if they're RP'ing hard that they're working service positions to climb into corporate citizenship ASAP, more corpcits would probably do topside a favor to treat them more as cultivatable assets and near-future coworkers (don't have to treat them as if they already are of course, nuance and subtlety...) than someone who's going to be your waiter forever. It'd probably mean more of those folks not feeling so bored and burned out getting through the 'servie limbo' on their way up if they got a little more interesting RP, and they might actually make corporate and stick around.

It just ebbs and flows. Topside can be three times as fun, busy and populated with players at some times versus others without anything at all "making" that happen.

Wait 6 months.

When too much effort is put into pushing the pendulum before it's ready/time, you get harsh overcorrection which then feels like it really really needs to be corrected again. Let it swing, gentle and natural.

@beandip

I heard a quote once I'll never forget.

"Midwife the paradigm shift"

The mix is for players who like immediate results and living by the edge of your seat. Big gains and losses each week. Easy come, easy go.

Topside is for players who like to play the long game and have a career in mind. Big gains and losses each month. Protections granted to the playerbase in order to play out loooooong plots.

They're two different styles of play. Choose the one that fits what you want to do.

"But there's absolutely a self-fulfilling prophecy where there's a pervasive view that topside is 'boring' so some people don't pursue it or ever even try it, or try it very briefly / superficially, don't understand how to play it differently than the mix, and just give up and reroll a mixer, perpetuating the view. And yes it can be more 'slow burn', but it absolutely does not have to be."

This. I think a lot of the people who find themselves burned just did something that breaks Topside taboos. And then you also have this weird loop where nobody frequents the Topside social scene because it's 'boring and nobody is there' so as a consequence, it's boring and nobody is there.

By all means, break taboos. Just don't get caught. 😉