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Winter Town Hall Topic Thread [02/01/20]
Post your topics for the upcoming town hall!

OVERVIEW

The Winter Town Hall dates have been announced and now it's time to share your topic suggestions with us. We hope that you all take a moment to voice your suggestions and join us at the Town Hall. We love to hear your feedback and the Town Hall is a great opportunity for you to give it and help us shape the game for the future.

TOPIC SUGGESTIONS

You can respond to this thread with your suggestions, however, PLEASE in the interest of keeping this easy to manage, do not engage in discussion about the topics here. If you want to discuss them, create a relevant thread in the correct part of the BGBB and note that not every topic will make the cut but we'll do our best to get as much in as possible.

SCHEDULE

The town hall is THREE HOURS long.

It begins with speeches from the admin, who offer updates on their respective areas of the game (Building, Coding, Operations, etc.).

We then move into the discussion section, where we run through an agenda of player & admin submitted topics.

We then close it out and people can leave or stick around to chat with the various admin. After the Town Hall, there will be the announcement of the winners of this year’s RP Awards. You do not need to stick around for this but you can! Hey, you might win.

WHAT TO SUGGEST

If you're stuck thinking for suggestions to give, here are some general topic categories that you can think about:

Code Improvements - What could be changed code-wise to improve the game?

In Character Topics - What can we do In Character to make Sindome a better place for all?

Out of Character Topics - How can we help you, the players feel more at home in Sindome?

WARNING

Please do not reveal any IC info in this thread. Again, this is just for posting ideas for topics (you can explain your topic in as much depth as you want, but don't get into it with others about the topics they post). Create a new BGBB thread to discuss something if you want.

PRE-READ INFO

If this is your first town hall, please refer to the posts below for a list of previous posts relating to the most recent Town Hall.

July 2019 Town Hall Agenda

July 2019 Town Hall Log

Exciting! Thanks, Mench!

I want to see about the continuous improvement of the new player experience. Over my relatively short time here, I've seen a lot of new players come and leave from being overwhelmed or not having good initial RP, which is absolutely crucial for keeping them.

Sindome's learning curve is absolutely no joke and even with the roles available that are designed to help new players, I think it still needs some work. One idea I have is to improve the NPC new players first interact with to give a lot more information on the basics that new players need to survive their first few weeks. Right now, it's really kind of limited and doesn't really give the full scope of what a player needs to know those first few weeks. I can provide more specific suggestions here, but I think it's IC information and I don't want to post it publically.

Once a player has that information through a question and answer with the NPC, the NPC can then guide them to ask on SIC for PC help. Then they can utilize the PCs who are designed just for them and hopefully get some plot involvement. Above all, it sets them up for RP right away, should they choose to listen.

Adding onto what DoveCage said and also making note of Slither's improvement to make staff aware of open / idle Immigrant Positions....

Immigration Assistance:

The system to notify staff and track the last logons of immigration greeters is a great tool. Keep the positions filled is important. That said, it's only about 40% of the challenge.

The other 60% is the burn out with immigration work. It is disheartening to invest time in blank, after blank, after blank, after blank only to have them disappear.

I feel like the Perks and weekly pay for WCS staff are decent enough to retain characters and encourage their players to do a reasonable job helping out immigrants. But even then, I don't think it's enough to incentivize players to remain in that role for months or longer.

It would be great if there were a checklist for Immigration staff to fall back on when they're having a bad day or don't have it in themselves to go Above and Beyond yet again on a blank who very well might vanish.

Maybe the NPC that @DoveCage suggested can also have access to the checklist, much like Immy has access to the sindome.org site.

For the purpose of the town hall, it would be cool to get feedback from the player base on ESSENTIAL locations and hustles that they feel would be themely for Greeters to educate new players about. I don't want to go into too much IC detail here, but I'll provide a short list to demonstrate the kind of things I'm thinking about.

"Safe" places to live - Immigration coffins, 'well known' apartments (New Rose, Lucky Eagle... maybe Westinghaus(?)

Basic Ways to earn chyen - ACME & SHI

Shops - Olgas, S&S, Du-Wear(?), Uncle Sunghs (?)

On the WCS side, flyers with the info can be created and made available for when the WCS greeters do not have time or energy to physically walk the new players around to those places. Maybe the NPC object can spit out flyers? Or display them on some sort of wall screen or other static display?

On a tangent, I think that we need to be careful with the new player experience. While we do want to encourage new players to stick around, we do not want to set unreasonable expectations. We want to hold their hand enough to get them comfortable, but not so much so that they come to expect it. And by expect it, I mean always expect that "someone" (WCS greeter, staff member, etc.) will "always" be there to help out.

We want to attract players who are comfortable being uncomfortable. Players who can experiment on their own and do no expect to be spoon fed "plots" and "things to do".

I think it can be as subtle as communicating. "Hey, let me show you this cool world we have here." as opposed to "Hey, here's your new player quest (go run some crates). Come back to me for your next quest. And the next one after that, and after that..."

One last thought about greeting and playing a greeter. It's okay to not know something that another player or character might want to know. Maybe brush them off with a, "You know, I don't even understand how THAT works yet. Let me know what you figure out?" Even if you DO know the answer, simply presenting it in the context of "This place is complex and nobody has all the answers, not even those of us (WCS, etc.) who have been sanctioned to help you find SOME answers."

The majority of this topic has been moved to its own thread located here: Immigration Greeters: Essential Info

(Edited by Slither at 4:13 pm on 1/31/2020)

(Edited by Slither at 4:14 pm on 1/31/2020)

I think it might be worthwhile to chat about theme and the difference between personal power and institutional power. I can't get too into IC details, but some discussion of the way factions/corporations and their members or assets can wield power and how that differs from what's on an unaffiliated individual's @stats might help people grok the oppressive "whole world is out to get you" theme we have going here, especially as Sindome's world is alive in a way most other games are not.
Great point Vera.

On a tangent maybe we should discuss about narrative direction through RP.

As a community we should focus on creating meaningful, funny, interesting RP for everyone. Some people don't really give a fuck and they're only in the game to win by taking minimal risks and executing mundane RP. This includes players in position of considerable power who grow too "comfortable" in their bubble of zero-challenges by other PCs, instead of moving forward and closing cycles, plotting their own demise to let someone else take the position, and in general keeping things fresh.

As a result the game doesn't really focus on deep, intricate narratives but instead, focuses on who wins the most, who has the most gear, who has the most amount of money, who has the best KD ratio.

The GMs do this but obviously they're understaffed and don't really push people in and out of positions with the exception of obvious cases.

I'd like to revisit the disguise system and talk about if it's possible to make a few tweaks to make it more robust. Including: adding @titles while disguised, being able to take off a layer and still retain the name change if your skill is high enough (this was posed in the original announcement thread), and talking about the easily meta-able aspect of wigs/lenses.

Additionally I'd like to suggest again that topside get some "disguised" npc love.

I think this system, plus the new corpse changes, has made for some amazing possibilities for all kinds of mischief. However, historically there has been a push to encourage players to "ignore" meta cues like wig/contact @naked mismatches. While noble, it's something that's hard to ignore in the moment, and if it could be resolved with some tweaks, would make being a slippery bastard that much more fun and effective.

Finally I'd really love to hear how everyone feels about the drug changes. I think the duration changes have been a great move, and addiction is more reasonable as well. I'm wondering how many people are using non-combat drugs (weed specifically) and if maybe there's a little wiggle room to adjust the debuffs to get people chugging party drugs more. I know this is a careful balance but if there are any usage statistics that would be amazing!


If you would like to discuss @title for disguise please go here: @title for disguise

Please go here to discuss 2020 Drugs Feedback

(Edited by Slither at 4:20 pm on 1/31/2020)

Keep the topics coming. We only have a handful so far. We have about 2 hours of conversation to fill after the admin speeches/updates.
In the absence of staff plot, PCs, especially Mixers, have a tendency to get comfortable and start playing house. Sometimes it feels like everyone is pretty successful, no one is struggling, and absolutely no one is desperate. The average character might not be able to afford a nice car but I can't remember the last time I saw someone legitimately make a difficult compromise out of financial need.

The Mix still feels too rich and waaaay to fluffy. I don't think Deathmatch 2105 is the cure, so what can we do to make the have-nots feel as poor and desperate as they're supposed to?

Might be worth it to talk about Grid 3.0 and the decker archetype. The planned new features are really exciting, but even without introducing a lot of additional functionality, you'll probably get plenty of good info out of testing it with real players.

An update would give people a lot more confidence!

It came up in OOC-Chat today that the absolute prohibition on necksnapping sleepers in addition to GM permission never being granted is creating a situation which has gone too far toward allowing combat attackees to abuse this.

I suggest that GMs consider reevaluating whatever guidelines make them refuse to grant permission to fuck with a sleeper who deliberately disconnects during combat in order to cheat.

Apparently this is happening a lot (based on the OOC-Chat conversation).

Let's discuss at the Town Hall.



The discussion on this topic has been addressed by Slither in this post: Disconnecting to Avoid Combat & Death and should be reported to the admin via xhelp if it happens.

(Edited by Slither at 4:31 pm on 1/31/2020)

Topic: Becoming Comfortably Uncomfortable (aka Embrace the Suck)

This discussion brings together a couple of topics. Specifically the "new player experience", "being successful at Sindome" and to a lesser extent "Ideas".

My premise is that one way to "win at Sindome" is to embrace and ACCEPT the "reality" that at best, at the very best, as a player people will get comfortable with being uncomfortable. They must accept that discomfort in the form of stress and less than optimal situations that they have little to no control over are par for the course.

Characters will be in one of three states. Either recovering from an adverse situation or experience, in the middle of an adverse experience or situation, or about to be subjected to an adverse situation or experience. And they will either be the initiator of that, or the recipient of that.

Those situations are likely to be beyond a single character to resolve. Nobody in their right mind is going to pick on someone stronger than them. Immigrants are playing in the exact same environment as players who have been around for a decade, or even two. There is no such thing as an even or fair playing field. Characters will always be disadvantaged in some way. Or not optimally suited (in stats, skills, gear, relationships, etc.) for any given situation.

The uneven playing field, and the lack of being in an optimal state to face a challenge is not a problem with the game, or the rules, or the code, or the theme. It is not something that needs to be "fixed". It is the game. And players either get comfortable with that, or they fail.

Specifically to the new player experience, this needs to be communicated better and perhaps contrasted with the "typical" gaming experience that players are likely used to. Specifically; there is not a "starting area" where characters are safe. There is not a progression system in which characters are gradually introduced to challenges that they "should be" able to overcome. There is not an "end game" for characters to reach.

Lastly, the game is not about any one specific character. Compared with an MMO where a character is guided through a mostly gentle progression where they are gradually introduced to more skills and abilities at a comfortable pace, Sindome throws them into the deep end of the pool. There is not a grouping or match making system to ensure that a "party" with complimentary skills is put together to face the challenges. While there are some part time lifeguards and maybe another sympathetic swimmer or two, there are also sharks in the water and people standing around the edge who want to make sure that the new character never pulls themselves up out of the pool.

In effect, there are two primary "games" to Sindome. The first game is to survive. In that regard, Sindome is like a survival horror game. They are plenty of ways to fail, and a couple of ways to succeed. Players need to create a character that is capable of surviving. Only after players have become competent at surviving can they start playing the second game, which is thriving (plotting, scheming, etc.)

I realize that there are day one immigrants who can come in, RP their asses off, make a bunch of friends and plot from there. But those situations are so rare as to be practically not even worth mentioning because we run the risk of creating unreasonable expectations for the average new player.

To stay on track and try to sum up, as a community we will serve ourselves and new players better if we find ways to effectively communicate this. And by this I mean, that players will be uncomfortable, being uncomfortable is part and parcel of the experience, and there will be little to nothing a character and/or their player can do to get rid of the aspects of the game that are causing the discomfort.

We also need to communicate that we are sympathetic and understanding. Humans have evolved to either move towards pleasure or away from pain. In Sindome, there is plenty of pain... so much so that it might seem inescapable. And pleasure is hard to find. And often times if you find it, it comes with strings attached. Playing on Sindome is going to conflict with innate biology on a lot of levels.

As part of communicating sympathy and understanding, we can provide examples of long term players who still struggle with getting comfortable. The recent discussion on revamping Perception is a perfect example. Plenty of long term players made the case that "perception gets in the way of my RP" and "perception makes the game uncomfortable and confusing for new players." Yes. And? That's not a bug, that's a feature. But human nature wants to see it as a bug. Human nature wants to "fix it", both for selfish reasons (individual RP) and for community reasons (making the game world more accessible and comfortable for new players).

Wrapping it up, I find my thoughts coming back to the comparison and contrast with the majority of "games" out there. Most games confer upon their characters at some point what are more or less super human abilities. The ability to fight world threatening and destroying monsters. The ability to master dozens of weapons and overcome untold scores of NPCs. The ability to jump right into the action and go head to head against other players on a mostly even playing field. The implicit promise that if a player grinds long enough, and sticks it out long enough, that eventually their character will "power up" to the point where the game becomes if not an outright cakewalk, at least fairly easy.

I think our question is, as a community, do we want Sindome to devolve to cater to the lowest common denominator of gamers and people in general? Or do we want to cultivate and maintain the kind of experience that really challenges people to grow?

And I mean that seriously. Accepting Suck is not easy. Accepting that the world is not about us as individuals, that we are not owed anything, that we are less capable (or experienced, or practiced, or whatever) than those around us is not a "fun fantasy" to escape to is difficult. Not everyone is wired that way. I believe that the large majority of people want to be in charge, they want to be control, they want to feel some sense of ownership over their destiny, they want to be rewarded for time spent on an activity. It is difficult for most people to give those up, and down right impossible for others.

But, that's the game. And the better that we do communicating that to new (and old) players, the better we will be as a community.

Embrace the Suck. Aspire to be Comfortable with the Uncomfortable. Maybe even replace Fear that something with go wrong, with Curiosity about what comes next. Because whether you want it to or not, something is definitely coming next. =)

Brief Follow Up:

I tend to write things in a declarative and absolute tone.

My intention here is to have a conversation though. To that regard,

1. Is there some agreement that "embracing the suck" is an "essential" or at least "important" aspect of "being successful" as a Sindome player? (If enough people disagree, it's probably not even worth discussing in the Town Hall)

2. If so, what are some effective ways to communicate this aspect of the game to new players? (My suggestion here is to limit ourselves to creating a list strategies, and be aware that delving into the merits of any particular strategy is likely too in depth of a conversation to finish in the limited time available during the Town Hall.)

That may be a valid perspective as far as your own engagement Hek, but I don't think that should be anything like dogma in terms of what players should expect.

I think when you start talking about a game, a way to have fun and create enjoyable experiences with others, like you would an abusive or toxic relationship -- something to be endured and survived -- you might be engaging with it in an unhealthy way. It's not a masochistic misery simulator, it's roleplaying.

You absolutely do not have to accept anything like uncomfortable or unfun situations to enjoy Sindome. Completely the opposite, if you're not having fun you're definitely approaching things in maybe the wrong way.

You absolutely do not have to accept anything like uncomfortable or unfun situations to enjoy Sindome. Completely the opposite, if you're not having fun you're definitely approaching things in maybe the wrong way.

I'm not going to get too deep into this, but "if you're not having fun, you're doing it wrong" can come off as pretty dismissive to players who feel frustrated by game balance. New players in particular are at risk of being turned off entirely by imbalances in resources, skill, and connections between them and those who have been around a while.

Sindome has more trouble retaining new players than it does existing players. That's a topic worth discussing, and embracing the suck feels like ceding that debate to players who don't have worry about survival anymore.

I might be misinterpreting Hek, but by "embracing the suck," I think that he means that we should enjoy watching terrible things happen to our character because terrible things are supposed to happen to them in Withmore. So when your character gets beaten, robbed, vatted, slandered, tortured, betrayed, or fired, you need to learn to find the fun in that because you are not your character. Love the game by loving the truly terrible things that happen.

I feel like characters that have been around longer *should* be way more powerful than new characters. A character that has been in Withmore for two months should not be in the same universe as a character that has been around for years. And if characters that have been around for years don't still have to worry about their survival, then it sounds like the game isn't fun for them - not that the newer players should also share in that experience.

...if you're not having fun you're definitely approaching things in maybe the wrong way.

To that I will suggest that if you ARE having fun as a brand new player, you have likely already embraced the suck and are having fun dealing with the complexities and challenges of being in disadvantaged situations.

In that case, you are not the kind of new player who gets frustrated and quits. You are also likely not very empathetic with those players, and likely not in a position to put yourself in their shoes and come up with creative ways to retain them.

You are likely already well calibrated and pre-disposed to dealing with an environment that is purposefully setup to disadvantage you and drive you into conflict with others.

All of that is great. You seem to have a pretty firm opinion on right and wrong ways to do things.

Maybe you can suggest a topic to discuss during the town hall that will convey how you have been able to find so much fun here. I'm super curious to about how you've managed to never have to accept "uncomfortable or unfun situations" while your characters were skipping merrily through death and depravity.

@Robespierre,

You're very close in your understanding.

I think that he means that we should enjoy watching terrible things happen to our character because terrible things are supposed to happen to them in Withmore. So when your character gets beaten, robbed, vatted, slandered, tortured, betrayed, or fired, you need to learn to find the fun in that because you are not your character. Love the game by loving the truly terrible things that happen.

While I think it would be awesome if people can find in terrible things, my experience has been that most people don't want to spend their free time struggling. So while there will be players like 0x1mm who never find themselves in uncomfortable and unfun situations, the vast majority of players will. And they will because that is the game.

The game is about a dystopian future where corporations exploit everyone else, even their own employees. And characters are never going to be the CEO. The game is not setup like typical games where the character advances through levels and eventually becomes the all powerful savoir / winner of the game.

Like you said, terrible things are SUPPOSED TO happen. Something as simple as failing to close your door can lead to all sorts of painful consequences.

How do we communicate THAT to new and prospective players? How do we build some resilience into them so that when the inevitable happens, it does not feel like a crushing defeat that they cannot recover from?

In my opinion, one way to do that is to give them as much forewarning as possible. That's not to say to brief them on specific threats to look out for. But to simply convey that it's a bleak environment where the deck is stacked against them.

I hope this is either confusing IC and OOC emotions, otherwise I find it a worrying perspective. If you as a player find your experiences in Sindome habitually unfun or taxing or uncomfortable or however else you want to describe it, that you need to forcefully calibrate your view so you gain some enjoyment from what is not enjoyable to you, you should absolutely not be playing and it would be unhealthy to do so.

This is entirely distinct from your character's experiences which can be difficult and awful but in a fun way as roleplay. The character can go to bed every night thinking 'well this fucking sucks'...but if you as a player are doing so, there's something wrong.

Perhaps you just mean this from an IC perspective in which case it's completely expected if not necessary, I just don't think players should ever have to be indoctrinated in other to enjoy what should be engaging for them by default.

TOPIC SUGGESTIONS

You can respond to this thread with your suggestions, however, PLEASE in the interest of keeping this easy to manage, do not engage in discussion about the topics here. If you want to discuss them, create a relevant thread in the correct part of the BGBB and note that not every topic will make the cut but we'll do our best to get as much in as possible.

This isn't the thread to discuss whether your topics are right or not, please read the OP.
Topic:

Create a new verb for tokens that will enable faction leaders to task them with protecting "things"

Discussion:

https://www.sindome.org/bgbb/game-discussion/ideas/-protect--action-for-npcs-1909/

The state of topside has been quite the topic in ooc. I'd like to go over that. More specifically, I'd really like to know the admins vision for the way in which topside conflict should play out.
relevant to "the state of topside":

This Korova idea https://www.sindome.org/bgbb/game-discussion/ideas/kmb-revamp-1939/#last

highlights the "changing times" such that the Gold sector sterilization has maybe become a pendulum having swung too far?

I want to ask whether anyone else feels that way and whether certain specific places should have it relaxed.

I'm not saying corpies and mixers SHOULD be making friends there, everyone's been to a place where cliques or factions circle around each other carefully without directly interacting. And when something hits the fan, BOOM - that is fun and themely shit.

If nothing else, the current world seems not to have enough opportunity for this kind of conflict and it's because of this sterilization.

Let's discuss.

https://www.sindome.org/bgbb/game-discussion/ideas/kmb-revamp-1939/
Actually this goes for inter-corporate firewalling as well. Someone was being meta on SIC today or last night (forget which) about how corpy hospitality places are always empty because people don't dare socialize where there could be someone from a "rival" corp there.

Rivalry should be cultural, since the corps don't directly compete on a commercial level, they're all monopolies. So executing people for having a friend from another corp or winking at the wrong cutie is taking it too far.

Public socialization should be encouraged, not stamped out. Granted, people would have to do it carefully given rivalry, but I think the trouble triggers are way too sensitive and the payload for failure too severe right now.

A lot of walls have been created which I feel are unfunning the world.

Reminder: topics are not essays people :)

And this is not the place for debate or discussion. Create threads for that in the appropriate forums.

I'm not sure it warrants discussion - my experience is likely a confirmation bias, but I think it might be worth discussing ways to secure more frequent and/or reliable RP that currently requires GM support as a rule. I'm aware time constraints between players and GMs don't always mesh, and of course there's the issue with being short-staffed on high. When we want to have RP with an NPC we submit a puppet-request. I think a request feature for event based RP rather than just specific NPCs would be a good way to set time aside and plan ahead with GMs for premeditated gaming that requires their support. I think this would be an improvement that could work alongside the current xhelp model.
I have a kinda late entry.

But as far as topics, I'd like to see a general discussion about how the playerbase feels about members-pads. Specifically in the topic of perma-pads and large pads being as restricted as they are.

I would like to talk about vehicles (shocker, I know), and their intended future in the game. They currently feel rather half-implemented, and knowing how we as a community want to see them utilized in the future could help shape how they are balanced now.
I have an even more late suggestion: The end of climbing the job ladder.

What I mean by that is, I see folks jumping a lot once they hit the top of a career. And in some cases, it feels kinda 'forced' because they've hit a wall and can't go any higher. I think it feels very gamey and unnatural, and can lead to characters feeling less like people with niches and passions, and more like characters trying different systems.

I'd like to hear the admin's thoughts on this and if other players notice it as well, and how they feel about it.

Thanks for the topic suggestions everyone. I put the agenda together yesterday and forgot to post that I was closing topics off. The two most recent posts are not included. I suggest breaking those off into BGBB posts or bringing them up during the period of open discussion at the end (though that is always fast and go go go, and not a big opportunity to have a conversation about it).

I will be posting the agenda in a bit.