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Ambient Population and NPC Interactions
Who sees who and when?

On the thread I created about when to xhelp, a few different players mentioned that anytime you tag on Red in front of enemy gangers, you should xhelp.

Given that every block in Red seems to be claimed by a gang, that would imply that ANYTIME you want to tag, you need to xhelp. Is that true?

If not, that leads me into the point of this post.

I will use gangers as an example because they are what comes up most frequently. There are millions of people in Red. When players complain about it not being IC for gangers to toll "everyone", the point is made that the streets are teeming with people. While a single PC ganger cannot toll everyone, there are hundreds or thousands of other gangers out there tolling NPCs day in and day out. We kind of hand wave it as PC Ganger A notices PC Non-Ganger B and A then tolls B.

My take away from that is although there might dozens or more gangers on any given "block" (MOO room), unless there is a ganger character object there, the gangers are too busy dealing with other NPCs to notice / interact with my character. Is that a correct interpretation of the way things are supposed to be?

Does the opposite hold true? If there are not any ganger character objects there, does that mean all of the ambient gangers are too busy doing other things? It's not that they aren't there. They just aren't aware of / don't want to be aware of my character at that point in time.

What I wrote above makes sense to me in the context of characters not wanting to attract attention to themselves. "Nobody" is going to jump up and down to attract the attention of the gangers in hopes of getting tolled and beat up. Therefore on blocks without ganger objects, those characters are successful. They manage to make it another block without being hassled and effectively "blend in" with the ambient population. The gangers are still there, they just aren't going to interact with the character. On the other hand, on the blocks with ganger objects, although characters might want to remain low key and out of the way, unless they intentionally "sneak" or "hide", the gangers are aware of / perceive them.

Which brings me back to the original question. At what point when tagging / doing things that gangers oppose, are the gangers actually "aware of" a character to the point than an xhelp is required?

You only need to xhelp if there's an NPC or it's topside. There are ambient gangers around but they're not narratively important enough to jump in. This is why you leave @notes.

It's all abstraction, don't scratch the paint too much.

@Vera,

Unless it's vehicle theft? Then the ambient gangers will jump in?

There's an appropriate aggressive less-than ambient response to vehicle theft if memory serves.
I'm pretty sure you need GM approval for any kind of vehicle theft at all.

Staff will instruct you on how to go about things if you get into RP related to this, and these guidelines change over time and sometimes from gm to gm. If you are planning to do something you're unsure about you can just ask.

It's my understanding that vehicle theft is the way it is purely because of abuse in the past. It was made more difficult and requiring GM approval because you are essentially writing a blank check to a player character for hundreds of thousands of chyen.

Just think about that for a moment.

Yes in that vehicles aren't PC controlled.
Can also happen while the owner is offline whereas you cannot murder a sleeping character.
You're supposed to be at the keyboard when you get jumped and can defend yourself. I can wait until you have to log off and steal your car at 4am when there are no GMs to puppet a reaction even though there should be one and there's nothing anyone can do about it.
It's been repeatedly explained in so many places that vehicle theft is for one-off plots because otherwise someone just farms millions of chy when nobody can possibly stop them and this ruins vehicles for everyone.

Your car can get stolen, I've seen it happen many times. The thief just need staff to OK it.

Considering that more than million chy can go into a vehicle (which is no small undertaking), logging in to simply find it missing with virtually no chance to hunt the person down is extremely shitty.

Making the GMs aware makes the situation as complex as it should be and you still very well have a chance to get away with it. Thus the 'one-off plot' comment by Vera.

Your apartment getting looted while you're offline or your person being stripped are because of mistakes you made in securing these things.

Needing to hide every single car in a garage or it will be instantly stolen would mean you would only see cars out if someone was doing something which means you can instantly zero in on what they're doing and where they are because it's the only car on the block now.

Plus it would suck and be boring. If you want to steal a car, xhelp and staff will help you steal it.

There's also no point in having to walk to the singular secure storage to get it, or store it and walk back to your place...

Also, not everyone has access to private garages.

This might be true if players could reasonably be expected not to run everything into the ground at a moment's notice but one time a guy stole every single vehicle in the game over the course of a single night to prove a point.
And it's not like you can't do it. It's just that the gangers and judges etc whose job it is to run the streets might not want you doing it. This is why you xhelp.
Can you imagine how disheartening it would be if you scrimped and saved for six months, got yoself a new set of wheels, then you have to logoff urgently due to IRL issues, you park your (reasonably priced and sector appropriate) vehicle among a group of ambient vehicles, because that's exactly what would happen were Withmore to be a real place, head back to your pad and logoff. Then some asshole steals it two hours later - didn't have to invest any time, or effort or connections in doing so and nobody even knows you bought it yet. Then I spend an hour of my time trying to work out if that vehicle should've been stolen in the first place - and let's presume it's legitimate, I've got a player now angry at admin despite us having absolutely nothing to do with it and can't explain why it's legitimate as a part of our policy.

Vehicle theft is very much possible - but we expect you to xhelp so that the world can ICly respond the way that it should the same as we do for topside crime or in other locations/events when the IC world should respond to your character.

I wish we didn't need xhelps for vehicle theft but the truth of the matter is that someone skilled enough could (and in the past has) steal every vehicle in game with a minimum of effort. The system isn't perfect, there is no material cost to trying to steal a car right now. If you have the tools and the skills you can attempt to steal a car over and over, and even if you fail, you aren't punished ICly unless a GM is around (or unless the vehicle has a shocking system).

GMs do get alerts about a player attempting to break into a car or hotwire it, but if the GMs are not around or are busy, they can't respond. Since players can't know what they don't know (someone paid the gangers in the area to watch the car while they handled some biz for example), we do request folks xhelp. Xhelping to make sure GMs are around to respond and getting the okay DOES NOT MEAN THEY WILL RESPOND. It means they are there and have the opportunity to if need be.

That might just mean they leave a note with your description or shrouded disguise in case the owner comes around looking for their car and dropping chy to figure out who stole it. We don't want to hand wave or have to xhelp after the fact to figure out if you were disguised while it happened. It's just a lot easier when we are aware of stuff like this because more often than not NPCs are engaged by the vehicle owner at one point or another before, during, or after a car theft.

It's not ideal, and I'm open to suggestions on how we could improve the system so it's able to be more self service as it were.

Some ideas:

1. Vehicle broadcasts on public SIC that it's being hacked

2. Judges auto respond to vehicle theft attempts

3. Gangers respond based on vehicle owner's faction standing

I did not mean for this thread to devolve into another conversation about vehicle theft.

I just used vehicle theft as an example of something that players should xhelp before attempting.

What I am looking for is a list of things that players should "know" they need to xhelp for.

1. vehicle theft

2. any topside crime

3. tagging in front of ganger character objects

4. ??

5. ??

For the purposes of educating players, I think the simplest solution is to modify the 'hotwire' command to throw an OOC message similar to installing security devices. Mention that the player should xhelp and then give them a Yes / No prompt to 'certify' that they have.

@slither

I don’t know if you remember or not, but vehicle theft first rolled out a failed roll on the break in or Hotwire summoned a momento terra agent to the car ( I don’t think it was coincidence I had like three outside, a new one with each failure)

A security setting that alerted SIC would be a great addition.

Vechicle vest depleting themselves like a gun cleaning tool belt, your character description with the stolen car ending up in chatter system (of course if it warrants and probably a manual input)

Also, sometimes I would be in the same room with someone and would not see them codedly evaluate or attempt a break in on a vehicle. On the flip side I could clearly see them on a camera. I don’t know if it was a fluke or not.

@Grizz: See my post in the Game Improvement thread, addresses the issue you raised as well as the SIC thing. Also, in future, I plan to allow Judges and gangers or terra to auto respond to vehicle theft-- possibly based on the faction standing of the vehicle owner (if in the mix).

@Hek: I agree that having this list would be great. I will ping the GMs to ask them to weigh in on this thread.

Why do gangers know that this bike or that car is mine if I never tell them? Also idk if memento NPCs are really going to do much to players with the resources to get serious about jacking.
If you park your ride on a gangs turf, and you have a high enough standing that they are going to be willing to step in if someone is trying to steal your ride-- I think we can assume that they know who the vehicle belongs to. I'd say 90% of the time the NPCs would know based on you parking it there and them knowing who you are because you've got a great faction standing. The other 10% of the time-- less important to me.

I get where you are coming from and understand that what I'm proposing is not a perfect system, but we can either have a system that allows NPCs to respond to automatically to vehicles being stolen when no GMs are available, so that people don't need to xhelp before they make the attempt, or we can continue to require that players xhelp before they take this kind of action. Given the feedback I've heard from the players and from the GMs, a bit of 'the npcs just know' may be called for.

My experience from any game I've worked on tells me that any automated system can be figured out and outsmarted and that players will always run this kind of thing into the ground if they think they can get some benefit out of it. A vehicle is an enormous amount of money and logging off with something sitting there that anyone can just walk up and take is going to be a big source of anxiety now. I've seen someone just quit because they had their ride stolen silently while they were offline despite having upgraded security on it.
Also of note; Those momento TERRA didn't do anything, they just showed up and stood there. I assume no GM's were on, and this was totally prior to needing any Xhelping to steal the car, and I was already inside trying to hotwire it. What would they do if you are inside? Notify the player by SIC what they observed? I don't think there is a perfect solution that does not need a GM for failed attempts.