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Crime and death in Sindome
How many people did you murder yesterday? I got 7.

This has been something that bugged me for a while, and I want to get other people's opinions on it.

People do not give a damn about dying (unless they die a ton in a short time) and people do not give a damn about crimes. We get it, the judges aren't going to go down to Red unless you're somehow planning mass genocide. That does not mean you should be happily bragging about killing chum A, or how well your TruColorz smuggling operation is going, especially on SIC.

It may or may not happen IC, but just like how we're asked to react to the world as it is described, we also need to act as if judges ARE listening. As if SIC conversations ARE logged. As if TERRA IS reporting stuff.

Mind you, I'm not saying you need to be super secretive about dipping that baka down on Fuller of his 500 chyen, but outright admitting publically to murder and other serious crimes and giving out details is incredibly poor form and out of theme, and it helps feed not only the idea that we're all just playing a PVP game and not in a real world, but also that death is just a 30 minute wait and loss of memories and some chy.

This is especially pertinent towards more advanced characters, to whom chy is much easier to get, and they have enough UE to accomplish many things and climb back easily. Which then means death matters little to them. This is bad. A player, even an immie, who somehow gets an older player killed through subterfuge, trickery, connections, whatever, should have an impact. Death should matter. But 9 times out of 10, that advanced player will just clone, re-gear and then kill the younger player repeatedly until they give up or perm. This is awful for gameplay, storytelling and RP.

So in essence, I want to ask:

1: How do you feel about how crime is portrayed by players, particularly in Red?

2: How do you feel about death and how punishing it is, and do you think it is equally punishing for characters of different experience/asset ranges?

DCD is supposed to be the "balancing" factor as in theory, by the time you're an oldbie max UE solo you are supposed to have died enough times where DCD is so punishing and crippling that it forces you to reinvent yourself, fly low, or roll a new character. These days the game is safer and most people can get to max UE if they stick it out without dying more than 20 times, making DCD only a punishment for old-oldbies or those who actually grinded and punched their way up.

I don't think an artificial balancing should be implemented to make death more punishing for oldbies, nor I think we should punish players for simply having enough money to overcome their setbacks easily, but the reality is that this is all a matter of self-policying and being a responsible oldbie. If anything I would make DCD more punishing as your character is older, reinforcing its "balancing" functionality.

I think vatting out should have more coded drawbacks for a short time, and perhaps some messaging related to the physical / mental effects related to it.

I'm not saying everyone should have a breakdown every time they vat, and I agree everyone's reaction each time will be different, but I absolutely think less of anyone that shrugs off dying or treats it as something you just 'get used to'. I don't care how tough your character is, I think of it as Fail RP every time. Vatting should suck no matter who you are, if for the experience if nothing else, and dying should be something you want to avoid.

1: How do you feel about how crime is portrayed by players, particularly in Red?

Crime in Red are not as bad, since the ganger code implementation random violent crimes and PK have visibly diminish in my eyes. So I would say the streets feel safer at least. As far as being stupid on SIC, only carries consequence if the people who are suppose to enforce it do their part.

2: How do you feel about death and how punishing it is, and do you think it is equally punishing for characters of different experience/asset ranges?

By design in the world game, people with easy access to clones might feel a lot more daring and less fearful since they won't meat a real death. And even then, a big part of the player base never takes real deathly dangers.

Some archetypes are faced with danger much more often than others, after several deaths it would make sense to become progressively less fearful of dying as a consequence.

Death seems a bit harsher now than it used to be, but still in most cases it isn't really final. Still in comparison with other games, I think its not that terrible.

To say that death is less punishing to older characters is totally unfair because while they do have more, but that also means that they usually have more to lose. The kinds of numbers it takes to recover at the top only get more ridiculous the higher up you go.

As for older characters stomping on those with less EXP? This is kept to a minimum as much as possible with the GMs even policing where necessary, but if a PC does something dangerous then they shouldn't expect for anyone to hold back because that's usually up to the discretion of whoever they screwed with. Even older characters have people who can stomp on them if they overdo it, so this seems to be a matter of perception or not having enough data.

In regard to cloning, I think it works perfectly fine as it is. Aside from being corpse cloned there shouldn't be any stat impact aside from losing time or potentially catching DCD if you're unlucky. To my knowledge the 'help cloning' file never once states that being cloned normally is traumatic, but maybe I could've missed something. Psychological impact would differ from person to person and I'm against code forcing a reaction onto you in this case.

Death is really hard to balance around, I think there's only so much you can do to codedly instill a fear of death while also encouraging the player base to bold and not overly cautious in what they try to do, because they're afraid of getting impossible DCD bills just as they come into their prime.

Reacting appropriately to death is the mark of a good roleplayer, and it's something I've always tried to encourage IC, as well as discourage the contrary, characters who just laugh off vatting out.

That said, when an experienced character vats out, they've often got a ton of shit on their plate already OOC. If they're an experienced solo they've probably just lost of ton of gear and chrome, they're networking to get safe extract from Genetek, trying to get IC confirmation from events, et cetera, et cetera.

I don't blame these players for not like, also RPing a breakdown for the twentieth time.

I absolutely think there could be some OOC guidance after the red scroll what their character is experiencing and suggestions on what appropriate reactions might be, to help new players get a feel for it.

Crime is another matter. My impression is the staff wants characters to be doing more crime than there is currently, so discouraging it as a topic of open discussion might not be a huge priority. You will see characters who flaunt authority occasionally get smacked around a bit to keep things on the punishing authoritarian theme, but again they don't want to discourage people too much -- again just my impression.

One thematic element that feels related to me is the chumminess of gangers with each other.

My observations are that of a third party, not someone involved in ganger RP.

It seems like a significant number of the current crop of gangers take their gang conflicts as something to laugh and joke with each other about. Gangers seem to come down harder on characters who get involved in gang fights (vultures, non-gang PCs picking a side / assisting, etc.) than they do on gang members of the opposing factions.

I get why the gang code is in place. But I feel like the pendulum might have swung too far in the opposite direction. As an outsider, it almost seems like a job. Like gangers are athletes playing for their teams. They clock in, go fight a couple NPCs, then clock out and go back to making fun of each other on SIC. But there isn't any real angst, or hatred, or even fear of other gangs.

Hek makes a good point and I don't think it's just the current gang player base. I've seen this since I started playing, between gangs, corps and mixers, etc. Everyone is chummy as hell.

An uniformed third party might assume everyone involved is friends IC. The gang code definitely doesn't help with that, but I do think people take it too far. The other gangs are your enemies. You want to screw them over at every turn, because it means more turf, more flash, more rep for you. Obviously everyone is different and not every ganger has to be super active or militant, but do you really need to talk to that rival ganger about their hobby?

Regarding death and what people have said, maybe it is an issue of perception and people RPing properly, I would still argue an older character loses much less and recovers much easier. Yes, they might drop that 100k+ bundle of chrome and gear while the younger character loses a bokken and wallet or whatever. But that older character, as people mentioned here, has more contacts, more backup gear and flash, more ways to stay safe, find out what happened, plot revenge.

I just think a lot of older characters wouldn't care much about dying, how many times have you seen the badass lose or drop the beef because they have all this drek they don't want to lose? I think it's an OOC issue, veterans know how easy it is to push a younger character to the brink, whilst it's nearly impossible for them to even dent you. It makes things stale.

1: How do you feel about how crime is portrayed by players, particularly in Red?

I feel it's balanced. You can be loud about your crimes at a payoff of being hunted whenever you need to go to Gold.

2: How do you feel about death and how punishing it is, and do you think it is equally punishing for characters of different experience/asset ranges?

- There's an image to uphold on pubSIC, which I think most folks do. Behind-the-scenes, there's fear, dry heaving, and/or anguish over the following 48 hours. There's also a lot of networking that happens. It's a money/gear loss, but more importantly, a time/data loss.

- As a newbie, a death costs roughly 5,170c and 1-2 hours of playtime. As a midbie, a death costs 50,000-100,000c and 2-8 hours of playtime. As an oldbie... a heck of a lot more than that. I feel this is balanced, because the vatted character typically plays it safer & scales back their spending.

- Side-note: vat more corpies. I may be wrong, but the last publicly vatted PC corpie by a PC mixer was over 3 months ago.

@Sly

I'll specifically address the issue you have with oldbies dealing with newer characters:

The first factor to be considered here is if it's even worth messing with someone if there's such a large gap between you and them in terms of skill, resources and experience. Let's say a maxed out PC decided to take on one of the established NPCs who runs a major criminal faction, what do you think would happen to that maxed out PC? Sure you can go ahead and do it, but the outcome is likely not going to be a positive one for you. At least not IC.

If you're playing a newbie or midbie and you want to go up against a character who's been building a network and resources for years then it's going to be an uphill battle, which is by design. No two PCs are equal or completely the same because Sindome isn't an arcade style experience. And because it's going to be an uphill battle for most, as I mentioned before, mindlessly murdering all PCs with less EXP than you is going to land you in hot water with staff.

Why? It's because those PCs at 'the top' are meant to drive RP for everyone, not just take it all for themselves. Very rarely will a maxed out PC decide to go after a total newbie or even midbies in some cases (It's more common for them to hire muscle), because there's just no contest there. When this happens it's usually because said maxed out PC has history with a target or they were on the defensive. You can also expect a lot of these powerful PCs to avoid outright vatting people out when it's possible to do so, which it often is.

It's not like there's absolutely no way to strike out at PCs who have been around a while. Most of those ways just happen to be political because unless you're at 'the top' yourself it's ill advised to try to clash with someone who is--loudly. Just remember that all PCs will defend themselves, regardless of how long they've been around.

None of this is me speaking from a place of arrogance. It's me being acutely aware of being squashed all through the game, no matter what stage of advancement my character has been at. Anyone can die, it's just a matter of when and how much effort it will take.

@Necronex666

You can also expect a lot of these powerful PCs to avoid outright vatting people out when it's possible to do so, which it often is.

I doubt this but I probably don't know the 'full picture'.

@Necro

I also haven't really seen characters 'hold back' in my and others' experiences in different stages of character progression. The vast, vast majority of 'uneven' feuds I've seen end with with one person being killed without rp a bunch of times until they do what the other person wants.

That is not driving RP. That's just boring. And it's easy to say "just play politics" but that's not even possible in a lot of cases. Some people don't care about image, friends, or standing. Others might not have the personality to employ that kind of subterfuge.

But without veering off the topic here, this is related to how crime is often unpunished. The being blatant about it thing is just a side effect. If people truly believe an oldie has a harder time recovering from death (I'm still not convinced) than a newbie or midbie, then perhaps a harsher authority presence might be worth discussing? IC, of course. I hate the idea of admins having to chase people around and regulating how much killing someone can do.

There's 80 million people in the city. SIC probably used by tens of millions at any second.

A lot of what happens in Red to drive RP is crime.

Stories have to be allowed to be told and the above RP fostered.

You'll see circumstances where blatancy about crime is handled, but a lot of it is situational.

If you want that to change, like you wrote - try to take care of it IC.

Not really weighing in, but just providing a perspective.

Lots of players (I say players here, because it's a conscious choice on the part of the player to put friendly competition at the top of their priority list in interactions) restrain themselves when there is a large experience gap.

In the case of a standoff or irreconcilable issues, there are balancing factors at play and you should be exploring the PC driven ones.

If you are a loner with no survival skills, no resources, and no friends picking a fight with the big bads or deliberately choosing to ignore warnings... that's completely on you.