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Long and Bumpy Roads
If at first you don't succeed, try, try again...

Your character will face roadblocks. Sometimes they will be told they messed up or they suck or they need to do more. Sometimes they will fail and backslide. This it true across the game but especially when it comes to big goals and gaining prestigious positions.

All too often we see a PC decide they want to become an X then they start trying. Then something happens that blocks their path to X or sets them back. It could be loss of resources or allies. It could be an NPC telling them they aren't good enough. Then, 9/10 times, the PC quits. They decide that this ONE event means that this path is forever blocked to them.

There are cases where that might be true. But in many cases that path is forever lost because the PC walked off and gave up and that is all. If a goal is important then push at it. Sindome is not a game where smooth clear paths to your dreams are laid out before you. It's a game where you have to claw and fight your way.

Stop giving up so easily!

(Edited by Mobius at 10:28 am on 4/4/2020)

fgs so much this
Adding to this:

Sometimes you have a character concept planned around a job that's usually in some form of demand or contention. Prestigious positions, like Cyberdocs, Judges, Corporate upper middle management, etc.

When making these goals for yourself, keep in mind that if it takes you 3, 6, 9 or months to reach, that it's very likely that someone else on that same path is going to get there before you do. Don't quit or reroll your character. Jump past your hurdles, be they IC friendships, lack of resources, contacts, influece/power, etc and keep gunning for it.

It's entirely themely and even in some ways expected for there to be drama and strife surrounding these roles. Don't simply wait it out, get bored or listless because things aren't going your way or hop to another character or vacation. Actively plot against the people who are standing in your way if you think your character is qualified in that role. You'll often be surprised to find out how many enemies, rivals, friends and allies you'll make along the way over that plotline of "I must trash person in position XYZ."

Finally, speaking of qualifications. You should probably either have some good game experience to know if you're capable of doing the job you're after. If you're uncertain or unsure of where you stand compared to where you need to be, submit a @Request-Puppet and ask a professional NPC in that role for some analysis of where you stand. Staff will be able to review your sheet and give you a much better indicator if you are -actually- qualified for that role you're after or not. Some things are deceptively difficult to do, or might rely on training combinations you weren't aware of previously.

Best of luck nailing down that job you want, chumbuckets!

It's good to have healthy expectations about your goals. Even if you've been yearning for a specific role or job for months or years it doesn't mean the IC world cares about your OOC wishes. This being said some people never achieve it and quit the game. That doesn't mean you can't do anything else, right? One door closes, ten more open for you. It's always about the journey in SD.
I haven't logged on to this website account in forever but am doing so just to give kudos to Mobius for posting this.

And to tell you how, when I was a GM, we would create RP for someone, give them the puppets, pave the way for them to get all set up just the way they were seeking, only to see them give up on it and walk away, or totally fail to follow through, because of something happening which they perceived as crippling.

This happened SO OFTEN that... well, just imagine. How would you expect GMs to react to effort getting thrown away. And it's so senseless because all you have to do is hang in there and persevere.

The harder the knocks you take on the way to success, the better your story.

Also success is not a destination. A story is a series of successes, interspersed with challenges. There is no happily-ever-after in Sindome, only the continuing struggle with its downs and the series of ups you make.

As somone who has played for a little bit, SIndome is not about your goal/destination. If you ever reach it, things have normally gone so fucking sideways and weird on the way that it's nothing like you imagined. It's about the enemies, grudges, and crazy shit that happens all the way.

Also, don't be afraid to not have some overarching goal. Should you be a max ue do-nothing oldbie who runs crates? No...but you can help facilitate or crush someone else's dreams.

Last note to Mobius on giving up. When someone gives up - it normally means someone completed there objective. :-)

This is a broad generalization with obvious exceptions, but I feel like people are resistant to -embracing- the shittiness of their situation or if they do, they use it as an attempt to boost themselves. Attempting to save face by remarking on how their failures are actually successes or that by failing they're more valid than the other person.

Obviously, the people who -don't- do this are far less noticeable than those who do, but this is something of a plea and request to those currently in or may find themselves in a downswing. Which, is all of us, at some point in our times on Sindome.

Romanticize the shittiness. Embrace the downswing. More often than not, people double-down on the perceived need to win and lose sight of what's in front of them. The perfect opportunity for introspective, moody moments.

It's been said before, but Cowboy Bebop is the perfect example of "max UE" characters who are flat broke, downtrodden, and trying to make ends meet. So the next time you've lost everything and been punched into a crater at rock bottom? Stand outside in the artificial rain, underneath a flickering streetlamp, curse as your lighter runs out of fluid trying to spark your last smoke, and just remember...

Whatever happens, happens.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4zfEkKs2ZM

We used to say "the surest way to see someone quit a character, or the game, is to give them what they want."

Well, yes and no.

I've definitely seen characters whose personal goals were roadblocked by challenges completely disproportionate to whatever they could get out of it, and also seen players who spent months investing in doing something only to basically quit the game when they realized the amount of work wasn't even remotely worth the outcome.

There's 'it's the journey, not the destination' and there's 'carrot on a stick leading off a cliff'.

I think it's dangerous to character people who feel Sindome is too harsh or toxic or unforgiving as people who 'gave up', or that having rewards in a game played for fun (at least in theory) is somehow too charitable and that only struggling for things is enjoyable.

Sindome asks, way, way more in terms of time and emotional investment than just about any other game to accomplish some fairly unremarkable things, I don't think a scenario where people are often burning out or leaving the game in bitterness is necessarily a sign that it's about embracing bad situations.

We don't need "a sign" that that's what it's about. That IS what it's about.

Consider this thread a much-needed peek into what you're getting into before you get into it. That's why this thread is so valuable.

The game is what it is, the more transparent we can make it, the better for people who are in the situations 0x1mm is describing. Also note: That isn't everybody, it isn't even a majority of who we're talking about.

Thank you Mobius.

I think there's a minority of the community who wants Sindome to be as harsh and unforgiving as possible, but if it were as unforgiving as that the community would be a fraction of the current size. You can have a high difficulty curve, but I've read a lot about how 'hardcore' players in game communities will tend to push for difficulty levels or tuning that ends up killing the community in the long run. There's a balance to be struck because 'embrace is miserable' and 'everything is easy'.

I say this because I've definitely noticed a trend since I've played of characterizing both players OOC and characters IC who left the game under whatever circumstances as not understanding it, or not being good enough, or giving up -- and that only players who stuck around and enjoyed (or tolerated) occasionally toxic or upsetting or abusive situations were the ones who really got it, the ones that the game was for, and everyone else should leave.

I think this is a misdiagnosis of what draws a lot of people to Sindome. A lot of players tolerate the environment because of the active population, quality of the roleplay, and immersiveness of the environment.

Would we be better off without those players? I don't think so personally. I've played with many of them and there have been exceptional roleplayers who brought a lot to the world around them.

Ahem. "everything is miserable" not "embrace is miserable".
Now to be clear, I don't think Sindome is tuned too difficult, I just think some people tend to push for things to be as hard for everyone as possible, because that's what they want.

I think the benefit of a GM-driven game like Sindome is that the game-world can be tuned to players and what they do. If you want to live on the edge and be surviving by the skin of your teeth (and are willing to do that in an interesting way) the staff are more than likely to give you just that.

If you're interested in something quieter and social, that is usually accommodated as well that I've seen, with exceptions here and there.

Sindome will always be hard. And GMs also tailor difficulty to the player, as they get more familiarized with them. That being said with ~100 active players in any period, the GMs aren't able to know what's best for who, not that there's any metric to it. Much less, that's no reason to make things disproportionately -easier- for one person because they don't have the time/energy to invest into it.

Like you appended, there are players who enjoy the more quieter and social side, but they will inevitably fall into the rough situations, and not by their own accord. Saying it's toxic and abusive (or instances of difficulty are) is extremely unfair to the staff as well.

You already criticized it, but it really is a case of the game just not being for you, if and when you do inevitably run into crushing difficulty and don't want to be a part of it anymore. Yes, you can survive in the softer social side for long periods of time, but the dark shape of BAD TIMES is always looming in the water beneath you.

Sure, true.

But I'd also caution both staff and players that it's almost never the case that anyone but the player of a character really knows all the 'roadblocks', failures large or small, frustrations, etc. (even if only perceived) that a character has hit before they 'quit'. Sure, there are players who get vatted once or robbed once or betrayed once and just booth or never log back in, but I feel like they're rarer than the cliche that has been circulating for years. Most people who do that have probably hit at least a few disheartening losses / timesinks / roadblocks / whatever they weren't expecting, whether designed ones, random happenstance, or whatever.

That's not necessarily a criticism or a game flaw, but even the all-seeing GMs...miss quite a lot, and aren't often privy to the day-to-day happenings in characters' personal relationships, careers, and so on -- even if meticulously @noted.

I don't think anyone ever quits because they didn't 'win' or reach the destination. They quit because they feel stagnant. If I have one legitimate criticism, it's that it feels very difficult at times to feel like the RP / skill progression / time you're putting in with your character is manifesting into any real sense of progress, unless you're in a corp or a gang with clearly delineated 'ranks'.

And we can harp on 'embrace the shittiness' as much as we want, but particularly in a game where for a lot of characters 'the shittiness' is literally all they get, both in theme and in the reality of day-to-day game interactions, some nuance should be appreciated in the discussion -- players may not be able to expect more 'wins' in some simplistic sense, but perhaps a bit more 'richness' in the struggle, because it's often extremely lacking. If someone, for instance, literally rolls a character who will more or less only ever lose in every sense, who is by design going to be 'embracing the shittiness', both in a meta sense (let's say, awful archetype) and an IC sense (let's say, problematic personality) -- do you think that creates perhaps increased opportunities for interesting, rich RP over Cardboard Cutout Samurai? Perhaps, at times. But mostly it just means you...get a lot more frustrating shittiness to embrace every day.

For a game that's supposed to revel in the flawed and 'the suck' of life, there's very little incentive to RP that way; you -might- get lucky and run across a couple of people that enjoy your character and RP and want to hang out with you or whatever, but being a character in a 'downsing' and acting like it, or being a character that is basically forever in a downswing because of who they are just makes you a target, which is why people generally don't do it.

for a lot of characters 'the shittiness' is literally all they get

It doesn't have to be that way. It's not the game's fault, it's not the GMs' fault, it's not the other players' fault if this is how someone feels.

it's not even their "fault". Feelings are feelings, nobody judges anyone for feeling.

I'm glad you made this statement, Jameson, because that statement goes to show that everyone isn't the same and the game might not be for everyone. Again, I'm not shaming when I say that, I'm just saying that the way things go has less to do with other actors than with one's own feelings.

I know what a sin it is to make this comparison but...

Sindome is the Dark Souls of RP.

Well, Dark Souls doesn't let you select your own difficulty level, I'm not sure the comparison parses.

@beandip,

You're obviously welcome to that opinion! I understand what you mean, and that's valid to an extent, though I think you're at least slightly misconstruing what I meant (not in an intentionally misleading way, it just happens) -- but I'm just not up for doing a philosophical deep dive on it.

It does in that the game is universally the same. Difficulty is based on your choices such as build, goals you create yourself, and simple player skill.
Nah, I wasn't misunderstanding what you meant, and I'm not attributing any particular attitude to you Jameson. I just pulled a quote, which on its face does I think represent a certain part of the population, because that quote served my own message.
This is actually a good comparison: A game whose audience didn't understand what made it great to begin with and that spawned a legion of overtuned and underdeveloped copy-cat mostly failures.

The amount of pixels spent on articles about how developers and players misunderstood what made that game great and why all the 'Dark Souls but with X' games never rose to the same level is enormous.

Saying 'Sindome is fun because it's hard' is as reductive an understanding as saying 'Dark Souls is fun because it is hard'. Both are great because of immersive worlds, extremely deep lore, but Dark Souls is renowned for not just difficulty but its fairness in applying it. Sindome goes out of its way to emphasize that it is not fair.

Well if the game isn't for you, 0x1, I understand.
Anyway, getting sidetracked.

Bottom line, people should be encouraged because positive outcomes happen. I think this encouragement could happen in IC ways much more often, but I think the messaging of 'it's always going to be bad, get out if you don't like that' is both completely wrong (it isn't always bad, it's sometimes amazing and rewarding) just frames the game in a bad way and marginalizes players who don't chase that play-to-lose mentality rather than being inclusive of the varied community that actually makes Sindome great.

I agree with 0x1mm to a point. To have fun failing you need to succeed at first to want that over and over. Scale the game dynamically for each other from easy mode to hard for players who have done/gotten more. See an immy talk shit about you? Don't kill them or completely bully them. Teach one lesson. See a high up oldbie doing the same? Fuck them up, ruin them because they should be able to take it. Make the crimes uneven in the RIGHT way as a player to other players.

But that's just my two cents.

In my experience, you really have to let go and just be along for the ride. Many times I've given up on things out of just pure embarrassment, but it's important to remember that things NPCs say to you are not GM OOC opinions on you. And if you consistently give up on things before your goal is reached, what's going to ensure your next goal will ever be reached if you're not up for the challenge? Nobody wants to put effort into helping someone along and invest the effort if they just give up.
"Play to lose" isn't what this topic is about. At all.

Play-to-lose is about OOCly being willing to sacrifice something IC in order to give something IC to other players to further their OOC enjoyment.

It's not the opposite of play-to-win, it's a completely different dimension.

Pretty sure that's exactly what my first post was about, 0x1.

Not playing to lose, but embracing when you do.

'giving something to other players'

I think the frustration for some is when they don't feel like they're often given much, if anything, in return.

RE 'difficulty', As someone who logged in every night for 8-12 hour sessions back when there were maybe 7-8 people on and people were playing for years and never 'quitting' -- no, SD's identity has never been it's sheer difficulty nor it's massive playerbase. The former meme is something that spawned much later as more 'hardcore' oldbies survived and thrived. Depending on your goals (and archetype, I guess) there's not 'difficult' about SD as long as you're remotely patient, which has been mentioned before in other threads multiple times. Succeeding in different sectors / pursuits takes different social skillsets and the more OOC game knowledge you have the better, but you can shuffle your way along almost anywhere.

Likewise, obviously, the larger playerbase came a lot later too. The early players kept getting on because 'cooperative competition' was a reality and meant something, and the give-and-take IC was constant and vibrant. It wove the lore that laid the foundations for things that are still going on ICly today for a reason.

It's hard not to get discouraged in this game at least sometimes. There are -a ton- of things you find out that are impossible, aren't what you thought, or will just take too much hand holding to bother the admins with. When you do push too hard, you'll get reminded you're nothing and resume being entirely forgettable... or die.

Isn't the theme to want to off yourself but to tell them to fluff off and keep pushing anyway until you do inevitably get chucked into the incinerator? While my end goal may be impossible, I'm looking forward to where the impossibility takes me. Sometimes I get do get stuck and stagnate. When it gets too frustrating I go play a MOBA and murder all the things and then come back with more ideas for more failure. <3

@Pinklepop

So you're a masochist is what you're saying?

I don't think the goal is to fail and if you feel like you fail no matter what, then you're doing something wrong. The theme involves fighting oppression in it's many forms, yes, but it does not involve always losing that fight. Go read the Globe. Realise that the majority of the stories there were started and enacted by players. Many of those players succeeded at what they were doing. Many failed.

Failure is all around in the setting, but failing doesn't mean you perm out. It means you try again. I don't think there are many circumstances where a GM will outright tell you 'No, that's impossible and will never happen.' Even if there's no code for it. Try a different approach. Get other players involved. A good rule of thumb is that the more people are involved in a plot, the more likely is that plot will develop and get more attention from GMs.

But yeah, I really don't like that defeatist attitude and I think a lot of players have it. It's a shame a lot of people are content to just sit around, collect paychecks and be another face in the crowd. Take a chance.

Again I would just caution that you aren't always privy (as a player or even a staff member) to what risks other characters are indeed taking or have taken or what might have lead them to being 'defeatist' if they even genuinely are. If someone genuinely quits or is just coasting along long-term, it can be incredibly easy from the outside to prescribe what they should be doing / how they should be viewing their situation.

Perspective and insight are fickle and skewed, and motivation can be hard to come by sometimes if even the 'losing' journey (aka 'downswing RP') isn't very interesting.

No matter what, there are going to be things the PLAYER values the most when they RP. Whether it's gear, a feeling of progression, their character's reputation, their personal relationships, whatever -- the thing the player finds personally enjoyable about playing this game. And when their character hits the shit, and they're facing days or weeks or months of emotionally draining RP and their bank account is drying up and they're having to do RP over and over they don't really enjoy but maybe the RP is even rich....once they start getting down to having to give up the last things they really value and enjoy about playing the game, they're going to not want to play anymore.

This applies to everyone, regardless of whatever 'well that's just their feelings, the game isn't for everyone' people want to throw around. No matter how much anyone wants to pat themselves on the back about how much SD is -totally- for -them-, the game will absolutely put you in situations, sometimes for weeks, where you want to quit. Give it time, it'll happen.

This is why 'cooperative competition' is such an important concept. Yes, there are people for whom SD is 'not for them'. The theme just won't be to their liking. The mechanics won't be, the player personalities will be too much or too little in some way. They want a MUD, they walk in and want to murderhobo and level up and farm items, etc. We can name a hundred examples. That's not what we're talking about here.

Cutthroat, unfair, brutal in-game. Friendly, spreading the RP love, helping each other enjoy the game OOCly, that's the goal here. Does it mean you don't kill each other? Even perm someone sometimes? Of course not! But if your meta goal is to make someone want to literally not play the game one way or another, you're just being an asshole, which is literally against the rules. Whether it's involving people in RP whether it's -really- advantageous to you or not on paper, helping that immy with some flash and RP whether or not you think they'll disappear like most immies do or not, etc., -- that's what cooperative competition means. It means more people feeling less defeatist, it means more people feeling like they have a reason to log on, or keep a character going instead of boothing when stuff stops going their way. They come to your character instead because you gave them biz a couple times, or RP'ed with them when no one else did.

If someone is resistant to working with you, it's probably less them being lazy / flaky and more that they're scared or paranoid, which is....pretty themely! Push the RP and find out what's going on. Most people who aren't a week in the city have pretty good reasons to not just jump at any job they get offered or meet someone in a cube

I think when people say you're meant to lose, they skip over the fact that the world wants you to fail. Guys, it's a dystopian dictatorship with no human rights whatsoever. Everyone's disposable, everyone's replaceable, nobody has no rights, the Judges are just tools of the one-percenters who protect the corporations for a stack of flash and sizable power.

Cyberpunk stories all have this oppressive theme in common! ALL OF THEM. But if you see cyberpunk movies, shows, or novels, you will see how the main theme is always the actions of the anti hero, that guy who won't take it, who's trying to carve a niche and survive in that cold, mean world.

Sindome isn't hard because someone's a sadist fucker, it's hard because all cyberpunk worlds are hard.

Back to the original post.

9/10 times, the PC quits. They decide that this ONE event means that this path is forever blocked to them.

There are cases where that might be true. But in many cases that path is forever lost because the PC walked off and gave up

We get why, we get what might motivate some players to give up rather than try again.

This post is to educate and inform. Perseverance is possible. Villa's right to point out the genre's anti-heroes who don't give up. I consider the rest to be off topic, especially given that there are many other BGBB posts already which are full of "Sindome's too hard".

Can we allow this thread to stand? The message is "Sindome isn't as out-to-get-you as you might it is." That's a message that people need to hear.

I appreciate this post. Sometimes it can feel as though you try over and over again without getting anywhere. But one thing I learned recently was that admins don't actually see everything you've been doing. And if they do, there's probably a reason for whatever it is

There's also probably a bunch of other characters out there doing things and we have no idea about what else is happening.

What helps me is remembering to just do what is in my control and try not stress over things that aren't. Don't let the game be the only place you can experience a sense of achievement. And just focusing on improving yourself (or your character) to be better today than yesterday.

Hope that helps someone.

From OOC-Chat today:

"getting back up is literally staple of the game"

Just out of curiosity, as players, how would we tell the difference between a GM putting obstacles in front of you to set up your journey, and a GM subtly hinting that you should go do something else for a bit? Or is that something we'll need to xhelp directly?

It's a little meta but I've noticed certain PCs in the past who seem to be trying really hard to get to a position they want, and constantly getting blocked by the GMs because they're not ready. In this situation, I feel like it would be difficult for the PC to really read the GMs' intention whether you should push harder or whether you should chill, since doing the latter might be seen as "giving up."

Interpretation can be hard, and every GM is different.

You're talking about what I'm going to refer to as "plot obstacles" (a bump in the road) versus "meta obstacles" (there is no road but they're not coming right out and telling you that.)

So a rule of thumb might be: Something that's a plot obstacle is probably something that's (at least potentially) fun and affects more people than just you, while a meta obstacle is probably delivered in a way that is intended to feel like a dead end does not affect anyone else but you.

This is a good post for me to read from time to time. Glad to see it coming up again!

Sometimes NPCs are just dicks, too, so you have to kind of rely on other people's views and your own view to get a fuller perspective (if possible). That's helped me overcome some of the IC roadblocks with my current character, when previously I may have quit. Just keep trying, if it is something you want, but enjoy the journey and growth as you go.