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What is the Mix?
Discussion on Theme and Going Forward

So before and at the recent Town Hall, there was some news about new focus being put on the Mix, which I think is something that it is in dire need of. However much like the recent Guided Discussion on the Mix (which poignantly ended up dominated by topside discussion) I can't help but feel like there has been a major culture change in the game regarding the Mix over the past few years, to the point where it seems like a lot of the identity there has been forgotten or lost.

I don't think this is due to any lack of staff support for players or for plots, but rather my perception is that this is a grassroots issue: That the sheer number of major active players who have filtered through long time topside roles, and who remain there, has caused almost like an internalization of IC thematic thinking; where the Mix is something separate and down there. That there is no real authority or importance there, and all real wealth and control should flow from either the Hall or the Corporations above. That it should be content for topside, or supply roles for topside characters to retire into when they want a change of pace.

Now it is obviously the IC theme that the Mix is both openly and secretly dominated by corporate and council interests, however I think this is not healthy to have bleed into the actual gameplay because it depreciates what I would consider as the actual thematic heart of the game itself. I don't think topside on it's own supplies really any of the high tech, low life aspect that is at the core of cyberpunk, and a strong culturally distinct Mix is a necessary component of the corporate cyberpunk ecosystem; otherwise it's just authoritarian suburbia with a basement.

Now I have my own opinions on what I think the Mix should be, and what the problems are with it now, and I've suggested some ideas to move away from the current situation in other threads, but what I have also realized is that the current state of things is something like the sum of all different things players pushed for over the last three years; less of a divide, more chance for interplay with topside, everything being less punishing. I think the current state is a monkey's paw outcome of players getting what they wanted in many regards, just not necessarily to the intended effect because everyone wanted something a little different.

So to wit, and since Guided Discussions can be pretty messy to engage with on these topics, I am interested to hear what other players think the culture of the Mix should be and how it might get there from where it is?

I've only played for 4-5 years, give or take, but the culture absolutely changed. I don't know why or when, but it did. When I started, corporate was like, half of the mix, now it seems like it beats it in numbers sometime.

I don't think it was any system change, either. When I started playing, there was an IC culture of 'avoid NPCs at all costs' because they would mess you with you and kill you for the slightest provocation. And yet players themselves, aside from one or two, were generally more forgiving. From the lower end and higher end, people died less. Or at least it felt like it. Now, it feels like any conflict ever aside from petty gang shit ends with people getting chain-vatted. And there are people who are pushing for that and saying that's 'just how the mix is'.

As it stands, I think three kinds of people play in the mix: One, people who play characters that thematically don't fit/work topside, two, people who want/enjoy being able to kill someone just because they were carrying something valuable, and three, people who don't know any better.

I'm not going to get too much into the theme of where should the power be IC and OOC regarding mix and corps, because I don't think that honestly matters. I'll just ask this, why would you play in the mix, currently? You'll make less money, you'll be killed even if you play nice with everyone (which you shouldn't have to do in the first place), and any events or cool shit you want to do with the community have a high chance of being ruined by someone who is just going to show up and kill you, or someone attending, or hell, just ruin the event for the hell of it. I think the reason you see most characters end up topside these days if because of that. People give the mix a chance, they see it's just Sindome Battle Royale: No RP edition, and they move topside. The lack of corporations just means it's easier to find/get into bar RP and that's it. But doing anything organized/public in the mix, unless you're at the top? Good luck with that.

The mix to me feels like it is soft as ever, and it seems to focus all its attention inward on its day-to-day squabbles and management. Even when there is shaking at the cage of the status quo it seems to be readily ignored or ever ridiculed and shut down by the Mix itself. That coupled with the numbers game in terms of in hands power (YES I get that it is themely for topside to be powerful but not to the point it discourages people from trying things) has stifled the Mix VS topside conflict.

I know there was some softening of it intentionally, and it needed to be, there needed to be a Mix solidarity even when Mixers might be in service gigs or -working for- the corporations. I think though that this has brought along with it a sort of peace or friendship. IRL I HATE!!! My boss, hate them to death, but I still work, I still smile politely and so on, because I want my money, that should be the attitude encouraged. But chumming up with a mixer or corpo should be considered crossing the line.

I feel like so often there are Mixer characters who do not mind the mix, do not seek change for the mix. But the Mix is a freaking shithole, people die, human trafficking, drugs, dang kids are getting openly abused in the streets (as per description text) And so many just seem entirely ok with it, or even consider it 'not so bad'. It is like this BECAUSE of topside, because of the corporations.

Ambient pop should come into play here in a big way, there are millions and millions of people who should have bubbling rage in their souls every second of the day against their oppressors. Red should be an almost constant powder keg aimed topside. But it just isn't, at all.

I don't know though; we only ever have our own limited perspective. I just feel Red sector is more Orange day by day. Not asking for Red sector to be more deadly, just asking that maybe we should consider it a huge wrathful beast with burning red eyes aimed topside that slumbers, only to be awoken by the tiniest provocation. It might encourage more cross-game interplay, I say cross-game because topside and Red feel so disjointed now they might as well be different games.

I've been around off and on for about 8 years now, but have only played for maybe half of those years. With my first char, I remember really feeling the scope and size of the mix even though the actual physical room count was low. The Mix had a presence - because of the lore and the anticipation of something awful happening in the coolest way. I couldn't wait to get out and see what would happen next.

Every club and shop on Red was filled with employees because it not only gave people a place to gather and RP but it gave people a small clan. Clans that would wage small wars against each other from time to time or at least they could be used as walls of defense against full-on personal assaults at your workplace or they were used as staging grounds for devious minds . . .which sometimes got blown up. Today, in the four months that I've been back there's nobody working anywhere except a couple of bartenders. No shows at the clubs. Nothing going on. Do you know how many times we staged kidnappings or assaults from shows at clubs on Red? Everybody wanted something going on at their place so they could be a part of the RP. Performances got bombed, shot up, and yes, sometimes that sucks for the performer - but it was kind of expected. That was the Mix. Like yesterday's assault at Omega.

Violence happened in the open. Sometimes bystander PC's got dragged into it. Even planning violence often happened out in the open. Player Loot farming for gear is small worlding at its worst. It ruins the atmosphere. Chain vatting people for being insulting or stealing from them, again is small worlding at its worst. Every other word in the Mix is an insult and if you aren't stolen from, being ripped off or ripping someone else off often then you aren't doing it right. Hopping out of the shadows with your buddy to deuce a poor nobody for no reason ruins the atmosphere. It isn't themely. It isn't fun. It makes everyone clam up.

I don't see enough violence out in the open unless it's from . . .

Gangs. I'll say something that might be unpopular here and I want to stress that I in no way mean any disrespect toward any gang member PC's because you guys got some serious RP chops and you play within the system, but I have to say I think the system sucks.

Tolls are small worlding and do two things that kill Mix RP - they deter people from going out, especially new players who don't get established quickly and tolls also set up the gangs as the Mix's equivalent of our most holy corporate overlords. NPC's aren't paying tolls why should PC's? Tolls along with a gangs nearly unilateral protection against any real consequences due to The Code make them more like Mix-side Corporate Monarchs and I don't find this themely for the Mix at all. Gangs should be low-level thugs, at best. High level gangers earn their chops and pull off big jobs. Gang wars are averted because getting into one SHOULD be devastating. Instead, now, gangers just eat a sandwich at the clinic and keep talking smack without any real repercussion so it happens daily.

In short - I think the Code is stupid, unthemely, and it hurts the Mix.

Further - the REAL powers that be in the Mix. Those who are the REAL owners of the clubs and the shops and the teahouses wouldn't stand for some ganger setting up shop or causing trouble in or anywhere near their place of business. They would napalm the street and be done with them. There should be some kind of interplay and synergy between gangs and the real powers but as it stands now gangers kind of run the show. I don't think that's themely at all.

Lastly, i know there is a lot of nostalgia in this post. Things weren't perfect when I started either. Things are actually way better now code-wise and game-wise. I love this game how it is now. I wish there was more going on in the Mix though. The one thing I would stress is the Mix is NOT Mix vs. topside. The Mix should be an integral part of topside's dirty dealings. There should be a few revolutionaries and terrorists, but for the most part I think the Mix is about surviving and those with means and ways in the Mix SHOULD be dealing with topside brokers and stabbing them in the back or moving up into the corporate echelons whenever possible. I think the Mix just lacks life right now because I think the focus is in the wrong places. Move the focus back to the streets. That's what makes the mix the mix. Those are the times I remember the most. The Mix is conflict in public. Topside is conflict behind the veil. The way i see the Mix now is that it's just a poorer topside with a bunch of loud gangs that have it made and don't know their real place.

Hello, voice of the devil's advocate speaking.

There's some good points being made here. One of the things I've noticed is that there has been a steady gentrification of the mix over the years. And I would ask players that, rather than focus on what you CAN have codedly and what you DO have codedly (Example: steaks and chocolate souffles and fine wines) that instead you focus on what the mix is supposed to represent. It's an absolute shit hole, a living hell, the worst possible place to live. Because, in my opinion, that's where one of the foundations of theme needs to be.

(Please bear in mind: these are personal opinions)

-You SHOULD be crying about the injustice and inequality of the divide PUBLICLY constantly.

-You SHOULD be doing everything in your power to schmooze and cater to corporates PRIVATELY in the hopes that someday you can 'make it' and get out of literal hell.

-You SHOULD be lying, cheating, stealing and fucking(over) your chums given the chance because it's one of the only 'reliable' ways to get ahead.

-You SHOULD be doing as much illegal shit as possible to make ends meet.

-You SHOULD be acting like every meal was the last because your rat warren hole in the wall is out of nutripaste and you don't have the chyen to buy another.

-You SHOULD be trying to jockey for power in your workplace, in the club, and on the rungs of the power ladder.

-You SHOULD be doing everything you can to make it just one more day under the oppressive crush of tyrannical powers that be, be they hypercorps, street gangs, the HOJ, criminal organizations or that asshole downstairs who keeps spying on you and ratting you out.

If you are getting into the headspace that your character is tangibly struggling to survive every single day in the mix I think you will find that quite a lot of other RP will quickly fall into alignment. I am fully cognizant that the mix is safer than ever, and that the mechanical reality is that it is easier to be successful in the mix than topside. That does NOT mean that it should be played as such.

Let me share with you an anecdote from when I first got playing, and I met up with an amazing roleplayer. I was someone who wanted to become a medic, but being new to the game, I had zero idea how to go about doing that. So I told my met-yesterday new ace chum 'I really need to find work as a medic.' My ace chum turns to me and whispers across the table: "I'm doing a job later, and I could use a set of eyes and hands to watch my back. No fighting, just as a medic." I immediately agreed. Said chum, a few hours later contacts my character and lays out the job: He's chasing a bounty, there's a chance that some people who are after him could find him on the job, and the bounty target was dangerous, to boot. But he could handle them. He needed to make sure he didn't bleed out on the job. Follow along and I'd make a couple thousand (Whoah, huge money for immy!?!)

So we went out, we patrolled all over the city, we ducked into some odd, off the grid areas I'd immediately forget about, and 40ish minutes later the hunt was called off.

Years later, I'd come to look back and realize the following:

-That was probably all the spare money that character, who was also fairly new, had.

-That character wasn't a bounty hunter.

-There was no mark.

-It was an amazing time that got me hooked on this game, and still talking about it some five, six years later.

-At no point were coded realities of the game involved, it was pure RP, and pure theme, and some chicken scratch for money. That's it.

Keeping that in mind:

-Yes you can casually stroll around the mix and the worst that you'll probably encounter on a day to day basis is a dip or a rent-seeking ganger begging for tolls. -Yes you have five star food that wasn't depreciated from your mix kitchen and you're not going hungry.

-Yes you can make stupidly huge wads of money doing basic as hell hustles in the mix.

Step away from coded reality and lean into the theme on an individual level. Some people will be block heads and say "Buh am richer than every corpie ah knarr!" Ignore them. Or better yet, decide that they, in their fame and wealth, need to be the first targets for venting the pressure from being crushed under boots all day, every day. For working endless hours on the assembly line to barely make enough for a beer and a cube, while this chum talks about eating caviar and having millions in the bank. Some people will get it, and will play along with you. Better yet, new players will get a feel for theme that 'feels' to be lacking and you'll have fostered someone who can pay it forwards later. You can be that nameless bounty hunter in a bar, bored and drinking beer who takes the initiative to do something themely. Or you can be one of the masses sitting in bars and bitching about how nothing is going on. Which do you prefer?

@Plebe You should read my proposal for changing crime in the Mix in the Ideas thread.
It's become pretty clear there is a significant chunk of players who see the game mainly as a social venue, and I think this is partly an explanation for the glut of players topside and a substantial part of the reason why the Mix (being notionally rooted in conflict) has died on the vine.

The Mix went from servies are class traitors, to No Rats, to corps are okay but not the WJF, to gangers turning in WJF bounties on one another, to Mixers and gangers and topsiders banding together to claim WJF bounties and cheering while they do. The reversal has seemed pretty comprehensive and it appears like there is almost zero pressure on any faction not to pal around with whoever they like to socialize on SIC with or whatever avenue provides the least conflict.

I think it makes sense that Joe Mixer would not really give a shit one way or another, and I also think it makes sense for certain organizations like private security to have closer corporate and ex-corporate connections, but all criminal factions should be way more hostile to corporate and ex-corporate characters (and especially hostile to anyone connected to the Hall) and should be outright the same authority and standing in the Mix as the WJF and corporations are topside. These should not be friend groups for topsiders to recruit or positions to eventually retire into.

The longer I play here, the more I realize that the "Mix" or "topside" or "criminal orgs" or "gangs" or (insert group here) really is what we as players chose to make them.

The shifts that have been noted in this thread are real.

The reasons behind them are as much conjecture as anything else posted here on BgBB.

I am curious to see if with the recent large scale suspension, if the dynamics of the various sectors in the city and the groups within them will change. My suspicion is that the reduction in people easily colluding offline / OOCly will have an affect. The extent of that affect will likely hinge around on where those player's characters were.

My two chy is that the Mix is a massive, open air prison. A permanent refugee camp writ large.

The lore about the power dynamics of Withmore is available. I encourage everyone who has an opinion about how things should be to look into the lore and start driving RP towards those dynamics.

I have personally had good experience with using @notes. While I would say that I get a staff response regarding any particular @note less than 5% of the time, when I do get a response they are very informative and enlightening.

If you are not in the habit of @noting IC-Goals, I suggest that you develop that habit.

I don't know that it's all that conjectural: Players pushed for conflict to be tamped down so there could be more socialization, Syndicate conflicts were depreciated, and a substantial amount of players and staff shifted topside. My experience has been that veteran characters now are overwhelming corporate or ex-corporate, and with little pressure for ex-corporate characters to conform to the Mix, the Mix has accordingly become basically an extension of topside.

I don't think this is anything one player can change by swimming against the current either, because the status quo is very advantageous from a gameplay standpoint. Limiting the potential pool of allies/recruits is worse than cliquing up with anyone with considerable UE investment, there needs to be some kind of additional thematic support unless the mechanics themselves change to encourage conflict organically (which I think is a way harder problem that requires much more dev time).

I've been around for about half-a-year so far and I want to throw in my two cents in regards to this.

I agree that it feels like topside life (corporate life) ends up becoming a large dollhouse and this may be because people live in a safe, clean environment and are disincentive to cause conflict, but that's fine in my opinion. Why? Because I think the Mix is the more interesting component and the one that should be the origin of conflict that then affects the topside. Problem is, there's little in the way for reasoning for this.

I could go up there, vandalize some things, terrorize some people, or generally cause some mayhem, but why? Best case scenario, I used up some resources and got a thrill, worst case scenario: I end up dead. The small fish should be lured into this by the bigger ones. And I think this is the best way to address a lot of issues.

Let's make up a scenario with made up funny names.

There I am, Slice, a ganger that's looking for some flash. There he is, SkeezyGuySuitNTie. Now, SkeezyGuySuitNTie approaches me, or asks for someone with my skillset and I respond, and he gives me something to do. What exactly?

Well, SkeezyGuySuitNTie wants me to go up there and rattle the fuck out of RandoPompousCorpieBitch (who has no idea this is going to happen) because BigBadCorporationIncorporatedInc did some off-screen shit to SkeezyGuySuitNTie, some shit that RandoPompousCorpieBitch might've been told happened or not, depending on whether CorpoSecManGuy told her or not.

What happens now? Well, it depends on how much I'm paid and told. If she's a hard target, I end up needing some crew, or some other people, make up splitting money harder, or maybe I think I can do it on my own.

The result: The dollhouse ends up having a wrench thrown into it, CorpSec and the Hall get to scratch their reactionary itch and I have something to do with a reason. What if TrustWorthyMcGee I told this to leaks the information? Or what if RandomAnnoyingCorpieBitch hates RandoPompousCorpieBitch and sets her up for me to fuck her up?

My takeaway is that we should have more incentive for fuckery on the topside and on the bottomside. Slice should have some big fish ask him to do something up there. And CorpoSecManGuy should get some objective that will step on the toes of the guys below.

This doesn't mean that you lead people into this or do it all the time, but getting the ball rolling. Someone wants a new project? Give them that, have them carry a briefcase around for a while but make sure someone else wants that briefcase too.

I think the assumption that the mix is less lively now and there are more corporates than ever because of some latent player desire for the game to be more social, less PVP is absolute, pure unadulterated speculation. And, entirely in my opinion, wrong.

The sentiment I've seen here on the boards and ingame is that the people who are moving from the mix or playing nice or whatever, are doing so because the PVP itself pushed them in that direction. People claim the mix is 'safer than ever', but is it? It depends on how you look at it. When I started, I too, noticed people were more open about conflict, shit would spill out onto the streets, there were flair, theatrics. It was very violent, more than now, sure. But people didn't mind, I didn't mind. Because it was fun, it was loud, public. I got dangled off rooftops, had half the city sent after me, had cinematic duels to settle beef. Now? Almost all the conflict I experienced in the last year or so were shroud kills and worse. Very little to no RP, and I don't even mean during, I mean before and after. And I, in my estimation, had it a lot better than a lot of people did. But yes, you can walk around, pay your tolls, play nice and generally never have to worry about a thing. I mean, sure. But nobody wants to/should do that, and if they do, they're doing that for a reason.

But people seem to want to continue dancing around the issue, so on we go. We have people both IC, and OOC on the boards admit they literally kill for loot, or even just for the sake of killing, but hey. Mix is safe, right? I've literally seen multiple players leave/perm or go topside because of shroud/repeated vatting, but again, the mix is safe. Let's just keep saying that until the mix ends up empty. We even had threads of people in endgame combat agreeing that the state of it is atrocious and burns people out hard.

I'm not offering solutions, I know, but damn, at least address the issue instead of just claiming players are randomly going topside because ???.

I do think players go topside to avoid conflict, and especially so when they're mainly interested in a social experience and not a conflict driven one. Some characters will flee topside pretty much as soon as they are threatened, others will stick it out until they get vatted once.

But I don't think anything short of filling the Mix with Judges will retain those characters, and players looking for primarily a socialization venue will chafe against the game no matter what, so conforming the Mix to them is kind of pointless.

If it has to be underpopulated, it can at least be themely. That might even be better, to filter for the players who really want that experience rather than trying to please everyone.

I think that it's reasonable that the Mix feel underpopulated. I mean, yes, it's a crammed-together slum, but also it's a world dictated by dead ends and people being stuck in a vicious cycle, not exactly the recipe for you to become someone. There's a multitude of ambient NPCs, but you can't give a shit about them because they're too absorbed in their own sad little lives that they won't drink or hustle with you. That leaves only the PCs who are persons of interest, just by virtue of them being hte only characters in the Mix who has the potential to be any different from the ambient and non-ambient NPCs who are always stuck in a rut, regardless of whether said NPC is a faceless goon or a powerful mob boss.

It makes sense OOC and IC that the Mix is 'underpopulated' with people who matter to your character. I just feel that the only way to make this better is to have the slightest OOC nudges to improve quality of life. An example I have on my mind is that it's pretty difficult to ICly seek out other PCs, because if you ask where people are hanging out you'll get the IC answer that there are ambient NPCs doing stuffs- but you don't give a shit about them, you want other players!

I have a wild idea that maybe the Mix can feel a little more workable and less grey if there was... I don't know, a dating service? Something that can be abused to link up with other players (using the term both OOCly and ICly) and alleviate the tedium of having to sort through the dross of people too stuck in their ways.

But when I type that out, it does seem more like something a player can do ICly instead of the staff? And hell, it is something people are already doing, maybe the stars just have aligned so that there's no player doing it in a way that unifies the PCs in the Mix right now. I feel like that could happen on its own, or staff could make an NPC to do that as an example before shifting the mantle over to a worthy PC.

Some characters will flee topside pretty much as soon as they are threatened, others will stick it out until they get vatted once.

But I don't think anything short of filling the Mix with Judges will retain those characters, and players looking for primarily a socialization venue will chafe against the game no matter what, so conforming the Mix to them is kind of pointless.

If it has to be underpopulated, it can at least be themely. That might even be better, to filter for the players who really want that experience rather than trying to please everyone.

Hell yes, totally this.

Tangentially, could this also be the reason topside conflict never happens? There are always people who say they want topside conflict and bemoan the impossibility of it ever being viable. The sector being saturated with risk-averse social-play characters doesn't ever seem to be highlighted, usually other factors are "blamed" - that's not really the word I want to use but you get my point.

i just look at it as a stopping point before getting topside.are their players that live in the mix? i guess if you were a member of a gang or in jail you would but anyone trying to advance themselves would want to leave?
The mix is... Complicated.

Even though there are certain I do not do.

I actively push that the mix is a shithole, damnation. You will die.

You will make enemies, BUT the city has its charms.

A delicate balance to it all, making money isn't be all end all.

Cheyn comes and goes, but RP? That's the important part, as in the end it is a RP game.

People are afraid of loss though, as things are expensive. And getting killed if say you got chrome or armor or weapons can set you back literal weeks, leading to a lot of people not taking risks. Why bother when a single failure can set you back so far?

This clearly is my opinion on it, and might not be why for everyone of course. I've always pushed through, no matter how many times I've been vatted, yelled at or punished. Because end of the day I love all that sindome gives. But yeah, people are risk adverse and afraid of consequences.

I don't think much has changed since this post was originally made. I still see many of the same things others here have mentioned. Like it or not.

I think this is mostly due to a change in the game's player base. I feel that most players seek less conflict and more social RP. This includes both new players and old players who might have changed how they play over time. In general I feel that members of a group tend to pick things up from each other and, slowly, become more alike.

To illustrate this, in the last two months my PC has known of six newish PCs that have tried to move topside when things got rough. Three went topside. Two of the three who didn't might not be playing anymore.

Further, I feel the mood has moved from conflict to brotherly love in a lot of cases. I know that some of this is just on the surface but, in my experience, the majority is not. Just mention any PC and the biz they do and you will get half a dozen other mix PCs oozing over how wonderful they are.

I personally miss the old mix. The old divide. It made the game more engaging for me. But that is my personal opinion. I do think that conflict can be increased and the divide made sharper in a way that today's players might be able to enjoy though. Some ideas, many I have made before, are:

Avoid chain killing, have reasonable end conditions in mind. Maybe even compromise in what you expect the enemy to do for hostilities to end. Make it palatable for both sides. Turn it into work or more story. Keep it local and less global.

SIC sets tone and is the majority of the game for most. If mix PCs see love and community and pandering and servile attitudes, they WILL emulate that in most of their play. I know it's a balance but Judges and Corpies need to let mixers be nasty on SIC or nasty will go away.

Mixers should consider keeping their friendships and pandering and work for topsiders quiet. The game has always allowed mixer/corpie relationships. It just needed to be quiet. I think it would be good for theme to return to this.

Mixers should fight among eachother up until topside overtly acts against the mix. Then unite. The MAN is the biggest enemy. Even rivals and those nursing long time hatred in the mix should stand side by side and fight against topside if they go too far. Corpie in the mix? SWARM THEM!

Clear messaging. I know we all enjoy the subtle. The mysterious. In my experience, however, you need to be way more blunt and obvious in messages sent to others. Things are never self evident in this game. It's never obvious to anyone but you. So make it obvious.

Focus more on winning battles than ending wars. Ending wars ends RP. Even if it means that you are intentionally making less progress that you want, it can make for better overall RP in the long run.

Flex and let others flex. Give eachother murderous looks. Make snide comments. I find it's important that there is a mix of killing and posturing. Be cats. I know that 'kell baka' is satisfying short term but the hissing and swatting and arching should happen as often or more often for long term enjoyment.

Try and get personal. SIC is the majority of the game for most. But try and get out of SIC and into eachother's company as much as you can. And not just in bars. This will vary a lot based on character and situation and can be scary but try and get personal. Even if it's mostly with known allies.

Stop shutting down conflict involving immies. Even if it's murder. Often immies have a hard time getting meaningful RP from midbies and oldbies for various reasons. At least let them have meaningful RP among themselves. Better yet, bring them on board if you can. But let them come play a PvP cyberpunk game instead of blocking their access to this until you decide they don't need to be coddled anymore.

Stop the excessive charity. I know opinions will vary but this is like SIC. If all a player experiences via their character in the mix is charity and love and brotherhood, few will ever consider doing different themselves. Few will try to drive conflict. And when they get to hard times, they seem even worse in contrast.

Enough of my rambling I guess.It all comes down to what Slither calls cooperative competition. About setting priorities. About valuing the things that make for the stories you want to experience. Have fun RPing!

I personally don't think the divide being reduced made the mix how it is right now, or at least, letting corpies and mixers speak without one or the other getting witch hunted was very needed, the community needed a reality check on corporate theme. Whenever I play other cyberpunk games, I can't help but be stunned by the subtlety of edgerunners / shadowrunners / insert mixer job-taker archetypes being willing to work with corps, even if they hate them. Sindome struggled with that for a long time.

Over the past few years, a majority of the cast of combative mixers have disappeared and not been replaced with new blood, leaving a massive chasm between newbie and oldbie mixers in the realm of (at least martial) conflict. Slice of life roleplay, which I also think is very necessary and not a bad thing, also naturally migrates to safety, and thus to topside. Night life players (dancers, bartenders, event organizers) almost always upgrade out of the mix within a month or two, or they disappear; there's been a serious retention issue for artistic, roleplay-driving mixers. And yes, slice of life can drive roleplay, it can create drama, it creates life.

I think that's partially due to unmanaged expectations about PVP, with many disappearing at the first sign of adversity. Then, many may overcorrect to avoid conflict and make the mix fairly soft.

I think it was Neon who mentioned recently in a guided discussion that they believe there is not enough death in the game. I believe that is partially true, which may seem counterintuitive since I often argue for nonlethally solving conflict. Red used to be by far the most populated sector, moreso than how it is now, and there was a lot of conflict going different ways. Gang conflict, syndicate conflict, interpersonal vendettas, etcetera. Conflict was not foreign to anyone in Red, and if you hadn't been involved in something, you at least knew it was very possible for something bad to happen to you.

Now, the population in Red feels a lot smaller, and I would argue that while PvP killings are not very common from an objective standpoint, they are almost exclusively used to answer what little conflict does come about. So, with conflict being a bunch of slow burns until a sudden slaughter, players who haven't considered the brutality of Red have a very sudden wake-up call, their expectations were not managed by the atmosphere that Red had originally created for them, they didn't really see any of it coming.

There was recently a discussion about the ratio of jobs available topside and in Red. I believe the count came at around equal amounts either way. I would argue that there being an equal amount of employment opportunities in Red and topside is already an issue, but the count was also including very low-paying jobs in Red, such as bartending, which is an entirely essential job, but one that is not considered to be a suitable job to most.

I think when I started playing, corporate positions used to be sought after almost like syndicate ones, where many were very eager to prove themselves to be suitable, getting into conflict just to come out on top with some clout, but recently (and this is just my opinion) corporate employment seems almost like a given, something that isn't really that hard to get. I don't mean this as a jab towards corporate players, I just think that there used to be much more exclusivity to corporate employment, which in itself created conflict in vying for limited prestigious positions, or being stepped on by someone climbing their way to the top.

To tie the big rant up, my main points are that conflict dries up for long periods due to roleplay itself in the mix being rarer as a result of corporate jobs being easier to attain. Deaths come as big surprises and people decide to end their character there because they don't have their expectations for Red sector properly managed by the atmosphere. I am probably personally guilty of contributing to this, I have pushed hard on solving things with less death, which I think many took as less conflict overall, instead of more conflict, just with fiery feuds, less vattings, more cat and mouse chases, more shouting matches, more robberies, etcetera. Death is pretty necessary in setting tone, I just think that many jump to that step much too quick, which ends conflict just as fast as it is created.

Excessive sex and gore talk on sic, part of what was the mixture of being nasty on sic previously - whether sex or violence-related- , was tempered down after this thread by the playerbase and put into effect by staff.

There are some PCs in the game who will give warnings about certain kind of murder talk when it reaches a point because that's how they've been trained for their roles.

There's probably some PCs who might do that to encourage face-to-face conflict rather than chirping at each other on sic. Or others who might let it go on for a bit but once it becomes a repetitive theme that goes into 30+ minutes on repeat, they might say change it up a bit.

IMO nothing about sic or how people are behaving on sic particularly bothers me as a player. I think something that can solve stuff happening right now is actually pretty basic, and that even extends to topside:

Under most circumstances, sometimes it's okay to let a friend get bodied.

Just want to clarify that by nasty I don't solely mean lewd. I think there's a place for it and it gets cracked down on harder than I like but the lewd bit is probably the lesser part of what I mean by nasty.

I mean being able to say violent, extreme, edgy things. Cursing people and corps and power structures. Insulting and threatening eachother. That 'flexing' I was referring to.

It is my opinion that a majority of most player's playtime is SIC based. It sets the tone that others tend to pick up and run with. If you can't be mix on SIC then you start losing what it might mean to be mix in general.

I get that some see the oppressive nature of the Judges and Corpies grinding the mix under their thumb as more themely and important and I can't say they're wrong. But I feel that pushing this angle on SIC will have a heavy impact on the tone and culture of the mix.

In all, I agree with a lot of what's said. I really enjoy hearing other people's perspectives on topics like this.

I often come back to this thread because I think it has a lot of good information.

Here are some thoughts - very scatterbrained, sorry.

I remember when I first started playing, maybe four or five years ago, and my first introduction to the Mix included being bullied by a pair of gangers who made me sip from a puddle. They beat me up, but then paid for my medical bills and one of them even gave me a few jobs in the future. I feel that this set the tone of the game for me and really drew me into the environment.

Unfortunately, I don't think this sort of environment exists in the Mix anymore. Many people treat the Mix as a 'home' un-ironically and focus on the 'positives' only, especially on SIC. The Mix is horrible. Thousands of people die a day. To walk outside in Red Sector is to be met with bodies at every street corner and an act of violence in nearly every block (this is ambiently true, not even something that is implied). I think there could be a good deal of pushing this theme on SIC by all parties. When someone says they 'love the Mix,' there should be some pushback against the back. What part do you love? Hopping over dead bodies? The threat of a needle in your foot every block? Muggings, daily?

As mentioned by smoeone above, part of the situation stems from a lack of lowbie/midbie combat characters who enforce the theme. Part of that, I believe comes from a situation where the 'end goal' of most combat encounters is vatting, not other punishment. While I do believe that players should, in general, die more, I think that enforcing other interesting consequences (that may make your character vulnerable, too), would make the game a lot more enticing for people to roll combat characters. Because, in its current state, a newbie ganger may be better than 70% of Mix PCs, but the other 30%, if they are interested, can wipe the floor with them over and over again. And some players in the past year have demonstrated this phenomenon to a tee.

Side note: I can count a few players in the past couple months who tried to make some interesting combat-based characters, only to be dogpiled on by both the Mix and topside as if their actions were anachronistic to the Mix. That's certainly not the case, in fact, one may argue that their behaviors were more symptomatic of Mix behavior than most players right now. What message are we sending to players who want to play those characters when the whole game is, at least publicly, bashing them?

This is not to bash people who play slice of life, or prefer non-combat roles. But not having combat characters out there takes a good slice of RP away from everyone, and generally can make the economy slow. Perhaps a discussion concerning the process of ganging and the timeline expected may help aid this at the Town Hall.

I remember when I first started that the game was hell for Service Mixers and those who were actively, openly, talking to corporates. I'm not suggesting that we need to move back to that, but I think that when we tried to 'fix' that, we made the game a lot more soft for generally everyone, and perhaps some course-correcting could be necessary, especially when it comes to class.

I was thinking today about what a new player would experience if they joined in the past six months. Likely, they wouldn't be harassed for tolls or mugged that often, due to lack of gang activity. They probably had their clone paid for and received assistance from other sources of charity in the meantime. In the grand scheme of things, this probably helps new player retention. But it also makes - as a few of you have pointed out - the first real confrontation with loss more surprising. I don't think this helps with conveying proper theme.

"Under most circumstances, sometimes it's okay to let a friend get bodied."

Hard to conclude something is this simple, especially when discussing such a complicated issue, but due to what can be extrapolated from this quote I would say this is as close as it gets. Red needs more street-level conflict that doesn't involve every friend, or friend of a friend, or your friend of a friend's network, and so on.

As to not repeat a ton of other sentiments, I will attempt to belabor just one point, and would say that Bear's post above highlights this in many aspects: gangs and gangers are sooooooooo important. They promote conflict and division, an oppressive atmosphere, and a flow of currency in the place that the game needs it the most: out in the dang street. It helps that gangers generally have more protections from getting hyper-focused by the people who unfortunately do that sort of thing, due to both mechanical and IC protections.

Getting into a ganger position can be difficult though. I am not directly familiar with the process but I have seen it can be long and sometimes vague, and those who may have a gang personality often are brash in ways that get them ran through and discouraged before they can earn their spot. I wouldn't ask for free entrance of course, because one should have to earn those prior mentioned protections and prove they support the themes being sold, but I would hope when times are slow that those requirements are slightly eased. To me, gangers are a healthy and already in-place solution to a lot of the prior discussed ills.

I agree that the mix is a slum. Fur sure. I try and push that myself. Even if my PC has it fairly good, it's still a slum. Like Bear said, read the messaging and construct an overall picture of the tone of the mix. It's not a pretty place. It's dirty and cruel and violent and unfair. It's hard.

At the same time, I don't think that 'being mix' has to be hating these things. I think that, all too often, when people are stuck in a situation like that hey start to take pride in things that might be ugly and harsh. So it depends on how they 'love the mix'.

Do they love the fight? The struggle? The hardship? Do they look down on people who live in cushy soft places like green as weak and pathetic? Would they rather have lived the school of hard knocks that made them stronger and better than those soft bakas? I think that is a themely way to love the mix. I think some of my favorite hardcore mixers were in this sort. Loved the mix because of it's ugliness, not ignoring the hardships.

Do they love the mix because they refuse to see the dirt and grime and death and pain? Pretend it's all beautiful really if you wear a nice dress and water your plants daily? I am not saying that any of this is wrong for RP but I have a hard time seeing this as the prevailing attitude of mixers.

I have and will continue to call things like this out when I see good opportunities to do so.

While I am happy to see more death in the mix and think it will generally be a good thing for me and my playstyle, what I really want is more conflict. Conflict doesn't have to equal mass killings. They can but I hope players don't focus on 'more death' too hard. Not alone at least. Focus instead on 'more conflict that can and will sometimes result in death'.

Conflict an come up in many ways. I'm a fan of crews who work against eachother. Or bars/clubs who war off and on. Or tailors who undercut prices and other tailors who see to it that those who undercut too much get beat downs and a message to stop selling so cheap.

Gangs are a built in framework for conflict but I feel they have become too rote and mechanical for my taste. I also think that how gangs fit into the world could use some extra consideration as there are still some elements from the past that may not fit great in the present situation. Also... Please get out on the streets and stop people for their tolls. Mug them! I know it's been a while since this approach was embraced but I miss it so much!

I also want to stress that, while combat characters will always have an important role to play, I think just about any character can create conflict. I would love to see a focus on conflict creation. That can and will involve death but doesn't always. It doesn't have to be crazy creative as I know it can be frustrating to work hard at 'fates worse than death' to see it have no impact compared to death. Just escalate over time and try and make a story together. Which will include death.

I also love having players of all types. Not everyone needs to be a shit stirring predator.You can be a slice of life victim too. Or some of both. Just have fun!

I do like the gangs bit though I feel it's a complex topic. I played in gangs. before and after the ganger code. I also worked with gangs a lot after the code. I do worry that the gangs are fairly unattractive options right now.

As was said, it's hard to get in. And I think this is a holdover from past times when being in a gang was a lifetime commitment. Ride and die. Now and forever. Us first and everything else second. So you really needed to earn that spot because the payout was long term and worth it.

Now gangs are frequently seen as a place for low to mid level play. A place to start. A place you will eventually move on from. But to what? Where? One path is even harder and more demanding than getting in a gang was. Many other paths are made much harder because you joined that gang.

If gangs are going to be that entry level fun it seems to be meant to be, maybe the entry requirements and exit opportunities need to be reviewed again. Maybe if the gangs can be more of a draw, more gangers would pop up and help the mix theme?

Agree there. The ganger to corpo pipeline is a real thing, watched it happen pretty often. Which is strange because I feel like the end result for Gangers should be Syndicate, Merc or a DcD puddle more often than not. It seems strange that part of the pledging process usually includes firebombing the corporation who will hire you eventually. Syndicate characters are on the decline too from what I've seen, unless I'm wrong. The Mix can make or break characters and the ones broken tend to flee to topside.
My two cents:

- make characters that take advantage of people's current charity and brotherhood, HARD

- make your own fun when you graduated from gangs by forming your own player gang or other type of faction

I've heard that player run gangs have done pretty well before, might be interesting to see more of it in the future.
I love your mindset SoulTune! I also love player run crews over NPC ones most any day. Though they will have a hard time if they try and compete with established NPC organizations. Not impossible but the game has always seemed to put it's weight behind the old over the new for good or bad.

I've played Sindome on and off collectively for about nine years, so I've seen the game cycle back and forth naturally between Mix dominance and corporate dominance in equal measure, depending on the way influential players tend to fall. A lot of the problems that we've been discussing lately, imho, boils down to two simple things: do players understand how to create engaging roleplay in all roles they step into? If so, are they comfortable with doing so, even if it takes them in the direction of conflict? And for the most part, it seems like the answer may be no.

I'll start with the position of a bartender that batko mentioned as being an essential position. This is one of the first jobs that are easily available right out of immigration, regardless of what sector you obtain the position in. Most recent players over the past few months have taken on these jobs for about the time of a week or three before abandoning it for something else because it didn't seem to give them an immediate in.

Truthfully, these are some of the hardest jobs to do because they depend entirely on your own ability to foster and drive creative interactions in your day to day. For example, if I were to start a new character and seek a job at the Drome, here would be things that I would know to do to create/find interesting roleplay:

* Pay attention to the PCs who come in and what they're wearing. Are they geared up with something that seems especially fancy? Are they PCs who are consistently involved with spats on pubSIC? What's the gossip & story with them? Can I ask probing questions now and then, and ear hustle a bit to find good, easy information that might be of interest to someone? Or do they seem like they're in the know?

* Lean heavily into the ambience provided to me by the descriptions of the room, and what I know about the theme. How long has the Drome been the way that it is? What's the history about it? What's going on downstairs? What's the nature of that NPC who runs it, and what kind of business do they get into?

* If my character came in with a specific set of skills like combat or something creatively driven, figure out ways to immediately make contacts. You can achieve this easily by taking time to do a bullet point one.

* If I'm a player who likes creating events or finding something fun to do for myself and a few PCs who seem like they would go with the flow of roleplay, then think about what I have available to me and how I could use it to engineer my own fun: for example, a simple pair of dice could immediately be a gambling game, where the odds and betting fodder are whatever you make it. Chyen, information, an innocuous favor, whatever.

* The Mix is not nice. The descriptions of the outside rooms are dynamically shifting all the time, detailing that you just saw some fucked up shit, and that should, as an immigrant, leave a bad taste in your mouth. Roleplay about that, either shell-shocked or somehow interested in wanting to get in on whatever those vNPCs did. Sure, the conversation you have may not necessarily lead to you going to do whatever, but it's interesting and gives depth to what you do.

* The Mix is not nice, part two. If you're one of the many immigrants who came from better circumstances and are down on your luck, lean into that. You're not going to be acclimated to the particularly horrible conditions of the Mix, be it the poor quality of food, the lack of resources, or not having consistent power/water/watever. Again, lean into your circumstances and consider minor illnesses or setbacks that immediately gives you a RP hook to engage with another kind of character archetype altogether. What you put in, you get out.


Conflict: PVP that results in clone death is not the only form of conflict, and we need to get away from believing the amount of character deaths is some sort of genuine metric on the amount of conflict readily happening. Most often times, you're already engaged in conflict with someone and you may not already even know it. Stories happen around you whether you believe it does or not, and it's important to always have a quiet suspicion about it, especially if you end up in a disagreement or spat, or are in competition for something or another.

I've always had a personal gripe about the Mix versus topside narrative being pushed so hard, as it made it seem like players on either side couldn't and shouldn't be engaging in shadow tactics to use one another as a means to an end. And if you somehow engaged in this, it made you lesser than your fellow corporate/Mixer adjacent character just made you a bad CP player or whatever.

Instead, views on what good conflict is should be focused on conflict happening right in your demographic AND mix vs topside. It's the theme that's baked into every description of every room you pass through. Gangs versus gangs. Poor versus poor. Slightly better off versus the jealous and envious. Competition v. competition. If someone is perceived to have something you want, then you should be taking it. Etc. This also

Player run factions are great and shouldn't be discouraged, but I do feel an abundance of them shifts the game away from its design and slows things. Especially when they start requiring staff support and response. There are plenty of slots available to earn which are supported with direction, mechanics, and the ability to get creative within them. Think it is healthier to seek and fill those first, personally.
That's not true for gang graduates, SoftAndWet.
I personally believe there are enough positions in syndicates, other official organizations, and businesses to support those who make it to an end of a typical gang cycle, and are often quite fitting.
Sorry to necro a thread but:

I've been playing down in Red, and I couldn't help but notice something that's been bothering me. It seems like some players are leaning more towards a "slice of life" approach rather than embracing the gritty, ruthless nature of the district.

The Mix is supposed to be a slum, a place where life is tough, and survival isn't guaranteed. It's a melting pot of crime, intrigue, and danger, and that's what makes it exciting. However, I've been seeing a few instances where characters are behaving as if they're living a comfortable, mundane life.

In a place like the Mix, everyone should be struggling to get by. Yet, I've seen characters who seem more concerned with mundane, everyday activities than the harsh realities of the district. It's great to have some character development and relationships, but it feels like some players are focusing solely on these aspects, turning the mix into a soap opera instead of a gritty cyberpunk world.

Conflict is at the heart of the Mix. It's about survival, power struggles, and criminal activities. Some characters seem to be avoiding conflict altogether, which doesn't quite fit the theme. Another concern I've noticed is that some corporate characters, who often act as Mix traitors by going up, are welcomed back with loving arms. It's essential to remember that these individuals should be viewed with suspicion and treated accordingly, considering their previous connections to the corporations that exploit mixers.

I believe it's essential for us, as players, to remember the theme of the mix and stay true to the cyberpunk atmosphere. Embrace the struggles, the tension, and the ruthless nature of this district.

I agree that the Mix, and to some extent, the game, hasn't felt desperate in a while, but I hesitate to tell people what the 'Mix is supposed to be.' Like it or not, the current population of the game seems to enjoy this RP for whatever reason, and trying to push conflict RP makes you stick out like a sore thumb and receive an assuredly disproportionate response. This response can get very tiresome after a while.

This conversation has been hashed out over xooc and the boards for a while now. I could link a dozen threads concerning how the Mix is a slum, how to generate conflict RP, etcetera. It isn't anything new. In fact, given the multitude of these types of discussions, everyone saw this coming.

Personally, it's not my cup of tea. I'm very tired of the current state of SIC, the game, etcetera. But I do not think there is an easy fix to this. Maybe I'm being pessimistic, but I doubt that it will change. And if the majority of people do enjoy it, and prefer it over conflict RP, should it?

Does it drive me crazy how often mix PCs act astonished by violence, poverty, dirtiness and lack of education then proceed to try and shame those who are violent, poor, dirty and uneducated. Like such things are anomalous things they rarely see and can't stand to have wthin 100 feet of them despite all the room descriptions and theme and the fact that, ICly they are surrounded by such at all times? Yep. It sure does.

At the same time, I agree with Bear. It's not for me to tell others how to play. I clearly have my preferences but I respect that not everyone plays the game how I do and they shouldn't have to. I also don't think that the entire mix has to be at Bansupuro Park levels. Clearly there are decent shops and clubs. Not all parts are described as equally shitty. It's poor town. Pretty slummy. But I can work with patches of 'a little nicer' here and there.

What I can do and always try to do is bring more of the violent, poor, dirty, uneducated bits to the fore in a variety of ways. The thing is that we have XX players among 90+ million mixers and, due to the nature of the game and limited staff availability, what those XX players say and how they act shines through as the 90+ million are silent and many, especially veterans, no longer pay much attention to the descriptive text as they move about the mix. So if anyone is going to hear/see the mix as some of us see it, it's going to require some of use to push it in the game.

Now, in terms of conflict, I can say it's there. There are a few PCs I have played with/against personally who are very into conflicts. And while it does take a lot of work and time to engage in conflict in a way that doesn't immediately devolve int wide spread backlash and intense pain/death, it can be done. But it is always a risk.

In conflicts there are losses and victories. There have to be if it is going to be real, actual conflict. I think many forget this when they grin and jump into it. Yes, I I think most of us like to encourage themely conflict driven RP. But consequences are also a big part of the game and being very themely isn't going to stop the bad things from happening if your PC makes some poor choices. Because consequences, payback and revenge are themely too.

I guess this was all just a very ling and meandering way to say that I think we need to try and push things like this in game, manage our expectations, accept that this is a multiplayer game with many visions and know that consequences are a very real part of the game that won't go away just because we feel we are RPing things well.

Does it drive me crazy how often mix PCs act astonished by violence, poverty, dirtiness and lack of education then proceed to try and shame those who are violent, poor, dirty and uneducated. Like such things are anomalous things they rarely see and can't stand to have wthin 100 feet of them despite all the room descriptions and theme and the fact that, ICly they are surrounded by such at all times? Yep. It sure does.

This is an interesting phenomena to me. Your experiences are no doubt different than mine, I am sure there are mixer PCs who do react this way, but I personally see a lot less of that than I do... a willful indifference and ignorance of wealthier Red Sector residents to the state of people around them. Which honestly reflects my experiences of urban living IRL.

For about a decade I lived in a city where I would be regularly stepping over the homeless on my walk to work, needles were strewn across the ground, there were murders in the street in front of luxury restaurants and bars, and from my office window I watched dozens of people overdose on synthetic weed in the park across the street.

Honestly the more of a dystopian hyper-capitalist hellscape our real world becomes, the tamer Withmore seems to me in comparison. I coped with this shit in real life by looking at the bright side, looking at all of the wonderful things my city afforded and simultaneously ignoring the suffering of the underclass, while having my nose thumbed down on by the city's "ruling elite."

On some reflection I can see how characters have adopted similar (but definitely distinct) attitudes to Sindome. I'm not sure if this is bleed or just a logical response to a character living in this situation. But I personally think it takes all sorts in the mix. There need to be educated and "middle class" people to fill many roles, just as there need to be the filthy, ignorant masses to fill others. Given that the Mix population is ~60 million you're going to see some pretty wild variation, it definitely can't be all poors.

I completely agree with Amiga. When characters have spent years in Withmore, it would make sense that eventually they would just get used to all the violence and the poverty and such. People are very good at adapting to their situations, and they find ways to cope with things like this. Some characters have been living in the mix their whole lives, and it's all they've ever known. For them, walking past corpses on the street is nothing special, just a normal day that ends in y.

There are often players who bring in characters who better match the "violent, poor, dirty and uneducated" look that was described, and I think that's awesome. But I think I would be extremely bored if every single character in the mix was like that. There needs to be variety, and there is. Sometimes that variety can change over time I think, which seems to happen with quite a few things in this game.

The issue is that the majority is closer to rich and out of touch by a large margin. There's not a lot of variety, and very few PCs feel like they actually live in a slum or have any of the problems that come with that.
To your point Duck, I would say that this is largely a sliding scale with how long a character has been around. Living in a slum does, in fact, tend to get more comfortable when you've been there longer. On top of that the sort of linear time-based progression of the game has characters gaining extraordinary stats over relatively short periods of time. To quote the help stats file's Stat Rough Sizing section:

Most people today would probably have stats close to the 'N' or 'M' level while most people in the Sindome world would have stats closer to the 'Q' level. This is because, compared to the populations many of us are a part of, the population of the Sindome world tends to be dirty, poor, malnourished and uneducated.

I have always taken this to mean that PCs in Sindome are exceptional, compared to the average ambipop. They are live fast and die young sorts. There's definitely value in roleplaying certain characters as less educated or with any variety of standard drawbacks, but it absolutely makes sense to me that, compared to the ambient population the selection of player characters would skew more wealthy.

This is where I start posting screenshots of the Is Rent is Too High thread with arrows and red circles draw around posts saying everyone is too poor to afford it.

As can be seen by the older The Mix is a Slum discussion, and twenty years of players talking about Fluffy Bunny MOO, this is something that requires constant mindfulness but is not something I would actually say has changed permanently or that players have very strong preferences that cannot be altered. In fact I would say the state of the Mix in this regard has much improved since I made this thread 18 months ago, which I would credit to key players making efforts from the top to drive theme.