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Character creation
Dude, where's my clothes?

So, I've been playing for... not even a week yet, and I'm still having fun learning and exploring and meeting and greeting and bashing my face against the SHI work consoles. But what I want to discuss is my experience with character creation.

Let me start by stating that I understand that making changes to character creation would likely be a huge process that would involve significant portions of the code being changed to accommodate it. These are simply my experiences, and things I've found that have left me somewhat disappointed. I'll try and order everything here nicely, and roughly in order that I remember encountering them.

First off was stats. It took a bit of fiddling to learn that I could actually take points away from stats to put into others if I wanted, below the base. I'm not even entirely sure if that was intentional or not, but I could do it. Except for luck. For some reason I couldn't reduce my luck, even after I'd raised it. It was very unintuitive to figure out where my points were, and I restarted the chargen several times at this point just to help me figure out what the bases were, empty out points, etc.

I figure there are RP reasons for not showing exact numbers in stats, but I think at the point of chargen, it would be nice to be able to see those numbers purely for the sake of simplicity in seeing how your points are distributed. It would also be nice if it were possible to add multiple points at a time to a stat, as well as subtract all points from a stat. It was a massive pain having to go through number combos dozens of times just to get your stats where you want them.

I don't know how many people know this, but getting an high Int gives you a bonus language. Getting a -really- high Int gives you a second, but the game doesn't say where the changeover is at all. The only way to figure it out is to adjust all your stats, get past skills and to the language part, and then go back and completely redo the skills to figure out where that crossover point is. A simple indicator that you're getting 2 instead of 1 would be very nice.

And finally for stats, it wasn't until I got out of generation that I discovered that it apparently takes 2 UE to raise str and luck, but 1 for everything else. I'm not sure if this is reflected in the cost to raise them in character generation as well, but it comes as a serious shock that I might be paying double to raise those after generation as opposed to during. If anything, I would think strength would be among the easiest to change from a real world perspective. Getting smarter (literally smarter, not simply more learned) is very difficult, as is gaining coordination or being more perceptive. If the difference in costs is envoked during creation, it isn't a problem, but if not, it creates a weird incentive to make a super lucky strong, but otherwise stupid, unaware, etc character, since those stats are easier to raise.

Skills I had no real problem with, other than the fact that I only knew from watching through the entire 'how to sign up' video that skills have increasing costs at high levels after chargen, so it is potentially a really good idea to max out one or two skills instead of spreading yourself out. I don't mind that mechanic being in place, but for the truly new, it should really be at least mentioned in there somewhere, to prevent them making a jack of all trades and potentially gimping their character growth without realizing it (If they want to go that route, that's fine, but they should know the potential costs).

One other little thing with skills is it might be nice if there were some indication of how common a skill is. It might be something that would need to be manually changed occasionally, but it kind of sucks to roll up a mechanic or hacking character or something, only to find there are a dozen grid posts about people with those same skills looking for work. I know having an over saturated skillset is potentially interesting, but it can be a real turn off to a new character to find that their skills are in very limited demand, especially if they have little ability to do anything with them themselves without some huge initial investment.

Languages, which I guess everyone won't encounter, had one major problem: You couldn't select Euro as a language at all, because it used 'e' and so did English, and it always assumed English and wouldn't allow full names, just the first letter. Also, I've since learned that you can apparently make something besides English your native language, but there wasn't any sort of instruction or indication of such. Also, when selecting additional languages, I don't remember it indicating what level of fluency you had. I had thought it was fully fluent instead of simply tourist level, makes playing a truly bi-lingual character difficult. An option to put some of those skill points or some other points from somewhere into language would be a nice possibility, to allow creation of more traveled or linguistic type characters.

Finally, you are done with character creation, and are dumped into the city (well, right outside the city with no real option but to go in) with virtually no money, zero equipment, and no real instruction on how to do anything at all, and you're IC. Hell, you're even naked. Could we at least get some pants for our journey to the city?

I think the game would benefit from having an OOC starting area where the game can go over some of the basic commands and rules that people should know. It could be fully skipable if people want, but it should be provided as a chance to figure out how to talk to people before you get a helper showing up and you're standing there naked for... whatever IC reason.

The OOC area could be as simple as a couple of rooms that list some help files you should go through, a room where you can buy some basic clothes, and the exit. It could be expanded to include the basics of how combat works, or other things. It might also be nice to give characters some sort of chance to get some starting equipment. I know that working for your gear and such is rewarding, but it is really weird being someone who should supposedly be an accomplished hacker with no computer, bounty hunter with no gun (okay, guns are contraband, but still) or otherwise have a character who might be coming to the city supposedly well off starting with nothing. Perhaps give up a few stat points for a bit of starting money (that can only be used in an initial OOC shop perhaps, to prevent potential abuse of new characters with max money rolling in, dropping their cash, and vanishing forever.)

So, these are just my various initial thoughts and complaints and such about character generation. I'm overall enjoying the game very much so far, but just feel that the first experience that any new player gets could be improved quite a bit.

Once again, I know that many of my suggestions are the sort that would require significant effort to implement, but others would likely require an extra line of code somewhere. Also, they are simply that, suggestions, ones that I think would improve the new player experience, but just suggestions.

Welcome to Sindome, where your luck starts at 0 (that's why you can't reduce it).

Type 'help stats', you will see that the other stats other than strength and luck have substats. That's why some cost one and the others cost two.

There's a game-mechanical reason why stats are raised one point at a time.

A quick search reveals http://www.sindome.org/search/?q=naked where the OOC reason why new characters are naked is explained and some speculative IC justification is offered.

Hope this helps. And we do continually make improvements to character generation and to the newcomer experience. You may have found two @tutorials - that system and those two collections of content are fairly new, and it's easily expandable as new tutorials are scripted.

An awful lot of this game's design, however, really is intended to be discovered by in-character experience, reading what's on screen, examining things, and speaking ICly to other characters when your own character has questions. Remember, your character is no more or less knowledgeable about Withmore City as you are as a player, so, the way I look at is that being a newcomer means you have a ton of built-in roleplay motivators.

Personally, I have a lot of fun seeing how gameplay concepts are conveyed, player to player, as each puts their OOC questions and answers in IC terms. It's amazing how much can be taught and learned with roleplaying, without ever explicitly referring to an OOC instruction or using the OOC voice.

An awful lot of the most important stuff in the game is never going to be in any helpfile or tutorial. The new-player experience may have some shortcomings and information gaps, and I appreciate your thoughts and experience with it. There are probably some things there we can take away. Overall, though, we strive for the new-player experience to be one which actually trains people to think for themselve, teach themselves the available tools, and start depending on roleplaying to learn the really good stuff.

For the luck thing, I mean I couldn't remove points from it even after I'd put points in it personally, it wouldn't let me take it back down at all, ever, no matter what. I'm fairly sure it is a bug, as opposed to trying to go below 0.

I'm not sure I get the thing about stats. So when I raise intelligence, it is splitting the points between Technology and Knowledge? I don't see much point to that if I can't control them and they'll be equal. I suppose some drug/item effects and the like could affect one or the other differently though.

I did like the tutorials, though parts of them were slightly confusing, and I think there was at least one typo. I don't know that many more are really needed, because, as you said, communication is the important part of the game.

You can submit bug reports by typing @bug.

You can read the newbie information by typing @newbie.

Rules is @rules.

Type Help stats and help skills for the stats and skills info.

You don't have control over your substats and it's not necessarily evenly distributed. In fact, you don't even know what is in your substats but, they add up overall to make up the main stats.

As far as points you do in character creation, I don't want to say they don't matter but, if you play for a bit you can basically correct them with the future UE you earn so "messing up" isn't that detrimental.

As far as the jobs and roles go, people feel like once they make a character that they are stuck in whatever that character was made to be and that's simply not true. Maybe your character starts as a mechanic, can't find a job in it, and decides to be a TERRA agent instead so he puts time training at the gym to get stronger and becomes a TERRA agent, he learns about the world of street chemists and decides to dabble in that in his off time and eventually goes to work for ViriiSoma as a chemist.

The character is limited by the player.

you can apparently make something besides English your native language

No, no you can't. A senior GM can do it for you if you make a strong case for it, particularly beng able to demonstrate that it will be good for your RP and not an impediment to your learning of or contribution to the game. For this reason, first time players are not informed about this potential at all (it would cripple them), and it will never be a self-service char-gen option even for veterans.

I can't even make my character help!