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Focal point for less obvious professions
Learning curve is a bitch..

So ive been thinking recently... i know dangerous right.. :)

Something that I think this game could benefit from is something that helps spread the love for the lesser used professions in game and maybe help the learning curve a little easier.

What im talking about is...

if a new player starts and they want to be a gang member.. that's really easy and obvious on who to go for to join up and get some degree of mentoring on the finer points of being a full of flavor big bad mean gang banger...Sure they might try combat before and no doubt fail spectacularly .. but eventually they can and i guess usually find a mentor to show them the finer points icly and in game how to go about combat and being a ganger in general..

if a new player wants to rise the corporate ladder again that's sort of easy to get into and find a means and a ways and one or more mentors to get you into how and why, the ins and outs for you to learn both how to behave and how ,. when why and should you of their chosen profession....

This however doesn't extend to all aspects.. some are obviously more difficult than others to get into and learn the ropes so to speak..

Now i'm not suggesting that this role cant or is not filled in game by players and one off NPC puppets.. but i was thinking more of a semi permanent NPC's to provide stepping stones.... a port of call so to speak at least.. a sign post if you will.. something to scream out into that dark night.. hey there budding (insert criminal wannabie).. your not all alone.. well maybe.. but there is help if your willing to look for it ....

for example.. new player joins and wants to learn the ropes and be the withmores finest cyber jockey.. player does the usual, joins.. RP's and generally hangs out learning the game, the city and does all the usual immie things.. at some point there really should be a semi obvious NPC at least for the player to approach in character to get a starting idea on what they need, who to speak to... where to get x.. or even just tips and ideas on how to use commands.... now some of this could be scripted or even is just a focal point for a player to attract the attention of the GMs icly.. (the usual @notes ives spoken to soo and soo).. now obviously this should be themed and can stepping stone or what not.. so in this instance could be a renowned but burnt out cyber jockey that sits in a dive bar somewhere.... gives out a little bit of advice.. and helps the player have a focal point to contact.. maybe after awhile the GM's could use it as a vehicle to point them in the direction of a well established player in game fulfilling a role that the immie hasnt come across or is on a different timezone..It could also serve as a message board sort of thing that lets other players contact said guru to discretely advertise they lookin for said cyber jockey..

other examples that i could think of that could do with a in game mentor/ guild/ heck even a specific focal message board that's not open grid would be..

Job Broker for independent solos/street samurai.. the wanted / bounty sort of does this but its not the same for immies...

Thieves .. we so need a thieves guild..and who can advertise they want a mentor in this?

Fixer? .. maybe there are enough ingame and they are visable enough? to approach..

Gunsmiths/ Lords of war - basically anything illegal thats hard to know who to contact..

Candy man - i mean there is the corpies.. but im thinking mixer based..i can only imagine but the learning curve and setup costs of this means that for immies its like looking at Everest...so they will drop out / re roll or just get frustrated and look elsewhere..

Tech guru.. maybe there are enough jobs and businesses in the mix./ topside.. what are peoples thoughts..??

im sure there are plenty of other examples...

Now these NPCs might be used also for Player to GM interactions of more establish characters and provide a natural ic conduit for GM - Player interactions for players that either through choice or RP dont want to or it works better thematically that they dont sign up to an organistaion or what not but still need a conduit to the GM's, to advice or even jobs/RP/approiate items/ story hooks etc.....

It would also help the general player base as well.. because then we wouldnt have the slightly jaring experience of someone doing something out of character or totally retarded icly just because the player (not character but player) doesnt know any better... Im thinking of someone failing spectacularly at trying to buy a gun in a open bar ( they should but might not get the subtle art or understand just how illegal they are).. or hacking ( they dont know which equipment or how to do it with commands) or pick pocketing ( they do something stupidly retarded because quiet frankly i imagine that this is a hard thing to get into and the consequences i imagine are quiet serve for a minor slip up early on)....

now dont get me wrong. failing.. and failing badly can be great RP and loads of fun.. but failing because the player doesn't know this or that about a in game command or not knowing something that their limited history says they should know is no fun for the player (not to mention very frustrating) or the rest of the community where they have to turn a blind eye or just laugh it off somehow... i mean there are plenty of character types and ideas i would love to try out and even after months of play im totally turned off them as the learning curve would just be a total nightmare...

anyway.. as always just me thoughts and 2 cent...

I would love to see some loving on opening more career paths. Sure, it's great for PC-on-PC interaction but with the current state of the game certain professions just don't have this option. I would love to see more NPC interaction with PC's and work. If ICly NPCs and PCs have no difference, then we should be able to make just as much money interacting with them in RolePlay as we do from other players.

I'm wholly confident you can find NPC support for any of these careers if you take the time to look.

Euclid and stryder are both right: They're there and can be found, if you do you can make amazing money, and wintermute's original suggestion is supportable too - we do things all the time which go beyond the "stock NPCs" which might already be in place to support old ideas, when new ideas are presented by someone's RP.

Thats all good feedback and thoughts...

just to clarify however what i hoped was my original idea.. and i could be way off bat..

I'm not talking about changing or increasing the means and ways to generating chyen from NPC's via automated jobs or anything of the such, more just a obvious (within the theme of the game of course) NPC that supports some of the more harder to learn / access jobs types in game... in my mind its mainly the criminal ones you cant just ask someone in a bar etc...

The question i would pose is..

Put yourself into the eyes of a new player.. who has played for say 2 - 3 weeks.. wants to be one of the archetypes that i raised in my original post..

Now if you wanted to approach someone in game to ask advice or help icly then who would you approach? ..

if the answer is person x or NPC x.. ask how obvious is that to someone that hasnt been playing for months and months or years..

or

If the answer is a blank.. then i would suggest that there is a hole that needs to be filled that could help give a little more love to professions that tend to fall by the way side...

Please note i'm also not in anyway shape or form saying that the GMs dont already do this, as i can only suspect just how much time and effort that goes behind the scenes to help out all players and immies in particular by our great hard working GMs..

I merely suggest this as a way for the players themselves to know who to approach icly to gain the attention of the GMs if they need themselves.. think of it as a signpost to icly ask for assistance and a handy vehicle for GMs to be able to use to answer these questions. After all surely its better for players to whenever possible interact with GMs icly rather than resorting to Xhelp or leaving @notes..

It also going to have a nice side benefit of adding a little extra character to our city with flavorsome 'characters' and potentially also steer some people into the theme more... ie if your mentor uses appropriate dress or language then you will as a immie tend to copy them.. just thinking its a nice vehicle to steer some of the more wayward expectations that new players might have.

Now im not complaining as everyone can play how or what they like in game and i'm sure there is more diversity that i see regularly.. but i for one see an awful lot of certain easy to get into professions (you can guess what i mean by looking at how many people advertise the same service on sic.. lost count when ive been online and seen say 10 people on sic.. 6 of which are all advertising the same service/product range..)... and looking at immies makeup that tend to last more than say the usual 2 dayers.. i feel like a lot of the successful ones tend to fall into a limited number of similar archetypes and not always the rich diversity that this game allows.. and the question i ask myself . is this because the other professions are very hard to get into ? ..

#nb i know im using the word profession and SD doesnt have classes and strict professions and its amazing and great that we as players dont have to follow set paths.. etc.. but for lack of a better way to describe just over look that as you know what i mean..#

'Put yourself into the eyes of a new player.. who has played for say 2 - 3 weeks.. wants to be one of the archetypes that i raised in my original post..

Now if you wanted to approach someone in game to ask advice or help icly then who would you approach? ..

if the answer is person x or NPC x.. ask how obvious is that to someone that hasnt been playing for months and months or years.. '

It wasn't that long ago that I was a new player, so it isn't unthinkable that I can put myself in the shoes of one. Is it obvious who to approach? No and I still don't know who I would in most cases. Should it be immediately obvious? No, absolutely not.

But what I was able to do as a new player was explore, communicate and roleplay to get in contact with the people who I had to. The same tools are available for all new players. I should hope that we're above needing some cliched 'thieves guild' as a glowing neon sign to hail all would-be thieves for miles around.

It's a new city. Many activities in Withmore are clandestine. Unless you have prior arrangements going into the city (most don't), you're going to have to find your own way. This is the way it should be. It doesn't take long to find your feet if you merely ask around; many are keen to point you in the right direction. A little investigation will get you the information you desire.

This holds true for many RPIs. 'Less obvious' professions often have to dig to find a mentor. Visible factions like the corporations, law enforcement agencies and gangs provide and many games have the same equivalents. You have many options if you don't want to take the less oblique route.

Now, my own feelings on the matter...

How is it in any way satisfactory to have that knowledge handed to us on a silver platter? How it is in any way beneficial in this morally grey universe to have more delineation between roles? When there is so much going on in the shadows that enriches this world, so much information that we are not privy to that spurs us to search for answers and adds an element of mystery to our interactions, what do we gain from having so much intel given to the player base as a whole?

To me: it is only a detriment. It's a lousy narrative. What's more, it speaks of a sort of instant gratification gaming culture to me. These are suggestions to subvert roleplay investigation and personal effort to strike right into the heart of a profession. But in Withmore, you take what you earn. The route to enter a profession can be an easy or difficult one but is not one given over for free.

What are the benefits? Well, obvious up-front 'gains'. It's beneficial to get straight into a role. You make money, gain contacts...

This game was never about accruing power. Accruing power might be a goal you set yourself in the MOO but it is not an imperative and it is not a goal for everybody. Play to roleplay, don't play to win.

By blowing the game wide open and dropping obvious pointers and holding our players' hands we rob this game of being an RPI and make it a sandbox RPG, many of which are available on the market if this is what you desire. You rob yourself of that introductory period where your character finds their feet, where some of the richest development can occur. The early life of a character can permanently shape them and set them on a trajectory the like of which may never have occurred to the player when they were created, whom will almost have undoubtedly settled into their predetermined role with no opportunity to be affected by the RP of others had the path to their chosen route been obvious.

,,,

If you want to find a mentor or an NPC to guide you through an 'alternative' profession, you will. You need only look. But you probably won't find them under a gridphone directory handed to you as you pass through the entry checkpoint. The focal points you want are already in game.

Genuinely, Thank you Euclid for your thoughts and feedback on this, you have managed to spell out well a lot of the worries and feelings I myself had whilst thinking about this idea but didnt spell out so clearly and eloquently in my posts..

I whole hearted agree on what I see as your two most fundamental points of

1) maintaining the challenge/mystery and dare i say it satisfaction of finding stuff out in game and not being spoonfeed everything. I've always loved the way that things are hard in this game, the tone is set right from the start with the @newbie and the limited icly info available on the website/ wiki and player answers on the help channel.

and

2) also a point on the danger of making things too easy and obvious with "a neon sign".. that ruin the nuances afforded by the subtler arts of RP. The golden rule of RP is king should always be cherish and protected as it would be too easy to dilute what elevates and makes SD great by a misconceived idea however well meant.

These things are of paramount concern and I agree could be spoilt by a heavy handed approach to resolving what may not even be an issue.

My purpose in the post is mealy to raise the question to the GMs and community at large to see if anyone else believes that there is an issue with diversity of archetypes (as my limited perspective of one player in a fixed time zone) and if we believe that might be due to a perceived (rightly or wrongly) steeper learning curve for some archetypes compared to others..

The solution i threw out was always premised on the concept of subtly and fitting within the theme/style and nuances of the wonderful world we call Withmore, and I would never suggest we dilute it by making things too obvious or too easy.. and as has been pointed out maybe there are these mechanisms already in place that fulfil this role that I have simply missed and not witness myself in my game playing..

as always just my 2 cents throwing stuff out there to see if 'we' think its got any legs..

As was mentioned already, the situations and mentors are there. You need to do some digging. It generates RP in the finding it and is much more satisfactory once you find it.

While some things do have a higher learning curve, the same is true of life. Being a ganger is an easy to figure out lifestyle, being a chemist... not so much. Being a -successful- thief, is nearly as hard.

In my opinion it is not the learning curve, or the lack of mentors for certain archetypes that is the issue. It is the style of the players. Some of those lesser known career paths don't appeal to very many people, therefore noone chooses them as a archetype for their character. Alot of what these career paths can be used for are behind the scenes away from public eye, so people do not see how rewarding they can be.

In conclusion, as I have said, it is not the lack of mentors, it is the lack of PCs willing to choose those career paths and stick with it.

I do think that adding in NPCs to try and shepherd new players into different roles would be less than ideal, since it would deprive players of RP opportunities between new and established characters, as well as serve to more rigidly define what 'roles' a character can have when it's supposed to be completely open-ended. That being said, I think having NPCs that can point new players in the direction of established PCs that might be able to help them would be a good compromise!

I agree that having NPCs who flat out tell you how to do a certain job isn't the correct path. Outside of Immy, almost nothing on the game holds your hand in that fashion save for other PCs.

That said, I can see where others are coming from when they say there are certain difficulties. Players (new and old) are creating their characters with the guidance of archetypes, and these say to take XYZ stats and skills and you'll be on your way toward a foundation for certain suggested jobs.

Proper statting is obviously a good thing if they want to do one of those jobs, but from there, the experience varies as to how you actually get involved in the profession. It can be really easy to see how to do so in many cases, whether by PC guidance or just obviousness, yet other roles happen to be *very* esoteric once you're in-game and searching. Some of these can be of a sort you can't easily ask around about. I can see how frustration would take root under those circumstances.

I wish I knew a proper solution to this issue, but I don't. Having NPCs directing players toward sources of information would work, yes, but it doesn't really fit Sindome's approach to things. As I said, some jobs are esoteric and possibly illegal, leading to either a lack of mentors or a lack of simple ways for players of any experience level to achieve them.

One suggestion I'd make is to mark certain suggested roles under archetypes with an asterisk, and have that note that they're not suggested for new players. Street Judges, for example, are suggested even though it does take months to qualify for that.

Probably the 'hardest' of these jobs would be a fixer, in terms of finding a way to be one. And that's because most PC fixers view anyone else as competition.

Really, the rest of t is pretty easy to find someone to help you, in the first couple days, let alone weeks. I think the real hurdle here, is the awkwardness a new player feels. They are nervous about asking for puppet's because in other games, staff are assholes. They are nervous asking other pc's, because they don't know anyone. And when they do, they tend to be very, very, new about it, and ask about like, buying a gun, in the middle of a bar, which naturally gives them dirty looks from others, which might make them feel more awkward.

That being said, I have been working hard to kind of... Nudge them in the right directions with my current pc, since he's pretty available. And I see others do the same.

I would have to say, that I've been playing for a relatively short period of time and took a somewhat harder pathway. but i have to say that the help is there if you throw yourself into the game and work at it a bit. it's frustrating at times, but it's very realistic, it's hard to find jobs, but the staff has been saying right along that they want to help new players. I think it just takes a little bit of work on the player's part.

Oh, I just thought of a POSSIBLE solution, I guess. Got it from the Shadowrun SEGA game actually...

have an npc fixer that will litterally sell the data to people. Costs like 1g, and staff can puppet them, and make a suggestion on who to talk to.

Dunno. I don't personally think it's needed, but that's my idea.

Why do that when there are numerous PCs, fixers or not, who people could buy that kinda data from already? Plus it leaves the risk in if they're pursuing something more on the illegal side, you have to be careful who you talk to about it, but if there's a designated NPC to buy the info from, you lose that initial risk.

To be clear, I do think that the "esoteric" roles I mostly discussed certainly can be achieved as things stand. It's much harder to become certain things than it is to become a ganger or to apply to corporate security. However, the greater the struggle may equal a more satisfying reward. I've been engaged in that struggle toward achievement and qualification, myself. Frustrating, yes, but staff has been there to assure me that I'm not grinding my wheels for nothing.

As someone says, staff does want PCs to succeed. Difficulties and failures, too, but not from start to end. Becoming established in your career of choice is one of the most basic elements of getting started as a new player or new PC, and it's doable if you're either persistent in searching or (as needed) cautiously asking around. Some of the suggested jobs do indeed take time to qualify for, but as with most things on Sindome, showing commitment toward sticking with it often gets you to where you're headed.

To be clear, I do think that the "esoteric" roles I mostly discussed certainly can be achieved as things stand. It's much harder to become certain things than it is to become a ganger or to apply to corporate security. However, the greater the struggle may equal a more satisfying reward. I've been engaged in that struggle toward achievement and qualification, myself. Frustrating, yes, but staff has been there to assure me that I'm not grinding my wheels for nothing.

As someone says, staff does want PCs to succeed. Difficulties and failures, too, but not from start to end. Becoming established in your career of choice is one of the most basic elements of getting started as a new player or new PC, and it's doable if you're either persistent in searching or (as needed) cautiously asking around. Some of the suggested jobs do indeed take time to qualify for, but as with most things on Sindome, showing commitment toward sticking with it often gets you to where you're headed.