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Ideas to improve chargen
And the Noobi Hendrix Experience

Title should say it all. I think a thread on this would be beneficial since any ways the newbie experience is improved would affect other ways, so may as well have it all dumped in one place?

So, here are mine. Other players (especially newer ones) append your own down there so the admin can take a look over this whole thing and decide what they want to use

The newbie help system that received wide release is a great start IMO but I'm sure other things can be done.

What if newbies could "tag" a skill (and it would secretly "tag" the associated stat) as their 'main' expertise and gave them some bonus raises right outta chargen?

This "tag" could also be used to pass out maybe a little starting gear. So far players come out buck naked with a handful of chyen. It would be neat if they could get a doohickey or two to help them along - only stuff that's relatively cheap and readily available in shops, mind you. People with artistry tagged could choose between some materials, a tattoo gun or some canvasses. A mechanic or electrotech could get the relevant toolbelt and so on. A chemist could start with some drugs.

To prevent abuse you could have the items "arrive" only upon history approval. Like having the stuff held up by customs.

This would give them the ability to start selling their services to other players right within a couple days. Of course, combat characters would get shortchanged out the gate, but that should be a disadvantage that comes with making something twinkish.

Now I realise if someone runs enough packages they can make the money for this gear within a couple days if they have high enough charisma, but that argument can also be made the other way around. If it's so effortless, why force people to jump through the hoop? They'll need the money anyway eventually, and it's best if they meet other players as soon as possible rather than run crates as soon as possible. In my opinion anyway.


Another idea which I've spoken of on OOC chat but I figure should be written down, would be to have a "starter quest" system. Have an automated system that randomly selects 2-4 newbies and sends them each a message (by NPC/ambient courier or SIC) to meet somewhere at a certain time and place (ideally a few days after the letter has been delivered to give them time to sort out their RL schedules). Once two or more of the newbies are in the place within a certain window around the "appointment" time, they would be given another letter by ambient NPC courier describing a task that requires two or more players to perform. Once the task is completed (i,e. a key item for example is delivered to a dropoff point), each player receives a bit of cash. So you have 2-4 newbies that have now met each other, have a reason to stick together for at least a little while and become friends or enemies. This means more RP for the new people.

I'm sure existing players would be happy to help write the scripts for this stuff and the template letters necessary for this kind of system.

That's what I have so far.

How about as a means of getting gear to start your character off, making an NPC means of getting a loan. Whether from a bank or (depending on the character) gangers, and make there be IC repercussions for not making your payments.

If there was a way to automate it, then that would be super cool. I'm trying to find ways that wouldn't require admin off the bat.

There are already NPC loans and other NPCs that direct you towards those loans and those loans can have IC repercussions. :)

Alright, so when in chargen there are those character archtype things that give you ideas for possible roles and the stats and skills that go best with them.  And I think that's awesome, especially for new players who may not be sure what kind of role they can or want to play in the game.  Further expanding on that, I think it would be helpful if there was some kind of note about which of the various roles are over/under represented in the game at any given time.
Here's my reasoning.  How much would it suck to be a new player, really excited to get into the game and you make a cyberdoc, only to find out there's already way to many cyberdocs running around and you can't really find a niche cause you have to compete with a billion other cyberdocs that are more experienced and established than you?  If only you had known that the game really needed a fixer or a street samurai?  Then you could have made a character in one of those roles, and it would be much easier to get into the action, cause there would be a demand for your services, thus encouraging your roleplay.
Again, using these roles, but now onto the idea of starting gear.  Each role, or subrole could easily be given a basic starting package.  A doc gets a medpak, a tailor a piece of material, etc...the biggest problem with that would be for players in the more expensive fields.  Things like mechanics toolbelts are expensive as shit comparitivly and probably shouldn't just be handed to a player straight out of chargen.  So do they just get shafted?
I think I'm gonna leave it at that for now, before I start really rambling.

Quote: from Hirononbu on 3:18 pm on Nov. 3, 2011[br]...only to find out there's already way to many cyberdocs running around and you can't really find a niche cause you have to compete with a billion other cyberdocs...

Are you sure it's SD you're talking about?

Funny you should mention that. In the document I prepared and pass out to guests, I have this bit in:

"At this point you will be dropped in the gameworld as a guest character. There isn�t much you can do but walk around and talk but if you don�t have a definite idea of what you want to do with your character, don�t feel ashamed of asking on the OOC channel if there are any specific professions that are desperately needed."

The document is here if anyone has suggestions for edits/additions:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1cBb7KUwXXSKLJ73LMfrzXT1cBNIJVPSLV7QzSj-GPrw/edit

I (personally) think it's easier if they just ask than coding a system to track the professions. Unless the system uses the salaried job as a metric, it's a bit difficult to tell who's what. That's one of the beautiful things about SD, I think. It could just read people's skills but just because someone has some points in medical doesn't mean they play a doctor.

For mechanics toolbelts, you could just have a separate item that allows *some* mechanic tasks to be completed but locks out the more advanced stuff. In fact, you could make a single tool that does this for all technical professions (eletrotech, secure tech, auto tech, etc) and just pass it out to people that roll with skills in these areas.

I present to you...

The fucking multitool. Let it perform the verymost basic, easiest functions of all technical skills and pass it out to newbies. When they graduate to actually doing it for a living they can buy the proper. profession-specific toolbelt that will let them do everything.

Join the newbie patrol!

Wear the badge of honor and assist newbies both OOCly and ICly. Rather than set up an entire automated system that requires coding that may or may not be available for a majority of newbies until it's completion, how about a few of us volunteer to wait around for a guest, answer their questions, assist them in getting a starting character, and ICly find a way to be at chargen to shepherd them into the game world and welcome them with a flesh and blood player, rather than an automated setup? �That way an experienced or semi-experienced player can jumpstart RP for the newbie, get them into the game, and show them a bit of the world. �Hell, maybe even give them some gear and an impetus to RP and make money because they owe you for what you've given them. �Just my two cents, but then again, I like harassing newbies and playing Mixer Santa :P

2CH,

Grim

Not a bad idea for one or two players to do this - Nic used to do it in a semi-friendly (ICly) manner along with some light loansharking if I recall correctly.

The problem is, if everyone does it, everyone becomes IC friends. Everyone sits around touching each others' bums instead of plotting nastiness and counter nastiness.

Hey now, it's not friendly if bum-touching is paid for.  It's prostitution and in theme! :P

2CH,
Grim

You know that's not what I meant :P

Newbies need three things:

1) They need to know what's possible to do, how to do it, and what the fuck they're doing.

2) They need help getting eased and integrated into the IC world as part of that world.

These are obvious. But there's the elusive number three. Without number three, we could have fifty players on at once and there still wouldn't be much fun to go around:

3) They also need to be polarized. They need to form opinions on everyone and everything they encounter and learn to act according to those opinions. They need to be able to think "I hate that guy" and "I like that guy" and those feelings need to evolve into "I wanna fuck up that guy" and "I wanna be that guy".

To paraphrase one of my favourite stand-up comics: having your cake or eating your cake are fine. Not even wanting cake is what can make the game dull.

True enough, and I agree with you, but there will always be the characters that other players love and the characters that other players hate, then the -other- characters that players won't make heads or tail of in the long run due to their unpredictability and inability to fit into such a black and white frame of reference.  Behind every newbie is (we hope) a mature individual who can make their own decisions on such subjects and with time devise the motives and means of answering the big question of "Why am I here in Withmore City?" for their respective characters.  The way I put it to newbies, we're all actors on a vast stage, and each of us has a role to fulfill, and it is up to each of us to decide what that role will be and how we play it, and for what reasons we play it that way.  Therefore, helping a newbie character will not always lead to fluffy-bunny-ism and nepotism among our sordid cast of amazing, interesting, and sometimes volatile characters, but it will introduce the newbies to the world in a way that is a lot more user friendly and personal.  I was taken back when one new player--Isaac--actually thought that Renz and Jimmy were bots for taking the time to greet him at the gates.  That says something about the state of the MOO universe when total newbies aren't expecting there to be players available to sort of usher them into game worlds elsewhere.

2CH,

Grim

I understand what you're saying, but complete newcomers typically just want to fit in. This is true of any game, of any community. So they look to their experiences in a given community to set the example as to how they should act.

If they come in on Red as immigrant soon-to be mixers and everyone is either a hardened criminal or wannabe thug spraypainting "Fuck the Jakes" on every available surface, railing against corporations and stabbing their neighbours for a pack of smokes - this is the attitude they'll adopt. They'll feel oppressed and entitled and this is the attitude a typical mixer should have (though obviously there can and should be exceptions).

On the other hand, if they come in on Gold as a corpie and all they hear is about how mixers are trash stabbing their neighbour for a pack of smokes and wanting to rape the women and take explosive diarrhea dumps on the babies, then this is the attitude the player will adopt in order to fit in. Again, there can and should be exceptions - plenty of grey to play around in.

But if everyone, television personalities to gangsters, shows up at the gate tossing petals in the air and groping their sacks then like as not that's the attitude they'll adopt. At this point, no ballsack will be safe.

Newbies need help and it's great to have a couple players providing that IC help. But what they need more than IC help is themely RP that leads them to gunpowder symphonies and broken relationships. And cocaine. Lots of cocaine.

The themely term is marcy and robohookers.

Sadly, sometimes the only players available to get that first impression in are those close enough at hand to the gates to actually show the newbies around.  That first impression of "oh my god what do I do next?" can be daunting, so those who are there to play meet 'n' greet are the folks who are actually in the mix, close enough that they can snag a newbie and handhold them for a bit and at the very least teach them where to stash their characters at the end of their first RP session.  I'm a proud, permanent member of the newbie patrol and yeah, I'll be there to as Jimmy puts it "Play Mixah fo-king Santa" to the newbie masses if it'll entice them to stay, even if it seems like a frickin koombaya scrotum tossing contest...

I had a shit-ton more to say, but found it to be too wordy, sappy, and verbose for the conversation, so in synopsis for all that 4:00 AM crap I was going to write, I'll give it to you in a simpler form :D

A metaphor for SD would be a nice big sandbox with a lot of room, but very few playmates.  You got the kid who plays with ninja turtles in one corner and the kid who builds sand castles in the other.  Sure, the kid who builds sand castles -could- go and bury one of the other guy's ninja turtles and piss him off, but it would be boring to be the only kid who enjoys sandcastles; and the kid who plays ninja turtles -could- go and kick the shit out of the other kid's sandcastles, but that would piss off the sandcastle kid, and then the guy with the ninja turtles would be the only guy left to his own devices to play with his turtles.  Granted, both kids could be misanthropic little shits and enjoy blowing up other kids' sandcastles with M80s or setting others' ninja turtles on fire with their brother's stolen zippo, but the more likely scenario, since there aren't too many other kids building sand castles or playing with ninja turtles at the moment in the sandbox, would be that they play together, seeing as playing together is more fun than playing separately.

Whew! There.

2CH,

Grim

Let me hit you with a different metaphor for Sindome.

Monopoly. Now, you might laugh, especially if you've ever played Monopoly with family as a kid, but it's a badass game. It's very exciting, it has highs and lows and you can lose everything in the blink of an eye off a bad roll - and still have the chance to rebuild it.

Problem is, when you play with family everyone fudges it. You land on Park place with a fucking hotel on it and your uncle or whoever is like "Ah, forget about it, you don't have to pay" because they don't wanna bust your balls. People keep doing this and passing each other money and it drags on, nothing happens and pretty soon you're even ignoring luxury tax and just jumping around the board.

If you adhere strictly to the rules though, well, see the first paragraph. And that's how Sindome is. Now, there's nothing wrong with giving someone a pass early on because you don't want the game to end in ten minutes, but instead of "You don't have to pay", how about "You pay me next time you pass Go a few times", or you take a Utility instead of all their cash cash cards. 'Cause it has to be clear that this is not the way it's going to be the whole way through.

I like your metaphor Guardian, but like Monopoly, Sindome isn't fun at all with too few players. �We have to get to that nice fat sustainable game size before we worry too much about fudging things. �We have to get out of that empty sandbox mode before we can get to a point where enough kids in the sandbox are willing to sit down and play Monopoly together. �I agree wholeheartedly with you that the way to do that is to reach out to new players in a manner that draws them into the community and educates them so that they know, that yes, things may seem easy now, but soon, they may end up re-rolling a new character because they managed to piss off somebody and get killed, that yes, they can sleep in the street if they want but they'd sure as shit better not have anything they care to keep on themselves �when they do, or heck, that it's perfectly fine to head into Bansupero if they have no value for their character's life. �Without somebody to teach the rules as it were, even Monopoly with the right number of players isn't fun. �And when there's nobody to play the game with, much less learn the rules from, there's no point in playing. �This is the case of the Desert Fox biting her own tail here, as it were. �We need players to play the game who know the rules to teach other players to play the game, but we don't have enough players on often enough to teach the new players (especially the freshfaced ones who've never played SD) so the rules aren't known and there's no RP to be had because people get bored from lack of RP or because they don't understand the game and grow frustrated and leave. �Granted, Sindome does have a high learning curve. �That learning curve is meant to filter out the asshats, but right now a lot of people who've jumped into the game haven't had a lot of experience with MOOs and MUDs, so we've -got- to help them. �How can we get to a sustainable player base where we -can- play some Monopoly as it were, and what can we do right now to retain the people that come in. �Before Monopoly, we've gotta try to deal with retention and player loyalty so that we hit that sweet spot in terms of sustainable, regular conflict and competition-driven RP while leaving room for the fluffy twixers like myself :P

By the way, (and here's all the sappy stuff I swore I wasn't going to write) SD as a fictional universe is a brutal, heartless place with shining moments here and there, but our meta community of players should be the exact opposite. �We should give a shit about each other and want to RP with each other. We should help each other learn about the setting and storyline through RP, through the Mind Wiki, and through these forums, but we should also be able to get people who are having trouble with the learning curve to a point where they can survive in SD and thrive as players, so that even if their first character is killed off, they'll come back because they not only enjoy the world and the characters who populate it, but the people behind those characters as well. �I may suck at Monopoly--and this is the truth man, I really do suck at Monopoly--but with the right players whom I enjoy the company of, who have tried at least a little to improve my enjoyment of the game, I'll keep coming back even if I -do- manage to lose every time.

(Edited to note the aside-- Grim)

(Edited by Grim at 7:32 am on Dec. 21, 2011)

Let me hit you with a different metaphor for Sindome.

Monopoly.

I can see it on GOLD. So is WSB like Broadway?

...

I'm down with helping the newbies. This game can be pretty scary on day 1 - as well it should be :P

I try to work in the North Central districts of RED and see if they want to RP, just so they don't face a vast maze of empty streets on their first day.

(Edited by Hunter at 1:58 pm on Dec. 21, 2011)

More like one of the utilities or train companies.Jotun

I'd just like to briefly expand upon what I suggested before, I took 15 minutes to go over most of the stats that don't already have some sort of really common use, and came up with some easy ideas, over half of which could probably be really easily implemented.

Artistry-A NPC that wants tattoos, A store that buys artwork, or clothing. EG Mixer wear on RED, party dresses on GOLD

Forensics-Tracking type of job. Maybe a figure out how my buddy died sort of thing.

Aero Tech/Auto Tech- Kro's or Streetheat has more work than they can handle, you fix one thing, you get a bit of chy

Electro Tech-Some corpie wants a TV, etc installed.

Munitions-A NPC that wants a weapon modded, or an NPC that buys ammo

Cracking-A NPC that pays you to crack a node.

Systems-A NPC that pays you to make a node.

Programming-??

Driving/Piloting-Cabbie

Rigging-???

Explosives-An NPC who buys explosives.

Dodge/Melee/Martial Arts/Brawl- Automated, low level fight club.