An endlessly discouraging critique of Sindome is that topside is soft and that it needs to be more ruthless. The reality of topside is that ruthlessness unchecked and laid out for all to see demands people get pulled out of topside. This is a positive thing, in my view, and incredibly themely. A -lot- of dirty deals go down. A -lot- of mix oppression and manipulation takes place. A -ton- of corpies are cultivating mixers like pawns, some even willing ones. Why don't you hear about them? Likely because what you do hear about means that someone somewhere failed, possibly exposing themselves or their Corps. Or because your alt hasn't yet done the social engineering required (as a part of social PvP) to get invited into this world. Or maybe there's a themely niche topic waiting for someone to drive it and it's looking right you. If you're sitting there waiting for staff to do it and tug you along, you're really missing out.
I'm so exhausted of people saying that all of topside is boring. It -is- boring on the surface level. The salary man drudging along. But if you think that's all that's happening, please believe me, you're wrong. There are certainly times were people in certain segments of the game stagnate. We all have lives, shit happens. We all have our ups and downs. But writing them off as not trying feels enormously unfair. Also, its only fair to say that topside conflict is like playing chess. It can be a slow game. The build up can take ages. It can also all fall apart, leaving you to rebuild. But its not because youre not trying.
If you're unwilling to dig deeper and want your RP handed to you on a plate, then don't go topside. If you dislike conflict and just want to snuggle, you're gonna stagnate topside and then wonder gee, why is my character so boring? If there's a part of topside theme you want to see pushed then push it. You can do this whether or not you're topside.
How do you get mentoring on this? Start commenting on the themely issues that interest you and see who comments back. Start talking to those people - even if they're across the divide. If there's an avenue to form a plan that encompasses that issue, pitch it to your boss, and then intentionally rope in whoever seemed interested.
Corporations, all of them, are -awful-. Do they have nice things, sure. But in the end they see people as a means to an end. You are just an object to exploit. Mixers can complain about how NLM censors or controls people through media, how VS views people as machines that generate chy for them, how Saedor Krupp doesn't care about your mental health, or how PRI runs shitty factories where people are injured, underpaid, and even die. They can suggest doing uncomfortable but themely jobs because theyre 'desperate' to survive. Even if you do have a lot of resources, you can still adopt the mentality that these resources are the bare minimum that you scratched and clawed for.
Corpies can enforce this theme not by ignoring these realities, but by sickly justifying them. Don't like how your job restricts you? Then build it into something themely that generates themely roleplay. How would your character use their resources to maximize CP themes? Maybe you're the good guy fighting the man from the background. Cool, but in doing so enhance how big the evil you face is everyday. Acknowledge that you're nothing in the grand scheme of a Corporation. Acknowledge that thousands of mixers died today so you could be tucked upcozy in your fancy pad. Your just a little cog, easily replaced.
My favorite rival was the person who was pure. The one who wanted to affect change. They took a big risk, and then fell because of it. Now they're damaged, confused and angry and rping it beautifully. They're a more themely character now, but they needed that time for topside to break them in. I did too, in different ways. They know what topside really is. They took that time to ride out and establish character. We bitterly snapped over SIC regularly, and at townhall, emote hugs. This is real, good themely roleplay. I dont talk to this person ooc, but I know with how seriously they react to my character, they respect me as a player. I try to do the same for them.
Just droning on complaining in circles with every guided discussion and every town hall is just a massive bummer, at least to me. Its so incredibly disheartening as someone who sees others working their hardest to push theme. Its fine to complain, but at least offer how it could be different and then IC push for those changes. Please allow room for people to play the way that is unique to them, even if thats not how you would do it.
Please stop making blanket statements about how everything sucks and its always been terrible and nobody's even trying topside. Most of these complaints are easily answered with one thing - patience. Its a slow game most of the time but the reward can be great. Please acknowledge the effort of your fellow players. We're all trying and some of you are better than us at it. If we weren't at least trying, we wouldn't be playing SD. There's a reason why all of us picked this game in particular and I hope we can at least enjoy each other for that.