Hey everyone, thanks for your continued participation and feedback in this post! This is a bit of a long post, me trying to address the variety of things that have been raised.
0x1mm, I am going to step through some of the things you've said and address them, since you've said I've missed your point.
"Slither you've re-framed this as a corpie/mixer thing, which although I referred to as one of the divisions in the game, is not actually the subject of my complaints or issues."
The reason I believed you were talking about the Topside/Mix divide what because of the second paragraph of your first post where you state:
"To me it seems insane to take a small player base, then cut it into two quasi-non-interacting sectors, then further sub-divide again and again with hard walls or chilling effects until it's better to just not RP with people at all. Topside is the -worst- example of this. Taking a minuscule player base, splitting them further into three sub-sections, and then -- presumably under the conception it will spur engagement and conflict -- discourage them from interacting with each other."
So yes, that is what I was addressing, and have been addressing this entire time.
Let me break this down further.
"small player base"
I disagree. We have a big player base for a MOO, especially an RPI game. I've already stated the reasons why the theme pushes people into distinct groups. You can either agree with that or not, but it is the way this game works.
"vast segments of the game are RP ghost towns"
There are places in the game we do not continually devote GM resources to because there isn't a need for them to be there. There are also places in the game people try to get jobs and we don't hire for, because we don't want a single player to be the sole PC character at a corp.
This is surely an issue, and will always be an issue. People (players and GMs) come and go. A popping corp right now might be a ghost town in 6 months. A corp or gang or faction with no players might be full up in 6 months. The game is cyclical. Players in certain areas ebb and flow.
It has no solution aside from reducing the size of the world significantly, at which point the complaints would be about the world being too small. There are many places in the game that are 'destinations'. Places to go with a group, RP, and then leave. These places support plots and plans. They aren't meant to be inhabited all the time. Space and the Badlands are good examples of this. Blue is a lesser example.
We recognize that spreading players out too thinly leads to a lack of RP for them. This is something we've known for a long time. We actively keep an eye on this already.
Alternatively, you (the player) just don't see what is going on. This is a real possibility with some factions (not so much corps).
"The overwhelming mood of players is boredom and loneliness."
Seriously? This is why I have a hard time with this post. You are presenting your subjective opinion as objective fact. I didn't hear about any lonely or bored players at this past town hall. I just searched the town hall log and the word 'bored' does not appear a single time. Neither does the word 'lonely' and the word 'alone' appears only in the context of '... let alone a...
I have heard very little on xhelp, or game help, about bored people, or folks who can't find RP. This is YOUR opinion. This is YOUR experience. Please consider that your experience is not the only experience. It's terribly frustrating to have to make this point.
"Whatever your view, I believe the majority of players are here to form social connections with others within the scope of a fantasy setting."
I never said any differently. What I did say was that Sindome's theme is proscriptive in certain senses as to what that social interaction can look like, without there being in character consequences. That's the game.
"Right now OOC consequences that masquerade as 'just' IC consequences are the norm, and they disproportionately effect players in for the long haul and who value their social connections to other players. "
I disagree. Furthermore, if you want to play a character who interacts with someone from the 'other sectors', play a character in those sectors if you don't want to be sneaking around. The theme restraints on your in character social interactions come with the potential for in character consequences, and that's a good thing in the eyes of the staff. You might not agree, but that's our opinion on it.
If you wanna just be able to talk to whoever and do whatever, you can do that-- but there will be consequences. The same way there are consequences for other in character actions. This is not an OOC punishment-- you just see it that way because it continues to affect your character, and thus, you OOCly. I can't do anything about that. Your character is your character.
"You're phrasing this in that there's not a whole lot of 'neutral' spaces for people to mass-gather and RP, right?" -- Ephemeralis
Different sectors have different bars that are typically considered to be neutral turf. Topside has at least one, and the Mix has at least one. These are 'neutral' in that people of the same class should be able to go there and RP without fear of being ghosted on the spot in the middle of RP. They are this way specifically to give people an opportunity to RP. Obviously, they are IC rules and people can break them and cause trouble, but when that happens there are IC consequences, which we have done a good job (at least to my knowledge) of enforcing both in the short term and the long term. However, no where in game is truly safe. You're supposed to have that tickle on the back of your neck when you're out and about-- even if you're strapped or have a bunch of body guards.
The SIC is also the ultimate level playing field. You can RP with anyone on the game at any point, barring a deadzone. You can use an encrypt to get a party conversation going, like an old party line phone service.
Progia's offer an alternative to SIC for 1:1 conversation. Pretty much everyone has one and you can use them to communicate with people across sectors and in relative safety.
Radios offer the ability to have multi-person communications without using the SIC or progia.
The Grid is another way you can communicate with relative anonymity with anyone else in the game.
I do not agree that we need more places to gather-- we have enough.
"The impression both here and in the forums, and through GM communication, has always struck me very much that the staff, or certain parts of the staff (Cerberus most infamously) resented part of the player base the game had acquired."
I'll be frank, resentment is a tougher word than I would choose. I haven't seen resentment, I've seen frustration. There has been frustration around folks who begin to play the game, do not like parts of it, and ask for them to be changed without understanding why they exist, considering that they might be that way because of purposeful choices, or considering that other people like things the way they are.
And why wouldn't there be frustration around that? This isn't the first time I've had this conversation on the forums. Not everyone agrees with, or is on board with, the artistic vision that the staff has for the game. Does that make them wrong? No. Does that make the staff wrong? No. There are plenty of great games that I don't like because they don't fit what I'm looking for. That's OK.
However, it can be frustrating to have to continually defend and re-defend the decisions one makes during the time they spend working on their hobby. It's par for the course when it comes to game development, or really, any artistic or creative endeavor, but that doesn't make it fun.
"If you don't want to provide that experience -- fine. I don't find the 'our way or the high-way' stance very productive, but I am combative myself so I can hardly blame you for taking it."
I disagree that I am being combative. I'm being reasonable and saying something that I've learned I have to say over the years. See, I'm a people pleaser, and I've gone great lengths in the past to make players happy, only to have them have more complaints or more changes that they want. Over time I realized that I have to say no. And sometimes that means telling someone that hey, this is the game we're making. We don't want to change that thing you want us to change, even though you are 100% sure it will make the game better, because we don't agree. Take it or leave it.
I'm not going to apologize for telling folks that if they like the game, but don't like core concepts of it, it might not be the game for them. Or maybe it's ONE of the games for them but not the ONLY game.
Sometimes folks need to hear that. Calling for things to be changed that we are not going to change, and getting more and more frustrated that their ideas are not listened to-- that's not an experience I want anyone who plays Sindome to have. It's not that I don't think these ideas have merit, they do, but they aren't the game we're trying to make.
Sindome is a lot of things, but it can never be everything.