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Electronics & Security Recycling
It's good for the environment!

I think it would be ace if there was a NPC who, like the NPC's that already exist that ask for very random loot to be delivered to them, there was one that specifically asked for random electronics and security gear, without all the random item bloat that the other NPC's have. They would pay similarly close-to-retail prices for the items as the other vendors.

This might encourage securitechs, deckers and other gearheads to shift their loot, or the loot of others (heh) to these vendors in a more predictable pattern rather than simply incentivizing mass yanks for other, much lower profit sales methods.

Thoughts?

Ask around.
I think that the current system and market for electronics and security gear is good. A decent fixer can move it through the markets and turn a profit.

I think that if there were a dedicated vendor who didn't require someone with fixer skills, that would be worse than the current system. It could potentially take fixers out of the loop.

I think it'd be ideal if deckers / electro types could crack security gear with sufficient skill levels and clear links on second-hand equipment. It'd give biz to archetypes that don't typically get a ton of it, and it'd give a reason to clear the security gear bloat out of the markets. Would bring that biz back to fixers as well, creating more RP and interactions between multiple archetypes.
Without saying too much about IC: there might already exist a dedicated contact for this, and it's possible the starting offer they give is low enough that you'd want to work through a fixer or friendly individual who can bargain with them.

In the long run, I would still like to see the possibility of clearing linked equipment with the right tools and skills, as Jameson mentioned.

Yeah, I definitely get IC solutions might exist from non-player sources, but it feels like these things should always be pushed toward being sourced from players first, and NPCs should only be relied on as a last resort when certain archetypes aren't available enough. And if those archetypes had more things to do, more demand, more biz, then more people would play them, it's a nice cycle!
If security gear was reusable by just skill check instead with cooperation with the owner, no camera would ever stay installed for longer than five minutes, and the market would instantly be flooded with three hundred cams that no one could use except for whichever character sunk the most UE into their skills.
There's a LOT more going on in that equation. I'm not getting into the mechanics and I don't think I need to. And anyone trying to run around doing that is likely to be very quickly met with very swift and violent reasons to stop, or find themselves in very tense RP situations which is just fine. I understand the concern on a basic level but I think it's an overly simplistic view. And it can be balanced by variety + difficulty of skill checks.

There's lots of things you can do in the game but people don't, either because of the IC repercussions or because of more community rules enforced by staff, like pickpocketing limitations, murder hobo, blah blah.

It'd be very themely, and in line with other things already mechanically possible for these skillsets.

You would need some kind of community rule like the pickpocket limitation. Unlike most things, it takes a short amount of time to take down security gear and it can be done without any other PC's involvement.
There's new cameras available to buy from a few different sources, so it's not as if there is not enough to go around.

Opening up all the placed cameras to being picked clean for reuse would be a huge race to the bottom, that would only benefit a small handful of players economically and systematically.

Then I guess if you want your cams to stay up, you protect them.

Make them hard to take down by hiring someone who knows what they're doing.

Hire someone to watch the feeds when you can't / don't want to, and alert muscle to get the baka taking them down when you spot them. If you've got cameras up, you have the flash to do all of the above, you just don't feel motivated to spend it.

It's not an issue of cams and other hardware necessarily being to hard to come by. It's that it doesn't make sense for the market to be bloated with second-hand gear that's basically useless, when it could become an avenue of RP and biz for undeserved archetypes that also lessens bloat that otherwise just sits in the MOO for no reason. It's themely, and it's cool.

Yeah, cams are gonna get attacked more. I think that's a benefit not a problem. It creates opportunity and friction.

The concerns can be balanced against in ways already mentioned. Community rules, mechanical tweaks, such as the length of time it takes to remove installed cameras, etc.

While I think that it is themely and it would greatly benefit my character personally to be able to repurpose cameras, I find myself generally agreeing with @0x1mm.

I think that allowing wholesale removal and reuse of other people's cams would quickly devolve into a mess with the best stat'd technician running rampant.

The window to catch a camera thief is extremely narrow, to the point where unless the person doing the stealing gets stupid / greedy, they are going to be able to pull it down and be long gone before the owner (or their agent) can get there to stop it.

I do want to correct one misperception that @0x1mm put out there. Cameras are NOT easy to come by and there is not a huge surplus of them. There is a reason that they are so valuable, and that the system is setup to make the theft and reuse of them impossible.

Yeah I probably should have said 'notionally available'. Supply for items in general is idiosyncratic and unreliable.
The arguments against being able to reprogram cameras via a decker or another character, or hell, even a NPC are pretty nonsense so far.

You're the best decker in the game. Guess what? Other deckers can't crack your code.

You're the best securitech in the game. Guess what? Other securitechs can't pull your stuff.

You're the best *literally almost every other skill in the game* other people can't compete with you in that regard.

Saying that there will only ever be one securitech if it's a competitive market totally denies the reality of the game today. That there are 'best securitechs' right NOW and the vast majority of players can't rip their shit.

So where's the problem?

Because security equipment has been balanced from the outset, or at least as long as it's worked this way, around being only re-useable under certain circumstances.

There's no counter-play to well-performed anti-surveillance play, it's basically balanced around it not usually being worth actually stealing things from people unless it's punitive. The rewards are meh.

Security gear suddenly all being reusable completely transforms how the entire concept works, and now the side with the best tech not only gets to deny everyone else use of one of the core systems of the game, they get all the gear too.

And they can do all of it when the opposing player is offline.

The whole system would need to be rebalanced from the ground up and tons of new rules added. For what benefit? Good techs getting free cameras? I feel like there are better ways of increasing the supply.

To be clear, I am not opposed to such a rebalance. These trades could use some tweaking to get more players interested in them.

I just don't think it's a small change. I think it would be a massive change.

0x1mm,

I brought this thread up as an @idea because right now, today, there's players going around wholesale mass-ripping down tech to pawn for change.

My idea here is that instead of these items having a general 'market value' that gives incentives to people to log in at 4am and literally farming money, that perhaps, a NPC could be instituted that offers a once-a-week reward for things being ripped or taken off the market.

The best case scenario is tossing deckers a bone off the scrap heap and letting them reprogram links, but that's just a longshot idea that came up via discussion. Then it's a purely player-driven incentive, which is great all around.

Kind of burying the 'linked gear should have no market value' lede there.

I totally agree that 'offline theft' is zero fun and alternatives should be sought, but I think it'd have to involve throwing more of a bone to the techs than just a weekly fetch quest.

@TalonCzar

I "know" (as much as any of can really know anything in this game) that the number of techs in the game who can run around wholesale ripping tech down can be counted using about half of the fingers of one hand.

The dynamic that @0x1mm mentioned is exactly what will happen if the system changes. THE premiere tech will corner the market (or could if they were so inclined), and everyone else will be out of luck.

ICly there would be zero recourse because although we'd all "know" who did it, ICly we couldn't know because there COULD BE dozens (hundreds?) of "other" NPCs out there equally skilled who "could have" taken the camera.

One thing that I think might be cool is if there were a way to engrave or serialize cameras. That way if someone's cameras end up in the market, they could presumably go find it, or send a fixer to find it and because they are identifiable, they wouldn't have to play market lotto and buy every camera available in order to get their specific gear back.

Another potential way to change up the dynamic would be to have a Chatter like system for electrical / security gear resales. "Last Tuesday an average gal with maroon sneakers unloaded a (device name) at the (market) name." That would help equipment owners track their gear down more quickly. It would encourage would be thieves to disguise their identities. And it would provide some potential accountability and risk to mitigate the relative ease with which devices can be pulled down.

I'd just reiterate again there are IC and OOC mechanical tweaks that can be used to make the situation described not happen, or to combat it.

If nothing else, doing something about the market bloat of useless security gear seems reasonable. There's no point other than clogging the MOO. If we can't come up with a way to turn solving that into a win for classically undeserved archetypes, that just feels like a lack of imagination, but either way it feels like a silly problem.

The 'best techie' running rampant is going to get clapped by a middling solo for a bargain and isn't going to get far without a solid decker reprogramming the cams and not selling them out.

@Hek

I don't know what to say then. There's a massively disproportional amount of effort to put up and maintain camera networks, as opposed to ripping them down. It can take weeks or months of real time to source cameras outside of a onesie-twosie situation, and the effort for -maintaining- a network is not exactly trivial when compared to literally anyone in the game getting a 500c item and rendering them useless.

This disproportional effort in sourcing the gear and installing the gear, versus the relatively trivial effort required to rip the gear down is a large part of why I feel like there should either be reworks to the existing system, or that pulling cams needs to be governed under the 'help farming' rules.

Because ripping cams when nobody is awake on the MOO essentially feels like farming chyen in a way that's basically outright banned or heavily restricted in every other avenue of the game. I feel like it's a situation similar to when people go and chain dip(players), but unlike dipping, you aren't forced to go and get face-to-face with people to steal their shit and go vendor it to NPC's. It's entirely possible to mitigate most of your risk via an OOC alarmclock, and that feels again, extremely gamey.

I don't want to come across as dismissing more perks for techs, I think those skill sets are sort of balanced around there being more characters of that archetype as there are now. I definitely think they could use some encouragement and love.

I am also a strong proponent of changes to shake things up... just a little more reluctant in this case because it would mean taking from a large group of players and giving to a comparatively small one, and I think it would be a 'win more' thing that could get worse in concentration over time.

If there were some heavy mitigation against this as well as mechanics to encourage the continued accessibility of these systems to the average non-aligned character (one of the real strengths of surveillance systems as they are now in my opinion), then changes to make cameras less expensive and more available could be good.

I think, as long as they're distributed through the player base, the more active cameras there are in the game, the better. Big Brother is Watching You, along with everyone else.

I think those skill sets are sort of balanced around there being more characters of that archetype as there are now...

This is a sort of fair claim, and I don't really know how to address it in this or a separate thread. As I mentioned above, there's a self-fulfilling cycle to undeserved archetypes. If you play a [whatever] and it's not very supported outside of niche situations if even those, well you can easily become the best [whatever] with like a couple months in the game, potentially, and then you can dominate that niche. This is only something that can be solved by 'giving love' over time, which then culturally encourages more players to want to play those archetypes because there's actual RP and biz to be had by doing so.

The small-worlding around this is vicious too, as Hek points out. Deckers are arguably the biggest victims, you basically can't take a 'big' job because literally everyone knows it was you even if they can't prove it but drek collapses on you anyway based on the tiniest evidence. Some of these things can't get healthier in the game unless they are more populated, but the simple fact is they won't get more populated if there's no There, There for those skillsets.

I'm less concerned about the 'giving from the large, to the fewer' aspect -- there are more players doing other things because those other things have outsized coded, financial, etc. support. They already have the leverage. They can use it to squeeze 'the few' as needed, I think they'll be just fine.

I'm less concerned about the 'giving from the large, to the fewer' aspect -- there are more players doing other things because those other things have outsized coded, financial, etc. support. They already have the leverage. They can use it to squeeze 'the few' as needed, I think they'll be just fine.

I think you're misunderstanding what I'm suggesting would happen there. The 'large group' of players are all the players in the game who own surveillance gear, and the 'small one' would be one to three factions who would roll through and take everything, and make all other small networks unviable except as goods for the taking. Forever.

Certain factions already have this ability, they basically just don't because it's a huge pain in the ass and has no upside, and would piss a lot of people off for the yield of chump change. But change the arithmetic to 'they lose a camera, we gain a camera'? All bets are off.

I know this would happen because this is already what happens with several other skillsets and win-more mechanics, and the only things keeping them from running away at times are the staff intervening.

If you want to democratize surveillance tools, you make them harder to take down and easier to buy and install.

Tough. You don't get what you can't earn and can't keep from the connections you can rely on. Mix fucking lyfe.

I don't want to democratize anything.

Make nerds valuable and there might be more of them, imagine.

Cam nets are valuable and OP. Not everyone should have eyes.

The Big 3 are the Big 3 not the small three.

Things are already not 'balanced' based no what's going on. People win, people lose.

It was actually the plan to update it to make it so players with certain skills related to these fields could clear the links. I'm not sure if that's still in the works, but I hope it is.
https://www.sindome.org/townhall_01_19_19.html

"Kwisatz says loudly, "Since I don't have anything fun to share about builds I can tell you about a new idea Fengshui and I had that was just signed off on by Johnny."

Kwisatz smiles, We're going to be using the existing Security Analyzer object to expand secure_tech gameplay.

Kwisatz says loudly, "You will be able to utilize your secure_tech expertise and access to the tool I mentioned above, to attempt to remove the output and input data stored on uninstalled security equipment."

Kwisatz says loudly, "What this means is, if you are able to steal security equipment from other players or organizations, you will be able to hire a secure tech professional and get them to reset these devices back to factory settings as if you were buying it brand new."

Kwisatz says loudly, "My goal is for you to allow hire security professionals to enhance the 'score' on these devices too, to protect from this kind of factory reset as well, but we still need to see what we can accomplish within the existing code first."

Kwisatz says loudly, "I think you'll find that this opens up a nice new market for tech gurus who may find security install work too few and far between in general.""

Considering that a factory reset was put into the game for another item, I don't see why it couldn't be the same here unless the plan was cut for some behind the scenes reason. If this was still in the works I think this along with a shift to move mass theft of this equipment to fall under farming too would go a long way in helping issues that might be popping up.

This is a good conversation. It seems to be veering dangerously close to FOIC and crossover, so I hesitate to respond to some of these things. But I am also a big fan of transparency and level playing fields. I am going to respond and hope that I don't cross any lines here.

In order to try to keep this orderly, I will group this by subject.

Monopolization / Techies Running Rampant

As it currently stands, unless a techie gets greedy, they are not going to get caught. Or get caught so rarely that the rewards will always outweigh the risks. I can't think about anything else to say about this that doesn't get into specific IC examples of why this is true.

Techies Getting Caught / Repercussions

@Jameson's statement about a middling solo making a tech pay for running rampant won't happen. Unless...

Serialized hardware would also make it dangerous for techs to resell hardware (if the system is implemented to allow techs / deckers to reset the hardware).

I also suggested a system like Chatter where merchants could hint at who is selling what. This would require a 'bartender' like NPC in each of the markets to 'chat' with. The obvious sprawl on this one is that players will then want to know who is selling (weapons, drugs, armor, etc, etc)

Market Bloat

I am not sure if this is really an issue. @Jameson suggests that it is, so I will assume that it is.

I believe that my suggestion to serialize or otherwise mark hardware could address most of this. With serialized hardware, people could search the market for 'their' hardware and buy it back.

Ease of Theft / Running a Network

This is mostly addressed to the points @TalonCzar brought up.

I think that the 'ease' of taking cams down is being overblown. If a high UE tech sets up a cam, the only way it is coming down is if a higher UE tech comes along and takes it down. (This FACT is why monopolization of the field will happen if reprogramming is allowed)

I am going to put out an analogy here that probably isn't perfect, but I think it speaks to where this perception comes from.

A combat character deciding they want a cam network, and getting a skillsoft to setup the network themselves, then complaining about it getting dismantled by a dedicated tech

is kind of like

A middling character running around mugging immigrants with a SpyderCo, and then getting vatted by someone with a ceramic katana. The mugger thought that they were "good" at what they were doing and that they had a good hustle going. Someone better came along and forced them to reassess their strategy.

Ultimately all characters cannot do everything well. Even within a specific niche, there are going to be some characters who are better than others. And nine times out of ten, real skill is going to beat skill chips.

Summary

This is less of a summary and more of a continuation of addressing the challenges of setting up and maintaining a surveillance network.

Setting up a network is difficult. The pieces are hard to come by. They are expensive. It requires specialized knowledge, skills and equipment. The network is vulnerable to everything from inexpensive disruption, to outright loss of equipment.

Ultimately a surveillance network is something for powerful individuals and factions. Not everyone is going to be a ceramic katana wielding, Xo5 wearing, Flashboosted killing machine with very little to fear. Not everyone is going to have a well maintained, distributed, resilient surveillance network.

Sindome is about trade offs. If a character is good at one thing, they are not good at something else. At a certain point, the trade offs become significant. That is extremely true for tech characters. A good tech character is going to be extremely vulnerable in combat. A good combat character won't be able to maintain their own surveillance network.

Pick what you want to be good at, and make alliances with people who can do what you can't.

In the grand scheme of things, I don't see a high level tech character being any more imbalanced to the game as a whole than a high level solo. If Faction A persuades Joe MurderHobo to leave Faction B, then the balance of power shifts until Faction A finds someone equally as powerful to replace Joe MurderHobo.

The same thing goes for techs. If Faction A hires Jane TechWiz to exclusively maintain their networks and disrupt everyone else's networks, then well played Faction A. Faction B has the same tools at their disposal to deal with Jane TechWiz as they do with Joe MurderHobo. Find someone equally good, and keep vatting Jane until then so that she's too scared to leave her apartment.

@Hek

You're making a lot of assumptions, almost all of which are completely incorrect in your response to me. Nobody is saying that solos with skillsofts should be going around installing unremovable cameras. I don't even know how that came into the conversation.

I, like pretty much everyone else in the game, rely on technical characters to do technical work for me. You basically perfectly addressed my point in your opening statement: That a tech can basically run around ripping down cams for fun and profit and there is very little you can do about it.

If anything, the discussion here has basically settled on a few points: that resetting cams with a difficult level of skill required would be cool, but in the meantime, just putting cameras on the list of shit you can't farm out will probably address the problems until securitech gets overhauled.

And I'm in agreement with the tech characters posting here. Techs need love, and securitech does as well, despite it being one of the more codedly robust of the 'tech' skills.

@TalonCzar

How would you compare:

The UE investment required to dismantle someone's 100,000 security network

with

The UE investment required to dismantle a solo with 100,000 worth of gear and mods

???

Murdering a solo requires interacting with another player, whereas pulling down cams when nobody is looking might not. I just don't see how pulling down someone's entire network in a day is any different than going around stealing every vehicle on the streets of Red because you have the skill necessary to do so.

Similarly, if a solo went around murdering every other solo for their gear that would also be frowned upon. Not saying that murdering other PCs shouldn't be allowed, but there always has to be a limit.

I used to run a camera network, and one thing I've observed is that the risk of your cams being pulled down by someone better than your installer creates a serious bottleneck for installation -- everyone wants one of the handful of 'top installers' in the Mix to prevent their cams from getting yanked down and recycled.

I think this has a chilling effect on 'medium skill' or 'starting out' techs, because essentially the IC question you ask is 'can you pull down Johnny SuperTech's cameras?' and if the answer is 'no', you say 'well, maybe I'll have some work for you when you're more skilled.'

I second the suggestion that security cameras be covered by 'help farming'. If taking down security tech is subject to the same 1/week limitation as taking weapons or armor from NPCs, I think people would be more willing to hire 'medium skill' techs, because there would be considerably less risk of someone taking down your entire network.

@Pavane

Having run a network, your assessment is obviously right on.

There is a very steep curve when it comes to setting up and maintaining / protecting a sector wide surveillance network.

It is extremely challenging to stay alive as a tech character while investing the UE into skills that you need to get good at.

My question is whether or not this is a feature, or a bug.

That is why I am curious to have staff address the question at the town hall as to whether or not surveillance networks are intended to be democratized and available to most characters, or if they are a luxury of the elite (like a couple of other pretty bad ass tech items that I'm not going to mention here).

As a middling tech, I had to do a lot of "other" jobs unrelated to being a tech just to pay the rent / tolls / etc that come with staying alive in Withmore. I still consider being a tech something of a side gig. In fact, I remember earlier this year having an admin tell me something to the effect of, "By playing a tech you're taking what was originally intended to be a niche / secondary skill and attempting to base a character around it."

Luckily there are jobs for electricians that pay well and do not involve setting up surveillance devices that can be taken down by "better" techs.

Although I have previously said in this thread that I think taking down devices is fairly low risk, I have come to realize that I think that because I invested in a fair number of auxiliary skills that mitigate the risk of getting caught. Even still, there is still a fairly high risk. And the consequences of getting caught are extremely dire. It's not a game to take lightly.

It's almost safer to attack corporations than it is to mess with established camera networks.

Because of that, I don't think that limiting device theft with 'farming' rules is necessary at this time. Though if it becomes possible to unscan stolen devices and reuse them, then I do think there might need to be some throttles put in place to mitigate device turn over.

I'll admit I am largely ignorant to the nitty-gritty of camera code outside of the very basic surface-level stuff... If there is a concern about cameras being too easy and too quick to tear down, and a rule change isn't in order, perhaps there can be a security system that could be added in the game?

Perhaps it could be installed on the hub itself (which would isolate it from being easily dismantled and rendered pointless) to function something similar to the coded security systems we have for vehicles.

Naturally we don't want to make it 'impossible' to remove cameras either, so there might be ways around the security system, but they would involve making a lot more noise than simple silently standing around in the street (or wherever else) with your tools unbolting cameras.

I could be wrong, but my understanding about it is that Cameras work similar to nodes in that there's a skill check involved, and the person putting up the camera can absolutely install it so well that even they can't take it down. This means that the investment in UE as a secure_tech specialist is an ongoing war, with more and more UE needing to be invested to make near invincible networks.

If this is the case, I think making the uninstall threshold lower so that you could be a tier or two below the installer and still rip it. I think this could help a lot as well if the idea is to democratize secure_tech work, if we're looking at implementing something like the way briefcases are unlocked ICly in game as a mechanic to restore functionality to secure_tech items.

What do you all think about a 'sabotage' command for cameras?

This was inspired by @RSB's suggestion of allowed a lower skill check for removal. I am against that idea because it is a long, hard slog to survive long enough to invest enough UE to get to the point where you can "securely" install a camera to the point where others have a tough time removing it. So I strongly oppose that idea. If Tech B wants to take down Tech A's camera, then Tech B needs to "git gud" as the kids say these days.

I think it would awesome if there were a way for lower level techs to sabotage cameras such that the owner has to come out and repair them. It should be a sliding scale so that Day 0 immigrant isn't sabotaging Max UE tech's cameras straight out chargen.

The sabotage would be more permanent and difficult than defacing the security gear with current means. Likewise, fixing the sabotage would be more difficult than dealing with it being defaced.

If staff really wanted to take things up a notch, techs might need materials to fix the sabotaged gear, just like tailors need material to repair damaged clothing. And just like tailors can scavenge old clothes for materials, techs could scavenge old tech. The obvious downside here is DB bloat. Though I would suggest against a "tech materials" vending machine. If techs had to scavenge from the market, that would help address the market bloat issue that @Jameson brought up.