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Installation Quality

Right now, the difficulty to uninstall certain items is based on a PvE check by the installer at the time of install.

RedSteelButterfly had a suggestion in another thread that I think deserves its own idea: make installations a fixed 'quality' plateau akin to how skill allows you to repair vehicle parts to specific levels.

The installation qualities might be:

Shoddy

Average

Secure

Very Secure

Extremely Secure

Shoddy might require an average success for someone at about Bronze skillsoft level with similarly appropriate stats, Average at about Silver, secure at about Gold, Very Secure at about Platinum, and Extremely Secure some level above that. That would allow multiple PCs to be able to compete at the 'Extremely Secure' level, whereas right now really only one can.

I've also advocated that checks such as this shouldn't be binary pass/fail scenarios.

Camera tomfoolery is high-risk. If someone's really shit at unbolting something, let them still do it, but make it take a scaling slider of time investment based on skill.

That way, rather than "Nope not happening" we can have RP that says "Shit, we gotta protect this garbage techy for 20 minutes while they fiddlefuck around."

That way, you have a great potential for actually meaningful RP encounters between high end characters, and not just boom techy dead or camera gone at 4am in the morning when nobody's on the moo.

I recognize it can be frustrating to not be able to compete with someone who has invested the majority of their UE in an archetype but isn't that the whole point? To literally, lower the ceiling so their expensive UE expenditure means nothing at those higher tiers seems to go against the design itself.

The tools in the game allow PC's to broach those great heights if they put forth a comparative effort to the opposition. There are also huge logistical flaws in having one mythical person being the keystone to your operation - exploit them.

The issue with binary checks on skills- and not just securitech, but generally speaking here, is that people can and do minmax the ever living fuck out of certain skills when they're experienced. To the point that even if you do want to compete, it can be a literal diceroll that takes 2+ years to throw (Did they even spec correctly?) That's not a good system.

Combat, arguably one of the most important skills in the game, isn't binary checked. It's very robust and there's lots of gameplay around different strategies and tactics. I get we're kinda simplifying things here and it's not so black and white, but you know, vagueness around game mechanics as per policy.

I never had to struggle to uninstall a modem because my Cox installer was an Ace at his job. Kind of silly to me to think that uninstalling anything takes even remotely any skill at all. What should matter, is if the item is recoverable and useable after you removed it. That's what the skill is for.

I see a camera, I can uninstall it immediately with a rusty pipe or a good kick.

Having the ability to see the integrity of your install (shoddy/average/secure/etc) could lead to some natural and positive changes in the world of installations. Players typically want the hardest install they can manage at the moment and there's really no easy descriptor in place for installers and customers to know how they pair up to others.

Let's say you're Super Wiz Mecha Install Lord #1 and some guy wants a table installed but he doesn't want said table bolted to the full extent of your Awesome Powers, right? Normally, you could hold back, but the benefit of a system like this would separate those who know how far to hold back to reach a certain level of security from those who don't. They could even charge according to the level of security they provide. There would be something to mechanically master, in terms of player comprehension, to best monetize your skillset.

There's definitely a mechanical issue in place when if one or two players were to stop playing, certain objects might never have the chance to be moved (without GM intervention).

As far as timers go, I don't think someone with a very low skill in something should be able to uninstall something that was installed by someone with UE investment very far above them. I do think that if a player were to be able to reach a certain tier of install, such as Very Secure, then perhaps it could be possible to uninstall something Extremely Secure, albeit with a high fail chance, and maybe with an added amount of time to uninstall.

Install/uninstall times are crazy quick IF you can manage. Maybe it should take shorter or longer depending on a mixture of install quality+player skill. Capable of installing Extremely Secure, but just barely? Base time of 60 seconds for install, x.25 install speed. Capable of installing Extremely Secure, but want to install at an Average level? Base time of 30 seconds for install, x3 for install speed.

The longer a player takes to install/uninstall, the more likely they'll be involving others in fear of being caught.

I do agree that the time to install should increase, and also it should be 'nosier'. There are messages when you uninstall something but not always when you install.
Impact driver go WRRRR CLANK CLANK CLANK CLANK WRRR.
'ugga dugga' is the correct term Talon. ;)

Thanks for making this thread and really fleshing out the ideas though everyone, I love where ya'll are going with this.

I also think in the majority of cases, binary skillchecks are boring and as it stands, the only gameplay to sectech currently is 'can I afford the really good guy?'

I love the idea of skill affecting time, as that would create RP opportunities and vulnerability, but I would go one step further.

We could have tiers of surveillance gear. That would solve the problem here.

If I install a shoddy camera in the middle of a busy Red road, any idiot with a bat could realistically come over and smash it. That should be the case.

Maybe I install a reinforced camera, that'd need a certain caliber of ammo to pierce it.

Maybe, if I'm rich and connected, I can get my hands on some military-grade cameras, that would take heavy duty explosives to destroy. All of these can be taken down by a skilled enough techie, given enough time, but it becomes more about the item and location rather than the techie.

So now we have real choices. If it's a busy Red street, I can just get a reinforced camera, and then have an average techie install it, and speak to the local gang about protection during installation. But if I don't want people knowing about it, I'd just get a really good techie so it's done quickly and I don't tell the gangers at all.

But what about a clinic on Gold? With all the judges around, I could cheap out on both the camera and the techie. Probably. Might be more vulnerable to heists in the future, however, or looked down on by corporates.

Choices and consequences. I think the most complete solution is have the techie influence how well hidden the camera is, and how quickly it's installed/uninstalled. The camera itself should decide how easy it is to take down/destroy. Techies should get a large bonus to spotting cameras, so again, the master techie doesn't just have a monopoly and nobody spots their cameras, and there's interaction between lower techies and higher techies. I know some of these things already work like this, too, I'm just saying, for the system to be balanced and more fun for everyone, we'd need all these things working together. It taking time is a good step in the right direction, though, but with just that, I think the one uber techie would still dominate the entire field.

I'm gonna point to this post by reefer and quote it, and address it's points. Because these sound rational. But I'm going to explain how in a multiplayer game they can be cancerous to long term sustainability of a profession within a competitive space.

I recognize it can be frustrating to not be able to compete with someone who has invested the majority of their UE in an archetype but isn't that the whole point?

It's not actually frustrating to not be able to compete, it provides a target to meet, the issue is when that target is years and years and years away. And thus you lack the ability to plan for the occasion where you can compete. Think about it this way. And the typical response to this is to just kill them. But... Let's get into why this is a silly thing from a psychological perspective. And why it's not just frustrating to compete with it, it's impossible.

1. Why should Solo's Incorporated pick anyone but the best to set up their security devices?

2. Why should Solo's Incorporated not protect the security tech that knows their network and is the only one who can take it down from them?

So you therefore have an occasion where, once you have reached the pinnacle you can be guaranteed two things, protection, and support from other high end agents, and so long as you maintain a veneer of neutrality, you also have a guarantee of lots and lots of profit, lots and lots of profit. And with salesmanship, even more protection. Because you can market yourself as the only one who CAN maintain these networks. This will persist until inevitably, the character retires or perms themselves from the top of this profession.

This is the core flaw of any system where one person can climb to the top of the pile.

If it takes too long to be able to compete with that one person, it's futile to compete. Because you legitimately can't compete until you supplant said person in skill level.

To literally, lower the ceiling so their expensive UE expenditure means nothing at those higher tiers seems to go against the design itself.

The design of any system within a PVP game should motivate movement within that system, and reduce stagnation.

The tools in the game allow PC's to broach those great heights if they put forth a comparative effort to the opposition. There are also huge logistical flaws in having one mythical person being the keystone to your operation - exploit them. The problem with this, is that there doesn't need to be comparative effort. There just needs to be enough effort to maintain connections. If no one will employ the scrappy midbie tech, because the oldbie with 2 years UE invested in skills and stats in this technical field is in some way better than them, and they don't want to risk the ire or loss of business from said oldbie? Then guess what, that scrappy midbie tech has no real motivation or desire to keep plucking along. There's no profit in it. And comparatively you just risk pissing off people around you by testing your technical skills. And the moment you get close to supplanting said tech, there's very little reason for the current top tech to not put out hit after hit, using his network, and favors accrued over the years of being top tech, to eliminate the potential competition.

The deck is too far stacked in a system like this.

So then the question becomes, what's an adequate way to solve this...

Well every other technical skill, doesn't function like secure tech, and if secure tech functioned more like AutoTech or AeroTech, then you would see a lot more ability to compete using effort. Hell if it functioned a lot more like I've heard grid decking and cracking works, you'd see a lot more capacity to compete. Because in those fields midbies can compete with oldbies, VERY successfully, by putting in more effort/pulling the right favors.

But as it is right now, for secure tech, unless you are king of the hill UE wise, there's no reason for anyone else to enter the field. Because you're probably gonna be about as good as just grabbing a gold securitech skillsoft, and installing the device themself to a client.

I'm in favor of allowing elements outside of skill/stat check during install to effect these objects, and don't really have anything to say that hasn't already been said in that regard.

...but. I see a whole lot of talk about dethroning the current Kingpin, with no talk about how to reward the investment they've already made. So, given these two points are not mutually exclusive of each other (cause and effect)...

What if skill level during install instead determined functional reliability of the device in question, instead of a device providing a static, predictable benefit? SIC amps installed by a rookie (correct wiring, proper shielding if applicable, etc) would occasionally go out. Cameras and other devices would just stop working, as if they were painted. That sort of thing.

Skilled techs would be able to assess the work of another in much the same way that other skills allow you to. That provides some understanding of what quality you have so you're not just blind without the device in question spamming the crap out of you.

I think you can all see where I'm going with this.

Please consider the impact on the players who have poured their time into something when suggesting things like this, rather than just how the system impacts others.

@quotient:

Thanks for bringing this up on the BGBB, we talked about this very thing in XOOC this morning. Reworking the skill checks shouldn't be punitive for the people who have really dedicated to the skill, so we were contemplating ways in which the really deeply entrenched characters could get rewarded in other ways, but in ways that, in the spirit of this suggestion, also encourage cooperative competition.