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Lower the UE cap
Closing the competitive gap

A complaint I see often is how difficult it is to punch up in Sindome. Usually, it's from very difficult to impossible to newbies, no matter how many of them, to band up and go together against stronger (i.e. older, because that's how you measure combat strength in Sindome). We see new players that have to grind for months, years, slowly building up 3 UE a day until they are able to enter the high stakes competitive level of the game.

The whole purpose of this proposed change would not be to make the game easier, but to reduce the gap between "old" and "new" and to empower newbies to more quickly become competitive in the game. UE is what measures character progress and when it takes you up to three years on average to reach your "peak", when you are a newbie the game can feel like a grind when you get your ass handed to you even if you're entering the mildbie Curve.

Perhaps reducing the UE cap is not how we should close this gap and make the game more competitive. Perhaps we should balance combat to allow newbies to use artifacts, other like-minded allies (that don't necessarily have to be max UE either) or other items or mechanisms to give them at least a fighting chance. However, adjusting the UE cap seems an easier solution.

Caveats? Some people like the slow burn, and the long grind of slowly building up your stats/skills. Who has other thoughts about this?

I understand the sentiment of the post, but I find the desperate scheming to take down the powers that be, and often getting dunked on by persons with more resources/power, to be themely.

The most fun I've had in this MOO were the times I got horribly killed and racking my brain with a plan to get revenge, and then the satisfaction when it finally happens -- even if it takes months.

There's more to conflict than UE.
While it can be understandably frustrating at times, that slow crawl upward is what fuels a lot of the conflict in this game.

Every character isn't built the same, even around the same skillset/archetype. As a result, this slow burn allows people to get legs up on others, even much higher UE characters, due to character decisions, RP and tactics. It makes this a much more interesting game than if everyone ended up at the same level after a certain amount of playtime. There is a reason that usually those high UE people don't hit each other. Instead they fuel conflict by hitting lower, or hitting groups, or starting plots and schemes that draw in more people. Because its really not fun to just smack someone with the same stats as you.

This post seems to be entirely focused on combat, but there's a lot more to UE, to conflict and to Sindome than that.

You might even experience less conflict and punching up as a result of lowering the UE cap, because now it's more restrictive, and someone who could previously be both proficient in fighting and be creative on the side, or a mechanic on the side, has to choose between being that or combative.

Bouncing off PCow's post, I think you'd see even more minmaxers trying to squeeze the most out of limited UE.
IF we did this, I'd like to see combat skills refactored into Firearms (SMG, Pistol, Rifle), Melee (Melee, Short Blade, Long Blade), and Unarmed (Brawl, Martial Arts). That way there's more ue for non-combat things.
Good Afternoon!

With my limited perspective I am not sure that lowering the cap would be the answer, but I can see how conflict could definitely be less one-sided and more competitive on a wider scale if more people were on a more even playing field when it comes to direct confrontation.

It'd up the challenge and likely encourage more people to engage with existing conflicts or start their own.

However, I do see how it is exceptionally themely to be punched down on by higher powers, but I am starting to wonder based on the volume of feedback on this subject, if that sort of thing is best left to the regulation of Staff to be done in a responsible manner by the NPC aspects of the game, that promotes growth and good story telling to encourage players to get out more and be more involved.

Thanks for taking the time to discuss this!

I mean... I've trolled the forums quite a bit and this seems to come up pretty regularly.

I can tell you that my personal experience of "It's from very difficult to impossible to newbies, no matter how many of them, to band up and go together against stronger" is the opposite of yours. That said, a bunch of people with ill-distributed AE going up against a well built max UE combat PC in Xo3 or Xo5 are probably going to have a bad time. There are also other factors that curtail the veteran vs newbie dynamic somewhat, but I'm not going to go into those.

I have also seen quite a bit of moderation from (most) PCs in a position to make peoples' time on the game very uncomfortable, which I'm pretty proud of our playerbase for, because it was a concern of mine at some point.

I do not personally think there's much gain in lowering the cap (presumably adjusting stat/skills costs and the curve at the same time). I'll admit that my RL responsibilities keep me pretty busy though, so years fly by almost before I even notice them. I can imagine those players spending the majority of the day in game actively playing feel a bit of a drag, but they're also earning more UE for their activity.

It dawned on me suddenly that lowering the cap and instituting changes like ReeferMadness suggested would be a lot of work, to me it would make more sense to leave the cap alone and just increase UE gain by a x3 or something like that, if it takes 3 years to capout now it'd take 1 year after the change. That way you can preserve skill design and leave the cap as is.
Thanks everyone for your thoughtful responses and constructive feedback.

It is true that there is more conflict than UE. However character progress is measured in UE because it determines what you can do in the game. A lower limit would allow players to become competitive not only in combat but in other skills in the game. This hypothetical reduction would not be so outlandish to make progress meaningless, but only enough to reduce the newbie-midbie grind.

A lot of other mechanisms would have to be scaled as well, and that's another can of worms to open. Is there any other change we can introduce to allow newbies to become competitive in their trade without having to grind stats for months?

Newbies seeking more conflict with other newbies, and without (or with more hesitant) midbie/oldbie interference has always been the suggested route.
HolyChrome,

This was spoken about on OOC-chat, I am not sure if I saw you on at the time, but experiences were shared that when people of lower capabilities try to engage with each other in competitive conflict that more often than not you're seeing stronger people stomp it out.

I am not sure what the gain is there for them, but I imagine that if they're relatively unengaged themselves on their "level" then it is just 'something' to do with a surefire positive outcome for them personally.

It's entirely up to players to let people fight it out and avoid punching down and I am not sure you can reliably expect a player base to respect that.

Thank you for bringing that up though and engaging this topic!

I agree with koack here. If you look at it linearly as just pure combat, then yeah, there's a disparity. But this isn't everwar. A clever/resourceful player can draw on plenty of options to even the odds or overcome even max UE characters, and it is -very- satisfying.

While it can be frustrating to get dunked on all the time by 'elite' characters, keep in mind that they fought and bled and got dunked on the same way. That isn't to say it's an initiation, but they -are- around still because they survived despite all that. Withmore isn't for the faint of heart, and surviving long enough to be called elite is one of the trials you face as a citizen. And keep in mind, that even as a max ue character, there are some things that maybe you'll still get dunked on.

I look at the UE we earn is a supplement to being resourceful. Maybe the more UE you have, the less you have to rely on your own cunning as a player, but some things don't change, and if you aren't resourceful - or worse, you're a good old fashioned baka, no amount of UE is going to keep you from getting dunked on.

There are IC ways of boosting things that would normally take UE as well - drugs, nanogens and cyberware mainly, but I'm sure there are things I'm missing.

If an immy had a -really- good few weeks and hustled, in theory they could outclass someone who has inputted a fair chunk of UE time just with money made if spent right.

@Andromeda

It's something that's been preached before, that just because you can, doesn't mean you should. You'll see this perpetuated in a number of ways.

I have always thought this, and because the ever-common defense of 'Sindome isn't just combat/UE' defense is popular and present, I'd like to adress that.

Sindome might not be just combat or UE, but it sure as hell is a massive part of it. You are seriously delusional if you think someone with UE and resources isn't the completely dominant party in any sort of conflict. Social, combative, economic... UE is king in all of these.

Sure, you can chum up to a solo and have them fight your battles, but not every character is going do that, and the reality is, they have no recourse because the gap is simply too big. And because of how UE works,you will, generally speaking, never catch up. (or maybe in a few years, which is ridiculous). It becames a matter of who's been around the longest, not who is creative, a good roleplayer, a good tactician, none of those things.

Put a bounty on them? They put a bigger one on you. Fight them? They win. Defame them? They have more credibility than you. The vast, vast majority of conflict is completely skewed towards the party with the most UE.

And that's fine. But it's not fine that it's so heavy that 3 months difference between characters makes for a one-sided fight, let alone any real time difference. I want to have conflict with characters, not bags of money or statsheets.

Honestly, my suggestion would be even more extreme and I'm sure it'll get laughed at so I won't go into detail but I've thought about it a lot.

Let characters assign as much of their UE at character gen as they want. Bam. Everyone plays what they want, people who want to make a long-running character and leave a mark still can, differences are now mostly in builds, gear and tactics/intrigue. People who want to start from the bottom still can, people who want to be competitive now can.

HolyChrome and I are on the same page, more or less.

However, we could identify areas, mechanically, where newbies are forced to overlap with older PCs, and create more opportunities there for lower skill levels to capitalize on, while still enabling the more experienced characters to leverage their commitment.

Electro/Secure Tech, for example. If there was a common need for something that capped out early on that would allow newer PCs to utilize their skills with minimal investment, and only serve as an unprofitable hassle for the veterans...

I meant to make progress less drawn out, not inexistent at all :P
People keep talking about the three year path to max UE and how long it is. I want o point out that for a relatively focused build (not extreme min/maxed but certainly focused) there's not as much of a difference between a 1.25 year old character and a 2.5 year old character in terms of pure mechanics and stats/skills and people seem to think.

Once you are about 1.25 years worth of UE in on a character advancement slows drastically. There is much more of a difference between a .25 year old character and a .5 year old character than a 1.25 year old character and a 2.5 year old character.

I am not saying that the pace or spread could not be adjusted if desired but that this scary '3 years to max out' thing is a bit overblown in my opinion.

Yup. That curve is brutal, and the perceived gap between 1.5 and 3 years is pretty miniscule if you're specialized. Older characters will undoubtedly have an advantage when it comes to utility though.
@Grey I think this thread is mostly about new(er) characters. I don't think people generally complain too much about the curve and disparities between higher-end characters.

@Villa UE is tied to progress, but it is not progress. You may come into the city a badass brawler, but you're still a dumb immie who doesn't know shit. You don't have money, a job, friends or anything else. Your story is the progress. UE just helps it along.

The issue is that without UE, you're more or less only going to be making friends, or fighting other immies. This is boring and not only makes people conflict-adverse (why punch up if you're definitely going to lose) ((and usually get 0 RP out of it)) as was discussed in OOC-chat, as well as make the game feel like a slog because you generally never 'overtake' anyone for at least a year, and even then, people who were around before you are STILL stronger/better than you.

I want people to care about immies as more than just warm bodies. I want dynamics, characters being toppled, people clawing at each other's backs to climb, instead of just being everyone's dog to kick for a year and then doing that to others.

I'm not under the illusion that this wouldn't need many other changes to systems and how the game works, but by the thread's own admission, this complaint comes up a lot. And has done so for a while. That means there is a problem. I don't think anyone really finds being drip-fed stats with zero relation to what you do ingame over years a well-designed system, fun, or beneficial for the game.

honestly, as someone who doesnt really have as much time to spend on sd, id be up for lowering the gap purely because 3 years, hell even 1.5 years to "max out" on ue just feels like an unnecessarily long amount of time to dump

its pretty annoying being at a disadvantage because you cant play sd daily for hours at a time

i really dont blame players for being risk averse when you can stand to lose months or years of time investment just like that

I agree with the general gist of this post but believe I have a more convenient suggestion to implement.

My suggestion to address the "UE disparity problem" would be not to lower the cap but to instead raise the base capability of characters. To give a rough example of what I mean; characters would start at level 10, and progress to level 20 as opposed to starting at level 1 and progressing to level 10. That way characters are still rewarded for investing UE with progression in their chosen fields, but can only get twice as capable as a new character, as opposed to potentially 10 times more powerful. This suggestion would allow even the full UE characters to keep their current stat allocation (and the incremental adjustments to ability that the large ue count provides) but would level the playing field between oldbie and newbie to a more fair and balanced one.

With that suggestion out of the way onto my stance on the topic that has come up which seems to be "Is the current UE system an issue?". My short answer on this is yes. More on why to follow.

1) The mechanics exist to support the roleplay, so whilst it is entirely valid to say that "roleplay is more important than the mechanics", when the mechanics often dictate the direction of the roleplay it is entirely worth critiquing the mechanics.

2) Sindome is a PvP game, which means that player characters will come into conflict with each other to generate much of the excitement.

3) Sindome is an RPG, which inherently means that older charcters with more exp are more mechanically powerful than newer ones.

4) In most PvP enabled RPG games some form of balance exists to ensure the playing field between competitors is somewhat even. This forces players to use their wits to out do one another in their chosen field and come out on top. In a Sindome context this use of wits is read as roleplaying.

5) Sindome bucks this trend amongst PvP rpgs by allowing characters of a high level to engage in conflict with lower ones, placing the lower level characters at a significant disadvantage.

6) This issue applies to more than just combat. To provide some non-combat examples:

6a) Player tailors can produce better goods because they have more UE but are under no obligation to charge more, making life harder for a beginner tailor to enter the market.

6b) An experienced security/electro_tech technician can just install -more- than a low level one and its in better. As a result of this players have little incentive to try and give the newbie security technician a chance and either not have their wares installed, or have them at risk due to a poor instillation.

Point 5 is the most open to dispute here with the most common arguement being "roleplay can overcome a UE difference". This is true, it can, but it's far harder than it should be. When the chips are down, mechanics matter. I'll use combat here as it provides some of the most clear cut examples and this is a scenario I have seen play out multiple times over my Sindome "career". Read it over and think back to see if it seems familiar at all:

-> Rookie John doesn't like the cut of Oldbie Bill's jib. Whether Bill hurt John in the past and John is looking for revenge, or perhaps John simply wants his fancy boots, John is going to take Bill down. He schemes for weeks and roleplays his ass off, hires a crew of five either by spending his total savings or sheer force of charisma. Then he strikes when Bill least expects it. Bill throws up his guard and strikes them dead to the last man.

Did this example reward strength of roleplay or strength of mechanics? Shouldn't we always be seeking to reward the strength of ones roleplay?

This has dragged on longer than intended, but I'll finish by saying I love you guys and I love the fact everyone is willing to take the time to discuss this civally.

If PC's aren't respecting the quality of the goods/services they're selling, I think it's something GMs and PCs can collectively referee ICly through various means up to and including violence.

>Rookie John...

That last scenario sounds like the sorta thing that should be encouraged. It should be very difficult to take down a walking killing machine Oldbie. And even though John failed, he created jobs for five other players, an encounter for the Oldbie to use in his plots, and lots of reverberating rp. He didn't win but he won, you know? Just my take.

Going off the Rookie John story above -

That is part of the reason I personally enjoy the balance of the game, even if frustrating at times. It allows people to be legends, but it also allows people to get to legend status through their actions and RP (for example, if Rookie John won the day against Bill).

I can think of at least two characters I have been around to see start as lowly immies, sometimes even seen as jokes, rise to become RP powerhouses in short orders of time against people technically 'above their level'. Some use copious RP and player resources, some use creative use of game mechanics to outwit their opponents, some use money. Regardless, it is the reason characters like Seven Ecks and other old characters are still talked about. Those who rose up through the system through roleplaying and facing harsh odds are the new legends. Some people go out in blazes of fast glory, but are talked about on SIC for YEARS after they perm out, some even at the stage of being just out of what we vaguely refer to as immies.

If UE is adjusted to make the mechanics more even, this would get rid of a lot of that conflict, and instead this would be either a fully roleplaying game, with little mechanics, or it would cause people to become even more involved in combat minmaxing than already occurs.

I have seen the Rookie John scenario play out many times. He always loses, and usually not in a fun way. @Kroack is also not mentioning the fact that after that encounter, Bill will usually make John's life hell for weeks, sometimes months, usually by killing them over and over. As for creating RP for the other five people and a memorable scene... That's neither here nor there. You can make a memorable scene out of anything and that should have no relevance on the mechanical balance of the game.

The issue is, the person who put time and effort into pursuing something lost to someone who put 0 effort in, purely because balance is so heavily skewed towards UE. Nobody minds 'losing' when it provides good RP, but losing usually means you have a shot. There was no shot there. I've seen this bleed into IC numerous times. 'Oh, no way I'm doing that, we'll all just die, there's no point'. <<< This is super common. People already know they'll lose, both IC and OOC, and asking people to willingly go die to someone because you'll still get a good scene out of it is not helpful at all.

Oldbie killing machines can exist. They already have more experience, IC and OOC, gear, friends and many other advantages, they have no need to also then have a near absolute statistical advantage that makes them virtually unkillable. Sindome is not meant to be a power fantasy, the staff is clear on this, and it's why they often create roadblocks for older players. Think about that. Staff has to create roadblocks for the most powerful players... Because other players generally can't.

If that sounds fine to you, then I don't know. Inaction is the death of RP. Think about Rookie John after that encounter and subsequent beatdowns and deaths. Is he going to try again? Why should he? No. He'll do what everyone does. Pick on small fry until they've played long enough that most people are small fry. That sucks.

The sentiment that lowering the UE cap will have people min-max to a higher degree is correct. My original alt had 2.5x the current UE cap, spread across a ton of skills/stats/languages. He was powerful, sure, but when we implemented the UE cap and gave everyone a respec, he came out of his respec (I tested this) able to kill his former self 9/10 times. Why? Because he went from a generalist to a specialist.

I don't like the UE cap at all. I think the artificial ceiling was important during a time when we didn't have cyberware, drugs, nanos, powerful weapons, armor, etc that evened the playing field.

In my opinion, the UE cap has, overall, achieved the goal of creating a cap on how good you can get, but also made it so that people pigeon hole themselves into a specific build and are unwilling to change or adapt or take a side jaunt to learn some medical skill because their character is stuck in the badlands for 3 months with no doctor, or learn brawling because their character is going under cover in the Mix as a UMC fighter, because the thinking is OOC and not IC, it's 'well if i put UE into this now, I I never get it back and it's basically lost after this plot/experience/whatever is over. I need to focus on my X skill and my X stat exclusively."

There is less experimentation. Less interesting builds. It makes the game paint by numbers, and that makes it less fun.

I am 150% against the UE cap in general, always have been, always will be. Sure, not having it means some characters will be more powerful, and IMO that is a good thing. We don't allow UE sponging, which means if they are getting more powerful it's because they are on and RPing and taking risks.

There is little incentive and little the GMs can do within the rules, when someone hits max UE and decides to just coast and not engage in RP except to fuck with people they don't ICly like every now and then. They can sit in their cubes, having accomplished all they will accomplish, and not need to accomplish any more, because they aren't going to be rewarded with delicious UE for going out and taking a risk.

The game was still fun when characters had 5000-7000ue that they had gained over 10 years. We still have a UE curve that prevents someone from getting SO MUCH better than everyone else that they are untouchable. We still have drugs, and cyber and other things that can boost a middlebe who hasn't hit the UE cap to the MAX a stat can be.

I'm not for it.

(Edited by Slither at 8:23 am on 1/3/2021)

I was thinking long about this post, and reading Slither's post actually made me feel less weird about what I perceived as just another one of my odd opinions, but I think the UE cap is too low, for exactly the reason Slither is speaking about.

I think there is a compromise solution, but I don't think we'll ever see it due to sunk-cost fallacy. That being said, makings skills less specific (rifle/pistol/smg rolled into firearms for example) and adding specializations onto specific tasks instead (B-level Firearms with 3 levels of SMG specialization for example) would be one path that I would very much support.

I think the amount of UE a player has available certainly does elicit the desire to minmax, ESPECIALLY at low levels, due to the slow speed at which you're gaining UE presently. A curved UE earning might not be a bad play either for this very reason. Give new players 3x as much UE for the first three months, and I think the metagame will be more survivable to people that are trying it out.

I want to chime on this point that @Slither made

In my opinion, the UE cap has, overall, achieved the goal of creating a cap on how good you can get, but also made it so that people pigeon hole themselves into a specific build and are unwilling to change or adapt or take a side jaunt ...

I have had this exact experience many times and as recently as yesterday.

When I first started playing, I allocated my UE in a fairly organic manner to align with what my character was actually doing. If they were doing combat, I would spend UE on combat skills and stats. If they were doing something else, I would spend UE on that something else. For me it was a good way to learn about the various systems and experiment with them.

Now that my character is a bit older, I find myself actively fighting against the inclination to align UE spend with character activities because often times it is a "waste" and a detraction from what I as a player want my character to be "good / competitive" at. As much as I do not want to know it, I know that I have a limited pool of UE to work with. I know what I want my character to be competitive against others in the same niche.

While I am normally against "unlimited" stat / skill accumulation, the point that @Slither made about stats and skills having a max level somewhat moderates that position for me. As long as stats and skills are capped at the upper level, it seems mostly reasonable to allow a character who can survive for a long time to be able to grow and have the ability to effectively interact with more of the coded systems.

The primary downside I see to unlimited stat and skill growth is synergies. If skills and stats stack and heavily synergize with each other then there is the very real risk that those very old characters will have nearly insurmountable advantages over younger characters. If on the other hand skills and stats only synergize with one or two other skills or stats, then this is less of a problem. (Please, let's not go into discussions about coded systems and synergies. It's been stated that they are there, but we don't need to delve into exactly how they work.)

To give a pretty common example from RPGs in general, consider DPS (damage per second). Most games will allow characters to buff actual DPS such that they get more consistent damage per hit. Or the game will allow characters to buff critical chance which increases the likelihood that they will see a big burst of double, triple or even more damage in exchange for a lower damage per hit for those hits that do not crit. Obviously, characters can try to mix a combination of the two.. a bit more damage and a bit more crit chance. But I have never seen a system that allows a character to max their damage per hit AND max their crit chance. It's usually an either or choice.

I hope that staff takes into account similar dynamics when it comes to High / Max UE characters. Hopefully there are not dynamics where characters get to have their cake and eat it too. Hopefully there is always SOME trade off to be made that prevents the "ultimate" minmaxed combo that "always" comes out ahead.

Hmm... This is probably a more complex (or at least, the implementation would be) idea than most of you, or coders would be down for, but...

You could remove the hard cap, and have the least utilized skills/stats deteriorate over time. Going to focus on skills here. This would allow you to invest in skills you otherwise wouldn't, and if you're not using them (just as in real life), you just wouldn't be great at them. Skills over a certain threshold would be subject to their own sort of deterioration. So if you're an absolute master at something, it's going to take a constant (very heavy at that point) investment to keep that skill in shape.

This isn't really a fleshed out alternative, admittedly. Just kind of mused over it cooking.

I find myself agreeing with most everything Slither said but I do have a kind of concern/question and a comment.

The concern/question:

If characters can effectively branch out in any and all directions, does this lower or negate the need for PCs to work together with other types of PCs?

Comment:

To me there's three factors. Growth rate, range, and niche protection. They all play together too to some degree.

Growth rate is pretty easy. How much time it takes to get from immy to top tier in a thing. I'd say that is roughly 1.5 years. Is this too long? Just right?

Range is how much of a difference there is between the newbie and the Oldbie in any given activity. This can be set by shrinking or growing the lower and upper bounds but is also impacted by growth rate as a faster rate pushes people into that curve area faster and essentially cuts out the bottom part of the range as nobody stays in it long at all.

Niche Protection:

Is it important that a PC can't practically do all the jobs on his own? Is it not? On the one hand you usually seem characters that are far more multi-dimensional in fiction than you do in Sindome but even then they are usually not able to do EVERYTHING on their own. How do you keep someone from becoming that everything baka in too extreme a way?

In Addition:

This is kind of why I was and am such a big fan of a degradation mechanic for skills, stats and even advantages and specializations. The ability to drop these things at a controlled rate would be beautiful. It would allow PCs to evolve over time and experiment and fix little issues like that 0.5 UE they put into heavy weapons on accident. Character evolution is more interesting to me than advancement. A system like this isn't perfect but kind of does a decent job of giving you a bit of both worlds.

I think we're starting to branch into two different (if related) problems. OP's suggestion was regarding punching up and encouraging more vertical movement instead of people just punching at their weight or below. This is more about minmaxing

Just my two cents on what's being discussed now. People will game absolutely everything, every single time. You can think of just about any game ever made and even games specifically designed not to be gamed, and people game them. I would be very much against removing the cap because it would make the current problem that much worse.

There's already, in my opinion, no 'progression' in Sindome apart from slight build differences. You never really get better than anyone else because everyone else progresses at the same pace (more or less). From the moment you enter the city, to your last day, the exact same people that were there before will ALWAYS be ahead of you. Removing the UE cap by itself would just mean that even if you stick it out for 3 years or whatever, that solo you've always wanted to get revenge on would be stronger than you, forever. Or artist, or fixer, or whatever.

Sure, it would provide some more freedom for long-term characters, but Sindome isn't all long-term characters and I don't think it should cater specifically to them.

The relationship between UE and time either should not exist or it should be tweaked significantly. We do not want Sindome to be a competition of time, and that is what it is, a lot of the... Time.

I'm new so if I'm way off base with this please let me know, but wouldn't leaving the cap the same while raising the daily earn limit to let's say 4-5 UE per day help this? You would reach max slightly faster than the 2-2.5 years or so it tells you, and be able to distribute a few more points accordingly along the way to bridge that gap just a little bit between fresh players and those that have been around for years.
@Quotient

I like the idea of skill degradation and maintenance. The former has been brought up numerous times before. Maintenance seems new, or at least this is the first time that I remember it registering.

The suggestion that maintaining mastery requires a lot of consistent investment is kind of out of alignment with how mastery works, especially for physical skills. The hard work is in achieving mastery. Often times the hard work is simply the persistence required over months and years to hone the body, nervous system, etc. to the point where the motions are ingrained and automatic. There is a popular theory that it takes 10,000 hours to master something. Once a person masters something, they don't lose that 10,000 hours of development if they stop practicing every day.

Physical attributes on the other hand DO require constant training and update. Especially things like strength, endurance and agility. Unless a person forces themselves to move a lot of weight, their muscles will shrink because they are not needed. Same with stamina. Same with stretching and staying flexible (agility). All of those require a regular routine to maintain.

I'll draw the parallel to learning kung fu. I started training kung fu when I was 23 (a pretty late start all things considered). I'm currently 42. Somewhere along the way, I developed a strong enough grasp on the fundamentals that I became qualified to teach others. I peaked at about 29. The difference between where I am now, and where I was at 29 is physical condition. I still have my kung fu. I am still going to react the way I would react if someone attacked me. The difference is that I might not be as fast, or as strong, or most worrisome, I don't have the same stamina to stay in the fight. I still train on an almost daily basis, but not with the same intensity and for the same duration that I did at my peak.

I have seen this idea, lowering the hill to climb, play out in another MUD. It killed the MUD. 50% of the players who had achieved something in the old system got pissed off and left, and the other plays who rushed to the top barely experienced any hardships or struggles to achieve it.

The UE peek is a long haul for a reason. It's something you earn, and something you can fail at. Lowering the peek of the mountain doesn't make the view any better from the top, and it certainly doesn't make the hike up there any more enjoyable.

Keep struggling up towards the goal and I promise you the journey will be more enjoyable than the finish line. Make enemies, make allies, struggle and take chances, get burned and struggle back onto your feet again, the UE cap is not the game.

@Hek

Honestly, my response/idea was spurred by Slither's response, but it's probably not within the boundaries of the OP's original intention, as they specifically requested shortening the investment.

If you feel the idea has merit and want to discuss it, I'll happily continue in another thread.

We want you to end your characters and not cling to the same one forever. Please don't misunderstand the direction the signals are giving you. DCD, UE Cap, hints that show up in your @stats are all meant to drive you to roll a new character for a new experience after you've been here long enough with one.
This is Cyberpunk.

Everyone should be able to be taken down, but punching up should be appropriately terrifying. A big theme in Cyberpunk is going up against impossible odds and sometimes (often) getting your ass handed to you.

Everything else has already been said by others.

Good evening!

Johnny, I understand that perspective a lot and that was my understanding from glancing OOC-Chat over the past couple of months, but Slither's post made me think a little differently about it, so I am unsure.

There seems to be a ideological split between the two of you. I'm getting the impression that this is what you would like it to be like, but it's not a hard and fast regulation once you reach a certain age?

Just trying to be sure I understand!

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

The UE Cap is universal, even Seven couldn't get beyond it in the end. Some folks, they left when we added the UE Cap.

I like to think there are degrees of attachment that people can form with their characters. Some attachment is healthy; helps you make decisions that keep your character alive. Too much attachment and you might do unhealthy things like play too much, or to a lesser degree, become emotionally invested in your character to a level that makes it hard to let go.

This got us to kitchen sink oldbies who could generally solve any problem without involving anyone. No, I made it clear, after a certain point, its time for a cyberpunk exit.

Y'all aren't ruled by all powerful oldbies because of the UE Cap. Y'all don't know those days.

I do think that the investment to get above average in a thing is pretty huge. If I look at trying to get good at something that takes two stats and a couple skills, I am looking at 200 days of solid investment before I am decent at it. That's not top of the mountain, that's good enough that you can probably do things if other people complete with you. You probably need another 100-200 days of solid investment to be the best at it.

That's a really long haul with little room for diversion for interesting things in your build. Because if you do, you won't be good at the thing you want to be good at.

I think a lot of PvP games took the route of reducing the time to get good at something. Either by reducing the cost top to bottom or lowering the top end cap. Look at Eve for an example of a system that works like this. Other games just make getting better ever more expensive and prohibitively so. Sindome does this, but it takes a really long time to get to that point. There are lots of ways to do this, but I personally think that it should be pretty quick to get to "proficient" in a thing.

Here are some thoughts on the current system:

1) It discourages risk in a lot of cases. When you lose, you can be set back MONTHS. That's a huge red flag to try some risky stuff. Additionally, the enemies you make will likely really look down on this and if you are punching up... well... you're likely done.

2) It promotes security among a small number of characters who just don't have much to fear. I think everyone should be afraid. If you're going to mess with someone, anyone, there should be a reasonable chance, no matter who they are, that it can go belly up. When that doesn't exist, then there is a repercussionless feedback for punching down. Sure, it's nice that a lot of players don't do this, but the system shouldn't encourage it either. Yeah, that badass solo should likely win against 5 bakas... but it shouldn't be as guaranteed as it is. That solo should really have to think about if he wants to do that each time and is it worth the risk.

3) It breaks immersion. Seeing people just shrug off multiple people/wounds without really blinking just breaks the feel that this is a dangerous place.

4) It does trivialize the usefulness of new characters. If you try to help them, currently there is often only a small benefit for doing so. In many cases they don't stick around to be an asset and even if they do, having a few older friends is nearly always preferable to trying to engage newer players in plots and schemes.

@Johnny

But... part of that attachment comes from how long you have to play a character to make impactful things. I mean... getting attached is kind of inevitable when you play someone for year(s). Especially with the kind of RP that's in the game. Ups and Downs and all.

Wouldn't making character investment to decent or useful help with lowering attachment? I'd be far more inclined to be risky in certain things if I didn't have the knowledge that it would take me Year(s) to get back to a point where I felt like I could do some of the things I wanted to do.

Coming from the point having played characters long enough to be around the cap,

Johnny's perspective is a good one. While some people definitely do keep around their characters because they like playing them once they hit a cap, many do bow out, be that through retiring the character, taking a year vacation and staying as that character, dying in a blaze of glory, whatever else.

This keeps the roleplaying fresh. Characters that know what its like to be at the top can start again as someone else, and bring that knowledge of the journey to bringing RP again and bring new people with them on the way up. It allows that corporate super star to reroll as a ganger but take the same roleplaying power into that new roll and stimulate that location more.

And in the end - its also more cyberpunk. As Dexter Deshawn says " Would you rather live in peace as a Mr Nobody or go down for all time in a blaze of glory?" Those who choose to stay around do, but tend to not be as legendary as those who go out in a big plot or after completing a major goal that brings lots of RP. The memory of Max Cap corpie who just did their job, maybe did a plot occasionally, and threw money around on cars, kashflo, and occasionally some people tend to fade from memory quickly, while Max Cap corpie who say hits the cap, decides they are better than their job, spurs large amounts of RP before dying/retiring by fleeing the city to return another day causes more player and world interaction and as such is remembered. Many of the names that pop up on SIC constantly, years after they died, weren't even max UE. They went out in blazes of glory (good or bad), making lots of RP around those events, before dying and becoming a new character to spur RP somewhere else.

The mechanic stops stagnation. Could it be adjusted? Sure. Should it be adjusted? I don't think so.

The systems in place have rarely in my experience, been what drives someone to end their character. Additionally, I have played characters across the UE spectrum and I have never, not once, felt like I have nothing to fear. The risk of death NEVER goes away no matter how much UE you have. In some ways, it rises.

It's preference in my opinion and I think a mix is healthy. Characters that stick about as well as characters that come and go. Both bring life to the game. I am not sure why there's a need to force it to be entirely one way or another.

But if the argument is made that characters ending is desired, and avoiding too much attachment is desired, then I feel there are so MANY things about Sindome as it is now that encourages the opposite. I think it's silly to tell someone they need to play for a year plus to for their PC become a serious player (in terms of stats and skills) then suggest they shouldn't be attached to the time and effort they put into that character.

If moving from character to character is desired, make the road to competitiveness more rapid and the range narrower. Yes, some might choose to leave but I do not believe that changing this one aspect of the game would break Sindome though it might change the kinds of players Sindome attracts and maintains. There are plenty of games that have healthy communities without a 1+ year investment required to become competitive.

In almost every case I have scene where a PC is removed from the game to start a new one, it was because the player wanted to try new things or felt their old PC had run their course. Not because DCD or UE made it happen.

I would totally +1 Grey's answer.

People are risk averse when the stakes are so high. Why would I want to punch up when I have invested a year into a character and I'm still only decent? If I fail, I might get a few weeks of fun RP and then bam. Back to being a nobody for another year.

I also really disagree with the, 'Immies who hustle can make a huge impact' sentiment. Yes, there are immies who can be more effective than others, but where it really counts, it takes time to be able to do anything, much less be good at it.

That's why I would love to see the time to get good at something drastically reduced and the difference between good at great reduced. I think it would make the game far more lively with people more willing to risk and try things.

Less time to reach 'endgame' would make the game more dynamic and deadly, it does feel like a slow crawl to the top at times...but success is relative.

I still think that flash beats UE, obviously things take time but a clever character could reach 'endgame' flash lvls faster than the UE cap...with what? RP and a good brain.

Then you can own all the Solos you want and make them kill each other while you watch safety from Blue Sector.

I had been playing a RP heavy game which also includes combat. You could say there are twenty levels. It usually takes about one year to reach twenty with consistent play everyday. Players reach about level 6 rather fast and then the grind begins. But the idea is that players are able to fill in a role a bit quicker.

The RP is great on the server. Its very popular too, more players than SD. Im just pointing out a system with quicker gains works elsewhere. Of course Sindome has a theme of struggle, hence the long peak period.

But with some real honesty and sense, if it takes 3 years on SD to be at your peak, this might be a really daunting mechanic requiring too much commitment for most people. And when I say most people, I'm comparing this to the average RP mmo player.

I view 1-2 years peak period as fine.

I have to admit, one of the reasons preventing me from trying a new character is that I'd be very bored not being able to do much mechanically for months on end. My favorite thing is learning all these really awesome systems the game has and how they interact.

Hitting the UE cap isn't that fun because you're stuck without a way to learn anything new, there's a lot less character growth. Making a new character isn't an incentive for two reasons, first because you lose all of the history and friends and enemies, second because you go from being able to do a lot of fun activities to being almost completely useless.

The solution that I'd rather see would be:

1. Slightly faster UE gain so that it doesn't take an entire year of investment in a single build to be competitive in a single area.

2a. Ability to either respec every 6 months, so you can adapt your character based on RP, or:

2b. A new system allowing you to forget unused skills and regain the lost UE.

Make a system that allows people to fail and learn faster. :)

Re: DiamondNine's point 2b.

An @unassign or @forget or something like that was discussed at some point but I dunno what came of it or what admin thought of it.