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Rebalance Skillsofts
Let techs fight

I find it intrinsically unfair that a combat character can slot skillsofts and be a perfectly functional utility character, but a non-combat character will never be able to buy their way onto the battlefield. You can argue that Skillsofts can't match up to the really good techs, but a skillsoft'd tech wouldn't match up to the really good solos either.

I am not sure exactly how to balance this issue, but I do think it needs to be looked at.

The balance for it is easy, but I think posting it here would be ICINFO.
Just remove skillsoft. You either invest in combat, or you invest in utility. Stop giving certain characters both.
I think removing skillsofts would be unfortunate. They're such a core cyberpunk concept, and in general I want more chrome and not less.
They're very broken, and detract from RP as you can choose to neglect playing with othr people that invested in skills you didn't by paying chy.
Softs are fine. They straight-up can't out-perform somebody actually invested in a skillset. The best they can do is an approximation that will get you by.
Could just nerf them. Or make skillsofts combat applicable?
Getting rid of skillsofts would be leave gaps and holes in the game when certain archetypes go unplayed, which can still happen with a larger playerbase.

The solution is to convince the player culture to seek out characters who can benefit their characters with these skills rather than taking the easy way out with a skilsoft for everything.

Or give skillsofts a limited license? You want to buy a skillsoft, cool. You've got 30 uses left in your bronze soft license.
I think we are seeing issues when there aren't any.

I DO think that skillsofts (and more importantly skills in general) can use a rebalance but some of the things posted here are blown out of proportion. I generally hear two things over and over again. They are both exaggerations at best.

One, a combat focused PC can slot a soft and be just as good at tasks as a PC who specialized is. Not really. I have personally seen max UE combat focused PCs slot the best softs and complain that they still can't manage to compete with a PC who specialized in that arena. They CAN compete with a PC who just dabbles but not against one who truly specialized.

Two, a PC can not used skillsofts effectively in combat. Again, I have personally seen PCs slot a soft and go kick some butt. Using a variety of combat skills. Again, they won't be able to compete with a PC who has focused on combat but they can come pretty close. What's more, skillsofts in combat some with unique risks. You CAN put in the time and effort to mitigate those risks. There are things you can do.

Further, there is actually one archetype that truly benefits from skillsofts in a way that no others can even approach that nobody ever seems to complain about them. Which I find surprising. :P

I think the real issue with skillsofts has to do with the skills themselves. Some skills like combat skills give you a reason to want to keep pouting more and more and more UE into them. Others do not and you will never see some skills with more than a moderate level of investment.

Instead of removing skillsofts or nerfing them I'd rather see staff looking at EVERY in game skill and ensuring that there are real reasons for a PC to want to invest in it as deeply as one would invest in a combat skill. Because right now, that is often not the case and THIS is what can give certain skillsofts so much utility.

Post removed due to IC info.

(Edited by Celestial at 1:33 am on 11/27/2020)

^ Grey0 made some solid points. A bit of rebalance wouldn't hurt. It does feel like some skills give minimal benefit beyond x level of skill. Maybe that isn't exactly true, but player perception drives player behavior.
Grey0,

those are great points. Especially about the balance of 'This skill merits a ton of investment' versus 'ehhh, I'll invest a few dozen UE, there is no reason to go beyond that'.

I think the biggest key factor here is that combat skills are PvP wheras most technical skills are exclusively PvE. If Technical skills were given more Pvp utility, I believe we would see a huge desire to really push into those utility skills.

I think that I have a different view of PvP. PvP AND be direct (and I think this is what you are focusing more on) but to can also be indirect.

For example, there is not unlimited flash in the game and the inflow of flash from game systems is intentionally limited. This means that competing for the biggest possible chunk of that flash flow is a PvP endeavor even if you never once rull a skill against a competitor in this sphere.

There are so many ways that you can use skills in a PvP manner that does not involve a skill roll off with them.

Again, this could all use some balancing and attention but I think it would help a lot of players to expand their view of PvP a little.

They're very broken, and detract from RP as you can choose to neglect playing with othr people that invested in skills you didn't by paying chy.

Say more?

It doesn't seem like it can be both "very broken" and simultaneously so effective that people pay chy for them and don't RP with you.

NB: To me, "broken" means either "buggy" or "woefully unbalanced". If it means something different to you, can you clarify?

In my experience, skillsofts are just a necessary reality. Player activity, how skills are balanced, how long they take to learn, that they often can't be unlearned, et cetera.

In another game skillsofts might be redundant, but at least for some things I don't see how Sindome functions without them.

Skillsofts are perfectly fine as they are.

People greatly overestimate the fuctionality of high-level softs. Someone with any serious training in a given field will readily blow away even the best soft user.

And let's not forget that softs are no different than any other skill in the game. If you don't have the stats to drive that skill, then the skill is going to be shit regardless.

Super bleeding edge solos slotting a tech soft and stealing all the tech work seems like a gross exaggeration, and if those techs are getting their biz stolen, then they need to up their game, because, again, stats matter more than skills.

It seems to me that none of this touches the OP's concern, which is that technical softs are considerably more useful than combat softs because of the specific drawback that combat softs have.

My experience has certainly been that combat softs are used considerably less often than technical softs, which speaks to that issue. Is that other people's experience? Certainly even a platinum combat softs won't make you competitive at the top end, but there is something thematically interesting about the chromer gang slotting their silver melee soft and rolling out with their chains swinging, which isn't really possible with the current mechanics.

I think that has more to do with combat skills requiring much broader and deeper stat investments to support them, and once a character has all that UE invested, why bother using a soft when you can just learn the skill? Combat skills are evergreen.

My perspective is that skillsofts are there to plug gaps that a small player base introduces, and there's never any lack of combat archetypes kicking around.

I think there's some flipsides here that really aren't being pointed out, mainly this:

Skillsofts turn you into a fucking chrome pinata.

Besides the inital cost of the chrome, and the soft, AND the stats you need with it, if you ever need to do biz outside of a secure location (or you forget you have it slotted, which is super easy to do) you are losing some big chy. And if you had set up an entire biz apparatus around the skillsoft, you're either going to pay out the nose to get it back from your killer, or you'll have to buy a lower quality one. If someone is rinse-and-repeat whacking you, you'll have to give up the angle pretty soon.

This makes tech characters who don't rely on softs more reliable. Especially for dicey jobs. The mano with a plat soft is more likely to chicken out or overcharge than the mano who just needs to pay for a clone.

Additionally, I've experienced firsthand that "slot and win" just isn't how it works for tech skills. I invested a lot in chrome for a particular skill and found out I was absolute horseshit with it even with the best available chrome; because my stats weren't there to support it. Also, there are some weapons that lend themselves better with softs. Especially in more of a supporting role.

If you know someone who is running a riot with skillsofts, a cool move would be to get them out in the open and then bop them. If you're a technical character who's having trouble competing, get your hands on their chrome and wreck shit up with their softs until you can compete on your own!

@0x1mm, I don't quite agree regarding combat softs. I think they will never help you compete against your 'peers' -- but the downside they have make them considerably less useful competing against people who are beneath you in stats/slotted skills, because the downside is something that triggers with a heavy random chance element. (Though of course on SD, even random chance isn't entirely random.)
I would appreciate an IC guide being created that can describe which archetypes can benefit from which skillsofts and how best to use each skillsoft.

For how expensive they are (and the setup), slotting one and then not knowing what to do with it (if anything) feels very disincentivising.

I see us all having our own very different, limited opinions on skillsofts, which shows that their intended use is not obvious at all.

How much would you pay someone for it?
Advertise a comprehensive guide and maybe you'll find out in character.
Here is a crazy idea, one or more new levels of skillsoft like Black Chip and Double Black Diamond Chip, etc.
Softs are largely broken in favor of combat vets that know exactly how to abuse them (aka use them to a degree they often don't need to utilize underrepresented archetypes) who are coincidentally the ones that can easily afford the chrome.

When opsec is often an issue, so much easier to slot shit and do it yourself than trust whomever. It doesn't matter if a 'real' skill user can do it 120% better, if you can do it 90% and not have to trust in anyone while also still being street sam joey badass the trade off is a laugh.

Saying that's all fine bc softs 'fill gaps' is insane reasoning. If players new rich solos couldn't fill the gaps maybe they wouldn't feel disincentivized rolling those skills.

The stat balance argument doesn't hold bc stats overlap quite a bit and it doesn't take much to have a large impact.

Again, not saying that skills (not just skillsofts) shouldn't get a loving look over and some much needed adjustments. But I want to caution players that there is a lot of misinformation in this thread. Please don't take anything posted here for granted. Not my posts or posts from others.

Skillsofts are already perfectly balanced.

All skillsofts provide the same degree of skills, and all skills have specific stat requirements. They're meant to be used as a support for your character not as a main skill grown organically.

Skillsofts are also very expensive and very easy to lose. They can lead to PDS. So if I want to blow money, accept all these risks, and accepting the fact I'll never be as good as a natural mechanic, so I can do my own auto repairs why shouldn't I be able to?

I have not used skillsofts yet but based on a basic understanding of stats and skills I can think of a couple use cases that haven't been mentioned in this thread.

Please leave them alone. They are themely and cyberpunk AF.

Given the numerous coded systems in the game, they give players the option to explore more of those systems than the limited UE available would otherwise allow.

At a minimum, they give players an understanding of what is possible and what they might want to hire other characters to assist them with.

As a new player I am trying to understand the argument here and it sounds to me that it is kinda nit picky and looking for a problem. To me, they cost money, have negative effects psychology or whatever, and can be lost. I like what Villa posted personally as it resonated with me, because I'm the last week i didn't want to hire a mechanic for some minor repairs I needed due to all the craziness in the world so I pulled my car into the garage and fired up YouTube instructional videos and hopefully fixed what I needed to fix. Should I feel Bad that I had the equipment and means to do it myself and not spend money on a mechanic? I don't think so.

Thanks for reading. I hope to explore this cyberware more In the future.

Just my junior-level experience here but, I think the conversation gets really strange when people start suggesting that everyone should need to reach out to others to hire for services.

I and so many others know very well what it can be like sometimes when you got a target drawn on your back and you feel like you can't trust -anyone-, and people go a long way to make you feel like you can't leave your apartment. Heck, it even comes up in IC threats. People literally tell you to enjoy not leaving your apartment.

Skillsofts allow someone to sink money into something to make their lives a little bit more manageable when they're someone who can't just waltz down to the local mechanic for their needs.

Especially when disguises only render you indistinguishable, but don't blend you in with the crowded streets enough to not be randomly accosted for whatever convenient reason of the moment.

Or whose paydata is so valuable they can't trust it with the recommended grid hacker, et cetera.

It would be nice if we were all the time in a position to hire out to people, but if you take a step back from the game, and read these boards, and recognize just now common betrayal and subterfuge is, you'll realize that even with the large player base, sometimes this is just asking for a death, and it may not be the kind of death you'd be satisfied with, you may be trying to build up and prepare for a player plot or a GM plot that gives you a worthy death.

Yes, you want more player business, but what you're actually asking for, is for more paydata to come with that business, with more information to possess to exploit or to sell. That's the bigger picture here, and it feels a bit disingenuous to ask for it under the guise of skillsofts are bad and cut into your skillset.

So, as a shadowy figure you need to spend that chyen and get your skillsofts, and make due until you're ready to bring your RP to the forefront. I think it is great that this game makes that possible. I think if it weren't possible, we would see even less of the things we love to see from time to time.

I do believe that player economy is best economy in these types of games, but we need to enable people and I think the staff has done this successfully here, to sink their wealth into solutions that allows them to do bigger and better things at the same time, and if that has to be done without involving other players all the time, then it's just a side effect of this game having a significant combat/non-combat PVP focus.

If what Villa said is accurate about how they're balanced and such, then I think there is definitely no need to touch them, that sounds like fair trade offs.

Thank you for taking the time to read this!