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Remove Watch and Address
Hear me out

Watch and address exist to 1) allow people to sneakily do things unnoticed and 2) cut down spam/provide realism in crowded areas.

But are they successful in this? A lot of actions broadcast globally to a room, while others don't, and it's always seemed pretty arbitrary to me. Even if I suspect someone isn't watching me, I can't ever really take advantage of this because I can't recall if, say, taking out a grenade and pulling the pin on it is an action that the whole room sees or not. You could argue it's something you learn to pick up and intuit, but in three years I never have.

Cutting spam from busy rooms is also not something I ever want when it's IC stuff happening. Having a lot of scroll in a room already simulates a confusing/busy atmosphere where you're liable to miss things.

Mostly though, it's just confusing, and unnecessarily so. It never feels consistent that some rooms are busy and others aren't, but why do I have to use watch/address in this bar and not that one? It's arbitrary and not terribly easy to remember.

My experience with watch/address is almost entirely me forgetting to push my watch/address all macro and getting confused as to why the person I was looking at got on a motorcycle and rode away without me noticing, or having confused third parties hearing half of my conversation with someone else and assuming I'm speaking directly to them because they chose to watch me. I know it's been around forever and we're all used to it, but I just don't think it adds anything and it causes a lot of confusion.

Proposed fix that doesn't remove the entire system;

Not watching a person and they do something? A vague message shows up indicating that they ARE doing something, but you can't see/hear it that well.

"X says something to Y you can't pick up.." (To command, say would be the same just without 'to Y' part)

"X does something you only notice out of the corner of your eye.." (Emote/pose with no speaking)

"X says and does something you don't quite catch.." (Emote/pose with speech)

It still adds to chaotic-ness + give indicators that people around you aren't mutes/idling, but doesn't make everyone a god who hears/sees everything in a crowded room. But perhaps it might be too spammy and overwhelming to people, not sure.

I would love deaddragon! It is a bit sad that loud ambience sometimes ends up very quiet indeed in player experience because you're not seeing that actions are happening. Letter the player know something is going on even if the character can't parse what it is would make rooms feel more alive and improve immersion I would say.
Pffft. I would love that rather. Morning brrainnn.
So, I agree with the motivating factor behind the idea, and I'd like to think dragon's idea would change anything, but I don't feel like it will. I think people will just continue to use 'watch all' to bypass this code and the annoying bits.

I'd rather have the system altered in such a way that maybe, when someone interacts with someone you're already watching or yourself, they're automatically added to your watch list if there's room, or take precedence over someone who hasn't performed any actions.

Furthermore, an option to perform a whitelisted action 'stealthily'. Both mechanical, and emotes. And that kinda ties in to the other idea I had a while back that nobody cared about, lol.

I don't see any reason to leave a half measure in place. I definitely always just watch all and ignore the system. What's it add?
I've never seen this system add anything to my RP in the time I've been playing. It's just something that gets in the way when you forget about it.

I get what it's going for, but this is an RP game. I always want everyone in the room to see what I'm emoting/saying so they can respond to it and interact with me.

I'm not against this system as it works. It makes investments in perception, both OOC and IC investments, come alive, and senseless bakas can't just get 'watch all' for free.
I watch/address all every time I walk into a room I want to RP in which totally circumvents the system unless I forget to do it. Perception is already used in a number of other places and doesn't do anything here except confuse new players or make them feel excluded in social situations.

Look at it this way: There's cyberware related to this system. How many people are using it?

I agree with bean_dip.

One of the things that I have really enjoyed as a player while developing my character has been making investments in the related stats and skills, and seeing my awareness the environment around my character grow.

As a new player, the most enjoyable part about Sindome has been how it is very much like peeling back an onion. I have been enjoying exploring how investing UE in various stats and skills literally adds additional detail to the game world. The detail is always there, but without the right mix of character abilities and in some cases of gear, as players we don't get to see all the details.

For a character trying to survive in a often times a violent environment, awareness is just as important as being strong, quick, or resilient.

While we all might like to consider ourselves omnipotent, the reality is that our ability to perceive consciously is very limited. It is nearly impossible to keep track of half a dozen people, their conversations, and their actions. Trying to do that in a busy location, whether it's a street crowded with people, or a club packed shoulder to shoulder, is extremely difficult.

My opinion is that the game world does an amazing job of modeling perception and awareness. The watch code is a key element of that. It works very well for players who make the investments in the related stats.

FWIW, I do understand the frustration with the code. It can be frustrating and awkward to feel like I'm talking to someone, or think that they are listening to me, only to find out that they lost track of me one way or another... usually because they started watching someone else and my character fell off of their watch list.

Well, that'd be asking for IC info, wouldn't it, but, I'm in a position to say it's not an oddity.
"I watch/address all every time I walk into a room I want to RP in"

Must be nice to have enough perception for that. I bet you can remember a time when you couldn't.

I can't speak to your last point very well beandip, as that would require me to get into how much UE you need to spend, except to say that I'm on a fairly new character and no I really can't remember such a time.
Perception is an incredibly useful stat with or without this system. And anyway we shouldn't need to gate the most basic functionality behind stats to make them feel useful. If you needed a certain level of agility or your character would crawl everywhere instead of walking, it would definitely make those early agility investments feel pretty tangible, but it wouldn't add anything to the game.
@waddlerafter,

I am glad that you brought up Agility. That is the perfect example of a physical skill for this discussion.

There are quite literally entire parts of the map that characters are effectively barred from without enough agility. Sure, they be there but their ability to move about is extremely limited. There was a point last year where as a player, I spent the better part of a week considering whether or not I was going to sink enough UE into Agility to be able to enable my character to move about the game world as freely as some of the other characters that they associate with.

The same goes for Perception in social spaces. Anyone can go into a crowded room and have a conversation with someone. There is no gate there to prevent the interaction. But if they truly want to experience EVERYTHING going on around them, they need the right UE investment.

@all,

I am trying to understand where the resistance and push back is coming from here. On one hand, I understand that it is frustrating to have a less than ideal interaction with the game world.

On the other hand, we have accepted that "ideal" interactions with other parts of the game engine (driving, fighting, healing people, etc.) requires UE investment. EVERYTHING in this game requires UE investment. Unless we invest at least some UE, our characters are going to struggle with things.

Why should perception and the ability to keep track of more than a few other characters be any different?

Because it's inconsistently implemented, unrealistic, doesn't serve as a meaningful reward (I just use address /all anyway which is not gated by stats) and the most it has ever done is cause some confusion and necessitate that a character unrealistically have to repeat themselves.

If you want a way for characters to silently perform actions (like picking something up) make that part of the stealing system. Raise your hand if your RP has ever been enriched by needing someone to say something again because they forgot to address you first.

Being able to access hidden areas and shortcuts is a good example of a stat gate because it's fun but you can easily live without it.

Anyway you're all caught up in how this relates to perception, but does the feature even do what it's meant to do? What makes you feel more immersed in being in a crowded area: seeing a ton of scroll from everyone talking, or only seeing yourself and the 2-3 people you're talking to, like you're the only ones in the room?

Johnny told me that using address /all to automatically make sure everyone's paying attention to you is code abuse.
What? How? That's the only possible thing you could use it for.
@waddle,

You bring up a good question

does the feature even do what it's meant to do?

What IS the feature meant to do?

The times I've posed and waited forever for people to respond, only for them to "OOC is anyone saying anything?" only hinders moving RP forward.

I understand the intent, but it just slows down & removes RP opportunities.

I've never seen it help RP.

Well after reading this I now understand why people might be igoring me. I just assumed that people are generally afk or don't want to speak to me or were even kind of rude. But there have been lots of time where I'm talking with someone and they just stop responding to me in bars.

If that is a designed system and not them just asking, that is frustrating. Getting meaningful RP can be hard enough as a new player without having a gate that literally keeps you from talking to people. As a new player my goal is to be interesting because I don't offer much from a coded opportunity. If I can't even rely on being interesting because I miss conversation, that's a very big penalty. Worse, is up until now not even having a clue there might be a gated system keeping me from doing so.

I would be very in favor of something that at least let me know that people are talking and I can't make it out, like the language stuff. At least then o know as a player I need to do something to get their attention.

BC23, if you're talking to them you're addressing them. If you're addressing them they're not not-hearing you. They don't have to "watch" you if you're talking right at them. Just FYI

On the other hand, if you stop HEARING people, maybe they're talking to other people and not you and you might consider watching them.

Help speaking has the details on how our speaking system works. 'watching' and 'addressing' are useful specifically. If you speak directly to someone use to person message, they will see it. If they speak directly to you, you will see it. Regardless
I'm not online to read the help which I will...

But does that work for emotes that would be addressed to me? Lots of people do things like:

:nods in agreement to Bob McBob, "you're not wrong."

I understand your frustration BC23, I had never seen a system like this one and it took me a while to get used to it. Nowadays I consider myself pretty adept at the game but I still trip over it because if I'm running after someone on the street or stumbling into RP outside of a bar or something it's very easy to forget to watch and address every single relevant party, even with a macro.

I definitely suggest checking out the in-game @tutorials as they provide some explanation and ways to test things out.

@BC23: You can read all the help files offline at your leisure here: https://www.sindome.org/help/game/

I agree that a message of something like, "Igno does or says something, but you're not watching them closely enough." or even vaguer, "Someone does something here, but you're not watching closely enough." would help with new players and old ones alike be aware that folks aren't actually idling in bars.

BC23 is a clear example that something needs to be done. The new player experience is difficult enough without at least dropping a hint as to why someone isn't seeing public bar RP.

Edited to fix formatting

(Edited by Slither at 10:57 am on 1/5/2020)

That's brilliant... and it's right up top as Help.

*sigh* Another thing to learn :)

Thank you!

How about random messages from a canned list (Fix-It, anyone?) which are told to people in a given noisy room who didn't see or hear something which was done or said?

Like, you're paying attention to your chummers in a bar, and when people you're not watching do or say stuff:

"The room buzzes with activity."

"Chatter fills the air."

"The sounds of personal electronics punctuate the verbal hum here."

And such like. Maybe something like one-out-of-three times so that it's informative but not spammy and contributes to the feeling of alive energy even though a given person can't or doesn't choose to "watch /all".

I'm still of the opinion that "watch /all" shouldn't come for free.

Watch all doesn't come for free currently. You can only watch a certain number of people, so if you use this command, you may still be missing people.

There are coded reasons for this system to exist. Let me elaborate on some.

1. Perception

Your perception stat governs how much you see when you aren't watching and how many people you can watch. This primarily takes affect in very busy areas such as busy streets or crowded bars. You are more likely to miss things when you aren't watching people in these situations. Removing this usage of the stat has the possibility of making perception basically a combat only or combat predominant stat that is not useful for those who aren't doing combat, and that would be a negative experience all around IMO.

2. RP

While I can definitely understand that the system can make it harder to make sure you are seen / heard, or to see and hear others, it also makes being in a crowded room more realistic. If you were in a room with 20 people, could you truly be paying attention to every single conversation even with maxed out perception, or would you need to focus your attention on the conversations that you have deemed important?

There are cybernetic enhancements that let you watch more people, or monitor conversations in other rooms, for example, and they are predicated on a system which doesn't just tell everyone everything in a room. Having a conversation in a crowded bar should be a situation where you may not be overheard unless someone is specifically looking to listen to you.

All this is just to provide context. I don't want to shut this conversation down. There have been some good points and good ideas that have come out of it already.

(Edited by Slither at 11:03 am on 1/5/2020)

I'm not necessarily against watch/address because I do think it's accurate in certain areas that you will miss things. We rely on room descriptions to determine that. However, I have seen this as an RP hindrance in the past, especially with new players. The way the current system is, there is literally no feedback to do something with. Something could be happening technically within ear shot, but for all a person knows, the whole room is idling, which for brand new players is a really bad sign. It can affect their whole experience.

I think some feedback is necessary, like ynk's and bean_dips' suggestion, so players can tell the the difference between idling and needing to switch their focus through mechanics. Also, I think this adds some CP flavor and encourages use of the skill that people may not necessarily know how vital it can be.

Slither, for point #1: Perception has a TON of uses outside of combat already, and it does not require a significant UE investment to be able to watch a room full of people. I think I'm saying a bit much but I really have to in order to refute your point here. Being able to watch multiple characters is such a tiny and in the long run insignificant part of how this skill works as you can just ask them to address you anyway. No stat check on that.

For point 2: Go around the Mix and check which bars are loud/crowded and which ones are not. It's totally arbitrary! There are two somewhat identical locations of about the same size where one is loud and one isn't, and there are places where the loud code is in place that don't make all that much sense.

New players are consistently confused by this system and for us old timers it often just feels like a silly hoop to jump through to remember to watch/address all. Nobody's using it to RP or pull anything over on anyone.

Here are 20 suggestions if the chatterbuzz route is taken. Thanks for some of these bean_dip!

- You notice people here and there, but you're not watching closely enough to see what they're doing.

- The area buzzes with activity.

- So much is going on, you could hardly pay attention to it all.

- Chatter fills the air.

- What was that? You can't quite make out something you heard.

- The sounds of personal electronics punctuate the verbal hum here.

- The shuffling of people blots out voices and actions.

- If there weren't so many people here, you could probably hear everything!

- Voices from afar mix into the ambiance.

- The loud voices around you make it difficult to hear everyone nearby.

- The area is too fast-paced for you to take in everything being said.

- There are so many people here, you probably can't hear them all!

- Wow, there are a lot of people here! Screens blasting advertisements make it even more difficult to hear.

- You hear someone talking from afar, but you have no idea who it is.

- There are so many people here, you probably can't watch them all!

- Loud sounds drown out quiet voices here.

- It's so noisy here. You miss out on conversations happening around you.

- A bustle of activity happens around you and you make out none of it.

- A lot of people are talking here and you're missing out on the chatter.

- A distinct voice pipes up, then blends into the background noise, but you can't make it out.

---

I feel like these lines would get overdone if they happened -every- time someone talked, emoted, or posed. So perhaps they would work best if they only triggered the first time you didn't hear each person in a room.

I very much like the idea of a 'failure' message as feedback to failed perception in a crowded room.
One partial solution to this for new players is to encourage WCS greeters to make a brief statement or two about it.

"Withmore is a crowded place. Make sure that you speak TO people so that they can hear you. If you're curious, you can WATCH people you find interesting."

The truth is that all of this is covered extremely well and in plenty of detail in the tutorials. That being said, not everyone watches, or even fully comprehends the tutorials early on. In my case, I played the game for a couple of months before I finally took the time to watch all of the tutorials.

That's an idea, Hek, but I think with the amount of information greeters have to give to new immigrants, they're already overloaded. New players are flooded with information at a rate that they're not going to remember this. I think this is something anyone can do via RP without putting more pressure on greeters.
Creating an immersive and positive ambiance in rooms is one of the most important aspects of making group RP interesting for everyone involved, and having 'noise' amount to less stimulus being conveyed to the player rather than just less information I think is much less ideal than something like these suggestions for non-specific feedback that something is happening. With the types of feedback like ynk has suggested, you could really even make watching many people more difficult, because at least then you know you were missing something and could change your focus around...instead of the room just appearing dead quiet, or not knowing if one player is just taking forever to respond to another.
I would like to see the system expanded and not removed for a slightly different reason than it adds to RP or gives more purpose to the perception stat: it cuts down text spam. I hate being in events in a room that should be set as loud but it isn't and I can hear every single conversation going on at the table in the corner while the whole place is supposed to be loud. More rooms should be set as loud, most of them IMO, so I can ignore more of you by not watching you.

I would -love- an ignore command so that if Vera comes up and address /alls me and proceeds to have RP not even concerning me, I have some sort of recourse instead of seeing things that have nothing to do with me. Text spam doesn't really simulate a room being loud for me, it's just annoying. I don't want to see everything happening in a room.

I think that on the few cases that watch/address gets annoying, those individual cases can be fixed, for example how staff made combat autowatch your opponent. Having it persist across movement for a little bit as long as you keep having that same person in the room could help with chasing somebody.

Addendum: I totally forgot there IS an ignore command. I haven't used it in forever, but I don't remember it ignoring people if they've addressed you, it only stops you watching/addressing them.
I'd like to think I'm neither lazy nor an idiot. I try my best to read and take in what I can and work out what I can't.

However, as someone new, while it's wonderful that it's explained somewhere in the help files and after reading it, very well. If I don't know to even look there, which I didn't, how do I find this?

The problem is not that I'm not observing something in game, it's the opposite. Nothing is happening and there's no reason for me to even look up that there might be a reason. There are plenty of people that idle or take a long time to reply. I'm new and the assumption is that people just aren't talking to me. Their good emotive RP is now a negative for me even if we're talking to each other. From a logical stand point even if I'm not aware of what's being said in a room odds are I know that people at least are talking no matter how clueless I might be.

Putting some kind of message like: "Bob is talking but you aren't paying attention at least tells me there is a problem." Then I might go look up why it's not occuring or at least ask why instead of assuming the bars are just dead zones. When I see lots of those messages it gives me a clue that maybe I need to dump points into a stat or skill to fix it. Or that something is going on that I don't get.

When I can't open a door, or pick something up, or any of most systems, I get some feedback to let me know that something happened. If there's no feedback it's just confusing.