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CRIME UPDATE
Topside Crime

Effective immediately, xhelping for prospective crimes in topside sectors which do not involve assaulting/abducting/killing characters is no longer required. For example, pickpocketing, tagging, and bombing to name a few.

This is a pilot policy, we will revert back to current standards if players abuse the new ones. Please do not take this as carte blanche to bomb Grunen's at 4AM, remember to note down your actions and respect the ambient population. Thank you.

Does this in any way affect car theft on topside/other sectors?
When you say 'characters' you mean NPCs too, correct? We cannot randomly attack WJF Guard 123 without an xhelp. Right?
Dani: Vehicle theft is not an xhelp crime under new policy. Vehicle owners please take this under advisement, thiefs please don't start stealing every car you can find.

Hek: NPC's are characters too.

We will find edge cases and deal with them as needed, we appreciate your patience as we test this out.

How does this apply to crimes when there is an NPC present? Can you steal a car when there is a Judge NPC on the block? Tag the lobby at the spaceport?
Respect. Ambient. Populations.
Yeah, agreed with Johnny here. If you have a voice in your head saying 'hmm... this might not be kosher' listen to that voice. When in doubt, don't.

We're loosening this policy because the player base has shown a lot of maturity and we think you all are able to self police this. Topside crime has also been a thing that has been brought up a lot in town halls and office hours. It's obvious people want to have more agency to do it, and we want you all to do it, we just want it to be done smart, or, if done un-smart, for that to be an intentional act due to you playing your characters to theme/stats. And that means being prepared for the repercussions obivously.

YEEESSSSSSSSYEAAAAAHHHAFFIRMITIIIVE!

Seriously so excited. Thanks so much for trusting us with this! The game is going to be so much more explosive. Crazy! Awesome!

@Storm

That is great. Thanks for the clarification.

I asked for newer players who might not be totally clear on the definition of "character" when it comes to policies like this.

Fantastic change. Thank you for everyone who had the confidence in the playerbase to weigh in and allow this staff-side.
And thank you to the players who proved our player base worthy of this trust! Looking forward to what comes of it!
This is defo gonna make topside more interesting.
Despite the calls to change this, and the positive response it has gotten... we aren't seeing a ton of topside crime. Step up your game people.
The people aren't ready, Slither. Small steps. ;-)
I've seen some people dipping their toes in, but like Reefer said, it's more a matter of fear or people not being ready. The people who have jumped into the deep end has suffered the consequences, even when those reciprocal punches have been pulled. It's a tricky balance for sure, but it's still one that's welcomed in experimenting with.
If I was trying to commit crime topside, I think my hesitance would come from not knowing what respect ambient population actually means in context of commiting a crime on a street crawling with CorpSec and WJF thematically and usually a few NPCs mechanically.

When in doubt, don't is likely to produce a lot of 'don't' when there's doubt and uncertainty about what is actually kosher. I don't think there's much incentive to experiment when people get punished for getting it wrong.

At the risk of sidetracking into an ideological aside, I think the way the WJF works and the role the Hall plays and how it is presented often discourages players from engaging in the types of gameplay the staff would notionally like to see.

Every week there's a substantial amount of very public punishment doled out against players, whether fines, executions, behavior chips, et cetera. When so much of player's impressions of crime are seeing other players getting punished for crime, it's inevitable that there's a cooling effect there -- regardless of how much it's being encouraged behind the scenes.

I think ultimately players will do the things they see work, and avoid the things they see fail, and that encouraging them to do something that is so often shown to fail (and is often invisible when it succeeds). I think if staff really want to see players stepping up what they're trying to do topside, the optics on the benefits/punishments are probably going to have to change as well.

Speaking radically, I think you could dispense with the Hall entirely and make Corporations responsible for their own security and you'd see the dynamic gameplay topside blossom, but more moderately I think a lessening of the perception of the Hall as an all-seeing, all-punishing, ultra-authoritarian monolith would much improve player's willingness to undertake things topside.

From my perspective, things like the gang code and behind the scenes policy have created a lot of training wheels for players. This isn't inherently bad but when posed with the option of their safe profitable cage or high risk no gain themely behavior. They choose the cage - as any trained animal would.
The perception is created to reinforce the idea that consequences will always come, but that is not one created only by staff or the idea of the WJF in the game. It is one created very much by players of would-be criminals to convince themselves that they will most certainly be caught, so why take the risk. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy.

For every extreme punishment there are usually dozens if not more of little ones leading up. People shouldn't use big consequences as reasons to deter them from having t heir characters attempt crime. Crime is committed and people do get away from it, from little to small. Making bad planning and strategic decisions doesn't mean it's inevitable your character will be caught, it just means they made some bad decisions and should try to improve.

I wrote this in xooc when the CRIME UPDATE was announced, because I saw a lot of people rejoicing about how this was great for the game (and make no mistake, it's great for the game if people take advantage of it) and how finally they could have their characters do crime topside: I didn't want us to rewrite history and ignore the fact that committing crime was always possible, you just had to xhelp for it. I didn't feel people disliked that because they didn't want to wait, but because I felt a lot of people, whether conscious or subconscious, didn't like it because they felt it increased their odds of being caught since they had to work with staff beforehand. And now that we have CRIME UPDATE and there's still not a great increase of crime per staff's own words, I think that's been proven to be the case in some ways. A lot of people don't want to take risks because they've convinced themselves it's a foregone conclusion that they'll be caught.

End of the day what I'm trying to say is that the policy change is great, but it's only going to be taken advantage of when the players of would-be criminal characters change the culture of their thought. I don't think removing the WJF or lessening the WJF does this, because that's a train of thought which will always exist until the culture changes: it's okay to lose, it's okay to get consequences, all of this drives RP so why not see if you'll actually get caught before deciding it's a foregone conclusion.

Whoops - little to big, not little to small. Sorry!
From my perspective, things like the gang code and behind the scenes policy have created a lot of training wheels for players. This isn't inherently bad but when posed with the option of their safe profitable cage or high risk no gain themely behavior.

I want to say that I'm largely in agreement with Reefer on this. It is very safe, and very easy to get very large sums of money using codified systems in place that offer a perhaps excessive amount of player protection when doing so. And being real here, ganging has almost zero barriers to entry to getting access, unlike many other codedly and structurally protected jobs.

If we want desperate, downtrodden people organizing and doing crimes topside, there has to be both thematic and economic reasons to do so. Corpies have, and will continue to have relatively large bounties on them for extended periods of time simply because the risk/reward calculation is skewed. If you're a moderately equipped solo who is able to take down say, one corporate target and one corpsec agent, then the chances are, over time, that you'll probably break even on your gains and losses. However, while doing so, you'll also be accruing a rather punishing criminal record (when caught) that will block you from significant portions of the game in your character's future, and can result in the most powerful and wealthy (themeatically or otherwise)_people in the game having reasons to kill you.

Tl;DR version here is that it's not so easy to get away with doing crimes topside, and the potential profits aren't so high that they offset the potential losses in many circumstances. Landing expensive jewelry and clothing won't make up for losing your life and/or running the risk of getting chipped.

I didn't notice this until just now, but these two posts (both made today) I think illustrate how players could be confused as to what staff want them to do.

Storm:

Staff can't police every action you take, nor do we want to. Just because you have the ability to walk up on some dangerous NPC's without us animating them and fucking you up doesn't mean you should. Just because you don't have to xhelp unless you're attacking someone topside doesn't give you carte blanche to do whatever you like, anywhere else, ESPECIALLY if what you're doing makes no sense at all.

We will get really mean about this if you push us to but you probably wouldn't like that. Please respect ambience and NPC's. Thank you.

Slither:

Despite the calls to change this, and the positive response it has gotten... we aren't seeing a ton of topside crime. Step up your game people.

Being told to step up on one hand and also being warned that stepping wrong are going to bring the staff down on you is going to introduce some doubt and caution into players, I think it's fair to say.

The farming guidelines are somewhere where there are clear and unambiguous rules about what is allowed, and that's something I've rarely noticed as being an issue as a result. Sometimes it's been abused, but anyone who knew the guidelines would know they were abusing it.

I know there is a general reluctance to spell things out, but I think unless players are told explicitly what is and is not allowed, there will probably less engagement than there might be.

From my experience, I'd wager that the reluctance to commit topside crime comes more from wariness of IC consequences, than an OOC fear of forgetting ambient populations.
Challenging players to respect ambience and NPC's is already a part of this thread.
Maybe people are confused, but I kinda doubt it.

I think it's just a result of timing. GMs would have a better overall view of who's capable of what, but my viewpoint suggests it's not hesitation or unwillingness that's preventing PCs from taking full advantage of this. (Yes I know this is ambiguous).

Over time, and as new PCs rotate in, I think we'll see better use of the looser rules.