|And 10 more hiding and/or disguised|
It pulls the rug from under theme when any player tries to shrug off how shitty it is in the Mix. I've seen so many Mixers trying to play it off as "not being that bad" and trying to play house in an over-populated, disease and crime ridden shithole.
Mechanically, yes, Mixers have the capacity to make more than corpies.
Mechanically, yes, they can buy corpie luxury goods like steaks and lattes.
But you're completely ruining the entire purpose of cyberpunk by ignoring the symptoms of it. Essentially stealing the give and take relationship of Mixer/Corpie RP.
For the love of fucking God, stop trying to act like a corpie while saying you hate them. You look ridiculous and it contributes nothing to interactions.
If you want to avoid the harsher edges of the game's dystopian theme, play a corpie.
But I don't see why it's an issue to rp enjoying the mix if your doing it in such a way that your character has become numb or goes out of their way to try to ignore the violence and destruction around them. It's a common human coping mechanism. Not every person in the slum thinks life is shit. Not in our real life slums either.
Yes, people are able to learn to cope and accept how shitty things are, but you also shouldn't be enjoying eating absolute shit food one day and enjoying it with the same zeal as a fresh salad the next.
The most effective way I've seen theme enforced is through in-character means. If someone's putting on airs of being corporate and privileged while living in the Mix, there are lots of ways to call them out on it. Play an elitist corpie? Remind them that they'll never, ever be you - no matter how many lattes they pose with. Play a mixer? Shun them, they're showing signs of getting on that road topside, and once they cain out, they'll leave you and your friends behind. Treat them so.
There's certainly some starker examples lately, but this manifests in other ways beyond one person being loud about it.
I want to underline the systemic issue I brought up earlier where "everything is fine down here, corpies are dumb".
Corpies have it far better, flat out. It's extremely easy for Mixers to brag they have more money than a majority of corporate players, but it doesn't mean they should.
I agree that IC is always best, but having the discussion in an OOC venue as to -why- is also important because not a lot of people realize how they're watering down theme as a result of their actions.
I -want- Mixers to be angry at corpies and vice versa. And this is exactly how these sparks are created.
"Fuck you for having it better than me."
"Fuck you for existing."
That's the give-and-take relationship of classist RP and when players can opt out? It's a lot of missed opportunities.
It sounds more like the problem is that corpies don't have enough luxury high-status things available exclusively to them to differentiate themselves, and/or rich mixers don't have enough expenses and obstacles thrown at them. The problem can't be fixed by saying "you're RPing wrong", and all that's going to do is annoy people.
Because again. Mechanics.
Steaks don't cost 50k a piece because that'd be pointless.
The same way that brass knuckles cost 26k because they have far more mechanical usage.
Mixers have the opportunity to make more than corpies because they lose more.
Why? Mechanics. If you want a realism simulator, Mixers should be capped at 5k a week. But that isn't the case, because we know that this is a game. So we adjust our RP accordingly. How do we adjust our RP? We tell people when they're being wrong.
But that's not the main issue. You can have money IC and still act like you have to resort to cannibalism or robbery or whatever to feed yourself. The main issue is people deciding they just don't want to bother with theme and drinking mochas and eating fillet mignon because they have access to it and it's not mechanically expensive.
Ideally if you did this, other Mixers would beat the shit out of you, but that only works until you reach a critical mass of theme-ignorers. Then suddenly 5 or 10 players will decide YOU are the asshole for insisting that these 21st century Portlandians are the problem, and it's weird that you're insisting people should eat rat instead of steak.
My character, like most other mixer immigrant characters, started with absolutely nothing, and spent close to two years now hustling and grinding every single day to get where they are now, which is essentially fuck you rich mixer status. Hyopthetically, someone who just comes in the dome sees my character as some rich stuckup corpie wannabe, then makes a bitch thread about a comment my character makes on the BGBB. Do you see how this can come off as downright inflammatory towards the group of super bad RP players we're all here to collectively complain about?
Posts like this come off as preaching to a choir and smack of groupthink. Instead of offering creative solutions on how to better improve your RP as a player to bring more theme into the mix, it is instead saying: "Hey, I don't like this RP and this RP trend, so don't do that." It's not constructive, the tone is disparaging, and it's not following the spirit of the forum etiquette guidelines.
Vera's right - it is weird to insist someone eat rat instead of steak when they have the choice. The root problem's that mixers have the option to live a corp-esque lifestyle at all, not that they're roleplaying it when they do.
I agree that corporates should be paid far more than they are, in keeping with the theme. Maybe there's a world in which a steak - rare, real - ought to cost 50k, so that it's priced out of reach of all but the most well-paid corporate citizens. Chyen doesn't need to have any parallel with existing currency, and if we're willing to imagine there's only a limited amount of steak, corporate citizens are going to be bidding it up.
I am speaking to a broader trend and the negative fallout from it. If ten players see five players doing this kind of thing, they're going to take cues from them and start imitating them instead of reading the room descriptions, then it becomes impossible to police IC because you start to sound like a crazy person for insisting that you live in a cyberpunk hellscape when everyone else lives in an episode of How I Met Your Mother.
I'm not fingerwagging bad RP, just asking people to consider whether they're playing to theme.
So does anyone have any POSTIVE tips for keeping that theme alive, as mixers with decent cash flow?
If one mixer wants to spend their hard-hustled chy on pretentious corpie stuff, laugh at them and shun them for it. If many of them do, maybe staff should raise the prices until they can't afford it.
I don't think the right thing to do is to complain about their conspicuous consumption on the forums. Plenty of poor people try to enjoy nice things when they can, and if we're being honest, it's more realistic for mixers to have a fancy coffee in hand than it is for them to have chrome of any sort.
Both sides could stand to paint more from the palette they're given.
Corpies should be spending more on ridiculous "unnecessary" things and showing it off.
Mixers should embrace the grime. Instead of making Eggs Benedict, make some atrocious synth-potato salad with soyanuts and practically plastic mayo.
Back to application of realism vs mechanics:
People don't complain a sledgehammer costs as much as it does IC because it'd be silly to since it's implemented from a mechanics standpoint.
The same with how it's silly to brag you have luxury goods in the Mix, because they're a reduced price from a mechanics standpoint.
Just because you can, doesn't mean you should when it comes to RP.
We have a huge thread discussion stating that characters are in fact, special and not representative of the destitute masses of the mix. Because roleplaying scavenging in dirt and eating brick soup isn't fun gameplay. I'm arguing that our characters are not supposed to be representative of the ambient population of the game. If you want to play that way, that's totally OK. It's also totally OK if you want to fake being rich as fuck in the mix and use your last 10 chyen from crates to buy a Rolex and then shit talk other mixers about how loaded you are.
It literally creates gameplay for huge numbers of people for people to take stances that aren't representative of reality in the game world.
We tell people to fake it till you make it all the time because it makes for good stories and good roleplay. Again, it's fine to play a street urchin clothed in rags, but there's limits on how far you can take that kind of RP, and it can be super boring for the player doing it. That's my opinion why we don't see more of those kinds of characters.
While we might agree that these comments aren't in line with the overall theme of the mix, it also presents tons of opportunities for characters to start plots and plan shady things around, which is one of the reasons I don't have a problem with characters sometimes saying things that don't especially seem like they're on theme, generally speaking. Chances are, if someone in the mix is bragging about having nice shit that's not on theme, that they've done very themely things to get there.
But again, the core problem isn't that mixers are excited about eating real food for once in their pathetic soyavore lives; of course they are - I'd even go so far as to say that's good RP! The core issue lies in the mechanics, which I'm 100% on board with fixing.
It's the same reason why we don't use memes and IC references with heavy-handed frequencies. Self-policing.
We don't need a mechanical filter on SIC to remove "yeet"
We don't need mechanics to stop people from buying and eating steak.
Rhicora, items in the game are priced around the concept of game balance rather than IC realism. Swords are expensive because they're powerful weapons and it needs to be a risk when you pull one out. Steak is cheap because it's an incidental RP item that shouldn't matter too much in the grand scheme of things. Moreover, ALL characters have access to more money than theme would indicate in order to promote risk-taking and allow them to create and drive plot.
It is therefore the players' responsibility to assess their characters' stations and behave appropriately IC. Other players can police this to a point but you can only take it so far before it becomes a meta/ooc complaint which is when it's time for an ooc reminder on the forums.
Because there's plenty of corpies guilty of this same problem but in reverse, and never actually spending their money. We raise their pay, they'll just be driving down in their Cricket, picking up the paycheck, and depositing it like before.
Corpies -should- self-police and spend more of the money they're making.
Characters are going to continue choosing nice things if they're able to do so painlessly and sustainably, just like they would in real life. It would be a game balance decision to make consuming nice things a more difficult prospect for mixers, and an easier one for corpies, and I think it'd be a good one.
GMs happen to enforce playing your CHA/INT more than this.
There's certainly mechanical changes that can occur to stop Mixers from buying luxury goods more easily, and I agree.
I'm more concerned about theme awareness though and reinforcing the need to self-police entirely, IE: Stop acting like the Mix is warm and cozy.
But that's part of why - if you make some flash in the Mix and can't leave - you're probably going to use it to show off a little. You're going to take your input out to a nice dinner and pretend you're Mix-rich. You're going to put some rims on a car you still owe a shark for.
There's constructive ways to spin flashy Mix consumption (both as the character doing it, or the one reacting to it). Maybe the character's still struggling, but they're trying really hard not to let it show, and the occasional showy move helps them come off as a bigshot. Or they hustled for years, and as they plunge the knife into the steak, it's time for a conversation about what they had to do to get there. There's ways to get excellent mixer RP out of a situation like this; either play up the fact that it was a struggle on the way up, or the precariousness of slipping back down.
All of this to say, if I were a steak-eater I'd rather hear cool ideas about how to add better theme to my writing, instead of being told knock-it-off for doing exactly what my character would do.
The divide doesn't exist except in a very literal sense where you're generally not going to have either party stroll on up or down to the other sector and interact easily. But mixers don't really hate corpies or vice versa, because they have no reason to do so. People *ocassionally* pretend, but the whole reason we have mechanics is so we shouldn't have to pretend. Corpies should be modded out of their minds, chromed to the gills, wearing clothes that could blind the average mixer, and mixers should be wearing rags, getting illnesses, missing appendages and getting loans. Not all of them, of course, but in all my time playing I think I've only ever seen like, two people complain about life on Red, and both times they were fresh immies who had probably just gotten robbed of their 300 chy.
I will just say I agree with some other posters in the thread. I don't think this is a player behaviour issue. If mixers can afford steak, of course they're going to brag about it. The whole point of us having mechanics to help our RP is so we don't have to 'pretend' anything. The issue is that they can afford steak. If you play a mixer, you are making a conscious decision to play in an absolute shithole filled with death and degeneracy at every corner. That doesn't mean you can't 'make it', but you should expect to be broke and struggling for a lot of your character's lifespan. The problem is that even a clueless mix immy with no skills will be rolling in as much money as a recent-ish corpie in just a couple of weeks. That creates a situation of suspension of disbelief where we have to pretend corpies are rich and powerful. They're usually not (again, dismissing oldbies). In fact, I've found the opposite, newer to middling corpies are usually broke as hell and very vulnerable for a variety of reasons in comparison to mixers in the same situation.
All this to say it's a complex issue that can't be fixed just by changing job payouts. A complete overhaul of the economy of the game is the only way this could be changed significantly. But this is a real issue, and I'd even say a good part of why we have less corpies than mixers. Why would you play a corporate when a mixer is going to have more money, RP, and contacts than you at almost all stages of your character's life?
Your statement is fine on paper ErgoProxy, but generally there are fewer people robbing and more people doing whatever else (which is fine) and while the robbers do try to police the harshness of the Mix, they're subject to the same game mechanics and time/energy constraints everyone else is and can only do so much.
Like I said, if one guy is flashing luxury he hasn't earned and gets jumped, he had it coming. If ten people are flashing luxury they haven't earned and one person tries to police that? The thief looks like the asshole.
If we want to talk actual changes, I'd say lowering non-corporate jobs payouts and running payout % would be a good start (I know they already lowered it before). Maybe lowering the weekly cap as well?
Other than that, the only issue I see is weapons. For combat characters/gangers, they can be fairly easy to obtain and are very valuable/easy to flip.
Why not add durability to weapons? Kind of like how gun cleaning works, but have it affect weapon value and effectiveness. That way, you no longer have some nameless ganger running around like a loot pinata. Plus all the other benefits, gangers actually enforcing tolls more and focusing more on biz, fighting more (because you no longer need just one weapon to be done for the week) and create RP and work for people with the ability to repair weapons. Plus, it'd get people attached to their weapons. You want that flash-ass katana? Better spend the time, RP and money on it to make sure it cuts through mixers like butter.
Minor shoutout to more melee weapon mods. We really should have them. Let people engrave these tricked out weapons so they grow a history and raise in (not mechanical) value.
I also warn against generalities. Sure, there are mixers with money, because as it's been laid out, mixers can make it if they're willing to do whatever they have to. That doesn't mean every mixer is rich. In fact, I've seen plenty who can't even afford the beer at the bar or the medical care for their latest ass-kicking. I think those mixers with lots of money should be doing something with it (spending it, hiring people to do shit for them, etc), so it always come back to, "You have something I want and I can't get it." If you want to play a character who is rich and has all the cool shit and crushing hopes and dreams, the mix might not be it, unless there is a really good plot behind it.
I feel like gunning for every character to be "poor" even though they're incredibly well connected and wealthy - More than most corpies - is incredibly silly.
Some characters do push it too far. I've mostly seen this with new ones though, rather than veterans.
Rich corpies are also a minority. Most of the players playing characters topside, are not rich and can't afford rent in Blue or a Holden.
Also, the richest corpies are ten times richer than the richest mixers. This is a reality, among PCs and NPCs.
Players who are poor but ignore the miserable existence they have in Red aren't grasping the theme properly but it's just a matter of time for someone to rob, beat, or kill them to remind them where they stand.
There are of course exceptions to every rule, this certainly being one of them.
While those exceptions do exist, I also hope to see it coupled with some projection of -why- they exist. Obviously, getting into specifics about this (IC & OOC) is better left unsaid, but I hope the wink-wink nudge-nudge is clear... both IC & OOC again.
Even if you're a big crime boss in Red, even a middling corpie should have at least as much money as you.
I disagree with this. The average wageslage should be doing all sort of less-than-legal activities if they want to be able to compete with a super criminal in the mix who's finding all kinds of ways to abuse the system for chy. The difference is that one depends mostly on passive income and the other usually has multiple established streams of income, passive and active.
I think the same thing applies for topside/mix in general so I'm just gonna echo what a few have already said on this thread. If characters have access to stuff they're gonna go get it.
As for corpie wages being raised? Not necessary, especially since CorpShare will be giving bonuses as appropriate to effort when it's rolled out.
I don't think anyone's saying that in order to play a Mixer, you need to have a certain active cognitive dissonance, pining to be a corpie while forcing yourself to play a Mixer.
The overall message is that if you -are- one of the people embracing the grime, embrace it fully. Or at least lean that way. In regards to food, if you love the slums, then eating Tony's Pizza would be preferred than steak tartar because the former reminds you more of "home". Crisp/clean clothing shouldn't feel right.
I know a lot of this thread is generalizations and can certainly come across as browbeating (how dare your Mixer wear a Rolex!) and I have no expectation for people to play caricatures. I do ask that people consider the weight of their actions at the least and how they contribute to the overall theme.
As I say often, what the game tells you happened, happened. There shouldn't be any cognitive dissonance required for the sake of someone else's immersion. If you have issues with the IC reality presented by the game, those are the complaints to make.
I can buy food of every variety very cheaply IC, indeed the price has gone down dramatically in the past year. The message from that isn't 'food is scarce and luxuries a rarity'. Quite the opposite.
That said I agree in principle that exotic and "expensive" food is extremely cheap and readily accessible to every character regardless of income or status. However I think the notion that players should pretend otherwise and maintain cognitive dissonance for the sake of someone's subjective immersion is ridiculous.
The IC reality is the theme. Either the IC needs to be adapted if it is considered by staff to be unthemely, or players need to adapt their concept of what the theme is to match the IC reality.
The mixnette suggestion is a good one, if this is going to change is has to change, not 'let's all pretend this drek isn't cheap as dirt'.
I disagree that rich mixers are the minority. If we're clear on two things, I'm talking PC population, not ambient, and that by 'rich' I don't mean flying dropships and carrying several sets of endgame gear. I mean living comfortably, where dying or losing a good chunk of their stuff wouldn't really set them back. I think a good number of mixers are sitting comfortably in that spot.
I'd agree with corpies, though. I do think there are very few rich ones and that shouldn't be the case.
I don't think anyone wants every mixer to be poor. They want the mix to feel oppressive and difficult to live in, as advertised. It simply isn't unless you play to lose. There's simply too much money flowing through it and it's super easy to get, so the occasional beatdown/dip/killing feels like an inconvenience for most players, rather than something that makes them hate the mix, like it should. You should have to work to succeed in the mix. It's not a sure bet like it is being a wageslave. As it currently stands, you don't.
People treat the mix like it's Green without the judges because it functionally is. So we either ask players to pretend it isn't, or we turn it into the oppressive, awful place to live it's meant to be. Look at progia dips. Happens everyday, yet nobody gives a fuck, because a new progia is chump change. People RP it as annoying because well, it is. Take (some of) their money away, and they'll treat it more seriously and be more bummed out and *****take more action.*****
I personally don't care how much money someone has or how fancy their clothes are. I just want the mix to be difficult to live in and mixers to feel that, because it'll help drive roleplay a ton. As I see it, the mix is only really dangerous when you get involved in plots, which make it exactly the same as the corporate backstabbing world. Which it shouldn't be.
And I want weapon mods because weapon mods are cool and themely.
I'd like to see more soft boasting in direct character situations. Or rp that isn't even boasting, but is like...thankful almost. You have all this high quality shit but you -know- it might be fleeting, or you -know- you're one of the few who is some combination of smart and lucky enough to have a taste of the good life. Easy come, easy go, right?
And so what if you're a hot-shot mixer with a shit load of flash? Did you just send some no name baka on a job and pay them a few kay? Sure, they're beneath you, and you can roleplay that. Or rp that you know what it's like to be in their shoes. Pay em that few kay and it looks like a shitload to somebody with less than you. What constitutes a lot is relative to how much you're used to having, after all. And what does a desperate mixer want? A rat kebab, maybe a beer or a joy. Small pleasures for small time mixers. Tell them to chase that as an option because that's the norm. Not to mention it can open up dialogue for further rp. Now you're better than them, but you're benevolent. Empathetic, even if it's a farce. They'll come back for more, and there's actual emotion in the exchange instead of the hard mechanical transfer of flash before running to the next hustle.
Again, it isn't the bragging that's the issue in my opinion, it's the way it's done. We're writing stories here, so start writing.
I also think that may cause corpies to hire Mixers to do shady shit more often -- because the 'wealthy' Mixers tend to have more money than the corpies, it's sort of hard for the corpies to have the spare chy to spend on Mr. Johnsoning Mixers.
The idea of splitting groceries into two tiers is a great idea, for instance, but instead of actively limiting mixer kitchenettes you could just increase the cost of groceries on Gold when you increase corpie income, and then create a new cheap grocery store on Red. 40,000 chy to be able to get steak in your kitchenette doesn't even seem that crazy to me.
As for increasing corporate earnings, as far as balance goes I wonder if following a corporate town model, like the old mining towns, works better. Make it so players get massive corporate discounts on the items deemed topside necessities. This could be expanded into rewards like 1 year of good work or a promotion resulting in an engraved Rolex. This could grant incentive to really work hard for that promotion so you can have your dinky employee if the month plaque.
I also think that may cause corpies to hire Mixers to do shady shit more often -- because the 'wealthy' Mixers tend to have more money than the corpies, it's sort of hard for the corpies to have the spare chy to spend on Mr. Johnsoning Mixers."
There are lots of ways for corpies to play Mr. Johnson and have the resources to back it. GMs are -very- supportive of people pushing plot.
As I said before, I don't see raising corpie pay solving things, since there are already corpies who (arguably, in the case of not having RP) benefit by keeping their heads down, not spending anything, and stashing a majority of their paycheck week after week.
I do not think it is fair to expect players to pretend they can only afford rat when they are sitting on 100k. Now, how they get real steak should be the problem. Topside restaurants should not bat an eye from kicking mixers out, perhaps a lot more topside services should be unavailable to Red residents.
But I 1000% agree with 0x1 here, it's ridiculous and the onus is not on the players for, say, a piece of rat on a stick cooked over a trash fire in a dangerous park sold by a cannibal to be comparable in cost as...like....whatever, a nice salad wrap made with fresh ingredients. If the vision of the game needs wants to 'feel' like those things are different, it should make it so, via BOTH theme (description of things, how it tastes when you eat it, how it smells, etc.) and mechanics (how much it costs, how available it is). There seems to always be a knee-jerk reaction by some that new or tweaked mechanics are never the answer, but....it's a game. They very often are. You can't both raise issues and not be open to fundamental tweaks to what's under the hood.
This is why I also like the 'mixette' idea -- mix-ify the offerings and how it works. You can't be mad at mixers for having the same stuff in their kitchen when it's easy and affordable to stock the same groceries as corpies, and no, it's actually not IC'ly themely to IC'ly 'handle it' if they're enjoying those same food and drink items because....why would it be? This feels so silly. It's perfectly fine to go to a mix bar that serves fancy Turkish coffee, but having a latte or kona coffee from the grocery in your kitchen is somehow OMG FANCY CORPIE DRINK BEAT THEM UP? How is that breaking theme? It's not. That just feels like 2020 subjective bleed.
The Mix is a slum, absolutely. And I think everyone has kind of their own vision and view of it, to an extent. Something that is beautiful about this game is that we all get to bring a bit of our own imagination to things. There are room descriptions and a lot of them in the Mix are -awful-, but the beauty of the Mix to me has always been how multifaceted it is, it's the ultimate melting pot (or 'gorgeous mosaic', which has always been the better metaphor). It's NOT simply a total hellscape of pure carnage death and starvation and misery. If it were everyone would just be insane and booth the instant they walked in the gate. Let's have a little more imagination, please.
There are people eeking out not just survival, but LIVES there. Street food vendors, tailors, artists, musicians -- someone here mentioned that it's fine for mixers to show off having money via expensive armor that most corpsec don't get to have but they can't have lattes or steak (lolol?) because it's for 'survival', but not everyone is a combat character, those things don't mean survival for everyone. Some are also using their chy on things that bring them comfort to 'survive'.
I think it's dangerous, at times, to police what exactly are 'corpie things' or 'mixer things' beyond the very obvious.
None of this is to say there isn't a very important concept of theme, and divide, that should be respect, and that immersion isn't broken when it's RP'ed against in silly ways -- I 100% agree with Vera in theory and get annoyed when that happens, I just don't think the core of what was raised does that.
People do not have a unified view of the mix. I see things pretty close to what Vera described. Rough. Poor. Desperate. Things you can't ignore even if you are doing better than 99.99% of the population. Living in a slum is living in a slum. I would love it if people embraced it more but I also get that some have no idea what that kind of environment is like or just have very different opinions of how to RP it and visualize it.
People keep talking about Corpie wealth in terms of personal wealth and bank account balances. They often ignore that Corpies who care to be proactive have access to vast funds to drive RP and conflict and that when doing this there is greater opportunity to increase your personal wealth.
The game's culture has changed along the way to where a lot of players seem to think that you can and should only ever operate with the best of all the gear. That it's a joke if you don't. I'd personally like to see more people operating with gear that ranges the spectrum. I'd be fine if the mixer incomes were slashed and access to top of the like gear was made harder for anyone but corpies.
Mechanic solutions are great and I'd be a fan of some of the ideas thrown out. But I, as a player, prefer not to wait for staff to have time and interest to code and build things to reinforce there. I'm happy to make suggestions for changes but I'd rather not wait for them. Instead I'd rather try and push theme with my RP and I encourage others to do the same.
I think threads like this can be healthy and helpful. I like hearing what other players think on a topic. I feel I have a pretty good understanding of theme and the game in general but I am regularly running into ideas that make me think and help my vision evolve. As long as people are just presenting their opinions and sharing thoughts it's good. It's when people take personal offense, make personal attacks or treat it like something they have to win that things get bad.
This thread has made me remember that people predominately lean towards hard or soft science as a rule. Left or right brain.
For the hard science minded player, mechanics are where they look for the answer. Implemented coded restrictions. Introduce Mixer food alternatives. Increase corporate wages.
For the soft science minded player like myself (as evident by I can't remember which is left or right brain...), cultural dissemination of theme is the answer. Promote themely RP. Enforce it through puppets. RP disdain and encouragement ICly.
For some players, they're resting on a layer of RP with mechanics beneath it. For others, they're looking at the world through a lens of code and numbers. Neither is really wrong, as it's a blend of the two.
There are valid points for restrictions and the like, I just ask that players also remember it is possible in code to find the biggest scariest NPC around, emote poking them for an hour, and if a GM doesn't notice, get away scot free. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should though. I think this also brings up a good point that as a community, we more readily react to corpies acting outside their culture than Mixers do. Someone showing up to work at Viriisoma in DuWear would get assblasted immediately and their superior would be in their chip. While a parallel faux pas like this may not have immediate oversight.
This is a consequence of Artistry being really the only social skill, so the bulk of social RP players end up with it. So artistry-specced characters are common, and so the prices go down since there's always someone else to churn out lesser work for lesser cost.
Not to put too fine a point on it HolyChrome, but if your vision of the theme is not supported by the mechanical reality, it's your vision that is wrong.
No amount of role play encouragement is going to make people pretend brass knuckles cost a few hundred chy and steak a few thousand, because it's not what is actually happening. Either the IC mechanics have to be adapted if the theme is supposed to be that mixers have no access to luxuries, or the vision some players have of the theme needs to change.
Well then I'm sorry I'm not expecting Johnny to code a 1:1 realistic simulation of a near-future dystopian cyberpunk city. (And sorry I don't have faith in you, Johnny)
Not to sidetrack, but the left/right brain thing has been widely disregarded for years by modern neuroscience, people don't actually separate out that way, it's a myth that just gets perpetuated.
I don't think the big scary NPC thing quite holds, though I do understand exactly what you're saying and trying to illustrate. That's just someone playing the game extremely poorly in a way that's akin to outright abuse -- say, they do that then go brag, 'I was calling King Sinn a giant pussy and he did nothin'!' Sort of like doing crime on Green without xhelping, it's something that should almost be against the rules. What Vera was raising a point against isn't anything nearly that egregious, it's much more grey-area, like my point about it apparently being perfectly fine to get X fancy drink in a mix bar on offer and that's themely for no apparent justification, but having Y fancy drink apparently breaks immersion -- that just doesn't parse for me?
I think people will always have a bias on how they interpret things, but I guess that's hard vs soft science again... Dwohoho.
But yes, I think the solution lies in a blend of code and culture, but we're all here agreeing it's a problem that needs a solution. One asks staff to code things, while the other asks the community to self-police. I'm just asking for the latter. Not necessarily exactly -how- people should act... but to consider.
It's not about simulation, it's about having a baseline for what reality is. If one player says 'X is the theme' and another player says 'No, Y is the theme', who is correct? As Jameson says, everyone has their own vision of the game and the City.
However where the claim of a subjective theme runs contrary to the actual mechanic reality of what is possible and what is happening, it would be difficult to claim that theme is the correct one. As I mentioned, the prices of food have actually gone down in the last year, so it is not as if this is simply a forever-untouched element of the game.
If the Mix is meant to be a resource-scarce post-apocalyptic wasteland (which is contrary to how I view it, as I am sure it is to many other players) this must be mechanically true because it is otherwise simply just subjective interpretation of one player over another.
I think that's fair, and I think a blend is 100% the only solution that will ever work. The mechanics are what set the tone -- the boundaries of what new players experience as they explore the game, as well as what all players invariably push against now and then, just human nature.
The culture is definitely what FEELS more important, but I don't think anyone wants to have to implement 'policing' into their RP, it feels clunky and just feels bad, so the less anyone has to do the better. But the divide is important far beyond driving conflict, it's vital for -culture-, and I agree everyone should try to do whatever things they can, big and small, to try and bring the distinct 'differentness' of above/below alive in their RP, it just makes the game / RP richer for everyone.
There's a very good mechanical reason why a mixer wants to eat steak tartar and wash it down with some kombucha versus gobbling down Tony's pizza.
Until that gets addressed, I'm going to continue to treat it like it's a life or death decision making process, because it quite literally is.
Gold's a trickier situation, as it's supposed to be where the classes mix in the most accessible ways. There was recently changes made to the game to allow businesses with NPC clerks to discriminate against people based on their dress and appearance.
That'd be one prime avenue to make sure the filthy tide of mixers stays down in the slums where they belong.
This is frustrating to me as well, or at least unthemely for most[/] Mixers. I know there are at least a few Mix tailors (or even characters that don't advertise as tailors but use artistry) that do a great job of working on this ICly, by making ratty threads they "thrifted" out of the bottom of bargain bins, or are repurposed hand-me-downs, or etc. etc. I really appreciate this track because... Well, how many people on the street wear custom-tailored clothing in the present day? In the grim cyberpunk future, I (personally) feel like practically everything [/] should have brand logos slapped on it -- hypercapitalism and all that.
All that's to say, I hope more Mix tailors and artistry players lean into this trend -- you can have awesome, themely clothes that are unique and custom to your character while still looking like you fit into the Mix.
I believe I recall Slither saying Du-Wear started out as tailored clothing that a character was claiming to get from "some guy he knows" until it blew up enough that they actually had to go make that NPC.
Values on tailored items are wonky but nobody really sees those or cares. Just get shot like twice and your 40,000c jeans will look as shabby as everything else.
The Mix is not a place to "play house" and get comfy and pretend you live in a little arcology. Maybe in Blue, but the reality of Withmore is that the corporations have influence over literally every aspect of your life and your current sense of safety can be sweeped under you like a rug in a matter of minutes.
You can choose to oppose that or to capitalize, (after all, the corporations have the money, and money trumps all in this cyberpunk dystopia), but pretending they're irrelevant in Red or only corpies should care about corporate lore is a bit of a stretch: quite the opposite.
Mixers don't care about corps because corps literally do not affect them at all. Telling people to 'play pretend' isn't really great advice. There are real reasons to get a good apartment. Real reasons to pay tolls. Real reasons to work at a certain place. There is no real reason to give a fuck about corporations.
Corporations and their players need to do a better job of oppressing the mix. Whether it this is through more violence, topside only services, cruelty or more creative means, because as it stands, the only difference between a corporate character and a mixer character is that the corporate character is safer and (probably) has more money.
I always thought the divide was super poorly played and implemented, because all it literally is, is mixers and corpos shit talking each other on SIC and occasionally murdering one another. It feels forced and fake. There should be more displays of power by corporations, more oppression by the WJF, and more shitty things about living in the mix, because as it stands, as long as you don't piss anyone off, living in the mix is basically the same as living topside.
Rather than tell players to play pretend, make the mix the truly awful place to live it claims to be. People don't like it, play a corporate character.
Saying the corporations don't affect mixers at all is simply not right. You can decide to not not give a fuck about the corporations because they're not going to necessarily care about a random mixer walking around but they affect every sphere of influence in the game in ways that are not always obvious.
If you think living in Red equals to living in Green, you should pay more attention to your surroundings and room descriptions and the theme surrounding your character. Or here's a more practical exercise: stand on Fuller and Knife and talk shit on SIC for a whole day and see how long you last. Now repeat the exercise, this time standing on Cordoba Avenue. I'd love to see the results from that.
In real life, if that is any metric, people who live in slums, ghettos, etc. (ask me how I know) are not constantly moping and outwardly miserable about how they live in poverty, they're fairly used to it. It still hurts, but it's not really a constant point of conversation-- especially not with others in the same situation. We all know where we are, we all know how bad it is, there's not a lot more to say.
I think the thing that gets me the most here is the constant demands for the Mix to be completely and utterly filled with the most gut-wrenching and inedible food items possible. I've seen some really disgusting suggestions. None of them make sense outside of food that is found in certain IC places. Food is always going to at least attempt at being decent, unless it is an emergency or military ration. It's going to taste at least okay. If it doesn't, it doesn't sell-- the soup kitchen sells plain noodles. They don't taste awful. It's cheap. It fills your belly. That's all you need, and if someone is going to choose between the noodles and all these frankly sadistic food suggestions, they're going to choose the noodles
Why does that matter?
Food is a corporate money cow. What people think (mixer or corpie) about the food, is actually important to corporations. There's plenty of food companies all vying for your attention through aggressive marketing. Junk food doesn't have to be healthy, but it does have to taste good enough to make people actually like it. That's why the pizza and chicken in the Mix doesn't even taste bad, it tastes fine, but it's not high dining. If there were going to be a Mix grocery, fill it with junk food and not vomit. If you want to make it unpleasant, do it in realistic ways-- microwave dinners being hot on the outside and cold on the inside, a message of how you have to pat down your pizza with a paper towel to soak up the absurd excess grease, etcetera. But it has to taste okay.
If there's anything that the Mix doesn't need is a reduction in monetized comfort. Food is comparable to drugs and sex, it's something people really like, and it's something people will pay money for. We have joys at every corner, drugs on every street, we don't need to make food a horror. Food is fine as it is in the Mix, with street food that tastes good and other sources of junk food that is probably awful for you, but damn it tastes good.
Food, like strippers and drugs, is a small respite from the rest of the Mix, a temporary distraction from the existential despair of living in the worst slum in the world as a small, small part of the disposable masses. And that's exactly what Corporations want to give you in the end, something to distract you from wanting to punch up or even just climb the social ladder.
Now, when mentioning room descriptions and theme, that's what I mean. Room descriptions and ambience mention murder, kidnappings, distraught people doing horrible things and a depressing, dangerous and unpredictable environment. And I'm saying that those things do NOT happen as a regular thing, *unless* you ask for it. For a lot of players, who keep their heads down, the mix is EXTREMELY comfortable.
There is no difference between a cube on Red and a cube on Gold. No difference between a lavish meal and a dogmeat taco. A corporate solo and a mixer solo will use exactly the same gear and chrome. Same candy. No *functional* difference. Yeah, we can pretend, but in that case, we don't need the game. It's there so we don't have to pretend.
As for the corporations affecting the world, of course they do. But not in any palpable, tangible way. Tell me a single way in which NeoTrans could functionally affect the mix, for example. It can't, so mixers do not care about NeoTrans. It's a simple as that.
While the game provides a cyberpunk framework, theme and sign-posts for play, it's up to the player-base (in tandem with the GMs) to creatively expand upon and add colour to those mechanisms through play.
The reality is that there is both a functional and non-functional difference between Red Sector and Gold Sector cubes. Think about their relatively sizes, appearance, and settings. Then think about other non-functional aspects: what could your PC reasonably hear in the hallways or out on the street? My bet is that all that ambient sound wouldn't include gunshots, people screaming, and general chaos on Gold Sector, except in exceptional circumstances. For most people, that has an affect on their psychological state and mentality.
Paying attention to the existing mechanical differences and expanding off non-functional/ambient ones is where we make the theme/story/whatever come alive. It's a holistic experience, not necessarily confined to what you just read off the screen.
There are a lovable rogue's gallery of freaks who are out doing crazy things daily, not to mention the GMs who are constantly spicing things up with random events both big and small. The next time there is a catastrophe in world, compare the reaction between the Mix and the corporate zones. Compare how long it takes for it to be resolved in one versus the other. How many people are effected on both sides of the aisle.
That is one of the true indicators of the divide for me, and what makes Sindome a truly unique and awesome RP experience.
I seriously think people aren't getting what I'm saying. There are obvious differences in luxury, safety, theme, etc. I'm saying a lot of people ignore a lot of that because it's not reinforced through gameplay and player behavior. Players don't randomly mug people. They shroud and pick high value targets or people they hate or people they know they can beat/rob. There are no candy pushers on the corner, because it's safer to do it from home. No joys desperate to get by and offering their services publicly because... Life in the mix isn't hard enough to make them do that.
You want a big offender? How many times do you see people wearin' basically nothing, in the middle of the night, in heavy rain?
This is because you don't get sick in the rain or cold.
You can't just say 'oh no this room is full of giant scorpions watch out' and then not put any giant scorpions in the room. That's what this is. The theme is very distant from what actually happens.
I'm the opposite. I've only ever felt like the mix was dangerous when I was starting out. Sure, it's easy to get into trouble, but it's just as easy staying out of it. Nowhere near enough to realistically make anyone say 'man, life here sucks, I should become a wageslave'.
And I've experienced this both in a character that has plenty of enemies, and one that tries to be nice to everyone.
It might be that I've misunderstood you, yes.
I've been kicking around Sindome for a while now, but I can only speak for myself and for the people with whom I've interacted: while I think that the player base is pretty good in terms of making the Mix come alive, I think that we could better form links between the setting we're given and the real (hopefully nuanced) impact that it has on PCs.
I don't quite know how that can really be achieved, though, in terms of micro-managing individual players' RP. Do you have any suggestions?
Legitimate question, why? Assuming you're not at odds with anyone, what is going to happen to you in the mix?
I think if we're talking purely about player behaviour, the answer is simple. Players have to stop being efficient.
I've heard some players share the notion that you have to 'powergame' for lack of a better term, or else you will be powergamed against. I have seen this happen many times. It's an endless cycle, but the result is, the big fries stay big fries, and the small fries stay small, with the only movement up and down coming from time and UE investment, not through ingenious or creative RP, or cooperative competition.
People abusing shrouds, killing people without any RP before or after, only operating in safe areas or brownouts, never leaking paydata, the list goes on and on. Not everyone is like that, obviously, but enough are that it's the apparent majority.
That's how you get people taking chances, and more action in the mix beyond the puny helmeted mano killing that one guy again because he can.
I feel threatened in the Mix quite a bit, and have been mugged and beaten randomly as an Immy on several characters, including my current one. The Mix -is- dangerous. Just because you don't see it, doesn't mean it isn't happening to others. That's where using the theme comes in, too. Imagine playing during an off period, because you're in a different part of the world or whatever. You might not see all the RP action that other players go through during their day, but you use what you can (room descs, general cyberpunk tropes, lore, sparse SIC chatter, the grid, etc) to follow the theme.
You never know what you don't know and you never know everything unless you're a GM and you're abusing what you can know.
No one is perfectly 'efficient' all the time. People leak paydata or make bad presumptions constantly. People take bad fights, make risky deals, trust when they shouldn't, chase ass, chase flash, all kinds of things because of character or player flaws day in and day out. I hope more players do it more often out of carefully considered character-driven, RP-rich reasons and I know it at least sometimes is, but even if it's just the basic human failing of the player behind the character (mis-SIC'ing, cr'ing when you shouldn't, being stupid when your character wouldn't be, whatever), it does happen. I agree more people should have their characters fuck up more often in ways applicable to their given character, but the game is what it is.
I don't have a problem, on it's face, with Mixers striving for 'comfort' or hope or 'making things nicer'. I think pushing for all or even most mixers to be betrayal-driven, violence-prone savages is an overly simplistic and boring theme. Everyone's human. Someone getting a loan to redecorate their Westinghaus apartment into something they really enjoy because it gets them through the horror of their day to day tending job and getting mugged, and now that loan shark situation drives further RP? I drink that shit up. Slice of life / social RP / emotional RP / whatever it gets labeled deserves more respect all around IMO. I get that's not necessarily what OP was getting at but I'm nudging it anyway.
Your last post brings up a very good point which could perhaps be a pivot discussion point for a new thread, or even the upcoming town hall. I only agree to some bits but it's a very valid sentiment and could lead to a cultural change if a majority agrees.
Going back to the main topic of the discussion, and conveniently related to "telling a story", the mix is not more mechanically "shitty" than topside due to balance reasons. So there's not going to be a mechanical or gameplay incentive for you to say, fuck this, I'm going topside. It's all roleplay and moving your narrative forward, your character chooses to go topside for any reason, either organic or made up.
We also tend to preach too much about class divide on the BGBB and overlook divide within the ranks of the same class as our characters. I'll list a few quick examples of what I'm talking about.
How do you tell who's a better ganger? By all their flash shit, obviously. In the RL, people adorn themselves with arguably useless shit, much like exists in the game- that often gets totally ignored. How do you prove you're the best ganger out of the bunch? Wear jewelry. Get a rolex. Get a skinwatch. Spend money on things that aren't simply min/maxing or working towards your next goal.
Why do I say this? Because there's a veritable laundry list of cool things in the game that are intended to be indicative of status that are hardly ever used. Getting these things generates RP, as they're not found sitting at Bob's Discount Market. Having these things generates RP in that people covet them, recognize their value, and will want to steal them. And finally, losing them, and then having to deal with a secondary market that doesn't simply place value on the item because a NPC will buy it again, generates more RP.
In the same note, people shouldn't be doing the 'smart' thing and leaving all their valuables at home. If you have a katana sitting on a shelf rusting, bust that thing out and make a statement. Ditch the bokken. Drive plots. That includes being willing to lose shit. Because ultimately, at the end of the day, the more 'cool powerful stuff' that sits around locked in a vault or only ever taken out and paraded around once a month, the less actual RP we have going on surrounding all the plots that come and go with such gear.
Final note I'll say, is that even though the mix is a slum, your character should be taking pride in the shit they -do- have. Don't forget that this isn't communist poverty simulator 2105. It's cyberpunk, and it's meant to be hypercapitalistic at it's very core. That means showing those other chumps on the block you have more money than them. Letting them covet it, etc. Don't be afraid to pick an enemy just because they drive an expensive car. You shouldn't only be feeling like a have not in a sea of other have-nots. There's filthy rich mixers, and poor mixers. Embrace the divide within the mix. Play to it. You'll find yourself having way more fun.
Don't know about y'all, but in my month and a half of SD, I've never once felt safe.
Every time I walk out the door, I fully expect to get mugged or killed. Every time someone walks onto the block, I have a mini-freakout wondering if this is where I lose days worth of work and end up even more broke and fucked up than I was before.
However, I don't play a combat-oriented character. Accidentally, because I misunderstood how stats&skills work, but now its IC on purpose. My SD experience is all RP interaction with constant fear of violence; all while desperately trying not to get my ass caved in by some immy who stat-dumped on gen.
Non-combat characters absolutely do -not-, in my experience, have it easy. Maybe for the folks whose been playing for years and know all the ins and outs of game mechanics, perhaps. If we're talking about realism here, not everyone in the slum is going to be some jacked-up wall of hulking-flesh, expert swordsman, or gunslingin' badass. Sure, those people will -absolutely- be the ones with the most to gain in any situation, due in part to the avenues their skill opens up, as well as the simple reality of potential predatory profit-seeking behavior. Everyone else though? They play to their skills and hope for the best.
Anyone, and I mean -anyone-, can cave your skull in at any time, for any reason. And it happens. Maybe its just because I'm online typically 8-15 hours a day, but I see a lot more bad shit go on than anything good, and anything arguably -nice- inevitably gets picked apart, set on fire, stomped out, then pissed on. As it arguably should be.
On the economics aspect... Much like anyone whose ever been poor in RL, we're acclimated to the misery and filth because its -all we've ever known or had access to-. Poor people will ABSOLUTELY go hungry because they wanted to feel good for a moment and dumped their whole check on a nice fashion accessory, night out drinking with the girls, wholeass quarter-bag of mid-to-high grade weed, or a few rounds of blackjack, only to immediately (albeit secretly) regret it. Look at Supreme, Beats headphones, gaming consoles, any weekend slum bar -ever-, every casino in existence, etc.
This is a very -real- aspect of living in poverty that permeates human behavioral patterns, not just in our contemporary technological society, but going back throughout human history.
Most people's entire focus in life is to make enough money to survive then spend it all forgetting about how much the world absolutely sucks. From drugs and alcohol, to fashion and media, our natural tendency toward escapism is a pervasive aspect of day-to-day life, but -especially- so when you're struggling.
The more you struggle, the more you want to escape. The more you want to escape, the more you'll dump into making the bad thoughts go away. Its a vicious, self-destructive cycle that's almost impossible to escape, and then, only if you've somehow retained enough idealism to even bother trying, and manage to get lucky along the way.
Shit like that is hordes of people people spend an inordinate number of hours thrift-store diving for that awesome purse that's 80% off because the factory butchered the lining then wholesaled it in bulk with a bunch of other defective items for pennies on the dollar.
Why? Just so you can feel better about having next to nothing of value, and thus no social value, in a hyper-consumerist capitalist society where the possessions you show off define your worth. People have literally starved themselves or gone bankrupt in a sea of overdue bills, just to play pretend and feel/show they're not as broke as they really are, because being hated on by your fellow broke-ass folk really fuckin' hurts. But that's just how it goes, and the mix should absolutely reflect such behavior.
Its why real people haven infamously taken out loans, 'borrowed' a loved one's or their work credit card, bet the title to their car or house deed, or blown their entire paycheck, just to hopefully get a lucky break and gamble themselves into a life they don't despise. Most often while failing miserably, 'cause thems the breaks.
Hell, I'd love to see a Mix Lotto, just to emulate all the people who've literally gone without critical necessities because they spent a significant chunk of their money over the years desperately trying to get-rich-quick(tm) instead of saving or investing it. I can't count how many times I went hungry as a kid because my mother went apeshit on the scratchoffs :P That's like the apex of poor-man's wishful thinking right there, and themely as hell in my opinion.
Its why real people will work 12-15 hour workdays of backbreaking physical labor only to spend hundreds in a single night of blitzkrieg drinking the moment they get their paycheck, -every. single. week. like. clockwork-, while living in a ratty-ass apartment next to a crackhouse.
For billions of us on Earth, that's just -life-.
Real talk no one wants to admit?
Poor people tend to hate and simultaneously envy the rich, semi-rich, and in-so-much-debt-you-can-pass-as middle class. They're also not stupid enough to say it out loud unless its behind closed doors with people who 'get it.' They love the lucky-break stories and underdog archetypes that pepper popular media, because it gives them -hope- and -peace of mind- in a world where everything feels utterly, irrevocably hopeless.
That is the end-all be-all currency right there. You want more themely mix life?
I can see why some people see SD mixer life as a 'cyberpunk poverty simulator'.
For others, a what-if-things-worked-out-for-once scenario where you can do all the shit you wish you had the balls to try in real life, if only it weren't practically suicide to take such risks.
For others still, a lets-see-what-happens-if-I-do-xyz shenanigan generator.
Do what feels fun, but if we're going to discuss making the mix seem more realistic... Make it actually realistic, and not a cheap-ass caricature of poverty.
As someone whose actually splurged on luxury comforts and immediately regretted it; while subsisting on ramen, crackers, and toxic tap-water in a ratty-ass practically-condemned apartment; fearing for their life every time they walk out the door into a gang-infested neighborhood, where you can't have -shit- cause someone will take it from you, and can't sleep at night from all the sirens because someone's constantly getting shot, stabbed, robbed, or beat half to death; whose -been- stabbed and shot at for doing stupid shit with money I shouldn't have spent in the first place; witnessed and experienced classism, racism, gentrification, and the gradual destruction of human lives as a basic fact of life; and on most days would say I actually kind of like it here because they've become so desensitized by human suffering that its just -what it is- and anything slightly better feels -impossible- to achieve; not only in urban America, but in Brazil too, which is on a -whole- other level of miserable poverty and classist social oneupmanship; I stand by this post, and those of others who
talked about the realism behind poor folk splurging on creature comforts.
Give us disease. Give us violence. Give us misery. Give us soul-crushing hopelessness. Give us drugs, sex, and murder. Give us capitalist wage-slavery thinly-veiled behind the promises of a better life so long as you sign your sanity and sense-of-self away on this here dotted line...
..But don't try and take away mixer creature comforts and cite 'realism' as if they aren't an integral part of one's mental health, whether the result of long-term saving and decision-making, OR a last-second fuck-it-why-not-treat-myself-for-once.
Make them more expensive? Hell yeah, inflation and corporate monopoly post-merger price hikes bone us in RL on the regular. Bring it to Withmore!
Make a run-down corner store Bodega or two that sells cheap, bland, off-brand hunger-trash so we can subsist on junk food and mass-produced calorie-deprived bullshit? Lets make it happen! Cue the new immy jobs! Cue stealing snacks from work! Cue bribing employees with low-quality drugs so things 'fall off the back of the truck real smooothlike'. Cue teenage wannabe-gangster shakedowns. Cue the iconic group of guys that stand outside the cornerstore all day bullshitting and watching out for the cops while one of them sells drugs, another dude catcalls or roasts random people, and that one nosy dude who seems to know -everybody- that trades street-gossip for future favors. Maybe its a (continental) American immigrant/hood thing, I don't know, but that'd be awesome.
The moment you say a mixer can't make the dumbass impulse decision of spending 300 chy on a gold/green lev-run just so they can taste that sweet, sweet nectar the bastard corpies take for granted; or buy some flash-ass threads to show off and risk getting knocked out and left bleeding face-down in a disease-ridden puddle of waste-water; or save up for months to buy a car only to wake up and find the windows shattered, seats covered in hobo piss, wheels up on blocks, torched, or just straight-up GONE... All while proudly refusing to even -consider- selling out to the corps because they're the reason why generations of their family have been forced to suck-it-up in a flaming shit-pile of hopelessness in the first place...
That's when I'm gonna stand up and say you're not being themely - you're being straight unrealistic. We can make the mix a better (read: horribly, mind-numbingly worse) place without portraying class-specific poverty and human suffering as something two-dimensional and quite frankly insulting.
Almost all the money and power that could oppress the mix lies entirely within corporate NPC power that corpie players will have to beg for in meetings and struggle to wield, with very few exceptions being corporate combat characters that have some amount of advantage but simply lose out in the numbers game, especially with equally or better positioned ex-corporate solos being plentiful in the mix just as much. As a non-combat corpie character that hasn't climbed the ladder all that much most of your 'oppressive' power is in the WJF siding with you over them.
This could just be some mental gymnastics on my part, but when people argue things like, a restaurant on red being better than one on green, it feels a lot like when I was growing up and my mom would say that the noname ramen tasted better than the name brand stuff. We know it's not true but we'd let her claim it so she'd feel better about not being able to afford the name brand stuff.
I also kind of wonder, and I could be misunderstanding this, if some of the perception of mixers being too rich is a bit smallworldy. Like seeing someone on a crowded street I assume they just sort of stick out in some subconscious way, same with the results of a "who". So I think of PCs being, sometimes, an exception or one of the few people who can actually afford to live alone in an apartment instead of being a family of four crammed into a cube. Though this might miss the point of the thread entirely since it's only the PCs that really matter in the sense of in game economy.
I'd also much rather see the rich get richer, or a sort of middle-ground money sink for the people who are mixer-rich but still nowhere near corpie wealthy, but that's just my preference.
Ultimately there are very few positions truly enabled and motivated to oppress mixers because they are allowed to be transgressive in their actions. You all know the rule about not excessively targetting players over NPCs, but how many NPCs do you see a Judge fine over players? These roles are few, restricted and reserved for the trusted. Many, many, many corporate PCs simply do not have the means or even the slightest bit of reason to go out of their way to oppress mixer PCs (and who would notice if they oppressed mixer NPCs?), in no small part due to the financial, legal and social opportunity cost this can involve for them. It falls to the institutions.
The only reason a mixer should be tolerated topside is financial, based on hypercapitalism. That is why they're allowed to even have bank accounts. The feeling of "We don't want you, we just want your money." should be all-pervading. I don't know why they're allowed on Green. I don't know why people with active gang memberships aren't beaten and thrown back in the lev at the WJF checkpoint. At least, in-universe. OOC of course it's a castration of mechanical privileges that people would have to suffer to truly feel oppressed, and I'm all for it. Are you?
Falls are rare enough - not more than a couple a week - that that could probably be handled. Have the gang kings take appropriately exorbitant fall taxes without sharing it to the ganger PCs, and/or have the corporations seize assets from falling corpies under some kind of "breach of contract" theory. We tolerate economic strangeness in the name of game balance all the time (see the relative prices of sledgehammers and motorcycles) and so I don't think some kind of economic hand wave is going to break the game, if that's really even an issue.
If you wanted to really have that gap happen, virtually every corpie ought to be better equipped than all but the most elite mixers, with little to no effort to achieve or replace. Every corporate employee past junior grade should have a license for a 7mm pistol for self-defense and gunning down a mixer on Gold should be a fine for disturbing the peace, with no acknowledgment made of the mixer as a person. But the corpies live in cyberpunk, the company cares about money money money, and it won't give you anything to make your life better that doesn't directly impact that.
In essence, the gap has to be in goods and privileges, and that is, again, something that has to be enforced instutitionally. You can make guns illegal in the mix, but if you don't enforce it there, but enforce it on Gold where you struggle to have a license unless you're a corporate soldier, it's actually the "privileged" that are more oppressed. Mixers have access to much of the same goods as corpies with LESS hassle and at FAR lower costs. Prices go UP as you move into more prestigious areas, rather than increasing for the oppressed. Quick Kleens are perhaps one of the few things that actually do it right, doubling their costs in Red over what they are in Green, because it SHOULD be expensive for a mixer to not be a dirty trash golem and have any kind of amenities the topside experiences.
There's a lot of asking you to fill in the blanks. I know the game's reality doesn't always reflect all this, that's because it's supposed to be up to us and our roleplay to provide that kind of atmosphere. People do, I feel, need to do a better job of imagining how the game's world looks like outside of themselves and embracing behavior and attitudes that showcase life in Sindome.
I think as players its incumbent for us to look past corner cases where theme and mechanics clash for game balance or time reasons, but I think that the world broadly should be the way that it is portrayed in the game. One of Sindome's great strengths compared to a MUSH, for instance, is the way that the systems interact to create a dynamic, breathing world, and I think that when we have to tell players 'pretend as if what's actually happening isn't' we are doing ourselves a disservice.
If we think that the economic divide isn't great enough, we have tools to fix that -- there's an actual economy, and I think that to pretend that there's not ultimately impacts play negatively.
I've been pretty vocal that IC mechanical reality is reality, and pretending things are different than the mechanical reality leads to a situation where everyone's view of reality is entirely different.
The Mix economy has already been tweaked a bunch of times for the sake of making things more scarce. I don't necessarily agree with the way the divide is implemented, but if people are really into the idea of the Mix being a place without -- they should be prepared to actually go without, mechanically.
In the mix you make a lot of money because you lose a lot of money. Dying often is a reality for many people, including people who only do slice-of-life RP and don't overly stir the pot.
In the corporate zones, you make less money, because you only lose money if you're doing risky, and easily avoidable things. You have -multiple- layers of security, and the reality is, that very few players are even willing to do any form of violent crime topside.
And for the love of god please stop talking about food and luxury items. Let people covet the flash things they have in the mix, and know that there's plenty of people willing to chase down, mug, rob and kill people for said flash things. It's easier to deal with things people have, than risk going overboard and being punitive to the people actually struggling to make ends meet in the mix. Which is not something a player can tell of another player.
I feel like there's some exaggeration going on here. If you don't want to requisition item XYZ, then it literally is as simple as hiring a runner to get a burner phone, then calling a fixer for a dead drop anonymously. You'll pay more than a mixer does, but you'll still pay far less than retail for the item.
I'd also mention that mixers literally can't just put an order in at their job and have things delivered to them for free. So yes, there's absolutely privilege, and it's themely.
Not every wageslave is meant to have the buying/plotting power of a CEO, unless they are likely breaking some major laws on the side. There are still corporates who ride the lev in the room descriptions for this reason. The allure of maybe owning that Holden one day is how they sucker you into signing your soul away.
If anything, being a corpie should be significantly more lucrative than being a mid-low tier Mixer because then people will want to be corporate more and will go to any lengths to avoid falling back to a Mix waiting to eat them alive. The burning jealousy of Mixers will drive genuine class hate. Meanwhile Mixers will work for the corpies they despise in order to get some of that flash.
I think at least that's how the game's intended to work, although the common complaint about corporate characters is that they don't do anything with their flash when ideally, it should flow back down to the Mix via RP.
They live, in essence, in an AnCap paradise, where nothing is actually illegal because nothing is actually enforced, no matter what the laws of Withmore may be, and they just pick and choose among their own organizations, via the Code, and so on, while picking and choosing if, when and how they benefit from the larger offerings of the city above before returning to their cozy place.
Meanwhile the topside servie or junior corpie labors under all the oppression, surveillance, scheming and rivalry that Cyberpunk has to offer. And that's great, but not when you have the comparison between the two and mixer players say corpies need to do "a better job" of oppressing them.
My point in bringing these things up, is that corporate players wield incredible power, and from relative safety in the game. That simply cannot be discounted. I fully acknowledge that there's more hoops you have to jump through to get things done. You can't just walk outside and clobber someone over the head and make five kay as a corpcit. You have to be more cunning and conniving to get things done, and willing to actually be the heel to mix players in ways that personally profit you. Your job isn't going to fire you for working with, then squeezing the life out of mixers through extortion and blackmail. Depending on your role, you might even get promotions out of it.
Right now, a corporate citizen, in the eyes of your average mixer, is only different from them in the sense that they're harder to get to. That's it. Which leads to the vitriol between the classes to show as friendly banter on pubsic more than anything else, which is far from the theme.
But I guess that leads right back to 'you should just pretend they make a boatload more flash than a mixer and play to the theme' which I've harped on about plenty in this thread already.
To draw upon a real-world example: The north of Ireland was gripped by a civil war for thirty years, but the average Dubliner and the average Londoner often wouldn't have had much personal engagement in that, except when it was brought to their door.
It was the places where Loyalists and Republicans were in immediate forced proximity to each other in Belfast where tensions and violence were the highest, where Catholics could see the stark examples of housing and job and political privileges they were denied that conflict became so intense that today, more than twenty years after the Good Friday Agreement, there are still twenty foot steel walls dividing some of these neighbourhoods.
I personally don't necessarily think the divide is helpful to great storytelling as currently implemented, but: If there are no stark examples of the divide to create resentment, and no places for this divide to be driven home and create fiction, then the conflict will always struggle to seem real to players and we'll keep having threads like these.
A huge part of the latent cyberpunk/capitalist/communist/socialist/medieval/mythological irony is that those who sell their soul to the proverbial devil are trapped inside a gilded cage of their own design. Cmon, Its literally open-cage clipped-wings philosophy / ivory tower syndrome writ large.
I'm sure that much is clear to most of ya. If not, try this mental exercise.
Replace 'corpies' with contemporary real-world celebrities, medieval nobility, American plantation owners, or, hell, even Egyptian pharaohs, and you get the same song-and-dance court-drama; infuriatingly-strict social obligations; loss of privacy / anonymity; opulent but ultimately futile luxuries consumed to excuse, justify, and reward a perpetually labyrinthine cycle of mouse-meets-cheese; constant existential fear of any status-quo shift that threatens their perceived dominance; and the rampant downstream oppression whereby they offload self-loathing through self-righteous, self-aggrandizing, narcissistic flailing set squarely upon the backs of whichever social class is easiest to abuse. Always the poor working class laborers of course - because without their blind servitude the entire pyramid scheme would come crashing down - though typically with a particular focus on whichever religious, ethno-racial, or ideological group they feel is most likely to topple their ivory tower.
In corpies case, replace ivory with glass.
Of course corpies have zero freedom and their wealth is ultimately meaningless - that's literally what they signed up for when they traded the all-too-libertarian free-for-all earned-in-blood-sweat-and-tears personal-freedom-at-your-own-risk for a steady paycheck, multi-layered security, and peace of mind.
Such is the ironic price of one's servitude - paid for in the severance of anonymity, autonomy, liberty, and identity.
Its a classic:
Life sucks so you sell out. Eventually you realize life still sucks, albeit in different ways, and unfortunately your soul's return policy is past its expiration date. Now you're stuck in the song-and-dance for good because you bought in to the pyramid scheme and have too much to lose if it fails.
That's the dynamic that makes people inevitably rebel against the status-quo in the first place, both upward and downward. Its themely, historically accurate, and quite possibly the most fundamental reflection of human society there is.
I'm not sure if that should change, but I think it's a really interesting observation.
Street judges and corporates used to go down into Red, in the wayback machine. There was even institutions setup to facilitate this very thing.
However, it's a bit of a pipe dream to do that now, as the game's grown and the bulk of the playerbase plays in Red, which has come up with it's own rich history and means of enforcing law.
SD is a PVP game. Players wield sticks and clubs on each other. You might get soundly beaten by someone who has a fancy club with nails in it when all you have is a pointy stick.
Staff, on the other hand, uses tactical nukes to enforce theme. Everyone profits when staff is able to run plots and generate content for us, rather than play theme police.
Things like big raids and the like require staffers (plural) on hand to manage NPC's and generate responses and make the world come to life when stuff like this happens. It's taxing and time consuming on their part, and results in some people getting RP at the expense of many more people not getting RP (in the form of plots, puppets, etc.) when this happens. It's nice from time to time, but isn't something that should be commonplace.
Every day I fear being permed and going back to where my character was when they first came into the city. Getting robbed was a frequent occurrence. Pissing off the wrong person, either in person or on the SIC and getting bountied or vatted was a constant concern. Trying to figure out how to make chyen, and then keep that chyen safe took me a good couple of months to get comfortable with.
I truly believe that there are many games within 'The Game' that is Sindome. At some point, everyone has to learn how to play the survival game. Players who are on their umpteenth character have a slight leg up because they 'know' how things work. But even then, the UE gap between 'new' characters and established characters is very real. A character who has been around for a year or so can absolutely trounce a newbie. As a newbie, you are a constant target. If you aren't, it's because you have friends and connections.
As people learn to survive, they likely build up social debt. They find themselves aligned with one of the various groups and at odds with other groups because of that. They find themselves 'friends' or associated with certain people, and implicitly at odds with other people. They have to navigate social structures that have evolved over literal decades of real life time. Social structures that individual characters, especially new characters and even more so new Players, have zero influence over. There is significant, inescapable danger implicit in that.
I think @TalonCzar mentioned how the Mix economy has been intentionally impoverished multiple times in the last 12 months by the staff. That is being felt. People cannot find 'basics', and when they can, the costs are higher and the rewards for turning them over are less than they have been.
If you as a player feel like the Mix is not really dangerous and that you can honestly ignore it. If you feel like you can leave your apartment and go anywhere you feel like in Red, realize that you are in a very slim minority. The majority of us worry about stepping outside. We consider what gear we take with us, and what gear we leave behind. We think long and hard about who we trust with knowledge about where we live. We consider which clubs we can go to. We consider who we have, or haven't paid tolls to.
I truly believe that if you are not actively mitigating risks, you are setting yourself up for failure.
Someone in this thread mentioned the perception that the 'majority' of players are playing it safe. Wearing disguises. Timing their attacks. Selecting weaker targets.
All of that is the bare minimum of survival. I would suggest that the perceived 'majority' is not playing it too safe. My suggestion is that those of you not taking those measures are not playing safe enough. Maybe you're okay with having a backup clone and waking up listening to Classical and losing thousands or tens of thousands worth of chyen. The rest of us worry about that stuff, and do everything in our power to keep the clone count down and the gear that we have in our possession, not on the markets or even worse, in the hands of those who will use our gear against us 'next time'.
The actually currency of the game is action, which is much more rewarding than anything else in it. In the end you are always spending resources to generate action regardless of the results.
The awesome thing is that there is no "right" way to play the game.
Your perception is that there is nothing less punk than mitigating risks.
My perception is that there is nothing more punk than curb stomping tools and taking their stuff. Then using that stuff to strike out at the real oppressors.
The world is what you make of it. Have fun waking up in the vat, trying to convince yourself that being forced to listen to Classical music by others more capable than you is punk.
(ICly of course. OOCly I <3 you.) =)
Risk adversity is inversely proportional to RP.
Not hiring chums for things you can easily do yourself to save money, hiding all your goodies in your apartment so you can't get mugged, living in a cube and only keeping money in the bank? All these things actively reduce your chances of RP. Yes, that RP might be you losing things, you paying more for things, you getting cloned out. Or it might not. But not taking those risks means that you're likely to not generate any RP in the first place.
It's all perception. Someone has to be on the other side of the "risk" coin.
"Ghost" wants to take risks. "Hek" wants to make Ghost pay for taking those risks.
"Hek" then uses the bounty from other people's failure to take their own risks.
Maslow has a hierarchy of needs. Sindome has a hierarchy of risks.
It's a question of what level you want to play at. Do you want to keep Playing Stupid Games and Winning Stupid Prizes? Or do you want to move up the Ziggurat?
The 'aggressor' of these RP interactions is -also- undertaking significant risk by doing so. There's a misconception that Sindome is a fish tank, and only larger fish eat smaller fish. In reality, the 'big fish' get preyed on by both big fish and smaller fish alike.
Sitting around and sponging UE until you're able to be the bad guy only diminishes your potential enjoyment of the game along the way. Being a combat / decking / electrician / piloting god is only fun for a short while. It's the struggle and path to get there that really provides the most intrigue and enjoyment, which is why veteran characters can and do perm/retire somewhat often.
In my experience, being the underdog, getting your butt kicked, losing everything often, etc. is not only fun in the amount of RP that it generates, but also that often other players will find ways to come support you along your roadbumps.
Just my 2 chyen!
Everyone is always encouraging more risk taking, but the tension to that (besides the obvious reluctance basically everyone has to Losing) is we're also supposed to RP our characters pretty realistically. Even in a world where clones make death (usually) not a permanent repercussion, the fear of death, pain, getting tortured, having your partner hurt, losing your job, losing a lot of flash that maybe took you MONTHS to save up -- it's very realistic RP to be averse to risking that, particularly characters who are in positions, generally of little leverage to earn back flash they lose or get vengeance on those they Lose to.
There's always going to be a contradictory dynamic between doing as a player, sometimes, what might be Better For RP, and what as a character is Themely For Your Character. Sindome is still a game, and I think it's reasonable to nudge people to try and err more towards doing the Better For RP thing, but I also think it's fair to empathize with people being risk-averse not just because they don't want to Lose, but because they're perhaps trying to RP their characters authentically, which I think is absolutely admirable. Some characters are, by design or by circumstance, not in a position to take risks, or are very much not able to weather risks forced upon them as well as others.
I agree with Hek 100%. If you're not investing money or UE into some kind of mitigation, whether it's stealth, disguise, hiring muscle, or socializing yourself into friends who watch your back all the time, or whatever, you're either very established and lucky, or you're absolutely fine with vatting out repeatedly once you get into some Bad Shit. Even 20 years ago when there were 8 players online, every time you opened your apartment door you knew the risks you were taking, you were careful what gear you took, etc. Random violence is definitely a thing too, even if it's not constant.
Of course there are always bigger fish. Or a school of smaller fish. Or the eel lurking in the coral. Or whatever analogy you want to use, you sushi eating corpie fuck. =P
What I love about this game is that it really is a living, breathing, 24x7 society. The player base is large enough, and spread across the world and timezones, that there are so many different ways to play the game.
I think my posts are coming across as suggesting that taking risks are bad.
What I am saying is "choose your battles". Dodge 'small' risks and take 'big' risks because ultimately , the big risks drive the most RP. They shift the power balances. They knock individuals or organizations back a step. Take them down a peg.
Theoretical example. Midbie steals gear from lowbie. Gives gear to other lowbie. Said other lowbie attacks third lowbie and loses gear. It's a cycle. The midbie didn't really take much of a 'risk' attacking and curb stomping the lowbie, I mean other than maybe being found out / exposed and 'caught'. But by doing what they did, they enable a whole chain of follow on risk taking.