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What is the Mix?
Discussion on Theme and Going Forward

So before and at the recent Town Hall, there was some news about new focus being put on the Mix, which I think is something that it is in dire need of. However much like the recent Guided Discussion on the Mix (which poignantly ended up dominated by topside discussion) I can't help but feel like there has been a major culture change in the game regarding the Mix over the past few years, to the point where it seems like a lot of the identity there has been forgotten or lost.

I don't think this is due to any lack of staff support for players or for plots, but rather my perception is that this is a grassroots issue: That the sheer number of major active players who have filtered through long time topside roles, and who remain there, has caused almost like an internalization of IC thematic thinking; where the Mix is something separate and down there. That there is no real authority or importance there, and all real wealth and control should flow from either the Hall or the Corporations above. That it should be content for topside, or supply roles for topside characters to retire into when they want a change of pace.

Now it is obviously the IC theme that the Mix is both openly and secretly dominated by corporate and council interests, however I think this is not healthy to have bleed into the actual gameplay because it depreciates what I would consider as the actual thematic heart of the game itself. I don't think topside on it's own supplies really any of the high tech, low life aspect that is at the core of cyberpunk, and a strong culturally distinct Mix is a necessary component of the corporate cyberpunk ecosystem; otherwise it's just authoritarian suburbia with a basement.

Now I have my own opinions on what I think the Mix should be, and what the problems are with it now, and I've suggested some ideas to move away from the current situation in other threads, but what I have also realized is that the current state of things is something like the sum of all different things players pushed for over the last three years; less of a divide, more chance for interplay with topside, everything being less punishing. I think the current state is a monkey's paw outcome of players getting what they wanted in many regards, just not necessarily to the intended effect because everyone wanted something a little different.

So to wit, and since Guided Discussions can be pretty messy to engage with on these topics, I am interested to hear what other players think the culture of the Mix should be and how it might get there from where it is?

I've only played for 4-5 years, give or take, but the culture absolutely changed. I don't know why or when, but it did. When I started, corporate was like, half of the mix, now it seems like it beats it in numbers sometime.

I don't think it was any system change, either. When I started playing, there was an IC culture of 'avoid NPCs at all costs' because they would mess you with you and kill you for the slightest provocation. And yet players themselves, aside from one or two, were generally more forgiving. From the lower end and higher end, people died less. Or at least it felt like it. Now, it feels like any conflict ever aside from petty gang shit ends with people getting chain-vatted. And there are people who are pushing for that and saying that's 'just how the mix is'.

As it stands, I think three kinds of people play in the mix: One, people who play characters that thematically don't fit/work topside, two, people who want/enjoy being able to kill someone just because they were carrying something valuable, and three, people who don't know any better.

I'm not going to get too much into the theme of where should the power be IC and OOC regarding mix and corps, because I don't think that honestly matters. I'll just ask this, why would you play in the mix, currently? You'll make less money, you'll be killed even if you play nice with everyone (which you shouldn't have to do in the first place), and any events or cool shit you want to do with the community have a high chance of being ruined by someone who is just going to show up and kill you, or someone attending, or hell, just ruin the event for the hell of it. I think the reason you see most characters end up topside these days if because of that. People give the mix a chance, they see it's just Sindome Battle Royale: No RP edition, and they move topside. The lack of corporations just means it's easier to find/get into bar RP and that's it. But doing anything organized/public in the mix, unless you're at the top? Good luck with that.

The mix to me feels like it is soft as ever, and it seems to focus all its attention inward on its day-to-day squabbles and management. Even when there is shaking at the cage of the status quo it seems to be readily ignored or ever ridiculed and shut down by the Mix itself. That coupled with the numbers game in terms of in hands power (YES I get that it is themely for topside to be powerful but not to the point it discourages people from trying things) has stifled the Mix VS topside conflict.

I know there was some softening of it intentionally, and it needed to be, there needed to be a Mix solidarity even when Mixers might be in service gigs or -working for- the corporations. I think though that this has brought along with it a sort of peace or friendship. IRL I HATE!!! My boss, hate them to death, but I still work, I still smile politely and so on, because I want my money, that should be the attitude encouraged. But chumming up with a mixer or corpo should be considered crossing the line.

I feel like so often there are Mixer characters who do not mind the mix, do not seek change for the mix. But the Mix is a freaking shithole, people die, human trafficking, drugs, dang kids are getting openly abused in the streets (as per description text) And so many just seem entirely ok with it, or even consider it 'not so bad'. It is like this BECAUSE of topside, because of the corporations.

Ambient pop should come into play here in a big way, there are millions and millions of people who should have bubbling rage in their souls every second of the day against their oppressors. Red should be an almost constant powder keg aimed topside. But it just isn't, at all.

I don't know though; we only ever have our own limited perspective. I just feel Red sector is more Orange day by day. Not asking for Red sector to be more deadly, just asking that maybe we should consider it a huge wrathful beast with burning red eyes aimed topside that slumbers, only to be awoken by the tiniest provocation. It might encourage more cross-game interplay, I say cross-game because topside and Red feel so disjointed now they might as well be different games.

I've been around off and on for about 8 years now, but have only played for maybe half of those years. With my first char, I remember really feeling the scope and size of the mix even though the actual physical room count was low. The Mix had a presence - because of the lore and the anticipation of something awful happening in the coolest way. I couldn't wait to get out and see what would happen next.

Every club and shop on Red was filled with employees because it not only gave people a place to gather and RP but it gave people a small clan. Clans that would wage small wars against each other from time to time or at least they could be used as walls of defense against full-on personal assaults at your workplace or they were used as staging grounds for devious minds . . .which sometimes got blown up. Today, in the four months that I've been back there's nobody working anywhere except a couple of bartenders. No shows at the clubs. Nothing going on. Do you know how many times we staged kidnappings or assaults from shows at clubs on Red? Everybody wanted something going on at their place so they could be a part of the RP. Performances got bombed, shot up, and yes, sometimes that sucks for the performer - but it was kind of expected. That was the Mix. Like yesterday's assault at Omega.

Violence happened in the open. Sometimes bystander PC's got dragged into it. Even planning violence often happened out in the open. Player Loot farming for gear is small worlding at its worst. It ruins the atmosphere. Chain vatting people for being insulting or stealing from them, again is small worlding at its worst. Every other word in the Mix is an insult and if you aren't stolen from, being ripped off or ripping someone else off often then you aren't doing it right. Hopping out of the shadows with your buddy to deuce a poor nobody for no reason ruins the atmosphere. It isn't themely. It isn't fun. It makes everyone clam up.

I don't see enough violence out in the open unless it's from . . .

Gangs. I'll say something that might be unpopular here and I want to stress that I in no way mean any disrespect toward any gang member PC's because you guys got some serious RP chops and you play within the system, but I have to say I think the system sucks.

Tolls are small worlding and do two things that kill Mix RP - they deter people from going out, especially new players who don't get established quickly and tolls also set up the gangs as the Mix's equivalent of our most holy corporate overlords. NPC's aren't paying tolls why should PC's? Tolls along with a gangs nearly unilateral protection against any real consequences due to The Code make them more like Mix-side Corporate Monarchs and I don't find this themely for the Mix at all. Gangs should be low-level thugs, at best. High level gangers earn their chops and pull off big jobs. Gang wars are averted because getting into one SHOULD be devastating. Instead, now, gangers just eat a sandwich at the clinic and keep talking smack without any real repercussion so it happens daily.

In short - I think the Code is stupid, unthemely, and it hurts the Mix.

Further - the REAL powers that be in the Mix. Those who are the REAL owners of the clubs and the shops and the teahouses wouldn't stand for some ganger setting up shop or causing trouble in or anywhere near their place of business. They would napalm the street and be done with them. There should be some kind of interplay and synergy between gangs and the real powers but as it stands now gangers kind of run the show. I don't think that's themely at all.

Lastly, i know there is a lot of nostalgia in this post. Things weren't perfect when I started either. Things are actually way better now code-wise and game-wise. I love this game how it is now. I wish there was more going on in the Mix though. The one thing I would stress is the Mix is NOT Mix vs. topside. The Mix should be an integral part of topside's dirty dealings. There should be a few revolutionaries and terrorists, but for the most part I think the Mix is about surviving and those with means and ways in the Mix SHOULD be dealing with topside brokers and stabbing them in the back or moving up into the corporate echelons whenever possible. I think the Mix just lacks life right now because I think the focus is in the wrong places. Move the focus back to the streets. That's what makes the mix the mix. Those are the times I remember the most. The Mix is conflict in public. Topside is conflict behind the veil. The way i see the Mix now is that it's just a poorer topside with a bunch of loud gangs that have it made and don't know their real place.

Hello, voice of the devil's advocate speaking.

There's some good points being made here. One of the things I've noticed is that there has been a steady gentrification of the mix over the years. And I would ask players that, rather than focus on what you CAN have codedly and what you DO have codedly (Example: steaks and chocolate souffles and fine wines) that instead you focus on what the mix is supposed to represent. It's an absolute shit hole, a living hell, the worst possible place to live. Because, in my opinion, that's where one of the foundations of theme needs to be.

(Please bear in mind: these are personal opinions)

-You SHOULD be crying about the injustice and inequality of the divide PUBLICLY constantly.

-You SHOULD be doing everything in your power to schmooze and cater to corporates PRIVATELY in the hopes that someday you can 'make it' and get out of literal hell.

-You SHOULD be lying, cheating, stealing and fucking(over) your chums given the chance because it's one of the only 'reliable' ways to get ahead.

-You SHOULD be doing as much illegal shit as possible to make ends meet.

-You SHOULD be acting like every meal was the last because your rat warren hole in the wall is out of nutripaste and you don't have the chyen to buy another.

-You SHOULD be trying to jockey for power in your workplace, in the club, and on the rungs of the power ladder.

-You SHOULD be doing everything you can to make it just one more day under the oppressive crush of tyrannical powers that be, be they hypercorps, street gangs, the HOJ, criminal organizations or that asshole downstairs who keeps spying on you and ratting you out.

If you are getting into the headspace that your character is tangibly struggling to survive every single day in the mix I think you will find that quite a lot of other RP will quickly fall into alignment. I am fully cognizant that the mix is safer than ever, and that the mechanical reality is that it is easier to be successful in the mix than topside. That does NOT mean that it should be played as such.

Let me share with you an anecdote from when I first got playing, and I met up with an amazing roleplayer. I was someone who wanted to become a medic, but being new to the game, I had zero idea how to go about doing that. So I told my met-yesterday new ace chum 'I really need to find work as a medic.' My ace chum turns to me and whispers across the table: "I'm doing a job later, and I could use a set of eyes and hands to watch my back. No fighting, just as a medic." I immediately agreed. Said chum, a few hours later contacts my character and lays out the job: He's chasing a bounty, there's a chance that some people who are after him could find him on the job, and the bounty target was dangerous, to boot. But he could handle them. He needed to make sure he didn't bleed out on the job. Follow along and I'd make a couple thousand (Whoah, huge money for immy!?!)

So we went out, we patrolled all over the city, we ducked into some odd, off the grid areas I'd immediately forget about, and 40ish minutes later the hunt was called off.

Years later, I'd come to look back and realize the following:

-That was probably all the spare money that character, who was also fairly new, had.

-That character wasn't a bounty hunter.

-There was no mark.

-It was an amazing time that got me hooked on this game, and still talking about it some five, six years later.

-At no point were coded realities of the game involved, it was pure RP, and pure theme, and some chicken scratch for money. That's it.

Keeping that in mind:

-Yes you can casually stroll around the mix and the worst that you'll probably encounter on a day to day basis is a dip or a rent-seeking ganger begging for tolls. -Yes you have five star food that wasn't depreciated from your mix kitchen and you're not going hungry.

-Yes you can make stupidly huge wads of money doing basic as hell hustles in the mix.

Step away from coded reality and lean into the theme on an individual level. Some people will be block heads and say "Buh am richer than every corpie ah knarr!" Ignore them. Or better yet, decide that they, in their fame and wealth, need to be the first targets for venting the pressure from being crushed under boots all day, every day. For working endless hours on the assembly line to barely make enough for a beer and a cube, while this chum talks about eating caviar and having millions in the bank. Some people will get it, and will play along with you. Better yet, new players will get a feel for theme that 'feels' to be lacking and you'll have fostered someone who can pay it forwards later. You can be that nameless bounty hunter in a bar, bored and drinking beer who takes the initiative to do something themely. Or you can be one of the masses sitting in bars and bitching about how nothing is going on. Which do you prefer?

@Plebe You should read my proposal for changing crime in the Mix in the Ideas thread.
It's become pretty clear there is a significant chunk of players who see the game mainly as a social venue, and I think this is partly an explanation for the glut of players topside and a substantial part of the reason why the Mix (being notionally rooted in conflict) has died on the vine.

The Mix went from servies are class traitors, to No Rats, to corps are okay but not the WJF, to gangers turning in WJF bounties on one another, to Mixers and gangers and topsiders banding together to claim WJF bounties and cheering while they do. The reversal has seemed pretty comprehensive and it appears like there is almost zero pressure on any faction not to pal around with whoever they like to socialize on SIC with or whatever avenue provides the least conflict.

I think it makes sense that Joe Mixer would not really give a shit one way or another, and I also think it makes sense for certain organizations like private security to have closer corporate and ex-corporate connections, but all criminal factions should be way more hostile to corporate and ex-corporate characters (and especially hostile to anyone connected to the Hall) and should be outright the same authority and standing in the Mix as the WJF and corporations are topside. These should not be friend groups for topsiders to recruit or positions to eventually retire into.

The longer I play here, the more I realize that the "Mix" or "topside" or "criminal orgs" or "gangs" or (insert group here) really is what we as players chose to make them.

The shifts that have been noted in this thread are real.

The reasons behind them are as much conjecture as anything else posted here on BgBB.

I am curious to see if with the recent large scale suspension, if the dynamics of the various sectors in the city and the groups within them will change. My suspicion is that the reduction in people easily colluding offline / OOCly will have an affect. The extent of that affect will likely hinge around on where those player's characters were.

My two chy is that the Mix is a massive, open air prison. A permanent refugee camp writ large.

The lore about the power dynamics of Withmore is available. I encourage everyone who has an opinion about how things should be to look into the lore and start driving RP towards those dynamics.

I have personally had good experience with using @notes. While I would say that I get a staff response regarding any particular @note less than 5% of the time, when I do get a response they are very informative and enlightening.

If you are not in the habit of @noting IC-Goals, I suggest that you develop that habit.

I don't know that it's all that conjectural: Players pushed for conflict to be tamped down so there could be more socialization, Syndicate conflicts were depreciated, and a substantial amount of players and staff shifted topside. My experience has been that veteran characters now are overwhelming corporate or ex-corporate, and with little pressure for ex-corporate characters to conform to the Mix, the Mix has accordingly become basically an extension of topside.

I don't think this is anything one player can change by swimming against the current either, because the status quo is very advantageous from a gameplay standpoint. Limiting the potential pool of allies/recruits is worse than cliquing up with anyone with considerable UE investment, there needs to be some kind of additional thematic support unless the mechanics themselves change to encourage conflict organically (which I think is a way harder problem that requires much more dev time).

I've been around for about half-a-year so far and I want to throw in my two cents in regards to this.

I agree that it feels like topside life (corporate life) ends up becoming a large dollhouse and this may be because people live in a safe, clean environment and are disincentive to cause conflict, but that's fine in my opinion. Why? Because I think the Mix is the more interesting component and the one that should be the origin of conflict that then affects the topside. Problem is, there's little in the way for reasoning for this.

I could go up there, vandalize some things, terrorize some people, or generally cause some mayhem, but why? Best case scenario, I used up some resources and got a thrill, worst case scenario: I end up dead. The small fish should be lured into this by the bigger ones. And I think this is the best way to address a lot of issues.

Let's make up a scenario with made up funny names.

There I am, Slice, a ganger that's looking for some flash. There he is, SkeezyGuySuitNTie. Now, SkeezyGuySuitNTie approaches me, or asks for someone with my skillset and I respond, and he gives me something to do. What exactly?

Well, SkeezyGuySuitNTie wants me to go up there and rattle the fuck out of RandoPompousCorpieBitch (who has no idea this is going to happen) because BigBadCorporationIncorporatedInc did some off-screen shit to SkeezyGuySuitNTie, some shit that RandoPompousCorpieBitch might've been told happened or not, depending on whether CorpoSecManGuy told her or not.

What happens now? Well, it depends on how much I'm paid and told. If she's a hard target, I end up needing some crew, or some other people, make up splitting money harder, or maybe I think I can do it on my own.

The result: The dollhouse ends up having a wrench thrown into it, CorpSec and the Hall get to scratch their reactionary itch and I have something to do with a reason. What if TrustWorthyMcGee I told this to leaks the information? Or what if RandomAnnoyingCorpieBitch hates RandoPompousCorpieBitch and sets her up for me to fuck her up?

My takeaway is that we should have more incentive for fuckery on the topside and on the bottomside. Slice should have some big fish ask him to do something up there. And CorpoSecManGuy should get some objective that will step on the toes of the guys below.

This doesn't mean that you lead people into this or do it all the time, but getting the ball rolling. Someone wants a new project? Give them that, have them carry a briefcase around for a while but make sure someone else wants that briefcase too.

I think the assumption that the mix is less lively now and there are more corporates than ever because of some latent player desire for the game to be more social, less PVP is absolute, pure unadulterated speculation. And, entirely in my opinion, wrong.

The sentiment I've seen here on the boards and ingame is that the people who are moving from the mix or playing nice or whatever, are doing so because the PVP itself pushed them in that direction. People claim the mix is 'safer than ever', but is it? It depends on how you look at it. When I started, I too, noticed people were more open about conflict, shit would spill out onto the streets, there were flair, theatrics. It was very violent, more than now, sure. But people didn't mind, I didn't mind. Because it was fun, it was loud, public. I got dangled off rooftops, had half the city sent after me, had cinematic duels to settle beef. Now? Almost all the conflict I experienced in the last year or so were shroud kills and worse. Very little to no RP, and I don't even mean during, I mean before and after. And I, in my estimation, had it a lot better than a lot of people did. But yes, you can walk around, pay your tolls, play nice and generally never have to worry about a thing. I mean, sure. But nobody wants to/should do that, and if they do, they're doing that for a reason.

But people seem to want to continue dancing around the issue, so on we go. We have people both IC, and OOC on the boards admit they literally kill for loot, or even just for the sake of killing, but hey. Mix is safe, right? I've literally seen multiple players leave/perm or go topside because of shroud/repeated vatting, but again, the mix is safe. Let's just keep saying that until the mix ends up empty. We even had threads of people in endgame combat agreeing that the state of it is atrocious and burns people out hard.

I'm not offering solutions, I know, but damn, at least address the issue instead of just claiming players are randomly going topside because ???.

I do think players go topside to avoid conflict, and especially so when they're mainly interested in a social experience and not a conflict driven one. Some characters will flee topside pretty much as soon as they are threatened, others will stick it out until they get vatted once.

But I don't think anything short of filling the Mix with Judges will retain those characters, and players looking for primarily a socialization venue will chafe against the game no matter what, so conforming the Mix to them is kind of pointless.

If it has to be underpopulated, it can at least be themely. That might even be better, to filter for the players who really want that experience rather than trying to please everyone.

I think that it's reasonable that the Mix feel underpopulated. I mean, yes, it's a crammed-together slum, but also it's a world dictated by dead ends and people being stuck in a vicious cycle, not exactly the recipe for you to become someone. There's a multitude of ambient NPCs, but you can't give a shit about them because they're too absorbed in their own sad little lives that they won't drink or hustle with you. That leaves only the PCs who are persons of interest, just by virtue of them being hte only characters in the Mix who has the potential to be any different from the ambient and non-ambient NPCs who are always stuck in a rut, regardless of whether said NPC is a faceless goon or a powerful mob boss.

It makes sense OOC and IC that the Mix is 'underpopulated' with people who matter to your character. I just feel that the only way to make this better is to have the slightest OOC nudges to improve quality of life. An example I have on my mind is that it's pretty difficult to ICly seek out other PCs, because if you ask where people are hanging out you'll get the IC answer that there are ambient NPCs doing stuffs- but you don't give a shit about them, you want other players!

I have a wild idea that maybe the Mix can feel a little more workable and less grey if there was... I don't know, a dating service? Something that can be abused to link up with other players (using the term both OOCly and ICly) and alleviate the tedium of having to sort through the dross of people too stuck in their ways.

But when I type that out, it does seem more like something a player can do ICly instead of the staff? And hell, it is something people are already doing, maybe the stars just have aligned so that there's no player doing it in a way that unifies the PCs in the Mix right now. I feel like that could happen on its own, or staff could make an NPC to do that as an example before shifting the mantle over to a worthy PC.

Some characters will flee topside pretty much as soon as they are threatened, others will stick it out until they get vatted once.

But I don't think anything short of filling the Mix with Judges will retain those characters, and players looking for primarily a socialization venue will chafe against the game no matter what, so conforming the Mix to them is kind of pointless.

If it has to be underpopulated, it can at least be themely. That might even be better, to filter for the players who really want that experience rather than trying to please everyone.

Hell yes, totally this.

Tangentially, could this also be the reason topside conflict never happens? There are always people who say they want topside conflict and bemoan the impossibility of it ever being viable. The sector being saturated with risk-averse social-play characters doesn't ever seem to be highlighted, usually other factors are "blamed" - that's not really the word I want to use but you get my point.