Let's talk about Rogue Support, Or if you prefer: Cities have too much mechanical power over players

TetchtaTetchta The Innocent
edited April 3 in Idea Box
Hello everyone! With the game at its All Time High when it comes to in-character tensions and org drama, and an apparent attempt by the upstairs folk to shift us from a binary conflict model to something more nuanced, I think it's time to talk about something that's been a problem for years, but has gone unaddressed, and that is the dismal situation people who don't have cities face when it comes to playing the game. There's so many QOL things tied to cities at the moment that I can't even count them all. Most of them take them for granted. Here's just a few, however:
  • Ylem mist gold!
  • Ylem orbs!
  • Ylem amulets!
  • Learning lessons 60 at a time!
  • The GRACE command that gets you an extra celerity point when you're blessed.
  • No withdraw fee from banks.
I'm sure there's other things I'm not thinking of. This is all before you get to people who have artifacts. I currently have L3 Residual expand, experience_field, critical_field, field_duplication, hunting_field, and improved_absorption. That's 3550 credits of artifacts that can be made instantly worthless with the snap of a finger. That's on top of a level 20 salvage gauntlet, that loses a huge chunk of it is utility, anywhere from 14-15 powers. That's another 1400-3000 credits, depending on how you value it. There's probably a bunch more I'm not thinking of, this is just what came to mind after thinking about it for a few minutes. In real dollar terms, that's $1372-$1800ish.

This probably raises some responses:

Why not join [insert other city here].
This is a good question, because it gets to the heart of the problem I have, and have always had, with this system, and that's that a massive number of mechanics are leveraging people to forgo roleplay. There's a whole host of people I think that would choose to go cityless, or might be forced to go cityless, because it fits their roleplay more than joining a city does. And while losing the benefits associated with a city (serving in a military, having social support, losing out on city credit sales and stuff like that) make a hell of a lot of sense, I'm not sure having to say goodbye to all these other mechanics that ostensibly have nothing to do with roleplay or being a part of a social group makes any sense. A city is a pretty big identifier for a character's roleplay, and they're all very unique. Someone who fits well in, say, Spinesreach, isn't going to really fit in well in Bloodloch necessarily, or vice versa.

Why not sidehop?
This is a worse version of the above question. The answer to roleplay problems shouldn't have to be "change your entire character." Not to mention this effectively multiplies the cost and loss problem.

Cities have had a ton of roleplay leverage funneled into them over the years in the form of massive mechanical advantages--advantages that pretty much no other org in the game has. I think it's amazing that the administration upstairs is trying to inject a lot of nuance, complexity, and new forms of conflict into the game lately, since it's basically what everyone's been asking for. I think, however, if they're going to want people to start pressing envelopes, taking risks, and pushing challenging and complicated roleplay, they're going to have to take a look at the fundamental structure of the game's city bonuses. As it sits, every city in the game has a massive gun to the head of every player. This has created problems for lots of folk, but I think it's probably going to reach new levels of stifling if it's not addressed. Otherwise, everyone's gonna just put their hands up, sigh, and walk away from the table for fear of seeing a ton of their mechanics that they enjoy every day get flushed down the toilet.

And if I hear anybody go "but muh consequences," let me just stop you right there: some mechanical consequences make some sense, and there's ways to mitigate and recoup loss in a lot of those examples. But if your primary consequence for roleplay is to see hundreds or thousands of dollars' worth of credits become instantly worthless? That ain't an appropriate mode of conflict. It'd be like if you were playing D&D and, on top of your character dying, someone went outside and smashed your car window or something. Roleplay consequences for roleplay make a lot of sense--mecahnical consequences on this scale, to me, sure as hell don't.

Edit: and this is all to ignore that because cities have so much leverage and have guaranteed citizenship for all their benefits, they really have no real incentive to change their cultures at all. Combined with the envoy system, characters don't have any real leverage without massively inconveniencing themselves. This is a problem that has arisen before, (see: BL overlord drama), and I see it repeatedly coming up unless these issues are addressed.

IazamatRenliIesidMaeveNipsyLinSryaenValorieEakuProcyonLegyn

Comments

  • As someone who migrated to Aetolia from MKO, and seeing the outcry, there, in a MUCH smaller community for rogues, or at least someplace for people who didn't fit into the 2-on-1 power structure in place there, I can only say I support changes and inclusion of support for people who wish to exist outside city structure wholeheartedly.

    Hell, we have entire classes whose lore derives itself from existing -beyond- civilization (The hermitness of Monk-lore, Wayfarers, just to name a few). And further, we have this giant world and the mechanical ability to buy and build homes and shelters and even entire -areas-, complete with interactive NPCs, in them, and still, the chain linking one to a city is very physical.

    I, for one, just wanted to comment to give this more of a bump beyond just clicking Agree. I'd love to see this come about with the new waves of political and religious complexity we're seeing in the game so far.
    Tetchta
  • edited April 3
    And if I hear anybody go "but muh consequences," let me just stop you right there: some mechanical consequences make some sense, and there's ways to mitigate and recoup loss in a lot of those examples.

    I feel it's important to point out that mechanical consequences beyond death (and its associated exp. loss) don't really exist, and guilds don't actually have mechanical consequences at all these days - and that's a good thing! As long as you reach GR2 - and you should, provided the guild is following the guidelines for requirements - you have class and the guild can't take it away from you, even if they outguild you. The fact that cities are the polar opposite of this is unhealthy for the game and feeds particularly toxic mindsets that we've seen flourish across the game's lifespan, wherein players will make decisions based not on RP, but on how badly they can ruin another's play experience by pushing to see them removed from the city organization.

    I can easily say that the power imbalance between players and city organizations needs to shift somewhat dramatically or support for rogues needs to be reconsidered, especially if, as already said, nuance and new paradigms of play are going to be reintroduced to the game as a whole.
    TetchtaSryaenProcyon
  • TetchtaTetchta The Innocent
    If I were to put it as a tl;dr way, the current city mechanical thing is like our Guild Sanction Mechanical Bonus Problem but 100x worse, and we got rid of Guild Sanction Mechanical Bonsues.

    IazamatNipsy
  • I actually hate the 'Why not just sidehop' argumen and absolutely agree with @Tetchta's take. Since everything is tethered mechanically, this is a MORE costly thing to do. It's literally an all-or-nothing change that requires you to give up all tethered classes. If I was to side-hop right now and have to ditch 4 of my tethered classes plus artifacts, I'd essentially be losing out on around an $850 investment (or 3100-ish credits). The bulk of that is just the 50% lesson cost from quitting a class, and that's also taking into consideration I'm not mega whaled out with artifacts, so I'm sure there are people for who this number will be much, much higher.

    In a game that encourages (demands?) RP, I have never understood why the mechanical cost attached to changing classes was so high. I think this really just makes people think about how much of their RL $$$ investment (or however many countless hours they spent grinding the gold for credits IG) they'd be flushing down the toilet in pursuit of the aforementioned RP.

    Rogues seem to be fairly few and far between, but this is absolutely a problem. I suppose you could say that since Rogues aren't loyal to any city, that it should essentially be no risk, no reward. I disagree. With the introduction of Lexadhra, I think this gives rogues a unique opportunity to shine where previously they may have been stuck on the sidelines.


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    TetchtaIazamatFyrren
  • TetchtaTetchta The Innocent
    edited April 3
    And, like, there are other benefits to a city that, I think, fit the scale of the consequences for not being in one. Having a city at your back, having the immediate social circle available, being able to enforce/push game-wide change via war, credit sales, ministry positions, prestige--these all make total sense to have cut from you if you quit or are ousted. The other losses seem extremely harsh, don't really enhance the game experience, and, if nothing else, choke out organic RP.

    And if framing this as "rogue support" is too abrasive, it easily could be thought of as "take the city's pistol off my temple" or "cities have too much power over my mechanics and player value."

    edit: a lil extra silly since some of the things here are ylem reserves, which I'm pretty sure are just ylem that's glued to your character, I'm not even sure what a city has to do with that.

    NipsyIazamat
  • I would love to see alternatives provided for characters that choose to exist outside of the primary conflict system, I've always thought this would enrich the stories in the game. I can see a creep issue of directional loss if too many characters abandoned the primary conflict system, but I think that really only arises when the game's primary story and direction gets neglected for long stretches. Looking forward to see where things go and want to voice my support here for a non-binary/shift-from-tethers conflict system that involves viable QOL mechanics to characters who wish to divorce themselves from cities.

    TetchtaNipsy
  • TetchtaTetchta The Innocent
    Honestly, the other IRE's have so many conflict axes that it's almost a little silly that Aetolia effectively only has the one. I'm glad to see the Admin trying to put strain on that idea, though. Overall that feels like a somewhat different conversation, though, and probably something worthy of its own thread. All that said, we agree on the core issue!

    Iazamat
  • TetchtaTetchta The Innocent
    Add "anatomy," to the list of bonuses you get for being in a city, a 5% passive crit boost.

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