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.