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TMC Player Reviews: Sindome


Review Submitted By: FrostyFare
Author Status: Player and staff member
Started on Sindome: 1/10/2018
Submission Date: Jan 15, 2018
TMC Listing: Sindome

The following review is the opinion of the review's author [FrostyFare] and in no way represents the opinions of this website or its staff.

Beware of Sindome!
I came into Sindome a few days ago because I love the cyberpunk
atmosphere. This was my second stab at the game; the first time it
just didn't connect for me, but I also realized I wasn't being fair
to it because it doesn't model well after other MUDs. Honestly, that
is both its greatest -- and weakest -- strength. I had experience with
entirely different games like BatMUD and Aardwolf.

Overall, my impression of the game early on was good, but I must
caution new players about Sindome. Contrary to its claims, it is NOT a
'newbie-friendly' environment, and unless you are looking at your
screen and following along every second of every moment while playing
Sindome, even new players should be prepared to lose everything as I
did. You must accept the militant terms of the game, and any
complaints levied against it are opportunities for mockery and
disinterest in the community.

What I've basically realized about Sindome after playing several
hours of it is that: if you love RP and you love cyberpunk, Sindome is
one of few options, and the rich RP (role play) environment delivers
very strongly. In fact, this is what I love about Sindome. Walking
around the city and talking IC (in-character) is both rewarding and
deeply immersive. This cannot be overstated enough. I have absolutely
no complaints in this department, and I suggest that if you try
Sindome, please keep RP in mind as it is both expected and against the
rules to excessively talk OOC (out-of-character) while playing. That
isn't to say you can't ask questions OOC, but it's more or less
expected that if you have an IC question, you will need to find an IC
answer. What does that mean? It means if you have a problem playing as
your character, you'll largely be out of luck finding an answer from
another player unless you're both IN character and communicating in
the game, in the same room. This is an obscure concept for most
gamers, and it also means there are no easy solutions to your problems
should they arise (and trust me, they will). You can't even really
find it outside the game as it is against the rules to discuss IC
concepts or events outside Sindome. If you do, you will probably be
banned.

Where Sindome collapsed for me is how it negates to inform you that
being AFK (away from keyboard) even momentarily can spell doom for
your character. It's explained that in the first two weeks, there is
some measure of 'protection' for new players. That is to say, no one
can kill you. However, Sindome is like PVP on steroids. Not only can
you be killed while walking down the street or performing some menial
task in any room at any time, you can lose your character or get
mugged and lose all of your money (as I did). While I was certainly
within the boundaries of the two week protection, the game failed to
explain anywhere during it's tutorial or '@newbie' guide that
robbery is completely fine. Oops!

In my unfortunate situation, I was called urgently away from my
computer for OOC problems. Real life works that way sometimes, and
adults can't be expected to monitor each and every second of our
in-game time when those instances arise. Unless you're already
familiar with Sindome, and you happily accept and agree to it's
masochistic rules, be prepared for a punishing ride. Let me be clear:
the environment is designed to reflect real life as much as it
possibly can, and this can be a wonderful and engaging virtue of
Sindome. It strengthens the rich RP environment, encourages very real
consequences, and it keeps you on your toes. However, there is
virtually no 'safe' area beyond the tight confines of habitats like
coffins, cubes and apartments which are all purchasable in-game.
Coffins are initially a free asset (up to two weeks) but require some
working knowledge of how to navigate the city. For new players, this
is a tall request should something OOC require your immediate
attention, and you're clear across town away from the safety of your
coffin.

Back to my story: while I was away dealing with my real-life crises,
my character stood in the middle of the street in broad daylight and
was mugged by another player. I lost every chyen (cyberpunk currency)
that I had earned on me. I had spent the previous day playing 8-10
hours, familiarizing myself with Whitmore City, earning money, talking
to other IC players and learning what I could. Let me rewind a little
to just how involving and punishing the game is, even from the moment
you step in.

You are given no weapon and no clothes when you enter the city. The
only thing you are given is a small sum of currency which will provide
you an opportunity to purchase some clothes to cover your 'naked'
character who is apparently running around in the snow in this city
(despite the game's aim to be overtly realistic). I guess hypothermia
is off the list. In this way, you are provided no way to defend
yourself. Again, you can only rely on two assets for the first two
weeks: no players can kill you, and the public coffins are free to
'sleep' in. Everything else is perfectly acceptable. Sleeping
includes not only logging off from the game but also being AFK, I
guess? It's not entirely clear to me, and neither is the guide. What
the newbie tutorial (if you can call it that) fails to mention is that
every moment in the game is a risk to not only die but to lose
anything you're carrying.

After this frustrating encounter, I scrolled up urgently to find out
what might have happened and realized had I not been AFK, I wouldn't
have known what to do anyway. One of the earliest drawbacks to the
game is an entire lack of a combat tutorial. There are a few brief
commands mentioned in the newbie guide, but there is no opportunity to
put the knowledge to use. Had I not been called away from my computer,
I'm not entirely certain I would have been any better off since I had
no prior experience with combat, being mugged or defending myself.
More importantly, I had no weapon and no means to defend myself.
Perhaps I could have ran away, but I have no idea the mechanics of
being mugged since the game utterly fails to explain anything about
that event in any way. That is no exaggeration. It's not mentioned
anywhere in the guide. It was a harsh lesson in Sindome's mechanics,
and as I quickly learned, the player community is largely indifferent
to your ills.

To draw some contrast here, a game like EVE (which is notoriously
punishing) is a children's romp compared to Sindome. No, it's not a
MUD, but it's an MMORPG, and in it the risk / reward mechanisms can
be similarly very high. It might seem like hyperbola, but Sindome has
not only created an environment where you can lose everything, but the
demands to get back into the game (should you die) are steep. After
logging in for the first time, you are frequently alerted that you
need to write a '@history' for your character. This should be a well
thought out piece of literature explaining your newly created
character's backstory and how it connects with the Sindome universe.
I spent a couple of days revising a draft that the game's admins had
initially rejected because my history didn't go far enough to explain
each and every skill I had put points into when I created my
character. It also required me to read a lengthy timeline on
Sindome's website to find a hook where my character logically
connects to the world. Having a character history is important because
job opportunities are largely nonexistent in the game without them,
and without money, you're not likely to make it far in the walls of
Whitmore City.

Should your character die, be prepared to lose it entirely and start
the process of character creation all over again (including an
entirely new written history). Also, you won't be allowed to use the
same character name, history or any part of their original identity.
It's permanent death for that character if you don't have a clone.
Attempting to return a similar character to the game could result in a
suspension or ban from Sindome. Whew. This is a game, right?

After my mugging, I urgently went to the help channel to inquire
about losing all of my money while doing nothing more than standing
around in the game. Several players were quick to explain that this
was all part and parcel of the game, and if I didn't like it, I can
leave. From my perspective as a new player, it made me feel largely
unwelcome and dismissed. I fully understand that it's different
strokes for different folks out there, and if you like a high risk
game, Sindome might just be your cup of tea. Be warned though: Sindome
and its community are not gentle to new players. Learn as much as you
can about the game before entering. Read everything three times (or
more), minimize your OOC talk, and get comfortable with being stepped
on like a bug. For me, it just wasn't a fun experience. I play games
to relax and escape the very real stresses of life, not trade one evil
for another.

Submit Comments About this Review


Comment Submitted By: Slither
Author Status: Staff member
Started on Sindome: 2003
Submission Date: Aug 14, 2018

(The following review comment is the opinion of the comment's author [Slither] and in no way represents the opinions of this website or its staff).

Thanks for taking the time to write a review. I'd like to think
we're getting more newbie friendly every day. I've recorded a series
of introduction videos which new players can watch to get better
aquainted with the game. These aren't required but are very helpful
for those that don't want to pour over help files.

We've updated our helpfiles to be more helpful, in the past few
months.

We've gone a game-help channel dedicated to helping new players.
We've got a detailed newbie guide in game and on the website.
We also have a somewhat steep learning curve. If you aren't familiar
with PvP RPI games, you should consider your first character as
possibly disposable as dying in a PvE or PvP situation is totally
possible. You do get newbie protection, but certian things (like
attacking someone, or stealing from someone) will negate that
protection, such as to be fair to other characters.

Plenty of what you said was fair and just, and Sindome isn't
everyones cup of tea, that's for sure. If you do like a game that
doesn't pull punches, and requires you to think through your actions
and plan and plot and betray and such, it could be for you. But it's
fast and hard and unforgiving at times. And not really geared toward
'casual play'.

Also if you do find yourself needing to take a call, you should use
'@ooc' to leave the game world and enter an OOC area where you
cannot be harmed.

Good luck out there!
Slither