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TMC Player Reviews: Sindome


Review Submitted By: Hailfire
Author Status: Player and staff member
Started on Sindome: Late 2014
Submission Date: Apr 24, 2017
TMC Listing: Sindome

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

Before I begin my review of Sindome, I'd like to establish the credentials by
which I am reviewing it. I played Sindome several hours a day for approximately
2 years, the last few months of which I was a support staffer assisting in
behind-the-scenes operations of this game.

Sindome is a long-established, well-coded and deeply cyberpunk themed MOO set
in the dystopian domed city of Withmore, where the rich corporate elite
oppressively try to assert their hold over the impoverished 'mixers' trying to
climb the economic ladder. Fleshing out the theme of the game is a background of
retro-futuristic technology hailing straight from the dystopian, post-
apocalyptic and sci-fi 1980s movies and fiction that inspired the cyberpunk
genre. The game has an incredible amount of potential as a roleplay playground
for those willing to invest a huge amount of time and emotional energy into it.
It does however suffer from various OOC (i.e. Out-of-character/irl-side) issues
that can and will impact your IC (i.e. In-character) experience and OOC enjoyment
of the game.

The game enjoys a consistent playerbase of about 50+ (which is double what it
routinely was in late 2014) who are by far the bread and butter of the game as
far as the IC experience is concerned. The potential is there to enjoy plentiful
amounts of player vs player conflict (the main source of Sindome's plot)
without needing staff to assist if you are a creative, self-driven player. There
is however a distinct glass cieling as to what can be achieved by players who
are not afforded staff assistance in their plots, most obviously access to the
coded forms of in-character employment and to powerful equipment. Staff
availability is extremely limited.

For those hoping to enjoy a pleasant OOC community alongside their roleplay
experience, unfortunately Sindome is lacking to the point of hostility. Don't
take my word for it, just read the stark warning you would see EVERY time you
logged into the game:

'[*SYS-MSG*] WARNING! Discussing the in character world with other players via
Out of Character communication methods (Skype, IM, Facebook, etc) is strictly
against the rules, even if you don't plan to act on the information you give or
receive. Intent is irrelavent when dealing with natural human instinct to defend
oneself from harm, this applies to roleplay as well. Sharing IC info is unfair.
It has disastrous effects on the game. Report all incidents that you are aware
of via xhelp or to help@sindome.org and do NOT engage in it yourself. It carries
a one year ban from the game. WARNING!'

This strict In-Character/Out-Of-Character divide exists to protect the game from
metagamers (i.e. players who effectively cheat by using means outside the game
to gain an advantage inside the game) and would be fine, were it possible to
productively discuss any serious issues on game matters that bridge the IC/OOC
divide (it was this kind of discussion that resulted in my getting banned under
the above rule). Sadly this, and any other form of communication that might be
considered criticism, is not the case. Again, don't take my word for it; here's
a statement by a prevalent member of staff:

'[+][OOC-Chat] Staff Cerberus: I hate posting on the forums. When I do, it's
because I was asked to, and the content I have to post is 99% of the time,
telling you what to do. I don't want to discuss it. If I did, I would literally
say, 'Tell me what you think if you disagree.' I am not Slither, I don't want to
have conversations with players. I want you guys to do what is expected of you.'

(Link to screenshot of above statement: https://i.imgur.com/AM6ecLp.png )
(Bonus screenshot: https://i.imgur.com/uLJVbnQ.png )

More relevant statements exist, but unfortunately the profanity of those
declarations violates the terms of posting this review, and so they could not be
shared (plus I don't want to clutter this review any more than it already is).
Suffice to say that a -few- (not all) members of staff treat players in a way
that, were it reversed, would be deemed abuse and would result in a ban. Note
this happens even on the open chat channels (as per the above statements), not
directed at any one player, but to the game as a whole. Worse experiences have
been reported on a one to one basis with these members of staff.

To mention one of the key issues bridging the IC/OOC divide, my time behind-the-
scenes as a staffer revealed to me that staffer integrity is poorly enforced.
It is dependant in large part on three things: Multiple staff being online to
monitor one another, player reporting (Which all too often doesn't happen for
fear of reparations to either their character or to their account.), and staff
noting their activities honestly. Once on their own staff are effectively free
to mess with the in-character world as they see fit, and some of them do.
Player characters who oppose or fall victim to these staffers characters will
find that the world is suddenly a much more hostile place, with NPC's
irrelevant to the rivalry suddenly finding IC reasons to pick fights with the
player characters.

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