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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.

Submit Comments About this Review


Comment Submitted By: Hailfire
Author Status: Player and staff member
Started on Sindome: November 2014
Submission Date: Sep 13, 2017

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

First and foremost thank you to Molly and Kisaki for your replies to
this review. I am glad to hear you are both having positive
experiences of Sindome and hope that through discussion we can lead to
more positive experiences of the game for more people, without the
negative ones I personally witnessed and experienced and that others
have reported in their own separate reviews.

---- Molly ----
It is entirely possible you are correct and I am who you think I am,
after all I am using the same account name here that I did whilst
playing Sindome back in the day, not trying to hide who I am. I cannot
confirm this however because I don't know what character you think I
am if that is the only way you are identifying me. I hope at least you
had some fun playing with my character at some point if you are
correct.

I feel I should clarify that I personally was never directly targeted
by meta-tactics but I did witness other players falling victim to it.
I was never able to confirm that it was definitely meta-tactics whilst
only a player so I simply kept quiet and hoped I was wrong, but when I
witnessed it through the staff resources as a staffer I was no longer
able to deny it and it put me off the game immensely through the
distrust it caused.

Example: In one such incident I witnessed numerous entirely separate
npcs (some non-sentient) repeatedly targetted one character in a large
group of characters over the course of an RP session. It didn't make
sense ICly so, suspecting something was amiss, I logged into my admin
account to see what was going on and was disappointed to find that the
ONLY member of admin online and the one puppeting the npcs in question
had in character beef between her character and the one being
targetted.

Because of numerous statements similar to those in the quotes and
screenshots above, I didn't feel able to raise the matter with staff
and so resorted to venting with OOC friends, eventually resulting in a
ban and a forum discussion that in hindsight I wish had never
happened. I'm more than willing to admit I did not handle that
revelation appropriately, but I wish I had felt more secure in
flagging it so it never became an issue that way.

---- Kisaki ----
Again, I am glad you are having a positive experience of the game and
of Cerberus's GMship and I'd like to assure you that I have no
personal quarrel with Cerberus or indeed any other member of staff.
Quite the contrary I admire what Cerberus contributes to the game and
I think it would be a shame to lose him as a member of Sindome's
staff. Even just the overhaul of corporate pay schemes must have been
a monumental administration task and I can only imagine it having a
positive impact on a game based on an economic class divide between
the rich and the poor.

Despite this admiration it is possible to disagree with someone
without a personal dislike for them. I have tried to be as earnest as
possible in this review, stating both the plentiful good the game has
to it and mentioning the negative aspects of the game and where
possible I've tried to support my statements with evidence in the
form of quotes and screenshots. I feel it is in these quotes and
screenshots you feel I have flagged an individual out of personal
dislike and to that I say I dislike the actions, not the person. I
feel that the kinds of statements in those screenshots make Sindome a
less enjoyable and accessible place for players with the potential to
dramatically degrade the Sindome experience over time, even if the
game is otherwise enjoyable. That issue was mentioned here in an
effort to raise awareness of the issue and hopefully fix it in the
long run. The fact you and other members of the Sindome community have
replied suggests to me that this review has at least been noticed and
may contribute towards achieving that goal.

---- Afterword ----
I would like to state that I took no pleasure in writing the negative
aspects of this review. Sindome is a game with huge potential (and I
wouldn't have continued playing it for two years otherwise) but, at
the time the review was written, some rather serious ooc issues that
eventually cumulated enough to cause a rift between myself, the game,
and the other staff. The fact other reviews echo similar complaints to
those expressed here suggests that I am not and was not alone in
feeling that way and should be an indicator that in fact there was/is
an issue that needs addressing. If it can be indicated to me that a
sincere effort is being made to address the issues in the above review
I would be delighted to contact TMC with a view to removing this
review, placing an entirely positive one and perhaps playing again, if
I weren't banned of course.

---- P.S. ---- If anyone else has posted besides Molly and Kisaki by
the time this is published and I haven't made an effort to respond to
your concerns I apologise. They were not visible at the time I wrote
this reply. Thanks again for contacting me and giving me the
opportunity to address your concerns.

If a member of staff would like to discuss any of what has happened
further they are more than welcome to contact me via my email for my
Sindome account, which is also Hailfire.

Comment Submitted By: Molly
Author Status: Player
Started on Sindome: October 2016
Submission Date: Sep 11, 2017

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

I am going to preface this by saying that based on a number of
factors I can assume who you were playing when you wrote this review.
I could be wrong, and if so I apologize but I believe my comment here
can still speak to your point. You wrote:

'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. '

No one player, nor even any staffer, has a perfect bird's eye view
of any RP situation where a lot of moving parts are involved. If this
is the incident I am thinking of, several players were responsible for
advancing that conflict for a variety of reasons, many of which had
nothing to do with each other. NPCs were getting pulled into it
because players were pulling them in. By the same token, I can't know
what was going on on your end, but acting like NPCs were coming after
your character because they'd crossed a staff PC is ignoring the
bigger picture.

In a game like this, a hostile world is a good thing. It means that
staff is respecting the decisions you make and engaging with you. NPCs
generally won't permanently kill your character, but if they're
giving you trouble, especially if you're a combat-oriented character,
then they're giving you something to do. If it was a matter of simply
not liking you as a player, you would be banned or ignored.

If I'm mistaken and this isn't who I think it is, it's still a
little disappointing to read. The IC/OOC divide means you can never,
ever trust that you accurately understand what's going on in the game
world. Even the most adept RPers often find themselves blindsided like
this, and it plays into cyberpunk tropes beautifully. Assuming that
one staffer is out to get you when there are a ton of player
characters tugging at threads all over the game just sort of seems
like it's missing the point.

Comment Submitted By: Kisaki
Author Status: Player
Started on Sindome: October 2015
Submission Date: Sep 10, 2017

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

I would like to disagree with some of the statements. For my two
years of experience there, I didn't notice anything weird. Flagging
Cerberus means you got some quarrel with him. You should fix it with
him instead.

You probably know that Cerberus is the only staff (visible) who
overwork there (Building and GMing). There's too much work in behind
the scene, that it would be great to have some GMers to help with RP.

He would work efficiently if you did your job well. If you question
Cerberus, you should question yourself too.

Ranting over the review won't help.