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 firstname.lastname@example.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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