Saturday, January 7, 2017

Gaming Social Network

Optional Rule: p-rep (PlayScore, Networking: Gamers)
PlayScore is a hypercorp-sponsored social network for major VR and AR games and gaming culture. It features a combination of unified achievement tracking and player “karma” which is increased by teamwork, clean playing and interactivity, and penalizes cheating, TKing, ninja-looting or other similar activities. p-rep users have access to exclusive virtual chatrooms and forums, and the network hosts and distributes many guides, tips and interviews related to both single and multiplayer games. p-rep functions normally when using favors inside the virtual network, and can be used to gain favors from almost any faction, but the level of favor is increased by one when dealing with events completely in “meatspace”.

Gamer Organizations & Clades:

Virtualists: Virtualists hold that since VR is indistinguishable from Real Life, a “virtual” experience has no difference from a “real” one, and thus everyone should life freely in a virtual space. Virtualists spend almost all of their time playing VR games, and many have even sold off their own morphs in order to instance as infomorphs in specialized Virtualist Sanctuary servers. Casual players often find them “tryhards” or otherwise too serious about “games”, which the Virtualists treat like real experiences.

Drones: Drones are mostly hypercorp employees or other “normal” Consortium citizens who partake in AR or VR games. They oppose open hypercorp interference and monitoring within the actual games, but also do not like attempts to impose seriousness or realism, or bring real-world politics into the simulspace. They simply want their escapism from their daily grind. The name started as a pejorative, but was adapted to the group when they started becoming a more unified movement.

Amazons: Surprisingly prominent clade who play exclusively female or feminine avatars and characters, believing that in an age where you can look and be any gender combination you like, the female form is the most aesthetically pleasing. They were founded on the principle that quote-unquote “tits are awesome”. Some advocates, especially in the Outer System, decry the Amazons as sexist or objectifying, but others argue that they are empowering via non-traditional gender roles often symbolized by aggressive or violent playstyles. Some even argue they are sexist the other way, with some groups of Amazons bullying or discriminating against male avatars.

Glitch-erati: The Glitch-erati are a collection of VR and e-sports celebs. While often mocked or scorned by many real-world Socialites, the Glitch-erati have a huge following on the PlayScore network. Their in-game XP streams are religiously followed by thousands of subscribers across the system, and if they move into a new game, many players follow them. They are also frequently seen commentating on gaming events or reviewing new games and game updates.

Dead Pixel: Dead Pixel is a virtual crime syndicate, who run a variety of shady or illegal cheating, hacking and farming operations, and also offer black or red market services in Simulspace for virtual items and information, often for real-world currency or favors. They also engage in many rep scams and trading events, including rep-to-cred deals which heavily favor Dead Pixel. Dead Pixel is even rumored to have their own array of simulspaces where they’ll trap simulspace avatars and infomorphs for their own amusement.

Leetists: Virtual elitists who take the virtualist philosophy one step further, and proclaim that the only experience and skill that matters is in virtual reality. Leetists scorn “filthy casuals” and will shun and ignore those with a low enough p-rep score. They are highly competitive, constantly hunting for the most extreme games with which to test their skills. Rumors of Leetists dealing with singularity seekers in order to achieve a higher level of cognition and responsiveness are often dismissed by members of the movement.

Patch Crew: A small but well-organized group of support teams who operate in the real world to ensure that the most popular servers don’t get taken down by RL sabotage. When Hypercorps or Anarchist groups attempt to take down servers, the Patch Crew will send a team to stop it, and also repair any damage done. They are so efficient that groups like Firewall have taken notice after they repelled several sabotage attempts without knowing who they were blocking or why.

The Guild: Group of virtual “mercenaries” based out of Extropia, but with contractors across the system. They recruit players only of the highest skill and experience levels, and deploy in contracts to any game or situation. When you need a situation handled inside a game, you can call on the Guild, and once the fee is paid, they will do everything they can to accomplish your goal, or your money back. Also known as the “Professionals”, or derisively as “The B-Team”.

Xenoludi: This group started as a small club of Computational Archaeology students at universities on Titan and Mars, who were interested in alien ideas of games and sensoriums. After a few of their projects went public, they started to pick up steam. The group specializes in games and other virtual spaces based on recovered alien computers and technology, which are often bizarre, illogical or otherwise unusual. They also work with virtual replicas of xenoarchaeology sites, and even projections of what those locations might have looked like before they were ruined. Some people report strange after-effects, such as unusual dreams or hallucinations after playing these spaces. Furthermore, certain groups are concerned with the Xenoludi’s obsession with alien tech and data, and possible X-risks thereof, or that they might accidentally utilize TITAN tech.

Collegiates: In an age where athletic talent can often be subsidized or physically instilled with morphs or mods, university-level sports are reduced or otherwise taken a backseat. Physical sports talents are best honed in hobbyists or in professional media personalities, so there’s less effort to teach, especially with space constraints. Team-based e-sports, however, especially with movements like the Glitch-erati and the Leetists, have seen a big rise because the virtual talents are purely the skill of the mind using them (combined with some standardized hardware). As such, higher education institutions have developed multiple VR game teams for inter-institution leagues in various games, both classic and new. This presence of Collegiates is most common on Mars and Luna, where there are a wide variety of institutions with which to have competition, and even scholarship opportunities, while teams from institutions on Titan, Europa and Extropia tend to be slightly lower-key.

Meat Packers: A group of biochauvanists and some bioconservatives, mostly based out of Luna or other parts of the LLA. They believe in “purity” of the game and the gamer, and thus mostly play in standard biomorphs without augmentations such as multitasking or mental speed, do not use specialized or accelerated hardware or skillsoft supplementation, and instead focusing on more conventional training and raw talent. They garner support for their clade by making frequent use of XP streams to “let people have a taste of the meat”. Some of their members have been criticized for vocal prejudices against AGI, permanent Infomorphs (especially Leetists) or those who utilize cutting-edge computing hardware. Individual teams or groups in this faction have names like “400 APM”, “KBM=WIN” and “Fingerbang”.

Reflex Streaming: Indie XP and lifelog distributing hypercorp specializing in gaming. A competitor to Experia in these specific fields. Based primarily on Venus and Extropia, they offer very flexible and open contracts for content producers, and offers a great deal of open and free content to the public. Their model is more based on allowing producers to monetize their content via advertisements and sponsorships rather than through DRM or paywalls. Reflex is also famous for buying up indentures for prospective esports athletes and ecelebs and give them solid deals in their markets.

[Sidebar] Digicorps: Sometimes also called Nanocorps or V-corps, these are (usually) very small corporate entities which exist completely virtually in Simulspace, with some having “storefronts” in virtual locations like Hub. They operate by selling in-game goods or services in small amounts for small real credit percentages called “nanotransactions”. Resources are crafted directly by employees or gathered through complex farming methods reliant on task hedonist AI or AGI. Digicorps have an extremely high rate of competition due to similarity of services and their small size (which often makes conflicts personal). Notable examples include: Yangtze Marketplace, CyBay, Spacetsy, GameDot, NanoSoftware and DogeBank

One of the most common Digicorp operations is “Stock-based goldfarming”, where the first wave of customers buy shares in specialized servers to run the farming AI with real credit, and are paid with a regular percentage of in-game resources or currency. The excess currency or resources are then auctioned off to the public for real credit, which is distributed to shareholders in the company. Another common move is in-game “quests”, where Digicorps will accept up-front fees to acquire specific game items, including organizing missions or raids to acquire it, and are fulfilled by any player carrying that item. Yet another fairly common business model is digital fashion, where programmers and designers work together to create custom cosmetic items or even entire simulmorph avatars to be sold for real currency, usually on a commission or catalog basis.

(For some examples of PlayScore games, made with the suggestions and comments from the community, as well as some NPCs and plot hooks, click here)

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