Getting Started with Cybersphere
This is what you need to know to get your feet wet. When you finish here be sure to read the newbie guide.
Understanding the game
On the surface, Cybersphere is a text-based, cyberpunk RPG set in a dark, post-apocalyptic future. Understand going in that this is a very dark game. We have that parental warning on the login screen for a reason.
That being said, Cybersphere is probably unlike any game you have ever played. While there are a great many rules and coded systems, there is no set way to play. More importantly, there is no way to win. It is very important that you understand this early on.
No amount of money, items, or power will make you better, more important, or more influential than any other character. While these things are nice, ultimately they are just tools, nothing more than props. It's how you use them that matters. It's what you do that matters. In the end, it's best to think of Cybersphere as less of a game and more as a collaborative, interactive story that has been going continuously since 1995.
Understanding how the game is played
Cybersphere is a conflict driven game. While there are significant PVE elements, the heart and soul of the game comes from player conflict. Whether it's direct combat ("red text") or subversive RP (manipulating another player into doing your dirty work) the interesting elements of the game all stem from conflict. Conflict should neither be feared nor avoided.
Moving forward, there are two real ways to play the game. There is the cautious approach where you login, take advantage of PVE job systems to make money, do some very basic RP to earn daily skill points, and log off. Repeat this process for months or even years on end until you feel that you have enough money, gear, and skills to get involved.
Do this and you'll probably win your first few fights, but eventually you will have the rug pulled out from under you and you will die. Everyone does. So you lose everything, get pushed back to square one, and have effectively spent months or years doing nothing.
This is about as much fun as it sounds. This is not recommended.
The alternative is to play fast and loose. As a new player especially, you can expect to die. You can expect to die a lot, actually. Realize that this is OK. You are not your character. At the end of the day you can have as much fun dying as you can killing, so long as the role-playing that surrounds it is high quality. More to the point, if you never move very far from "square one" you never have very far to fall, and rebuilding and getting back to the action and back to the game doesn't take nearly as long. Ultimately, this play style makes the game more fun and interesting for everyone, including the people who end up dying more. Keep in mind that while you'll die more this way, you'll kill more too, and ultimately you'll experience a lot more as well.
Understanding your role in the game
So, how do you fit into this wonderful, violent world? Well, for starters make sure you request an account if you have not done so already. Simply connect to the game using your method of choice, connect guest, and @request. The account request requires a basic, but decent history. It does not need to be your actual character's history. The admin just need to know that you're capable of a basic standard of English and have an understanding of the theme.
Once your account is approved (be patient) you'll be ready to enter character generation (Chargen) and begin building your character. It starts with a character concept. It may be useful to look at the archetypes guide as well as the chargen guide. Before you really begin, though, it's important that you have a character in mind.
Think of who they are, how they got there, who they were. Give them flaws. Make them interesting. Make them fun. The admins (and other players) are not looking for another "wall of awesome" who was homeschooled by ninjas and has the personality of cardboard. Your goal with a history is not to build a hero nor to justify how awesome your character is. It's to build a character and justify his basic elements.
The important things to cover are family history, education, training, and how they got to the city or went from being just a citizen to an interesting character. In the course of laying this out you should establish a personality for your character and explain how they know what they know.
Once you have a good idea in mind it's then time to build that character in chargen both in terms of a written history and your skills, stats, and advantages. Again, see the chargen guide.
Finally, once your character is approved for play you get to enter the world. From day zero onwards play your character from the character's point of view. If they're an optimist play them as an optimist. If they're violent, play them violent. If they're dumb, play them dumb. Let them make mistakes the character would make even if you know better. Above all else, get involved. Get out there. Also, get a clone. As soon as possible.
At the end of the day your character may die. Or your character may make a friend, make some money, or kill someone else. As long as you stay in character and have fun doing it, the particulars really don't matter that much.
Understanding the world
While all this is going on, it's important you understand a few things about the world. First off, the city never sleeps, even when your character does. When you log off your character is still very much a part of the world. Make sure you log off somewhere safe. An apartment, a cube hotel, perhaps a cardboard box if you're really down on your luck; there are a wide variety of places to sleep.
The game world itself is comprised of a wide variety of locales. There's the city itself, the wastes and ruins that surround it, the sewers underfoot, the space stations overhead... the world is huge. The vast majority of the action, though, takes place in the city itself. While exploring these exotic locations, keep in mind that many of them are uninhabitated or seldom tread for a reason. The world is very realistic and very unforgiving. In short, exploring aimlessly is a great way to die.
Understanding your resources
As a new player, certain elements of the game are going to seem overwhelming. Fortunately, you have many resources at your disposal to help you learn when you're lost and get you going when you're stuck or stumped.
- Look - Looking at things and reading their descriptions can usually tell you a lot about them, what they are, what they're capable of, how to use them, etc. Looking at an exit ('look north') might save your life some day while looking at an item may tell you everything you need to know about it. Not every description is essential (after a while you stop reading basic street descriptions you recognize) but the most useful information you can get on something is usually just a look away.
- Inspect - Think of it as look's big brother. Inspecting something gives you even more information on it, though the accuracy on some of this may hinge on your appraisal skill. How good is it, how big is it, what's it worth? All things tied to the inspect verb. Keep in mind though that this is a very close look at something. Inspecting another player may be taken as you sizing them up for a fight.
- Examine - One of the most essential verbs in your toolbox. Examine returns all of the obvious verbs tied to an object. Examine a gun and you'll get things like load, unload, aim, fire, holster, etc. Examine a room and you might get verbs to switch the lights on or off, open the door, upgrade the security, redecorate the place, etc. Examine may also reveal other useful, object specific verbs such as 'read <sign>' or 'hotwire <vehicle>'. Please note that some verbs are safer than others.
- Help - The catch all. 'Help here' and 'help <item name>' are going to be two of your closest friends as you try to piece things together. Additionally, if you've identified any verbs on the room via examine, you may be able to get further information by trying 'help <verb>'.
- New net - When your basic resources and/or wits fail, other players may be able to help. By default, you are placed in an OOC channel ('help channels' for more information on channels) where you can talk to other new players and experienced players who listen in to help out. To use it, simply use the 'new' verb followed by a message. This channel is useful for asking OOC and mechanics questions (E.G. "How do I rent an apartment?" or "How do I pay credits to another player?"). However, certain things you will have to find out ICly (E.G. "Which apartment has the best security?" or "How do I make a lot of credits really fast?").
- The Staff - Entering @who into the game, will show you a list of (visible) GMs who are connected. You can then '@page <name> <message>' to ask them something that other players may not be able to help you with or help out with a request. Keep in mind that you should only bother them as an absolute last resort. Additionally, if you need them in an emergency, you may use the @panic verb, but save that for absolute emergencies. Syntax is '@panic <message>'.
A valid example of a panic would be '@panic My hair spontaneously caught fire when I wasn't doing anything to cause it and I am slowly burning to death like a human candle'. An example of a bad panic would be '@panic I can't find my way back to my apartment.'