Is it just me or these Criminals...

…have become much more oversensitive than they used to be? I have the impression that many related cards now make the connected Criminals decrease significantly, while before they didn’t have this effect.

Is it a false memory or mine or they changed something - but for Criminals only?

It seems to be an experiment in a new model of Connection qualities. Instead of these qualities being quite easy to build up - either through grinding, or through the recent-ish change in Connection vs Connection cards - and offering small payouts when cashed in, they are difficult to build up - with few grinding opportunities, and cards reducing much more than they give - but offer very large payouts when cashed in. As you observe, it’s only for the Criminals - and their sole conflict cards, the Criminals vs Constables one. Personally, I’m not sure I care for it much - if for no other reason than those qualities represent something about our characters, and, at present, we have to build them up into the tens or hundreds to get a label like “Close Friends” rather than just “Acquainted” - a task which now seems impossible. Maybe if they implement this new model in full, they’ll lower the higher ranks to ~50 or so.

Yep, Criminal connections are harder to gain and maintain nowadays. Though the sheer number of cards related to this connection tempts to spend it all away so they’ll leave me alone.

If it is like that -and I’m not against the idea- I think they should take care in balancing the effects… now some pretty harmless cards decrease the connected level a lot! There should be a gradient of effect, with some cards that decrease less (and perhaps give smaller payouts) and others that have a stronger impact.

[quote=Master Polarimini]
If it is like that -and I’m not against the idea- I think they should take care in balancing the effects… now some pretty harmless cards decrease the connected level a lot! There should be a gradient of effect, with some cards that decrease less (and perhaps give smaller payouts) and others that have a stronger impact.[/quote]

Isn’t that the case currently? I find the cards that require less connected, and lower stats to give lower rewards, but also lower connected drain, versus cards like pugilism that drains it from 30 to zero.

The main problem with the card changes is that they take the fun out of playing them. That’s the bottom line.

The rewards aren’t that great relative to what’s lost, so that balance hasn’t been achieved. And from a storytelling perspective, they make no sense. There never was balance in cashing in connections; it always was a terrible deal by design. I never understood that. The one card that attempts to make up for that is the Politics and Pugilism card that gives an unusual reward you can’t get any other way. That’s a good incentive to take a badly balanced deal without feeling cheated and would be a good strategy to use with the others.

I think these changes could have worked if they didn’t eliminate the best way to recoup the resultant losses of Connected: Criminals. That would at least make the choice more tempting, even if it wasn’t a great deal. As it is, they’ve created yet more cards that a player would have to be daft to ever use. So what’s the point?

The caveat is that high levels of connected don’t currently mean much from an in-game technical standpoint. The only cards they unlock are better left unplayed (unfortunately). So these changes are more about harming the player’s moral than disrupting their game play, which in a way is worse. And it must be twice as demoralizing for newer players.

In a way this makes sense, but there is one thing that bugs me. Namely, a lot of the new card changes that lower your criminals connections are cases where you’re HELPING them. That… doesn’t really make much sense IMO.

For the criminals, I see it less as connections (although that’s the word for it) but favours owed… so if you ask for a favour, then your connected score drops. But you’re right, Urthdigger, it doesn’t quite make sense how it’s currently phrased.

Re the topic - I would be quite happy to get a big drop if it was easier to grind connections back up. I haven’t done the maths, but it’s really time consuming grinding criminals up in the flit.

[quote=Lady Red]For the criminals, I see it less as connections (although that’s the word for it) but favours owed… so if you ask for a favour, then your connected score drops. But you’re right, Urthdigger, it doesn’t quite make sense how it’s currently phrased.

Re the topic - I would be quite happy to get a big drop if it was easier to grind connections back up. I haven’t done the maths, but it’s really time consuming grinding criminals up in the flit.[/quote]

You piqued my curiosity, so I ran the maths on grinding for the Pugilism & Politics card.

As best as I can tell, the most efficient way to grind Connected: Criminals now is to visit the Sardonic Music-Hall Singer, who gives 3CP per action. Credit to Blast_Fantastic for reporting this - previously, I had done this by grinding Casing with my Gang of Hoodlums, and then selling information to Criminals. That approach is a bit less efficient, at 2.647 Connected per action.

To reach Connected: Criminals 30, you’ll need 465 CP. At 3CP/action, it will take 155 actions of grinding. Along the way (assuming you’re visiting the Singer), you’ll earn 1550 pence of whispered secrets, and 775 CP of Connected: Bohemian. If we assume that non-Criminals connections are still worth approximately 2 pence per CP, then that’s about 1550 worth of Connected: Bohemian.

The direct value of beating the minister is 2600 pence of goods. Over 156 actions, we’ve earned a total of 5700 pence. The average pence per action? 36.5. The results are more dire with the Gang of Hoodlums: set your gang to work 26 times, for a total of 130 actions; plus another 47 actions to convert your Casing to Connected: Criminals; plus 1 action for Pugilism. In this scenario you’re only earning the 2600 pence from Pugilism, so your 177 actions are returning 14.689 pence per action.

From a straight monetary perspective, absolutely not worth it. It’s some consolation that you walk away with a unique item, though. Also, since most other Connected: Criminals cards only require a level 10 to cash in, that only costs 55 CP or 19 actions, so the pence-per-action may work out to be more lucrative on those even if the individual payout is smaller.

Yes, the change in Criminals cards has been sitting very poorly with me. It doesn’t make any sense that so many of the cards that used to increase the connection (if I recall correctly) now decrease it, when by all rights the things we’re doing ought to be further ingratiating us. It seems a poor and haphazard narrative choice, and, of course, it simply isn’t fun.

It was particularly frustrating to me earlier, when I was grinding the rag trade and abruptly found myself with insufficient connections to deal with the Marred Mercer. All these cards I had previously been able to use to keep my connection up were now my enemies. Not fun at all.

I also had interpreted the decrease as Lady Red did - you use your connection somehow thus it decreases, but because connections decrease also when you do something bad with them, it’s a bit strained. I think the connection cards should work in a subtler way (some options of the same card increasing and other decreasing the related connection, or using the combination “one connection increases, another decreases” in normal cards and not just in the dedicated ones), for now the result is that I don’t use a connection criminal card anymore because it’s simply not worth it.

To throw some more numbers up next to Seberin’s: You are being watched (in the Flit) requires Suspicion of at least 1, and gains 2 cp of Connected: Criminals, per action, plus 2 cp of Connected: Constables and 2 cp Connected: Hell, and 30 Cryptic Clues. It’s slower, but I think slightly more lucrative, if still not nearly as lucrative as pretty much any other grinding option. But those Magnificent Diamonds are tempting and will be tempting me again, I can tell.

I’ve just pulled the Working with a Smuggling Ring card. It’s one of the ones Urthdigger noted, where you’re helping criminals and thus there’s no reason for it to lower your connections. The entire card is about strengthening your connections to the criminal element by making yourself useful in a smuggling operation and thus earning favors. The first line of the card’s description is “It pays to keep up your contacts”, for pity’s sake. And yet this card now uses up criminal connections? Do the smugglers feel they’re doing me a great favor by permitting me to help them? It’s terribly confusing and nonsensical. I wish I knew where Failbetter was going with this. Having to discard a previously useful card, because it now costs too much and makes no sense, leaves me confused and angry at the game. It’s not like Fallen London for the consequences of my actions to not make any sense.

[quote=Seberin]…
You piqued my curiosity, so I ran the maths on grinding for the Pugilism & Politics card.

As best as I can tell, the most efficient way to grind Connected: Criminals now is to visit the Sardonic Music-Hall Singer, who gives 3CP per action.

…[/quote]
A faster way is to get up to 10 at the Carnival, and then up to 15 (or even 19 if you drop down to 15 before the second use) using Old Bone Skeleton Key. (This doesn’t take away the key, and only costs 3 actions and 150 Brass Bars for 75cp.) Note that despite what its description says, the Skeleton Key now stops working at 16, rather than 21.

It’s still not worth it as an income source, but is much more practical than grinding the Music-Hall Singer all the way.
edited by Zeviz on 1/12/2013
edited by Zeviz on 1/12/2013

A friend of mine told me something very interesting, so I gave it a test.

This gives about 10 cp, right? No extra stuff though.
edited by Sara Hysaro on 1/12/2013

Gives 10 CP, over 2 actions. So, 5 CP an action, minus a bit due to needing to restock tickets, so 200 CP over 43 actions (assuming you rob couriers for moon pearls, then buy tickets twice), or about 4.6 CP per action.

Yeah, I was thinking it’d be in the ballpark of 4.5 cp per action. I don’t know if it’d make any of these cards good for grinding, but at least it’s a quicker way to get it up if that’s what you’re looking for.

So long story short Criminals is as hard as Great Game to grind. Fantastic. And by fantastic I mean arghhh. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still do it. But I’ll press the button harder than necessary. I doubt this is going to be an across the board thing. I mean, Docks is pretty hard to grind as is.

Actually, I think Great Game may be easier. For the carnival at least, you’re looking at 20 CP for 2 actions: Double what you get with criminals. Outside of the carnival, I believe great game has some easier alternatives to raise it with… at the very least I think its connection trading card is both more forgiving, and costs an easier to raise connection (Church can be raised by plenty of things, constables can be difficult to raise unless you’re in the CVR)

True! I usually get Great Game from “A contact in the Great Game…” in exchange for a loss in Church, that I get from “The kaleidoscopic church” - I have plenty of Bohemian and if needed I can always grind poetry in praise of the Duchess at the Shuttered Palace. Plus, Great Game has a slow but steady option in the Wry Functionary: every action is… I think 2CP Great Game, 2 CP society and 20x Cryptic Clues? Not very action-effective, but 100% sure.