I want to bring up the fact that Shadowy is disadvantaged because its second-chance-gaining social actions hurts Making Waves.
As a capped player with lower level characters on my contact list, I’m in the habit of automatically accepting social actions for second-chances. I’m never going to get any second chances, because I have too many. The only exception is Loitering Suspiciously, because now I have to maintain precious Notability.
I am not entirely sure why Loitering Suspiciously should lower Making Waves. If it gets people talking about you (which is presumably why Connected: Society goes down), then Waves should increase, or at least stay the same. There’s no such thing as bad publicity.
It seems particular unfair, since with the Criminal Record mechanic, Suspicion seems to be the most painful Menace.
I find it interesting that if one waits upon a street corner, they are less welcome in high society. But if one decides to drown prudence in passion and decide to have a threesome on the Empress’ throne, then everyone’s still perfectly A-okay with the individual being listed in Slowcake’s Exceptionals and remaining part of high society after the brief excursion to the Tomb Colonies.
(That’s not to say I wish for that action to incur further punishment - it’s actually a pretty awesome moment in the game!)
But I do agree that Loitering Suspiciously becomes a less-than-entirely-welcome action to players who’ve reached POSI status.
Also, I’d rather not have to explain Making Waves / Notability to new players where possible while I’m trying to accumulate MW, as it tends to make them rush towards POSI rather than enjoying the early-game of Fallen London.
I also wondered why it is like that, but I was too lazy to search for an explanation or ask in the forum so I decided to invent it. It worked pretty well: I told myself that this is because Shadowy actions are on average more profitable then other actions in epa terms and that’s why they are balanced like this! I nodded to this thought, found it plausible and felt happy. (Am I not a Happy londoner after all?). The world was a good and a simple place again. Lit by Order and Reason and the comfort they bring.
I think it’s to act as a counterbalance to the fact that thefts in The Flit provide such a massive boost to Shadowy over time and that the Affair of the Box, one of the most profitable loops in London, is also a Shadowy challenge.
This means Shadowy is, by far, the easiest stat to boost while gathering materials for other accomplishments and grinding Echoes. And grinding the stat with Criminals boost makes it even easier.
So, if there were to be a social action that is taxing, and I think there should be, I’m glad it’s the Shadowy one.
A balanced game is nice, but perfectly symmetrical balance often isn’t – it often ends up a little too "samey," at least on the mechanical level. (Or to put it another way, if two paths or strategies appear to be mirror images of each other, the choice to take one over the other is less interesting.) FBG is pretty good at getting some flavor out of quirky, slightly asymmetrical balance; the stats in Sunless Sea don’t all work or progress in the same ways either. (Pages is quite different than the others, for instance.) So it does make sense, in terms of design intention and style, that there are some drawbacks and some benefits to working on Shadowy; it’s a trickier route to go, with more ups and downs. Similarly, the menaces work in rather different ways, the zubmarine kind of makes sense as an extremely overpriced-for-value option, etc.