Interview 14: Jared Sorensen

After a few speedbumps we were finally able to get together with Jared Sorensen to discuss our experiences with FreeMarket. The original plan was to interview both Jared and Luke, but sadly  due to some technical difficulties Luke could not join us. Things ended up working out really well, though, as CJ and Kevin got a chance to dig pretty deep into some of their concerns and questions about FreeMarket.

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13 Responses to “Interview 14: Jared Sorensen”

  1. brian Says:

    You kind of sped past it and Jared didn’t say it so I’m not entirely sure, but listening to the bit about Thin Slicing challenges something occurred to me: the rules apparently say that the super user can use “your geneline and any relevant experiences” against you. If I recall correctly, you’ve been talking as though the super user was a sort of mirror image of the user for that challenge. But the way I read this rule, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the super user can use thin slicing. If I’m thin slicing up some data about a concert my character just saw, the “relevant experience” might be ephemera, for example. Similarly, just because your geneline tags are helping you thin slice doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll help your self-doubt fuck you up.

    Does that make sense or am I screwed up here?

  2. Jared Says:

    Brian, you are correct! A wetworker might see the world through murder-colored lenses while a social engineer might be suspicious of a generous gesture.

  3. Wow Says:

    He occasionally said something substantive and interesting, but I’ve perhaps never listened to a more obnoxious human being than Jared. I now feel morally obligated to ignore this game in hopes he goes away.

  4. Brian Says:

    I’m listening to it now, and I’m very frustrated by the way Jared is failing to address the concerns brought up in the review. He really didn’t come off very well.

    It sounds like you guys pretty much got the game concept (and Jared seems to really agree that you got it) and most of your problems centered on specific mechanical concerns. But rather than address those concerns directly and specifically, he seems content mostly to continue his talking points about problems with his game being due to its challenging concept, even though he acknowledges that you seemed to have gotten that concept. He goes on about the importance of rules and how they determine behavior, and then seems to brush off concerns about much of the rules/math of the system, saying he wishes they didn’t focus so much on that.

    It was particularly frustrating when he was asked about the tier advancement system and confronted with the idea that it would take an excessive amount of sessions to grow to the highest tier, he brushes it off with a quick “read the rules”, rather than explaining how, if at all, the Walking Eyes guys had got it wrong.

    I came out of the review thinking that the game concept sounded really interesting, but concerned about a number of specific mechanical issues that the Walking Eye guys found problematic. I came into the interview hoping to see those specific issues engaged with by the author, to hopefully find out if they would be a problem for me, or if they were rules misinterpretations or perhaps a product of the Walking Eye groups’ specific playstyle. I just wish that Jared would address the specific concerns more directly, instead of acting like any concern with the game must be because the concept is so “challenging”.

    Oh well, I still have 15 minutes left. Maybe the last bit of the show will shed some light. :)

  5. Jared Says:

    1) I’m even more obnoxious in real life. Seriously, stop by our booth (#1732) at GenCon and find out how much more!

    2) I didn’t want to talk delve into the problems with Walking Eye guys had with the card mechanics because Kevin didn’t mention them. But they got the statistics wrong. There’s about a 50% chance of scoring a point on your initial draw. After that, the probabilities go crazy because of the change in the card count, error correction mechanics, spending bugs, using the tech deck etc. Luck plays a factor in the mechanics (it’s a card system, after all) but you can master the rules and greatly increase your efficacy in play.

    3) Ultimately, they didn’t play the game long enough to see how all the pieces fit together and they got some of the rules wrong — both these factors shaped their opinions of the game. I think I made this clear in the interview. Maybe not! If so, I think I just did here.

    4) Advancement. You can rapidly rise in tier status by gaming the system, as some people on the station do! We’re talking hitting Tier 4 (minimum!) in ONE session. It’s really easy to do. I’ll tell you how right after I spoil the ending to Don’t Look Now.

  6. Jared Says:

    Also, I apologize for channeling Glenn Beck/FOX and Friends by preceding my comments with, “I find it interesting…” What a dick, right?

  7. brian Says:

    Re: your number 4: When are you gonna do that? Now? How about now? Now?

  8. Kevin Weiser Says:


    Ok, cough it up, Jared!

  9. Jared Says:

    Oh, forgot the “You look like a trustworthy fellow” comment from the review.

    Yes, yes! That’s one of the cool things about FreeMarket… you can tell if someone is trustworthy by pinging his or her key. You can see what MRCZ they’re a part of, where they’ve been, what their flow is, who their friends and what they’ve gifted, frownied, etc. It’s all tracked and logged. There are no strangers on the Donut. Just friends* you have yet to meet.

    *And mortal enemies

  10. Shaun Hayworth Says:

    Man. I listened to this interview twice. At first, I thought Jared was being pretty cagey, but then I realized – you get hosed out of a lot of the coolness of playing FreeMarket by having ways to game the system spelled out for you. The thing is, the act of playing FreeMarket is more important than how much you succeed at things in FreeMarket, at least in my experience. After all, you literally have forever to accomplish things in the setting, so it doesn’t really make sense to be super goal-oriented like you are in most RPG’s. There isn’t really a mission that you need to accomplish, or a big bad that you need to defeat. Just things that get in the way of doing thing that you want to do, and things that you need to do in order to do the stuff you want to do. I may have stopped making sense there.

  11. luke Says:

    I thought Kev and CJ softballed a lot of questions in the interest of civility. I don’t think Jared was cagey or evasive at all — except in one instance. But ya’ll can read the book yourselves and see if you can suss out how to game the system.

  12. Kevin Weiser Says:

    Bankuei posted a pretty interesting discussion about this interview:

    He, too, was frustrated by our interview style. I’ll be taking his critiques to heart!

  13. Episode 007: You Can Hack the Shticky Eye « Spooky Outhouse Showcase Says:

    […] crimes against Gamerdom will never be erased! – Free Market – The Walking Eye did get that interview with Sorensen, but their enemies list is growing… – Cage the Elephant – Borderlands – Mass Effect – With Great […]

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