Dear fellow gamers,
We have been silent for quite a while (holiday season, change of IRL jobs for some in the team, among other things) but surely not idle about the development of Rise of the White Sun. We intend to let you know very soon about the latest developments.
However, while waiting, let us tell you a bit more about another Chinese concept which will be at the heart of our game : guanxi.
A guanxi is a strong relationship between two persons, which are not necessarily of the same social status. Guanxi can be activated when requesting a favour. Guanxi is also used to name the personalised social network of a person as well as the benefits this person gets out of it. Guanxis are one of the major features in the Chinese society, and have been for centuries. Business is extremely tied to social relations in China. Guanxi plays a singnificant role in shaping and developing business relations with others, securing deals, etc.
Who is in your guanxi ?
First and foremost, family is the kernel of one’s guanxi – emotional ties play a major role. Some do however consider that, given the importance of these ties, family is an entirely different case.
Closest friends are usually also part of a person’s guanxi. From there, in concentric circles, friends, friends of friends, colleagues and mere acquaintances are integrated.
Guanxi are more easily created when there are common traits / experiences between two persons: coming from the same province, speaking the same language, belonging to the same social circles and clubs, having a supposed common kinship (Chinese people with the same family name consider they belong to the same family or have at least a common ancestor), etc. Ultimately, the decision to establish or nor a guanxi with another person rests within one’s hands. You are never forced to!
The 7 features of Guanxi
Guanxi can be defined by seven features. It is :
- shareable: you may introduce somebody to another person in your guanxi or be introduced this way – otherwise, the connection without a go-between would be rather unlikely; however, you cannot transfer your guanxi directly,
- reciprocal: asking for a favour results in your guanxi expecting you to return it at some point. Failing to do so will make you lose face and be considered untrustworthy,
- intangible: the persons have an implicit mutual understanding on their connection, based on trust, reciprocity and fairness,
- utilitarian: guanxis are rather utilitarian rather than emotional (although friendship may have a role in strengthening the bond),
- context-based: a guanxi is built in a given context (work environment, association, brotherhood, gang, family, etc.) and remains tied to this context,
- long-term: guanxi relations are cultivated on a long-term basis, building trust that favours will be returned in the future,
- personally identified: guanxi are personal, tied to individuals and not organisations.
Guanxi in RoWS
Guanxi will have an important role in Rise of the White Sun. You, as your character, will spend quite some time interacting with NPCs on your road to power. Several factors will influence your relationships with other. First, when you start a game, your relationships with most NPCs will be set according to how they view your ethnicity, education, beliefs, social background and traits.
You may not necessarily know how people feel about you if you have not at least talked to them once or spied a little bit. Furthermore, those ‘Impenetrable’ NPCs are tougher nuts to crack – be prepared to rely on spying and gossip collection.
If you have a sufficiently good relationship with your interlocutor, you may ask him to do something for you. The higher your level of relationship, the more likely they will accept. Be prepared for them expecting your to return the favour next time they ask you something or face the consequences (loss of relationship and possibly hostile actions against you)!
NPCs may also occasionally ask favours as well. These will be quite an asset up your sleeve: reminding them they owe you. A useful bargaining chip for your political schemes!
How about an example? You have a level of relationship set to ‘good’ with Chiang Kai-shek. He asks you to slander Wang Jingwei, within the next two months. If you grant him his request before the given deadline, your level of relationship with Chiang will increase and he will owe you a favour. A couple years later, you need Chiang to support you for a position in the army. Remember that favour he owes you? This should be very helpful.
Stay tuned for more news about the game and general stuff about China!