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Part II: Virtual Chat

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In this section the concept of virtual chat rooms will be explained. It's such a
novel idea that many people will wonder how it actually works. In essence it is
very simple, but the implications are quite far reaching. It's fair to say that
chat rooms are pivotal to the single player game of CueClub, and it's by progre
ssing through each room that the game is slowly uncovered. Four sections make up
this chapter: membership, members & bosses, chat etiquette, and reputation.
Section 1: Membership
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In any club the management always like to separate the important members from th
e riffraff. The usual way to do this is issue membership cards, and CueClub is n
o different. There are four grades of membership in use: no membership, standard
, silver and gold. Each grade gives the player certain privileges in the chat ro
om.
1. No Membership
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You have no rights to enter a chat room without membership, under any circumstan
ces. Leave before you offend the boss!
2. Standard Membership
======================
You are awarded standard membership for one of the chat rooms when you start the
game. Standard membership grants you access into the room but no privileges. En
trance restrictions also apply. For example, you can be refused entry if the clu
b is full, or if you are a male and the room is currently quite full with males.
You can gain standard membership to other rooms by beating the boss of a chat ro
om (each boss hands out one card for another room). However, this is easier said
than done. You will first need to build your reputation up to 5* before you wil
l be considered good enough to play the boss in the first instance.
Gaining a membership card for another room gives you access to the house ball se
t, cue and table. Feel free to use them in the other game modes such as 'Quick g
ame', 'Two player' and 'Practice'.
3. Silver Membership
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Beating the boss of a chat room is a great accomplishment. As a reward you will
be given a silver membership card which grants you access to the room when it is
not full, and you will never be turned away for just being male. In addition, y
our reputation can now never drop below 3* in that room.
4. Gold Membership
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Very occasionally, someone will really stand out from the crowd. A player perhap
s, who works his or her way through each chat room beating every boss and collec
ting every silver card available. A player perhaps, who then goes on to win ever
y tournament and then go on to win the much coveted CueClub tournament. If this
ever happens to you, then you will be awarded with the very exclusive CueClub go
ld card. Expect nothing less than the 'red carpet' treatment with this baby. Gua
ranteed access to each chat room anytime - even when it's full to the rafters! T

he boss will always make room for a gold card member 'through the back door'. No
t only that, but this card will ensure your reputation is a high five all of the
time! No more begging for games from mediocre players. They'll be queuing up to
play you - every time!
Section 2: Members & Bosses
===========================
Chat rooms are comprised of two kinds of player: members and bosses. There are s
ome big differences between the two, which you should know about before you ente
r a chat room.
There are hundreds of other members in CueClub. These are young (and not so youn
g) hopefuls just like yourself trying to better their reputations in the rooms.
Since only a handful ever log in at once, it will take a while to get round ever
yone. All the members have unique characteristics in the chat rooms and at the t
able. And like you, their reputations can change over time. Members come and go
in the chat rooms as they please, getting bored and leaving if no one speaks to
them.
Chat room bosses are very special characters. Unlike the members - of which ther
e are hundreds, there are only eight bosses in CueClub. Apart from having their
pictures splashed everywhere throughout the club, they have a lot of control ove
r the chat rooms. This includes deciding who is allowed in or not, and deciding
who they play and when. The bosses also have an infallible reputation, and they
are the only players with the authority to hand out membership cards.
Section 3: Chat Etiquette
=========================
You will notice that there is quite a lot of banter being exchanged in the chat
rooms. Sometimes it will make sense, other times is will appear like complete no
nsense. Welcome to the reality of chat rooms! Like internet chat rooms, you have
to take the whole experience with a pinch of salt. After all, the only reason p
eople are there is to play a few games of pool or snooker and better their own r
eputation. Most of the camaraderie is just for show, really. However, chatting i
s a good way to get noticed, and you are more likely to get a response from some
one if you chat to them, rather than just sitting and waiting. Remember that peo
ple like being greeted and chatted to, but not insulted. Virtual players can giv
e as good as they get, so be prepared for an entourage of back-chat if you get o
ver enthusiastic with the insult button!
There are a few unspoken rules of etiquette in the chat rooms, which you should
know about. Here are a few guidelines:
Rule 1: Don't Spam!
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Sending multiple copies of the same message only serves to irritate people. Chan
ces, are if you weren't heard the first time, you won't be heard the second.
Rule 2: Don't send empty posts
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Nothing is more infuriating than other players who send blank posts (messages wi
th no text). You can communicate your message by just using the chat buttons, bu
t it's a little ignorant to say the least, and it's not in the spirit of chat ro
oms to be silent!
Rule 3: Don't expect in depth conversation

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Players aren't really interested in the news or what happened to you today. Be b
rief and get on with it. There are games to be played and people are waiting out
side to come and take your place.
Rule 4: Don't insult too often
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Unless you can take the backlash, insults can often be offensive - especially in
some of the dingy rooms like the Basement. Of course, you will be insulted from
time to time for no good reason. But that's up to you if you wish to take the m
atter any further...
Rule 5: Forget asking higher ranked players for a game
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Players with higher reputations than yourself will not play you because they hav
e nothing to gain and everything to lose. A players reputation can only be incre
ased by beating a player ranked equal or higher than themselves. Stick to player
s with the same * rating as you. Similarly, don't give in to players ranked lowe
r than yourself. This is a trap - you cannot gain anything by beating these oppo
nents. It won't stop them trying it on with you, however.
Rule 6: Keep your options open
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When asking for a game, you can request a particular set of rules, such as 8-bal
l or 9-ball, and the number of games to play too. This is fine, but players are
more likely to agree if these options are set to 'any', so they can decide inste
ad. It's up to you really, but be warned that the bosses are very particular abo
ut what games they will play.
Rule 7: Don't talk nonsense, or use unfamiliar words
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Each chat room has its own native tongue - or style of chat. For instance, in th
e Funk house it's rap, and in the Basement is gangster talk. By adapting this st
yle yourself you will be 'understood' better, and met with fewer replies of nons
ense or disbelief. Join in with the banter!
Rule 8: Remember who you are talking to
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It's a well known fact that in chat rooms boys prefer to talk to girls and vice
versa. CueClub's virtual chat rooms are no exception, and you can use this to yo
ur advantage. For example, if you are a male, you are more likely to get a game
with a female than another male. In some rooms, such as the Penthouse, it's actu
ally considered taboo to converse with members of the same sex, unless that it w
hat you want, of course. Males who log-in as females to escape being turned away
at the door are warned that they are likely to be hit by a barrage of posts fro
m eager males! You have been warned.
Section 4: Reputation
=====================
Reputation is the measure of a players ability or skill at playing Pool and Snoo
ker, using the * rating system. It ranges from 0* - indicating a poor player, up
to and including 5* - indicating an excellent player.

However, the whole concept of reputation in CueClub is a bit corrupt to say the
least! Quite apart from being a true indicator of a players ability, reputation
is more a measure of ones perceived ability - or image. To give an example, it i
s perfectly possible to win five games in a row by pure luck and build up a 5* r
eputation from nothing, whilst actually being a rather poor player. In the chat
rooms everyone will assume you are a great player but the reality will be a diff
erent story. This kind of thing is great if it happens to you, not so great if i
t starts happening to all your opponents. Ironically, the upside of this quirk i
s also its downfall. The laws of chance say that eventually, your reputation wil
l catch up with your true ability. So in the long run, you should get what you d
eserve. Just remember that a high * rating does not necessarily indicate a good
player just like a low one doesn't always indicate a poor player. One thing you
can be certain of though, is that the bosses' reputation is always spot on!
To begin with, you are always awarded a 1* reputation. This is a welcome gesture
to give you a fighting chance and the benefit of the doubt. Make the most of th
is - it will help you get a decent game with similarly ranked opponent. If you l
ose that first game however, your reputation will drop to 0*.
Basically, for every game you win, you will gain one *, up to a maximum 5*. For
every game you lose, you will forfeit one *, to a minimum of 0*. Your opponent,
like you, will gain a * for winning and forfeit a * for losing. Restrictions do
apply however, and these are listed on the 'Match agreement' screen before you p
lay. This screen acts like a binding contract, and by agreeing to it you will pa
y a one * deposit to play. The reason for this is to prevent you (or your oppone
nt) fleeing the game if the odds become stacked against you (i.e. it becomes cle
ar that your opponent is going to win the match.)
One last thing to remember: * ratings are not of equal value amongst rooms. By t
his we mean that 5* players from one chat room will not necessarily be of the sa
me ability as 5* players from another room. It is safe to assume that as you pro
gress from one chat room to the next, the quality of competition will increase.