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For the first time I'm looking at playing a TM for a while, and specifically, at the cost for upgrading the Forms. Id rather avoid another discussion about TMs vs Hackers, I'm just trying to get an idea of how viable it is to continue to upgrade/

The cost for Forms is like upgrading spells in previous editions to a higher force. It seems prohibitvely expensive, like you'regoing to have to hedge your bets against raising your form rating if you're near your max, in case your get to raise your Resonance some time soon, otherwise you risk wasting karma.

My questions mostly for anyone whose played a TM for a while, and dealt with this. Does Threading cover the difference? Does jacking up those Forms make them over powered in the long run? It seems that with a lot of perp time, you could prep some Sprites to maintain a Thread, Thread up your Form to a decent rating, and go, but that seems to take a lot of extra work to get a decent Rating.
Have yet to play a TM myself yet, but from what I've heard, threading is the main form of getting decent CFs for TMs. That said, I'm not sure if this has changed any since 4a because of raising the attribute cost which means that a point of resonance is much more expensive.

Going over the numbers some though, I'd highly suggest pumping up your CFs as much as you can with BP, because it is 1BP per rating, and at least 2 karma, usually more for a point. As with most things BP, focus on getting stuff to max or hold off on getting it at all till you have some karma to play with.
I've played TMs almost exclusively since they arrived. In each case, I've learned that it's vital to decide what kind of TM you want to be and to get the CFs most directly linked to that methodology maxed at creation. My current TM/Face, for example, specializes in information retrieval. As such, her Analyze, Browse, Decrypt, Edit, Exploit, and Stealth CFs were maxed to 7 at creation (normal starting max being 6, but our campaign chargen guidelines required any Awakened/Emerged to start with a single initiation/submersion grade and I went ahead and maxed my Resonance as well). She also has a solid 3 rating in Armor and Shield since Stealth doesn't always work, even when threaded and sprite supported. For her echoes, I've given her Info Sortiledge and Sift to aid in making data searches easier and to get more out of them (IS has been the cause of many of our runs, as it has allowed her to learn where protected information is being kept and thus where we need to break into).

Outside of her specialty, I have not bought any CF ratings because threading takes no action. Is she getting tracked? Then thread a Spoof. Need to kick some ass? Then boost up Armor and Shield and thread up an Attack form. To sum up, if you're going to use a CF often in the course of your work, then it's better to buy the CF and have it at or near your maximum rating. In this you'll always have the things you need at top end without needing to worry about Fading. And if you're in a situation where you NEED to have them stronger via threading, then the physical damage that's coming if you boost them and don't soak the Fading will be an afterthought. But for everything else that you don't see coming up except on rare occasion, don't buy it at all and thread what you need when you need it. The damage from Fading should always be low end stun that won't be difficult to soak and it lowers your need for bookkeeping.
the numbers on it is that the only thing with a better BP:karma ratio is binding a power focus. if you can take 10 or more CFs, you actually get a better BP:Karma ratio by putting your resonance to 6 and maxing those complex forms (note: this was prior to the attribute cost errata... but the principle should apply still).

essentially, your gut feeling is pretty accurate: raising complex forms with karma is very expensive. furthermore, as a technomancer i would say some of your main priorities should start with getting as many submersion grades as you can, with a possible side track into raising your resonance by one point so that you can get 1 essence of 'ware without destroying your complex forms. in general, the echos you get are going to be far more useful than boosting one or two CFs by a point.

of course, that's just looking at it from the perspective of mechanics. for obvious reasons, you may eventually feel that your character really should logically improve certain CFs, or learn new ones. but in general, your CFs are for the most part likely to stay where they are at chargen, imo.
Valshar's experience and mine are very similar, on the whole I've found it usefull to have good ratings in the CF's i'll use all the time and then build a decent rating in a smattering of "OH SHIT" CF's like, defuse and shielding as well as adding some like Tacsoft, Smartlink, and simrig (mostly to satisfy channels for my tacsoft). Other then that I rely on threading to get by and it works fairly well with a high resonance and decent software rating.
Thanks guys that gives me more to work with.
The positive quality Analytical Mind is, in my view, a must-have for any technomancer (especially a data miner like the one I'm currently playing). The +2 to Software rolls is a big help when threading.
Yeah I'd noticed that one and grabbed that for the character. I hadn't noticed before that Threading didn't take an action. That, along with the FAQ clarification that the -2 penalty doesn't apply to the action that you're actually doing the Threading for makes it a lot me workable, and CFs less crucial.
Exactly. With judicious use of a thread-use-drop tactic, and avoiding threading anything too high (keeping the fading damage in the low stun range), it's possible for a TM to seat-of-their-pants most situations outside of their specialization (such as any time my current TM ends up in matrix combat) without putting themselves at too much risk or penalty.
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