The Challenges of Designing a Modern Skill, Part 3
Okay, Wendy’s or Walgreens or whoever, I don’t care who you are, you’re listening to the rest.
Introduction to Part 3
Welcome back one last time to “The Challenges of Designing a Modern Skill,” a series where we discuss all aspects of skill design and development. In Part 1, we talked about OSRS’s history with skills, and started the lengthy conversation on Skill Design Philosophy, including the concepts of Core, Expansion, and Integration. This latter topic consumed the entirety of Part 2 as well, which covered Rewards and Motivations, Progression, Buyables, as well as Unconstructive Arguments. Which brings us to today, the final part of our discussion. In this Part 3, we’ll finish up Section 3 – Skill Design Philosophy, then move on to chat about the design and blog process. One last time, this discussion was intended to be a single post, but its length outgrew the post character limit twice. Therefore, it may be important to look at the previous two parts for clarity and context with certain terms. The final product, in its purest, aesthetic, and unbroken form, can be found here.
3-C – Skill Design Philosophy, Continued
3-12 - Balancing
What follows from the discussion about XP and costs, of course, is balancing: the bane of every developer. A company like Riot knows better than anyone that having too many factors to account for makes good balance impossible. Balancing new ideas appropriately is extremely challenging and requires a great respect for current content as discussed in Section 3-5 – Integration. Thankfully, in OSRS we only have three major balancing factors: Profit, XP Rate, and Intensity, and two minor factors: Risk and Leniency. These metrics must amount to some sense of balance (besides Leniency, which as we’ll see is the definition of anti-balance) in order for a piece of content to feel like it’s not breaking the system or rendering all your previous efforts meaningless. It’s also worthy to note that there is usually a skill-specific limit to the numerical values of these metrics. For example, Runecrafting will never receive a training method that grants 200k xp/hr, while for Construction that’s easily on the lower end of the scale. A basic model works better than words to describe these factors, and therefore, being the phenomenal artist that I am, I have constructed one, which I’ve dubbed “The Guthix Scale.” But I’ll be cruel and use words anyway.
Profit: how much you gain from a task, or how much you lose. Gain or loss can include resources, cosmetics, specialized currencies, good old gold pieces, or anything on that line.
XP Rate: how fast you gain XP.
Intensity: how much effort (click intensity), attention (reaction intensity), and thought (planning intensity) you need to put into the activity to perform it well.
Risk: how likely is the loss of your revenue and/or resource investment into the activity. Note that one must be careful with risk, as players are very good at abusing systems intended to encourage higher risk levels to minimize how much they’re actually risking.
Leniency: a measure for how imbalanced a piece of content can be before the public and/or Jagex nerfs it. Leniency serves as a simple modulator to help comprehend when the model breaks or bends in unnatural ways, and is usually determined by how enjoyable and abusable an activity is, such that players don’t want to cause an outrage over it. For example, Slayer has a high level of Leniency; people don’t mind that some Slayer tasks grant amazing XP Rates, great Profits, have middling Intensity, and low Risk. On the other hand, Runecrafting has low levels of Leniency; despite low Risk, many Runecrafting activities demand high Intensity for poor XP Rates and middling Profits.
In the end, don’t worry about applying specific numbers during the conceptual phase of your skill design. However, when describing an activity to your reader, it’s always useful if you give approximations, such as “high intensity” or “low risk,” so that they get an idea of the activity’s design goals as well as to guide the actual development of that activity. Don’t comment on the activity’s Leniency though, as that would be pretty pretentious and isn’t for you to determine anyway.
3-13 - Skill Bloat
What do the arts of weaving, tanning, sowing, spinning, pottery, glassmaking, jewellery, engraving, carving, chiselling, carpentry, and even painting have in common? In real life, there’s only so much crossover between these arts, but in Runescape they’re all simply Crafting. The distinction between what deserves to be its own skill or instead tagged along to a current skill is often arbitrary; this is the great challenge of skill bloat. The fundamental question for many skill concepts is: does this skill have enough depth to stand on its own? The developers of 2006 felt that there was sufficient depth in Construction to make it something separate from Crafting, even if the latter could have covered the former. While there’s often no clean cut between these skills (why does making birdhouses use Crafting instead of Construction?), it is easy to see that Construction has found its own solid niche that would’ve been much too big to act as yet another Expansion of Crafting. On the other hand, a skill with extremely limited scope and value perhaps should be thrown under the umbrella of a larger skill. Take Firemaking: it’s often asked why it deserves to be its own skill given how limited its uses are. This is one of those ideas that probably should have just been thrown under Crafting or even Woodcutting. But again, the developers who made early Runescape did not battle with the same ideas as the modern player; they simply felt like Firemaking was a good idea for a skill. Similarly, the number of topics that the Magic skill covers is so often broken down in other games, like Morrowind’s separation between Illusion, Conjuration, Alteration, Destruction, Mysticism, Restoration, Enchant, Alchemy (closer to Herblore), and Unarmored (closer to Strength and Defense). Why does Runescape not break Magic into more skills? The answer is simple: Magic was created with a much more limited scope in Runescape, and there has not been enough content in any specific magical category to justify another skill being born. But perhaps your skill concept seeks to address this; maybe your Enchantment skill takes the enchanting aspects of Magic away, expands the idea to include current imbues and newer content, and fully fleshes the idea out such that the Magic skill alone cannot contain it. Somewhat ironically, Magic used to be separated into Good and Evil Magic skills in Runescape Classic, but that is another topic. So instead of arguments about what could be thrown under another skill’s umbrella, perhaps we should be asking: is there enough substance to this skill concept for it to stand on its own, outside of its current skill categorization? Of course, this leads to a whole other debate about how much content is enough for a skill idea to deserve individuality, but that would get too deep into specifics and is outside the scope of this discussion.
3-14 - Skill Endgame
Runescape has always been a sandbox MMO, but the original Runescape experience was built more or less with a specific endgame in mind: killing players and monsters. Take the Runescape Classic of 2001: you had all your regular combat skills, but even every other skill had an endgame whose goal was helping combat out. Fishing, Firemaking, and Cooking would provide necessary healing. Smithing and Crafting, along with their associated Gathering skill partners, served to gear you up. Combat was the simple endgame and most mechanics existed to serve that end. However, since those first days, the changing endgame goals of players have promoted a vast expansion of the endgame goals of new content. For example, hitting a 99 in any non-combat skill is an endgame goal in itself for many players, completely separate from that skill’s combat relationship (if any). These goals have increased to aspects like cosmetic collections, pets, maxed stats, all quests completed, all diaries completed, all music tracks unlocked, a wealthy bank, the collection log, boss killcounts, and more. Whereas skills used to have a distinct part of a system that ultimately served combat, we now have a vast variety of endgame goals that a skill can be directed towards. You can even see a growth in this perspective as new skills were released up to 2007: Thieving mainly nets you valuable (or once valuable) items which have extremely flexible uses, and Construction has a strong emphasis on cosmetics for your POH. So when designing your new skill, contemplate what the endgame of your skill looks like. For example, if you are proposing a Gathering skill, what is the Production skill tie-in, and what is the endgame goal of that Production skill? Maybe your new skill Spelunking has an endgame in gathering rare collectibles that can be shown off in your POH. Maybe your new skill Necromancy functions like a Support skill, giving you followers that help speed along resource gathering, and letting you move faster to the endgame goal of the respective Production skill. Whatever it is, a proper, clear, and unified view of an endgame goal helps a skill feel like it serves a distinct and valuable purpose. Note that this could mean that you require multiple skills to be released simultaneously for each to feed into each other and form an appropriate endgame. In that case, go for it – don’t make it a repeat of RS3’s Divination, a Gathering skill left hanging without the appropriate Production skill partner of Invention for over 2 years. A good example of a skill with a direct endgame is… most of them. Combat is a well-accepted endgame, and traditionally, most skills are intended to lend a hand in combat whether by supplies or gear. A skill with a poor endgame would be Hunter: Hunter is so scattered in its ultimate endgame goals, trying to touch on small aspects of everything like combat gear, weight reduction, production, niche skilling tools, and food. There’s a very poor sense of identity to Hunter’s endgame, and it doesn’t help that very few of these rewards are actually viable or interesting in the current day. Similarly, while Slayer has a strong endgame goal it is terrible in its methodology, overshadowing other Production skills in their explicit purpose. A better design for Slayer’s endgame would have been to treat it as a secondary Gathering skill, to work almost like a catalyst for other Gathering-Production skill relationships. In this mindset, Slayer is where you gather valuable monster drops, combine it with traditional Gathering resources like ores from Mining, then use a Production skill like Smithing to meld them into the powerful gear that is present today. This would have kept other Gathering and Production skills at the forefront of their specialities, in contrast to today’s situation where Slayer will give fully assembled gear that’s better than anything you could receive from the appropriate skills (barring a few items that need a Production skill to piece together).
3-15 - Alternate Goals
From a game design perspective, skills are so far reaching that it can be tempting to use them to shift major game mechanics to a more favourable position. Construction is an example of this idea in action: Construction was very intentionally designed to be a massive gold sink to help a hyperinflating economy. Everything about it takes gold out of the game, whether through using a sawmill, buying expensive supplies from stores, adding rooms, or a shameless piece of furniture costing 100m that is skinned as, well, 100m on a shameless piece of furniture. If you’re clever about it, skills are a legitimately good opportunity for such change. Sure, the gold sink is definitely a controversial feature of Construction, but for the most part it’s organic and makes sense; fancy houses and fancy cosmetics are justifiably expensive. It is notable that the controversy over Construction’s gold sink mechanism is probably levied more against the cost of training, rather than the cost of all its wonderful aesthetics. Perhaps that should have been better accounted for in its design phase, but now it is quite set in stone. To emphasize that previous point: making large scale changes to the game through a new skill can work, but it must feel organic and secondary to the skill’s main purpose. Some people really disliked Warding because they felt it tried too hard to fix real, underlying game issues with mechanics that didn’t thematically fit or were overshadowing the skill’s Core. While this may or may not be true, if your new skill can improve the game’s integrity without sacrificing its own identity, you could avoid this argument entirely. If your skill Regency has a Core of managing global politics, but also happens to serve as a resource sink to help your failing citizens, then you’ve created a strong Core design while simultaneously improving the profitability of Gathering skills.
3-16 - The Combat No-Touch Rule
So, let’s take a moment to examine the great benefits and rationale of RS2’s Evolution of Combat: This space has been reserved for unintelligible squabbling. With that over, it’s obvious that the OSRS playerbase is not a big fan of making major changes to the combat system. If there’s anything that defines the OSRS experience, it has to be the janky and abusable combat system that we love. So, in the past 7 years of OSRS, how many times have you heard someone pitch a new combat skill? Practically no one ever has; a new combat skill, no matter how miniscule, would feel obtrusive to most players, and likely would not even receive 25% of votes in a poll. This goes right back to Section 3-5 – Integration, and the importance of preserving the fundamentals of OSRS’s design. I know that my intention with this discussion was to be as definitive about skill design as possible, and in that spirit I should be delving into the design philosophy specifically behind combat skills, but I simply don’t see the benefit of me trying, and the conversation really doesn’t interest me that much. It goes without saying that as expansive as this discussion is, it does not cover every facet of skill design, which is a limitation both of my capabilities and desire to do so.
3-17 - Aesthetics
I don’t do aesthetics well. I like them, I want them, but I do not understand them; there are others much better equipped to discuss this topic than I. Nonetheless, here we go. Since the dawn of OSRS, debates over art style and aesthetics have raged across Gielinor. After all, the OSRS Team is filled with modern day artists while OSRS is an ancient game. What were they supposed to do? Keep making dated graphics? Make content with a modernized and easily digestible style? Something in-between? While many players shouted for more dated graphics, they were approached by an interesting predicament: which dated graphics did they want? We had a great selection present right from the start of OSRS: 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007. People hungry for nostalgia chose the era that they grew up in, leading to frequent requests for older models like the dragon or imp, most of which were denied by Jagex (except the old Mining rock models). But which era was OSRS supposed to follow? Jagex elected to carve their own path, but not without heavy criticism especially closer to OSRS’s conception. However, they adapted to player requests and have since gone back and fixed many of the blatant early offenders (like the Kingdom of Kourend) and adopted a more consistent flavour, one that generally respects the art style of 2007. Even though it doesn’t always hit the mark, one has to appreciate the OSRS artists for making their best attempt and listening to feedback, and here’s to hoping that their art style examination mentioned in June 2020’s Gazette bears fruit. But what exactly is the old school art style? There are simple systems by which most players judge it in OSRS, usually by asking questions like, “Would you believe if this existed in 2007?” More informed artists will start pointing out distinct features that permeated most content from back in the day, such as low quality textures, low poly models, low FPS animations, a “low fantasy” or grounded profile that appeals somewhat to realism, reducing cartoonish exaggerations, and keeping within the lore. Compiled with this, music and sound design help that art style come to life; it can be very hard on immersion when these don’t fit. An AGS would sound jarring if its special attack sounded like a weak dagger stab, and having to endure Country Jig while roaming Hosidius suddenly sweeps you off into a different universe. But coming back to skill design, the art, models, and sound design tend to be some of the last features, mostly because the design phase doesn’t demand such a complete picture of a skill. However, simple concept art and models can vastly improve how a skill concept is communicated and comfort players who are concerned about maintaining that “old school feel.” This will be touched on again later in this discussion under Section 5-2 – Presentation and Beta Testing.
3-18 - Afterword
Now we’ve set down the modern standards for a new skill, but the statements that started this section bear repeating: the formula we’ve established does not automatically make a good or interesting skill, as hard as we might have tried. Once again, harken back to the First Great Irony: that we are trying to inject the modern interpretation of what defines a skill upon a game that was not necessarily built to contain it. Therefore, one could just as easily deny each of the components described above, as popular or unpopular as the act might be, and their opinion could be equally valid and all this effort meaningless. Don’t take these guidelines with such stringency as to disregard all other views.
5-0 - The OSRS Team and the Design Process
If you’ve followed me all the way here, you’re likely A) exhausted and fed up of any conversation concerning new skills, or B) excited, because you’ve just struck an incredible skill idea (or perhaps one that’s always hung around your head) that happens to tick off all the above checkboxes. But unfortunately for you B types, it’s about to get pretty grim, because we’re going to go through every aspect of skill design that’s exterior to the game itself. We’ll be touching on larger topics like democracy, presentation, player mindsets, effort, and resource consumption. It’ll induce a fantastic bout of depression, so don’t get left behind.
5-1 - Designing a Skill
Thus far, Jagex has offered three potential skills to OSRS, each of which has been denied. This gives us the advantage of understanding how the skill design process works behind the scenes and lets us examine some of the issues Jagex has faced with presenting a skill to the players. The first problem is the “one strike and you’re out” phenomenon. Simply put, players don’t like applying much effort into reading and learning. They’ll look at a developer blog highlighting a new skill idea, and if you’re lucky they’ll even read the whole thing, but how about the second developer blog? The third? Fourth? Even I find it hard to get that far. In general, people don’t like long detail-heavy essays or blogs, which is why I can invoke the ancient proverb “Ban Emily” into this post and it’ll go (almost) completely unnoticed. No matter how many improvements you make between developer blogs, you will quickly lose players with each new iteration. Similarly, developer blogs don’t have the time to talk about skill design philosophy or meta-analyse their ideas – players would get lost far too fast. This is the Second Great Irony of skill design: the more iterations you have of a lengthy idea, the less players will keep up with you. This was particularly prominent with Warding: Battle Wards were offered in an early developer blog but were quickly cut when Jagex realized how bad the idea was. Yet people would still cite Battle Wards as the reason they voted against Warding, despite the idea having been dropped several blogs before. Similarly, people would often comment that they hated that Warding was being polled multiple times; it felt to them like Jagex was trying to brute-force it into the game. But Warding was only ever polled once, and only after the fourth developer blog - the confusion was drawn from how many times the skill was reiterated and from the length of the public design process. Sure, there are people for whom this runs the opposite way; they keep a close eye on updates and judge a piece of content on the merits of the latest iteration, but this is much less common. You could argue that one should simply disregard the ignorant people as blind comments don't contribute to the overall discussion, but you should remember that these players are also the ones voting for the respective piece of content. You could also suggest re-educating them, which is exactly what Jagex attempts with each developer blog, and still people won’t get the memo. And when it comes to the players themselves, can the playerbase really be relied on to re-educate itself? Overall, the Second Great irony really hurts the development process and is practically an unavoidable issue. What’s the alternative? To remove the developer-player interface that leads to valuable reiterations, or does you simply have to get the skill perfect in the first developer blog? It’s not an optimal idea, but it could help: have a small team of “delegates” – larger names that players can trust, or player influencers – come in to review a new, unannounced skill idea under NDA. If they like it, chances are that other players will too. If they don’t, reiterate or toss out the skill before it’s public. That way, you’ve had a board of experienced players who are willing to share their opinions to the public helping to determine the meat and potatoes of the skill before it is introduced to the casual eye. Now, a more polished and well-accepted product can be presented on the first run of selling a skill to the public, resulting in less reiterations being required, and demanding less effort from the average player to be fully informed over the skill’s final design.
5-2 - Presentation and Beta Testing
So you’ve got a great idea, but how are you going to sell it to the public? Looking at how the OSRS Team has handled it throughout the years, there’s a very obvious learning curve occurring. Artisan had almost nothing but text blogs being thrown to the players, Sailing started introducing some concept art and even a trailer with terrible audio recording, and Warding had concept art, in game models, gifs, and a much fancier trailer with in-game animations. A picture or video is worth a thousand words, and often the only words that players will take out of a developer blog. You might say that presentation is everything, and that would be more true in OSRS than most games. Most activities in OSRS are extremely basic, involve minimal thought, and are incredibly grindy. Take Fishing: you click every 20 seconds on a fishing spot that is randomly placed along a section of water, get rid of your fish, then keep clicking those fishing spots. Boiling it down further, you click several arbitrary parts of your computer screen every 20 seconds. It’s hardly considered engaging, so why do some people enjoy it? Simply put: presentation. You’re given a peaceful riverside environment to chill in, you’re collecting a bunch of pixels shaped like fish, and a number tracking your xp keeps ticking up and telling you that it matters. Now imagine coming to the players with a radical new skill idea: Mining. You describe that Mining is where you gather ores that will feed into Smithing and help create gear for players to use. The audience ponders momentarily, but they’re not quite sure it feels right and ask for a demonstration. You show them some gameplay, but your development resources were thin and instead of rocks, you put trees as placeholders. Instead of ores in your inventory, you put logs as placeholders. Instead of a pickaxe, your character is swinging a woodcutting axe as a placeholder. Sure, the mechanics might act like mining instead of woodcutting, but how well is the skill going to sell if you haven’t presented it correctly or respected it contextually? Again, presentation is everything. Players need to be able to see the task they are to perform, see the tools they’ll use, and see the expected outcomes; otherwise, whatever you’re trying to sell will feel bland and unoriginal. And this leads to the next level of skill presentation that has yet to be employed: Beta Worlds. Part of getting the feel of an activity is not just watching, it but acting it out as well - you’ll never understand the thrill of skydiving unless you’ve actually been skydiving. Beta Worlds are that chance for players to act out a concept without risking the real game’s health. A successful Beta can inspire confidence in players that the skill has a solid Core and interesting Expansions, while a failed Beta will make them glad that they got to try it and be fully informed before putting the skill to a poll (although that might be a little too optimistic for rage culture). Unfortunately, Betas are not without major disadvantages, the most prominent of which we shall investigate next.
5-3 - Development Effort
If you thought that the previous section on Skill Design Philosophy was lengthy and exhausting, imagine having to know all that information and then put it into practice.Mentally designing a skill in your head can be fun, but putting all that down on paper and making it actually work together, feel fully fleshed out, and following all the modern standards that players expect is extremely heavy work, especially when it’s not guaranteed to pay off in the polls like Quest or Slayer content. That’s not even taking into account the potentially immense cost of developing a new skill should it pass a poll. Whenever people complain that Jagex is wasting their resources trying to make that specific skill work, Jagex has been very explicit about the costs to pull together a design blog being pretty minimal. Looking at the previous blogs, Jagex is probably telling the truth. It’s all just a bunch of words, a couple art sketches, and maybe a basic in-game model or gif. Not to downplay the time it takes to write well, design good models, or generate concept art, but it’s nothing like the scale of resources that some players make it out to be. Of course, if a Beta was attempted as suggested last section, this conversation would take a completely new turn, and the level of risk to invested resources would exponentially increase. But this conversation calls to mind an important question: how much effort and resources do skills require to feel complete? Once upon a time, you could release a skill which was more or less unfinished. Take Slayer: it was released in 2005 with a pretty barebones structure. The fundamentals were all there, but the endgame was essentially a couple cool best-in-slot weapons and that was it. Since then, OSRS has updated the skill to include a huge Reward Shop system, feature 50% more monsters to slay, and to become an extremely competitive money-maker. Skills naturally undergo development over time, but it so often comes up during the designing of an OSRS skill that it "doesn't have enough to justify its existence." This was touched on deeply in Section 3-13 – Skill Bloat, but deserves reiterating here. While people recognize that skills continually evolve, the modern standard expects a new skill, upon release, to be fully preassembled before purchase. Whereas once you could get away with releasing just a skill's Core and working on Expansions down the line, that is no longer the case. But perhaps a skill might stand a better chance now than it did last year, given that the OSRS Team has doubled in number since that time. However, judging from the skill design phases that have previously been attempted (as we’ve yet to see a skill development phase), the heaviest cost has been paid in developer mentality and motivational loss. When a developer is passionate about an idea, they spend their every waking hour pouring their mind into how that idea is going to function,especially while they’re not at work. And then they’re obligated to take player feedback and adapt their ideas, sometimes starting from scratch, particularly over something as controversial as a skill. Even if they have tough enough skin to take the heavy criticism that comes with skill design, having to write and rewrite repeatedly over the same idea to make it “perfect” is mentally exhausting. Eventually, their motivation drains as their labour bears little fruit with the audience, and they simply want to push it to the poll and be done with it. Even once all their cards are down, there’s still no guarantee that their efforts will be rewarded, even less so when it comes to skills. With such a high mental cost with a low rate of success, you have to ask, “Was it worth it?” And that’s why new skill proposals are far and few between. A new skill used to be exciting for the development team in the actual days of 2007, as they had the developmental freedom to do whatever they wanted, but in the modern day that is not so much the case.
5-4 - The Problems of Democracy
Ever since the conceptualization of democracy in the real world, people have been very aware of its disadvantages. And while I don’t have the talent, knowledge, or time to discuss every one of these factors, there are a few that are very relevant when it comes to the OSRS Team and the polling process. But first we should recognize the OSRS Team’s relationship with the players. More and more, the Team acts like a government to its citizens, the players, and although this situation was intentionally instated with OSRS’s release, it’s even more prominent now. The Team decides the type of content that gets to go into a poll, and the players get their input over whether that particular piece makes it in. Similarly, players make suggestions to the Team that, in many cases, the Team hadn’t thought of themselves. This synergy is phenomenal and almost unheard of among video games, but the polling system changes the mechanics of this relationship. Polls were introduced to the burned and scarred population of players at OSRS’s release in 2013. Many of these players had just freshly come off RS2 after a series of disastrous updates or had quit long before from other controversies. The Squeal of Fortune, the Evolution of Combat, even the original Wilderness Removal had forced numerous players out and murdered their trust in Jagex. To try and get players to recommit to Runescape, Jagex offered OSRS a polling system by which the players would determine what went into the game, where the players got to hold all the cards. They also asked the players what threshold should be required for polled items to pass, and among the odd 50% or 55% being shouted out, the vast majority of players wanted 70%, 75%, 80%, or even 85%. There was a massive population in favour of a conservative game that would mostly remain untouched, and therefore kept pure from the corruption RS2 had previously endured. Right from the start, players started noticing holes in this system. After all, the OSRS Team was still the sole decider of what would actually be polled in the first place. Long-requested changes took forever to be polled (if ever polled at all) if the OSRS Team didn’t want to deal with that particular problem or didn’t like that idea. Similarly, the Team essentially had desk jobs with a noose kept around their neck – they could perform almost nothing without the players, their slave masters, seeing, criticizing, and tearing out every inch of developmental or visionary freedom they had. Ever hear about the controversy of Erin the duck? Take a look at the wiki or do a search through the subreddit history. It’s pretty fantastic, and a good window into the minds of the early OSRS playerbase. But as the years have gone on, the perspective of the players has shifted. There is now a much healthier and more trusting relationship between them and the Team, much more flexibility in what the players allow the Team to handle, and a much greater tolerance and even love of change. But the challenges of democracy haven’t just fallen away. Everyone having the right to vote is a fundamental tenet of the democratic system, but unfortunately that also means that everyone has the right to vote. For OSRS, that means that every member, whether it’s their first day in game, their ten thousandth hour played, those who have no idea about what the poll’s about, those who haven’t read a single quest (the worst group), those who RWT and bot, those who scam and lure, and every professional armchair developer like myself get to vote. In short, no one will ever be perfectly informed on every aspect of the game, or at least know when to skip when they should. Similarly, people will almost never vote in favour of making their game harder, even at the cost of game integrity, or at least not enough people would vote in such a fashion to reach a 75% majority. These issues are well recognized. The adoption of the controversial “integrity updates” was Jagex’s solution to these problems. In this way, Jagex has become even more like a government to the players. The average citizen of a democratic country cannot and will not make major decisions that favour everyone around themselves if it comes at a personal cost. Rather, that’s one of the major roles of a government: to make decisions for changes for the common good that an individual can’t or won’t make on their own. No one’s going to willingly hand over cash to help repave a road on the opposite side of the city – that’s why taxes are a necessary evil. It’s easy to see that the players don’t always know what’s best for their game and sometimes need to rely on that parent to decide for them, even if it results in some personal loss. But players still generally like the polls, and Jagex still appears to respect them for the most part. Being the government of the game, Jagex could very well choose to ignore them, but would risk the loss of their citizens to other lands. And there are some very strong reasons to keep them: the players still like having at least one hand on the wheel when it comes to new content or ideas. Also, it acts as a nice veto card should Jagex try to push RS3’s abusive tactics on OSRS and therefore prevent such potential damage. But now we come to the topic of today: the introduction of a new skill. Essentially, a new skill must pass a poll in order to enter the game. While it’s easy to say, “If a skill idea is good enough, it’ll pass the threshold,” that’s not entirely true. The only skill that could really pass the 75% mark is not necessarily a well-designed skill, but rather a crowd-pleasing skill. While the two aren’t mutually exclusive, the latter is far easier to make than the former. Take Dungeoneering: if you were to poll it today as an exact replica of RS2’s version, it would likely be the highest scoring skill yet, perhaps even passing, despite every criticism that’s been previously emphasized describing why it has no respect for the current definition of “skill.” Furthermore, a crowd-pleasing skill can easily fall prey to deindividualization of vision and result in a bland “studio skill” (in the same vein as a “studio film”), one that feels manufactured by a board of soulless machines rather than a director’s unique creation. This draws straight back to the afore-mentioned issues with democracy: that people A) don’t always understand what they’re voting for or against, and B) people will never vote for something that makes their game tougher or results in no benefit to oneself. Again, these were not issues in the old days of RS2, but are the problems we face with our modern standards and decision making systems. The reality that must be faced is that the polling system is not an engine of creation nor is it a means of constructive feedback – it’s a system of judgement, binary and oversimplified in its methodology. It’s easy to interact with and requires no more than 10 seconds of a player’s time, a mere mindless moment, to decide the fate of an idea made by an individual or team, regardless of their deep or shallow knowledge of game mechanics, strong or weak vision of design philosophy, great or terrible understanding of the game’s history, and their awareness of blindness towards the modern community. It’s a system which disproportionately boils down the quality of discussion that is necessitated by a skill, which gives it the same significance as the question “Should we allow players to recolour the Rocky pet by feeding it berries?” with the only available answers being a dualistic “This idea is perfect and should be implemented exactly as outlined” or “This idea is terrible and should never be spoken of again.” So what do you do? Let Jagex throw in whatever they want? Reduce the threshold, or reduce it just for skills? Make a poll that lists a bunch of skills and forces the players to choose one of them to enter the game? Simply poll the question, “Should we have a new skill?” then let Jagex decide what it is? Put more options on the scale of “yes” to “no” and weigh each appropriately? All these options sound distasteful because there are obvious weaknesses to each. But that is the Third Great Irony we face: an immense desire for a new skill, but no realistic means to ever get one.
6-0 - Conclusion
I can only imagine that if you’ve truly read everything up to this point, it’s taken you through quite the rollercoaster. We’ve walked through the history of OSRS skill attempts, unconstructive arguments, various aspects of modern skill design philosophy, and the OSRS Team and skill design process. When you take it all together, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the thought that needs to go into a modern skill and all the issues that might prevent its success. Complexity, naming conventions, categorizations, integration, rewards and motivations, bankstanding and buyables, the difficulties of skill bloat, balancing, and skill endgames, aesthetics, the design process, public presentation, development effort, democracy and polling - these are the challenges of designing and introducing modern skills. To have to cope with it all is draining and maybe even impossible, and therefore it begs the question: is trying to get a new skill even worth it? Maybe. Thanks for reading. Tl;dr: Designing a modern skill requires acknowledging the vast history of Runescape, understanding why players make certain criticisms and what exactly they’re saying in terms of game mechanics, before finally developing solutions. Only then can you subject your ideas to a polling system that is built to oversimplify them.
i'm new in this forex stuff (not even starting yet) & first time visiting Forex. But i've read that forex basically gambling (guessing either it goes up or down, and you got previous data as reference). I'm also read about foolproof gambling tricks that works in real life roulette. Basically it goes like this :
bet $1 on red - if you win, repeat step 1.
if you lose, bet $3. if you win, repeat step 1.
if you lose again, bet $6. if you win, repeat step 1.
if you lose again, bet $14. if you win repeat step 1.
if you lose again, bet $31. if you win, repeat step 1
so, can this be apply on forex trading? (there's lot ads about forex trading apps, thinking to try it) can't profit big, but seem cant lose either. might be a good strategy. any thought? edit 1 : what i mean in this forex is binary options, which some forex trading apps operates. edit 2 : it takes 5 unlucky trading before $55 account blown off. is that really common to get 5 unlucky trading in a row? edit 3 : here's the math (cnp from reply) some forex apps (like expert option or olymp trade) operate on binary option (this is unregulated securities?) where usually they give 80% return on trade. the math goes like this :
$1 trade and win = $0.80 profit
lose then $3 trade and win = $2.4 - $1 (lose) = $1.4 profit
lose then $6 trade and win = $4.8 - $4 (lose) = $0.8 profit
lose then $14 trade and win = $11.2 - $10 (lose) = $1.2 profit
lose then $31 trade and win = $24.8 - $24 (lose) = $0.8 profit
profit means got back your initial too
edit 4 : some reply said **binary options type forex trading apps** are scam & fraud. bummer. maybe trading via smartphone isnt easy as i thought. edit 5 : still, add some ability to reading indicator & chart could help avoiding 5 unlucky trading in a row. damn, if i'm a programmer, i'll make a trading bots based on this idea xD
Bitcoin Broker Understand the Benefits of CryptoCurrency Trading
Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency, which can be spent, saved, or invested, and it can be stolen too. Trading with Bitcoins was considered to be risky, but the current trends show that it has become a big hit the binary options sector. This decentralized currency is not regulated by any Government, or by any central authority. What determines the price of Bitcoins? Bitcoin's price is determined according to the supply and demand ratio. Price increases when the demand increases, the rates plummet downwards when the demand falls. Bitcoins in circulation are limited, and new ones are created at a very slow rate. Since it does not have enough cash reserve to move the market price, its price can be extremely volatile. Bitcoin trading is popular because of -
Low inflation risk - Inflation is the biggest issue for traders, because all the currencies lose some of their purchasing power when the reserve banks keep printing more currency. With Bitcoin minting system being limited to just 21 million Bitcoins, it hardly gets impacted with inflation.
Low collapse risk - Currencies fluctuations depend on government trade policies, which at times cause hyperinflation, and even lead to the collapse of currency. Bitcoin is a virtual universal currency, which is not regulated by any government.
Simple, safe and cheap - The Bitcoin payments take place between peer-to-peer without any intermediary, which is why it is simple and cheap.
Easy to carry - Bitcoins worth million dollars can be carried in your pocket, in a memory stick. This cannot be done with gold or cash.
Untraceable - Issuance of Bitcoin is not regulated by any government, so the risk of seizure is nil.
Binary options Bitcoin trading platform bitcoin binary options are getting familiar with popularity of these Bitcoins, and its constant fluctuating values. Therefore they are using this opportunity to offer traders with the latest volatile crypto-currency as an additional payment method. Bitcoin brokers providing crypto-currency as trading option include -
One touch option - Bitcoin trading can be done with AnyOption or one-touch option. For example the current popular currency pair is BTC/USD.
SetOption - The latest option available for asset trading is BITCOIN/USD.
Bitcoin brokers provide a simple trading online platform. All you have to do is visit their website, enter your details, and create an account. You can start with demo account to understand the market action. The trading screen is simple.
Pick the price direction (UP/DOWN)
Select the timeframe
Is Bitcoin trading secure? Bitcoin network is possibly the world's vast spread computing project. The most common weakness here is the user errors. Bitcoin wallet files can get lost, stolen, or deleted accidentally just like any other files in the digital form. However, users can use sound security strategies to protect their cash. Alternatively, you could choose the service providers who offer high-level security, as well as insurance against loss or theft. We provide latest information on Bitcoin brokers and online trading platforms on our website. Please visit our website to check out the broker reviews in order to make the right choices.
Is FAANG really the only way to get a combo of high pay, good experience, healthy work-life balance and job security these days?
So I am in my 20s, based in London and have been in the industry for 5 years now, first as a software engineer and later - after completing my Masters - as a data scientist. Never had a full-time job at FAANG, partially because I'm not that good at reversing binary trees on a whiteboard (had a summer internship at Google but failed the conversion interviews), partially because I never really saw getting there as my goal and haven't interviewed with any of the big companies since then. Now, I always had this idea that at start ups, there is this trade-off that your work-life balance might be not as good - but you are much better off in terms of getting interesting experience, having more personal growth and flexibility, as well as often more money. My personal experience so far, however, has been kinda frustrating and I can't help but feel like FAANG is superior in every single way:
Getting good experience: this has really been the biggest pain for me as a data scientist. Most people I met had no idea what data science is and expected me to work on ETL pipelines and dashboards, completely ignoring my desire to get better at Machine Learning and predictive modelling. At my last company, I ended up changing the team trying to get more relevant DS experience but in the end it turned out to be even worse (even though the team lead promised otherwise). As a result I am in this kinda weird situation when with my YOE I'm expected to be at the mid-senior level, but to be honest, I don't feel that my ML skills are much better than that of a junior. Don't think this could ever happen at Google or Facebook.
Personal growth: there's been little to no mentorship at my previous company, just when I needed it the most when I was still fairly junior. My impression is that at start ups people are just too busy firefighting to actually invest their time in mentoring junior colleagues.
Flexibility: if there is any flexibility then it is that sort of flexibility with which the CEO at my last job could ping me on evenings and weekends. When I tried moving to a different team, it took me 10 (TEN) months to finally finish this move (the company keeps lying to people in interviews that it is easy to do so).
Salaries: to be fair, I think my salary progression so far has been better than what I would have at FAANG. But given how low my starting salary was as a fresh grad I'm still lagging behind my FAANG friends in terms of saving money (which means that they will sooner be able to buy a house, have a family etc.).
Sign-on bonuses: none of the smaller companies I've had offers from over the past few years (even those with 1000+ people) offered cash bonuses. You can get something like £25k in share options, but the more I learn about these share option schemes the more they seem like a scam to me (the 4-year vesting period in particular is a joke). My friend with the same YOE as me just got an offer at FAANG and got a £15k sign-on bonus in CASH which seems ridiculously high (again that's the difference between this guy buying his first house later this year and me MAYBE getting rich in 4 years when the options fully vest and if the company doesn't blow up like my previous ones did).
Performance bonuses: I basically never had any performance bonuses despite being promised so and having good performance reviews. It just turned out that none of the start ups I was working for had sustainable business models and all ended up being sinking ships.
Job security: the current COVID crisis says it all really. Everyone at my current company is suffering pay cuts and / or furloughs, but I keep seeing ads from Facebook Recruitmens saying that they still want to hire 1000 more staff in London this year.
It feels a bit like I've reached my "fuck it" moment and that I should just start spending all my free time on LeetCode practicing binary trees reversals to finally land a job at FAANG. So I am really just looking for opinions here. Is there indeed such a big gap in the quality of life of the FAANG people compared to everyone else? Or does anyone have any good stories about working for a small company where they would still feel safe, get a decent pay and good experience, and have time for their hobbies and families? TL;DR: Spent the first few years of my CS career at smaller companies and can't help but feel inferior to my peers who have been enjoying their time at FAANG. This makes me think I made a bad mistake by not following the same path. The risks just don't seem worth it and this COVID crisis is kinda the last straw
Hello. There have been both positive and negative comments about IM Academy. Some people believe it's a pyramid scheme while others believe it's the real deal. I'm here to give my thoughts on what I have experienced since joining IM Academy. Since day one, there has been nothing but support and motivation from every individual I have come in contact with. In our group, we have over 2000 members. I am learning A LOT about FOREX, HFX, DCX, how to be an IBO (Independent Business Owner) and more! Do they promote? YES, they do promote the EDUCATION, the SKILL SET, the TRAININGS, the WEBINARS, SUPPORTING not just your team, but others, they promote having a positive MIND SET and reaching out to your MENTORS! They encourage you to inform others of these opportunities in the same way you would inform others of your favorite TV Show, restaurant, sports team, your favorite drink, etc. Do you HAVE to inform others of this life changing skill set that can possibly enhance not only your finances, but your way of life? NO, you do NOT HAVE to say one word about it. The only difference between them encouraging you to tell others about the Academy, the MILLIONAIRE skills you LEARN as you EARN vs. talking about your favorite eatery is that in doing so you have the opportunity to gain residual income. For those who do not know what Residual Income is: simply put, you are able to have an additional stream of income. Who would not want to have an additional stream of income just by simply telling others what you do and they decide to join your team? All you are doing is telling someone about the opportunity to join IM Academy to learn the same skills used by Millionaires! It's up them to decide if they would like to take advantage of the opportunity or not. There are several individuals who are making 6, 7 and even 8 figures by using the skill set and/or telling someone else of this opportunity. Some of these individuals are just like you and me and some are the Educators which we do have over 100 of. They offer LIVE TRAININGS where you can ask them questions right then and there if need be. I have read some comments about how you can find this information on YouTube or other online platforms. Maybe you can, BUT it will NOT be well put together, it may not be as accurate and will you have access to Mentors including Millionaire mentors whenever you need help with something like you do with IM Academy? I've also heard people have said, if you only invest $50 into your account once you get started, it will be gone in no time. More than likely, people who make these comments did NOT attend the trainings and they did NOT use proper risk management. We have SEVERAL trainings through the week and one of the most important training is called the TRADING Plan! This plan teaches you exactly how NOT to over leverage your account. It also teaches you how much to risk for your account size, knowing this will let you know how many trades per a day you can take. If you do exactly what you are taught, your account will not go negative and you would not be posting angry comments about how IM Academy is not what it says it is. Not only do we have trainings by our peers that teach you this, but we also learn this in the Academy Education with the Educators. Simple Run Down: Have you ever opened a Bank Account and they had you filled out all these forms that had a bunch of big fancy terminology on them? Well, that fancy terminology means, you are agreeing to allow the banks to invest YOUR money for you. In turn they give you 1% or LESS within a certain amount of MONTHS or even YEARS! You see, what they are doing is investing YOUR money in the FOREX market. They basically flip YOUR funds into profit within a matter of a few days to a few MINUTES and give you the PENNIES of what they made from YOUR money. Did you know according toglassdoor.com, the national average for a FOREX Trader at a BANK makes around $92,327 a year. To most people that is a LOT of money, but what if I told you they have actually learned a skill that can allow them to make that in a MONTH or LESS? How would YOU like to learn how to do the SAME THING! This is a financially life changing skill that you can learn to possibly have a better life! You Do NOT need to have experience. You DO NOT need to talk to other people to join YOUR team. This is NOT a SCAM, it is not a GET RICH QUICK solution, but you can become wealthy if you learn and put those skills to use. ANYONE can do this! I do NOT care if you did not graduate High School, if you are a Janitorial Custodian, an Exotic Dancer or a Multi-Millionaire who is looking to gain even more income. You are NOT ALONE with IM Academy. WE are in this together! What is FOREX? It is simple the Foreign Exchange Market. It is much bigger than the Stock Market, as FOREX is worldwide and trades over $5 Trillion daily! Yes, you read that right, over $5 TRILLION daily! I think there is enough for you to get a piece of the pie. What is HFX? HFX stands for High Frequency Forex also known as Binary Options. You can buy and sell within a matter of minutes. Which means you can gain profits or lose within 1 to 30 minutes on average. YES, that's right! You do have the possibility of increasing your funds with HFX in as little as 1 minute! BUT, DISCLAIMER: We do NOT recommend you doing this type of trade on your own. With our Academy we have highly skilled Educators who will teach you THEIR technique. Yes, that's right, we have Millionaire Educators who created their own program and will teach you how to use it in order to get significant profits with HFX. What is DCX? DCX is Cryptocurrency, such as your Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, Ripple and more! Remember, the guy who purchased a home with Bitcoin several years ago? Well, today it's becoming a lot more popular. People are able to purchase several types of assets using Cryptocurrency, especially since over 10,000 retailers are now accepting Cryptocurrency as payment. Oh, did I forget to mention The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston is working with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to develop a "hypothetical" digital currency platform. Now, ask yourself, why would the Federal Reserve Bank "hypothetically" create a digital currency platform? Why would they "hypothetical" spend MILLIONS of dollars in creating a "hypothetical" anything? Bottom line for me is, our world has and is continuing to change. When I was a child, I only saw self driving cars, smart homes, weird types of currencies being used in movies. Look around, what do you see in real life today? I am not trying to convince you to join me and my team so that I can have residual income. I am giving you vital information to possible help secure your future. FOREX is exchanging over $5 Trillion dollars EVERY SINGLE DAY! Me, YOU, YOUR families, YOUR friends have the opportunity to get in NOW on skills that eventually everyone will have to learn at some point in their lives. You might as well do it NOW, go at your own pace, so you do NOT have to rush to figure it out later. I sure hope this answered your questions. If you have more questions or would like to know more information, PLEASE respond to me here or send me an e-mail, [email protected].
Summary of Tau-Chain Monthly Video Update - July 2020
Karim Agoras Live: Five functionalities complete: 1. Registration 2. Login 3. User Profile Page 4. Calendar 5. Categories List 6. Wallet Screen Payments: Decided that implementing lightning would be too complex. Instead, we decided to implement our own micropayment mechanism using the native BTC multisig addresses. We are going to use the Omni wallet for payments. TML: Continued debugging, getting a TML demo and test cases ready. Hiring: More hiring efforts to increase team size. Timelines: Committing ourselves to a release of Agoras Live and a basic version of discussions in TML in 2020. Umar: Been working on making improvements to the context free grammar parsing. We now are able to add constraints to productions in the grammar, allowing us to recognize grammars that are context sensitive. Developed test cases for that, too. Tomas: Fixed issues in TML and ran several steps in a TML program. Now adding more tests to make sure everything is stable and won’t break. Also been working on a TML tutorial, a recorded script based on the intro to TML which was contained in the TML Playground. Also new features are going to be covered such as arithmetics. Kilian: More outreach & follow-ups to potential partner universities. Positive response by a professor based in Toronto, presented to him our project. Also, response by KULeuven, Belgium, who unfortunately don’t see a good fit in our project. We’ve had one applicant for the IDNI Grant program and currently are evaluating his proposal. Also, we’ve had an applicant from Bangalore, India for the IDNI Ambassador program and we also have been discussing his proposal. Translation Bounties: We’ve had the blog post “The New Tau” translated to Chinese and have been reviewing the translation. We are going to publish the translation on our website and on the Bitcointalk Chinese forum section. Still to be claimed: German translation of “The New Tau”. Done more effort on reach out to potential tribe channels: Research groups, LinkedIn groups, Facebook groups. Most represented keywords: Complex Adaptive Systems, NLP, Computational Linguistics. Usual feedback: Likes but no further interaction. Created an FAQ answering all possible questions surrounding IDNI, Tau & Agoras Idea: Hosting a virtual panel to spread the word about our project among the scientific community, as well as to create some visual content for our community. Two professors are interested in participating, one from Argentina with a focus in semantic parsing, the other one from the University of Washington with a focus on human-computer interaction and social computing. First step: organizing a pre-panel discussion where in 1on1 calls with the professors we get an opinion of them about what we are doing. Andrei: Agoras Live: Implemented mail system so users now get their mails (e.g. registration email). Improved UX together with Mo’az, e.g. user profiles. Token creation for accessing calls to identify and charge users. Customized Jitsi interface to suit our needs: E.g. display of how much time passed in a call and how much it costs. Next up: Further improve UX; make sure everything works as intended. Mo’az: Almost finished the IDNI website. Added two more pages: Events & Bounties in collaboration with Fola & Kilian. Agoras Live: Finetuned all the website’s components in collaboration with Andrei. Juan: Continued working on the payments system for Agoras Live. Had some delays due to the complexity of debugging such applications. Still, we made significant progress and got the funding transactions implemented over the Lightning network through the Omni layer. Spent time analyzing the minimum amount of BTC to pay for the fees associated to the Omni transactions. We aren’t using segregated witness native addresses and instead are using embedded segregated witness. So transaction sizes are enlarged and transaction fees are a bit higher. So there is a bit of finetuning analysis needed in order to enable the multisig address to pay for the closing & refund transactions. So to provide payment channels over the Omni layer, the main remaining technical detail we have to solve at this point is the closing transaction & the refund transaction. Fola: Have been continuing to look for great talent in different areas. Continued working on website with Mo’az and Kilian. Been working on the branding for Tau & Agoras. Been getting external support to make sure the branding for Tau & Agoras will be as professional as it can be. Working on marketing efforts needed for the release of Agoras Live to get the media pack for marketing ready. Working together with external people to put a plan together for listing the Agoras token on more prominent exchanges as we get closer to release of Agoras Live. Ohad: Continued working on restricted versions of second-order logic to understand how to implement them. There is a translation in the literature about how to convert second-order logic by Horn into Datalog. Also, I have been revisiting papers that deal with descriptive complexity of higher-order logic. They mention that they have a translation from second-order logic to QBF. I wasn’t able to find where they explain this translation but I wrote one of them and he said he will send me the paper. If so, that will be very good because we already have a QBF solver. Any binary decision diagram is already a QBF solver, so we can just translate arbitrary second-order logic formulas into QBF. This will be very helpful for us to implement second-order logic. Also, those papers mention several aspects that are relevant for self-interpretation, the laws of laws. Apparently, they suggest that certain fragments of higher-order logic may also support the laws of laws. But this is part of the papers that I didn’t have access to, so I have to wait to get further clarification. I also pushed the whitepaper significantly this month and hope we will be finishing it soon. Also, I was thinking about some optimizations for the parser and also was looking into the Lightning network. It was my mistake that I haven’t done so beforehand and if I had done it beforehand, I would have understood earlier, that Lightning is too much. It is too drastic of a change to how traditional payments work and there apparently is no reason to believe that it is secure. So I’m glad I discovered better now than later that it’s not something we’d like to rely on, although we can have it as an optional feature. Q&A: Q: With the project development taking longer than other projects such as Tezos, when can AGRS holders expect something to be released and, how can you reassure us that we made the right decision? A: With regards to when we see some releases, it seems that we will see some releases in 2020. For comparing to Ethereum and Tezos: Let’s first talk about funding. Both projects had a lot of money. For Ethereum, the reason for is that it has probably done one of the most aggressive marketing campaigns in history. It was completely lacking any kind of honesty. It was simply aggressive. None of Ethereum’s visions and promises became true. It simply became an insecure platform for scams. None of their vision of creating a world computer, of creating a better society, a better currency, became true. Because of this aggressive marketing, they not only raised a lot of money, they also took the price to be so high in the market. If you remember the campaign of the flipping, they did a whole campaign on how they would overtake the marketcap of Bitcoin. For Tezos, they made maybe the largest ICO in history in terms of money, mainly because they came at the right time, at the top of the bubble in 2017, and also their promises for better coordination didn’t come true. Their solution is based on voting and based on Turing completeness and the only reason why they managed to gain such a market cap as of today, is not because they offer better currency, better society, better anything. It basically is a Ponzi-scheme because they offer very high interest rate by very high inflation (5,51%). The only reason why people buy Tezos is to get into this Ponzi-scheme. Because both Tezos and Ethereum lack any true economical or technological substance, their value will not sustain and this is true for almost all projects in the cryptocurrency world. In the software, high-tech market, if you come up with good tech and you do all the right things, you succeed big time. But if you don’t have it and you are purely relying on brainwashing people, it will not sustain. Of course, our solution is so disruptive and sustainable. We offer to do advancements for humanity and for economy. Q: What three subjects would you first like to see discussed on Tau? A: Of course, picking three subjects now is a bit speculative, but the first thing that comes to mind is the definitions of what good and bad means and what better and worse means. The second subject is the governance model over Tau. The third one is the specification of Tau itself and how to make it grow and evolve even more to suit wider audiences. The whole point of Tau is people collaborating in order to define Tau itself and to improve it over time, so it will improve up to infinity. This is the main thing, especially initially, that the Tau developers (or rather users) advance the platform more and more. Q: What is stopping programmers using TML right now? If nothing, what is your opinion on why they aren’t? A: There is nothing essentially missing in TML in order to let it release. And in fact, we are now working towards packaging it and bringing it towards a release level. For things like documentation, bug fixes, minor features, minor optimizations. We indeed actively work towards releasing TML 1.0 and then we can publish it in e.g. developers channels for them to use it.
The Binary Book Scam Is One of the Most Popular Options Scam and here’s everything you need to know about it
In April 2016, Binary Book was added to the CFTC's RED list for illegally soliciting U.S. Residents. In May 2017, There was an FPA Traders Court guilty vote against this company. The FPA recommended a high level of caution dealing withBinary Book scam unless this issue can be resolved. Lee Elbaz, the CEO of Yukom, has been arrested by the US FBI for wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Yukom is the parent company of BinaryBook and BigOption. The first thing that you will certainly notice concerning the dealer is its high deposit amounts. Typically the amount was corresponding to the lifetime savings of certain persons. High returns had been promised but these kinds of high returns when it comes to binary trading is simply not possible in all. Binary Book scam has been exposed was because of the fact there were zero social networking accounts related with the bank account. This was a new clear cut instance of how typically the scammers wanted to be able to extort quick money and back off together with it in typically the very first place. Inside order to stay away from a setback, these people opened a Facebook account but that was inactive regarding quite a while. All reputed brokerages stay connected with dealers via their sociable accounts but that was not typically the case here. Presently there is also a FPA Traders guilty vote against the company. The FPA recommends a high level regarding caution coping with Binary Book unless this particular issue could be solved. Binary Book also provides also been extra to the CFTC's RED list with regard to illegally soliciting its customers, clearly signifying the point that right now there are reasons exactly why it ended upward being a deceptive service. Also, in accordance with certain reviewers through various binary discussion boards, the company marketed a lot of private information as to whenever they signed up with regard to the company, these people started getting a new large amount of spam e-mail from different binary sites across the world. This will be plainly indicative regarding the fact that will that they sell private details for a cost to all kinds of brokers and firms across the world. About First Option Recovery First Option Recovery, as a fund recovery firm, has managed to expose fraudulent companies for over a decade now and you can be assured that their unique methodology of dealing with such scams will definitely help you bring your money back and get it refunded into your bank account within a record period of 90 days. As a fund recovery group, they have dedicated themselves to eradicating financial frauds across the world and with the amount of experience that they carry and the legal advisors that they have, we believe that that they are the best fund recovery group in the world right now.
Fixing the Bounty Hunter Story (Specifically Belsavis)
Obviously, there are spoilers for the Bounty Hunter class story as well as some minor spoilers for KotFE/KotEE, if you're worried about that. As always, there is a TL;DR of the changes I'll make at the bottom, although this is (hopefully) less of a slog than my previous posts. I planned to have a break after my Fixing Consular Chapter 1 so as not to spam the subreddit but I recently started my new hunter and this story has been on my mind, so I guess this is part 3 of my 'Fixing' series. (Fixing Shadow of Revan can be found here.) This one shouldn't be as long as I'm mostly focusing on one planet, rather than the 5 from Consular Chapter 1 or the 3+ from SoR but I'm also going to look at some companions and how they could have been implemented better. I'm going to start out with a pretty strong claim: I think the Bounty Hunter story is possibly the best in the game. It's the only one I've really played more than once because I feel like there's so much different that I could do. It doesn't have the highs of the Agent or Smuggler. It doesn't have the overall impact of the Knight or Warrior or the grand scale of the Consular but what it does have is fun stories and strong, likable characters… well, except for one. See, I think there are two major issues with the bounty hunter story and both revolve around companions you receive throughout your journey. The first is more simple, so I'll start there:
Now, I love Gault. He's a fun character. Daran Norris has a great voice that is absolutely iconic and Gault represents the dirtier side of bounty hunting; not evil, per se, but amoral. The problem with his inclusion is that it outright requires you to betray your client and for no real reason. Gault provides you with the means to cheat but not the motive. That's what we're going to fix. The main difference here will be your mission. You will not be sent to specifically kill Tyresius Lokai. Instead, you will be sent as a 'debt collector.' You go after Tyresius to try and get him to pay back one of the countless ganglords he swindles. You finally catch up to him and he makes you a deal: he doesn't have the money, but if you fake his death for him, he will stay as your prisoner until he pays it off. You can pay the debt off, if you feel like it, or just send one of his body doubles as payment and pocket the money he owes for his 'freedom'. Basically the same as the original, but now you have a reason to keep him alive and it doesn't break your contract. For a light side character, you now have a contract to fulfil in which you keep him safe and he pays away his debt. For a dark side character, you keep him alive and pocket the debt money, letting them take a fake body double as payment. On top of this, it now gives more of a reason for his money-making schemes while on board the ship. Instead of just scamming people because he's bored, he has an actual aim: to pay his way off the ship. And, as you go along, he gets a taste for the hunting life and decides to stick around even after paying his dues. A simple, elegant fix to fit the character into the story. It also leads better into his role in KotFE, where he uses his scam artistry for good, rather than for himself. Lastly, it would give you an actual use for that little prison cell on your ship. Sure, eventually you will end up letting him out to be a part of your crew, but for the first meeting at least you could have him stuck in that cute little cell, which would be fun. Now that that is out of the way, I'll move onto the real meat of the post, the big problem I had with the Bounty Hunter story which made an otherwise pretty perfect story fall a bit flat: Belsavis. Belsavis was such an opportunity for the bounty hunter. It is literally a prison full of the worst scum the Galaxy has to offer. That is a dream for any bounty hunter. Unfortunately, it is by far the weakest part of the story for a few reasons when it should be the strongest. Also, a lot of my ideas for this come from my Weird moment in the Bounty Hunter storyline on Belsavis post from a while ago. I decided my aims for this part were threefold:
Belsavis Should be a Bounty Hunter's Paradise. It is literally a planet full of the worst criminals in the Galaxy, fresh for hunting. They do fulfil this premise to a small degree but I'd want to build on this.
Belsavis should be the (possible) turning point for the character. A major part of the Bounty Hunter story is the option to not assassinate the Chancellor of the Republic, instead turning on the Sith that hired you. This concept of being a neutral third party is great but unfortunately doesn't really feature in the main story. Hell, the SIth Warrior has more chances to work with the Republic than the supposedly neutral bounty hunter. There should be more opportunities to undermine the Empire and work for 'the enemy' and Belsavis is the best planet for that.
Skadge needs to change. I'm sure everyone saw this one coming. Skadge is constantly referred to as the worst companion and everything about him seems to have been designed to be as dislikable as possible, which isn't great when you then lack the option to stop him from bullying his way onto your ship. So, my aim with this one is twofold: make Skadge a more reasonable choice of companion (without sacrificing his unique personality) and giving players an alternate option to enhance choice and create more unique stories.
With those three aims in mind, I hope to create a new but similar Belsavis that exemplifies the bounty hunter story while also providing character defining choices that better lead into the finale of the class story.
The Belsavis story would start the same. You are tasked by Darth Tormen to hunt down Zale Barrows, a Republic hero famed for his daring smuggling antics who now serves as a dangerous prisoner transport. Zale is on Belsavis, having refused to leave when the riot started as he attempts to keep the prisoners he has captured from being freed. Of course, we find this information out along the way and I want to keep the factor that he starts out seeming like a sleazy jerk, but that we learn more about his operation as we go along. I think that's good character building. However, this is where the first change happens: Skadge is not a total moron. This is the big problem I had with Skadge in the story. He was depicted as being 'the muscle', the enforcer of the group who didn't need to think because he could smash things. The problem is that this character already existed. It's the bounty hunter. You are characterised as the tough guy who can smash their way through whatever. Who needs Skadge to intimidate people when you can already intimidate Sith Lords? So we're going to change Skadge up a bit. He can still be the grumpy, obnoxious bully we all hate love, but he is now also a Kingpin. He was already supposed to be a high ranking member of Black Sun, so why would he not be running his own gang here on Belsavis? Back to the story. Zale is able to use the prison to his advantage since he is basically a member of staff. He traps you and gets away, leaving you locked up. That's when you meet Skadge. He frees you and makes you a business offer: he and his gang (we'll call them The Eclipse, as a riff on Black Sun) help you with your 'Zale' problem and in return, you get him off-planet. You aren't in much position to say no, since you're in a cell and Skadge is the only one who can get you out. You agree to the exchange and he frees you and takes you back to his base of operations. I don't really want to get into the nitty gritty but the two of you go after Zale, with Skadge using his connections on the planet to genuinely help because, another problem with Skadge is that his presence on Belsavis actively makes your job harder. Even when he is trying to help you, he makes things worse. That isn't the case here. You and Skadge are working as a team to hunt Zale down and he is very competent, but using a series of secret tunnels and his own wit, Zale is able to stay ahead. It's a real game of cat and mouse. On top of that, with Skadge being a more professional character, we can add some darker stuff. Instead of having him just being a dick to Zale's girlfriend, his gang can have her imprisoned and tortured for information. This is the game's chance to make Skadge scary. He isn't just a thug, he's a big deal, which is why he's on Belsavis to begin with. Throughout his actions, we need to make Skadge a real dark character, not just a bully. Making him into a professional killer and not a chaotic stupid goon creates a foil to the light side bounty hunter and an aspiration for a dark side bounty hunter, if we want to follow that simple binary. We'd also learn that Skadge has his own vendetta against Zale since Zale brought him here. So, we continue on and, eventually, you catch up to Zale in the Tomb and he explains that he doesn't care if he is killed but he wants to keep these prisoners here. What's happened over the story so far is that we've had a perspective shift. At the start of Belsavis, Skadge is our ally and Zale is our enemy. However, as we go through,our perception of Zale goes from that of a scumbag to an honourable lawman, while our perspective of Skadge goes from being a business partner to a dangerous monster. You are then given the choice: help Zale fight the Imperial task force and prevent his prisoners from being freed, for which he promises to give himself up willingly, or help Skadge get his revenge, get your own bounty and help out the Empire along the way. If you help the imperials, Zale is badly injured and you decide whether to freeze him, kill him or let Skadge have his way with him, basically the same as the original story. However, if you choose to help Zale, you fight off the Imperial task force alongside Zale. Skadge would be seperated from the fight. Maybe the bridge retracts and he's left on the other side. Either way, it's just you and Zale vs the Imperials. You fight them off and the bridge comes back. Zale honours his bargain and gives himself up to you. You are then given a choice: kill Zale, capture Zale or recruit Zale. Whatever you choose, Skadge returns with some of his gang members who will take Zale away if you choose to kill or capture him. Skadge informs you that they're taking him to your ship and that Skadge will stick with you 'in search of future business opportunities.' If you choose to recruit Zale, Skadge will be angered that you broke his contract and attack. You kill his gangsters and leave Skadge wounded. However, he makes his escape before you can finish him off and Zale informs you that the two of you need to get off-planet before the prison goes into lockdown again. There's some precedent for this, as within the Beta, there was the option to aid Zale, which was taken out for whatever reason (because Beta Testers are behind seemingly everything that is wrong with this game). Unfortunately, in that version, Zale still turns on you, which doesn't seem like the character that appeared in game. However, I made a whole rant post about how badly executed this whole segment was, giving you three different options to deny Zale's perfectly reasonable deal. While I think my second and third aims are met by this change, I still have my first aim to touch on. This is where I'm going to expand on something that is already in the game. As you land on Belsavis, either Mako or Torian radios you from the ship, pointing out that there are various bounties on the planet for you to collect. I liked this little bonus objective. It felt very in-line with everything and fit the planet well. However, I think we could do more with it. Rather than just being random characters on the planet, each of them should have their own (very) mini story. I'm talking about a single cutscene each, but enough to characterise them in a satisfying way, something that makes them feel more alive than just little extra objectives. This would be an opportunity to create some fun, zany characters that don't hold up to being main characters but are still memorable from their small appearances.
So, what would all this change? Well, in terms of the overall story, not much. It would foreshadow your eventual (possible) turn towards the Republic. It would offer a 'light side' alternative to Skadge's 100% dark side and it would make the planetary story flow better. The only issue I could see would be that you could then go through the planetary arc and actually free the Dreadmasters with Zale, the exact thing you helped him stop, but I think we could do something about that. Otherwise, Skadge has basically no presence in the story outside of Belsavis. He has his conversations, then is completely unnecessary until his Alliance Alert in KotEE, which can still happen since he canonically didn't die and would eventually escape Belsavis by himself. He'd probably be unable to join a hunter that already screwed him over, but that's fine. Outside of that, we'd have to flesh out Zale through his companion conversations, although his personality is already pretty well executed on Belsavis, and we'd have to alter Skadge's lines to better represent the brutal crime boss aspect of his character. Finally, as a fun side note; with my changes, you could go through the entire story honouring every contract. The original story forces you to fake Gault's death which always felt very dishonourable to me, but my version has the contract altered in a way that you can still honour it while keeping Gault on your ship. It also adds the contract you make with Skadge, which a light side character who saves Zale would be dishonouring. That adds a fun layer of complexity. Do you turn on Skadge, your 'employer' for the greater good or do you honour the deal you made? Anyways, those are my thoughts on how the Bounty Hunter story, and particularly Belsavis, could be improved. I'll put in the TL;DR below, even though this is much more manageable than my previous entries.
Your mission on Tatooine is no longer to kill Gault but to simply get him to pay a debt. Instead, you take him prisoner on your ship and are given the option to use his body doubles as payment, reaping the rewards of his imprisonment for yourself or to allow him to pay his debt off, earning his freedom.
Skadge's personality is notably different. He's less of a thug and more of a crime lord character, leading a gang of prisoners.
Skadge makes you a deal that he would help you hunt down Zale, using his resources on Belsavis, in return for a ship off planet before the prison goes into lockdown.
You agree and the two of you chase after Zale. Over time, you learn Zale's motivations and discover Skadge's violent and sadistic techniques.
In the end, you have to choose between helping the Imperials defeat Zale, allowing you to capture or kill him, or helping Zale defeat the Imperials, after which he surrenders to you, allowing you to capture, kill or recruit him.
If you capture or kill Zale, Skadge will join your crew, providing underworld connections and generally being a dark side companion
If you recruit Zale, Skadge will be angered and fight you with his gang, When you win, Skadge is able to escape and Zale informs you that you need to get off-planet before the lockdown. Zale replaces Skadge as your companion.
Finally, the bonus mission in which you collect bounties around Belsavis would be enhanced with short cutscenes before each bounty, allowing you to interact with the targets and injecting character into them.
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This is a copy of my article on INN, as links to the site can't be posted on Reddit. It’s an unfortunate fact that bots are a loathed part of every multiplayer game I’ve played. From idlebots in Team Fortess 2 farming items and ruining team balance, through leveling bots in League of Legends gumming up the 3v3 queue, to mining macros in Runescape. But it seems botting is something that uniquely effects EVE Online, and as a result of that it’s something that is rallied against at every turn, as we saw with the relentless finger-pointing over who harbors the most bots over the past few weeks. This comes down to the fact that not only do bots generate an advantage for their user, they also serve to lessen the advantage other players get for the same amount of work, as both bots and players produce by and large the same thing. This means players have to deal with bots devaluing the work they themselves put effort into doing, which is understandably a frustrating thing to feel, as it can mean the difference between being able to play as an Omega instead of as an Alpha for players with limited time availability. Something I’ve noticed in those other games about the bots however is that they were significantly worse than players. Idlebots were easy to kill after the game was over, LoL bots were free wins to the point it was boring, even Runescape bots could be tripped up if they were hogging one specific spot. This contrasts with EVE, where players typically complain that bots are nearly impossible to catch, which is something that clearly contributes to the perception of bots being a problem within the community. Given that other bots perform so poorly vs players, and bots in EVE seem to perform so well, I am going to dive into a little bit about why I think this is the case. But to give a brief overview of my main conclusion – EVE doesn’t have a botting problem. It has a game design problem. HOW DO BOTS MAKE ISK? There are a lot of bots for different purposes in EVE, and whilst Intel bots and DPlex bots are problems, they aren’t nearly as widespread or as economically impactful as the big four; Mining bots Market bots Mission bots Ratting bots Unfortunately I don’t have a great deal of experience with the first three, and I hope other people can pitch in with their own expertise on those subjects, but for now I’m going to focus in on ratting as an income source. Ratting is also the main way in which bots add raw ISK to the game directly, which causes everyone else’s ISK to be worth less, so it’s also one which impacts every single player by effectively raising the price of PLEX. Ratting bots are also a lot easier to find, as they have to spread over a wider range of systems than the other three, which can be centralised in one particular location. In fact I’d wager most people who have even simply roamed Nullsec believes that they’ve encountered one, regardless as to whether or not that is what happened, which is symptomatic of the overall problem. Bot accounts can be trained on a large scale as alpha clones, or injected up to being at what the person running these bot accounts believe is an optimal skillset. These fresh accounts can then be applied to corps with access to Nullsec, either by purchasing rental space, or simply joining a corp/alliance that has existing access to Nullsec that’s good to rat in and an open doors policy. These bot accounts are then placed in a ship such as a VNI or a Gila, as those are the most cost effective ways to make ISK in the game currently, especially considering that they can be piloted by Alphas and still rat using the same strategies as an Omega pilot. This is done by simply warping from site to site, dropping drones, and killing ships in a pre-determined order that matches the known spawnlists of said anomalies. If an unknown pilot enters local – or a local that the bot has access to via a relay – it will immediately pull its drones in and warp off, then wait for a set amount of time, before warping back to the site and continuing. WHY IS THIS A PROBLEM? I don’t know about you – But that doesn’t sound any different to how I fly a VNI or Gila myself. Bots are able to do everything that a player does in order to maximise their efficiency and safety whilst ratting, because almost all of it simply relies on the ability to press buttons in the right order, as fast as possible. Due to the mismatch in optimisation between PvE fits and PvP fits, there’s no reason for the PvE ship to engage a PvP ship (as it will lose), and there’s no reason for a PvP ship to engage in PvE (it will suck at it). The static spawn lists that contain no tackle that can’t be easily dealt with or avoided means that there’s absolutely no thought required in running the content either, which means running anomalies boils down to a simple binary operation of ratting when local is clear, and getting safe as soon as possible when it is not. Money is even transferred directly into your wallet for every single rat you kill, meaning that even if you are caught, you retain all of the money you made so far. The cherry on top of this is that bots are always paying perfect attention to local, unlike players who can focus in on watching Netflix in their other screen for half a minute too long and end up getting caught, they’re able to warp off the tick you enter local every time. Currently one of the few ways to deal with bots that exposes the sheer lack of decision making that it was necessary to program the bots with is using log-off bubble traps in their safespots, which I demonstrated in a video tutorial last year. As you can see, once you’re able to lay your hands on a ratting bot, it’s almost trivial to take out. The way in which I was able to do it also demonstrates how poor bots can be when compared to players in terms of decision making. In that particular video I had logged my Sabre off in front of those same VNIs as they sat in the PoS, then simply waited for the NPC/h deaths to go back up on Dotlan, logged in and killed the one I was able to catch. A player would almost certainly never do that, and would at the very least consider changing systems/safespots. This shows the main advantage players should be able to leverage over bots, their ability to adapt and make better decisions based on the information they’ve been given. However, as we explained above, the best way to keep yourself safe whilst ratting is simply to not get caught in the first place. WHAT CAN CCP DO ABOUT IT? Not as much as I’d like. I doubt CCP is going to entirely strip and replace the anomaly system in the foreseeable future, so I wanted to take a look at a fix that I think could be done with CCP’s existing structure and technical limitations. I also think it’s something that would be of benefit to the health of the game in general, regardless of it’s impact on bots, which I think is an important thing to consider—Penalising regular players to own the bots isn’t a good strategy long-term in my opinion. But that’s only one option. There are others, and they have their downsides as well. ELIMINATING RENTING This has been bandied about, but there’s a problem: it’s basically impossible. There are just too many ways to transfer value in EVE. Eliminating rental fees just means you move the payout to market fees and fees to join the ‘rental’ group. Or to get onto the ACL. Or any one of a number of other ways to pay. Yes, all of these things can be tracked, but at the same time, they can take enough forms that anything that includes ‘you do X and we don’t kill you’ can be the de facto rental agreement. To give a recent example of just how hard it can be to draw the line on renting, many reading this article will remember how Sort Dragon was mocked as a ‘renter’ after paying the Imperium for an end to his last war with them. Whilst that was not entirely serious, can we expect Team Security to understand the nuance of a large amount of ISK being transferred not as rent, but as part of diplomatic tribute – Or conversely, that the pomp of something like this wouldn’t merely be used to cover up the now ‘banned’ renting practice. MAKE THE ALLIANCES DO IT This runs into problems, too. For this, we’ll just go through some points: As recently noted by Elo Knight, for many years the leader of Black Legion’s various forms, Alliance leaders do not have tools to monitor for botting activity that Team Security has. In addition, most bots do not rat 23/7. They’re not that obvious. As such, all accusations will have to be done based on hearsay and suspicion. So rather than reporting this to CCP, Alliance leaders are now forced to immediately kick upon suspicion. This is because, as CCP Peligo’s reddit post indicates, the wallet impacted is the main Alliance bill wallet. If the wallet is empty when a bill become due, all Sov will drop. This, in turn, means an end to open door recruiting policies, realistically. People who wish to rent will set up alternate ‘client’ alliances (ala B0T/PIBC) which are not run by the same people as the parent alliance to protect their sov. And that means that this actually achieves nothing: the ‘alliance leaders’ being given the responsibility aren’t actually anything of the sort. As such, this mainly impacts large alliances, without impacting alliances which contribute more bots overall to the ecosystem. And then there’s the metagame: weaponised botting. Using VPN, groups can put ‘rental’ corps into their enemies renters, then bot up a storm. CCP then punishes the targets of the meta-scam. CCP gets meta’d. The initial community reaction from the masses will be great—most players only look at immediate intentions and don’t think of the bigger picture. But in the wake of the Brisc Rubal episode, does CCP really want to step into that pitfall when organized groups use Team Security to wage their wars for them? ANOTHER IDEA: The TL;DR is simple – Remove a significant percentage of bounty payouts from all NS anomalies, but add a guaranteed spawn at the end of each anomaly, which holds the equivalent ISK in Overseer Effects. I’m always hesitant to add numbers to ideas this early on, so let me know what you think the breakpoint of percentage would be there, but adding a physical component to the rewards that ratting provides would have a number of positive effects; Firstly, it will give an immediate option of a reward for players who are able to push a PvE player off of a site, regardless of their ability to catch the player. As someone who has hunted nullsec ratters (both botting and not), there’s nothing more frustrating than seeing a VNI enter warp just as you land, knowing your work has been for nothing. Adding a potential reward for the intruding pilot if the site is near completion, by allowing them to get a reward that the PvE pilot helped them work towards. Currently the total reward for a Sanctum is only 40m, so this reward is unlikely to be a huge motivating factor for older players, but it will provide a way for players who specialise in hunting bots to gain an income even if they fail to secure a kill. This also has a number of knock on effects to the way PvE plays out. It adds an effective “upper limit” to how fast you can clear sites whilst still making sure that you have 100% ISK retention, as you’ll need to stop to collect the Overseer’s Effect in each anomaly unless you wish to use MTUs or alts to pick it up. This in turn then makes defending these systems and stopping hostiles from getting inside them more valuable, as it allows you to better make ISK if there’s an active defence force keeping hostiles away from your system, as them entering the system will leave any MTUs or unlooted Overseer wrecks easy to be probed and looted, taking a percentage of your hard earned ratting ISK for themselves—If they can get it back to Hisec! I’m curious to see what you think of this suggestion, and with a wider lens the problems more generally outlined, as I want to be able to give CCP direction and feedback on how they can let us – EVE players – do what we do best; Exploit predictable behaviour for our own gain.
https://preview.redd.it/2lc1we5990s41.jpg?width=400&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=5417ccb655b01501b4ba0db45e72d5e411cc1baf (Actual, updated) Frequently Asked Questions Unlike a standard FAQ, this (A)FAQ consists of the most commonly asked questions from our community. For much more elaborate FAQ full of questions, some of which no one actually asked, please consult our docs FAQ. For our communications archive, head over here. What is Golem? Golem is a decentralized computation network, a new way of distributing redundant computing power to those who are in need of it, on-demand. It creates a peer-to-peer network where users join on an equal basis to buy and sell computation, splitting up complicated tasks into smaller subtasks in the network. In Golem there’s no central authority and no user is more or less important than another. Who is building Golem? Golem Factory GmbH is responsible for building Golem and all its milestones. 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See the Wildland AMA and more recently the Wildland Update and Golem Foundation FAQ are great resources for learning more about Golem Foundation. Golem Factory does not work on Wildland and vice versa, Golem Foundation does not work on New Golem / The Next Milestone. Who controls GNT? GNT (Golem Network Token) has been in the free market since the end of 2016. Neither Golem Factory nor the Golem Foundation control the token. Another thing is that we don’t do airdrops. So make sure to stay safe and not succumb to scams. Why should I or a requestor choose Golem? Golem offers freedom of choice and a voice in the community to specify what your requirements are for computation in the network. In the centralized infrastructure of shared computation, if you’re an individual you might not have the voice to specify the tools you need. Golem offers tools focused on your privacy and the flexibility for all providers and requestors to set the price they’re willing to have tasks completed on Golem Network. By cutting out the middle-man and large corporations taking a fee, this allows Golem to be a prosumer market with the potential to simultaneously be cheaper and more profitable for the requestors and providers, respectively. How can one integrate with Golem? If you’re a developer and want to add your code to Golem, the simplest way is to use WebAssembly (WASM). Check out the gWASM section of the documentation to learn more. The good news about WASM is that you can easily compile the code that is written in other languages. So if you have code written in C/C++/RUST, you can compile each to the WebAssembly binary and use it with Golem the same way you’d normally use WebAssembly code. If you don’t want to write anything in those languages or you want to do something more complicated, the Task API allows more versatility and is available on mainnet since the Clay Golem release. Additional resources that would be of interest include Being a Requestor and Acting as a Provider on Golem Network. How is computation verified? There’s no single answer to this question since it can get quite complicated. For the first use-case in Golem, rendering, the requestor renders a small part of the image and compares it with the result they receive from the provider and a machine-learning algorithm gives a verdict. In rendering, there’s a high chance of a small amount of indeterminism and differences in the pixels, which is what makes it complicated. For other use-cases such as WebAssembly, fortunately, it’s much simpler it’s practically easy to make WebAssembly computation deterministic. There’s also a verify function in the Task API to make this process simpler for requestors, to give them the opportunity to write their own method that is suitable for their use case. How is data protected and kept private on Golem Network? For providers, the solution is relatively easy using Sandboxing. You can read about this more in our documentation. The more interesting part of the question is ‘how are we going to protect the data you send as a requestor?’. In the classical scenario where you’re sending you data to the cloud, you’re not getting any protection. It’s essentially a trusted setup between the requestor and providers, an option which is also possible in Golem using Golem Unlimited. How does Golem Unlimited fit in the Golem Network ecosystem? Golem Unlimited allows users to create an internal trusted network of computers with one of them, called the Hub being in charge. The Hub is a requestor and other computers in the company join it as providers. It is meant for data center-like setup (e.g., render farms, or desktops within organization LAN) where network participants trust each other, but it will also support trusted P2P subnetworks (e.g., distributed team machines). App Why is my Golem node not connecting? If you’re having connection issues, see our Issues and Troubleshooting guide in our documentation or reach out to us in our Discord channel. The most common issues for first time setup are related port-forwarding (mentioned in the onboarding process when you setup your node) or Hyper-V. Keep in mind that, if you’re on Windows Home specifically, Hyper-V is not a feature so you have to install docker toolbox instead. What is [email protected]? [email protected] is a scientific modelling project on Golem. The project has been developed in cooperation with the most reputable scientific institutions in the field worldwide. Our relationship with them goes a long way, and our CEO/CTO Piotr Janiuk, was inspired to pursue Golem by such work. Via [email protected], our providers will be able to run help running the computations needed to simulate chemical reactions. What is the Task API? Recently, we introduced the new Task API. The Task API is a python library containing a programming interface and utility functions. Updates created by requestors should be able to answer a short list of RPC calls. You can read more about these calls in our documentation designated to the Task API. What is gWASM? gWASM stands for WebAssembly on Golem. It is intended to be a bridge between applications and extensible infrastructure. It gives your applications or services easy access to external and decentralized computational power. This access happens in an elastic manner, meaning that you rent as much infrastructure as you need and when you need it. What’s the purpose for GNT? With Golem you can exchange computational power, as a commodity or a service for GNT. These are market transactions. The different parties (users) and transactions are part of a small economy with GNT as the value transferred between participants. Within the Golem economy, we are free to define the rules and regulations for it. Our goal, however, is for it to be similar to real-life economies: demand, supply and quality affecting prices should always be included. This economy works in an anonymous and distributed network, which adds a layer of complexity to it. Golem is not a stock market, there is no central point to place bids and offers. Everyone must make their deals on a p2p basis and on their best criteria. Roadmap What does the future and endgame look like for Golem? In order to allow for a future where censorship resistance and privacy is available for everyone, we need to build networks to stimulate such freedoms. What we want to build at Golem is the tool that can connect computers borderless-ly across the world, and without the risk of censorship. Migration What is the ERC20 migration and how will it take place? This refers to us migrating GNT to be a fully ERC20 compliant token. We’ve been working with ETHWorks on finding the best approach for this task. How will GNT’s migration to the ERC20 standard benefit users? Working together with ETHWorks and audit firms, our goal is to make sure that the passage to ERC20 allows the (new)GNT to be able to adapt to various matters: for instance, to be used for layer 2 scaling solutions, or Universal Logins, gassless transactions, among others. Right now, doing gassless transactions with the current GNT is cumbersome, and there are many solutions in the market that would be a great fit if GNT was ERC20. An added (big) benefit for migrating towards ERC20, is to leverage DeFi tools and protocols, especially DEXes. Providing the first (ERC20) GNT liquidity pools for Uniswap and other similar projects is something that’s definitely in our plans for a long time. Why didn’t GNT start out as an ERC20 compliant token? It’s important to keep in mind that relative to the Ethereum space, GNT is quite an old token. When we implemented the GNT contract, the ERC20 standard was in its infancy, and we wanted to limit the exposure to risks stemming from it being at such an early stage. This is why we decided to limit the core GNT implementation to only the necessary ERC20 operations to make it transferable. Migrating GNT to be a fully ERC20 compliant token should open new opportunities to the token users, for example, DeFi (i.e. Decentralized EXchanges and liquidity by Uniswap) and potentially GNT becoming collateral for MCD (Maker’s Multicollateral DAI). Other What measures are in place to mitigate against loss of deposit? We’ve taken very thorough precautions against Golem users losing their deposits. With the recent release of the Concent feature, the Concent deposit a.k.a. GNTDeposit is a smart contract on the Ethereum mainnet which has been properly audited by third-party experts to contain no known vulnerabilities. Similarly to those aforementioned contracts, the balance of GNTDeposit is predominantly still owned by the ethereum address that transferred its tokens into it. The only difference is that the withdraws are time-locked and that there is a privileged entity, the Concent Service, which is able to use those tokens in very specific circumstances, according to the use cases described in the Concent’s documentation and its terms of service. How is GPU integration coming along with MacOS and Windows? There’s difficulty with exposing GPU to Docker containers on Windows and MacOS. GPU support is technically possible on both these operating systems, although we would need to tailor some new computation environments for those operating systems and make sure that the behaviour is consistent between them. While we exclusively rely on Docker it’s not possible to use GPU with Golem on Windows and MacOS. It’s also worth noting that GPU is also not supported in gWASM. Since gWASM uses WASM underneath and that itself currently doesn’t have any notion of multi-threading, which would be required for the computation providers GPU to act as the general processing graphics processing unit (GPGPU). It might be possible to get around that, however, the catch would be that it would kill the determinism which we require in Golem task verification. How much I can earn with configuration XYZ? Golem network is a fully decentralized marketplace therefore we cannot give you any estimates. The amount of tokens that can be earned depends on current demand in the network, the number of other providers, etc. Do you have a bug bounty competition? Yes, we do, you can find the details here: https://blog.golemproject.net/golem-bug-bounty-competition/
Jewish Telegraphic Agency: "Israel bans a decade-long scam that bilked millions worldwide". Israeli scammers "brought in up to $10 billion a year over the past decade" but no one is going to jail. Surprised?
Link to the article: https://www.jta.org/2017/10/24/news-opinion/israel-middle-east/israel-bans-a-decade-long-scam-that-bilked-millions-worldwide Such articles sometimes disappear, but attempts to archive it failed. Here is a screen shot: https://i.imgur.com/k7YWScx.png Here is the full text of the article: (begin quote) Israel bans a decade-long scam that bilked millions worldwide By Andrew TobinOctober 24, 2017 11:18am JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s multibillion-dollar binary options industry, which has scammed millions around the world over the past decade, is out of business. On Monday, the Knesset unanimously passed a law to ban the industry, with 53 votes in favor and none against. By the time the measure goes into effect in three months, all binary options firms will have to shutter. Individuals who stay involved in the industry will face up to two years in jail. “We worry about the BDS movement,” Knesset member Rachel Azaria of the Kulanu party said in her introduction to the law. “This industry has a huge impact on how Israel is viewed throughout the world. Our government officials go to international conferences and their colleagues abroad raise their eyebrows because of this industry.” According to The Times of Israel, whose dogged English-language reporting on binary options pushed officials to take action, the binary options industry in Israel has brought in up to $10 billion a year over the past decade. Hundreds of local companies have defrauded millions of people worldwide. Only a handful of Israelis have been arrested for binary options fraud, and none have been indicted, even as international law enforcement against the industry has ramped up. In August, Israel Police Superintendent Gabi Biton said Israeli organized crime was being massively enriched and strengthened because of law enforcement’s failure to grasp the scope of the problem. Binary options are marketed as a financial instrument that can yield big returns fast. The companies’ websites allow clients to place bets on whether a commodity, like a stock or trading index, will increase or decrease in value over a short time period. In most cases, though, clients lose all or nearly all the money they invested because the game is rigged. Salespeople regularly use false identities and misrepresent their location, credentials and product. A Hong Kong woman who asked to remain anonymous lost about $10 million to an Israel-based binary options company over the past two years. Aggressive and dishonest salespeople bilked her of her life savings, the unmarried retiree said, as well as millions of dollars lent by family and friends. “The cost is not just money. I lost my peace of mind. I’m very jumpy. My health has deteriorated,” she told JTA in April. “The burden of having to repay my family is weighing on me every day.”In 2016, responding to The Times of Israel’s work, Israeli leaders began to call for action. In August, Jewish Agency head Natan Sharansky urged the government to shutter the “repugnant, immoral” industry. In October, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office advocated a worldwide ban on its “unscrupulous” practices. Early this year, the Knesset’s State Control Committee held a series of sessions to discuss how to stop binary options fraud. Soon after, Israel Securities Authority Chairman Shmuel Hauser drafted legislation that would have outlawed not only binary options companies, but also those involved in the foreign exchange market, or Forex, and CFD financial instruments. Heavy pressure from the binary options industry and lobbyists on its behalf failed to stop passage of the new law, but it was narrowed to leave out the other investments. Israeli opponents of the industry welcomed the Knesset action. Yossy Haezrachy, a partner at the Friedman-Haezrachy law firm in Tel Aviv, said the law, though too long in coming, would aid his pursuit of justice for victims of binary options fraud. “I think it has an effect on the judicial system,” he said. “The passage of the bill shows judges that a major part of this industry in fraudulent.” However, Austin Smith, the founder of Wealth Recovery International, a company that reclaims money for binary options victims, called the law “total garbage.” He said it left scammers free to shift into new rackets without answering for their past wrongdoing. “It’s more a political talking point than actually something with teeth that’s going to stop more fraud from being perpetrated,” he said. “It also does nothing to help victims of fraud recover any of their money.” Smith said he is working with attorneys around the world to track the heads of binary options companies as they open operations in Cyprus and other countries and move into industries like diamond sales, cryptocurrencies and predatory business loans. (end quote) Could it be that some stereotypes exist for a reason? EDIT: Here is a link to an archive of Google News search results on the topic at this time. https://archive.is/TZfrO Mostly Israeli and small time investment websites. One story on Reuters, watered down to hide the depth of the fraud. Nothing in the US MSM. Despicable.
Before we begin: what do you think Betrayal would and should look like as a core game mechanic? What expectations do you have for it? In addition, try to think of what Betrayal's place would be in the game were it simply implemented exactly as is, but somewhat less common than it is at the moment because it will compete with other masters for appearances (assuming they're mutually exclusive). PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS:
"Core" league vs "current" league
Betrayal Safehouse loot is bad and so is low-level farming
Betrayal does not scale well with area level
Betrayal Veiled items are bad but not that bad
Manipulating the Syndicate feels bad
It feels bad to walk away from Betrayal encounters
"Core" league vs "current" league Description of problem: This isn't actually a problem, just a byproduct of GGG's league design. I decided to talk about this at the very start to differentiate between two things: How GGG "should" design a current league and how GGG should adapt that league into core content. The league's content is stretched to last for three months, and since the encounter rate is high, the rewards are correspondingly miniscule. Content that is now core has a relatively lower encounter rate, but the rewards are larger per encounter (but still small to make up for the fact that content has been cumulative for years on end, lending to how crazy maps can get). Since temporary leagues have long been the de facto "way" of playing the game, people seem to have forgotten GGG's disclaimers that temporary league balance has a high likelihood of being off. GGG rarely hits out of the park on the first try, but they have a history of nailing it the next time around. Invasion was nerfed, Necrovigil and Phylacteral Link were removed, Order of the Frozen Sky isn't horrific anymore, Malachai was nerfed, Bestiary was fixed, Betrayal's bugs were (eventually) fixed, and so forth. I have faith that GGG will do what's right and I'm looking forward to what GGG will do with a "core" Betrayal because the "league" Betrayal is already history at this point. We're already in the preliminary stages of the next round of new league hypebuilding. Betrayal Safehouse loot is bad and so is low-level farming Description of problem: At the core of ARPGs, everything comes back to loot. We're not helping Zana because we care; we want to snatch the eyes right out of Uber Elder's writhing head. This talk will be split into two parts: Safehouses and Veiled items. Let's start with Safehouses. Here is a graphic of all Betrayal rewards and how I have personally ranked them, according to their value within BSC and the opportunity cost of putting a member in one branch and not another. Some of these could be shifted around according to one's preferences (some people don't want to deal with Guff's benches, other people don't value Cameria's legacy Uniques because the chances of getting something good are too low, etc). But this is a rough guide for what most players will see when they get Safehouse loot.
Total # of possible rewards: 68
# of good rewards: 15
# of middling rewards: 16
# of bad rewards: 37
# of level-scaled rewards: 15
# of good rewards scaled by level: 0
# of middling rewards scaled by level: 0
# of bad rewards scaled by level: 15
Let's talk about the three types of rewards I've delineated. The Good: GGG did well with the good rewards. Stuff like turning Rare amulets into Talismans (effectively solving Talisman's long-standing problem of being inferior Rare items because you could never control the explicit rolls), adding White sockets to any gear (not just craftable bases like Delve's Fractured Fossils), "free" Exalt slams, breaking the quality cap, and so forth. PoE is a character building game and giving players these kinds of small optimizations (on top of the big and risky stuff like double-corruption rooms) is precisely what separates the top builds on poe.ninja from the budget cookie-cutter stuff with inferior performance. In fact, I wouldn't mind them being at their current rarity level once they go core because that's just how strong they are. The Bad: Thing #1 is that it's okay for the Syndicate to have bad rewards. It would have happened regardless of design since even when all things are good, some things are relatively less good. Additionally, if everything was good in a generic and non-specific way, the Syndicate as a whole would lack flavor. For example, Leo gives Torment Scarabs because he's the Ghost of PvP Past and Tormented Spirits are about as fun and rewarding as PoE PvP in 2019. Jokes aside, it's also possible to mitigate the bad rewards by interrogating these people for intel in lieu of others because they don't matter anyways, unlike a 3* Cameria in Intervention. So we can't deny that Betrayal's got flavor. The bad news is that the flavor is "the juice that leaks out from the bottom of black garbage bags". Instead of "everything being good so nothing matters", we have "almost nothing is good, so only a few things matter". Really, I don't know what GGG was thinking when it came to some of Vagan, Haku, and Elreon's rewards. They literally drop less than a white unrolled map for all the effort that goes into making a Safehouse. Thing #2 is that there's too much "bad". Much of it could be converted to "middling" with some adjustment, which would make an undesirable safehouse outcome much less galling to swallow. Alternatively, many "bad" rewards would simply become less relevant if syndicate manipulation had more quality of life and less tedium. If Betrayal was simply dumped into the core game with a lower encounter rate right now, it would be frustrating to deal with and a mediocre gameplay experience as a result. The Middle: The middling rewards mostly relate to items you can get from other sources, like Fossils, Fragments, Essences, Currencies, Divination Cards, and Maps. In the case of Maps and anything to do with them, I think some of the devaluation can also be blamed on Pure Breachstones, which have inflated supply (The HarbingeBeachhead effect). The problem is simple: It is more efficient to obtain those items from other sources (including their original sources) than it is to farm the Syndicate for them. I'm not advocating for the reverse, because then only the Syndicate would be relevant content unless it was significantly gated. But as it stands, Korell's fossils are a joke because doing Delve for them is better. Stacks or spreads of random Divination cards are a joke because it's better to use a Divination Card scarab on a zone that actually gives the Divination card you want in a somewhat deterministic fashion (You know, the point of Divination cards); Gravicius ain't no Putrid Cloister. Fragments are better farmed from the trade website and twinned triple boss corrupted maps and currencies and uniques are better found simply by running a map. Betrayal does not scale well with area level: Oh boy, here we go. This. This right here. This is the reason why we were running Harbour Bridge and Foothills for the whole league. This is the reason why people were able to target-farm Pure Breachstones and pump out more than half the amount of level 100s in Standard (the cumulative history of the game) in a single league. If Betrayal's content and rewards had scaled more appropriately with area level, we could have had a league that excels in both low and high-level content, like Delve. So, you do easy stuff, you should get meh rewards. If you do hard stuff, you should get good rewards. One of the most fundamental ingrained ideas behind gaming design. What constitutes "hard stuff" can be difficult to describe at times since the layered content and occasional lack of visual clarity in PoE creates difficulty spikes and each build and player is challenged by different aspects of the game. But content design and controlled encounters can remove the possibility of difficulty spiking due to unexpected variables, which means Betrayal has less excuses for its ratio of difficulty to reward. You feel bored when you do hundreds of hours of monotonous low-level zones. You feel excited when something challenges you and forces you to upgrade your build and pay close attention to positioning and enemy patterns. You feel betrayed when hard content gives you bad loot and you feel annoyed when easy content gives you good loot because the game's design gives you a begrudging reason to do the tedious and easy content as opposed to the more varied difficult content. That's what Betrayal, as a league, was. If you look at the second row of my table above, you'll see that less than a fourth of all possible Safehouse rewards scale with area level. And all of them are "bad" outcomes. Arguably, Jorgin's "Aspect rares" are potentially middling because you could split them with a Bestiary recipe and get a craftable base in case you're not finding a Fenumal Hybrid Spider or a Farric whatever, thus enabling SSF builds. And that part of Jorgin is good because it gives a partially deterministic outcome. Here's the other commonality between all of these bad, level-scaling rewards: there are a lot of rare item outcomes. Hell, I didn't even read this thread, but it probably does an excellent job of explaining the numerous problems with rare items. As it stands, there is virtually no reason to do Betrayal in Tier 16 maps: you get plenty of risk, without a corresponding increase in reward. Proposed solutions to problem: The solution should be grounded in thinking about "where" Betrayal fits in the loot acquisition possibilities of the game as a whole. Delve, for example, is an all-rounded system with good scaling that bolsters Rare item crafting. Bestiary is mostly mid to end-game with respect to customizing flasks, obtaining random Unique items, and using obscure crafting techniques. Incursion falls into the same mold, with Alva's temples being the most influential as a supplement for early mapping (map drops within the Temple of Atzoatl) and for various powerful "crafting benches" and upgraded Incursion Uniques that are reserved for the elite (or ludicrously lucky) of Wraeclast. Bloodlines, Nemesis, Invasion, Beyond, Domination, and various other leagues are instance and enemy seasoning. What I mean when I say "where does Betrayal belong" is that Betrayal has a tremendous untapped niche that has been buried all along because of GGG's flawed reward distribution. This niche is "deterministic farming". Manipulating the Syndicate and targeting certain members in certain branches to get Harbinger Orbs to upgrade your stagnant map pool or getting crucial gem levels on your spells to get an extra power boost, that's what I'd really love to do. Betrayal could be like Divination cards 2.0 in giving mid to end-game players a solid process for obtaining otherwise obscure items and niche services that will really push their itemization to the next level while also giving lower-level players powerful Rare items and crafting options while leveling. Frankly, I have no idea what I'd want to make this happen, so this is just an idea at present. So what I'm suggesting will merely be tweaks on top of what exists at the moment rather than a radical overhaul to bring Betrayal more in line with something like Divination cards. The good rewards are fine and could even be a little rarer (especially to preserve the value and intrigue of those services). Especially Pure Breachstones. Look, I enjoy being level 100 as much as any of you guys, but it's a little ridiculous, right? That this single Safehouse outcome alone was so influential as to influence gem experience markets, map valuation, rare jewelry markets, build archetypes, and generate a majority of "the reason why people are running Harbour Bridge"? We know it, GGG knows it; it's going to be destroyed harder than CoC was in the past. The middling rewards are largely a ratio of reward against tedium and quantity. If GGG can balance this ratio, it'll just work. Make Betrayal less tedious to manipulate; more on that later. Make the currency-based rewards drop a guaranteed higher-tier currency of the respective type or a higher quantity of the lower tiers. Essences of Hysteria, Delirium, etc. Faceted and Hollow fossils. Divine and Annulment Orbs. Uber Atziri fragments. That's what we should be seeing once Betrayal goes core. Make quantity scale with the 3* mechanic and make quality scale with area level, because a level 60 3* Syndicate member is far less dangerous than a level 83 1* Syndicate member. The bad rewards need to either be scaled up or changed entirely, full stop. On an individual basis, my ideas:
Aisling's stashes should drop more Veiled items now that the Syndicate will be less common.
Elreon should give more Unique items or give a guaranteed higher rarity tier of them. Every league has given increased means to obtain Unique items and compared to them, Elreon is an utter joke. I get more Uniques from completing one Incursion in a yellow map than I do from Elreon.
Why does Haku give items with quality in Research. I can buy Whetstones and Armourer scraps from vendors. Even Delve gives "Superior" (30% quality) items, which I'd count as better than Haku. What does Haku even "do" in Transportation?
Hillock map quality. This would only be valued back in the days when people Exalted maps.
ITF should give more Breach Splinters, more Abyss Jewels. To be honest, I'm not sure why they gave it Abyss Jewels instead of Breach Rings. Maybe because they realized that Breach Rings are hot garbage.
More Talismans from Jorgin, perhaps with a guaranteed cascade of tiers and even some Tier 4 Greatwolfs (not the Unique variety), which we haven't seen since the days of Rigwald. Most if not all of the Talisman affixes are useful, hence why I don't distinguish so much between tiers 1 to 3 and would want equal access to all of them.
For SSF, I'd rate Riker as a middling pick because ilvl100 can be useful for some bases and a choice of Unique is better than Elreon's "Rain of Alch Shards". But it's still not great since we're getting "one" item and it's probably not great. Better options would be the obvious pick, not sure what would fly besides that. Maybe if we could go between five Trapped tabs, pick out five items, and get two randomly out of five? It'd ruin the deterministic flavor though, which I like about Trapped stashes. I'd almost even like a Tetris or matching game.
Tora should give the highest tier of enchant on bases of the best possible item variant. Getting a Merciless Labyrinth enchant on utter trash is disheartening. Shaper or Elder influence would be a welcome addition as well.
The sad part about the level-scaling was that GGG could have done it before this point. They could have done it all along and made Betrayal a truly great league. So, what should they do going forward? I've read some people who proposed that the 3* system should be abolished completely and that all rewards should simply be scaled by area level, but I don't see why they couldn't utilize both systems. As I said earlier, quantity should scale with the 3* mechanic and quality should scale with area level because the latter is the far more dangerous (and important, if we want to incentivize playing in high-level content).
As I said for currency stashes, give a chance to drop either one of a high-tier currency or several lower-tier currencies of the same type.
Intervention stashes should perform similarly. Make the 3* continue to give a guaranteed gilded scarab of the member's type (since this worked fine in the league), but make area level scale linearly with chances to give additional Polished or Rusted Scarabs (with an extra Scarab being granted per 6 levels divisible past area level 65 (so an area level 83 zone gives a neat chance to give 4 Scarabs per stash and 1-3 in anything less). I'm assuming that Scarabs will stay locked behind Betrayal instead of becoming a general currency drop, but we could get an Annulment Orb treatment.
Research rewards are tricky, since they consist of crafting bench services that can't really be meaningfully changed and are already very good. But change some of the crappy ones, my god...
Gravicius is a joke: the tier of card given should at least be of the same rarity tier, or it could be something like a Tier 3 Sacrifice chamber where a card with a same "set count" is given (thus drastically revaluing 8-set cards).
Or it could be changed to "create duplicates of an inserted card", with the number scaling according to Gravicius' level and the set count of that card.
Janus and Cadiro as a whole need to be rebalanced; it's a crying shame for such a widely praised league with solid early-mid game integration and SSF potential to go to waste because Cadiro is now an overcharging Rare jewelry vendor.
Haku should do something completely different. My idea is to upgrade items with "low" base into items of a "high" base. This has been a longstanding idea, but I've never heard it mentioned with respect to the Syndicate (which surprises me, since the Syndicate is all about outlandish ideas). For example, going from a Destroyer Regalia to a Vaal Regalia. Obviously, not all items have a 1:1 example like this, so the applications would need to be done on a case by case basis.
Several rare-item related rewards should be changed to have a deterministic mod on them or provide a craftable base a la Jorgin's Aspect items. "More Rare items to identify" is not the solution. Identifying items is a tedious exercise in item-filtering that takes away from gameplay and adds to unnecessary micro-management that is no different from the end of an Incursion or Delve node. Giving us something to craft and sink currency into; that's engaging, that's "Delve meta-mod item" kinda stuff right there. The Syndicate is all about customization, so give us something to customize. Abyss jewels could have Delve fossil modifiers already on them, Rare items with Essence mods could drop, sealed Bestiary Orbs with beasts inside... the possibilities are far larger than what GGG has laid forth
This is the most outlandish idea I've thought of yet: Make the Syndicate change rewards per league, like Zana. They could still stick to general themes, but any way to shake up potential future metas involving Betrayal as a core league mechanic is huge. Especially with respect to the "discovery" theme of Betrayal, if we had to relearn what the rewards were each league. I seriously didn't think of this until just now and I don't think GGG will do it, but it's an interesting proposition for sure.
BetrayalVeiled items are bad but not that bad Description of problem: Veiled items share the same problems as rare items because they are rare items with a crafted affix on top. As one's crafting bench completion increases, Veiled items become increasingly useless to pick up and annoying to unveil. The veiled signature mods of Syndicate members, in particular, require special attention to obtain. 20 chaos orbs for It that Fled veiled mods will become far worse in future leagues. Proposed solution to problem: Rare items are another can of worms, so it's regrettable that there's no way to make veiled item drops impactful beyond early game, recipe unlocking, and the occasional very rare good item. The crafting bench problem will not be alleviated by making veiled items more rare (an assumed condition of Betrayal going core exactly as it is now): you'll simply have the same problem at the top-end with a corresponding increase in the price of unveiled items,crafting services, and scamming. Solutions are numerous, but they all boil down to "make more veiled items drop" because it is likely that the difficulty of finishing one's crafting bench may even be intentional. Veiled items could drop in the core game and not merely from Syndicate members. Syndicate members could have a guaranteed drop of at least one veiled item. More Syndicate members could spawn per encounter, or Jun could become an Alva-style master and be encountered multiple times per instance, but only spawn the encounter once you speak with her (rather than running across them in the wild as we do now, as the spawning of one Syndicate encounter removes the existence of previous unfinished ones due to the Betrayal board increments by "turns". I was going to suggest making unveils more likely to give unknown or incomplete recipes, but the way veiled items generate prohibits that. Finally, GGG could shake up crafting as we know it in 3.6 and add more recipes, move some veiled mods to in-map recipes, or make Syndicate members themselves drop recipe objects that grant the recipe in question. Manipulating the Syndicate feels bad Description of problem: While having two choices per encounter may have worked for Incursion, it doesn't work for Betrayal. With Incursion, you get 11 encounters and that's it; each one increments progress, even if you die and fail to kill either of the Architects. With Betrayal, encounters do not necessarily increment progress towards a Safehouse because other options continually come up. I said that there were "two" options per member per encounter, but in practice, this number is often lower. While interrogation will guarantee that progress increases, it is generally reserved for moving undesirable members around to allow desired members to fill their places or for keeping a safehouse locked because it decreases the quality of rewards from the interrogated member and lowers their rank, resulting in less intelligence and necessitating yet more executions to level members up. In the course of "naturally" playing Betrayal (as opposed to targeted farming), interrogation is mathematically the least efficient option, if necessary at times to cap off a Safehouse. While GGG may have envisioned Betrayal like a tidal pool with patterns constantly in flux, ultimately yielding a beneficial outcome, we players would rather have a bird in a hand than some unknown garbage in the bush. Thus, valued members are rarely interrogated (because there's no guarantee that they'd return to their original position due to the randomness involved in encounters) and single-member encounters are often utterly useless, especially for the purposes of securing intelligence. The reward design of the Syndicate coupled with the mechanics of progressing towards a Safehouse result in an optimal and preferable structure that largely removes the annoyances of the two inferior Syndicate branches (Transportation and Fortification) while promoting investment into a few key members in Research and Intervention. Theoretically, it would also be possible to farm Fortification and Transportation quite rapidly and profitably because they are more common than their sister branches, but again, the reward structure dissuades this type of farming. The specter of level-scaling also rears its head here. While higher area levels seem to increase the chance for multiple Syndicate members to spawn (alongside appropriate relationships), they also increase the difficulty of the encounter multiplicatively. Red map mods on top of higher area level on top of whatever items and ranks the Syndicate members have on top of there simply being more members around to attack you. By contrast, Harbour Bridge farming is extremely tame. There's also time to take into consideration: higher level areas take more time to clear than Harbour Bridge or Foothills, assuming that the same build were to deal with both. While a high level area might have extra features that might give returns for the time invested (aka, you do the rest of the map after you do the Syndicate), there's nothing quite so fast and precise as farming the Syndicate in Foothill. Level scaling also has absolutely no effect on intel gains, apart from the possibility of spawning more members (which is more safely and rapidly done by creating new instances in low level zones). Of course, what I've mentioned thus far is if everything in the Syndicate works like clockwork and people simply go into encounters, click whichever buttons, and go on their merry way. What actually happens is that players are constantly forced to walk away from encounters because the given options would actually set them back. It feels bad to walk away from Betrayal encounters. Or from any encounter in general. Take Alva, for example. Due to the way instance generation works, her three appearances within an instance sharply limit our ability to get specific Tier 3 Temple rooms (namely, the highly desired Corruption and Sacrifice rooms). When an instance is created, content is not generated as it is encountered; it is created all at once. This means that Alva cannot offer to affect the same room more than once within a single set of three Incursions (whereas she was capable of offering consecutive upgrades during Incursion league). If you were to naturally do 3-3-3-2 Incursions, you would only have 4 chances to affect a given room in the Temple. There is a small trick you can do to increase your chances of affecting a desirable room: When Alva offers a room, that offer remains on the table if you leave the instance and spawn a new Alva elsewhere. Consequently, if you get a bad offer from Alva, you can just skip her current Incursion, spawn another Alva, and then the other 2 Incursions in the new set of 3 cannot be that "bad" offer that she's currently got. The problem is that this trick increases the amount of time it would take you to access a temple. Let's say you constantly perform this trick, such that you only effectively do 2 Incursions per Alva. Instead of taking 4 Alvas to access a Temple, it would take 6. In addition, let's say you're getting Alva on high pack size maps or maps with desirable Divination cards. If you skip an Alva encounter in that instance, you're losing out on loot and experience. This is technically a trade-off, as you are trading away Alva encounters in order to potentially get better results from your Temple. But that's not what it feels like, due to the opportunity costs involved with walking away from Alva. And now let's bring it back to Betrayal. When you meet the Syndicate, what's the worst that could happen? Well, you might get members who won't be kicked out, or you'll kick them out but they just come back, or desirable members will try to leave, or they'll offer to remove all rivalries when you don't want to, or they'll offer to become trusted, or they'll offer to do some kind of betrayal that you don't want (which are most of what happens when it's down to two people, hence the preference for rivalries over trusted statuses), or you'll simply only get one lone guy to show up and it isn't because he's 3* and can't summon unranked members, it's because you just got bad RNG, and you'll have no choice but to turn tail and gloomily walk out of that Research lab. And it'll keep on happening over and over, though at least Betrayal going core means you won't get this crap happening in every single instance. That's what I mean when I say manipulating the Syndicate feels bad. If the league went core exactly as it is today, with an appearance rate shared between all of the masters, you would virtually never complete a safehouse with desirable outcomes. I would be remiss to not mention that there are quality of life problems with the Syndicate that have nothing to do with the league's mechanical design. For instance, the visual web of lines connecting members can become so tangled as to be incomprehensible. Only dialogue outputted to chat can give clear indicators of what each member thinks of their colleagues (because the infighting tends to be unnoticeable in the storm of VFX that typically occupy any PoE player's screen or the enemies die too quickly to do anything). Syndicate members can also rarely die out of bounds while performing movement skills. Finally, there are persistent damage skills on some Syndicate members and mobs that can annoy someone who's just trying to bargain with the fallen, including the electrified nets and Cameria's icicle cone. These self-same skill effects will also become invisible if you go too far off-screen and come back. But wait. There's more. The Mastermind. It's Catarina. Spoilers, by the way. People have different opinions about the design of the fight. Some people think that the visual effects of the attacks, the relative scarcity of flask-granting adds, the indicators for how to progress the phases of the fight, and the area of denial mechanics that limit the viability of some build types within that fight are bad. Others think that her fight is the best thing since sliced bread. So the design of her fight is not necessarily a problem, though it's worth a mention because it's contentious. What is a problem is how she interacts with the Syndicate. As GGG's own statistics have shown, players have still deemed it more punishing than not to actually complete her fight. Even after they adjusted her fight to give the rewards of the four safehouse leaders at the time of her defeat. Even though many of her dropped items are somewhat expensive thanks to a lack of supply. This is down to the Syndicate being a pain in the ass to manipulate and set back up (especially once you've locked undesirable members into undesirable branches and prefer to keep them that way) on top of her fight resetting the entire Syndicate's members and progress. In addition, if you fail the fight, you reset all of her progress . This isn't really important considering how people mostly only fight her for challenge-related purposes (and the loot is simply a byproduct), but it is noticeably more punishing than most other endgame boss fights. Shaper and Uber Elder can simply be fought again and are known to be tough but fair. Catarina is hardly so gracious. Even though it turns out she's always hiding in the Forbidden Vault, you've got to find her all over again. If Betrayal goes core exactly as it is, barring some people who would like to get some of her exclusive crafts for services in the new league, I don't see why people would bother with her fight. It would still be more profitable to farm for scarabs and crafting benches than to screw up a painstakingly laid Syndicate. Proposed solution to problem: To reiterate, the problems with the mechanics of the Syndicate include the binary choice system a la Incursion, the undesirable outcomes of any given Betrayal offer (including the interrogation option), the tedium caused by the random nature of said offers compounded with the fact that you only get a few choices in the matter, and the fact that progressing the Syndicate and getting better rewards from it has nearly no relation to high level content. Oh, and the Mastermind may as well not exist. Here are some options:
Encounters will be less frequent, so GGG should simply make them always have at least 2 members, regardless of the relationships between said members (though it should prioritize relationship statuses before inserting random members).
Make Syndicate members give more options. I cannot stress enough just how bad it is to have virtually 1-2 choices per encounter: we wouldn't be constantly walking away from encounters otherwise. It would be absolutely unacceptable for us to have to do this in the core game. This could be something as simple and reductive as simply allowing us to always execute a member (You might not necessarily get progress because they're already 3*, but at least they drop their items) regardless of how many members are present (on top of a Bargain or Betray option).
Or it could be something as complex as a wholesale rework of the interaction mechanics. Personally, I favor a drag-and-drop board with intuitive decision making.
Each member in the encounter should be highlighted with a black and green flame border as per the colors of Betrayal.
Their relationship lines should glow brightly when that member is hovered over, and green or red outlines should appear based on what relationship the selected member has with a given member (and make them hues that are friendly to more common varieties of colorblindness).
When a member is selected, there should be a menu of options to choose from, including Interrogation, Execution, Bargaining for Intel, Bargaining for Items, Destroying a Branch's items, Freeing Prisoners and any number of available Betrayal options where they're available (if trusted members are in the zone).
The "drag and drop" aspect would be for removing members (putting them in the trash bin to get swapped with someone who isn't in the Syndicate) and for switching the positions of members between branches or between leadership positions (only leaders can switch with other leaders and only subordinates can switch with leaders in their branch).
Allow multiple encounters within a zone. I suggested this for the purpose of improving the feeling of dealing with Veiled Items, but this would also apply to interacting with Syndicate mechanics by giving a sense of rapid and impactful progression through a single set of Jun encounters. Of course, only different branches or keystone members might be allowed to show up, which could prove to be troublesome for manipulation purposes, but if it came hand in hand with increases to intel gains or bargaining/execution options, it could be fine. The impromptu feeling of stumbling into the four distinct mission types is appealing though, hence why having Jun as the start trigger might not be possible (especially when it comes to Intervention, which is supposed to ambush you).
Make area level have an effect on Syndicate progress. Once it goes core, infrequent encounters mean that intel could be adjusted to fill with fewer encounters based on area level and not just rank within the Syndicate. In addition, intel could scale asymptotically with the amount of relationships that a member has (makes sense, right? More friends/enemies, more info). The way I see it, Safehouses don't really come into play until at least level 60; it's all veiled items and manipulation before then. This means that Safehouse farming in low-level zones should be diminished by changing how intel is gathered and farming in high-level zones will be rewarding both with respect to looting and to interfacing with the content. In addition, to promote some degree of multi-safehouse farming, we could have cross-department intel (give intel for their own branch as well as the branch they appeared to help with).
Make the Mastermind worthwhile to do. This would be helped by making the Syndicate less tedious to set up in some way, whether by one of the above methods or some other method. This depends on how GGG wants the Mastermind to be treated by players: as an integral end-goal that is equivalent to other established Syndicate farming methods, or just as a nice bonus on top, or something else? If the former, then GGG should double the rewards made available by the Safehouse leaders. Four stashes against two is a clear winner, especially considering that we're skipping out on the safehouse members by doing this as well as the potential difficulty of getting the Mastermind in future leagues. This also really promotes a risk/reward mechanic and justifies having Catarina disappear for another several Safehouses should you fail to kill her. Having an "incomplete" reset of the Syndicate might also be good (explain it by saying that previous members keep some of their old ties after being reorganized), though the ability to wipe the board is useful for people who have screwed up too much and would rather start over without moving people around (again, depends on if Betrayal interaction is changed when it goes core). The criteria for not being reset could be an amount of relationships (rivalries/trusts) or a rank requirement (3* in the leader position, thus shielding the subordinates from reset).
Finally, making alternative farming methods within the Syndicate viable through interaction mechanics. While the suggestions about loot increases could help to incentivize some people to pick more of the currently middling/bad rewards and therefore farm outside of Intervention and Research, what people generally do is they set up everyone to have rivalries (because of the problem with bad choices, especially when members are trusted). I'd like to see a more distinct set of advantages/disadvantages that are different but equal for trusted/rival statuses. I don't think that Intervention or Research will necessarily be devalued by making Transportation and Fortification more accessible and rewarding; they have worthwhile rewards that can stand against simple numeric increases in currency drops from the common branches. Making it easier to move members where you want or keep them where they are (instead of constantly rolling the dice and walking away when it the outcome is unsuitable) would help with shifting the current meta of "locking" the "undesirable" Syndicate branches, although the targeted farming is appealing in it's own player-invented ingenuity.
In closing, I would rather Betrayal get a "Bestiary" treatment if GGG doesn't have a game plan for how they're going to make it into core content. Better to wait a few months and do the job right than to botch it. Betrayal is tied to a lot of crafting options at the moment, but they could be moved to environmental Atlas recipes for the time being or veiled items could drop regardless of the Syndicate's presence in Wraeclast (a little odd to have a Veiled master without a Syndicate to fight though, hence why I'm fairly certain GGG already has something up their sleeve for this). GGG has invested a lot of resources into writing and polishing Betrayal and creatively engineering its mechanics, and it shows. Most content that GGG has ever made tends to return in one way or another, thanks to how asset use and systems design work in this game. It isn't a matter of "if", it's a matter of "when". I hope GGG makes the right calls on this and I look forward to what you guys think should be done.
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