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10-30 08:43 - 'Hi I've been trading Binary Options for about 6 years now I have come across alot of negative press, but the simple thing is that people think that strategy works and using robot systems, Let me tell you it DOES NOT WO...' by /u/Krisnguyen3179 removed from /r/Bitcoin within 481-491min

'''
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'''
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Author: Krisnguyen3179
submitted by removalbot to removalbot [link] [comments]

What's new in macOS 11, Big Sur!

It's that time of year again, and we've got a new version of macOS on our hands! This year we've finally jumped off the 10.xx naming scheme and now going to 11! And with that, a lot has changed under the hood in macOS.
As with previous years, we'll be going over what's changed in macOS and what you should be aware of as a macOS and Hackintosh enthusiast.

Has Nvidia Support finally arrived?

Sadly every year I have to answer the obligatory question, no there is no new Nvidia support. Currently Nvidia's Kepler line is the only natively supported gen.
However macOS 11 makes some interesting changes to the boot process, specifically moving GPU drivers into stage 2 of booting. Why this is relevant is due to Apple's initial reason for killing off Web Drivers: Secure boot. What I mean is that secure boot cannot work with Nvidia's Web Drivers due to how early Nvidia's drivers have to initialize at, and thus Apple refused to sign the binaries. With Big Sur, there could be 3rd party GPUs however the chances are still super slim but slightly higher than with 10.14 and 10.15.

What has changed on the surface

A whole new iOS-like UI

Love it or hate it, we've got a new UI more reminiscent of iOS 14 with hints of skeuomorphism(A somewhat subtle call back to previous mac UIs which have neat details in the icons)
You can check out Apple's site to get a better idea:

macOS Snapshotting

A feature initially baked into APFS back in 2017 with the release of macOS 10.13, High Sierra, now macOS's main System volume has become both read-only and snapshotted. What this means is:
However there are a few things to note with this new enforcement of snapshotting:

What has changed under the hood

Quite a few things actually! Both in good and bad ways unfortunately.

New Kernel Cache system: KernelCollections!

So for the past 15 years, macOS has been using the Prelinked Kernel as a form of Kernel and Kext caching. And with macOS Big Sur's new Read-only, snapshot based system volume, a new version of caching has be developed: KernelCollections!
How this differs to previous OSes:

Secure Boot Changes

With regards to Secure Boot, now all officially supported Macs will also now support some form of Secure Boot even if there's no T2 present. This is now done in 2 stages:
While technically these security features are optional and can be disabled after installation, many features including OS updates will no longer work reliably once disabled. This is due to the heavy reliance of snapshots for OS updates, as mentioned above and so we highly encourage all users to ensure at minimum SecureBootModel is set to Default or higher.

No more symbols required

This point is the most important part, as this is what we use for kext injection in OpenCore. Currently Apple has left symbols in place seemingly for debugging purposes however this is a bit worrying as Apple could outright remove symbols in later versions of macOS. But for Big Sur's cycle, we'll be good on that end however we'll be keeping an eye on future releases of macOS.

New Kernel Requirements

With this update, the AvoidRuntimeDefrag Booter quirk in OpenCore broke. Because of this, the macOS kernel will fall flat when trying to boot. Reason for this is due to cpu_count_enabled_logical_processors requiring the MADT (APIC) table, and so OpenCore will now ensure this table is made accessible to the kernel. Users will however need a build of OpenCore 0.6.0 with commit bb12f5f or newer to resolve this issue.
Additionally, both Kernel Allocation requirements and Secure Boot have also broken with Big Sur due to the new caching system discussed above. Thankfully these have also been resolved in OpenCore 0.6.3.
To check your OpenCore version, run the following in terminal:
nvram 4D1FDA02-38C7-4A6A-9CC6-4BCCA8B30102:opencore-version
If you're not up-to-date and running OpenCore 0.6.3+, see here on how to upgrade OpenCore: Updating OpenCore, Kexts and macOS

Broken Kexts in Big Sur

Unfortunately with the aforementioned KernelCollections, some kexts have unfortunately broken or have been hindered in some way. The main kexts that currently have issues are anything relying on Lilu's userspace patching functionality:
Thankfully most important kexts rely on kernelspace patcher which is now in fact working again.

MSI Navi installer Bug Resolved

For those receiving boot failures in the installer due to having an MSI Navi GPU installed, macOS Big Sur has finally resolved this issue!

New AMD OS X Kernel Patches

For those running on AMD-Based CPUs, you'll want to also update your kernel patches as well since patches have been rewritten for macOS Big Sur support:

Other notable Hackintosh issues

Several SMBIOS have been dropped

Big Sur dropped a few Ivy Bridge and Haswell based SMBIOS from macOS, so see below that yours wasn't dropped:
If your SMBIOS was supported in Catalina and isn't included above, you're good to go! We also have a more in-depth page here: Choosing the right SMBIOS
For those wanting a simple translation for their Ivy and Haswell Machines:

Dropped hardware

Currently only certain hardware has been officially dropped:

Extra long install process

Due to the new snapshot-based OS, installation now takes some extra time with sealing. If you get stuck at Forcing CS_RUNTIME for entitlement, do not shutdown. This will corrupt your install and break the sealing process, so please be patient.

X79 and X99 Boot issues

With Big Sur, IOPCIFamily went through a decent rewriting causing many X79 and X99 boards to fail to boot as well as panic on IOPCIFamily. To resolve this issue, you'll need to disable the unused uncore bridge:
You can also find prebuilts here for those who do not wish to compile the file themselves:

New RTC requirements

With macOS Big Sur, AppleRTC has become much more picky on making sure your OEM correctly mapped the RTC regions in your ACPI tables. This is mainly relevant on Intel's HEDT series boards, I documented how to patch said RTC regions in OpenCorePkg:
For those having boot issues on X99 and X299, this section is super important; you'll likely get stuck at PCI Configuration Begin. You can also find prebuilts here for those who do not wish to compile the file themselves:

SATA Issues

For some reason, Apple removed the AppleIntelPchSeriesAHCI class from AppleAHCIPort.kext. Due to the outright removal of the class, trying to spoof to another ID (generally done by SATA-unsupported.kext) can fail for many and create instability for others. * A partial fix is to block Big Sur's AppleAHCIPort.kext and inject Catalina's version with any conflicting symbols being patched. You can find a sample kext here: Catalina's patched AppleAHCIPort.kext * This will work in both Catalina and Big Sur so you can remove SATA-unsupported if you want. However we recommend setting the MinKernel value to 20.0.0 to avoid any potential issues.

Legacy GPU Patches currently unavailable

Due to major changes in many frameworks around GPUs, those using ASentientBot's legacy GPU patches are currently out of luck. We either recommend users with these older GPUs stay on Catalina until further developments arise or buy an officially supported GPU

What’s new in the Hackintosh scene?

Dortania: a new organization has appeared

As many of you have probably noticed, a new organization focusing on documenting the hackintoshing process has appeared. Originally under my alias, Khronokernel, I started to transition my guides over to this new family as a way to concentrate the vast amount of information around Hackintoshes to both ease users and give a single trusted source for information.
We work quite closely with the community and developers to ensure information's correct, up-to-date and of the best standards. While not perfect in every way, we hope to be the go-to resource for reliable Hackintosh information.
And for the times our information is either outdated, missing context or generally needs improving, we have our bug tracker to allow the community to more easily bring attention to issues and speak directly with the authors:

Dortania's Build Repo

For those who either want to run the lastest builds of a kext or need an easy way to test old builds of something, Dortania's Build Repo is for you!
Kexts here are built right after commit, and currently supports most of Acidanthera's kexts and some 3rd party devs as well. If you'd like to add support for more kexts, feel free to PR: Build Repo source

True legacy macOS Support!

As of OpenCore's latest versioning, 0.6.2, you can now boot every version of x86-based builds of OS X/macOS! A huge achievement on @Goldfish64's part, we now support every major version of kernel cache both 32 and 64-bit wise. This means machines like Yonah and newer should work great with OpenCore and you can even relive the old days of OS X like OS X 10.4!
And Dortania guides have been updated accordingly to accommodate for builds of those eras, we hope you get as much enjoyment going back as we did working on this project!

Intel Wireless: More native than ever!

Another amazing step forward in the Hackintosh community, near-native Intel Wifi support! Thanks to the endless work on many contributors of the OpenIntelWireless project, we can now use Apple's built-in IO80211 framework to have near identical support to those of Broadcom wireless cards including features like network access in recovery and control center support.
For more info on the developments, please see the itlwm project on GitHub: itlwm

Clover's revival? A frankestien of a bootloader

As many in the community have seen, a new bootloader popped up back in April of 2019 called OpenCore. This bootloader was made by the same people behind projects such as Lilu, WhateverGreen, AppleALC and many other extremely important utilities for both the Mac and Hackintosh community. OpenCore's design had been properly thought out with security auditing and proper road mapping laid down, it was clear that this was to be the next stage of hackintoshing for the years we have left with x86.
And now lets bring this back to the old crowd favorite, Clover. Clover has been having a rough time of recent both with the community and stability wise, with many devs jumping ship to OpenCore and Clover's stability breaking more and more with C++ rewrites, it was clear Clover was on its last legs. Interestingly enough, the community didn't want Clover to die, similarly to how Chameleon lived on through Enoch. And thus, we now have the Clover OpenCore integration project(Now merged into Master with r5123+).
The goal is to combine OpenCore into Clover allowing the project to live a bit longer, as Clover's current state can no longer boot macOS Big Sur or older versions of OS X such as 10.6. As of writing, this project seems to be a bit confusing as there seems to be little reason to actually support Clover. Many of Clover's properties have feature-parity in OpenCore and trying to combine both C++ and C ruins many of the features and benefits either languages provide. The main feature OpenCore does not support is macOS-only ACPI injection, however the reasoning is covered here: Does OpenCore always inject SMBIOS and ACPI data into other OSes?

Death of x86 and the future of Hackintoshing

With macOS Big Sur, a big turning point is about to happen with Apple and their Macs. As we know it, Apple will be shifting to in-house designed Apple Silicon Macs(Really just ARM) and thus x86 machines will slowly be phased out of their lineup within 2 years.
What does this mean for both x86 based Macs and Hackintoshing in general? Well we can expect about 5 years of proper OS support for the iMac20,x series which released earlier this year with an extra 2 years of security updates. After this, Apple will most likely stop shipping x86 builds of macOS and hackintoshing as we know it will have passed away.
For those still in denial and hope something like ARM Hackintoshes will arrive, please consider the following:
So while we may be heart broken the journey is coming to a stop in the somewhat near future, hackintoshing will still be a time piece in Apple's history. So enjoy it now while we still can, and we here at Dortania will still continue supporting the community with our guides till the very end!

Getting ready for macOS 11, Big Sur

This will be your short run down if you skipped the above:
For the last 2, see here on how to update: Updating OpenCore, Kexts and macOS
In regards to downloading Big Sur, currently gibMacOS in macOS or Apple's own software updater are the most reliable methods for grabbing the installer. Windows and Linux support is still unknown so please stand by as we continue to look into this situation, macrecovery.py may be more reliable if you require the recovery package.
And as with every year, the first few weeks to months of a new OS release are painful in the community. We highly advise users to stay away from Big Sur for first time installers. The reason is that we cannot determine whether issues are Apple related or with your specific machine, so it's best to install and debug a machine on a known working OS before testing out the new and shiny.
For more in-depth troubleshooting with Big Sur, see here: OpenCore and macOS 11: Big Sur
submitted by dracoflar to hackintosh [link] [comments]

CLI & GUI v0.17.1.3 'Oxygen Orion' released!

This is the CLI & GUI v0.17.1.3 'Oxygen Orion' point release. This release predominantly features bug fixes and performance improvements. Users, however, are recommended to upgrade, as it includes mitigations for the issue where transactions occasionally fail.

(Direct) download links (GUI)

(Direct) download links (CLI)

GPG signed hashes

We encourage users to check the integrity of the binaries and verify that they were signed by binaryFate's GPG key. A guide that walks you through this process can be found here for Windows and here for Linux and Mac OS X.
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE----- Hash: SHA256 # This GPG-signed message exists to confirm the SHA256 sums of Monero binaries. # # Please verify the signature against the key for binaryFate in the # source code repository (/utils/gpg_keys). # # ## CLI 38a04a7bd00733e9d943edba3004e44730c0848fe5e8a4fca4cb29c12d1e6b2f monero-android-armv7-v0.17.1.3.tar.bz2 0e94f58572646992ee21f01d291211ed3608e8a46ecb6612b378a2188390dba0 monero-android-armv8-v0.17.1.3.tar.bz2 ae1a1b61d7b4a06690cb22a3389bae5122c8581d47f3a02d303473498f405a1a monero-freebsd-x64-v0.17.1.3.tar.bz2 57d6f9c25bd1dbc9d6b39fcfb13260b21c5594b4334e8ed3b8922108730ee2f0 monero-linux-armv7-v0.17.1.3.tar.bz2 a0419993fbc6a5ca11bcd2e825acef13e429824f4d8c7ba4ec73ac446d2af2fb monero-linux-armv8-v0.17.1.3.tar.bz2 cf3fb693339caed43a935c890d71ecab5b89c430e778dc5ef0c3173c94e5bf64 monero-linux-x64-v0.17.1.3.tar.bz2 d107384ff7b1f77ee4db93940dbfda24d6045bf59c43169bc81a0118e3986bfa monero-linux-x86-v0.17.1.3.tar.bz2 79557c8bee30b229bda90bb9ee494097d639d60948fc2ad87a029359b56b1b48 monero-mac-x64-v0.17.1.3.tar.bz2 3eee0d0e896fb426ef92a141a95e36cb33ca7d1e1db3c1d4cb7383994af43a59 monero-win-x64-v0.17.1.3.zip c9e9dde61b33adccd7e794eba8ba29d820817213b40a2571282309d25e64e88a monero-win-x86-v0.17.1.3.zip # ## GUI 15ad80b2abb18ac2521398c4dad9b8bfea2e6fc535cf4ebcc60d99b8042d4fb2 monero-gui-install-win-x64-v0.17.1.3.exe 3bed02f9db5b7b2fe4115a636fecf0c6ec9079dd4e9284c8ce2c67d4996e2a4a monero-gui-linux-x64-v0.17.1.3.tar.bz2 23405534c7973a8d6908b76121b81894dc853039c942d7527d254dfde0bd2e8f monero-gui-mac-x64-v0.17.1.3.dmg 0a49ccccb561445f3d7ec0087ddc83a8b76f424fb7d5e0d725222f3639375ec4 monero-gui-win-x64-v0.17.1.3.zip # # # ~binaryFate -----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE----- iQIzBAEBCAAdFiEEgaxZH+nEtlxYBq/D8K9NRioL35IFAl+oVkkACgkQ8K9NRioL 35Lmpw//Xs09T4917sbnRH/DW/ovpRyjF9dyN1ViuWQW91pJb+E3i9TY+wU3q85k LyTihDB5pV+3nYgKPL9TlLfaytJIQG0vYHykPWHVmYmvoIs9BLarGwaU3bjO0rh9 ST5GDMdvxmQ5Y1LTwVfKkmBJw26DAs0xAvjBX44oRQjjuUdH6JdLPsqa5Kb++NCM b453m5s8bT3Cw6w0eJB1FQEyQ5BoDrwYcFzzsS1ag/C4Ylq0l6CZfEambfOQvdUi 7D5Rywfhiz2t7cfn7LaoXb74KDA/B1bL+R1/KhCuFqxRTOQzq9IxRywh4VptAAMU UR7jFHFijOMoyggIbkD48JmAjlBnqIyQJt4D5gbHe+tSaSoKdgoTGBAmIvaCZIng jfn9pTNzIJbTptsQhhyZqQQIH87D8BctZfX7pREjJmMNGwN2jFxXqUNqYTso20E6 YLtC1mkZBBZ294xHqT1mQpfznc6uVJhhoJpta0eKxkr1ahrGvWBDGZeVhLswnBcq 9dafAkR14rdK1naiCsygb6hMvBqBohVu/bWuhycJcv6XRvlP7UHkR6R8+s6U4Tk2 zaJERQF+cHQpEak5aEJIvDlb/mxteGyvPkPyL7UmADEQh3C4nREwkDSdnitYnF+e HxJZkshoC98+YCkWUP4+JYOOT158jKao3u0laEOxVGOrPz1Nc64= =Ys4h -----END PGP SIGNATURE----- 

Upgrading (GUI)

Note that you should be able to utilize the automatic updater in the GUI that was recently added. A pop-up will appear shortly with the new binary.
In case you want to update manually, you ought to perform the following steps:
  1. Download the new binaries (the .zip file (Windows) or the tar.bz2 file (Mac OS X and Linux)) from the direct download links in this thread or from the official website. If you run active AV (AntiVirus) software, I'd recommend to apply this guide -> https://monero.stackexchange.com/questions/10798/my-antivirus-av-software-blocks-quarantines-the-monero-gui-wallet-is-there
  2. Extract the new binaries (the .zip file (Windows) or the tar.bz2 file (Mac OS X and Linux) you just downloaded) to a new directory / folder of your liking.
  3. Open monero-wallet-gui. It should automatically load your "old" wallet.
If, for some reason, the GUI doesn't automatically load your old wallet, you can open it as follows:
[1] On the second page of the wizard (first page is language selection) choose Open a wallet from file
[2] Now select your initial / original wallet. Note that, by default, the wallet files are located in Documents\Monero\ (Windows), Users//Monero/ (Mac OS X), or home//Monero/ (Linux).
Lastly, note that a blockchain resync is not needed, i.e., it will simply pick up where it left off.

Upgrading (CLI)

You ought to perform the following steps:
  1. Download the new binaries (the .zip file (Windows) or the tar.bz2 file (Mac OS X and Linux)) from the official website, the direct download links in this thread, or Github.
  2. Extract the new binaries to a new directory of your liking.
  3. Copy over the wallet files from the old directory (i.e. the v0.15.x.x, v0.16.x.x, or v0.17.x.x directory).
  4. Start monerod and monero-wallet-cli (in case you have to use your wallet).
Note that a blockchain resync is not needed. Thus, if you open monerod-v0.17.1.3, it will simply pick up where it left off.

Release notes (GUI)

Some highlights of this minor release are:
  • Android support (experimental)
  • Linux binary is now reproducible (experimental)
  • Simple mode: transaction reliability improvements
  • New transaction confirmation dialog
  • Wizard: minor design changes
  • Linux: high DPI support
  • Fix "can't connect to daemon" issue
  • Minor bug fixes
Some highlights of this major release are:
  • Support for CLSAG transaction format
  • Socks5 proxy support, automatically enabled on Tails
  • Simple mode transactions are sent trough local daemon, improved reliability
  • Portable mode, save wallets + config to "storage" folder
  • History page: improvements, incoming / outgoing labels
  • Transfer: new success dialog
  • CMake build system improvements
  • Windows cross compilation support using Docker
  • Various minor bug and UI fixes
Note that you can find a full change log here.

Release notes (CLI)

Some highlights of this minor release are:
  • Add support for I2P and Tor seed nodes (--tx-proxy)
  • Add --ban-list daemon option to ban a list of IP addresses
  • Switch to Dandelion++ fluff mode if no out connections for stem mode
  • Fix a bug with relay_tx
  • Fix a rare readline related crash
  • Use /16 filtering on IPv4-within-IPv6 addresses
  • Give all hosts the same chance of being picked for connecting
  • Minor bugfixes
Some highlights of this major release are:
  • Support for CLSAG transaction format
  • Deterministic unlock times
  • Enforce claiming maximum coinbase amount
  • Serialization format changes
  • Remove most usage of Boost library
  • Always send raw transactions through P2P, don't use bootstrap daemon
  • Update InProofV1, OutProofV1, and ReserveProofV1 to V2
  • ASM optimizations for wallet refresh (macOS / Linux)
  • Randomized delay when forwarding txes from i2p/tor -> ipv4/6
  • New show_qr_code wallet command for CLI
  • Add ZMQ/Pub support for txpool_add and chain_main events
  • Various bug fixes and performance improvements
Note that you can find a full change log here.

Further remarks

  • A guide on pruning can be found here.
  • Ledger Monero users, please be aware that version 1.7.4 of the Ledger Monero App is required in order to properly use CLI or GUI v0.17.1.3.

Guides on how to get started (GUI)

https://github.com/monero-ecosystem/monero-GUI-guide/blob/mastemonero-GUI-guide.md
Older guides: (These were written for older versions, but are still somewhat applicable)
Sheep’s Noob guide to Monero GUI in Tails
https://medium.com/@Electricsheep56/the-monero-gui-wallet-broken-down-in-plain-english-bd2889b8c202

Ledger GUI guides:

How do I generate a Ledger Monero wallet with the GUI (monero-wallet-gui)?
How do I restore / recreate my Ledger Monero wallet?

Trezor GUI guides:

How do I generate a Trezor Monero wallet with the GUI (monero-wallet-gui)?
How to use Monero with Trezor - by Trezor
How do I restore / recreate my Trezor Monero wallet?

Ledger & Trezor CLI guides

Guides to resolve common issues (GUI)

My antivirus (AV) software blocks / quarantines the Monero GUI wallet, is there a work around I can utilize?
I am missing (not seeing) a transaction to (in) the GUI (zero balance)
Transaction stuck as “pending” in the GUI
How do I move the blockchain (data.mdb) to a different directory during (or after) the initial sync without losing the progress?
I am using the GUI and my daemon doesn't start anymore
My GUI feels buggy / freezes all the time
The GUI uses all my bandwidth and I can't browse anymore or use another application that requires internet connection
How do I change the language of the 25 word mnemonic seed in the GUI or CLI?
I am using remote node, but the GUI still syncs blockchain?

Using the GUI with a remote node

In the wizard, you can either select Simple mode or Simple mode (bootstrap) to utilize this functionality. Note that the GUI developers / contributors recommend to use Simple mode (bootstrap) as this mode will eventually use your own (local) node, thereby contributing to the strength and decentralization of the network. Lastly, if you manually want to set a remote node, you ought to use Advanced mode. A guide can be found here:
https://www.getmonero.org/resources/user-guides/remote_node_gui.html

Adding a new language to the GUI

https://github.com/monero-ecosystem/monero-translations/blob/masteweblate.md
If, after reading all these guides, you still require help, please post your issue in this thread and describe it in as much detail as possible. Also, feel free to post any other guides that could help people.
submitted by dEBRUYNE_1 to Monero [link] [comments]

Why is it such an abysmal pain to use libraries in C++ compared to pretty much anything else?

I recently realized something that's been annoying me for so long

How to add a library in JavaScript:

How to add a library in C#:

How to add a library in Go:

How to add a library in Rust (And this is so "C++ is compiled" isn't an excuse):

If you install cargo-edit you can alternatively just:

How to add a library in C++:

submitted by scarletkrath to cpp [link] [comments]

Why the Genie Warlock's "Bottled Respite" is overwhelmingly powerful

Despite being limited to a single use per long rest ( Which can be as short as 4 hours with High Elf Trance ), if it is preserved according to the UA description, it stands to be one of, if not the most busted features in 5E history. For just a one-level dip into Warlock, and a free action, it has the potential functionality of several high level spells combined, with the value of dipping into the class just for it being fairly high.
First, lets overview all the benefits granted by the ability in its own right, then go over all of the ways to combine it with other abilities as well:
------------------‐------------------
Now for the fun part, which is all that can be done with a little bit of magical help, though it can only be a partial list since the possibilities are endless. Let's dive in.
That is all I can think of for now, and remember what we're talking about - A level 1 Warlock action per long rest. It has unbelievable value.
submitted by Orwellze to dndnext [link] [comments]

No gods, no kings, only NOPE - or divining the future with options flows. [Part 3: Hedge Winding, Unwinding, and the NOPE]

Hello friends!
We're on the last post of this series ("A Gentle Introduction to NOPE"), where we get to use all the Big Boy Concepts (TM) we've discussed in the prior posts and put them all together. Some words before we begin:
  1. This post will be massively theoretical, in the sense that my own speculation and inferences will be largely peppered throughout the post. Are those speculations right? I think so, or I wouldn't be posting it, but they could also be incorrect.
  2. I will briefly touch on using the NOPE this slide, but I will make a secondary post with much more interesting data and trends I've observed. This is primarily for explaining what NOPE is and why it potentially works, and what it potentially measures.
My advice before reading this is to glance at my prior posts, and either read those fully or at least make sure you understand the tl;drs:
https://www.reddit.com/thecorporation/collection/27dc72ad-4e78-44cd-a788-811cd666e32a
Depending on popular demand, I will also make a last-last post called FAQ, where I'll tabulate interesting questions you guys ask me in the comments!
---
So a brief recap before we begin.
Market Maker ("Mr. MM"): An individual or firm who makes money off the exchange fees and bid-ask spread for an asset, while usually trying to stay neutral about the direction the asset moves.
Delta-gamma hedging: The process Mr. MM uses to stay neutral when selling you shitty OTM options, by buying/selling shares (usually) of the underlying as the price moves.
Law of Surprise [Lily-ism]: Effectively, the expected profit of an options trade is zero for both the seller and the buyer.
Random Walk: A special case of a deeper probability probability called a martingale, which basically models stocks or similar phenomena randomly moving every step they take (for stocks, roughly every millisecond). This is one of the most popular views of how stock prices move, especially on short timescales.
Future Expected Payoff Function [Lily-ism]: This is some hidden function that every market participant has about an asset, which more or less models all the possible future probabilities/values of the assets to arrive at a "fair market price". This is a more generalized case of a pricing model like Black-Scholes, or DCF.
Counter-party: The opposite side of your trade (if you sell an option, they buy it; if you buy an option, they sell it).
Price decoherence ]Lily-ism]: A more generalized notion of IV Crush, price decoherence happens when instead of the FEPF changing gradually over time (price formation), the FEPF rapidly changes, due usually to new information being added to the system (e.g. Vermin Supreme winning the 2020 election).
---
One of the most popular gambling events for option traders to play is earnings announcements, and I do owe the concept of NOPE to hypothesizing specifically about the behavior of stock prices at earnings. Much like a black hole in quantum mechanics, most conventional theories about how price should work rapidly break down briefly before, during, and after ER, and generally experienced traders tend to shy away from playing earnings, given their similar unpredictability.
Before we start: what is NOPE? NOPE is a funny backronym from Net Options Pricing Effect, which in its most basic sense, measures the impact option delta has on the underlying price, as compared to share price. When I first started investigating NOPE, I called it OPE (options pricing effect), but NOPE sounds funnier.
The formula for it is dead simple, but I also have no idea how to do LaTeX on reddit, so this is the best I have:

https://preview.redd.it/ais37icfkwt51.png?width=826&format=png&auto=webp&s=3feb6960f15a336fa678e945d93b399a8e59bb49
Since I've already encountered this, put delta in this case is the absolute value (50 delta) to represent a put. If you represent put delta as a negative (the conventional way), do not subtract it; add it.
To keep this simple for the non-mathematically minded: the NOPE today is equal to the weighted sum (weighted by volume) of the delta of every call minus the delta of every put for all options chains extending from today to infinity. Finally, we then divide that number by the # of shares traded today in the market session (ignoring pre-market and post-market, since options cannot trade during those times).
Effectively, NOPE is a rough and dirty way to approximate the impact of delta-gamma hedging as a function of share volume, with us hand-waving the following factors:
  1. To keep calculations simple, we assume that all counter-parties are hedged. This is obviously not true, especially for idiots who believe theta ganging is safe, but holds largely true especially for highly liquid tickers, or tickers will designated market makers (e.g. any ticker in the NASDAQ, for instance).
  2. We assume that all hedging takes place via shares. For SPY and other products tracking the S&P, for instance, market makers can actually hedge via futures or other options. This has the benefit for large positions of not moving the underlying price, but still makes up a fairly small amount of hedges compared to shares.

Winding and Unwinding

I briefly touched on this in a past post, but two properties of NOPE seem to apply well to EER-like behavior (aka any binary catalyst event):
  1. NOPE measures sentiment - In general, the options market is seen as better informed than share traders (e.g. insiders trade via options, because of leverage + easier to mask positions). Therefore, a heavy call/put skew is usually seen as a bullish sign, while the reverse is also true.
  2. NOPE measures system stability
I'm not going to one-sentence explain #2, because why say in one sentence what I can write 1000 words on. In short, NOPE intends to measure sensitivity of the system (the ticker) to disruption. This makes sense, when you view it in the context of delta-gamma hedging. When we assume all counter-parties are hedged, this means an absolutely massive amount of shares get sold/purchased when the underlying price moves. This is because of the following:
a) Assume I, Mr. MM sell 1000 call options for NKLA 25C 10/23 and 300 put options for NKLA 15p 10/23. I'm just going to make up deltas because it's too much effort to calculate them - 30 delta call, 20 delta put.
This implies Mr. MM needs the following to delta hedge: (1000 call options * 30 shares to buy for each) [to balance out writing calls) - (300 put options * 20 shares to sell for each) = 24,000 net shares Mr. MM needs to acquire to balance out his deltas/be fully neutral.
b) This works well when NKLA is at $20. But what about when it hits $19 (because it only can go down, just like their trucks). Thanks to gamma, now we have to recompute the deltas, because they've changed for both the calls (they went down) and for the puts (they went up).
Let's say to keep it simple that now my calls are 20 delta, and my puts are 30 delta. From the 24,000 net shares, Mr. MM has to now have:
(1000 call options * 20 shares to have for each) - (300 put options * 30 shares to sell for each) = 11,000 shares.
Therefore, with a $1 shift in price, now to hedge and be indifferent to direction, Mr. MM has to go from 24,000 shares to 11,000 shares, meaning he has to sell 13,000 shares ASAP, or take on increased risk. Now, you might be saying, "13,000 shares seems small. How would this disrupt the system?"
(This process, by the way, is called hedge unwinding)
It won't, in this example. But across thousands of MMs and millions of contracts, this can - especially in highly optioned tickers - make up a substantial fraction of the net flow of shares per day. And as we know from our desk example, the buying or selling of shares directly changes the price of the stock itself.
This, by the way, is why the NOPE formula takes the shape it does. Some astute readers might notice it looks similar to GEX, which is not a coincidence. GEX however replaces daily volume with open interest, and measures gamma over delta, which I did not find good statistical evidence to support, especially for earnings.
So, with our example above, why does NOPE measure system stability? We can assume for argument's sake that if someone buys a share of NKLA, they're fine with moderate price swings (+- $20 since it's NKLA, obviously), and in it for the long/medium haul. And in most cases this is fine - we can own stock and not worry about minor swings in price. But market makers can't* (they can, but it exposes them to risk), because of how delta works. In fact, for most institutional market makers, they have clearly defined delta limits by end of day, and even small price changes require them to rebalance their hedges.
This over the whole market adds up to a lot shares moving, just to balance out your stupid Robinhood YOLOs. While there are some tricks (dark pools, block trades) to not impact the price of the underlying, the reality is that the more options contracts there are on a ticker, the more outsized influence it will have on the ticker's price. This can technically be exactly balanced, if option put delta is equal to option call delta, but never actually ends up being the case. And unlike shares traded, the shares representing the options are more unstable, meaning they will be sold/bought in response to small price shifts. And will end up magnifying those price shifts, accordingly.

NOPE and Earnings

So we have a new shiny indicator, NOPE. What does it actually mean and do?
There's much literature going back to the 1980s that options markets do have some level of predictiveness towards earnings, which makes sense intuitively. Unlike shares markets, where you can continue to hold your share even if it dips 5%, in options you get access to expanded opportunity to make riches... and losses. An options trader betting on earnings is making a risky and therefore informed bet that he or she knows the outcome, versus a share trader who might be comfortable bagholding in the worst case scenario.
As I've mentioned largely in comments on my prior posts, earnings is a special case because, unlike popular misconceptions, stocks do not go up and down solely due to analyst expectations being meet, beat, or missed. In fact, stock prices move according to the consensus market expectation, which is a function of all the participants' FEPF on that ticker. This is why the price moves so dramatically - even if a stock beats, it might not beat enough to justify the high price tag (FSLY); even if a stock misses, it might have spectacular guidance or maybe the market just was assuming it would go bankrupt instead.
To look at the impact of NOPE and why it may play a role in post-earnings-announcement immediate price moves, let's review the following cases:
  1. Stock Meets/Exceeds Market Expectations (aka price goes up) - In the general case, we would anticipate post-ER market participants value the stock at a higher price, pushing it up rapidly. If there's a high absolute value of NOPE on said ticker, this should end up magnifying the positive move since:
a) If NOPE is high negative - This means a ton of put buying, which means a lot of those puts are now worthless (due to price decoherence). This means that to stay delta neutral, market makers need to close out their sold/shorted shares, buying them, and pushing the stock price up.
b) If NOPE is high positive - This means a ton of call buying, which means a lot of puts are now worthless (see a) but also a lot of calls are now worth more. This means that to stay delta neutral, market makers need to close out their sold/shorted shares AND also buy more shares to cover their calls, pushing the stock price up.
2) Stock Meets/Misses Market Expectations (aka price goes down) - Inversely to what I mentioned above, this should push to the stock price down, fairly immediately. If there's a high absolute value of NOPE on said ticker, this should end up magnifying the negative move since:
a) If NOPE is high negative - This means a ton of put buying, which means a lot of those puts are now worth more, and a lot of calls are now worth less/worth less (due to price decoherence). This means that to stay delta neutral, market makers need to sell/short more shares, pushing the stock price down.
b) If NOPE is high positive - This means a ton of call buying, which means a lot of calls are now worthless (see a) but also a lot of puts are now worth more. This means that to stay delta neutral, market makers need to sell even more shares to keep their calls and puts neutral, pushing the stock price down.
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Based on the above two cases, it should be a bit more clear why NOPE is a measure of sensitivity to system perturbation. While we previously discussed it in the context of magnifying directional move, the truth is it also provides a directional bias to our "random" walk. This is because given a price move in the direction predicted by NOPE, we expect it to be magnified, especially in situations of price decoherence. If a stock price goes up right after an ER report drops, even based on one participant deciding to value the stock higher, this provides a runaway reaction which boosts the stock price (due to hedging factors as well as other participants' behavior) and inures it to drops.

NOPE and NOPE_MAD

I'm going to gloss over this section because this is more statistical methods than anything interesting. In general, if you have enough data, I recommend using NOPE_MAD over NOPE. While NOPE in theory represents a "real" quantity (net option delta over net share delta), NOPE_MAD (the median absolute deviation of NOPE) does not. NOPE_MAD simply answecompare the following:
  1. How exceptional is today's NOPE versus historic baseline (30 days prior)?
  2. How do I compare two tickers' NOPEs effectively (since some tickers, like TSLA, have a baseline positive NOPE, because Elon memes)? In the initial stages, we used just a straight numerical threshold (let's say NOPE >= 20), but that quickly broke down. NOPE_MAD aims to detect anomalies, because anomalies in general give you tendies.
I might add the formula later in Mathenese, but simply put, to find NOPE_MAD you do the following:
  1. Calculate today's NOPE score (this can be done end of day or intraday, with the true value being EOD of course)
  2. Calculate the end of day NOPE scores on the ticker for the previous 30 trading days
  3. Compute the median of the previous 30 trading days' NOPEs
  4. From the median, find the 30 days' median absolute deviation (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Median_absolute_deviation)
  5. Find today's deviation as compared to the MAD calculated by: [(today's NOPE) - (median NOPE of last 30 days)] / (median absolute deviation of last 30 days)
This is usually reported as sigma (σ), and has a few interesting properties:
  1. The mean of NOPE_MAD for any ticker is almost exactly 0.
  2. [Lily's Speculation's Speculation] NOPE_MAD acts like a spring, and has a tendency to reverse direction as a function of its magnitude. No proof on this yet, but exploring it!

Using the NOPE to predict ER

So the last section was a lot of words and theory, and a lot of what I'm mentioning here is empirically derived (aka I've tested it out, versus just blabbered).
In general, the following holds true:
  1. 3 sigma NOPE_MAD tends to be "the threshold": For very low NOPE_MAD magnitudes (+- 1 sigma), it's effectively just noise, and directionality prediction is low, if not non-existent. It's not exactly like 3 sigma is a play and 2.9 sigma is not a play; NOPE_MAD accuracy increases as NOPE_MAD magnitude (either positive or negative) increases.
  2. NOPE_MAD is only useful on highly optioned tickers: In general, I introduce another parameter for sifting through "candidate" ERs to play: option volume * 100/share volume. When this ends up over let's say 0.4, NOPE_MAD provides a fairly good window into predicting earnings behavior.
  3. NOPE_MAD only predicts during the after-market/pre-market session: I also have no idea if this is true, but my hunch is that next day behavior is mostly random and driven by market movement versus earnings behavior. NOPE_MAD for now only predicts direction of price movements right between the release of the ER report (AH or PM) and the ending of that market session. This is why in general I recommend playing shares, not options for ER (since you can sell during the AH/PM).
  4. NOPE_MAD only predicts direction of price movement: This isn't exactly true, but it's all I feel comfortable stating given the data I have. On observation of ~2700 data points of ER-ticker events since Mar 2019 (SPY 500), I only so far feel comfortable predicting whether stock price goes up (>0 percent difference) or down (<0 price difference). This is +1 for why I usually play with shares.
Some statistics:
#0) As a baseline/null hypothesis, after ER on the SPY500 since Mar 2019, 50-51% price movements in the AH/PM are positive (>0) and ~46-47% are negative (<0).
#1) For NOPE_MAD >= +3 sigma, roughly 68% of price movements are positive after earnings.
#2) For NOPE_MAD <= -3 sigma, roughly 29% of price movements are positive after earnings.
#3) When using a logistic model of only data including NOPE_MAD >= +3 sigma or NOPE_MAD <= -3 sigma, and option/share vol >= 0.4 (around 25% of all ERs observed), I was able to achieve 78% predictive accuracy on direction.

Caveats/Read This

Like all models, NOPE is wrong, but perhaps useful. It's also fairly new (I started working on it around early August 2020), and in fact, my initial hypothesis was exactly incorrect (I thought the opposite would happen, actually). Similarly, as commenters have pointed out, the timeline of data I'm using is fairly compressed (since Mar 2019), and trends and models do change. In fact, I've noticed significantly lower accuracy since the coronavirus recession (when I measured it in early September), but I attribute this mostly to a smaller date range, more market volatility, and honestly, dumber option traders (~65% accuracy versus nearly 80%).
My advice so far if you do play ER with the NOPE method is to use it as following:
  1. Buy/short shares approximately right when the market closes before ER. Ideally even buying it right before the earnings report drops in the AH session is not a bad idea if you can.
  2. Sell/buy to close said shares at the first sign of major weakness (e.g. if the NOPE predicted outcome is incorrect).
  3. Sell/buy to close shares even if it is correct ideally before conference call, or by the end of the after-market/pre-market session.
  4. Only play tickers with high NOPE as well as high option/share vol.
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In my next post, which may be in a few days, I'll talk about potential use cases for SPY and intraday trends, but I wanted to make sure this wasn't like 7000 words by itself.
Cheers.
- Lily
submitted by the_lilypad to thecorporation [link] [comments]

Coredns for local DNS resolution and forwarding over TLS (with Adblocking)

Coredns for local DNS resolution and forwarding over TLS (with Adblocking)
Greetings all -- I know how much y'all love unbound and pihole, but I just wanted to throw out another option that I think is super simple...CoreDNS. CoreDNS is a single-binary DNS server written in GO with many plugin options.
Use Case discussed here: A complete solution for DNS resolution of internal hosts that is easy to manage while still providing AdBlocking capabilities to the entire network, and forwarding all non-local DNS requests over TLS so my crappy ISP can't see what I am doing.
Solution Overview: Configure DHCP to give out pihole address as the DNS server, tell Pihole that it's upstream DNS server is CoreDNS (running on same box on a different port).
CoreDNS:
  • Download the latest binary from the releases
  • Assuming *nix, move the binary to /uslocal/bin
  • chmod +x /uslocal/bin/coredns
  • sudo useradd -d /valib/coredns -m coredns
  • vi/nano (you choose) /etc/systemd/system/coredns.service

[Unit] Description=CoreDNS DNS server Documentation=https://coredns.io After=network.target [Service] PermissionsStartOnly=true LimitNOFILE=1048576 LimitNPROC=512 CapabilityBoundingSet=CAP_NET_BIND_SERVICE AmbientCapabilities=CAP_NET_BIND_SERVICE NoNewPrivileges=true User=coredns WorkingDirectory=~ ExecStart=/uslocal/bin/coredns -conf=/etc/coredns/Corefile ExecReload=/bin/kill -SIGUSR1 $MAINPID Restart=on-failure [Install] WantedBy=multi-user.target 
  • systemctl enable coredns
  • vi/nano (your choice) /etc/coredns/Corefile
NOTE IN CONFIG BELOW: My original example remains, however DanTheGreatest pointed out that there are other cloudfare examples based on your use case. Repeating here: Cloudflare introduced 1.1.1.2 (and .3) back in April. .2 Includes a malware filter and .3 also filters adult material. .2 is a great upstream for this use case.
.:5300 { cache 3600 hosts /etc/coredns/home.hosts { fallthrough } forward . tls://1.1.1.1 tls://1.0.0.1 { policy random tls_servername cloudflare-dns.com health_check 5s } errors } 
  • vi/nano /etc/coredns/home.hosts

#Here is where you will want to put your hosts style dns entries for local 10.0.20.19 server1.mydomain.com server1 10.0.20.10 database.mydomain.com database 10.0.20.42 server2.mydomain.com server2 
  • service restart coredns
  • Now configure Pihole to use your Coredns as upstream. Go to http://pihole/admin settings DNS. Uncheck any DNS servers on the left hand side. Check Custom 1, and enter 127.0.0.1 and port 5300 (assuming CoreDNS is installed on same server as pihole).

https://preview.redd.it/4bh5088a51w51.png?width=469&format=png&auto=webp&s=8d0228690b4518f17fb63439a3995eb4bd651539
CoreDNS Explanations:
  • .:5300 -- listen on all interfaces and bind to port 5300.
  • cache 3600 -- cache entries for 5 minutes. Remove this if you do not want to chache
  • hosts /etc/coredns/home.hosts - Use the hosts plugin and read entries from this file. CoreDNS will automatically pick up new entries when this file is updated
  • fallthrough -- This is important. It tells CoreDNS to try the next forwarder if it doesn't find a hit using the hosts plugin. Essentially -- if not on the internal network, keep going.
  • forward -- This forward block is the complete configuration for forwarding DNS over TLS to cloudfare DNS servers using round robin. If cloudfare isn't your thing, you can use any other DNS over TLS provider such as Quad9, etc. Just change the config.
I hope you find this useful.
submitted by Praisethecornchips to selfhosted [link] [comments]

2.9.3 Stable update!

2.9.3 Stable update!
What is up Depthians!
We are back with another monstrous update as this one incorporates five beta test builds, so we have a lot to cover.
If you want to dive straight into the massive changelog/dissertation Click
We should probably start with the biggest change to From The Depths in this update and that is the change of fuel and ammo storage.
Quoting Nick, our lead developer
The change is quite simple: "remove ammo and fuel as separate resources. Weapons will consume materials directly, fuel engines and CJEs will burn materials directly".
Before I dig into why I think this is the right thing for FtD, I'd like to explain a few details.
Energy, fuel and ammo are still needed for your constructs.
We have changed the "ammo barrels (etc)" and "fuel tanks" so they are just alternative material storage containers, but with the following properties:
--"ammo barrels" now increase the maximum possible rate of usage of materials as "ammo" for reloading guns. They still explode.
--"fuel tanks" increase the maximum possible rate of use of materials as "fuel" for fuel engines and CJEs, with the future stretch goal of fuel tanks being flammable.
--So ammo racking is going to remain a feature of the game- vehicles that need to reload a large amount of materials may need additional ammo barrels
Ammo and oil processors are replaced ship-wide with existing material storage containers of the same size. They'll be made decorative blocks so you can still use them decoratively in future if you want to.
The oil refinery will be repurposed (described later in the patch notes)
There are two main reasons why I think this is the right move. Why it's right for the business and why it's right for the player.
Let's start with why I think it's right for the player:
Ammo and fuel containers are currently purchasable as either "empty or full". This is confusing when considered in the context of the campaign, story missions, custom battles, multiplayer matches...how do empty and full tanks behave in these modes? I'd need an hour to study the code and a small essay to explain it. That's not good game design.
Localised resources, when considering just the moving of material (and energy, if you want), becomes infinitely more manageable. The supply group system and the transit fleet system are not intuitive and for a lot of situations, their usage becomes fiddly and too complicated. We've replaced these systems with a new supply system that is much more intuitive for moving materials and energy around.
The UI is less cluttered now that ammo and fuel bars are not shown. This is not a minor point...it'll reduce the amount of data on screen by about 40% in a lot of the different views. It'll be so much easier to know at a glance if a particular fleet is running low on "materials" or doing fine. Is a transport ready to leave, or does it need to pick up more materials? Will a set of vehicles have enough materials for the next fight...this is so much easier with just one main resource type per vehicle.
When you or an enemy run out of ammo or fuel in a battle it's just frustrating. By combining fuel, ammo and materials for repairing you can guarantee that if someone runs out, the fight is going to be over quickly.
I imagine that deep down the majority of players would rather not have to create, stock and resupply fuel and ammo. I know that personally, the requirement to do this puts me off playing the campaign. By using a single material it still focuses the game on making efficient war machines, maintaining supply lines and growing your economy, but without the extra confusion of mat->ammo and mat-> fuel conversion.
Being able to assess weapons, engines and vehicles in terms of material cost and running cost is elegant.
Most grand strategy games and RTS games don't have localised resources, and many don't have more than 2 resource types to handle. Very few combine localised materials with multiple types.
Why it's right for the business:
The ammo and oil processors were created about 8 years ago. Boring single blocks that don't add much to the game. It's been our intention to add something similar to the oil refinery but for ammo creation. That's a lot of work and adds to the complexity of the logistical part of the game, which we feel is already a burden.
Making the localised resource supply system more user friendly to make it easy/natural/pleasant to move ammo, fuel and material around the map would require a lot of effort and, quite frankly, I'm not sure we'd ever manage it.
The complexity of the UI scares off a lot of our customers. The barriers to getting a gun firing or a boat moving will be lowered if a single material container can theoretically get everything working.
Running out of ammo/fuel in combat is a problem for our players. We want to find a solution to that, but it would take a lot of effort to do so. We also want the strategic AI to always enter a battle with enough ammo and fuel for the fight- that's another massive bunch of work.
The campaign's strategic AI has to work hard to get materials where it wants them. It's a bundle of work and added complexity to get NPC fleets to restock ammo and fuel as well.
We had proposed work to make resource dumps (from dead ships) contain ammo and fuel...again, that's more work, more bugs, more testing.
Certain game modes such as story missions, tournament mode, and multiplayer maps should theoretically allow the player to choose the amount of ammo or fuel stocked into their vehicles before the match begins. That's another bundle of work and added complexity we'd like to avoid.
Currently out of play units on the map can run out of fuel and will still continue to move "for free". It's exploitable and we don't have a solution to that...but if all the different out of play movement calculations are burning material, there will be no avoiding the cost.
The development effort can be much better spent polishing up other features that I actually believe in, rather than flogging the dead horse of logistical complexity in an attempt to make it interesting, approachable and fun for everyone (which I fundamentally don't think it would ever be).
Fundamentally I think that by winding back this feature we tie up a large number of loose ends and it results in a far more finished and enjoyable product.
And what's-more everyone on the development team agrees that we enjoy the game for fighting, looting and creating...not staring blankly at dozens of resource bars trying to figure out who needs to head back for more fuel and how long we need to wait for ammunition to process.
We've also simplified the resource transfer system. "Supply groups" and "Transit Fleets" have been replaced with a simple but comprehensive three-tier system. You can mark a vehicle as a "Creator", a "Cargo" or a "User". Creators fill up Cargos (and Users), Cargos give to Users (up to procurement levels). Users equalise their material with their neighbours, so do Creators, and there are a few handy transfers from Users back to Cargo and Creator to make sure they maintain their procurement levels as well. This system covers 95% of the way people were using the resource system and does it all semi-automatically. This simplification is much more possible now that materials are the only resource, as they invariably just need to flow from the resource zones to the front line, with everyone (Creators and Cargo) keeping what they need and passing the rest on. This new resource system also facilitates the long-range transport of materials from refinery to refinery, which is neat. The system also has an option, for Creator and Cargo types, to set their "supply chain index", so if you want to relay materials from output to output in order to accumulate them at a central location you can set the supply chain index to determine which way along the chain the materials will flow. It's all explained in the game.
After spending a lot of time with this new system from adventure to campaign and designer mode, the gameplay feels a little faster to get going and a little simpler for fleet management. As if you didn’t already know, you can shift+right click (with your supply construct selected) on the target construct / flagship of a fleet to keep supplied, keep holding down shift and right-click where you want to pick the resources up from and once again while not letting go of shift, shift+right click on the target construct/flag ship to finish the loop.
This would be done of course after setting up the settings Creator, Cargo and User.
Creator as an example is the harvesting construct, Cargo which would be the supply ship, User which would be a single target construct that uses the mats.
This will keep the supply ship target waypoint updated and therefore your supply ship will always head to the target construct no matter where it has moved to after setting up the loop.
You still need ammo and fuel boxes on your constructs, as these are governing the transfer rate / the speed that stock your turrets and fuel engine with the materials needed for them to run. You can run a construct without fuel or ammo boxes, however, once your APS clips are empty you will see a drop in your rate of fire as the material is not being transferred fast enough, this is the same for fuel engines and CJE.
Another change that goes hand in hand with resource management is the changes to fuel refineries.
In short:
Refineries on a force with greater than 1 million materials on it will begin refining the material into 'commodities' that are stored centrally. Commodities (AKA centralised materials) can be added by the player to any vehicle in allied territory, at any time.
Resource zones have a new feature too, and that is the ability to deactivate a resource zone on your owned tiles and if you own enough territory as you can see from the UI when double-clicking on the resource zone “Zone Deactivation”.
https://preview.redd.it/284w9khtt9t51.jpg?width=1920&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=9dd61b06b2b6d0431bbb35c44a4d54563b81fbf0
Custom Jet Engines, have had some additional parts and new features.
We have the new ducted air intakes which as you can see have different attachment points
https://preview.redd.it/qaqeplmwt9t51.jpg?width=1920&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=2ac2019d4b0c908019bf0ef0d53ad3a718fc4f4d
These ducted intakes allow you to have your CJE enclosed inside your construct enabling you to pass ducting through to access airflow outside.
https://preview.redd.it/pge1x43yt9t51.jpg?width=1920&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=f2ee0cf35276f45feeb7320b29d844fa54776cdf
https://preview.redd.it/scych37zt9t51.jpg?width=1920&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=1bf7559bc2379b692b7a318ba8f43708f5bba81e
And as you can see in the pic below they are enclosed and making use of the air duct intakes.
https://preview.redd.it/ucidv351u9t51.jpg?width=1920&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=7d93e0c08d381fcaea2bcfc315c7b676f4006b51
You can also funnel the exhaust of your CJE's that would be under the waterline by using the two new connector blocks, a 90-degree corner and an extension piece which allows them to work as long as you funnel the exhaust out above the waterline.
https://preview.redd.it/aiofdee2u9t51.jpg?width=1920&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=72c1dd2023195ef2337704d0547904031ad97e6c
PACs have also had a rework and new additions.
We now have the long-range lens which has a circular 10° field of fire, the close-range lens which has a circular 35° field of fire, the scatter lens which has a circular 30° field of fire, and the vertical lens which has a 10° horizontal / 60° vertical field of fire (good for AA). The other differences between them is the percentage of damage drop off at certain ranges, which is marked in their UI.
https://preview.redd.it/zvg2u0c5u9t51.jpg?width=1920&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=567a2c4e092ea5fef62e67b051a74151e48b58d4
https://preview.redd.it/mboi63c5u9t51.jpg?width=1920&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=78690d46df1466844cc38ff6b6623a30d910b726
One other awesome change to the PAC system is that melee lenses do not need to be hooked up to the now called long-range lens. Simply setup your melee head and snakey noodle PAC tubes with a terminator on the end, then link up to your other melee lens via Q in the drop-down menu. The scatter lens also deserves some attention here, as it can double up the number of beams if we increase the charge time max x4 at 30 seconds. The PAC system has had many tweaks which you should check up on in the changelogs.
Shields have also had some love. Projector shields reflect and laser scatter modes are now merged and have also had a slight buff to ricochet chance. Ring shields armour bonus has also increased by 50%.
We also have some new additions to APS in terms of coolers.
From left to right we now have an L shape, 4 way and a 5 way cooler.
https://preview.redd.it/lfi937e7u9t51.jpg?width=1920&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=4ff99ceae914777137262754baa017300c2f4c1f
We now have some new wide wheel additions too for all you land vehicle lovers.
https://preview.redd.it/1ysi7u68u9t51.jpg?width=1920&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=0760606aa3aebbde24a44fcb7319477453ee3b99
The next biggest change would be steam engines even though other changes will be implemented in this update. We are once again rehashing the whole system, which will be released in the following updates.
I had asked Weng a number of questions as to why the change was needed, why are the parts expensive, when and why would you use steam over fuel, and this is what he had to say:
Reason why steam changes are needed:
  • Steam was previously totally unbalanced and arbitrary. For example, 9 small boilers with 1 small piston was the optimal steam setup, which was more efficient and denser than almost all other engines; and turbine power generation only depended on its pressure, so compact turbines were always optimal.
  • It lacked many critical info in its UI.
  • It was hard to control the usage of steam

What's good with new steam:
  • A bit more of realism and complexity
  • Larger steam now generally have better efficiency and density than equivalent smaller steam
  • More useful info such as total power production, performance over time
  • Possibility to regulate steam usage with valves

Pros of steam compared to injector fuel:
  • Denser and more efficient
  • Even denser with turbines
  • Easier to fit into irregular space
  • Provides a buffer with flywheels or steam tanks
  • More efficient when used for propellers
  • Doesn't require fuel containers, uses material directly from any type of storage
  • Computationally less intensive
Cons of steam compared to fuel:

  • Still hard to regulate, so it's only useful when the power usage is constant or there's a buffer energy storage
  • Turbines waste energy when batteries are full
  • Crankshafts waste energy when reaching speed limit
  • More susceptible to damage (injector engines can often still run fine even when half of it is gone, steam can stop working when a single pipe is destroyed)
Why cost of parts is hilariously high: Steam engines have better efficiency and density (many players seem to forget that one) than injector engines. So a higher initial costs makes it less overpowered.
(In my opinion, the potential waste of energy is a major drawback of steam and justifies for its high potential power. But iirc Draba said that injector engines would be useless on designs that require a lot of power if steam doesn't have higher initial cost, which also makes sense.)
Problem with new steam that can't be fixed:
  • Many old designs are broken due to low power output
  • More complexity
Problems that can probably be fixed but I don't have a solution:
  • Inefficient steam engines are ridiculously bad (a bad steam engine is like 30 PPM and 50 PPV, while a good one is around 600 PPM and 110 PPV) (I tried to fix this and spent like 40 hours on that, but I only managed to make it easier to build a mediocre engine)
  • Cannot be simulated to calculate a stable power output, like fuel engines do (actually it's easy but would take a lot of time to do and I don't think it's necessary)

Another massive change is the detection rework which I also left a few questions for Ian AKA Blothorn to explain the system and how it works.
Why a change was warranted:
  • Different types of detection weren't well balanced--for instance, visual components had better accuracy than IR and vastly better range.
  • Detection autoadjust used an incorrect formula, so optimizing adjustment was both mechanical and tedious.
  • Trackers having much better detection ranges than search sensors meant that detection was very binary--if you could see something at all you could usually get a precise lock (barring ECM, which was only counterable by large numbers of components).
  • Needing both sensors and munitions warners made reactive missile defence difficult on small vehicles.
  • There were a number of other inconsistencies/imbalances, e.g. some visual/IR sensors working through water, steam engines producing no heat, etc.
Overview of the new system:
On the offensive side, each sensor type now has a role in which it is optimal, and large vehicles are best using a variety to cover their weaknesses. Visual probably remains the default for above-water detection--it remains impossible to reduce visual signature other than reducing size. IR is better against fast vehicles, as they have trouble avoiding high IR signatures from thrust and drag. Both visual and IR are weak in rangefinding (although coincidence rangefinders are adequate for most purposes); radar is correspondingly strong in range and weak in bearing, although it often offers better detection chances against vehicles that don't pay attention to radar stealth.
On the defensive side, there are two approaches. Most obvious is signature reduction--while it is deliberately difficult to avoid detection entirely, reducing signature reduces detection chances and thus degrades opposing accuracy. At short ranges, however, this doesn't work well--detection chances are likely high regardless, and low errors at short range mean even sparse detections can give a good fix. Smoke and chaff can be useful here: they increase detection chance while adding a distance-independent error to opponent's visual and radar sensors, respectively.
ECM, buoys, and radar guidance have also been reworked. Buoys are more powerful, becoming more accurate as they get closer to the target. While their base error is high, at long ranges a buoy at close range can beat the accuracy of any onboard sensor. If you worry about opponents’ buoys, ECM can now intermittently jam them--except if they are connected to their parent vehicle by a harpoon cable, in which case they don't need the vulnerable wireless connection.
Most blueprints should need no modifications under the new system, although a few may want a few more or less GPP cards. The one exception is water interactions--IR cameras, laser rangefinders, and retroreflection sensors can no longer work through water, so submarines that used them underwater or vehicles that used them to detect submarines will need to replace them (likely with buoys). Vehicles that predominantly used visual detection should also consider adding a greater variety of sensors--in particular, visual camera trackers tied to AA mainframes should likely be replaced with IR cameras. Also, radars and cameras can take over missile and projectile detection (radar is required for projectile detection), so munitions warners can be removed/replaced with additional sensors.
Last but not least a sweet little addition to our build menu prefabs.
https://preview.redd.it/iqw1ymabu9t51.png?width=1920&format=png&auto=webp&s=aa1e3cdba6e1d62e07aef83caf0acad2a39249ed
Please do make sure you go through the changelog as a hell of a lot has changed!
submitted by BaconsTV to FromTheDepths [link] [comments]

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.
submitted by ScreteMonge to 2007scape [link] [comments]

A LONG"Rant" About the Talents System

Ay yo, it’s everybody’s least-favourite user, comin’ atcha with another long-ass pseudo-essay that nobody asked for. This time, the topic is on talents.
What is the Talent system?
The talent system is one of the primary features of Paladins that sets it apart from its… competitors. At the beginning of each match, each player is allowed to select 1 talent from 3 to boost their champion. This talent chosen will usually synergize with the player’s chosen loadout, and will alter the champion’s performance in some way.
I feel the Talents system is incredible. It allows each champion to fill a variety of different roles and have various methods of filling the roles they already have. Essentially, the talents system allows one to customize their champion and make them more unique to the user, or allowing the user to adapt to various situations (team compositions).
So why the rant?
Not all talents are created equal-- not even close. Before I go on, I’d like to establish what (in my opinion) makes a talent great, good, alright, or blasphemous. Note that this doesn’t necessarily correspond to the strength of the talent, only the talent’s creativity or individuality of its design.

A GREAT talent should be able to recontextualize a champion’s entire kit.

A great talent doesn’t just change a champion’s playstyle, it can change their entire ROLE. However, this must be done carefully, in such a way that the champion’s base kit and/or available cards remain largely relevant. The cards from the champion’s loadout should remain impactful, but perhaps focus can be placed on other cards that may not have been used otherwise, or using already-utilized cards differently.
Undoubtedly, two of the best examples of this would be Pip’s Catalyst and Seris’ Soul Collector. Catalyst causes enemies slowed by Pip’s weapon shots to take an additional 30% damage from his primary attacks, and Soul Collector gives up to 15 2% boosts to Seris’ maximum health and primary attack damage for each Soul Charge she detonates.
No matter how you feel about these talents, there is a clear difference between a Soul Collector Seris and a stock/Mortal Reach Seris, or a Catalyst Pip and a stock/Mega Potion Pip.
Namely, that they’re dunking on you.
One of the most notable things about these talents is that, again, the champions’ cards remain relevant. I play much more Seris than Pip, so I feel much safer discussing her cards.
ALL BUT ONE of Seris’ cards (Soul Forge) remain relevant when she picks Soul Collector. Even if she chooses to play a more aggressive build, her Restore Soul cards remain relevant. The ability may no longer be the Seris’ primary focus, but its cards allow it to potentially remain relevant by providing ammo without reloading, providing healing to her on a short cooldown, or reducing the lengthy 14s base cooldown of Shadow Travel.
Even the cards not related to Restore Soul gain new roles: Umbral Gait goes from allowing Seris to retreat more quickly from advancing enemies to also allowing her to close the distance between her and her target(s) with a *massive* speed boost of up to 40%. Essence Rip and Wickedness allow her to combat the crippling presence of Cauterize later in the round by improving her only self-sustain when on her own, allowing her to engage more confidently.
This is, to me, the best talent in the game, just for how much it puts a twist on an otherwise simple champion, all while keeping her coherent. Well done, Evil Moji. Well done indeed.

A GOOD Talent recontextualizes a single ability.

A step below changing the entire kit of a champion, some talents change how a single ability is used. Examples of this include Maeve’s Rogue’s Gambit, Furia’s Solar Blessing, Vivian’s Booby Traps, (arguably) Makoa’s Half Shell, Pip’s Combat Medic, and Skye’s Grade A Medicinal Kush Smoke and Dagger. These are distinguished from the category below them by actually *changing how the ability is used.\* Simply improving a talent’s ability to do what it already does does not count for this.
Maeve’s Rogue’s Gambit provides a small 10% damage boost to Pounce, but more notably resets its cooldown whenever she gets an elimination or killing blow. This allows for better dives through more reliable escape, but also improves her mobility greatly, especially if the player is skilled. It allows her to be a bit more loose with the otherwise fairly harsh possibility of having to expend her lengthy 20s cooldown of Nine Lives to escape, and can be the thing that allows great Maeves to play The Floor is Lava for what feels like the whole match.
Vivian’s Booby Traps is simple: Drones go boom. It gives her a form of damage outside of shooting her gun at her opponent, and grants a bit of burst (as though she needed that), but also some fairly-reliable AoE damage. It incentivises using her drones multiple times during a fight rather than relying on a single pre-placed one as the drones will go boom, requiring her to replace them if she wants to continue gaining benefits from any reveal-based cards that may be in her loadout.
Furia’s Solar Blessing is perhaps the strongest example of recontextualizing an ability, simply due to how drastic the change is. It changes her Pyre Strike from being a primarily defensive CC tool to being an extremely powerful healing ability. This comes at the cost of her often casting it when she’s not being attacked, potentially leaving her more vulnerable to flanks until it’s off cooldown. Likewise, if she uses to fight off a flank, she’s now missing the ability to burst-heal her tank back from the brink of death to near-full. A trade-off of self-defence or support. Nice.

An OK talent simply focuses on an ability, without changing its use very much.

This primarily means that X talent is now better at doing whatever it already did. Buck already likely uses Heroic Leap to engage; Bounce House just makes it a better tool to do so. Seris was already going to use Restore Soul to heal; Mortal Reach just improved its restorative capabilities. Inara was probably already going to use Warder’s Field to impede movement; Treacherous Ground just makes that infinitely easier.
These talents are… fine. They’re often the ‘meta’ talents for champions (think Mega Potion, Bounce House, Luminary, etc.), and I believe that’s because they’re the ‘safe” options. They improve on what’s already there, and make the champion better at doing whatever they already do. It just makes sense that a talent to make a tank even tankier is going to be a common pick, right?
These talents are, again, fine. They’re usually not overly offensive, and the worst thing about them will likely be that the numbers are a bit too high or low. Uncreative, but it’s not a crime to have most/every champion have a talent to improve their performance at their base job.

A BAD/SHIT talent focuses on a champion’s primary, without changing its use very much.

Let me specify: a bad talent likely focuses on the champion’s primary attack, adding some bonus effect (usually damage). It doesn’t particularly encourage the champion to do much else than what they’d do without the talent.
You may be able to see where I’m going with this. Drogoz’ Fusillade, Vivian’s Opportunity in Chaos, Willo’s Blastflower, Pyromania in its pre-Vora state, and probably some others all fall under this category. Basically, if you can’t tell the champion is using a particular talent as opposed to not using a talent at all by anyway except your health bar drops faster, it’s probably a shit talent.
But wouldn’t this include Lex’s Death Hastens, Jenos’ Binary Star and Androxus’ Cursed Revolver?
Well… kind of. These talents, particularly the former and latter, are notably special cases. While they do focus on the weapons, they change them in such a way that more focus is placed on aim and allowing greater opportunities to headshot. A difference between these three and their stock variants can easily be felt. What distinguishes Death Hastens and Cursed Revolver further is that they serve as sorts of fanservice, restoring their respective champions to older states for players who preferred these slow-firing and more accuracy-dependent forms. Whether you wish to include these talents in this category is up to you, but I’d personally just put them off to the side.
The running theme here is change and identity. How much change can I feel when I play this talent? What identity does this talent establish for the champion, and possibly even for the player playing them? If the talents and card systems exist to customize a champion to a specific playstyle, the talent shouldn’t just make X ability Y% better at doing Z than it was before. There’s a very fine line between the criteria on this list for a good talent and a shit one, and one that may not be possible to explain with words.
So, what the hell was the point of you writing all this?
Hopefully, to gather feedback and see how correct people feel these criteria are. If positively received, I’d love for more talents to take routes that would lead them to being higher up on this list. If every talent changed the champion’s playstyle to the extent of Soul Collector and Catalyst, I feel this game would be infinitely closer to reaching its maximum potential, gaining customizability and potential creativity among playstyles perhaps rivalling the likes of TF2 (if we aren’t there already).
As long as uncreative (damage) talents such as Fusillade, Opportunity in Chaos, and Blastflower exist, though, I feel like the game is not living up to its full potential. At the very least, I would like to see these bland talents reworked.
submitted by SpiritualBanana1 to Paladins [link] [comments]

Seekers Beyond the Shroud -- Review and Thoughts

Seekers Beyond the Shroud is a Solo modern day occult RPG, written by Alex T. for Blackoath Entertainment. I first stumbled upon it on Kickstarter in October of 2019, and immediately backed it. There are few deliberately designed Solo RPG's, and its promise of solo rules, robust system, and setting was irresistible. I received my print copy this summer, but haven't had a chance until recently to play it. Now that I have, I wanted to do a quick review of the game, based on both my reading of it as well as the couple of sessions I've been able to play. While most of the review will be discussing the book itself, I'll include some notes on my play experience in spoilers.
Layout and Design
The book itself is solid. The cover image is cool and evocative--and the art in general is very well done. I only backed at the softcover level, but it's a solid and well designed layout. Actually, better than some of the recent games I've bought from more established companies.
Setting
It's modern day London. Your character has gone through some traumatic and horrifying experience that awakened them to the greater supernatural world. After much searching, you have come to the Omphalos, a secret town populated by mystics, monsters, and other...things. There, you begin your journey of both personal enlightenment and personal power.
Character Creation
Seekers uses the 6 classic attributes--Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, and Charisma, with Will replacing Wisdom. The scale is from 1-20, with all starting at 10. You then get an additional 20 points to further customize your character.
I ended up putting my points into Dexterity, Will, Intelligence, and Charisma. I figured Will and Intelligence are key to any aspiring wizard, and--desiring to do something different than a rogue bad ass--I was hoping that Dexterity and Charisma would give me options to solve issues with something other than direct violence. This would become an issue later on.
Next, you have "Secondary Attributes"--Hit Points (Con x10) or Sanity (Int x10) and the like. Then, you have Skills. They're pretty much what you would expect, a mix of combat and non-combat. You have 250 points to spend on the skills, but are limited to no more than 50 in any skill at creation. Some skills have a base value derived from your attributes (for example, One-Handed Melee starts with a value equal to your Str+Dex, while Persuade starts with a value equal to your Charisma X2), while other skills--the mystical ones--begin at 0 and can only be increased through gameplay. If you use a skill 5 times, you can make a Skill-Up roll. If you roll above the current value (i.e.: fail), you add 1 point to the skill.
Given that I had a decent Dex, my combat skills were decent to begin with. I wanted to play an "ordinary joe" kind of character, so I spend my points on skills like Technology, Linguistics, and Persuade. I finally caved to my min/maxing tendencies though, and ended up boosting Parry and Sneak as high as I could, with a smattering of points in other combat skills. I had quite a few in the mid-40's, so my "mild mannered accountant" was surprisingly dangerous. Or so I thought.
Backgrounds
After the basics are done, you roll a d10 for your Background. Each provides and in-depth backstory for your character, and details the traumatic and often horrific moment that set you on the path of magic. Each also provides various penalties and bonuses that further modify your character.
I rolled the "Near Death Experience"--my PC was a workaholic who almost dies of a heart attack. While "dead," he encounter a horrific spirit that he just barely managed to evade. Upon waking, he through aside his career and sought out some explanation for what he had seen. He has a bonus to Psychic Combat--which is used in the Astral Plane--but a penalty to his Constitution and Charisma. I had left my Con at 10, so it dropped to 9, and my Hit Points also dropped from 100 to 90. I wasn't worried though, as I had intended to be more sneaky and charming than tough.
He said foreshadowingly.
Combat
Combat is relatively simple. As you approach a foe, you make an Initiative roll on a d20. Each foe has a static Initiative value; if you beat it, you go first and if not, then they do. If you beat them on the first turn, you have a chance to surprise or avoid them entirely. All combat rolls are done by the player. If an enemy attacks, you need to make a defensive roll (Parry, Dodge, or Find Cover) to avoid their attack, and you make your offensive roll (like One Handed Melee) to hit them. Certain foes are Veterans, and apply penalties to these rolls. Different types of weapons do different amounts of damage--like 2d10+10 for a pistol. In the intro adventure, the PC gains a "talent" that grants them a flat +25 to their damage from then on. Most foes have roughly 100-130 Hit Points, so even with the player bonus, it can take quite a few rounds to get through even minor enemies.
The Mystical World
The next few sections are some of the most interesting, describing the Astral World, Magic, Summoning and Binding Spirits, and the like. I haven't had a chance to really dig into this aspect of the game, however.
The Omphalos and Scenarios
The core of the game is the Omphalos, a hub of trade, commerce, knowledge and intrigue. Here the PC can buy and sell gear, learn new knowledge, encounter the strange denizens of this world, and get missions for various factions. There are four listed in the book, each with their own agendas and philosophy. Each has constant need for "foot soldiers" to do various unsavory tasks for them, and as you gain Favor with each, they provide various bonuses and spells and other benefits.
>! So, I finished the intro scenario, had some knowledge of the greater world, and had been introduced to the Omphalos. Time for the first "real" adventure! First, I roll on the Emphalos Daily Event table and got "quiet day"--things are calm today, and prices are low. I have only a few obols (the currency of the magical realm), so any discount is nice. Then I roll for Encounters, and get "pickpocket." There's no roll to avoid this, so my PC loses 100 obols. This is more than I have, so I am no broke. Desperate for work, I see who is hiring. There are 4 factions, and each might have a represented in town that day, based on a roll of 7+ on a D10. I roll for each, and only one is present, the Causa Scientiae a particularly rational and Order focused faction. I then roll for the Scenario--I get "recover." One of their artifacts has fallen into mortal hands and is in a museum. They want me to recover it for them. Given the setup, there will only be mortal guards--which is nice--and they don't want me to kill anyone. In fact, each guard I kill will cost me the possible Favor reward with the faction. Works for me--I don't want to kill anyone either.!<
I could refuse job, but risk losing Favor with them. Given that they are the only ones hiring today, I'm loathe to refuse. Plus the job seems up my alley--no magics needed (and I have none), and I should avoid all combat. Since other types of mission are "kill everything on site" or "kill everything and cast a really tough ritual" I figure I'm unlikely to get a better mission.
Next I go to the scenario design. There are a number of possible locations, and each has a unique setup, Events, and Discoveries. This is probably my favorite part of the game. I roll some dice, get a list of rooms and locations, and then create a simple map for my explorations. I know given the setup that the artifact in question will be discovered in the 16th room. But, a roleplayer is gonna roleplay, so I decide my PC will make a beeline for the Archives, assuming that the object surely must be there. And, if not, it will have the necessary paperwork showing where the object is.
Each room has unique odds for three different types of encounters--Enemies, Events, and Discoveries. I begin at the Entrance, and have no enemies but an Event reveals Drug Fueled Goons--apparently the guards here are all high as hell, and have a bonus of 20 to their Hit Points, but a -10 to combat. So, tougher to kill, but easier to hit and avoid.
The next room I enter is the Lobby, and there's a guard present. The guard rules state that they will attack on site. I could use an alternate rule that lets you talk past human-type foes but, well, I am breaking in and they are all drugged the hell up, so I stick with the basic rules. Still, I try to avoid them but fail in my starting initiative roll. The battle begins, and the dice are on my side. It's a running gun battle, but I'm able to kill the guard. When he's wounded, he calls for backup, and the dice gods are still smiling at me, and I make it through that battle without any injuries. I'm upset at my failure to avoid combat--and losing Favor with my client--but after some nasty battles in the intro adventure, I start to think I'm getting things sorted out.
I continue exploring and even manage to successfully sneak past a guard. As I'm exploring one of the administration offices, I run into another one. This time I can't avoid him, and another fight ensues. This time, the dice don't roll so well. He quickly gets the better of me, and I end up taking a lot damage. And with only 90 Hit Points, it's far more than I'm comfortable with. I decide to run.
To run away, you need to roll a D20 and, like initiative, and beat their Dexterity but even still they get a free attack on you. Not that it matters, as I fail to disengage. After two rounds spent trying to run away, my PC is shot dead on some secretaries desk and my game came to a close.
Concluding Thoughts
Seekers Beyond the Shroud is a very interesting game. Obviously, a ton of thought, love, and work has been poured into this game. And there is a lot I love about it--the world, the discussions on magic and spirits, the mission setup system--all top notch. But, there are some things that didn't quite work for me.
I'll probably give the game another shot. But, instead of playing an average guy awakening to a wider world, I'll probably go with a more "badass" character and hope he can survive the first few missions. In Seekers, knowing ancient languages is nice, but real mages know how to use a Glock.
TLDR
Seekers Beyond the Shroud is an interesting Solo RPG of modern occult shenanigans. it has a lot of very interesting and fun mechanics to bring the game to life, but suffers from some bad editing (make sure you play through the intro scenario or you WILL miss a key "PC Bonus") and an unforgiving system. Still, worth checking out for any Solo gamer interested in more contemporary game.
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BINARY OPTIONS TUTORIAL: BINARY OPTIONS SYSTEM - BINARY OPTIONS STRATEGY (BINARY STRATEGY)

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