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Greed is Subtle
The morning alarm woke up Ghen. With an annoyed sigh, he stretched out his arm and silenced the foul-sounding chirps. Slowly sitting up in bed, he let out a deep yawn and got to his feet. Running a couple of chitinous fingers along his antennae to stimulate them to life, he made his bed and then went to his closet. Today was a work day, so he needed his suit. Once the pants were on, he stretched out his wings so that he could button up the shirt, then relaxing them once all the buttons were secured. Dressing for the day was done, now for the morning meal. Entering his kitchen, he took out the chilled leftovers of the evening meal last night and popped it into the radiator, first defrosting and then slightly cooking it. During that process, he also fished out a ceramic cup and placed it in his brewer, serving himself some synthesized caffeine. His idle thought led him to being amused that, when eaten directly off a plant, it has a concentration that could kill him three times over. But after going through some refinement and roasting, all it does is make him hyper. Once the meal was put together, his plate of heated leftovers and a cup of almost-piping-hot cup of Xia's, he took his time to enjoy it. His communicator vibrated. When he looked, he found it was from his boss. "Hello?" Ghen answered. "Ghen, the meeting's been moved up to a few minutes from now." His boss, Xkik, announced. "Apparently higher up has something important they want to say. We have a terminal ready for you, I'll message the login details." "Wha-, what's so important?" Ghen asked in bewilderment. "Did a water line rupture or something?" "No, nothing like that." Xkik replied with a slight chuckle. "It's actually about the rumors we've been hearing. That human corporation wanting to acquire us? That's what they're talking about." Ghen could feel everything inside his thorax drop to the floor. "That must mean it's true then, right? Did we get sold off by the Queen to this company then?" "Show up to the meeting and you'll get your answer." Xkik said simply. When he finished, Ghen got the notification on his communicator. There's the login details, allowing him to remotely attend the meeting. "They're about to start, hurry up." Once Xkik disconnected, Ghen worked fast to login and set up the remote viewing. Once everything was done, his screen started transmitting the meeting room. It was already packed. And off by the main board, he saw his answer. There was a human, resting against the wall on his two legs. Standing right in the center of everyone's view was the coordinator, Tizx, watching the clock periodically. As soon as the meeting's start time was reached, the coordinator began. "Alright everyone. I realize that this was rather short notice, so I want to say how appreciative I am that you made it. Now then, let's just get right to it. For some time now, many of you have been hearing rumors that a human corporation has been interested in us. Why? We never really knew. We're just an organization responsible for finding, extracting and providing water to the colony here all under the direction of the Queen herself. Well, as of now, I have the answer for you. Why don't I let Ryan say that?" Stepping back, Tizx motioned for the human, Ryan, to take over. With a nod, Ryan practically bounced over and then took the position. "Good morning to you all. I hope my Zazk is passable, heh. Anyways, the answer to those rumors, is yes. Terran Galactic Company is indeed interested in you all. Which now leads to me. I'm here to announce that, effective yesterday evening, this water company is now a subsidiary of Terran Galactic Company, under the name of Zilia Water Delivery." Many other sub-coordinators broke into hushed conversation, no doubt speaking their thoughts with each other about this move. Ghen could only wonder if this was even a good thing. What will the humans do? Will he still have his job? Will he have to learn how to deal with the ruthless humans? "Now, I am well aware this is quite the...uh, change." Ryan continued. "That's why I'm happy to inform you that, no, nothing negative or detrimental will happen to you. You just have new people to answer to. Operations will continue as normal, everybody here will still keep their jobs. The only real change any of you will personally experience is that Coordinator Tizx here will now report to someone else. On behalf of the Terran Galactic Company, we are extremely excited and are looking forward to working with you all. Thank you for your time." A week later. At least Ryan wasn't lying. After the initial shock wore off, things went back as they normally did. There were no terminations, no reductions in annual pay or anything. Nothing really changed. At least until this new meeting was called. Ghen was at the worksite this time, so he took his seat and watched as, once again, Ryan led the meeting. "Hello again, everyone!" He said cheerfully, his Zazk noticeably improved. "I hope I didn't end up looking like a liar, right? Everything's still normal, all that?" All the zazk in the room confirmed, providing comments to their pleasant surprise as well as lingering thoughts. "Awesome! Awesome." Ryan said jubilantly, his fleshy mouth revealing his bone-white teeth. "Now then, you're probably wondering why I'm here again, right? Well, I got another fantastic piece of news for you all! Two, actually. I'll start with the first: Zilia Water Delivery has just completed its IPO. The company is now publicly traded!" Ghen and the others voiced their confusion, having no idea what in the name of the Queen Ryan was talking about. What was Ryan talking about? What's an IPO? And why exactly is being publicly traded such a significant thing? "Oh, you guys don't know any of that?" Ryan asked in surprised confusion. After everybody confirmed, he let out a quick huff as he began his explanation. "Well, to begin, IPO is short for Initial Public Offering. Basically what that means is that, before today, Zilia was privately held. Only certain individuals could buy and sell shares here. But now that we're public? Literally anyone can buy and sell shares in the company, hence us being publicly traded." "Uh, what's a share?" Ghen asked, still completely lost. "Oh, boy..." Ryan muttered under his breath before returning to his peppy image. "To simply put it, a share is short for having a share of ownership in a company. When you buy a share, you're buying a piece of ownership, and when you sell, you're selling that amount." "So wait...if someone buys a share, they're a co-owner then?" One of the other team coordinators asked. "If they get enough, yeah." Ryan nodded. "You need a lot though, and that really depends on the company. If I had to give an answer though? I'd say usually you need to have a lot more shares than a lot of people combined to be officially a co-owner, but we call that being a majority shareholder." "And how do we do that?" Ghen asked, now growing curious but still not understanding why such a concept exists. "Simple. Buy shares." Ryan said simply. "And that leads into the second piece of awesome news. Zilia's corporate has a product in mind, a premium-package of water delivery. Instead of the usual water that you pump out, filter and ensure its potable before delivery, with the premium package, not only will you get that, but you'll also get all of the required nutrients and vitamins the zazk body requires! And they feel you guys have the best expertise and understanding to pull it off! So, here's what we're offering as a good-faith bonus: A 25% increase to your annual salary as well as being given stock options." Ghen wasn't sure about the second part, but the salary definitely got his attention, as well as everyone else's. Although his job was considered to have a good pay, Ghen isn't going to say no to a higher salary. In fact, he's been focusing his work on getting a promotion so he can come home with even more credits in pocket. "What do you mean by stock options?" Ghen asked after some time. Ryan let out that smile again, the one that revealed his teeth. "If you choose to transfer over to the new group, you'll be provided 50,000 shares in Zilia itself. Why's that awesome? Let me walk you through it. Right now, our last closing price per share was 3.02 credits. And if you have 50,000 shares during that time, you're sitting on 151,000 credits, if you cash it out immediately." "And why shouldn't we?" One of the coordinators demanded in an ambiguous tone. "Because the price per share changes a lot." Ryan explained promptly. "When we got done with the IPO? It closed at 2.73 a share. Right now? My money's on the closing price being 2.99 a share. However, we are extremely confident in this premium package being successful. If it does? Well, my bet is that the share price will skyrocket to 3.12 a share. If you hold those shares and the price gets to what my bet was? You'll instead get 156,000 credits. Just by holding onto them, you just made an additional 5,000 credits!" "And what if we have more shares?" Ghen questioned, now getting excited at the prospect of free money. "Even more money!" Ryan laughed a bit. "And don't forget about dividends, but that's for another time. The premium group is gearing up right now, we just need the workforce. If any of you wants in, I'll be back tomorrow with all the forms needed to make it official. Take the day and tonight to think it over, yeah?" Everything else melted into a blur. Ghen was practically on autopilot that whole day. Was this the secret to the humans' incredibly massive economy? How so many of them have amassed so much money out of nowhere? All you had to do was just buy this share out of a company and you get more money without even working? As soon as he got home, Ghen knew what he was going to do during the night. After feverishly looking through the galnet, now having the human race connected to it, he looked and gathered up as many books that were translated into zazk as he could find, all talking about the human economic system. The last time he undertook such an intensive study was during his primary education phase. And during his search, he even found forums on the galnet that were completely dedicated to the human's economy. All of them talking about strategies on what company, or stock, to pick. How to analyze a company's performance to determine if it was worth the money, or it had potential to grow over time. And that was when he discovered the humans found another method to the extremely simple buying and selling process. There were humans and some other immigrated aliens who made five times what Ghen could receive over a simple month just by watching the share prices during trading hours, and then buying and selling them at the proper times. Ghen's mind was just absolutely flabbergasted. He thought it was just some strange concept only aliens could make, but no, not with the humans. They've practically made their economy into an art or a science. No, not even their economy. Everything. If humans can see a way to make money off of it, they'll do it. And if there isn't, they'll look for a way. Healthcare was monetized. Galnet services, transportation, shopping at the store, they even made all of their utilities into profit-oriented companies. And it was there that Ghen paused, the realization slamming into him. Everything was monetized. Which means, if you don't have the money for it, you're not getting it. Right? Are the humans truly that ruthless? So obsessed with making money? To the point that they're willing to deprive their own people of the absolute necessities if it's a source of credits? Ghen let out a scoff. There's no way. Nobody is that cruel and callous. He's never been to the United Nations. He can't rely on what a bunch of random people on the galnet says. He decided that from here on out, he'll only go as far as saying that humans are a little obsessed with credits, nothing more. ... There he was. Ryan, sitting in the office provided to him. And there was a rather large line leading to him. Looks like word got around. Although, the line wasn't as large as he expected it to be. Maybe the others thought it was just a ruse? That there's no such thing as making free money by spending it on such a made-up concept? Ghen only knows that, if it is a ruse, it's an extremely elaborate one, where all of the humans are in on it. And he believes that's just extremely ridiculous. At the end, if he's unsure, he'll just take the transfer for the very real increase in his very real salary. And although he spent a very good chunk of the night reading up on how humans do things, he's still going to play it smart. He'll leave his 50,000 shares alone and see where it goes from there. "Good morning sir." Ryan greeted warmly once Ghen took his seat. "Now, name please?" "Ghen." He answered, barely keeping his nerves down. "Alright...and what's your position at this location?" Ryan questioned after scribbling on his form. "I monitor the pumping stations near the extraction sites." Ghen explained, staying on point. "To be more specific, I check to see if they're in need of maintenance, as well as reading the flow rate that's determined by the calculators installed there. If there's too little for what's needed, I pump out more. And if there's too much, I pull it back a little." "Nice...and how long have you been doing it for?" Ryan complimented with a nod. "As of tomorrow, ten years." Ghen replied, voice quickly changing to minor awe once he realized that fact. "Excellent. Do you have anyone in mind you'd like to replace you here?" Ryan questioned after another scribble. "If you don't have anyone, you're free to say so." Ghen took a moment to think it over. A bunch of names went through his mind, but one stuck with him. "Tilik. He's just been accepted here, but he's learned quickly. Very attentive and he always catches something subtle. I think he'll do really well in my position, even better actually." "Tilik, really?" Ryan questioned with a little shock, going through his completed forms. Ghen felt a short sense of panic in him. Did something happen, or was Tilik actually transferring? His answer didn't take long to reveal itself. "Right, Tilik was actually one of the first people to want to transfer here. He's actually requested to be part of the testing teams specifically. Do you have a second choice?" "Um...no, actually." Ghen replied, feeling a little ashamed. "Tilik was my only choice, to be honest." "Hey, don't worry." Ryan said assuringly with his hands raised. "Nothing wrong with that. Sometimes, there's just nobody up to snuff, right? 'Kay, so, last question. Is there anything specific you'd like to do when given the transfer?" "If you need someone monitoring new pumps, I'd be happy to do that." Ghen stated. "So basically same job but with better payoff, am I right?" Ryan grinned. "I hear you. Sometimes, we're just not paid enough for what we're doing. I know I think that sometimes. Uh, our secret, yeah?" "Yeah, our secret." Ghen nodded, thinking it'd be better to have friendly relations with the human, just in case. "Awesome. Back on topic, that's it." Ryan announced, placing the form on his pile. "We'll give you a call when you're accepted." "Oh, uh, that's it?" Ghen questioned with a shrug in shocked surprise. "What, expecting a question like, why do you want to transfer?" Ryan chuckled a bit as he leaned in his seat. "You can bullshit all you want, but we both know the answer. Sweet money and stock options. Not saying that's a bad answer of course, just that it's pretty obvious." "I suppose it is." Ghen commented, realizing the point. "Also, you mentioned this...dividend? Is that for Zilia shares?" Ryan laughed a little bit before nodding. "Yep, announced before I came here. About 0.43 per share. Want to know why that's awesome? Instead of waiting for the proper price to cash out your shares, now? The company pays you for each share you hold." "A...Are you serious?" Ghen demanded, flabbergasted. Ryan nodded with his now-trademark grin. "Dead serious. If you get the transfer, and get those 50,000 shares? A little head math...right, if you hold onto those, in addition to your salary, you'll now annually be paid 21,500 credits, if you keep it at 50,000 shares. Only you can decide to sell or buy shares." Ghen just stood there silent and motionless, no idea of whether to believe it or not, to which Ryan just laughed. Once he walked out of the room, he managed to snap back to reality. Again, just focus on the very real pay-raise. He'll deal with the other parts later. After he returned to his spot, he spotted Tizx approaching by his desk. The coordinator seems to be as casual as always. "I saw you in that line a bit ago, Ghen." He said as he leaned on the desk. "Guess you're really taking that human's word?" "I mean, I don't know about all this share business or what not." Ghen began with a shrug, his tone sounding a little defensive. "But I mean, having a bigger salary? Course I'm going for it when I can. And if all this magic credits turn out to be real? You realize we can live like the royal servants, right? Get the best cars, the nicest food and all that?" "I'd be very careful, Ghen." Tizx warned in a sudden shift in tone. "Don't trust those humans. The way they just...obsess over money? Come up with more and more insane ways of getting credits? I don't know, it just makes my wings twitch." "You think this is a bad idea?" Ghen asked with a little surprise at the change-in-demeanor. "I think you should be careful, with the humans, and with what you're saying." Tizx replied, straightening his posture. "I wouldn't put it past those Earthmen to backstab you if it gets them a few more credits. And we all know how the royal servants get if any of us lowly commoners start thinking we can break into their circle." "I hear you, I'll be on my guard, promise." Ghen stated with a nod. With a confirming nod of his own, Tizx returned back to his duty, walking past Ghen's desk. Several weeks later. Everything became so much better. Ghen got the transfer. He didn't need to relocate to a new residence either. And after he was walked through into learning how to manage his stock account, and seeing that new form of payment in his hands, he already felt as though he made the best decision. But it was only when he decided to take those shares more seriously that he became privy to what he was given. After receiving the dividend payment, and actually seeing it was real, valid credits after transferring it to his main bank account, all he could describe was the most powerful high he ever felt. While his first thoughts were to buy himself a royalty-class car, some nicer furnishings for his home, or even a better home entirely, he ended up going the smarter route. After going back to his stock account, he discovered that Zilia's shares rose to about 3.22 credits in price. Knowing that this was the easiest money he could ever make, he took all of his dividend earnings and bought more shares in Zilia, bringing him to owning 56,891. And from his new regional coordinator, a human named Dylan, tomorrow is the grand release of the premium package. For just a monthly rate of 14.99 credits, the tap water will now include a sizeable portion of all nutrients and vitamins required in the zazk physiology. Still, Ghen has to admit. He's not entirely sure why anybody would want such a thing, if they'd even go for it. But, as long as he's practically swimming in easy credits, he won't pay much attention to it. And just like when he was intensively studying the basics of how the human economy worked, he barely got any sleep. His mind was constantly thinking about the things he would buy. Or rather, what other stocks to put his credits into. Even now he can still hardly believe it. Just spend your money on some, make-believe thing and, if you wait long enough and picked the right stock, you'll get more than you spent back? His mind even wandered onto what human colonies, or even their homeworld, Earth, was like. If everybody was making so much money, what kind of things would they offer? What kind of ridiculous service or product or item can you get? He's even debating on joining some forum and just asking around. Explain how he's new to how humans do things and was wondering what he should expect if he's successful. By the time he felt like he can go to sleep, the binary-stars of the system were rising from the horizon. After getting out of his bed and changing to clean clothes, his mind returned onto what-ifs. What if he bought better clothes? He's had his eye on that human brand of luxury clothes, Tessuti di Venezia, that's been all the rage amongst the royal servants. Or maybe he can go on vacation and just check out Earth for real? It was a short ride to his workplace from his home. After getting stuff his stuff and preparing to walk through the doors, he heard the roar of a car grow louder. When he looked, he saw the sleekest and quite possibly the coolest looking car he's ever seen. Each time the engine revved it would startle him, both from how harsh it sounded as well as just how intense it sounded. And after it parked, he saw the doors pop out and then slide along the body back. And there, he saw Tilik, the seat literally turning and extending out a bit before he got off. As soon as he saw Ghen staring, he struck a rather prideful pose after putting on his lab coat and then sauntered over to Ghen. "What do you think?" Tilik said, without any doubt inviting praise or compliments. "D...Did you actually buy that?" Ghen asked, unable to tear his eyes away from the car. "You're Queens-damn right I did!" Tilik laughed happily. "Thing takes off like a starship, has temperature-controlled seating, all-in-one center console, barely any bouncing on rough roads. Hoof, best decision I've ever made!" "How much did that thing cost?" Ghen asked after letting out an incredulous laugh. "Five million credits." Tilik replied, earning an absolutely shocked stare from Ghen. "And thanks to the incredible salary I have, in addition to all these shares and dividends, I'll pay back the credits I borrowed in no time!" Ghen needed a few moments before he could speak again. "All I've been doing is buying more shares." Tilik laughed and then patted the now-envious monitor's back. "Smart man. I got a little carried away, yeah, but not anymore. Any spending credits I got, going right back to investing. That's what it's called right, investing?" "Yeah, it is." Ghen nodded, feeling a fire light up in his thorax. "And also? Today's the day that the premium water thing is being released. Here's hoping it starts out well, right?" "Oh it will, trust me." Tilik chuckled as they both began making their way inside the workplace. "Lots of research, lots of study. By the Queen, so much of it...it'll make your head spin." And after hearing that, Ghen had a moment of realization. "Hey, Tilik? How did you get such a nice position anyways? Weren't you just studying under me before the humans came along?" Tilik let out a sigh after opening the door. "I'll be honest, I never wanted your job. Not because it's boring or terrible, just...I didn't suffer so many sleepless nights in the science academy just to be a glorified button pusher. This is what I've always wanted. Doing science, solving problems rather than just applying the solution, you know?" "Wait, you got an academic certificate?" Ghen questioned, completely floored. "How did you end up beneath me then? I should've been answering to you!" "Simple." Tilik gave a heavier sigh. "A royal servant was asking for the same job I was. Take a guess at who got it." "Ouch. Good thing the humans came along when they did, yeah?" Ghen was taken aback. He never heard anything about a servant taking a job at his place. "Looks like you're proving yourself to be well suited." "By the Queen, of course I am." Tilik nodded. "Like I said, I nearly broke my wings through so many nights, got certified top of my class, all just to get pushed to the dirt because someone who was born into a particular family wanted the same thing I did? I know I'm smarter than any of those empty-skull servants back in the Center. I know that, whatever, uh...corporate? Yeah, whatever corporate wants out of science, I will xeek give it to them." "Well, let me know how things go in the lab." Ghen said, admiring his drive as they neared the main office floor. "Because this is where the button pusher needs to go." Tilik let out a laugh as he nodded. "Hey, how about we meet up at Queen's Fine Eatery tonight. I'll pay, yeah?" Ghen, at first, wanted to admonish him for choosing such an outrageously expensive place to go. But he quickly realized that, he truly is good for it, thanks to the humans. "Well, hey, if you're paying for it." ... It was a fantastic opening. After being told what news sites to keep in mind for stocks, he first heard it from Dylan, and then got more detail on Business Today. There was such a massive demand right from the start that Zilia needs to increase extraction just to meet it. But what really got his attention was the effect it had. Zilia Water Delivery's share price just blasted off. After seemingly holding steady at about 3.15, by the time he got home and logged onto his account, it already reached 7.04 a share. The calculator on his account told him that he got a value-gain of 54.26%. Never in his entire life had he felt such...joy. With all of the shares he currently has? He's sitting at 400,512.64 credits. He knows that it is woefully pathetic compared to what the royal servants have just in their pockets, but the fact that he has such money, just by owning some intangible concept? Why even work at Zilia? Why doesn't he just sit at home, figure out what companies to invest in and make his money that way? What's even the point in working a real job, getting a pathetic pay when you can just take the money you have, determine where to spend it, and get triple back? All just sitting on your wings at home, researching? He was so wrapped up in his excited high that he completely forgot he was going to meet Tilik at Queen's. After quickly and haphazardly putting on his nicer clothes, he got to the place only a few minutes late. Tilik was there by the guide, no doubt having been waiting for him. As soon as he strode up, Tilik's wings stiffned out some. No doubt he must've seen the numbers as well. "I can see your wings, Ghen." Tilik began with an excited chuckle. "Made some serious credits?" Ghen let out an incredulous scoff, struggling to find the words for a moment. "Incredible. All I'm going to say." "Likewise." Tilik chortled some before nodding to the table guide. "All here. Table please?" "Right this way, sir." The guide said politely. It was a short walk, travelling between round tables. The vast majority were populated by zazk, but Ghen was surprised at seeing a few humans here as well. No doubt corporate workers checking out the local food. He did spot them having bowls filled with some kind of mass. Some were brown, others white with what looks to be black specks on them. They arrived at their table. A rather nice one, affording a view out the windows into the busy colony streets. Once Tilik and Ghen settled in, the guide handed out the menus. "May I suggest our rather popular option for tonight?" The guide began. "Human ice-cream. Ingredients sourced from Earth itself. Very cold, but incredibly sweet, and coming in many flavors. The most popular amongst us is called vanilla-bean. The vanilla itself soaks in the cream for much of the process, and then the innards sprinkled on top of it near the end. Rumor has it that the Queen herself has demanded personal shipments of such a treat straight from the home of vanilla, an island on Earth named Madagascar." Ghen didn't even spare a single thought. "Vanilla bean ice cream then, please." "Same." Tilik seconded when the guide glanced to him. With a slight bow, the guide proceeded to ferry their orders to the kitchen. Thankfully it was just a short wait before the guide returned, carrying a large plate containing bowls of ice cream. Ghen could feel the saliva on his mandibles as the bowl was placed before them. He could just feel the cold air around that glistening mass of sugary goodness. The white snow decorated with the black dots of vanilla bean. Once the guide left them, Tilik and Ghen both dived in at the same time. As soon as the ice cream entered his mouth, touched his tongue, he exploded in incomprehensible bliss. The sweetness, the smooth and creamy mass, even the taste of vanilla he wasn't sure about was just absolutely delightful. It was so overwhelming that his entire body limped, slumping in his seat as he was forced to ride on the surging tide of joy and happiness sweeping over him. Tilik was no different. He too was taken completely by the effects of the ice cream, his wings fluttering some against the seat. Ghen could hear some noise. It was the humans they passed by. They were chuckling, grinning, and glancing over at them discreetly. Unlike the two zazk, the humans seemingly just enjoyed the ice cream as if it was just another nice dessert to them. Or perhaps they couldn't allow themselves to succumb to the high? And as soon as the wave of indescribable bliss and happiness subsided, Ghen knew. He just knew. This was the life. He wanted this. The ice cream was just the beginning. So many things denied because he didn't have the credits, or worse, not the blood. Because he was just a drone in the great Collective, even if he had the credits, he wasn't allowed because of what caste he was born in. That fire that sparked in him when he saw Tilik's new car? It exploded into a raging firestorm. And when looking into Tilik's eyes, Ghen could see the same. He was on the same page as Ghen was. Both of them were sold. They have the credits. And the humans? If you can pay for it, they'll never discriminate. All they cared about is if you have the money. And by the Queen, Ghen and Tilik will endeavor to amass as much credits as physically possible. The rest of the night faded into a blur. A blur that evokes only one thing. Bliss. It was only when he walked through the door of his pathetic hut that Ghen's mind snapped back to focus. His mandibles felt sticky. And he felt a weight in his stomach. How much ice cream did he eat? Whatever it was, he ate such volume that the lower-section of his throax extended and rounded out, visible even under his shirt. He felt something odd in his pocket. It was a receipt. 43,000 credits for ten bowls of vanilla bean ice cream. Was that ten bowls for both of them? Or individually? Ghen didn't care. He's good for it. Returning back to his calculator, he acted upon the decision that he had made at that eatery. He's acquiring as many books about investing and stock trading as he could find, frequent and study all the discussions and arguments presented by other like-minded individuals such as he, all to ensure he can live the good life. And he had a very good feeling Tilik was doing the exact same thing. Well, first, the gurgling in his stomach, as well as the feeling of something rising demanded his attention. Looks like he'll need to take the night off to let his stomach get back to normal. Three Years Later. Ghen looked out beyond the horizon, seeing the colony that he grew up in. On the far side was where his old house was. With only a simple robe on, made from the finest silk from Earth's nation-state of China, he relaxed in his seat. It was a long road. Stockpiling credits from pre-existing investments and from subsequent pays, he and Tilik made it. From having only half a million in assets and cash, now transformed to over eight-hundred million. And now, his call contracts on American Interstellar? They've just announced a breakthrough in their next generation of warp drives, reducing the speed coefficient even further, resulting in far faster travel. And with that, their stock price climbed sharply. Another hundred million credits in the bank. Soon, very soon, he and Tilik are about to become the galaxy's first zazk billionares. But that's not enough. There are many humans who are billionares. Only those he can count on one hand are considered trillionares. He's going to break into that circle. He and Tilik. Looking beyond the colony, he saw the abandoned building of the workplace he transferred to when the humans arrived. Turns out, the reason for such a high demand was that the humans also slipped in sugar to the tap water. As soon as that broke, many influential royal servants demanded investigations and outright banning of Terran Galactic Company's influence over the former government division. Zilia's stock price plummeted. But thanks to an advance tip from his human coordinator, Dylan, he and Tilik made a put contract. And that's where they struck gold, as the human saying goes. Dylan warned that if they were citizens of the United Nations, they'd be investigated and convicted for insider trading. But, since they weren't, and the Collective were only just introduced to capitalism, there's no risk at all. Now the colony is going through a withdrawal phase, Zilia has been dissolved and reformed back as a government division and are currently at work re-establishing the standard, plain water delivery. "Well, shit." Tilik muttered as he walked up to Ghen's side, taking well to human speech. "Looks like you win. American Interstellar's announcement really was a good thing. There goes a million credits. Ah well, the Royal Shipyards will make it back for me soon." "Oh? Did they just go corporate?" Ghen asked curiously, glancing to Tilik. "Hell yeah they did." Tilik chuckled, sitting down. "Queen and her retard servants fought it hard, but Royal Shipyards is now officially a human-style corporation. And, to a surprise to all the xenophobes in the galaxy, they're already being offered contracts for ship production. That'll raise the stock price pretty good." "What's that human word...?" Ghen muttered, already having a reply in mind. "Dick? Yeah, calls or suck my dick, Tilik." Tilik roared in laughter. "Already made them. Forty credits a share by this day next month." "I have half a mind to go thirty." Ghen chuckled. "Either way, until then, I heard from Dylan that he knows a guy who knows several prime human women who happen to be into zazk." "You're interested in women?" Tilik said as his wings fluttered. "With how often you tell me to suck you off, I'd have thought differently." "Oh, I always thought it was you who was into men." Ghen responded dryly. "Just wanted to be a good friend, you know? Considering how you never seem to make it past, Hey sweet thing, I'm rich you know." "Oh, go fuck yourself." Tilik countered with a little laugh. After he stopped, wings stiffened, he looked to Ghen. "So, know any royal servants we can put the squeeze on for more revenue streams?" "I got just the one." Ghen nodded, sitting up. "Fzik. He's been fighting to control the ice cream trade. Worried it's a corrupting influence. Got done talking with the human CEO of Nestle earlier. If we clear the way, he'll know how to squeeze a little more gains in stock price when he makes the announcement." Tilik's wings stiffened even more, signaling his approval. "Alright, time to throw some credits around, yeah?" AN: Sorry for the period of no updates. College is starting up, lots of stuff to clear and work out. Not sure why but I just got a bug up my butt about incorporating money and the stock market into a short. Here it is. Sorry if it seems abrupt, character limit fast approaching. Let me know how you guys think about it!
I did not think we'd get here. COVID cases are in the single digits, and many cases are off-campus (https://health.gatech.edu/coronavirus/health-alerts). Test positivity rates are incredibly low (https://gatech-covid-tracker.com/). I think we can say that Georgia Tech has navigated through it's first wave of COVID cases. How did this happen? I'm not an epidemiologist, and even Dr. Fauci himself wouldn't be able to give you a 100% correct answer, because nobody can give you a 100% correct answer - there are too many unknowns. But, we can look at a few factors. 1.) Modified herd immunity threshold. Immunity is likely a real phenomena with COVID-19. Yes, there are now 7 confirmed cases of reinfection, but immunity is not a binary thing. It is not as if every person infected with COVID will either be immune, or they will be as unprotected as the rest of us. It's likely that the majority of COVID cases will gain some sort of immunity, and some will gain no immunity. For the sake of simplicity, let's just assume everyone infected with COVID at our campus has immunity. Georgia Tech has, in total, around 900 positive COVID cases. There are ~14,000 people on campus if you wildly extrapolate from a few surveys taken on this subreddit - if anyone could find where the actual number is, it would be helpful. Additionally, around 5-10% of the US was probably infected in the original Feb-March surge, which would be 700-1400 people. This brings us to 1600-2300 immune people in a population of 14000. The herd immunity threshold is given by (1-1/R0). Uncontrolled, the R0 for SARS-CoV2 is ~4. This means roughly 75% of the populace must be infected to gain "true immunity" - IE, you can do whatever you want, no distancing, no masking, etc. Obviously this is a bad idea. But, we aren't letting SARS-Cov2 spread uncontrollably. Mask compliance is high, people are trying to distance, people are washing their hands more often, etc. R0 is a function of environmental parameters as well - increasing distancing and hygiene decrease your R0. So what is the R0 with distancing and masking? That's a big question, but estimates from New York and Western Europe say it was somewhere around 0.8-1.1. A college campus will have a higher R0 than a typical state or nation, so we'll shift this up to 1.1-1.3. This brings our herd immunity threshold to anywhere between 9-23%. We currently have in the range of 11.5%-16%, and some cases on campus may have gone totally undetected. Here's a twitter thread by an MIT data scientist if you want to read more about the "modified herd immunity" phenomena. 2.) The people who took the most risks have already gotten COVID. Anecdotally, and logically, this makes sense. People going to bars, frat parties, etc have already been infected, and that was our "first wave". Unfortunately, I don't know how to quantify this in any meaningful way, but it is probably a factor. 3.) Behavior change. People could've seen the surge in cases and decided to be more careful - get tested weekly, avoid indoor dining, go to the CRC early in the morning when it's less crowded rather than in the middle of the day, etc. This would lower R0 as well and aid with point 1, although again, I don't know how to meaningfully quantify this. But it is a possible factor. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ If you made it through the above, congratulations. The question now is what Tech should do. Frankly, I feel like I am wasting both money and time this semester. This is unavoidable, and not Tech's fault or USG's fault - just a virus doing it's thing. But, just as governments - those of New York, China, South Korea, Germany, etc - gradually eased back on restrictions as the first curve was crushed, I believe Tech can and should do the same. We should not throw the floodgates open and let all hell break loose - but I think we can slowly loosen the screws in a manner that improves educational experiences, and in a way that avoids a second wave. Remote learning sucks. At least for intro classes, there is far better free material on Coursera - made by people who know how to deliver content online and who have been doing it for years - as opposed to professors who were thrown into this a few months ago. As we all know, many "hybrid" courses are pretty much all online. I'd suggest the OPTION - for both professors and students, mandates are a god awful idea - to have more in-person hybrid sections. This won't give me my money's worth - but it'll give us something. As of now, I have three hybrid classes - and yet have not had a single in person class. These classes can be conducted in a safe, distanced/masked manner, as to keep our R0 low and keep reaping the rewards of the "modified herd immunity" discussed above. This might be difficult to implement in the middle of this semester, but I think it can be implemented next semester, in the absence of mass vaccination until (in the most optimistic case) February-March. Other things include opening up lounges in dorms. Also, I know visiting other dorms is technically banned, but everyone I know is ignoring that rule. Many people aren't even aware of that rule - might as well just get rid of it if compliance is close to nil. But, I'd prefer more in-person classes above all else. This was a long post. Ultimately, COVID is a game of trades - we could lock everyone in their homes until there's a vaccine, but that would destroy our society. We could let everyone run wild until there's a vaccine - again, that would destroy our society. It's a multivariate optimization problem, where we are trying to maximize safety, education, and the student experience. I'm just a dude trying to help us find that maximum. TLDR: COVID-19 first wave beaten due to number of factors. More in-person classes would be nice.
Main tank here for the last 10+ seasons, main Rein. I’ve been trying to figure out why it feels so terrible right now, even with CC toned down. What I feel is that the massive amounts of damage in this game, matched by the massive amount of healing, has taken away a lot of the ability of a main tank to manage personal HP as a resource. One of the basic things I’ve always kept in mind as rein is safely facetanking damage, utilizing the 200 points of armor to reduce damage taken, and allowing that to be healed up. 300 hp has been my mental “safe spot” for judging my aggression. Lately, however, I find that even at full HP, I can never feel safe even just firestriking without the risk of going to extremely low HP or even dying. What I’ve sort of realized is that this mid-ground health doesn’t even really exist anymore. It feels like you are either being pocketed at full hp, or you’re dead, and there’s extremely little time in between. Once I noticed this, I thought “hey, maybe I’m just bad” so in the main tank streams I watch (super and cloneman, for example) I paid special attention to their health totals throughout games, and I noticed a very similar pattern. They would spend the majority of the time either above 400 hp while getting healed, or would immediately drop to roughly 100 hp, where either they’d have to get hard pocketed back to full or die. I think that the damage and healing creep has removed an entire tool (health management) from the tank role, leaving them more reliant on healers than ever before. Specifically, the idea of “facetanking” damage is just too risky now. I can’t alternate my health pool and my shield because there is too high a risk of getting bursted down even within short moments. I think DPS aren’t made as miserable by this because they’re naturally squishy, and by nature don’t want to be focused by multiple members of the enemy team, whereas with tanks that’s your base job. This also leads into CC feeling even worse because the short stun of a cree flashbang is absolutely enough time to get burst down without a bubble or pocket. I also think this is why double-shield is so prevalent, as a symptom of the fact that, with regard to HP pools, the idea of taking “safe amounts” of damage isn’t reliable, and so the best option is to take no hp damage at all, by only playing behind shield where it’s impossible to get burst without the warning of the shield breaking, and to have fortify/suck to keep you from being burst when that shield does go down. I guess basically, how I’d describe the problem I’m witnessing is that the damage and healing creep have made tanks feel far too squishy because of an inability to utilize the middle ranges of HP. As for solutions, I’m not sure the best option, outside of something like a % nerf to both damage and healing across the board, which obviously is an oversimplified solution, but something needs to be done imo to make tank hp pools relevant and not feel like quite such an alive/dead binary. Welcome thoughts, and for now, you can find me queueing support.
Krieg Digistruct Peak Guide (OP 10, No Grog, Norfleet, Harold, Bee, etc. required)
Hello there, I hope you are all doing well today! I am here to present a Krieg guide for taking down Digistruct peak (through OP 10) that requires no Norfleet, Sham, Grog, Bee-Hawk, DPUH, and so on. Important to note that I used this build on the Unofficial Community Patch but the advice, gear, and build translate seamlessly to the vanilla game for Krieg. Gameplay + Commentary for those of you uninterested in reading: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w70qsmcuqik Note: As a quick note, I do understand that this build isn't exactly "groundbreaking" for Krieg and there are multiple videos of people speedrunning the Peak with this build or at least a similar one. The intent isn't to showcase some new original build but rather to explain it. I've seen people run through with a similar build but I have yet to see any commentary or explanation of their gear, skill build, playstyle, etc. so I thought this might be helpful! Section 1: Build Green/Bloodlust Tree:
Blood Filled Guns (5/5): 2.5% Mag size per stack of our bloodlust is really nice. There are very easy ways to stack bloodlust (which I will cover) and a 250% magazine size increase at 100 stacks is substantial. This allows us to fire our guns pretty much endlessly, dramatically increasing the DPS of Krieg.
Blood Twitch (5/5): 1.5% weapon swap speed per stack of bloodlust = 150% weapon swap speed at max. Those of you that have read my guides before know that I am a bit of a sucker for weapon swap speed. It dramatically increases your DPS guys! This means you can instantly swap away from your slag weapon and go back to DPSing. Also, you may need to swap to a Moxxi weapon or a launcher in a tight situation and the speed will save you.
Blood Bath (5/5): This skill is honestly just stupid how strong it is. This is an absolute must-have on any Krieg build. 2.5% weapon damage per stack after we get a kill with a grenade or explosion and also gives a 75% chance of dropping a grenade. 250% weapon damage at max stacks and it is doubled to 500% weapon damage with the COM we will be using (Leg. Reaper). Absolutely insane damage and we can spam grenades rather liberally. Easy for Krieg to activate this skill as well because many of his best weapons are grenade/explosive weapons.
Boiling Blood (5/5): Increases the time before bloodlust starts to decay by 2.5 seconds. Having high bloodlust stacks is a massive increase to our DPS. The longer we have high stacks the better.
Nervous Blood (5/5): Kill skill that gives us 1.5% reload speed per stack. 150% reload speed at max bloodlust is phenomenal. Another massive increase to our DPS. Take it!
Bloodsplosion (1/1): Everybody knows of bloodsplosion and its shenanigans. We aren't really reliant on the bloodsplosion overkill damage chains but there isn't really a good reason to skip it. There will be multiple instances where the nova damage deals significant damage to nearby enemies or flat out kills them. Worth the point!
Feed the Meat (5/5): 50% max health is pretty substantial for a character that relies on face-tanking enemies. The shield delay isn't super important since we will primarily use the Rough Rider. Helpful for scenarios where we use the Easy Mode shield.
Embrace the Pain (5/5): Really nice skill that gives substantial fire rate and shield recharge delay. In this case, we really just want it for the fire rate DPS boost.
Thrill of the Kill (1/5): Our com boosts this skill to 6 but even if it didn't a value point is worth it for this skill. With 1 point (no boost from com) we get 50% of our health back from overkill damage... something Krieg excels at. Dramatic survivability increase, no reason to skip this.
Strip the Flesh (5/5): 15% flat explosive damage and boosted to 30% in FFYL. This is great for Krieg, we will be using explosive weapons plenty. That extra 15% boost is no joke in FFYL and will likely save you more than once.
Redeem the Soul (1/1): Pretty cool co-op skill that allows you to instantly revive teammates. However, the 50% FFYL time increase is what we really care about. It's really significant and basically guarantees you will get up.
Fuel the Fire (5/5): Kill skill. 35% chance to set yourself from a fire attack is cool and all but really the 200% elemental effect chance is what we are after. Makes it very easy to apply slag, DoTs, and the more DoT and elemental effects we have going the higher likelihood of catching ourselves on fire (which means more damage and survivability).
Numbed Nerves (5/5): 50% damage reduction (+ Rough Rider's 20%) while you are on fire is massive. Fuel the Fire and our gear choices will make it very easy to set ourselves on fire so it is certainly worth the point.
Pain is Power (5/5): Flat 25% Weapon and Melee damage buff (except snipers, doesn't matter though) that gets doubled when we are on fire. It does lower our crit damage by 25% but that really doesn't matter. We don't need crits anyway, we blow stuff up. Huge DPS increase and is absolutely worth it.
Elemental Elation (5/5): When we are dealing elemental status effects to enemies (fuel the fire makes this easy), we gain stacks (up to 20) that increase our fire rate by 3% and mag size by 5%. It is very easy to apply elemental effects and we will often be at max stacks with this skill. Dramatically increases our DPS.
Delusional Damage (1/1): All elemental status effects can catch us on fire with this skill and the chance is determined by our Fuel the Fire skill (and Burn, Baby, Burn). This is fantastic! We don't have to rely on fire weapons (which do not work properly in the peak) to get the awesome benefits from our hellborn tree.
Fire Fiend (5/5): 50% Weapon accuracy and 35% reload speed when we are on fire. Another great boost to our DPS and that accuracy actually helps more than you would think. You can level Flame Flare instead of this skill if you prefer (or whatever) but I don't have any issues staying on fire. Therefore, Flame Flare is a bit redundant.
Elemental Empathy (5/5): Burn status effects heal you for 25% of the damage dealt. Honestly, we won't be using a ton of fire weapons but the capstone of this tree naturally produces fire DoTs for us. Raving Retribution plus this skill gives you some nice sustain. Can skip if you feel that the survivability doesn't help.
Raving Retribution (1/1): When Krieg is on fire and damaged homing fireballs will seek out the enemies and explode on them. It deals pretty solid damage and gives us nice sustain with Elemental Empathy.
Weapon 1 (slag): Slagga is one of the premier slagging options on any character. Krieg is no exception here! Florentine is not too bad on Krieg either because of his very high elemental chances but I prefer the Slagga. Whatever works best for you though.
Weapon 2 (DPS): We have multiple options here but the highest DPS option is easily the Peak Opener. If you don't want to farm for one, the alternatives I would consider are as follows: Kerblaster, Ogre, DPUH, Swordsplosion/Unicornsplosion, Carnage, Hail, Kitten, and many more of course. Every single weapon here can proc blood bath very consistently (except the Kitten) and we really need a weapon that can do that. Blood Bath is the bread and butter of this build and having a weapon like the Peak Opener, that can not only proc blood bath but it also takes significant advantage of the skill. You can pretty much run through the entire peak with this thing in your hand.
Weapon 3 (SurveyoLoader Weapon): I pretty much just leave the conference call in my inventory the entire time in this slot. It can deal with loaders, shreds Saturn, helps with Surveyors, and is just a generally strong weapon. You could roll a corrosive Pimpernel (still good despite Pain is Power), Butcher, or Interfacer here as well. This slot just gives us some extra versatility and high DPS for loaders and surveyors.
Weapon 4 (Utility/FFYL): This is the slot that you could tinker with the most. I typically hold onto the Hive, Flakker, Badaboom, or any other strong launcher for this slot. Launchers, in general, are amazing with Strip the Flesh and all the reload speed, mag size, fire rate, etc. that Krieg receives. I like the Hive because it can proc all our elemental skills, deal significant damage, and is also amazing for Surveyors. Pop a shot or two into the air and it will do the rest. The Flakker can be weapon swapped rapidly back and forth while firing (hard to explain but demonstrated on Dukino's mom and OMGWTH) to deal massive DPS. I use it to deal with Dukino's mom and the Binary Boss. Not necessary but very powerful and pretty funny.
Shield: Rough Rider and the Easy Mode. We will pretty much always stick with the RR because of Krieg's benefits of not having a shield plus the awesome tankiness it gives us. Krieg can stack a ton of health and DR with this shield active. The Easy Mode is not at all necessary but helps speed up kills of certain mini-bosses. I really only use it for Scorch and the Queens. You'll notice I used it on Saturn but it did nothing, RR would have been better.
Class Mod: Legendary Reaper. Extra kill skill duration and a +5 to Blood Bath. That is literally all we care about. Gives us more uptime and more damage from Blood Bath. It is insane how much this COM will boost your DPS. This is the only piece of gear that I would say is absolutely required.
Grenade: For this build, we will be using the Pandemic. This is debatably the best bloodlust stacking grenade in the game and that's really all we need. It is also deals a ton of DoT which procs our hellborn skill tree. Perfect! Alternatively, the Storm Front/Electric Chair, a low-level Crossfire/Bouncing Bonny, the Leech, are all good stacking options as well. Whatever you feel is best suited to your playstyle.
Relic: Blood of the Ancients. Specifically, we want the one that boosts Assualt Rifle and Shotgun max ammo. The Peak Opener and Conference call absolutely churn through ammo so it is a needed addition. If you can't get one that has both prioritize ones that give you AR ammo because we will be using that the most. The max health from the relic is of course welcome as well.
Section 3: General Tips
Generally, I advise caution and calculated approaches to the Peak. You still want to think about how you will approach certain mini-bosses but you can't really be cautious with Krieg. Embrace the chaos and get in the fray. As soon as you have Blood Bath going you're going to churn through everything. Activate it with your weapon of choice and then go to town. This is super important for mini-bosses!! For example, If you get the Dukino's Mom spawn where the midgets spawn with her, use this to your advantage. Kill the midgets with the peak opener to proc BB and then switch to the Flakker, Harold, Conference Call, whatever. The same thing applies to Saturn! Kill his turrets with grenade/explosive damage and then pull out the Conference Call, Butcher, Interfacer, etc. This will seriously make the run a lot easier. Another tip, you can proc BB on the Binary Boss by blowing up his head first. Prioritize this and then let BB do the work.
Prioritize corrosive weapons (when not using explosive). For some reason, in the Peak flesh enemies do not actually take bonus damage from fire. They are considered "non-flesh" and take neutral damage. This means that fire is not totally useless but no longer retains a distinct advantage to flesh enemies. However, corrosive is not resisted by anything (other than some weird interactions with spider ants, use shock for them) and still deals bonus damage to loaders. Corrosive DoT also tends to do more and stick longer on enemies. Making it the more versatile choice for the peak. Link to the thread explaining this more in-depth: https://forums.gearboxsoftware.com/t/digistruct-peak-enemy-typing-issue-and-why-your-fire-guns-suck-there/1119745
Thanks for checking the post out! Please let me know if you have any questions. I will link the UCP changelog below if anyone is interested in the differences.
howdy, I've been a member of this forum since my faith crisis in 2014. I'm trans and queer, and that's why I left the church (although I could barely admit it to myself at the time.) Recently I found out my parents lied/misled me and they are still paying full tithes and offerings to TSCC. you can read that previous post here if you want. I decided to take a break from talking to my parents for a while. I don't live with them, and our relationship has been strained ever since my faith crisis, but recently we had taken some HUGE steps to heal things. We had gone to therapy, and I actually felt loved and accepted by them. We grew extra close during the pandemic, and I would call them just to chat and shoot the breeze. All that went to shit when I found out they were still paying tithing, and I kinda lost it a little bit (a lot a bit?) I asked my parents to stop paying tithing in 2018 because I found it was really difficult to let my guard down around them knowing they still financially support TSCC, and shared with them how damaging it was to live through the prop 8 debacle and watch all my family and friends jump up and proudly discriminate against and hate people like me. Anyway, this is what I emailed them: Dear mom & dad I am very sorry that I say hurtful things to you so much and all the time. I'm sorry that the only way I could communicate to you those feelings were through anger. I have tried eloquence, I have tried compassion, and I tried anger. I'm done trying for a little bit, this email is my last try. I'm sorry for the things I said in anger. It is not an excuse, but I was very very suicidal and fully intended on those being my last words. Ask my therapist if you want. It sucks to say that. I was doing really well before this month, but considering the bike accident & everything I'm having a hard time that turned into an almost impossible time. I just want you to know that I am ok physically and do not intend on ending my life at this moment or in the future. The church's ideology forced me to consider death as the only option for exhalation as a trans person, because living as a girl was incredibly psychologically painful to me. It is hard to let go of a coping mechanism that I clung to for so long. But I refuse to give in to the ideology which you raised me in, but I am not strong enough to do that when you are in my life & financially supporting the same institution which has harmed me, and caused me to attempt to take my own life multiple times. I love you both more than life itself. There was a time I loved you more than I loved myself. Heck, you guy taught me how to love. But I know if I kill myself the church wins. But you're rooting for the church and I love you. But you're funding my oppressor. But I miss you so much it hurts, and I don't want to be alive without you guys. It's all too much cognitive dissonance for me, and cognitive dissonance is triggering because it took a LOT of it for me to believe I was ever supposed to be a "girl" "woman" (idk what those words even mean, I just know I'm not them.) I feel the need to apologize to you for being Non-Binary, for not being able to stomach living as a woman and forcing the shame and stigma that I know accompanies this in your culture and faith. I really gave it my all, I really tried to be a girl because I love you guys but I just can't do that. I can't live like that. I know those feelings are consequences of the church's queerphobia too. That is something I also feel the need to apologize for, but I won't apologize for being nonbinary. There is nothing wrong with being nonbinary. I have been this person since day one, but now I'm finally able to love myself. I could never do that when I was in the church. As cliche as it is to say this: God be with you till we meet again. I love you and I know that you love me, but for my own health, I cannot have you as an active participant in my life if you are paying tithing to the corporation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have been very respectful of your faith by not sharing with you certain documents which led me to remove my name from the records of the church in 2015, because these documents leave no room to argue that Joseph Smith was a prophet of god who received divine revelation to translate reformed Egyptian or any other kind of Egyptian characters. I'm sure you two know this, but no one could read Egyptian hieroglyphics when Joseph Smith translated the book of Abraham or the gold/brass plates. But we can read them now, thanks to the Rosetta stone and in fact an Egyptologist by the name of Dr Ritner has translated the facsimiles that accompany the book of Abraham and discussed their legitimacy as actual translations of actual scrolls found in Egypt. I would encourage you to seek this out if you feel the need to do so, but out of respect for your faith and testimony I will not tell you what every prominent Egyptology will tell you. I love you both very much and hope that one day we can see each other again. Perhaps one day I will be strong enough to associate with people who financially support an organization which says my gender identity is a sin, and believes that organization to be the one true church of god on earth, but I'm not that strong right now, and I may never be. anyway. thought this might be of interest to y'all given my other post.
College apps suck, good luck to anyone currently applying!
Hey all! I know this time of year is really tough for anyone applying to college. Stick in there! Demographics
Residence: Midwestern US
Income Bracket: Low
Type of School: Public
Hooks (Recruited Athlete, URM, First-Gen, Geographic, Legacy, etc.): First-Gen, Geographic (from a low-population state with few Ivy applicants), idk if being trans is a hook
Intended Major(s): Classics Academics
GPA (UW/W): 3.9/4.2
Rank (or percentile): 6/250
# of Honors/AP/IB/Dual Enrollment/etc.: 12 APs and 2 Dual Enrollment art/design classes at a local community college
Senior Year Course Load: AP Stats, AP Econ, AP Environmental Science, AP Literature, Latin 4, Orchestra
SAT I: 1590 (790RW, 800M)
ACT: 35 (35E, 35M, 36R, 33S)
SAT II: Math 2 (800), Literature (720)
AP/IB: Human Geography (5), European History (4), Chemistry (3), United States History (4), US Gov/Politics (4), Physics 1 (4), English Lang and Comp (5), Calc AB (5), Statistics (4), Microeconomics (4), Environmental Science (5), English Lit and Comp (5)
Other (ex. IELTS, TOEFL, etc.): N/A
Local chapter of Junior Classical League (4 years), President
Orchestra (4 years), Concertmaster
Debate (4 years), Team Captain, won state in my senior year
Teaching Assistant at Chinese camp (4 years)
Science Olympiad (4 years), Team Captain
Pit Orchestra (3 years)
Congressional Debate (2 years)
Quiz Bowl (4 years)
Environmental Club (3 years)
Private Violin Tutor (1 year)
Questbridge National College Match Scholarship Finalist
National Merit Scholar
National Speech and Debate Association Superior Distinction
Letters of Recommendation I had really good relationships with both of my recommenders. One was my Latin teacher who I had been taking classes from all 4 years, and was the mentor to JCL, an activity that I was really involved in. The other was my APUSH teacher who coached Quiz Bowl, which I was involved in for all four years of high school. I also chatted with both teachers pretty regularly about non-class stuff. In the end, both of their recommendations were... just fine. Not bad by any means, but nothing about them stands out, they were just generic. (I was able to see them bc I had to request pdf versions from the teachers for a scholarship later.) Interviews My Yale interview was amazing, it was a phone interview with an AO that wasn't in charge of my area. It was meant to be ~30 minutes but we talked for over an hour, and it was a really fun conversation! Since I applied REA, it was my first college interview experience and I was so relieved that it felt like a natural conversation. We talked about history and classics (my intended major at the time) and random small historical things that I was passionate about. My other interviews... not so great. I had interviews for Harvard and Princeton, and they were both just with unenthused alumni that lived in my area. The interviewers just asked me questions about test scores and extracurriculars that would've already been covered by my application. Harvard interviewer did let me know that the interview is one of the least-considered parts of your application. Essays My personal statement was a mediocre child-of-immigrants essay. There is truly so little to say about it. I think my supplementals and short answers were much better written, and I really liked my optional essay for Harvard, which was about mythology and gender, how I related old myths to problems in my personal life. Decisions (indicate ED/EA/REA/SCEA/RD) Acceptances:
Yale (REA) -- attending
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities (RD but it was rolling so I knew around the same time as EA)
Waitlists/Rejections: N/A *I applied to only top schools in RD bc I had already gotten into Yale REA and got good fin aid from them, so I didn't end up applying to any more targets or safeties. Additional Information: Feel free to comment or pm me with any questions! I remember how stressful and soul-sucking this process is and would love to be of help! Edit: I'm already a year into college (not a prefrosh) so feel free to ask me questions about Yale student life too! I'm pretty involved in activist and queer circles :)
had to misgender myself friday (pronouns are she/they/xe/zer)
(cw: transphobia) so friday in music class we had to fill out a survey for some national music teaching society or something like that. a lot of the kids in my class are really sheltered, and obviously under the gender category it had "male, female, other". one of the kids in my class said "why is there an option for other?" my music teacher said "in today's society people can't decide if they want to be one or the other" so immediately i knew he was transphobic. im afab but identify as non binary so if i was honest i would've put "other" but i had to misgender myself and put "female" bc i didn't want to get hated on by a transphobe. it sucked so bad but ig it was better than getting hated on by a transphobe. :(
I (22 AMAB) have accepted myself as Non-Binary/Agender for a while now, but I've still only come out to two people IRL - my spouse and my brother. I wanted to come out at my new job as a school teacher, but this has been a complete disaster. I still don't know anyone where I'm working beyond a surface level, have little to no support for basic job responsibilities - let alone complex issues like gender acceptance, am in the southeast US where people are more aggressive with gendered language than most places, and am working with a population of students with disabilities who still are struggling to remember my name after a month, let alone my language preferences. One thing that I noticed myself doing after having every basic request - such as repeatedly asking not to be called mister or sir - ignored or shot down, I've been feeling defeated and have just started referring to myself with male gendered language to my students and colleagues for the sake of consistency. I feel sick to my stomach every time that I do this, but I'm also tired of the pain that I feel when my requests are blatantly ignored or misunderstood. I want to change things and I would love to come out, but as I said, I can't even get people to stop calling me mister or sir no matter how many times I ask, so asking for a change that involves adding new language rather than just ommitting some seems completely far-fetched. I'm looking to change positions and districts next year to somewhere more accepting, but I still don't know when I'll get to work up the courage to come out with who I am and to confidently demand that people respect me by using neutral language. I don't know if it's best to do it up front or when I'm comfortable with people. I feel like the latter definitely isn't the option because I feel like I'm digging myself a hole in my current position by allowing other people to define me rather than defining myself. Idk if I even want advice or if I just wanted to vent, I just know that this situation sucks and you all would probably be able to relate more than anyone else.
Just a rant about my chest (tw-AFAB breast struggles)
I, AFAB, need clothes to start a new job, jeans and a bra that fit cuz I’ve gained a lot of weight since quarantine. I’ve been basically wire free for 2 years, only wearing soft comfortable stretchy bras. But with my new job I need to be strapped down a bit tighter. Bra shopping sucks for anyone, but it sucks when you’re super chesty, non-binary, and self-conscious as hell. I don’t see binding as an option, I’m pressing DDD or like F sized breasts (US measurements) and I just have so much tissue that I’m like what do I do with it?? I’m honestly considering a reduction. I’ve never been a fan of medical or surgical procedures but after today, I’m so tired of being limited to brands that make my size or the leftover XXL items on sale, not to mention if I wanted a cute bra, they’re all ugly af the minute you get to a D. I’m just over it. Dreaming of itty bitty titties Or like a nice small C One day enby’s, one day
I'm a queer, trans leftist Bostonian who is about to move to a small town in the South
I'm 25, non-binary, and have a spouse and three kids. The oldest of those three was born when I was 15. We are very close and she knows I am her parent, but she chooses to live with my parents and sees them more as her parents since they took a huge part in raising her while I was working 2 jobs and in high school and then college, her other parent never met her or helped. While it hurts, I want her to be happy, and my parents are exceptionally good to her. Recently, my dad learned that he is being laid off from his job of 25 years. My parents took this as an opportunity to put their house on the market and pursue their dream of moving to where my mom's grandfather grew up - Tennessee. They plan to move before the end of 2020 as interest rates are good right now and they think they can get a good price for their house, the home I grew up in. My oldest kid, now 10, is excited about the move and wants to go with them. I understand why, but once again, it sucks, and I don't want to be that far away from her. Where we all currently live, it takes 1.5 hours to get to her, and it's rough. I can't imagine staying in Boston when she is going to be in Tennessee. My spouse and I had a long talk about it, and decided that we should look into our options to move down with them. I started putting in job applications and applying for apartments in the general area of where they want to live. We got approved to move in November. My research of this area shows that it is MAGA country. I am worried about what this will mean for me, as well as for my Latine spouse and children. My spouse is excited about the move and isn't worried about this, but I can't stop thinking about it. What advice would you have for a family like ours who is moving to an area like this? Any survival tips? Any advice on dealing with what will likely be a significant culture shock?
Seriously confused... more than before :/ What am I?
Ok, so getting on hrt is difficult in my country, so the entire process has been kinda put on pause. before I can be considered for it the health institution want me to start using a different name, but that requires me coming out socially, which is I don't feel comfortable with.... yada yada, whatever. The problem right now is that I've started questioning my identity EVEN MORE! I've never had any sense of style, but I've started wanting to use clothes I could feel comfortable with; black, goth/punk-ish stuff. But looking at the options... the female fashion options aren't the only ones I like. I like the some of the male fashion options (more in some cases) and been delving further and further down the thought process of "what if I kinda like some of the aspects of male gender expression?" I still don't want to be a man though, and I am aware to some extent that you can be non-binary but lean more towards one gender. Like, I don't have to be just a girl, but I don't have to feel like a boy in any way either, right? Believe me, I'm so done with that jazz. It sucks that I feel so alone in all of this, because I'm just trying to work out all of this in my mind. I keep having doubts like "what if really am just a boy?" and then I feel sad. Or what to do with my name if I'm gonna change it (the name I've been thinking of doesn't even feel completely satisfying). I don't even think I'll be acknowledged legally as anything other than my agab if this really is the case. And I don't want these thoughts to come from me being too scared to face the idea of coming out socially, but it could possibly be the case??? TL;DR: I'm questioning if I'm kind of non-binary, but primarily female without necessarily feeling distinctly male on the other side. Also worried I won't get on hrt if this is the case. Have any of you gone through a similar process? And what can I do to understand this more? Are my fears exaggerated?
Last updated: 11:35PM EDT April 29 Figured since no one else started one, and since I'm so active here, I'd do it. Magyst is looking for bugs the team can look into. This is a work in progress list, so feel free to post about your bugs (preferably with video/picture proof where necessary) and I will add it to the list. Issues already listed on the Trello will not be included. I'm listing issues in order of my personal perceived importance (based off of how frequent and how impactful the bug is), with cosmetic issues as lowest on the totem pole. I realize some of you may not agree, and that's ok. Also, just because I list one bug higher than another, it doesn't mean Epic will be able to squash it before something lower on the list. Major Issues
Deathbomb Modifier damages objective - Even with a fully intact defense, the objective can be damaged by deathbombs. https://streamable.com/9kfct4
Damage Pulse Miniboss damages objective - Similar to the Deathbomb modifier above, Damage Pulse minibosses can damage the objective, even with intact defenses. (Credit u/Thrawntheambitious)
Lobber Projectiles can damage objective through builds - Again, similar to the two above, lobbers can damage the objective even with defenses intact. (Credit u/Binary_Trifecta)
Crossplay - Admittedly, not necessarily a bug. But for the health of this game going forward, we need complete crossplay in all mission types. It's getting harder and harder to find people to play with, even with server hopping.
Weapons stealing ammo - Weapons with AND without magazine size perks are sucking up a full magazine worth of ammo the first time they are pulled out in a mission. This is causing people who grind missions to lose ammo fast. https://streamable.com/s9zgws
Failed to lock profile - Not sure exactly what causes this, and while a restart usually fixes it, it is annoying nonetheless.
Bows not shooting properly - Arrow will fall at your feet instead of going to their intended target. (I admittedly don't use bows, so if there's more info about this, let me know. Looking for video evidence)
Husks spawning in terrain - Husks can spawn in terrain and damage structures placed against that terrain, a big issue in SSDs/Endurance. (Credit u/johanril) When doing encampments, somewhat frequently a husk will spawn inside terrain, making it a pain unless you have a weapon like the Neon sniper or want to reset your progress on the encampment.
Guardian's Will sometimes causes a Ninja's double jump to stop working - Current workaround is to jump off the map and respawn. (Credit u/CaptainIrreverence)
Anti-Air Trap Perks - The 5th perk on the anti-air trap does not work when it's set to "Increased Building Health". I had "Heals 4.8% of max health every 10 seconds" as my 4th perk. The health of the floor piece did not change when the increased building health perk was on or off. (Credit u/icecoldcoke319)
Some husks ignore the objective and/or player to attack environmental objects that they could easily go around - (Credit u/CaptainIrreverence)
Mimic spawns - Mimics seemingly aren't spawning like they used to, they're much harder to find. Makes the "What's in the box" main story quest a pain for players to complete. (Credit u/card_collect)
Some missions occasionally wont start - Retrieve the Data, Eliminate and Collect, and Resupply sometimes wont have the countdown timer and mission objectives appear, even with everyone connected and loaded in. Can be fixed by someone leaving, but doesn't always work. (Credit u/BlackGunsMagee)
When placing any structure (wall, ramp, floor, roof) when a trap is selected, it places the trap instead of the structure. - Possibly related to the turbo building option. In the first clip, the bug happens when trying to place a floor piece but instead it places the broadsides that was selected. Same thing with the second clip but this time wooden floor spikes are selected and it places this trap instead of the wall piece. Both times only the floowall button are being pressed, nothing else. (Credit u/FaufiffonFec) 1. https://1drv.ms/v/s!At7DUcCwK-dygQXEW6KnR0YI0CBu 2. https://1drv.ms/v/s!At7DUcCwK-dygQYAruMn4CZ8zu7U
Blockbuster Quests "You Are Overpowered" - Some players are facing issues doing the quests in The Crater zone, the game is telling them they are overpowered. This can be circumvented by removing survivors, but the normal person wouldn't know this. (Credit u/Card_Collect)
Players below PL122 still able to get Mythic weapons - Debated on where/whether I should put this, but I figured it belongs here. Players invest a lot of time to reach end game content and secure mythic weapons. Only to have little billy in Plankerton, who traded for a bunch of 130s he doesn't actually need, also get the same mythic weapons.
High impact weapons and abilities (seismic smash) are causing counterintuitive reactions on impact. - Rather than husks being pushed in the opposite direction of the damage, sometimes they are pulled towards it. (Credit u/CaptainIrreverence)
Players getting kicked for AFK in private and friend's only matches (Credit u/BlackGunsMagee)
Occasionally the Freedom's Herald won't reload - Need to swap weapons before being able to successfully reload the Freedom's Herald (Credit u/Card_Collect)
Occasionally survivors won't spawn when visiting a blue - Used to be 1 per non rescue the survivors mission, though it seems to be more rare now. However, last week I built a survivor relay in a rescue the survivors mission and a survivor did not spawn.
Inviting someone currently in BR to a StW mission in progress, they are unable to load in unless they leave the party and rejoin. - The player is stuck on the world map, unable to even see that there is a mission in progress. (Credit u/BlackGunsMagee)
Kicked for AFK from friend's SSD causes softlock on PS4 - (Credit u/BlackGunsMagee)
Storm Shield Assist sending players to zones way above their level - I like that I don't have to check each zone to see if someone needs help, but there should be something in place to prevent Stonewood players from getting sent to Twine assists. Perhaps adding a PL check, or making it so players can only be sent backwards from the zone they're searching in?
When using a controller, on the mode selection screen, if you go over to StW it will automatically move you back over BR after a second or two. (Credit u/BlackGunsMagee)
Ability charge count not accurate - I'm not sure if this is related to the bug that's listed on the Trello about being swapped to your pickaxe when using an ability on cooldown or not, but picking up charge fragments does not increase the counter, phase shift counter is not always accurate, etc. https://streamable.com/00fizx They temporarily update to the correct numbers after use of the ability, until you earn another charge. https://streamable.com/j4gn6q (Credit u/Baumpaladin)
Emotes continue to play sound for other players after its use is over
Sound wall infinitely continues to play sound after it's set off for the first time in endurance matches (Credit u/Scotty_begood-)
Point it out Emote Leaves a pickaxe in the air while using your pickaxe to emote, which shows two pickaxes on the screen at once. (Credit u/nate_oc)
I hadn’t played BitLife a lot since one of my friends came out as NB and when their dead name showed up I quickly went to go fix it, a little horrified that it had taken me that long only to realize that I had to pick a binary gender for my friend in game. They’ve gone through a lot so the thought of them being misgendered in game really sucks for me. It feels wrong. My only option to take them out of the game, or have them as binary. I feel like this is a massive oversight from the devs. If you’re adding friends and real people to the game there needs to be NB options. I don’t know how to tell the devs more correctly, but this was a really unfortunate discovery.
The Red Prince ruined the game for me and here's why
I felt the need to talk about this because this one single character ruined the experience the game offered for me. No one else seems to talk about the many logical inconsistencies in his backstory, ingame character and his questline and that really bothers me. He's a genius diplomat despite being delusional, unwise and a total arrogant cunt. Genius general despite never leaving his palace. Genius swordsman because he might as well be at this point. He has built up all this notoritery, won all of his wars, from his couch. The world salivates over him despite all his negative traits, if it sounds like I'm describing a Mary Sue then I very well might be. He summoned demons to entertain himself, for whatever reason they considered him their "equal" and didn't kill him. He says the boredom that caused this was because he lacked challenge, and not because he is a spoiled brat. A succubus who owes the Shadow Prince attacks him, he manages to kill her despite being overpowered because "Source magic". There's a contradiction in this story. He states that he needed to use Source to summon demons. On the other hand, he killed the succubus with Source magic as well and he said he didn't know he had that power. The Shadow Prince later states that this is when they found out that he is a godwoken, which implies his first use of Source ever as the Shadow Prince was keeping an eye on him all the time. To quote him: "Miraculous what a Sourcerer can do with a little arcane lore." followed up with: "Something deep inside me welled up: a power I never knew I had." He is exiled afterwards and despite many attempts on his life he survives in a hostile political climate where people would likely love to lynch him. The methods of slavery the lizard empire uses are blatantly cruel. He is pro-slavery. I sincerely doubt people who live under the fear of being enslaved by the empire he used to rule would be amused by his casual suggestions that they become enslaved to him. When Act 2 starts, with almost every conversation with him, you will only get binary choices. During the first meeting with the Red Princess, the only choices given to you are denying the event because you sense an ambush or allowing it. Denying it will result in the prince spitting on you and leaving despite the fact that your character is right about you getting ambushed regardless of which choice you choose. Consider the fact that he is a genius tactician, standing in a prime ambush spot, ready to sacrifice you and your party just to bang his destined lover. The thing is, even if you don't do this part of his questline because you know the outcome, he will still know Sadha's name later despite them never meeting, and he will be just as much in love with her as if you did the quest. His character loses his composure and confidence if you are romancing him and you confront him about the way he treats you, or the fact that he's cheating on his lover with you or cheating on you with his lover. This is a love triangle, not polyamorous because in a poly relationship people live together as a family where everyone is loved. Sadha dislikes your character from the start. This indecisiveness ends with the relationship not having a closure, except if you let him ascend to godhood. He'll then tell you that he is intent on cheating on Sadha because "Gods have a rather large appetite". It is also implied that he is intent on bringing more people into the romance-pile. To quote him: "Remember all those dalliance filled myths... Yes... I think I'll be creating many a myth myself." Sadha herself feels like she is manipulating him from the start. Many of her quotes suggest she's power hungry, and she is ready to send her own children to fight the gods. She is hellbent on this. I never thought I'd see a mother so ready to send their children to war, literal baby dragons. The Red Prince is not sure about her decision but YOU convince him about it quite easily. To quote the only two INSANE choices given to you: "Urge him to accept! Dragons are his destiny. Let him proudly show it!" "Say these eggs should be destroyed! They're a danger to this world!" Imagine telling a father and a mother that their children are dangerous and should be killed. Imagine saying that they should send their newborn babies to murder people. After this, the prince will mention that he will raise his children to be "wise", something that is hard to take seriously because of the events before. I'm saying it again, your character is going to weaponize children or be hellbent on murdering them. Your only two choices. People are okay with this, and Larian got away with this as well, I see no one ever mention this. During his questline, you have to fight many assassins, including the Shadow Prince, his nemesis. He is completely dismissive about this. He even calls his arch-enemy a coward. Many of your choices about dialogue regarding assassins before the confrontation with the Shadow Prince end with either kissing his ass or being unreasonably hostile. I didn't see any pragmatic choices. In my opinion, the Shadow Prince would have posed more of a threat to him if they make him even more competent and cunning. The notoritery the Red Prince built up could all be the doing of a very competent shadow government that recognized that he is not a competent ruler at the time, while also posing the danger of the revival of dragons. His entire life could have been a lie, which would probably end up changing his character as it's built entirely on his pride. The glaring problem here however, is that he doesn't have anyone he considers an enemy, his ONLY real enemy is the player or the God King. It's a ludonarrative dissonance because while in gameplay you can beat him, in his story the game considers him to be way stronger than you. Conflicts in his story end up as a nuisance instead of something that develops/explores character or interesting topics. As you can see here, many potential conflicts or character development possibilities are set up, they are left unused however. The Chekhov's Gun Principle dictates that false promises or irrelevant story elements should never come into play. If he is shown being able to introspect, then his character should develop more than simply "respecting your character". His character reached the level Ifan started from, it's nothing special. He never does anything out of selflessness for you, never sacrifices anything. The only gesture you get is a hug. Actions matter more than words. People like him because of his sass, confidence and exotic race. This is why I refer to him as a conman. He lacks depth and his character desperately needs it. He feels artificial, like he's not a real person. Player agency and narrator: As I mentioned before, the entire world is salivating over him. The narrator himself describes how you feel about him, which should be entirely player choice. It all feels like he is the main character instead of the player character, who is the actual protagonist of the story. You are relegated to a spectator role, your only options most of the time are binary choices. No room for argument and debate, which would be great because of how preachy he is about power for example. He is dismissive if you try to go with the potentially argumentative choice given to you when it's a serious topic about him. Romance: This is the worst romance story I've seen yet. I don't understand why it's even present in the game. It starts off with voyeurism. You have to watch him have sex with the love of his life. He'll notice you of course and will grab you by your clothes and lift you up. You get to mention that his "little prince" is standing proud, while also getting the option to a jealousy confession. Any player who finds the choice of romance start insulting is justified feeling that way. His romance scene has him talk about Sadha at it's start, the talk has no real closure as he dodges and shifts the responsibility right away. You get to bang him or not, binary choices again, you are not able to call him out on his behaviour. The choices given to you for the climax, compared to what any other origin character gets are minimal. You get to choose him to be gentle, rough or romantic. It's you deciding how he acts and not you acting. Other origin characters give you an option for a more active role compared to this, it's a nice thing since all the characters are playersexual, blank slates. Homosexual relationships however have a different psychology compared to heterosexual ones, topping and bottoming could be important and they could be hinted at. The problem is, if you let the player choose an active or passive role with one companion, then you should do it with all the other ones as well. The rampant cuckoldry without any nuance to it makes it really, really bad. The fact that they are doubling down on it if he becomes a god feels like insanity. Along with sending his children to war or suggesting to kill them. Conclusion: I wish the writers would treat the player with more respect. I've grown more and more depressed writing this because of how cheated I felt by the end when I analyzed this character completely. The only reason I decided to write this at all is because I noticed how strong the people's feelings are about The Last of Us 2 characters. The emotions I get from this game is similar to that. I was ready to connect to the game's world and it's characters, yet I was unable to. After spending 150 hours, both completionist playthroughs I ended up disliking this game with passion. I was bored by the combat, which has been analyzed to hell with it's problems already. I felt disconnected from the world because it kept reminding me that it's a game. Gaining power for power's sake, cynicism everywhere, mass graves and tragedies all around and the game itself encouraging me to care more about killing people for XP. DOS2 is essentially a combat centric game, similar to XCOM, pretending to be an RPG. They wish to go down the XCOM route as well, evidence to it is the Divinity: Fallen Heroes game that was put on hold because of Baldur's Gate 3. Dialogue, characters are a filler content in between combat encounters. This is why it feels suspicious to me when critics of this game on YouTube mostly end up describing and analyzing the combat and they just say superficial things about the writing. Without any examples or problems other than the tonal shifts. There was an interview when Swen talked about how they listen to criticism, yet when he mentioned that people say that the writing isn't cohesive, he doesn't agree with it. He basically dodges the topic afterwards, talking about gameplay instead. If you are curious about it, the interview is a Baldur's Gate 3 interview with the Escapist on YouTube. If you are concerned about the cuckoldry, I have to tell you it will return for Baldur's Gate 3, they already said so in an interview. It will have a cultural explanation at the very least. However, monogamy is the norm of that setting and Laezel would very well know that her culture is considered weird. That means most interactions she would do would be cautious. They are also making a 300 page comic book about the origin characters. I imagine it will mess up the prince's backstory/ingame character inconsistencies even more. I honestly don't think he deserves an expanded backstory when his questline is flat and his character is static. I wish this character got some justice. If anyone here played Baldur's Gate 1-2, I think he had the potential to be as good as Viconia. Larian can do better than this. I anticipate the argument that I can simply not take him with me. That means however that I'm voluntarily cutting out a huge chunk of the content because it sucks. It's not a good argument. Especially because as I mentioned before, origin characters are the intended protagonists of the game. Feel free to share your own opinions. I stand where I fall, we'll see how long I'm able to.
A close examination of the story. Part 8: "Katarina Rostova." The personal angle: wife, daughter, lover, friend.
Tell the story as the narrative would have it, and what we are left with is a mass of contradictions and nonsense, the best indication of a charade. Most of those come from identity. "Katarina Rostova" is one of the sources of the confusion. In part 3 I examined the mythic spy, in part 2, her curious contradiction in Rassvet, about her treasonous status, in part 1 the bizarre abduction of "Masha Rostova" from her Canadian home, in part 4, the likelihood that there was no person born as "Raymond Reddington". Part 5 examines the curious Alan Fitch, and his relationship to Red. Part 6 looks at the real question Jennifer posed of Red, and why was she satisfied with the answer about the individual chased by both the CIA and the KGB, while part 7 deals with her bizarre way of showing Liz the bones, considering she knew well where Liz lived. In many ways, Red is like a magician, as Aram said. Going by the charade Dom accuses him of creating, "Katarina Rostova" was one of his magic tricks. "You were the architect of this charade". "she's a figment" But this myth had a family, friends, colleagues. And Red. but with young Katarina, and Fakerina, who is who. Was Fakerina one the other women inhabiting the myth? How do we distinguish? It is clear that all the others are referring to Dom's daughter, the character played by Lotte Verbeek as a young woman. BUT when it comes to Red, things are far more complicated, especially for the space where Liz, and her mother intersect.
For Constantin Rostov, Katarina was the wife who loved him:
I don't really know how we got here, Raymond. I remember being an honest businessman in a happy marriage until you came along.... Seduced my wife. To her credit, Katarina broke it off, but you couldn't let go.... I came home one night and they were gone my wife, my child. All that matters is that we had a family, and you destroyed it. We had a daughter, and you took her from us.
He describes the time when she and him met and how she seduced him, much like thrill seeker Elodie seduced Aram into a relationship with him:
When when we when we first met, there was this house near where she lived, a case study house built by this famous mid-century architect. Over dinner one night, she said she wanted to look at it. I thought she meant look from the street. But when we got there, she jumped the fence. The lights were on. People lived there. She didn't care. I stood there frozen, angry, nervous. Then I felt this rush of exhilaration. I climbed up, looked into the yard and she was justDancing.Unafraid. Daring. Being. I'd never seen anything like it.
A woman with a joie-de-vivre
She was more alive than anyone I knew.
He never believed she killed herself, so Constantin believes she is either alive or she was murdered, and she is still convinced that she loved him.
When I heard she killed herself I didn't believe it. I still don't. You're wrong. I didn't see what she wanted me to see of her, I saw her. And despite what happened, I know she loved me.
What happened to Constantin after Katarina left? Was he on the run too? We know he changed his name to Alexander Kirk, we know he started buying energy outfits cheap in the former USSR, but he was a billionaire before: https://preview.redd.it/zyd1hqr6dj451.png?width=1684&format=png&auto=webp&s=9e7d20c4dc5a5d95b10cf1e100eb5af36cda28ca Did he loose it all when Katarina left and he was forced to become someone else? Because he continued to operate in Russia, but under a different name. Did he have surgery? Or was the man known to the Russians as Constantin Rostov NOT him? Nobody tells him that they knew him as Constantin Rostov, when he takes the name Alexander Kirk, so that is a possibility. Red tells her that the KGB had trained Katarina in making people believe what she wanted them to. She had wanted Constantin to believe she was a wife in a happy marriage, that they had a child, and that she loved him. The truth is that she never even let him know she was OK, that she had not committed suicide. She had not let him know that "Masha" was not his daughter. Constantin is not even mentioned by her again, or by Kate, or by Dom. He was a useful idiot in a charade. I think Red is who gets to understand the depth of the turmoil that Katarina created in his life, when Rostov is on the roof about to jump, a turmoil that years later, he is still defined by a love of Katarina, who left him behind like yesterday's news, and the hatred of Red, who he blames for it all.
This is madness, Constantin. Because you cannot have that child, you're gonna take her forever from her mother? It's madness. Constantin, this needs to end now.
It is clear that the wife Constantin refers to is Katarina, Dom's daughter.
For Kate, Katarina was her best friend, her employer. A tragic figure who was a spy, and a loving mother.
My friend just died.... I think she was my best friend.
she made an uncalled for promise to protect Masha:
I made a promise to Elizabeth's mother to protect her girl at all costs.
she was a bit strange, advising her employer to terminate a relationship with an American, being aware that Katarina was a KGB agent:
KATE: Soviet Intelligence?
This means Kate, an American, was fine with aiding an abetting a soviet spy by caring for her daughter while she went and worked against America. And then she calls Red a traitor? Kate has to have been a Soviet sympathizer, or a sleeper spy. And since people tend to kill agents of the opposite side, it is likely Kate already knew that "Katarina Rostova" was a KGB agent. It may be that Kate used that killing to let Katarina know she knew. https://preview.redd.it/yzl18d6uuj451.png?width=432&format=png&auto=webp&s=a1466cc768eea5443117f75c2a687da8d9765faa There is that strange comment that Annie makes after hearing the story:
ANNIE: So what's next for you? You gonna find some more Russians to live with? KATE: I don't know. - I can't think about it right now. Masha and her family were my whole world for so long.
as if Kate's life had been going from one Russian family to another. Kate's life was back on track and then Annie is killed. Then she is sucked back for reasons unknown by Red, who in 1997 decides to hire her. Why? Was she starting to investigate Katarina, using the resources of Little Nikos, who could track people? https://preview.redd.it/ql2o8srbej451.png?width=360&format=png&auto=webp&s=8411e72aa8e919c1c90a9b8bdb937a41e193bd37 She seemed not to even give Constantin Rostov a thought. It never occurred to her to bring Liz to him. Red says Kate did not know about Dom (but she may have known about Oleander). Katarina kept many secrets from her.
For Sam, she was "Kat", obviously someone who trusted him
SAM TO KATE: I'm sorry you had to drive all this way. But I'm in no position to help here. - I told Kat - SAM TO KATE: Did Kat happen to mention that I'm a grifter? SAM TO KATE: I know Katarina is not coming back. She called me.
SAM: Where are you? What's going on? Do you know what they're saying about Reddington? KATARINA: Sam, I need to talk to her. SAM: Talk to her! You can come and get her.
Sam is the second person where Red and Katarina intersect. For those who do not believe Red is RR, Sam seemed to have been trusted by all three then. What is intriguing to me is this conversation Red and Sam have in his deathbed:
Oh, my God. I've never been more scared of a woman in my life. She was thrilling in bed. What a pair of legs. I think she played field hockey in college.
Could that woman be Katarina? It would be difficult to ascertain if both Red and Katarina knew Sam at about the same time, because we do not have a sense when Katarina met him. But we know Red told Liz
I've been friends with Sam for all of yours and most of my life. I loved Sam, Lizzy. Taking his life was of all the difficult things that I've done that may may be the most.
I have a feeling that Sam is a longtime friend of Red, and met Katarina later, but I have nothing to back it other than the ease at which they are laughing about things, when Sam is dying, contrasting with Sam's way of talking to Katarina, seemingly indignant about what is being said about Reddington, telling her to come back for Liz.
It is clear Dembe has met Liz's mother, he tells Liz so:
He's right. You remind me of her, too.
This is when Liz betrays Red, and tries to hide it. Dembe calls Katarina simply "Katarina":
Raymond I'm not sure Elizabeth will ever be ready to learn about what you did to Katarina.
It is Dembe who comes back in Season 6 telling Red that the Townsend Directive has been reactivated:
The Townsend Directive. Our friend in Miami says it's in play.... He says it's very important.
For Dom, Katarina was his daughter.
Dom always refers to her as "Katarina" or "my daughter". TO LIZ: Yes, I knew Katarina quite well TO LIZ: Last time I saw my daughter was in this rearview mirror nearly 30 years ago. If myKatarinawas still here, she would have let me know TO FRANKIE: I never betrayedKatarina . She betrayed me. EXCEPT when he is talking about the charade of blowing up Fakerina in Belgrade:
And there are witnesses. It's a mess! The world was supposed to seeKatarina Rostovadie, and instead all we've done is confirm that she's very much alive.
Ah, Katarina and I, we worked in the same building for a time. I never heard from Katarina after she left for America. For Katarina, it wasn't so easy. A few months after I made it to America, Katarina met me here on that sidewalk.... If my Katarina was still here, she would have let me know.
as he does to Frankie:
My daughter's. Katarina.... I never betrayed Katarina. She betrayed me.
Dom however, has a relationship with both Katarina and Fakerina. She says he asked her to help in keeping his daughter safe:
Dom promised me no one would get hurt. Said he loved his child and just wanted her to be safe.
and he betrayed her. But I find curious that he sends Ilya to ask Fakerina to deliver documents to Dom, when they set her up in Belgrade.
For Ilya, Katarina was a friend.
When we get to Ilya, we have a complex situation. Ilya is who Katarina reach out to in her hour of need, but he also has a relationship to Fakerina. He does not seem to have any real loyalty to Fakerina. Katarina is "Katarina". He certainly knows Dom, but does not seem to like him too much, but when asked, he betrayed Fakerina. Ilya is a childhood friend of Red, and if that part of Rassvet is true, he is also a childhood friend of Katarina (which does not mean Red and Katarina knew one another as children, but does not preclude it either.)
Katarina. I thought you were dead. It was myself, Katarina, Dr. Koehler.
YOUG ILYA TO KATARINA: The world thinks you're dead. ILYA TO SKOVIC: I thoughttheywere dead.
A contrast to Red's suicide speech in Cape May. Red was despondent, Ilya was just working. It is interesting to note that not once has Ilya referred to Fakerina by name, to her, or to Red:
ILYA ABOUT FAKERINA: Our friend in Paris made a series of payments to him under the alias of Constance Drucker. ILYA ABOUT FAKERINA: I underestimated her
But unlike Dom, he cries as he remembers the Belgrade incident. His distress seems sincere. Yet he sacrificed Fakerina to comply with Dom's plan to save "his own". What is the relationship to Dom and to Katarina, that Ilya is compelled to do so, even as it causes him pain. And like Dom, there is one time he uses the full name, and it has a strong whiff of charade:
He leaked that his daughter, that you, were staying at the inn and that you carried sensitive intel. This might be the last chance to catch the infamous Russian traitor Katarina Rostova.
I may not have told you what you want, but I told you all you need. You'll never find Rostova... She's a figment of the collective imagination... Some people in this world are soul mates. Katarina Rostova and I shared one. Betraying her would be like betraying myself.
He almost always uses always the entire name, as he did during most of the trial:
You know what else is possible? That I was framed byKatarina Rostova Have you ever heard ofKatarina Rostova? ... She was a KGB officer. Would it surprise you to learn that she and I had quite a complicated history? Sex, drugs, rock 'n' roll. Did I say "sex"? Sex.
But not always:
How about thatKatarinahid the fact that she was a KGB agent, stole the coordinates for the submarine U.S.S. Gideon, and passed them on to her superiors?
To the people in his inner circle, Dom, Dembe and Ilya, he talks about her as "Katarina" which is normal:
RED TO DEMBE: Not when she mentioned Katarina. Now Elizabeth will stop at nothing. RED TO DOM: You forgave Katarina..... The last time you saw Katarina was in the rearview mirror. RED TO DOM: I was just imagining young Katarina covered in glitter. RED TO ILYA: They're actively looking for Katarina.
As with Kate:
We shared the affection of Katarina.... Katarina was a traitor to two countries, both global superpowers. God willing, Katarina's daughter will live a private life of quiet courage.
But when it comes to Liz, he uses two ways to refer to her, one normal ("your mother")
Your motherwas a Russian spy, and now they've made it look like you are, too. Whenyour motherwas pregnant with you, it was terribly inconvenient. The Cold War was ending. Her country was falling apart. Your mother, despite what he'd done, she wanted him back. Lizzy,your motheris dead. Just because he wasyour mother's husbanddoesn't make him your father. Your motherloved that photograph. Represented everything she wanted but couldn't have. Not after she betrayed the KGB. Your mothercan't hurt you. Your motherwas not as bad as I understand why you might think she was, but she wasn't. You remind me so much ofyour mother. I don't remember if I've ever told you that before, have I?
and another highly contrived ("Katarina Rostova").
I knew her asKatarina Rostova.One of her many names. She was a KGB agent. There was a time in my life when I was quite sure I knew exactly what happened toKatarina Rostova. Katarina Rostovawas the cleverest, most resourceful woman I have ever known. Katarina Rostovawas a name that had been lost to history. Katarina Rostovacommitted suicide in 1990. Even saying the nameKatarina Rostovahas consequences, and now you see. Now you see what that name will make others do.
He has never referred to Katarina, when talking to Liz as just "Katarina", always as "your mother" or "Katarina Rostova." And that spells that when it comes to Liz's maternal situation there is something hidden. Put it together with the charade and the coyness of the CIA around her, and is clear. The situation is not as simple as Liz's biological mother is Dom's daughter.
The most intriguing thing Red has said about her is saying she is a ghost with no name:
RED TO THE TASK FORCE: She doesn't have a name. She's a ghost. Think of a name, any name, and that could be it.
And that seem to go with saying that he knew Liz's mother as "Katarina Rostova", one of her many names. Everyone is more guarded around her. She is "our friend in Paris," "her", or "that woman":
DOM: Tell me whatshesaid. Not your interpretation,herexact words. RED: I'm not interpreting anything.She'scoming for you, andshemade it very clear she's closing in....Sheknows you tried to kill her, Dom. She wants answers, but she also wants revenge. You set her up, betrayed her
It is interesting to note that not once has Ilya referred to Fakerina by name, to her, or to Red:
ILYA ABOUT FAKERINA: Our friend in Paris made a series of payments to him under the alias of Constance Drucker. ILYA ABOUT FAKERINA: I underestimated her.
What is very interesting is what happens with Motya Morozov, who obviously knows Fakerina is not the right "Katarina" to bring:
RED: It's about the Townsend Directive. I understand it's been reactivated that you and everyone else who bought in are actively hunting forher. ... MOTYA: Forget about The Directive. Forget aboutKatarina Rostova*. I'm not gonna help you find her. I'm gonna hunt her down, and I'm gonna kill her myself.*
RED: I guess we know who's third. I instructed you to contact me the instant you had a location onRostova*.* ... I assume you found the lead onKatarinabut, instead of calling me, attempted to bringherin yourself, hoping to relive your glory days andsell her to the highest bidderto keep you rolling in potato vodka and herring for the rest of your life. You're not the first one to underestimate that woman, which is why it was imperative that you call me. MOTYA: There is silver lining. RED: I can't imagine. MOTYA: This one was withRostova.Sold her information, but he wouldn't tell me what.
so for Motya, "Katarina Rostova" is who he is hunting, and "Rostova" is Fakerina who has information Motya wants to get to "Katarina". Red, like Motya, underestimated Fakerina. For Red "Katarina" is Dom's daughter. Even though he called Fakerina "Katarina" in Paris and when he talks to Patrick Masuda. But she was using the name Constance Drucker.
RED TO PATRICK MASUDA: What I got to do is understand why Katarina Rostova would pay to cure you of a fatal blood disease.
It comes to a boil when Liz point blank asks Red:
LIZ: Can I ask you a question? ... Was the woman from Paris my mother? RED: A kindly woman comes into your life and takes an interest in you and your child. It's only natural for you to make that wish. LIZ: Was it her? RED: I know you don't want it to be true, Elizabeth, but your mother is gone.
What seems to me is that Red does not answer. Not really. Liz is asking a simple, direct question: "Was the woman from Paris my mother?.. Was it her?" The normal simple and direct answer is yes, or no. But that is not what Red answers: "your mother is gone." which is neither here, nor there. He is not denying that this woman is her mother, he is telling her that her mother is gone, and that would be simple for a simple, binary option. For most, the woman who gives birth to a child and raises the child is the mother, and the answer is binary. But if someone has more than one mother, it is not a binary question. One mother may be gone, and the other may have been one that was there. He is clearer the next time he addresses the issue:
RED: ...your desire for the woman in Paris to be your mother blinded you to the fact that she wasn't. LIZ: It wasn't just my desire. RED: So she told you she was Katarina? LIZ: She did. And it's difficult for me to believe she wasn't. RED: I was convinced my casket was authentic. It was nearly impossible for me to believe it wasn't. But it was a fake. And she was, too.
and we should ALWAYS remember the initial subterfuge when it comes to who Liz's mother started the very first time her name is mentioned.
RED: Mmmh I knew her as Katarina Rostova. One of her many names. She was a KGB agent.
this HAS to mean something, because Red knows Katarina's name, her real last name, because he knows who Dom is, he knows her cover husband, the one nobody talked about, as if he did not exist. But Red does not seem to know Fakerina's real name. And how does Fakerina refers to Dom's daughter?
On the day you learnedKatarina Rostovawas still alive.
At least Fakerina believes that Ilya knows Katarina, Dom's daughter, as "Katarina Rostova." Fakerina believes Ilya's real name is Ilya Koslov, and she seems to believe Red is Raymond Reddington. Edited to correct typo
Through 2019, I've played over 70 games, and have beaten 39 of them. Here's a short review for all of them.
I made it a goal this year to play as many games as I possibly could and try to deplete my backlog. Through doing that, I've played games this year that have made me laugh, cry, complain, hate, and love. I enjoy seeing others post game reviews like this, so hopefully there are others out there like me who just enjoy reading about games. All games that I've completed are listed in chronological order from when I beat them, and contain a #/10 for final review score (for the ones that I completed). As a bonus, there will be three segments: Completed, Currently playing/hope to get back to, and Retired. At the end, I will include a TLDR; for my completed games in three sections; Good, Average, and Bad. Like others, I used howlongtobeat which proved to be a great tool for my backlog and clearing it out. Here we go:
Condemned: Criminal Origins I had tried this game a couple years back and it didn't really click. When I tried it this year something changed and I felt the need to keep playing it. The premise of the game is very unique, and although there seem to be a few games like this on Steam, there really isn't an experience like this on console. The gameplay is VERY dated, but the story, location, and overall feel behind the game drew me into it. I finished the entire game on New Years Day, and had a great time doing it. For anyone looking for a fun, old school CSI/Survival Horror esque game, even though it has its problems, check this one out. 7.5/10.
Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition What a game. Like Condemned, this was another game that I initially tried years ago and didn't get hooked on, mainly because the driving is so bad especially when you first start out, but I'm so glad I gave this one another chance. Easily in my top 5 games played this year. Enjoyed every single second of it. Aside from the driving, I have no complaints. This is one of those games where you'll actually want to go do everything else even after you complete the story. It's that good. 9/10
Crysis 2 Extra short review because I kinda just blew through this one. Didn't really enjoy it at all, and while this series may have been ahead of its time, its not too impressive playing it in 2019. No story and forgettable gameplay, two things that a campaign of a multiplayer focused game relies on. You're much better off playing through one of the call of duty's if you want an FPS campaign. 4/10
Bioshock: Remastered Forewarning for this one and another review coming up: I'm not a fan of this series. This is another one I tried years ago on the 360, gave up on (see a trend?), but decided to give it another go after hearing all the praise for this series. Let me just say, Bioshock is not a bad game at all, obviously, but for some reason it just didn't click with me like it has other people. I enjoyed my time with the game, but wasn't left speechless after it. The setting got old, the story never really interested me, and the gameplay was quite similar to that of other games (Fallout in particular). It looks and performs quite well as a remaster, and I'd say that's probably the best thing I have to say about the game. Not bad, but not deserving of the critical acclaim it has gotten IMO. 7/10
Batman: Arkham Asylum Stepped out of my comfort zone with this one. I've never seen a batman movie before, nor did I/do I have a desire to before/after beating the game, but I still somehow enjoyed it. It's a nice little change of pace from many games, as the combat is melee focused and is set to one main location with other branching locations instead of the overly used open-world. The backtracking did get tiresome, but overall as a non-batman fan I enjoyed it. Definitely recommend it to somehow looking for a change of pace type of game. 7.5/10
D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die After beating Deadly Premonition and it subsequently moving into my Top 5 favorite games of all time, I decided to give D4 a try after realizing I had downloaded for free years and years ago. All I have to say is this: Swery is a genius. Not a game I would have EVER expected to like, but one that I couldn't put down. Wacky characters, plot, setting, and gameplay all make D4 just a fun, enjoyable experience. It was meant to be an episodic game, but was unfortunately cancelled after the first episode, and it did leave on a little bit of a cliffhanger. Although the talk around the street is that this game won't be finished, we do have hope considering Swery shocked the world announcing Deadly Premonition 2 for next year, a game which I won't be patient for. If you just want wacky experience, definitely check this one out. 8.5/10
Bioshock 2 You're probably wondering why this one is on the list if you read through my Bioshock 1 summary. Well, I am too. I had burning desire for whatever reason to return to Bioshock, and experience Bioshock 2, and honestly, my experience was basically the exact same as Bioshock 1 but a little worse. While I found Bioshock 1 to have a forgettable story, I found Bioshock 2 to have a REALLY forgettable story. I also wasn't a fan of the increased combat that was put into this game, as I feel like this is the type of game where exploration should be focus and not fighting a enemies every time you enter a new location or room. Again, not a terrible experience, just not one that left a lasting impression on me whatsoever. 6/10
Mass Effect 1, 2, and 3 Here's where the tears come in. Wow. Just wow. Before playing this series I never thought anything in any type of entertainment could be this good. I was wrong. Mass Effect 1-3 is the greatest achievement in entertainment history. Am I saying this after doing/watching/playing everything that has ever been put out? No. But I am saying it as I'm confident I, like many others, will NEVER have the pleasure of experiencing anything like the first run through the Mass Effect Trilogy ever again. This is a must play for people not even interested in gaming. The plot that carries over across all three games while taking everything you did from the previous game into account is something that I haven't seen replicated in gaming since, and that was over 12 years ago. The story, world, characters, and gameplay is truly something remarkable in all of entertainment. 2 was my favorite, only because of all the amazing characters you got to meet, otherwise 1 was very close behind. 3 was great, and despite what all the critics had to say, I felt the ending was justified. 10/10
Shadow Of The Tomb Raider A much better entry into the Tomb Raider franchise than Rise, one of the two games which I credit that turned me into a patient gamer. The gameplay was more enjoyable than Rise, and the somewhat open-world sections that the devs added was a nice little change to the series. I still don't think this was nearly as good as Tomb Raider (2013), but this one is definitely still worth checking out. 7/10
The Technomancer My first truly bad experience of 2019. This game was just bad. It had potential and you can see it when you play it, but unfortunately it's just bad. So bad. The plot is bad, the characters are bad, and the gameplay is just downright garbage. The one thing that had true potential which was the world was just shamelessly butchered as well. No one should touch this game. 1/10
The Wolf Among Us Another masterpiece. This was my first telltale game and I'm scared to play another one because I know it will probably not come close to comparing to TWAU. This game has twists and turns that you wouldn't have ever expected, and draws you into the world VERY quickly. This was another one that was hard to put down. The voice acting and story are top notch, and HOLY COW, WOLF AMONG US 2 COMING?? Other than Deadly Premonition 2, it's currently my most hyped upcoming game. 10/10
DmC: Devil May Cry (2013) My first and possibly my last entry in the DMC series. I know its considered to be the worst or at least one of the worst games in the series, but the main draws of the game just bored me to death. The weird enemies types with the spam attack hack-n-slashing combat just really didn't provide me with joy. The story was interesting IMO and the boss fights were cool, but just running around hack n slashing everything as well as backtracking to certain locations just wasn't fun at all to me. Another forgettable experience. 6/10
Watch Dogs 2 This one really surprised me. I was in the minority where I actually really enjoyed Watch Dogs 1, but held off this one due to vocal people saying that this game was political nonsense. My experience with the game was the complete opposite, as I played it from pure game perspective and didn't think much in the overall deep meaning of the plot. The setting was great, and as someone who lives near SF but absolutely hates the city IRL, it was still quite cool to experience something so similar in a game. The graphics were great, the gameplay was smooth, and the characters were interesting, which in total made Watch Dogs 2 a great experience. There were a few characters who were over the top or just not needed in the game, but all I had to do was skip the scenes they were in. 8.5/10
Thimbleweed Park My first true point and click game since the early 2000's. Im a big fan of detective/mystery games, so this one was on my list for a while. Since I lack the mental capacity to solve most puzzles in games, I did have to use a walkthrough for a large part of this game. Even so, I still very much enjoyed this game. If you're looking for a fun point and click adventure game with tons of mystery included, this is a great game to choose. 7.5/10
Bound By Flame As an RPG fan, I had to give this one at least a try. After the horror that I experienced in The Technomancer, I didn't know what to expect with this one. This was just average all the way through. Literally take the definition of an RPG and put it into this game. Much better than The Technomancer, but still not that good of an RPG. I'd probably suggest only to play this If you run out of other RPGs or simply just want a mediocre experience. Also, what's up with Spiders making the ability to climb up objects impossible if you're in combat? You have to clear out every single enemy in an area if you want to continue on, and this includes the backtracking and minor areas. One of the most annoying things I can remember experiencing in a video game. 5/10
Outward Wasn't patient for this one but I wish I was. Like Bound By Flame, this is just an insanely bland RPG, and in this case, is considered a "Hardcore RPG". It's hardcore in the fact that you REALLY have to want to play this game otherwise you're going to be bored within an hour. Its not worth having to make the 10 minute walk across the map 10-20 times to get supplies and to complete quests. Just a totally bland game that I would've quit right away if I hadn't bought it on release. Another great example on why to be a patient gamer. I also found out later on this year that this game was already made in 2009, and was much better then. I'll save that for a later review. 4/10
Dead Rising 2 Remastered A classic. This was my first replay of 2019, but this time it was the remastered version. I played through Dead Rising 2 5-6 times on my 360 solo and with different coop partners. The remastered version is just a better version of this great game. Absolutely flawless performance even on my OG Xbox One. This game is the ultimate sit back and chill game. 8.5/10
L.A. Noire My second replay of 2019, and, up until I played the Mass Effect series earlier in the year, was my favorite game of all time. Crime/noir is my favorite genre of games, and it's too bad we really don't see many of them anymore. L.A. Noire blows every other crime game out of the water, and not only that, but throws in the detective element and makes you feel like you are truly investigating the cases in the game. The noir element is also just totally flawless in the game. While the performance of the remastered version was again, flawless, I really didn't like how they removed the Truth/Lie dialogue options with "Good Cop/Bad Cop". I honestly preferred the last gen version. Still, I consider this game a masterpiece. 10/10
South Park: The Fractured But Whole Was hoping to play this after I saw the new season to get into the mood, but decided to dive right in instead. To this day, the South Park games are the only turn-based games that I've managed to play through. While I preferred the premise of The Stick Of Truth better, I still absolutely loved my time with this game. It truly is remarkable that not only are Trey and Matt able to continually make arguably the greatest show in entertainment history, but also put out really great games. 8/10
Assassins Creed: Odyssey I spent all of May playing this one, so that should tell most of what you need to know. I'm a sucker for Ubisoft games and the mindless enjoyment I get out of them. While nothing Odyssey does is groundbreaking, it still provided me with more than 65 hours of content and that's without the DLC, which I hope to get back to someday. Due to the story and characters, I think this is better than Origins, although both are great games worthy of your time. I'm glad the series has turned into an basically open world RPG, because I was not a fan at all of any of the older AC games. 9/10
Brutal Legend Didn't even know this game existed until I picked it up over the summer. It was a fun little experience. Extremely unique, but I wasn't a fan of the main RTS element and the very empty open world. Music was fantastic though, and I really enjoyed the plot. Wish we had more games that went really outside the box like this. 7/10
Alpha Protocol My second bad experience this year. I heard so many positives about this game, but I just hated absolutely every second of this one. The so-called story and "decision making" that I heard so much about was, IMO, a total lie, as none of the decisions you make truly matter, and not to mention they're insanely quickly timed so half the time you don't even know what you're picking. Im going to say it, this is just a very, very, very bad prequel to Hitman: Absolution (yes, I liked that game). This one should be buried and forgotten. 2/10
Wanted: Weapons Of Fate Another one of my 360 pickups during the summer. Not much to summarize as it's apparently a video game version of a movie I had never seen or heard of. It's a nice little straightforward action game that's playable for its duration, which is only about 6 hours. Easily beaten in a day. 6/10
Heavy Rain Finally got to this one after wanting to play it for so long. I heard it had everything that I wanted: Crime, Mystery, Noir elements....... and it absolutely delivered on all fronts. I actually accidentally spoiled the plot for myself a few years ago which put me off of the game for so long, but since I only knew the major twist, everything else was new to me making it extremely enjoyable to start to finish. People talk about the mainstream PS exclusives like God Of War, Bloodborne, etc., but not enough talk goes into Heavy Rain and it's later counterpart, Until Dawn. 9/10
The Bureau: XCOM Declassified Now I'm totally in the minority on this one, but I really enjoyed this game. Disclosure: I've never played any other XCOM game due to them being turn-based, which is why I gave this one a try. This game is solid all around, but where it shines is the setting. Some of the locations that this game puts you in, including places in New Mexico and CA, along with your base of operations, are very unique. Unless all the hate for this game was from XCOM fanboys who wanted more turn-based, than I truly don't understand what the deal was. This was a great game. 8/10
Tacoma Again, not much to really review here. A walking sim in space with its own little touch on interaction and dialogue. It's very colorful and different from most walking space sims. If you're a fan of these types of games, I think this one might be worth checking out. 7/10
Gears Of War: Ultimate Edition As the 3rd person cover shooter genre is growing quickly on me, I decided to check out the series that a number of people have credited with starting it. I also started out with the goal of playing through the entire series for the first time before Gears 5 came out. Ultimately, it fell short after this one, but I'll save that for later. GoW: UE is a great remaster. The graphics are phenomenal, and gameplay is smooth, and seemingly is the way that someone starting out on Gears Of War should start their entry into the series. The grass is not so greener after this one, but this game by itself is definitely worth your time. 7.5/10
Red Faction: Guerrilla Remarstered Didn't know how I expected this one going. I love Sci-Fi and space, and had never played a labeled destruction game before, but as soon as I stepped foot on Mars, I knew this was going to be a good one. You truly don't know how enjoyable breaking everything is until you do it, and that's all you need to focus on while playing this game. Yea other elements are there, but the destruction is just so damn satisfying that it makes this game just worth it for that. 8/10
Gears Of War 2 Man did I have to absolutely slog through this one. I've seen people credit this game as the best in the series, but all I credit it as is the game which completely killed any interest I had in Gears of War. You can only run through caves for so long before it gets mind numbingly boring. Not to mention the completely random story bits that this game throws in. This was not a fun game at all to play. 3/10
Dark Pictures Anthology: Man Of Medan After playing until dawn 3 years ago and immediately saying right afterwards "If only supermassive did an anthology series. I'd buy every game on release", here we are 3 years later and they actually are doing exactly that. While I wouldn't say that this one is as good as Until Dawn, it's still a fantastic game and one that all fans of Until Dawn should experience. Not to mention it has Shawn Ashmore in it, one of the greater lesser known actors. 8/10
Risen 1 Remember how I said a far superior version of Outward had come out in 2009? Yea, this it it. This was the ideal hardcore RPG experience I was looking for. It had everything: Fantastic story, great characters, janky combat, among all the other things that I look for in an RPG. Perhaps the most surprising part of this game was the Dialogue, and dare I say may be the best dialogue of any game that I have ever played. They have some lines in this one that are absolutely hilarious, and the best part is you would have never expected a game like this to have such strong writing, which makes it even better. This game was so close to being a legitimate masterpiece if it wasn't for the last chapter in the game which almost killed my enjoyment in the game. Other than that, this is a must play RPG. 9/10
Far Cry 3 Another one on the long list of games that I tried years ago and decided on trying again this year. Far Cry 3 ended up being just an average experience. Cheesy story, tedious objectives (crawl up a tower, liberate an outpost, rinse and repeat). I did like the main missions though, and the setting was pretty cool. A better game than Far Cry 4. 6/10
Binary Domain Boy did I enjoy my time with this one. This one is easily the hidden gem of all my 2019 games if I don't count the arguably more popular Risen 1. This game had it all, but more importantly, found a way to skillfully mix in an engaging and emotional story with a good amount of comedy. Not to mention, it probably has the best shooter physics of any game I've ever played it. It's truly a shame this one is not talked about more. 9.5/10
Far Cry 5 Decided to pick this one up after not minding Far Cry 3. Let me start by saying this: Far Cry 5 is BY FAR the best in the series in almost every facet of the series' core. I can't tell you how nice it was not having to climb up 20 towers in the game. Graphics were superb, setting was by far the best in the series, and so was the story. I also didn't realize how much of a powerhouse cast they had for this game until I finished it. Impressive. 8/10
The Outer Worlds Easily my 2019 GOTY. I haven't had that much fun playing a game since Mass Effect in February. I know I've said it a lot in these reviews, but again, this game had it all. I didn't have a single complaint about this game. Not one. Story, graphics, characters, world, all absolutely phenomenal. I was so glad to see this game get universal acclaim. It deserved it. 10/10
Rage 2 And now my worst game of 2019. This game was garbage. That is all I can say about this one. Don't ever waste your time on this POS. I can't believe I did till the end. 1/10
The Darkness This one was another slog to get through. The reviews of this game from 2007 are not representative of the game today. I can't really say one thing that this game did positive, at least by today's standards, other than offer a unique system of combat. Everything else was just not good. 4.5/10
TLDR; The Good: Mass Effect series, Outer Worlds, Binary Domain, Risen 1, L.A. Noire, The Wolf Among Us, Sleeping Dogs, Watch Dogs 2, Dead Rising 2, Far Cry 5, Assassins Creed Odyssey, Red Faction Guerrilla Remarstered, The Bureau XCOM Declassified, Heavy Rain, South Park Fractured But Whole, D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die
The Average: Condemned Criminal Origins, Bioshock 1 & 2, Batman Arkham Asylum, Shadow Of The Tomb Raider, DmC: Devil May Cry, Thimbleweed Park, Brutal Legend, Wanted Weapons Of Fate, Tacoma, Gears Of War Ultimate Edition, Far Cry 3, Bound By Flame
The Bad: Crysis 2, The Technomancer, Outward, Alpha Protocol, Gears Of War 2, Rage 2, The Darkness
Now onto games that I'm currently playing/hope to get back to....
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice (Playing) Black Friday pickup. Really enjoying my time with this game, and after absolutely hating Dark Souls, this one has surprised me. Kingdom Hearts 3 (Playing) The games locations are so cool, especially after growing up around all these things... but the game is just so boring to play. Little Nightmares Not a big fan of sidescrollers but got this one for a good price. About half way through the game, just need to find motivation to finish it. Fallout: New Vegas Decided to give NV one more go and actually got into it. Unfortunately it's been paused due to me buying so many games on Black Friday, but it will soon be resumed. Divinity: Original Sin 2 Enjoyed my time with it but the turn-based combat really just makes it a slow hassle to play. Honestly don't know if I'll return to it. Metro Exodus Wasn't a fan of what I had played, but will likely give it another try in the future before I put it down for good.
And now for games that have been retired, for the better good....
Resident Evil 2 This was my last attempt at trying to get into the Resident Evil franchise. After trying 0, 4, 5 and now 2, this series just isn't for me. I dreaded my time with Resident Evil 2, as I can only take backtracking through the same boring hallways with no ammo so many times. (Black Friday buy - returned) Control Didn't have high hopes for this game so I wasn't disappointed, but this game was just really, really bad. Easily the worse lighting/color palette of any game I've ever played, not to mention there's nothing interesting at all about the game and the combat sucks hard. I also had a table stuck around my character 3 times in the first 2 hours. (Black Friday buy - returned) X-Blades Just a bad game. Recore Enjoyed the game up until the point where I had to deal with BS and wasn't willing to deal with the BS. Didn't leave any lasting expressions on me. Alien Isolation I can't stand insta-kill games. I've tried to pick this one up on three different occasions, but the last one was my last straw. Just not a game for me. Mass Effect: Andromeda Bad game with the worst voice acting in a video game. What else is there to say? Red Faction: Armageddon Bad game that could've been good but instead is bad. Vampyr Another game that could've been okay but just fell completely flat on its face. Ashen Man, I really did enjoy my time with this game, but once they wanted me to through an entire castle with loads of enemies on each floor and no respawn points, that was it for me sadly. Bully: Scholarship Edition Just a boring game. I can see how it might've been fun for its time, but at least for me it doesn't hold up in the slightest.
If you made it this far, thank you for reading my 2019 in gaming review! Hopefully it helped out on some games on your list.
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