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[ALL] I just found the best analysis of the ending decision of the first game. (Warning: long text)
Courtesy of TVTropes:
The option to save Chloe and why it exists ... a k a Max is not Commander Shepard At the end of Day 5, you are presented with a binary choice — Save Arcadia Bay or Save Chloe. The game sends you clue after clue, hint after hint that Chloe is a Doom Magnet and trying to save her only causes bad things to continue to occur. Almost every day has you trying to save Chloe's life, be it Nathan with a gun, Chloe shooting at junk, Chloe playing on the train tracks, Chloe becoming a quadriplegic who is slowly withering away, Chloe being killed by Mr. Jefferson and so on. The game is telling you that YOU DONE FUCKED IT UP!! when you saved Chloe the first time, and the only way to prevent the tornado from wrecking the town is to go back to Day 1 and let Nathan kill Chloe. Now, accepting that realization and fixing the timeline would have in itself been an excellent ending — by providing An Aesop about causality, how linear time strongly enforces it, and the disastrous pitfalls of messing with it. So why does the game allow Max to not learn that valuable lesson, instead opting to save Chloe? It is because Max would have to learn the extremely Family-Unfriendly Aesop that sometimes an innocent life must be sacrificed for the greater good. Now, consider who is this particular Aesop useful to? It is usually people with tremendous responsibility and a great deal of authority over people, who will assist that leader. People like ship's captains, mission commanders, field commanders, secret agents, law enforcement superagents, ICU personnel doing triage, emergency medicine specialists, governors, presidents, prime ministers etc. For the most part, these people volunteered for the job, or were otherwise qualified for it, thus they are receptive to this lesson. Now consider what Max Caulfield is? She is a shy introverted photography nerd who is in high school. She is just concerned with navigating high school cliques, not navigating a spaceship through a mine field. She just wants to make it through her Science, Lit and Art classes, not make it through a Zerg Rush, a Macross Missile Massacre and a Beam Spam. The most risky thing she would have ever considered doing, is to dip in the pool with Chloe and maybe steal a kiss, not say, infiltrating an enemy base and stealing vital intelligence. She is content to trade barbs with Victoria, not trading broadsides across the bow. Max is even an Actual Pacifist who Does Not Like Guns. She realizes, like other teen superheroes such as Spider-Man do, that with her ability Comes Great Responsibility. But should she be expected to learn the harsh truth about the brutal calculus? Should she be expected to at that age bear the burden of sacrificing Chloe, knowing that doing so will save the town? Or would it be ok for Max the high schooler to just want to be with Chloe? Ultimately that is the choice the game puts to the player. Should you as the player act like you are playing Deus Ex or Mass Effect 3 and make the cold calculating choice? Or should you realize that you are role playing as an eighteen year old introverted art student and act with the heart? THAT is the choice in the end. The ending cutscenes play out accordingly. Sacrifice Chloe and all you see Max do is cry — she weeps uncontrollably, huddled in the corner as Chloe gets shot, then is shown crying at the funeral. This cutscene is a What the Hell, Player? montage saying, "Look! Because you made her act according to the brutal calculus when she wasn't prepared to handle it, she is now broken!" The other cutscene where she saves Chloe shows a happier Max. Yes, the town was destroyed, but in the end she didn't lose her true companion. She isn't as broken about Arcadia Bay being destroyed and whatever loss of life may have occurred because they are abstract things, while Chloe is a concrete real thing that she didn't have to sacrifice.
This makes so much sense. I'd gone for the Sacrifice Arcadia Bay ending because I thought Max couldn't sacrifice Chloe as all that(Looking at things without the surrounding context, saving the Bay is definitely the more 'correct' decision, logically, but I try to think when playing games with the mindset of my character, not myself), but I hadn't realized it this deeply. It's perfectly fitting. O unknown Troper who wrote this: bless thy heart.
Hey everyone, Murba here. With E3 gracing us with its presence once again, it’s time to reflect on game series’ both new and old. Here I will be giving an overview of one of the most successful PC franchises for nearly two decades, The Sims series. I will first be describing how the series’ origins and how it came to be made, then I will be going over each game in the series along with their respective add-ons. Origins The Sims series was created by video game designer Will Wright, though he had already been a household name for over a decade. This is due to his work in a variety of games that have focused on sandbox-style gameplay that focused more on player creativity and management rather than objectives or reaching an endpoint. One of the first games he had developed was Raid on Bungling Bay where he stated that he had more fun developing the environments rather than playing the actual game. This would lead him to developing his own video game, originally called Micropolis, that focused on building cities and managing their development without end. Later in development, the game would undergo a name change and become known as SimCity, the very first game in the Sim series. Separate from The Sims series, the Sim series was a series of simulation games that placed players in scenarios that fostered creativity and management skills in a wide variety of situations. Beyond SimCity, the series would expand into other areas like farming in SimFarm, hospital upkeep in SimHealth, and business management in SimTower. There were also games like SimAnt and SimEarth that focused not on earning money but creating life and helping creatures survive in the worlds that the player created. Eventually, a game that combined the business and life management scenarios of the series would be released in the year 2000, aptly named The Sims. The inspiration for The Sims came about when Will Wright faced a sudden hardship when his home was one of many structures that was affected by the 1991 Oakland Firestorm. The house was destroyed, and all his possessions were also lost. Faced with having to basically rebuild his life, the tragedy had turned to inspiration. Wright had begun to think of a video game that would match what he had been through; building a home from the ground up and simulating the joys and struggles of life through a virtual family. After shopping the idea around and facing technological limitations at the time, Electronic Arts finally agreed to pick up the project years after the fire and The Sims was officially put into development and the first trailer was launched. Originally, the game was going to feature an open-ended system that was focused heavily on construction and studying the in-game characters’ behavior. But after working on the social aspect of the game for a time, the developers and Wright found more enjoyment in this and began focusing development on individual characters and the actions they take and relationships they make. Despite the gains in development, though, the game did not elicit much confidence from Electronic Arts and was not properly spotlighted by the time E3 1999 came around. However, the game did gain attention when a demo featured two female Sims professing their love to one another and kissing at a wedding. As same-sex relationships were hardly, if ever, featured in video games, this was a huge steppingstone in many eyes and brought much needed attention to the game. The publicity had successfully highlighted the game and its life-simulating features that many gamers were hyped to play with. Finally, on January 31, 2000, The Sims was officially launched to critical acclaim and overtook Myst as the top selling PC game of all time. Thus, The Sims series was launched with a bang. The Sims The first Sims game revolves around its three basic modes: Live, Buy, Build. The game opens with a loading screen with text implying humorous circumstances that are occurring in order to make the game run properly, a staple that would continue throughout the series. The game then presents the player with a small neighborhood with plenty of pre-designed homes and Sims to play as. Of course, creativity is key in this game and so one of the first things a new player can do is create their own Sims. The creation system in The Sims 1 was a basic system as you could only choose your Sims’ gender, age, skin tone, head, and body. There is also an option to choose your Sim’s personality, whether they be neat or a slob, active or lazy, outgoing or shy, etc. There was a lot of fun in mixing and matching the different options and up to eight Sims could be created in one household or family. The next step is to pick a home for the newly created household to dwell in. One could create their own home or pick from the predesigned ones provided. Either way, a home is always in need of furnishings and this is where the Buy aspect comes into play. A large catalogue of items is provided right at the comfort of your own home, eliminating the need to travel and purchase goods. While a whole slew of objects and knick-knacks are widely available, the Sims needs are a priority. Each Sim as eight needs that need fulfilling; these being Hunger, Social, Fun, Comfort, Hygiene, Bladder, Energy, and Environment. As such, Sims need objects like refrigerators to eat, televisions to have fun, beds to regain energy, etc. Of course, if a Sim family is moved into an empty lot, a home to place said objects in comes first. A home could be however big a player wants within the lot boundary and go up to two stories. Terraforming tools are also available that allows players to build steep hills or deep holes and even create decorative ponds to liven the lot up. The game offers a wide variety of options when building a home like adding wooden or spiral staircases, selecting wallpapers that change the texture of the outside and inside of a home, differing types of flooring like tile and carpet, and even adding pools. Each object in both Build and Buy mode is also accompanied by descriptions that can be elaborate or humorous (with one wallpaper, called "Dare Wallpaper", that outright asks the player if they "dare use this wallpaper" without any explanation why.) When all Sims are moved in and objects placed and homes built, it is time to live life to the fullest. Adult Sims can learn a variety of skills and form relationships with members of their household and other neighborhood Sims. Although travel is not possibly in the base game, Sims do occasionally stop by and can be seen walking past the homes of your playable Sims. Sims can also take on jobs in fields like education, police, and even criminal and work their way up the ladder earning promotions and pay raises. However, there is no day cycle, so the price comes at having a Sim work every day to make a living. Child Sims have more limited options and need to go to school every day much like an adult working-Sim. Another key aspect of the game was the music that was integrated within the modes. While the Live mode was mostly quiet save for radios or speaker systems that could be installed within the home, the Buy and Build modes were accompanied by a new-age Jazz soundtrack created by Jerry Martin. The Buy mode had a livelier soundtrack that created a feeling of excitement but also relaxation as players bought endless objects that livened up their homes and made their Sims lives easier. The Build mode soundtrack was much calmer and created a sensation that nature and construction were working together to build the home of the players’ dreams and was the perfect tone for such a venture. Overall, this soundtrack has been lauded by many and streams can often be found on YouTube for many to listen to. As stated before, one of the main draws of the Sims series is the open-ended gameplay that has no objectives or endgame content. However, this does not exclude a game-over scenario. As with life, Sims can experience mishaps and end up dying as a result of accidents like fires, electrocution, or falling meteors (a common occurrence). Low needs like hunger can also cause Sims to undergo breakdowns and endanger their lives further. Children could also be taken away due to neglect or even sent to military school forever if their grades slump in school. However harsh, these scenarios connect back to Will Wright’s original vision for the Sims being a simulation of real life and the joys and consequences that follow. Overall, though, Sims that are properly taken care of can live prosperous lives and happy lives. They can have relationships, get married, have children through simply actions like kissing, create wondrous works of art, become a jack-of-all-trades by learning every skill in the game, etc. The Sims, while dated in some respects, provided an infinite amount of entertainment that allowed for players to express their creativity in endless ways and play out scenarios that can go good or bad in many ways. Of course, another staple of The Sims series is the expansion packs and there were many in this game, totaling seven for one game. Some packs like Livin’ Large and House Party expanded on the actions Sims could so in their homes like having robot butlers clean up their messes, having teleporting staircases take them up the next floor, and throw massive parties to meet Sims and even meet Drew Carrey in the game. Others like Hot Date, Unleashed, and Vacation allowed for Sims to travel outside of the home and go on dates downtown, visit the expanded neighborhood of Old Town and adopt cats and dogs, or take a trip to the beach, forest, or mountains for a relaxing vacation. Finally, Superstar and Makin’ Magic changed what Sims could dedicate their lives to by letting them visit the new studio lots and become celebrities or become Mages by visiting, or moving into, Magic Town. There was also an online pack called The Sims Online where players could meet with other online through their Sims. Overall, The Sims and its expansion packs would set the stage for the future of the series and be the inspiration for future titles and packs that followed it. The Sims 2 About four years after The Sims was launched, the sequel to the game was released, aptly named The Sims 2. Although Will Wright was attached to the project, he did not provide much input into the sequel and the project was left in the hand’s other developers. The basic gameplay mechanics stayed relatively the same though there were some big additions that were made for this game. One of the first big changes was the shift from an isometric camera to a fully 3D camera in both the neighborhood and home. All Sims, objects, and homes were now 3D models and extensive detail was given to their shading, lighting, and shadow works to make them feel more alive. The upgraded engine also allowed for improvements to be made to the game modes like increasing the height of homes to five floors instead of two, allowing lots to be placed anywhere in the neighborhood, and giving Sims fully facial expressions instead of static heads. Another change that was made was how Sims could be created. Sims no longer stayed the same age forever and could now age appropriately, introducing toddlers, teenagers, and elders to the system. The creation options were vastly improved as individual tops and bottoms could now be customized and selected, outfits like pajamas and formal wear could be selected, and facial sculpting allowed for complete, if sometimes scary, freedom. Finally, a Sim could have an associated Aspiration tied to their personality. Aspirations like Family, Fortune, or Knowledge would dictate what a Sim was most interested in and drive their focus and goals towards these aspirations. A Family oriented Sim would want to focus on marriage and taking care of children while a Knowledge oriented Sim would focus on increasing their skills and creating crafts with what they have learned. These features tie into the Wants and Fears mode as well as the Aspiration Meter. The Aspiration Meter is a mode that can increase or decrease depending on if Wants or Fears are met. Wants and Fears are mini objectives that Sims may want to accomplish like make a new friend or avoid like the plague like getting fired. Fulfilling these grants Sims Aspiration Points and can liven their mood and be redeemed for special rewards that can make the game easier. Such rewards include a helmet that can boost their skills, a machine that lets Sims change their complete personality, and a drink dispenser that can provide extra days in a Sims life. Overall, the game was fitted with multiple features that expanded on the original game and greatly improved the overall experience. The addition of a weekly system meant that Sims did not have to go to work or school every day. Genetics could now be passed down to children instead of the system being a roll of the dice. The addition of a movie maker also allowed players to film their experiences and share them with friends offline and online. Life states were also introduced as Sims could now become a multitude of different species like Vampires, Werewolves, and even Zombies. The Sims 2 was also accompanied by eight expansion packs that provided features seen in previous packs, but some introduced new concepts. University allowed teenage Sims to move out of their parents’ homes and live the dorm life, studying for final exams and joining secret college societies that would make or break their educational experience. Open for Business let Sims create their own businesses by selling objects or providing services for other Sims without needing to work under careers. Seasons introduced weather conditions like rain and snow in the game that changed depending on the seasons. Finally, Apartment Life introduced apartment living and allowed for Sims to find roommates enjoy the joys and pitfalls of living by rent in shoddy holes in the wall or luxurious penthouses. The Sims 2 also introduced the concept of stuff packs. Stuff packs were like expansion packs, but they contained little to no gameplay features and instead just provided new objects that Sims could buy. Ten stuff packs were released, and each contained a theme like Teen Style or Family Fun styles. Some packs like IKEA Home and H&M Fashion were commissions by said companies and earned criticism from gamers and reviewers alike. Overall, The Sims 2 was a huge leap forward for The Sims series as it heavily upgraded its engine and allowed for greater player creativity through its characters and build options. The Sims 3 Will Wright had left Electronic Arts after the release of his newest game Spore yet the Sims license remained with the company. As such, the series would end up being developed further without Wright’s input and a successor to The Sims 2 had begun development, that being The Sims 3. Right from the first trailer, it is clear that this game was going to be much more ambitious than its predecessors and go well beyond to create a new experience. While there were a multitude of changes made like smoother character models and more skills that Sims could learn, there were three big changes that were added to this entry. Probably the biggest change that the game was trying to advertise was the new open world that Sims could traverse in. Previous titles only allowed individual lots to be played in and travel required driving over and waiting on loading screens for the next lot to load. Now the entire world was seamless and entirely open. Sims could walk to and visit neighbors, find collectables stones and bugs in far off locations, go for a jog around town to build up their fitness skills, everything was obtainable now without any interruptions. The second biggest change was the addition of traits. Previous Sims titles allowed for personality points and aspirations to determine how sociable a Sim would be or how neat they were, yet traits completely overhauled this system. Now Sims could have up to five traits that changed their behavior and unlocked certain actions unique to said traits. A Sim with the Virtuoso trait could sing in the shower and build up skills faster in music skills. A Sim who is Never Nude always swims and showers in a bathing suit. A Kleptomaniac could randomly swipe objects from unsuspecting Sims homes. There was a multitude of traits added that could truly make each Sim unique in their own way. The final big change to the game was the addition of the Create-a-Style mode. Previous games only allowed for a few options regarding the color of objects and clothing and could be quite limiting. This new mode allowed for practically every object in the game to be given a custom color or texture depending on player choice. A couch could be turned bright red and giving a metallic texture. A toilet could be colored gold and given a carpet texture. These were all options that made both the Sims and their homes stand out more in this new world. As per usual, expansion packs would further the Sims experience and they each brought new experiences that the series had yet seen. Ambitions allowed for Sims to actively play out their careers like Firefighter or Investigator rather than having the actions be done off camera. Generations put more emphasis on childhood and elderly Sims by giving them new interactions and options like school dances or reminiscing on the old times. Supernatural brought together many life states like lycanthropy and witches all in one expansion pack aimed at creating a true fantasy world. Finally, Island Paradise and Into the Future sought to gives Sims a new way of living by letting them live on luxurious islands and houseboats and travel into the future and experience the wonders of the new technology that could be found. Stuff packs also make a return in this game and as per usual, they are centered around themes like vehicles in Fast Lane and outdoor spaces in Outdoor Living. We also got sponsored packs like Diesel Stuff which added objects from the official company and, much to the confusion of many payers, a Katy Perry styled pack titled Katy Perry’s Sweet Treats which contained candy-themed objects and clothing at a higher cost than most packs. A third type of pack was introduced this generation called Worlds. These were essentially neighborhoods that were available on the Sims online store and retailers, each with their own theme like piracy for Barnacle Bay or outer space for Lunar Lakes. This is also the game that fully utilized the online store and consistently released objects, clothing, and exclusive tools that could be bought with real world money and downloaded into the game. Overall, this was clearly the most ambitious Sims game that has come out. It set a high amount of standards and goals and many players have shown admiration for the steps the game has taken towards achieving them. The Sims 4 With the arrival of the fourth Sims game, this entry has received a more mixed reception compared to its predecessors. One of the key reasons why is because many of the features that were introduced in previous games were either removed or scaled back. This was a game that was meant to appeal towards a larger audience and be able for anyone to play, hence sacrifices were made. The open world was no longer available and loading screens between lots had returned. Sim models were of a lower quality and not as realistic as other entries before it. Features like traits were still present but were scaled back a bit in lieu of new additions. Overall, this was a base game that had a lot of work to do to appeal towards longtime gamers, yet the new additions did help the game stand out more. One of the new key features that was added was Emotions. Previous Sims games usually kept Sims at a simple mindset and anything indicating a change in mood was usually not significant enough that gameplay would be affected. Now the actions that Sims would take, or events that would occur, could now have a positive or negative effect on a Sim’s mood. Things like objects breaking or getting into fights would sour a Sim’s mood and this would linger until something was done to brighten up their mood by doing activities that would make them happy. This also unlocked unique options like kicking down trash cans to vent one’s anger or play in the bathtub of a Sim is feeling playful. These new emotions made Sim’s feel more alive and helped them react more to the environment around them. Another new feature that was added was the revamped create-a-Sim mode. A Sim’s features were no longer reliant on sliders or picking select options but now Sims could now be molded by simply clicking on their body and be changed to the player’s hearts content. Another feature was that Sims’ genders were now completely customizable, giving way to options like transgendered or non-binary Sims. This also opened the door for all clothing and hair options to become available for Sims as it was no longer locked to specific genders now. As per usual, the game has had a slew of expansion and stuff packs, with the latter up to fourteen stuff packs and growing. The game has also introduced the concept of Game Packs. These are essentially the opposite of stuff packs whereas those introduced objects without changing the game fundamentally, game packs offered new modes or features that would have been too small for an expansion pack to feature. These include the Vampires pack which introduced the dark creatures of the night and also Spa Day which lets Sims create their own massage parlor and learn masseuse skills. Overall, The Sims 4 has had a rocky starts due to its missing features but it has steadily carved out an identity of its own and become a key part of the Sims franchise. In the end, The Sims series will forever be one of the most influential PC game series to have ever hit the market and one of my favorite games of all time. What are your favorite Sims games? What were your favorite experiences playing the games? What features do you hope will be added? Feel free to comment on your experiences and thank you for taking the time to read this! Sources: The Sims Wiki The Sims Wikipedia Page) LGR SimCity Series Retrospective The Kiss That Changed Video Games How The Sims Made New-Age Jazz Piano the Soundtrack of Our Lives
[EP5 SPOILERS] Through the Blizzard - My Thoughts and Journey Through Life is Strange
Preface Let me start by saying that Life is Strange is easily one of the most engrossing and enthralling games I've ever played. I never would have dreamed that I could fall so easily into the world of Blackwell and Arcadia Bay and develop such strong feelings and ties to everyone, especially Max and Chloe. The lingering melancholy and sadness resulting from their struggle and story won't easily fade, and the emotional scars left over won't ever truly go away, but I wouldn't ever want them to. I'll happily bear the memories and feelings I've had for this game for as long as I can, and I wouldn't trade them. Consider this, ultimately, a description of my journey through the story of Life is Strange and a defense of the ending that I felt was the right one. Browsing thoughts, comments, and reactions in the aftermath of finishing the game, I've seen a major criticism that I'd like to address as best as possible, and in doing so, explain my own rationale, interpretations, and thought process behind my actions and my ultimate feeling of satisfaction at the end. In case it's not already apparent, my preferred ending, one that I will resolutely stand by and accept as my personal "true" ending, is to sacrifice Arcadia Bay for Chloe. Having retroactively watched and examined the other option and arguments both for and against both options, I've come to the conclusion that I ultimately chose what was right for Max and for me as a player in spite of the consequences and realities of that choice. In writing this, I want to discuss those consequences and realities in detail within the context of the story and present my view of the ending and what results from it. For the sake of understanding and context, it is worth mentioning that this is the result of my first playthrough of the game, some limited research into it, and my understanding of the ideas and thoughts about some of the major concepts and themes presented. It's highly likely that my view will change and grow as I continue to explore and revisit Arcadia Bay and its inhabitants, and I will do my best to modify my thoughts and views at that time. If I'm being honest with myself, this is also a moment of reflection for myself and a means to grasp and understand the impact that this game has had on me as a player. It's my means of trying to achieve a more realized catharsis and understanding that, in the wake of finishing this amazing story, I desperately need. In addition, I freely admit that the journey through this game is a very personal and subjective experience and the vast majority of it is left up to player interpretation. While my views for my playthrough may conflict or directly contradict your own view or the view of others, I fully accept that there is no truly "right" view in the same way that there is no "true" Max outside of my or your Max. I only ask that you also offer the same consideration. So, without any additional preamble, let's dive in. When Reality Fights Back - The Nature of Fate, Time Travel, and Metaphysics in Life is Strange It's impossible to delve into the choices, consequences, interpretations, and ultimate meanings presented in Life is Strange without first discussing how basic fundamental ideas within its universe work. Of particular importance are the potentially supernatural aspects at play and how they operate. To begin with, it is apparent that there is some powerful and potentially supernatural force or entity at work in Arcadia Bay that essentially amounts to the main antagonist of the game. The nature of this antagonist is left incredibly vague, as is its origin or makeup. Whether it's the fabric of space-time reacting badly to direct change or some sort of sentient force or entity, be it God or fate, it makes its ultimate presence and demands known throughout the game, and it boils down to a simple fact: don't mess with time or be prepared for what follows. It's at this point that I'd like to make something clear. I've seen a lot of comments about the reasoning behind Max receiving the vision of the tornado as the very first experience in the game. How is this tied to her powers, and why does it happen when she hasn't even changed time yet? What is the significance? Regardless of the origins of the vision itself (whether it's Fate providing a direct message or some manifestation of her powers), I see it as a very clear warning. It is a declaration of war; it's Fate setting the stakes for the entire game; it's a premonition of what's at risk - whatever Max does, the tornado is the end result. I also see it as a declaration of the cost for her actions. To me, it's Fate essentially saying, "if you proceed down this path, this is what it will cost in the end." This is very important to my ultimate conclusions about the game, and I'll reference it then, but for now, the universe has set the stakes for Max's actions throughout the game and, unbeknownst to Max, she has begun to play before even stepping into the bathroom. Of nearly equal importance, Max's ability to Time Travel is central to the mechanics, ideas, and themes of Life is Strange, and within the context of the game, the origin of her powers are never explained. Even so, the nature and capabilities of her powers are explained through mechanics and exposition well enough to make some key observations:
She can rewind time from the present to a limited extent (generally within a minute or two but not more) and relive those moments from their beginning while modifying her own actions.
She can, with the use of a picture directly related to her presence, jump back to a moment in time and, within that moment, modify her actions, the results of which carry forward from that point on and modify reality accordingly. (Of particular note here is the fact that, within these time points, she is limited to interacting within the context of the moment and, once time reversion begins, she returns to the present (the present being the position in time where she left from) and the Max that remains in the past knows nothing of Future Max's presence or what happened within the time point.)
Her use of power to alter time has a significant physical cost that appears to escalate with successive and continued use of her power. This is shown through consistently worse nosebleeds, headaches, and ultimately her lapse into the Nightmare.
Her use of her power also has a significant environmental effect that persists through different realities and escalates with her continued use of her power and continued modification of time. Regardless of the forces at play, sentient or otherwise, altering the timeline in any way has an adverse affect on the environment of Arcadia Bay, culminating in the tornado and the town's ultimate destruction.
There are fundamental limits to how much Max can use her power before exhaustion or overload prevent her from doing so again. There is also the potential that her power itself is limited and will eventually stop working on its own.
These aspects of her abilities, while being central to how she changes the world, heavily influence her reasoning, her actions, and the subsequent results of those actions. They also provide context to the nature of Max's Nightmare and the implications it presents, and they also help to frame the final choice and the ramifications of each ending. As such, it is important to understand them moving forward, and I'll refer back when appropriate. Finally, I'd like to briefly mention a few additional aspects and ideas that are made apparent within the world and discuss them briefly. Of particular note is the presence of potentially supernatural creatures that show up throughout the game (namely the blue butterfly and the doe) and the symbolism and significance of them. It's made apparent that the doe symbolizes both Rachel and Max and helps to establish the connection between them. In a very real sense, Max and Rachel are entwined to the point that it's hard to not consider them representative of each other. The game does a good job of making this clear, from the relationship they both have with Chloe to Max wearing the same clothes and being referred to as Rachel multiple times to the doe representing both of them. The connection between Chloe and the blue butterfly is also made clear and is a major reference to Chloe's entanglement with time and the resulting storm. (A somewhat heavy-handed reference to the butterfly effect.) The butterfly and the doe are also very clear references to spiritual entities that are potentially at work behind the scenes. Whether you see both the doe and the butterfly as spirit guides or as representations of the souls of their respective characters, their presence and the significance behind it is important and worth mentioning. Last but not least, the presence of a spiritual aspect lends significant support to the idea that there is a greater conflict potentially at play. Between cryptic remarks from characters throughout the game (notably the homeless lady and Samuel), the subtle yet menacing threat the Prescotts pose to the town, the presence of supernatural creatures at key points, and seeming inexplicable Native American totems and themes, an argument can be made for a spiritual presence within Arcadia Bay that is angry about the town's fall and looking to strike back, either with Rachel directly at the helm, involved in some way, or on purely of its own accord. The full implications of these ideas are beyond the scope of this writing, and while I'm happy to remark about them, I feel that I need to look into each idea further to elaborate more than I have. That said, I do feel that the idea, as intangible and ambiguous as it is, provides a nice context for the tornado and why it is targeted at Arcadia Bay specifically. As Chloe herself says, it could very well be representative of Rachel's revenge against the town. With all of these different ideas in mind, it's time to delve into the story itself. The Cost of Changing the Past - An Alternate Timeline Examined Max's journey into the past, her choice to save William, and the consequences within the alternate reality that results culminate in a pivotal turning point for Max and Chloe, and it is central to the understanding and context of the final choice of the game for several reasons. Of particular note are the realities of Max's power and how it affects reality on a fundamental level, her understanding (and through her the player's understanding) of who Chloe is as a person, and their relationship and what it means to both of them. The series of events starting with Max slipping into a photo for the first time to save William, witnessing the resulting repercussions of her actions, and deciding to undo them at the expense of William's life really help to establish and clarify the realities of time travel, what it costs to change the past, and how it affects the future. It's the first real major consequence directly resulting from her power and it establishes, plain and clear, the stakes involved with Max using her powers, and it does a great job at setting up the final choice and confrontation. More than that however, the trip to this alternate reality provides essential context to Max and Chloe's relationship, and more specifically, what that relationship means to Max. Seeing Chloe paralyzed and confined to her bed and wheelchair, knowing that it's permanent, is devastating, and yet seeing Chloe's resolve, her happiness at seeing Max and getting to spend even a little time with her, and her ultimate request to end her life show just how complex and tragic Chloe is as a figure. Her request especially speaks volumes about the suffering of her situation, her mindset, and what she values: the desire to take back even a little control over her own life, the desire to spare her family any more hardship and suffering, and her trust and faith in Max as a friend. These things are paramount to understanding Chloe as a person and help to reinforce her feelings at the end of the game to such a degree that this event is potentially the most important one in the whole game outside of the final choice. For now, these are key points to take away from this event that are critical to understanding Chloe and the choices at the end of the game. Having seen the different ways that the choice to kill or not kill Chloe here play out (for the record, I ultimately chose to honor her wishes), it's important to note that, if you deny her request, she gets angry and refuses to talk to you. She sees it as a denial of her last wish and as Max abandoning her to her fate. Accepting her request allows her to finally be at peace, and she dies with gratitude and with Max at the center of her attention. Now, the parallels between this choice and the ending choice are undeniable, but there are a few key differences between the two that contextualize that final choice in very important ways. I will come back to this at that time. Partners in Crime - Max and Chloe, Arcadia Bay, and a Nightmare Max and Chloe, throughout Life is Strange, prove to be inseparable as friends and partners from beginning to end. Regardless of the the nuances of their relationship, its romantic undertones (or the lack thereof), the conflict arising from various decisions that go against either character's values, and the perils and pitfalls of ripping apart time and space to save someone from multiple tragic fates, they manage to stick together through everything that is thrown at them and push on. In addition to this, they both help each other to grow immensely throughout the game. Max learns to take control of her powers and her life, she develops confidence in herself, and she learns to take a more active role in her life as it goes on around her. Chloe meanwhile learns to come to terms with her situation and to discard her selfishness and become a better and more understanding person. As they are making their way through Arcadia Bay and working to find Rachel and discover her fate, the town slowly develops and changes around them. Chloe interacts with her mom and step-dad, they both deal with Frank and Nathan and the variety of struggles and obstacles in their path, and Max slowly finds her place among the students and people at Blackwell Academy and Arcadia Bay at large, whether by making friends or enemies or anything in between. For the purposes of this writing, the interplay or relationships and choices between Max and all of the different characters throughout the game is too complicated and complex to delve into deeply here. The point that I would make however is that, in their own way, all of those characters and experiences make an important impression on Max and Chloe, and each of them, from Warren's constant friendship and devotion to Kate's gentleness and plight to the various facets, struggles, vanities, and failings of all of the students, teachers, and others, provide their own value to the story as a whole. As a player, I felt for them and helped them as I could. I empathized with Warren and his unrequited love (and I'll be damned if he didn't earn his kiss at the end), I forgave and came to sympathize with Victoria for being insecure and flawed, I made sure to save the homeless woman, I made sure the petition was signed, I felt for David and his trouble trying to protect his family in the only way he thought he could, and so on. I even felt a sense of sympathy for Nathan at the end, despite all his failings and crimes and deprivations. It was as impossible to avoid becoming attached to the town as a player as it was to become attached to both Max and Chloe. As an aside, I will also say that, as a player, I failed Kate. I was overconfident in my memory of the game, ignored her phone call, and got caught completely off guard by her suicide. I tried my hardest to save her without compromising my gameplay with outside help (I thought about it), and I failed to save her. I thought about rewinding in real life and fully replaying the episode to that point to play it over and save her, but I couldn't do that. To do so would undermine the spirit of the game, I thought, and I stuck with my failure and its consequences. It's highly likely that this influenced my choices in the moment more than I thought it would, and I believe that it started me down a path of acceptance of consequences that would change how I met the ending. All of this becomes paramount as time grows short and Max, at her lowest point and overextended with her powers, falls into the Nightmare. The awkwardness of the stealth mechanics aside (I didn't have a ton of issue, but I understand the complaints), I see the entire section as very important to establishing Max's mindset and her feelings about where things have gone and are going for her. Before we dive into the Nightmare however, it's important to mention that the Nightmare itself might be more than Max's subconscious punishing her for what she's doing. Depending on how you read into the nature of Fate and the source of Max's power, it's easy to consider that the Nightmare is partly the result of Max's feelings of guilt and also partly a mix of whatever forces are involved. I can easily see Fate using the Nightmare as a final warning or tactic to push Max into fixing the timeline or time-space warping the Nightmare in such a way as an attempt to fix itself. Either idea goes a long way to explaining some of the specifics of the sequence and how it plays out. Without going into unnecessary detail, two scenes in particular are of vital importance to the ending so they naturally happen at the end of the sequence. The diner and her literal walk down memory lane both work as a solid reminder of what's at stake, and both sequences ensure that Chloe and the people of Arcadia Bay are front and center for the final choice. Given the potential nature of the Nightmare itself, the Diner is a good indicator of what sacrificing Arcadia Bay has in store. Arguments about the destructive power of natural storms and surviving them aside, I see the Diner is a clear indication of who dies as a result of that choice barring the few people who have obviously different fates. Their comments, while overly harsh, have a sharp truth to them and deserve honest consideration. Max's discussion with her doppelganger also deserves serious consideration. It's apparent that she's a manifestation of her guilt and insecurities, but the things she says bare at least some truth, and at her core, these are things that Max thinks in some form or fashion. Chloe's intervention and the Walk, by contrast, really bring home Max's relationship with Chloe, Chloe's feelings for Max, and their journey up to this point and just how painful yet wonderful it truly is. Max and Chloe both go through Hell and back for each other, and they endure more in a week than anyone should have to in a lifetime. They also find each other again and truly reconnect and become inseparable at the same time. It's important that these ideas are front and center for the ending, and it makes a lot of sense that this blends right into Chloe helping you up to the lighthouse. Her presence may very well be the catalyst for pulling you from the Nightmare in the first place. Regardless, they have gone through a lot to get to this point, and they face it together. Bae or Bay - A Terrible Choice at the End of the World After a long and emotionally taxing journey, Max and Chloe finally arrive at the lighthouse and we reach the culmination of their week-long journey and adventure. We, as players, are also brought to the final choice of the game. Before I dive into the specifics, I want to say that I disagree with a lot of the minor conceptual complaints that I've heard and read about the endings. I feel that the ending is and can only be a binary choice in the way that the story is presented and that any other setup of endings would be the result of a completely different game, both in structure and storytelling. I have zero issue with the choice being binary and it is fitting given all that we've been through. Sacrificing Chloe or Sacrificing Arcadia Bay are the only real options there realistically are at this point, and the reasons for that will become apparent. Firstly, we are presented with Chloe's speech on the cliff if the culmination of her character and her moment to finally voice her feelings about their journey and the brutal choice left to them at the end. Max, rightly distraught at her role in causing the storm, is immediately comforted by Chloe, who sides with her and defends her. Then, after seeing the pain Max is going through, she offers to sacrifice herself and delivers a heartbreaking speech to justify her sacrifice, and in spite of everything, she gives Max the choice. On the surface, this speech obviously makes it clear that Chloe is willing to sacrifice herself for the greater good of the town and feels that she should. This is undeniable. The reality of the situation and the moral ramifications are just as undeniable. Even so, it's not as black and white as it seems. The reasoning that can be inferred behind her speech and the reality of the situation paints a subtly different yet distinctly more complex picture. Between coping with Rachel's death, the threat of the storm, and worrying about Max (in addition to everything else that happens), it's apparent that Chloe (along with Max) are at the end of their endurance by this point. With the threat looming and time short, things are at their most desperate. It's also apparent that the universe, for one reason or another, wants Chloe dead, and after a long journey where she spends a large portion of her time rebelling and being selfish, it's understandable that Chloe feels like she isn't worth saving. Even still, she proves her worth and the truth of her growth throughout the game by offering wholeheartedly to sacrifice herself for the greater good. Everything she says at this point is absolutely true, and she goes well out of her way to make the choice as painless as possible for Max, but in the end, in spite of everything else, she leaves the choice to Max and supports her fully whatever the consequences. Partners in Time - The Ending of Life is Strange and Why It Works And so we finally get to the final choice. I will say that I agonized over this. I still do, to some extent. It is a BRUTAL choice. It's unfair and cruel and neither choice is a good one. Both end in tragedy. Both options are failures in a very real sense. I thought about what traveling back in time in that moment really meant. I found myself agreeing with the idea that, specifically in the moment of time where the ending takes place and without any outside knowledge, there's a very real possibility that going back and sacrificing Chloe won't stop the tornado. Naturally, it's not sure that sacrificing the town will do so either, but in the moment, that doubt was one that passed through my mind, and it was a tipping point for me. In addition to that, I will freely admit that I was committed to Chloe by this point. I fell into world of Life is Strange completely and I feel like I cared about Chloe nearly as much as Max did. Her last speech hit me on a level I was not prepared for, and regardless of her personal thoughts, she proved in that moment that she was absolutely worth saving and that she as much as anyone deserved to live. I seriously considered her words, and I thought back to her alternate timeline self and the choice presented there and its outcomes. I knew that, deep down, Chloe was honestly willing to sacrifice herself and that she thought that she should, but I also knew that she was hurting as much if not more so than she was then. Despite her feelings and desires and despite the fact that she easily could have forced Max's hand either way, she decides to give Max the choice, and she puts her full trust in Max to make the call, and with her fully in mind, you're left with the choice: Can you bear to sacrifice you friend, even with her blessing, and abandon her to die feeling alone, abandoned, and betrayed on a shitty bathroom floor for the sake of everyone else in the town? or Can you bear the responsibility of giving up everything else, abandoning everyone else to their fate, and condemning a town and most if not all of its population to ruin and death to selfishly save your best friend, the only one who truly understands you, the one who brought you through the worst week of your life, and a person who ultimately proves herself to be a good person despite her character flaws? Max, for her part, makes it clear throughout the entire game that Chloe is the most important person in her life, even up to the very moment that she is forced to choose her or the Bay. She also has moments of ambivalence or even active hate for the town. That said, she also has a very real connection to a lot of people in the town, she understands what is at stake, and she absolutely cares about their well-being, but is it enough? Can she really abandon her friend for the final time and leave her to fate for the sake of everyone else? Can she live with trading them all for Chloe? Is it worth it? In the end, I couldn't sacrifice Chloe, not after everything Max and she had been through. After so much struggle and pain and after the universe did everything in its power to end her life, I felt that Chloe deserved to live, and feeling the weight of the choice myself, I asked myself if I could truly live with the choice? It's ugly, and it's selfish, and it's arguably heartless, but I think that I ultimately could, and I feel the same about Max. Max (and I) made our choice, and Chloe lived up to her promise. "I'll always be with you." "Forever." They hold hands and watch as Fate runs its course. The town is wiped out while both of them look on from safety, and with both of them feeling the weight of the choice, Max looks away in anguish while Chloe lets the reality of it sink in. They ride out the storm at the lighthouse, probably in discomfort and emotional agony the entire time, and drive into town emotionally devastated and drained. They drive though the wreckage of the town that was their home and is now only the ruins of their previous life; Max, with a pained expression, looks out on the destruction and death that she was warned about and that she now has to live with and Chloe, with a pained yet determined look, drives on, briefly sparing a look of concern for Max. They stop, and finally, Chloe turns and shows Max a small smile and comforts her. She returns it, and they leave their previous life behind for an unknown future, but whatever that future has in store, they'll face it together. For me, this ending encapsulates everything that it should, and it works as well as an ending can. Within the context of the larger story, it says everything it needs to say. They both feel the weight and devastation of the choices they had to make, and they leave their old life behind because it no longer exists for them. Deep down, I feel that both of them know that everyone they care about is dead, and there will be no survivors. They drive out of town in defeat yet, in spite of the immense cost and the feelings of pain, loss, and guilt they are left with, they have each other. Now then, as to the larger meaning and implications of the Sacrifice Arcadia Bay ending, I feel that it is an appropriate counter to the Sacrifice Chloe ending. Having listened to the developer discuss the endings and the thought process behind them, I fully agree with them that saving Chloe and the ending that follows has all of the emotional impact that it needs. Dwelling among the dead would be needlessly masochistic and pointless, Chloe begging for her life in desperation would undermine her real value and humanity, and Chloe getting angry in the moment after the choice is made would undermine her feelings for Max and the depth of trust she has for her, not to mention breaking her word to back Max regardless of her choice. Ultimately, as I suggested earlier, the cost of saving Chloe and altering time was nothing more or less than the destruction of the town. The cost may have been completely unfair and impossibly high, but in the end, it is paid in full, and with that, the environmental problems will stop. I firmly believe this, partly because it makes sense within the context and structure of the story and there are signs of nature flourishing in the destroyed town in the ending. The deer exploring the desolation and the birds flying overhead signify a return to normalcy. At the very end, there's even a scene of what appears to be snow as they pass the sign out of town which, to me, signifies that nature is slowly mending and the portents are regressing back to those from earlier in the game. The storm has broken, fate has been appeased, and things are slowly reverting back to normal. Max, in her own way, finally comes to terms with reality, consequence, and the cost of her abilities. She accepts reality as it is in the moment and defies Fate one last time by forsaking her power and ripping up the picture, and she finally accepts her choices and actions and takes on the consequences. With the debt fully paid and the weather returning to normal, I see Chloe truly getting a second chance at life. It comes at an unimaginable cost, but with time, they will be okay. Whatever comes next and whatever they have to face, they'll endure. Together. Final Thoughts and Final Hopes It has been an amazing journey playing through with Life is Strange. It is easily one of the best and most touching video game experiences I've ever had, and the emotional impact of this game will be something that will be with me forever. Of particular note is the music selection and art throughout. The photography, poster design, art design, voice acting, and music selection throughout the game are fantastic, and both ending theme songs resonate very well with their respective endings. Whether it's the Foals singing about loss that you can't escape or Syd Matters singing about the loss of innocence and trying to move on together, both hit home very hard and make their endings that much more powerful. (As a side note, it's worth mentioning (as the developer has in interviews) that Obstacles is nearly 3 minutes shorter than Spanish Sahara, which might help explain the length of each ending.) Having seen both endings, I feel that Sacrificing Chloe is equally as powerful and meaningful as Sacrificing Arcadia Bay, and while it is not my ending to my story, it is an ending that makes sense and strikes just as hard, if not harder. People credit it for being longer and more fleshed out, but I feel that the only reason that it is more fleshed out is because it is required. Going back to the bathroom to experience Chloe's death for the final time, watching the photos change into the original timeline, and the graveyard scene are all necessary to make that ending coherent, and for that ending, there's simply a lot more story that has to be resolved. In addition to this, the Sacrifice Arcadia Bay ending is left wide open because of the fact that everyone's journey through Life is Strange is different, and their thoughts about Max and Chloe and their relationship are very subjective and personal as a result. How they handle the grief, pain, and guilt of their choices is up to the player. The ending and their relationship loses something without that freedom. For example, I think that Max and Chloe find a hotel room somewhere and crash for a week straight just to mourn, sulk, and comfort each other as best they can. They kiss and find solace in each other, and they fight and argue about little shit with Chloe full of anger and regret and Max mired in anguish and guilt. They bicker, avoiding the elephant in the room, until they finally, after days of grief and bickering, talk it through and find a small measure of acceptance and relief. Then they continue on, start a relationship, and after months or even years, they very slowly find a place of peace and acceptance and finally move on together. To me, that is what Max and Chloe would do and it fits their characters as I see them. I don't expect my epilogue to fit, either perfectly or at all, with everyone else's story. My Max and Chloe are not yours, and that's okay. The ending as it is gives us the freedom to see it how we will and to find our own ultimate conclusions and resolution as we will, and that's okay too. At the end of the path, I'm happy to admit that I found a game truly worth treasuring, a game that moved me in a way that very few things have, and bittersweet and painful as it may be, I will cherish my experience with Life is Strange forever. If you've stuck with me to the end, I want you to know that, while we may not agree and we might have had very different experiences, I'm happy to have shared in this one, and I hope you are too. While the same path might lead to different places and mean different things for you than for me, I'm happy to have traveled it and to share my experience with you. TL;DR Bae > Bay because reasons
Alright, I've played the shit out of this game for the last two days. I have almost 1337 kills. Here's my take. First, let me give the layout: Part 1Game Types Part 2Ships Part 3Ingame issues______________________________________________ Part 1Game Types All game types are working great, and working as intended. However- extraction is currently a joke competitively. Maps like necropolis give clear advantages to schism teams. This advantage stems from the fact that the current meta in extraction is using top speed yurei's to capture the relic. On the first flight out of the carrier (match start) it's a race to get there- and normally the team who's yurei get's their first will have the first point. Necropolis, and Forge both create situations where one team has to travel around in-game objects- while the other can take a straight line. Obviously, the straight line speed yurei get's to the point faster. Assuming that both teams are competent, it's rather annoying to know you will just give up a point when placed on the wrong team. Extraction also relies on blind luck. If a relic spawns near a carrier as a full capped yurei is launched- it confers a significant advantage to that team. A yuri that is already traveling at top speed, with a full cap is nigh impossible to kill save for a lucky Mjolnir missile. My suggestion is to make the gates be permanent structures. Near each carrier, and one for each team. Have the relic always spawn in one central location. Having the gametype changed in this fashion will allow for more viable ship types and more sustainable play styles than the current yurei cluster fuck we have currently. Other than that- both new maps are great (outpost is my new favorite by far) ______________________________________________ Part 2Ships Assault: Wraith I flew the wraith almost singularly in old valkyrie. I liked the ship but always wished that it could be faster- more nimble, and agile. Unfortunately, warzone wraith feels more like a fat dominator. The wraith is a good benchmark. In the right hands, it still is deadly. However, it no longer is the king it once was. As of now, the wraith is no longer the top tier "best at everything" ship. It is a jack of all trades, and still incredible at carrier assault. I enjoy the wraith because it now needs to use its advantages and flying style differently when coming up against other ships. Compared to most of the assault tree, the wraith has some high EHP. When fighting ships like the strix, yurei, shadow, supports- the wraith wants to push for a head-on, slower fight. Use it's EHP to its advantage and kill opponents with brute force. Against the jackal or heavies, the wraith needs to rely on its superior mobility to push a turn fight- and fight in the corners. Overall, I like the place of the wraith (EHP and DPS wise). I do think that it is far too slow and sluggish though. When compared to just about any other assault (and shadow) the wriath has less 'burst/alpha, ' but over a length of time, the slow heating gattling guns do a better sustained DPS. If this is the case, the wraith needs to have the tools to drag fights out- so that way its nice EHP and higher DPS can start coming into play. Currently, the wraith struggles in the turn fight against yurei / jackals when piloted by experienced pilots, and that's a shame- as the wraith should be one of the quintessential dogfighters. My last piece to say about the wraith is its ultimate. The missile, which gives no warning before blowing you to smithereens. Instakill weapons with no warnings are not fun. I have been against teams where I have spawned, been instakilled by a missile- only to spawn twice more and meet the same fate. It's infuriating gameplay where I have no action to take, and no warnings. The missile is cancer, and the wraith could do with a better ultimate. Lastly, the Mjolnir missile wrecks carriers. Two of them almost instakill the core- and that's just no fun. ---------------------------------------------------------------------Upgrades Attack: Accelerated Reciever +20% ROF, -15% damage per shot. Again, you ideally want the highest 'burst/alpha' DPS possible. The wraith has lowish 'burst/alpha' and high sustained DPS. This upgrade makes no sense, in fact in snapshot situations when fighting in the corners, it significantly lowers your burst DPS. Again, no logical reason why anyone would want to get this upgrade Cooling Bonds: -10% Primary Weapon Overheat I have no idea what this does. Do you get to shoot 10% longer before your gun overheats? Or when you overheat are you allowed to continue regular shooting while waiting for 10% less time? Either way- it doesn't matter. This upgrade is useless in 99% of situations. It's only possible use could be on carrier assault, or shooting a tanky heavy. However, as someone who has flown many hours in the wraith- proper trigger control will go a longer way than this ever could. Upgraded Ballistics: +15% Primary Weapon Damage per shot, -20% Rate of fire. As the only attack upgrade that is going to help cover the wraiths abysmal 'bust/alpha' DPS- this is the only attack upgrade to use. The only other choice would be not to choose an attack upgrade. How binary, how boring. Overall the attack upgrades on the wraith are very disappointing. No room for 'personalized' gameplay. The upgrades have horrible choices that do nothing to change the fighting style of the ship. Defense: I think this is some of the most ill-fated designs I have seen. The wraith has: Armor: 226 Shield: 110 Two of the defense upgrades worry about shields. One offers shield EHP (+15%) or shield recharge (10%). The last upgrade, (enhanced plating) gives 10% to armor EHP which is 248.6 total armor. Enhanced plating provides you with the highest raw EHP, with no drawbacks. There is no logical choice to choose any other defensive option. Shield recharge is an entirely useless upgrade to get on any ship, but certainly for the wraith- as it's an armored fighter. Valkyrie is about burst. If your ship can survive the burst/alpha of an attack- you live for another day. At no point can you utilize any point of shield regen upgrades efficiently in any regular fighting. And the shield EHP upgrade gives less overall EHP than the armor EHP upgrade, while also lowering shield regen time. You would have to be touched to use it. How blase. I thought upgrades were not supposed to be so quickly figured out using simple maths and logic. It would be so sweet if the upgrade tree had more elements of unique style, instead of this rubbish. Tech: With so many missiles flying around in warzone- it's important to have countermeasures up as often as possible. Again with simple math: Extended Flare (-15% ECM cooldown, -10% duration) Cooldown: 25.5 seconds Duration: 2.7 seconds Rapid Flare (+10% duration, +15% Cooldown) Cooldown: 34.5 Duration: 3.3 Seconds Burst Flare (10% ECM range) If this was true ECM (all missiles explode once coming into range of your ship, regardless if they are targeted at you or a nearby ally)- this might have some use. However, the flares the yurei and wraith shoot do not have this effect. Even if it was the case that they destroyed other missiles, it's not worth choosing this upgrade instead of Extended Flare (-15% cooldown, -10% duration.) If piloting skills are on point, you can time your ECM to where the shorter length doesn't matter. Again, there is a clear winner here- proven with simple logic and maths. I was hoping for some more variability in this tree. Mobility: Again, an obvious choice here. Good players fly around using boost or break (never regular 'slow boat speed'). By consistently using either boost or brake while flying- upgrades that give 10% increase to cap recharge are rendered pointless. From what I can tell- there is no difference in cap refill speed when you are holding the brake. Upgrades giving the largest pool of cap (called secondary tank) are the only choice in this case- no discussion. I am disappointed with the upgrade tree on the wraith. There is no room for debate or an upgrade that could be preferred depending on flying style. There are simply four choices that are the absolute best from a logical/mathematical viewpoint; anything else would be stupid. ---------------------------------------------------------------------______________________________________________ Assault:Jackal I enjoy this ship for many reasons. One of the biggest is that it appears to be the old spur body, with extra armor added onto the wings. I like the idea of the jackal- however, I feel it's implementation has been done poorly. The playstyle I enjoy about the jackal is the idea of a riot police officer with a shotgun. The Jackal has a stupid amount of EHP for an assault (even before taking into account the over shield.) However, it's gun leave so much to be desired. We already have three flack ships- why do we need more? I was hoping that the jackal would have a shotgun like effect, with a scatter like weapon. Higher close range burst DPS. Instead what I'm given is a slow firing tank- and that just feels wrong. All of that being said, I still enjoy the jackal. Particularly on outpost near the B point. The jackal likes to be in close spaces, going in tight circles at slower speed. The jackal lives for outposts corridors- and that's what I like about this ship. Out in the open, it's a rather poor choice. But in and around structures, the jackal shines. Other than the poorly implemented weapon system, the jackal also suffers for a poorly thought out ability (overshield), and ultimate- along with poor upgrade choices. As for the ship, the jackal has the majority of it's EHP in armor. The overshield is a useless shield addition that feels wrong on the ship- especially when you take into account it's upgrade paths. In the dogfight, the jackal wrecks smaller ships. WIth the proper upgrades, and the secondary fire ready- you can nearly one shot shadows, yurei's, and weaker supports. Against the wraith, if you can get it slow and into an enclosed space, you can melt it with ease. The jackal is always pushing for a merge- and want to go head on. Poor pilots or pilots forced into literal corners thanks to an enclosed space will find it difficult to stay away from this strategy. However, in the open, the jackal will have a hard time trying to push its advantage- and will be outmaneuvered. In closing- let's talk about the jackal ultimate. It is so out of place on this ship- I don't even know where to begin. Unlimited cap and boost is something the yurei or wraith would want- not the jackal. The jackals fighting style is not high speed, and at no point is it ever going to be crying for cap or unlimited boost. It's slow and doesn't even have impressive top-end speed. The yurei ult has something the jackal could use to better effect. Give the jackal a sustained shotgun fire with increasing DPS- and get rid of this awkward boost ult. Or find a way to give the jackal an ability that will help it dominate in it's preferred element. ---------------------------------------------------------------------Upgrades Attack: The jackal has an overheat problem and excels at close quarters quick burst types of damage. A ship could be made to shine in a CQB (Close quarters battle) situation- and that is what I would expect from jackal upgrades. Sadly, this is not the case. Its attack tree has first the Precision Barrel upgrade which gives -15% damage for 20% more range. Precision barrel is the complete antithesis to the entire idea of the ship. At no pint in valkyrie are you ever going to want to take an upgrade that is lowering your DPS? The jackal doesn't want more range, and if it's trying to fight at range, it's going to lose. This upgrade is worthless. The next upgrade just gives a flat 7% increase in damage. When you compare this option to the first upgrade (precision barrel -15% damage 20% more range or the last upgrade Strengthened Mag housing +15% ROF, -20% range), there is no logical choice not to use the enhanced coils (+7% damage) every time. The jackal doesn't need to have higher ROF- as if you tap both of the triggers down with secondary fire, you deliver damage almost instantly as it is. The jackal has an overheating problem, and a higher ROF amplifies that problem. Logically it doesn't make sense. Instead, the only choice is Enhanced coils (7% damage). This tree is again disappointing, as it's straightforward to spot the clear winner here. Defense: I think this tree is the most disappointing for the jackal. Currently, the jackal EHP numbers look like this: Armor: 210 Shield: 168 Overshield cooldown: 60 seconds As you can see- this ship is an armored ship. It has the majority of its EHP located there- yet a shield ability. The jackal has no way to defeat missile DPS- so using the overshield to buffer missile damage is an ideal situation. That, along with hugging close to walls, and staying inside structures (like a crab) are this ships best defense against missile fire. The first defense upgrade (Robust Plating) gives +20% to armor and -10% to shield. After using this, the jackal now has: Armor: 252 Shield: 151.2 That defense upgrade gives the most raw EHP. As I have stated earlier, having the most raw EHP on a ship is the most useful stat to have without question. The other two defense upgrades are as follows: Rejuvenate. Which gives 7% shield recharge rate- along with Superior shields which are +10% shield, -20% armor. Superior shields is once again a fool's errand, as it would give the jackal the following: Armor: 168 Shield: 184.8 Superior shield is a joke. Just look at this huge EHP discrepancy, why on early would anyone want to choose this upgrade? As for rejuvenating (+7% increase shield regen time)- again why is an armored ship wanting a bit more shield regen? All of these upgrade paths fail horribly at what the jackal wants- which is the ability to be an armored ship. Again, it's a straightforward matter of determining the 'best' option here- and that's dull. Tech: One of the jackals most glaring weaknesses is that it doesn't have any way to counter the ever-present missile threat in valkyrie. Personally, I like this idea, as it pushes this ship into structures. Lack of missile defense fits into the playstyle of the ship- and discourages flying out into the open with it. As I have shown earlier, the jackal is an armor tanked ship at heart- it wants nothing to do with shields. The defense upgrades push the ship even further away from shields. The jackal's ability is shield based which flies in the face of armored ship design. There is a mismatch here. The jackals overshield does not come up fast enough for it to be used as an EHP buffer regularly. 60-second cooldown is an eternity. Not to mention, that at base shield- an overshield will only give 72 shields worth of EHP. Therefore- the only other option is to use it as a way to reduce incoming missile volley damage. In light of this- the first upgrade, (Enhanced shell +15 overshield, +10% cooldown) is useless as it increases your already long cooldown period. Enduring shell isn't wrong (-5% cooldown time), however when you look at the numbers- Rapid shell (-10% cooldown, -15% overshield) is without question the best. A jackal with rapid shell gets 61.2 shield EHP every 54 seconds. Either way, the overshield adds a paltry amount of EHP to an armor tanked ship. The jackal has a poorly designed active, and even worse upgrade paths- leaving this entire area of the ship ripe for better ideas/gameplay elements. Mobility: Mobility is an easy section to reason through. The mobility upgrades offered to the jackal are quickly figured out. As a slow, small radius turn fighter- the only viable upgrade here is augmented ignition (+20% Acceleration, -10% max speed). The faster acceleration helps the jackal in the corners and contributes to lowering turning radius- helping this ship push for merges. The jackal's max speed matches that of the wraith- but as I have said earlier this ship doesn't like to be out in the open, Therefore, engine power is useless. The jackal doesn't have the cap to utilize the high-end speed, and the lower acceleration is going to hurt it significantly in the corners when dogfighting. The last upgrade (engine expertise +5% cruising speed) is a complete waste. When flying in valkyrie, players are going to be on the brakes- or using boost. Never slow boating. It's a waste of an upgrade on any ship, and an unfortunate addition to the upgrade tree. One of, if not the most poorly designed upgrades (next to shield recharge) is cruising speed upgrades- can we please get something of more consequence? In closing, like the wraith- the jackal has no room for argument or playstyle modifications. There is an 'objective best' upgrade path for this ship, and that's disappointing. I was hoping that there would be a multitude of upgrades that would fit styles of play- but It seems this is rarely the case. ---------------------------------------------------------------------______________________________________________ Assault:Strix I was apprehensive about this ship. Thankfully, all of my fears were put to rest when I had the chance to fly it. The Strix is a well-designed sniper ship, and everything about it fits the bill. I enjoyed the playstyle, and love glassing people with the ultimate from so far away. Everything on this ship fits a great theme. It's no dogfighter, but the dash drive, nice EHP, and high cap allow it to evade everything except a determined yurei. This ship does have some pitfalls though. These shortcomings mostly concern its upgrade path, and the in game UI. The current UI makes it difficult to determine hits with the primary gun. Is there any way you can make this more visible? Telling exact range is also another UI shortcoming. I would like to know how far the strix can shoot (especially once you have utilized the 20% range increase or decrease upgrades.) If you could lock a target, and the triangle around the target could be red (out of range), or green (in range) it would help pilots determine the range to target quickly, without wasting precious shots. With the current UI, it's impossible to tell how far one can shoot. It's frustrating, and the only way that I can reliably 'know' that a target is at 2.2K is by using a missile lock- which then tells me the exact moment they move into my max range... Unless it's longer than 2.2K? Field control with the strix is paramount to the success of this ship. The inability for a pilot to know how close they have to get ruins it for me. ---------------------------------------------------------------------Upgrades Attack: With the current UI- it's hard to justify trying to use increase range (precision barrel +20% range, -15% ROF, or Strengthened Mag Housing -20% range, +15% rof). I like these two upgrades. If the UI could more clearly show ranges- there are some great gameplay choices given to the player here, that can be argued- and certainly different upgrades used on various maps and game types. I like where these are going, but the UI would need to be fixed before I ever thought about flying with them. That being said, 15% slower firing time is an eternity. While it would make you a bit safer, I'm not sure an extra .5K is worth the range upgrade. The shorter range version I do feel is competitive. You will be closer, but also outputting so much more damage. I like the tradeoff. That leaves us with enhanced coils (+7% damage), and currently, that is the only upgrade worth choosing. It gives you the most breathing room (in range) and gives the player a higher grace period to re-align their aim after a shot. It's far safer than strengthened mag housing, and I would think that in actual combat- gives the most DPS. You have to make fewer shots with enhanced coils to see a benefit- while if you choose an ROF option, you always need to be on track. Either way, good work here CCP. If the UI could be fixed, I see the strix as having a plethora of options with no clear winner to identify. Defense: Unfortunately, the good work of the attack upgrades dies with the defense tree. The Strix EHP looks like this: Armor: 112 Shields: 224 The defense upgrades are laughable- just like the jackal and wraith before it. Option one is Shield capacitor (which gives +15% shield EHP, -10% recharge rate). When you choose this option- the strix shield gets 257.6 shield EHP. This option provides the strix the highest EHP possible. As I have said on occasions before, shield regen time is a useless stat. Increasing or decreasing it by a small amount is useless in combat. EHP and raw buffer are what matters. Especially to a sniper- who needs to have the EHP hold out long enough to pull range. The next option is enhanced plating (+10% armor), and you would have to be daft to use this. After this upgrade, the Strix armor sits at 123.2. A paltry amount. The Strix is a shield ship. Upgrading its armor is a complete waste, making this upgrade worthless. Lastly, we have Shield regeneration (+10% recharge, -15% shield EHP). As I have stated earlier, this upgrade takes away everything you would want in the strix. It's a complete waste, and useless. There is only one choice on this upgrade tree- and that's sad. Surely we can do better? Tech: Dashdrive is the lifeblood of this ship- with dash and a full cap of boost; the strix can outrun just about anything. Running in this manner keeps the ship safe, and with a healthy shield EHP buffer- it's challenging to take down. Dashdrive is the only way the strix can shield itself from missiles. At base, the dash cooldown is 30 seconds. So ideally- we want to reduce that as much as possible. Dash 1 (+10% dash duration, +15% cooldown) is a waste. As dashdrive lasts for two seconds, you are paying an additional 5 seconds of cooldown for .2 more seconds in the dash. Dash 2 (-7% cooldown) is slightly better. Cooldown is now 28 seconds. Both of these pale in comparison to the last upgrade, Dash 3. Dash 3 (-15% cooldown, -10% dash duration) If the strix wants to have dash up as much as possible to increase survivability- this is the only choice. Cooldown time is now 25.5 seconds, and your dash time is only reduced by .2 seconds. Again in the tech tree, simple math makes for an obvious choice, with no room for any other. Mobility: As I have shown in the Wraith and jackal, the strix suffers from the same problem upgrades in the mobility tree. The strix has a lower top end speed (500) than other assualt ships. Because of this, it needs to have the largest cap possible to dashdrive- then depend on having higher cap after the dash to outpace opponents. Like the other ships, it appears that holding break recharges cap at the same rate. In the case of the strix- you will be holding break almost continuously while setting up shots. This will lead you to having plenty of time to recharge your capacitor. Regeneration manifold (+10% recharge rate, -15% cap size) is useless, as explained above. Secondary tank (=15% cap size, -10% recharge rate) like the wraith- it's the only choice here. It gives you everyting you could want on the strix, no exeptions. Enhanced distributer (+10% cap size) Just a worse version of the secondary tank upgrade. It should never be picked. Again, the upgrade pathing on the strix leaves so much to be desired. There is no counterplay here- simple maths will clearly show which upgrade is superior. ---------------------------------------------------------------------______________________________________________ Assault:Yurei Ahh, the golden child of the assault tree. It's fast, nimble, and maneuverable. It feels like how the wraith should be. Can you make the Yurei even swifter? This ship is by far my favorite and simply a blast to fly. It has a cultivated mobility upgrade tree as well and choosing some of those upgrades completely altered the ship gameplay. It's entertaining to play around with, and talk with other pilots about their preferences. I honestly think this ship is near perfect. Except for four things.
The auto-aim on the primary weapon and ultimate needs to go. I can't compensate for lag with this ship. And I can't hit supports. These problems are amplified when I am not on my native server. After spending so much time in the wraith- I have honed my aiming skills to a razor's edge. It's so frustrating to watch the computer trying to correct (while missing) a target that I should be hitting. Turn the auto aim off; it's destroying this ship.
The ultimate makes no sense. While mayhem is fun- to get the most out of it, the yurei has to be going slow and pointed in a straight line (all the things it never wants to do). Give the yurei the jackals ultimate, or some hypermobility/hypervelocity type of upgrade. The yurei lives on cap, and speed. It's ultimate should amplify it. Mayhem doesn't suit it at all.
The upgrade tree (bar two of the mobility upgrades) is a joke, just like the other assault trees. There is no depth- it's very binary, simple math leads to the best upgrades, and that's disappointing.
The yurei is a blast to fly. I wish that there would be more 'high speed' 'agile' ships to choose from instead of just one. It's a shame.
--------------------------------------------------------------------- Upgrades Attack: Again, as I have explained before- it's ideal in valkyrie to have high 'alpha/burst' DPS. The attack tree on the yurei is geared towards missiles. Ideally, finding an upgrade that gives the highest burst damage is head and shoulders above the other choices. Fast reload (+20% missile reload speed, -15% damage). This upgrade is the antithesis of what would be competitive in valkyrie so that we can ignore this. Destructive warhead (+7% missile damage) This wouldn't be a bad upgrade. However, there is a third- which completely blows it out of the water. Enhanced warhead (15% damage increase per missile, -20% reload speed). The clear winner. When fighting other yurei, quick merges with a head flicked 3X missile, and a full overheat burst kills a target. It will also easily knockout many other medium / low health targets as well. It's unfortunate that again, we have a clear winner and no room for counterplay with any of the other upgrades. Defense: For reference, the yurei has: Armor: 110 Shields 112 Of the three defense upgrades available: Superior shields (+10% shields, -20% armor) Total EHP: 222.4 Bear in mind that the base yurei has 222 EHP. so this upgrade gives .4 more EHP. Rejuvenate: 7% increase shield regen. As I have spoken at length about this before- this upgrade is useless on all ships, and most certainly for the yurei. The yurei has a wet paper bag of a tank. It needs all the help it can get, and this gives it nothing it could ever want. Useless. Robust Plating: (+20% armor, -10% shields) total EHP: 232.8 Ding, Ding Ding. Again using simple math, we have a clear winning here. Robust plating gives nearly 5% more raw EHP, making it the clear winner. Tech: Lowering cooldown and having counters up as often as possible gives you the best chance of survival in valkyrie. Base stats are 15 second ECM cooldown with 3-second duration. Again with simple math: Extended Flare (-15% ECM cooldown, -10% duration) Cooldown: 25.5 seconds Duration: 2.7 seconds Rapid Flare (+10% duration, +15% Cooldown) Cooldown: 34.5 Duration: 3.3 Seconds Burst Flare (10% ECM range) If this was true ECM (all missiles explode once coming into range of your ship, regardless if they are targeted at you or a nearby ally)- this might have some use. However, the flares the yurei and wraith shoot do not have this effect. Even if it was the case that they destroyed other missiles, it's not worth choosing this upgrade instead of Extended Flare (-15% cooldown, -10% duration.) If piloting skills are on point, you can time your ECM to where the shorter length doesn't matter. Again, there is a clear winner here- proven with simple logic and maths. I was hoping for some more variability in this tree. Mobility This upgrade tree (of all the assault ships) has two options that wowed me. They offered an entirely new ship, and flying style. Augmented ignition (+20% acceleration, -10% max speed) This option turns the yurei into a knife fighter. Scary fast in the corners, and able to react at lightning speeds. This upgrade allows the yurei to shine in smaller areas and slower fights. The 20% acceleration is absurdly fast when dogfighting other ships, and when coming up upon another opponent, you can fly circles around them, The big tradeoff here is that the yurei's top-end speed is much lower. Augmented ignition is not ideal for extraction games, and in some cases can lower survivability. That being said, between the two viable options- I think that this choice is best for new players and pilots. It would still have its place inside clinical 1v1 dogfights- and on many maps. Otherwise, I think that true veteran pilots will choose the second option. The second option is engine power (+10% max speed, -20% acceleration). This upgrade is hands down the single reason why I have put so much time into this ship. It has completely changed the flying dynamic and added a new meta to dogfighting, and ship control. This upgrade has an incredibly high skill ceiling, and it's just a blast to fly. Careful management of cap, turning rate, and speed are needed to make this upgrade shine. No longer can you just throw the ship into continuous corners, or ideally let your speed drop off. If kept at high speed, the yurei can attain speeds that make it untouchable. It takes a ton of practice to keep speed, while still being productive on the field and delivering DPS. It's an intense gameplay element. More upgrades should provide this kind of wow factor. I feel like I am flying an entirely different ship. Excellent work here. The last mobility upgrade is Engine expertise (+10% cruising speed). And as I have mentioned earlier- cruising speed is a worthless stat- as most / all ships are going to be braking or accelerating at all times. Engine expertise is a waste of an upgrade slot. ---------------------------------------------------------------------______________________________________________ Shadow The shadow is the ship that I had dreaded the most when I learned of its development. After playing against, and with this ship- I can say without a doubt that it is a blight upon the game. The shadow offers a very dull, and binary gameplay element. It completely steps in on the toes of the strix. Currently, I would argue that it does the job of sniper more efficiently than the strix. The shadow has limited use in the game and on teams. It is designed to hunt one player, or steal kills. The shadow is a natural choice for many players- as it allows your stats to look 'good.' The ship is a vulture- nothing more. Taking kills, and sniping very low health targets, it can't provide useful DPS or control nodes. It's useless on carrier assault (save for its ultimate, which I will discuss later.) and has limited use in extraction. The shadows head tracked sniper weapon is absurdly easy to aim, and difficult to dodge. Frequently when playing against a shadow- one of two things will happen. Shadow flies in with a group of friendlies or cloaked. Takes shot at a target, and if it has weak tank/low EHP instant kills it. If the shadow misses (which is difficult) the targeted ship turns around and slaughters the shadow. It's very annoying. Instantly killed by something you can't see, or instantly killing a defenseless ship is not healthy gameplay. It provides no useful element to a team, other than collecting its points and kill stealing. I don't want to do an entire analysis of this ship. Frankly, I'm disgusted with it. The cloak timers are absurdly long, the damage far too high- and the ease at which that damage applied ridiculously easy. On the flip side, this ship is not interesting to chase, or dogfight- as it instantly dies, or cloaks for eternity. There is not intense gameplay here. Only waiting to see if the shadow pilot is uncoordinated enough to miss easily lined up shots. Thankfully you at least tell ships that one is nearby when cloaked. However, this is not enough defense. Worst of all, intelligent shadow pilots will approach their targets without cloak- insta kill them, then cloak for escape. If you are involved in a dogfight- you have no warning then. I'm thankful that you can still see cloaked ships on radar, but there needs to be another element. Consider adding a proximity decloak range to the shadow. If it flies too close to anything, have the cloak turn off, or be visible during the duration the ship is too close to the target. Or, you could show the shadow as a different triangle on the radar. Lastly, let's talk about the ultimate. Violent whisper and all insta kill ultimates for that matter need to go. They are not fun, engaging- and the fact that this can be used for carrier cores is a joke. At the VERY LEAST make it very easy to notice when the violent whisper is used (see D.VA from Overwatch). This ultimate is the cream on top of the cancer cake. This ship is a complete failure CCP. I am desperately hoping that you rework the entire tree. I'm not going to do a module review, as I don't want to give this ship any hope. ---------------------------------------------------------------------______________________________________________ Ingame issues A quick list:
Decals are staying on my ships when I have attempted to change, or take them off
I have seen the relic spawn inside of buildings when playing extraction on outpost
The capacitor bar, and speed bar do not always appear in full. They are both shortened after launch. Graphics errors happen intermittently, and most frequently in the Yurei using the engine power upgrade.
It would be nice to see the HUD/gameplay elements while respawning in the vat
It 'd be good to see the game type being played while first loading into the vat
______________________________________________ All in all, my hat is off to you CCP. You guys hit it out of the park with this one. With some fine-tuning and a bit of balance work- this game is going to be incredible. It's already miles better than old Valkyrie. I'm impressed that such a small team could create something like this. Gameplay is fresh, and on many ships- very deep. Looking forward to spending more time in the cockpit :) In closing, I'm planning to look at the rest of the ships in depth. I have been flying the supports quite a bit and will do a write-up when I can. To quickly summarize- the medusa is a better wraith, than the wraith (just please turn off auto aim). Kirin is completely useless at all levels, Nagi is working as intended- and the banshee phaser is baked aids. Why are phasers still in the game?
Ive been smashing through all of the classic HFY and after finishing all the "classics" and moving well on my way through the "must read" list. Felt I should return something back. First time. Be gentle, point out mistakes/hints/pointers. I havent written anything creative since fucking back in highschool which is over 7 years ago. Super rusty, but just adore this subreddit too much not to try. 2064 What have we done? The cradle that nurtured us, that protected us, that raised us, an empty radioactive shell. A semi devoured husk of environmental problems. As harsh as space is, the future here, amongst the stars offers more hope, more of an actual future than the nuclear wasteland below. Ragnarok. Judgement day. The apocalypse. It had all arrived. The horseman of war rides out amongst the radioactive rubble. Surtr has engulfed the world in fire. Vishnu the destroyer upon his white steed flashes as the nukes tear through the atmosphere. Through the cities. Through the people within. A tear rolled down Samantha’s cheek, her reddened eyes reflecting in the viewport as the once blue marble continued to flash periodically as nuclear armageddon ratcheted up a notch. As an eminent biologist, she along with another 80 000 selected individuals were split evenly among 4 separate arks. The chosen few. The only few to leave for a new hopeful world among the stars. Petty differences, a little instability, a bit of bad luck. There was no single factor at fault here. Climate change pressured how resources were distributed, conflict further choking off access. Advances in medicine especially in telomere support increased life expectancy in developed nations by two decades straining resources further elsewhere. Military might became an increasingly important factor in securing not just luxuries but the bare necessities like enough irrigation water to sustain the increasingly burdensome population. It was just a pile of tinder waiting for a spark. You cant blame the spark when you build a house of tinder, then douse it in gasoline. Yes the spark set it off, but it was only a matter of time. Those that blame the Indian-Chinese conflict for being the reason miss tension everywhere that allowed it to escalate wildly and out of control. There were mixed feelings throughout the ship. Comprised entirely of capable, determined, selected individuals. They would race out towards the nearby stars, establish colonies, link back up with the other arks and hopefully contact earth. If there is an earth left to contact. Trepidation ran thick. There was hope yes, hope for a brighter future, but for every human that was leaving the planet, 200 000 would perish to the nuclear flames below. May god have mercy on their souls. The ark movement was deemed a self defeating movement, one predicated on humanity eating itself alive based on its timetable for completion. But it gained headway, sponsors, and approached completion just in time it seemed. Humanity’s flame has not burned out yet. This travesty, it will be learned from. It had to be learned from. All Samantha could do was brush her fingers lightly on the reinforced plexiglass screen and whisper “Sarah…” Ark 3, identical to the other arks ignited its primary ion engines as it pushed out from Earth’s gravity world as earth fades away to a pale speck amongst the inky blackness of the sky. Pushing away from the viewport, Samantha steeled herself for the cryosleep which was to occur soon. 92% success rate of reawakening is still a 8% failure rate. The never ending sleep, at least it was a peaceful way to go. The struggle wasn’t over yet, but you cant fight physics. You cant fight the scale of the universe. A light year was just too far away. The gulf of distance too vast for rudimentary travel to cross easily. She takes one last look at the picture of her family. A man with thick brown hair, a red headed woman, an infant girl. Despite the sunglasses, the smile couldn’t be hidden by the creases around the eyes. A widow. A bereaved mother. Her young daughter had a genetic defect and did not meet the selection criteria for travel. There were no medical supplies for her here or on earth anyways. It hurt to leave Sarah behind.. Her husband was in London when the first nukes fell in the opening salvo, the “3 weeks of death”, before an uneasy truce was established. A shame the ceasefire lasted a mere 4 days before nuclear warheads were traded once more. Although it hurt, it hurt so much she could barely breathe at times. She wasn’t alone. No one was alone in their loss on the ark. Everyone had their tale of leaving loved ones and family behind. Over 24. Under 35. Peak physical condition. Educated in needed fields. Specific mental aptitude. No genetic diseases. It was strict and left no margin for small mercies like keeping families together. Positions couldn’t be bought or bribed for. It was the only way to not have the ark system collapse in on itself. Ark 3 ramps power to primary ion engines up to 23%, it will maintain this rate for months before sling shotting around Jupiter and out of the solar system on a one way trip, only upon leaving the gravity well in full will the engines ramp up to 70%, its cruising strength. All arks would use the same manoeuvre. Proxima Centauri, 4.2 light years. Epsillon Eridani, 10.5 light years. EZ Aquaril 11.3 light years. 61 Cygni, 11.4 light years. 4 star systems. 4 arks. The desperate last ditch grab at survival by humanity raced off into the void. The cries from earth silenced only by the deathly cold embrace of cryosleep. 0.05c at max speed. 54 million km/h. Not fast enough as Ark 3 takes its 260 year journey to EZ Aquaril. There will be a time to lament, but that will be a gift for future generations. The current one can only work and atone. The ghosts of humanity past will cry out and demand it. 2352. Stretching, the various joints and muscles stretch and pop and crackle as Samantha relieves the cramped body. She was getting old. 67 years young to be precise. All the first generation Rillers were getting old. Cryosleep had a whole host of long term problems. Shaping the single planet, Ril, in the EZ Aquaril system had been hard. But its not like they had a choice. Arc 3 had enough fuel for the single journey, only the Centauri ship, Ark 1 could move on for a new star and that was pushing the margins very close. Acceleration, deceleration. Fuel consumption was through the roof just for stopping and bringing a ship back from 0.05c. A pity it never even made it out of the Sol system, the auto pilot must have had an error as it ploughed the Ark straight into Jupiter, all arks were full cryo by that stage, and looking back, going 11.3 light years for a black box seems stupid just to sate the curiosity. At least it was known what happened to Ark based on its tight band transmissions and error alerts it sent the other Arks as it launched itself into Jupiter. Nobody knows what happened to Ark 4 as it accelerated away into the unknown and Ark 2 had a miserable fate of arriving to a dead planet, not even the option of terraforming could be applied, with only mass suicide as an option as their meagre resources dwindled. All the crew could do was broad cast its lack of success and greet the void. While getting up to brew herself a cup of coffee Mark suddenly interjects. “Don’t worry hun, Ive got it, the usual pick me up right?” “Yes dear” sighed Samantha, wearily rubbing her eyes. “Two sugars please instead of the one” The black hair on Mark was greying at the edges, as a first gen colonist, he was getting old as well but well built and fit for his age. This was typical for most Rillers. Complex healthcare was possible, but prevention was important with limited resources. “The algae we released just aren’t translated into biofuel at the right conversion rate. Something is eating into the efficiency by 4% and I just cant for the life of me figure it out” “That sounds like an engineers problem, as long the yield of algal amount is high, you should be good” “That’s why I brought it up with you, you are the engineer after all.” “Electrical engineer mind you” chuckling, Mark picked up the data pad and began reviewing through the numbers anyways sipping on his own coffee. The binary star pair shone with a pale blue light through the lightly tinted glass. Their tidally locked planet was in a perpetual state of day. Many neighbours had their housing with fully tinted glass, resting at their defacto night time, but work had to be done for some. And many windows were un tinted to a varying degree. “These biofuel sources are important, until we can get the 3rd fusion reactor online, most of our automatic mining equipment still uses combustion engines. It’s important.” Samantha stammers out the last bit. Easy to maintain, accessible fuel, it seemed the combustion engine hadn’t fully died. The main issue with electric engines was battery availability, demand was incredibly high in the fledging colony and the infrastructure wasnt yet there to support the supply needed. “I know hun, I know” Sensing a nervous break down, Mark begins to move closer. “I need to get this ready, I have to solve this problem” Samantha’s voice began to crack. Noticing the tells, Mark quickly rushes to her side. “I-I-I have to fix this” “I know hun, I know” “I have to fix this for the colony, I have to fix this for Jason-“ “Its alright hun, but that’s where you are wrong” said Mark as he comforts Samantha. Pulling her close into his arms as she begins to break down into sobs. “Jason will probably be able to fix this himself. The second generation are just as if not more educated than us. They will manage. They know more than us. They have been warned of our pitfalls, our failings, our weaknesses, the colony is in good hands, you should take a rest now. Put down tha- Put down that coffee, put down that notepad” Mark shepherds Samantha away to the bedroom, her mental state wasn’t doing well, a common state amongst all first generation Rillers. The loss of Earth and all your friends and family isn’t exactly minor trauma. Overworked and fraying nerves was something all colonists experienced daily for the first several decades as the stress of putting together a working colony from scratch took its toll. It didn’t help that Ark 1 was known to have not made it, Ark 2’s depressing message of complete failure was the only message received and Ark 4 was completely unaccounted for. 283 years of travel could have a lot of technical faults crop up. Any number of which would have ended Ark 4’s journey. Not exactly the success hoped for, but they landed on Aquaril’s lone planet. They survived. Humanity will live here. Humanity will live. But there were ghosts. So many ghosts. After comforting Samantha, Mark walks back out to the kitchen to clean up. Passing a photograph, it catches his attention and causes pause. One of the few sentimental artifacts from planet earth in the house. A man with brown hair, Samantha, and a little girl. Her first husband and child. She moved on, everyone had to, people who freeze up in regret wouldn’t have been on the ship. She remarried to Mark, had a wonderful son Jason who is finishing up a doctorate in microbiology. Taking off after his mother. But the past haunts Mark every day, through all his actions, through all interactions with first generation colonists. Hopefully these ghosts wont slow the second generation down as it had theirs. A regretful shake of the head later, he goes back to clearing away the cups of half drunk and cold coffee. He had his own weaknesses as well. A quick guilty glance around to confirm he was alone. Mark furtively reaches for the false backing of the 2nd cupboard. Withdrawing a flask and taking a deep swig. Mark shudders and slowly collapses onto the floor as the hard home brewed liquor burns from within. Leaning against the fridge for support. So many ghosts. So many ghosts. 2411 The centennial celebration of the colonization of Ril was thrown in gusto. Humanity had learned. An extreme aversion to conflict allowed a united humanity to progress at a rate unheard of in history. A golden age forty years. Advances unheard of, and once again, humanity had the resources and infrastructure to strike back out against the stars. Probes were launched to nearby star systems, colony ships were readied and once more the space race began a new. No messages returned from Sol however, the silent graveyard of humanity. The Rillers were so desperate to find out what happened to the birthplace of humanity but the silence was deafening 22.5 years was the round trip duration for each message and hypothetical reply. It was infuriating, it was slow and thus an expedition was set up. With a top speed of 0.2c, the affectionately named ship Boomerang would take a crew of 132 individuals to determine what had happened to Sol. 120 years of expected travel to find out what became of earth. Perhaps a Mars colony survived and just didn’t have the infrastructure to broadcast back. And so to great fanfare, the Boomerang returned back to the cradle. 2530 “Mayday mayday, this is Captain Lutzville of the Boomerang, sending out our final message.” “We have made contact with an unknown alien species currently occupying the Sol system, they are aggressive and do not answer our hails. We have attempted limited defences in launching our shuttles at them. Our engines have been disabled and they are beginning to board our ship” “Confirmed visual of boarders. Bipedal, covered in loose, thick fur, large brow, larger jaw, what looks like a series of gills around their lipless mouths. Backs scaled with what appears to be dark plates. Dark green and maroon colouration overall with orange throughout. Significant cybernetic enhancements present throughout their bodies. Their speech to each other is in grunts, clicks and whistles both below and above our range of hearing. Beware if you spot these aliens, their intent is hostile. I repeat their intent is hostile. They are making their way to the bridge with cutter tools it appears, my time is short. Crew are unable to fend off the boarding party.” “Earth is still a dead zone, according to long range scanners radiation levels are still lethal for us, but these aliens have taken root there and established themselves, their ships originated from a what looks like new colony built on earth. There are also signatures detected in Mars, Europa and the asteroid belt. We have lost Sol, may our ghosts haunts these abominations, may there be- oh shit, fucking kill the scale back, activate self destruct, confirm, captain overide, activate self destruct-shhhhhhhhhh“ The message is lost to the hiss of static signifying its premature end. 2541 The Rillian response to the message was varied, many wanted to fight hard to prevent these monsters from desecrating earth. Some wanted to assign blame for not giving the Boomerang any weapons to defend itself. Many wanted peace, perhaps it was a misunderstanding, a failure to communicate effectively. Regardless, funds and resources began pooling together for a new expedition. An armada. This time they will be prepared. These aliens wanted war, they wanted to desecrate the graveyard of humanity? Well humanity has them sorted. The next decades saw construction of dozens of war ships, hundreds of fighters. Together they will form the first fleet of humanity and together they will create a beach head for further Rillian reinforcement. One capital class “battleship”, two capital class carriers, five destroyers and twelve frigates formed the first fleet. Humanity hasn’t seen war in generations, but the bloodlust of humanity can run deep… Wormhole technology was mastered in the early 2500s. With it, one could slip matter between two “pinched” points in space-time near instantaneously. It just required a stable connection on both ends and power. A lot of power. Dozens of fusion plants operating in circuit. The first fleet would arrive and through fire and flame, establish a beach head on earth itself. A portal will be synced and power diverted from any of the three capital ships will supply the wormhole with enough energy to form a stable connection for further Rillian ground troop reinforcement. In an armoured exoskeleton to protect not just from enemy fire but also from the radiation of earth. These children of Aquaril will lead a purge of the xenos from the hallowed ground that is Earth. Rillers will fight as humanity once fought. 2564 The story of Ark 3 is a long and funny one. After being decommissioned and running on a skeleton crew as a space station and satellite repair site for 200 years, it was being brought back into service to deliver humanity back. 500 years later, it was about to be launched back to Earth, from Ril this time. The timing would have been poetic if it wasn’t on purpose by the acting politicians. Forming the main engine and chassis upon which the first fleet can ride upon to still be combat ready after close to 80 years in flight and not deplete their fuel. Its engines and reactor core were refitted and updated. Boosted shielding was included to improve its forcefield size to cover the various smaller lamprey craft that nestle upon it. The capitals had sections carved out of the Ark to better fit the three larger ships that still pale in size to the mass of the colony ship, Ark 3. Ion drive engines were still the only economical way of traversing the stars and the newly christened “Deliverance” began the slow but constant acceleration while the crew all entered cryosleep, which over time had been improved and now had a 100% success rate of reawakening. The ion engines were efficient over long distances but their pitiful acceleration were no match for the fusion jet engines standard of the war fleet. It would be abandoned near Mars as the first fleet would race away towards earth. Shock and awe. The Deliverance would intersect the solar system perpendicular, the first fleet will unload at a still blinding fast 0.01c, group up, and barrel towards earth to establish the wormhole link. Communication back with Aquaril was now instantaneous with the advent of wormhole technology. The ground troops will be ready. There will be war. The ghosts of humanity will be able to rest in peace. 2643 “Railgun 4 is clear for fire” “Clear for fire copy. No friendlies downrange. Dampeners applied, insulators on, you are clear for fire, fire when ready.” “Fire!” The capacitors dumped their power into the magnetic rail, the Lorentz force rips the solid titanium, tungsten, iron slug to mach 15. The forces deform the solid slug as massive acceleration forces are applied in the brief fraction of a second but the effect is all the same. It tears through space at a pace that still seems slow. Slow enough in the vastness of space for enemy ships to avoid. If it weren’t for the fact that shortly after leaving the railgun, another smaller, super heated, faster shot is slammed into the back of the slug at four times the speed. The kinetic forces in play break the slug into a super heated molten stream of metal and plasma that stretches across space with enough energy so even a small portion of it is capable of rendering immense destruction. The spread out net like quality also makes it hard to avoid. The surprise factor and angle of attack took the scalebacks off guard completely. The Deliverance slams into a Mars space station with a multitude of warships docked at close to 0.01c, this removes the space station instantly and gamma rays released from the relativistic impact cleanse the nearby area and planet of life. The first fleet however are nowhere close, grouping up and bleeding speed they close in on Earth firing off rounds at the much slower moving and distant scale backs. The rail gun rounds are the only weapons that are capable of launching such distances. These pot shots are to deter and slow down response times from ships beyond earth from survivors around mars beyond around the asteroid belt. Slivers and fragments of hyper energized heavy metal particulates would wreck sensors and deal significant damage if not pilotted around. Further increasing travel times. Contact is made with the scale backs. But no headway is made into their strange language of clicks and hisses. No surrender is offered as ships mobilize on and from around earth to defend the colony. It is good that the first fleet was ready for a bloody battle. The skies light up as the carriers unload fighters and bomber ships. The frigates provide important point defence fire augmenting the capital ship shields with their own. The destroyers unload masses of guiding missiles and ordinance that cover the extreme distances in stealth before detonating in a super heated burn cutting through thick ablative armour of the enemy ships. It wasn’t smooth. It wasn’t easy. A surprise flanking manoeuvre from the moon takes out one of the carriers and a number of destroyers and frigates but the power of initiative and surprise coupled with the extreme momentum from their interstellar journey gives the first fleet their hard earned victory as a short orbital bombardment begins. The carrier descends through the atmosphere in a controlled fall. This was a one way trip for the capital ship as it doesn’t have the thrust capable of lifting back out beyond earth’s atmosphere from within its gravity well. Cutting through the ochre clouds and radioactive haze the ship touches down in what would have been the birthplace of the Nile in Sudan as per the outdated geopolitical maps from over 500 years ago. Several frigates also touch down around the carrier, locking down and becoming armoured fortresses to project forcefields around and over the carrier as the main warp gate within the carrier begins to power up and sync back with its sibling gate on the planet of Ril. Thousands of connections were made per second between the gates, they needed millions for full synchronization and unimpeded travel. Sure enough, the Scaleback response was swift and harsh. Missiles were launched from what were assumed to be inactive sites in an unending rain at the carrier and the force fields were put under immense strain. The battleship and destroyers above would apply orbital bombardment from where the missiles launch from. Super-heated slugs tearing through installations as massive kinetic force tears the earth asunder. Hell on earth has come for a second round. Aerial superiority was being maintained for now but ship movement was being detected from the asteroid belt and beyond, the Scalebacks were responding. Now it was a race, the more energy the carrier had to divert to shields, the slower the worm hole sync. The Rillians knew this, but the Scalebacks likely didn’t, they just attacked in force with brutality and strength that didn’t seem possible to be sourced from such a broken planet. “Hello, can you understand me” a metallic voice rasped through the general comms. “Why are you here? Who are you? Why do you attack us?” It was a synthetic voice, no doubt passing through a complex translator. “I understand you. This is Admiral Xin. Ceasefire all guns.” Came the command and the guns went silent, with all power being diverted to the shields, shortly after, the Scaleback response died down as well. The metallic voice begins again. “Why have you come back, you are not welcome here” “Why? Why!? For this is our homeworld, this is our cradle, this is our birthright.” Replied the incredulous Admiral. She was never trained for diplomacy, just war tactics. But as the ultimate source of authority on this venture. The buck stops with her. And besides, this stalling was allowing the wormwhole to sync completely. Besides she was requesting experience and advice from experts on Ril in real time. “It has taken us a while to decode the old language and then add in the new additions as your language has morphed. Doesn’t help that the language isn’t compatible with our mouths. You don’t realise it do you?” The metal voice would stutter and stop with awkward pauses. “Realise what?” was the Admiral’s confused reply. “This isn’t your home anymore, this is our home.” “This isn’t your home, this is the graveyard of humanity. This is earth, where mankind’s terrible decisions ended humanity here” “In a way you are right. Mankind as you know it did end here, in another way you are wrong. Humanity didn’t end here. We merely evolved and adapted” “What are you saying, you cant possibly mean th-“ Cutting him off the metallic voice continues. “It was hard, the time of death. The ones who lived would burrow deep, but eventually even the most well stocked bomb shelter was inadequate when the radiation showed no signs of ending. And so we began to adapt. Modify ourselves if you will, it was the only way to eventually brave the surface and continue to live and not merely survive. Humanity in a way died here. Humanity can no longer live here. But we are still the remnants of humanity that remain. We fought, he struggled and once again we climbed for the stars. We are human.” The admiral was shocked into silence, this allowed the voice to continue. “I remember a video about your people, I remember watching footage of one of the arks slam into Jupiter. Good riddance, the weak, the cowardly would flee from earth and her problems. Only the strong adapt and survive. Only the strong survive. Only the strong. That ark burning up into Jupiter cemented our legacy, there is no escape, the problems here must be confronted only fools run or turn a blind eye. The debt of our past must be paid for, not run away from.” “The-the wormhole is 100% synced admiral, awaiting orders” a petty officer whispers subvocally to the admiral. He is as shocked as any other in the command centre on the battleship. Both in the command centre and back on Ril, the chain of command was paralyzed by the developments. The deployment of reinforcements was held back by the revelations. “You are, what was it, Rillians? or Rillers as you call yourself. We are Earthlings. This is our home. And you have some interesting technology there. Technology that will benefit humanity-The true humanity more. And so I would like to thank you for your gifts. My chief scientist informs me you know how to create a stable wormhole which is highly interesting. You see, we weren’t the only ones who rose back out of the grave. Various shelters had varying levels of success. Mostly Southern American shelters, Southern and central African ones and Australasian ones, the other areas are still too radioactive even for us, taking the brunt of the nuclear war. As for adaptations: mouth filters are fairly common, it gets rid of the radioactive dust before you breathe it in. The fur is pretty common as the perpetual nuclear winter meant its freezing everywhere, but we are the only ones who survive. The others were killed. For we are strong. And only the strong survive. The others… They get the short end of the Darwinian stick. We have fought and struggled non stop for 700 years. You have lost hundreds of years to travel and relativistic forces getting soft and weak by your perpetual easy life. Good bye Admiral, you weren’t the only one stalling. The moon cannon requires charging” A plasma lance shot out from the moons surface from a hidden subsurface station. It cuts through the battleship, its forcefields and armour, with ease and dissipates in what is left of the pacific ocean. Tunnels open up from the ground all around and within the forcefields of the carrier and an unending swarm of ground troop Scalebacks swarm forth. Air superiority is lost within minutes as anti air batteries spring out from the once inert ground. Militarization of the middle of nowhere. Humanity had been at war with itself for hundreds of years and were more than prepared for the token resistance the Rillians put forth. The Rillians couldn’t shut down the wormhole in time, the sync was complete and "humans" rushed through the wormhole onto Ril taking the confused troops stationed and waiting unaware. The portal once established is highly stable. The strength of its design became a fault as control was lost over both the carrier and the facility housing the wormhole on Ril. Thousands of invaders became hundreds of thousands. As the ‘humans’ went about their newest conquest. The ghosts of the past have come back to do more than just some haunting. One of the shock troopers rushing through the wormhole yells out in a flurry of growls, clicks and whistles that loosely translates to “Death to the non humans!”
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Advantages And Disadvantages Of Binary Options Trading ...
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