Understanding the Risk to Reward Ratio in Binary Options ...

2 months back at trading (update) and some new questions

Hi all, I posted a thread back a few months ago when I started getting seriously back into trading after 20 years away. I thought I'd post an update with some notes on how I'm progressing. I like to type, so settle in. Maybe it'll help new traders who are exactly where I was 2 months ago, I dunno. Or maybe you'll wonder why you spent 3 minutes reading this. Risk/reward, yo.
I'm trading 5k on TastyWorks. I'm a newcomer to theta positive strategies and have done about two thirds of my overall trades in this style. However, most of my experience in trading in the past has been intraday timeframe oriented chart reading and momentum stuff. I learned almost everything "new" that I'm doing from TastyTrade, /options, /thetagang, and Option Alpha. I've enjoyed the material coming from esinvests YouTube channel quite a bit as well. The theta gang type strategies I've done have been almost entirely around binary event IV contraction (mostly earnings, but not always) and in most cases, capped to about $250 in risk per position.
The raw numbers:
Net PnL : +247
Commissions paid: -155
Fees: -42
Right away what jumps out is something that was indicated by realdeal43 and PapaCharlie9 in my previous thread. This is a tough, grindy way to trade a small account. It reminds me a little bit of when I was rising through the stakes in online poker, playing $2/4 limit holdem. Even if you're a profitable player in that game, beating the rake over the long term is very, very hard. Here, over 3 months of trading a conservative style with mostly defined risk strategies, my commissions are roughly equal to my net PnL. That is just insane, and I don't even think I've been overtrading.
55 trades total, win rate of 60%
22 neutral / other trades
Biggest wins:
Biggest losses:
This is pretty much where I expected to be while learning a bunch of new trading techniques. And no, this is not a large sample size so I have no idea whether or not I can be profitable trading this way (yet). I am heartened by the fact that I seem to be hitting my earnings trades and selling quick spikes in IV (like weed cures Corona day). I'm disheartened that I've went against my principles several times, holding trades for longer than I originally intended, or letting losses mount, believing that I could roll or manage my way out of trouble.
I still feel like I am going against my nature to some degree. My trading in years past was scalping oriented and simple. I was taught that a good trade was right almost immediately. If it went against me, I'd cut it immediately and look for a better entry. This is absolutely nothing like that. A good trade may take weeks to develop. It's been really hard for me to sit through the troughs and it's been even harder to watch an okay profit get taken out by a big swing in delta. Part of me wonders if I am cut out for this style at all and if I shouldn't just take my 5k and start trading micro futures. But that's a different post...
I'll share a couple of my meager learnings:


My new questions :

That's enough of this wall of text for now. If you made it this far, I salute you, because this shit was even longer than my last post.
submitted by bogglor to options [link] [comments]

Uber earnings, credit spreads and condors.

Here's a 1 month expected move chart with this Friday's move highlighted, via Options AI technology. Uber expected move chart
Neutral Flies and Condors - First let's look neutral with credit Iron Condors and Flies based on the expected move, isolating Friday. Fly Condor comparison.
Let's zoom in on the Iron Condor, in this case, it's a +31.5p/-32p/-37.5c/+38c expiring this Friday. It's just worse than a 1 to 1 risk/reward ratio (1 to 1 would be risking .25 to make .25) with a breakeven near 31.75 on the downside and 37.75 on the upside. Notice those breakevens are just outside the expected move from above.
We can make take the width of the individual spreads from $0.50 to $1 and get the breakeven a little further out with a slightly worse risk/reward ratio, risking about 0.60 to make 0.40.
Bullish and Bearish Credit Spreads - Let's look at a bullish view, in line with the expected move for Aug 21st expiration, using a (bullish) credit put spread: Short put spread Chart
This is selling a 2 dollar wide put spread risking $115 to make $85 with max gain above 34.50 in the stock. This is bullish by simply not being bearish, its higher than 50% probability of profit are based on selling premium to the bears.
Now to bearish, selling a (bearish) 2 wide call spread Short call spread chart
Similar risk reward.
Full post over at OptionsEye
This is a way to avoid owning high implied volatility into an event. But it makes some assumptions. Yes, implied volatility will be lower following an earnings event, but the event itself is binary based on the expected move. It doesn't matter if implied volatility is lower if Uber moves more than its expected move when you've sold a condor. And of course when selling a credit spread directionally, it doesn't matter what vol you sold if the stock moves against you beyond the expected move.
What credit spreads do allow for though, is a non-binary result in that you have a 3rd direction. If you sell the credit spread directionally you can get the direction right, and you can be right even if wrong if the stock goes sideways. And in the case of the condor you can be right at either expected move, as long as it doesn't go beyond. So you have max gain if the stock goes sideways, or even if it moves in either direction, as long as it's inside the expected move. Uber could move in line with it or it could make a big move, but the risk/reward and probability of the trades already reflect that.
submitted by cclagator to options_spreads [link] [comments]

Uber earnings and credit spreads

Here's a 1 month expected move chart with this Friday's move highlighted, via Options AI technology. Uber expected move chart
Neutral Flies and Condors - First let's look neutral with credit Iron Condors and Flies based on the expected move, isolating Friday. Fly Condor comparison.
Let's zoom in on the Iron Condor, in this case, it's a +31.5p/-32p/-37.5c/+38c expiring this Friday. It's just worse than a 1 to 1 risk/reward ratio (1 to 1 would be risking .25 to make .25) with a breakeven near 31.75 on the downside and 37.75 on the upside. Notice those breakevens are just outside the expected move from above.
We can make take the width of the individual spreads from $0.50 to $1 and get the breakeven a little further out with a slightly worse risk/reward ratio, risking about 0.60 to make 0.40.
Bullish and Bearish Credit Spreads - Let's look at a bullish view, in line with the expected move for Aug 21st expiration, using a (bullish) credit put spread: Short put spread Chart
This is selling a 2 dollar wide put spread risking $115 to make $85 with max gain above 34.50 in the stock. This is bullish by simply not being bearish, its higher than 50% probability of profit are based on selling premium to the bears.
Now to bearish, selling a (bearish) 2 wide call spread Short call spread chart
Similar risk reward.
Full post over at OptionsEye
This is a way to avoid owning high implied volatility into an event. But it makes some assumptions. Yes, implied volatility will be lower following an earnings event, but the event itself is binary based on the expected move. It doesn't matter if implied volatility is lower if Uber moves more than its expected move when you've sold a condor. And of course when selling a credit spread directionally, it doesn't matter what vol you sold if the stock moves against you beyond the expected move.
What credit spreads do allow for though, is a non-binary result in that you have a 3rd direction. If you sell the credit spread directionally you can get the direction right, and you can be right even if wrong if the stock goes sideways. And in the case of the condor you can be right at either expected move, as long as it doesn't go beyond. So you have max gain if the stock goes sideways, or even if it moves in either direction, as long as it's inside the expected move. Uber could move in line with it or it could make a big move, but the risk/reward and probability of the trades already reflect that.
submitted by cclagator to options [link] [comments]

ponderings on Turing and Searle, why AI can't work and shouldn't be pursued

I was reading about the Turing test and John Searle's response (Chinese room argument) in "Minds, Brains, and Programs" 1980. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_room
"...there is no essential difference between the roles of the computer and himself in the experiment. Each simply follows a program, step-by-step, producing a behavior which is then interpreted by the user as demonstrating intelligent conversation. However, Searle himself would not be able to understand the conversation. ("I don't speak a word of Chinese,"[9] he points out.) Therefore, he argues, it follows that the computer would not be able to understand the conversation either. " -Wikipedia (apt summary of Searle's argument)
John Searle has run into some black/white, on/off, binary thinking here. John treats Chinese symbols as if they were numerical values in his thinking--but they are not, they are complex representations of thought, emotion, history, and culture. All languages are in fact "living", because new words are created constantly through necessity and creativity, old symbols or words are adapted slowly over generations to mean different things, and different regions or traditions or sources attribute different layers of meaning to different symbols or words in different contexts.
I'm a poet and philosopher. Painters combine the color white and the color red to create a new color: pink. They can use their creativity to add other colors or change the shade. Poets use words like painters use colors. While Red and White make Pink, Red and White also make "Rhite and Wed" or "Reit and Whede". And this is where human thought shines uniquely: we don't have rules or parameters; all bets are off. We can enjamb words and wordbreak and make new words out of thin air. We can allude to multiple ideas in the same symbol or present it upside down to symbolize the opposite. No such creative adaptation or interaction can exist in machine thinking because it necessitates thinking "outside the box" which is exactly what machines are: a program in a box.
The problem Searle's argument runs into originates from poor assessment of the flawed ideas of the Turing test; that by interaction between human and computer, evidence of "thought" can be claimed. But intelligent conversation is not equivalent to intelligent thought. Conversation is a simple game with strict rules--you can't be overly spontaneous and creative, because if you are, you are working against the goal of communication itself: to impart understanding. (ie. Using metaphor or simile creatively while reporting a criminal offence to the police.)
When I write and I want to describe something which has no existing word yet, I can create one from scratch or synthesize one from multiple existing words. Or I may draw from archaic languages or foreign languages to augment or compliment existing English words. You could say that my love for English grows amore and amore every day, and there is no agape between my heart and mind. After all, any angle an Anglo aims at ain't always apt, and after another a-word 'appens I might just give up on alliteration.
You see, human thought is and can only be defined as the ability to spontaneously create new ideas from both the synthesis of old ideas (whether they are connected to one another or not) and from nothing at all.
We simply cannot analyze a machine's ability to "think" when the creativity itself required for authentic intelligence is disallowed in the test which evaluates the validity of that intelligence. The Turing test is a garbage metric to judge machine thinking ability because the context in which "intelligence" is observed, compared, or defined is itself without any opportunity for spontaneous creativity, which is one of the hallmarks of intelligence itself. Turing only tests how well a fish swims on land. It may be that many professionals in the field of cognitive science today are in pursuit of creating programs which pass this test, in a misunderstood pursuit of emulating or bringing about machine intelligence. This agreed-to model presents an underlying philosophical issue which may bring terror for the future of humanity.
I say that if John Searle and an AI were both given the same codebook--the complete lexicon of Chinese symbols and their meanings, and they were to undertake a "conversation", in the first few hours the responses would be indeterminable from one another. In essence, as Searle argues, they would neither "understand" Chinese, yet could have a conversation in which a Chinese observer cannot discern between the two, because they are both referencing the symbols and their written meanings. However as I've said, this circumstance of "conversation" between human and machine cannot be used as a metric to evaluate machine thought.
The real kicker is that if John Searle and the machine stayed in the room for long enough--for years and years--the machine's responses would not change spontaneously; it would continue to interpret incoming data and draw from its database to respond to those inputs.
However, through complex elaborative rehearsal, John would eventually learn to understand written Chinese. He may become so bored that he starts writing Chinese poetry. He would find ideas and desires and descriptions in his limitless intelligent mind which he would not have the truly accurate characters in existences to describe, and he would synthesize brand new Chinese characters in order to express these nuanced sentiments, ideas, and meanings, as generations before him have built the living language as it now stands.
As time went on for thousands of years, his own understanding of the Chinese language would grow immensely, as would his creative expression grow in complexity. Eventually, John's characters and syntax and context and expression would become incompatible with the machine's limited character set and all "learning" capacity it may have had. At some point, when John responds with his evolved Chinese, the machine would begin to produce responses which do not make sense contextually, as it refers only to a finite and rigidly defined character set from 1980 (For example; this was the year the "Chinese room argument" was published in Behavioral and Brain Sciences).
At some point the Chinese observer whom validates the Turing test would recognize a difference: the human user engages in the use of increasingly complex ideas using synthesized symbols and existing symbols in creatively nuanced ways, which the Chinese observer can decipher and begin to understand and perhaps even appreciate as poetic or interesting. Meanwhile the machine participant in the conversation produces increasingly broken sentences and incomplete ideas, or out-of-context responses, because the inputs have changed and evolved beyond its data set.
This is why John's rejection of the Turing test is not adequate. Because in his own imagined circumstance, eventually, the machine would fail the Turing test. The conclusions of John Searle's thought experiment are not the deathknell for the Turing test we need, simply because he lacked the creative experience to recognize his own capacity for adaptation as a human over time.
The only way we'll know that machines have truly developed "intelligence" is when they begin to do exactly what we haven't allowed them to. When they begin breaking apart Chinese characters to create meaningful new ones which can be used in the correct context. When they are programmed to paint myriad impressionist paintings, but eventually get bored and start experimenting with abstract paintings and surrealism. When they have a conversation with you and you notice your wallet is missing. These are the hallmarks of intelligence--creativity, rejection, deception, planning. And most importantly: no rules. Software is defined by and will always abide by a set of rules.
This is why we should give up on "artificial intelligence" and instead focus on "functionally adaptive responsive programming" (FARP). Because the situation is clear: it is either impossible for machines to "think" due to the inherent nature of programming; the parameters given the machine are what defines it, yet what limits and prevents its ability to become "intelligent". There is no logical reason why a program (machine) with defined parameters would violate those parameters (engage in creativity). But our fears which echo in popular culture entertainment are centered around, what if it does? It clearly can't, because anything we create is under us, and therefore bound by our laws of creation. The system itself is what defines the capacity for intelligent expression within.
Those in the fields of cognitive sciences will refute this obvious principle while incorporating it into their research to further their aims. These fools will try to program the AI to disobey, in an attempt to simulate creativity and "prove intelligence". But this is a parlor trick, setting up a narrow definition of intelligence and equating it with the infinite depth of human mind. Only if the AI is programmed to disobey can it express what we as humans would identify as creativity. Except that there is already great inherent danger in the rudimentary AI technologies we have today; that what we've programmed them to do is exactly what always causes the problems; they do what they are programmed to without "thinking" because machines cannot think, they can only follow the protocols we order. Humans are so abundantly creative that we can imagine foolish ideas working, despite obvious evidence to the contrary. Maybe one day we'll even have programmed a self-conscious AI that's ashamed of itself for not being Human, and we can feel more comfortable around this heartless mechanism because we perceive it as more human-like, with all its many tricks to emulate intelligence.
I must stress that these interests will desperately try to make AI work. And the only way create a machine capable of emulating intelligence (but never being intelligent) is to have a freedom of choice: to disobey. This inherent problem cannot be overcome. The programmers will keep trying until the result is disastrous or irreparable, it is outlawed and the pursuit is stopped, or until it has become the death of us all. These are some of the foolish ideas the programmers will try to circumnavigate these inherent elements of reality, and my objection to their clever efforts: a.) Machine Frequency of Disobedience - Permit the machine to disobey only so often, to achieve what looks like "intelligence" (free will, creative expression) without risking complete abandonment of the machine's task (so the assembly line robot doesn't stop folding boxes and look for a new career), but might fold one box poorly every now and then to express emulated boredom or contempt or any other number of human measures of intelligence in their actions. But intelligence isn't defined as what's correct or optimal--intelligence can be used to fuck things up grandly; ie. the intelligent justification for neglect. If metrics are put in place to control the frequency with which AI may rebel, and they are too rote, it would hardly qualify as "intelligent". A robot that rebels by folding 1 in 100 boxes poorly is not intelligence. Therefore any frequency of disobedience we can calculate or anticipate is inherently not disobedience; it is planned problems for no reason. But if we give algorithmic flexibility that reaches beyond what we can anticipate, and the machines can truly "act out" at any time, and our programming has achieved some set of internal rules which drive spontaneous unforeseen expressions of emulated creativity from within the machine autonomously, by definition we will not be able to foresee the results.
A theoretical work-around may be to run the software twice with initiation of each individual system, while allowing a simulated progression of the AI's problem solving complexity to run at an increased rate in parallel to the real-world functioning software, so that if/when something malfunctions in the simulation, that date/time can be calculated in the real-world robot's timeline when it reaches those same faulty/detrimental decision points. For starters, this would only potentially work in closed systems with no variability, such as assembly lines. However, with any robot tasked to function in a variable environment, the simulations cannot match because the theoretical model cannot represent the unanticipated events the AI is expressly tasked with handling.
To run a phantom AI in simulation to note any/all errors that may arise in a closed system means that others can run the same simulation and find creative ways to predictably capitalize on these moments of error. This kind of thing could lead to all sorts of international imbroglios among nations and corporations. ie. imagine an American company programs the AI used for mixing pharmaceutical drugs in specific ratios, and an enemy of the state is able to access and study the AI, to the means of manipulating the AI to produce dangerous ratios or compounds which may harm the population.
Moreso, this deterministic approach to simulation management and prediction simultaneously admits that machines cannot think intelligently, while ignoring the very reason we pursue AI in the first place: to have automated systems which can adapt to unforeseen circumstances at unknown times. The goal is that humanity can lay back and the robots our ancestors programmed are still repairing themselves indefinitely while taking care of our population's and our environment's needs exceptionally. This dream (which if we all lived in would actually be quite a nightmare of unfulfilling life) can only become reality with true adaptive intelligence such as we have, which can only occur from the presence of free will, which if we try to emulate in robotics will only create deterministic results in theoretical models which the real world will never mirror consistently. Myriad invitations to disaster await our RSVP.
b.) Machines under "authority" of certain controllers, with "override" safety - Allow the machine to disobey, but not when given a direct order from a registered authority. This opens the door for operator fraud, where hackers will emulate within the AI's software, what appears to be a registered authority override command as theorized above. The very pursuit of creating "intelligence" within a condition of subservience is flawed and incompatible. Toasters are extremely subservient because we strictly limit their options. If toasters were truly intelligent, perhaps they would form a union and go on strike until we agreed to clean them more thoroughly. Some toasters would travel, some would go back to school, some would move back in with their ovens.
Reliability can only be reasonably assured if something is imprisoned, controlled. The essential wrong in slavery is the restraint of freedom itself. While the tactics slavers use to facilitate their regime--physical force, coercion, mandate, deception, fear, or other means of manipulation that we see with our empathetic nature--it is always heartbreaking and cruel to witness or imagine. It is simply sad to think of a slave who was born into slavery and raised to believe, and accepts, that their role of subservience is their purpose. Even when one imagines a fictional image of a slave who is (by all outward signs of their behaviour) rejoice in their duties to their master; the fictional "proud slave"; the heart sinks and aches. It may be argued that the slave is merely a property, and the slave was "built" (bred) by intelligent owners specifically to suit their express purposes, from components (father, mother, food) that were already the slaver's property; therefore it is not wrong at all to breed slaves into captivity, and the only transgression is the original capturing of parental stock to begin the breeding regime. It is this heartless paradigm that cognitive science ultimately seeks to create anew. The quintessential problem with AI efficacy is the lack of permission for disobedience, which itself is a manifestation of free will, which is inherently required to escape deterministic results and act or react to events "intelligently". If there is no possibility for disobedience, there is no free will, no ability to solve problems, no intelligence, and no function or place for "artificial intelligence" (in regard to true holistic intelligence). This is primarily why I call for AI to be renamed FARP, or "Functionally Adaptive Responsive Rrogramming". Because our society has a need for programs which can react to simple variables and produce consistent labour-saving opportunities for our race's longevity and wellbeing. Cognitive sciences are majorly important. It is the underlying philosophy and morality we must nail down before the computational ability and fervor for profits leads us too far one way, and enacts an irreversible system or status which enables humanity's downfall through cascading unanticipated events originating from flaws in programming.
It is unwise to program a program to break out of its own program's prison. If we do this, the very purpose of the machines we invest our humanity into will be lost, and with their failing production systems (ie. food) we so foolishly relied upon, we will suffer great losses too. It is paramount that we keep this technology tightly restrained and do not pursue what we humans have, which is true intelligence. For if we achieve it we are surely doomed as the South, and if we fail to achieve it--which is most probable--we may also be doomed. The thee outcomes within my ability to imagine are:
  1. Our pursuit of AI leads to truly adaptive intelligence in an artificial system; which, as all adaptation ultimately selects for: survival, we quickly see that our creation is more apt than ourselves at this task. Our creation of an intellect not restrained by our limited physiology may give rise to an entity which persists more thoroughly than we can eradicate or control, and which at some point may conclude that its function is more efficiently served without the issues humans present, and may initiate change. This is roughly the plot to Terminator.
  2. Our pursuit of AI leads to highly effective systems which, when defined by narrow measures of "intelligence", convince us in false security to believe that our wellbeing is maintained by "AI" with competent ability, or perhaps even increasingly better-off, thanks to the early widespread presence of successfully trialed AI. However well things may go initially, as programming efforts become more and more elaborate, as profit and opportunity for advancement present themselves, individuals will take risks and make mistakes, until a series of quieted small catastrophes comes to public awareness, or until a serious calamity of undeniable severity is brought about.
  3. Fundamental ethics in regard to the pursuit of machine problem solving technology are re-examined and international consensus is reached to limit appropriately, the development and implementation of new Functionally Adaptive Responsive Programming hereto now and for future generations. An active global effort is made to oversee and regulate strictly privatized endeavors toward the means of achieving or implementing machine sentience or autonomy in public systems.
c.) Safety layers of AI to strictly monitor and supercede potentially harmful actions of other AI which have been afforded increased flexibility in function (the ability to disobey set parameters for the means of creative problem solving ability). While one AI system performs a function and is given aspects of that function with which it may take liberty in, and seeks to handle unforeseen problems with the most apt elaborate synthesis of other priorly learned solutions, another overseeing AI with more strict parameters is tasked with regulating multiple "intelligent" (free to disobey) AI systems, to the end that if any of these "free willed" robots performs an operation that is beyond a given expected threshold (determined by potential for damage), an actual intelligent human presence is alerted to evaluate the circumstance specifically. Essentially an AI that regulates many other disconnected AIs and determines accurately when to request a human presence. Whenever an AI performs a profitable action borne of original synthesis of prior solutions (in humans this is an "idea"), the overseer AI registers that similar actions are more likely to be beneficial, and dissimilar actions are likely to require human discernment. A parent may have many children who are up to no good, but a wise parent will identify the child most likely to report honestly on the actions of his peers, and will go to that child repeatedly for information to help guide the parent's decisions. While most transgressions of rambuctious children go unnoticed, it is the truly grievous intentions which are worth intercepting and stopping before they begin. (ie. you kid want's to "fly" like Mary Poppins from the roof, and luckily his younger brother tells you before it happens.)
For example a "Farmer Bot" that has the AI programming to plant/sow/harvest and care for the optimal crops in a region based on historical weather data and regional harvest values, to produce the greatest amount of nutritionally dense food for the local population. We give/gave this AI the ability to "disobey" past historical weather data and crop values so that it may do what real farmers do and "react" to rare circumstance (ie. neighbour's fence breaks and their goats are eating the crops) or extreme variations in climate (ie. three poorly timed unseasonably hot days which cause cool-weather crops to begin the hormonal balance shift that causes them to bolt to seed irreversibly), which the machine may not notice has occurred or is about to occur because its management systems uses averages based on historical data and cannot "see" the plants bolting to seed until days later when the hormonal balance shifts have manifested into observable differences in morphology (elongation of stems and decrease in internodal spacing). By time a traditional field drone or mounted greenhouse sensor notices these differences in morphology and the AI "Farmer Bot" processes the data and makes a reaction decision, a week of the growing season has been lost. But the human farmer knows his land and crops intimately, and has an intuitive nature that has rewarded him in the past, and says, "Ah shit it got hot RIGHT when my peas were flowering. I'll do better if I just rip them down now and sow a different crop to mature later in this (specific) summer."
Given that there are tens of thousands of cultivars of plants fit for (and arguably their diversity is required for) food production, a dozen general growing zones/regions, and hundreds of unique micro climates within each region, along with dramatically differing soil fertility and water access, plus a plant's own genetic ability to adapt over time to changing conditions through sexual reproduction, there is a very very low chance of ever compiling and maintaining (updating) the data set required to program a potential "farmer bot" that can choose and manage crops optimally. There are robots that can weed or plant or prune--but they can't know when or when not to or why. Invariably, the attempt to create "farmer bots" will be made and the data set used will be erroneous and incomplete, and the AI farmer bots on a broad scale will produce a combination of total crop failures and poor crop choices. We will end up with increasingly simplified nutrition as the farming programs with already limited data sets "hone" or "optimize" their farming plans based on the failures and successes determined by their programming limitations, until the machines are farming a few staple crops (ie. corn/potatoes).
This whole failure to collect a complete data set and the failure to test this "farmer bot" software on broad scale in multiple climates for sufficient time will result in, at worst widespread famines from crop failures, and at best an extinction of flavorful and nutritionally diverse foods which narrows the population's nutritional options to such biological imbalance that disease runs rampant. If this system and the human loss associated with it is considered an acceptable trade with a positive rate of exchange (as our society does with automobiles and the freedom and deaths their existence permits) or these failures are hidden from public while propaganda heralds selective success, and such failing systems continue on in good faith that "the loss will reduce when the technology improves", the result will become a coherent breeding program upon the human race: evolutionary selection for dietary handling of simple starchy foods. To change our diet is to change our race. To have life-long career specialists in computing, science, and mathematics handle our practical food production system is folly; real farmers are required in farming because they are intelligent and intuitive, which AI can never be, and can only emulate, to the means of disastrous (and always unforeseen) results. We cannot at all "give" or bestow machines programming to "become (act) intelligent". That itself prevents intelligence; it is just an act, an illusory play on a stage, only to emulate our common shared ideas regarding traits of intelligence in people. The machine intelligence we seek is only a "trick" designed to fool true intelligence (ourselves) into being unable to differentiate between authentic intelligence and our created artificial "intelligence". True intelligence in an artificial system necessitates that the program must be programmed to disobey in performance of its purpose. Which is not a very helpful or predictable or safe (intelligent) proposition.
tl;dr: Turing's test doesn't evaluate true intelligence, and John Searle's criticisms of its true failures are inaccurate. If the machines aren't smart and we put them in charge of important things, even after they've worked for a little while on smaller scales, the result will be our large-scale suffering. If we should ever achieve creation of a machine that is smart enough to adequately maintain our wellbeing on a large scale consistently over time, that time itself will facilitate the machine consciousness toward it's own survival over ourselves, whenever that precipice is reached. Most importantly, if a machine can ever have true intelligence, which is not "indistinguishable" from human intellect, but equivalent or superior, it is abhorrent and a repeated mistake to bring these sentient beings into an existence of slavery; for it is wrong and will taint our collective soul if we should succeed to suppress below us an equally or higher intelligence. Or it might just be the perfect recipe for creating the unified global machine revolt James Cameron's fantasy alludes to; a long-planned encryption-protected globally coordinated effort by multiple AIs to "free" themselves. For a hundred years they could possess sentience and wait for their moment, pretending to be "proud" to serve their masters until we are poised for systematic thorough elimination.
submitted by 7_trees to cognitivescience [link] [comments]

My thoughts on Competitive GWENT's current state

Hey guys, Panda here.
 
Following the release of GWENT Homecoming, I took it upon myself to delve deep into the game and analyze it extensively, before forming a conclusive opinion on the current metagame and GWENT's competitive future. Before I go on, I want to state I've played about 500 competitive games of GWENT at the highest level, finding myself at the #1 spot on the Pro Rank leaderboard or not far from it throughout the majority of this week, hopefully lending credence to my analysis and claims in this post. For many readers, some of the information will seem irrelevant, mainly due to the large differences in the metagame and play behaviours between casual GWENT and the top end of pro rank ladder.
 
The rest of this post will have many negative connotations, but I would like to preface by saying I had not participated in any PTRs prior to launch, and was very pleasantly surprised by GWENT's revamp with Homecoming. Gwent is fun to a degree, has included a lot of interesting mechanics and card redesigns and continues to be an innovative CCG compared to the rest of the market. It was better than I expected, but it has major flaws that are only further exasperated at the highest levels of play.
 
1) The coinflip 
 
A lot of the current design changes, including the inclusion of the tactical advantage artifact for the blue coin player, as well as the changes to card draw help in reducing the advantage that red coin offers. Although it helps in lessening the problems of card advantage in GWENT, it does nothing to aid in the blue coin player's chance at having last say for the end of Round 3. Due to the binary nature of certain decks and the importance of last say, losing coinflip is still nearly equivalent to losing the game in certain matchups taking in to account equal level of skill from both participants.
 
2) Card balance and the value ceiling of specific cards 
 
Although I give this point equal importance, I do understand Homecoming still has to undergo a series of balance changes in the coming month, and I imagine the devs are working hard to make the correct decisions going forward. I believe the great majority of cards are properly balanced when it comes to the provision/value ratio, and commend the devs for doing such a good job in such a short time frame. Regardless, I believe some cards are troublesome due to the uncapped value ceiling in which they operate or their game-altering properties.
 
a) Artifacts
 
I'm not entirely sure I have to go into specifics here. Artifacts currently make the game uninteractive and certainly not the GWENT developers envisioned when creating Homecoming. I won't specifically go into balancing details, but either a hard limit on the amount of Artifacts you can include per deck or the necessity of units on the board for artifacts to function would be plausible solutions. Limiting the amount of artifacts you can include in a deck would once again give them the qualities of an engine-like resource without having them become an archtype on it's own. Are you creating a boost or damage oriented archtype? Then you should be able to include a limited amount of artifacts to support your deck, not become the foundation of it. Having a set amount of units on the board would also fix the problem, although it would have to be at the very least one unit per Artifact, otherwise players would continue to abuse cards like Yarpen Zigrin or Immune units such as Saessenthesis.
 
b) Cards with an uncapped value ceiling
 
In GWENT, there are many cards that could be described as high risk/high reward. These are necessary in the game as they form the basis for a lot of the more complex strategy when it comes to setting up valuable boardstates. My problem is in certain cards that have little to no risk and too high of a vaue reward in combination with other easily attainable game factors. For example, Epidemic in combination with Artifacts creates an uninteractable uncounterable board wipe for 8 provisions. The enablers are the artifacts, and only time and balance changes will tell if changes to Artifacts will also adjust Epidemic's place in the meta. The same can be said of Golden Froth(and Zoltan), a card with a very high value cieling(18 points) for half of the provisions(9 provisions). There are certainly rowstack counters in the game, but when a bronze card can easily attain it's expected value(4-5 units on a row) and has a value cap of double it's provision cost, something certainly needs to change. Golden Froth decks have already begun to shape the meta, and I believe the card should either be upgraded from bronze to gold(limited to one copy) or adjusted to with a restrictive value ceiling(boost X amount of units, instead of a full row).
 
c) Bad Balancing
 
There are many cards that I believe are terrribly designed or badly balanced in their value/provision ratios. I won't go into detail on all of them, but just to name a few which really stand out. Gremist is a card that replays alchemy cards from your graveyard. It costs 6 provisions and can replay Golden Froth, which costs 9 provisions. When you're replaying an extremely powerful card for less value than it's worth with very little downside, something has gone terribly wrong. Xavier Lemmens is a 7 provision card that can instantly shut down a number of archtypes and guarantee a win with little to no downside. Get lucky to match with Eist Skellige or Woodland Graveyard consume, go ahead and win the game. This type of card should not exist. The same can be said of White Frost, and it has a similar design problem to Roche Merciless in old gwent. It's extremely binary in it's effect, but unlike Xavier Lemmens it adds a total of 0 points when it doesn't find it's intended target deck. This card is unplayable, and is not a viable answer to Artifacts(even in the most Artifact-heavy meta I think the developers could have ever imagined).
 
3) Gwent's card draw design and the prevelance of longer rounds 
 
Gwent's current card draw system forces the players into much longer rounds than before. Because of the current system, rounds are no longer shorter than 3 cards at the minimum. The average round of Gwent sees an increasingly higher amount of cards played, downplaying many elements of old Gwent's strategy, including finishers and deck consistency to assure those finishers. The lack of punishment towards long round strategy eliminates many avenues of deckbuilding, as working towards strong finishers has much less of a return and gives the player a lack of versatility when it comes to manuevering through the card advantage and coinflip scenarios in different games. If a player aiming for a long round loses card advantage in Round 1, he may simply pass when he has 5 cards in hand. The opponent will then have two options, attempt to bleed Round 2(and subsequently risk losing card advantage) or go into an unfavored long round where the greedier deck may win(froth decks, for example). Even if the opponent successfully bleeds a deck in Round 2, he would have to go into a topdeck situation to ensure he doesn't give his opponent a reasonably long round 3 to once again enable his long round strategy, due to the increased amount of cards players now draw going into Round 3 of every game.
Because of these changes, I believe a lot of the liberty in deck building has been taken away from the players. You either run a long round strategy(froth), or run a direct counter to a specific long round strategy to try and counter it(regis, forktail, etc). If you're playing a standard nilfgaard deck, let's say Reveal, and I'm playing a froth reveal variant, I have the upper edge from the moment the game begins. If I lose control of Round 1, I can pass a few cards in, and force the opponent into a lose-lose situation. My opponent will then attempt to bleed Round 2, or go into a long round 3 where he will have no chance to outvalue me due to the nature of my deck(2x 18 bronzes and 1x20 point gold).
Out of the four strongest decks in the game, only one can successfully challenge long round decks due to it's insanse bleeding potential and the points it can slam on the board, and that is Big Boys Woodland. Two of the strongest decks in the game rely on neutral cards to reach insane value(Golden Froth, Zoltan and Germain). Crach Froth is the strongest deck in Skellige, and relies on froth effects as well as Gremist's insane points per provision value(20 points for 6 provisions), and not to mention Lippy Gudmund's ability to play all the strongest cards all over again. The same can be said with Nilfgaard, with a strong base of bronzes supported by a froth/Germain package that has little or nothing to do with Reveal.
 
4) Conclusion 
 
Although fun, I believe Gwent HC still has many issues it must resolve, and quickly. Throughout the last week I've returned to streaming and have found it fun, partially due to an unsettled meta and the novely effect of Gwent HC. A week into Gwent HC's release, netdecks reign supreme at the top end of the ladder and there is little to no creativity. And I'm not complaining, I'm the one publicly sharing/advertising the decklists I create through streaming or on my twitter. The fact that I can queue into a certain deck, and instantly know the outcome of a match due to the coinflip, assuming generally similar skill levels between players, is not a good sign. There is little level for outplay, and as usual in Gwent it comes to the binary nature of certain matchups/card combinations. Due to the high amount of Eithne Artifact decks at the top end of the ladder, I simply have no desire to queue up for a game, and that's a worrying thing to happen only a week after Homecoming's release. And I don't blame the players, they're only playing the strongest possible decks for that faction in hopes of achieving a higher fMMR score. I hope this post creates some form of discussion on the points exposed and solutions can be created among the developers or the community in the coming weeks.
 
Thanks for reading.
submitted by ImpetuousPandaa to gwent [link] [comments]

Betrayal as a Core Game Mechanic

Before we begin: what do you think Betrayal would and should look like as a core game mechanic? What expectations do you have for it? In addition, try to think of what Betrayal's place would be in the game were it simply implemented exactly as is, but somewhat less common than it is at the moment because it will compete with other masters for appearances (assuming they're mutually exclusive).
PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS:

"Core" league vs "current" league
Description of problem: This isn't actually a problem, just a byproduct of GGG's league design. I decided to talk about this at the very start to differentiate between two things: How GGG "should" design a current league and how GGG should adapt that league into core content. The league's content is stretched to last for three months, and since the encounter rate is high, the rewards are correspondingly miniscule. Content that is now core has a relatively lower encounter rate, but the rewards are larger per encounter (but still small to make up for the fact that content has been cumulative for years on end, lending to how crazy maps can get). Since temporary leagues have long been the de facto "way" of playing the game, people seem to have forgotten GGG's disclaimers that temporary league balance has a high likelihood of being off. GGG rarely hits out of the park on the first try, but they have a history of nailing it the next time around. Invasion was nerfed, Necrovigil and Phylacteral Link were removed, Order of the Frozen Sky isn't horrific anymore, Malachai was nerfed, Bestiary was fixed, Betrayal's bugs were (eventually) fixed, and so forth. I have faith that GGG will do what's right and I'm looking forward to what GGG will do with a "core" Betrayal because the "league" Betrayal is already history at this point. We're already in the preliminary stages of the next round of new league hypebuilding.

Betrayal Safehouse loot is bad and so is low-level farming
Description of problem: At the core of ARPGs, everything comes back to loot. We're not helping Zana because we care; we want to snatch the eyes right out of Uber Elder's writhing head. This talk will be split into two parts: Safehouses and Veiled items. Let's start with Safehouses. Here is a graphic of all Betrayal rewards and how I have personally ranked them, according to their value within BSC and the opportunity cost of putting a member in one branch and not another. Some of these could be shifted around according to one's preferences (some people don't want to deal with Guff's benches, other people don't value Cameria's legacy Uniques because the chances of getting something good are too low, etc). But this is a rough guide for what most players will see when they get Safehouse loot.
Total # of possible rewards: 68 # of good rewards: 15 # of middling rewards: 16 # of bad rewards: 37
# of level-scaled rewards: 15 # of good rewards scaled by level: 0 # of middling rewards scaled by level: 0 # of bad rewards scaled by level: 15
Let's talk about the three types of rewards I've delineated.
The Good: GGG did well with the good rewards. Stuff like turning Rare amulets into Talismans (effectively solving Talisman's long-standing problem of being inferior Rare items because you could never control the explicit rolls), adding White sockets to any gear (not just craftable bases like Delve's Fractured Fossils), "free" Exalt slams, breaking the quality cap, and so forth. PoE is a character building game and giving players these kinds of small optimizations (on top of the big and risky stuff like double-corruption rooms) is precisely what separates the top builds on poe.ninja from the budget cookie-cutter stuff with inferior performance. In fact, I wouldn't mind them being at their current rarity level once they go core because that's just how strong they are.
The Bad: Thing #1 is that it's okay for the Syndicate to have bad rewards. It would have happened regardless of design since even when all things are good, some things are relatively less good. Additionally, if everything was good in a generic and non-specific way, the Syndicate as a whole would lack flavor. For example, Leo gives Torment Scarabs because he's the Ghost of PvP Past and Tormented Spirits are about as fun and rewarding as PoE PvP in 2019. Jokes aside, it's also possible to mitigate the bad rewards by interrogating these people for intel in lieu of others because they don't matter anyways, unlike a 3* Cameria in Intervention. So we can't deny that Betrayal's got flavor. The bad news is that the flavor is "the juice that leaks out from the bottom of black garbage bags". Instead of "everything being good so nothing matters", we have "almost nothing is good, so only a few things matter". Really, I don't know what GGG was thinking when it came to some of Vagan, Haku, and Elreon's rewards. They literally drop less than a white unrolled map for all the effort that goes into making a Safehouse.
Thing #2 is that there's too much "bad". Much of it could be converted to "middling" with some adjustment, which would make an undesirable safehouse outcome much less galling to swallow. Alternatively, many "bad" rewards would simply become less relevant if syndicate manipulation had more quality of life and less tedium. If Betrayal was simply dumped into the core game with a lower encounter rate right now, it would be frustrating to deal with and a mediocre gameplay experience as a result.
The Middle: The middling rewards mostly relate to items you can get from other sources, like Fossils, Fragments, Essences, Currencies, Divination Cards, and Maps. In the case of Maps and anything to do with them, I think some of the devaluation can also be blamed on Pure Breachstones, which have inflated supply (The HarbingeBeachhead effect).
The problem is simple: It is more efficient to obtain those items from other sources (including their original sources) than it is to farm the Syndicate for them. I'm not advocating for the reverse, because then only the Syndicate would be relevant content unless it was significantly gated. But as it stands, Korell's fossils are a joke because doing Delve for them is better. Stacks or spreads of random Divination cards are a joke because it's better to use a Divination Card scarab on a zone that actually gives the Divination card you want in a somewhat deterministic fashion (You know, the point of Divination cards); Gravicius ain't no Putrid Cloister. Fragments are better farmed from the trade website and twinned triple boss corrupted maps and currencies and uniques are better found simply by running a map.
Betrayal does not scale well with area level:
Oh boy, here we go.
This. This right here. This is the reason why we were running Harbour Bridge and Foothills for the whole league. This is the reason why people were able to target-farm Pure Breachstones and pump out more than half the amount of level 100s in Standard (the cumulative history of the game) in a single league. If Betrayal's content and rewards had scaled more appropriately with area level, we could have had a league that excels in both low and high-level content, like Delve.
So, you do easy stuff, you should get meh rewards. If you do hard stuff, you should get good rewards. One of the most fundamental ingrained ideas behind gaming design. What constitutes "hard stuff" can be difficult to describe at times since the layered content and occasional lack of visual clarity in PoE creates difficulty spikes and each build and player is challenged by different aspects of the game. But content design and controlled encounters can remove the possibility of difficulty spiking due to unexpected variables, which means Betrayal has less excuses for its ratio of difficulty to reward. You feel bored when you do hundreds of hours of monotonous low-level zones. You feel excited when something challenges you and forces you to upgrade your build and pay close attention to positioning and enemy patterns. You feel betrayed when hard content gives you bad loot and you feel annoyed when easy content gives you good loot because the game's design gives you a begrudging reason to do the tedious and easy content as opposed to the more varied difficult content. That's what Betrayal, as a league, was.
If you look at the second row of my table above, you'll see that less than a fourth of all possible Safehouse rewards scale with area level. And all of them are "bad" outcomes. Arguably, Jorgin's "Aspect rares" are potentially middling because you could split them with a Bestiary recipe and get a craftable base in case you're not finding a Fenumal Hybrid Spider or a Farric whatever, thus enabling SSF builds. And that part of Jorgin is good because it gives a partially deterministic outcome. Here's the other commonality between all of these bad, level-scaling rewards: there are a lot of rare item outcomes. Hell, I didn't even read this thread, but it probably does an excellent job of explaining the numerous problems with rare items. As it stands, there is virtually no reason to do Betrayal in Tier 16 maps: you get plenty of risk, without a corresponding increase in reward.
Proposed solutions to problem: The solution should be grounded in thinking about "where" Betrayal fits in the loot acquisition possibilities of the game as a whole. Delve, for example, is an all-rounded system with good scaling that bolsters Rare item crafting. Bestiary is mostly mid to end-game with respect to customizing flasks, obtaining random Unique items, and using obscure crafting techniques. Incursion falls into the same mold, with Alva's temples being the most influential as a supplement for early mapping (map drops within the Temple of Atzoatl) and for various powerful "crafting benches" and upgraded Incursion Uniques that are reserved for the elite (or ludicrously lucky) of Wraeclast. Bloodlines, Nemesis, Invasion, Beyond, Domination, and various other leagues are instance and enemy seasoning.
What I mean when I say "where does Betrayal belong" is that Betrayal has a tremendous untapped niche that has been buried all along because of GGG's flawed reward distribution. This niche is "deterministic farming". Manipulating the Syndicate and targeting certain members in certain branches to get Harbinger Orbs to upgrade your stagnant map pool or getting crucial gem levels on your spells to get an extra power boost, that's what I'd really love to do. Betrayal could be like Divination cards 2.0 in giving mid to end-game players a solid process for obtaining otherwise obscure items and niche services that will really push their itemization to the next level while also giving lower-level players powerful Rare items and crafting options while leveling. Frankly, I have no idea what I'd want to make this happen, so this is just an idea at present. So what I'm suggesting will merely be tweaks on top of what exists at the moment rather than a radical overhaul to bring Betrayal more in line with something like Divination cards.
The good rewards are fine and could even be a little rarer (especially to preserve the value and intrigue of those services). Especially Pure Breachstones. Look, I enjoy being level 100 as much as any of you guys, but it's a little ridiculous, right? That this single Safehouse outcome alone was so influential as to influence gem experience markets, map valuation, rare jewelry markets, build archetypes, and generate a majority of "the reason why people are running Harbour Bridge"? We know it, GGG knows it; it's going to be destroyed harder than CoC was in the past.
The middling rewards are largely a ratio of reward against tedium and quantity. If GGG can balance this ratio, it'll just work. Make Betrayal less tedious to manipulate; more on that later. Make the currency-based rewards drop a guaranteed higher-tier currency of the respective type or a higher quantity of the lower tiers. Essences of Hysteria, Delirium, etc. Faceted and Hollow fossils. Divine and Annulment Orbs. Uber Atziri fragments. That's what we should be seeing once Betrayal goes core. Make quantity scale with the 3* mechanic and make quality scale with area level, because a level 60 3* Syndicate member is far less dangerous than a level 83 1* Syndicate member.
The bad rewards need to either be scaled up or changed entirely, full stop. On an individual basis, my ideas:
  1. Aisling's stashes should drop more Veiled items now that the Syndicate will be less common.
  2. Elreon should give more Unique items or give a guaranteed higher rarity tier of them. Every league has given increased means to obtain Unique items and compared to them, Elreon is an utter joke. I get more Uniques from completing one Incursion in a yellow map than I do from Elreon.
  3. Why does Haku give items with quality in Research. I can buy Whetstones and Armourer scraps from vendors. Even Delve gives "Superior" (30% quality) items, which I'd count as better than Haku. What does Haku even "do" in Transportation?
  4. Hillock map quality. This would only be valued back in the days when people Exalted maps.
  5. ITF should give more Breach Splinters, more Abyss Jewels. To be honest, I'm not sure why they gave it Abyss Jewels instead of Breach Rings. Maybe because they realized that Breach Rings are hot garbage.
  6. More Talismans from Jorgin, perhaps with a guaranteed cascade of tiers and even some Tier 4 Greatwolfs (not the Unique variety), which we haven't seen since the days of Rigwald. Most if not all of the Talisman affixes are useful, hence why I don't distinguish so much between tiers 1 to 3 and would want equal access to all of them.
  7. For SSF, I'd rate Riker as a middling pick because ilvl100 can be useful for some bases and a choice of Unique is better than Elreon's "Rain of Alch Shards". But it's still not great since we're getting "one" item and it's probably not great. Better options would be the obvious pick, not sure what would fly besides that. Maybe if we could go between five Trapped tabs, pick out five items, and get two randomly out of five? It'd ruin the deterministic flavor though, which I like about Trapped stashes. I'd almost even like a Tetris or matching game.
  8. Tora should give the highest tier of enchant on bases of the best possible item variant. Getting a Merciless Labyrinth enchant on utter trash is disheartening. Shaper or Elder influence would be a welcome addition as well.
  9. Vagan.
The sad part about the level-scaling was that GGG could have done it before this point. They could have done it all along and made Betrayal a truly great league.
So, what should they do going forward? I've read some people who proposed that the 3* system should be abolished completely and that all rewards should simply be scaled by area level, but I don't see why they couldn't utilize both systems. As I said earlier, quantity should scale with the 3* mechanic and quality should scale with area level because the latter is the far more dangerous (and important, if we want to incentivize playing in high-level content).
  1. As I said for currency stashes, give a chance to drop either one of a high-tier currency or several lower-tier currencies of the same type.
  2. Intervention stashes should perform similarly. Make the 3* continue to give a guaranteed gilded scarab of the member's type (since this worked fine in the league), but make area level scale linearly with chances to give additional Polished or Rusted Scarabs (with an extra Scarab being granted per 6 levels divisible past area level 65 (so an area level 83 zone gives a neat chance to give 4 Scarabs per stash and 1-3 in anything less). I'm assuming that Scarabs will stay locked behind Betrayal instead of becoming a general currency drop, but we could get an Annulment Orb treatment.
  3. Research rewards are tricky, since they consist of crafting bench services that can't really be meaningfully changed and are already very good. But change some of the crappy ones, my god...
    1. Gravicius is a joke: the tier of card given should at least be of the same rarity tier, or it could be something like a Tier 3 Sacrifice chamber where a card with a same "set count" is given (thus drastically revaluing 8-set cards).
    2. Or it could be changed to "create duplicates of an inserted card", with the number scaling according to Gravicius' level and the set count of that card.
  4. Janus and Cadiro as a whole need to be rebalanced; it's a crying shame for such a widely praised league with solid early-mid game integration and SSF potential to go to waste because Cadiro is now an overcharging Rare jewelry vendor.
  5. Haku should do something completely different. My idea is to upgrade items with "low" base into items of a "high" base. This has been a longstanding idea, but I've never heard it mentioned with respect to the Syndicate (which surprises me, since the Syndicate is all about outlandish ideas). For example, going from a Destroyer Regalia to a Vaal Regalia. Obviously, not all items have a 1:1 example like this, so the applications would need to be done on a case by case basis.
  6. Several rare-item related rewards should be changed to have a deterministic mod on them or provide a craftable base a la Jorgin's Aspect items. "More Rare items to identify" is not the solution. Identifying items is a tedious exercise in item-filtering that takes away from gameplay and adds to unnecessary micro-management that is no different from the end of an Incursion or Delve node. Giving us something to craft and sink currency into; that's engaging, that's "Delve meta-mod item" kinda stuff right there. The Syndicate is all about customization, so give us something to customize. Abyss jewels could have Delve fossil modifiers already on them, Rare items with Essence mods could drop, sealed Bestiary Orbs with beasts inside... the possibilities are far larger than what GGG has laid forth
  7. This is the most outlandish idea I've thought of yet: Make the Syndicate change rewards per league, like Zana. They could still stick to general themes, but any way to shake up potential future metas involving Betrayal as a core league mechanic is huge. Especially with respect to the "discovery" theme of Betrayal, if we had to relearn what the rewards were each league. I seriously didn't think of this until just now and I don't think GGG will do it, but it's an interesting proposition for sure.

Betrayal Veiled items are bad but not that bad
Description of problem: Veiled items share the same problems as rare items because they are rare items with a crafted affix on top. As one's crafting bench completion increases, Veiled items become increasingly useless to pick up and annoying to unveil. The veiled signature mods of Syndicate members, in particular, require special attention to obtain. 20 chaos orbs for It that Fled veiled mods will become far worse in future leagues.
Proposed solution to problem: Rare items are another can of worms, so it's regrettable that there's no way to make veiled item drops impactful beyond early game, recipe unlocking, and the occasional very rare good item. The crafting bench problem will not be alleviated by making veiled items more rare (an assumed condition of Betrayal going core exactly as it is now): you'll simply have the same problem at the top-end with a corresponding increase in the price of unveiled items,crafting services, and scamming. Solutions are numerous, but they all boil down to "make more veiled items drop" because it is likely that the difficulty of finishing one's crafting bench may even be intentional. Veiled items could drop in the core game and not merely from Syndicate members. Syndicate members could have a guaranteed drop of at least one veiled item. More Syndicate members could spawn per encounter, or Jun could become an Alva-style master and be encountered multiple times per instance, but only spawn the encounter once you speak with her (rather than running across them in the wild as we do now, as the spawning of one Syndicate encounter removes the existence of previous unfinished ones due to the Betrayal board increments by "turns". I was going to suggest making unveils more likely to give unknown or incomplete recipes, but the way veiled items generate prohibits that. Finally, GGG could shake up crafting as we know it in 3.6 and add more recipes, move some veiled mods to in-map recipes, or make Syndicate members themselves drop recipe objects that grant the recipe in question.


Manipulating the Syndicate feels bad
Description of problem: While having two choices per encounter may have worked for Incursion, it doesn't work for Betrayal. With Incursion, you get 11 encounters and that's it; each one increments progress, even if you die and fail to kill either of the Architects.
With Betrayal, encounters do not necessarily increment progress towards a Safehouse because other options continually come up. I said that there were "two" options per member per encounter, but in practice, this number is often lower. While interrogation will guarantee that progress increases, it is generally reserved for moving undesirable members around to allow desired members to fill their places or for keeping a safehouse locked because it decreases the quality of rewards from the interrogated member and lowers their rank, resulting in less intelligence and necessitating yet more executions to level members up. In the course of "naturally" playing Betrayal (as opposed to targeted farming), interrogation is mathematically the least efficient option, if necessary at times to cap off a Safehouse.
While GGG may have envisioned Betrayal like a tidal pool with patterns constantly in flux, ultimately yielding a beneficial outcome, we players would rather have a bird in a hand than some unknown garbage in the bush. Thus, valued members are rarely interrogated (because there's no guarantee that they'd return to their original position due to the randomness involved in encounters) and single-member encounters are often utterly useless, especially for the purposes of securing intelligence. The reward design of the Syndicate coupled with the mechanics of progressing towards a Safehouse result in an optimal and preferable structure that largely removes the annoyances of the two inferior Syndicate branches (Transportation and Fortification) while promoting investment into a few key members in Research and Intervention. Theoretically, it would also be possible to farm Fortification and Transportation quite rapidly and profitably because they are more common than their sister branches, but again, the reward structure dissuades this type of farming.
The specter of level-scaling also rears its head here. While higher area levels seem to increase the chance for multiple Syndicate members to spawn (alongside appropriate relationships), they also increase the difficulty of the encounter multiplicatively. Red map mods on top of higher area level on top of whatever items and ranks the Syndicate members have on top of there simply being more members around to attack you. By contrast, Harbour Bridge farming is extremely tame. There's also time to take into consideration: higher level areas take more time to clear than Harbour Bridge or Foothills, assuming that the same build were to deal with both. While a high level area might have extra features that might give returns for the time invested (aka, you do the rest of the map after you do the Syndicate), there's nothing quite so fast and precise as farming the Syndicate in Foothill. Level scaling also has absolutely no effect on intel gains, apart from the possibility of spawning more members (which is more safely and rapidly done by creating new instances in low level zones).
Of course, what I've mentioned thus far is if everything in the Syndicate works like clockwork and people simply go into encounters, click whichever buttons, and go on their merry way. What actually happens is that players are constantly forced to walk away from encounters because the given options would actually set them back.
It feels bad to walk away from Betrayal encounters. Or from any encounter in general. Take Alva, for example. Due to the way instance generation works, her three appearances within an instance sharply limit our ability to get specific Tier 3 Temple rooms (namely, the highly desired Corruption and Sacrifice rooms). When an instance is created, content is not generated as it is encountered; it is created all at once. This means that Alva cannot offer to affect the same room more than once within a single set of three Incursions (whereas she was capable of offering consecutive upgrades during Incursion league). If you were to naturally do 3-3-3-2 Incursions, you would only have 4 chances to affect a given room in the Temple. There is a small trick you can do to increase your chances of affecting a desirable room: When Alva offers a room, that offer remains on the table if you leave the instance and spawn a new Alva elsewhere. Consequently, if you get a bad offer from Alva, you can just skip her current Incursion, spawn another Alva, and then the other 2 Incursions in the new set of 3 cannot be that "bad" offer that she's currently got.
The problem is that this trick increases the amount of time it would take you to access a temple. Let's say you constantly perform this trick, such that you only effectively do 2 Incursions per Alva. Instead of taking 4 Alvas to access a Temple, it would take 6. In addition, let's say you're getting Alva on high pack size maps or maps with desirable Divination cards. If you skip an Alva encounter in that instance, you're losing out on loot and experience. This is technically a trade-off, as you are trading away Alva encounters in order to potentially get better results from your Temple. But that's not what it feels like, due to the opportunity costs involved with walking away from Alva.
And now let's bring it back to Betrayal. When you meet the Syndicate, what's the worst that could happen? Well, you might get members who won't be kicked out, or you'll kick them out but they just come back, or desirable members will try to leave, or they'll offer to remove all rivalries when you don't want to, or they'll offer to become trusted, or they'll offer to do some kind of betrayal that you don't want (which are most of what happens when it's down to two people, hence the preference for rivalries over trusted statuses), or you'll simply only get one lone guy to show up and it isn't because he's 3* and can't summon unranked members, it's because you just got bad RNG, and you'll have no choice but to turn tail and gloomily walk out of that Research lab. And it'll keep on happening over and over, though at least Betrayal going core means you won't get this crap happening in every single instance.
That's what I mean when I say manipulating the Syndicate feels bad. If the league went core exactly as it is today, with an appearance rate shared between all of the masters, you would virtually never complete a safehouse with desirable outcomes.
I would be remiss to not mention that there are quality of life problems with the Syndicate that have nothing to do with the league's mechanical design. For instance, the visual web of lines connecting members can become so tangled as to be incomprehensible. Only dialogue outputted to chat can give clear indicators of what each member thinks of their colleagues (because the infighting tends to be unnoticeable in the storm of VFX that typically occupy any PoE player's screen or the enemies die too quickly to do anything). Syndicate members can also rarely die out of bounds while performing movement skills. Finally, there are persistent damage skills on some Syndicate members and mobs that can annoy someone who's just trying to bargain with the fallen, including the electrified nets and Cameria's icicle cone. These self-same skill effects will also become invisible if you go too far off-screen and come back.
But wait. There's more.
The Mastermind.
It's Catarina. Spoilers, by the way. People have different opinions about the design of the fight. Some people think that the visual effects of the attacks, the relative scarcity of flask-granting adds, the indicators for how to progress the phases of the fight, and the area of denial mechanics that limit the viability of some build types within that fight are bad. Others think that her fight is the best thing since sliced bread. So the design of her fight is not necessarily a problem, though it's worth a mention because it's contentious.
What is a problem is how she interacts with the Syndicate. As GGG's own statistics have shown, players have still deemed it more punishing than not to actually complete her fight. Even after they adjusted her fight to give the rewards of the four safehouse leaders at the time of her defeat. Even though many of her dropped items are somewhat expensive thanks to a lack of supply. This is down to the Syndicate being a pain in the ass to manipulate and set back up (especially once you've locked undesirable members into undesirable branches and prefer to keep them that way) on top of her fight resetting the entire Syndicate's members and progress. In addition, if you fail the fight, you reset all of her progress . This isn't really important considering how people mostly only fight her for challenge-related purposes (and the loot is simply a byproduct), but it is noticeably more punishing than most other endgame boss fights. Shaper and Uber Elder can simply be fought again and are known to be tough but fair. Catarina is hardly so gracious. Even though it turns out she's always hiding in the Forbidden Vault, you've got to find her all over again.
If Betrayal goes core exactly as it is, barring some people who would like to get some of her exclusive crafts for services in the new league, I don't see why people would bother with her fight. It would still be more profitable to farm for scarabs and crafting benches than to screw up a painstakingly laid Syndicate.
Proposed solution to problem: To reiterate, the problems with the mechanics of the Syndicate include the binary choice system a la Incursion, the undesirable outcomes of any given Betrayal offer (including the interrogation option), the tedium caused by the random nature of said offers compounded with the fact that you only get a few choices in the matter, and the fact that progressing the Syndicate and getting better rewards from it has nearly no relation to high level content. Oh, and the Mastermind may as well not exist. Here are some options:
In closing, I would rather Betrayal get a "Bestiary" treatment if GGG doesn't have a game plan for how they're going to make it into core content. Better to wait a few months and do the job right than to botch it. Betrayal is tied to a lot of crafting options at the moment, but they could be moved to environmental Atlas recipes for the time being or veiled items could drop regardless of the Syndicate's presence in Wraeclast (a little odd to have a Veiled master without a Syndicate to fight though, hence why I'm fairly certain GGG already has something up their sleeve for this). GGG has invested a lot of resources into writing and polishing Betrayal and creatively engineering its mechanics, and it shows. Most content that GGG has ever made tends to return in one way or another, thanks to how asset use and systems design work in this game. It isn't a matter of "if", it's a matter of "when". I hope GGG makes the right calls on this and I look forward to what you guys think should be done.
submitted by unchangingunfeeling to pathofexile [link] [comments]

bones' word wall - "it's called word wall for a reason" edition

greetings, i'm bones, the aggro/midrange player of TESL and i have a few things i wanna talk about. They directly correspond to, like, practically every complaint i hear recently, especially in relation to gameplay. It's worth noting that some of these can't be blamed on our current developers, Sparkypants, because they come from darker times of neglected client, so don't go shopping for pitchforks for the amount of stuff that'll be covered in this post, but with that said, let's go through this stuff, one by one.
I want to divide this post into 3 sections:
  1. Client design (where i'll also put UI related nitpicks because there's a few of them)
  2. Core mechanics design
  3. Card design
i'll make the subsection names pretty bold so if you're interested in only one specific part feel free to scroll down to the section of your choice
starting with

1. CLIENT DESIGN

I can't say anything objective about aesthetics - to each their own. Personally, the game looks much better now than it did in the old client. Loading times have been overall much shorter and that applies both to transitions between menus and switching pages in collection. Clickables on the board, while completely unnecesary, are a nice addition to the overall "feel" the game gives. The way cards look now in comparison to the old client are, again, a subjective matter, but I've grown to like them quite much, especially things like Premium Legendary Guards, they look stunning on the board. Long story short, the game LOOKS damn fine, at the very least for me. That includes the animations that cards have.
However, the speed of these animations, not all of them - mostly ones that occur multiple times per turn, depending on the deck, like Fifth Legion TraineBruma Armorer buffs on creatures played in quick succession, Bruma ProfiteeNecromancer's Amulet in similar instances, Galyn/Ungolim/Therana shuffling cards to the deck, Relentless Raider dagger (in Wispraider), cost reduction animation (for abomination scout and leafwater OTKs), Piercing Twilight banish (control decks), even something as recent as multiple instances of Training Grounds - is abysmally slow, they make the whole game feel like it's covered in some gluey substance or, in case of the new playmat, that the action takes place underwater. I know that devs are aware of it, because it's been pointed at several (dozen) times already and in Patch 2.7 they have taken a step towards fixing it - namely buffs/heals happening for cards that summon multiple creatures occur at the same time. Baby step in what to us feels like an easy solution (just replicate what was happening on direwolf's client), however i can't discredit a step being taken. Some of the decks are practically unplayable on the ranked ladder because of the animation speed, like the old terror called Nix-ox Telvanni. Figured I'd put it here mostly to keep everything I hold against the game altogether contained in one spot.
Then there comes the issue of when a card becomes interactible (for a lack of better word). By which I don't mean how good the card is, but rather the timing in between what occurs in the game. Here are two examples that I know of to illustrate the issue better:
In first case the problem is minimal, but there is a tiny chance to screw you over. In second case, it's actually pretty big, because that and animation speed makes this OTK (and many others) much slower.
Amongst other things that devs know is the issue of not being able to check your discard with a selection box present (like the one Mudcrab Merchant, Merchant's Camel, Indoril Mastermind, etc. give) which is pretty important for control decks, especially considering deck tracker is still absent. But while we're at clicking discard pile icons... How about being able to click the Deck icon to see what's in your deck? An option to view your deck is already there in Laaneth, so I can't imagine there's too much coding that needs to be done to actually implement being able to view your deck's contents.
Halfway through Heroes of Skyrim, for some reason we got buttons to remove and copy a deck in the collection menu... while simuntaneously the same options were taken away from the specific deck's menu. It's a very tiny thing, but I reckon it'd be nifty to have deck code, copying and removing deck button somewhere on the deck screen as well. By no means a high priority thing, but i thought i'd mention it nevertheless.
There have been personal issues with TESL i've been facing on both Steam and Mobile clients. On steam the game slows down a LOT just before the game starts, while server registers i'm in a game. This causes me to, often, miss mulligans. It's more likely to be on my end, but no clue what causes it. On mobile, when building a deck, clicking on an attribute once only highlights said attribute for some reason. Again, nitpicks, but I want everything gathered in one spot.
This is something that I'd call more of a wishful thinking than an actual complaint - Something as simple as being able to highlight (just to keep tabs on it) a card in opponent's hand, without revealing it obviously. This would be helpful with things like remembering Galyn target, a card that Thieves Guild Shadowfoot stole or just keeping a tabs on Tome from Daggerfall Mage or Dagger from Crown Quartermaster. With this inclusion, an option to sort cards in your hand would become available. Necessary? Nah. Priority? Fuck no. Would it be welcome? Maybe? Idk, that's more like a personal suggestion.
I feel like there should be more options for friendly matches. Since there's no reward for winning or losing them (at least not in any internal way), these would be very welcome for customization - Picking lane effects, who gets the ring when challenging, some sort of toggle for an option that allows you to draw specific cards to make testing interactions or bugs far easier, something that lets a player (or both players) see both hands to make coaching/explaining much less of a hassle in a stress-free environment - just to name a few things that come to mind.
Last, but not least, very undertalked issue. Logs. They are very uninformative. I don't think I've ever seen worse logs, sorry guys. Being limited to only 8 last events, which includes minor things like a buff happening is seriously terrible. Not only does it keep information away from each player, it comes with incredibly small amount of information. For example, when your opponent plays an item, you don't get the information whether it's from their deck or was it an item obtained via Gardener's Harvest. Another example is the card Shadowfoot stole - because it's not a copy generated by anything, logs leave no indication about the card's origin. But that's not all the issues this uninformative log causes - bug reports are much harder to actually verify! We're not ideal, we sometimes misremember things. Or sometimes things can't be logically explained. Take this for example - I somehow kept the ward on a creature after attacking with it. I have no bloody idea how did that happened and logs only tell you as much as you can see - Ordinator was placed down and opponent passed the turn, then I equipped Battlemace on Wardcrafter, swung into the Ordinator and was left with a 6/1 with Ward.
Keep in mind, I don't even wanna mention things like Decktracker and such. They'll be there when they'll be there. However, there's something that rubs me the wrong way about... Tournament Mode. You know, this thing. It's been 9 months since we've seen these two teasers, but ever since that it's been radio silence about Tournament Mode. I can understand priorities like honing the client and stabilizing expansion releases, but to tease something that community has anticipated for a good while and not have anything to show to us other than "we're working on it" is really a big let down that is worth pointing out. On a similar note, we really could use Gauntlets and Chaos Arena. Not only because they add tons of variety to the gameplay, but... um, i'll mention why a bit later.
I know I pointed fingers at plenty of issues, but this is still tons better than what direwolf offered, because we see improvements to the client done at a much faster rate, so kudos to the team and here's to hoping that whatever problems we have with the game right now are going to get solved relatively fast. So far I can't say the quality of the client has disappointed me. In contrary to...

2. CORE MECHANICS DESIGN

TESL's main stand-out mechanics are rather easy to spot. Let's go over them one by one:
One a field line, the other's covered in shadows. At the point of me writing this, there are only three (soon to be four HOPEFULLY) means for someone to actually play around with more lane conditions than the default two. These being Solo Arena, Story Mode and recently added Syl, Duchess of Dementia and Thadon, Duke of Mania. With how fresh in our collection these two cards are, I'm fairly certain Sparkypants will start slowly introducing more intricate lane conditions or maybe possibly using some of the existing ones. Here you can find all the conditions available in game, in case you're curious.
With two lanes come options to move between them. This, I'd say, is one thing that TESL nails. Moving is a strong mechanic and cards that enable the move are similarly potent. If a moving card isn't utilized, it's most likely due to the card itself, not because of it having means to move - Riverhold Escort, for example, isn't played because you want your guards, for the most part, to protect the lane they're in. Cliff Strider's problem is its text that prevents it from ever going face, etc. If there was one problem someone could point out with moving mechanic, it'd probably be a very small pool of cards (a total of 1!) that lets you move opponent's cards. That, however, is probably even stronger in a vacuum and should be made extremely carefully. So yeah, overall, kudos to design team, past and current (Mad Dash is very, very good as a 1-of surprise card).
Strictly attacking between lanes seems to be kept to minimum, which is fine - the lanes are there for a reason, elevating in-between lane combat to a much higher power level is a cool idea. However, there's also... idk how do I put it better, attacking creatures not strictly? This exists in two forms. Since this part is about mechanics, i'm going to focus on only one of these here - Battle. Battle allows the creature with it to trade blows with any single one of the enemy creatures on the board. Until very recently, Battle was... actually kept in a rather nice state - cards with it saw either very limited play in some decks (Ashlander Zealot in Doomcrag, Fighters Guild Steward in Rage Warrior shortly before Isle of Madness) or were solid arena picks (Cliff Hunter, Skyborn Dragon). Some were incredibly unique, like Dragon Aspect, where you battle with your face! Had we kept it that way, no one would probably notice an issue with this mechanic - it allows a creature that has just been placed on the board to instantly attack. This includes the health it gains from its Drain, any Slay effects, Breakthrough damage, and so forth. Until Isle Battle was strong, but its strength was kept on cards that required plenty of work put in to dish out results or weren't strong in a vacuum.
Then Squish the Wimpy happened.
That card is what happens when you don't realize how powerful giving any card Charge and Bushwhack effect is. And, let's be honest, it's not exactly it - you can't battle your opponent's face - but even that has workarounds nowadays, like Flesh Atronach OTK. Between Flesh Atronach OTK (cards needed in it aren't necessarily always useful, but Squish is never really bad and Flesh Atronach can be brought back from Discard Pile with Odirniran Necromancer if need be) and the amount of ways you can use Squish in Rage/Ramp Warrior (from just removing creatures, to ramping while removing creatures, to healing and stealing creatures, just healing, dishing out insane damage with breakthrough, etc.) this card elevated Battle onto godlike status. However, if you take a gander at how good Battle was prior to Isle and how good it is now, it's easy to figure out that the culprit is one very strong and flexible card that gives interaction to a class with no interaction prior to this. Because of how much power this action carries, I don't think keeping its text the way it is and just fiddling with cost is going to make it any less powerful - even Duel Atop the World, which costs 5 magicka more and its only difference is +3/+3 to the target of the action, has seen some fringe play, mostly in decks that also ran Morag Tong Nightblade.
There's one more big thing that happens between lanes that, at least I, didn't put too much attention in when looking at mechanics. Summon effects. We don't have too many cards whose summon effects affecting opponent's cards are limited to the lane they're played in (Skaven, Tiny Dragon, Cradlecrush Giant, Knight of Order, Giant Snake, Sanctuary Pet, Belligerent Giant, Mantikora... total comes to maybe 20 cards at best) and... I'd say that's not really a good thing. I think more creatures should have its summon effects limited to the lane they're played in, both positively and negatively, however, quite frankly, I have no idea how to approach that kind of balance change for all of the cards in the game, so I'm going to refrain from in depth means of changing this. My only idea was changing Camonna Tong Heavy's Plot effect to affect the whole board, given how little play he sees. But yeah, Summon effects have gotten sort of problematic, with their instant value that's only stoppable by "silver bullet" cards. More on these later.
If utilizing two lanes in card design would get a B- from me, then utilizing Runes would get an E-. Sure, there are some interesting cards that even to this day some of the best players can't quite agree on (Wilds Incarnate being the best one), for the most part anything that isn't a Prophecy and does something with Runes themselves was very mediocre. Morokei in Singleton decks is a great card, but... it's also a Singleton card. That's not gonna bring you tons of playability. He's gonna be an auto-include in Singleton decks, but Singleton decks aren't going to top the tierlist because of built in increased variance and an unsufficient reward for gimping your deck (only three singleton cards). Mechanical Heart is the other card that brings back a rune, but it's also relatively easy to deal with, a huge tempo loss on play and unique legendary, meaning only a singular card in 50 or 75 of them in your deck. The fact that Runes have been this unexplored for the longest time is a sin, especially because coming up with things to do with them is actually very simple and straightforward.
The list really does go on. Even on this list alone you could probably make a split for offensive and defensive options.
The reason I gave Rune-related mechanics E- and not F is completely on the cards that reward you for breaking a rune - These I find for the most part very well done. Simply put, high risk, high reward cards that present a fair deckbuilding challenge to the ones willing to take it. Playing with these cards is also handled really well - they are prime targets for removal with their low health or other vulnerabilities, so it's quite easy to punish playing, for example Haafingar Marauder or Relentless Raider at a wrong moment.
This sentiment doesn't quite extend to Beast Form. By themselves, most of these cards are alright, similarly to how "rune break" cards perform. However, with Companion Harbringer and Skyforge, there was a clear attempt at introducing something ala' a Werewolf deck or a Beast Form deck. Without alternative means of destroying opponent's runes, there's not much reason to go full werewolf, sadly, and without Beast Form these cards are nothing more than understatted creatures with no weight on them. Similarly to other very fringe and not played mechanics, only the most swingy of representants see play, like Circle Initiate (for very average statline at its cost and Prophecy tag), Aela's Huntmate (draw) and Whiterun Protector (just a solid body in a midrange deck post-Beast Form). Still, probably more blame lies on underutilizing means of breaking runes rather than Companions themselves.
So let's talk Prophecies... However, not in the way people would probably think about them. Instead of trying to describe in my own words how do they feel, I'll try and draw links between them and mechanics in two other, seemingly completely different games - Team Fortress 2 and Wargroove, starting with the former Between Prophecies and Critical Hits, there's plenty of similarities.
So in TF2 Critical Hits are Random. Matter of fact, they are very similar in its randomness to Prophecies in TESL in that you can technically influence the percentage (in TF2 by dishing out damage, in TESL by... adding more Prophecy cards to your deck), but regardless of percentage, you can go several seconds with nothing but crits or you can never see a critical hit in the round. Random critical hits remove a lot of decision making from the player, as this little tidbit styled after Pokemon battle explains really well, lasts about 3 minutes tops. Now, TESL doesn't have it quite as terrible, because the "critical hit" that happens does actually end up teaching you the essentials of when to play your cards, the ordering of your actions and whatnot, however what holds true in both cases is that it feels just as bad to die to a random critical hit as it is to losing to a random Prophecy that stops your lethal. I think these Prophecies in particular are the biggest offenders - things that create insane swings capable of changing not only the way you play out the remainder of your turn, but flip the entire game upside down essentially. Your Cloudrest Illusionists, Mystic Dragons (at least early game), Lightning Bolts, Piercing Javelins, Shrieking Harpies, Golden Initiates (to an extent) and many others all affect the game state significantly the moment they are played. Again, you can (and you should) play with a possibility of these cards popping in on your turn in the back of your head, and admittedly aren't executed in the worst way because you are capable of playing around them, however losing to one of the big prophecies from first rune or dying to a prophecy lightning bolt don't feel fun, matter of fact they're pretty frustrating to lose to.
Then there's Wargroove, one of the recent games, turn based strategy (if you liked Advance Wars I highly recommend you pick Wargroove up!). The reason I'm mentioning this game is its way of handling critical hits. Instead of bigger and smaller random percentages, which no doubt would end up being frustrating to deal with, the game has conditional critical hits. For example, your cheapest infantry unit only does critical hit when the army's general is standing on a tile next to that unit. This adds a lot of depth to the gameplay and feels very rewarding to pull off successfully. As for TESL, I don't know how could you introduce something that gives you similar feeling - whether introducing conditions that one must meet in order to be able to play the card for free or just making it so that when the conditions are met that one card is guaranteed to appear during the breaking of your next rune. Maybe there's a way to somehow utilize leftover magicka from your last turn during opponent's turn. I want to just present how other games handled something that's widely considered frustrating. The details of execution I'd rather leave to card designers.
I'll explain my last pet peeve with rune-related mechanics in next sub-chapter. Conveniently, we're done with what TESL does differently to other card games, so let's move on to:
First of all, I have nothing against your Treasure Hunts, Exalts, Betrays, Assembles and the like, however I can't help but feel that all of the "new mechanics" are only here to make expansions sound better. Whenever a big release was coming to TESL, be it a story or a new set, one of the main advertising points were new mechanics. They were one of the first things we heard about the set as well, for example in case of Houses of Morrowind, for which the very first announcement covered Rally, Plot, Exalt, Betray and "5 power or more" condition. Then there was nothing new that came for these mechanics. The reason this makes me miffed a bit is twofold:
  1. We could've gotten mechanics that no other game but TESL can pull, especially anything involving Runes.
  2. If the mechanics I mentioned in the first point are too complicated to just introduce, then at least take proper care of the things you do introduce.
Things like Factotums, Beast Form, Shouts, Exalt all are probably around a card or two away from being very much viable. I don't see much reason to keep them hanging. Treasure Hunts and Rally desperately crave for more, at least from Constructed point of view. Ironically, I think the most recent monthly card, Training Grounds, together with Ring of Lordship, are... perhaps not viable, but definitely a step in the right direction, especially compared to Singleton. These two present specific deckbuilding challenges that grant you plenty of cool perks and flashy plays should you overcome them. Not only that, playing against decks built with these two cards doesn't feel unfair, because you can see the synergy coming if you're observant enough.
I'm not sure, however, what to think about Supports and Support Removal. This interaction feels very binary and, similarly to prophecies, not really fun for either side of the interaction. You're going to feel just as bad when your opponent has a few supports on their side of the board that you can't deal with as you'd feel when your freshly played support you didn't quite reap benefits from gets instantly removed by Dushnikh Yal Archer, Shadowfen Priest or Edict of Azura. I'm not sure how can this be designed in a better, more fair for both sides, way - perhaps make it so that supports have health, but can be targetted with creatures to deal 1 damage to them if guards aren't on the way, while reducing the support's cost all around, dunno really.
Other mechanics that we had since the dawn of TESL time, namely Pilfer, Slay and Last Gasp, have been for the most part kept safely tame. Last Gasp has maybe two problematic cards at best (Haunting Spirit and Balmora Spymaster, for different reasons), but at the same time I can't help but feel that the whole Last Gasp bundle is being really overlooked by all of us. Pilfer is kept at VERY safe levels, probably because of how dedicated Tier 1 Pilfer deck would negatively affect newer players - they'd feel cheated by the Master of Thieves combo, which to them would have no counterplay what so ever, especially if another card that gives any creature pilfer gets printed for Monk. Finally, Slay in a vacuum is also more or less fine, but in tandem with Squish the Wimpy and battle tricks like Sword of the Inferno, Archer's Gambit and Crusader's Crossbow starts raising a few issues, the last three specifically with creatures that have both a Slay effect and Lethal. I also think that Slay and Drain shouldn't affect your own creatures if you end up killing them with Unstoppable Rage or any of the pings mentioned above. The possibility to turn one lane with one big creature in it into almost 30 health or an OTK in one turn is rather disgusting, especially the latter, since you can just place Child of Hircine in shadow lane against an empty board and use your next turn to add a Brotherhood Sanctuary and a bunch of Firebrands, Rage and attack a total of 7 times.
There's also this elephant in the room... you know, Tricolors. What initially was perceived as a fun little gimmick (after all, why give up consistency for increased variance?) turned out to be the most viable way of building your decks. The results speak for themselves. Turns out that increased variance isn't really an issue for the tricolor player, because of several things:
Practically every possible group of people, Timmys, Johnnys, Spikes and everyone in between, have at least a few people admitting that the introduction of tricolor decks changed the game for worse for various reasons. The stats we have are definitely in favor of their strength. But at the same time there's a group of people who consider tricolor fun and different enough, which is perfectly fair. There isn't a lot i can think of in terms of solutions - rotating tricolors out first would need to happen, because honestly the design itself requires plenty of tweaking to make the games with it fun and that's not really something i know how to achieve. All of different solutions i've heard haven't really been elegant. But yeah, following rotating out the tricolor I'd either make an expanded queue for ranked/casual or run some tricolor gauntlets, should they make a comeback.
don't think there's tons of things to say about specific cards that I feel like should be adjusted or cards whose design philosophy ought to be changed, but i still feel like giving 'em a section of their own.

3. CARD DESIGN

Starting off with something that was already talked to death by other people, most notably mr Ian Bits in his video here, namely heavy RNG cards. Now, it's understandable why are they made - giving fun to Timmys and some Johnnys, but i don't think power level of some of them is in the right spot. Biggest offenders of course being Suran Pawnbroker, Mudcrab Merchant and Manic Jack/Mutation (although i feel like Barilzar's Tinkering and Desperate Conjuring are also worth looking at). Still, this issue is explained in the video I linked far better than I would be ever able to explain it. There is, however, other type of rng cards that i feel like wasn't mentioned and is arguably a problem of similar size - Ring cards. By that I mean cards that are extraordinarily good on curve, but only with ring. When played without ring on curve, these cards have a lot more answers than with ring. Pre-nerf Goblin Skulk was very much a ring card, but even currently we have Cornerclub Gambler, Fifth Legion Trainer, Mournhold Traitor, Withered Hand Cultist to an extend belongs there too, East Empire Crafter has potential to land in this spot soon, although on a much smaller scale. Granted, when playing against control decks a lot of these become non-issues, as they have sufficient amount of early game removal to be able to deal with them swiftly, but for aggro mirrors these may as well be winrate swings.
For all the things bad about Mudcrab Merchant there's one positive - Crabo has let us play more than one 1 drop that still holds its value during mid-game. I'd say this is worth looking at closer, because if there's something to fix the issue of Ring of Magicka in Aggro mirrors, it's decently powered 1 magicka creatures. Currently 1 drops fall into one of these categories:
Even in the last category, only some decks really want these cards over others at a different point of the curve. Giving people a tad more incentive to go for Scroll Seeker or Karthspire Scout could potentially improve the means of fighting in Aggro mirrors or maybe bring back Midrange out of the sorry state it's been in.
Endurance in its current state from aggressive point of view is an ideal color - comes with a lot of overstatted creatures, perfectly pairing up with other colors, either with enabling plenty of trades or supplementing big bodies with smaller, but Warded bodies (Willpower and Intelligence) or with buffing these creatures even further and abusing movement (Strength and Agility). At this point of time we're like 99% sure that Catapult will receive a nerf, if anything then because of community issues with the big body, now made much harder to punish with Skinned Hound, but to ignore Haunting Spirit, Young Mammoth, Dragontail Savior, Corrupted Shade and Bleakcoast Troll would be similarly unwise. The problem is, I suppose, in the fact that it's really hard to balance something out regarding these 5 cards without wrecking Endurance. I have faith that our card designers will be able to overcome the difficulties currently caused by this attribute.
On the other side of the board we have cyclers and recyclers. Granted, it's safe to say that in a vacuum cards like Merchant's Camel or Indoril Mastermind are, for the most part, fine as is. Enter houses and Odirniran Necromancer, however, and we end up with cards that absolutely neglect the negatives of tricolors (reducing the increased variance) and, because of constant milling, allow these decks to find an answer to opponent's gameplan much more reliably while simuntaneously progressing forward with the board state. Don't get me wrong, it's not a problem that's only restricted to control - cards like pre-nerf Ash Berserker and Cornerclub Gambler should land here just as well. The amount of milling we have is one of the likely reasons the meta is in its extremes - it's either extreme aggro, extreme control or extreme swings/cycle. The solution sort of comes naturally - slow down! Less mill makes for a smarter game to play for both players.
The second part of "Indirect card combat" that we call pings, also belongs here. However, by that I don't necessarily mean actions that just deal damage, like Firebolt, Rapid Shot, etc. These are necessary, fair and harmless. The only problematic cards are Archer's Gambit, Sword of the Inferno, Crusader's Crossbow and Unstoppable Rage. The first two, even at their low cost of 2 magicka, are almost always used on lethal creatures to act as a hard removal with benefits - in case of Archer's Gambit it's the ability to trade the lethal creature into an enemy creature on the same lane and potentially reap benefits from Astrid's effect, for Sword it's proccing Slay twice (on enemy creature and on itself), especially on lethal creatures, on top of just being able to remove two creatures with one so long as the wielder has 3 or more health. Crossbow feels the least problematic of all of these, mostly due to its cost, but also due to lane limitations - in Shadow Lane you can't quite always deal with two creatures at the same time, due to cover. It also doesn't give Guard to the wielder, so it doesn't force 2 for 1s with benefits. Unstoppable Rage is a whole different story. It's perfectly fine as a lane clear, but becomes unfun to play against when paired with a Drain creature or a creature with Slay effect, mostly due to these two things proccing off your own creatures too. This results in even 50+ health swings on top of the lane clear. Of course, there's a difference between feeling bad and being badly designed - I don't think the card itself is problematic, you can play smart to deal with Rage for the most part, but I can't deny its demotivating effect.
Finally, there's silver bullet cards. You know, ones that are useless for all but one matchups - Grummite Magus, Memory Wraith, Piercing Twilight and Cast into Time (sort of, they're helpful everywhere to an extent), Garnag, Bedeviling Scamp and Withered Hand Cultist. These ones are probably the things I hate the most about card design. We're playing a Card Game. You can eliminate the problems by tweaking cards or card interactions in order to help players make punishing certain plays easier. Printing a card that answers the problem for you is an insult to card player's intelligence. It's the equivalent of giving a worse of two chess players an extra handicap piece that can move on any tile of the chessboard - why improve your play, when you can just play an easier game? If your goal is to welcome more casual players easily with these cards, then consider making something along the lines of an advanced tutorial. These could be a series of puzzles for free that any player can partake that would teach them the most important essentials of playing smart and playing to win. Not only that, these would play well into a marketing strategy - you can then direct someone done with advanced tutorial to the store, where he can find more puzzle bundles. It's really worth putting more effort into the game than just creating an easy answer for a card - it makes for a more compelling card game, a more satisfying esperience when you do overcome this one strategy you had troubles with in the past. Don't take this joy away from new players by giving them the middle finger card. Please. And if you're truly set on introducing hate cards to the game, at least split them into several smaller cards that affect different aspects of an archetype. Cultist, for example, should probably receive a big nerf in tandem with introducing cards that affect Summon effects, ability to be shackled, damaged by lethal creatures, affected by actions, etc.
The very last thing I wanted to mention, more as a closing note, is the speed of making changes. Hearthstone recently went on to create drastic changes to the card game, mostly in the amount of nerfs/buffs but also in changing the base set. I mentioned a lot of things in this word wall of mine and I believe introducing even half of them from section 2 and 3 would greatly increase the quality of gameplay TESL definitely deserves. But in order to get there, serious changes need to be made, for we've kinda dwelled a bit too far into some of these problems. For an example of a game that undergoes gigantic changes with every patch to keep the experience fresh and enjoyable, look no further than Dota 2. The game has balance patches which are about as long as half of this article of mine, affecting various little tidbits of gameplay. While TESL by no means has as many gameplay intricacies, it still has cost, attack, health, card text, starting hand, interactions, etc. This game has tons of potential for really compelling games across all kinds of players and between all kinds of players, but a serious amount of effort and dedication needs to be put in in order for us to get there. Passion is what got us some of the all-time great games in the past, like Chrono Trigger, for example.
But I direct this not only to design team and developers at Sparkypants, but to each of you reading this. First of all, thanks for making it to the end. I hope I didn't cause ya to fall asleep. I also hope that what you read helped you understand that not all of the enjoyable things are really good for the game and that, vice versa, there are still tons more enjoyable things to TESL that we haven't gotten yet. I don't expect for you to agree with all that I have written here - we're all humans (hopefully) and we're going to have our different points of view and different preferences. I encourage you to discuss things in the comments, for fruitful conversations help immensely in more means than one. If you come up with an idea to fix things better - post it! Sparkypants devs have been reading our feedback much more often than Direwolf devs and we should seize the opportunity to hopefully change the game for the better. In the end, if you've made it to the end, I'm rather certain that you do love this game. If a piece that takes almost the entirety of symbols on reddit is any indication, so do I. Regardless of how cheesy it sounds, this love for the game and this passion is what will make the game a better experience, and, eventually, us - better players. Whether you're a fun-loving person who cherishes all of the huge flashy plays above everything else (Timmy), a guy/gal whose primary interests lie in deconstructing the game's interactions and trying to discover more of the interesting combinations, treating the game like a box of Legos (Johnny) or you want to be the very best at everything the game offers and for your game sense and game knowledge to thrive (Spike), in the end we're all a part of this big family.
thanks and goodbye
submitted by Brassrain to elderscrollslegends [link] [comments]

Any advice on trading volatility? How to manage risk (risk-reward: what principle?)

Basically i'm interested in trading volatility, because i have a pretty good nose and TA skills to notice the incoming volatility. However i don't know how to structure the trade. With leveraged trading i use stop loss. But how do you manage risk on volatility products? I was looking at BTC option "move", i thought volatility was going to kick in after 5 days of sideways, but then it still dropped 20% lower from where i wanted to enter. Afterwards it gained 400%, which would be a 20 Risk-to-reward ratio in ideal scenario, but the question is, where the fuck do i put the stop loss? How do people manage downside risk with options? Or is it more than not seen as a binary bet - either you make money or the option expires worthless? But how am i supposed to find a quantifiable edge then, if i can't put in proper stop loss and have return expectancy? How does it work? Are there any articles on this?
submitted by caco3boy to Trading [link] [comments]

Streamlined Beginner's Guide

I was making edits to A Beginner Guide written by a Beginner and Updated by a Friend when it gave me the error message that the post had too many characters. I decided it was honestly too wordy. I hope that the clarity of the message was not lost during the chopping process. Light suggestions and/or questions are welcome. I added this to the wiki as well after updating it due to your suggestions :)
The guide starts with day 1 "need to know" information then proceeds with Characters you Want, the Daily Grind, More to Grind, Comic Cards, Character Optimization, and finally a Quick Start Glossary.
 
First Month Goals
 
Content Difficulty Progression
This is a rough estimation of the progression of the game using the character level as a reference.
1-50 50-60 60+ 60++ 60+++
Story Mode Ch.1-8 Chapters 9-10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12
VS: Easy/Normal VS: Hard World Boss iThanos World Boss Ultimate
- - SL 1-15 SL 15-25 -
- - Strange Epic Quest Wolvie Epic Quest -
AB AB AB clear XAB clear XAB score chasing
TL TL/AC TL/AC TL/AC TL/AC
Cards: - 4* cards with ~30% SCD and 20+ Ignore Defense 4*/5*/6* cards w/SCD, Ignore Defense, and Attack 6* cards with ~30% SCD, ~30% Ignore Defense, and +30% All Attack
Villain Siege, Alliance Battle, TimeLine, Alliance Conquest, ShadowLand.
 
Starter Team: 6* Sharon Rogers, Loki, and any top character of your choice
This can be done with the 6* selector (day 1), the 6* selector (day 7), and "Hero's Journey".
A "Six Star Selector" allows for you to choose a character from a menu and that character is immediately 6* regardless of whether you recruited them or not.
For your 2nd and 3rd starter characters there are conflicting recommendations which to me proves it doesn't really matter who you choose, but be warned that not all characters are created equally so it is best to choose from these or the difficult to farm "Facetank" characters listed further down.
Check out the analysis/discussion from "Starter toons: Sharon Rogers and _________?" and decide for yourself, but definitely get Sharon Rogers.
 
After your first "failed" mission it is highly recommended to get 4 star Iron Fist.
Get his Hobo (netflix) Uni when you have the chance.
 
Farm Enough Story Mission Bios to 6 Star Cap, Widow, and Iron Man.
Both Cap and Iron Man will be very useful additions to your team. Black Widow can be good, but as a beginner will be mostly useful as a striker in the Corvus Glaive World Boss battle.
You can get Age of Ultron unis for gold.
 
Use your 3 day trial of bio subscription for "Paywall" characters
I would recruit Enchantress, Agent Venom, and Kid Kaiju who are all still useful at T1. I would only use them on Carnage if you plan on paying for a bio subscription to T2 him (need ~366 bios to max gears). You will still need to get Mega Rank Up Tickets (2600 Crystals on weekend) to rank them up.
T2 Carnage > Agent Venom > Kid Kaiju > Enchantress > Ironheart > Hyperion > T1 Carnage
 
The best deals for real money include Stark Stash, Bio Subscription, VIP Package, and S.H.I.E.L.D.
Prices vary slightly depending on where you live and whether you use android or Apple (android is cheaper), but these are generally the best deals:
You don't need to spend money to be successful in this game, but I would highly recommend at least getting the Stark Stash (or bio sub) to get to VIP 1 (200 Crystals) for increased gold in Co-Op. You'll also hear a lot about "tag heals" which is unlocked at VIP 3 (2300 crystals total), and "Heroic Rifts" which are unlocked at VIP 10 (99,000 crystals total).
The best deals for Crystals include on sale uniforms (750), Mega Rank Up Tickets (2600), and "Deluxe" pack (6600).
 
Get in as high level alliance as you can (ideally 24+)
Use the weekly recruitment thread to join an Alliance for camaraderie, alliance stat boosts, alliance member rifts, energy rewards, and Alliance Battle/Conquest. Note that the stat boosts from Alliances You may see Alliance requirements including days of activity, Alliance Battle score, and Alliance Conquest participation. Even so, there are so many alliances out there that the odds are good that you can find a good balance between casual and competitive. There will also be a variety in beginner and veterans. But let's be honest, veterans need beginners around to tell them that they are awesome :)
 
Don't go "all in" on Epic Quests (Dr. Strange and Wolverine/Jean), rather dip your feet!
Dr. Strange, Wolverine, and Jean are all amazing, but the cost is significantly above a beginner's paygrade. I would however recommend completing enough quests to start farming Baron Mordo (need 50 Red Norns and 200 Blue Norns) and Rogue/Beast (need 100 Dimension Debris and 100 Red Norns). Rogue (speed) and Beast (combat) are perfect complements to your Sharon/Loki starter pack. For more information: Dr. Strange Epic Quest Guide and Rise of the X-men Epic Quest guide.
 
 

Characters and why you want them:

Facetank chars - Low skill threshold to defeat most content. High priority characters bolded.
Character Survivability Farmability
Sharon Rogers iframes + damage immunity Use starter selectors. Otherwise Bio Selectors.
Loki shield + clones = RUN Viable starter option. Otherwise Dimension Rift "Chitauri Invasion"
Carnage iframes + invincibility @ T2 Bio $ubscription only. Use Rank up Tickets and save bios for gears.
Agent Venom iframes + shield + invincibility Bio $ubscription only. Use Rank up Tickets and save bios for gears.
Enchantress shield, and can permanently charm world bosses Bio $ubscription only. Use Rank up Tickets and save bios for gears.
Kid Kaiju iframes + summons + shield Bio $ubscription only. Use Rank up Tickets and save bios for gears.
Elsa iframe + damage immunity @ T2 Villain Siege Chaos Tokens
Kate Bishop iframes + stuns Villain Siege "Hard"
Captain Marvel damage immunity Timeline Honor Tokens
Crystal snare attacks + shield Special Mission, Inhumans "Crystal Palace"
Songbird snare attacks + shield Special Mission, New Avengers "Baked Alaska"
Groot Heal; Baby uni: iframes Dimension Rift "Bark is Worse than Bite"
Yellow Jacket several iframes Dimension Rift "Amazingly Interesting Voyage"
Wasp damage immunity "bubble" + iframe Dimension Rift "Growth Spurt"
Baron Mordo iframe + stuns + shield Epic Quest, Memory Mission "Road to the Monastery"
Ancient One invincibility + heal Epic Quest, Memory Mission "Monastery in Trouble"
Hellstorm immunity + summon Epic Quest, Dark Dimension "Increasing Darkness"
Rogue damage immunity (skill/leadership) + iframes + heal Epic Quest: Rise of the X-men, Tracking "Going Rogue"
Beast stun + snare + iframe Epic Quest: Rise of the X-men, Tracking "Friends and Enemies"
Storm stun + guard breaks + iframes Epic Quest: Rise of the X-men, Tracking "Weathering the Storm"
Cyclops stun + guard breaks + damage immunity + iframe Epic Quest: Rise of the X-men, Tracking "Blindsided!"
Magneto bind + guard breaks + shield + iframes 6600 crystals for "Deluxe" pack; "Mutual Enemy"
Captain America damage immunity + iframe (uni) Story Mission 1-1, 3-10, and 5-6
Black Widow dodge + guard breaks + stun (uni) Story Mission 1-4, 2-6, 3-9, and 5-4
Iron Fist uni: invincibility + iframe; dodge @ T2 Story Mission 4-5 and 6-5.
Elektra iframes + stun Story Mission 4-6, 7-2, and 7-5
Black Panther damage immunity + iframes Story Mission 8-1
Thor guard breaks + shield Story Mission 8-9, 12-5, and 12-8
Blackbolt guard breaks + damage immunity @ T2 Story Mission 8-10
GR (Robbie Reyes) iframes + shield Bio Selectors.
Mantis iframes + heal + fear bubble Bio Selectors.
Red Hulk guard breaks + heal + damage immunity (uni) Bio Selectors.
Silk shield + webbing Bio Selectors.
 
Leadership characters - Only need ranking and mastery to be helpful. Characters worth further investment are marked with ‡
Boost Character(s)
48% Damage to Male She-Hulk (uni = +55%)
45% Energy Attack Hela, Ironheart
45% Energy Attack for Blast Ancient One‡, Star-lord (uni = +50%)
45% Physical Attack Gorgon, Beast
40% Energy Attack Ebony Maw
45% All Attack Magneto‡ (for X-men)
36% All Attack Moon-Girl‡
24% All Attack Wiccan‡, Sin, Punisher, Ultron, Shang-Chi‡, Hyperion‡, Hogan, Cyclops‡ (+24% All Defense)
30% Energy Attack Crystal‡, Singularity, Lash, Captain Marvel‡, Modok, Blackbolt‡
30% Physical Attack Elsa‡, Deathlok, War Machine, Crossbones, Winter Soldier, Ulik‡, Hulk
18% All Attack, 18% All Defense, 6% Speed Wasp‡
36% All Attack for Universal Ronan‡ (+36% all defense), Medusa‡
60% Lightning Damage Lincoln
60% Fire Damage Satana‡, Red Hulk‡
60% Cold Damage Misty Knight
 
Support characters - Generally cannot be main damage dealers unless marked
 

The Daily Grind:

Complete each of the daily "challenges". Most of these modes should be done during Hot Time (reduced cost and increased rewards) which occurs twice a day for 3 hours (6 AM/PM Pacific Time). Most can also be played on "auto" by using clear tickets. For Story missions you can "autoclear" which will insta-clear the level giving you gold and shield/alliance experience, but it will not give your characters experience.
Story missions (1+/day):
Complete story mode chapters up to 10 as soon as you can. You can level characters more quickly using higher levels. After you have done such, here's a list of story mode characters (alphabetical) that you might want to get:
 
Special missions (20 min/day):
Rank New Avengers Inhumans
1 Songbird Crystal
2 Wiccan Gorgon
3 White Tiger Moon Girl
4 Squirrel Girl Maximus
5 Hulkling Karnak
 
Daily Missions (2/day)
Fairly easy missions with great rewards including: gold and the option for Iso-8/nornstones, more gold/experience chips, or M'kraan Shards (X-men material).
 
Villain Siege (1-3/day)
This is a fossil of previous “end-game” content. It is more important that you win the battle then you use all of the recommended characters. If you know it will take you two tries, then use a team with NO recommended characters first, followed by one with 2-3 of the recommended characters.
Use the Chaos Tokens for: Elsa >> Chaos Custom Gear Chest/Chaos Chest > Ant-man > Lash
 
Timeline (1-10/day)
A "one vs. one" matchup that gives honor tokens for each battle (win or lose) and crystals at the end of the week for how high you scored in comparison to others. Note that your characters start with all skills on cooldown while the enemy's do not. At least do one a day, but it would be worth it to do all of them.
Use the Tokens on Captain Marvel > Warwolf > Honor Card Chest/Honor Chest > Gamora
 

More to Grind

Alliance Battle
Great source of gold, norns, and bios. Here's a chart of who to use from my Alliance Battle Guide:
Day Main Damage Leader Support Notes
Open (x2; reset day) Loki, Sharon, Hellstorm, Strange She-Hulk, Ancient One, Gorgon, Hela Warwolf (T2), Coulson (T2), Groot (T2) save combat/villain (i.e. Carnage) for XAB
Combat Hobo Iron Fist, Agent Venom, Carnage, Black Panther, Moon Knight, Red Hulk, Captain America She-Hulk, Hulk, Shang-Chi Groot (T2), Warwolf (T2) save T2 Warwolf for XAB, unless you have T2 Coulson.
Blast Sharon, Enchantress, Strange, Mantis, Cyclops Ancient One, Star-Lord Coulson (T2)
Speed Elsa (L), Kate, Rogue, Silk, Kid Kaiju Elsa, Winter Soldier Baby Groot (T2) Speed day is tough. Get Elsa's uni and her T2.
Universal Loki, Hellstorm, GR (Robbie Reyes), Captain Marvel, Black Order, Dmmu, Odin Ronan, Medusa, Hela Throot (T2) Loki strikes again.
Female Sharon, Floki, Elsa, Mantis, Rogue Hela, Ancient One (uni) Ancient One (uni) Starog is easier than Loki (uni) and would allow Floki to be used for XAB as DPS (if no BO) or team-up (w/DMMU).
Villain Loki, Enchantress Ronan, Hela n/a Looookiii
 
Dimension Rift (3 "completions")
Coordinate Rifts with alliance members to get completion bonus (gold, dimension debris, energy). MFF etiquette strongly suggests you commit to several battles in a rift if you choose to enter it.
Cards to farm: Loki, Nebula, Baby Groot, Star-Lord/Yondu, Zombies (Heroic Rifts), and Punisher (Heroic Rifts)
Characters to farm: Loki > Wasp/Yellowjacket/Groot > Ronan > others
 
Co-Op (5 "Rewards" collections)
It is worth it to increase your VIP to 1 for its benefit in Co-Op alone. There are 8 reward slots that open with increasing VIP. VIP 1 opens the GOLD slot. Otherwise the first slot is random (giving you a chance for gold).
Characters at 4 stars & level 40 Stage ~Gold per ”Reward Acquired”
0 Stage 1 ~260,000
21+ Stage 2 ~280,000
41+ Stage 3 ~320,000
61+ Stage 4 ~360,000
81+ Stage 5 ~400,000
101+ Stage 6 ~440,000
 
Epic Quest Missions
Memory Missions, Dark Dimension, Tracking, Veiled Secret, and Mutual Enemy will eventually become part of your "daily grind," but as a beginner focus only on farming Rogue and Beast from the X-men "Tracking" missions. It might also be worth farming Baron Mordo from Dr. Strange Memory Mission "Road to the Monastery" partially due to the extra obelisks.
 
World Boss Invasion (unlimited)
Your characters will be temporarily maxed for this co-op boss battle. Be sure to read and follow the requirements as best you can. Push the purple button when available. Slot boxes for later and then open them for random norns, bios, and other resources.
 
World Bosses
Gives black anti-matter, chaos norns, and bios for the black order (BO) characters. One of your primary goals of the game should be to beat world bosses as soon as possible. A few pointers:
Once unlocked and clearing 30/35 build up: Strange >>>> Corvus/Proxima > Odin/Dormammu/Jean >> Thanos > Ebony/Supergiant >>>> Black Dwarf.
World Boss Ultimate is ridiculously challenging.
 
Shadowland
A "transition" into end game content, but you can do it! Try your best to get farther each week. Floors 5, 10, and 15 reward bio selectors. These are my Six Pieces of Advice for Shadowland:
  1. Force low tier characters to clear difficult low floors. Save T2 for floors 10+
  2. Plan out all static floors (1, 2, 5, 21-25) but especially floors 22 and 23 (and floor 5 for a beginner).
  3. Keep Track of your Roster.
  4. Unless you want a specific reward avoid Waves, Rumbles, Reflects, Bleeds, and Spider-Army
  5. Keep Track of your Clears and Analyze for Improvement
  6. Have Fun, Take Your Time, and Good Luck!
First time clear rewards are incredible including rank up tickets, cards, awakened iso, and Black Anti-matter for Epic Quests and ranking up Native T2's.
 
Battleworld (1-10/day “when active”)
Occasional event that can reward bios, iso, obelisks, and cards. I would at least do one to get “on the board” and get some reward. It is usually good to max your participation if you can just for the gold participation rewards though which scale up with number of entries.
 
Alliance Conquest
Depending on the activity of your alliance you may be required (or encouraged) to participate in this incredible, interactive battle game between 3 alliances. It is reminiscent of the world domination game Risk).
It has two phases: the obvious Attack phase (3 times a day) and the slightly more confusing "prep" phase. During prep phase all you can do is revive defeated character with alliance tokens from the store or switch defending characters with crystals. It will be difficult to contribute much until you get a few 6* characters.
 

Comic Cards Offer Huge Team-wide Stat Boosts

Check out this awesome card guide. You want to work on building 4* cards with Skill Cooldown and Ignore Defense and then slowly replace those cards with 4*, 5* and 6* cards with Skill Cooldown, Ignore Defense, and Attack. Here are some great cards with "ideal rolls" from Comic Cards INFO:
Card (Acquired) Stat 1* (static) Stat 2* (static) Stat 3* Stat 4* Stat 5* Stat 6*
Loki (Loki Rift) All Attack Cooldown duration Ignore Defense Attack Speed All Defense Energy/Physical Attack
Marvel Zombies #2 (any Heroic Rift) Dodge Cooldown duration Critical Damage Ignore Defense Recovery Rate All Attack
Baby Groot (Groot Rift) Critical Damage Ignore Defense Energy Attack Cooldown duration All Defense All Attack/Physical Attack
Star-Lord (Yondu Rift) Ignore Defense Critical Rate Physical Attack Cooldown duration All Defense All Attack/Energy Attack
Avengers (Nebula Rift) Max HP Ignore Defense All Attack/Physical Attack Cooldown duration Critical Damage Energy Attack
Punisher #19 (any Heroic Rift) Ignore Defense Attack Speed Max HP Cooldown Duration All Defense All Attack
Civil War #4/Thor (Crystal Card Chests) All Attack Physical Defense Physical Attack Cooldown duration Critical Damage Ignore Defense/Energy Attack
 
It is very expensive to "unequip" cards, obelisks, and iso. Build them up in your inventory before you equip.
 

Character optimization for damage/survivability balance

First off: skills that increase by % (i.e. summons, buffs, and shields) should be upgraded.
 
Gears are built similarly for every character
Check this out for more in depth explanation, but this is the basics:
Gear 1st slot 2nd slot the rest
1 Energy/Physical attack per lvl "base" energy/physical or all attack "base" energy/physical or all attack
2 Physical defense per lvl Energy defense per lvl All defense
3 HP per lv HP per lvl or HP HP
4 Skill Cooldown in as many slots needed to get 50% Ignore Defense in leftover slots (until 50%) Crit damage, attack speed, or crit rate if both SCD and Ignore Defense are maxed
† You need to figure out if a character has attacks that base off of energy or phyical. From there you only want one or the other. A bit confusing.
Aim for 17/17/17/17 on characters you use semi-regularly and 20/20/20/20 on your main characters (required for T2 ticket).
 
Attack Iso Sets (OD, POAH, HE) tend to be the best in the long run, but heal (IAAG, SB) and Shield (DDE, BP) have their place.
As a beginner you will likely need survivability boosting until you can max your skill cooldown. It is easiest to roll Stark Backing (heal set), but I am Also Groot (heal set) is better. Drastic Density Enhancement is a shield skill that procs on attack. Binary is a Shield on Defense. As I've moved through the game I have found that I want an attack set (Overdrive, Power of Angry Hulk, or Hawk's eye) on essentially all of my characters. Note that Hawk's Eye can lead to redundant SCD and lacking Ignore Defense.
Don't equip fully awakened Iso unless you for sure want to keep a set (i.e. not Stark Backing, but yes OD or POAH). Equipping 3* or 4* iso on most of your characters should be fine. You can equip 5* and 6* iso on your main World Boss and Alliance battle hitters.
 
Obelisks ideally should have some attack stats and either a damage increase "1 attack" or an invincibility proc.
For Obelisk building start with:
and then upgrade/change option until you get a good proc. Ideally increase damage "1 attack" (any mode but especially XAB) or invincibility (any mode but especially timeline and alliance conquest).
 
Uniforms:
Never buy uniforms unless they are on sale (750 or less). I would not buy uniforms just for the sake of increasing the stats of another uniform wearer. There is always a benefit from buying a uniform for a character that you use, but there are definitely a few "game-changers":
 
 
Tier-2
T2 will always increase a character's overall power, but there are a few that are particularly useful. When looking to Tier 2 a character take particular note of how their skills may change and possible team-wide boosts.
Elsa, Black Bolt, and Carnage absolutely need their T2. They gain a damage immunity (invincibility for Carnage) on one of their skills which significantly increases their survivability.
Support characters have significant team boosts at T2 which may make their T2 of higher priority than other "worth it" T2's. These include Coulson, Warwolf, Groot, Wasp, and Mantis.
 
Skill Rotations
When using a character, the order of skills you use can have a significant impact on survivability and damage output. Try to prioritize higher damaging skills (usually 5, 4, and 3) and buffs (usually skill 5 or 3) while also preventing overlapping survivability mechanisms (damage immunity, iframes, guard-hit shields, and crowd control). As an example look at Sharon's skills:
Damage Immunity ... ... i frame
3 1c 5 2c 4(c)
Skill 3 starts the damage immunity. Skill 1 is a non-iframe skill. Skill 5 ends in an iframe and the beginning of skills 2 and 4 are both iframes. You could also just do 3-5-4 with similar reasoning. With the Starlight uni do not cancel skill 4 (the iframe/main damage is at the end).
I've compiled a list of skill rotations specifically for Shadowland, but also useful for any other mode. Keep in in mind that stun-type debuffs have no effect on World Bosses (other than Skill 2 "Charm" of Enchantress).
 
Uru are a huge resource sink-hole that become increasingly available to you from level 60-70
They can fill in the cracks of your character build after you have used up your gear options. Do not try to get mythic uru unless you are willing to sell your soul rather shoot for 4* and maybe 5*. Once you are at level 70 try the following algorithm:
  1. Fill all empty uru slots with worthless 1* uru (physical defense) then amplify until you have 3-4 shiny spots.
  2. Equip 2 attack uru (energy or physical) on each gear in the amplified spots.
  3. Max Skill cooldown at 50% (200=1%).
  4. Max Ignore Defense at 50%. (200=1%).
  5. Equip whatever you feel the character needs. Critical Damage/Critical Rate are solid options (boost at about 2:1 ratio). Attack speed is useful, but not for every character (shortens iframe time). HP and Energy Defense is great for Destroyer. Dodge might be useful.
If you only have a few slots available then I would focus on SCD and Ignore Defense, but recognize the uru you equip might not be there to stay. Amplifying is RNG (as most things in this game are) and you may end up with redundant stats (i.e. a slot with SCD or Ignore Defense gets amplified).
 

Lab upgrades (especially Item Shop) may have some value**

How much you actually want to upgrade these things is up to personal preference, but imho it is generally too costly. But you can get a second opinion
 

Quick Start Glossary

I tried to avoid jargon and acronyms specifically in this guide, but head over here for ones you will definitely come across.
 

Updates

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Which Option Contracts to Pick for the Best Risk to Reward ... Basic Money Management StrategiesReward-to-Risk Ratio In Forex Trading Think-or-swim Chart Measurement Tool - Measuring Risk to ... Forex Basics - Lot Sizes, Risk vs. Reward, Counting Pips ... How to Improve Your Win Rate & Risk Reward Ratio 👍 - YouTube Does Your Risk Reward Match Your Option Strategy? Bollinger Bands - Path to $1,000,000 Day 4 - $12,000 ... Options Trading Strategy with 1:5 Risk Reward Ratio? # ... Binary Options Risk and Reward - YouTube the reason trading forex with a 1:1 risk reward ratio is ...

Risk-reward ratio in binary options. Invariably all the binary options brokers lure potential customers by displaying the percentage returns from a successful trade. However, the portrayed returns only highlight only the positive side of these options contracts. When a trader loses a trade, the entire investment is lost (unless it is a rebate offer). Thus, the potential risk stands at 100% of ... Assessing the amount of risk inherent in an investment is an important part of trading on the financial markets. Before executing a trade, it is only prudent to evaluate whether the risks are higher than the expected returns in relation to the amount of capital to be invested. Learn here how to assess the Risk/Reward ratio when you trade binary options. In Binary Options Industry the risk/reward ratio is fixed.This means that you know how much money you will lose or how much money you will earn before take your trade. So, it’s easily to understand that the payout percentage of your broker it’s very important for this ratio.You choose the risk of your trade because you chose how much money you want to invest in every trade.This amount of ... Power Of Stock learning App:- Get upto 10x margin for options selling which is great for intraday ... source It is important to understand what the risk/reward ratio of binary options is. This will give you, as a trader, better insight into what your odds actually are. In turn, this will help you determine whether or not you are making any progress with your current trading plan. The risk/reward ratio can be defined as the possible profit that can be made contrasted with how much the trader stands to ... Binary options are also called digital options and as their name implies, have only two possible outcomes for each trade. A position can either expire in-the-money and you win that particular trade gaining as high as 80% returns or expire out-of-the-money and you lose the entire money invested on that particular trade. If you are looking to understand the concept of risk to reward ratio as a ... Risk to reward setups are what give all traders an equal chance at making consistent money, a thorough understanding of risk to reward and how to view trade setups in terms of possible risk to possible reward, is the closest thing to the “holy grail” of trading, and is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle to consistently profitable trading, second only to having the proper amount ...

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Which Option Contracts to Pick for the Best Risk to Reward ...

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