Binary Options Trading for Dummies - The Complete Beginner
Binary Options Trading for Dummies - The Complete Beginner
15 Minute Binary Options Trading Strategy
Why You Want To Trade 0-100 Binary Options
Trading Forex with Binary Options - 2020 July Updated
How exactly does put and call work?
Hey guys, So I did a bit of research on binary option (binary options?), and so far my understanding goes a little bit like this: So, when you place a call, you say that you think the stock will rise in a certain period of time, and after it expired, you get the right to buy those stock for a predefined amount of money. Then you can sell those stocks again, and if the price went up, you made some money. Puts work similarly, just that instead of the right to buy its the right to sell. Now I read somewhere (I think it was wikipedia) that binary options are also know as cash-or-nothing bets, either you make some predetermined amount of money, or you don't, and either way, you have to pay a fee. Nkw that doesn't fit in my current understanding, I'll give a short example: Let's say I place a call on a stock, that after one day I'll be worth more than $100, which basically gives me the right to buy it in 24h for $100. Now my profit depends on how high that stock rises, like if after a day it trades for $110 I make $10 (minus fee), and if it trades for $200 I make $100 (minus fee). So definitely not "fixed return". What did I get wrong? Thanks for you help :)
Bitstamp works with leading online banking in Switzerland to achieve bitcoin (BTC) financing and withdrawals——GoDapp
Bitstamp works with Dukascopy Bank to provide encrypted funds to bank customers. The bank is Switzerland's leading online bank, and its customers can now send Bitcoin (BTC) to their accounts to convert cryptocurrencies into US dollars, which they can use to trade on the Swiss foreign exchange market. Dukascopy customers can also withdraw funds back to their wallets in the form of BTC. Bitstamp will facilitate the exchange of legal and cryptocurrencies. The Bitstamp team explained in the announcement why this partnership is the key to moving forward for cryptocurrency. This partnership has taken us one step closer to the goal of narrowing the gap between cryptocurrency and traditional finance. Further proof that our efforts in compliance and regulation continue to yield results as the cryptocurrency industry matures rapidly. The Geneva-based Dukascopy Bank offers traditional banking services as well as cryptocurrency trading services, forex and binary options trading to retail and institutional investors through CFDs. The bank explained that trading account financing using cryptocurrencies is subject to the following conditions: Deposits and withdrawals from trading accounts currently only accept bitcoin After transferring the BTC, the bank immediately converts it into US dollars and deposits it in the customer account. At the time of withdrawal, the dollar amount from the customer's account is converted to BTC and transferred to the Bitcoin wallet associated with the user's account. The base legal currency is the US dollar The maximum net deposit that can be deposited is $50,000 (total deposit minus total amount drawn) Bitcoin deposits are not processed immediately. Therefore, the trader must accept the possibility of loss due to changes in the BTC / USD exchange rate during the conversion period. BTC deposits and withdrawals are only processed within the working day associated with the Canton of Geneva, Switzerland As mentioned earlier, Dukascopy does not provide direct transactions for cryptocurrencies. Bank customers can conduct cryptocurrency transactions through CFDs (CFDs) based on price movements of cryptocurrencies or their derivatives. ——www.GoDapp.com https://preview.redd.it/xulkm9j5xwc21.png?width=670&format=png&auto=webp&s=f1a209feace4fd46c9b9cad90a179c21e8cba375
Okay everyone, I sort of wanted to talk about the next balance patch myself because what better do I have to do after 12:00 am on a school night? A couple have already posted their thoughts, now it's my turn. You know how this goes: I'll talk about each card change and share my overall thoughts on the changes themselves. So, let's review these changes. Deep Sea Garg; 7/7 -> 7/8 ... Except for this one because it literally changes nothing about the card's viability. Moving on! Sergeant Strongberry; 4/4 -> 4/3 Despite what people may tell you, this -1 health nerf matters. It's not too hard to see, but for those unaware, what health changes do to cards is increase or decrease (in this case the former) the number of cards they die to. For a 4-drop like Strongberry, this is important because not only is less useful as a body, but it also dies to more dangerous reactive zombie cards aside from Rocket. You of course have Wrath (which I guess isn't dangerous with respect to its cost), but now Strongberry dies to all lightning bolt powers, Line-Dancing Zombie, Octo-Pet made by Octo-Pult, and perhaps more that I can't remember. But you see what I'm getting at here: Strongberry is going to be much easier to react to now that it's back down to 3 health again, and that's gonna make life for berries pretty tough because now you need to play around your opponent passing on turn 4, on which they may be reading Strongberry. Laser Bean; 4/6 -> 5/7 I'll admit that this change won't make Laser Bean that much better of a card because it still has no effect and better options exist, but personally, I'm glad they finally buffed this card. Aside from having good survivability, there was no reason to run it over Astro-Cado if you had the latter. That principle still applies, but this card has been so weak for a long time, and again it's not that much better, but it can make a bigger mark than it could before. Plus sometimes you conjure this with Cosmic Bean and it can be pretty helpful if your opponent burns their removal on other cards, which is a pretty specific situation, but sometimes it's a saving grace. Briar Rose; 4-cost -> 5-cost The big kicker change that everyone wanted finally happened. I'm not too sure how I feel about this since I kind of like abusing Briar (and not that many people abuse it against me all that often), but whether I like it or not, it's a necessary change. Briar has basically been carrying ramp with Solar Winds and Cob Cannon ever since the deck was conceived, as well as the countless other decks it's been carrying by itself. It still protects itself, but that's fine because by raising it's cost, they've done something interesting. The cost raise now means that it's more of a high-risk high-reward card, and you can't be as frivolous with using Briar Rose. You have to worry more about Knockout, you have to be smarter about when you play it, and you probably also have to be smarter about what decks you put it in because every deck that includes it now will have its curve changed with and without Briar in the deck. Rocket Science; Science Trick -> Science Barrel Trick Adds Rocket into the BoB pool, which is actually pretty important for the latter card. That technically means that you have to play around your opponent conjuring this card when they're someone like Brain Freeze or Neptuna, who don't have the luxury of a reliable remove trick such as Rocket (and in Brain Freeze's case I don't count Ooze). Or at the very least, you have to consider that they may have conjured it. Again, it's specific, but after this update they'll still only be 12 barrels in BoB's pool. That's still a decent chance of conjuring Rocket, at least comparatively speaking to most conjure cards. Mad Chemist; 3/4 -> 3/5 Well it looks like Mad Chemist will be even harder for me to kill now. I couldn't kill it when it was a 2/3, I can barely kill it now, and come the update it'll be even tankier. Shrug. But in all seriousness, this change is fine. Allows it to potentially stick around for a little longer to conjure an extra trick or two, and it can trade a little better than it could before. Not gonna break the meta, but that kind of goes without saying. Valkyrie; 3-cost -> 4-cost Not really sure how to feel about this because people really aren't running that many Valk decks atm, Valk Trickster (imo) isn't as good as it's claimed to be, and in terms of getting to the late game to finish your opponent, I feel like Trickster is better anyway because it's less reliant on comboing it with specific cards and you can play much more flexibly with it. But I guess Valk as a card in a deck based around it OTKing your opponent still isn't very healthy, so it makes sense that they nerfed it. On a less significant note, Interdimensional Zombie can't transform into it anymore, so that's welcome by me. Tomb Raiser Zombie; 2/4 -> 3/4 Yeaaaah, it doesn't change too much about Tomb Raiser, as it's pretty much in the same state as it was before this buff, but on the bright side, if you happen to run it, you don't have to worry about it dying to Shrining Violet a turn later, so there's that. Mirror-Nut; 0/7 -> 0/8 All this really does is allow Mirror-Nut to potentially damage your opponent more times because it can take more hits, makes it a better health attacker via Pecanolith, and puts it out of Fruitcake range. Really not that significant, and it won't make nut decks that much better. And in all honesty, if you're running it so you can do 8 damage with it, you may as well run Water Chestnut, which sucks. Captain Flameface; no trait -> Gravestone In my book, this is a pretty significant change by itself. It makes this card so much more reactive than it was previously, makes Headstone Carver better in pirate decks, and keeps it from dying on turn 3 and up to Whack-a-Zombie and Violet on the turn it's played; being able to remove it with Gravebuster instead is well worth that trade-off. I don't know if it'll make pirate decks that much better, but they're at least a tad more reactive. Trick-or-Treater; no trait -> Gravestone This will make Trick-or-Treater a little better, but don't take this to mean that you can now commit with it on turn 3 and wait until turn 4 to start getting value from it. Now that Trick-or-Treater can survive passed plants play, you'd want to play it on turn 4 so you can combine it with a trick to gain a treat from it, so you can buff it up later or buff up something else. Again, I'll reiterate that this will only make it a little better; it won't become a high tier card, but it'll become playable and a little more reactive, and the zombies need more reactive options nowadays. Planet of the Grapes; 2-cost -> 3-cost Big oof to cyclecap indeed. Now the deck will be a lot fairer and require you to make more careful plays win; you can't be as careless with your Planets anymore. I didn't want this to be the nerf that Planet got, but for the sake of balancing the card while keeping it simple, it works. It probably means that mushrooms with Pineclone will be the go-to deck for Nightcap unless cyclecap is still better than that, but only time, labbing (i.e. testing), and whatever the zombies do will tell. Bog of Enlightenment; 3-cost -> 2-cost But of course, as I've said before, I'd be okay with Planet getting a cost increase if this card got a cost decrease. And now we have a card that'll definitely allow amphibious decks to be a little more aggressive than they previously could. I really don't think this and the Marine Bean change will make amphibious a top tier deck (and it especially won't make Citron/Beta top tier), but it makes the deck as a whole slightly better. But if nothing else, you can run it even if you're not playing amphibious plants; you can use it as a cheap environment that doubles as a strength nerf to most zombies. Not only can that overwrite problematic environments, but it can also help you win important battles on the ground, or maybe even put your opponents' zombies in Whack/Violet range. Solar Winds; 2-cost -> 3-cost I have mixed feelings about this nerf; on the one hand I feel like it'll hurt Chompzilla and make her a bad hero again (because I actually feel like she's pretty good with Solar Winds at 2-cost, though not the best Solar Hero), but that's a small price to pay and it's more of a personal conflict. In the interest of the game, however, this change is huge and probably necessary. As I and a few others have said, you'll have to play ramp decks a lot smarter than before as a result of this change. Gone are the days of having an extremely cheap and safe way to get to your Cob Cannons by playing this as early as turn 2, or to your Briars (and more so now that she's been nerfed). It may even become less splashable now that it's more expensive; decks like Heal Wall-Knight may have to be more selective about their choice between this and Spikeweed Sector, and if the former, how much they will run. With regard to this card, though, I'm just speculating now, so I'll move on. Overstuffed Zombie; 3/5 -> 4/4 Thanksgiving was only five days ago... in any case, this is better than it was before because a) it doesn't need as much health to be good, but having more strength can make its health even higher because of its effect, and b) it's better to have it die to Shamrocket instead of Whack because higher cost cards like this want to be affected by high strength removal cards so that other big zombies don't need to worry as much about dying to Shamrocket. That also means you have to be smarter about using your Shamrocket on this vs. another zombie. It won't make this card overpowered, but I guess you could say that regardless... it's some food for thought. Neutron Imp; 2-cost 2/3 -> 1-cost 2/2 It gives science a good one-drop, gives Imposter another buddy, makes combos with Mime-Garg faster; this does quite a lot, though I'm not sure how viable this will make a deck like science, because I think a good 1-drop is only a start to that deck becoming better. However, it could still do with more. Interdimensional Zombie; 1/3 -> 2/2 It's less of a block charger now, but it also dies to more removal tricks, so there are pros and cons to this change. Regardless, this change won't make it a highly competitive card. Disconaut; 3 or less get Bullseye -> 2 or less get Bullseye Being the crazy aggro enthusiast that I am, you'd probably guess that I don't like this change. And you're right! My big gripe with it, though, is that it can't make Line-Dancing Zombie hit for unblockable strikethrough damage anymore (forget Flamenco and Binary, when it comes to me). But aggro's already going to be in a much better spot now that berries and Solar decks are getting toned down a bit. Well, it'll still struggle against heal, but some things never change. Not a fan of this change due to my own personal bias, but it's probably for the best. Final Mission; Science Trick -> Science Barrer Trick Probably not as significant as rocket getting this treatment, but maybe it'll help you win a game or two. You never know. Gargantuar-Throwing Imp; 1/2 -> 2/2 No 5-cost zombie should have 1 health unless it does something that actually matters. Unless you put this in Hunting Grounds, this card won't fit that bill. Nonetheless, this could have 4 strength so it can be another zombie that baits your opponents' Shamrockets; that would make it much better. It could also do with some extra health so it could potentially make more gargs, but for now, it is what it is. Cryo-Yeti; no trait -> Gravestone This could be a very viable tempo card now that it's a gravestone. Freezing a plant after they play means the plant will have no way of breaking out of being frozen unless it's a double strike plant that survives an initial attack, not to mention Cryo-Yeti becomes a reactive card that becomes a 5/6 as long as it freezes a plant. It can swing for high damage, it can kill a plant pretty much uncontested; this a card that we should definitely lab to see how good it'll be. Hippity-Hop Gargantuar; 6/4 -> 6/5 It can take more hits to make more eggs, has more survivability so it can trade better, doesn't die as quickly to cheap removal. We've all seen this song and dance, but it's not gonna change the meta. Atomic Bombegranate; 4/2 -> 5/2 Yet another stat change that doesn't even fix the card, so moving on! Sunflower Seed; 3/1 -> 2/2 Undoubtedly a nerf in every sense of the word. You won't be able to control with this as reliably as you can now, and it won't do as much damage as you can have it do today. I think it'll still be good/worth running, but you'll have to use Sunflower Seed a little differently that you can now. Barrel of Barrels; 1-cost -> 2-cost Yeah, this is pretty significant. This makes it slower, but that's fine because it can still be a card that has your zombie win an otherwise unwinnable matchup. This is hurting both conjure and Raptor decks due to being slower, but it's still a great card to include. Though now that I think more about it, I'm not sure if you're necessarily gonna want to run 4 of it; it might end up making your curve too slow to be ran at 4, but running 3 might be a little easier on your deck's curve. However, that's something that has to be labbed. Fireweed; 3/3 -> 3/2 In all honesty, this is kind of a necessary change. However, making it so it loses 1 health on heights or water would be a better change (because it makes sense that a plant that likely grows on lava or in volcanic areas would be able to survive best under those conditions). But we can't change it, and thus we now have another aggro Solar Flare card that gets answered by Plumber and Beam Me Up the turn it's played, and we have, when played on heights, an Apple Saucer that can never gain strikethrough under normal circumstances. It can still make environments though, so it has that utility going for it. Trans-fig-uration; 3/7 -> 4/7 Doesn't make the card that much better, but similar to the Overstuffed buff, this is now a card that you can use to maybe bait Rocket Sciences from your opponent if you trap them in a corner, allowing your bigger cards to come in later potentially uncontested. So it's a good change imo, but the card itself won't be that much betteuseful. Marine Bean; 2/4, gets +2 str for each other plant in the water -> 3/2, gets +1/+1 for each other amphibious plant I really don't see this one other change making amphibious decks top tier, or even high tier for that matter. They might become a little more competitive, but they need so much more than a card that buffs itself upon being played. Shelf-Mushroom; 2/3 -> 2/2 I don't care what anyone says or tells you; this is a necessary change. You should not be able to front a zombie with this, guarantee a kill with it, and then proceed to kill something else by fusing it with something. If you evolve this into Strawberrian and kill another zombie with shelf's effect, that's usually a +2, ezpz. That's not okay, especially because berries already have many ways of making their opponents minus harder than by just 2 cards. They don't need to start plussing that early in the game. Strawberrian; 3/3 that does damage here and next door -> 3/2 that does damage next door Granted, Strawberrian may have only needed one of these nerfs, but since it's getting both, it's more than likely that one of theses nerfs alone wasn't enough, or they just really want berries to stop being so damn good. I'm not complaining, personally; I don't particularly like this deck all that much, and other decks get to find their way into the meta, so it works out well. Typical Beanstalk; 4-cost 4/4, draws one card -> 3-cost 3/3, conjures a leafy They did not need to remove this thing's card draw. Maybe they didn't want it to be too much better than Muscle Sprout, which I can understand, but leafy just isn't a thing and probably never will be unless they release broken af leafy cards. But hey, if you're a F2P player without a good turn 3 control card, you can use this card as just that. Duckstache; 2/2 -> 3/2 Hot take: this is another stat change that doesn't make the card that much better, so let's move on. Turquoise Skull Zombie; 2/5 -> 2/6 Apparently this is currently not that bad of a card. Never really tried it myself (pretty sure I only have two, so I can't consistently draw it if I were to run them in a deck), but I can see why this would be a viable card. It's only problem is that it doesn't win you games, but it's not supposed to do that. It's supposed to be a quasi-floodgate card of sorts, which the zombies don't really have a lot of. Nonetheless, I'll definitely give it a shot with it's extra health when I get enough copies. Chum Champion; 3/4 -> 4/4 Doesn't help the card. Next. Unthawed Viking; 4/3 -> 4/4 There's no reason this shouldn't have been a 4/4 when it first came out. If I'm not gonna run Surfer Zombie in my deck because it gets answered so easily by everyone's favorite in-your-face berry card (really verbose way of saying Berry Blast, I know), I'm definitely not gonna run this because it's a super rare that almost never uses its effect. But hey, it can actually survive in the water with this change. Now all we need is a cheap pirate that you can play in the water to evolve it from, so you can have your cake and eat it too. Frankentuar; 5/5 -> 5/7 Aaaaaaaand I think we're done here, everybody! Make sure to leave your thoughts on my thoughts (sorry they were so long), and I'll share my thoughts on your thoughts that were supposed to regard my thoughts so as to foster some discussion.
Weapons you should pick up Part 2: Electric Boogaloo
It’s electric! Now that I’ve met my one video per post quota, let’s get on with it shall we? Feel free to listen to that song in the background by the way. Really helps set the mood. Or something. So yeah, hey, it's yah boy, Thatuserguy, back again with another weapon recommendations post. You may not remember me (I certainly don't remember you. Yeah, you in the back. Who the hell are you? How’d you get in my house?) but I'm back anyways. Probably doesn’t help that I promised this post was coming soonTM like over a week ago. But no worries, OP delivers! You bunch of chucklefucks seemed to like the last one pretty well, so I figured I'd give this another go. Who knows, maybe this'll somehow become a regular thing? "Boo! Get off the stage!" Well fuck you too, Jerry. Don’t just take my word for it though. Look at all these stellar reviews from satisfied readers of my last post:
This list is shit. Nothing on it is good. This guy’s humor sucks. Why the hell didn’t you include X weapon? It’s soooo much better than the ones you included.
See? If that doesn’t solidify your trust in me, I don’t know what will. Anyways, my last post only really covered weapons sold in The Tower. But hey, according to people commenting on it, I had too many guns picked out already, and all of them were shit. So I thought to myself, fuck it, why not add EVEN MORE shitty guns to the list? Because fuck you, and fuck your vault space. But mostly fuck you. I’m gonna be covering weapons that you can’t just grab from a vendor in the dead of night, marks in hand, and desperation in your eyes. No. These guns take skill. They take a steady hand. And most of all, they take RNG. Seriously though, because of the very nature of these guns depending on RNG to both drop, and drop with good rolls, there will probably be a large amount of guns on this list. I will try my best to limit the amount that appear on here, but without set perk rolls, that’s a much harder task than it was last time. It also makes attempting to rank them damn near impossible. I’ll also try at the very end to summarize this post in case things involving words and thinking are not your strong suit. It’s okay, we’re all a little special on the inside. Just, some of us more so than others. As for the rest, I could give you the same rundown I did last post about how I can’t possibly have tested all these weapons, how I’m not responsible for how RNG may fuck you over, and yada yada yada, but that’s long and boring. I like you, so I’m gonna spare you those details. Instead, I’m just gonna say, I’ll suggest you some fucking guns, and you’re gonna fucking like them. “What if I don’t?” I hear you ask. Well tough shit numbnuts. Go make your own fucking guide or some shit then. I don’t care. I’ll just be over here in my corner playing with my better guns. You can just sit over there eating glue or whatever the hell it is you do for fun. Now, everyone else, hop aboard the bullet train! We’re on a journey to gun city. Strap in tight, it’s gonna be a long and bumpy ride (side note: I’m probably on a list now for google searching “kid strapped onto toilet” If you don’t hear back from me, assume the worst.)
Strike Exclusive Weapons:
Just kidding. These will never drop for you. Give up now while you still have hope left in your eyes, Guardian. Still determined? You poor fool. I’ll at least make this easy on you and tell you which ones are worth your time.
Imago Loop – Hand Cannon (Vex Strikes): This thing doesn’t just have the Fatebringer’s archetype. This thing is literally Fatebringer. Metaphorically speaking, of course. Really though, it’s got the exact same stats as Fatrebringer, and can roll with Firefly and Outlaw. You very well could end up with a Year 2 Fatebringer (minus the arc and oracle disrupter anyways. Don’t get greedy now.) If not, it’s still a pretty solid hand cannon. I’ve noticed that most of the hand cannons in TTK have really bad range, yet this sucker has at least 2-2.5x as much base range as them. Just like our little friend Nolandroid (Nolanbot? The Nolanator?), I may not be the best at math, but something being 2x better sounds pretty good to me. Does Not Bow – Auto Rifle (The Shadow Thief): This thing is brown because it’s shit. Nah, I’m just kiddin’. It’s alright. If you were one of those weirdos who liked the look of the PoE AR (It’s okay, I did too) this thing is actually brown like the Devils’ color scheme. Damn good archetype too. It’s basically the same as The Summoner, Shadow Price, Vanquisher, SUROS Regime, and other such AR’s that kicked your ass in crucible. So if you like those guns but thought to yourself “I wish this came in the shape of a turd,” well, there you go. Baron’s Ambition – Machine Gun (Fallen SABER): Basically the same gun as its older, not shit colored version. No idea if you guys tried out the older version, but it was pretty fun. Pretty solid gun either way. Though if your turds are solid, you should probably go see a doctor.
Much like strike weapons, you probably won’t be getting these weapons. However, you do have a better chance, as Oryx isn’t as much of a dick as RNGesus is when it comes to strikes (emphasis on “as much of a dick”).
Smite of Merain – Pulse Rifle: This thing is actually pretty good. The most I could complain about is that its reload speed is a bit too slow (when it comes to pulse rifles, a slow reload speed means your enemy will die of old age before you can get those final rounds in). If you can get past that though (cocoon certainly helps this a ton obviously), it’s a pretty solid choice. Qullim's Terminus – Machine Gun: This thing is literally just Ruin Wake with half the reload speed. If you like Ruin Wake, but think it could use some better stability and range, this thing is for you. The cocoon perk means that you can make range and stability pretty good at the cost of reload speed, which is of no concern with said perk. Plus the third perk slot has some pretty good rolls. If you can get this sucker, I’d definitely hold onto it. Zaouli's Bane – Hand Cannon: In the words of everyone’s favorite person blue bastard, “Good weapon.” (Seriously though, does anyone else get irrationally upset when Rahool blurts out that line? Especially when he’s just finished decrypting it into a mote of light? Thanks man, I’ll just throw this ball of light at my enemies. I’ll tell you how that goes.) This thing’s got decent stability, and pretty good damage output. Plus it’s got the highest aim assistance in the game. The biggest issue is the range, but there’s a few perks to help that out at least somewhat. Defiance of Yasmin – Sniper Rifle: Pretty good sniper. It isn’t completely the high impact, low rate of fire type of sniper that I prefer, but it’s not really low impact, high rate of fire either. It sits nestled somewhere in-between. I wasn’t very fond of the Antimony sniper sold by New Monarchy because of its rather poor stability and poor vendor rolls. This gun, while it does sacrifice some range and reload speed, has a much higher stability to fix this, which I find to be a preferable trade-off. Plus it’s got perks to make range better anyways, and the third perk slot has some decent choices. All without sacrificing the aim assist, which is one of the highest in the game for snipers. Good all-around gun to have. Elulim's Frenzy – Rocket Launcher: It’s alright. If you can’t get your hands on a Vertigo (I don’t know how, FWC is basically giving it to you on a silver platter with your name engraved into it), this isn’t a bad one to replace it with. The lack of an ability to roll for Grenades & Horseshoes and the low base velocity kind of brings it down a notch or two in my book howver. You can mitigate the velocity issue a bit through the perks it provides at least though.
Alright, so maybe PvE and higher level PvP aren’t your thing. Well lucky for you, pity items will drop for you just for playing PvP! And they’re all pretty good. What a novel concept, right? Just make sure you’re at the bottom of the team to increase your odds at said pity drop. Because fuck the guy that did all the work, right?
Party Crasher +1 – Shotgun: Another, ermh, “favorite” returning from HoW. And guess what? Bungie actually buffed its base range slightly to be one of the best in the game. Apparently Bungie and I both enjoy a good glass of salty guardian tears. So yeah. Get a good roll with this sucker, and go nuts. Now if only there was a Glass Half Full perk on this thing, the glass of tears joke would be complete… Split Shifter Pro – Fusion Rifle: This thing was arguably pretty damn good in HoW, and now it’s back. Stability may not be the best compared to fusions like The Vacancy, but its charge rate is one of the best in the game, and it can roll for stability perks anyways. Worth at least giving it a spin if you get one as a drop. Eyasluna – Hand Cannon: This baby Hawkmoon ain’t got its talons yet, so don’t expect it to maim targets as good as its momma bird. But it’s still got a pretty sharp beak to peck your fucking eyes out. I’d hold onto this little guy if you can snatch him from the nest of RNG. Are these bird metaphors becoming a bit too much by the way? I mean, I’m not going to stop, but I was just wondering. The Revelator – Hand Cannon: This is basically Zaouli’s Bane lite. It has the same rate of fire, but slightly less impact. Same aim assistance. Ever so slight better range. Even slighter less stability. Basically, if you can’t get Zaouli’s Bane, this is nice to tide you over until you can. But once you do (especially if it’s the elemental version), kick this girl to the side of the road where she belongs. The Ash Factory – Rocket Launcher: I was personally a bit partial to my Tomorrow’s Answer in HoW, so when I got this as a drop, I just dismantled it. Of course, par for the course, everyone couldn’t wait to tell me how wrong my opinion was (Fuck you too, reddit, I’m moving to voat!). Looking at it now, it’s not a bad launcher. I mean, only having a single rocket in the magazine without tripod sort of kills my explosion boner though. I’d probably still just tell everyone to get a Smolder, as that upsets two parties at once, and I feed on your salt. But anyways, if you get one with Javelin and tripod, it’s worth holding onto. I guess. NL Shadow 701X – Scout Rifle: I’m pretty damn salty Bungie got rid of the ability to roll full auto on this thing from HoW. Either way, it’s a pretty nice scout to get your hands on. It fires pretty damn fast, and the impact is pretty good. Just don’t expect it to really excel in any other departments.
Right on time too! Are you excited to earn some cool weapons all while having fun playing this hyper competitive playlist!? Because you shouldn’t be. Iron Banner will leave you with a new fist-sized window in your wall, and a broken controller. Why? The lag. The bullshit. The incompetent teammates. OH FUCKING BOY THE INCOMPETENT TEAMMATES. For what? Some halfway decent rewards? But you’re going to play anyways. And you’re going to get angry. Just like you always do. You might get a weapon for it. But it won’t be worth it. Have fun!
Nirwen's Mercy – Pulse Rifle: Perhaps you ignored my role as the gun wizard and got yourself a Spare Change.25? And you realized it’s just sort of “alright” after all, and want something to replace it. Well, you’re in luck! Turns out, Lord Saladbar has been kind enough to gift us a pulse rifle with the same archetype as the godly 55A-allFATE, and with better stability and reload speed at the cost of some range. The range is a bit low on this thing compared to the Spare Change, but that can certainly be remedied with a good roll. Finnala's Peril – Hand Cannon: Pretty good gun. It’s basically a Fatebringer with better stability and reload speed, at the cost of a little range. If you aren’t able to grab an Imago Loop or Eyasluna, this is your next best bet. And you certainly aren’t just settling for it. Deidris's Retort – Shotgun: Should you not be able to grab yourself a Party Crasher 2.0, this is a pretty good replacement, mostly because it’s got a pretty good base range. You’re gonna want a roll with more range to catch up with the Party Crasher though, (as its base range is pretty insane) but it fires slightly faster than Party Crasher. Could end up being pretty good with the right roll. Ashraven's Flight – Fusion Rifle: This thing takes longer to charge up, but has the same or worse stability compared to Long Far gone and Split Shifter Pro. However, it also has more impact, meaning it doesn’t require as many bolts to hit in order to kill. It doesn’t really blow me away, but if you get a good roll that satisfies you, I see no reason not to keep it. Weyloran's March – Sniper Rifle: Impact is pretty sucky, so this isn’t a gun you should otherwise be using in PvE. In PvP however, this sucker has a very interesting aspect that you wouldn’t otherwise know about: it has the highest aim assistance for a sniper in the game. Roll it with Hidden Hand, and you’ll be popping headshots you didn’t even intend to land. Haakon's Hatchet – Auto Rifle: Considering how fun to use low impact AR’s are now, this thing doesn’t look half bad to use. If it’s anything like the old Iron Banner AR though, it’s probably got a ton of kick to it, which sucks especially since the stability isn’t the best. You may just be better off grabbing the Dead Orbit AR unless you get a good stability roll. Tormod's Bellows – Rocket Launcher: This thing has pretty good base velocity, and alright blast radius. If you can’t roll a perk to make blast radius better, it’s gonna be disappointing to use compared to other launchers with good blast radius. But if you can, and you get some other good perks with it, it’ll be a solid rocket launcher. Basically, if you feel like just buying The Vertigo is too easy, and you instead want to gamble with RNG (hint, you’ll lose. He rigged the game), go nuts with this thing. Ironwreath-D – Sidearm: Deciding whether to include a weapon based on stats AND potential perk rolls is pretty tough. So when you have a weapon type where all the weapons have basically the exact same stats and possible stat rolls, what the hell do you do? I certainly have no idea. So I’m just plopping this thing here. I’ll let you guys sort things out for yourselves. You’re big boys and girls.
Trials of Osiris:
Trials is gonna be pretty interesting to watch. A change in the way it works, AND no more relying on Thorn to win (RIP Thorns of Osiris and weekly lighthouse visits). And to top it all off, a new meta is likely going to be established very quickly this time around. The other two jokes about not getting weapons were just that: jokes. If you’re not a crucible god, good fucking luck getting these new weapons. If you’re not TripleWreck, you better pray to whatever god you believe in. If you don’t believe in any gods, you damn well better believe in miracles. Because it probably won’t be happening. On the bright side, there are some weapons that are roughly equivalent to the Trials guns (minus the element on the lighthouse versions anyways). Also, I’m just going to save you some reading and say unless otherwise specified, these weapons are basically the best for their archetype. I will therefore be listing replacement guns in this section instead.
The Water Star – Hand Cannon: If you can’t grab this, an Eyasluna or Imago Loop are not too far behind as far as stats. In fact, Imago Loop even has more potential perk rolls than either of the other two. The Doctrine of Passing – Auto Rifle: Archetypal competitors include Antipodal Hindsight, An Answering Chord, SUROS ARI-45, The Dealbreaker, and Does Not Bow. Funny side note that’s also kind of sad: SUROS Regime is actually worse than this thing even though it’s a legendary. Reflection Sum – Pulse Rifle: The Lyudmila-D is the next best option (it’s not that far behind) but its recoil is kind of bad. If you can get a recoil-reduction roll on this thing, it’ll probably be just as good. Otherwise, Spare Change.25 is your only other option. Both these options are guns with some pretty bad recoil, but I have a feeling this thing won’t suffer from it as much, so in the end it’ll probably still be the best anyways. The Inward Lamp – Scout Rifle: If you can pick up a Cocytus SR4, you basically have this gun (slightly worse range, but slightly better stability). If not, consider a Last Extremity or a Colovance's Duty. Binary Dawn – Shotgun: Ah yes, a weapon to surpass Metal Ge—erhm, I mean Party Crasher. Better base range AND impact at the cost of some stability (literally who cares). The next best option is therefore Party Crasher +1. After that, if you can get a range focused roll, a Conspiracy Theory ain’t that bad either. But you aren’t gonna get as much range squeezed out of it as a Binary Dawn or Party Crasher with range perks obviously. Elevating Vision – Fusion Rifle: This thing’s actually not all that amazing in my opinion. You’re actually not much worse off if you just grab a Long Fare Gone, Split Shifter Pro, or The Vortex. Glass Promontory – Sniper Rifle: I had a couple of friends who played Trials a ton when it was first out. We won like every week. One of those friends and I got the old version of this sniper from it, and we both absolutely HATED it. Aiming it just felt so off. This new gun has exactly the same stats, aim assist and all. Personally, I’d say it’s not worth your time. If you’re set on it though, I’d say go with Weyloran's March if you want to go the insane route and max out your aim assist, or go the opposite way and grab a Uzume RR4 if you want to aim your gun and fire like a big boy without the game trying to help. The Unseeing Eye – Machine Gun: So many damn guns trying to get noticed by their senpai, Ruin Wake. This thing is Ruin Wake with a longer reload time, but more bullets in the magazine. Meh. The extra bullets are nice, but I’d rather not take forever trying to reload. The Tamarind – Rocket Launcher: Guys! GUYS! Guess what! They took the old Tomorrow’s Answer and made it infinitely better! How so? More stability! Rocket Launcher users rejoice! Honestly though, just grab a damn Vertigo. Its blast radius is the same, but its velocity is better.
Ah, we’ve reached the final stop. Everyone please grab your belongings. The bullet train will be arriving at gun city shortly. The Gunsmith is fun. He doesn’t seem like he’s actively trying to screw you over, and it always seems like he’s got some pretty good offerings. Plus he’s got a nice voice.
Zarinaea-D – Auto Rifle: This little guy fits the low impact, high rate of fire archetype. I’ve played around with it a little, and I actually really like it. Usually Hakke weapons are a bit more recoil heavy, but I didn’t really notice any such issue with this guy. It looks cool, and in my opinion is better than its SUROS equivalent. SUROS ARI-45 – Auto Rifle: An Answering Chord is arguably a better gun than this as far as range and reload speed, but I like this thing as far as rolls go. After all, both can drop as random rolls, but it’s arguably easier to get the roll you want with this gun because of how the Gunsmith operates. Uffern HC4 – Hand Cannon: Pretty good hand cannon. It’s Fatebringer’s archetype, but with slightly more impact. Range is pretty good compared to the other vendor hand cannons (though equal with Byronic Hero). It’s also got some damn good stability and pretty decent reload speed. Judith-D – Hand Cannon: Really high impact hand cannon with some pretty good range (slightly better than Fatebringer’s), but pretty poor stability and reload speed. However, stability is arguably not as important on low rate of fire hand cannons. That being said, it would still be nice to go for a roll that has a stability upgrade, as well as a reload upgrade of some sort (You can never go wrong with Outlaw). Ace of Spades – This gun is pretty cool. You know how Imago Loop is literally just Fatebringer with a white coat of paint and no arc damage? Well, this thing is as well, but it’s got that little bit extra that makes it special: it was made with love by Cayde. Oh, and some exotic perk that basically makes it so you don’t have to reload if you keep getting kills with it or whatever. It takes away all the pain and suffering of hoping RNG not only drops Imago Loop for you, but also drops it with a Fatebringer roll. SUROS PDX-45 – Pulse Rifle: Not as good as its vendor equivalent the Hawksaw, but I included it for similar reasons as the SUROS ARI-45. Get a roll with full auto and some range (and maybe stability) increasing perks, and this thing’ll be a beast. SUROS PDX-41 – Pulse Rifle: Similar to Nirwen’s Mercy, but with better range at the cost of a little stability and reload speed. Roll this thing for stability, and maybe with Outlaw, and you’re golden. Cocytus SR4 – Scout Rifle: Different archetype from Hung Jury, so I’ll begrudgingly allow it. Its stats aren’t all that bad. High impact scouts aren’t exactly a bad thing to get your hands on. You may want to focus on range and stability for this thing either way. Tlaloc – Scout Rifle: This thing is warlock exclusive. I was REALLY tempted to not bothering including this thing. Why? It’s literally just a Hung Jury with worse stats. It also basically forces you to sit on your super in order to make it a justifiable gun to use your exotic slot for. That being said, when the exotic perk is active, the increased rate of fire makes this thing pretty damn fun to use, and pretty damn effective at that. Immobius – Shotgun: This thing is Titan only. And actually, it wouldn’t really be on this list if it weren’t for its signature perk (its range is sort of sucky otherwise). This thing doesn’t expend ammo when you’re sitting in your defender bubble with armor of light getting kills, AND gets bonus damage when three or more enemies are charging at you. Pretty damn good for locking down a point. Susanoo – Fusion Rifle. This fusion is warlock exclusive, and man, is it nice. Charge rate isn’t the best, but stability is pretty nice, and impact ain’t half bad. And then it has its signature perk to fall back on that makes it start dealing elemental damage based on the elemental damage you just dealt with your subclass. It’s kind of like Dracula if he started spewing blood at his enemies after drinking someone some. Also, I suck at analogies by the way. Thesan FR4 – Fusion Rifle: The Vacancy is a pretty useful little bugger. But fuck that shit, because then there’s this monster. Its charge rate is slightly better at the cost of an exceedingly minor difference in damage and range. And then it has stability and reload speed that kicks The Vacancy’s ass. So yeah, pick this fucker up faster than a puppy that just stole your heart at a rescue shelter. Don’t let it just sit there, whimpering that you just left it behind. Probably to some guy who wouldn’t love it as much as you would. Don’t worry, your man card will still be intact. Eirene RR4 – Sniper Rifle: This guy’s been making some waves as of its recent sale by Banshee. I’ve had this sucker on my list of guns to get before TTK even released. I’m the damn gun wizard. Don’t doubt me. Anyways yeah, it’s got slightly more impact than 1000-yard stare, but less stability and reload speed. Either way, not a bad sniper to have, especially if you can get a good roll on it. Tamar-D – Sniper Rifle: Basically the Antimony sniper with less reload speed. However, I was not fond of the Antimony sniper because of its low stability. This being a gunsmith weapon, you can more easily get a roll with higher stability to make this gun more enjoyable than the Antimony sniper. And you don’t even have to give up much aim assist for it. Stillpiercer – Sniper Rifle: Gotta mention this sniper or people are gonna get mad at me. It’s a 1000-yard stare but with better reload speed and some cool perks. It’s hunter exclusive however, so sorry to everyone not playing an overpowered class ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Lyudmila-D – Pulse Rifle: I have this thing, and I love it to death. However, I didn’t include it for similar reasons to Spare Change.25: it’s got some pretty nasty recoil. For most people, this will be a complete no-no for a pulse rifle especially. I don’t mind it that much, but I can understand why most would. SUROS weapons tend to not have nearly as much kick as Hakke weapons, which is why I only included SUROS weapons for Pulse Rifles. They aren’t bad Pulse Rifles though. SUROS DIS-47 – Scout Rifle: Much like the Lyudmila, I love this thing. It can fire basically as fast as you can pull the trigger. It’s a good weapon for dealing a ton of damage over time as opposed to dealing large amounts of damage all at once. Still some might not like a scout like that. Not to mention your fingers can get tired pretty quick considering how fast you have the slam down the trigger in order to deliver a good amount of damage. Uzume RR4 – Sniper Rifle: This thing’s alright. I’m not an amazing fan of low impact snipers, but I do like snipers with a lower aim assist. This thing has decently low aim assist, which is fine in my book. It also has the highest base stability in the game for making follow up shots easier. However, I realize low impact snipers aren’t the most popular, and self-acclaimed pro snipers can’t wait to tell me how great high aim assist snipers are, so I’m gonna leave this little guy right here. SUROS JLB-47 – Rocket Launcher: Just get The Vertigo dammit. If you really don’t, this thing is the exact same launcher, but you can choose the perks it rolls with easier. But honestly, The Vertigo already has good perks, so why bother?
Alright everyone. We’ve reached our destination. Everyone get the fuck off my train. The trip isn’t completely over yet though! Because RNGesus’ wrath knows no bounds, your bus home has been delayed. So you get to sit here longer and look at whatever else I have to show you. For all you fuckers who don’t like to read (I got enough comments about it last time to know there’s plenty of you out there), here’s a nice concise summary of everything. But before we get to the nice concise summary, here’s a lot of reading. Now pay close attention, because this could get complicated. I have each weapon split into the archetype it fits for its weapon type. Next to that archetype, I have listed the general stats for weapons of that archetype (such as low or high range, low or high stability, etc.). Next to each weapon, I have listed the stats important to that weapon type, and how much you should focus on improving the weapon in said areas in order to make it hit the best stats for that archetype. So if an AR has a stability of 10/100, and the highest stability in that archetype is 40/100, it will be listed that the weapon we are looking at needs a high focus on stability. But if a weapon has a stability of 40/100 and the highest weapon stability in that archetype is, say, 45/100, then the weapon will be listed as needing a low focus on stability. Make sense? It should be noted that while this makes it easy for comparing how much work is needed to make a gun good within an archetype, it isn’t that useful for comparing across archetypes. Therefore, you should pick the archetype you are most fond of, and search within that. There’s no easy way for me to compare across archetypes besides what I’ve already done (listing what the archetype as a whole tends to gravitate around). Here’s some tips on using that to the best potential: If an archetype is listed as low stability, and a weapon in that archetype is listed with a low focus on stability, it’s pretty close to the best stability stat in that archetype. However, its stability stat isn’t that great in the grand scheme of things because of its archetype. If the weapon was listed as having a high focus on stability in that archetype, that means its stability is pretty damn piss poor in comparison to other AR’s. Likewise, if an archetype is listed as high stability, and a weapon is listed with a low focus on stability, overall, it’s got a pretty damn amazing base stability. But if it’s listed as having a high focus on stability, while its stability is likely alright, and perhaps better than an archetype with low stability, its stability isn’t all that great in comparison to its peers. You must also take into account that the higher the rate of fire a weapon has, the more stability it will need. So an AR with only medium stability isn’t that bad if it’s a high impact archetype, but will kick like a bronco if it’s a low impact archetype. If all these words confused you, and perhaps even scared you, it’s probably just easiest to pick an archetype that sounds good, and pick out the weapon you think looks coolest. I’ve done most of the heavy lifting for you already anyways.
High Impact: Low to medium stability, medium to high range
Doctrine of Passing – Trials – Low focus on stability, medium focus on range
SUROS ARI-45 – Gunsmith – Medium focus on stability, low focus on range
Does Not Bow – The Shadow Thief – Medium focus on stability and range
Low Impact: Medium to high stability, low to medium range
Haakon’s Hatchet – Iron Banner – Medium focus on stability and range
Zarinaea-D – Gunsmith – Medium focus on stability, low focus on range
High Impact: Low to medium stability, high range
The Inward Lamp – Trials – Medium focus on stability, low focus on range
Cocytus SR4 – Gunsmith – Medium focus on stability, low focus on range
Low Impact: Medium stability, low range
NL Shadow 701X – Crucible – High focus on stability and range
SUROS DIS-47 – Gunsmith – Medium focus on stability, High focus on range
High Impact: Medium stability and range
Judith-D – Gunsmith – High focus on stability, low focus on range
Imago Loop – Vex Strikes – High focus on stability, low focus on range
The Water Star – Trials – High focus on stability, low focus on range
Eyasluna – Crucible – Medium focus on stability, low focus on range
Finnala's Peril – Iron Banner – High focus on stability, low focus on range
Uffern HC4 – Gunsmith – Low focus on stability, medium focus on range
Low Impact: Medium stability, low range
The Revelator – Crucible – Medium focus on stability, low focus on range
Zaouli's Bane – King’s Fall – Medium focus on stability, low focus on range
High Impact: Low to medium stability, high range
Reflection Sum – Trials – Low focus on stability and range
Lyudmila-D – Gunsmith – Low focus on stability and range
Medium Impact: High stability, medium range
Nirwen’s Mercy – Iron Banner – Low focus on stability, medium focus on range
SUROS PDX-41 – Gunsmith – Low focus on stability and range
Smite of Merain – King’s Fall – Low focus on stability and range
Low Impact: High stability, low range
SUROS PDX-45 – Gunsmith – Low focus on stability and range
High Impact: Medium to high range
Binary Dawn – Trials – Low focus on range
Party Crasher +1 – Crucible – Low focus on range
Deidris's Retort – Iron Banner – Low to medium focus on range
High Charge Rate: Medium stability, low impact
Elevating Vision – Trials – Medium focus on stability
Split Shifter Pro – Crucible – Medium focus on stability
Medium Charge Rate: Medium to high stability and impact
Thesan FR4 – Gunsmith – Low focus on stability
Ashraven's Flight – Iron Banner – High focus on stability
High Impact: Medium to high stability
Eirene RR4 – Gunsmith – Low to medium focus on stability
Medium Impact: Low to medium stability
Tamar-D – Gunsmith – Medium focus on stability
Defiance of Yasmin – Low focus on stability
Low Impact: Medium to high stability
Uzume RR4 – Gunsmith – Low focus on stability
Weyloran's March – Iron Banner – Low focus on stability
Glass Promontory – Trials – Medium focus on stability
High Impact: High stability, medium range
The Unseeing Eye – Trials – Low focus on stability and range
Qullim's Terminus – King’s Fall – Low focus on stability and range
Medium Impact: High stability and range
Baron's Ambition – Fallen SABER – Low focus on stability and range
SUROS JLB-47 – Gunsmith – Low focus on blast radius, low focus on velocity
The Tamarind – Trials – Low focus on blast radius, high focus on velocity
The Ash Factory – Crucible – Low focus on blast radius, medium focus on velocity
Tormod's Bellows – Iron Banner – High focus on blast radius, low focus on velocity
Elulim's Frenzy – King’s Fall – Low focus on blast radius, high focus on velocity
As a final note, I’m obviously not suggesting you get ALL of these weapons (gotta clear this up because this wasn’t obvious enough last time apparently). These are just suggestions of ones to look at. These are guns that if you get a good roll to combat the listed weaknesses, you’ll overall have a really good weapon on your hands. If you get something that isn’t on this list or the vendor weapon list, it probably isn’t worth your time. Which one you get, and which rolls you get, are up to RNG. Which ones you keep are up to you. If you have any questions over what I personally believe to be the best weapon to snag for each category, I’ll be more than happy to give my two cents. Happy hunting, Guardians!
An in-depth review of the "Ghost Mode" gameplay overhaul mod
As I'm sure you can all relate, the 10th Witcher Games Anniversary video brought a lot of feels. And with them came the itch to do yet another playthrough of my favourite video game. This time, to freshen up the experience, I decided to break from my tradition of only installing visual enhancement mods and look into the gameplay overhauls recommended on the sub. To my surprise in-depth assessments of these mods were nowhere to be found. True you can look up detailed descriptions of what they change, but that won't give you an impression of how the changes work in practice nor an objective look at how they impact the overall experience. Thus the goal of this thread is to help you decide if you would enjoy using "Ghost Mode" for your next playthrough and to serve as a resource for posterity. Note: the title of this post is no misnomer. This is a long read. If you already have an idea of what the mod is about and are just wondering "if it's any good", then feel free to skip to the TLDR rating section at the bottom.
First thing first, all the changes introduced by the mod remain true to the vanilla feel, flow and story of the game. There is no need to worry that the game you know and love will suddenly be unrecognisable, that you won't know your arse from your elbow. Secondly, I do not plan to rehash the full changelog in this review. Changes from Vanilla will only be mentioned if they are relevant to the point I am making.
Started playthrough on version 2.6, updated to 2.7 when it was released and finished the game on it. No other gameplay altering mods installed
All mod configuration options left at author intended, default, values
Full 148 hour run including all DLC, side quests & question marks (minus Skellige smugglers' of course)
Death March difficulty throughout with a light armour sword & alchemy build
Dsiclaimer: this review is written with the above in mind. I do not claim my experience to be completely exhaustive. For example, things which were difficult or annoying for my setup might be trivial for others and vice versa. Your mileage may vary.
The mod has been implemented in a competent way. I did not notice any performance decrease compared to Vanilla and encountered no game breaking bugs. There was only a single major issue in 2.6 which was repeatable and highly annoying, but thankfully it seems to be fully fixed with version 2.7. Immersion has been improved and the game world is more believable. Some examples:
You are more likely to find regional alcohol in its respective area, such as Redanian Herbal in Novigrad and Oxenfurt or Temerian Rye in Velen.
Bucketfuls of Alcohest are no longer found in every crate, nook and cranny. There is a new type of strong alcohol - "homemade pepper vodka", which is reasonably cheap and perfect for potion replenishment. It is sold by all innkeepers which gives you an actual reason to stop by your roadside tavern, aside from buying gwent cards of course.
You no longer find rare crafting materials such as dimeritium bars, runes & glyphs in peasant hovels.
Geralt can now actually perform normal daily activities in game, which would be quite useful on the Path, such as cooking food or shaving himself with a razor. The latter is especially great because it also solves the issue of enchanted beard sprouting during cutscenes.
You now get new books and notes during certain quests which enrich the stories and are lore friendly. If you've always wanted to read the letter Vlodimir penned for Olgierd now you can! The writing quality is a bit inconsistent in some of them, but overall they are a good addition.
The amount of coin you naturally accrue is a lot more reasonable. For example the Taxman Cometh at 15 000 crowns, instead of 35 000. Previously it felt a bit weird to run around with more wealth than Hierarch Hemmelfart in your pockets without even trying.
Quests and Experience
Quest level requirements have been reworked. No longer do you get quests which are of a lower level requirement compared to their predecessor. Some quests are moved later in the story to fit better with the narrative. One example of this is "Following the Thread". In the vanilla game this is a required level 11 quest, when sailing to Skellige requires level 16. In GM its level requirement has been increased to 17.
Quest rewards have been rebalanced. Experience rewards are more evenly distributed among main quests and "main secondary" quests (e.g. contracts), so you no longer feel like you get nearly nothing in terms of character progression by doing them. Gold rewards are also more appropriate to the task and the social status of the quest giver. Haggling has a much bigger impact on your final reward.
The stats on all monster trophies have been reworked to be more unique and have a greater impact on your character. This is a good change which will see you tailor your trophy choice according to your build and/or according to the enemy you are about to face, rather than all of them being practically useless homogeneous stuffed heads.
The way the experience penalty works has also been changed. Previously you would get 100% of quest experience if you were at most 5 levels above the quest level, and basically 0% if you were 6 levels above or more. Now for every level you are above a quest the experience reward is reduced by 16%. This also works the other way around, you will receive an experience bonus for doing quests which are higher level than you.
Experience rewards no longer vary with combat difficulty, which is a nice change. Total amount of experience seems to be slightly reduced overall. I would finish my Vanilla DM runs at level 52 and, playing the same quest order, finished GM at level 49.
Overall, I don't believe the new experience penalty system is an improvement over the original for one simple reason: it encourages more meta-gaming. Previously you could delay the main quest for a while because you knew you had a 5 level cushion before you would get punished. Now you are pushed to do the main quests as soon as possible because every single level difference brings significant experience penalties. Given that the main quest is where you obtain the bulk of your XP, GM tries to force you into a specific quest order which never feels good. Not to mention that losing 16% of the experience for gaining a single level is questionable, when very often that level brings an insignificant increase to Geralt's power.
The best experience system in my opinion would consist of:
GM's total experience amount, distribution and reworked quest level requirements
No experience penalty for overlevelling quests and no bonus for being underlevelled
This way you get the best of both worlds. You get to tailor the quest order to your liking, without having to suffer meta-gaming pressure, and at the same time Geralt will not end up overlevelled.
This is usually the number one reason why people recommend this mod and it is clear to see why. The author has implemented a great number of improvements to nearly all of the vanilla systems. Combat is more challenging and rewards players for their skill and preparation better. Geralt's overpowered traits and abilities have been toned down and your specialisation makes a much bigger difference to how you approach fights. Overall, most battles are more fun with GM compared to vanilla. However this comes at a cost: namely the "realism", feel and flow of combat have all decreased to facilitate the above. Let's examine the 4 main areas where GM changes combat and evaluate them in detail.
The first thing you will probably notice is that "all enemies have a reduced reaction time". The reason I put quotes around that phrase is because I don't know the actual inner workings of the mod and precisely how it has modified the AI scripts. Therefore I am just calling the effect as I saw and experienced it during my playthrough. The easiest way to describe it is: the time frame between you being in range of an enemy and the enemy starting their action is now much lower. The primary effect of this change is an increase in difficulty. You now have to have faster reflexes in order to be able to dodge enemy attacks. Additionally, enemies will spend significantly less time in a hit recovery state after you land a blow. Which means that you won't be able to chain as many attacks as you could before, since your enemy will dodge/retaliate much more rapidly. This change really shines when it comes to boss fights. The faster enemy reaction time forces you to play by the boss' rules and pay attention to their mechanics, rather than treating them as a higher health & damage generic enemy. To give a concrete example, let us look at the Olgierd fight at the burning manor. In Vanilla you can easily beat him on Death March by ignoring the fight's mechanics. You simply position yourself slightly outside of his melee range and start a rend which he walks into. Then you follow this up with a quick dodge to the side to avoid the sand in the eyes and immediately start another rend. The boss gets locked in the above AI loop and you win pretty easily. The reduced reaction time in Ghost Mode counters this perfectly. By the time you are winding up your rend the boss, instead of walking into your sword, starts his own attack which targets where you will be after you swing and hits you before you can deal any damage. So to beat him I had to actually play by the rules, which means conventional sword swinging is out of the question, especially as you also leave yourself open to a quick counter attack which kills you in 2-3 hits. The rules in this case are: counter his attack, swing once and go on the defensive. There are three different attacks he throws at you:
The red charge: when you are far away from him, it is the easiest to counter and the bare minimum required to win. If you can only counter this then you will win, but it will take ages.
The phase charge: is when he turns semi transparent and steps side to side. He only does this if your are slightly outside of melee range, so you have much less margin of error on your counter. If you are quick enough you can counter this type of attack with a close to 100% success rate, which means that a better player can defeat him much more rapidly.
Finally we have the slash combo, which he does when you are in melee range. This one is also counterable, but the reaction time is so small I didn't feel it was worth the risk. Especially because if you fail it and only parry you will be locked in that stance for a few of his hits which will drain your stamina significantly (and you cannot counter without stamina, but more on this topic later).
So as you can see from the above GM makes you pay attention to the intended mechanics and rewards skilled play. The change to reaction time also has its downsides however, and they are major ones. Most notably, enemies which have extremely fast attack animations by default become unfair in melee combat. Especially if they are in a group. The best example of this problem are all of the insectoid type enemies like the endregas and the kikimores. Their attack animation is fast and when you pair it with an increased aggression and run speed it means that you literally cannot attack them preemptively. If you start any type of attack (without dodging one of their attacks or parrying first) they will strike you first, even if you were outside of their melee range when you initiated your swing. As you can probably tell fighting groups of these enemies is extremely annoying especially early on. Later you can cheese them by unloading your entire reserve of Dancing Stars & Northern wind bombs for some semblance of crowd control, but even that is like putting a plaster on an amputated leg. What's strange is that looking at past feedback numerous people have complained about these enemies, throughout the mod's life cycle. Yet the author has failed to address the problem, which is that they shouldn't have reduced reaction time in the first place. Such empty difficulty, only for its own sake is never good. Another downside is that early on you cannot take on groups of certain enemies, like wraiths, nekkers or insectoids for example, without resorting to AI abuse. This probably only applies to the higher difficulties, but when the best way of beating groups in the early game is dragging enemies one by one to the edge of their AI leash it doesn't feel good. No matter how skilled you are in melee combat you cannot defeat such packs head on without numerous deaths, which doesn't make you feel like a witcher at all in those encounters. Finally, GM also implements monster "dodge" with a much more heavy handed approach compared to Vanilla. All sorts of enemies will now dodge your attacks more frequently. This is yet another example of where combat quality was sacrificed in order to increase combat difficulty. I write "dodge" in quotation marks because normally the word implies that the enemy sees your attack and reacts to it by getting out of the way. This mod makes the enemies which "dodge" the most feel like blatant AI bots with rigid if-then logic in their script, which harms immersion. Some examples:
Enemies dodging mid attack, when it makes no sense for them to do so
Werewolves dodging while airborne in the middle of their lunge
Humans dodging attacks that come from behind them and they cannot see
Shrieker glitching into its "on the ground" dodge animation while flying, after being shot with a crossbow
Occasionally enemies dodging attacks while burning, sirens dodging when knocked down etc.
Skill Balance changes
A lot of adjustments have been made to the skill tree in order to improve how balanced Geralt is in combat. The changes can mostly be summed up by saying "baseline Geralt was nerfed". What that means in practice is that witchering aspects you do not invest points into will be significantly worse compared to vanilla. For example the signs, crossbow and damage bombs are a lot less useful for my mainly sword focused build. This is a good thing as specialisation encourages more diversity in your playstyle. Here are some examples:
Quen no longer always blocks at least 1 attack, regardless of how much damage it's supposed to absorb. Now it's no longer the combat crutch it used to be in Vanilla as it will only absorb the value of the shield and the rest of the damage will go through.
Poison and bleed effects are no longer extremely overpowered boss monster killers. Their duration and damage are significantly reduced to the point where 1 poison application is equal to about 2 additional sword attacks. Still good, but now balanced.
Crossbow & Bombs now only deal half damage if they were auto aimed. And of course manual aiming during combat is way too slow unless you have invested into the related skills. There seem to be a few minor bugs related to these items. For example manual crossbow shots sometimes don't bring big flyers down despite hitting them successfully. Superior Samum, manually aimed, dealing 5 (yes five) damage on kikimores.
In general overpowered skills have been nerfed (rend, whirl, euphoria etc.) while underpowered abilities have been buffed (crippling strikes, undying, counter attack etc.).
Overall the skill tree feels significantly more polished and we now have a lot more viable choices to pick from.
The way dodging and rolling worked in Vanilla was a simple binary check. Did you press the appropriate button before the attack connected with your character? If yes then avoid all damage, regardless of where your character ended up going (for attacks which can be dodged). And while this was still a big improvement from the second game, the i-frames were way too generous and the moves lacked any stamina cost. Which made it all to easy to just spam the dodge button and be invulnerable. GM changes this behaviour by also taking into account the direction Geralt moves in when dodging/rolling with respect to the enemy attack. Now if you dodge in time but still end up connecting with the attack, depending on the angle, you will take partial damage and debuffs based on what direction you were going in. Parrying and countering have been significantly enhanced compared to the base game. Essentially now you can parry/counter nearly all attacks, those coming from monsters included. Taking counters as an example, you may counter light attacks just like before - by reducing all incoming damage - but now you retaliate against monsters with a "counter slash". This also applies to heavy attacks (including hammer and spear wielding humans) except that damage is reduced only by 50%. Both parry and counter now have a stamina cost depending on the attack you have deflected. This is a great addition to the game in my opinion. It plays perfectly with the risk and reward scale. Countering carries a greater reward because you spend your time negating the monster attack and dealing damage on your own, instead of just negating as you would with a dodge. However the risk is also greater because you confusing monster light and heavy attacks means you will take significant damage, especially if your build is not prepared for it. Yet another gameplay element where skill is rewarded.
Armour, stamina and different playstyles
Stamina management is now a big part of combat, rather than a mere afterthought with Tawny oil. The base regeneration rate is significantly reduced, all combat actions pause this regeneration for a short while and counter and parry stamina costs are increased. The armour you are wearing now also affects your stamina more than the Vanilla regeneration penalties. Light armour has no penalties and increases stamina regen, medium armour introduces a stamina cost for rolling & sprinting and heavy armour has stamina costs associated with rolling, dodging and sprinting. Armour now plays a much bigger role in the game thanks to its significantly increased damage absorption capabilities. Plenty of enemies now have high armour values which also makes the armour penetration stat on swords better. To help with this, your heavy attacks now have a significant amount of armour penetration by default. This means that quick attack spam is no longer maximum dps against all enemy types and you will have to mix in heavy attacks much more frequently. Some enemies like golems are so heavily armoured that using quick attacks against them is basically pointless. Similarly, high armour values on your gear now make a big dent in the incoming damage whereas in Vanilla they were useless and the only thing that mattered were the resistances on the gear. Both of these changes together translate into very distinct melee combat playstyles depending on which Witcher set you are wearing, which is one of the best features of GM for me.
Light Armour: the Cat set provides the combat experience which is closest to Vanilla DM, with a few important tweaks. Firstly, because you have very little damage reduction, Quen is practically useless. It won't even fully absorb a light attack from a drowner. This combined with the change to the defensive techniques means that you actually have to be quick on your feet and good at dodging, you can only rely on your own skill. Secondly you can also mix in counters for increased dps once you are familiar with the attack patterns of the enemies. However you still have to dodge heavy attacks due to your lack of defence. This makes the Feline armour playstyle a skillful dance combining counters & dodging which is extremely fun, especially against bosses and small enemy groups.
Medium Armour: the Wolf set is a bit of a jack of all trades, master of none. It has less damage compared to the Cat but more defensive stats and armour. This essentially means that your playstyle is similar to the Cat but you reduce some of the risk and settle for a lesser reward. You still can't afford to counter heavy attacks, but at the same time the stamina penalties for sprinting and rolling are mostly irrelevant as the latter is only necessary to get out of the way of enemy AoE attacks. As a result you will be safer against large groups compared to the cat but will have to settle for reduced offensive capabilities.
Heavy Armour: the Bear set in GM presents a markedly different combat experience compared to vanilla. The quickest way to describe it is as an "immovable object". The stamina cost for dodging means that you will spend all of your time holding your ground and countering ALL enemy attacks (apart from AoE). The high armour value and damage resists mean that you can shrug off heavy attacks with ease. Combine this with talents that use adrenaline to heal you and an Ekkimara decoction to create a true tank build. However, due to the slow stamina regeneration signs are pretty much out of the question because every sign costs 10+ counter attacks leading to a big dps loss. This playstyle is extremely fun against groups of enemies because it allows you to combine defense with offense and simultaneously negate enemy damage. It also has its weaknesses - namely big enemies and bosses who make heavy use of area effect attacks, such as Griffins and Imlerith for example. Overall I didn't spend much time testing this playstyle in my run, but I found it very satisfying and fun. Definitely keen on using it for a complete playthrough in the future.
Another highlight of the GM combat enhancements are the 1v1 fist fights (seriously). They are much more challenging, fun and skill intensive due to the reworked stamina system. In Vanilla these were pretty formulaic - keep your distance from the opponent so that they only lunge with a heavy attack, which is easier to counter compared to the fast jabs. Counter it, throw a one-two and then rinse and repeat. In Ghost Mode you no longer have the stamina to consecutively counter all attacks and must spend some time in between counters to recover, which introduces a great deal of tension and makes the fights more skillful. Remember, dodging pauses your stamina regeneration so you don't have an easy way around this. Especially as many arenas are quite small which make this process challenging. Furthermore blocking jabs costs significantly less stamina, so if you're confident in countering the opponent's fast attacks you have a great opportunity to skill display. In addition group fist fights are a lot easier compared to Vanilla, because the opponents aren't health sponges. This is another great change in my book as those were pretty tedious and the fist fight system doesn't really work great for group combat.
Finally, to finish off this section, I would like to spend some time looking at enemy balance in the Blood & Wine expansion. There were several problems with it in my opinion, which overall decrease the quality of the experience.
Giant centipedes deal too much damage. Yes they are generally easy to avoid, however them one shotting a character in master crafted Feline Gear + Quen + Superior Insect Oil + Protective Coating + 600 hp green mutagen at full life seems excessive. I'd suggest a 30% damage nerf. For comparison, level appropriate Giant Centipedes hit harder than red skull cyclopses and werewolves.
High concentration of monsters which work badly with the reduced reaction times due to their instant attacks.
Arachnomorph damage seems to be balanced against them hitting you once when most of the time they double tap you, which enables 1 small spider to pretty much instantly kill you from full life if you make a mistake. Damage should be reduced by at least 40%.
The two Guardian Panthers in the Professor Moreau quest are extremely overtuned for when you face them and, as a consequence, require extremely cheesy strategies to beat.
Alps are probably the hardest enemies in the whole game. Thankfully you only have to fight them twice. The first one's alone and she's manageable, but the second involves you getting tag-teamed by a Bruxa as well and that one is quite painful. It's a good thing Dettlaff can mind control other "lesser" vampires, because otherwise one of those ginger vamps would easily wipe the floor with both him & Regis at the same time.
Items and crafting
Witcher set bonuses now scale with the number of pieces equipped rather than being binary. Bonuses also apply from the lowest set tier and not just Grandmaster level. This is a good change in my book as they diversify your combat style from an earlier stage of the game. Set swords are no longer the best weapons for their level requirement, so exploring the world and doing contracts for relics feels much more rewarding.
The weapon & armour upgrade kits, sold by master craftsmen, are a great addition to the game. They allow you to increase the base damage/armour of your equipment by increasing its level requirement by 1 (i.e. the Aerondight effect). This enables you to make use of those special relic swords like: Hjalmar's Steel Sword, Pang of Conscience, Blade of the Bits, Winter's Blade etc. from the moment you obtain them to as long as you wish. This means that you must only pick a weapon based on if its secondary stats have synergy with your build, and this opens up a lot of choices and min-maxing.
Speaking of special relic swords, these now have significantly improved secondary stats which makes them stand out from the generic random relics. Depending on your build you will probably end up using one of these for most of your playthrough. It feels great to get a "special" sword reward for a quest which is actually useful and not vendor fodder like in Vanilla.
Equipment crafting now requires significantly less materials, so you are no longer forced to dismantle an entire army's worth of arsenal to craft something. Unfortunately the craftsmen will now rip you off much harder, comparatively to Vanilla, with their fees. So if you want to unlock all the levels of the Runewright and deck out Corvo Bianco in the various Witcher sets you will still have to pick up and vendor massive amounts of loot.
Crafting costs of random weapons in the early game, before you can access sets and contract relics, are prohibitively expensive.
White Gull isn't so difficult to produce anymore as it doesn't require Redanian Herbal and you can craft the Mandrake Cordial yourself, white honey now comes with more charges - both are nice QoL changes.
Potions and bombs require significantly less ingredients, so theoretically you would need to spend less time picking flowers. However considering that you could buy most of these cheaply from herbalists in the vanilla game (and still can) this change is more or less irrelevant in practice.
Cooking recipes are a good addition to the immersion in my experience. A witcher on the path should be able to cook himself a meal while squatting in some untamed wilderness. Unfortunately, in practice I did not use these recipes at all after leaving White Orchard. There are a few problems with the current implementation:
Food & drink healing is not balanced according to the amount of ingredients required to produce. For example, right at the start of the game you can learn how to make apple juice which is in the top tier of drink healing and costs next to nothing to make, in contrast with other much more expensive drink recipes which very often heal for less. Food recipes require way too many ingredients (the vast majority of which must be bought) and offer sub par healing in comparison.
Human enemies in Velen and onwards drop way too much food, often between 2-3 pieces each. Why should I waste money buying ingredients and cooking when I could obtain something nearly as good for free?
Coking recipes are too expensive for what they offer. They could use a 50% coin cost reduction across the board. Food recipes should require less ingredients. There should be more distinct healing "tiers" for different food & drink, less total recipes and bandits should drop less grub to incentivise people to interact with the system.
Enemies focusing more on NPCs during combat (if present) makes certain escort quests significantly more annoying on Death March: namely the Black Pearl and the Skellige mine clearing duo. Those NPCs could use a buff to their survivability.
All wolves/dogs & boars are significantly weaker compared to the vanilla game. Probably a design decision, but it feels out of place since all other enemies are harder. Wolves in the Land of a Thousand Fables do have level appropriate stats unlike all their siblings for some reason.
Kinks to the extra books/notes feature: fist fight quests keep giving you the same note after a brawl for every brawl, many texts are given out at weird times. For example, right at the beginning of some action sequence.
Early game bosses and contract monsters (level req < 15) could use a modest health reduction to prevent boredom. Later on the only enemy that felt too "health spongy" was Iris' nightmare. Those Olgierds could use a health reduction because at the moment the fight is quite repetitive, lacks the atmosphere of the burning manor fight and so becomes a bit tedious.
The base Yrden duration is too short and makes fighting Wraith bosses extremely tedious early on, until you get Enhanced or preferably Superior Moon Dust.
Superior Cursed Oil now requires berserker skin which is not obtainable in Skellige if you investigate the massacre with Ceris. Previously there was a bug where berserkers spawned near Kaer Morhen, but this seems to be fixed in the newest version. The only place I found berserker skin in the whole game was in the Borsodi vault (?), dropped by one of his guardsmen (??). Either put a copy of the ingredient somewhere in the Vildkaarls' village, or change it to some other more lore appropriate place. The current location makes no sense.
The inventory weight system is at best a sidegrade to Vanilla. Yes, it is unrealistic that Geralt is able to hold all these weightless ingredients in Roach's saddlebags. So this mod now gives them weight and forces you to regularly deposit all your ingredients in the stash. Then to access them more conveniently every time you are at an appropriate vendor (alchemist/blacksmith/armourer) Geralt is able to telepathically access said stash to obtain the ingredients. To me it seems like one unrealistic element was simply replaced with a different one equally as unrealistic, so what's the point?
In all fairness you can reduce the weight of all items from the mod options, but that slider leads to even more immersion problems. Because if you wish to compensate for the weight on all the ingredients you have to turn up the slider so much that all the swords and armour now weigh practically nothing as well. A better solution would be keeping the weight slider and adding a check box for "Zero ingredient weight", or just using the vanilla weight system because the current implementation isn't a clear improvement.
I find the name of the mod to be a bit unfortunate, since it has nothing to do with any of the content. Makes you wonder if it's one of the reasons why it is not more popular.
Grapeshot seems to deal insignificant damage to higher level enemies. Superior version of it hits arachas for 5 damage with an aimed shot for example. Even without bomb talents it shouldn't be this weak.
Aerondight has lost a great deal of its unique flavour (all items can now be upgraded) and the nerf to its secondary stats was too great. Before it would give 10% attack power per stack, up to 10 stacks, now this has been reduced to 5% crit damage. For comparison, random relic swords can spawn with 60%+ critical damage and have 4 other secondary stats as well. Not to mention free sockets, which cost ~8000 gold for Aerondight. Finally, while the bonus at maximum stacks is still great it's now harder to maintain due to the decreased enemy reaction time, is basically non-existent against all the instant attack foes (and for heavy armour builds) and has overlap with several consumables (thunderbolt potion & oils now give crit chance) and talents which reduces its effectiveness even further. Overall the sword feels underwhelming and not worth using.
Olgierd's sabre, Iris, no longer gains charges when enemies block your attacks and doesn't buff the damage of the fast attacks. To compensate it now deals 10% of target's maximum life in addition to the other bonus damage when charged. I was very excited to use this sword with the new item upgrade kits and was left moderately disappointed. The life loss penalty is still too big and basically forces you into using Katakan decoction which doesn't feel great. Furthermore, to charge the sword you must deliver 3 successful fast attacks in succession. Against armoured enemies this feels horrible as you're effectively whacking them with a wet noodle until you can charge the finisher. In addition, humans are much more likely to dodge your attacks compared to before causing you to often whiff on the charged strong attack while still paying the health cost. Overall the sword is still worth using and feels satisfying with the Severance runeword, however I would like to see some quality of life change: for example halving the health penalty.
This mod breaks the following achievements: equipping a full witcher set (Armed and Dangerous), equipping all the grandmaster set pieces (Dressed to Kill), equipping Aerondight (Embodiment of the Five Virtues). Tested on GoG. Probably irrelevant for 99% of people, but worth mentioning.
The Undvik set has less armour than the basic Feline set, despite having a higher level requirement and being heavy armour.
Superior Full Moon heal, based on current toxicity, either does not work or heals a minuscule amount.
Kill count bestiary section feels a bit too arcade-y and gimmicky for my tastes. Would prefer it hidden at the bottom of the list and collapsed by default or, better yet, an optional toggle in the mod options if possible.
I will now attempt to rate this mod based on an arbitrary scale I just made up. A score of 5/10 means that overall the mod neither improves nor deteriorates the experience when compared to the original game. A higher score than that is good, lower is bad.
-1 for the fast reaction times on enemies with instantaneous attack animations (and the fact that this hasn't been fixed for so long) and the balancing issues of Blood & Wine.
-0.5 for the overall lowered quality of the combat experience: namely its feel, flow & realism.
-0.5 for all the points listed in the Nitpick section.
-0.5 for the experience penalty system which promotes meta-gaming and for the subpar support of the NG+ mode
Overall: 7.5/10. Despite the occasional hiccups I thoroughly enjoyed my playthrough with Ghost Mode. I found the mod to be an overall improvement to the base game and definitely recommend it.
Never Asked Questions
Q: What difficulty should I play on? A:
You are looking for a similar challenge to vanilla Death March or early game B&BB, to see if you like the other gameplay changes? Story & Sword. If you don't care about the combat then I would suggest that you also reduce monster damage from the mod options.
You played on Death March from level 1 and found it too easy? Blood and Broken Bones.
You played on Death March from level 1 with self-imposed limitations such as: no Quen, not using set swords, deliberately skipping some of the best talents and found it too easy? Death March.
Q: What build did you use? A:Combat/Alchemy - GM Death March I went for delusion & poisoned blades first. Muscle memory & strength training second, then back to alchemy for protective coating, afterwards filled out the combat tree. Undying was only equipped once the first B&W skill slot was unlocked and I could move an alchemy skill there, on lower difficulty levels I would replace it with Razor Focus. Delusion is optional. I pick it mostly for RP reasons although the extra stamina regen is nice, especially early on. If you don't want to use it then replace it with the Synergy skill from the alchemy tree.
Q: Any other interesting stats/tidbits from your run? A:
Hardest 1v1 fight: werewolf outside of the Whispering Hillock, ~10 deaths.
Other boss fights with number of deaths in parenthesis: WO Griffin (1), Imlerith (2), Toad Prince (0), Olgierd (3), Caretaker (1), Olgierds (2), Caranthir (0), Eredin (1), Dettlaff (0)
Hardest group fight: arachas cave south west of Harviken on Faroe, 8 deaths.
Found the "Tor Zirael" sword for the first time ever in 4 playthroughs, not sure if finally lucky or spawn chance increased in the mod. Unfortunately, stats wise it's still rubbish.
Best options strategy if you intend to profit off of small directional moves?
Title. Let's say hypothetically you found a liquid underlying in which for whatever reason, you are confident in that you can predict that at least one day will be profitable within a 3-4 day period, to a 75% win rate. So a "win" occurs when any day ends favorably (even if it's very small, minus commissions). And at that point, you exit the trade. EDIT: I'll make it more "realistic" in terms of math. Let's say the strategy has a 90% win rate, but the losses are 3 times greater than the wins. For example, I buy SPY at 270 Monday. On Tuesday, it falls to 268.5. But then on Wednesday, it rises to 271.3. At that point, exit the trade. Naturally, the moves are going to be small most of the time. Especially if binary events are avoided. EDIT: Losses are cut when the reasons I entered the trade no longer exist. That could happen if a unexpected breakout occurs, or if the trade just drifts slightly in the red for 3-4 days doing nothing. Of course, buying/shorting stock is one way to execute this strategy. But if one were to do this with options rather than buying/shorting stock, what would be a good way to do this? Since I would be avoiding earnings days and probably dividend days, this will be executed in low IV. This was the only idea I could think of that might fit this strategy:
Weekly vertical spreads, long leg ITM and short leg OTM.
Are there any other possibilities? Regular long calls/puts seem like a no-go because they don't seem to work well for a strategy aiming for small directional moves. But maybe someone could change my mind on that.
Best Frontend with ONE SINGLE SETUP for Controllers?
I'm definitely Happy now with RetroArch. Please read below why :) Hi guys, first of all let me tell you that this is not just a shot in the dark. I read all other threads here and I found a lot of options that I could use ( some are open source, others are free and many others are Shareware, preferably to be paid ). Personally I tried some of them, and mostly minus the personal taste of enjoyable GUIs, what all of them are missing are a central management of Controllers configuration, something that is already there on RetroArch. Now, many of you will probably argue that I'm probably a newbie and I'm searching for the magic wand. I'm not at all, I'm pro-actively contributing on many open source projects and giving direct feedbacks to Developers ( you can see my profile here ). Why I'm just not happy with RetroArch? Because most cores are limited in set of choice, they need time to port them and in fact the scene of developers are not really helping those guys, the effort to "backport" them, is just in the hand of main Retroarch developers. Although I think they're really doing an AWESOME work, I think also that curve of features will take time before having a full-featured HTPC Frontend ready-to-use. So, what I am finally asking to you is: does any other frontend GUi for Windows/Linux that allows you to configure external emulators ( like Snes9x, PCSX, ePSXe, VBA-M, etc. ) AND to configure their pads, based on the players that I decide? ( let's say I want to configure 2 players on the FE, at the end I want two player also on the emulator, with the right key bindings ). Maybe mine is just a dream, but I would like to know which path are you following and which are the best practices to realize my personal sweet dream. Thanks in advance buddies! //EDIT: Since a lot of people like just to attack someone because he's writing something they don't really like, the emulator list I mentioned before is just to make the situation clear which should be an emulator that's not flexible as a RetroArch lib, just a single binary that could be run hopefully with CLI arguments. But take that list with a pinch of salt, and smart criteria. You're free to suggest better alternatives though and I'll be really happy to discuss them with you. After a long time I tested quite all the frontends with automatic pad configuration or just pure-launcher with a cool GUI, I ended up on using RetroArch. Why? I'll try to explain it. I tested quite all the FE Launchers that are there: Freemium ones like Launchbox or GameEx, Integrators like ICE for Steam, or simple automating setup tools like RomJacket or fully powerful and hightly configurable softwares for Cabinet like HyperSpin and RocketLauncher. Although all of them are really powerful as they come out of the box, they all suffer of some failures here and there which make the setup process at the end a real pain in the ass. Not only, the main issue I found that makes no sense to run something alternative to RetroArch is that in fact, they are all using RetroArch for some emulators instead. Let me explain it better. If you go on this page, this is a really cool reference of the best emulator available out there for different platforms. And if you take a quick look at it you'll end to know that for NES or GENS for example, the best emulator there is a Core of RetroArch. Basically you're just using a wrapper around RetroArch itself. I tried to create my own set of emulators, which are all based on XInput sources ( so basically, 0-setup needed for controllers at all ), and when some of them are providing it in a really cool way ( like ePSXe for PSX, or mGBA for GB/GBC/GBA ) others are not really ready ( for GENS platform, or SMS you'll end up on realizing that the only best core which is doing a good emulation and an XInput ready input driver are the ones from RetroArch ). At the end of the story, I re-downloaded the last Nightly of RetroArch with all the cores ( I was surprised to see that the new Mednafen HW PSX plugin came out! ) and I re-configured it in the proper way. Performance for some of them are not really there ( PSX is still suffering slowness compared to ePSXe on the same platform ) but the trade-off of having something that you just Run and Play is acceptable. What I'm finally suggesting? Keep trying to use RetroArch and cooperate with Developers, they are really doing a great job instead, and I wasn't noticing it before. I am deeply sorry if you @Libretro felt offended by this post, but I hope you'll accept this is a Sorry from my side. And I hope that this post will help in the future as a proof of why RetroArch IS IN FACT a good Retro-Frontend instead.
Alhambra: "This Year Is Proving To Be A Trainwreck In Too Many Important Places"
Authored by Jeffrey Snider via Alhambra Investment Partners, There was more than enough evidence that QE didn’t work fifteen years ago. The Japanese had accumulated these monetary experiments at the dawn of the 21st century. And there was even a time when US and Western central bankers were skeptical. What happened was 2008; a dislocation so big and widespread they had no choice but to embrace the failure for lack of any other options. Once they did, what was most charitably ambiguous suddenly became genius. When the Japanese did these things, they were suspect; when Western central bankers did, they were awesome. Same planet, different worlds. Only, the Japanese central bankers kept doing them, too. It’s much harder to hide in Japan than it has been in the United States or Europe. The decimated economic landscape there leaves little open to interpretation. This is not a positive comparison since Japan is merely our forerunner, a look into our future. To begin with, the central bank is (largely) irrelevant. QE or QQE is nothing more than a series of tricks, smoke and mirrors glossed up to sound impressive and a little scientific (portfolio effects!) In reality, the world which we share with the impoverished (literally) Japanese, unfortunately, magic tricks can’t replace true economic processes. That’s why QE never worked to begin the millennium and it doesn’t now no matter how many additional letters and numbers are added to it. The Bank of Japan, like Economists in the West, can’t admit it. They just can’t. To do so would mean to confess decades of incompetence and gross dereliction. It is a binary choice; we keep getting these non-answers until someone forces them to stop. They won’t do it voluntarily. I wrote in April 2016, more than two wasted years ago: Central banks have proven by their own actions, not their words, that they will only allow “their” recovery which in the end means none. As I have written before, if they were given a choice of maintaining power and control but only leading to more lost decades, or stepping aside and being guaranteed a full and sustainable recovery, they would choose the former every single time. True global economic recovery is purely a political action now; central banks will not restrain themselves no matter how much their schemes backfire and create only more disruption and havoc. In Japan in 2018, the Bank of Japan forecasts: Japan’s economy is likely to continue growing at a pace above its potential in fiscal 2018, mainly against the background of highly accommodative financial conditions and the underpinnings through government spending, with overseas economies continuing to grow firmly on the whole. But instead that country’s Cabinet Office today reports that Japan’s economy isn’t growing at all, regardless of potential. The passage quoted above was prepared by the central bank at the end of October, meaning a full month after Q3 had ended. Japanese GDP in Q3? Minus 0.3%. This is the second contracting quarter in the last three, meaning two out of the three so far in 2018. On a year-over-year basis, the economy has ground to a halt. It’s the timing of it that should be our global focus. Japan’s economy peaked in Q3 2017. This had nothing whatsoever to do with monetary policy or even Japan specifically. That was the quarter when the eurodollar system began showing signs of distress. Japan, as Germany, is uniquely susceptible to trade disruptions; which is where turmoil churning within the global reserve currency system hits first. Japan’s external slowdown predates any trade war concerns (by a lot). Growth in Final Sales of Domestic Product, for example, a GDP component that includes export sales, peaked in Q2 2017. It has been nearly flat over the last year, too. QQE has been an utter disaster. Economic growth during its more than half decade run has actually been worse than the overall “recovery” as a whole from the 2009 trough. The BoJ now practically owns companies and financial markets with what to show for it? GDP growth over the last five plus years since it started has been 0.9% per year compared to 1.5% since Q1 2009. Caught up in the mess are the regular Japanese citizens who are being stuck with the short end of the stick. And it’s not even close. Since QQE, consumer spending growth has disappeared altogether. The opposite was supposed to happen, what with the inflation expectations supposedly attached to so much “money printing.” This is because Japan’s economic fate has never been tied to the BoJ one way or another. Every single time the Japanese economy, meaning the global economy, begins to take a step forward (reflation) it doesn’t get very far for very long (eurodollar squeezes). The Japanese people, like Italians, Brazilians, or Americans, can sense these changes at the margins in a way that central bankers just aren’t capable (ideology). It’s a total disaster not because QQE or the first QE in 2001 was the cause(s), rather by keeping the same ideological blindness in place nothing else is ever tried. There is never an honest search for answers. Central bankers can’t even admit there is a problem, even the obvious one for Japan in 2018. The whole economic system rots for lack of imagination. And what Japan’s plight proves most of all is that it can go on and on far longer than you might otherwise think possible (a recovery has to happen at some point, right? NO.) It’s something out of Keynes; the economy can go without legitimate growth far longer than any peoples can remain rational. For good measure, Destatis, Germany’s government bureau responsible for producing that country’s GDP estimates, also reports today a negative number for its last quarter (Q3). It is being dismissed as emissions and climate/weather, but Japan’s concurrent weakness shows otherwise. This is a growing global downturn. This year is proving to be a trainwreck in too many important places. It was supposed to be the arrival of worldwide recovery. Worse, too many arrows are still pointing down for 2019. But you wouldn’t know it from the Bank of Japan, ECB, Federal Reserve, etc. Not until they are forced into some honest assessments for once. What I wrote in 2016 still applies. There is plausible path back to full and complete recovery. It just has nothing to do with QE’s or even Economics, except the total purge of any thoughts about QE’s as well as to transform Economics back into economics (starting with monetary economics). It is purely political. And this is why populism becomes increasingly radical (in _both_ directions, left and right) as all this economic pain goes unanswered each and every time.
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Afternoon, All. This is a continuation from the previous reddit post: Bitcoin Origins The following are a few notes I've been making on the original development of the tech behind Bitcoin. This is still in early draft form so expect the layout and flow to be cleaned up over time. Also be aware that the initial release of the Bitcoin white paper and code was what we had cut down to from earlier ideas. This means that some of the ideas below will not correspond to what would end up being made public. As I'm paraphrasing dim memories some of the sections are out-of-order whereby some things occurred earlier rather than later. As I recall more I'll be updating this story elsewhere for uploading when it appears more substantial. As noted on the first post ( link supplied above ): There is no verification of truth here. There is absolutely no evidential proof that I had any part in the project. Take this as just a fictional story if you wish. Bitcoin Logo BitCoin Origins Six Months In A Leaky Boat continued ... “You’re saying that we can use this proof-of-work thing to inject electronic cash into the network and have it tied to fiat currencies, but how would the network know what the local fiat currency is to figure out the correct fiat-currency-to-electronic-cash exchange rate ?”, (2) asked. “Maybe we could have a server that keeps a record of what the various electricity companies charge and have the software get the values from there ?”, I suggested. “Some of these new mobile phones, the smart phones, the cellular network phones in folks pockets, have GPS chips incorporated into them, right ? And everyone has them or will be getting them as they become more popular. This means everyone will have a device on them which will allow the software to include a GPS location so that the network knows which exchange rate to use for that particular minted cash. “But how will the network know that the GPS coordinates haven’t been changed and set to another location ?”, (2) asked. “Wouldn’t that mean relying on a trusted third party again ? I thought you said we have to get away from that ? If we cannot trust a single computer for minting cash into the network then maybe we shouldn’t trust any at all ?” “Uhh… dunno,” I replied. “I’ll get back to that later”, I said. “Ok, ” (2) said. “How are we going to have the transactions sent to other people on the network ? All the other white papers are expecting people to connect directly to one of the trusted computers to purchase the electronic cash and to transfer it to someone else through them. If we’re not going to use a trusted computer for this and will have the proof-of-work generate the cash, then how do people receive or pay the cash ? Also: How would the network trust that the cash is valid if no computer is being used for time-stamping and validating the cash ?” I told him I’d have to think about it. Multiple ideas were given and discarded. He consulted with (3) about every possible solution and every one was a failure. They either resulted in having to rely on at least one server to hook everything together or would break if multiple transaction messages were sent at the same time to different computers. After a week or so of this I’d finally burnt myself out and decided that it’s quite possible that everyone else was correct when they said that you couldn’t solve double-spending in a digital world without depending upon a trusted third party. I stopped emailing (2) at that point, hoping it’d all go away. After a week he emailed me asking if I’d come up with another solution for testing. I told him that I don’t think there is a solution and maybe he should just use part of what he had in his original white paper and rely on a trusted third party like everyone else. He said something along the lines of “Like [redacted] I will ! You’ve taken me down this path of not trusting a single computer and that’s what I want. No-one's done that before and if we break it, it will probably change everything ! ” I told him I’m taking a break from it all for a while. Another week passes and he emails me again. He said, “How are you feeling ? Sorry to be so harsh on you but I really need this to work. I’ll leave you be if that’s what you want. Just let me know when you’re able to continue.” Another week goes by and whenever I begin to think of the problem I just say to myself “To [redacted] with him and his electronic cash problem.” For comfort I turn to perusing through some of my old Win32 Asm proggys (I called them “proggys” because I thought of them as small, incomplete computer programs - kind of like examples and tutorials). I also begun reminiscing about the Amiga 500 days and the proggys I made back then (late 1980’s through to mid 1990’s). Knowing that one of the most difficult issues with electronic cash revolved around the networking architecture and how data would be propagated by the networked computers I began going through some of the discussions I had back in 2005 and 2006 with someone who was attempting to make a tank game. I explained to him the main difference between TCP and UDP ( Transmission Control ProtocolUser Datagram Protocol ). If you need data packages to arrive in a particular order with confirmation that they’ve arrived then you’d use TCP. If you need velocity of data packets you can throw all the protocol error checking out and use UDP. That’s one of the reasons great online multi-player games uses UDP. It reduces the latency with the data being transmitted around the network. The main difficulty is in building the gaming system in such a way so that the data the servers and clients transmit and receive work when data packets never arrive. TCP guarantees delivery if the network is functioning while with UDP you do not know if a particular packet ever arrived or if packets arrived in a different order to transmission due to separate packets traversing the internet via different pathways. Many online games were usually built for single-player first and the multi-player code would be chucked into the codebase near the end of development. This would mean that all of the game code objects and classes were made to use known values at any particular time and could not work in a UDP environment without re-architecting the entire code base from scratch. You’d find many of the games that also included multi-player gameplay options ended up using TCP for the network communications and this made all of these games slow over the network with high latency and unplayable lag as the gameplay would be faster than the network data packets telling your computer where your opponents are located. The various tanks games around 2005 were built as above. I convinced this person to focus on the multi-player aspect of the game because he could always add in single-player later on. Multiple players would have to drive and fire tanks around a field while being updated continuously about the complete state of the network. This is usually accomplished by having a single server that receives all of the current data from all the player clients and dishes out the official game state back to all of those player clients so that everyone knows who went where, who fired at what and who has been hit. However even with using UDP there is a bottleneck in the network with the server itself only being able to process a peak number of connections and data throughput every second. It could only scale so high. We had talked about different ways to improve this by possibly having relay servers on some of the players computers or having a more peer-to-peer like structure so that each player client only had to get the latest data from its nearest neighbours in the network and only transmit to their peers so that a fully server-less multi-player game could be created. How the data could be moved about without someone creating a hack that could change the data packages in their favour couldn’t be figured out. In the end he went with using a central server with both TCP and UDP depending upon what data packages were needed to be sent - general gameplay data (tank movements) via UDP and server state (for confirming who hit what) via TCP. If a peer-to-peer network was to be used for electronic cash then to be scalable the data packages must be able to be transmitted with as high a velocity as possible. It must work with the majority of transmissions using UDP. If two-way communication is required then a return ip/port can be included within a UDP data package or a TCP connection could be used. I had also read and reread this thing that has been going around the crypto community for ages called the Byzantine Generals Dilemma (or worded in a similar way). It’s supposed to be impossible to solve and at least a couple of well-known academics and crypto folks had “proven” it was impossible to solve only a few years previously. They had pretty much staked their reputations on the fact that it was unsolvable. I thought “Wouldn’t it be absolutely hilarious if the solution to this double-spending problem is also the solution to the impossible Byzantine Generals Dilemma and could be found using ideas from the Amiga days and 3D programming and uses multi-player gaming techniques ? That would annoy the [redacted] out of the crypto community and take those elitists down a peg or two !” (This is where you’d see the screen go all watery-wavy as the scene morphs to a time in the past when I was a moderator of the Win32 Asm community) The assembly community and the crypto community share a lot in common. They’re made up of some of the most brilliant folks in the computing industry where huge egos do battle against one-another. You’d also find folks in one community existing within the other. Both communities are made up of both light and dark actors. The light actors are those who are very public. They are academics, researchers, security professionals, and so on. The dark actors are … (and that’s all I’ll say about them). Except to say that the light crypto actors are usually doing work to undo what the dark assembly actors are doing. It’s one [redacted] of a game ! To have a message board that was able to accommodate all actors required a few tough rules and stiff execution of them if the forum was to continue to exist. Many of the other assembly boards were being snuffed out by government actors forcing the hosting service to shut them down. This was mainly due to the assembly forums insistence of allowing threads to exist which showed exactly how to break and crack various websites/ networks/ software/ etc. Whenever one of these sites were shut down the members would disperse to the various remaining assembly boards. So we received an influx of new members every few months whenever their previous venue went up in smoke. However they never learned from the experience ( or, at least, some of them never learned ) and they would continue to openly chat about dark subjects on our board, which put our board in danger as well. The moderators had to be strong but fair against these new-comers, especially knowing that they (the moderators) could be actively attacked (digitally) at any time. Occasionally one of these new members would decide to DDOS ( Distributed Denial Of Service ) us, however they apparently forgot what message board they were attempting to DDOS, and it always ended very badly for them. We would also occasionally get someone with quite a bit of knowledge in various subjects - some of it very rare and hard-to-come-by. It would be terrible if that member left and took their knowledge with them. They would complain that there were too many noobs asking questions on the message board and it would be better if there was a higher level of knowledge and experience needed before the noobs could enter the message board or post a question. Once I told one of these members, “Ok then. Let’s say that thing you’ve been talking about for the past two weeks, and calling everyone else a noob for not understanding it, is the knowledge limit. I know that you only first read about it two and a half weeks ago. Let’s say I make that the limit and predate it three weeks ago and kick your butt out of this community ?" “That’s not very fair”, he protested. I told him, “None of us know where the next genius is coming from. The main members of this community, the ones that input more than everyone else, have come from incredibly varied environments. Some with only a few weeks knowledge are adding more to the community every week compared to members who have been with us for years. One of the members you’ve dissed in the past couple of weeks could in turn create the next piece of software that all of us use. We don’t know that. What we need to do is have a community that is absolutely inclusive for every single person on the planet no matter where they’ve come from, what their wealth is, what their nation state does, and to keep our elitism in check.” “Ok, fair enough, I’m sorry, please don’t kick me out.” was the usual result. These were very intelligent folks, however they had to be reminded that we are a single species moving through time and space together as one. (This is where you’d see the screen go all watery-wavy as the scene morphs back to me figuring out this double-spending problem) As you may tell, I don’t tolerate elitist attitudes very well. Which also helped when I turned towards the elitist attitudes I read in some of these academic papers and crypto white papers ( some of which were more like notes than white papers ) and messages on the crypto forums and mailing lists. “ ‘It’s impossible to solve the Byzantine Generals Problem’ they say ? Let’s see about that !” Byzantine General’s Dilemma The problem is written a little bit differently depending upon where you read it. An occasional academic may be more well-read than others and becomes the “official” wording used by many others. I’ll paraphrase it a wee bit just so you get a general idea of the problem (pun intended). We go back to the time of the city-states. This is before the notion of sovereign states - there’s just a bunch of individual city-states that control the surrounding nearby country side. Every so often a bunch of these city-states would get together and form something called an empire. Alliances would change and friends would become enemies and enemies friends on a month-to-month and year-to-year basis. To expand the empire the bunch of city-states would send armies controlled by generals to take over an adjacent city-state. These city-states are huge (for their time) walled cities with armies in strong fortifications. Let’s say there are six generals from six empire city-states that surround an adjacent city-state - all generals and their armies are equidistant from each other. They cannot trust one another because at any moment one of them may become an enemy. Or they could be an enemy pretending to be a friend. Due to the defensive forces of the defending city-state, the six generals know that they could take the city if every one of them attacked at the same time from around the city. But if only a few attacked and the others retreated then the attackers would be wiped out and the surviving city-states, with their generals and their armies intact, would end up over-powering and enslaving their previous friendly city-states. No-one could trust any other. (This has massive parallels with modern day sovereign nations and their playing of the game with weapons, armies/air forces/navies, economics, currency, trade agreements, banks, education, health, wealth, and so on) The generals have to send a message to the other generals telling them if they’re going to attack or retreat. The problem is that a general could send a message to the general to his left saying that he’ll attack and send a second message to the general to his right that he will retreat. Some possible solutions said that there should be two lieutenants to receive the message from the general and that they could check each others message to confirm that they are indeed identical before passing the messages onto the left and right messengers. However the messengers in turn could change the message from “attack” to “retreat” or vice versa or not deliver the message at all. Plus the generals, once a message has been sent out as “attack” could turn around and retreat, or vice versa. I thought to myself, “I bet the folks who thought up this problem are feeling pretty damn smug about themselves.” However I was a moderator of an assembly community. I’d translated the DirectX8 C++ COM headers into their x86 assembly equivalent (using techniques built by others far more smarter than me, and with help for some files when DX8.1 was translated), built a PIC micro controller assembler in x86 assembly language, and many other things. And because I've done six impossible things this morning, why not round it off with creating a solution to the Byzantine Generals Dilemma ! Elitist ego ? What elitist ego ? They’re all amateurs ! Let us begin: “Ok,” I thought to myself. “let’s start at the beginning. We need a network. What does that look like ?” The Generals are going to be represented as computers. The servers in the network. The nodes. The messages are going to be the data travelling between them. Transactions will be used as the first example of data. For those reading, hold your hands in front of you - touch the bottom of the palms together with the fingers far apart, thumbs touching each other, twist your elbow and wrists so that the fingers are pointing upwards - slightly curved. Fingers as Nodes These are the nodes in the network. The node where the thumbs touch is your own node. No node can trust each other. For this network structure to work, it must work even with every single node actively hostile toward one another. “Surely the network can trust my node. I’m good ! “, you may say to yourself. But you would be wrong. This network is not about you. It must exist even when you don’t. If there were a hundred nodes then it’d be ninety-nine to one against you. As far as the network is concerned, there’s ninety-nine nodes that cannot trust you compared to your one. So accepting that all nodes cannot trust one another, plus they are actively hostile toward one another, we can … “But hang on ! ”, you say. “What do you mean ‘actively hostile’ ? Surely they’re not all hostile ? ” Even if most of the time nodes will play nice with one another, the rules of the game must be structured in such a way that they will work even if all participants were actively hostile toward one another . Because if it still worked with everyone having a go at each other then you would’ve built something that could last for a very long time. You could build something whereby sovereign nations could no-longer undermine other sovereign nations. It would be the great equaliser that would allow stronger nations to stop screwing around with weaker nations. It’s the ultimate golf handicapping system. Everyone could play this game. Kind of like my moderating style from the assembly days. So we have these hostile nodes. It has to be able to work with any type of message or data package. Initially it will be built for electronic cash transactions. I will type it as "messages (transactions)" below to indicate that the messages are the messages in the Byzantine Generals Dilemma and that the message could be any data whatsoever - "transactions" just being the first. Plus in a roundabout way a message is also a transaction whereby a transaction doesn't have to be only for electronic cash - it's just an indication of what items are being transacted. We want to send messages (transactions) between them and make sure everyone agrees that the messages (transactions) are correct. That implies that every single node would have to store an exact copy of all the messages (transactions) and be able to read through them and confirm that they are valid. And whenever a node receives a message (transaction) it would check it for validity and if it’s ok then that message (transaction) would be passed onto the adjacent nodes. But how to stop a node changing the message (transaction) contents and sending different results to two adjacent nodes ? How about taking the possibility of messages (transactions) being able to be changed out of the problem completely ? We could using private/public keys to sign the messages (transactions) so that they couldn’t be changed. The owner could sign a message (transaction) with the owners private key and everyone could check its validity with the owners public key, but not be able to change it. Right. The messaging ( transactions/ data/ etc ) part of the problem is partially solved. Now how do I solve the generals problem so that they all play nicely with one another ? If we can make sure all generals (nodes) can get the identical data and that they can all validate that the data is identical and unchanged then the Byzantine Generals Dilemma would be solved. Data Chunks It became apparent that every major node on a network would have to store an entire copy of all of the data so that they could verify that the data was correct and hadn’t been modified. The data would probably end up looking like a list or stack, with each incoming valid message (transaction) placed on top of the previous messages (transactions). What looks like a stack but hasn’t got the memory restrictions like a normal assembly stack ? When I was reminiscing about the Amiga 500 days I recalled having to muck about with IFF. That’s the Interchange File Format. The basics of it is like this: In a plain text file there are chunks of data. Each chunk of data begins with a chunk identifier - four characters that indicate to a program what type of data resides within that chunk (example “WAVE”, “FORM”, “NAME”). An IFF file can have many data chunks of differing types. The .AVI (audio/video), .ILBM (bitmap) and .WAV (audio wave) file formats are based upon the IFF. I thought, “What if one of these data chunks was called ‘MSG ’, ‘DATA’ or ‘TSTN’ (TranSacTioN) ? ” That might work. Where would the proof-of-work thing come into play ? Let’s say we replace the four-character-identifier with a header so that the proof-of-work can be done on it ? That means the header would now include an identifier for what type of data is included within the chunk, plus a value used to modify the difficulty for generating a hash (the number of zeros needed to prepend the generated hash), a random value which increments as hashes are attempted so that the header data is slightly different for each hash attempt, plus the data itself. But once a correct hash is generated, that particular node would mint electronic cash to pay for the electricity used. Remember: The electronic cash is supposed to cover the actual fiat currency costs involved in doing the proof-of-work computations. As the owner of the node computer is paid by an employer in fiat currency and has paid personal tax on it, and they have used that fiat currency to pay their electricity provider (which in turn pays company, state and value-added or goods&service taxes), then the electronic cash is equivalent to swapping your own money for a soft drink can from a vending machine. Except, due to the media of this system, you’d be able to go to another vending machine and reenter your soft drink can for a refund in fiat currency again ( minus a restocking fee ) and the vending machine could be anywhere on the planet. That means an extra message (transaction) would have to be included within the chunks data for the minted electronic cash. If there must be at least two messages (transactions) within a data chunk - the actual message (transaction) plus the message (transaction) for the node that generates the hash - then maybe there could be more messages (transactions) stored in each data chunk ? How would a bunch of messages (transactions) be stored inside a data chunk ? I remembered learning about binary space partitioning around 2006. BSP trees were used to store 3D graphic polygons that were able to be quickly traversed so that a game could decide which scenery to display to the game player. Quake 3 Arena and Medal of Honour: Allied Assault ( which uses Q3A codebase) used BSP trees for storing the scenery. Wherever the player was looking the tree would be traversed and only the polygons (triangles) that were viewable would be rendered by the graphics chip. Try to think of the players view in a game was like a searchlight beam and whatever the light touches is rendered onto a persons computer screen and everything else is ignored- unseen and not rendered. “I wonder if I could break the transactions up into a binary space partitioned tree ?” For those interested, a wee bit of light reading is here: Binary Space Partitioning A binary space partitioned tree begins at one polygon and uses its surface as a plane to cut throughout the rest of the scene. This kind of plane: Geometry Plane Each polygon the plane hits gets sliced in two. Note: The ‘node’ word used below is used for talking about the nodes in a BSP tree - not nodes in a computer network. Think of nodes as where an actual tree branch splits into two smaller branches. All the polygons in front of the plane go into the left branch (node) and all the polygons behind the plane go into the right branch (node). Traversing each branch (node) in turn, a polygon is chosen closest to the middle of the remaining branch (node) scenery and another plane slices the branch (node) in two. The traversal continues until the entire scenery has been sliced up into left/ right (or up/ down) branches (nodes) and they all end up at the leaves (nodes) which store the actual polygon geometry. If we use the messages (transactions) as the equivalent of the polygon geometry then we could have a bunch of messages (transactions) in the leaf nodes at the bottom of a tree-like structure inside a data chunk. Instead of a group of triangle vertices ( polygon geometry ) there would be a single message (transaction). But how to connect them all up ? A BSP tree is linked up by having a parent node pointing to the two child nodes, but that’s in memory. The BSP file that’s stored on a disc drive can be easily modified ( easy as in it’s possible instead of impossible ). The messages (transactions) within a chunk cannot be allowed to be changed. What if, instead of memory pointers or offsets pointing parents to children we use one of those crypto hashing functions ? The bottom-most leaf nodes could use data specifically from their message (transaction) to generate a node hash, right ? Parent Branch nodes could create a hash using the hashes of their two children hashes. This would create a tree-like structure within a data chunk where the topmost parent hash could be included within the data chunks proof-of-work header. This would allow all the messages (transactions) to be locked into a tree that doesn’t allow them to be modified because all parent node hashes would have to be recalculated and the trees root hash would be different from the original generated hash. And that would mean that the entire proof-of-work hash value would be changed. The same mechanism used to transfer the transaction data around the network would also be used to send the chunks of data. If a network node received a changed dataChunk and compared it with one they already held then they’d notice the proof-of-work is different and would know someone was attempting to modify the data. Bloody [redacted] ! I think this might actually work. I email (2) to inform him that I was again making progress on the issue. I explained the idea of having a simplified BSP tree to store the messages (transactions) into a dataChunk and have them all hashed together into a tree with the proof-of-work plus parent hash at the top. He said, “If I change the transaction stuff to use this method I’m going to have to throw out half my white paper and a third of my code”. “Well, “ I replied. “You can keep using your current transaction stuff if you want. It can never work in a no-trust environment but if that makes you happy then stay with it. For me - I’m going to take the red pill and continue down this path and see where it gets me. I’m also working on solving the Byzantine Generals Dilemma.” “Ok. ok”, he said. “I’ll go with what you’ve come up with. But what are you stuffing about with the Byzantine problem ? It’s an impossible crypto puzzle and has nothing to do with electronic cash.” “It has everything to do with an actual working electronic cash system”, I said. “If it can be solved then we could use a peer-to-peer network for transferring all the data about the place ! Kinda like Napster.” “Didn’t Napster get shut down because it used a central server ?”, (2) retorted. “What’s another peer-to-peer network ? IRC ? Tor ?, BitTorrent ?” “I think we can use IRC to hold the initial node addresses until such time the network is big enough for large permanent nodes to appear”, (2) suggested. (2) asked, “What’s to stop nodes from sending different dataChunks to other nodes ? If they’re just stacked on top of one-another then they can be swapped in and out at any time. That’s why a third party server is needed for setting the official time on the network for the transactions. Someone could create different transactions and change the time to whatever they want if they can use whatever time they choose.” I said I’ll think on it some more. A Kronos Stamp Server If a third party cannot be used for a time stamp server then we’d have to reevaluate what is meant by time in a computer network. What if how people think about time is actually wrong and everyone is assuming it to be something that it really isn’t ? If you hold one fist in front of you to represent time - call it ‘now’ time. Now Time If you hold another fist after the first fist you can call it ‘after now’ time. After Now Time If you hold another fist before the first fist you can call it ‘before now’ time. Before Now Time What we’re actually looking at is a chronological order stamp. The actual time itself is pretty much irrelevant except for when comparing two things in their chronological order. It should work whether the ‘now’ time is the time shown on your clock/watch right now, or on a date two hundred years from now, or 1253BC ( Tuesday ). The before/ now/ after can be adjusted accordingly: after ( Wednesday ) now ( 1253BC Tuesday ) before ( Monday ) And if the time value used is the time shown on your clock, is it the same as the time value shown on your watch ? On the microwave ? DVD player ? Computer ? Phone ? You may find that all the time pieces inside your own home vary by a few seconds or even a few minutes ! In an office almost every single person has a timepiece that has a different time to everyone else - even if it’s only different by a few milliseconds. Does that mean as you walk from your kitchen ( showing 2:02pm on the wall ) into the lounge ( showing 2:01 on the DVD player ) that’s you’ve just entered a time portal and been magically transported back in time by a minute ? Of course not. They’re all equally valid time values that humans have made up to be roughly synchronised with one-another. All that really matters is the range of valid time values used to indicate “This is Now”, “This is Next” or “This was Before”. If the network nodes all agree on what range of time values should be valid to be “now” or “near now” then each node could use its own time value in any data messages (transactions or dataChunks) and no third party timestamp server would be required. I email (2) and let him know the time-stamp server issue has been resolved by having the nodes use a Kronos-Stamp. “What the [redacted] is a ‘Kronos-Stamp’ ? ”, (2) asked. I give him the explanation I gave to you ( the Reader ) above. “But what’s this ‘Kronos’ word mean ?”, (2) asked. “It’s short for “Chronological Order. It’s a Chronological Order Stamp. We don’t need a Time-Stamp any more,” I replied. “But what’s with the ‘K’ ?” “To annoy all those folks who’d rather get furious about misspelt words than try and understand the concept that’s being explained. ” “Well, the crypto community won’t like it spelt like that. We’re going to have to call it a Time-Stamp server because that’s what they understand,” (2) said. I said, “Time-Stamps are for systems using third party servers. Chronological Order Stamps are for peer-to-peer networks.” “Ok,” (2) said. “We can use this time thing for making sure the dataChunks are in a chronological order but what stops someone from just changing the time of their computer to be a little earlier than someone else and having their version of the data accepted by everyone else?” I said I’ll think on it some more. A Chain of Data Chunks On another project I was rereading some information about rendering graphical data. In 3D graphics triangles are used to create any object you see onscreen. Example of Triangle types: Triangle Types Each numbered dot represents a vertex. The data for the vertices are placed into arrays called buffers. They’re just a long list of data points which are loaded onto a graphics card and told to be drawn. Triangle Strip A triangle strip is a strip of triangles which share the data points from the previous triangle. Each triangle in the strip is drawn alternating between clockwise/counter-clockwise (indicated by the red and green arrows) The very first triangle must have all of its vertices added (all three vertices 1,2,3) Every other triangle in the strip only has to add one more single vertex and reuse the previous two vertices. The second triangle just adds the data for the vertex (4) and reuses vertices 2 and 3 that’s already embedded inside the strip. This makes the strip incredibly compact in size for the data it’s meant to represent plus locks each triangle inside the strip and they cannot be accidentally used elsewhere. If a triangle was wanted to be drawn in a different order then an entirely new triangle strip would have to be created. A key side affect is that a triangle strip can be set to start drawing at any vertices (except vertices 2 and 3) and the entire strip from that data point onwards will be drawn. I was staring at this for a long time thinking “This could be used for the electronic cash project somehow, but how exactly ?” I kept going through the explanation for the triangle strip again and again trying to understand what I was seeing. Then it dawned on me. The triangles were the data in a triangle strip. The chunks were the data in the electronic cash project. If the triangles were actually the dataChunks then that means the vertices were the proof-of-work header, with the embedded root hash for the messages/ transactions. The lines in the triangle strip represented the reuse of previous vertex data. So that means I could reuse the proof-of-work hash from a previous dataChunk and embed that into the next proof-of-work as well ! And just like a triangle strip the dataChunks couldn’t be moved elsewhere unless all the surrounding proof-of-work hashes were redone again. It reinforces the Kronos Stamp by embedding the previous proof-of-work hash into it so we know what came before now and what was next after previous. If the entire network was using their cpu power to generate these proof-of-work hashes then a hostile actor would need half the processing power to get a fifty percent chance of generating the proof-of-work hash for a block and modifying the data. However every second block on average would be generated by an opposing hostile actor and so whatever the fifty percent hostile actor was attempting to do wouldn’t last for very long. DataChunk Chain I needed to have some of the math for this looked at to see if I was on the right track. I email (2) and let him know about this idea of hooking together the dataChunks like a chain so that they couldn’t be modified without redoing the proof-of-work hashing. He liked the idea of a chain. I said, “You see how all the appended dataChunk headers reuse the hash from the previous dataChunk header ? Take a look at the very first dataChunk.” “What’s so special about that” , (2) asks. “Well,” I say. “The first dataChunk header hasn’t got any previous hashes it can use, so in the beginning it will have to use a made up ‘previous hash’ in its header. In the beginning it has to use a manually create hash. In the beginning… get it?” “What ?”, (2) asks. “The very first data chunk is the Genesis dataChunk. In the beginning there is the Genesis dataChunk”, I reply. He said he likes that idea very much as he’d just started being involved in a church in the past year or so. I ask him to get the other cryptos he’s in contact with to play around with the numbers and see if this would work. (2) asked, “Hang on. How would this solve the double-spending problem ?” I'll stop this story here for now and post a follow-up depending upon its reception. I guess I've found reddit's posting character limit. 40,000 characters. There was going to be another 10,000 characters in this post however that will have to wait till next time. Bitcoin Origins - part 3 This is a continuation from the previous reddit post: Bitcoin Origins Cheers, Phil (Scronty) vu.hn
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