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THE SEARCH FOR THE GREATEST SWITCH SHMUP: EPISODE 28 – Raiden V: Director’s Cut
Before I begin, I just want to remind everyone that all of my reviews can be found at my site: www.azormx.com. I tried to keep it as minimalist as possible, and it doesn't have any add or any other intrusive elements, so the content is king. Do check it out, as reviews are usually live there before I publish them elsewhere. Any way, on to the review! The shmup genre hasn’t been a mainstream genre in a long time. To be honest, I don’t think it ever was, even during the arcade days. While we certainly don’t have a shortage of shmups, let alone new release, they usually come from smaller teams. Indies have taken it upon themselves to become a guiding light for all of us. Their creations have been nothing short of amazing! However, we don’t really have anything we could call a “AAA” shmup. We do seem to have the next closest thing: Raiden. Developer: Moss Co. Platform: Nintendo Switch Release date: Jul 25, 2019 Price: $29.99 Tate: Unfortunately… no. This really needed to have TATE Raiden V: Director’s Cut is a vertical shmup set in a fictional but real world. It claims to be the original bullet-hell, and after playing it extensively I gotta say that I agree. Raiden V features some intense air combat, coupled with giant bosses and some jaw-dropping transitions between areas.
THE GREAT INTRO CHECKLIST
Right out of the gate, what caught my attention was the intro. The best way I can put this is that it has everything great about shmups in a short video. It has a great track, it has giant enemies, it has ships and it even has pieces of lore I do not understand! Simply amazing! Most importantly, it is a very accurate portrayal as to what you should expect from the game. Unlike other shmups, Raiden goes all out in the presentation department, with the story taking a mayor role. Another way I can put this, is that it certainly feels like a considerable effort was placed in every element of the game. Raiden V features a level of polish that very few shmups can claim to have.
WELCOME TO THE CUSTOMIZATION STATION
One of Raiden’s strength is the amount of customization you have available for your ship. At the beginning of the game, you can choose between one of 3 different ships: Azuma, Spirit of Dragon and Moulin Rouge. Each of these ships has different stats in terms of attack, defense and speed. They also have their own sub-shot which is always firing along with your main cannon. On top of selecting a ship, you can arm yourself with 3 out of 9 different weapons. Those 9 weapons are grouped into 3 categories: Vulcan, Laser and Plasma. You can pick, or rather you must pick 1 for each category. The result is a combat style that is unique to you. During your play throughs, you will encounter several power-up orbs. These orbs will power up each of your weapons up to 10 times! Each of these orbs can be either red, blue or purple depending on the weapon it powers up. The orbs cycle the colors, with an outer dot indicating a timer until it changes colors. This allows you to control which weapon you want to power up, giving you the flexibility to pick your own style or choose a weapon for the occasion. The best part is that absolutely no power-ups are lost upon death! This means that you are free to retry to your heart's content and play at your own pace. Raiden won't punish you or set you up for failure with an unrecoverable situation. I didn’t put too much attention into weapon selection at first. I figured it wouldn’t be too relevant, as I would probably just play the entire game with a single weapon, but the advanced scoring mechanics and the rank system were quick to make me second guess my decision.
At the core of Raiden V, there are 2 main systems to be aware of: your rank and your flash level. Both of them measure your combat capabilities, although in different ways. Your flash point gauge is a score multiplier that tracks how fast you defeat your enemies. By defeating enemies as soon as possible after spawning, you can earn higher multipliers to increase your flash gauge. By having quick kills, you can raise it to higher levels to increase your score. Your rank, on the other hand, only concerns itself with how many enemies you’ve defeated. Your rank doubles as the deciding factor of which path you will be taking. Raiden features branching paths with an A, B, C or S version of each stage. Depending on your total destruction rate, you will either move up or down in rank after a stage. While I do not know the exact numbers, I believe having more than 98% destruction rate will increase your rank, 90 – 98% will keep it as is and <90% should decrease your rank. S rank stages are presumably harder than A/B/C stages, with C being the lowest. Apart from having a higher score and challenging yourself with the difficulty, the importance of S rank is getting the true ending. In order to truly watch the ending of the game, you need to reach the final stage on S rank using a single credit. You also need to power up your 3 weapons to level 10. Once you meet those conditions, you will be able to challenge the final boss. Alternatively, you could just fulfill the level 10 weapons condition to fight the true final boss.
THE BEST CHEERLEADER
A new addition to Raiden V is the cheer system. By accomplishing certain in-game milestones like a certain number of enemies destroyed, you will get an achievement. These achievements are broadcasted to any players connected to the leaderboards. They can then “cheer” on your achievement to increase your cheer gauge. This goes both ways, as you can also cheer the achievements of your fellow Raiden players. Once the cheer gauge is full, you can unleash it to clear the screen and gain a drastically stronger sub-shot. Think of it as a devastating bomb, only more devastating and easier to fill. It clears screens and decimates even the bosses. Perhaps many people won’t think too much of it, but I found it really interesting to know that there’s someone on the other side celebrating my achievements. Likewise, there were times where I left my game on pause to do other stuff, but held on to my controller to provide support for my comrades.
Everything I’ve mentioned before plays out in the general strategy of the game. Assuming you want to get the best results, you need to know where to hit and how to hit hard. For the untrained eye, most shmups just look like games where you fire away with complete disregard and hope the enemy dies. This is definitely not the case in Raiden. In order to succeed, you must be able to find your rhythm and read the stage. Learn the enemy formations and strategize the quickest kills. Be there before the enemy arrives and take them down before they realize what hit them. If you want to face the true final boss, then you must also learn to juggle your weapons and find the moments to upgrade them. Maxing a weapon and then switching is a recipe for disaster, as you don’t want to be on the later stages with a level one weapon and risk your flash level or destruction rate. With so many weapons and ship types, your strategy to succeed will be unique to you!
One of the main selling points, at least per the game itself, is the story. Raiden V features an extensive story that is fully voiced and occurs as you play the game. This story elements come as the prologue and epilogue scenes, as well as all the events happening mid stage. As you fly your way to the levels, characters will be advancing the story by having conversations and narrating the current events. The dialogue is available on one of the gadgets located on the right side of the screen. You can read anything you might have missed and even pause to read the on-screen log of events (up to a certain number of events, as the log scrolls to open way for new text). As for my opinion of the story, I have absolutely no idea of what happened during the game. I played my fair share of runs, but I found it next to impossible to focus on the dialogue while trying my hardest to survive. The voice acting would have been my saving grace, but I found the sound mixing to be the opposite of ideal for listening to dialogue. I even tried lowering the sound effects and BGM to see if I could focus on dialogue to no avail. The text is also incredibly small when playing on docked mode. It gets even worse when playing handheld.
THE WORST CHEERLEADER
Out of all the voices, Eshiria’s was the one who got on my nerves the most at the beginning. Other than having her role as navigator on the plot, she also critiques your gameplay. In-between stage scenes, she will provide commentary describing your gameplay. She will be quick to point out if you did well, but also if you did poorly. On my early runs, when I was still learning, it would tilt me to listen to her complaining to me about stats I did not understand. And perhaps, a huge part of my problems was a lack of understanding of the game mechanics. I listened to her complain about my destruction rate without knowing it was about my rank. She also complained about destruction speed without me knowing it was about the flash point. The problem is that the game never bothered explaining any of its mechanics to me. I really looked around for some sort of tutorial to no avail. I had to resort to 3rd party resources. While that isn’t uncommon, I really don’t like games with obscure mechanics that can’t be discerned in-game. Once I got better and consistently reach the S levels, I finally started to value her advice. Of course, I wouldn’t count on everyone reaching the same enlightenment as I did. In my opinion, her comments would more often than not add insult to injury. Once again, it’s not really the commentary, it’s the fact that none of what she said made practical sense until I started digging on the wiki.
GADGETS AND THE SCREEN REAL ESTATE
Perhaps the worst omission from Raiden V is the lack of a TATE mode. Vertical shooters don’t really have an excuse to do this, with the existence of add-ons like the flip grip or rotating monitors. Instead, Raiden decided to make the most out of the free space and add several gadgets. In standard fashion, these gadgets will keep your stats like score, flash level, the dialogue and even hi-score statistics. Your left gadget can even be cycled between the score chart and cheer notification, in-game tips and global statistics. Out of those, the tips are definitely the winners. They do give some important advice, such as staying on top of the guns of the first boss to avoid damage.
NOT A FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD
Every stage is divided into smaller scenes. These scenes serve as a way to catch your breath and tally your score. There’s even a nifty “restart scene” option that allows you to replay a scene. Choosing to restart will deny you the option to upload your score to the leaderboard, but serves as a great way to practice or even “fix” a run to so can get to the true ending. Every once in a while, the action will pan out and open the way to a bigger stage, with you looking smaller in comparison. I admire the grandioseness of the resulting scenes, but they were also quite impractical. Think about your weapons, the destruction rate and the flash gauge. An extended stage means longer travel distances from side to side. Having a bigger stage means you move slower, which reduces the pacing of the game to a crawl. Reaching enemies quickly becomes a struggle. Worst yet, I’ve counted times where it took me whopping 5 seconds to go from side to side of the stage.
THE OG BULLET HELL
Despite all the fun of blasting enemies quickly to gain flash levels, I gotta say that I found the combat, specifically the bullets, to be lacking in grace. For a game that’s the original bullet hell, most enemy volleys feel like bullet showers. There’s no finesse in them, just a bunch of bullets moving towards you. Dodging them isn’t fun, it’s survival. The problem only gets worse in higher difficulties where the bullets just go faster. Not all patterns are as bad though. While the vast majority will be just a bunch on increasingly faster bullets thrown at you, some exceptional patterns will show from time to time. As a result, fights tend to be very hit or miss, with both hits and misses being on their respective extremes. What certainly doesn’t help is that the bullets are very hard to see. As pretty as the backgrounds might be, they are very busy and the quick motion makes them into a blur. Bullets don’t have their characteristic outlines or color palettes to become distinguishable. Some even blend with your own vulcan. The result is a lot of cheap kills caused by intentional obfuscation. It this was their intention, then perhaps I’m being too harsh, but you know visibility is usually one of my pet peeves in shmups.
REPLAYABILITY AND LONGEVITY
As far as game length goes, I consider Raiden V to be one of the longer ones. I was surprised after my first run of the game, as it took me 50+ minutes to complete the campaign. Usually, my baseline for shmups is around half an hour, which made this one almost twice as long. While I’m not fond of longer campaigns, I know a lot of people would certainly be glad to know there is plenty of content. Of course, playing through the campaign isn’t enough to view the entire game. If you recall, most stages have 4 versions of themselves. Those versions are separated by the ranks: S/A/B/C. This means you would need at least 4 runs to see everything the game has to offer. There’s also 6 different endings to uncover. Also new to the Director’s Cut edition are 2 bonus levels. These level are slightly different from your typical levels. The bonus missions will challenge you to fight a new boss ir oder to obtain medals. Dealing damage will detach the medals from the boss, allowing you to catch them. Gather enough medals and you will advance to the next phase. Higher medals mean higher ranking. Taking damage will take medals away from you, so surviving continues to be a priority. Lastly, there is a new boss mission mode that allow you to play “boss rush” missions. These missions have certain conditions, like using a specific weapon or fighting at a specific HP level. The targets are usually 1-3 bosses. Boss mission is a very fun arcadey mode for those who enjoyed the boss fights and want more of them.
If there’s a factor that merits my highest praise is the sound department. Simply put, the OST is fantastic. The track length syncs perfectly with the stages, and it always fits the mood. I just couldn’t get enough of the OST, and listening to it while writing this review was the recipe for a perfect Sunday! I also got some good coffee that would make the captain proud. For all the praise the music gets from me, it still is dragged down by the terrible sound mixing. Similarly to the voice acting, I tried to mess with the sound settings to increase the volume and reduce the sound effects, but it still wasn’t enough. The tracks were great but I struggled to listen to them amidst all the explosions. The calm moments were great, as they let me listen to the songs in peace.
Raiden is a master class in shmup design for the wrong reasons. Its high points perfectly illustrate how shmups should look and feel. The low points also show what you should NOT do when creating a shmup game. Despite all of this, it all comes down to how fun a game is. Raiden V is a very fun game. It isn’t different, but it’s certainly very polished. I delivers some levels of quality that are notably absent in the majority of the games. As a concept, I feel like it serves as an example of how current gen shmups should be. The execution fell flat in some regards, but as a whole I was satisfied with the time I spent with the game. It does come with a hefty price tag, so my advice is to check this game out when you find a decent sale. I got mine at -70%.
2 months back at trading (update) and some new questions
Hi all, I posted a thread back a few months ago when I started getting seriously back into trading after 20 years away. I thought I'd post an update with some notes on how I'm progressing. I like to type, so settle in. Maybe it'll help new traders who are exactly where I was 2 months ago, I dunno. Or maybe you'll wonder why you spent 3 minutes reading this. Risk/reward, yo. I'm trading 5k on TastyWorks. I'm a newcomer to theta positive strategies and have done about two thirds of my overall trades in this style. However, most of my experience in trading in the past has been intraday timeframe oriented chart reading and momentum stuff. I learned almost everything "new" that I'm doing from TastyTrade, /options, /thetagang, and Option Alpha. I've enjoyed the material coming from esinvests YouTube channel quite a bit as well. The theta gang type strategies I've done have been almost entirely around binary event IV contraction (mostly earnings, but not always) and in most cases, capped to about $250 in risk per position. The raw numbers: Net PnL : +247 Commissions paid: -155 Fees: -42 Right away what jumps out is something that was indicated by realdeal43 and PapaCharlie9 in my previous thread. This is a tough, grindy way to trade a small account. It reminds me a little bit of when I was rising through the stakes in online poker, playing $2/4 limit holdem. Even if you're a profitable player in that game, beating the rake over the long term is very, very hard. Here, over 3 months of trading a conservative style with mostly defined risk strategies, my commissions are roughly equal to my net PnL. That is just insane, and I don't even think I've been overtrading. 55 trades total, win rate of 60%
33 purely directional trades - 57.5% win
18 long call or long put positions, +692, 55% win
15 call or put verticals, -121, 60% win
22 neutral / other trades
13 iron condors, +345, 77% win rate
7 strangles, -163, 71% win rate
1 straddle, -310, 0% win rate
1 butterfly, -83, 0% win rate
PTON call purchased and held through earnings, sold the morning of announcement +410
Trading the range on the daily chart in GLD from 158 up to 165, a mix of various calls +245
NKLA 30 put purchased before the close on the day it went north of 100, just a pure fade +215
EWZ 22/26 strangle that I held just way too long as it beat me up day after day from May 20-Jun 3, -316
ZM pre earnings vertical, fading another 2 SD move (the day it hit 200 for the first time). Was expecting a post-earnings selloff given the magnitude of the up move. Stock basically hasn't had a down tick since. Max loss -247
EWW 29 straddle, put on around the same time as the EWZ strangle. Rolled from Jun to Jul to no avail. Out at a -310 loss.
This is pretty much where I expected to be while learning a bunch of new trading techniques. And no, this is not a large sample size so I have no idea whether or not I can be profitable trading this way (yet). I am heartened by the fact that I seem to be hitting my earnings trades and selling quick spikes in IV (like weed cures Corona day). I'm disheartened that I've went against my principles several times, holding trades for longer than I originally intended, or letting losses mount, believing that I could roll or manage my way out of trouble. I still feel like I am going against my nature to some degree. My trading in years past was scalping oriented and simple. I was taught that a good trade was right almost immediately. If it went against me, I'd cut it immediately and look for a better entry. This is absolutely nothing like that. A good trade may take weeks to develop. It's been really hard for me to sit through the troughs and it's been even harder to watch an okay profit get taken out by a big swing in delta. Part of me wonders if I am cut out for this style at all and if I shouldn't just take my 5k and start trading micro futures. But that's a different post... I'll share a couple of my meager learnings:
Larger bid/ask spreads make it almost impossible to trade the higher priced names, even if you have a correct assumption. I have traded some bigger underlyings during this time like LULU and NVDA. They are just tough fills, both getting in and getting out. I almost want to say that you shouldn't even bother trading underlyings bigger than a 10 cent bid/ask spread with a small account.
Get an idea of the timeframe you're interested in holding before putting anything on. Have a plan for entering and exiting everything that goes beyond "I'll take this trade off at 50%". You can use TA, you can use a news catalyst, a binary event, just have something. Countless sources out there talk about trading a plan. It doesn't have to be the perfect plan, it just has to be "a" plan.
Undefined risk trades in tiny accounts need hard stops. Yes, some of the studies say that you'll do better without having fixed stop loss rules (50% of max loss, 100% of max loss) -- but what the studies don't say is the effect that it will have on you, mentally. I got pretty bent out of shape over how badly EWZ and EWW went against me -- much more than I expected. It made no sense, as I've lost way more on the turn of a card in .5 seconds and been unfazed. I was unprepared for the mental toll that it took waking up day after day, watching positions move further and further against me. Great time to be short calls during the mother of all rallies.
My initial plan for undefined risk trades in my account was that I would only do them in ETFs. Logic being that I'm just not going to wake up to an accounting scandal or a buyout and take a $1k loss on the chin. I later expanded my range into lower priced underlyings like BBBY, TLRY, and yes, AAL. But these ETFs can and do move (I learned the hard way) and can soak up a surprising amount of BP. It might be better to have 5 iron condors taking up $1000 of BP @ 200 each instead of 2 strangles @ 500 each.
My new questions :
My big wins felt like I simply leaned on my TA background or got lucky. My big losses, I sure felt like I earned those, through mistakes I've definitely since identified. The stuff in the middle, I'm just not sure. I'm up money, but it feels like I'm just spinning my wheels. My win rate is good, but I still struggle with expectations about how quickly a trade should progress. What is the next step of the process for a newer options trader? I've read some stuff on narrower spreads + more contracts vs. wider spreads and fewer contracts. Is there a number where I should just keep doing what I'm doing until I reach a specific # of occurrences? Should I even think about branching out into different strategies yet (ratio spreads, jade lizards, etc) or continue to work on these basics?
I still feel like I am super weak in delta management. In some cases I feel like I've taken a loss simply because I didn't know what the proper management techniques were. I understand the concept of rolling out in time for a credit, but I just don't think it's in my nature to hold trades for longer than a month, and even that is hard for me. At what delta is it appropriate to start thinking about hedging?
Every time I put on a credit spread for a 2-3 day move and am directionally correct, I often wish that I had just bought a naked option. I've caught several big moves this way in things like AAPL; most recently I bought the FB dip to the 50 day MA around 215 and took it off today at 225 (which was always my plan) -- it leads me to wonder if my expectations for credit spreads are completely out of line. I can't lie, it feels bad to catch a 10 point move and only make $40, haha. What is the ideal timeframe for a credit spread to be left on? Is it better to just buy premium with a stop loss and have a more profitable risk/reward equation for situations like the above where the only intent is to hold for a couple days?
Here's a random question -- other than when the BPR hit is too much (ie names over $50) for undefined risk, would you rather hold 1) a strangle for 10-14 days or 2) an iron condor for 25-30 days? So far my criteria for IC vs strangle has largely been driven by the risk profile and BPR and not so much profit potential in X number of days. If you're collecting the standard 1/3rd on the IC and taking the trade off at 50% (if you're lucky) , it seems like it takes about a month to get there, most of the time.
That's enough of this wall of text for now. If you made it this far, I salute you, because this shit was even longer than my last post.
Wall Street Week Ahead for the trading week beginning December 9th, 2019
Good Saturday morning to all of you here on wallstreetbets. I hope everyone on this sub made out pretty nicely in the market this past week, and is ready for the new trading week ahead. Here is everything you need to know to get you ready for the trading week beginning December 9th, 2019.
What Trump does before trade deadline is the ‘wild card’ that will drive markets in the week ahead - (Source)
The Trump administration’s Dec. 15 deadline for new tariffs on China looms large, and while most strategists expect them to be delayed while talks continue, they don’t rule out the unexpected. “That’s the biggest thing in the room next week. I don’t think he’s going to raise them. I think they’ll find a reason,” said James Pauslen, chief investment strategist at Leuthold Group. But Paulsen said President Donald Trump’s unpredictable nature makes it really impossible to tell what will happen as the deadline nears. “He’s the one off you’re never sure about. It’s not just tariffs. It could be damn near anything,” Paulsen said. “I think he goes out of his way to be a wild card.” Just in the past week, Trump said he would put new tariffs on Brazil, Argentina and France. He rattled markets when he said he could wait until after the election for a trade deal with China. Once dubbing himself “tariff man,” Trump reminded markets that he sees tariffs as a way of getting what he wants from an opponent, and traders were reminded tariffs may be around for a long time. Trade certainly could be the most important event for markets in the week ahead, which also includes a Fed interest rate decision Wednesday and the U.K.’s election that could set the course for Brexit. If there’s no China deal, that could beat up stocks, send Treasury yields lower and send investors into other safe havens. When Fed officials meet this week, they are not expected to change interest rates, but they are likely to discuss whether they believe their repo operations to drive liquidity in the short-term funding market are running smoothly, ahead of year end. Economic reports in the coming week include CPI inflation Wednesday, which could be an important input for the Fed. Punt, but no deal As of Friday, the White House did not appear any closer to striking a deal with China, though officials say talks are going fine. Back in August, Trump said if there is no deal, Dec. 15 is the date for a new wave of tariffs on $156 billion in Chinese goods, including cell phones, toys and lap top computers. Dan Clifton, head of policy research at Strategas, said it seems like a low probability there will be a deal in the coming week. “What the market is focused on right now is whether there’s going to be tariffs that to into effect on Dec. 15, or not. It’s being rated pretty binary,” said Clifton. “I think what’s happening here and the actions by China overnight looks like we’re setting up for a kick.” China removed some tariffs from U.S. agricultural products Friday, and administration officials have been talking about discussions going fine. Clifton said if tariffs are put on hold, it’s unclear for how long. “Those are going to be larger questions that have to be answered. This is really now about politics. Is it a better idea for the president to cut a deal without major structural reforms, or should he walk away? That’s the larger debate that has to happen after Dec. 15,” Clifton said. “I’m getting worried that some in the administration... they’re leaning toward no deal category.” Clifton said Trump’s approval rating falls when the trade wars heat up, so that may motivate him to complete the deal with China even if he doesn’t get everything he wants. Michael Schumacher, director of rates strategy at Wells Fargo, said his base case is for a trade deal to be signed in the next couple of months, but even so, he said he can’t entirely rule out another outcome. It would make sense for tariffs to be put on hold while talks continue. “The tweeter-in-chief controls that one, ” said Schumacher. “That’s anybody’s guess...I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he suspends it for a few weeks. If he doesn’t, that’s a pretty unpleasant result. That’s risk off. That’s pretty clear.” Because the next group of tariffs would be on consumer goods, economists fear they could hit the economy through the consumer, the strongest and largest engine behind economic growth. Fed ahead The Fed has moved to the sidelines and says it is monitoring economic data before deciding its next move. Friday’s strong November jobs report, with 266,000 jobs added, reinforces the Fed’s decision to move to neutral for now. So the most important headlines from its meeting this week could be about the repo market, basically the plumbing for the financial system where financial institutions fund themselves. Interest rates in that somewhat obscure market spiked in September. Market pros said the issue was a cash crunch in the short term lending market, made better when the Fed started repo operations. The Fed now has multiple operations running over year end, and Schumacher said it has latitude to do more. Strategists expect there to be more pressure on the repo market as banks rein in operations to spruce up their balance sheets at year end. “No one is going to come to the Fed and say you did too much in the year-end funding,” said Schumacher. “If repo happens to spike somewhat on one day, the Fed is going to hammer it the next day.” Paulsen said the markets will be attuned to this week’s inflation numbers. Consumer inflation, the CPI is reported on Wednesday and producer prices are Thursday. A pickup in inflation of any significance is one thing that could pull the Fed from the sidelines, and prod it to consider a rate hike. “I think the inflation reports might start to get a little attention. Given the jobs numbers, the employment rate, growth picking up a little bit and a better tone in manufacturing. I do think if you get some hot CPI number, I don’t know if the Fed can ignore it,” he said. “Core CPI is 2.3%.” He said it would get noticed if it jumped to 2.5% or better. The Fed’s inflation target is 2% but its preferred measure is the PCE inflation, and that remains under 2%. Stocks were sharply higher Friday but ended the past week flattish. The S&P 500 was slightly higher, up 0.2% at 3,145, and the Dow was down 0.1% at 28,015. The Nasdaq was 0.1% lower, ending the week at 8,656.
This past week saw the following moves in the S&P:
It has been a rough start to the most wonderful month of them all, with the S&P 500 Index down each of the first two days of December. Don’t stop believing just yet, though. Everyone knows December has usually been a good month for stocks, but what happened last year is still fresh in the minds of many investors. The S&P 500 fell 9.1% in December 2018 for the worst December since 1931. That sounds really bad, until you realize stocks fell 30% in September 1931, but we digress. One major difference between now and last year is how well the global equities have been performing. Heading into December 2018, the S&P 500 was up 3.2% year to date, but markets outside of the United States were already firmly in the red, with many down double digits. “We don’t think stocks are on the verge of another massive December sell off,” said LPL Financial Senior Market Strategist Ryan Detrick. “If my Cincinnati Bengals can win a game, anything is possible. However, we are quite encouraged by the overall participation we are seeing from various global stock markets this year versus last year, when the United States was about the only market in the green heading into December.” Stocks have also overcome volatile starts to December recently. The S&P 500 was down four days in a row to start 2013 and 2017, but the gauge still managed to gain 2.4% and 1%, respectively, in those years. As the LPL Chart of the Day shows, December has been the second-best month of the year for stocks going back to 1950. It is worth noting that it was the best month of the year before last year’s massive drop. Stocks have historically been strong in pre-election years as well, and December has never been lower two times in a row during a pre-election year. Given stocks fell in December 2015, bulls could be smiling when this month is wrapped up.
Impeaching a President with the possibility of removal from office is by no means great for the country. However, it may not be so horrible for the stock market or investors if history is any guide. We first touched on this over two years ago here on the blog and now that much has transpired and the US House of Representatives is now proceeding with drafting articles of impeachment we figured it was a good time to revisit the history (albeit limited) of market behavior during presidential impeachment proceedings. The three charts below really tell the story. During the Watergate scandal of Nixon’s second term the market suffered a major bear market from January 1973 to OctobeDecember 1974 with the Dow down 45.1%, S&P 500 down 48.2% and NASDAQ down 59.9%. Sure there were other factors that contributed to the bear market such as the Oil Embargo, Arab-Israeli War, collapse of the Bretton Woods system, high inflation and Watergate. However, shortly after Nixon resigned on August 9, 1974 the market reached the secular bear market low on October 3 for S&P and NASDAQ and December 6 for the Dow. Leading up to the Clinton investigations and through his subsequent impeachment and the acquittal by the Senate the market was on a tear as one of the biggest bull markets in history raged on. After the 1994 midterm elections when the Republicans took back control of both houses of Congress the market remained on a 45 degree upward trajectory except for a few blips and the shortest bear market on record that lasted 45 days and bottomed on August 31, 1998. Clinton was impeached in December 1998 and acquitted in February 1999 as the market continued higher throughout his second term. Sure there were other factors that contributed to the late-1990s bull-run such as the Dotcom Boom, the Information Revolution, millennial fervor and a booming global economy, but Clinton’s personal scandal had little negative impact on markets. It remains to be seen of course what will happen with President Trump’s impeachment proceeding and how the world and markets react, but the market continues to march on. If the limited history of impeachment proceedings of a US President in modern times (no offense to our 17th President Andrew Johnson) is any guide, the market has bounced back after the last two impeachment proceedings and was higher a year later. Perhaps it will be better to buy any impeachment dip rather than sell it.
Typical December Trading: Modest Strength Early, Choppy Middle and Solid Gains Late
Historically, the first trading day of December, today, has a slightly bearish bias with S&P 500 advancing 34 times over the last 69 years (since 1950) with an average loss of 0.02%. Tomorrow, the second trading day of December however, has been stronger, up 52.2% of the time since 1950 with an average gain of 0.08% and the third day is better still, up 59.4% of the time. Over the more recent 21-year period, December has opened with strength and gains over its first seven trading days before beginning to drift. By mid-month all five indices have surrendered any early-month gains, but shortly thereafter Santa usually visits sending the market higher until the last day of the month and the year when last minute selling, most likely for tax reasons, briefly interrupts the market’s rally.
Odds Still Favor A Gain for Rest of December Despite Rough Start
Just when it was beginning to look like trade was heading in a positive direction, the wind changed direction again. Yesterday it was steel and aluminum tariffs on Brazil and Argentina and today a deal with China may not happen as soon as previously anticipated. The result was the worst first two trading days of December since last year and the sixth worst start since 1950 for S&P 500. DJIA and NASDAQ are eighth worst since 1950 and 1971, respectively. However, historically past weakness in early December (losses over the first two trading days combined) were still followed by average gains for the remainder of the month the majority of the time. DJIA has advanced 74.19% of the time following losses over the first two trading days with an average gain for the remainder of December of 1.39%. S&P 500 was up 67.65% of the time with an average rest of month gain of 0.84%. NASDAQ is modestly softer advancing 61.11% of the time during the remainder of December with an average advance of 0.30%.
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Friday 12.13.19 After Market Close:
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lululemon athletica inc. $229.38
lululemon athletica inc. (LULU) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:05 PM ET on Wednesday, December 11, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.93 per share on revenue of $896.50 million and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.98 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 73% expecting an earnings beat The company's guidance was for earnings of $0.90 to $0.92 per share on revenue of $880.00 million to $890.00 million. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 24.00% with revenue increasing by 19.91%. Short interest has increased by 9.8% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 16.0% from its open following the earnings release to be 26.0% above its 200 day moving average of $182.08. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. On Friday, December 6, 2019 there was some notable buying of 927 contracts of the $260.00 call expiring on Friday, December 13, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 8.3% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 11.1% move in recent quarters.
Costco Wholesale Corp. (COST) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:15 PM ET on Thursday, December 12, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $1.70 per share on revenue of $37.43 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $1.74 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 78% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 5.59% with revenue increasing by 6.73%. Short interest has increased by 19.3% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 2.5% from its open following the earnings release to be 10.3% above its 200 day moving average of $267.50. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. On Tuesday, November 19, 2019 there was some notable buying of 916 contracts of the $265.00 put expiring on Friday, December 27, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 3.7% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 3.6% move in recent quarters.
Thor Industries, Inc. (THO) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 6:45 AM ET on Monday, December 9, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $1.23 per share on revenue of $2.30 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $1.30 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 69% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 16.89% with revenue increasing by 30.98%. Short interest has increased by 48.1% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 25.5% from its open following the earnings release to be 16.0% above its 200 day moving average of $58.44. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Tuesday, December 3, 2019 there was some notable buying of 838 contracts of the $60.00 put expiring on Friday, December 20, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 10.0% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 7.6% move in recent quarters.
AutoZone, Inc. (AZO) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 6:55 AM ET on Tuesday, December 10, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $13.69 per share on revenue of $2.76 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $14.02 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 76% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 1.63% with revenue increasing by 4.48%. Short interest has decreased by 13.7% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 1.1% from its open following the earnings release to be 8.9% above its 200 day moving average of $1,077.00. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. Option traders are pricing in a 5.5% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 5.6% move in recent quarters.
Adobe Inc. (ADBE) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:05 PM ET on Thursday, December 12, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $2.26 per share on revenue of $2.97 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $2.30 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 74% expecting an earnings beat The company's guidance was for earnings of approximately $2.25 per share. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 23.50% with revenue increasing by 20.51%. Short interest has increased by 44.6% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 11.2% from its open following the earnings release to be 9.1% above its 200 day moving average of $280.60. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. On Monday, November 25, 2019 there was some notable buying of 505 contracts of the $340.00 call expiring on Friday, December 20, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 3.9% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 3.8% move in recent quarters.
Broadcom Limited (AVGO) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:15 PM ET on Thursday, December 12, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $5.36 per share on revenue of $5.76 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $5.47 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 69% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 7.27% with revenue increasing by 5.80%. Short interest has increased by 22.8% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 6.2% from its open following the earnings release to be 9.7% above its 200 day moving average of $288.21. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Thursday, December 5, 2019 there was some notable buying of 625 contracts of the $135.00 call expiring on Friday, January 15, 2021. Option traders are pricing in a 5.2% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 4.7% move in recent quarters.
Ciena Corporation (CIEN) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 7:00 AM ET on Thursday, December 12, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.66 per share on revenue of $964.80 million and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.67 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 72% expecting an earnings beat The company's guidance was for revenue of $945.00 million to $975.00 million. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 26.92% with revenue increasing by 7.28%. Short interest has increased by 66.6% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 9.5% from its open following the earnings release to be 11.0% below its 200 day moving average of $39.32. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. On Friday, December 6, 2019 there was some notable buying of 1,156 contracts of the $36.00 put expiring on Friday, December 13, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 9.0% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 10.1% move in recent quarters.
MongoDB, Inc. (MDB) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:05 PM ET on Monday, December 9, 2019. The consensus estimate is for a loss of $0.28 per share on revenue of $99.73 million and the Earnings Whisper ® number is ($0.26) per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 63% expecting an earnings beat The company's guidance was for a loss of $0.29 to $0.27 per share on revenue of $98.00 million to $100.00 million. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 15.15% with revenue increasing by 53.47%. Short interest has increased by 15.2% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 16.3% from its open following the earnings release to be 5.1% below its 200 day moving average of $138.19. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Tuesday, November 19, 2019 there was some notable buying of 970 contracts of the $210.00 call expiring on Friday, December 20, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 10.1% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 8.7% move in recent quarters.
Chewy, Inc. (CHWY) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:10 PM ET on Monday, December 9, 2019. The consensus estimate is for a loss of $0.16 per share on revenue of $1.21 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is ($0.15) per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 57% expecting an earnings beat. Short interest has increased by 40.7% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 14.6% from its open following the earnings release. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. The stock has averaged a 6.4% move on earnings in recent quarters.
Stitch Fix, Inc. (SFIX) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:05 PM ET on Monday, December 9, 2019. The consensus estimate is for a loss of $0.06 per share on revenue of $441.04 million and the Earnings Whisper ® number is ($0.04) per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 69% expecting an earnings beat The company's guidance was for revenue of $438.00 million to $442.00 million. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 160.00% with revenue increasing by 20.43%. Short interest has increased by 30.9% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 41.7% from its open following the earnings release to be 2.4% below its 200 day moving average of $24.69. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Thursday, November 21, 2019 there was some notable buying of 1,000 contracts of the $13.00 put expiring on Friday, January 17, 2020. Option traders are pricing in a 20.0% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 18.9% move in recent quarters.
10000000 - A Dungeon Crawling Puzzle RPG Matching Game. Run the dungeon, match tiles and run for as long as you can Achikaps - A simple economic strategy AFK Arena - Sit back and relax in a beautiful world full of epic tales, exciting adventures and an abundance of rewards. Rediscover the fun of mobile gaming again! Alluris - It's basically Choose Your Own Adventure with good graphics and a ton of content/unlockables. Paid offline with a demo. Almost a Hero - Is this idle RPG clicker game Almost A Hero actually any good? (LAUGH) Do chickens fly south in the winter? Of course it is. We have stacks of flawed and slightly brave characters for you to evolve and train. Epic battles where you can get killed as many times as you wish. Beguiling magic to be leaned. Dark secrets to uncover. Lurking evil to be defeated. Look, we’re not going to lie to you, only losers and oddballs fit into our family. A blindfolded archer, a shape shifter who never gets it right, an explosives expert who’s blown himself up more times than he can remember. They’re all here. So if you don’t think you’ve got what it takes to be a hero - this is the game for you! Almost A Hero! There’s never a dull moment with these nutters! They put the ‘ooh’ in kooky! Antiyoy - excellent strategic & conquest game, completely free, updates with user content, just great ! Arena Allstars - A turn-based strategy game where you compete with up to seven opponents in an epic real-time battle. If you are looking for a quick matchup, choose Team Co-Op Mode and take down your opponents in less than 10 minutes. Draft your team, execute top-level strategies and strive to be the last person standing! Compete in the monthly tournaments to earn rewards and ascend the ranks in Arena Allstars. Bleentoro - A simple logic game. It has no advertisements or microtransactions. Features: Easy to learn, Campaign and sandbox modes, Simple UI, Smooth animations Buriedbornes - Great turn based old-school RPG where you proceed through a dungeon generally with 100 or more floors. You choose your path between left and right and can face monsters, or get new equipment/skills and experience different events with curses or boons. Many character classes to choose from if you spend a decent amount of time playing and unlocking them. A large part of the game is deciding which equipment or skills to take when looting to replace what you currently have, with some pretty crazy abilities on both. Cado - Rotate the world to fall to the goal in an infinite amount of random generated levels. Find and collect fun and crazy gamemodes and try them out in the extras menu. But don´t touch these red obstacles or you will die a slow and painful death and burn in hell for eternity (and respawn after that). Maybe. Card Crawl - A solitaire-style dungeon crawler game played with a modified deck of standard cards. Clear the dungeon of 54 cards by using item-cards, slaying monsters and managing your limited inventory. On each run, you can use five ability-cards (mini deck building) to gain unique skills. By collecting gold, you can unlock 35 more ability-cards to access new tactics and even higher scores. Card Thief - Move through a deck of cards as a stealthy thief. Sneak in the shadows, extinguish torches, pickpocket guards and steal valuable treasures without getting caught. In your thief hideout you can use your stolen goods to unlock powerful equipment cards. Each heist you can use 3 equipment cards to become a skillful master thief. Cards Keeper - Challenge yourself in a brand new adventure to become the ultimate Keeper of Cards! Write your own legend playing by different characters with unique skills. Fight against dangerous monsters and mystical bosses, upgrade Heroes equipment, power up abilities, find rare artifacts and complete quests. Be sure, there're more indescribable mysteries waiting to be found... Chessplode - Chessplode is modern chess for everyone, it makes chess fun even if you're bad ¯\_(ツ)_/¯, one simply move... can change all game. Clash Royale - Enter the Arena! From the creators of Clash of Clans comes a real-time multiplayer game starring the Royales, your favorite Clash characters and much, much more. Collect and upgrade dozens of cards featuring the Clash of Clans troops, spells and defenses you know and love, as well as the Royales: Princes, Knights, Baby Dragons and more. Knock the enemy King and Princesses from their towers to defeat your opponents and win Trophies, Crowns and glory in the Arena. Form a Clan to share cards and build your very own battle community. CLICK-POCALYPSE II - CLICKPOCALYPSE II is an incremental/idle RPG. Create a party to bravely explore terrible dungeons and mercilessly exterminate every monster in the world. Find items, go up levels, learn spells, upgrade abilities, and earn achievements. Clicker Heroes - The massive hit game from Steam and PC browsers comes to mobile with new features! Clicker Heroes is the idle RPG that started the subgenre! Embark on your quest and begin a simple, yet incredibly fun adventure. Tap to attack monsters, hire and level up heroes to unlock their unique abilities. Slay monsters for gold, find treasure, and explore new worlds. Cookie Clicker - The original idle game where you bake cookies to rule the universe! This is the official Cookie Clicker app by Orteil & Opti. Accept no substitutes! Cryptogram - Decipher the hidden text to reveal the motivational quote! Can you figure out the pattern in each puzzle? You'll be rewarded with a thoughtful message by one of hundreds of different poets, preachers and prophets! Deep Town: Mining Factory - DIG DEEP and uncover the hidden story behind Deep Town and along the way dig deeper and build higher to produce more resources! 🔨🔧⛏ Destiny Child RPG - about collecting girls and create the best decks to fight in ragna raids, worldboss, pve or pvp. Digfender - Beneath your castle an enemy lies waiting. Grab your shovel and prepare your defenses! DOKU - Minimal Material Sudoku - A Sudoku Puzzle app for clean and casual gameplay. Master the classic puzzle game in the comfort of Android's native Material Design language. Doodle Jump - Journey up a sheet of graph paper, perpetually jumping from one platform to the next, picking up jet packs, avoiding black holes, and blasting baddies with nose balls along the way. Laugh with delight as you blow past other players' actual score markers scribbled in the margins. And be warned: this game is insanely addictive! Downwell - Its retro art style is really nice to look at, and the gameplay keeps you coming back. Definitely worth the 3 bucks. It's also available on the Switch for the same price too. Dragalia Lost - The only gacha I'll even consider playing at this point. Even with their generosity I still debate playing because of the addictive nature of gachas. I play very casually now. But this is the best gacha, bar none. And it's portrait when 99% of the rest are landscape. Dragon Ball Legends - Get ready for the all-new Dragon Ball smartphone game that fans around the world have been waiting for! Battle it out in high quality 3D stages with character voicing! Enjoy 1 on 1 action against rival players from across the globe! Dragon QuestV1 - V2 - V3 - V4 - V5 - V6 - V8 - The game that started the legend of DRAGON QUEST is here at last for mobile devices! Discover the RPG that won the hearts of two generations! Enter a fantasy world of sword, magic, and monsters in one standalone package! Enframe - portrait puzzle game (shameless self plug as I am the developer) Farm Punks - Grow hilarious fruit and shoot them down a mountain with your giant cannon! How far can you roll? Take control of each fruit as it rolls down the mountain and try and earn as much cash as you can before it turns to mulch! Feud - Feud is a turn-based strategy game made by some guys you haven't heard of yet. Originally a board game designed by Dave Cordell, it's been polished and tweaked and generally mucked about with to bring it to the glowing screen you're reading this description on. Unless you printed it out? Think of the trees. Please. Fire Emblem Heroes - Nintendo's hit strategy-RPG Fire Emblem series, which has been going strong for more than 25 years, continues its journey on smart devices. Fight battles customized for touch screens and on-the-go play. Summon characters from across the Fire Emblem universe. Develop your Heroes' skills, and take them to new heights. This is your adventure—a Fire Emblem that's like nothing you've seen before! Galaxy Warrior: Alien Attack - Guide your spaceship through the vastness of space destroying menacing aliens and powerful bosses. It would seem that there is nothing to discover in the Solar System. But in the most remote corners of the Universe mankind has come up against cruel resistance. You are the only one who can save the galaxy from an alien race of invaders! Golf Blitz - Great PVP golf game made by the same guys who made Super Stickman Golf 3. Though I wish they'd release a 4th installment, this is a good alternative. Hidden Folks - Search for hidden folks in hand-drawn, interactive, miniature landscapes. Unfurl tent flaps, cut through bushes, slam doors, and poke some crocodiles! Rooooaaaarrrr!!!!! A strip of targets shows you what to look for. Tap a target for a hint, and find enough to unlock the next area. Holedown - Dig deep underground by shooting balls and breaking blocks, traversing your way to the planet cores. With limited shots per round and some blocks fixed firmly to the wall, thoughtfully strategize and aim for maximum impact. Knock down as many blocks as possible while collecting crystals for upgrades and getting deeper beneath the surface. Hoplite - A turn-based strategy game focusing on tactical movement around small maps. Enjoyable if you like roguelikes that require tactical movement and almost puzzle-like combat. Upgrade your abilities or stats as you progress through each floor. Hyper Heroes - TAP, SWIPE & SLING your heroes to send them smashing towards hordes of monsters, unleashing explosive power on impact and looting epic treasures! Just Change Color - it's arcade title, every level takes less than minute to complete (but may depend on skill and level of character you play with). It was designed to kill few minutes on bus, toilet, in bed and similar situations Kittens Game - Kittens Game is a village simulation text game. You manage a village of kittens as they acquire resources and unlock new technologies. Over 30 different buildings, 50+ resources, hundreds of technologies and upgrades. No ads or micro-transactions! Lichess - Chess. Nice turn based game where you can select the speed of games and also have the option for correspondence play/asynchronous play. I also just enjoy trying to solve the puzzles built into the app as they really get you thinking. There's also plenty of stuff in game to help learn in the Study section and being able to analyze your games/openings. Magic The Gathering Puzzle Quest - Magic: The Gathering and the original Match 3 RPG are re-imagined in Magic: The Gathering – Puzzle Quest, an epic deck building, strategy and deep leveling role playing game! Mario Kart - Mario and friends go global in this new Mario Kart as they race around courses inspired by real-world cities in addition to classic Mario Kart courses! These destinations will be featured in tours that rotate every two weeks! In addition to courses based on iconic locales, some of your favorite Mario Kart characters will get variations that incorporate the local flavor of cities featured in the game! Meteorfall: Journeys - Extremely polished card-based roguelike. Classes are each fairly unique, and each run feels great. Mighty Heroes - It's nice to have a card game that can be played in portrait mode. I just grabbed this off the play store myself so I'm not sure how balanced or nuanced the play is yet but I've enjoyed the 2-3 hours I've put into it so far. If you play you'll get serious Hearthstone vibes, but the combat is a bit different as your monsters only attack straight ahead, and don't generally take damage when they attack. Miracle Merchant - In Miracle Merchant you become the apprentice of a master alchemist who creates potions for thirsty customers. By mixing and combining different ingredient cards you create powerful potions based on the needs of your customers. Night of the Full Moon - A stand-alone card game. There is no mandatory beginners guide, no internet connection, no brush map, no ten strokes. The plot will be played in the card battle. Each NPC and BOSS are given a mission and a temperament. Different choices will bring different endings. NYTimes Crossword - Solve and enjoy the same puzzles printed in the daily newspaper in this app built by The New York Times. OK Golf - NEW COURSE! - Llyncapel Ruins, Wales. It's not real golf, but it's OK! OK Golf is the essence of golf, refined to a tee. Play a quick round anywhere, anytime on stylish dioramas inspired by classic golfing destinations. Easy to play, hard to put down, perfect for all ages and handicaps! Onitama - Immerse yourself in an ancient Japanese setting and discover Onitama, an exciting, fast-paced strategy game! Onitama is somewhat reminiscent of chess and rather addictive with its dynamic game mechanic in which warriors face off so their master may win the game. Concentration and luck are the only weapons you'll have at your disposal! You'll need to fully master mind and body to defeat your opponents. Ordia - A one-finger platformer where you play as a new life form taking its first leaps into a strange and hazardous world. Piczle Lines DX - The follow-up to the highly praised prequel Piczle Lines DX offers hours of addictive, mind-bending logic-puzzle fun! Create pictures (PICture puzZLE) by connecting the right dots. With an ever-expanding puzzle mode, as well as a gripping story mode Piczle Lines DX will keep you entertained for hours and hours! Ping Pong King - "I'm Ping Pong King" is a very fun and exciting table tennis game. The goal of this game is to beat 16 rivals and win the crown; these funny stickmen can be world’s best champion, your boss or super grandma. It’s an easy finger-tapping game, simply tap right or left of the screen to control your stickman. Be careful not to miss any ball, or you'll fail this contest! Pizza Boy GBA Pro - **This is Game Boy Advance emulator.... NOT a Game Boy Classic/Color emulator!** The finest emulator of Nintendo Game Boy Advance is here! Pocket City - Build your own city as mayor. Create residential, commercial, and industrial zones. Build parks and recreation spots. Respond to crime and disasters. Watch your city come alive! This is the FREE version of Pocket City. The full version contains more features, including a sandbox mode where everything is unlocked! Get the full version for the best experience! The Battle of Polytopia - An Epic Civilization War - The Battle of Polytopia has begun. Lead your civilization into war in this low poly turn-based strategy game. Adventure into this world of blocks: explore, gather resources, farm, mine ore... Build an empire of epic proportions, train your warriors and send them to fight with armies of other civilizations. A new take on the classic strategy 4X game with beautiful low poly art. Puzzle & Dragons - A gacha based puzzle game, where you build your team of monsters and try to overcome enemies with different abilities in dungeons. There's quite a lot of depth to the game but it can get super grindy if you are trying to keep up with the collaborations and events in game. Think bejeweled but where you can make multiple matches of 3 or more gems in one turn. Each of your monsters has one or more special abilities that can be used, and you have one "leader" with passive abilities and a friend's monster you can bring along that also provides a leader ability. I still come back to this but when I was first into it I couldn't put it down for the longest time until I burned out. It's nice that there is a coop mode as well. Really Bad Chess - Really Bad Chess is just like chess, but with totally random pieces. Try 8 Knights, 4 Bishops, and 3 pawns — why not? Reigns - Sit on the throne as a benevolent (or malevolent) medieval monarch of the modern age and swipe your royal fingers either left or right to impose your will upon the kingdom. Survive the seemingly never-ending gauntlet of requests from your advisors, peasants, allies, and enemies while maintaining balance between the influential factions of your kingdom. But beware; each decision you make might have implications and unfortunate consequences down the road that could put your reign and family’s dynasty at risk! Rising Empires 2 - 4X fantasy strategy - Rising Empires 2 is an epic 4X turn-based strategy game in a fantasy setting, where six races strive to build the strongest civilization and lay claim to all the land on the Surface and in the Netherworld. Rogue adventure - Rogue Adventure is an incredible fusion of turn-based deckbuilder card game, rpg and roguelike, with an old style game pixel graphic. Discover different worlds, each with unique enemies and dangers, defeat all the bosses to become a hero. Find hundreds of different cards and powerful skills to create your perfect deck. Unlock new classes to try different strategies and have unlimited fun. Each run is unique, choose your path, find enemies, elites, bosses, merchants and treasures, and build your perfect strategy. Shattered Pixel Dungeon - Best roguelike on the phone IMO and one of my favorites. Been playing since '15. ShooMachi - Is It Wrong to Try to Strike a Bonanza by a Shoot 'em up game? Retro JRPG style Bullet hell Shoot'em up game ShooMachi Shop Titans: Epic Idle Crafter, Build & Trade RPG - YOU are the new craftsman in town. Help the heroes in epic battles against fearsome monsters that lurk in the dungeons. Personalize and design your store, build epic armor, swords and gear for the heroes to defend your village. Team up with blacksmiths, tailors, priestesses, carpenters and herbalists to make your business prosper. Trade, sell or auction your products to the highest bidders from other shops. Sell your goods to warriors and even add a surcharge! Siege: Titan Wars - Similar to Clash Royale but much faster based and rather unique as well. I dropped most of my other games besides this one and COD. Skyforce Reloaded - The spirit of the retro arcade shoot‘em ups, captured with modern visuals and design. New entry in the series will keep you entertained with all the things you’ve came to love in scrolling shooters. Meaty explosions, incinerating lasers, collosal bosses and diverse aircrafts to pilot. Star Traders RPG - Play this free RPG before you upgrade to Elite and enjoy hours of turn-based strategy for free! The Trese Brothers never run ads in our games -- enjoy an ad free, permission free experience! Command your officers and crew from the bridge of your star ship to travel, trade, and battle across the immense Star Traders Quadrant. Employ a wide variety of strategies as an Assassin, Bounty Hunter, Trader, Pirate or Smuggler. Can you manage your resources, crew and officers well enough to turn a profit in the complex economy that’s sprawling across the on-going interstellar conflict? Sudoku - The Clean One - Basic Sudoku game. Don't play it all that much anymore, but it was the best of the bunch when I did. Super Fowlst - Great little roguelike that can get quite intense. I usually play more chill games but this one scratches that Action-game itch when I get it. Tap Healer - Healing Touch - A great game that gives you the feeling of playing a healer in an MMO. You'll have npc allies that will tick damage on the enemy as you use your different abilities/talents to keep them alive. If you enjoy playing as a healer in RPGs this game is worth checking out, there's not really a story but as you progress you can actually see what it's like to play a healer in small dungeons or eventually large raids. Tap Titans - The world has been overrun by terrible monsters and titans - It needs a hero to bring peace to the land, and that hero is you! As our leader, you must grab your blade and vanquish the terror. With the help of other warriors you can summon along the way, collect artifacts to make yourself stronger and destroy the dark forces to bring peace to the land. Tap Titans 2 - The battle continues! Grab your sword and gather your heroes to battle mighty Titans in more than 70,000 levels. Enter tournaments, collect pets and become the ultimate sword master. An immersive Idle clicker RPG experience for all. The Titans are back, so join the adventure and tap tap tap to victory! The Greedy Cave - In a land far, far away there once was a vast continent called Milton. It was a land where the power of rule came by the sword and the arcane, where Men who devoted themselves to the blade or to magecraft, could become the finest warriors, wisest wizards or the greatest adventurers. In this land, there are several kingdoms divided by borders but united through history. Countless stories of alliances, upheaval, and moments of peace bedeck this tapestry, but that is a tale for another day. The Quarry - Great resource management game. Where you mine and transport resources to build and mine more. Just like factorio! The Sequence 1 - A unique puzzle game. Build a sequence using special modules to transfer binary cell. Find solutions to solve 72 levels with simple and complex structure. Are you ready for a challenge? The Sequence 2 - This is the next chapter of successful puzzle game [the Sequence]. It features new modules and introduces new game mechanics. Create moving sequences to bring "Binary Unit" to the destination point. Many levels could be solved in different ways, which allows to improve one's results and get into a higher position in leaderboard. Think out of the box to get to the next level! Create unique mind-blowing sequences! Tower Fortress - A mysterious tower has risen! It emits plumes of noxious green smoke from its summit making people sick. Strange creatures infest the tower but if nobody tries to ascend it we will all be doomed! Are you that hero?..... Triple Town - An original puzzle game in which you try to grow the greatest possible city. The larger the city you build, the more points you score. You build your city by matching three or more game-pieces: combine three grasses to make a bush, three bushes to make a tree... until you've filled the board with houses, cathedrals and castles. Along the way, you'll have to outwit giant bears who will try to block your progress. Troll Patrol (Early Access) - A puzzle game which combines the tile-matching and RPG genres by offering a unique experience: Play as the last defender of the threatened troll den where vicious village people and heroes from far away castles and kingdoms knock down your door. Stand firm, take whatever weapon is close and fight them off to get your family and friends to safety. Protect what is rightfully yours, your home, your heritage. They come for blood, for revenge, to still their blood thirst. But you won't allow it. Trueskate - The ultimate skateboarding sim. Twinfold - Twinfold delves into the duplicity of duplication. A roguelike about merging golden idols and squashing angry faces. Manipulate a labyrinthine tableau with the swipe of a finger. Merge and munch on golden idols level up and gain game-changing abilities. Ulala Idle Adventure - Whether you’re sleeping, eating, or taking the subway - come play Ulala: Idle Adventure! Ulala is an idle MMORPG, which brings to life the excitement and adventures of the Stone Age in a fun and social way! Void Tyrant - Build a deck as you battle across the galaxy, gathering powerful cards along the way. With strategy and a bit of luck, you might be able to reclaim the Eyes of Chronos. A single-player adventure, play with 500+ cards and three unique classes to engineer a custom deck to your own design. Rooted in the simple hit-or-stand mechanics of blackjack, Void Tyrant is an easy to understand roguelike with engrossing depth. Battle quirky aliens, disarm traps, upgrade your spaceport, and face off with the sinister Wruut. Ware Wolf Online - Defend your village from the forces of evil or become a werewolf and hunt your friends! Join the mystery game, fight for your team and find the liars among your ranks. Werewolf Online is a multiplayer game for up to 16 players. Each game has different teams such as villagers or werewolves all fighting to be the last team standing. Use special abilities to uncover the roles of other players and convince your fellow players to work with you. You Must Build a Boat - Travel the world in your boat, from the top of the Mage Tower to the bottom of Hell
2018 report 2017 report Despite the solid number, this was a bit of a mixed year. Free/nominal fees for subscription services meant I spent a fair bit of time on games which were not on my backlog (albeit most were on my wishlist, so I can treat them as a preemptive elimination!). I also had a few timesinks which I regularly went back to as I found many new games to be unsatisfying.
1) The Outer Worlds 2) State of Decay 2 3) Warhammer 40,000 – Space Wolf 4) Purrfect Date 5) Tom Clancy’s The Division
Thoughts on each game
The Lion’s Song Quite an interesting little game. It manages to link stories about music, painting, mathematics and war in a clever and engrossing way. The choices are genuinely impactful and make for tough decisions at times. AER: Memories of Old A short game, but quite relaxing and pretty – especially in the flight sections. I had no interest in the story, but the relatively gentle puzzles and enjoyable flights made it worthwhile. Mad Max Much like Mafia III, this is a 10-hour game elongated into a 30+ hour game by copy-pasting tasks. While in theory most tasks are optional, the slow progress and gating of upgrades essentially requires completion of much of them. This becomes a grind, and the gameplay isn’t quite enough to keep it interesting. Quantum Break A mediocre story and a mediocre shooter, yet somehow more than the sum of its parts. Maybe I’m just nostalgic for the days of FMV integration in games, but this wound up being quite entertaining. Hitman – season 1 My first and only other Hitman game is Absolution, which apparently was a departure for the series. That leaves me in the position of finding this return to normality for the series as rather jarring. I prefer the linear and tighter nature of Absolution – since I don’t care enough to go back and complete them in different ways, it felt like a bit of a thin and shallow experience with a threadbare story. Grim Fandango Remastered I’m dreadful at P&C puzzle games, and quickly realised I wasn’t going to get far without a guide. As such, I cheated my way through most of it and just played it for the writing. Thankfully, the writing is so good that it was still fun. I wasn’t keen on Full Throttle, which I played last year, but this was amusing throughout. The Deadly Tower of Monsters A fun concept – a B-movie spoof – combined with surprisingly forgiving platforming mechanics. I’m not a fan of platformers generally, but the frustration-alleviating features and general sense of humour in the game made for a good experience. Overfall Solid roguelike tactical combat, marred by some sloppy writing [I don’t think English is the first language of the writers, but at least a spell-check would have helped], a wonky interface [pertinent information like resistances is obscured] and a strangely harsh unlock system. Not a bad game by any means, but could have been better with a bit more care. Rock of Ages 2 Bizarre concept, even more bizarre writing, but entertainingly so. It’s surprisingly good-looking and quite fun, but five hours was quite enough for me. Battlefield 1 I haven’t played a Battlefield game since Vietnam, so this took a bit of adjusting. The campaign is very well presented and offers a nice bit of variety, but it’s over so fast. I had no interest in multiplayer, so this made for a brief, if fun, experience. Soul Gambler A very brief visual novel, but at least it had distinct story paths. The writing was decent, if a bit awkward. My main gripe was that you had to individually click through each line on subsequent playthroughs, which is something many visual novels these days manage to avoid. Stikbold A rather strange dodgeball game. I didn’t find the strangeness nearly as amusing as Rock of Ages 2, but it was a moderately entertaining experience with a bit of variety through the different settings and objectives. Cultist Simulator I’m a bit mixed on this. On one hand, it had a surprising amount of content and complexity to it. On the other, it drastically inflated the complexity by veiling basic gameplay aspects. That could mean a lot of wasted time – or worse, inadvertently wrecking a multi-hour playthrough - because it wasn’t clear what you should be doing next. Walkthroughs and guides were essential. While there’s merit to a game which rewards experimentation and discovery of mechanics, there is a point at which it’s just too obtuse, and at times the game did go a bit too far in that respect. Ziggurat A quite clever blend of roguelike and FPS. I’m not much of a fan of the latter, but the gameplay was fun and the roguelike elements softened the blow of failure. Tyranny I disliked Pillars of Eternity and went into this with some trepidation. Fortunately, it was a more enjoyable and accessible experience. Where Pillars just threw a mindnumbing amount of lore at me, this offered a relatively comprehensible story doled out in appropriate chunks. While it did have some of Pillars’ mechanical issues, like poor pathfinding in combat, they did not seem nearly as bad (perhaps due to the smaller scale of battles). The base management stuff seemed tacked on, confusing and wholly unnecessary. It was far from my favourite RPG, but solid enough – and didn’t overstay its welcome. Orwell: Ignorance is Strength I enjoyed the first Orwell game and initially found this a similarly good experience. The few changes were worthwhile ones, and the story seemed to be building up well. Then it suddenly ended. Surely I done something wrong and met an early endgame? Nope, that was it – a mere few hours of gameplay, with an ending so abrupt that I had no idea it was one until the credits rolled. There are different endings, requiring additional playthroughs, but after that disappointment I wasn’t interested in going back to it. Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure This was my first game in the series, and I found it enjoyable. I only had to cheat a few times (which is remarkably good by my standards!) and the cheesiness of it was all rather endearing. The sequel is now on my wishlist (though it seems to be a fair way off). Train Valley A decent puzzle/strategy game, which quickly escalates from rather placid to chaotic. The simple concept still requires a fair bit of thought to succeed, and while I bumbled through somewhat, it was fun. Rakuen Beautiful. One of my favourite games, evoking the spirit of To the Moon by dealing with weighty topics in a whimsical manner. Wonderful soundtrack and great design. Dangerous Golf I enjoyed this more than I’d expected. It’s all a bit messy, as one would expect from a heavily physics-based game, and almost throws in too many variations, but it is fairly satisfying. In some levels it’s all too easy to get a platinum medal through sheer luck, but in other levels it takes a fair bit of skill and thought to get a good score, which is rather more satisfying. Mutant Year Zero This was frustrating. It has the ingredients for a solid game – great presentation, imaginative world, decent writing and voice acting and the core of a solid tactics game. The problem is that it is structured essentially like a puzzle game. The odds are so intensely stacked against you in a group battle that you must pick off enemies one by one. This makes for a slow and tedious process, especially when combined with the impact of RNG and the unsatisfying ending. Dishonoured 2 I felt a little let down by this. Presentation was good, story was fine, but the powers were mostly unengaging and the combat was frustrating. The combat issues were partly my fault in that I tried a non-lethal run, but while there were a few more non-lethal options, I would have loved an option to just punch someone in the face rather than having to stand around waiting to parry in order to launch a non-lethal attack. Finding Paradise This had a lot to live up to – To the Moon and A Bird Story are among my favourite games – but once again Kan Gao delivered. Touching, funny, surprising and engrossing. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – GotY Edition I went into this with a bit of trepidation, having strongly disliked the first two games in the series. While I am a big fan of the books, the gameplay never clicked with me. This was an improvement to some degree, but I still found the combat in particular frustrating and relatively shallow. I wound up just playing it as a story, and it delivered in that respect – even many of the side quests were more memorable than the main storylines of a lot of other RPGs I’ve played. While I certainly won’t be joining the “Praise Geraldo” crew, I at least had a better experience than I did with the other games in the series. SteamWorld Dig 2 I loved the first game. This was certainly enjoyable but did not reach quite the same heights; perhaps through lack of ambition if nothing else. Solid enough, but lacking the impact of its predecessor. Batman: Arkham Knight This felt like the weakest of the three main Arkham games (I didn’t like Origins much at all, but that is somewhat separate). The combat, setting and presentation were all as interesting as ever, and the story got genuinely interesting towards the end, but the damned car seemed to drag down everything it was involved in. From puzzles to battles, it always felt a bit wonky to me – a particularly sharp contrast to the famously smooth and refined movement and combat the series is known for. Unlike Asylum and City, I didn’t complete the Riddler challenges. This was primarily due to the car, which I was thoroughly sick of by the end. Perhaps I was rendered a bit grumpier than usual by that, but I also found the Rocksteady tendency to lead the player by the nose at some points, and then leave things utterly oblique at other times, to be particularly grating. West of Loathing Genuinely funny at times, and I loved the art style, but it did drag on a little. The Flame in the Flood Quite an atmospheric and appealing game. The presentation is gorgeous, albeit marred by irritating pop-in even on a GTX 1080. The gameplay is pretty easy to pick up, and while it can be frustrating in the way that a survival game with randomisation inevitably can be (and why the hell can’t I boil water to remove the bugs?!), the checkpoint system is generous enough to ameliorate this. Monster Prom I am not usually one for VNs, but this is great. Entertaining characters, often hilarious (and oh so wrong) writing and easy enough to play through in 15 minutes (it says the short game is 30 minutes, but it doesn't take me anywhere near that). There is plenty of content, some of which is unlockable, meaning there is substantial replayability. Yakuza 0 The first in the series for me, and quite enjoyable. It was funny at times, though the main plot did cause me to drift off towards the end – I wound up doing crosswords during some of the interminable cutscenes. The combat got a bit repetitive, but it was easy enough to get the hang of. I didn’t enjoy it enough to get stuck into the numerous side activities, but the main game was decent enough. Dominique Pamplemousse This is a curious game. It is brief (barely an hour long) and linear. The puzzles are simple. Much of the dialogue is sung, for no apparent reason - and not particularly well. The art style has been described as "claymation noire"; there's little er..."mation", and it all looks a bit muddy. Writing is fine. I chuckled at a few bits, but it's hardly memorable.For all that, I quite liked it. It's original and there's heart to it. In a sea of lazy asset flips, generic AAA games with no respect for your time and visionless projects, here's an example of people actually daring to have a go with a unique vision. South Park: The Fractured But Whole Not nearly as well-written as its predecessor, but with significantly better combat. The badge progression system was clumsy, and at one point I was left with a stack of grinding to do. Generally a solid experience, though. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice Wonderful presentation, with some of the best voice acting I’ve heard in games. The gameplay itself was decent. Combat was a little too simple, and puzzles could be frustrating at times, but it’s really all about the experience. Pizza Express I feel a little silly having spent a lot of money on a gaming rig when I use it to play stuff that looks like something out of the early ‘90s. Nonetheless, this was good fun – amusing story, addictive gameplay and a surprising amount of content. Yoku’s Island Express Cutely presented and an interesting concept. It can be infuriating at times, requiring a degree of precision which is perhaps best not associated with pinball, and getting around can be a bit confusing. Overall, though, it’s quite fun. The Darkside Detective A pretty simple point & click adventure (aside from one strangely hard instalment), broken into small episodes to make it easy to get through a portion at a time. Nothing exceptional, but a decent way to spend a few hours. Tales of Berseria A surprisingly engrossing tale. It's frequently funny and features likeable characters. The voice acting is excellent - it's a tour de force for Cristina Valenzuela in particular. That helps mitigate a convoluted combat system. It was still throwing tutorials at me after 15 hours; I wound up ignoring them and button mashing, which seemed to work fine on Normal difficulty anyway. Performance is rock solid. Smooth FPS, fast loading and limited pop-in. I have never played a Tales game before, and may not play another one, but it doesn't take a love for the series to enjoy this game. Perhaps the group best warned to stay away are achievement hunters - some of them seem to take a heck of a lot of work. The Outer Worlds Disappointing. The simplistic combat not only makes that portion of the game dull, but also weakens the RPG aspects since you can pour all your upgrade points into speech skills, making those challenges a breeze. The writing is one-note (everyone is quirky, snarky or both), the choices are binary and rarely provoke thought (indeed, the hardest choice was one of the very first) and the characters aren't particularly interesting - nor are they given much chance to be in their shallow quests. It also performed poorly on a decent rig - though that's to be expected from Obsidian. Agents of Mayhem It's...not that bad. Sure, it's flawed - repetitive quests, buggy at times and nowhere near the level of Saints Row's writing - but it has an enjoyably distinct set of characters (sadly enough, the character missions were more interesting than those of Outer Worlds) and the combat is enjoyably free-flowing. PixelJunk Nom Nom Galaxy I liked the idea of discovering ingredients and turning them into various products, but it quickly became centred around ever more complex process designs which were of no interest to me. Action Henk A fun runner; gorgeously presented. I sucked at it though! Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse Presented in an enjoyably light-hearted manner, but it felt like it was dragging on even after four hours. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow Ultimate Edition I was quite excited to play this, since it featured three of my favourite actors – Patrick Stewart, Robert Carlyle and Jason Isaacs. That’s the only reason I managed to last five hours. I hated pretty much everything about it; the shoddy fixed camera, the tedious fighting, the cringeworthy writing… The sad thing is that I bought another two games in the series. Sheltered A solid little survival management game. I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as Zafehouse Diaries or Dead State, mainly because the RNG was a bit too impactful. It’s far too common for a game to simply be unwinnable due to a lack of rain and/or the distribution of resources in nearby locations. When things are fairer (or the difficulty is lowered) it becomes quite a grind – with no real winning condition and little in the way of variety (there are a few shallow quests of minimal value or interest) tedium ensues. Civilization VI Quite liked the new mechanics and enjoyed playing as Australia (though Walzing Matilda is so distinctive that it gets a bit grating). Having spent many hours in its predecessors though, there was nothing particularly groundbreaking which compelled me to play more than a few games. Porno Studio Tycoon I’ll give pretty much any management game a go! Unfortunately, things weren’t particularly well explained and while there seemed to be a bit of depth, a lot of it was blocked off (to add to the confusion, the tutorial focused on mechanics which were blocked off for much of the early game). Aarklash: Legacy I normally like tactical games, but this was just too unforgiving and there was no ability to grind to reduce the difficulty. Intergalactic Bubbles It’s basically Bubble Bobble, which is fine. It’s quite nicely presented. The problem is that each level is meant to be completed in a certain number of moves, but since the bubble colours are randomly generated, it’s mostly down to luck – you might be able to wipe out half the bubbles on your first move, or might struggle to get any matches at all. Tom Clancy’s The Division I got fairly close to the end of this game but was just so fed up with it that I couldn’t push myself to get through it. The story was forgettable, the shooting mechanics were mediocre, all the extraneous gameplay elements were just an annoyance and I felt the game was balanced against me as a solo player (only twice did I find a co-op partner, and both of them screamed in Korean throughout). It looked impressive, at least. Kingdom: New Lands Edition I really thought I’d like this game, and had it on my wishlist from release. I love management games, and have no issue with passive management. It also looked gorgeous; this is one of the best-looking pixel-art games I’ve played. Unfortunately, it did not click at all. The AI was not bright, which is inevitably a source of a lot of frustration in a passive management game. Further, the gameplay was just dull. I felt like I was running back and forth endlessly for little reward – pretty though it may have been, I found myself wishing for a button to speed up time. The positive reviews suggest it is a relaxing and chill game – I just found myself frustrated with the AI and bored by the gameplay. Halcyon 6: Lightspeed Edition For some reason I thought this was more of a starbase management sim rather than a tactical space battle sim. The starbase elements are there, but they are pretty thin. Most of the game is about the tactical space battles, which were interesting and varied enough early on, but after nine hours and no end in sight I was sick of them. FIFA 18 I haven’t played a FIFA game since ’98, so it was interesting to give this a go. The story mode was okay – quite well presented, but the player rating system was infuriating at times (the out-of-position penalties in particular). I did find that there was a huge gap in the difficulty settings – one was ludicrously easy (insultingly so; the AI kept missing from close range), but the next was a bit too steep for someone essentially new to the series. An option between the two would have been nice, or at least an easier difficulty which at least tried to mask how easy it was making things! I also tried management mode, but having been used to Football Manager’s detail I was not able to get into this. Seven: The Days Long Gone This was a frustrating experience. I really liked the concept of an isometric thief RPG, and did my best to give it a fair chance. It had its positive aspects; freedom of movement, decent voice acting and reasonable graphics. However, the freedom of movement also worked against it; confrontations with enemies often spiralled into circular chases suited to Benny Hill music and I lost count of the number of times I plunged to an untimely death through a misstep. Moreover, it didn’t really work to its premise. The game started with a tutorial centred around a stealthy heist, which seemed to be the central premise of the game. The next time I encountered a situation close to that was six hours later. Age of Wonders 3 I loved Shadow Magic many years ago but struggled to get into this. Maps seemed to take an inordinately long time to the point that armies were monstrously large and there was no research left. Maybe I was too defensive, but the AI was very passive. The Dweller A decent little puzzle game with minimal assets. Out of the Park Baseball 19 A slight improvement on its predecessor. The main addition was an online card-game mode, but I’m not sure that works well in a management game. My squad was rapidly full of high-end talent and I felt no real connection to the team. Niche: A Genetics Survival Game Nice concept, but a rather wobbly execution. The genetics aspect tended to be lost due to the fast paced and tough nature of the game; the focus was so much on just keeping any creature alive that genetics didn’t come into my thinking. Apparently the best strategy is to sit on the first island for ages and build up a tribe, but the tutorial didn’t make that clear at all. Royal Heroes A grindy and buggy mobile game. Endless Space 2 – Digital Deluxe Edition I thought I was falling out of love with the space 4X genre, having been very disappointed with the last few I placed – particularly Stellaris – but this hit the mark. The alien races are distinct, making for significantly different gameplay. The gameplay itself is always interesting; unlike Stellaris, it doesn’t hit a dead patch mid-game. I found the combat a little frustrating – seemingly even contests would often have completely one-sided results for no apparent reason – but aside from that it was a solid game. Monster Slayers An enjoyable little rogue-lite deck builder. While I normally prefer a bit more flexibility in deck building, tying cards to characters meant that each one had a distinctive feel which gave the game plenty of replayability. Dark Train This sounded interesting in concept, but was way too oblique for me. State of Decay 2 This seemed like the perfect game for me – I love survival management and settlement building. Unfortunately, it wound up feeling rather like a shallow MMO – trite dialogue, grindy tasks and no real sense of purpose or direction. I just found myself engaging in long, dull runs between locations, engaging in the same shoddy combat over and over again. The Banner Saga 3 I played the first two games in the series to completion and seem to recall enjoying them, but something about this did not click at all. I had zero interest in the story – the time between instalments has dulled my memory of it – and the gameplay just felt so flat. I’m not really sure what changed between playing the last two games and now, but I had no motivation to keep playing. Gremlins, Inc A reasonably enjoyable but forgettable board game. Warhammer 40,000 – Space Wolf This is a game plagued by odd design choices. It has turn-based combat (which I love), but it is deprived of so much of its strategy by the way it is designed. Enemies appear at arbitrary moments from arbitrary locations (including amid your troops) without warning or logic, meaning that success requires either a degree of fortune or grinding missions to know when and where enemies will appear. Perhaps this is to compensate for the weak AI, which is prone to boneheaded acts, but it just makes things irritating and dull. It also has a card collecting and deck building mechanic (again, which I love). The distribution of cards, however, is bizarre – completing tasks in missions (which can take 30+ minutes each) will give a couple of low-level cards. In contrast, activating one of numerous codes from the forums provides a pile of high-level cards. “Legendary” cards are so readily available in this form that a deck can be filled with them with a few minutes’ effort. There is a clumsy system for upgrading each card, none of which is explained in the shallow tutorial. There is also an upgrade path for your squadmates – again poorly explained – which is reliant on grinding missions. They don't use your custom decks, so while you're flooded with Elite and Legendary cards for the leader, you have to grind just to eke out a few more Uncommons for the rest of your squad. There's really nothing else to recommend the game. Graphics and sound are serviceable and the story is barely there. It just feels like yet another Warhammer game pushed out for the sake of it. Warhammer 40,000 – Dawn of War II Another disappointing Warhammer game. Again this had things I liked – a strategic layer with character progression, equippable loot, choice of missions and ebb and flow of the wider battle. However, I found this constrained by the limits placed on that strategy, with constant time pressure funnelling me into the key missions . I’m not sure how much that time pressure would have impacted on the outcome – would doing side missions result in overall failure – as it was never properly explained. Moreover, I found the RTS gameplay really quite dull and repetitive, such that I didn’t feel compelled to continue. Road Redemption Incredibly dumb – horrible dialogue, clumsy gameplay (trying to aim guns while riding was a nightmare) and buggy (the one round which I won was as a result of a bug which caused me to be invincible for most of it), but it did have some entertainment value. Moonlighter Having spent 125 hours in Recettear, it's fair to say I am very much open to the burgeoning shopkeeper-by-day/dungeon-crawler-by-night genre. Unfortunately, this fell flat. Even after a relatively short period it became a dull grind. Much of that is due to a distinct lack of charm; it looks nice in screenshots, but lacks any real character or presence in game. The absence of any decent writing is another problem; what there was of the story didn't interest me in the slightest. In contrast to a game like Recettear, filled with charm and heart, this was utterly bland. Add in the clumsy storage system, shallow shopkeeping, sluggish combat and irritatingly repetitive music, and seven hours was more than enough for me. Shelter Was rather surprised to dislike this. I found myself getting lost far too easily, which given that it was a very linear game meant a lot of frustration. The visual presentation was grating and confusing. Mainlining Moderately interesting hacking game, but too shallow, linear and not particularly well written. Reassembly Took a while for this to click, but once it did it was decent enough. I could have spent many hours playing this in the ‘90s, but it didn’t have enough of interest for me to do so now. 12 Labours of Hercules V: Kids of Hellas Cute enough, I suppose, but quickly became repetitive. Aaero A music-based shooter with poorly explained shooter mechanics and music which was very much not to my taste. One track really stood out as effectively blending the music and game mechanics, but that should have been the standard rather than the exception. Purrfect Date This game is presented as a cutesy, tongue-in-cheek game and for the most part it pulls that off pretty well. If that was the sum of it, I'd be reasonably satisfied. Instead, there is a dark, unpleasant story underneath, with numerous descriptions of animal abuse. It's utterly jarring - a game which is presented as being for cat lovers (not that kind of lover), yet featuring descriptions of them being victims of torture, experimentation and killing. The closest thing to a warning on the store page is a reference to "black humour", which doesn't cover it in my view. There is no humour in these scenes, so it’s not “black humour”. I don’t know what it is, other than a simply bizarre choice. Even putting aside the lack of warning, it's an unpleasant and jarring experience. I'm at a loss as to what on earth the devs were thinking. The writing is otherwise reasonably good. The structure of the game, however, is poor. It requires multiple playthroughs to get a proper ending, and there is no way to quickly skip the text. Prepare for RSI, clicking through page after page of dialogue, if you ever want to get to the ending. Suffice to say, going through this once is quite enough for me. Space Hulk Ascension I normally love turn-based combat, especially with RPG progression, but this was just dull and frustrating. Not having a good year with Warhammer games. Super Daryl Deluxe All very QUIRKY, and constantly at pains to remind you of how QUIRKY it is, without ever being particularly amusing. The art style is at least eyecatching, and some of the music is decent, but the writing didn’t grab me at all. The combat was a grindy battle of attrition – the only thing worse than “kill x monster” quests are “collect x items which randomly drop from only a small percentage of monsters after you kill them” quests. Add in the ever-frustrating boss fights where you had to win through repeating an unintuitive set of actions several times, and I didn’t feel like going much further. Think of the Children Nice idea, and it’s good to play a locally-made game, but it’s dreadfully designed for a single player. Although it can have up to three co-op partners, it doesn’t adjust the difficulty in the slightest to cater for a solo player rendering it near-impossible. Legend of Grimrock 2 Obtuse puzzles, clumsy combat and bland design made this quickly unappealing. FIFA 19 I mainly just played for the story mode, which was fine. Didn't notice much of a difference from 18. Out of the Park Baseball 20 No discernible improvement upon its predecessor. Oriental Empires Some nice ideas, but thoroughly dull. In six hours I was attacked three times by bandits and spent the rest of the time painstakingly building farms. Iratus: Lord of the Dead An enjoyable little strategy game. I will probably go back to it since it's in early access and is constantly being rebalanced. Into the Breach Moderately interesting strategy, but not enough to keep me coming back. There Came An Echo Iridium's previous game, Before the Echo (aka Sequence) was a flawed but enjoyable hidden gem. There Came an Echo has a similar level of charm, but two fundamental problems. The first is that it was simply unplayable on my PC. A black screen after loading; no way past it. Apparently it was due to an incompatibility with my microphone which is rather problematic when I don't HAVE a microphone. The second is that (having used my partner's computer to run it) ultimately it's a very raw proof of concept. Like its predecessor it has charm in the voice acting and writing, but unlike its predecessor it is just not a lot of fun to play. Put aside the gimmick of giving voice commands and you're left with a short, clumsy, shallow and frustrating experience. World of Mixed Martial Arts 5 As usual for the series (indeed, the dev in general), a stack of good ideas marred by fundamental flaws. Good as a hypnotic experience between other games. Star Trek Timelines I tried this briefly a few years ago and didn't get into it, but I certainly did this year. It's all pretty shallow, but as a fan-friendly timewaster it's decent enough. Football Manager Touch 2019 Endlessly infuriating, and a bit buggy, but always manages to draw me back in.
Hello fellow redditors, caught quite by surprise Sub_Octavian organized a Live QnA. And judging by the number of comments ... I got some work ahead of me. As always, the "Q" provides a link to the comment chain of the adjacent question. Starting web radio. Let's go: ******************** Q: Could we get a % damage dealt stat in the postbattle screen? Or maybe in-match as well? And the API as well of course ;) A: It's in our backlog, and thanks for the reminder. I will refresh the discussion in the team :) Q: Now that IJN AA was further nerfed with the CV/AA Overhaul, can Atago finally get her missing AA, as well as an updated superstructure to match her actual hull? A: Missing AA? Atago plane kills score is surpassed by only Baltimore, Cleveland, Kutuzov and Wichita, and only by 1-1,4 frags on average, while all other combat stats are absolutely decent. Pre-rework she was roughly in the same spot, and I don't recall her being strongest AA ship on T8. Sorry, there is no justification for buffs at the moment. As for model improvements, we normally do this for older models from time to time, if there are better references and free resources. If there is room for improvement, she will get them some day. Q: Will WoWs ever get the same treatment WoT did in regards to graphics, performance, and optimization? A: I think I commented on it a few times. We do not plan to make any complete and total tech overhaul in one huge updates. We do incremental changes. Some FX improvements here, sound improvements there, x64 client there, etc, etc. For now, there is no plan to change it approach. We will update visual, tech and under the hood part from time to time. Your question is valid and good, but for the future, I want to clarify: WoT and WoWS are different teams, studios and even before WoT engine changed, our common engine versions were very different. There is almost zero point in connecting this games from this point of view. Q: Given the feedback from the testing, what is your opinion of the concept of the Pobeda/Slava? A lot of people don't seem to like a ship that promotes a very passive, sniping playstyle. A: It's a WIP ship; pretty soon her testing will be stopped, then feedback and data will be studied and then GD will decide what to do with her for then next test stage. With most obvious options being: to continue with the same concept, but change it to be bettemore balanced/better perceived or to try different concept. Speaking about my personal opinion. I've been hearing "it promotes passive playstyle" all the time, about everything, for years. Anything people don't like, they slap this "passive gameplay" marker on. In reality, it usually does not affect anything a lot. Campers continue to camp, pushers push. But this time I actually 100% agree with your evaluation. It is a true glass sniper cannon. Yamato and Montana can be very good at long range, too, but unlike Slava, they are not useless in CQC and can push. Q: What is the status on the gun fire bloom change? A: Same, in dev queue. Unfortunately, it's a game logic component, so it's in the same bin with, like, Priority sector rework or CV autopilot improvements. We will get there, but we're not ready to increase the priority of this feature to emergency (aka drop everything else and do it ASAP), because, at the time all this gun bloom changes were happening, it was obvious (after several weeks) that the impact is really low. For sure, there IS impact, in some particular cases it can be a game changer, and no denying that we're bringing this back as we promised. But right now, other things are just more important and cover much more players. TLDR - Work in progress, sorry for taking so long, will be done as promised. Q: Are there any plans to adjust the German battleships?, there are multiple different small changes that could be implemented to make them relevant again. They are fun ships but simply not working in the current meta. A: I cannot back the opinion that German BB are "not working". If we look at different stats, German BB are in the middle of the group on each tier in terms of WR. They may not have stellar absolute avg. damage, but they're contributing to the team success well enough. Their popularity is also very high, even with all other options which are in the game. There are a few additional factors, though:
Meta changes indeed, and so does feelings and gameplay experience. I am not arguing that German BB gameplay may feel different, most likely, it does (for me personally - no, but again, I appreciate other opinions).
There are quite a few strong premium/coal/freeXP BB on almost every tier, and a lot of skilled players stick to them. E.g Missouri, Musashi and JB are very solid, very popular, and a lot of good players use them for farm regularly. When such ships are in the group, other ships can feel weaker.
All in all, we're not opposed to improve German BB experience while staying within balance. Right now RU BB are being introduced, and they occupy the same slot of CQC BB. Let's see how their stats settle, how they shake down with German BB and then we will address this question one more time. If there is room for improvements, I don't see any single reason not to give them love. Also, I'm a fan of secondary build BBs, so...you can be sure I will be the first to vouch for that :) Q: Is WG happy with the effect that CV has on Tier 8 matchmaking? T8 ships are helpless against T10 aircraft, and T8 aircraft are helpless against T10 AA. This is punishing for surface ships and CV alike when being bottom tier in a T8 boat is bad enough already. A: T8 vs T10 MM situation is roughly the same regardless of the class. As stated before, some global MM improvements are being worked on, and no CV-specific changes are currently planned. We want to improve the experience for T8 in general, for all classes. Q: Could we ever get a soft-cap for only 1 CV per match like you did for T10 but for all tiers or was it the intention from the start to have at least 2 CVs in a match? Maybe a slightly changed cap for 1 minute or so instead of 3. Bottom tier in a double CV game feel really frustrating, not to say about the amount of spotting they can do. A: We're not against soft cap for 1 CV on T8 in the same way it's implemented for T10. The problem is T8 CV popularity. We update the data from time to time, and overall, when it becomes viable, we will strongly consider doing this cap. Right now it's not going to work, and I actually did a long post about it here: https://www.reddit.com/WorldOfWarships/comments/b62cx7/just_a_small_clarification_on_mm_cv_limits/ Q: What happend to Viribus Unitis, Yahagi and Leone? A: I mean some ships are just being put aside for some time, until there is a good moment to release them. It's fine, not all WIP content is scheduled to be release immediately after testing. Q: Are there any plans to update the Gearing’s model? Currently, it’s proportionally wrong and quite a bit wider than it should be (it should have the same width as a Sumner like the Yueyang). A: We will update old models from time to time, as we recently did with Yamato. Q: Do you think AP bomb mechanic in general (not just Graf which is already being tested) needs to be changed and explained better as well? Currently its behavior is too extreme and difficult to predict imo. It either deals 15-25k citadel damage which is super frustrating to the receiving side or deals 2-3k overpen damage which is meh from the CV player view. There is also no baseline stat to compare the penetration number of each kind of AP bombs either, unlike HE bombs which is a fixed number. A: No. We're quite happy with the current base mechanic, and think that it has good skill / reward ratio. What we're concerned about is AP alpha strike potential on some CV, especially while the general playerbase progresses in terms of skill and learns how to use this armament properly. So there may be some, most likely minor, tweaks in future. But the base concept itself, in our opinion, works well. Q:Is WG happy with the amount of spotting and the more and more reduced value of concealment in the game? Same question, only longer: In the days of old with few/no CVs/RadaHydro concealment was very very powerful and a tool that good players could use to play with for interesting and often tense results. A: Hello, CV related part: Not entirely. That may not be obvious, but the planned 0.8.4 changes, which, basically, affect the squadron speed WILL influence spotting. And for us, these changes are targeted at dpm and spotting equally. The takeoff delay will affect initial spotting, which we do consider a problem as well. We cannot promise that it will be enough, but:
I can absolutely confirm that in any case, there is new meta, where there IS more spotting overall. We do not consider it a bad thing.
While working on this issue further, we will try hard to use tweaks, not reworking the mechanic. Which means that options like "CV only spots for itself" and "CV spotting has delay like Radar" are not viable for us at the moment, and we will consider them only if absolutely necessary (everything else won't work).
Overall spotting part: Not entirely. All factors combined, we are concerned about spotting in the game. We're fine with meta changing, but would like to keep it soft, when possible. Right now we're concentrated on CV part, as obviously CV rework had big and immediate effect, when we're fully happy with it, we will look at everything else. Q: Can you give us a penetration value of AP bombs? It's really interesting to know. Thanks. A: Hosho (Type 99 25 Mod1): 174 Ruyjo (Type 3 25 Mod1 Mk4): 228 Shokaku (Type 2 50 Mark1): 262 Hakuryu (Type 2 80 Mk5 Mod1): 351 Enterprise (M62): 244 GZ (PD 500): 334 (pre buff) These should be the base values. Please take this into account:
Penetration capability is always the same, it's not affected by anything.
However, bombs interact with effective armor, so angle matters and they even can bounce.
They have normalization. It's base value is bigger than AP shells, but it's applied non-linearly; if the angle is bad, even great normalization won't help.
Aircraft angle and speed affect bomb speed and trajectory (but bombs do not loose penetration from speed!). Which means that for maximum penetration capabilities we must make the drop as close to 90 degrees as possible -> dropping early. For soft targets it may make sense to drop lately because, as with AP shells, for soft targets you don't want overpens and increasing effective armor turns into a benefit.
Q: Are there any plans to add a german coal or steel ship to the armory in the near future? A: There are always plans to add ships of all nations and all tiers to the game for all currencies. But in Q&A, we do not make such announcements, sorry. The only thing I can say there are some cool German ships planned for the foreseeable future and I look forward to them myself :-) But that's true for other game nations as well. Q: Has there been any thought given toward allowing 19 pt captains to further specialize in skills(picked by the player) much the same way the special coal/doubloon captains do now? To clarify I mean skills, not special traits that activate when certain conditions are met. A: Captains "meta" is something we may want to update in the future, but from all "meta" things at the moment, we have higher priorities. Q: Are there any plans to address the (imho) imbalance between the volume of almost non-stop damage over time ships have to deal with since the CV rework and the very limited (few heals and repair parties with long cooldowns) possibilities a player has to counter DOT damage, given the fact that surface ships can not disengage against a CV like they could against any surface ship (stop shooting to reduce spotting range, take cover, move away) ? A: Overall CV balancing and AA improvements will affect his anyways. Less plane speed + better AA counterplay = less strikes = less hits = less damage, including DoT. It does not make any sense to do your proposed change until 0.8.4 and further planned changes are made and do their impact. Also, their damage structure is not so DoT-reliant as you may think. Torps have very nerfed flooding chance, rockets are not stellar either. T10 CV atm have roughly 6% of flooding and 13,5% of fires in their damage structure, and that's the highest value of the class. T10 cruisers do 21% in fires alone. Q: Regarding AA, would you consider the outcome of this clip to be working as intended? It’s a 20 second clip, just an Atlanta with DFAA vs Tier 6 torpedo bombers.Without giving too much away, would the future planned changes to AA change this interaction in a meaningful way? A: We're happy with Atlanta herself. From all non CV ships in the game, Atlanta avg plane kills are surpassed only by Minotaur,Worcester and a couple of USN BB. Relatively to the game, Atlanta has an amazing AA. However, we're not entirely happy about CV-AA interaction globally, especially in regards to priority sector. We want the combination of AA ship/build + skillful priority sector usage to have noticeably more impact on ship's AA defence, and that's what we're working on right now. Q: Are there any plans on making secondaries more viable as a build? We now have a pair of US ships that show that a good build can be fun but that's about it. ManSecs is a waste of 4 points for 99% of ships. Between a T9 BB having 5km guns and the Vanguard having the wrong ones it seems to be an area that's been mostly overlooked. A: Yes. But it is not simple. I doubt we will make significant changes with current settings, and new secondary mechanics obviously will be a long term project, given other things being worked on. I can say this: we want to do something cool with secondaries, but there is no final decision what and when yet. At the moment we do not treat " secondaries being a fun alternative for just a couple of ship lines " an emergency. It is an area of the game we will eventually revisit, along with many others. Q: I have a question regarding Catapult Fighter consumables. As of now, they seem rather slow to actually attack enemy aircrafts, and also, the full squadron is depleted even when they shoot down a nearly used-up squadron consisting of, say, 2 aircrafts. Is WG happy with the current efficiency of Catapult fighters? Any tweaks to make players feel more protected when using the consumable? A: Yes, we're happy with the efficiency of this consumable. It does what it was meant to - inflicts losses on enemy squadron or, in some cases, creates area denial. It's more efficient when launched with good timing, it's less efficient when launched late. It's more efficient if CV plays aggressively, it's less efficient if CV plays carefully. TBH, we're fine with its state right now, and our nearest efforts to improve AA protection will be targeted at priority sector mechanic, not at fighters. Q: What is WG's opinion on presence of skill gap between players in current reworked CVs? I have personally seen fails in current CVs worse than anything I have ever encountered in old CVs. A: The presence of skill gap is not a problem (good players should be rewarded, bad players should be punished), the question is in the "width" of this gap, and it's effect on the game: on player's personal performance and on the team. Pre rework CV were very different in this aspect from everybody else. And in this aspect, with all data we have, we don't have any doubts that new CV are much much better than old CV. Q: While I understand specific changes to a module and/or system would be reserved for the Dev Blog, can you update us on the plans for the system as a whole? Approximate timing of the change? The number of new T10 ships is continually increasing thus the inventory of ships with and without Legendary Modules grows. Would premium ships ever have a Legendary Module opportunity? What about CV’s? A: That's not about getting in trouble :) As I've hinted a few times, we're at the design stage. It may be completely new system, or complementing system or just "keep these mods and do more of them". Right now there is truly no answer, and the decision is in the process. Q: Any chance for a setting to disable the in-game chat (apart from system messages like consumable use and the wheel messages)? A: It's being discussed right now actually, as there are quite a few requests to do it from the players. We will let you know when the decision is made, of course. Q: Right now CVs feel very removed from the gameplayloop. A lot of the time as a surface player i feel like just a target / NPC for the damage race between the two CVs. This is made worse by there being basically no interaction between CVs. Fighters are buggy as hell and usually just cancel each other out. A:
We want to add more counterplay, as stated several times in thisn QnA. Please check out my replies about Priority sector.
Fighter cancelling each other is exactly what we want. If you have a fighter ready you can try to cancel enemy fighter. Also, we don't want them to be "press the button to wipe the enemy out immediately". For now we see that they work as they should.
I play the same game, regularly, on various ships classes and tiers. Sorry, but I feel you are blowing this out of proportion. Some issues? Sure. NPC mode? Eh, no, and it is not backed by stats either. CV damage increase with player skill is relarively higher than on other classes, but WR increase is lower. CV as a class influence battle outcome less than other classes and much less than they used to. Also, please read about new AA mechanic. Auras deal very consistent damage. They were much more RNG pre rework.
Q: What are the alternative ways for players to acquire the Admiral Kuznetsov captain after the Victory event? Will there be a permanent campaign for Kuznetsov similar to the campaigns for Yamamoto and Halsey? Given that Kuznetsov has abilities that give a significant advantage over a standard captain, if players who miss out on the campaign cannot get him later on, they would be significantly disadvantaged during combat. A: It's WIP, but according to the current plan, there will be means to get this commander afterwards, however, not immediately after the event. For exactly the reasons you state: we don't want newer players to miss out good content. What it will be (a campaign? an armory item?) - I cannot confirm now. Q: Has there been any updates regarding linux players getting warnings and potentially banned?, I know you guys aren't officially supporting linux but the game runs perfectly under wine it's just the warning system causing issues since the last update. A: We're looking into it, but unfortunately, as Linux is NOT officially supported, I cannot give any guarantees. Sorry :( Q: Is there a possibility of another captain skill rework. I feel that AA skills should be separated from secondary skills currently as both suffer from their meh performance together and their significant investment away from skills that increase survivability and/or captain skills that increase comfortability. A: Some updates are more than possible in foreseeable future. Complete rework - highly unlikely this year or even beyond. Q: I know that balancing is cyclical, and that you're actively working on spotting and CV balance in general (thanks!), but my question is on the DD side of the equation: Are you seeing as significant of an affect on DD's as a class since rework as the population of DD mains is claiming? A: DD popularity has decreased of course (what's interesting quite a few DD players have become very active with CV). It is on acceptable level, and to be honest, I don't think it's something very special. We had a lot of popularity fluctuations over the years - at some point BB were over dominating and cruisers were nearly obsolete, and even before thet DD were on top. Right now the class distribution is okay (cruisers did big comeback btw), and with a few changes to CV, most likely, DD and CV populations will bounce back a bit more (more DD less CV). As for DD efficiency, it's definitely fine stats-wise, but we fully understand subjective, situational factor. Hence the upcoming changes to HE bombs for example, the already done nerfs to the rockets, etc, etc. Balance is cynical, but numbers is not the only thing we care about. Sentiment has huge weight too, and the biggest challenge is to balance these things before balancing the ships :-) Q: Are there plans to introduce similar things for the AP shells ? Say at 5,10 and 15km where applicable ? That would be extremely useful for certain ships in deciding whether to use AP or not. A: Not a priority, as unfortunately, AP shells loose penetration with distance non linearly, they have different trajectories, hit at different angles, and normalize. We're not fans of adding super hardcore information to the client, which the bulk of playerbase will never use. On the other hand, adding this information in interactive and digestible form so it actually helps players to make decisions, is a big task. A good one, but very costly. So it sits in back log for now. Q: Do you think that the binary nature of HE penetration is a problem when it comes to balancing skills like IFHE and small-caliber guns, or do you guys think that its fine and you can balance it regardless? A: I do not comment on leaks and speculations ;) But answering the main part, we think that core mechanics of HE is fine, and with 99% probability any further improvements will be "tweaking the knobs" rather then "2020 year of HE rework". Q: Has the dev team considered "changing/nerfing" IFHE by buffing the consistency of small caliber AP a small amount (like lower arming threshold, OR slightly better normalization, OR slightly better bounce angles, etc.) in order to create a competitor to IFHE? A: Yes, along with many other options, but there is no direction that we're firmly believe in just yet. Q: Are there any new operations in development? A: Apart from some..interesting special events - no. Our efforts in terms of game modes will be concentrated more on enriching PvP and making cool events this year. Q: Is there any chance to increase the punishment for afk and bot at asia server? Since the chinese server stopped update and remained at 0.7.3. There are many players from Chinese server moved to Asia server since last year. Bots are everywhere, You can meet at least 1 bot or afk players per team per match. Situation are even worse at low Tier during morning and midnight server time. It is just not fun to play with such numbers of bot and player who fire once every 5 mins. A: Yes. And not only for Asia. Actually, we're readdressing our system right now to better detect and better suspend the accounts which looks like "bots". Whether they are bots or just zero-effort farm accounts played by 10 ppl, is not relevant - we know they ruin the experience for fair players. So there will be improvements here in the near future. Q: Are there any plans to introduce a game mode without carriers anytime soon? A: No (apart from various events, that can be "no CV", "no BB" and "no whatever class, because it's an event"). Q: Any plans on completely rebalancing Graf Zeppelin, now that its biggest weapon --- speed --- has been nerfed 40 knots? Any plans for further AA/CV balance that you can share at the moment? A: Question 1: no, the speed boost mechanics is being changed globally and systematically. It's not a GZ nerf, it's a global mechanics nerf affecting all CV in the game. In the meantime, GZ retains her individual quality - high speed, with DB and TB planes having 181kt of base speed while other CV at this tier have it in 130ish range. What's more, her DB are being buffed. Better accuracy, more comfortable attack and, what's IMO even more important, higher bomb speed and penetration. The numbers do not seem huge, but in game it can be a difference between penetrating or not penetrating armor deck, especially against higher tier ships. And we all know that citadel hit is very desirable when you use AP bombs. If GZ will be weak after the changes for some reason, she will be improved in some other way - that's a standard workflow. Question 2: everything we can share ATM is in Dev Blog. Q: Special commander Kutznetov has a much less specialised (ship reaches <10% HP) special ability activation threshold. This was because Yamamoto and Halsey’s were considered too specific (score a kraken, ect.). With this in mind, will there be a revision of Halsey and Yamamoto’s special ability threshold? Is this activation threshold something we could see in future special commanders of other nations? A: The idea is that we want to try slightly different concept. Right now we have guys like Doe Brothers (no super talents, improved skills), Epic Yamamoto and Halsey ( improved skills, super rare and super epic talents), and now we want to try Kuznetsov as "less improved skills, less epic, but easier to trigger talents". Right now we're not 100% sure of the further developments. But if Kuznetsov is successful, I'm pretty sure there will be more commanders like that for other game nations. At the same time Yamamoto and Halsey future in this case is an open question. Should they be reworked, removing their mega epic effect in favor of less good/easier to trigger? Or should we get the alt.versions? Or maybe all 3 types of commanders will co-exist to suits different tastes :-) We will see. Q: Have you considered making AA rewarding or at least the investment for AA specs less costly? It requires a substantial investment to specialise any ship for AA, yet there is next to no control. A: Yes, and that's kinda in the plan. To reward more for AA control and/or AA loadout. Without making ships like Mino into "I evaporate you in a second before you even notice", preferably. Q: Will the Yueyang ever be rebalanced to account for the unnecessary nerfs a few patches ago? A: As any other ship, YY can be changed in the future, but we do not consider the nerf "unnecessary", happy with the result, and there is no reverting planned. YY sits firmly in the middle of T10 DD in terms of damage, WR, frags and other stats. At the same time, YY audience skill curve is not special (as opposed to Daring for example), so her relative performance is also fine. She's the least popular T10 DD, but always was like this, and her popularity is still acceptable to us. She used to be OP, now she's OK. Can it be "more OK" (better) while staying within acceptable balance? Yes, as many other ships, too. So we will consider it for the future updates. Q:
Citadels that are small in size and are placed in the stern. In the case of the Enterprise almost none existent.
Automatic fire and flood control damage
High resistance to fire and flooding
The automatic movement control moves the CV in reverse. This has the effect of not exposing a citadel that is already hard to get to.
What is the rationale for these design features? A:
Citadels in the game are being defined according to a specific set of rules. CV citadels follow this set as well, and their citadel placement has nothing to do with rework. From what I see in game and in stats, they can be easily citadeled in most cases.
Already explained long time ago in DevBlog.
Q: When will the Midway and Hakuryu get their Legendary Module back? They got frozen after 0.8.0 and currently cannot be used (although they can be earned). Personaly I would love to see the Midway get its old jets back from the Closed Beta when the Legendary Upgrade gets mounted. Dont know how it should balanced, but it would be cool to look at nonetheless A: I'm not 100% sure they will, actually. Because in our plans, we want to readdress the Legendary Mod thing overall. Maybe there will be some other system instead. Or maybe there will be changes. There is no exact decision right now; it may turn out that these mods will appear in some time as a part of current system, or they may be replaced (for all ships) with something completely new. Or these systems will co-exist. Sorry, in all fairness, we don't know ourselves right now :-) Q: In about another 6-8 months, when it is finally admitted that the CV rework has failed, how will WG attempt to repair the damage done? A: While "never say never" is true (looks at Halloween subs), we don't have any indication that CV rework is a failure. It has some issues, part of which are still to be resolved, it has some negative constructive feedback, and, sorry to say that, I mean no disrespect, it also has some echo-chamber hatred sentiment, which is not really constructive, too. As you can guess, no developer is interested in making the game worse, less popular, less enjoyable, etc. WoWS is the result for our effort, it's main career project for most of us, and it's huge part of our lives. From all main audience metrics, overall results of CV rework are good. From balance metrics, CV rework is good. Some players being unhappy or salty is of course NOT good, but:
We're addressing the players concerns, and working on feedback points.
We had the gut to rework the class from scratch, and none of us had pink dreams that CV rework would suit absolutely everyone.
If you disagree, fine, everyone is entitled to own opinion. And I apologize if the game is worse for you as a result of out efforts to make it better. Obviously none of us can be happy about it. But in all honesty, I am not going to admit something I don't believe in, while the full picture looks good and the game is alive and kicking. Even if this sub has turned into CV hate fest for some players, when many positive opinions are actively mocked and downvoted. Q: My clan is one of the top Naval Battle clans in the world. We set the pre-damage star record with 164 stars and put up 245 last week. We have really enjoyed the game mode and how it brings the clan together. However, the change to damage from base XP had a HUGE side effect last weekend. A strategy I saw was to div in a co-op game with two other players and have them not fire their guns until the player going for the star gets their damage. This makes what was a fun game mode very boring, especially when more players take advantage of this. Can WG either to go back to base XP or only allow Naval Battles to be done in randoms? Thank you. A: Feedback appreciated, most likely we will get to XP and think about damage more. Q: Will there ever be high tier operations It would give me great feels to play operation Ten Go as Yamato/Musashi at Leyte or something with Missouri A: Unfortunately our current efforts are mostly switched to PvP maps and modes, and to thematic events. For now, we're not able to spend any significant resources on Operations, simply because there are things much bigger chunk of playerbase cares about. Q: Kinda two questions stuffed in one, but. Will there ever be considered doing a BB line split for RN and KM, for Battlecruisers? Having vessels like HMS Renown would be awesome. A: There is no reason for not adding new interesting lines, but I am not announcing them on QnA ;) ******* That went quicker than I thought! As always, I have omitted super obvious questions that result in a "This is confidential" answer. Also: If I have forogotten any important question OR a link is broken, let me know. Enjoy reading!
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