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Modern Serialization and Star Trek: Re-imagining TNG to put Discovery and modern Trek in context

This is going to be one of those shower thought posts that exploded to be far larger than I originally hoped, so my apologies in advance.
It's no secret or unspoken thing that Star Trek: Discovery differs largely in terms of presentation from previous Trek series, and that is due in large part to it being a 14-episode, serialized series, versus the majority of Trek, which has been almost entirely episodic. DS9 sort of bucks this trend with major serialized arcs, and continuity between episodes (characters actually change!), as does Voyager. Enterprise, too, takes a bigger step towards serialization, as events from past episodes frequently shape those of later episodes, and characters change both in relationship and attitude over the series (to the extent that the writing allowed).
However, for Trek's 2017 return, DIS was brought to the screen in a radically different way-- instead of episodic seasons punctuated with serialized arcs and minor continuity threads sprinkled throughout, it was a tightly-woven story (insofar as it could be, given its original showrunner left midway through the development of the series) concentrated on one, continuing arc, following the trend of other prestige television shows that define the Golden Age of TV.
This is attributable to a few likely things: preference by the writers, the demands of CBS, and wanting to use the show to launch All Access, which necessarily demanded a "Game of Thrones-style" flagship. The smaller episode count, too, enables more budget per episode-- in 1988, an episode of TNG cost ~$1.3 million USD, which, with inflation, equaled about $2 million USD in 2016, when Discovery was being developed; Discovery's first season ran a reported $8.5 million per episode. Even at only 14 episodes versus TNG's first 24 episode season, DIS S1 cost more than double the amount to produce. This level of cost and detail means playing it safer, but also, means reusing props, prosthetics, and CGI assets to make sure that bang-for-your-buck is ensured. Thus, a series with a relatively consistent setting.
Season 1 of DIS tells a specific story, with distinct acts, a beginning, a middle, a climax, and a conclusion, and sets up plot points that are raised and resolved (along with others left dangling for future seasons). In terms of structure, it looks something like this:
  1. "The Vulcan Hello" (beginning)
  2. "Battle at the Binary Stars" (Act 1 concludes)
  3. "Context Is for Kings"
  4. "The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry"
  5. "Choose Your Pain"
  6. "Lethe"
  7. "Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad"
  8. "Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum"
  9. "Into the Forest I Go" (middle) (Act 2 concludes)
  10. "Despite Yourself"
  11. "The Wolf Inside"
  12. "Vaulting Ambition"
  13. "What's Past is Prologue" (Act 3 concludes)
  14. "The War Without, The War Within"
  15. "Will You Take My Hand?" (Act 4 concludes, thematic climax)
And it follows a few core plot threads:
This is all a pretty large departure from previous Trek, where some character threads are sprinkled throughout the series, like Riker maturing as an officer, or Sisko growing into his role as the Emissary as well as a Captain. Some things are more contained, like Picard dealing with the trauma of his assimilation and being used to murder 15,000 people by fighting in the mud with his brother on their vineyard.
This new structure has been received with mixed results by the Trek community (though the consensus seems to be it's working, considering we're at three seasons with two more on the books and two spinoffs on the way), and I think a large part of that is that, while serialization lets the writers tell longer, more detailed, and more complex stories, episodic shows enable writers to tell more varied, unique, and "special" shows.
With DIS, we're not going to have a "Measure of a Man", unless the season is set up to support it. However, with the TNG model, we're not going to have characters change much over time, and the reset button is going to come into play at the end of every season (if not every episode...looking at you, Voyager).
This leads me to the original shower thought that prompted this post: while rewatching The Neutral Zone in TNG S1, it made me wonder what TNG would've looked like had it adopted a similar model, where, presumably, the Borg would have been central to the plot, as would Q. So, I present to you below, my model for TNG S1, were it made in 2020 in an episodic, DIS-style, and leave it there for your consideration as to the future of the franchise, and what possibilities may come from coming series like Strange New Worlds, which may see a come-back of the episodic style.
My presumption for this new S1 is that it would borrow elements from S2 and S3 of TNG, as it would, generally, have tighter writing (given far fewer hours of film).
TNG Re-Imagined
Season 1
And that's TNG S1! S2's theme would be more regular exploration with hints of Borg, and probably another plot or plot(s), and S3 would, of course, culminate in BoBW.
Now, I could be way off the mark, but given how Trek is written now, and what it was back then, that's how I'd see something playing out in 2020. Note, though, that even in this format, one finds places to put in some semi-episodic episodes, not unlike Discovery S3 thus far. Hopefully, that means we get the chance for some truly unique, almost-standalone moments in the coming years.
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The Division 2 - Title Update 10 - Patch Notes

Title Update 10 - Patch Notes

*These are preliminary Patch Notes and changes may still happen until the launch of Title Update 10.
 

New Season – Keener’s Legacy

A new season is almost upon us! Starting on June 23rd, Keener’s Legacy offers 12 weeks of in-game activities and unique rewards. Season 2 brings a new Seasonal Manhunt, new Leagues, a new Global event and new unique rewards, as well as an Apparel Event.
 

New Raid - Operation Iron Horse

The True Sons have taken over a Foundry to develop new weapons and threaten to destroy everything the Division has worked for.
  • New bosses, puzzles and rewards!
  • Level 40 version available on June 30th, followed the next week by the level 30 version.
  • Discovery mode will become available at a later date.
  • Unique Rewards
    • 2 new Exotics
    • 2 new Gear Sets
    • New cosmetic rewards
  • Further details will become available closer to the raid’s release in late June.
 

Balance and Bug Fixes

Title Update 10 is bringing our first large balance pass following the release of Warlords of New York. Beyond the addition of new content, the update focuses on three main aspects mainly game health through bug fixes and balancing, generosity by increasing your chances to receive a high-quality item as loot and increasing overall player power. Scroll down for a full list of bug fixes, balancing changes and gameplay tweaks.
 

Missing Localized Audio

We wanted to inform you about an issue with localized audio that will be present when we launch Title Update 10 and Season 2. While the team was able to work from home to get this update ready, with your help testing the content on the PTS, we unfortunately were not able to record all localized audio content for TU10. With everything going on in the world, our top priority is the well-being of our teams, including our voice actors. Of course, we will start working on recording the missing audio with our partners when it is safe to do so and, in some cases, we were able to get things started already. Adding the localized files to the game as soon as we can in one of our next updates is an absolute priority for the team. This only affects Seasonal content. Operation Iron Horse audio is fully localized.
If you are currently playing with a non-English client, you don’t have to change anything going into Title Update 10. When localized audio is missing you will just hear the English audio instead. Subtitles have been localized and can be activated in the ingame options.
As work continues, we will update you on the progress of the integration here on the forums and on State of the Game.
Thank you and stay safe!
 

New Exotics

SRS Sniper Rifle: Mantis

  • Your scoped view displays additional information about enemies not targeting you
  • Your scoped view highlights enemy weakpoints
  • Headshot and weak point damage against enemies not targeting you amplified by 50%
  • Headshot kills reset the cooldown of the Decoy skill. This bonus will wait until the Decoy goes on cooldown if currently active
 

Mask: Vile

  • Status effects also apply a damage over time debuff for 10s
  • Total damage dealt is equal to 50% of your concussion grenade damage and increased by your status effect attributes
 

Double Barrel Rifle: The Ravenous (Operation Iron Horse)

  • On trigger-pull, fire both barrels at once
  • When fired from the right shoulder, hits add offensive primers, and defensive primers when fired from the left shoulder
  • Hits from one shoulder will detonate all of the opposite shoulder's primers when present
  • When detonated or affected enemy is killed, each offensive primer deals 100% weapon damage, while each defensive primer grants +4% bonus armor and +10% amplified damage to armor plates for 5s
  • Primer effectiveness is doubled at 10 stacks
 

Magnum Pistol: Regulus (Operation Iron Horse)

  • Headshot kills create a 5m explosion, dealing 400% weapon damage and applying bleed to all enemies hit.
  • High accuracy and base damage
 

New Gear Sets

Eclipse Protocol (Season 2)

  • Core: Skill Tier (Yellow)
  • 2: +15% Status Effects
  • 3: +15% Skill Haste and +30% Hazard Protection
  • 4: "Indirect Transmission" Your status effects now spread on kill to all enemies within 15m and refresh 50% of the duration.
  • Chest talent: "Proliferation" Increases Indirect Transmission range from 15m to 20m and refresh percentage from 50% to 75%
  • Backpack talent: "Symptom Aggravator" Amplifies all damage you deal to status affected targets by 15%
 

Foundry Bulwark (Operation Iron Horse)

  • Core: Armor (Blue)
  • 2: +10% Armor
  • 3: +3% Armor Regeneration
  • 4: "Makeshift Repairs" Whenever you or your shield take damage, 20% of that amount is repaired to both over 15s
  • Chest talent: "Process Refinery" Increases Makeshift Repairs from 20% to 30% over 15s
  • Backpack talent: "Improved Materials" Increases Makeshift Repairs speed from 15s to 10s
 

Future Initiative (Operation Iron Horse)

  • Core: Skill Tier (Yellow)
  • 2: +30% Repair Skills
  • 3: +30% Skill Duration and +15% Skill Haste
  • 4: "Ground Control" Increases you and your allies' total weapon and skill damage by 15% when at full armor
  • When you repair an ally, you and all allies within 5m of you are also repaired for 60% of that amount
  • Chest talent: "Tactical Superiority" Increases Ground Control damage bonus from +15% to +25%
  • Backpack talent: "Advanced Combat Tactics" Increases Ground Control proximity repair from 60% to 120%
 

New Gear Brand

Walker, Harris & Co.

  • Core: Weapon Damage (Red)
  • 1: +5.0% Weapon Damage
  • 2: +5.0% Damage to Armor
  • 3: +5.0% Damage to Health
 

New Named Weapons

  • Mechanical Animal (SIG 556) with Future Perfection
    • Weapon kills grant +1 skill tier for 19s. Stacks up to 3 times.
    • Weapon kills at skill tier 6 grant overcharge for 15s.
    • Overcharge Cooldown: 90s
  • Harmony (Resolute MK47) with Perfectly In Sync
    • Hitting an enemy grants +20% skill damage for 5s.
    • Using a skill or damaging an enemy with a skill grants +20% weapon damage for 5s.
    • Damage increases are doubled while both buffs are active at the same time.
 

New Named Gear

  • Matador (Walker, Harris & Co. backpack) with Perfect Adrenaline Rush
    • When you are within 10m of an enemy, gain 23% bonus armor for 5s. Stacks up to 3 times.
    • Cooldown: 5s
    • Chainkiller (Walker, Harris & Co. chest) with Perfect Headhunter. After killing an enemy with a headshot, your next weapon hit within 30s deals 150% of that killing blow’s damage in addition to it.
    • Damage is capped to 800% of your weapon damage. This is raised to 1250% if your headshot damage is greater than 150%.
 

New Skill Variant

  • Repair Trap
    • The Repair Trap deploys a line of small devices capable of repairing friendlies in their proximity.
    • Note: The Repair Trap will not be available in-game until the Seasonal prime target unlocks in August.
 

New Talents

Weapon Talent: Future Perfect
  • Weapon kills grant +1 skill tier for 15s. Stacks up to 3 times.
  • Weapon kills at skill tier 6 grant overcharge for 15s.
  • Overcharge Cooldown: 90s
 
Weapon Talent: In Sync
  • Hitting an enemy grants +15% skill damage for 5s.
  • Using a skill or damaging an enemy with a skill grants +15% weapon damage for 5s.
  • Damage increases are doubled while both buffs are active at the same time.
 
Backpack Talent: Adrenaline Rush
  • When you are within 10m of an enemy, gain 20% bonus armor for 5s. Stacks up to 3 times.
  • Cooldown: 5s
 
Chest Talent: Headhunter
  • After killing an enemy with a headshot, your next weapon hit within 30s deals 125% of that killing blow’s damage in addition to it.
  • Damage is capped to 800% of your weapon damage. This is raised to 1250% if your headshot damage is greater than 150%.
 

Gameplay Changes

Missions

  • Reduced how many elites will spawn in the following mission:
    • Manning National Zoo
    • Coney Island Ballpark
    • Coney Island Amusement Park
    • Camp White Oak
    • Space Administration HQ
    • Federal Emergency Bunker
    • Wall Street
    • Liberty Island
    • Pathway Park
    • Stranded Tanker
    • The Tombs
 

Loot

  • General
    • Added all new season 2 weapons/gear to general loot pools
  • Item Power
    • Updated item power distribution to have a better spread between minimum and maximum for all difficulties
    • Increased minimum rolled item power for Field Proficiency/DZ caches, Clan caches and Season caches.
  • Difficulty Scaling
    • Regular loot from loot containers in Missions now scale with mission difficulty
    • Targeted loot from loot containers in Missions now scales with mission difficulty
    • Loot containers part of living world activities now scale with global difficulty
  • Targeted loot
    • Increased targeted loot drop chances for all mission and Control Point difficulties
    • Added new season 2 brand to targeted loot rotation
    • Warlords of New York brands can now also show up as targeted loot in DC, including Dark Zones
  • Named Items
    • Increased named item drop chance in regular Dark Zone loot
    • Increased named item drop chance in targeted loot everywhere
  • Exotics
    • Added Warlords of New York/Season 1 Exotics (excluding The Bighorn) to targeted loot
    • Added Warlords of New York/Season 1 Exotics (excluding The Bighorn) to general Exotic loot pools (Heroic/Legendary/Raid/Exotic Cache)
    • Coyote's Mask drop from Coyote no longer has a minimum season level requirement
  • Control Points
    • Removed regular weapon/gear loot containers not scaling with difficulty from Control Points
    • Increased the amount of scaling loot from the big Control Point reward container
  • Legendary
    • Increased NPC loot drop chance for Veterans and Elites on Legendary difficulty
 

Crafting

  • Crafting will now guarantee a higher minimum item power, resulting in higher overall stat rolls. An increased maximum item power also allows for better crafted items than before. The added weighting between the minimum and maximum power results in a more balanced average outcome for crafted and reconfigured items
  • Removed final World Tier 5 crafting bench upgrade, as its power increase is now redundant
 

Vendors

  • Added Named Items to both Open World and Dark Zone vendors
  • Increased prices for Named Items
  • Increased item power for all vendors
  • Vendors no longer sell Superior quality items at maximum level
 

SHD Levels

  • Added Field Proficiency cache to SHD level-up after reaching the maximum season level
  • Increased crafting material rewards for spending SHD level points in the Scavenging category
 

Conflict

  • Added Season/SHD experience gain on Conflict level-up
 

Rogue Agent Encounters

  • Every Rogue Agent killed will now drop loot
  • Rogue Agent encounters no longer occur during time trials
 

Control Point Officers

  • Players revived by a Control Point Officer will now have 80% of their armor restored (Previously 0%)
  • Reduced the likelihood of Control Point Officers being downed in combat
 

Bounties

  • Bounties acquired by speaking to characters in the open world will always be set to the difficulty at time of acquisition or higher.
  • This affects the Snitch and civilians rescued during the Public Execution or Rescue Living World Activities.
  • Scheduled bounties, such as daily and clan bounties, are unaffected.
Developer comment: Bounties acquired in the open world should always provide challenge and loot appropriate to the world they were acquired in. Upping your global difficulty now has the added benefit of improving all bounties you acquire within it.
 

Projects

  • New Season Pass Holder Project Slot.
    • Season Pass holders now have access to an exclusive daily mission which provides a large bonus to XP.
  • Weekly SHD Requisition Project Slot
    • Endgame players at World Tier 5 and Level 40 now have a weekly supplies donation project which rewards them with an exotic cache. (For World Tier 5 players, this replaces the previous daily SHD Requisition project.)
  • Legendary Mission Project
    • After TU10, completing any legendary mission will grant you the Weekly Legendary Mission project slot.
    • Completing the designated legendary mission will reward you with an exotic cache.
Developer comment: With the addition of "re-rolls" to exotics available through crafting, we created the new Weekly projects to provide a reliable supply of exotic components or exotic items.
 

RPG Balance

 

Incoming Repairs

  • Incoming Repairs no longer increases the amount of armor repaired by armor kits, talents or gear set effects.
Developer comment: Incoming Repairs was always meant to be the defensive attribute equivalent to Repair Skills, so that players could further enhance the amount of healing they receive from their skills, or the group's healer. Unfortunately, the underlying code prevented us from differentiating between alternate sources of armor repair, such as those from talents and gear sets like Foundry Bulwark, or Firewall's unique armor kit effect. We wanted to address this during the development of Warlords of New York, but chose to post-pone the fix in order to deal with higher priority issues at the time. We underestimated the extent to which this attribute would affect the new Warlords meta, and failed to predict the severity of degenerate gameplay it would cause when combined with certain talents or gear sets. It's important to stress that this is not a PvP-only issue, or an instance of the PvP environment affecting PvE balance. Incoming Repairs was compromising both aspects of the game, and needed to be addressed, especially considering this update coincides with the release of a new raid. Not addressing the issue would mean forcing ourselves to balance all existing and future gear and talents around the knowledge that players could potentially (read: very likely) double the amount of repairs they receive, which stifles creativity and effectively limits player choice.
 

Weapon Handling

  • 1% Weapon Handling now gives 1% Weapon Accuracy, Stability, Reload Speed, and Swap Speed, up from 0.25%.
  • Reduced the maximum amount of Weapon Handling rolled on gear by 6%, to a maximum of 8% at level 40.
Developer comment: In the current meta, Weapon Handling on gear is considered a dead stat with no significant benefit. In TU10, equipping a piece of gear with +8% Weapon Handling will now give you:
  • +8% Accuracy
  • +8% Stability
  • +8% Swap Speed
  • +8% Reload Speed
This should hopefully make Weapon Handling a strong complimentary attribute for players looking to increase their overall accuracy/stability (bloom + recoil) and/or reload/swap speed. Making the % amount of Weapon Accuracy/Stability/Swap Speed/Reload Speed gained from Weapon Handling 1:1 will also remove another element of arcane knowledge from the game and reduce the need for additional mental math when determining whether the bonus is an upgrade or not.
 

Talent Changes:

  • Leadership: Bonus Armor increased to 15% from 12%
  • Spike: Skill Damage Duration increased to 15s from 8s
  • Reformation: Skill Repair Duration increased to 15s from 8s
  • Creeping Death: No Longer goes on cooldown if there are no valid nearby enemies to apply a status effect to. Status effects applied now properly copy the source status effect’s damage and duration.
 

PvP

  • Global Damage Modifiers
    • Reduced all PvP weapon damage by -20%
  • Additional Damage Modifiers
    • Increased MMR PvP weapon damage by 12.5%
    • Reduced Assault Rifle PvP weapon damage by -15%
    • Reduced Shotgun PvP damage by -12.5%
    • Reduced SMG PvP damage by -10%
    • Reduced Pistol PvP damage by -10%
    • Reduced Rifle PvP damage by -5%
 
_Developer comment: With TU10, there have been significant buffs made to the base damage of assault rifles, SMGs, and shotguns in particular. In order to prevent those weapons from becoming overly powerful in PvP, we’ve had to lower their PvP damage modifiers to compensate.
Note: Assault rifles are still tuned to be 10% stronger than normal in PvP in order to compensate for their innate Damage to Health bonus being less useful against other players when compared to other weapon archetypes._
 
  • Specific Damage Modifiers
    • Increased Double Barrel Shotgun PvP damage by 16.6%
    • Reduced Pestilence PvP damage by -10%
    • Reduced Classic M1A damage by -5%
  • Exotic Modifiers
    • Merciless/Ruthless: “Binary Trigger” amplified weapon damage and explosion damage reduced by -50% in PvP
    • Dodge City Gunslinger’s Holster: “Quick Draw” damage bonus gained per stack in PvP lowered from +2% to +1%
      • Stacks gained per second in PvP now match the PvE value (0.5s to 0.3s)
    • Imperial Dynasty:
      • No longer automatically applies burn status effect to the nearest enemy in range.
      • Now requires maintaining range and LOS (line-of-sight) for 3 seconds between the holster bearer and nearest enemy before applying the burn status effect.
      • Added visual UI feedback to reveal the radius of effect in PvP and an indicator for LOS between the holster bearer and nearest enemy.
Developer comment: This should help address the lack of contextual feedback in PvP, and add a much needed window of opportunity for counterplay, or potential to avoid the incoming effect entirely.
 
  • * Pestilence * Plague of the Outcast damage-over-time effect no longer triggers True Patriot’s white debuff armor repair effect. (PvP and PvE)
Developer comment: While we like to embrace emergent or unintended mechanics when the end result is unique and fun gameplay, True Patriot’s white debuff explicitly states it requires shooting the debuffed target in order to receive the armor repair effect. Pestilence’s DoT managed to bypass this restriction, making it and True Patriot (especially when combined with Incoming Repairs) scale to disproportionate levels of power when used together.
 
  • Gear Set Modifiers
    • Negotiator’s Dilemma
      • Reduced the range at which marked targets can damage each other when critically hit to 15m (PvP only).
      • Added visual UI feedback when in range of another marked target.
  • Talent Modifiers
    • Efficient: Reduced specialization armor kit bonus from 100% to 50%
    • Versatile: Reduced the amplified weapon damage bonus for SMGs and shotguns from 35% to 25%
    • Vanguard: Reduced the duration of shield invulnerability from 5s to 2s
      • Note: UI will still show the old duration, but will be fixed in a later update.
    Specialization Modifiers * Firewall * Extracellular Matrix Mesh armor kit regen strength reduced by -50%, from 200% to 150%
  • Skill Modifiers
    • Pulse now correctly reveals and highlights all players in the DZ, not just hostiles/rogues
    • Increased Striker Drone damage by 30%
    • Increased Assault Turret damage by 55%
    • Reduced Firestarter Chem Launcher PvP damage by -20%
    • Reduced Bleed damage from Stinger Hive, Mortar Turret and Explosive Seeker Mine by 75%
    • Increased Stinger Hive damage by 20%, scaling up to 55% at skill tier 6
 
Developer commentary: We want dedicated skill builds to have multiple, powerful defensive tools for area denial/control. However, the strength of bleed effects meant being hit by just 1 stinger drone, mortar, or seeker mine was nearly a death sentence for most builds. The stinger hive should now better punish players who remain within its area of effect, rather than needing to rely entirely on the excessive damage of a single bleed DoT, while allowing the hive’s drone damage to scale higher for dedicated skill builds.
 

Weapon Balance

 

Assault Rifles

  • AK-M – 15.8% damage increase
  • F2000 – 14.3% damage increase
  • Military AK-M – 13.2% damage increase
  • Black Market AK-M – 13.2% damage increase
  • FAL – 12.0% damage increase
  • FAL SA-58 – 12.0% damage increase
  • FAL SA-58 Para – 12.0% damage increase
  • SOCOM Mk 16 – 11.4% damage increase
  • Tactical Mk 16 – 11.4% damage increase
  • Mk 16 – 11.4% damage increase
  • AUG A3-CQC – 11.2% damage increase
  • Honey Badger – 10.9% damage increase
  • FAMAS 2010 – 10.6% damage increase
  • ACR – 9.7% damage increase
  • ACR-E – 9.7% damage increase
  • Military G36 – 9.5% damage increase
  • G36 C – 9.5% damage increase
  • G36 Enhanced – 9.5% damage increase
  • Carbine 7 – 8.7 % damage increase
  • Military P416 – 7.4% damage increase
  • Custom P416 G3 - 7.4% damage increase
  • Police M4 – 6.8% damage increase
  • CTAR 21 – 8.6% damage increase
 

LMG

  • Classic M60 – 12.5% damage increase
  • Classic RPK-74 – 12.4% damage increase
  • Military RPK-74 M – 12.4% damage increase
  • Black Market RPK-74 E – 12.4% damage increase
  • Military M60 E4 – 9.2% damage increase
  • Black Market M60 E6 – 9.2% damage increase
  • Military L86 LSW – 8.5% damage increase
  • Custom L86 A2 – 8.5% damage increase
  • IWI NEGEV – 2.6% damage increase
  • Stoner LMG – 2.0% damage increase
  • M249 B – No changes
  • Tactical M249 Para – No changes
  • Military MK46 – No changes
  • MG5 – No changes
  • Infantry MG5 – 3.2% damage decrease
 

MMR

  • Model 700 – 14.9% damage increase
  • Hunting M44 – 13.5% damage increase
  • Classic M44 Carbine – 12.5% damage increase
  • G28 – 11.4% damage increase
  • SOCOM Mk20 SSR – 9.3% damage increase
  • SR-1 - 8.6% damage increase
  • Custom M44 – 8.1% damage increase
  • M700 Tactical – 8.1% damage increase
  • M700 Carbon – 8.1% damage increase
  • Covert SRS – 6.0% damage increase
  • SRS A1 – 6.0% damage increase
  • Surplus SVD – 2.9% damage decrease
  • Paratrooper SVD – 2.9% damage decrease
 

Rifles

  • UIC15 MOD – 21.6% damage increase
  • 1886 – 21.3% damage increase
  • LVOA-C – 12.1% damage increase
  • M1A CQB – 10.7% damage increase
  • Lightweight M4 – 10.5% damage increase
  • G 716 CQB – 8.7% damage increase
  • SIG 716 – 6.7% damage increase
  • ACR SS – 3.7% damage increase
  • SOCOM M1A – No changes
  • M16A2 – No changes
  • USC .45 ACP - 2.8% damage decrease
  • Urban MDR – 5.5% damage decrease
  • Military Mk17 – 11.8% damage decrease
  • Police Mk17 - 11.8% damage decrease
  • Classic M1A - 12.6% damage decrease
 

SMG

  • Tommy Gun – 38.8% damage increase
  • PP-19 – 29.6% damage increase
  • Enhanced PP-19 – 29.6% damage increase
  • MP7 – 27.5% damage increase
  • MPX – 17.7% damage increase
  • M1928 – 20.0% damage increase
  • P90 – 15.6% damage increase
  • Converted SMG-9 – 15.8% damage increase
  • Black Market T821 – 15.4% damage increase
  • Police T821 – 15.4% damage increase
  • Vector SBR .45 ACP – 14.7% damage increase
  • CMMG Banshee – 12.5% damage increase
  • Police UMP-45 – 12.0% damage increase
  • Tactical UMP-45 – 12.0% damage increase
  • AUG A3 Para XS – 11.8% damage increase
  • Enhanced AUG A3P – 11.8 % damage increase
  • Tactical AUG A3P – 11.8% damage increase
  • Converted SMG-9 A2 – 11.6% damage increase
  • MP5A2 – 10.0% damage increase
  • MP5-N – 10.0% damage increase
  • MP5 ST – 10.0% damage increase
  • Tactical Vector SBR 9mm – 5.9% damage increase
 

Shotguns

  • M870 Express – 23.3% damage increase
  • Military M870 – 23.3% damage increase
  • Custom M870 MCS – 23.3% damage increase
  • Super 90 – 23.2% damage increase
  • Marine Super 90 – 23.2% damage increase
  • Tactical Super 90 SBS – 23.2% damage increase
  • SASG-12 – 21.3% damage increase
  • Tactical SASG-12 K – 21.3% damage increase
  • Black Market SASG-12 S – 21.3% damage increase
  • SPAS-12 – 18.6% damage increase
  • KSG Shotgun – 9.0% damage increase
 

Sidearms

  • Double Barrel Sawed Off Shotgun – Optimal Range reduced to 8m from 11m
  • 586 Magnum – 68.8% damage increase
  • Police 686 Magnum – 68.8% damage increase
  • Maxim 9 - 23.5% damage increase
  • D50 – 17.5% damage increase
  • First Wave PF45 – 13.5% damage increase
  • Custom PF45 – 9.7% damage increase
  • Military M9 – 8.7% damage increase
  • 93R - 7.7% damage increase
  • Snubnosed Diceros – 6.5% damage increase
  • Officer's M9 A1 – 6.3% damage increase
  • Diceros – 5.9% damage increase
  • M45A1 – 9.5% damage decrease
  • Tactical M1911 – 9.5% damage decrease
  • M1911 – 7.3% damage decrease
 

Exotics Changes

Developer comment: Along with the buffs to weapon damage, TU10's significant buff to weapon handling meant some exotic weapon mods no longer made sense or resulted in over tuned performance that no longer fit with the original design. We also took this opportunity to make improvements to underperforming exotic
 
The Bighorn
  • Damage increased by +11.2%
  • Increased optimal range from 27m to 40m
  • Optics mod bonus increased from +0% to +30% Headshot Damage
  • Magazine mod bonus changed from +7% Headshot Damage to +10% Reload Speed
  • Added functionality that provides additional headshot damage, full talent is now:
    • When scoped, switches to semi-automatic fire mode, dealing 450% weapon damage with each shot.
    • (New) Headshots grant +2% headshot damage. Stacks up to 50 times. Resets to 0 at full stacks.
 
Eagle Bearer
  • Damage increased by +7.8%
  • Underbarrel mod bonus changed from +10% Stability to +10% Weapon Handling
 
Chameleon
  • Damage increased by +32.8%
  • Optics mod bonus changed from +15% Accuracy to +15% Critical Hit Chance
  • Muzzle mod bonus changed from +5% Critical Hit Chance to +20% Accuracy
  • Underbarrel mod bonus changed from +10% Critical Hit Chance to +10% Stability
  • Optimal range increased by 33.3%, from 15m to 20m
  • Long range effectiveness increased by 19%, from 42m to 50m
  • Added functionality that retains your current buffs to the next combat encounter when combat ends, full talent is now:
    • Hitting 30 headshots grant +20% critical hit chance and +50% critical hit damage for 45s.
    • Hitting 75 body-shots grant +90% weapon damage for 45s.
    • Hitting 30 leg-shots grant +150% reload speed for 45s.
    • (New) Buffs refresh when out of combat.
 
Bullet King
  • Damage increased by +2.6%
 
Nemesis
  • Damage increased by +11.1%
  • Optics mod bonus increased from +35% to +45% Headshot Damage
  • Underbarrel mod bonus reduced from +15% to +5% Weapon Handling
 
Liberty
  • Optics mod bonus changed from +5% Critical Hit Chance to +5% Headshot Damage
  • Muzzle mod bonus changed from +15% Stability to +5% Critical Hit Chance
  • Magazine mod bonus changed from +15% Reload Speed to +15% Weapon Handling
  • Added functionality to provide extra damage if you're trying to keep stacks, full talent is now:
    • (New) Hits grant +2% weapon damage. Stacks up to 30.
    • Headshots consume all stacks, repairing your shield for 3% per stack.
  • No longer highlights enemy weakpoints when aiming.
 
Merciless/Ruthless
  • Damage increased by +12.5%
  • Muzzle mod bonus reduced from +20% to +10% Stability
  • Underbarrel mod bonus reduced from +20% to +10% Weapon Handling
  • Magazine mod bonus reduced from +15% to +10% Reload Speed
  • Added functionality to provide extra non-explosive damage as well, full talent is now:
    • This weapon fires on trigger pull and release.
    • If both bullets hit the same enemy, gain a stack.
    • (New) At 7 stacks, shooting an enemy deals 500% amplified damage and creates a 7m explosion dealing 500% weapon damage, consuming the stacks.
 
Developer Comment: Merciless was previously balanced for its very unwieldy handling and compensated with very high burst damage. With access to much higher accuracy and stability, Binary Trigger’s explosion strength has been toned down.
 
Diamondback
  • Damage increased by +7.7%
  • Text updated to clarify a new target isn’t marked until after the 5s buff.
 
Lullaby/Sweet Dreams
  • Damage increased by +11.0%
 
Lady Death
  • Damage increased by +18.9%
  • Optics mod bonus increased from +5% to +10% Critical Hit Chance
  • Muzzle mod bonus changed from +5% Critical Hit Chance to +5% Critical Hit Damage
  • Underbarrel mod changed from +5% Critical Hit Damage to +500% Melee Damage
  • Breathe Free: Lowered the amount of maximum stacks from 40 to 32, and increased the damage amplification per stack from 60% to 75%
 
The Chatterbox
  • Damage increased by +16.7%
  • Optics mod bonus increased from +5% to +15% Critical Hit Chance
  • Muzzle mod bonus changed from +10% Critical Hit Chance to +5% Critical Hit Damage
  • Underbarrel mod bonus reduced from +15% to +10% Weapon Handling
  • Magazine mod bonus changed from +10% Reload Speed to +10 Rounds
  • Magazine base capacity reduced from 60 to 50
 
Pestilence
  • Muzzle mod bonus changed from +10% Stability to +10% Accuracy
  • Underbarrel mod bonus changed from +10% Weapon Handling to +10% Stability
 
NinjaBike Messenger Kneepads
  • Added functionality to add bonus armor, full talent is now:
    • (New) Performing a cover to cover or vaulting reloads your drawn weapon and grants +25% bonus armor for 5s.
 
Dodge City Gunslinger Holster
  • Added functionality that makes your hit do headshot damage, full talent is now:
    • While your pistol is holstered, gain a stacking buff every 0.3s, up to 100. When you swap to it, your first shot consumes the buff and deals +10% damage per stack.
    • (New) This deals headshot damage to anywhere you hit.
 
BTSU Datagloves
  • Changed functionality to no longer grant group/raid-wide overcharge unless you are skill tier 6
  • Added functionality to provide hive skill haste, full talent is now:
    • (New) Grants +15% Hive skill haste per skill tier.
    • (Changed) Detonating a hive refreshes your skill cooldowns and grants overcharge for 15s.If at Skill Tier 6, this effect also applies to all allies.
    • Allies receiving this effect are unable to benefit from it again for 120s.
 
Sawyer's Kneeguards
  • Added functionality to continue to provide damage bonus move for a short duration, full talent is now:
    • Cannot be staggered by explosions.
    • Increases total weapon damage by 3% each second you are not moving. Stacks up to 10 until you start moving.
    • (New) All stacks lost 10s after moving.
 

Gear Set Changes

Hard Wired
  • Feedback Loop no longer fully refreshes the cooldown of a skill, but instead reduces it by up to 30s
 
Ongoing Directive
  • Main Talent
    • Hollow-Point Ammo is no longer dropped on kill, and instead automatically added to your active weapon when killing status afflicted enemies
    • Backpack Talent (New)
  • “Trauma Specialist”
    • Increases the duration of your bleed status effects by 50% and all bleed damage done by 100%
    • Increased 3-piece Reload Speed bonus from +20% to +30%
 
Tip of the Spear
  • Main Talent (PVE)
    • Aggressive Recon's weapon damage buff is now gained when dealing specialization weapon damage, instead of on specialization weapon kill
  • Main Talent (PVP)
    • Aggressive Recon's weapon damage buff is now gained when dealing grenade damage, instead of on grenade kill
  • Backpack Talent (New)
    • “Signature Moves”
    • Increases specialization weapon damage by 20%, and doubles the amount of specialization ammo generated by Aggressive Recon
 
Aces and Eights
  • Main Talent
    • "Poker Face" backpack talent is now a baseline effect:
    • Flip an additional card on headshots
  • Backpack Talent (New)
    • “Ace in the Sleeve”
    • Amplifies 1 extra shot when revealing your hand
    • 3-piece Headshot Damage bonus is now additive, rather than multiplicative
    • Increased 3-piece Headshot Damage bonus from +20% to +30%
 
System Corruption
  • Main Talent
    • Now repairs 20% of your armor in addition to granting 50% bonus armor
    • Increases total weapon damage by 1% per 5% bonus armor gained, up to 20%
 
Striker’s Battlegear
  • Main Talent
    • Reduced the number of stacks lost on missed shots from 3 to 2
  • Backpack Talent
    • No longer reduces number of stacks lost on missed shots
    • (New) Increases total weapon damage gained per stack of Striker's Gamble from 0.5% to 0.65%.
 
Negotiators Dilemma
  • Damage transfers on the initial bullet that marks a new target
 
Hard Wired
  • Increased 3-piece Repair Skills bonus from +15% to +30%
 
Brand Set Changes Alps Summit Armament
  • Increased 1-piece Repair Skills bonus from +15% to +20%
 
Murakami Industries
  • Increased 2-piece Repair Skills bonus from +15% to +20%
 
Richter & Kaiser
  • Increased 3-piece Repair Skills bonus from +15% to +20%
  • Incoming Repairs brand set bonus increased from +15% to +20%
 
Providence Defense
  • Increased 1-piece Headshot Damage bonus from +10% to +15%
 
Airaldi Holdings
  • Increased 2-piece Headshot Damage bonus from +10% to +15%
 
Grupo Sombra S.A
  • Increased 3-piece Headshot Damage bonus from +10% to +15%
 
Overlord Armaments
  • Increased 2-piece Accuracy bonus from +10% to +20%
 
Douglas & Harding
  • Increased 2-piece Stability bonus from +10% to +20%
  • Increased 3-piece Accuracy bonus from +10% to +20%
 
Fenris Group AB
  • Increased 2-piece Reload Speed bonus from +10% to +20%
  • Increased 3-piece Stability bonus from +10% to +20%
 

Specialization Changes

  • Gunner specialization's Emplacement talent Weapon Handling bonus reduced from +15% to +10%
    • Note: The UI will incorrectly say it still adds +15% Weapon Handling. This will be fixed in a future update.
 

Skill Changes

UI
  • Stinger Hive, Mortar Turret, and Explosive Seeker Mine now display its Bleed Damage and Duration
 
Seeker Mine
  • Cluster Seeker Mine targeting accuracy improved
Developer comment: The Cluster Seeker Mine is not intended to be as accurate as the Explosive variant. Once it is a certain distance from its target it locks the location it is aiming for and continues towards that regardless of where its original target agent has since moved to. This "bullcharge" behavior reflects the mini-mines' less advanced technology and balances the skill mod's effectiveness. This said, we have noticed that the Cluster Seeker's accuracy has been a source of frustration so we've shortened the distance until it activates its "bullcharge" and adjusted when it decides to explode. These adjustments should make the Cluster Seeker feel more accurate, but these are measured steps as we do not want the skill to return to its OP TU7-state.
 
Hive
  • Stinger Hive base damage reduced -20%
  • Stinger Hive damage bonus per skill tier increased from +10% to +20%
Developer comment: In order to make investing in skill tiers have a greater impact on the Stinger Hive's damage, we slightly reduced base drone damage, while doubling the amount of damage gained with each skill tier. These changes will result in a net buff for dedicated skill builds, with a 10% increase in Stinger Hive drone damage at skill tier 6.
  • Restorer hive gains +5% drone flight speed per skill tier
Developer comment: Increases to the Restorer Hive's radius had the unfortunate effect of increasing the time it took for repair drones to reach their target the further they were from the hive. Increasing drone flight speed with each skill tier should help offset that somewhat counter-intuitive behavior when taking advantage of the increased area of effect, and make the Restorer Hive a more reliable tool for healers.
 
Chem Launcher
  • Riot Foam Chem Launcher ensnare duration bonus per skill tier reduced from +20% to +10%
  • Reinforcer Chem Launcher: UI has been updated to clarify that the initial heal only affects allies and not the Skill user. The functionality has not changed.
 
Firefly
  • Blinder Firefly blind duration bonus per skill tier reduced from +20% to +10%
  • Blinder Firefly base blind duration reduced from 6s to 5s
 
Pulse
  • Banshee Pulse cooldown increased from 20s to 30s
  • Banshee Pulse base confuse duration reduced from 5s to 4s
  • Jammer Pulse base disrupt duration reduced from 4s to 3s
 
Shock Trap
  • Shock Trap base shock duration reduced from 5s to 3s (PvP duration remains unchanged)
  • Shock Trap base radius increased from 2m to 2.5m
  • When the active duration ends, its cooldown is refunded an equal number of seconds that it was active.
 

Further Bugfixes:

=> Source
submitted by JokerUnique to thedivision [link] [comments]

AJ ALMENDINGER

glimpse into the future of Roblox

Our vision to bring the world together through play has never been more relevant than it is now. As our founder and CEO, David Baszucki (a.k.a. Builderman), mentioned in his keynote, more and more people are using Roblox to stay connected with their friends and loved ones. He hinted at a future where, with our automatic machine translation technology, Roblox will one day act as a universal translator, enabling people from different cultures and backgrounds to connect and learn from each other.
During his keynote, Builderman also elaborated upon our vision to build the Metaverse; the future of avatar creation on the platform (infinitely customizable avatars that allow any body, any clothing, and any animation to come together seamlessly); more personalized game discovery; and simulating large social gatherings (like concerts, graduations, conferences, etc.) with tens of thousands of participants all in one server. We’re still very early on in this journey, but if these past five months have shown us anything, it’s clear that there is a growing need for human co-experience platforms like Roblox that allow people to play, create, learn, work, and share experiences together in a safe, civil 3D immersive space.
Up next, our VP of Developer Relations, Matt Curtis (a.k.a. m4rrh3w), shared an update on all the things we’re doing to continue empowering developers to create innovative and exciting content through collaboration, support, and expertise. He also highlighted some of the impressive milestones our creator community has achieved since last year’s RDC. Here are a few key takeaways:
And lastly, our VP of Engineering, Technology, Adam Miller (a.k.a. rbadam), unveiled a myriad of cool and upcoming features developers will someday be able to sink their teeth into. We saw a glimpse of procedural skies, skinned meshes, more high-quality materials, new terrain types, more fonts in Studio, a new asset type for in-game videos, haptic feedback on mobile, real-time CSG operations, and many more awesome tools that will unlock the potential for even bigger, more immersive experiences on Roblox.

Vibin’

Despite the virtual setting, RDC just wouldn’t have been the same without any fun party activities and networking opportunities. So, we invited special guests DJ Hyper Potions and cyber mentalist Colin Cloud for some truly awesome, truly mind-bending entertainment. Yoga instructor Erin Gilmore also swung by to inspire attendees to get out of their chair and get their body moving. And of course, we even had virtual rooms dedicated to karaoke and head-to-head social games, like trivia and Pictionary.
Over on the networking side, Team Adopt Me, Red Manta, StyLiS Studios, and Summit Studios hosted a virtual booth for attendees to ask questions, submit resumes, and more. We also had a networking session where three participants would be randomly grouped together to get to know each other.

What does Roblox mean to you?

We all know how talented the Roblox community is from your creations. We’ve heard plenty of stories over the years about how Roblox has touched your lives, how you’ve made friendships, learned new skills, or simply found a place where you can be yourself. We wanted to hear more. So, we asked attendees: What does Roblox mean to you? How has Roblox connected you? How has Roblox changed your life? Then, over the course of RDC, we incorporated your responses into this awesome mural.
📷
Created by Alece Birnbach at Graphic Recording Studio

Knowledge is power

This year’s breakout sessions included presentations from Roblox developers and staff members on the latest game development strategies, a deep dive into the Roblox engine, learning how to animate with Blender, tools for working together in teams, building performant game worlds, and the new Creator Dashboard. Dr. Michael Rich, Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School and Physician at Boston Children’s Hospital, also led attendees through a discussion on mental health and how to best take care of you and your friends’ emotional well-being, especially now during these challenging times.
📷
Making the Dream Work with Teamwork (presented by Roblox developer Myzta)
In addition to our traditional Q&A panel with top product and engineering leaders at Roblox, we also held a special session with Builderman himself to answer the community’s biggest questions.
📷
Roblox Product and Engineering Q&A Panel

2020 Game Jam

The Game Jam is always one of our favorite events of RDC. It’s a chance for folks to come together, flex their development skills, and come up with wildly inventive game ideas that really push the boundaries of what’s possible on Roblox. We had over 60 submissions this year—a new RDC record.
Once again, teams of up to six people from around the world had less than 24 hours to conceptualize, design, and publish a game based on the theme “2020 Vision,” all while working remotely no less! To achieve such a feat is nothing short of awe-inspiring, but as always, our dev community was more than up for the challenge. I’ve got to say, these were some of the finest creations we’ve seen.
WINNERS
Best in Show: Shapescape Created By: GhettoMilkMan, dayzeedog, maplestick, theloudscream, Brick_man, ilyannna You awaken in a strange laboratory, seemingly with no way out. Using a pair of special glasses, players must solve a series of anamorphic puzzles and optical illusions to make their escape.
Excellence in Visual Art: agn●sia Created By: boatbomber, thisfall, Elttob An obby experience unlike any other, this game is all about seeing the world through a different lens. Reveal platforms by switching between different colored lenses and make your way to the end.
Most Creative Gameplay: Visions of a perspective reality Created By: Noble_Draconian and Spathi Sometimes all it takes is a change in perspective to solve challenges. By switching between 2D and 3D perspectives, players can maneuver around obstacles or find new ways to reach the end of each level.
Outstanding Use of Tech: The Eyes of Providence Created By: Quenty, Arch_Mage, AlgyLacey, xJennyBeanx, Zomebody, Crykee This action/strategy game comes with a unique VR twist. While teams fight to construct the superior monument, two VR players can support their minions by collecting resources and manipulating the map.
Best Use of Theme: Sticker Situation Created By: dragonfrosting and Yozoh Set in a mysterious art gallery, players must solve puzzles by manipulating the environment using a magic camera and stickers. Snap a photograph, place down a sticker, and see how it changes the world.
OTHER TOP PICKS
HONORABLE MENTIONS
For the rest of the 2020 Game Jam submissions, check out the list below:
20-20 Vision | 20/20 Vision | 2020 Vision, A Crazy Perspective | 2020 Vision: Nyon | A Wild Trip! | Acuity | Best Year Ever | Better Half | Bloxlabs | Climb Stairs to 2021 | Double Vision (Team hey apple) | Eyebrawl | Eyeworm Exam | FIRE 2020 | HACKED | Hyperspective | Lucid Scream | Mystery Mansion | New Years at the Museum | New Year’s Bash | Poor Vision | Predict 2020 | RBC News | Retrovertigo | Second Wave | see no evil | Sight Fight | Sight Stealers | Spectacles Struggle | Specter Spectrum | Survive 2020 | The Lost Chicken Leg | The Outbreak | The Spyglass | Time Heist | Tunnel Vision | Virtual RDC – The Story | Vision (Team Freepunk) | Vision (Team VIP People ####) | Vision Developers Conference 2020 | Vision Is Key | Vision Perspective | Vision Racer | Visions | Zepto
And last but not least, we wanted to give a special shout out to Starboard Studios. Though they didn’t quite make it on time for our judges, we just had to include Dave’s Vision for good measure. 📷
Thanks to everyone who participated in the Game Jam, and congrats to all those who took home the dub in each of our categories this year. As the winners of Best in Show, the developers of Shapescape will have their names forever engraved on the RDC Game Jam trophy back at Roblox HQ. Great work!

‘Til next year

And that about wraps up our coverage of the first-ever digital RDC. Thanks to all who attended! Before we go, we wanted to share a special “behind the scenes” video from the 2020 RDC photoshoot.
Check it out:
It was absolutely bonkers. Getting 350 of us all in one server was so much fun and really brought back the feeling of being together with everyone again. That being said, we can’t wait to see you all—for real this time—at RDC next year. It’s going to be well worth the wait. ‘Til we meet again, my friends.
© 2020 Roblox Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

Improving Simulation and Performance with an Advanced Physics Solver

August

05, 2020

by chefdeletat
PRODUCT & TECH
📷In mid-2015, Roblox unveiled a major upgrade to its physics engine: the Projected Gauss-Seidel (PGS) physics solver. For the first year, the new solver was optional and provided improved fidelity and greater performance compared to the previously used spring solver.
In 2016, we added support for a diverse set of new physics constraints, incentivizing developers to migrate to the new solver and extending the creative capabilities of the physics engine. Any new places used the PGS solver by default, with the option of reverting back to the classic solver.
We ironed out some stability issues associated with high mass differences and complex mechanisms by the introduction of the hybrid LDL-PGS solver in mid-2018. This made the old solver obsolete, and it was completely disabled in 2019, automatically migrating all places to the PGS.
In 2019, the performance was further improved using multi-threading that splits the simulation into jobs consisting of connected islands of simulating parts. We still had performance issues related to the LDL that we finally resolved in early 2020.
The physics engine is still being improved and optimized for performance, and we plan on adding new features for the foreseeable future.

Implementing the Laws of Physics

📷
The main objective of a physics engine is to simulate the motion of bodies in a virtual environment. In our physics engine, we care about bodies that are rigid, that collide and have constraints with each other.
A physics engine is organized into two phases: collision detection and solving. Collision detection finds intersections between geometries associated with the rigid bodies, generating appropriate collision information such as collision points, normals and penetration depths. Then a solver updates the motion of rigid bodies under the influence of the collisions that were detected and constraints that were provided by the user.
📷
The motion is the result of the solver interpreting the laws of physics, such as conservation of energy and momentum. But doing this 100% accurately is prohibitively expensive, and the trick to simulating it in real-time is to approximate to increase performance, as long as the result is physically realistic. As long as the basic laws of motion are maintained within a reasonable tolerance, this tradeoff is completely acceptable for a computer game simulation.

Taking Small Steps

The main idea of the physics engine is to discretize the motion using time-stepping. The equations of motion of constrained and unconstrained rigid bodies are very difficult to integrate directly and accurately. The discretization subdivides the motion into small time increments, where the equations are simplified and linearized making it possible to solve them approximately. This means that during each time step the motion of the relevant parts of rigid bodies that are involved in a constraint is linearly approximated.
📷📷
Although a linearized problem is easier to solve, it produces drift in a simulation containing non-linear behaviors, like rotational motion. Later we’ll see mitigation methods that help reduce the drift and make the simulation more plausible.

Solving

📷
Having linearized the equations of motion for a time step, we end up needing to solve a linear system or linear complementarity problem (LCP). These systems can be arbitrarily large and can still be quite expensive to solve exactly. Again the trick is to find an approximate solution using a faster method. A modern method to approximately solve an LCP with good convergence properties is the Projected Gauss-Seidel (PGS). It is an iterative method, meaning that with each iteration the approximate solution is brought closer to the true solution, and its final accuracy depends on the number of iterations.
📷
This animation shows how a PGS solver changes the positions of the bodies at each step of the iteration process, the objective being to find the positions that respect the ball and socket constraints while preserving the center of mass at each step (this is a type of positional solver used by the IK dragger). Although this example has a simple analytical solution, it’s a good demonstration of the idea behind the PGS. At each step, the solver fixes one of the constraints and lets the other be violated. After a few iterations, the bodies are very close to their correct positions. A characteristic of this method is how some rigid bodies seem to vibrate around their final position, especially when coupling interactions with heavier bodies. If we don’t do enough iterations, the yellow part might be left in a visibly invalid state where one of its two constraints is dramatically violated. This is called the high mass ratio problem, and it has been the bane of physics engines as it causes instabilities and explosions. If we do too many iterations, the solver becomes too slow, if we don’t it becomes unstable. Balancing the two sides has been a painful and long process.

Mitigation Strategies

📷A solver has two major sources of inaccuracies: time-stepping and iterative solving (there is also floating point drift but it’s minor compared to the first two). These inaccuracies introduce errors in the simulation causing it to drift from the correct path. Some of this drift is tolerable like slightly different velocities or energy loss, but some are not like instabilities, large energy gains or dislocated constraints.
Therefore a lot of the complexity in the solver comes from the implementation of methods to minimize the impact of computational inaccuracies. Our final implementation uses some traditional and some novel mitigation strategies:
  1. Warm starting: starting with the solution from a previous time-step to increase the convergence rate of the iterative solver
  2. Post-stabilization: reprojecting the system back to the constraint manifold to prevent constraint drift
  3. Regularization: adding compliance to the constraints ensuring a solution exists and is unique
  4. Pre-conditioning: using an exact solution to a linear subsystem, improving the stability of complex mechanisms
Strategies 1, 2 and 3 are pretty traditional, but 3 has been improved and perfected by us. Also, although 4 is not unheard of, we haven’t seen any practical implementation of it. We use an original factorization method for large sparse constraint matrices and a new efficient way of combining it with the PGS. The resulting implementation is only slightly slower compared to pure PGS but ensures that the linear system coming from equality constraints is solved exactly. Consequently, the equality constraints suffer only from drift coming from the time discretization. Details on our methods are contained in my GDC 2020 presentation. Currently, we are investigating direct methods applied to inequality constraints and collisions.

Getting More Details

Traditionally there are two mathematical models for articulated mechanisms: there are reduced coordinate methods spearheaded by Featherstone, that parametrize the degrees of freedom at each joint, and there are full coordinate methods that use a Lagrangian formulation.
We use the second formulation as it is less restrictive and requires much simpler mathematics and implementation.
The Roblox engine uses analytical methods to compute the dynamic response of constraints, as opposed to penalty methods that were used before. Analytics methods were initially introduced in Baraff 1989, where they are used to treat both equality and non-equality constraints in a consistent manner. Baraff observed that the contact model can be formulated using quadratic programming, and he provided a heuristic solution method (which is not the method we use in our solver).
Instead of using force-based formulation, we use an impulse-based formulation in velocity space, originally introduced by Mirtich-Canny 1995 and further improved by Stewart-Trinkle 1996, which unifies the treatment of different contact types and guarantees the existence of a solution for contacts with friction. At each timestep, the constraints and collisions are maintained by applying instantaneous changes in velocities due to constraint impulses. An excellent explanation of why impulse-based simulation is superior is contained in the GDC presentation of Catto 2014.
The frictionless contacts are modeled using a linear complementarity problem (LCP) as described in Baraff 1994. Friction is added as a non-linear projection onto the friction cone, interleaved with the iterations of the Projected Gauss-Seidel.
The numerical drift that introduces positional errors in the constraints is resolved using a post-stabilization technique using pseudo-velocities introduced by Cline-Pai 2003. It involves solving a second LCP in the position space, which projects the system back to the constraint manifold.
The LCPs are solved using a PGS / Impulse Solver popularized by Catto 2005 (also see Catto 2009). This method is iterative and considers each individual constraints in sequence and resolves it independently. Over many iterations, and in ideal conditions, the system converges to a global solution.
Additionally, high mass ratio issues in equality constraints are ironed out by preconditioning the PGS using the sparse LDL decomposition of the constraint matrix of equality constraints. Dense submatrices of the constraint matrix are sparsified using a method we call Body Splitting. This is similar to the LDL decomposition used in Baraff 1996, but allows more general mechanical systems, and solves the system in constraint space. For more information, you can see my GDC 2020 presentation.
The architecture of our solver follows the idea of Guendelman-Bridson-Fedkiw, where the velocity and position stepping are separated by the constraint resolution. Our time sequencing is:
  1. Advance velocities
  2. Constraint resolution in velocity space and position space
  3. Advance positions
This scheme has the advantage of integrating only valid velocities, and limiting latency in external force application but allowing a small amount of perceived constraint violation due to numerical drift.
An excellent reference for rigid body simulation is the book Erleben 2005 that was recently made freely available. You can find online lectures about physics-based animation, a blog by Nilson Souto on building a physics engine, a very good GDC presentation by Erin Catto on modern solver methods, and forums like the Bullet Physics Forum and GameDev which are excellent places to ask questions.

In Conclusion

The field of game physics simulation presents many interesting problems that are both exciting and challenging. There are opportunities to learn a substantial amount of cool mathematics and physics and to use modern optimizations techniques. It’s an area of game development that tightly marries mathematics, physics and software engineering.
Even if Roblox has a good rigid body physics engine, there are areas where it can be improved and optimized. Also, we are working on exciting new projects like fracturing, deformation, softbody, cloth, aerodynamics and water simulation.
Neither Roblox Corporation nor this blog endorses or supports any company or service. Also, no guarantees or promises are made regarding the accuracy, reliability or completeness of the information contained in this blog.
This blog post was originally published on the Roblox Tech Blog.
© 2020 Roblox Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

Using Clang to Minimize Global Variable Use

July

23, 2020

by RandomTruffle
PRODUCT & TECH
Every non-trivial program has at least some amount of global state, but too much can be a bad thing. In C++ (which constitutes close to 100% of Roblox’s engine code) this global state is initialized before main() and destroyed after returning from main(), and this happens in a mostly non-deterministic order. In addition to leading to confusing startup and shutdown semantics that are difficult to reason about (or change), it can also lead to severe instability.
Roblox code also creates a lot of long-running detached threads (threads which are never joined and just run until they decide to stop, which might be never). These two things together have a very serious negative interaction on shutdown, because long-running threads continue accessing the global state that is being destroyed. This can lead to elevated crash rates, test suite flakiness, and just general instability.
The first step to digging yourself out of a mess like this is to understand the extent of the problem, so in this post I’m going to talk about one technique you can use to gain visibility into your global startup flow. I’m also going to discuss how we are using this to improve stability across the entire Roblox game engine platform by decreasing our use of global variables.

Introducing -finstrument-functions

Nothing excites me more than learning about a new obscure compiler option that I’ve never had a use for before, so I was pretty happy when a colleague pointed me to this option in the Clang Command Line Reference. I’d never used it before, but it sounded very cool. The idea being that if we could get the compiler to tell us every time it entered and exited a function, we could filter this information through a symbolizer of some kind and generate a report of functions that a) occur before main(), and b) are the very first function in the call-stack (indicating it’s a global).
Unfortunately, the documentation basically just tells you that the option exists with no mention of how to use it or if it even actually does what it sounds like it does. There’s also two different options that sound similar to each other (-finstrument-functions and -finstrument-functions-after-inlining), and I still wasn’t entirely sure what the difference was. So I decided to throw up a quick sample on godbolt to see what happened, which you can see here. Note there are two assembly outputs for the same source listing. One uses the first option and the other uses the second option, and we can compare the assembly output to understand the differences. We can gather a few takeaways from this sample:
  1. The compiler is injecting calls to __cyg_profile_func_enter and __cyg_profile_func_exit inside of every function, inline or not.
  2. The only difference between the two options occurs at the call-site of an inline function.
  3. With -finstrument-functions, the instrumentation for the inlined function is inserted at the call-site, whereas with -finstrument-functions-after-inlining we only have instrumentation for the outer function. This means that when using-finstrument-functions-after-inlining you won’t be able to determine which functions are inlined and where.
Of course, this sounds exactly like what the documentation said it did, but sometimes you just need to look under the hood to convince yourself.
To put all of this another way, if we want to know about calls to inline functions in this trace we need to use -finstrument-functions because otherwise their instrumentation is silently removed by the compiler. Sadly, I was never able to get -finstrument-functions to work on a real example. I would always end up with linker errors deep in the Standard C++ Library which I was unable to figure out. My best guess is that inlining is often a heuristic, and this can somehow lead to subtle ODR (one-definition rule) violations when the optimizer makes different inlining decisions from different translation units. Luckily global constructors (which is what we care about) cannot possibly be inlined anyway, so this wasn’t a problem.
I suppose I should also mention that I still got tons of linker errors with -finstrument-functions-after-inlining as well, but I did figure those out. As best as I can tell, this option seems to imply –whole-archive linker semantics. Discussion of –whole-archive is outside the scope of this blog post, but suffice it to say that I fixed it by using linker groups (e.g. -Wl,–start-group and -Wl,–end-group) on the compiler command line. I was a bit surprised that we didn’t get these same linker errors without this option and still don’t totally understand why. If you happen to know why this option would change linker semantics, please let me know in the comments!

Implementing the Callback Hooks

If you’re astute, you may be wondering what in the world __cyg_profile_func_enter and __cyg_profile_func_exit are and why the program is even successfully linking in the first without giving undefined symbol reference errors, since the compiler is apparently trying to call some function we’ve never defined. Luckily, there are some options that allow us to see inside the linker’s algorithm so we can find out where it’s getting this symbol from to begin with. Specifically, -y should tell us how the linker is resolving . We’ll try it with a dummy program first and a symbol that we’ve defined ourselves, then we’ll try it with __cyg_profile_func_enter .
[email protected]:~/src/sandbox$ cat instr.cpp int main() {} [email protected]:~/src/sandbox$ clang++-9 -fuse-ld=lld -Wl,-y -Wl,main instr.cpp /usbin/../lib/gcc/x86_64-linux-gnu/crt1.o: reference to main /tmp/instr-5b6c60.o: definition of main
No surprises here. The C Runtime Library references main(), and our object file defines it. Now let’s see what happens with __cyg_profile_func_enter and -finstrument-functions-after-inlining.
[email protected]:~/src/sandbox$ clang++-9 -fuse-ld=lld -finstrument-functions-after-inlining -Wl,-y -Wl,__cyg_profile_func_enter instr.cpp /tmp/instr-8157b3.o: reference to __cyg_profile_func_enter /lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libc.so.6: shared definition of __cyg_profile_func_enter
Now, we see that libc provides the definition, and our object file references it. Linking works a bit differently on Unix-y platforms than it does on Windows, but basically this means that if we define this function ourselves in our cpp file, the linker will just automatically prefer it over the shared library version. Working godbolt link without runtime output is here. So now you can kind of see where this is going, however there are still a couple of problems left to solve.
  1. We don’t want to do this for a full run of the program. We want to stop as soon as we reach main.
  2. We need a way to symbolize this trace.
The first problem is easy to solve. All we need to do is compare the address of the function being called to the address of main, and set a flag indicating we should stop tracing henceforth. (Note that taking the address of main is undefined behavior[1], but for our purposes it gets the job done, and we aren’t shipping this code, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯). The second problem probably deserves a little more discussion though.

Symbolizing the Traces

In order to symbolize these traces, we need two things. First, we need to store the trace somewhere on persistent storage. We can’t expect to symbolize in real time with any kind of reasonable performance. You can write some C code to save the trace to some magic filename, or you can do what I did and just write it to stderr (this way you can pipe stderr to some file when you run it).
Second, and perhaps more importantly, for every address we need to write out the full path to the module the address belongs to. Your program loads many shared libraries, and in order to translate an address into a symbol, we have to know which shared library or executable the address actually belongs to. In addition, we have to be careful to write out the address of the symbol in the file on disk. When your program is running, the operating system could have loaded it anywhere in memory. And if we’re going to symbolize it after the fact we need to make sure we can still reference it after the information about where it was loaded in memory is lost. The linux function dladdr() gives us both pieces of information we need. A working godbolt sample with the exact implementation of our instrumentation hooks as they appear in our codebase can be found here.

Putting it All Together

Now that we have a file in this format saved on disk, all we need to do is symbolize the addresses. addr2line is one option, but I went with llvm-symbolizer as I find it more robust. I wrote a Python script to parse the file and symbolize each address, then print it in the same “visual” hierarchical format that the original output file is in. There are various options for filtering the resulting symbol list so that you can clean up the output to include only things that are interesting for your case. For example, I filtered out any globals that have boost:: in their name, because I can’t exactly go rewrite boost to not use global variables.
The script isn’t as simple as you would think, because simply crawling each line and symbolizing it would be unacceptably slow (when I tried this, it took over 2 hours before I finally killed the process). This is because the same address might appear thousands of times, and there’s no reason to run llvm-symbolizer against the same address multiple times. So there’s a lot of smarts in there to pre-process the address list and eliminate duplicates. I won’t discuss the implementation in more detail because it isn’t super interesting. But I’ll do even better and provide the source!
So after all of this, we can run any one of our internal targets to get the call tree, run it through the script, and then get output like this (actual output from a Roblox process, source file information removed):
excluded_symbols = [‘.\boost.*’]* excluded_modules = [‘/usr.\’]* /uslib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libLLVM-9.so.1: 140 unique addresses InterestingRobloxProcess: 38928 unique addresses /uslib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libstdc++.so.6: 1 unique addresses /uslib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libc++.so.1: 3 unique addresses Printing call tree with depth 2 for 29276 global variables. __cxx_global_var_init.5 (InterestingFile1.cpp:418:22) RBX::InterestingRobloxClass2::InterestingRobloxClass2() (InterestingFile2.cpp.:415:0) __cxx_global_var_init.19 (InterestingFile2.cpp:183:34) (anonymous namespace)::InterestingRobloxClass2::InterestingRobloxClass2() (InterestingFile2.cpp:171:0) __cxx_global_var_init.274 (InterestingFile3.cpp:2364:33) RBX::InterestingRobloxClass3::InterestingRobloxClass3()
So there you have it: the first half of the battle is over. I can run this script on every platform, compare results to understand what order our globals are actually initialized in in practice, then slowly migrate this code out of global initializers and into main where it can be deterministic and explicit.

Future Work

It occurred to me sometime after implementing this that we could make a general purpose profiling hook that exposed some public symbols (dllexport’ed if you speak Windows), and allowed a plugin module to hook into this dynamically. This plugin module could filter addresses using whatever arbitrary logic that it was interested in. One interesting use case I came up for this is that it could look up the debug information, check if the current address maps to the constructor of a function local static, and write out the address if so. This effectively allows us to gain a deeper understanding of the order in which our lazy statics are initialized. The possibilities are endless here.

Further Reading

If you’re interested in this kind of thing, I’ve collected a couple of my favorite references for this kind of topic.
  1. Various: The C++ Language Standard
  2. Matt Godbolt: The Bits Between the Bits: How We Get to main()
  3. Ryan O’Neill: Learning Linux Binary Analysis
  4. Linkers and Loaders: John R. Levine
  5. https://eel.is/c++draft/basic.exec#basic.start.main-3
Neither Roblox Corporation nor this blog endorses or supports any company or service. Also, no guarantees or promises are made regarding the accuracy, reliability or completeness of the information contained in this blog.
submitted by jaydenweez to u/jaydenweez [link] [comments]

Screw Mayhem 10, here’s a Doomguy build that’s game accurate and very fun for everything but high mayhem levels. TL;DR at the bottom

Doomguy Zane Build
What is a Doomguy build you might be asking. Well, this build will have your play style and weaponry be identical to that of the Doom games. This means our Vault hunter should have a focus on speed, lethality, and close quarter combat. For those reasons, and a certain class mod I will get to later, our vault hunter for this build will be Zane
Next we choose our class-mod. The Antifreeze class-mod is our choice here because it further increases our damage while sliding and airborne, both of which we will be doing lots of. It can be farmed from the Trails of Discipline boss, which is very easy to farm now that Mayhem 4 is not that difficult.
Next we choose our Artifact, and if you know where this build is going than you already know which one it is. The Splatter gun is our choice for its increased damage while sliding. The berserker prefix is optimal since we will be meleeing lots of enemies and the increased movement speed = increased damage.
Now is our grenade choice. Since we are Zane, we won’t be throwing a lot of grenades, however our skill tree will be specced out for grenades save for grenade regen. As such, we want our grenade to not only fit the theme but work well without being thrown, and personally I believe that to be the Firestorm. The Firestorm we be raining down hellfire on our enemies, perfect for the Doomslayer, and works well as an area of effect grenade
Up next is our shield, for which we have two good options. The Frozen Snowshoe and the Big Boom Blaster. The Snowshoe helps further our sliding and healing playstyle, while the BBB is more thematically accurate, with its boosters being akin to power ups.
Now that we’ve covered our base gear, we can spec out our skill trees. Since this build is movement speed based, the Blue and Red skill trees will be what we spec into. Action skills also won’t be a major focus since none really fit the theme. I don’t want to go to in depth about the choices, because many speak for themselves, but I will explain the odd ones out.
https://imgur.com/a/u16BJpv - Cold Bore is has 5 points because in doom time slows when he swaps weapons. We will also be using lots of heavy weapons so a swap speed bonus is a nice improvement. - Violent violence is has 5 points because fire rate is speed, and speed is speed. I rest my case - Seein’ Red is chosen since it’s very powerful in general and we aren’t using a Seein’ Dead class mod - Bad Dose and Boomsday are our action skill augments because bad dose can give movement speed and Boomsday works like the frag grenade. Both also work passively - Syrchonicity is chosen to move down the skill tree, and gun damage is always nice - Digi-clone is chosen as our second action skill because some levels in Doom have portals that teleport you around the map. This also helps us with our mobility, let’s us approach enemies twice by teleporting backwards. - Quick breather is valuable, but mostly to move down the skill tree - I can’t live without Old-U, so personal preference - Boom Enhance is very strong and only one point, same goes for Double Barrel - Our action skill augments are Dopplebanger because we actually aren’t going to use digi-clone too much, and this skill is good offensively, and Binary System so it acts like the cryo bomb in Eternal
Finally for the best part, guns. You can’t be the doomslayer without a wide variety of killing machines. The weapon choices will my best attempt at giving our Doomguy an game accurate loadout (based on Doom 2016 I’ve yet to play the new one). Weapon choice and their Doom counterparts are as follows
And for a real Doomguy experience, make sure you have the Slayer easy mayhem modifier to make the game have a true Doom feel.
TLDR: - Zane with Blue and Red tree - Antifreeze Class mod - Berserker Splatter Gun Artifact - Firestorm Grenade - Either Snowshoe or Big Boom Blaster Shield - Hellwalker as super shotgun - Shredifier as chaingun - ION CANNON as Guass rifle - Scourge or Lump as BFG - Kyb’s Worth as plasma rifle - Warlord as heavy assault rifle - Infinity as the pistol - Sledges Shotgun as combat shotgun - Creamer as rocket launcher - Ripper + cutpurse as chainsaw? - Slayer mayhem modifier
submitted by Aquachicken02 to borderlands3 [link] [comments]

Perspective on the State of Destiny and What it can do to Improve, written with care by a longtime hardcore fan of the games

This post ended up being pretty long-winded but I feel I made my thoughts as clear as I could for what it is. I see a lot of disconnect between what popular content creators, whose careers it is to make content for destiny, and what average players have to say regarding a few things. I feel like I can at least attempt to make a somewhat decent middle of the aisle argument, since I have been somewhat active in the streaming community on twitch with a small audience, but its not my career, and most everyone I know that plays Destiny has done it merely on the side of other games, or as their main game, with gaming being simply a hobby for them. I have tried to compile takes I've seen from streamers and youtubers, as well as from average players, as well as my own thoughts. Take this post as that: my own thoughts. I am by no means saying these are 100% the only problems or solutions to this game's issues, but this is what I've seen firsthand with it and what I think could be done to fix it. Im gonna reference another similar game, Warframe, a bit due to my experience with it as well and compare it to Destiny.

I'm gonna start off by saying, I am not trying to bash bungie with this post, nor am I trying to defend their every action with it, and even though this post is gonna probably die in new, here's some food for thought. Destiny 1 Launched in a fairly rough state in terms of content quantity, but theres a good reason that many of the core playerbase, myself included, chose to stick around. Why was Destiny 1, which was at the time devoid of much in the way of content, stick around and build a fanbase, while games such as Anthem, which had similar issues, were unable to? (I'm aware that Anthem had other issues as well, but even then I would expect it to build a following of people who just love the game for one reason or another, like Destiny did).
I think the answer to this question lies in the fact that Destiny 1 had some potentially very engaging content that the playerbase latched on to, and as far as I am aware, no other shooter games at the time outside of the Borderlands franchise and potentially Warframe provided similar experiences, but Destiny, which plays very different from both of those games, naturally attracted people who became fans of it.
When I mention potentially engaging experiences, I am talking things such as the Vault of Glass Raid, as well as the nightfall strikes which rotated weekly with some potentially very crazy modifiers on it. In addition, there were reasons to chase these activities, even in D1 Year 1. Nightfalls were generally seen as the best way to get most of the game's exotics, as well as being strikes but cranked up to 11. Raids were the ultimate thing to chase however, with many of the Raid weapons competing for the title of "Best in Slot" (Such as Fatebringer, Black Hammer, and Hunger of Crota, if we are leaving exotics out of the question. Sorry Gjallarhorn and Ice Breaker) for their respective slots during the time of their release. Much of this can be seen in how many of the legendary raid weapons are remembered fondly by the Veteran players still playing Destiny 2. In my opinion, this factor, combined with both the fact that the game's max level could not be reached without raid armor, and the fairly chill community of PvE players at launch, made it fairly easy for me to find a team for these aspirational activities that I could never have run. I even ended up joining a raid team back on Xbox One with the LFG group that helped me finish VoG for the first time, and I made friends that I still play games with 6 years later. Basically, Destiny 1 Year 1 was, for me at least, some of the most fun times to have been playing Destiny. (Small note, I think its not a good thing for the Raid armor to be the only way to reach the max light level but its part of what fueled engagement in Year 1 raiding compared to
So what makes me see Destiny 1 Year 1 as a much more competent time in the game's lifespan than Destiny 2 Year 3, which has far and away more content, but little player interest in that content? I would start with the Core Activities. Bungie considers the Core Activities to be the Crucible, Strikes, and Gambit. Oddly enough, I would argue that Destiny 2 has more engaging strikes than Destiny 1, with more complex bossfight mechanics and arenas designed to create a more engaging experience for the player, while most Destiny 1 strike bosses were essentially "Big Captain/ServitoHydra/Colossus/Ogre with tons of health." So why do so many people I know argue that Destiny 1 had better strikes?
I believe the reason lies in the fact that strikes actually gave good rewards in Destiny 1, even in Year 1. Heroic Strikes in Year 1 were the game's primary source of Strange Coins, which were the only currency which Xur accepted. Therefore, when you logged in and played 3 Heroic strikes to get your 27 weekly coins per character, you would, upon Xur's visit that weekend, feel the reward of your work in those strikes. Even if Xur came and didn't have something you wanted, you could save your Coins and visit Xur again the next week and purchase both a Weapon and an Armor piece, since you didn't spend last week's coins. It also incentivized playing on multiple characters, as the coin drops were not account based, but character based. In my opinion, part of when Exotics stopped feeling "Exotic" was when Destiny 2 launched and streamlined Xur's currency into legendary shards, which most players have a large enough number of that they can spend them like they're monopoly money. (As a small side note on strikes, with the addition of the Taken King expansion at the start of Year 2, a lot of strike specific loot was added to the game which further incentivized running playlist strikes compared to their seemingly small incentive to play in Destiny 2).
I feel it is helpful to take a step back and look at a big picture of the game and how it is played. In Destiny as a whole, there is not an overwhelming amount of loot, just a few pages of each type of gun. Compare this to a game like Borderlands, where there are tons of different guns and there are a much larger variety of weapons when you take into account the unique foundries. When comparing it to Warframe, which has a much bigger focus on Abilities and Stats, you will find that the Armor in this game provides a different angle for how the game is played and therefore more of a diversity in how the game can be played. In Warframe, I can choose to be a tanky juggernaut, or a support, or a stealthy assassin. The classes in Destiny, by comparison, do not provide as big of a difference in gameplay (this isn't a bad thing, but it IS a part of how the game is played and how it feels to play the game.) Combine this with the fact that the Guardian arsenal is much more limited in scope than games like Warframe, where the different types of weapons and even the individual weapons in one type vary extremely wildly from one another.
Now that we've established the fact that Destiny provides its players with less tools than similar games in the genre, (again, not a bad thing, but a fact of the game that must be addressed in its design process) we can look at what makes the current state of the game and its content feel less engaging. Guardians, with their limited arsenal, must have engaging playgrounds in which to push these limited arsenals to the test. Destiny 1 had only one raid at launch, but many of the encounters in the raid could be tackled in a few different ways, allowing for players to have tested their potential with different loadouts. A potential counterargument to this is the idea that the optimum loadout was not set in stone like it has been in the past few seasons, but even in D1Y1, there was the "god tier" loadout of fatebringer, black hammer, and gjallarhorn that destroyed encounters, but people still raided every week because there was good loot to chase that could be used in the strikes that they had to run in order to buy their weekly exotic from Xur. Currently, the only raid that is viewed as worth completing is Garden of Salvation, and the guns from that raid have no chance at being "Best in Slot", due to the fact that many other guns, namely the pinnacle weapons, have taken over those titles. This creates little incentive for the average player to run Garden of Salvation again aside from getting Pinnacle Gear to use as Infusion Fodder, but this can be acquired much easier from other sources. From the looks of it, Bungie SEEMS to think that sunsetting gear will fix this problem, but if the loot simply isn't good, people won't chase it due to the fact that the raid itself isn't incredibly popular, unlike the Destiny 1 raids, which provided compelling environments for the player to use their weapons in. Basically, games like Warframe can afford to have repetitive content with little compelling loot in the content, due to the massive variety of tools the player is given to complete that content, since the content itself simply exists to push the limits of the player's equipment. However, games like Destiny cannot afford to have repetitive content or uncompelling loot, since the player's tools are limited much more, and are merely tools for completing the content, with the content itself being the main attraction.
A good explanation of this difference can be found in the fact that in games such as Warframe, as the player grinds with their equipment in order to hone its stats and make it able to slot more mods, therefore making individual pieces of equipment, be them weapons or armor, stronger through the grind. Destiny does not have this (another obligatory "Not a bad thing, just the nature of Destiny as a game") as I can grind a million strikes with the same loadout equipped, but aside from the overall power level of my character, those weapons have not improved at all in terms of strength. Basically, Destiny's power level system does not actually make the players STRONGER, but instead tweaks the damage that you will deal in content close to your power level. This is fine if it is handled correctly, but recently, it has felt as though Bungie has looked at boss design the wrong way, and therefore it feels as though the fights are less challenging, aside from whatever mechanics the encounter may employ. In the Vault of Glass, not only are the trash mobs and exploding harpies threatening, but so is Atheon as well. Atheon provides a threatening presence in the arena that players cannot easily go near for danger of getting killed. Even during damage phase, Atheon continues firing splash damage blasts at the players, and while this can be counteracted by using the Aegis relic's bubble shield mode, that strategy causes players to lose potential DPS with the trade off being increased safety, since the Shieldbearer could easily use the super of the shield on repeat to add damage to Atheon. Contrast this to Garden of Salvation, which provides a similar fight as well as a boss that fires at the team. However, during what should be the most tense part of the fight, Damage Phase, the boss sits still and floats into the air for no obvious reason. This makes the fight simply a sequence of Complete Mechanic, followed by a DPS check, and then repeat if you didn't kill the boss. Crown of Sorrow is another example, as Gahlran simply sits still during DPS, but ends up being worse than the Sanctified Mind in that he also is never the primary threat on the field. The primary threat is always a yellow bar enemy or his deception, but this doesn't make the players feel like they're fighting a massive boss that's been possessed by Hive magic, but rather makes them feel like they're clearing trash mobs, waiting for a bather(which is a mechanic from a different raid might I add) to spawn, then punching it to clear it, all while playing a minigame of the Witch's Blessing and crystals, only to then get to shoot a big boss that they aren't really fighting against, but rather waiting to shoot. Granted Gahlran shoots fireballs but those fireballs do very little damage and are extremely slow. Compare this to Atheon or Oryx, who are actively fighting the player during all parts of the raid. Even in the Oryx encounter, he will keep shooting despite the players having their immortality buff. This at least makes the player feel as if Oryx is fighting back at the player fireteam instead of simply channeling an attack before getting stunned. Essentially, the raid bosses need to fight back against the player somehow so that they are forced to stay on their toes even in damage phase. If strike bosses can shoot at me while I'm trying to damage them, then I would expect raid bosses to attempt to do so as well. Calus is the last example of this kind of design I can think of in a main raid (The raid lair bosses do shoot rockets at the players so they get credit but I don't count those as full raids with a comprehensive loot pool, rather as additions to the Leviathan's loot set, they do not count in terms of "main" raids. Sorry Argos and Val Ca'Uor). Calus will occasionally detonate an explosive on the plates required for damage. This at least allows the players to make a decision between staying on the plate longer for maximum DPS, and bailing to the next plate earlier for maximum safety, similar to the decision in the Atheon fight between shielding with the Aegis or attacking with it. This kind of boss design is important to making raids feel like the apex of our work in PvE, rather than the odd state they seem to find themselves in now.
Furthermore, Bungie seems to be trying to shift the PvE sandbox around with certain changes that they have made in order to force diversity into the raid encounters. This becomes problematic as it simply makes the DPS check stage of bossfights harder instead of encouraging the players to find their optimal method of strategy. If the boss is going to sit still 20 feet in the air while exposing his crit spot, and also being in the middle of a damaging pool of Vex fluid makes Izanagi's Burden, a high damage, long range precision weapon, should be a natural choice for players, similar to how Touch of Malice was the optimal choice for fighting Oryx due to the immortality buff during damage phase. This is the reason that the data for Garden of Salvation showed an overwhelming use of Izanagi's Burden in the boss encounters. It made sense to use such a precise, but powerful, weapon. Nerfing snipers due to their overwhelming use in Garden caused such outrage not due to snipers being overpowered, but due to the fact that they were the most viable option in this encounter. If snipers were truly overtuned then they would have been the weapon of choice for encounters such as Shuro Chi, another stationary boss, but they weren't, since this fight can be tackled more easily with a shotgun. Shotguns are simply more viable for fighting Shuro Chi, and so they are used for this. I will point now to Aksis, the final boss of Wrath of the Machine's raid. I remember when swords were first added to Destiny in The Taken King, and they were considered something of a neat novelty, but not all that viable. The reason for this was due to the fact that the raid encounters of the time usually demanded something along the lines of a rocket launcher or machine gun in the heavy slot, which provided similar potential stopping power to a sword while also being able to hit bosses in a pinch for big damage compared to other primaries, partly due to the fact that the special slot was usually taken up by a sniper rifle. This changed when Rise of Iron and Wrath of the Machine dropped. Now, swords, specifically the Dark Drinker, were the optimum choice for parts of this raid. Why? The encounter fit the sword well. A tool in our arsenal, which had previously not had a use, was now the top tier. This won't happen if bungie continues their trend of boss designs, since making long range, precision based encounters will only push us towards snipers. Gutting them back to their pre-Shadowkeep values only hurts the number of people that will be willing to attempt these encounters since now they take much longer and require much more of the same loadout instead of pushing players to try new weapons, even if they're still sniper rifles. After these nerfs, Whisper of the Worm is now far and away the best sniper for fighting the Sanctified and Consecrated minds, but Izanagi's Burden has been left to rot after having very limited time to shine. Before, we had a true decision to make in terms of which toys we wanted to play with, but now, Whisper is the best and everything else feels much worse.
On another note, I didn't want to talk about Sunsetting, seeing as its a very controversial topic, but I guess I will since it seems like its relevant to my thoughts on the content and engaging. I do not want to defend sunsetting, as I am very much a believer of the "play your own way" style (if you want to call the versions of the game "sandboxes" then give us the freedom of a sandbox and don't make us play the way you want us to Bungie). However, I agree with certain aspects of sunsetting while disagreeing with others. Currently, certain guns like the Recluse are just simply put the optimal options for much of this game's content. This is nothing new, however, as I previously mentioned the Fatebringer, Black Hammer, and Gjallarhorn, all of which dominated Year 1 Destiny 1. However, these weapons were all sunset when the Taken King came out. But don't people love the Taken King? Yes, they do, myself included, but there is a VERY good reason that we do. The content was engaging. Essentially having to start from the beginning didn't feel bad since I was excited to do the content. Replacing my Fatebringer with a Doom of Chelchis scout rifle from King's Fall felt good, since I loved that scout. I loved Fatebringer too, but it was fine to put it down and chase new guns, as long as chasing those guns was fun. Kind of a "its the journey not the destination that matters" feeling. The problem with sunsetting as Bungie has proposed us is this: they haven't shown us (recently) that they can make compelling content to get those weapons from. I have no problem retiring my Recluse, or my Luna's Howl, as long as whatever I have to do to get my next great gun is engaging content. This, like Bungie has stated, also avoids power creep, while also giving the players an opportunity to continue playing the game they love in new ways. The biggest problem with that, however, comes from two factors. The seasonal model of content, and the lack of new things being added into the game at a rate that players can explore what new items they like. Seasonal style content has given us thus far: one ok season(undying) one pretty good season(dawn) and one pretty bad season(worthy). Part of the problem is that each season adds a few guns, and to get them, players must grind a horde mode or some similar event to get the new gear. This is boring and repetitive for a game like Destiny, which has such a limited amount of gear to play with, and the enjoyment is in the gameplay. For a game like Warframe, horde modes are fine since players are trying to push the limits of their gear, whereas in Destiny, I want the gameplay to push the limits of my ability to play the game, given that much of the gear is at least decent at conquering what the game throws my way. The second problem combines the issues with the seasonal model and the issues of gear not being added at a good enough rate. Every season, guns are added, and at the end of that season, will be removed from being obtainable. This pushes players with a fear of missing out to play, but it will NOT make them enjoy the content provided. Players will enjoy good content because it is good and engaging, not because they got to play the same horde mode again to get a new round of good weapons. Sunsetting becomes an issue in this context. Bungie, with their transition to a la carte seasons, have stated "don't pay for any content you don't want, you can play whatever interests you" but if they decide to sunset mass amounts of good gear people like to use, then they create a problem should players set the game down for a season or two, then come back later and find they have nothing to work with, and a very limited number of available options to obtain at the time of their return. In truth, weapon sunsetting would be fine if Bungie gave us a large enough loot pool every season that we could enjoy, but if you only like a small variety of weapons, and then sunsetting takes away the old guns you liked, yet the new seasons don't provide good replacements of the same type, you're out of luck. If the loot pool was much deeper, this issue wouldn't be as big due to the fact that each season players are given the opportunity to try several different things, but currently this simply is not the case. A deeper loot pool, combined with good content each season, would make a much better experience.
I understand that Bungie has stated that D2Y2 took a lot out of their team, and I wholeheartedly believe that they are trying to give us at least some content we like. The hard truth is, they no longer have the resources that Activision provided to them in order to make content and keep it coming out. In the off chance Bungie ever sees this post, my number one piece of advice to the team is to just slow down. When it comes to games, quality over quantity is important. I don't care if there's a new season every 90 days if the seasons themselves provide little engagement. The point of an interactive experience is that the player should be able to be engaged in the experience, not feel like they are simply doing chores (like 9 million seraph towers). The game's technical state has also declined quite a bit. This game worked on my old PC before I built a new one, and I was impressed since that thing never ran well on most games. However, I have noticed, in addition to the server and bug related issues, the game just doesn't run as well anymore(at least on PC). I truly love Destiny, it's honestly my favorite game that I have played in recent years, and the Destiny community has provided me with many of my closest friends from gaming, and if you guys at Bungie are struggling to make content at the pace you think you should, just slow it down. You guys can make some truly amazing things from your game. I know you can, I've seen and played it for myself. I am willing to wait longer for more engaging content drops. For more of the old days looking for secrets in the Vault of Glass, for more attempts at decoding binary since I was the only programmer amongst my old Raid team on Xbox One. Even Destiny 2 has shown it can shine. Forsaken was fantastic, but the game has flaws that need some addressing, and I feel that this post is already long enough, so I'd like to just say to Bungie if they somehow see any of these points: learn from your old content what people like and do not like about Destiny. Stop attempting to make Destiny something that it is not with all of the MMORPG style mechanics. Just make Destiny like it has been before. I know it'll never be perfect, but it will always be improving, and that's what's important in evolving a game.

TLDR:
Current content is too bland and repetitive and Bungie keeps trying to make the game into something it isn't, but it isn't working and the game should go back to doing what it does well
EDIT: added TLDR
submitted by Kzungu to DestinyTheGame [link] [comments]

[f][lamenters] No Respite

If you're interested in reading more of my guff, you can find me over on AO3.
NO RESPITE
The faintest of ripples slunk along the water’s dark surface, grasping and clinging to the cracked stone and half-rotten wood of Belamor’s docks. A host of creatures - caped moths, skimmers, fat-bodied insects - skimmed just above the ogling, eager eyes of harbour fish as they swam through the human detritus that found its way from city to harbour. It promised to be an evening of anticipation: when the fliers came too close to the water, when they clumped and swarmed, only then would those below strike. Until then…
A stalk of metal slid up through the grungy liquid. Fish and insects scattered away from the intrusion in their nightly dance. A smooth pane of dusky yellow metal followed, rounded in the curvature of a skull. Then came the crimson-filled sockets, unblinking, focused on the shoreline ahead.
Helix Adept Cabar pushed himself through the sucking mud and slime to gain a firm footing on what could be loosely considered solid ground. Garbage, seaborne weeds and overconfident leeches clung to his armour. He’d walked up and down the collected centuries of trash that a moderately busy port accumulates, and - while there were certainly some things in the muck that would be of no small interest to Imperial scholars - the Space Marine had no desire to go back any time soon.
There were more pressing matters, his desires notwithstanding.
Cabar dropped the wrecked half-corpse he’d been carrying into the muck. When the Infiltrator Squad had made their daring assault on the Drukhari hover-barge, the fighting had been intense, requiring the demi-Apothecary to focus much more on combat than his usual work of triage and progenoid extraction. Forced up and over the side, he’d had only a moment to drag one of his attackers with him before falling away from the battle.
The intention had been to interrogate the xeno for information. Not the greatest plan in the world, considering their resistance - even enjoyment - of most persuasive techniques. If nothing else, it would have been satisfying to end the creature personally.
Still. Looking down on the ragged torso - the lower half had snagged on something during their underwater trek and been torn away - the outcome was acceptable. The withered body, the pale skin torn away in strips, the empty holes in the skull where eager scavengers had made their way in for the juiciest morsels, the shelled things slithering up exposed entrails. It did the hearts good to see one of that arrogant species laid so crassly low.
A civilisation might rule the stars for untold aeons, but this was the fate of all aliens: dead in the mud with vermin eating their insides. Even the oldest races of the galaxy would be food for worms in the end. Only the Imperium would endure.
‘Cabar to squad,’ he tried on the vox. No response was forthcoming, but he hadn’t expected one. Both the Drukhari and Imperials were making good use of wide-spectrum jamming equipment, attempting to foul the other side’s use of communications and sensitive technologies. Both had intended their goals to be accomplished in secret. The pitched battle in a hovercraft, bolters blazing and war-cries bellowing, had put something of a tarnish on that objective.
Then again, as the Helix Adept looked up at the sheer stone wall that separated the dock proper from incoming vessels, maybe stealth had never been possible, to begin with. The number of moored ships was suspiciously low for a berth of this volume, and there were no raised voices from harbourside bars or crews burning the midnight oil. Not even the retch, pitch and piss of drunks and vagrants.
Just the slow, endless wash of breakers on shore, the creak of timber and the low hum of power armour. A city holding its breath as the binary moons hid their pale, pocked faces behind a veil of clouds.
Perfect.
Cabar’s leap took him a good two-thirds of the way up the wall, the slip-activated spikes of the Phobos boots digging in to anchor him. He reached up to grasp a mooring peg, an ancient iron affair coated with rust and grime, hauling himself up and over the quay’s lip in a combat crouch. His suspicions had been correct. The harbourside was deserted. Pubs were closed, their lanterns extinguished. Hand-carts and stalls had been pushed hurriedly off the cobbled path, their owners far more concerned about getting indoors than their worldly possessions.
The Marine scuttled across the few metres of open space, head low, trusting in the muddy yellow of his camouflaged armour and broken line of sight. It was hardly a dignified advance, but this wasn’t the time for Codex-standard tactics. He came up under the awning of a closed shopfront, considering his options.
Vile as the Drukhari were, they lived their lives in the gutters, spires and shadows of their Dark City, fighting and dying in the dark. Belamor was a city nestled in the rising cusp of a hill - the staggered, uneven houses, steeples and manses formed a network of blind alleys and kill-zones. To approach the city from the harbour was teetering on the edge of suicide against an entrenched enemy, particularly one so suited to the terrain.
All Cabar could hope for was that his battle-brothers had cost the xenos time and manpower. If the web was already drawn across the city, if there were Kabalites on rooftops with splinter rifles, he was finished, no matter his courage or ability. His own bolt carbine was currently somewhere on the bottom of the harbour, and weaponry fit for Astartes was unlikely to be present on the world for few thousand years yet.
The hidden opponents would know that. They’d fought Space Marines before, that had been obvious in the quickness of their reaction to the boarding attack and their splitting of the Infiltrator squad. Anybody who’d survived an assault from the Angels of Death knew that unity was their greatest strength. A Space Marine alone was formidable, but in formation - well, they’d won the galaxy as Legions. The Drukhari would know what to expect from an unarmed warrior: a bull rush, a death-or-glory charge that would see him take a weapon or die in the process.
They’d anticipate him putting all his trust in his wargear, praying the plate would turn the venom-needles and daggers, would carry him into melee where he could snatch a weapon and fight back on more equal footing.
What they wouldn’t anticipate was subtlety. Cabar was just a wretched monkeigh, after all. No matter how badly his squad had hurt them, no matter how tired they were from the fight, how little time they’d had to spread through Belamor, they’d never be too cautious of a primitive. They’d fall into the same trap so many of their kind had before. How much trouble could a lone Space Marine be?
But this was what the genius of Frater Cawl and the shrewdness of Lord Guilliman had come together to create. The Vanguard had been made to do things not even the Imperium could reckon with, let alone their long-time foes.
Cabar blink-clicked the runes that marked his armour’s cutting-edge functions. As the low-level scan pulsed out, he turned his immediate attention to his surroundings. The window of the store could provide interesting possibilities, but breaking it would give away his location and his only advantage. It appeared to be some kind of tannery, judging by the signage and rack of skins behind the glass. There’d be tools inside. Flensing knives, hatchets, deboning implements - but he’d need to find a way inside first, and the padlocked door may as well have been the Eternity Gate.
Scan results filtered into his helm. Nothing that registered as a body’s heat signature, either human or alien. All the mortal residents of Belamor were cowering indoors, and the Kabalites wore temperature-stable armour. Effective for blending into a crowded city, or the brutal underbelly of Commorragh, but in a city without active industry or an active population…
Yes, that was it. Impossible to get a direct fix, but there they were - shadows colder than shadows should be. Not as many as Cabar had expected, but closer by far. He must have arrived right on their heels.
He touched the bleeding heart on his pauldron. The sacrifice of his squad had bought him more than time, it had bought him an opportunity. The xenos had no time to fortify or regroup. They had simply left a disorganised rearguard before plunging into the city in force themselves, desperate to reach their target before further opposition appeared.
Creeping along the storefront, Cabar shut down the higher electronics and functions of his armour. The hum faded away entirely. The time for high-tech war was done. From this point, Cabar’s war would be won or lost by skill - and chance.
‘For those we cherish,’ he whispered. The second part of the motto would have to speak for itself when he was done.
He moved more quietly than anything wearing ceramite had a right to, pressed close against the storefronts and closed doors, waiting for clouds to veil the twin moons before he made his final approach. A lean-to had been propped against a warehouse wall - Cabar could smell the sickness coming from it, his helm’s air-filers having powered down. A beggar or similar unfortunate soul had camped out here, seeking alms, but more likely receiving kicks and abuse from the dockside crowd.
Offering a wide view of the harbour and the streets leading into the city, it was just the right place for vermin to hide. A man in a hurry to charge his foes wouldn’t have given it a second thought, would have concentrated on dark alleys and flat rooftops. A man in a hurry would have been taken in the back or flank by a clever, clever opponent.
Cabar had learned patience and endurance well. His Chapter had been on the wrong side too often in the past, had been drawn into losing battles because of haste or ill-consideration.
Not this time.
His leap was silent, graceful, devastating. Cabar came down with both feet on the lean-to, rewarded with an incredibly satisfying crunch as his full weight came down on a hidden xeno. A blade tore through the sheeting to his left - a second attacker - and Cabar caught the briefest glimpse of a pale, surprised face through the tear as he swayed away. He didn’t wait for the counterstrike. One giant fist crashed into the fabric where the xeno’s skull had been, and the piston of Cabar’s Helix Gauntlet - made to crack open Space Marine armour to extract the progenoid organs - fired with a muffled crump. The figure beneath the canvas went slack.
Glancing down, Cabar saw where bone had come through sheeting and blood had already started to pool around his boots. He stepped off quickly. He had no desire to leave an easy trail to follow, though neither of the Drukhari would be likely to track him in the near future unless a very skilled and very patient Haemonculus was nearby.
The Space Marine tossed the bodies thoroughly and swiftly. He discounted the vicious pistols and the splinter rifle. Neither had been made with human standard in mind, and Drukhari equipment was notoriously unfriendly to unpracticed wielders. The more practical weapons - weighted throwing daggers, a barbed garrotte - went into sealed pouches on Cabar’s combat harness. Hefting the long-knife the second xeno had wielded, the Adept considered a moment before casting it aside.
There was no telling how the thing would work in real combat, if it would turn into a snake and wind its way up his arm or something equally outrageous. Better not to rely on the fickle nature of the enemy’s armaments when his own Emperor-given hands would serve for the nonce.
With this blunder, the Drukhari had committed the very error they had expected of Cabar. They had focused on their mission rather than the destruction of their enemies…
There is no pleasure in Sybarite Tzamien’s work.
She knew this from the start, but she still curses herself for allowing the objectives to be so tightly defined by the Archon. Perched on a monkeigh mansion’s crude iron weathervane, wrought in the image of some ridiculous prey animal, she surveys the silent city of Belamor through enhanced optics. There isn’t a soul outdoors to ‘accidentally’ gut, no screams to be torn from the crude people below. There’s nothing.
And even less than that, as she feels the sudden absence of the two-person ambush team from her neuro-link. She grits her teeth. There had been no time to pursue the fallen Space Marine, no time to inflict proper pain upon those who had remained - the attack had cost her forces valuable time, valuable lives, and those losses were compounding.
It wasn’t the human warriors she was concerned about. Certainly not the cattle below. But other forces moved in this filthy abode, and it was to avoid their attention that secrecy and swiftness had been made paramount.
Tzamien curses. She activates her communicator. ‘Rezoar. Belom. Take your squads to the junction. Ensure the monkeigh goes no further.’
‘Do you want it alive?’ comes the reply. She can’t tell which of the twins it is.
The temptation is strong. There is glory to be had in such a capture - after Tzamien had instructed it in the arts of anguish first, of course, for dogging her heels. ‘No,’ she replies, and the reluctance is genuine. ‘Be quick, then return to your search pattern. We must be gone before dawn.’
‘I hear and obey, Sybarite.’
Tzamien puts the Space Marine from her mind. Now, if she were a pathetic human, where would she hide?
In the shadows behind a low stone wall, Cabar hid.
He’d pushed up as far and fast as he’d dared, knowing that with his information warfare suite disabled the Drukhari would be able to organise and encircle him unhindered. The rapidity of their response had still nearly caught him by surprise: it had been a mix of paranoia and the filtering of sounds that might have been a cat on a tiled roof that had caused him to take cover.
The xenos had decided that their quarry wouldn’t risk the rooftops and exposure under the intermittent moons, but nor could they remain aloft themselves at the risk of letting the Space Marine slip through their net.
In the brutal street-fighting of the Dark City, there was only one way to deal with an opponent who refused to commit to honest battle - overwhelming force. The six members of a Kabalite squad leapfrogged each-other down the street that a moment earlier Cabar had been about to ascend. Each was intimately aware of the others positioning, indicating experience and comfort with their fellows - veterans, or whatever passed for it in the motley armed forces of the Drukhari. In a few seconds, the flankers would be coming over or around the stone wall.
Cabar judged their positions by what he could see - two on the far side of the street, two haunting the middle, which meant two would be about to expose him. He’d have only a few seconds once they did to make his move.
When the first xeno vaulted the barrier, the Adept grabbed the alien’s head, muffling its shocked exhalation. His other arm shot out to lock the rifle against his opponent’s chest, unable to fire. They stood in tableau for a precious moment - that simple span of time that it took for the flanker’s partner to believe it was safe to proceed.
As soon as the second Drukhari was starting to clear the wall, Cabar crushed the first’s skull in his grip. There was little resistance against a force that could tear plates off a tank. Cabar turned to put the corpse between him and his next foe in case the Kabalite was quicker on the draw, but the xeno barely had time to land before the Space Marine’s fist was lashing out. Another skull shattered under a merciless, instantly lethal blow.
Cabar completed his turn, discarding the first corpse and checking the second’s fall, but to do so he had to release his grip on the splinter rifle which clattered on the cobbles. In an instant, the Adept had whipped the throwing daggers from his belt and into the space he’d last sighted the xenos pair in the middle of the street before vaulting the wall himself, exchanging positions with the unlucky duo he’d slain.
Only one of Cabar’s thrown weapons found its target, sending a Kabalite gurgling and thrashing to the ground, but the three remaining reacted without hesitation, showering the far side of the low wall with rifle fire. Crystalline splinters snapped and broke on stone, failing to find a target into which to discharge their lethal poison.
The Drukhari would adjust their fire in a moment. They’d snapped shots out at the appearance of a threat rather than the threat itself, and in a moment they’d deduce that the Space Marine had slipped from cover. A moment, that’s all they needed to survive. A mere moment.
But in that thin slice of time, Cabar was already moving, circling, pushing his transhuman body and the marvellous engineering of Mark X armour to their limits. The Drukhari were faster than a base human. The Aeldari as a species were renowned for their unnatural grace and agility, their incredible control, their mindfulness. The Dark Kin took those racial advantages and honed them to the keenest of edges in their ruthless society, a society that forged vicious killers whose names were feared across the galaxy.
It wasn’t enough.
Cabar lowered his shoulder and ran through the surviving Kabalite before she had a chance to correct her aim. Bones broke, blood sprayed, but the Adept didn’t pause to see the damage - he’d incapacitated the foe, yet two remained.
The last pair split in either direction, hoping to force the Space Marine to pause, or at least choose badly. Dull spines protruded from beneath the barrels of their rifles: fearsome monomolecular blades that would pare even ceramite with the ease of a fisherman shucking shells. With no time to properly aim, with no guarantee that the splinters would find a seal or groove in power armour, and with no certainty that the poison would be fast enough or effective enough to bring their target down, the Kabalites chose to make their stand in the ancient way.
It was an audacious move. The machine-spirit of Cabar’s armour shrieked as a thrust pierced his side, flush along his ribs. His response was instinctive: he kicked the xeno in the chest, the force defeating the light weave the Kabalite wore and pulping every major organ in the alien’s torso.
The other Kabalite was more ambitious, aiming her thrust for Cabar’s head - but it was a smaller target, and he ducked to the side to escape harm, the momentum from his kick carrying him past. The Adept turned a fraction of a section faster than his opponent, his elbow slamming into the Kabalite’s skull with enough force to snap her neck.
Alone in the street, Cabar breathed hard. There was a fierce fire in his chest: he willed the hammering of his hearts to slow. His attack had been ill-advised and exactly the sort of suicidal foolishness that would have seen him dead to begin with, but the enemy had expected a war of stealth in their fresh pursuit. Keeping them off-balance and uncertain gave him certain advantages, but it also ran terrible risks. The red haze at the corner of his vision, the prick of his angel’s teeth on his lips - the twin curses of the Blood Angels had been passed down to their Successors, and the Lamenters were familiar with both.
Many had thought the Primaris immune, or at least resistant - that brief hope had been quashed in the most tragic way. Cabar shook his head, and the red retreated - for the moment. He needed all his wits about him, more than the strength that the Thirst would offer.
Think. To reach him so quickly, the Drukhari would have to have been searching close by. They would not have done so in ignorance, meaning they had an idea of where their quarry was located - not on the harbourfront, but close to it, likely in the thin band of workshops and light industry that banded Belamor like a notched belt overtaken by a protruding gut. That made sense.
Why hide in that fortress on the hill, or the district of the rich and privileged? Too obvious. A mind shrewd enough - or at least, a person connected enough - to divine the coming of a Drukhari raid would have thrown themselves down the deepest bolthole in town.
There were few places more well-known as dens of intrigue and secrecy than bars and brothels, of which Belamor was blessed with an abundance of, but only one was more than a century old. Only one proudly hung a weather-stained sign of a grinning rodent outside its door. Only one tavern had been owned and operated by Belamor’s current de facto leader in his misspent youth.
Sybarite Tzamien idly licked the blood from her gloves.
It wasn’t particularly satisfying, but one had to keep up appearances. To command a detachment of Kabalite Warriors was not a given rank, it was decided within by the warriors themselves - with knives in the back whenever weakness was shown. Her leadership had been unquestioned, and her forces continued to obey her without comment, but Tzamien was not ignorant of her position.
Rezoar and his squad were dead. That was a shame, but more importantly, they were dead on her orders. That was weakness, and far more dangerous.
This was supposed to be simple. How had things gone so wrong?
Was she losing her touch? Or was there a mole inside the Kabal, feeding information to her enemies? Had the Space Marines had another warband close by? It seemed strange that a lone warrior - and a medic at that - would be so immediately lethal. Was the Imperial attack simply being used as cover by a rival - hers or her Kabals - to spoil the raid and steal their prize?
The endless politics of the Dark City were delight and despair in equal measure, but if Tzamien hadn’t enjoyed them, she would have fled to the cold embrace of the new, dead god with the others.
‘Kill me,’ begged the monkeigh offal through a mouth of pulled teeth, the blood staining his blue doublet a delicious shade. ‘Please, kill me.’
He’d given the target’s location before Tzamien had even started on the man’s fingernails. It was pathetic, really, and barely worth her effort - but, as she’d acknowledged, appearances had to be kept up and it wouldn’t do to have the Kabal sniffing out any sign of shakiness or lack of resolve. They’d turn on her like gral in a blood-den.
Tzamien considered letting Belom know his brother had died, then decided against it. The fool would only hurry over to spoil her fun. She’d take her prize alone and wait for whatever forces had been interfering with her affairs, and let them know just how displeased she was.
‘Kill me,’ the wretch repeated.
‘Later, perhaps,’ she replied with her most winning smile.
The man let go of his bowels at last.
Tzamien left him crucified on the terrace, lithely moving down to the streets below, aglow with the satisfaction of pain, terror and a job well done.
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New Level 6 7 Vault 2018 2022 - YouTube

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