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Frost Giant

Werthead's page

2,123 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.

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Regarding Valyrian steel:

It's widely theorised that forging Valyrian steel requires a human sacrifice. The Westerosi blacksmiths have lost the knack of it forging it because they don't know about it - fire and blood is needed, not just fire itself - and might balk at sacrificing people to forge more blades.

Similar thing with the dragon eggs, they only hatched after Mirri Maz Duur was sacrificed along with them and Dany took her walk of faith into the flames. It does beg the question why the eggs at Summerhall didn't hatch, but that may have been because the deaths were accidental rather than a deliberate sacrifice.

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Never say never ! It will all dépends on how things turns out in a few months time... The EU is nothing but pragmatic, and the last economical crisis led it to construct on the fly new mechanisms ; even the ECB chose to ignore its own rules to do what was needed. If UK goes out of its collective way to wreck other economies for selfish reasons, nobody will object to its forced exclusion : all in the name of democracy and of the collective will of the british people.

Any such move would require the EU to change its fundamental rules to allow it to kick a member state out. Britain itself - which remember is still a member until the process is completed - will simply veto it. I suspect others - maybe Greece or Poland - would be starkly tempted to as well as the precedent would be alarming.

A third way of explaining Mr Cameron refusal to issue a formal declaration (despite having said before the vote that he would do so at once) could be that he refuses to personnally assume the responsability of the referendum he asked. Letting the next PM handle the matter could be a way of getting back at his Iago, BoJo. Of course, it can be argued that a continent-wide economical crisis is a harsh price to pay for personal revenge, but hey, politicians can be as insane, immature and mean as any other guy.

Yes. As Cameron walked back into Number 10 after announcing his resignation, he apparently said "Why should I do all the hard s**t?" He was also under the impression that the Leave camp had a plan all ready and waiting to roll.

Later that day Sky News political editor Faisal Islam asked a prominent Leave campaigner what the plan was for Brexit and they replied, "We haven't got one."

All of this is like a train wreck, all in slow motion.

Yup. We live in interesting times.

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The EU has given the UK more than enough already. And they are still not satisfied. No point in trying to coddle them any further as they will always want more and are not even able to be reasonable about this. Playing with the EU's existence and the risk of yet another grave financial and economical crisis just to advance individuals' political carreers.

I fully agree. Britain got a colossal amount back from the EU for putting not a massive amount in. This message was not even remotely communicated at all by the Remain campaign during the referendum. A lot of British people think we put in less than we got out. Many of those same people have now been told that EU funding for their (often poor and neglected by London) regions will now be pulled and that nice new business centre or sports complex won't be happening and they're confused and angry about that.

All I'm saying is that if UK aims to use the letter of article 50 to hold hostage all EU, it's not completely impossible that other countries agree to go for the spirit of the text and cut it short. Certainly not tomorrow, but maybe in some months time, especially if the Financial crisis goes deeper and drags all of the continent down.

This won't happen. There is no legal mechanism in the EU for forcing a country out against its will, and introducing one quickly and in a knee-jerk reaction to Brexit would ring alarm bells across Europe, not to mention being tremendously out of character for an organisation that prefers a more measured, careful response to issues. They will instead enact pressure through other means (perhaps a hint of a moderately better deal if we invoke Article 50 sooner). This morning, in fact, they seemed to be saying that they'd be - relatively - happy as long as Article 50 is enacted by the end of this year, two months after when it is being proposed.

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Smarnil le couard wrote:
I'a afraid that to derail the Brexit now, your next pro-Leave PM (Boris Johnson ?) would have to renege, admitting that he didn't meant what he said during the campaign (that is, utterly wrecking his political career and taking the bullet for the greater good).

The Leave campaign has reneged on its two primary campaign promises in less than 72 hours, so they're getting there.

Interesting reports suggesting that Boris's thinking was that Britain would vote Remain, he would congratulate Cameron and they'd hug it out, Boris would then dutifully and loyally support Cameron for three years, glowing with praise for him, hinting at a peerage, and then be ushered into office with the EU matter at rest, the economy improving and able to begin the Glorious Golden Age of Boris.

The fact that Leave won and he is now expected to negotiate the UK's departure from the European Union has left him with a rictus grin on his face as he's realised that he has absolutely no clue at all on how to do that. That's why he went off to play cricket yesterday rather than talking to anyone and has spent today apparently in emergency meetings with Gove and other Leave Tories trying to work out WTF they are going to do. Becoming PM and having to negotiate Brexit amidst a suddenly declining economy and the potential breakup of the United Kingdom was not in his script.

I think it's sad that many of the pro-leave are already regretting their vote. In fact quite a few younger people who voted to leave have since been interviewed by various agencies and even stated they voted to leave because they thought their vote wouldn't matter.

Apparently it was not communicated well that the rules for the referendum were different to a general election (where the Tories won majority control of Parliament last year with just a third of the vote) and that some people thought that if their area got a majority their vote wouldn't count, so they protest voted or didn't bother voting at all.

That the same petition that is all over social media and anyone in the world can sign?

Nope. You need a UK address to sign the petition. In theory people can simply use a friend's address, but their vote would then be discounted if too many people use the same address and if they do not appear on the electoral register.

The petition does allow non-UK-born residents of Britain and also 16 and 17 year olds to vote. Both groups were unable to vote during the actual referendum, amidst great controversy.

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Yorkshire now expressing concern that leaving the EU means it will lose its EU funding.

I am at a loss as to why these people think that they are either 1) going to get EU money despite not being part of the EU or 2) going to get the same amount from a British government voted into office on a mandate of reducing spending to all-time record lows.

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Damage Report: Day 2 of the New Order (Hail, Boris)

$2.1 trillion wiped off the world economy. Er, sorry about that.

Britain loses its 5th position in the world GDP rankings to France. India not far behind.

British stock markets collapse by 8%, but recover 2%. Worries of further losses next week, but some suggestion there could be a further recovery. However, the markets overall think there will be two years of volatility due to the Brexit negotiations and then a further period of volatllity as the impact of Brexit is measured.

British currency and economy crashes in the worst one-day decline since Black Monday in 1987. In perspective, this was far worse for the UK economy than any day of the 1990s recession or the late 2000s one.

Britain credit rating downgraded to "Negative" by Moodys. Standards and Poor strip Britain of its AAA credit rating.

Morgan and Stanley reveal they have a contingency plan to shift 2,000 UK jobs to Dublin and Frankfurt and will enact it if we don't get a free trade agreement with the EU. HSBC apparently has a similar plan.

The investment sector will have to stop trading in Euros. This was already annoying the Eurozone. When we're out of the EU altogether, we simply won't be able to do it which will hammer investment banking. Which would be less of a problem if the British economy wasn't overwhelmingly based around services.

The ECB confirms that Britain will lose its EU financial passport if we don't allow free movement of peoples, which will impact Britain's ability to offer financial services to Europe. Since that's the underpinning of our economy (we actually make nothing in this country that others can't do instead) that's "mildly" worrying.

Spain confirm that the c. 800,000-1 million British people (mostly elderly) living in Spain won't have to worry and they probably won't be deported back to the UK. Oh, and by the way can they start having some discussions about the control of Gibraltar? Not that the two are related, at all. Oh, and all those people living in Spain will now have to buy private health insurance because they won't be protected by the NHS any more.

EU funding for the British regions (which basically keeps Cornwall, a large chunk of Wales and parts of Northern Ireland afloat) will be terminated. £1 billion+ EU funding for British scientific projects, including our contributions to the LHC, will be terminated.

But, good news! The government has indicated that it will take over the EU subsidies for private landowners, so the British taxpayer will shortly be paying Iain Duncan Smith £150,000 a year for no readily explicable reason.

Kazuka wrote:
That's what makes me worry about this. How bad are they going to make things for the people?

Very. Cameron and Osborne's policies have inflicted colossal economic and societal damage on the UK, and there's always been the fear that they - coming from the centre-right of the Conservative Party - were actually the least worst option from the party. The likes of Iain Duncan Smith, whose policies at the Department of Work and Pensions drove hundreds of people to suicide, and Michael Gove, who almost destroyed the British education system, are not going to hold back on taking things much further. Boris Johnson is actually much more centrist and liberal than people give him credit for, so if he emerges as PM things may not be quite that bad.

The vote to leave was mainly by the older generation - that is, the people who won't have to live with the long-term consequences of this. On the other hand, the younger people voted overwhelmingly to stay - and they're the ones who will be impacted the most if the UK actually decides to go through with it. (The resolution is non-binding, and Parliament technically could ignore it if they wanted to. They may still choose to do so if they decide it's politically acceptable.)

It's worth noting that 16 and 17-year-olds were barred by voting, which was hugely controversial because they were allowed to vote in the Scottish referendum two years ago. They were overwhelmingly for Remain, and of course this will affect their long-term prospects.

EU citizens who'd been living in the UK for over 5 years - in some cases more than a decade - were barred from voting. A lot of British voters overseas, who were also overwhelmingly for Remain, also found themselves unable to vote due to complications in arranging it. So given the narrowness of the victory, yes, it's more than slightly controversial.

All this talk of the Youth getting shafted - what is the youth unemployment like in the EU again...? Oh right.

That's down to the Euro, which was a hideous mistake and should be abolished, and to the internal policies of each country. Britain was actually highly praised in the EU for how it's handled the economy and weathered the financial storm, even Germany took some inspiration from it and France's current problems stem from being unable to do the same thing.

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So the Leave campaign won by forging an unholy alliance between the hard-right of the Conservative Party and the older, disenfranchised, northern working class citizen who hasn't voted since the Thatcher years, on the basis that the Tories would massively invest in public services and local resources.

In terms of unlikely alliances, this probably isn't quite up there with the Nazi-Soviet Pact but may certainly be in the Sauron-Saruman ballpark.

There is a slight problem here, namely what happens to those disaffected working class voters when the Tories continue to sell off the NHS, continue (if not double down on) austerity and keep shrinking government and public services. Maybe a resurgent Labour under Corbyn, having survived the new leadership challenge and vanquished the last remaining Blairites, sweeps them up and delivers this country to a socialist utopia in 2020. Or UKIP starts hoovering them up at a rate of knots as part of its potential new raison d'etre, "encouraging" immigrants already here to start going home.

Seriously? (1) Could this be true? If so, how widespread is Bregret? (B) When you cast a vote, make it the one you actually want.

Anecdotally, quite widespread. This morning, the people of Cornwall - which voted for Brexit - suddenly asked if leaving the EU meant they'd lose their EU funding (hint: yes). And if so, would the small-government, ultra-capitalist, free market-obsessed Conservative Party step in and replace that funding (hint: no)?

That was far from being the sole argument of the Leave side.

It was the predominant argument once it became clear that they had comprehensively lost the economic one. At one point in the campaign the Brexit camp looked completely beaten because they had tried going toe-to-toe on the economy and were crushed. They had to double down on immigration, immigration and immigration (with a dash of sovereignty, which the Tories didn't want to get into too much because of how they won the last general election but UKIP was happy to) because the second they tried to fight on any other ground they dipped in the polls.

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"It's not all about you, Jon."

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Julian Gollop, the original creator of X-COM (along with LORDS OF CHAOS and LASER SQUAD, and advising on the new Firaxis XCOM games), has announced a new X-COM-esque strategy game called PHOENIX POINT.

The game will play in a similar way to the original X-COM, with a world map from which you can organise research, recruitment and procuring equipment and then a turn-based battle mode where you fight the enemy in procedurally-generated landscapes. In a twist, there will also be procedurally-generated monsters and enemies, assembled on the fly from dozens of body parts and types to form hundreds of potential enemies.

The plot is that the melting permafrost has released a virus known as "the Mist" that mutates both people and creatures into terrible monsters. The Mist has also spread across much of the globe, destroying civilisation and reducing it to pockets surviving in Mist-free enclaves scattered over the globe. There are numerous factions of survivors, some of whom are more interested in fighting each other than the Mist, and you have to guide your faction - the titular Phoenix Point - to victory by arranging strategic alliances or even outright conquering other factions to help gather resources to drive the Mist back.

Gollop has taken inspiration from several sources: the original X-COM (and the third game, APOCALYPSE) for the strategic layer, which will be more involved and dynamic than the Firaxis games. The other factions will be fighting one another, researching and doing other stuff regardless of your actions, so if you kick back too much you might let other factions wipe one another out but you might also end up out-resourced, outnumbered and outflanked. The second inspiration is ALPHA CENTAURI, for the very different factions and their goals and ways to appear them. The third is survival horror: although the game has lots of combat and action, the monsters are disturbing and genuinely monstrous, constantly mutating and evolving to adjust to your tactics. The Mist is also active on the battlefield, capable of warping or mutating your soldiers if you don't find ways of defeating it. Some of the monsters are also absolutely huge. The final inspiration is the modern XCOM, which Gollop has praised for its approachability and accessibility, but thinks there is a way of getting a more complex and malleable game underneath. PHOENIX POINT will have at least 3 wildly different endings (possibly more) depending on how the campaign unfolds.

PHOENIX POINT's release date will apparently be in 2018 on PC, with console versions possible.

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please don't let it become a portal fantasy with a group of gamers being put into the Forgotten Realms....

I can't find the quote now, but I think that someone from Hasbro said this wasn't the case.

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I think the decision not to do novels was down to Hasbro's insistence that the movie has to tie into the current books and help shift some more of them, so it'll probably be set in the "present day" of FR 5th Edition.

Apparently there was one comment from the studio that they saw the tone of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY was something they should aspire to: dramatic and serious (it's not an out-and-out comedy) but with a knowing, even slightly meta sense of humour.

Which is great if it works, but will be terrible if it doesn't.

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...but what exactly is the movie going to be about?

DL? FR? Greyhawk?

Rob Letterman isn't a stellar director but apparently his D&D Movie Franchise pitch swayed the WB execs making this decision.

So many ways this movie can be botched. Is there any real hope?

It's set in the Forgotten Realms and will involve the Yawning Portal Inn, so at least part of the film will be set in Waterdeep.

They're also looking at the shared universe possibilities, so we may see DRAGONLANCE, DARK SUN, PLANESCAPE etc as future ideas. But right now it's going to be FORGOTTEN REALMS.

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So instead of Cersei having CGI nudity, it is Dany having it. Drat no nudity clause.

Nope, that was her.

Emilia Clarke: "But this is all me, all proud, all strong. I’m just feeling genuinely happy I said ‘Yes.’ That ain’t no body double!"

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WILD CARDS was optioned by SyFy, but then all the interested people at SyFy left. The rights are due to revert to GRRM any day now.

When they do, I suspect we could see interest from HBO.

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Kate Griffin/Claire North/Catherine Webb (her real name) is a pretty good writer. I'd be interested in seeing her stuff on screen. It's like a more literary version of Neil Gaiman's NEVERWHERE.

I think THOMAS COVENANT really is unfilmable. You can't not have him carry out the sexual assault he does in the books as that torpedoes the entire story (which is all about his redemption from that act), but it will also revolt and turn off viewers in droves (the same way it puts off enormous numbers of readers).

Tad Williams has indicated that there is renewed interest in MEMORY, SORROW AND THORN, especially since he has revealed that there will befive new novels in that world coming out in the next few years.

I did a list a couple of months back of all the books/series headed to the screen. In brief, it's a good time to be a Neil Gaiman fan:

Filming/In post-production
ANNIHILATION by Jeff VanderMeer (film)
LIKELY STORIES by Neil Gaiman (TV series)
AMERICAN GODS by Neil Gaiman (TV series)
SHE WHO BRINGS GIFTS by Mike Carey (film)
STORY OF YOUR LIFE by Ted Chiang (film)
THE DARK TOWER by Stephen King (film)
MIDNIGHT, TEXAS by Charlaine Harris (TV series)
READY PLAYER ONE by Ernest Cline (film)
LUKE CAGE (TV series)
IRON FIST (TV series)
PREACHER (TV series)

FORTUNATELY, THE MILK by Neil Gaiman (film)
WATERSHIP DOWN by Richard Adams (TV series)

100 BULLETS by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso (film)
ALTERED CARBON by Richard Morgan (TV series)
THE CITY AND THE CITY by China Mieville (TV series)
HIS DARK MATERIALS by Philip Pullman (TV series)
RED MARKS by Kim Stanley Robinson (TV series, recently delayed by still going forwards)
THE HANDMAID'S TALE by Margaret Atwood (TV series)

ANCILLARY JUSTICE by Ann Leckie (film)
ANANSI BOYS by Neil Gaiman (TV series, possibly cancelled and folded into AMERICAN GODS)
SANDMAN by Neil Gaiman (film)
GOOD OMENS by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman (TV series)
DISCWORLD: THE CITY WATCH by Terry Pratchett (TV series)
DARKOVER by Marion Zimmer Bradley (TV series)
THE FOREVER WAR by Joe Haldeman (film)
FOUNDATION by Isaac Asimov (TV series, on the backburner at HBO)
GATEWAY by Frederik Pohl (TV series)
HORRORSTOR by Grady Hendrix (TV series)
THE HOUSE WITH A CLOCK IN THE WALLS by Jonathan Bellairs (film)
HYPERION by Dan Simmons (TV series)
IN THE LOST LANDS by George R.R. Martin (film)
THE SKIN TRADE by George R.R. Martin (TV series)
THE KINGKILLER CHRONICLE by Patrick Rothfuss (film and TV series, somehow)
THE LAST POLICEMAN by Ben H. Winters (TV series)
LOCK IN by John Scalzi (TV series)
LUNA by Ian McDonald (TV series)
MADADDAM by Margaret Atwood (TV series)
MAGIC KINGDOM OF LANDOVER by Terry Brooks (film)
THE MORGAINE CYCLE by CJ Cherryh (film)
THE GHOST BRIGADES by John Scalzi (TV series)
OTHERLAND by Tad Williams (film)
RED RISING by Pierce Brown (film)
REDSHIRTS by John Scalzi (TV series)
RIVERS OF LONDON by Ben Aaronovitch (TV series)
ROBOPOCALYPSE by Daniel H. Wilson (film)
SIX MONTHS, THREE DAYS by Charlie Jane Anders (TV series)
SPIN by Robert Charles Wilson (TV series)
THE STAND by Stephen King (film, TV series or some mix of the two)
TEMERAIRE by Naomi Novik (TV series)
UPROOTED by Naomi Novik (film)
TIME SALVAGER by Wesley Chu (film)
VICIOUS by V.E. Schwab (film)
THE WARLORD CHRONICLES by Bernard Cornwell (TV series)
WATCHMEN by Alan Moore (TV series)
Y: THE LAST MAN by Bryan Vaughan (TV series)
THE WHEEL OF TIME by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (TV series)

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Charles Scholz wrote:

Man! First there was "Wizard's First Rule", then "Game of Thrones", and now "Wheel of Time". Three awful book series of which I could only complete reading the first book of one of them.

All of these get made into TV Series, while the "Dragonriders of Pern" series got shelved.

Just goes to show that the public cares more about watching people killing other people than seeing a good story about people struggling to overcome adversity.

Dragonriders of Pern is certainly far superior to fricking Terry Goodkind (one of the worst authors of epic fantasy to ever put pen to paper), but it's a bit of a stretch to say it's so much better than the other two. Dragonflight and maybe the next couple of books were decent, but Anne & Todd did ride that horse into the ground, flog it thoroughly after death, set fire to it and then tried to sell the ashes.

Funny think is that MacCaffrey has a cover blurb on all three of those other books saying how much she enjoyed them.

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THE BANNER SAGA 2 came out last week.

I though it was excellent, a huge improvement on the first game - which was great but had a number of issues throughout. Combat is much better and the way the story unfolds and the characters develop is remarkable.

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Women in the world of the Wheel of Time are superior to men in just about every culture apart from Amadicia and Tear (where they're more equal), based on the notion that since only women can use magic that acts as a more-than-force-equaliser and spills over into the non-magical world as well. It's an interesting approach and I think was handled quite well in the meta, but in the close-up-and-personal execution was flawed. But that's something that can be fixed fairly straightforwardly in an adaptation.

The Age of Legends probably lasted for between ten and twenty thousand years. The Aes Sedai, who came into existence at the end of the First Age (our Age), possibly through genetic engineering, spanned that entire period of time and from the off could live for 700 years, so it had to be quite a few generations for them. War had become a forgotten concept during that time, only existing in history books at best. Non-channellers could still live between 200 and 300 years. So the span of time involved had to be pretty big.

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Donnie Yen?

Exceedingly unlikely, but not a bad idea.

The WHEEL OF TIME is our world in the future. Not just that, but it's in the future of a time when people can travel across the planet in just hours (or instantly, via Aes Sedai gateways). Cultural and ethnic differences became utterly irrelevant during the Age of Legends. During the Breaking of the World that followed people were thrown together, scattered and mixed up all over the place. During the 3,000 years since the Breaking some re-homegenisation has taken place, but along cultural lines rather than skin colour or appearance.

Whilst going strictly by the books the entire main cast would be white and Caucasian until Tuon showed up, there's actually no real or dramatic reason why that needs to be the case. You could quite easily cast Nynaeve (who's always felt an outsider in the Two Rivers anyway) with an actress of colour with no bearing on the narrative at all. Or Lan, with more textual support as the Borderlands do seem to have attracted a lot of people in the WoT world of Asian descent.

The only people who do really need to be distinctive are the Aiel, who were actually the only race of people to retain their own appearance and culture even during the Age of Legends.

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The previous legal difficulties have been resolved, and a major TV studio has optioned the WHEEL OF TIME rights. We should know who in the near future.

Prior to the legal kerfuffle between the Jordan Estate and Red Eagle, Sony TV was interested and based on the short period of time that's elapsed since the legal problem was resolved (last August), it seems unlikely someone else will have had time to have done anything. But never underestimate the ability of Netflix or Amazon to make things happen with mountains of cash. If it is Sony, I would be surprised if they didn't join forces with AMC again (like they did on BREAKING BAD), since their own epic fantasy show would augment AMC's enviable line-up of genre programming (alongside THE WALKING DEAD and PREACHER). But that's all speculation. We know it won't be HBO (they've never double-dipped in the same genre at the same time) but beyond that the field is wide open.

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MannyGoblin wrote:
we just need the Snakes in King's Landing to strip down, grease up and start stabbing people. Maybe have a lesbian-incest angle where they end up straddling each other.

Snakes on an Ilyn Payne?

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I thinks this is more going off the rails and screaming out of control into the side of a nuclear power plant. Which is being attacked by zombies.

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You're right, PC gaming as it was in the past (PC games made and played specifically for and on the PC) for all intents and purposes IS dead overall in the West (US, Canada and Europe).

I suspect Paradox, Firaxis, Roberts Space Industries, Creative Assembly, Larian Studios, Obsidian, Blizzard, Valve and CD Projekt Red, amongst several dozen others, might disagree with you. We've also seen the first few PC-exclusives in a while recently that really got attention from console gamers as well, most notably XCOM 2.

AAA gaming across the board is right down. EA recently pointed out that at the height of the PS2 era they would release maybe 80 games a year, maybe 10-15 of which would be marketed as AAA. Last year they released 12 overall, only a couple of which they marketed as AAA. The economics of making a AAA game no longer make a huge amount of sense, and will not until the workload and expense of making games drops significantly. If it doesn't, then we will likely see even fewer and fewer AAA games in the future. In fact, some recent AAA games have had to seriously sacrifice gameplay, content and options in order to have the expected level of shiny graphics (STAR WARS: BATTLEFRONT being a prime example, looking great but having barely any of the same amount of content that BATTLEFRONT 2 had a decade earlier). This is a huge problem for the industry, one that has been solved by the rise of Kickstarter and indie gaming, and of course those things benefit PC more than console.

As for tablets and mobile saving PC gaming, that is actually, bizarrely, having a positive impact on core PC gaming. Stoic ported THE BANNER SAGA to tablet and had a really good impact, which has fed back and allowed them to put more money into THE BANNER SAGA 2 (out this week!) and 3, which benefits PC. The same for other companies. In fact (circling back on-topic) we wouldn't have FINAL FANTASY IX or the upcoming X and X-II ports on PC without the need for a mobile version. That's a win-win for everyone.

The biggest discussion going on right now at Sony and Microsoft is what the hell they are going to do for PS5/XB2. Because the current paradigm of designing ever more expensive systems to throw ever more polygons around is clearly unworkable without games costing over £100 and taking over five years each to develop.

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Being pre-TNG pretty much guarantees no Romulans though, as there had been no contact with the Romulan Star Empire with a Federation Vessel for 50 years before the Season 1 TNG episode The Neutral Zone.

I think ST:TNG did overstate that in the first season. The Battle of Narendra III referenced in "Yesterday's Enterprise" seems to be the last major contact between the Federation and Klingson and the Romulans, and that was 20 years before ST:TNG rather than 50. The fact that the Federation goes from having 0 information on the Romulans in Season 1 to having detailed biographies of the Romulan government in Season 5 also seems rather unlikely. I think the "No contact" thing may have been retconned a bit even before TNG was over.

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Considering that the PC gaming scene has been downright dead these last ten years or so, why suddenly get an interest in porting their games to PC? Because it's easy? Because it's a big market? Why?

Dead? Since when? :P

Ten years ago PC gaming was in decline, sure, but then caught the bounceback from Steam and digital sales going through the roof, and then caught another boost from the last console changeover (when it became clear just how unimpressive the PS4 and XB1 were going to be, technically). Over the last couple of years PC sales have increased impressively, to the point where games like FALLOUT 4 and GTA5 can sell *millions* of copies on PC in their first month on sale, regardless of the console versions. In fact, FALLOUT 4 sold 1.2 million copies on PC alone on its first day on sale. The game sold 12 million total on all platforms in its first month, so assuming more PC copies were sold after the first day, then easily the game could have sold over one-third of its copies on PC. That's a huge market.

Something that's also important is the long tail. Apparently Rockstar (for example) still sell a lot of copies of GTA4 (!) on PC every year thanks to Steam sales and mods, which means that although GTA4 on console outsold the PC massively on release, the PC version has now done as well, if not better. At a lower rate of return, sure, but the game is still selling and still making Rockstar money eight years after release on PC, which it really isn't on consoles.

As for why Square are doing this now, they've kind of eased into it ever since buying out Eidos (and its PC expertise) in 2009. They already had PC versions of FF7 and 8 from when they first came out (I've still got my PC copy of FF7 that I bought in 1998 right here on the shelf) so those were pretty simple to move across and update for Steam. FF4-6 were just the phone/tablet versions ported over as-is, so they were pretty cheap to do as well. They could then look at the sales, see how good they were (and apparently they were very solid) and then justify the higher cost of porting FF13 and its two sequels. Those games had XB360 versions which likely simplified some aspects of porting; if they'd been PS3 only the cost might have been prohibitive.

FF9 has fallen between the two stools: not being in full 3D, it's likely not been as complex as 13, but it's also been more work than the sprite-based pre-PS1 games. And it's a decent port, you can even click the mouse to move characters around on screen like a LucasArts adventure and can click on enemies and commands during battle, which I really wasn't expecting. They've done a thorough job with it and it's very good. As word of that spreads out, they'll sell a lot more copies, the PC market have great word-of-mouth about such things.

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Any word on if they are reconsidering making this available only on thier new prime service?

It'll be available internationally on other services, I imagine, but right now CBS have only confirmed that the opening episode will air on regular CBS and the rest will air on their on-demand service.

If it's a catastrophic failure on that service, I think we'll see the show pretty quickly rerouted to more traditional release services.

I'm starting to wonder if we'll get scenes like those in the Supergirl series, filled with veiled references to a ship called the "Big E" that will never be actually seen on screen.

They could set it in the twenty-year window after the destruction of the Enterprise-C and before the Enterprise-D was launched, when there was no Enterprise around. Or just complete ignore it: the number of references to the Enterprise in DS9 and VOYAGER was almost completely non-existent.

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Better late than never. Sixteen years after the PS1 version, Square Enix released its PC port of FINAL FANTASY IX on Steam today.

It's based on the recent mobile version, but with higher-res models, backgrounds and movies, and with mouse and keyboard support.

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Some pretty interesting information has leaked.

None of this has been 100% confirmed but apparently several sources at CBS have confirmed this information to the original site and to a few others like Den of Geek.

The current points of interest are:

1) Set in the original timeline, not the Abramsverse (as mentioned earlier, CBS don't have the rights to the Abramsverse without doing a new deal with Paramount).


3) The show will not involve a starship called Enterprise.

4) The show will be "tightly serialised".

5) The show will be a "seasonal anthology" series like TRUE DETECTIVE and FARGO. Each season will be set in a different part of the STAR TREK universe and canon, and will be free to use different castmembers (new or old), settings and ideas.

6) The show cannot debut before 22 January 2017, as the CBS/Paramount deal requires six months to elapse between one project and the other (the next STAR TREK film, BEYOND, comes out on 22 July).

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please tell us that Vin Diesel will be the voice of one of the main characters animal companions.

The original article said that the main warrior character was a "Vin Diesel" type. Which is a code phrase for "We want Vin Diesel." Dude is, of course, a massive D&D fan but that doesn't mean he'll sign up if the money and script aren't good enough.

Too much money. Would be funny though.

If SEAN BEAN is too expensive for this movie, I think it's going to be in trouble. Bean is an excellent supporting actor, but he's not a lead for movies and he doesn't really cost that much.

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D&D movie gets its director.

It's Rob Letterman, who directed MONSTERS VS. ALIENS, A SHARK'S TALE, GULLIVER'S TRAVELS and GOOSEBUMPS. He's...okay, I guess? He's had a lot of effects experience, and also worked on the CGI for SHREK.

I'm a lot less hopeful about the script, written by the guy who did WRATH OF THE TITANS.

Hasbro and Warner Brothers aren't exactly bringing top-tier talent to the movie so far.

They have released a blurb though:

"Based on the popular fantasy role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons originally designed by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson and first published in 1974, the action-adventure tale centers on a warrior and his band of mystical creatures – including a half-dragon and a cunning gnome – as they embark on a dangerous journey to find a mythical treasure."

We know from previous information that the film will be at least partially set in Waterdeep and the Yawning Portal Inn will feature.

I am not entirely disheartened but I'm not seeing too much to get excited about at this time.

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Larian already had great writers, this will be difficult for Obsidian

Even without Avellone, Obsidian have Tim Cain (the creator of FALLOUT and VAMPIRE: THE MASQUERADE - BLOODLINES), Josh Sawyer (PoE, IWD 1 and 2, FALLOUT: NEW VEGAS), George Ziets (PoE, DS3) and a few others who are pretty good. Avellone was their strongest ace in the hole because of FO2, PLANESCAPE: TORMENT, KotOR 2 and MASK OF THE BETRAYER, but their other guys aren't slouches. Some of the newer writers they brought on board for PoE were also pretty good, like Carrie Patel and Olivia Veras. Along with inXile they have possibly the strongest writing team in CRPGs. Larian are good, but I think D:OS's strength over PoE was much more from the gameplay systems and superior combat. In terms of plot/character/theme/story it was a lot less memorable.

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Obsidian and Paradox are collaborating on a new CRPG called TYRANNY. This game will use the PILLARS OF ETERNITY engine and casts you as a Fatebinder, a servant of the Dark Lord Kyros who has conquered the world (the premise being that the ultimate battle between good and evil has been fought and evil has already won).

Unlike PoE, this game will not be crowdfunded (Paradox are funding it in full) and it's already pretty far down the line, with a release in late 2016 currently being expected.

More interestingly, this will be Obsidian's first-ever RPG that has been made with no input at all from Chris Avellone, who has decamped to Larian to work on DIVINITY: ORIGINAL SIN II. Obsidian's other writers are pretty good so this isn't a mortal blow, but I'll be interested to see what they come up with.

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Yeah, I'd go much further and say that reading THE FIRST LAW is pretty much mandatory before reading the stand-alones. There are so many nuances, storylines and characters in the stand-alones that appeared or were set up in the trilogy that it adds a lot more to the reading experience.

Also, the stand-alones will form the bridge between the first trilogy and the second trilogy (which Joe has just started writing).

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Warner Brothers close to greenlighting the D&D movie.

They confirm that the movie will be set in the FORGOTTEN REALMS and that the Yawning Portal Inn and the city of Waterdeep will feature. They also confirm that if the film does well they will look at doing other films in other worlds later on.

They also say they want to go for a different tone to things like THE HOBBIT and WARCRAFT, with a style of humour similar to GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY. Hmm. Could work.

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Book 12: Diplomatic Immunity


Miles Vorkosigan is enjoying his honeymoon...right up to the point that he is diverted to Graf Station in Quaddiespace to sort out a diplomatic mess involving Barrayaran warships, Komarran transports and some missing personnel. What initially appears to be a straightforward mission rapidly escalates into a major incident that threatens to break out into full-scale war.

After several novels in a row concerned primarily with Miles Vorkosigan's character development, Diplomatic Immunity sees Lois McMaster Bujold returning to something of a more "normal" approach for the series. She sets up a series of interconnecting mysteries built around some interesting SF ideas and then sets Miles loose to investigate and resolve the situation with a (relative) minimum of fuss. This time around Miles is accompanied by his wife, Ekaterin, and reunited with one of his old Dendarii compatriots, but for the most part it's Miles doing what Miles does best: fast-talking, quick-thinking and having a lot of fun in the process.

The novel is also a bit of a sequel to one of Bujold's earlier novels, Falling Free, which is set in the Vorkosigan universe but is not part of the core series. That book explored the development of the quaddies, humans genetically engineered to best exploit freefall by being given an extra pair of arms and hands instead of legs. Diplomatic Immunity also catches up with the quaddies and reveals what has become of their society in the intervening two centuries (Falling Free accompanies Diplomatic Immunity in the omnibus edition).

The book is standard fare for Bujold and Miles: well-written, with some clever ideas, some unexpected twists (the escalation of the situation from a minor drama to a massive diplomatic incident is sudden but convincing) and some nice work in terms of both characterisation and plot. It's a smart novel, although it is a little too reliant on coincidences. We are told repeatedly how obscure, bizarre and off the beaten track Graf Station is, so Miles running into two people he's met in previous adventures purely by chance is a little hard to swallow. Once you move past that, it becomes a more interesting story combining mystery, action and politics.

If Diplomatic Immunity does have a major flaw, it's that it feels a little slight in terms of Miles's own character development in the wake of Mirror Dance, Memory, Komarr and A Civil Campaign. But after a whole series of traumas, it is also kind of fun to see Miels not being put through the emotional or physical wringer so much and just getting on with his job.

Diplomatic Immunity (****) is a fun, enjoyable addition to The Vorkosigan Saga. It is available now as part of the Miles, Mutants and Microbes omnibus (UK, USA).

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Great guide here on how to improve game performance. Worth a look.

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CapeCodRPGer wrote:

"no one could possibly be more disappointed than me." GRRM from the link.

If He was going to be disappointed then He should have done more to try and finish.

Since He said it was going to be a series, IMO He is expected to put these out at a decent pace. He told the public he was coming out with a number of books, its all on Him. I know all about Neil Gaiman saying GGRM isn't our b~+**. But its one thing to to say you are coming out with one book. Its another to say you are doing a number of books.

Erm. Are you saying that GRRM is God? I'm a bit puzzled as to the capitalisation of "Him" otherwise.

It depends by what you mean as "decent pace." So far in this series, Books 1, 4, 5 and (apparently) 6 will have each taken 5-6 years to release. So this is a fairly consistent pace. Books 2 and 3 were much faster, but there were various reasons for that (in actuality Books 1-3 were supposed to be one volume but it spun monstrously out of control).

I can't help but wonder if they jumped the gun a bit on the TV series. Meaning, they maybe should have waited a bit longer before bringing it to the small screen.

In the ideal universe, yes. But a writer's maxim is that if a TV or movie studio offers you the money for the film or TV rights, you sell there and then and take the money and run and keep running.

Martin actually turned down a number of offers because they only wanted to make a film about Daenerys, or a film about Jon Snow. He always lamented these offers, saying that the only way to make the series was to get HBO on board to make an adaptation of one book per season. So when David Benioff and Dan Weiss came to him to say they wanted to make a TV show with HBO then yes, he had to make the deal. If he'd waited another ten years (literally, Weiss and Benioff made their first pitch to Martin at a restaurant in Los Angeles in February 2006) then they'd have long since moved onto something else with zero guarantee that anyone else would be interested.

Martin says in his post that, when it started, he didn't think the show would catch up, that he would have plenty of time to write. That the show has been such a huge success, and opened the series to a wider audience, may have put a lot more pressure on Martin.

The original deal was made in 2006, when the writing times per book had been a bit more optimistic. Book 1 had taken five years, but Books 2 and 3 had taken two to three (depending on how you count them) and Book 4 had also taken three-and-a-half years to write (if five to *publish*). So at that point Martin was envisaging Book 5 in 2007/08, Book 6 in 2010/11 and Book 7 circa 2015. So he was probably thinking that it'd be close for the final season (remembering that the TV show was originally supposed to debut in 2009, but the recession and the 2008 writer's strike both delayed things by two years) but otherwise it'd be okay. Clearly, he was wrong. If he'd fully accepted that it was going to be 5-6 years per book from that point, maybe he'd have made another decision. But probably not (see my point above).


Here are some other writers' perspectives on writing long series fantasy fiction:

Zeno's mountains and How to write a long fantasy series.
I don't know that GRRM has the specific problems that Tolkien or Robert Jordan had (each writer has his own individual style, structure and plot problems to overcome) but I get the sense he's struggling with the same sort of problems inherent to long series ficition, and that's why he's taking his time.

Yes. This is the "gardener/architect" problem which Martin and Sanderson and many other writers have written about before. Namely, that writers fall very broadly into two camps:

1) Writers who create an outline and plan where the story is going in some detail before they actually start writing the story itself. These stories are architects. Brandon Sanderson is probably the most well-known modern example. Possibly Patrick Rothfuss, although he's in a different boat having completely written and completed his trilogy 10-15 years ago and has since rewritten it pretty much from scratch, but still following his initial plan.

2) Writers who sit down, write Chapter 1 off the top of their heads, then Chapter 2, then Chapter 3 etc. Martin, Jordan, Tolkien and Stephen King fall into this category.

There are some degrees inbetween, most notably those authors who have a rough plan in mind but also retain the freedom to go off-piste and explore subplots and other characters that show up along the way. Rowling had her seven-book plan in mind, but certainly not every subplot and character pre-invented. Steven Erikson also falls into that category: he had ten books in mind, each one with its own story and theme, but he often didn't finalise characters or plot points until deep in the writing process.

Martin's issue is certainly that he knows by now where the story ends and how to get there, but that he needs to move his characters there in a way which is timely but also natural but which also rewards the (in some cases very elaborate) foreshadowing established previously. He also needs to craft reasonable story arcs for each POV character, which I think is actually a big part of the problem.

The two articles linked both feature some interesting analysis on the problems but they both massively neglect to mention that the gardener series, the ones that sprawled, are also the most financially successful and the ones that resonated much more with massive audiences (to the tunes of millions and tens of millions of readers apiece). Both articles in fact are in danger of saying, "Turn in a smart, tightly-written, finely-edited trilogy that will get some good reviews but almost no-one will hear of or read."

That being said, he should have expected some (partially justified) blowback when he failed to meet a deadline he agreed upon. I have to wonder if there will be some kind of financial repercussions for him.

I suspect whatever minor financial penalties his publishers might impose (beyond not getting money when the book came out) may have been dwarfed by the decision to sell to HBO resulting in the books selling approximately ten times what they had one prior to the TV deal.

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Krensky wrote:
Werthead wrote:
You really didn't pay attention to either film then, did you?
I paid attention to both films far more than you did, apparently.
That's manifestly false based your comments, but if it makes you feel like one of the cool nerds to hate them for things that are just as much part of the other Trek movies or only exist in your complaints, have at it. have no firm rebuttal in mind or possible?


Very, very cute.

That's fine. Some people enjoy the lolz, or explosions, or superficial gloss. Knock yourself out. Some people enjoy mindless candyfloss which does not engage the intellectual process in any way, shape or form.

But do not, under any circumstances, step up and say, "Haterz whatevs" and do not offer a single firm rebuttal, or argument, or piece of evidence to back up your position. Argue your position or retreat. There is no inbetween.

let us do battle werthead!

I would do. But you're still in the Mutara Nebula and I'm over Vulcan's decaying orbit.

Bring. It.

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Not really a spoiler, but some information on a much-discussed rumoured cameo:

The stormtrooper Force-convinced by Rey to release her from her cell was apparently played by Daniel Craig, visiting from the SPECTRE soundstage over the lot.

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You really didn't pay attention to either film then, did you?

I paid attention to the nihilism and lack of logic or consistency. I paid attention to the execrable scripts written by some of the biggest hacks in the industry. I paid attention to the poorly-thought-out battle and action sequences that ignored plausibility, logic or basic physics (when the new STAR WARS movie has better science than the latest STAR TREK ones, something has gone very wrong somewhere).

I paid attention to the haphazard and illogical character development. I paid attention to Captain Kirk's completely illogical and implausible career path. I paid attention to the initially laudable decision to completely remove themselves from the original mythos and then the very weird one to instead steal ideas from a film far superior to anything they could dream up themselves.

I paid attention to the development of interstellar transporters which made starships obsolete and then their complete failure to follow up on it in any logical manner. I paid attention to their complete, outright curing of death in the second movie, and look forward to what will no doubt be a thorough and convincing exploration of the ramifications of such a shocking, galaxy-shaking, paradigm-shifting discovery in the third movie in the sequence.

I paid attention to both films far more than you did, apparently.

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It was very decent, althought not flawless. Certainly superior to the prequels, not quite as good as the OT, although not far off JEDI in quality.

My spoiler free review.

My biggest complaint (SPOILER!):

When they test Starkiller Base they blow up a star system identified only as "The Republic". The main planet that gets blown up has a massive world-spanning city and the shots on the planet's surface sure as hell look like Coruscant. Certainly most of the audience I was with thought Coruscant had just been vapourised.

Twenty minutes later they very casually mention the planet that was destroyed by name and it wasn't Coruscant, at all. But it's very low-key and a lot of the audience I was with - and from looking online quite a lot of people talking about the movie - left thinking they'd blown Coruscant away in the film.

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Star Trek is undergoing the kind of change that any show MUST undergo when it's been around as long as Dr. Who.... reinventing itself for a new audience raised in a different time, with a very different set of worldviews.

That's not a problem. The issue is that at its core STAR TREK presents a vision of the future that is utopian, peaceful and rooted in diplomacy and avoiding war. The reason for that is made clear in DEEP SPACE NINE when we finally see a full-scale, all-out interstellar war which lasts for years and the results are apocalyptic, but handled with weight and gravity.

You can update that view for modern audiences and riff off other inspirations and ideas, but what you can't do with the franchise is completely ignore or destroy that core set of values. Levelling San Francisco, slaughtering millions of people, and then not even addressing that is a problem. Destroying Vulcan and killing billions of people and not addressing that is a problem. Having the Enterprise have the consistency of toilet paper and get blown to pieces every movie but then be absolutely fine is a problem.

If you look at STAR TREK VI, that movie is all about avoiding war. That doesn't mean you can't have some exciting battle sequences and well-rooted moments of characterisation along the way, but ultimately the film (and the franchise) is about the value of life and preventing bloodshed. The new Abrams movies, on the contrary, seem to revel in bloodshed, explosions and death but then not exploring the consequences of that in any adult or meaningful way.

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A magnificently terrible trailer that sums up the complete and total failures of these new TREK movies in one go: a total lack of weight, substance, depth and integrity, all bombast and fury, no wit or intelligence in sight. The poverty of ambition in these film-makers is impressive: EXPLOSION! PEOPLE JUMPING! CONTEMPORARY MUSIC! INANE WITTICISMS!

As usual, the best thing in it was Karl Urban as McCoy, who will almost certainly not have a particularly big role in the film at all.

Sigh. The only hopeful thing is that it cannot possibly be as bad as INTO DARKNESS...can it?

JJ didn't direct this one...

Yeah, I dunno why. I think he was working on some tiny, avant-garde project?

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Bethesda open a second studio for purposes so far unknown.

Apparently this is going to be a support studio for Bethesda Game Studios themselves (i.e. it's not another dev team like id and Arkane). Current fan theories are raging from a dedicated tech team who will be building a whole new engine for their games going forwards to a team who will be simultaneously working on the next big open-world game while the core team are doing their stuff, and sharing things like writers and directors between them. That would allow them to get new ES and FALLOUT games more quickly (say every 2 years rather than every 3-4 as now).

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Will the fanfare play now that Disney owns the franchise?

I was thinking more of the actual STAR WARS fanfare/theme rather than the Fox one, which I'm pretty certain won't appear.

Doesn't 20th Century Fox still own the distribution rights?

No. They only own the distribution rights to STAR WARS (aka Ep 4) in perpetuity. Eps 5 and 6 revert to Lucasfilm and hence Disney in a couple of years.

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baron arem heshvaun wrote:
We also see the female pilot Jessika Pava.

Played by Jessica Henwick who was in GAME OF THRONES last year. Unusual for a STAR WARS actor to be playing a character with the same name.

Should we guess the plot?










"I've got a bad feeling about this."








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Alex Martin wrote:

While I wouldn't mind Obsidian doing more on Fallout, I'd prefer they not muck up the mythology being told on the East Coast by Bethesda. Having played all the Fallout games (and DLC's), I kind of like the degree of difference you see - it gives the feeling of a distinct world despite the common apocalypse and technology.

Obsidian has crafted the Fallout history of the western states; Bethesda has created it's own environment on the east coast. Each is distinct and I'm not sure Obsidian can play in that sandbox without making their adjustments to the game. I'd rather see something that explores something like The Pitt, than another ramble into the politics of the wasteland aka New Vegas of the East.

Obsidian pitched a new FALLOUT game to Bethesda a few years ago. Apparently it was going to be set in the ruins of Los Angeles and would expand on the little seen of the city in FALLOUT 1. The outcome of those discussions was never disclosed. But yes, Obsidian and Bethesda have marked out areas of territory they want to explore in future games and Bethesda have firmly said they want to stay on the east coast or nearby. That raises the possibility of FALLOUT 5 being set say in New York, Charleston or maybe Miami (although it'd be interesting if they used the abandoned FALLOUT TACTICS 2 plans for the city, which were pretty interesting).

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Freehold DM wrote:
shouldn't have done the crime if he couldn't do the time.

I think the problem wasn't that he did it and got fan hate mail, but his brother died just before the book came out and he was struggling through grief at the same time hundreds of people were demanding his head on a stick. It was pretty rough.

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Direct ramifications for this could end up with million of people being affected, with hundreds of thousands dead.

Well, millions of people are already being affected and hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in Iraq, Syria and (on a vastly tinier scale) other countries over the past twelve years.

Europe could very well perceive this as their own version of the 9/11 attacks on the U.S. No country will stand idly by and wait to see if the next mass murder is happening in their capital city or that of their neighbors. This may very well be the end of an era.

As mentioned above, the death toll in Paris is a bit more than twice what was in London on 7/7, but less quite a bit less than in the Madrid train bombings. Horrible and a large death toll, but not on the scale of 9/11. Also, it's not coming out of the blue as 9/11 was (to most Americans). Britain, France, Spain and other European countries have recent experience of large, long and sustained terror campaigns and post-imperialist crises (France's issues with Algeria in the 1960s were horrendous).

Certainly there will be policy and security changes and this may be a gamechanger of a moment in that it galvanises some kind of additional military response, but it's not quite the casus belli for some kind of massive, disproportionate international response.

Yes. Even disregarding the likely increase in hate crimes against them across Europe, I'd assume governments will be forced into action. I can easily see a wave of right wing parties taking elections so long as they promise a more forceful handling of immigrants. And there's no humane way to be forceful at an immigrant.

Certainly right-wing wingnuts will seize on this as an excuse to push anti-immigration and racist policies. But they were doing that anyway.

There are millions of Muslim in Paris.

In France, yes, not Paris.

This attack means that every French citizen is now in constant danger. It is a serious escalation of events.

No. At least, not an escalation of the danger. The danger was there before, it's now been actualised. We've been living with this danger in Europe for generations. I grew up knowing every time I went to London there was a risk of an IRA bomb going off. You have to accept those risks or stop being able to live your life and then the terrorists have won.

Also, carrying out this kind of attack against the French is pretty dumb. The French are even more resiliant and philosophical about these things than we in the UK are, and we're pretty bullshy about it.

You have to do something when this kind of attack happens. Just shrugging it off isn't an option. The truly tragic thing is that whatever you do in reaction is likely to cause a whole lot of suffering and extremely unlikely to actually solve the problem. It's a really sh**ty position to be in.

There will be a response, either an escalation of the current air strikes or accepting certain things that a few weeks ago were unacceptable (probably allowing Assad to remain in Syria in a transitional mode). This in turn will allow for a more coordinated push and attack on ISIS.

The big problem is that the only current ground forces having any serious successes, the Kurdish Peshmerga, are also bitterly opposed by the Turks and some of the Syrian government and other rebel groups. The Kurds can't do everything by themselves, although their recent recapture of Sinjar could be a huge strategic movement, as it threatens to cut off the primary Syria-Iraq supply route for ISIS and will help in the siege of Mosul that the Iraqi army is preparing to launch.

Since Putin is fighting them in Syria openly, I wonder why they haven't targeted them...

There are Chechen groups who'd happily help ISIS (vice versa is less clear, as ISIS are way more hardcore about not helping other groups who won't swear loyalty to them, unlike al-Qaeda) and those groups have bombed Volgograd (twice) and Moscow in the last five years, killing dozens. Certainly Russia isn't immune from this sort of thing.

Plus an alleged affiliated group shot down a Russian airliner a couple of weeks ago.

A good question is why the NSA did not stop this. After all, with all the information they have, they must certainly have been aware of such a complex scheme.

Despite how it is protrayed on film and television, the American NSA isn't very good. It's intelligence has been largely awful, its ability to liaise and infiltrate local groups in the Islamic world is almost non-existent and it relies on signals and electronic transmissions to the point where Islamic terror groups know how to avoid them (meeting up in a house in the middle of nowhere or going outside for a walk and putting nothing on an electronic device is all it takes).

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At Level 12 I was also getting caned by Super Mutants, but then got a modded rifle which does 4x the damage of my next best gun and that one-shots Super Mutants and two-shots tougher variants. Excellent.

Anyone done the Super Mutant-infested skyscraper mission? That was brilliant fun with the tougher weaponry.

Also met a lunatic raider gang called the Forge. Was attacked by their leader (in power armour) and six minions at the same time. I was way too low a level to handle it, but fortunately I had a Fat Man and one single Mini-Nuke in the inventory. That vapourised everyone in the (fortunately quite big) room but only took the boss down to about 50% health. Still an epic fight to kill him with Piper's help, but at least it was doable.

I'm really liking the greater presence of the companion characters. They butt in during cut scene conversations with other characters, they sometimes stop you to talk and occasionally flirt. Which is a bit weird given that from your POV your wife died like a week earlier, but okay. Unfortunately, although they're a bit more lively than FO3's companions, they don't seem to have the tragic through-arcs and more developed characters of the NV companions.

Also, I started off liking the armour system and now hate it. I'm tracking half a dozen armour stats instead of one and it's getting really annoying.

I have like 8 Fusion Cores (I opened a random box somewhere and found SIX OF THEM), but I don't want to use the Power Armor for everything. Or anything, really.

Perennial RPG problem. You get a superweapon (which is what the power armour really is) and then hold off on using it until you really need it. Then you finish the game and realise you never needed it.

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