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GM Credit -- Let's clear up confusion


Pathfinder Society® General Discussion

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Paizo Employee ***** Global Organized Play Coordinator

1 person marked this as a favorite.

There are two schools of thought I am aware of in regard to assigning GM credit.

1) When a GM judges a game, they apply the Chronicle to a character immediately.

2) When a GM judges a game, they can hold the Chronicle as long as they like and apply it whenever they see fit to.

I can argue both ways. The Guide doesn't appear to be clear on which way it should be handled. So, I am reaching out to the player base to see what the preferred way we should approach it and make sure it is clearly spelled out in Guide 4.2. Please let me hear your arguments for either choice, or even a new suggestion not mentioned above. Thanks.

Silver Crusade **

My vote is for option #2, even if I don't use that option very often myself. Extra flexibility is a good thing, unless someone has a specific reason to take away that flexibility.

*** Venture-Lieutenant, Canada—Ontario aka Feegle

Just for clarity, #1 also includes the following, correct?

"If a GM judges a game for which they do not have an appropriately tiered character, they apply the Chronicle to their first character to reach the appropriate level."

Regardless, my only problem with number two comes from Feegle the Event Coordinator - if one of my GMs gets a chronicle and doesn't apply it to their character until fifteen months later, does that mean I'll have to dig through my session reporting records and make the update? I only see it working if GMs are allowed to retroactively assign their own chronicles here on the site.

Paizo Employee ***** Global Organized Play Coordinator

Jeff Mahood wrote:

Just for clarity, #1 also includes the following, correct?

"If a GM judges a game for which they do not have an appropriately tiered character, they apply the Chronicle to their first character to reach the appropriate level."

Correct. That won't change and is specifically layed out in the Guide.

**** Venture-Captain, New Jersey aka Shivok

Option #2, Although I may have used in once or twice, normally I use option #1 I'm with fromper on this one.

Silver Crusade ****

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Copy/pasted from other thread due to edit ninja.

My only argument: I usually only pay attention to my characters in the rare instance I get to play. Until then, I honestly don't pay attention to them and am left scrambling to make sure they're up to date, and I didn't forget a chronicle sheet that I may have marked on the report but never actually filled out. Knowing that I could apply my credit after the fact, would be nice for those of us who constantly GM and don't really think of who we'll apply our credit to at the time, because it's not at the front of our mind. To me one character gets credit, and that character didn't actually play. How is that different from me picking then, and picking later?

***

I am the primary organizer for our group... we have four rotating GMs... generally, I try to report the following morning for our regular weekly session. Part of that reporting is pestering the GM as to what PC they want to apply their credit to. (As long they have a legal character to attach it to.) I have had GMs contact me a week or two later and ask if they can switch the credit to a different character, but for the most part our GMs know what character they want to apply the credit to.

I could see GMs who run a LOT more than than they play not having the disposition figured out right away... for those GMs, who rarely get to play... some flexibility would be nice.

Qadira *** Venture-Lieutenant, Australia—Sydney

For my own records I find option 1 to be of a lot more use. Floating chronicles can be lost whereas once its in one of my characters folders its not moving.

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

I'm not sure how Option 2 is a bad thing. I'm willing to see examples of how it could be abused.

What I have seen is that people who GM -- that is, people who have invested more effort in PFS than a typical player -- will use GM credits in a pinch to raise a PC a level (or, in rare situations, more) to have a PC who can play with a mid- or high-tier table.

Flexible GM credit is a useful tool I haven't seen abused.

Shadow Lodge ****

I'm in favor of option 1. In my mind it's simpler, after a game all the chronicle sheets get assigned. There are no weird floating nebulous sheets sitting around in limbo.

Qadira ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

First ask is it worth your time to add another hard-to-enforce rule to the Guide. I think there have been a few cases of suspected abuse, but as Feral is fond of saying, "Gamers gonna game (the system)". My two cents is to stay with Option #2 and trust your GMs to behave. The most active GMs are the ones who are applying the Rewards Chronicles. It's not worth alienating them to close a minor loophole.

**

I had always assumed #2 wasn't even legal. Based more on the way that reporting doesn't seem to have any way to support it, than what I read or didn't read in the PFSOP.

Seems giving a formal 'ok' to that method is going to open a can of worms.. but if that can's already BEEN open, well. Mebbe it's neater to just acknowledge it and move on.

** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I usually do option 1 and accumulate chronicles for a new character over time, but I don't necessarily know what that character will be until I finally play them. So that falls into option 2 I guess. I really don't see the need to restrict this and would actually prefer to see GM credit available for every running of a mod too. If even one more game happens because of it then it'll be worth it.

***

I would prefer Option #2.

I am sure there is more room for abuse with this option, but my concern is that it places an onus on the judge to be concerned about their PCs (will they level, is there a goodie that needs to be purchased, does it take a character out or tier, is it time to start going slow, etc.) when the focus should be on running the scenario or module.

If I didn't judge and play at local conventions, I could see getting more on top of my stuff, but when I judge the first two slots, I don't want to be worried about handling those Chronicles right away.

Granted, Option #2 could be abused. Judges could hold Chronicles until the PC reaches a higher sub-tier, or stagger them so that there is no sub-tier. However, as this is not the same a playing up, I don't know if it is enough of an offense to stop this option from being considered.

I'll be fine with either, but #2 allows me to focus my energy (slightly) better.

Silver Crusade ****

deusvult wrote:

I had always assumed #2 wasn't even legal. Based more on the way that reporting doesn't seem to have any way to support it, than what I read or didn't read in the PFSOP.

Seems giving a formal 'ok' to that method is going to open a can of worms.. but if that can's already BEEN open, well. Mebbe it's neater to just acknowledge it and move on.

Which can of worms? I don't see how it would. Could you elaborate?

Taldor ****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Card Game Subscriber
Doug Miles wrote:
First ask is it worth your time to add another hard-to-enforce rule to the Guide. I think there have been a few cases of suspected abuse, but as Feral is fond of saying, "Gamers gonna game (the system)". My two cents is to stay with Option #2 and trust your GMs to behave. The most active GMs are the ones who are applying the Rewards Chronicles. It's not worth alienating them to close a minor loophole.

Quoted, since Doug stated it so much better than I could have. +1

Silver Crusade **

I try to stick with option 1, but when I get drafted into GM-ing unexpectedly, I may not know what character I want to apply the chronicle to, or if I want to start a new character. I personally vote option 2, because if you can't trust your GM's with chronicles, why trust them to run the game?

Qadira ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

deusvult wrote:
I had always assumed #2 wasn't even legal. Based more on the way that reporting doesn't seem to have any way to support it, than what I read or didn't read in the PFSOP.

You can edit your session reports any time. If I need to I can go back and assign GM credit so reporting accurately reflects my Chronicle assignments. Many GMs are both the organizer and the GM of their events, otherwise they can have the organizer edit the report.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Stormfriend wrote:
I usually do option 1 and accumulate chronicles for a new character over time, but I don't necessarily know what that character will be until I finally play them. So that falls into option 2 I guess. I really don't see the need to restrict this and would actually prefer to see GM credit available for every running of a mod too. If even one more game happens because of it then it'll be worth it.

Actually, this can still fit in #1. As long as you designate the character number to which the chronicle would apply at the time you receive it, and don't try to change it later, you're still in option #1 - even if you haven't picked stats for that character yet.

*

Michael Brock wrote:

There are two schools of thought I am aware of in regard to assigning GM credit.

1) When a GM judges a game, they apply the Chronicle to a character immediately.

2) When a GM judges a game, they can hold the Chronicle as long as they like and apply it whenever they see fit to.

If #2 becomes the rule, can it apply to players in games using pre-generated characters?

Here's my edge case:

Someone has not played Pathfinder. They get in a game of We Be Goblins (Sanctioned Module Tier 1-2, uses pre-gens exclusively). They like it, and become interested in PFS. They then play First Steps. According to the rules, they can't play in part 3 unless they switch to a new character, or had the foresight to record WBG as a different character number. Allowing them to play the First Steps series completely, and then applying the WBG chronicle to their existing level 2 character seems like a good way to encourage new players. (This is under the assumption that they did not make use of the WBG chronicle during the First Steps series)

In fact, this is what happened to me, only I didn't realize it until this weekend, and was writing up a post asking how to make my character legal when I saw this thread. (I GM'd WBG, then months later played First Steps and didn't realize there would be a conflict)

Sczarni *

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I like Option #2 since half the time i don't know what i will be playing next.

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

#2

What's really the harm of holding onto chronicles?

Example that has happened a few times: I run Scenario X (tier 1-5) five times but don't have a character I want to apply the credit to. A few months down the road I want to start a new character (likely because my low level PC is now mid level). I hate first level, but I can't use a GM chronicle from Scenario X unless I run it again. Why? What harm is caused by waiting to apply credit?

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Alexander_Damocles wrote:
I try to stick with option 1, but when I get drafted into GM-ing unexpectedly, I may not know what character I want to apply the chronicle to, or if I want to start a new character. I personally vote option 2, because if you can't trust your GM's with chronicles, why trust them to run the game?

This. 1,000 times this.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Kyle Baird wrote:

#2

What's really the harm of holding onto chronicles?

Example that has happened a few times: I run Scenario X (tier 1-5) five times but don't have a character I want to apply the credit to. A few months down the road I want to start a new character (likely because my low level PC is now mid level). I hate first level, but I can't use a GM chronicle from Scenario X unless I run it again. Why? What harm is caused by waiting to apply credit?

You couldn't just apply it to Unnamed Character #(most recent+1)? Because that still falls under Option #1.

Option #1 doesn't mean you apply it to an existing character, just that you immediately apply it to someone.

Andoran *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Doug Miles wrote:
First ask is it worth your time to add another hard-to-enforce rule to the Guide.

This should almost never be part of the decision process of a rule. Mike has zero enforcement capability other than his words and the conventions he organize. If he used, if it is difficult to enforce criteria to every rule he put in, we might as well not have any rules, since every rule is the same level of difficulty to enforce.

Any rule can be difficult to enforce, what is important is if it is good for the Society.

I personally don't see why it is so difficult to know what character you are going to give the credit to prior to GMing. Before I go to any convention I Plan out exactly who is getting credit and what order I am giving it to.

If you are a GM you already have some organization skills so it should not be a problem.

That said, I understand wanting to not have to report it right away.

I see 2 reasons to make the Rule #1

GMs that don't report what character the credit goes to that don't have any control of the reporting *conventions and such* would never be able to report those chronicles in the system, so we will have all this credit floating around that even when applied would never be reported in the system.

Not knowing what exactly GM credit reporting is used for by Mike I am not sure if that is actually a problem, but if it is a problem you should stick to #1.

The other problem is that Mike implied in another thread that to start allowing Boons for GMs he would need to do Rule #1, for that reason alone I want #1.

But if none of those issues are really issues, I don't have a problem with #2, but I still don't see why it is difficult for a GM to know who the credit goes to prior to the game.

Of-course there could be something I am missing that would make it even more important that he puts #1 in.

*

Regarding online tracking of scenario credit, the website runs as if number 1 was the correct rule. Unless you are the coordinator for an event you can not apply a scenario that you GM'ed after the fact. As such I have a few scenarios that are applied to a character in paper but not on the website, because I did not have an appropriately leveled character at the time.

I prefer number 2, along with an overhaul of the website to allow GM's to apply sheets after the fact, for a couple of reasons.

1) You may want to play your character through completely and not apply GM credit to that character.

2) Allowing you to apply it later means that you don't have to decide right then and there on which character to give it to.

3) You may want to use the sheets to start a new character and skip the first few levels.

*****

One thing for Paizo to remember is that there are two groups of judges (there are more categories... but work with me) that run games for people. There is there group that knows the character they are going to put the credit on and have the number at the time of running the game. The second group runs games, doesn't have the character in mind yet and creates it later applying credit towards it.
Making the way GM credit is applied a hard point is certainly going to eventually alientate a few of the judges that don't have the character information with them at the time they run the scenario. That, in my mind, is contraindicative of the "reward" and recruiting GMs in smaller areas.
Since I had some time to think about this, here is what I was thinking. It combines the need to record GM credit, and also Paizo's desire for reported events.

For the judges that have their character information with them and apply the credit right away, basically nothing changes for what you do.
For the judges that don't, the biggest change is on the tracking sheet you put your pfs number as xxxx-0. That "0" is tags the credit to your number but not to a character. Once you create the character and want the credit applied; the judge of the first game you play would initial the chronicles and the person entering the game information would need to somehow apply the credit to the character (that's an IT thing and is not my strong suit). The trick being is this only works for credit that has been reported and tagged to your pfs number. If it's not reported it's not credit.

Grand Lodge *

Agree with the "If you can't trust GMs to report their chronicles fairly, how can you trust them to run games?" reasoning. So I prefer #2. (Although I always do #1 IRL.)

Grand Lodge **** Venture-Lieutenant, California—Central San Joaquin Valley aka verdigris

I prefer option #2. I prefer to be able to step up to GM at a moment's notice without having to worry about what to do with the chronicle.

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Illinois—Decatur aka TwilightKnight

Someone has to be the voice of opposition. I vote for option #1.

Andoran *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Bob Jonquet wrote:
Someone has to be the voice of opposition. I vote for option #1.

Damn it Bob!!! Now I have to go back and change my whole post so it is in opposition to yours!... ;)

**

Doug Miles wrote:
deusvult wrote:
I had always assumed #2 wasn't even legal. Based more on the way that reporting doesn't seem to have any way to support it, than what I read or didn't read in the PFSOP.
You can edit your session reports any time. If I need to I can go back and assign GM credit so reporting accurately reflects my Chronicle assignments. Many GMs are both the organizer and the GM of their events, otherwise they can have the organizer edit the report.

I realize that if the GM is also the session organizer, he can go back and self edit. It's awfully easy to forget to go back and edit a session from long ago, however. Potentially tempting to 'conveniently forget' to do so, actually.

In my own experience, I've more often been GMing in sessions that I did NOT create, however. I can't report my own GM credit in these cases. If I were to start using method #2, I'd have to start keeping track of who ran each session and contact them weeks, months, potentially years down the pike and request them to update these long-ago reported sessions.

Multiply that out across all the GMs in PFS, and session organizers are expected to deal with virtually never-ending modifications to sessions. That, or just not report GM credits.

These two bad options are the 'can of worms' I was referring to. They just seem like such ugly methods compared to whats legal in Mikes method #1: Being able to give credit to a yet-unplayed character.

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Bob Jonquet wrote:
Someone has to be the voice of opposition.

Why?

I still want to understand the problem with #2.

Andoran *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Kyle Baird wrote:

Why?

I still want to understand the problem with #2.

Here you go.

But without Mike's Input I am not sure it is actually a problem..

Grand Lodge ***

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Not sure if it is a big deal or not but it would be nice to be clear.

Option 1 does not seem too hard to follow.

If you go with option #2, how does the following get enforced?

Quote:

The subtier for which a GM’s character receives credit

depends on the character’s level. If a GM with a 1st-level
rogue runs a Tier 1–5 scenario using Subtier 1–2, she
takes a Subtier 1–2 Chronicle sheet for her 1st-level rogue.
If she instead runs a Tier 1–5 scenario using Subtier 4–5,
she still takes a Subtier 1–2 Chronicle sheet, as her PC
clearly falls within the lower subtier.

Do you always assume the lower sub-tier? If you applied them as they were earned, you would know which sub-tier to apply and in some cases it might be lower than what level the scenario was run.

Qadira *****

I would say I prefer using #1. This would make it easier to ensure chronicle sheets are applied in chronological order based on qualifying tier.

Everyone should have some method, checklist or spreadsheet, of keeping track of what scenarios they have received credit for while playing and GMing. They also should know what level all of their characters are. It shouldn’t be unreasonable to expect them to know what character they would want the credit applied to when they report the session.

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Dragnmoon wrote:
Kyle Baird wrote:

Why?

I still want to understand the problem with #2.

Here you go.

But without Mike's Input I am not sure it is actually a problem..

That's my point. Is it about reporting? GM's are already recorded as being the GM's, so the number of people playing that scenario in that session are already recorded.

Is it about gaining some special advantage? What advantage would that be?

Andoran *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Kyle Baird wrote:

That's my point. Is it about reporting? GM's are already recorded as being the GM's, so the number of people playing that scenario in that session are already recorded.

Is it about gaining some special advantage? What advantage would that be?

Like I said, I am not sure...

Is it important to PFS that they are able to track what character the GMs credit goes to or not?

I know they are tracking what faction gets what, so with out the report they lose that.

Also Mike implied here that without Option 1 he will not allow GMs to take the Boons on the chronicles which he is thinking about starting to do.

I would love to be able to get the Boons for GMing, so for me that is reason enough for option 1.

Shadow Lodge *** Venture-Lieutenant, California—Silicon Valley aka JohnF

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'm actually a little concerned about a minor part of the rules as being discussed here to do with credits for scenarios for which the GM has no level-appropriate character. At present the rules state "... the GM can apply the credit once her character achieves the appropriate level". Several posts here have suggested that the rule should, in fact be "... the GM must apply the credit to her first character to achieve the appropriate level".

I'd be strongly opposed to this. My wife and I try, where possible, to play in the same scenarios, with approximately level-matched characters. I would be quite upset if one of my characters was forced to suddenly cash in banked GM chronicle sheets simply because that happened to be the first character to level up into that tier.

Basically, if acting as GM is going to detract from my ability to enjoy being a player, I'm less likely to volunteer to GM any scenarios.

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Illinois—Decatur aka TwilightKnight

1970Zombie wrote:
Do you always assume the lower sub-tier?

GM credit is always applied using the appropriate sub-tier rewards of the level of the character. If it is between sub-tiers, then you select the lower reward. What does not matter is the APL of the table when you GM'd the scenario.

Sczarni * RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

I will say that as a new GM, option #2 is of the most value to me. These are my possible outcomes for option #1:

1. Assigning GM credit to my "main" would knock me out of tier sooner than I'd like. Especially since the Slow Track method was added to let me stay in tier longer, right? This seems like GMing would counter Slow Track completely, and I'm not in favor of that.

2. Alternately, I can assign it to a secondary character. If I'm lucky, I'm excited about this character that I can play at a later date. But if I'm excited to play it, wouldn't I be doing that right now? Sure, I can get past level one, but when I have a fun character concept, I want to get right to it! I need instant gratification. Plus, what if that character would be tons of fun at level 3... do I just start assigning to a new level 1 and hope I have a concept for it later? Too much work!

Option #2 allows me to get excited about a concept, and make that character a higher level with extra chronicle sheets that I've got stored up whenever I choose. I get to focus on GMing instead of working up a character database, and when I'm able to play, I can develop a character I'm interested in playing right then.

As a GM that is also very interested in being a player, this option makes me believe that Paizo is a benevolent warden over my experience. Option #1 makes me feel that I'm going to end up wasting some of those GM credits.

(Again, I say this as a relatively new GM, but as a player, I know that those chronicle sheets are made out of shiny, shiny gold.)

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Illinois—Decatur aka TwilightKnight

JohnF wrote:
I'd be strongly opposed to this

I don't think we are suggesting this. What we (those who support option #1) want to see is the recipient of the GM chronicle be determined at the time it is earned. That does not mean if you don't have any qualifying PC's you must assign it to the highest level one. You would be free to assign it to any character you want, even a brand-new one. It just would not be actually applied to the character until it reaches the legal level.


Arkos wrote:


1. Assigning GM credit to my "main" would knock me out of tier sooner than I'd like. Especially since the Slow Track method was added to let me stay in tier longer, right? This seems like GMing would counter Slow Track completely, and I'm not in favor of that.

If your character is on slow track for it's current level, then any GM credit applied while at that level would also be slow track (1xp, 1pp, half gold), because normal and slow cannot be mixed in the same character level.

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Illinois—Decatur aka TwilightKnight

I am a little confused about this topic anyway. Why do you want to assign GM credit in the first place? It robs you of the chance to play the character.

If you have a small group with rotating GM's and you are trying to keep everyone together, fine, I can see that. Otherwise, there doesn't seem to be many reasons to use GM credit. Personally, I do not enjoy level 1-2 so I use my GM credits to start at level three, but after that, I don't claim my credits except under extremely rare circumstances. I have enough unclaimed credits to retire a character not even having played it. Most GM's seem to want to apply every GM credit they can or they are missing out on a reward or something. I tend to think that applying GM credits is what robs you of rewards...the fun of actually playing the character.

Andoran *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Bob Jonquet wrote:
I am a little confused about this topic anyway. Why do you want to assign GM credit in the first place? It robs you of the chance to play the character.

Bob, that is all up to personal Preference per the GM and not relevant to the actual rule and how it should be implemented.

As an example, I love adding my Credit to my PCs, it allows me to have a broad scope of different levels so I can jump in any game I want no matter the Tier.

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Illinois—Decatur aka TwilightKnight

The reasons why GM's apply the credit is germane because it will help decide if option #1 or #2 is a better choice for society. If it is personal choice and nothing else, then there is no argument to either option. Mike can rule how he prefers it to be.

If, however, there is a value to allowing it to improve how the society functions and perhaps encourage more play, then perhaps option #2 is better.

IMO, the clear consistency of option #1 far outweighs the minor benefits of #2 so that is my choice. YMMV

Besides, we both seem to be on the same side of this topic so why quibble over motivation? ;-)

***

Basically for me it would come down to the following question is it really that hard to write XXXXX-Y where Y is either the character you know you want the chronicle on? or 1 higher than any of your currently made characters to level a new character that hasnt been built yet.

Paizo Employee ***** Global Organized Play Coordinator

One problem I am trying to clarify is this. If a GM has all characters of levels 4 or less and GMs a Tier 5-9 scenario, they receive a Chronicle sheet that is in limbo until they have a character that achieves 5th level. However, if they are able to hold Chronicles in reserve, they could advance their character to 8th level so they can then receive the "limbo" Chronicle sheet at the higher tier, instead of what is directed in the guide currently of taking it at the lower sub tier.

As the wording currently stands, they are supposed to apply the Chronicle at the lowest sub tier. However, holding sheets would allow a possible loophole that allows them to apply the Chronicle at the higher sub tier all the time since their character would be at that sub tier at the time of applying the Chronicle.

I know this may be a corner case, but while we are discussing this issue, I need to find out if this is a problem that needs addressed. If not, and if I decide to go with option 2, then the text in the Guide advising to take the lowest sub tier credit needs to be removed.

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

So if their 8th level character gets assigned a GM chronicle for the 8-9 subtier instead of the 5-6 when they're 5th level, what's the problem? As long as they don't assign the 8-9 subtier at level 7, there's no advantaged gained, no harm to the Society.

Paizo Employee ***** Global Organized Play Coordinator

There may not be any problem. If a GM properly plans where to assign GM credit, they will never take a low sub tier from any Chronicle sheet in their entire career. Is that what the playerbase wants? I don't know. That is why I asked.

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