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Comprehensive Guide for getting into Home Recording

I'm going to borrow from a few sources and do my best to make this cohesive, but this question comes up a lot. I thought we had a comprehensive guide, but it doesn't appear so. In the absence of this, I feel that a lot of you could use a simple place to go for some basics on recording. There are a couple of great resources online already on some drumming forums, but I don't think they will be around forever.
Some background on myself - I have been drumming a long time. During that time, home recording has gone from using a cassette deck to having a full blown studio at your finger tips. The technology in the last 15 years has gotten so good it really is incredible. When I was trying to decide what I wanted to do with my life, I decided to go to school for audio engineering in a world-class studio. During this time I had access to the studio and was able to assist with engineering on several projects. This was awesome, and I came out with a working knowledge of SIGNAL CHAIN, how audio works in the digital realm, how microphones work, studio design, etc. Can I answer your questions? Yes.

First up: Signal Chain! This is the basic building block of recording. Ever seen a "I have this plugged in but am getting no sound!" thread? Yeah, signal chain.

A "Signal Chain" is the path your audio follows, from sound source, to the recording device, and back out of your monitors (speakers to you normies).
A typical complete signal chain might go something like this:
1] instrument/sound source 2] Microphone/TransducePickup 3] Cable 4] Mic Preamp/DI Box 5] Analog-to-Digital Converter 6] Digital transmission medium[digital data get recoded for usb or FW transfer] 7] Digital recording Device 8] DSP and Digital summing/playback engine 9] Digital-to-Analog Converter 10] Analog output stage[line outputs and output gain/volume control] 11] Monitors/Playback device[headphones/other transducers]
Important Terms, Definitions, and explanations (this will be where the "core" information is):
1] AD Conversion: the process by which the electrical signal is "converted" to a stream of digital code[binary, 1 and 0]. This is accomplished, basically, by taking digital pictures of the audio...and this is known as the "sampling rate/frequency" The number of "pictures" determines the frequency. So the CD standard of 44.1k is 44,100 "pictures" per second of digital code that represents the electrical "wave" of audio. It should be noted that in order to reproduce a frequency accuratly, the sampling rate must be TWICE that of the desired frequency (See: Nyquist-Shannon Theorem). So, a 44.1 digital audio device can, in fact, only record frequencies as high as 22.05khz, and in the real world, the actual upper frequency limit is lower, because the AD device employs a LOW-PASS filter to protect the circuitry from distortion and digital errors called "ALIASING." Confused yet? Don't worry, there's more... We haven't even talked about Bit depth! There are 2 settings for recording digitally: Sample Rate and Bit Depth. Sample rate, as stated above, determines the frequencies captured, however bit depth is used to get a better picture of the sample. Higher bit depth = more accurate sound wave representation. More on this here. Generally speaking, I record at 92KHz/24 bit depth. This makes huge files, but gets really accurate audio. Why does it make huge files? Well, if you are sampling 92,000 times per second, you are taking each sample and applying 24 bits to that, multiply it out and you get 92,000*24 = 2,208,000 bits per second or roughly 0.26MB per second for ONE TRACK. If that track is 5 minutes long, that is a file that is 78.96MB in size. Now lets say you used 8 inputs on an interface, that is, in total, 631.7MB of data. Wow, that escalates quick, right? There is something else to note as well here: Your CPU has to calculate this. So the amount of calculations it needs to perform for this same scenario is ~17.7 million calculations PER SECOND. This is why CPU speed and RAM is super important when recording digitally.
2] DA conversion: the process by which the digital code (the computer representation of a sound wave) is transformed back into electrcal energy in the proper shape. In a oversimplified explanation, the code is measured and the output of the convertor reflects the value of the code by changing voltage. Think of a sound wave on a grid: Frequency would represent the X axis (the horizontal axis)... but there is a vertical axis too. This is called AMPLITUDE or how much energy the wave is generating. People refer to this as how 'loud' a sound is, but that's not entirely correct. You can have a high amplitude wave that is played at a quiet volume. It's important to distinguish the two. How loud a sound is can be controlled by the volume on a speaker or transducer. But that has no impact on how much amplitude the sound wave has in the digital space or "in the wire" on its way to the transducer. So don't get hung up on how "loud" a waveform is, it is how much amplitude it has when talking about it "in the box" or before it gets to the speakeheadphone/whatever.
3] Cables: An often overlooked expense and tool, cables can in fact, make or break your recording. The multitudes of types of cable are determined by the connector, the gauge(thickness), shielding, type of conductor, etc... Just some bullet points on cables:
- Always get the highest quality cabling you can afford. Low quality cables often employ shielding that doesnt efectively protect against AC hums(60 cycle hum), RF interference (causing your cable to act as a gigantic AM/CB radio antenna), or grounding noise introduced by other components in your system. - The way cables are coiled and treated can determine their lifespan and effectiveness. A kinked cable can mean a broken shield, again, causing noise problems. - The standard in the USA for wiring an XLR(standard microphone) cable is: PIN 1= Cold/-, PIN 2= Hot/+, PIN 3=Ground/shield. Pin 3 carries phantom power, so it is important that the shield of your cables be intact and in good condition if you want to use your mic cables without any problems. - Cables for LINE LEVEL and HI-Z(instrument level) gear are not the same! - Line Level Gear, weather professional or consumer, should generally be used with balanced cables (on a 1/4" connector, it will have 3 sections and is commonly known as TRS -or- TipRingSleeve). A balanced 1/4" is essentially the same as a microphone cable, and in fact, most Professional gear with balanced line inputs and outputs will have XLR connectors instead of 1/4" connectors. - Hi-Z cable for instruments (guitars, basses, keyboards, or anything with a pickup) is UNBALANCED, and should be so. The introduction of a balanced cable can cause electricity to be sent backwards into a guitar and shock the guitar player. You may want this to happen, but your gear doesn't. There is some danger here as well, especially on stage, where the voltage CAN BE LETHAL. When running a guitabass/keyboard "Direct" into your interface, soundcard, or recording device, you should ALWAYS use a "DIRECT BOX", which uses a transformer to isolate and balance the the signal or you can use any input on the interface designated as a "Instrument" or "Hi-Z" input. It also changes some electrical properties, resulting in a LINE LEVEL output (it amplifies it from instrument level to line level).
4] Digital Data Transmissions: This includes S/PDIF, AES/EBU, ADAT, MADI. I'm gonna give a brief overview of this stuff, since its unlikely that alot of you will ever really have to think about it: - SDPIF= Sony Phillips Digital Interface Format. using RCA or TOSLINK connectors, this is a digital protocol that carries 3 streams of information. Digital audio Left, Digital Audio Right, and CLOCK. SPDIF generally supports 48khz/20bit information, though some modern devices can support up to 24bits, and up to 88.2khz. SPDIF is the consumer format of AES/EBU - AES/EBU= Audio Engineering Society/European Breadcasters Union Digital protocol uses a special type of cable often terminated with XLR connectors to transmit 2 channels of Digital Audio. AES/EBU is found mostly on expensive professional digital gear. - ADAT= the Alesis Digital Audio Tape was introduced in 1991, and was the first casette based system capable of recording 8 channels of digital audio onto a single cartridge(a SUPER-VHS tape, same one used by high quality VCR's). Enough of the history, its not so important because we are talking about ADAT-LIGHTPIPE Protocol, which is a digital transmission protocol that uses fiberoptic cable and devices to send up to 8 channels of digital audio simultaneously and in sync. ADAT-Lightpipe supports up to 48khz sample rates. This is how people expand the number of inputs by chaining interfaces. - MADI is something you will almost never encounter. It is a protocol that allows up to 64 channels of digital audio to be transmitted over a single cable that is terminated by BNC connectors. Im just telling you it exists so in case you ever encounter a digital snake that doesnt use Gigabit Ethernet, you will know whats going on.
digital transmission specs: SPDIF -> clock->2Ch->RCA cable(consumer) ADAT-Lightpipe->clock->8Ch->Toslink(semi-pro) SPDIF-OPTICAL->clock->2Ch->Toslink(consumer) AES/EBU->clock->2Ch->XLR(Pro) TDIF->clock->8Ch->DSub(Semi-Pro) ______________ MADI->no clock->64Ch->BNC{rare except in large scale pofessional apps} SDIF-II->no clock->24Ch->DSub{rare!} AES/EBU-13->no clock->24Ch->DSub
5] MICROPHONES: There are many types of microphones, and several names for each type. The type of microphone doesn't equate to the polar pattern of the microphone. There are a few common polar patterns in microphones, but there are also several more that are less common. These are the main types- Omni-Directional, Figure 8 (bi-directional), Cardioid, Super Cardioid, Hyper Cardioid, Shotgun. Some light reading.... Now for the types of microphones: - Dynamic Microphones utilize polarized magnets to convert acoustical energy into electrical energy. there are 2 types of dynamic microphones: 1) Moving Coil microphones are the most common type of microphone made. They are also durable, and capable of handling VERY HIGH SPL (sound pressure levels). 2) Ribbon microphones are rare except in professional recording studios. Ribbon microphones are also incredibly fragile. NEVER EVER USE PHANTOM POWER WITH A RIBBON MICROPHONE, IT WILL DIE (unless it specifically requires it, but I've only ever seen this on one Ribbon microphone ever). Sometimes it might even smoke or shoot out a few sparks; applying phantom power to a Ribbon Microphone will literally cause the ribbon, which is normally made from Aluminum, to MELT. Also, windblasts and plosives can rip the ribbon, so these microphones are not suitible for things like horns, woodwinds, vocals, kick drums, or anything that "pushes air." There have been some advances in Ribbon microphones and they are getting to be more common, but they are still super fragile and you have to READ THE MANUAL CAREFULLY to avoid a $1k+ mistake. - CondenseCapacitor Microphones use an electrostatic charge to convert acoustical energy into electrical energy. The movement of the diaphragm(often metal coated mylar) toward a ceramic "backplate" causes a fluctuation in the charge, which is then amplified inside the microphone and output as an electrical signal. Condenser microphones usually use phantom power to charge the capacitors' and backplate in order to maintain the electrostatic charge. There are several types of condenser microphones: 1) Tube Condenser Microphones: historically, this type of microphone has been used in studios since the 1940s, and has been refined and redesigned hundreds, if not thousands of times. Some of the "best sounding" and most desired microphones EVER MADE are Tube Condenser microphones from the 50's and 60's. These vintage microphones, in good condition, with the original TUBES can sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Tube mics are known for sounding "full", "warm", and having a particular character, depending on the exact microphone. No 2 tubes mics, even of the same model, will sound the same. Similar, but not the same. Tube mics have their own power supplies, which are not interchangeable to different models. Each tube mic is a different design, and therefore, has different power requirements. 2) FET Condenser microphones: FET stands for "Field Effect Transistor" and the technology allowed condenser microphones to be miniturized. Take for example, the SHURE beta98s/d, which is a minicondenser microphone. FET technology is generally more transparant than tube technology, but can sometimes sound "harsh" or "sterile". 3) Electret Condenser Microphones are a condenser microphone that has a permanent charge, and therefore, does not require phantom power; however, the charge is not truly permanent, and these mics often use AA or 9V batteries, either inside the mic, or on a beltpack. These are less common.
Other important things to know about microphones:
- Pads, Rolloffs, etc: Some mics have switches or rotating collars that notate certain things. Most commonly, high pass filters/lowcut filters, or attenuation pads. 1) A HP/LC Filter does exactly what you might think: Removes low frequency content from the signal at a set frequency and slope. Some microphones allow you to switch the rolloff frequency. Common rolloff frequencies are 75hz, 80hz, 100hz, 120hz, 125hz, and 250hz. 2) A pad in this example is a switch that lowers the output of the microphone directly after the capsule to prevent overloading the input of a microphone preamplifier. You might be asking: How is that possible? Some microphones put out a VERY HIGH SIGNAL LEVEL, sometimes about line level(-10/+4dbu), mic level is generally accepted to start at -75dbu and continues increasing until it becomes line level in voltage. It should be noted that linel level signals are normally of a different impedance than mic level signals, which is determined by the gear. An example for this would be: I mic the top of a snare drum with a large diaphragm condenser mic (solid state mic, not tube) that is capable of handling very high SPLs (sound pressure levels). When the snare drum is played, the input of the mic preamp clips (distorts), even with the gain turned all the way down. To combat this, I would use a pad with enough attenuation to lower the signal into the proper range of input (-60db to -40 db). In general, it is accepted to use a pad with only as much attentuation as you need, plus a small margin of error for extra “headroom”. What this means is that if you use a 20db pad where you only need a 10db pad, you will then have to add an additional 10db of gain to achieve a desireable signal level. This can cause problems, as not all pads sound good, or even transparent, and can color and affect your signal in sometimes unwanted ways that are best left unamplified. - Other mic tips/info: 1) when recording vocals, you should always use a popfilter. A pop filter mounted on a gooseneck is generally more effective than a windscreen made of foam that slips over the microphone. The foam type often kill the highfrequency response, alter the polar pattern, and can introduce non-linear polarity problems(part of the frequency spectrum will be out of phase.) If you don't have a pop filter or don't want to spend on one, buy or obtain a hoop of some kind, buy some cheap panty-hose and stretch it over the hoop to build your own pop filter. 2) Terms Related to mics: - Plosives: “B”, “D”, “F”, “G”, “J”, “P”, “T” hard consonants and other vocal sounds that cause windblasts. These are responsible for a low frequency pop that can severly distort the diaphragm of the microphone, or cause a strange inconsistency of tonality by causing a short term proximity effect.
- Proximity effect: An exponential increase in low frequency response causes by having a microphone excessivly close to a sound. This can be cause by either the force of the air moving actually causes the microphone’s diaphragm to move and sometimes distort, usually on vocalists or buy the buildup of low frequency soundwaves due to off-axis cancellation ports. You cannot get proximity effect on an omnidirectional microphone. With some practice, you can use proximity effect to your advantage, or as an effect. For example, if you are recording someone whispering and it sounds thin or weak and irritating due to the intenese high mid and high frequency content, get the person very close to a cardioid microphone with two popfilters, back to back approx 1/2”-1” away from the mic and set your gain carefully, and you can achieve a very intimite recording of whispering. In a different scenario, you can place a mic inside of a kick drum between 1”-3” away from the inner shell, angled up and at the point of impact, and towards the floor tom. This usually captures a huge low end, and the sympathetic vibration of the floor tom on the kick drum hits, but retains a clarity of attack without being distorted by the SPL of the drum and without capturing unplesant low-mid resonation of the kick drum head and shell that is common directly in the middle of the shell.
6) Wave Envelope: The envelope is the graphical representation of a sound wave commonly found in a DAW. There are 4 parts to this: Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release: 1) Attack is how quickly the sound reaches its peak amplitude; 2) Decay is the time it takes to reach the sustain level; 3) Sustain how long a sound remains at a certain level (think of striking a tom, the initial smack is attack, then it decays to the resonance of the tom, how long it resonates is the sustain); 4) Release is the amount of time before the sustain stops. This is particularly important as these are also the settings on a common piece of gear called a Compressor! Understanding the envelope of a sound is key to learning how to maniuplate it.
7) Phase Cancellation: This is one of the most important concepts in home recording, especially when looking at drums. I'm putting it in this section because it matters so much. Phase Cancellation is what occurs when the same frequencies occur at different times. To put it simply, frequency amplitudes are additive - meaning if you have 2 sound waves of the same frequency, one amplitude is +4 and the other is +2, the way we percieve sound is that the frequency is +6. But a sound wave has a positive and negative amplitude as it travels (like a wave in the ocean with a peak and a swell). If the frequency then has two sources and it is 180 degrees out of phase, that means one wave is at +4 while the other is at -4. This sums to 0, or cancels out the wave. Effectively, you would hear silence. This is why micing techniques are so important, but we'll get into that later. I wanted this term at the top, and will likely mention it again.

Next we can look at the different types of options to actually record your sound!

1) Handheld/All in one/Field Recorders: I don't know if portable cassette tape recorders are still around, but that's an example of one. These are (or used to) be very popular with journalists because they were pretty decent at capturing speech. They do not fare too well with music though. Not too long ago, we saw the emergence of the digital field recorder. These are really nifty little devices. They come in many shapes, sizes and colors, and can be very affordable. They run on batteries, and have built-in microphones, and record digitally onto SD cards or harddiscs. The more simple ones have a pair of built-in condenser microphones, which may or may not be adjustable, and record onto an SD-card. They start around $99 (or less if you don't mind buying refurbished). You turn it on, record, connect the device itself or the SD card to your computer, transfer the file(s) and there is your recording! An entry-level example is the Tascam DR-05. It costs $99. It has two built in omni-directional mics, comes with a 2GB microSD card and runs on two AA batteries. It can record in different formats, the highest being 24-bit 96KHz Broadcast WAV, which is higher than DVD quality! You can also choose to record as an MP3 (32-320kbps) if you need to save space on the SD card or if you're simply going to record a speech/conference or upload it on the web later on. It's got a headphone jack and even small built-in speakers. It can be mounted onto a tripod. And it's about the size of a cell phone. The next step up (although there are of course many options that are price and feature-wise inbetween this one and the last) is a beefier device like the Zoom H4n. It's got all the same features as the Tascam DR-05 and more! It has two adjustable built-in cardioid condenser mics in an XY configuration (you can adjust the angle from a 90-120 degree spread). On the bottom of the device, there are two XLR inputs with preamps. With those, you can expand your recording possibilities with two external microphones. The preamps can send phantom power, so you can even use very nice studio mics. All 4 channels will be recorded independantly, so you can pop them onto your computer later and mix them with software. This device can also act as a USB interface, so instead of just using it as a field recorder, you can connect it directly to your computer or to a DSLR camera for HD filming. My new recommendation for this category is actually the Yamaha EAD10. It really is the best all-in-one solution for anyone that wants to record their kit audio with a great sound. It sports a kick drum trigger (mounts to the rim of the kick) with an x-y pattern set of microphones to pick up the rest of the kit sound. It also has on-board effects, lots of software integration options and smart features through its app. It really is a great solution for anyone who wants to record without reading this guide.
The TL;DR of this guide is - if it seems like too much, buy the Yamaha EAD10 as a simple but effective recording solution for your kit.

2) USB Microphones: There are actually mics that you an plug in directly to your computer via USB. The mics themselves are their own audio interfaces. These mics come in many shapes and sizes, and offer affordable solutions for basic home recording. You can record using a DAW or even something simple like the stock windows sound recorder program that's in the acessories folder of my Windows operating system. The Blue Snowflake is very affordable at $59. It can stand alone or you can attach it to your laptop or your flat screen monitor. It can record up to 44.1kHz, 16-bit WAV audio, which is CD quality. It's a condenser mic with a directional cardioid pickup pattern and has a full frequency response - from 35Hz-20kHz. It probably won't blow you away, but it's a big departure from your average built-in laptop, webcam, headset or desktop microphone. The Audio Technica AT2020 USB is a USB version of their popular AT2020 condenser microphone. At $100 it costs a little more than the regular version. The AT2020 is one of the finest mics in its price range. It's got a very clear sound and it can handle loud volumes. Other companies like Shure and Samson also offer USB versions of some of their studio mics. The AT2020 USB also records up to CD-quality audio and comes with a little desktop tripod. The MXL USB.009 mic is an all-out USB microphone. It features a 1 inch large-diaphragm condenser capsule and can record up to 24-bit 96kHz WAV audio. You can plug your headphones right into the mic (remember, it is its own audio interface) so you can monitor your recordings with no latency, as opposed to doing so with your computer. Switches on the mic control the gain and can blend the mic channel with playback audio. Cost: $399. If you already have a mic, or you don't want to be stuck with just a USB mic, you can purcase a USB converter for your existing microphone. Here is a great review of four of them.
3) Audio Recording Interfaces: You've done some reading up on this stuff... now you are lost. Welcome to the wide, wide world of Audio Interfaces. These come in all different shapes and sizes, features, sampling rates, bit depths, inputs, outputs, you name it. Welcome to the ocean, let's try to help you find land.
- An audio interface, as far as your computer is concerned, is an external sound card. It has audio inputs, such as a microphone preamp and outputs which connect to other audio devices or to headphones or speakers. The modern day recording "rig" is based around a computer, and to get the sound onto your computer, an interface is necessary. All computers have a sound card of some sort, but these have very low quality A/D Converters (analog to digital) and were not designed with any kind of sophisticated audio recording in mind, so for us they are useless and a dedicated audio interface must come into play.
- There are hundreds of interfaces out there. Most commonly they connect to a computer via USB or Firewire. There are also PCI and PCI Express-based interfaces for desktop computers. The most simple interfaces can record one channel via USB, while others can record up to 30 via firewire! All of the connection types into the computer have their advantages and drawbacks. The chances are, you are looking at USB, Firewire, or Thunderbolt. As far as speeds, most interfaces are in the same realm as far as speed is concerned but thunderbolt is a faster data transfer rate. There are some differences in terms of CPU load. Conflict handling (when packages collide) is handled differently. USB sends conflict resolution to the CPU, Firewire handles it internally, Thunderbolt, from what I could find, sends it to the CPU as well. For most applications, none of them are going to be superior from a home-recording standpoint. When you get up to 16/24 channels in/out simultaneously, it's going to matter a lot more.
- There are a number of things to consider when choosing an audio interface. First off your budget, number of channels you'd like to be able to record simultaneously, your monitoring system, your computer and operating system and your applications. Regarding budget, you have to get real. $500 is not going to get you a rig with the ability to multi-track a drum set covered in mics. Not even close! You might get an interface with 8 channels for that much, but you have to factor in the cost of everything, including mics, cables, stands, monitors/headphones, software, etc... Considerations: Stereo Recording or Multi-Track Recording? Stereo Recording is recording two tracks: A left and right channel, which reflects most audio playback systems. This doesn't necessarily mean you are simply recording with two mics, it means that what your rig is recording onto your computer is a single stereo track. You could be recording a 5-piece band with 16 mics/channels, but if you're recording in stereo, all you're getting is a summation of those 16 tracks. This means that in your recording software, you won't be able to manipulate any of those channels independantly after you recorded them. If the rack tom mic wasn't turned up loud enough, or you want to mute the guitars, you can't do that, because all you have is a stereo track of everything. It's up to you to get your levels and balance and tone right before you hit record. If you are only using two mics or lines, then you will have individual control over each mic/line after recording. Commonly, you can find 2 input interfaces and use a sub-mixer taking the left/right outputs and pluging those into each channel of the interface. Some mixers will output a stereo pair into a computer as an interface, such as the Allen&Heath ZED16. If you want full control over every single input, you need to multi-track. Each mic or line that you are recording with will get it's own track in your DAW software, which you can edit and process after the fact. This gives you a lot of control over a recording, and opens up many mixing options, and also many more issues. Interfaces that facilitate multitracking include Presonus FireStudio, Focusrite Scarlett interfaces, etc. There are some mixers that are also interfaces, such as the Presonus StudioLive 16, but these are very expensive. There are core-card interfaces as well, these will plug in directly to your motherboard via PCI or PCI-Express slots. Protools HD is a core-card interface and requires more hardware than just the card to work. I would recommend steering clear of these until you have a firm grasp of signal chain and digital audio, as there are more affordable solutions that will yield similar results in a home-environment.

DAW - Digital Audio Workstation

I've talked a lot about theory, hardware, signal chain, etc... but we need a way to interpret this data. First off what does a DAW do? Some refer to them as DAE's (Digital Audio Editors). You could call it a virtual mixing board , however that isn't entirely correct. DAWs allow you to record, control, mix and manipulate independant audio signals. You can change their volume, add effects, splice and dice tracks, combine recorded audio with MIDI-generated audio, record MIDI tracks and much much more. In the old days, when studios were based around large consoles, the actual audio needed to be recorded onto some kind of medium - analog tape. The audio signals passed through the boards, and were printed onto the tape, and the tape decks were used to play back the audio, and any cutting, overdubbing etc. had to be done physically on the tape. With a DAW, your audio is converted into 1's and 0's through the converters on your interface when you record, and so computers and their harddiscs have largely taken the place of reel-to-reel machines and analog tape.
Here is a list of commonly used DAWs in alphabetical order: ACID Pro Apple Logic Cakewalk SONAR Digital Performer FL (Fruity Loops) Studio (only versions 8 and higher can actually record Audio I believe) GarageBand PreSonus Studio One Pro Tools REAPER Propellerhead Reason (version 6 has combined Reason and Record into one software, so it now is a full audio DAW. Earlier versions of Reason are MIDI based and don't record audio) Propellerhead Record (see above) Steinberg Cubase Steinberg Nuendo
There are of course many more, but these are the main contenders. [Note that not all DAWs actually have audio recording capabilities (All the ones I listed do, because this thread is about audio recording), because many of them are designed for applications like MIDI composing, looping, etc. Some are relatively new, others have been around for a while, and have undergone many updates and transformations. Most have different versions, that cater to different types of recording communities, such as home recording/consumer or professional.
That's a whole lot of choices. You have to do a lot of research to understand what each one offers, what limitations they may have etc... Logic, Garageband and Digital Performer for instance are Mac-only. ACID Pro, FL Studio and SONAR will only run on Windows machines. Garageband is free and is even pre-installed on every Mac computer. Most other DAWs cost something.
Reaper is a standout. A non-commercial license only costs $60. Other DAWs often come bundled with interfaces, such as ProTools MP with M-Audio interfaces, Steinberg Cubase LE with Lexicon Interfaces, Studio One with Presonus Interfaces etc. Reaper is a full function, professional, affordable DAW with a tremendous community behind it. It's my recommendation for everyone, and comes with a free trial. It is universally compatible and not hardware-bound.
You of course don't have to purchase a bundle. Your research might yield that a particular interface will suit your needs well, but the software that the same company offers or even bundles isn't that hot. As a consumer you have a plethora of software and hardware manufacturers competing for your business and there is no shortage of choice. One thing to think about though is compatability and customer support. With some exceptions, technically you can run most DAWs with most interfaces. But again, don't just assume this, do your research! Also, some DAWs will run smoother on certain interfaces, and might experience problems on others. It's not a bad thing to assume that if you purchase the software and hardware from the same company, they're at least somewhat optimized for eachother. In fact, ProTools, until recently would only run on Digidesign (now AVID) and M-Audio interfaces. While many folks didn't like being limited to their hardware choices to run ProTools, a lot of users didn't mind, because I think that at least in part it made ProTools run smoother for everyone, and if you did have a problem, you only had to call up one company. There are many documented cases where consumers with software and hardware from different companies get the runaround:
Software Company X: "It's a hardware issue, call Hardware Company Z". Hardware Company Z: "It's a software issue, call Software Company X".
Another thing to research is the different versions of softwares. Many of them have different versions at different pricepoints, such as entry-level or student versions all the way up to versions catering to the pros. Cheaper versions come with limitations, whether it be a maximum number of audio tracks you can run simultaneously, plug-ins available or supported Plug-In formats and lack of other features that the upper versions have. Some Pro versions might require you to run certain kinds of hardware. I don't have time nor the will to do research on individual DAW's, so if any of you want to make a comparison of different versions of a specific DAW, be my guest! In the end, like I keep stressing - we each have to do our own research.
A big thing about the DAW that it is important to note is this: Your signal chain is your DAW. It is the digital representation of that chain and it is important to understand it in order to properly use that DAW. It is how you route the signal from one spot to another, how you move it through a sidechain compressor or bus the drums into the main fader. It is a digital representation of a large-format recording console, and if you don't understand how the signal gets from the sound source to your monitor (speaker), you're going to have a bad time.

Playback - Monitors are not just for looking at!

I've mentioned monitors several times and wanted to touch on these quickly: Monitors are whatever you are using to listen to the sound. These can be headphones, powered speakers, unpowered speakers, etc. The key thing here is that they are accurate. You want a good depth of field, you want as wide a frequency response as you can get, and you want NEARFIELD monitors. Unless you are working with a space that can put the monitor 8' away from you, 6" is really the biggest speaker size you need. At that point, nearfield monitors will reproduce the audio frequency range faithfully for you. There are many options here, closed back headphones, open back headphones, studio monitors powered, and unpowered (require a separate poweramp to drive the monitor). For headphones, I recommend AKG K271, K872, Sennheiser HD280 Pro, etc. There are many options, but if mixing on headphones I recommend spending some good money on a set. For Powered Monitors, there's really only one choice I recommend: Kali Audio LP-6 monitors. They are, dollar for dollar, the best monitors you can buy for a home studio, period. These things contend with Genelecs and cost a quarter of the price. Yes, they still cost a bit, but if you're going to invest, invest wisely. I don't recommend unpowered monitors, as if you skimp on the poweramp they lose all the advantages you gain with monitors. Just get the powered monitors if you are opting for not headphones.

Drum Mic'ing Guide, I'm not going to re-create the wheel.

That's all for now, this has taken some time to put together (a couple hourse now). I can answer other questions as they pop up. I used a few sources for the information, most notably some well-put together sections on the Pearl Drummers Forum in the recording section. I know a couple of the users are no longer active there, but if you see this and think "Hey, he ripped me off!", you're right, and thanks for allowing me to rip you off!

A couple other tips that I've come across for home recording:
You need to manage your gain/levels when recording. Digital is NOT analog! What does this mean? You should be PEAKING (the loudest the signal gets) around -12dB to -15dB on your meters. Any hotter than that and you are overdriving your digital signal processors.
What sound level should my master bus be at for Youtube?
Bass Traps 101
Sound Proofing 101
submitted by M3lllvar to drums [link] [comments]

[Megathread] XMG FUSION 15 (with Intel)

On September 6 at IFA, press released their first reports about our collaboration project with Intel: XMG FUSION 15.
Community Links:

Press Links:

Video Links:

The following key facts have already been revealed:
Prices and availability will be announced on September 17. → Countdown to
Teaser Trailer on YouTube: XMG FUSION 15 Laptop | A Design Collaboration with Intel
We look forward to your questions and your feedback!


This FAQ represents Q&A's over the last few days here. Fellow redditor u/iterateandgit was so kind to help me putting this document together. Big shout out to him please! The FAQ will be further extended over the coming days and weeks. Please keep the questions coming!

Sales, Shipping, Warranty

Q: Are you going to sell this on Amazon in the EU?
A: We are working on getting the product up and running on Amazon. But our own BTO shop at will always be our primary sales channel and will be the only one where you can customize and configure memory, storage, OS, extend your warranty and pick other options.

Q: Do you offer student discounts or other sales compaigns like black friday?
A: In general, we don't offer student discounts. Sales campaigns are planned just in time, depending on stock level and cannot be announced early. If you want to keep up to date about sales campaigns, please subscribe to our newsletter.

Q: Do you ship to the UK? Can I pay in GBP?
A: We ship to the UK - the pricing will be in EUR, so your bank will do the conversion. Warranty services will be available from UK, shipping to Germany. Currently, in the single markets, these resturn shipments are free for the end-user. In the worst case there might be additional customs fees for shipping.

Q: What warranty options do you offer?
A: All our laptops come with 2 year warranty. Warranty repairs in the first 6 months are promised to be done within 48 hours (+shipping). Both the "instant repair" service and the warranty itself can be extended to up to 3 years.

Q: Do you sell outside of Europe?
A: We are able to ship anywhere, but warranty for customers outside the region would always involve additional customs cost and paperwork for sending the laptop back to Germany in the rare event of an RMA. There is currently no agreement to let other Local OEMs (like Eluktronics in the US) carry the warranty for XMG customers and vice-versa. Some parts are customized (in our case the LCD lid and the keyboard) and it won't be easy to agree on how to share handling fees etc. - so I wouldn't expect a global warranty anytime soon.

Hardware, Specs, Thermals

Q: What is the difference between XMG FUSION 15 and other laptops based on Intel's reference design?
A: The hardware of the barebone will be identical. Other Local OEMs might use different parts for RAM and SSDs. Our branding and service/warranty options might be different. We apply our own set of performance profiles in the Control Center. This will rebalance the differentiation between Silent, Balanced and Enthusiast modes.

Q: What is the TGP of the NVIDIA RTX 2070 Max-Q?
A: Officially, it is 80W in Balanced profile and 90W in Enthusiast profile. You can toggle between these modes in real-time with a dedicated mode switch button. Inofficially, the TGP can go up to 115W in Enthusiast profile thanks to the Overboost mechanic, working in the background. However, those 115W may only be sustained until the system has reached thermal saturation, i.e. when the GPU is approaching the GPU Temperature Target of 75°C.

Q: Can I upgrade the storage and memory after I buy?
A: On storage: The laptop has two m.2 PCI-Express SSD slots. This will give you currently up to 4 TB of SSD storage. There is no 2.5" HDD slot available. Instead, the battery is enlarged to 93.48Wh. You can see pictures of the interior layouts here, here and here.
On memory: the laptop has two SO-DIMM DDR4 memory sockets. You can chose during BTO configuration, if you want to occupy both of them when you order the product. We recommend running the laptop in Dual Channel for high-performance usage.

Q: How easy is to upgrade and repair this laptop?
A: Here are the key facts:
We would give this a solid 8 out of 10 which is pretty high for such a thin&light design. The 2 remaining points are substracted for BGA CPU and GPU, which is unfortunately unavoidable in such a thin design.

Q: Does it support Windows Hello?
A: A Fingerprint-Reader is not available, but the HD webcam comes with Infrared and supports Windows Hello.

Q: Can I get a smaller, lighter charger for this laptop?
A: XMG FUSION 15 requires a 230W power adaptor to provide full performance. If you max out CPU and GPU with furmark and prime, the 230W adapter will be fully utilized.
There are currently two compatible 230W adapters. They have different dimensions but similar weight. Please refer to this comparison table:
XMG FUSION 15 Power Supply Comparsion Table (Google Drive)
Includes shop links. Will be updated with precise weight numbers in the next few days. I also included 120W, 150W and 180W in this table. They all share the same plug (5.5/2.5,, diameter, 12.5mm length). But 120W and 150W are only rated for 19V but the laptop expect 19.5V. Usually this will be compensated by tolerance but we haven't tested how a system would behave under long-term usage with such an adaptor.
In theory, 120W to 180W are enough for charing the laptop and for browsing/web/media. Even a full CPU stress test could easily be handled. But as soon as you use CPU and GPU together, you'll run into the bottleneck and your performance will be reduced.
Comparison pictures:
These 5 pictures show only the relevant 230W chargers.
Again, the weight is about the same.

Q: Is it possible to boot and run the laptop while the lid is kept closed?
A: Closing the lid under load is not recommended because it will limit the airflow and have a bad effect on keyboard and screen. The laptop likes to take air in from the keycaps. With lid closed, the performance might be limited due to reaching temp targets earlier.

Q: Can I get the laptop without the XMG logo? I will be using it in public presentations and I would not like any brand names visible.
A: We cannot ship without XMG logo, but you can use a dbrand skins to cover our logo. We have not yet decided if we want to invest into integrating XMG FUSION 15 into the dbrand shop. But you can already buy 100% compatible skins by using the page of the Eluktronics MAG-15 at dbrand. The chassis dimensions are exactly the same. Please be aware: you have to manually select the option "No Logo Cutout" if you want to buy these skins for your XMG FUSION 15. According to dbrand, there will be most likely no import fees when ordering from the EU as long as the order is below 100€. Check this thread for details.

Q: Will you offer thermal paste upgrades like Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut or Liquid Metal?
A: Our ODMs are using silicon-based, high-performance thermal compund from international manufacturers like Shin-Etsu (Japan) and M.G. (USA). Intel is using MG-860 in this reference design.
These products are used in the industrial sector, so they have no publicly known brand name. Nevertheless, their high thermal conductivity and guaranteed durability provide optimal and long-lasting cooling of your high-performance laptop. The thermal compounds are applied and sealed automatically by the vendor of the thermal components. They are applied in a highly controlled, standardized manner and provide the best balance of thermal performance, production tolerance and product lifetime.
We are considering offering an upgrade to Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut due to popular demand. Will keep you posted on that.

Q: Could you please provide an estimate for how much regular usage (~10 browser tabs + some IDE) battery backup would this have? Will there be any way to trade-off battery backup with performance?
A: Battery life vs. peak performance can be traded off by using the "Silent" performance profile. You can switch between profiles using a dedicated button on the machine. Your scenario (10 tabs + some IDE) sounds like mostly reading and writing. I would estimate to get at least 7 hours of solid battery life in such a scenario, maybe more. We have achieved 8 hours in 1080p Youtube streaming on WiFi with 50% screen brightness. Adblock and NoScript helps to keep your idle browser tabs in check.

I/O Ports, Peripherals

Q: Why are there not more USB-A 3.1 Gen2 or even USB 3.2 Gen2x2 ports?
A: USB-A 3.1 Gen1 is basically the same as USB 3.0. There aren't a lot of USB-A devices that support more than USB 3.0 speed. Faster devices typically use USB-C connectors and can be used on Thunderbolt 3, which is down-compatible to USB-C 3.1 Gen2. One of the USB-A ports actually supports Gen2 speed.
For the following remarks, please keep in mind that I am not an Intel rep, so everything is based on our own experience.
The mainboard design and the I/O port decisions have been made by Intel. Feedback and requests from LOEM customers have been taken into consideration. We would assume that USB 3.2. Gen2x2 (20 Gbit/s) was not considered to be important enough to safe space for 3rd party IC (integrated circuits) on the motherboard. Right now, all the USB ports and Thunderbolts are supplied by Intel's own IC, so they have full control over the hardware, firmware and driver stack and over power saving and performance control. The more IC you add, the higher your Idle power consumption will be, plus adding potential compatibility or speed issues as it often happens with 1st generation 3rd party USB implementations. I very well remember from my own experience the support stories during the first years of USB 3.0, before it was supported in the Intel chipset. On the one hand, Intel is aiming high in terms of performance and convenience, on the other hand: support and reliability still seem to be Intel's goal #1. Thus they seem to play it safe where they deem it to be reasonable.
Intel is gearing up for USB 4.0 and next-gen Thunderbolt. USB 3.2 2x2 is probably treated as little more than a roadmap accident. Peripheral vendors might see it the same way.

Q: Do you support charging over USB-C/Thunderbolt? Does it support docking stations?
A: The Thunderbolt 3 port in Intel's reference design does not support charging. As you probably know, the 100W limit would not be enough to power the whole system and it would make the mainboard more complex to combine two different ways of charging. Intel consciously opted against it and will probably do so again on future high-end gaming/studio models.
The USB-C/Thunderbolt port supports Dual-Link DisplayPort signals, directly connected to the NVIDIA Graphics. This makes proper docking station usage very convenient. The user still needs to connect the external power adaptor. Both ports (Thunderbolt and DC-in) are in the back of the laptop, making the whole setup appear very neat on the desk.

Q: How many PCIe lanes does the Thunderbolt 3 provide? Are they connected to CPU or Chipset?
A: XMG FUSION 15 supports Thunderbolt 3 with 4 lanes of PCIe 3.0. The lanes come from the chipset because all of the CPU lanes (x16) are fully occupied by the dedicated NVIDIA graphics. We are not aware of any side-effects of running Thunderbolt from the chipset. It is common practice for high-end laptops with high-end graphics. The Thunderbolt solution is of course fully validated and certified by Intel's Thunderbolt labs.

Q: Does it have a standby USB to power USB devices without turning on the laptop?
A: Yes, the USB-A port on the left side supports this feature.

LCD Screen

Q: Which LCD panel is being used? Are there plans for 1440p or 4K panels in the laptop? How about PWM flickering?
A: The panel is BOE NV156FHM-N4G. It is currently not known if the panel will change in later batches. This depends on logistics and stock. At any rate, the panel key specs will remain the same. There are currently no plans to offer resolutions above FHD in the current generation of this laptop.
There are very wide ranges on reports of Backlight Brightness PWM control on this panel in different laptops. Ranging from 200Hz to 1000Hz to no PWM at all - all on the same panel model number. Intel informs us that there are many factors (e.g. freq., display driver, BIOS settings implementation, type of dimmers & compatibility with the driver etc.) that impacts the quality of panel dimming performance. To Intel's knowledge, no kind of flickering has been reported during the validation process. Furthermore, first hands-on data from Notebookcheck indicates that no PWM occurs on this panel. With a DSLR test (multiple burst shots at 1/4000s exposure time) I can confirm that there is not a single frame of brightness dipping or black screen, not even at minimum LCD brightness. Hence, we can confirm: BOE NV156FHM-N4G in XMG FUSION 15 (with Intel) does not use PWM for backlight control.

Q: Some BTO shops, for an additional fee, manually pick out display panels with the least back-light bleed. Do you offer that? Even better, do you do that without the extra fee?
A: Intel has validated this design to avoid backlight bleed as much as possible. Currently no plans to do further binning. All dozens of MP samples we have seen so far have been exceptionally good.

Q: I'm coming from a 13" MacBook with Retina display. How am I going to fare with this 15.6" FHD screen in content creation?
A: If you got used to editing high-res visual content (photography, artwork) on your 13inch retina, things will change. On the one hand, your canvas will be larger and more convenient and ergonomic to work with. On the other hand, you will find yourself zooming in more often in order to make out fine-detail. Assuming that you have sharp 20:20 vision.
As it is, the screen resolution and specs are not planned to change within the lifetime of this product. The first realistic time-window for a refresh would be whenever Intel is releasing the next "H" series CPU generation. But even then, an upgrade on resolution will not be guaranteed.
Laptop Resolution Pixel per inch dot pitch
13.3" MacBook Pro Retina (late 2013) 2560x1600 226.98 PPI 0.1119mm
15.6" XMG FUSION 15 (late 2019) 1920x1080 141.21 PPI 0.1799mm
To compare: 141.21 is ~62% from 226.98. This represents the the metric difference in pixel density and peak sharpness between these two models.
If you know the diagonal size and resolution of your screen, you can make this comparison yourself with the DPI/PPI calculator.

Keyboard, Backlight, Switches, Layout

Q: What can you tell us about the mechanical keyboard of XMG FUSION 15?
A: The keyboard has already been reviewed in our XMG NEO series as being more crisp than typical membrane keyboards. Most reviewers attested it a very good score, both for gaming and for writing long texts.
The keyboard backlight can be configured per-key. Default mode is all white.
Keyboard Switch Specs:
Having no frame around the keycaps actually helps the thermals. The fans can pull in additional air from the top. This improves airflow and helps to keep the keyboard temperature at low levels during gaming. It also prevents long-term RMA issues on the keyboard. This specific keyboard switch is already in its 3rd generation and very mature by now.

Q: Is it possible to dampen the mechanical keyboard with o-rings?
A: The switch design does not lend itself to further dampening. The switch mechanic is too complex and has more moving parts than cherry. The 2mm travel distance also plays a role in not allowing more dampening.
For reference, please use this video (Youtube). We compared XMG NEO with another membrane-type keyboard. XMG NEO and FUSION share the same keyboard mechanics with the silent tactile switch and the same sound profile.

Q: Do you have LED keyboard backlight on the secondary key function, like Fn key icons?
A: Please have a look at this picture.
Btw, my working sample has blank keycaps. I took the 3 printed keycaps (F8, F9, F10) from a different sample just to demonstrate the Fn lighting for this picture.
In my assesment, the Fn function symbols are clearly visible from the backlight in a dark room. A user should have no difficulty to recognize the icon and reach its function.

Q: Which keyboard layouts do you offer in the EU?
A: The following layouts are available, in alphabetic order: Belgium, Czech, Danish, Dvorak German, Dvorak US, Estonia, French, German, Greek, Italian, Norwegian, Polish for Typists, Portuguese, Russia Latin, Slovakish, Spanish, Swedish / Finnish, Swiss, Turkish, UK, US International (ISO)All these layouts are based on the ISO matrix. See differences between ANSI vs. ISO here.

Operating System

Q: Do you support Linux and dual-boot on XMG FUSION 15?
A: We are in discussion to sell XMG FUSION 15 over Tuxedo with official Linux support. It might take 1 or 2 months to get this running.

Q: Which LAN, Audio and WiFi card vendors will be used? Asking for a friend.
A: From our HWiNFO64 report. (Google Drive link)
LAN: RealTek Semiconductor RTL8168/8111 [PCI\VEN_10EC&DEV_8168&SUBSYS_20868086&REV_15]Audio: Intel(R) Smart Sound Technology (Intel(R) SST) Audio Controller [PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_A348&SUBSYS_20868086&REV_10]WiFi: Intel(R) Wi-Fi 6 AX200 [PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_2723&SUBSYS_00848086&REV_1A], can be replaced.
For more information, please check the linked report file.

Other questions

Q: What would you say are the advantages and differences with other laptops due to the fact the laptop was designed in collaboration with Intel?
A: Disclaimer: I am \not* an Intel rep. The following remarks are based on my personal experience and opinion.*
  1. Very strict quality control on all levels. I can't quote numbers due to NDA, but Intel NUC has extremely low RMA rates, compared to average PC mainboards and systems. Intel is driven by strict internal regulation that strifes for perfection - this applies to the whole chassis, assembly and firmware, not only the mainboard. There are also certain regulations in place, for example in terms of electro-magnetic regulation and skin temperatures. The rating label is littered with regulatory seals from every region of the world, making this laptop especially safe to use.
  2. Access to high-quality material: we have not seen any Gaming Laptops based on Magnesium alloy yet, especially not in the ODM/LOEM ecosystem. The battery cells are also much more dense than what we usually see. Intel has the buying power and the vision to not settle for mediocre parts.
  3. Down-to-earth design: Intel has made this reference design for the ODM/LOEM eco-system. The design does not try to follow any specific corporate identity, thus it does not have any unneccessary "bling bling" like all the others have. Even the Razer Blade with it's sleek shape is quite obnoxious (iny my oppinion) with it's big backlit green snake logo. With XMG FUSION however, we can continue our typical style of "Undercover Gaming".
  4. Security: you can expect stellar support in terms of BIOS and Firmware (TPM, Management Engine) updates whenever any security issues are found. This might also apply to global brands, but ODM/LOEM systems have not always been so quick to react. This is due to the huge fragmentation/customizations in ODM/LOEM systems. Intel however does now allow any fragmentation: every LOEM partner is getting the same firmware. There are many hooks for configurations in this firmware, but the source code / binaries are always the same. This makes support much easier down the line.
  1. I can't name many, of course. But I would say the strict validation also makes the partnership less flexible from a product management perspective. There is no plan currently to phase-in any 4K or 300Hz screen (FHD/144Hz ought to be enough for everyone this year) or any Core i9 in this system. Other ODMs might be more open for costly modifications based on low quantities. Intel however has streamlined their production and logistics in a way that gives us (the LOEM) very short lead times and competitive pricing, but will not allow any short-notice upgrades or customizations.

Q: Will there be a 17 inch version?
A: We can neither confirm nor deny plans for a 17 inch version at this point.

[to be continued]
submitted by XMG_gg to XMG_gg [link] [comments]

The Division 2 - Episode 1: D.C. Outskirts - Patch Notes

Patch Notes: Episode 1 - July 23rd, 2019


New Main Mission: Manning National Zoo

Emeline Shaw, the leader of the Outcasts, has fallen back from her defeat on Roosevelt Island and barricaded herself deep in the Manning National Zoo. To get to her, you will need to fight through the blockades and the Outcasts who protect her to put an end to her violence.

New Main Mission: Camp White Oak

The Black Tusks and their leader have set up a strategic position close to an estate nestled deep in the woodlands, and your assignment is to take them down and capture him in the new Camp White Oak mission.

New Feature: Expeditions

Expeditions are free events that bring players to unexplored locations around D.C. to discover new narrative and gameplay opportunities. These sites offer unique challenges and lore not found anywhere else: new collectibles, treasure rooms, environmental puzzles, unique boss mechanics, and more await every Agent who embarks on our Expeditions!
New Classified Assignment: Central Aquarium New Classified Assignment: NSA Site B13

Shepherd Reward System – Call for Backup

  • Added the ability to earn the “Shepherd” title by responding to call for backups and earning endorsements. An agent who received help will be able to endorse the helping agent.


  • Added Discovery Mode difficulty for the Operation Dark Hours raid.
  • Added Raid Completion Time to Clan Leaderboards. This leaderboard ranks clans based on how quickly they were able to complete the raid as a clan-only party.


New Exotic: Diamondback Exotic Rifle
  • Lever action rifle
  • 5 round magazine
  • 100 RPM
  • Talents:
    • "Agonizing Bite"
      • Diamondback randomly marks an enemy. Hitting that enemy consumes the mark, guaranteeing a critical hit with +20% total damage. A new random enemy is marked afterwards, and whenever you reload.
    • "Deep Fangs"
      • After hitting 5 marked enemies, gain +50% reload speed, +20% total damage and all shots fired are guaranteed critical hits for 10s.
    • "Shedding Skin"
      • While drawn, each time a round is loaded, gain +20% bonus armor for 3s. While holstered, each time you reload or cycle your current weapon, gain +8% bonus armor for 2s

New Exotic: BTSU Exotic Gloves

  • Black Tusk gloves
  • Talents:
    • "Elemental Gadgetry"
      • Skills that apply status effects gain +50% status effect duration and +50% skill haste
    • "Energy Infusion"
      • Whenever you apply a status effect, your gloves become infused with that for 60s. While infused, you gain +10% skill damage, +10% skill healing and repair and +10% skill duration for each Utility (yellow battery) on your gear.
    • "Charged Proxies"
      • Whenever you throw a skill, 1.25s after landing, it creates an explosion applying the infused status effect to all enemies within 6m. Enemies affected by the infused status effect take 50% more damage from your skills.
  • Heroic Bosses now drop Exotics
    • Only exotics that the player is qualified for.
      • For world drop exotics it requires that the player has the drop previously
      • For crafted exotics, it requires that the player has the blueprint
      • Eagle Bearer remains exclusive to the Operation Dark Hours Raid
    • The purpose of dropping these is to allow a chance to get GS 500 variants without upgrading, or get materials to upgrade other exotics
    • These exotics can be team shared to other players.
  • Exotic items no longer have a random range on their damage/armor roll. All exotics are set to the previous highest possible value. This also affects existing exotic items.


New Assault Rifle: Carbine 7
  • 30 round mag
  • 790 RPM
  • By default rolls with a new talent:
    • "Overflowing"
      • Every 3 reloads from empty increases your magazine capacity by 100%
New Light Machine Gun: Stoner LMG
  • 580 RPM
  • 200 Mag capacity
  • By default rolls with a new talent:
    • "Overwhelm"
      • Suppressing an enemy, that is not currently suppressed, grants +5% weapon damage for 10 seconds. Max stack is 5.
  • Increased the base damage of Shotguns in PvE.
    • M870: +36% damage
    • AA12: +29% damage
    • Super 90: +33% damage
    • SASG-12: +33% damage
    • SPAS12 +8% damage

Weapon Mods

  • Added Flashlight attachments for pistols


Developer Comments: We took a hard look at the current meta. The builds that are fun, effective and popular. We knew that skill builds, while it being something people want to play with, was nowhere near competitive. We knew there was an explosives damage build that was on the fringe of popularity, but none that actually relied on really good skill mods driven by skill power.
We analyzed the best damage builds and survivability builds out there and looked at their efficiency - how fast they kill, how fast they can clear content, how fast they can take down enemies - and mapped that to our skills. How much more power do skills need to get from 3K skill power (our current maximum requirement on skill power mods) to compensate for all the damage bonuses the player is "giving up" on gear to reach that skill power?
Then we looked at each skill and what it should be good at (burst, sustain, single target damage, survivability etc) and went to work tuning the mods to make a skill build approach the efficiency of a "red" damage build or a "blue" tank build. To that effect, here are the current changes to skill mods power levels, and in some cases base numbers, on skills.

Skill Haste

Cooldown Reduction has been replaced with skill haste. Skill haste works equivalent to speed. So 100% skill haste reduces cooldown by 50%, like a car speeding up by 100% getting to it's destination in half the time. This means that the player can invest in more than 100% Haste and still get something back. It also means there's a diminishing return to Skill Haste, as opposed to cooldown reduction where each point was actually worth more than the last one. This allows us to have a good amount of Skill Haste possible from gear, but even larger amounts granted by high skill power Skill Mods, granting skill builds more frequent access to their souped up skills.
To that effect, these are the changes to Haste (formerly Cooldown Reduction)
  • Removed the 90% Cooldown Reduction hard cap
  • Lowered the minimum Cooldown cap for all skills from 10 seconds to 3, except for the Chem Launcher which is now 8
  • Renamed all instances of Cooldown Reduction on existing gear to Skill Haste, with a 50% increase to their base values
  • Eg: +10% Cooldown Reduction will become +15% Skill Haste
  • Increased Surge talent Skill Haste bonus from +10% to +20%
  • Increased Alps Summit Armament 1-piece Skill Haste bonus from +10% to +20%
  • Increased China Light Industries Corporation 3-piece Skill Haste bonus from +10% to +30%
  • Increased Petrov Defense Group 3-piece Skill Haste bonus from +10% to +30%
  • Increased Tip of the Spear 3-piece Skill Haste bonus from +20% to +40%

Specialization Skill Mods (granted from each spec tree)

  • Removed all Skill Power requirements
  • Bonuses greatly improved to provide a strong initial boost to the skill platform
  • Demolitionist
    • Cyclone Magazine - Extra Mortar Ammo bonus increased from +1 to +3
    • SHD CPU V.2 - Damage increased from +7% to +100%
  • Survivalist
    • Magnetic Disc - Skill Haste increased from +9.7% to +80%
    • Larrea Tridenta Infusion - Healing bonus increased from +14.5% to +50%
  • Sharpshooter
    • Graphene Battery - Duration increased from +14.5% to +80%
    • Carbon Fiber Frame - Skill Haste increased from +9.7% to +80%
  • Gunner
    • Microwave Amplifier - +30% Banshee Pulse Confuse Duration
    • Directional Transmitter - +30% Banshee Pulse Cone Size

Skill Platform Changes

  • Scanner
    • Scanner Pulse will now begin its cooldown after a 3 second delay on activation, rather than at the end of the Pulse effect's duration
    • Lowered Scanner Pulse base radius from 52m to 50m
    • Lowered Scanner Pulse cooldown from 90s to 40s
  • Remote
    • Lowered Remote Pulse cooldown from 120s to 60s
  • Jammer
    • Lowered Jammer Pulse cooldown from 120s to 90s
  • Assault
    • Increased Assault Turret base damage by 22.5%
    • Increased Assault Turret base duration from 120s to 300s
    • Lowered Assault Turret cooldown 120s to 60s
  • Incinerator
    • Lowered Incinerator Turret base damage by 60%
    • Increased Incinerator Turret base burn damage by 60%
    • Lowered Incinerator Turret base burn duration from 5s to 4s
    • Increased Incinerator Turret base duration from 120s to 300s
    • Lowered Incinerator Turret cooldown from 120s to 90s
  • Sniper
    • Increased Sniper Turret base ammo from 5 to 6
    • Lowered Sniper Turret cooldown from 240s to 60s
  • Artillery
    • Lowered Artillery Turret cooldown from 240s to 60s
  • Increased Turret platform base health by 100%
  • Restorer
    • Increased Restorer Hive base healing amount by 50%
    • Increased Restorer Hive base health by 20%
    • Lowered Restorer Hive cooldown from 240s to 90s
  • Stinger
    • Stinger Hive damage is no longer affected by Explosive Damage modifiers
    • Increased Stinger Hive base health by 50%
    • Lowered Stinger Hive cooldown from 240s to 90s
  • Booster
    • Increased Booster Hive base health by 33.3%
    • Lowered Booster Hive cooldown from 240s to 90s
Chem Launcher
  • Firestarter
    • Increased Firestarter Chem Launcher base burn damage by 60%
    • Lowered Firestarter Chem Launcher base burn duration from 5s to 4s
  • Riot Foam
    • Increased Riot Foam Chem Launcher base radius from 1.5m to 3m
  • Blinder
    • Lowered Blinder Firefly base blind duration from 8s to 6s
  • Burster
    • Lowered base damage of Burster Firefly by 20%
    • Lowered Burster Firefly cooldown from 90s to 60s
  • Demolisher
    • Lowered base damage of Demolisher Firefly by 25%
    • Lowered Demolisher Firefly cooldown from 90s to 60s
Seeker Mine
  • Explosive
    • Increased Explosive Seeker Mine base damage by 42.8%
  • Airburst
    • Increased Airburst Seeker Mine base burn damage by 60%
    • Lowered Airburst Seeker Mine base burn duration from 5s to 4s
  • Cluster
    • Increased Cluster Seeker Mine base damage by 33.3%
    • Increased Cluster Seeker Mine explosion radius from 3m to 4m
    • Lowered Cluster Seeker Mine cooldown from 90s to 40s
  • Mender
    • Increased Mender Seeker Mine base duration from 120s to 300s
    • Lowered Mender Seeker Mine cooldown from 180s to 60s
  • Striker
    • Increased Striker Drone base damage by 7.1%
    • Increased Striker Drone base duration from 120s to 300s
    • Lowered Striker Drone cooldown from 180s to 60s
    • Lowered Striker Drone base health by -20%
  • Defender
    • Lowered damage reduction from 100% to 80% (20% in PvP)
    • Increased Defender Drone base duration from 20s to 40s
    • Increased Defender Drone base health by 100%
  • Bombardier
    • Lowered Bombardier Drone cooldown from 120s to 60s
    • Lowered Bombardier Drone base health by -46.6%
    • Increased Bombardier Drone base bomb blast radius from 3 to 4 meters
  • Fixer
    • Increased Fixer Drone base health by 60%
    • Increased Fixer Drone base duration from 180s to 300s
    • Lowered Fixer Drone cooldown from 180s to 60s
  • Tactician
    • Increased Tactician Drone base duration from 180s to 300s
    • Lowered Tactician Drone cooldown from 180s to 60s
    • Lowered Tactician Drone base health by -73.3%
Ballistic Shield
  • Ballistic Shield base health regeneration is now percentage based and scales with the total health of the shield
    • 5% HP/s Holstered Regeneration
    • 2.5% HP/s Active Regeneration
  • Bulwark
    • Increased Bulwark Ballistic Shield base health by 33%
    • Lowered Bulwark Shield cooldown from 240s to 40s
  • Crusader
    • Lowered Crusader Shield cooldown from 240s to 40s
  • Deflector
    • Lowered Deflector Ballistic Shield base health by 6.6%
    • Lowered Deflector Shield cooldown from 240s to 40s

Skill Mod Changes

All numbers based on maximum (3000 skill power) mod attribute rolls
  • Extra Payload - Damage bonus increased from +30% to +100%
  • Experimental Blend - Changed from flat value to percentage based increase of base Healing amount (+50%)
  • Experimental Blend - Stim Efficiency bonus increased from +20% to +50%
  • Experimental Blend - Buff Duration bonus increased from +20% to +50%
  • Nitroglycerin Mixture - Damage bonus increased from +30% to +100%
  • Nitroglycerin Mixture - Healing bonus +50% variant added
  • Cooling Vents - Skill Haste bonus increased from +20% to +100%
  • Internal Storage - Charges bonus increased from +30% to +100%
  • Swarm Control - Charges bonus increased from +30% to +100%
  • Radar Signal Antennas - Duration bonus lowered from 60% to 50%
  • Network Firewall - Radius bonus increased from +60% to +100%
  • Network Firewall - Duration bonus lowered from 60% to 50%
  • Steel Harness - Health bonus lowered from 60% to 50%
  • Polycarbonate Wiring - Health bonus lowered from 60% to 50%
  • Magnetic Rail - Damage bonus increased from +30% to +150%
  • Lubrication Gel - Duration bonus increased from +60% to +100%
  • Lubrication Gel - Incinerator Turret Burn Strength +100% variant added
  • Cyclone Magazine - Extra Mortar Ammo +8 variant added
  • Cyclone Magazine - Extra Sniper Ammo +12 variant added
  • Spare Parts - Skill Haste bonus increased from +20% to +100%
  • Organic Circuits - Duration bonus increased from +60% to +100%
  • Ammo Box - Extra Sniper Ammo bonus increased from +3 to +12
  • Ammo Box - Extra Mortar Ammo bonus increased from +2 to +8
  • Ammo Box - Mortar Radius +50% variant added
  • SHD CPU V.2 - Damage +150% variant added
  • Multi-tool - Skill Haste bonus increased from +20% to +100%
  • Weather Coating - Health bonus lowered from +120% to +100%
  • Carbon Fiber Barrel - Health bonus lowered from +120% to +100%
  • Nickel-Chromium Wire - Skill Haste bonus increased from +60% to +200%
  • Nickel-Chromium Wire - Remote Pulse Skill Haste +300% variant added
  • Silicon Carbide Coil - Charging Speed bonus increased from +30% to +50%
  • Exploded Blueprint - Skill Haste bonus increased from +60% to +200%
  • Heating Mantle - Charging Speed bonus increased from +30% to +50%
  • Distributed Architecture - Radius bonus lowered from 60% to 50%
  • Super Glue Pulse - Radius bonus lowered from 60% to 50%
  • Unstable Oscillator - Effect Duration bonus lowered from 55% to 50%
  • Atmospheric Analyzer - Effect Duration bonus lowered from 55% to 50%
Seeker Mine
  • Mini Electric Motor - Skill Haste bonus increased from +40% to 200%
  • Delivery System Upgrade - +100% Damage variant added
  • Ball Bearings - Damage bonus increased from +30% to 100%
  • Magnetic Disc - Skill Haste +200% variant added
  • Phosphorus Ingredient - Healing bonus increased from 60% to 100%
  • RDX Pellet Payload - Damage bonus increased from +30% to +100%
  • RDX Pellet Payload - Airburst Burn Strength +100% variant added
  • Larrea Tridenta Infusion - Healing +100% variant added
  • Brushless DC-motor - Health bonus lowered from 60% to 50%
  • Sturdy Piston - Health bonus lowered from 60% to 50%
Chem Launcher
  • Piranha Solution - Damage bonus increased from +30% to +100%
  • Piranha Solution - Firestarter Burn Strength +100% variant added
  • Chromatics Training - Radius bonus increased from +30% to +50%
  • Slip Fit Tube - Skill Haste bonus increased from +30% to +100%
  • Cell Penetrating Peptide - Healing bonus increased from +60% to +100%
  • Hydrochloric Infusion - Damage bonus increased from +30% to +100%
  • Ultra-Thin Cartridges - Radius bonus increased from +30% to +50%
  • Liquid Nitrogen Cooling System - Skill Haste bonus increased from +30% to +100%
  • Pharmacokinetic Enhancer - Healing bonus increased from +60% to +100%
  • Imbued Metal String - Ensnare Health bonus lowered from +60% to +50%
  • Polypropylene Recipe - Ensnare Health bonus lowered from +60% to +50%
  • Graphene Battery - Duration +100% variant added
  • Electric Soldering Tool - Skill Haste bonus increased from +40% to +100%
  • Gimbal Vibration Damping - Health bonus increased from +60% to +100%
  • Blitzkrieg Blasting Powder - Striker Damage +600% variant added
  • Blitzkrieg Blasting Powder - Radius bonus lowered from 60% to 50%
  • Freedom Package - Radius bonus lowered from 60% to 50%
  • Carbon Fiber Frame - Skill Haste +100% variant added
  • Reinforced Rotor Blades - Health bonus increased from +60% to +100%
  • Terminal Ballistics - Damage bonus increased from +30% to +200%
  • Trauma Analyzer - Healing bonus increased from +30% to +50%
  • Trauma Analyzer - Deflector Duration +50% variant added
  • Gaffer Tape - Duration bonus increased from +60% to +100%
  • Hollow-point Bullets - Damage bonus increased from +30% to +200%
  • Micropulsing Stimuli - Healing bonus increased from +30% to +50%
  • Micropulsing Stimuli - Fixer Skill Haste +100% variant added
  • Adaptive Insulation Foam - Skill Haste bonus increased from 60% to 100%
  • Synthetic Mineral Frame - Skill Haste bonus increased from 60% to 100%
  • Titanium Reinforcement - Health bonus increased from +45% to +100%
  • Shape-memory Alloy - Deflected Damage bonus increased from +20% to +100%
  • Cementitious Material - Holstered Regeneration bonus increased from +60% to +100%
  • Weaved Aramid Fiber - Health bonus increased from +45% to +100%
  • Supramolecular Networks - Active Regeneration bonus increased from +20% to +100%
  • Liquid Metal Microdroplets - Holstered Regeneration bonus increased from +60% to +100%
  • Thermoresponsive Polymer - Deflected Damage bonus increased from +20% to +100%
  • Smart UHMWPE Lexicon - Active Regeneration bonus increased from +20% to +100%
  • Smart UHMWPE Lexicon - Ballistic Shield Health +100% variant added
  • Alignment Valve - Damage +100% variant added
  • Tungsten Compound - Damage +100% variant added
  • Propantriol Adhesive - Skill Haste bonus increased from +40% to +200%
  • Microfiller Resin - Skill Haste bonus increased from +40% to +200%
  • Hardened Casing - Health bonus lowered from 60% to 50%
  • Tungsten Compound - Max Targets bonus increased from +3 to +5
  • Guiding System - Max Targets bonus increased from +3 to +5


  • Added a crafting bench upgrade in World Tier 5 that allows players to craft at Gear Score 500. The items crafted are gear score 500, there will be no random range in terms of gear score/power. The bench upgrade is given to players when they complete the “Enter WT5”-project (same as all the other bench upgrades in endgame, the upgrade will be available at the bench once the bench is upgraded to World Tier 5). Players already in WT5 will automatic get it as they log in, The upgrade requires 1 weapon and 1 gear piece of Gear Score 490+, and some of each Specialized (blue) material Crafted items can be used in recalibration, both as materials and to be improved
  • Deconstructing High-End gear now guarantees a brand material (increased from 50% drop chance). Named branded items also award the brand mat on deconstruction
  • Deconstructing gear set items awards 4 of each Specialized (blue) material
  • Added an opt-in perk for the player to share blueprints and materials between characters in endgame. Some Blueprints and mats are excluded to not break game logic/progression, such as the specific exotic materials. This perk can be crafted and the blueprint is available at Inaya, the Crafting vendor.
  • The blueprints awarded from control points, vendors and projects are merged into one pool of rewards. Players can get all these blueprints from all three sources. Once the pools has been exhausted, none of the sources will give more blueprints.


  • Increased the radius of the Gunner's Riot Foam Grenade from 2m to 3m


  • Changed shotgun PvP modifier to 1.0 (was 1.65)
    • Net result in PvP with revised normalization modifiers:
      • M870: -14% damage
      • AA12: -21% damage
      • Super90: -17% damage
      • SASG-12: -17% damage
      • SPAS12: -42% damage
  • Changed the general PvP modifier to 0.55 (was 0.40)


  • Reduced the TAC-50 signature weapon’s damage per shot


  • Calculated Talent reduced to 20% from 10%. Now works off any kill from cover instead of weapon kills.


  • Cassie Now sells GS 500 items. She sells normal gear, some exotics and named weapons


  • Improved player feedback when trying to pick up ammo with maximum signature weapon ammo
  • Inspecting a player now allows inspection of weapons, grenades and skills


  • Intercepted projectile by the deflector drone now do a % damage, rather than binary be dropped or not
  • Return player control quicker after dropping down
  • Reduced Depth of Field strength when aiming
  • Improved reload + interaction prioritization (if you hold down the interact, it will cancel the reload and start the interaction)
  • Improved player replication for players with widely different quality connections, should reduce inconsistent speedup/freezing of remote players


  • Slapback System enabled: The gunshot echo system that was featured briefly in the private beta prior to launch has been re-enabled


  • Improved Arabic voice-over localization
  • Added missing lore description for Dodge Citys Gunslinger Holster

Bug Fixes

  • Cyclone Magazine +Extra Sniper Ammo variant added to all loot list quality tiers
  • Unstable Oscillator and Atmosperic Analyzer Pulse Mods now properly reference the correct Effect Duration platform modifier
  • Vac Pack and Guiding System Firefly mods now correctly increase Max Targets by the amount listed on the tooltip
  • Distributed Architecture and Super Glue Pulse mods no longer affect the radius/range of the Banshee Pulse
  • Explosive Seeker Mine radius now correctly says 5m in the Skills UI
  • Cluster Seeker Mine radius is now displayed in the Skills UI
  • Explosive and Cluster Seeker Mines now show the correct explosion radius before detonating
  • Incinerator Turret burn damage is now affected by all increases to Skill Damage from geatalents
  • Firestarter Chem Launcher burn damage is now affected by all increases to Skill Damage from geatalents
  • Firestarter Chem Launcher now correctly states that it inflicts fire damage.
  • Added missing Artillery Turret & Tactician Drone showcase videos.
  • Airburst burn damage is now affected by all increases to Skill Damage from geatalents
  • Fixed an issue causing the Chem Launcher cooldown to reset when restocking ammo
  • Fixed an issue where the Turret skill could deploy inside a wall under certain circumstances
  • Fixed an issue causing the reviver hive to not revive players when thrown
  • Fixed skill mods requirement having an invisible decimal, resulting in incorrect power requirement information
  • Fixed the Banshee Pulse skill mod description to state that it applies Confusion status effect on affected target
  • Fixed an AFK related exploit in the Conflict PvP mode
  • Fixed several locations on Conflict maps where players could ignore damage when behind cover
Weapons & Gear
  • Fixed an issue where the Sweet Dreams and Lullaby upgrade blueprints wouldn't appear on the crafting vendor under certain circumstances
  • Fixed an issue where some Longe Range Pack "Sett" backpacks could roll with 0% weapon damage on Specialized (blue) quality
  • Fixed an issue where the opportunistic talent did not work in PvP.
  • Fixed an issue causing armor rolls below the minimum advertised when upgrading an exotic gear piece.
Missions & Open World
  • Fixed an issue causing players to become stuck during the “Reach the first hall” objective in the Air & Space museum mission
  • Fixed a loot exploit in the Invaded Capitol Hill stronghold
  • Fixed enemies becoming stuck in their spawn rooms in the “Museum Water Source” side mission
  • Fixed “Neutralize the hostile” objective not updating correctly in the “Agent Edwards Support” side mission
  • Fixed an issue where NPC’s from a Warhound Convoy could spawn in an inaccessible area
  • Fixed an inaccessible bounty location in the Judiciary Square zone
  • Fixed several areas where players could leave the playable map
  • Fixed several areas where players could fall through the world
  • Fixed several areas where players could vault into water. Don’t go swimming with all that gear, agents!
  • Fixed several areas with missing climb prompts
  • Fixed several areas where the player could become stuck in the open world
  • Fixed several areas where the players could become stuck in missions
  • Fixed several world objects with missing cover prompts
Special Field Research
  • Fixed Special Field Research objective “Complete 5 Public Executions with Marksman Rifle” not progressing under certain circumstances
  • Fixed the Specialization adventure progression circle to be consistent with other progression circles
  • Fixed “Resource Distribution Merit” not progressing correctly
  • Fixed “Calibration Award” not unlocking not progressing correctly
  • Fixed “Prone Target Award” not progressing correctly.
  • Fixed an issue causing loadouts using the same skill to revert all affected loadouts to the same skill mod
  • Fixed the Conflict UI being misaligned when using Dual Monitors and the Offset UI option
  • NPCs no longer double heal their armor
  • Players can now damage NPCs rappelling on ropes with explosives
  • Fixed an error during the calculation of weakpoint kill stats
  • Players can no longer easily pass through Black Tusk Warhounds
  • Control point officers no longer instantly revive players if the player has just used the Chem Launcher
  • Outcasts suicide rushers now blow themselves up closer to their target
  • Fixed abnormal NPC behaviour when suppressed outside of the players view
Dark Zone
  • Fixed an issue where agents at Dark Zone level 50 do not lose XP when killed as a rogue agent.
  • Fixed an issue where the Black Tusk medic’s drones would self-destruct in the Dark Zones
  • Fixed an issue where the player was unable to cut the rope at an extraction if the “Sleight of Hand” perk was active.
  • Fixed an issue where killing wildlife would yield signature weapon ammo.
  • Fixed an issue where signature weapon ammo could drop mid-air
  • Fixed a clipping issue with the Gunner Uniform when equipped on a female character
  • Fixed an issue relating to interacting with ECHO’s when in a group
  • Fixed several occurrences of Delta errors when interacting with world objects
  • Fixed performance drops when browsing player inventory on Xbox One
  • Fixed performance drops when opening the Ubisoft Club Challenge tab on PC
  • Fixed an issue causing NPC weapon audio to be stuck in a loop under certain circumstances
  • Fixed an issue causing missing weapon audio when firing immediately after having switched from a grenade
  • Fixed an issue causing older versions of the Tobii Eye Tracker to be unresponsive
  • Fixed an issue causing the “Aim at Gaze” option for the Tobii Eye Tracker to be inaccurate
  • Fixed an issue with the Motion Sickness mode causing the player’s FOV to change drastically when enabled
  • Fixed an issue where players incorrectly could vote kick a member during a boss fight in the Roosevelt Island stronghold on challenging difficulty
submitted by JokerUnique to thedivision [link] [comments]

Stellaris Dev Diary Questions/Answers

{Edit: Glad you guys liked it, I just added another pass of a couple more dev diaries}
[just updated to include what should be all the remaining comments in Part 4]
So I compiled a number of paradox developer responses from the paradox dev diary forums from user questions.
All the original context can be found here:
This is by no means comprehensive and only accounts for about the last 5-6 [updated to include about the last 14-15 should be all ~26 diaries now, or as many had meaningful responses] of the diaries and not all questions or responses recorded. Just the ones I found interesting enough to track. I did not record who asked and who responded, but I only include responses by the developers, not any non-dev users. So assuming something doesn't change in the late stages, most should be close to good.
Sometimes I left the question for context, other times, if it was a stand-alone statement, I did not. You'll have to guess from context, but I figure it's still a good amount of quality information for those who didn't follow the forum responses to the dev diaries.
And sorry, I didn't track which dev diary they came from.
I'll try to format this better as I learn reddit formatting.
Question/Comment Answer
Will there only the be the option of rotating presidencies, or are other more interactive systems of selecting the next presidents in federations possible? For release, it will most likely be rotation only.
- Currently, only Xenophile/Xenophobe Materialist/Spiritualist are valid FE [Fallen Empire] traits. More may be added.
- The FE personalties are: Xenophile: Benevolent Observers; Xenophobe: Militant Isolationists; Spiritualist: Holy Guardians; Materialist: Keepers of Knowledge
How does opinion work in Stellaris? Is there a cap as I notice that its at -284 for the Avians in the first screenshot or can it forever decrease and increase? The cap is -1000/+1000, so effectively uncapped. The Confederacy of Penkor really doesn't like me.
- Going to 1000 is really not possible..
Will there be some sort of slider for the player to influence The sector ai spending? E.g. I want an older sector to spend more money on a larger fleet but a newer sector on developing colonies. Not at present. Note that Sectors don't maintain fleets (besides construction ships), so generally they'll sink their minerals into developing planets.
Does this mean I can change how the archetype behaves? Or does it mean I can have a multitude of different personality potentials under one archetype? Archetype determines some core behaviours, for example a 'Propagator' AI will focus on population growth. This can't be modded, but you can make very different kinds of Propagators.
- There's a personality type called 'Fanatic Purifiers', whose primary goal is to purge the galaxy of all aliens. They're not the most diplomatic people around.
- AI personalities are mostly static but if a country changes so radically that the old personality would not be a possible pick for it anymore, it will pick a new one. IE: If they're Despotic Slavers who stop wanting to have slaves, they won't remain Despotic Slavers.
- Militarist Empires prefer to form alliances with other Militarists, since Pacifists would just vote down their wars. Some personalities go it alone, but most can form alliances under the right circumstances.
If I understood correctly, the AI behavior is mostly dictated by their personality, which is defined by a combination of ethos. But the same personality can be formed by multiple combination of ethos, right? So 'Federation Builders' won't be all 'individualistic, xenophile pacifist', so maybe they would be spiritual instead of individualistic, but still be a 'Federation Builder', is that correct? Correct. Ethos variations of the same personality can have some minor variations (such as which laws they pass) but it probably won't be on the level noticeable to the player.
- The AI does not hate you just for declining trades, but for instance if they're boxed in by you and you refuse access they might consider that a reason to go to war.
- AI personalities are 99% moddable. The only thing you can't do is create new archetypes, but it's possible to make very different personalities within the same archetype.
Does each personality have one and only one valid ethos combination that will result in it? Some do, most don't.
So how exactly will this insight into "These particular creatures manage to stay alive due to their regenerative skin." affect the card tech system? Does it increase the chances of a related card popping up? Can you study it for a long enough time (fill a bar) and then a choice of relevant technologies pop up? or how? It would be added as an "additional card".
4) Can we skip "Regenerative Skin tech I" and get "Regenerative Skin tech II" right away? Do techs even work like that? Yes, you can research missiles 4 before having missiles 3, for example.
can you study alien space creatures without having to murder them? What about domesticating them? Not right now, but its definitely something I would like to add :)
does the rival system work similarry to EUIV's rival systemw here every nation pretty much always has 3 rivals? because that doesnt sound like too great a situatioin if everyone has only met a handfull of other empires but is almost automatically hostile to all of them due to all the AI wanting to maximize their influence. No. AIs won't rival someone just to have more rivals, and there's no penalties for having less than 3 except missing out on some influence.
Also a casus belli to force you to abandon planets, could they force you out of your homeworld with that? Or is it strictly limited to colonies or specific planets that empire cares about? They can't force you off your homeworld.
[Administrative Sectors are a] Good idea for reducing micro but can we regain control the of an important planet if we don't like the way the ai is doing? You can remove systems from a Sector, should you wish to do so.
My concern is that this kind of thing managed to tank MoO3 because the AI governors were pants-on-head retarded. I hope that this will not be the case here. Making sure sector AI is good enough that most players won't feel frustrated letting it run their planets is very high on my priority list.
The game is being designed with the idea of the player delegating administration of non-core worlds to the AI. Facilitating the "option" to micro everything would a major anti-feature. Since people would feel they could do a better job than the AI, weather true or not, there would be an incentive to do so even if most people would not find it a lot of fun. And then people would start advocating it as the optimal way of doing things; "No wonder you lost, you should manage all planets yourself!". Then people would start demanding fixes or balances to the game based on this play style, even if though the game was never meant to be played like that. "It's in the game, so you should support it!" So you'll ending up with the impossible task of trying to support two conflicting play-styles, compromising the overall design of the game. And any changes that are done to improve the intended play-style of the game, are likely to be met with uproar from the minority who wants to play differently. Sorry, I would rather have a game with a cohesive design, than one trying to please everyone. Yep. Precisely this.
Do all the CBs regarding planets revolve around seizing them for ourselves or our allies? What if I do not want the world for myself but just wish to deprive it from my enemies? Can a planet become entirely depopulated during a war or as a result of the following peace treaty? If your policies allow full orbital bombardment, it is possible to severely damage planets, but not to completely depopulate them.
In the first screenshot is the 30 in the middle of the trade table 30 reasons that the deal will be accepted? Are deals black and white yes/no like in EU4? I really hate the old maybe/likely/etc system. Also what is the +17% with the arrows mean in the trade deal screen? AI will always tell you a definite yes/no when creating the offer, no need to send it and wait for an unknown answer. While slightly less realistic perhaps it does reduce frustration by a lot since otherwise you'd just keep sending offers blind over and over. The 17%-value shows how willing/reluctant that Empire is when it comes to trading with you. You can often trade with Empires that doesn't like you much, but it might require putting a bit more on the table.
1) Is there a cap on how many protectorates/vassals we can have a la EU4 diplomatic relations? I'm assuming so, and I'd bet it'd be influenced by ethos, gov type, and social research? 1) We're testing to see if a cap is needed, or if Liberty Desire is enough.
2) Will there be some mechanics to such that the choice between annexing vassals or just keeping them is more involved? Perhaps some bonuses to research or diplomacy if you elect not to annex your vassal species? 2) You do gain Military Access, Sensor Info and Construction Rights within a Vassals territory, which might be worth more than dealing with the headache of getting a new species within the Empire that has conflicting ethics/views on your politics. We might add some additional bonuses to keeping Vassals if we feel this is not enough of a motivator.
Does this mean, uplifted species will become more loyal vassals? Or do they forget their gratitude after some time? (Especially if the Overlord does something conflicting with their Ethos.) An uplifted species will be eternally grateful, but that does not mean they'll always agree with everything the overlords does. It helps but it's not a binary thing. The opposite goes for an Empire that is force-vassalized through war or such. They'll dislike their new overlord quite a bit at first, but time and/or having the same outlook on things might help mend relations.
Also, can we be a subject of another empire too, or is the game lost then? It would be nice to organise an uprising within another empire, maybe even uniting other subject species against the invasions. A player can be a Vassal to another Empire (human or AI) and still play. If the player is integrated/diplo-annexed the game is lost however.
Part 2
Question/Comment Answer
Let's hope [combat] won't be a godawful hard counter system and race with extremely highly advanced lasers could beat shields. Hard counters are one of the worst designs ever to see in a strategy game. It's Galactic Civilizations-level horrible. It's more of a cost-efficiency thing. Lasers will still do decent damage against shields, but it will not be the perfect choice. If you know an enemy fleet has gone 100% missile-weapons and you can get full point-defense coverage you'll do very well (though not win unharmed).
very cool, i like the battle computer add in. this will give some standard AI for that ship to follow. question though, how (if at all) will stellaris try to balance ship sizes in fleets to make sure that fleets dont end up as zerg corvette fleets or only massive battleships? Efficiency-wise we'd like it to be Corvette < Destroyer < Cruiser < Battleship < Corvette. This is of course an over-simplification but that's the general idea. We do a few things to try and achieve this, such as Corvettes gaining full Evasion from all sources while Battleships only gain 25% (Destroyers and Cruisers gain 75% and 50% respectively). This in combination with the fact that the larger weapons used by Battleships have lower attack speed, higher damage per attack and somewhat lower hit-chance should make it less cost-efficient to overkill small corvettes with huge weapons (lots of missed shots, those that do hit deal far more damage than needed). Corvettes in turn will struggle with the higher armor and shields of a Destroyer etc. up the chain.
Will we be able to customise strike craft? No, we've decided not to go in to such detail. Strike Craft come in sets of units (or Wings) that can be placed on ships with hangar-capabilities.
So every ship will have EFTL [Emergency FTL]? Even if they rely on wormholes and stuff? All fleets having some type of FTL-capability can use EFTL. Ships relying on Wormholes to travel will need a functional Wormhole Station within range. If there is no station in range, the fleet is stranded and can not EFTL (doooooooooooooooooooooooooooom!).
Does the player design strike craft or are they built using fixed rules (e.g. "fighter always use best beam weapon")? Are strike craft automatically replaced after battle, require repairs to be replaced or require new strike craft to be manufactured? Do strike craft on existing ships upgrade when new weapons are acquired? Strike Craft use their own type of weapons and are not dependent on what type of lasers etc. you've researched. Any Strike Craft lost during a battle slowly regenerate over time automatically. They can be upgraded should a new rank of them be researched and the design of the carrier-ship updated.
How does armor damage reduction work? Is it a percentage reduction in damage or subtracting damage from each hit? Armor subtracts a set amount of damage from each hit, up to a limit. Armor can never reduce damage taken to zero. Armor-penetration is percentage-based.
Will we be able to mod weapon stats? Yup yup!
Question: -Will there be some kind of speed upgrade to ships, so they can move faster? -Does 'strike crafts' have any range limit inside a solar system, and if so, is it shorter than missiles? -Is there any missile upgrade/type which can mitigate point-defense damage, like making the missiles go faster, being tougher or splitting into many smaller? As you can judge from the above I'm thinking about a design which tries to kite the enemy :) being fast enough to stay out of enemy range and keep hitting from afar, using shields as defense so they regenerate when out of range. The speed of the ship is mainly dependent on the Thruster, which can be upgraded. In rare cases there might be other components that improve speed as well (such as a Combat Computer). Strike Craft do have a range-limit. We're still tuning that so not sure on range just yet, what do you all think makes more sense? Also, there might just be a thing called Swarm Missiles that do overwhelm point-defenses (somewhat).
How will retrofits work? Will existing ships be able to be refitted with new weapons and technology on their sections, or will ships need to be built from scratch in order to make use of the latest weapons and tech advances? You can upgrade your fleet to the latest design at your nearest spaceport :)
My question is are we limited to one ship design per hull size at a time? So we can only have one corvette design, one cruiser design, and so on? Or is there freedom to design, save, and build multiple types of the same hull? Maybe I want one cruiser filled with point defenses guns to act as an escort while another cruiser just has long-range missiles for fire support. Things like that. From the screenshots its hard to say if we can save multiple designs for the same hull sizes or not. You can have multiple saved designs.
Stellaris is still in alpha so that 146 fleet size number is anything but fixed, however what does it represent? Each ship-type has a different cap-usage. A Corvette uses 1, while Destroyers use 2, Cruisers 4 etc.
Are these colony events/decisions things that need to be done "now or never"? Like the underground vault, for example, do we have to decide immediately and irrevocably, or can we say "let's wait until our colony is more established before opening that" ? In the case of the underground vault, you will get a Special Project to open it which you can complete whenever you want. Of course, other events can lead to Special Projects that are timed. If you don't finish them on time, there may be consequences...
Can the events effect your POPs' traits and ethics? Some event-results are very likely to do so, yes.
Do you have to participate in combat to take debris ? Or can you swoop in after the battle is over ? Still doing some testing on this but currently the idea is that the debris should be visible and available for all. First come, first serve most like.
Can you play as a fallen empire? Or at least tag switch? Though they are not designed to be played, you can tag switch to them. Also in the setup there is flag "is_playable" with currently is set to = no. But if you just switch to "yes", then they turn up in the Species creation wizard as an option.
Do different species rebel often or were the examples here special ? How hard is it to keep a multiracial empire together ? Whether Pops from a different species will rebel depend on a number of things, such as their ethics, the ethics of your empire, your policies and so forth. Keeping a multiracial empire together is certainly possible.
Another question regarding Krogan and last weeks dev diary. Last week, you said that species that get to the atomic age can destroy themselves. Do they always destroy themselves, or can they just nuke themselves back to the stone age, a la Morgan style. There is also a chance that they will revert to a more primitive, pre-industrial stage. Of course, their planet will still be partially covered in radioactive wasteland, massive bomb craters and ruined cities...
Wonder if there will be clone armies... :D
Part 3
Question/Comment Answer
Can we deenact an edict? Or are we stuck with +1% missionary strength and -5% stability cost for the rest of the game? An edict is always timed and can not be retracted. A policy is active until changed, and can not be changed for 10 years (currently) after having set it.
As for research under passive observation. Is there a limit on how much research you get from industrial vs. non industrial etc or they are the same? Is there a maximum limit per civilisation you study or you get the ongoing bonus until they become space faring? An Observation Post in Passive Observation mode acts essentially as a more powerful Research Station, providing you with Society resources. There are various events that can trigger for them, of course. If the primitives become a spacefaring empire, the station will be dismantled.
Do civilizations naturally progress, and does Technological Enlightenment work by rapidly moving them through the various stages? Can civilizations actually wipe themselves out in nuclear war, (with a possibility to intervene perhaps) or was that just fluff? Civilizations can and will progress between the ages, but it's a fairly slow process so you're not going to see a Bronze Age civilization work their way up to space technology within the span of a single game... on their own, at least. Technological Enlightenment does not move them up through the various ages, it's essentially a progress bar (with associated events). The time it takes depends on how advanced the primitives are. And yes, there is always a risk of civilizations wiping themselves out in a nuclear war if they have reached the Atomic Age.
Can the native species react to your actions? Yes. :)
Can they only wipe themselves out in the Atomic Age? Yes. Of course, a stray asteroid could always show up...
How common will pre space age civs be? This is something that will likely see some tweaking before release, but we're aiming for that sweet spot where they're not too common and not too rare. ;)
Are the pre-spacefaring eras moddable? So could I add new ones and replace old ones? Yes.
... So I can't get tech B unless I have tech A, or it's more likely for me to get a proposal for tech Y if I already have tech X? Both. Sometimes there is a prerequisite, sometimes you need to already have unlocked a certain amount of techs and sometimes a tech is extremely unlikely of appearing unless some condition is met.
How moddable whole Technology&Research is going to be? Should be very moddable. It's easy to add or change new technologies. The only real difficulty is keeping track of the randomness and how likely techs are to actually appear.
Wouldn't it be more strategical to have the weight for each technology (instead of the lone rareful ones), with a convenient tooltip explinaing the weight for each one? I'm thinking to something like: Chance of appearance: Xenophobia: +10%; At war: -10%; Only 3 technologies in this field of reseach: -20%; Disgruntled Pops: -20%; This way, it could help to decide if such or such technology may be worth to be returned to the deck, at the risk it won't appear at all, or much later. In theory, good idea, in practice, not so much. We've decided that how the techs are generated, as one of three options, is not something we want to make transparent in the game.
I'm a little worried. If there are so many techs and there's no linear tree how can we evaluate other factions tech level? Especially with autogenerated techs. How do I know they have great lasers or industrial output? You fight them.
Will there be techs that would be mutually exclusive to each other like going biological path of a tech or a electronic path of a tech that would give more unique to races like one race would go down the biological path have these half tentacle looking ships while others would go like a more standard futuristic ships and etc Somewhat. But the exclusivity comes more from ethics than from other tech choices. Collectivists and Individualists will have different approaches to colonization.
Can you have scientists with special abilities that let you choose from 4 different techs? (or 2...) Some Empires will likely have the ability to generate additional (or possibly fewer) tech-choices, but that is not necessarily dependent on the scientist.
Part 4
Question/Comment Answer
Also, do we not get different types of POPs on a single planet? You could and probably will get that, but not at the start of the game.
I hope we'll be able to scrap modules for spacestations? I still have nightmares about CK2 before they added in modding support for removing holdings. Yeah, you can swap modules for a cost.
So... how long the list of all rare resources is? How do they work? (more or less like strategic resources in HOI3 FTM?) Can be anything from forging the strongest armor to increasing FTL speed to affect Pop Happiness.
Question for any devs. Is the wormhole station linked to spacestations? Or is it a different mechanic? They are not directly linked. Wormhole Stations are built outside a systems gravity well (a minimum distance from the star) and are not attached to a planet.
If we capture a spaceport from another empire, can we use (not build) the modules that they have put on it that we cannot due to our ethos or scientific reasons, or will they be rendered useless? If you take control of a planet with an intact spaceport the modules will function even if you can not build them yourself. If the module requires a resource to function, you will have to be able to provide that resource.
I assume 1 spaceport per planet? Yup, each inhabited planet can only have one spaceport.
Are there ways of increasing the number of leaders I can have or is it a hard cap? Number of leaders can be increased with techs.
Really nice that option to terraform a barren world. The button is disabled though, Currently Barren planets cannot be terraformed
Will players be able to create and use their own portraits ? :) (Even if user-created portraits are not animated) Yes, modders will be able to add their own portraits, none moving. And if you have the skills, you will likely be able to create your own moving one too.
I this a lot, a whole lot. I have to ask, though, what's each dev's favorite FTL method so far? It honestly varies week to week as we play MP. I have a love-hate relationship with Wormholes, being awesome when they allow me to deep-strike enemies but less awesome when my fleet is stuck in nowhere as another player raided my exposed connection-point.
How exactly does a wormhole-based traveler navigate the galaxy, anyway? Do they have to bring some sort of constructor vessel with them in to simply return to where you came from? To have a constructor vessel create a relay in every system you pass through? A fleet in range of a system with a functional Wormhole Station may request a wormhole to be opened to their system, allowing them to get home. It still takes time and occupies the Wormhole Station of course.
Follow-up questions: Can you make more than one wormhole station in a system? Effectively making a wormhole hub to be able to get multiple fleets to multiple systems quickly? Also, if you make a wormhole in two "neighbouring" systems, can those wormholes link to each others' system at the same time, each operating independently for further efficiency? Costly ventures, both of my hypotheticals surely are, but they could be strategically critical. A system can have several Wormhole Stations, creating a hub. Wormhole Stations in neighboring systems can independently send fleets to each others systems.
So, are hyperlanes there at the beginning of the game (created by ancient beings perhaps?) and impossible to change? Can you create new ones but not destroy any? Or can you destroy and create them? Also, is all movement FTL or is it possible to send a slower-than-light ship for colonization or even exploration purpose, before your technology allows you to have good FTL? The origin of the hyperlane-network is unknown, and can't be manipulated at will (for now at least...). Ships can be built without an FTL-drive to act as a local defense-force, but with no means of FLT-travel they can't leave the system. There is no sub-FTL travel between systems.
- I used to be a favor warp travel before, but wormholes are just to fun to pass up on.
Is this a sign that warp equipped ships will have inferior (combat) capabilities as compared to wormhole or hyperlane ships? How major drain on the available power will be represented in game? Not at all. But you'd have to think a bit more about how you configure your ships (until you research better reactors that is).
Very nice! One question though, how many planets are there on average per system? And how many planets can there potentially be per system? At the moment it is normally 3-10 planets, but it depends on the type of system. This number is being always being tweaked and may change for release. You can mod the files to have how many you like, but I can't promise that everything works if you go up to like 100 planets ;)
Will we also have systems with 2 or more stars? At the moment no, but we have had discussions about it. If we were to allow it I imagine that they will be quite rare.
Will be something related to gravity or magnetic field with stars? A Pulsar is an object with a high magnetic field, very small, very heavy. Events or physics are attached to the type of star? Planets and events can have certain features depending on the system they are spawned in, it is however not guaranteed.
will anomaly's work similar to the way they work in Endless Space? (essentially a random planetary modifier) Similar yes, think modifiers in our other games, can't give away more details than that ;)
Is it possible that a game will end and parts of the Galaxy will still be unexplored? Yes
I love the art. But I question why the fleet doesn't concentrate its fire on specific targets. Or is that an unlockable tech that follows later? ;) Currently each gun chooses its own target, depending on whats in range and optimal for its damage. As for the entire fleet, might not be in range of the same target. Also it would look sort of boring and unrealistic if the entire fleet was focus firing at one target at a time.
So my question is, why the tiny sun? I get that a realistic size would be silly (it would take up half the screen or more if it were), but I always wonder why star sizes are so wildly under-represented in these games. I think it would be pretty interesting to have these huge balls of fire in the center of each system, perhaps with a suitably bassy rumble when they enter into view. I feel like they would give a nice sense of scale, and also present a navigation problem. Instead the size is comparable to Jupiter, like maybe 2-3 times bigger at most. I wonder if that will be something we could mod later. Heh. The size of the stars are very easily modded. I completely agree about the size of stars. We do have different sizes on the stars, roughly corresponding to the actual classes of stars. And this is something we haven't fully solved yet. The thing about large stars are, if they are bigger, for the ships not to pass through them when flying, they either have to be far above them. At which point the ships looks really weird in respect to all the other planets. Or, you have to code something for the ships to avoid the sun, for which there are many solutions. Though all of them are relatively time consuming. Right now we are focusing on gameplay, so it something we hopefully will have time to revisit before release. Lots of questions regarding the ship designer, and you'll get your answers. We have a ship designer diary coming up in the future, so say tuned. Pluto and moon fans, don't worry, moddability is very comprehensive on all aspects of the game, so you can add all the moons you see appropriate, and i don't doubt that you will. And I would love to see some ambitious total conversions.
It would be cool if devs could make some of the graphics adjustable/moddable. For example allow to play with color and brightness curve of the light emitted from the sun of system. These, for example look much more grimdark, enigmatic and mysterious to me. Although i do understand the difficulty of applying multiple suns lights to multiple planets. All those options are moddable ;) I am looking forward to see what the modders can do :)
[Edit: Ok did my best]
submitted by harperrb to Stellaris [link] [comments]

PSA: How to Avoid Arguing in Bad Faith

So this forum is a magnet for people who like to have opinions and arguments, but all-too-rarely do I read posts from people interested in real, actual debate. In other words, we attract a lot of trolls.
In my mind, debate is centered in finding truth, and where that is not possible, conversation should be invested in finding common ground. Too often, this sub is just one more place where I find myself playing Omnivore Bingo before moving on to the next thread in hopes of finding some real conversation (one that hasn't already been rehashed a thousand times by Vegan Sidekick or vegancirclejerk). The vegans here do their best to hold down the fort, but sometimes we get wrapped up in a conversation with someone who is just here to poke the bear.
Before you find yourself getting pulled into an argument you don't want to have, look out for when someone on the thread has begun to engage in one of the following bad faith argument strategies.
Shamelessly lifted from this thread from 4 years ago in a different community

The list of things to avoid:

Number 1: Asserting with certainty things that are open to question.
Number 2: Responding to objections to these assertions with mere repetitions and/or restatements without giving consideration to the objections (and no, "I have considered them and find them without merit" is not arguing in good faith).
Number 3: Outright dismissal of provided evidence. Demands for more evidence that fits whatever magical conditions they have in mind that's 'good enough' for their hyperskepticism.
Number 4: A refusal to explicitly state what you would deem acceptable evidence.
Number 5: Demanding that others spend time educating you when a half hour on Wikipedia will do the job just as well.
[Ed Note: If you're going to tell someone to go away and do some reading before coming back, it's probably best if you actually tell them what to read. Unless they're trolling, linking them to a source would be considerate. This also helps to decrease the likelihood that they'll spend the next half hour reading a straw man of the concept you want them to understand. (And remember the burden of proof!)]
Number 6: Any variation on "You're wrong because I'm right!" or "My way or the highway." Note that "You're wrong because of x, y, and z" is not prohibited. You can call someone wrong, but you have to back yourself up with why they're wrong.
Number 6a: Refusing to even entertain the possibility that other people's take on a situation may be valid and that there is not necessarily ONLY ONE valid way to tackle a problem/view an issue.
Number 7: When multiple people are saying that there is something seriously wrong with your point (or even just how you're presenting your point), you don't assume that EVERYONE ELSE is wrong or not understanding your Super Intelligent And Reasonable Point. In these cases it is most likely that: 1) You are lacking critical evidence/using bad evidence to form your "reasonable" argument, or 2) Failing to understand a critical perspective (or perspectives) that either contradict your evidence or show that there are more valid options than just your argument. In other words: You need to be able to demonstrate that you are willing to consider yourself wrong and entertain the possibility that, even IF you're right, others CAN ALSO be right. Not everything is a binary 1 or 0/yes or no/right or wrong type situation.
Just as a personal aside, something I have learned through the various fights I've had on the internet: It is often better to be fair than to be "right". What this means is that, even if you think the person you're arguing with is WRONGITY-WRONG-WRONG, it is often less productive to double down on your point (because I'm RIGHT and they're WRONG!) and instead to do things like ask questions and try to understand why they're taking the position they do. Not only does this allow you to better tailor your arguments to them (instead of just doing the equivalent of shouting I'M RIGHT YOU'RE WRONG I'M RIGHT YOU'RE WRONG WRONG WRONG), but it also leaves open the possibility to find out that there were things that they were "right" about.
Obviously "fair" doesn't mean "must listen to anyone who spouts any kind of bullshit no matter what". When it's an argument you've heard over and over and over and over and over again, the next person who makes it is 99% of the time already coming from a perspective you understand. Like, when gamers use gendered slurs in games (or on gaming blogs) I don't need to ask them why they think that it's ok to do that (although, depending on the person/situation, it can be useful), because I've heard every argument under the sun. So if/when I decide to engage, it's not a "right or fair" deal, but rather a "do I want to make a point for the lurkers or try and get this person to understand where I'm coming from?" decision.
Number 8: Do not assume that your argument is "objective". Recognize that you are a human being who brings your own biases into a conversation and even when your argument is supported by facts that does not mean that it is objective. Facts can be objective; the conclusions that we draw for them can't be.
Number 8a: "Objective" is not another way of saying "correct" and "subjective" is not another way of saying "incorrect". It is probably most helpful to look at "objective" as observations that are value neutral ("water is wet") and "subjective" as the conclusions we draw from our observations ("water should be a basic right because people will die without it").
Number 9: Don't use claims of "logic" or "reason" to shield yourself from criticism. Just because YOU think that your argument is "logical" or "reasonable" (or, conversely that another person or persons' argument is "illogical" or "unreasonable") does not mean that your assessment of the situation is correct.
Number 10: Coming to a thread with the attitude (stated or implied) that you will be attacked by the mean forum goers is toxic to productive discussion. It is also a pretty common trolling tactic, where the troll "predicts" that they will get shit for daring to disagree with the community, proceeds to engage in several bad faith tactics, and then jumps in with "SEE, JUST LIKE I PREDICTED!" when they are called out by the community and/or banned. They use this to justify their original position on the community, and will sometimes point to the thread as "evidence" while commiserating with their buddies about how horribly they were treated.
Number 11: Communication involves two people. This means that what you intend to say is not always what you end up actually saying to the person or people listening to you. When you're told that you're coming across in a certain way, DO NOT assume that the listener(s) are the ones having the communication fail (this is especially true if multiple people are saying that they heard "x" when you thought you said "y"). In this case it is best for you to try and figure out where the disconnect happened (rereading arguments and asking for clarification--understanding that no one is obligated to give it to you-- are good ways of doing this) and then figure out how you can communicate in a mutually understandable way.
Number 12: Do not hide behind vague, all-encompassing ideologies.
[Ed note: Do not defend or condemn ideologies if you are not certain what those ideologies are.]
I have seen two cases of this, one from a self-identified conservative and another from someone who claimed not to be a conservative but was still defending it. In the former case, there wasn't even a discussion, just bloviating about how there's so many liberals here and will the poor conservative be accepted. In the latter case, the defender of conservatism was forced to create a fairy-tale construction of history just to defend the basic conservative ideology, and paid absolutely no mind to how conservative politicians have always been against any form of social justice where specific issues are concerned; they've just "moderated" their language as their privileges have been eroded.
Number 13: You are more likely to have positive interactions with people if you learn the standards and conventions of the community before posting, especially if it's on a thread where hostilities have already occurred. Lurking is a great way to do this, but learning the "flavor" of the community is not enough. When watching people communicate with each other, try to see what kinds of words/phrases get positive responses versus which ones get negative responses.
The basic idea is: Think of the forums as a dinner party. When you go to a dinner party it's with the expectation that you will be respectful to your host(s) and their guests. Coming to the party with a bad attitude, being rude to the guests, insulting the host, or shitting all over the house (even if you're being perfectly polite to everyone!) are all things that will get you thrown out of a party. If you wouldn't do them there, don't do them here.
submitted by Carmack to DebateAVegan [link] [comments]

How to Save Halo Multiplayer

How to Save Halo Multiplayer
I am writing this to represent the Halo players that have problems with the game or have left the series completely due to these problems. I have been playing Halo since the series began, and I am very knowledgeable on the series as a whole. The main reason for the drop in number of players is due to unbalanced gameplay and a lack of competitive features. The game feels like it was designed more for the casual gamer than the core Halo fan base. Weapon balance, vehicle gameplay, ordnance, and maps also need some changes. I have compiled all of these suggestions from my own personal experience with the game and complaints from forums, youtube videos, and the Halo community in general.
  1. Make some small maps big enough to support light vehicles (such as Snowbound and Isolation from previous games). This does not mean vehicles must be on these maps. The point here is to make some small maps with open areas for greater map variety.
  2. Do not make maps with several long, narrow hallways and too many escape routes (such as Adrift and Countdown). Long hallways tend to lead to long range camper battles, which detract from the fun of the game.
  3. Do not make maps too difficult to navigate (Sword Base was the biggest offender. It was difficult to move around the map without a jetpack.) With that, do not make any maps specifically designed for a certain armor ability.
  4. Have more intermediate sized maps (such as Zanzibar and High Ground) that work for both team slayer and big team slayer.
  5. About half the maps should be small maps, a quarter should be big maps, and a quarter should be intermediate maps in order to capitalize on the number of maps in each playlist. Halo 4 had too many big team maps, and the small maps (except for Haven) did not play very well. I believe that the lack of good small maps in Halo 4 is the reason that so many more people played big team instead of team slayer.
  6. Have more dynamic maps (i.e. the wheel in Zanzibar, opening gates, etc.)
  7. Do not put any forge maps in online multiplayer (except for action sack and infection). Forge maps are lower quality and usually have a worse layout than the maps that come with the game. They all end up looking similar and bland. They also tend to be more prone to lag problems.
  8. Do not make maps with roof access or put soft kill zones on roofs (this is the most common complaint for Complex).
  1. When a player that is zoomed in gets shot, they should automatically zoom out. It makes it more difficult to camp from long ranges and encourages players to get closer to one another. Although both systems decrease accuracy when shot at, the flinch system in place now is not effective enough.
  2. Give the DMR and light rifle a range reduction to that of the BR, or at least close to it. On big maps, the DMR and light rifle are really the only choices a player has if they want to do well. It makes it easier for players to spawn trap from afar (which is extremely aggravating when it happens), and on maps like Ragnarok, most of the map is within the DMR’s range from the center hill. Halo plays best in the mid-close range, but the range of the DMR and light rifle has turned Halo into a long range camp-fest. If you do not believe me, look at gameplay of Halo 3 Valhalla and Halo 4 Ragnarok. If they received the range deduction, the DMR and light rifle would still be better long range weapons than the BR because of the bullet spread of the BR, but it would not be useless to use a BR in big team battle.
  3. Make the automatic loadout weapons more diverse. The assault rifle seems to be the best because the suppressor has no range and cannot burst fire well, the storm rifle overheats too quickly, and the assault rifle has the best accuracy with a decent magazine size. Make the suppressor more effective at close range by giving it a damage boost. Since it still sucks at range because it has the most spread/bloom out of the automatic weapons, its damage boost will only dominate at very close range. Make the storm rifle slightly more powerful and increase the time it takes for it to overheat. This will make it between the suppressor’s power and the assault rifle’s range. Do not change the assault rifle.
  4. The boltshot should not be a shotgun. Give it a range reduction, and do not allow it to kill enemies with the charged feature. Also make it an 8-9 shot kill with single fire to encourage other uses for the gun. In its current state, the boltshot is much too powerful to be considered a secondary weapon.
  5. The plasma pistol is ruining vehicle gameplay in big team battle. Make the EMP travel slower so it is harder to hit vehicles. Also reduce its aim assist because it locks on to vehicles from a generous distance. This would only be necessary if players have the choice to spawn with a plasma pistol.
  6. Spawn with only 1 plasma grenade. Plasma grenades along with the plasma pistol make vehicles useless. Spawning with only one of those grenades will help balance the problem. Increasing its splash damage to that of the frag would also help balance the plasma and frag grenades, but only if the player spawns with 1 plasma.
  7. Decrease the power of loadout weapons against vehicles. Vehicles are supposed to be more powerful than spartans by nature, but this is not the case in Halo 4. Two players with DMRs can take down a ghost fairly quickly, especially if they have plasma pistols and plasma grenades. Stop nerfing the vehicles because they are supposed to be powerful.
  8. Decrease the magnum’s rate of fire to match it to Halo 3’s, but keep power the same (especially if dual wielding is brought back). With slowing down its rate of fire, remove bloom for the pistol.
  9. Replace the concussion rifle with the brute shot.
  10. Increase power of pulse grenade. It is the most useless weapon in the game.
  11. Reduce aim assist for all weapons and remove bullet magnetism (look it up). Removing them encourages more skillful and competitive gameplay. Aim assist seems too helpful in its current form, especially compared to earlier Halo games.
  12. This is more of a personal preference, but I preferred the sound and appearance of the original battle rifle and magnum.
  1. Vehicles are supposed to act like power weapons in the sense that they provide a significant advantage to those that possess them. As I stated earlier, this is not the case in Halo 4 because of the anti-vehicle weaponry that is available for the player to spawn with. This must be changed by reducing the power of player. Do not increase the power of the vehicles because the problem is not with the vehicles. The problem is with the players tools for taking down vehicles. This goes with my previous changes. Reduce the speed and auto-lock of the plasma pistol, only let players spawn with 1 plasma grenade, and decrease the power of loadout weapons against vehicles. This would only be necessary if players have the choice to spawn with a plasma pistol.
  2. The tank and wraith are rather useless because they are very easy to hit with the plasma pistol. To fix this, only let the EMP stop vehicle movement while letting them be able to keep shooting. Only make this apply to the tank and wraith.
  3. Increase the velocity of wraith shots so that the player does not have to aim so high above the target. Bring it back to the velocity of Halo 3 or Reach.
Gameplay Elements
  1. Have a separate social and skill based ranking system. The overall level reached is affected by play time and only counts toward social playlists, while there is a different rank for ranked playlists.
  2. Do not make a player’s rank for ranked playlists only visible on Waypoint. It should be visible in the lobby of the playlist as well.
  3. Make it difficult to reach rank 50. It does a better job of classifying player skill. It should not be possible to gain more than 1 rank in 1 match. With that, only let players with similar skill levels play in the same game, and do not let there be a greater skill difference than 10 ranks between all players.
  4. Make ranking up more dependent (if not entirely) on winning games instead of individual score, especially for objective games. Individual score promotes selfish gameplay while winning games promotes team gameplay. If you complain that you do well, but your team sucks, you will statistically rank up over time while bad players will not and you will eventually stop playing with bad players.
  5. Join in progress should not be allowed for ranked playlists at all. Also give a stronger penalty to people that quit in ranked playlists.
  6. Go back to the veto system for voting. The voting system in place now causes the same maps to be played repeatedly, which brings staleness to the game. I am getting tired of only playing Haven, Ragnarok, and Exile on Halo 4. The veto system will bring much more variety. Also, if multiple people are playing on a console, there should be only one vote for the whole group. Currently, if 4 people are playing on one console in team slayer, they have half the votes, and it does not really matter what everyone else votes.
  7. Keep king of the hill, oddball, etc. in custom games, just not as individual playlists. Grouping them together in 1 objective playlist would be best.
  8. Make flood an appearance, not the only skin the player can use in infection. It greatly limited the potential of flood in Halo 4.
  9. Many people were not happy with loadouts being in Halo 4 because it completely changed the dynamic of Halo and made the game resemble Call of Duty. Although I agree it changed the dynamic of gameplay for the worse, it was not because of its resemblance to Call of Duty. Loadouts did not work because the DMR was the most powerful weapon when the game came out, but after the weapons tuning update, this was no longer an issue. However, loadouts continue to greatly limit the game. In order for the loadout system to work, all of the loadout weapons must be balanced. This means that there is little incentive to grab any other loadout weapon because the player chooses to spawn with their favorite loadout weapon, and the rest of the loadout weapons would be less useful than that. One of the greatest aspects of Halo was its variety of weapons, and players were actually given an incentive to use those weapons because they could not choose to spawn with them and they had to find weapons as they went. Balancing issues are another major problem with loadouts. The primary UNSC loadout weapons are clearly more powerful than the others, and it is difficult to reach the perfect mix of balance. If loadouts were not present, balancing the weapons to be equal to each other would not be necessary, and balancing as a whole would be less of a problem. Also, it would just be easier to balance vehicles by removing the option to spawn with a plasma pistol, and any reasonable human being would not care if some noob could not spawn with his favorite boltshot. Even armor abilities are unbalanced to the point where players are constantly pissed off by jetpackers, active camo campers, and promethean vision. The easiest solution would be to make every loadout item a map pick-up, and until loadouts are removed, it is very likely that Halo 5 will have massive balancing issues.
  10. For the individual player score (not team score) in a match, keep the system in Halo 4 (10 points for a kill) which will contribute to overall rank.
  11. For team slayer, have each kill count as one point on the scoreboard (play to 60, not 600).
  12. Remove personal ordnance entirely. It ruined maps by putting too many power weapons on the map at one time, and not only that, the teams that were already winning often got ordnance first and continued to dominate. Map control does not exist with personal ordnance, which is a huge aspect of Halo’s multiplayer. It also put weapons on the map that were not designed to be played on those maps (a binary rifle was never meant to be put on haven). In maps with vehicles, personal ordnance caused vehicles to be even more useless by having over ten power weapons on the map at one time. Ordnance made Halo more social and less competitive as a whole.
  13. Random ordnance on maps should be changed (specifically “random”). The same power weapons should spawn at the same location after they have reached their spawn times. Between this and personal ordnance, the aspect of “map control” does not exist. The one good thing that Halo 4 did was let every player know the locations of the power weapons at the beginning of the game. This is how 343 should make Halo more accessible for beginners, not ruining gameplay by giving them personal ordnance.
  14. Do not bring back the jetpack because it does more harm than good. Vertical combat generally annoys players.
  15. Replace the active camo armor ability with the single use invisibility from Halos 1-3. Active camo only encourages camping and should not be available for everyone to spawn with.
  16. Remove instant respawns. Instant respawns combined with sprint causes dead players to get into the action too quickly. Those that just got kills do not have enough time for their shields to recharge.
  17. In CTF, give the option to drop the flag and do not let players have a pistol when holding the flag. The flag carrier has too much power in Halo 4 because they can shoot enemies with a pistol that has 110% damage while simultaneously moving the flag. If the flag carrier wants to defend him/herself, force them to drop the flag.
  18. Remove the death cam and grenade indicator features. It is unnecessary and only causes people to complain and compare Halo to Call of Duty.
  19. When a player is shot at when sprinting, make them stop sprinting. The point of sprint was to get people into combat faster, not to escape from combat. However, if a player is holding an energy sword or gravity hammer, let them retain full sprint. In Halo 4, the energy sword traded its exceptional lunge range for not slowing down when shot, which I think was a good idea.
  20. Make search preferences for better connection, people with mics, etc. similarly to Halo Reach.
  21. Bring back dual wielding.
  22. Be able to play as elites.
In Conclusion
This list was not designed to make Halo the most profitable game ever, but instead, to make Halo have the best multiplayer possible. If this is going to happen, 343 must cater to the competitive audience because they are Halo’s biggest supporters. The biggest problems are the maps, loadouts, personal ordnance, random ordnance, voting system, range of DMlight rifle, and the ranking system. These problems either make the game more social or unbalanced. If just these things were changed, Halo would immediately become a better game and possibly gain back every player that left the series.
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