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"I think I've lived long enough to see competitive Counter-Strike as we know it, kill itself." Summary of Richard Lewis' stream (Long)
I want to preface that the contents of this post is for informational purposes. I do not condone or approve of any harassments or witch-hunting or the attacking of anybody.
Richard Lewis recently did a stream talking about the terrible state of CS esports and I thought it was an important stream anyone who cares about the CS community should listen to. Vod Link here: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/830415547 I realize it is 3 hours long so I took it upon myself to create a list of interesting points from the stream so you don't have to listen to the whole thing, although I still encourage you to do so if you can. I know this post is still long but probably easier to digest, especially in parts. Here is a link to my raw notes if you for some reason want to read through this which includes some omitted stuff. It's in chronological order of things said in the stream and has some time stamps. https://pastebin.com/6QWTLr8T
"The last month has convinced me, that we are going to be heading into a dark place for Counter-Strike esports in 2021."
"I think I've seen the scene essentially kill itself."
"For the past 5 to 6 years, we've basically been in a holding pattern of people coming into our game wanting to run it, wanting to run all of the esports and wanting to profiteer and its been sort of a concerted effort to drive them off and push them away."
"We're spread way too thin."
"If Riot don't get involved and stop the scumbags that have moved over to Valorant from getting their feet under the table, Valorant is going to have real problems."
RL thinks too much has happened all at once for us to do anything except watch it play out, like:
Recent CSPPA strike against BLAST
ESIC failures and them not being supported enough
Teams cheating i.e. coaches/bugs
Widespread match fixing
"People who try to hold bubble events are so incompetent and fuck up and people get the 'rona and its their fault."
"People who say Flashpoint is a bubble is full of shit and is a lie and people are now suffering for that lie."
"To save money they let people go home and break the bubble for a week."
"Not just Flashpoint peoples decision, they have a partner that handles the production." (hinting FACEIT)
"People are trapped in hotels essentially under house arrest because of COVID restrictions and has fucked peoples lives up."
"It's all too much, all of this incompetence, all of this greed, maybe we ride it out."
RL says he has talked to the Riot devs (the ones working on Valorant) and says, "They are so cognizant of all the fuck ups and all the problems we have in Counter-Strike."
He continues to say that this is factored into their business plan and that we never had a competitor, but just so happens to have one coincide, when we are at our worst.
CSPPA - Counter-Strike Professional Players' Association
"Who does this union really fucking serve?"
RL believes that the CSPPA is a mockery.
He points out the hypocrisy that they wouldn't strike for the pros who were kicked out of ESL Pro League, or for Jamppi or dream3r.
He also says ESL paid CSPPA and are racketeering and many other TOs have to pay them to get their "seal of approval"
He says they would strong-arm TOs saying "well if you don't give us the money, these guys are so we'll just have to commit to playing their event."
Also points out that they will strike against a competitor they are not in agreement with (Flashpoint)
RL: "It's what it says about every other time you haven't done it and it's about every time you don't do it now moving forward." "The issues they've chosen to ignore this year alone are embarrassing."
Then he points out that there was no strike for Valve qualifiers even if we have no major but Jamppi and dream3r can't play in them.
"and Valve have said 'Oh yeah we know actually their stories are accurate, Jamppi didn't cheat, now in a legally binding document. Yep dream3r did have his account hacked in a LAN café', but they still can't play. Where is the fucking solidarity? Gone. Doesn't exist. It's not important [because] it doesn't affect you." "That's what the union does right now, it looks after all the tier 1 people."
He says the CSPPA doesn't represent all players all the time and has driven a divide where you have the haves and have-nots
"We have a tier of players that operate with impunity and do not help their tier 2 or tier 3 players out at all." "If you are not a tier 1 player you do not matter, they don't event ask your opinion."
He tells chrisJ to admit and own the fact that the reason he didn't speak up during the ESL Pro League debacle is because it didn't affect him
"They are looking after some players at the expense of other players. How the fuck is that a union?"
He says the BLAST situation is a reasonable dispute and supports the players but is not the right time for a strike and have not even identified the correct enemy
He thinks players are lashing out now due to previous incidents and are upset that BLAST are working with ESIC
He stated that CSPPA shouldn't beefing with ESIC and they should be working in harmony
He says what they need to do is talk with the teams/organizations that have sold that right to BLAST
RL: "Your employers, the people who pay you that massive exorbitant salaries, when you don't stream and you don't do interviews and you offer no value beyond your ability to click heads and you get 25k dollars a month." "Why don't you talk to them about it? Oh right. You're happy to take away BLAST's paper, but you don't want to risk your own."
"I am seeing such unbelievable cowardice from the players here with the battles you choose."
"Where was the strike action when in the qualifiers for the world championship, there were teams and players engaged in huge conflicts of interest?" "Where was the strike action when your image rights were taken and sold to every league you've ever been in every union type organization you've ever been associated with like, WESA, to your org every time you sign a contract, to the leagues you play in."
"Your image rights are essentially worthless now, there's about 10 fucking separate parties that have them, and how many of them are giving you anything for it? Not much pretty much your org by the way."
"That's a big issue. Your image is you, your image is your brand. What are you doing about that? Nothing."
He is also angry at SirScoots who is "popping off" at people on Twitter who all want the same thing, which is 'A unified Counter-Strike scene for everybody, that works for everybody, that has a sustained ecosystem that nourishes everybody.' "We don't have that now."
He also says their rankings are a joke
"Just so happened, oh look TACO, that very important prominent member of the board, we pushed his team artificially up when they weren't even in the fucking top 20, not by a long shot."
He also says the ineptitude of the CSPPA cost Flashpoint a monitor sponsor
"Is it really a player association or is it like a fucking agency at this point"
ESIC - Esports Integrity Commission
"They have been put in an impossible position."
RL says that Ian Smith, the founder of ESIC and who was done work in mainstream sports, is a good and honorable man who has dedicated his life to integrity and sports. He takes on both sides, ensuring match fixers are punished, but also doing appeals and ensuring those punishments were fair.
"ESIC is a tiny organization" and are in need of money, "They didn't run a grift like the CSPPA did."
"Saying 'you want our support and you want the players to turn up you better pay us.' They don't do that."
"Had startup seed money from MTG and since then they've been pecking shit with the hens."
Ian Smith made sure that the money given by MTG (Modern Times Group, parent company of ESL, ESEA, DreamHack) was nothing more than startup money and wouldn't be in debt to them
Ian Smith sat down with other TO's not part of MTG and wanted to partner with them. They declined and called ESIC "ESL spies and we will never align ourselves with you"
"They only were just able to afford, hiring a PR guy on a full time salary to deal with the press and send out those releases you've seen, this year."
"They have a tiny group of staff investigating these things and they have taken on the biggest problems in our scene: the cheating, the match fixing."
ESIC have had "unprecedented levels of cheating to deal with, because there's something wrong with our scene ever since we went online. There's something wrong with it, everyone's lost their fucking pride and self-respect and they got no passion for it anymore, so they think fuck it, what's in it for me?"
He calls out coaches who are talking about players rights when they would rob and steal from them.
Also says more coaches being banned are coming
He also points out flaws in community's reaction to the punishments to coaches bans: "Half of the cunts still have jobs and some of the cunts got new jobs. We didn't even shun the cheating coaches."
ESIC have "found I think another 2 or 3 exploits like that one and they are investigating them all right now, it's going on right now."
"I know that there are going to be more names getting banned, again."
"So they're doing that on a skeleton crew while, investigating 3 continents worth of match fixing in MDL and semi-pro level CS." "They're doing this with half a dozen people." "They don't have any money or any help. People barely even fucking cooperate with them, they are treated like pariahs. It's ridiculous."
"Why are the CSPPA popping off at ESIC on my Twitter timeline, when you should be working together." "because its all about what's in it in for me." "2020, the online era of CS: 'What is in it for me?' How can I cheat, how can I get my paper, how can I bleed this scene one last time before I fuck off and play shooty shooty bang bang Riot Games babys first fps."
RL says that in the CIS region, teams have gone to tournaments and have been eliminated multiple times by the same team. We found out they were cheating and those players who lost, have been cut from their roster, careers ended because of cheaters.
"They're all at it in the online era, they're all at it, they're all cheating, they're all using exploits, probably that see through smoke bug got used a bunch of times"
RL talks about how there is no integrity from dead (the player), always denying when caught doing something
On the topic of 'BLAST never said we couldn't stream snipe': "Lies, BLAST never said you could do that, they had to sort of retcon it." "because what happened after that they fucking started snitching and squealing"
"Suddenly you had like, 10 of the top 15 teams in the world, staring into the abyss of being banned for 6-12 months in line with ESIC recommendations."
He says that ESIC was put in a tough situation and couldn't enforce the bans because it would have resulted in killing CS. What resulted was, BLAST, ESIC, and teams came together and gave them a warning and told them, in RL's words "don't do this again or you're gonna get got."
He then says the top teams brushed this off and didn't give a fuck
The new MiBR team playing Flashpoint, that wasn't involved in the previous incidents are doing it again (stream sniping). He gave credit to Flashpoint for the quick resolution and punishment and respect for cogu's response to the situation.
"ESIC came out and said, once more, 'Guys, zero tolerance from now on.'" RL then got upset at community's reaction calling ESIC "pussies" for their non enforcement and said if we want competitive CS we cant ban the top 10 teams.
He points out how players have no integrity and will do anything for an edge as long as they won't get detected or banned or it's within a grey area.
"All of this shit was mad avoidable, even in the pandemic era."
He talks about why aren't we filming them. Why aren't there representatives for leagues and tournaments making sure players aren't cheating?
"How many years have we let our scene be fucking pillaged by these greedy cunts?" "We just let it happen."
RL says that gambling and skins betting which existed in moderation was "accelerated and blown up by the Call of Duty greedy fucks."
"Never forget TmarTn was on the board of EnVyUs." "His website, CSGOLotto, they had a bunch of off-the-books sponsorships." "NBK promoted them. People forget."
"Those people who had access to the skins, go to the players" "Even people like s1mple, best player in the world, even he scammed knives and skins off fucking fans."
Owners of skin casino sites would approach pros and lend them skins to use in tournaments and possibly keep them after reaching a deal
Players would tip off inside info about matches and teams in exchange for skins. Info such as: roster changes, how they played in scrims
They would use this info to bet and subvert the odds on their sites. "That happened religiously, I can't even tell you how many times it happened."
"I had access to the biggest database of information, from an inside betting circle in NA, and it would take information and screenshots from other pro players, who were feeding them info in exchange for money or skins."
"Some of these players are still playing." "Incredibly, there are players still in the CSPPA today, complaining about the BLAST recordings, that were embroiled in this murky shit back then."
RL also says that there were tournaments where teams contrived with each other, who should throw, who should win.
"There's a handful of people that are trying to fucking clean it up, and you think you get something over the line and you see something like the CSPPA and it's run by corrupt fucking chuckle heads, and now you've got another corrupt body you have to fight on a fucking daily basis, it's demoralizing."
"It's too far gone. Our entire semi-professional scene is compromised."
"It's rife guys, I'm not going to lie any more. It's not just China, it's not just Russia, it's here, it's NA, it's Europe, it's Australia, so much more than you think, so much more than we can prove."
"I get sent chat logs all the time […] and they're morons, these players, short-sighted, amateur, morons and they're doing it on WhatsApp." People would get cut from the bets because they want to make more money, then they leak the logs. He says, from the chat logs, they spread "little" bets across every site they can (400 to 1k dollars) to prevent shifting odds
He says the scumbags who've fucked off to Valorant will do the same there if Riot doesn't do something and says Valorant "is an esports scene heading for a very early fall based on the sheer volume of scumbags that are already there."
"That's tier 2 CS in a nutshell these days. They know they're never going to play in a major, so what's the punishment?"
"All of these tier 2 fucks that are fixing games now they are like the fucking mafia compared to iBuyPower" "These guys are working with organized criminals to fix entire seasons worth of games. That's what's going on in your tier 2 CS."
"I'm literally being told that there are players fixing games at all levels of Chinese esports and motherfuckers with guns are turning up to team houses and stuff."
"Everyone in NA has left we've lost a continents worth of support during this pandemic and Valve haven't said a fucking word."
RL says the Call of Duty "goblins" that destroyed CS for years are the same people who are now trying to leave CS. "The nerve to treat a game where the fans, and the community, and the TO's were nothing but good to you." "To just kick the players out now and go and leave and say 'It just doesn't make financial sense.' Oh you'll slither back when we have a major though for them stickers won't you."
There's a cascading effect in NA where people don't bother with CS anymore and people like Chaos suffer.
He says NA team owners are incompetent for always wanting it easy and always wanting a guarantee on their investment without skill or nuance.
RL says he would be able to market a team correctly and would have a good ROI and also points out how TSM wouldn't even be bothered to tweet that their team, which was one of the best in the world, was playing at the Major.
He also says not all NA owners are like that, compliments and respects Jason Lake who nearly lost everything to keep Complexity going.
He then calls out the incompetence in Infinite Esports when they acquired OpTic Gaming and bought an Indian CS team.
He says HECZ is not to blame here and that they couldn't tell forsaken was cheating when it was so obvious.
They measured his reaction time to the likes of dev1ce and s1mple
When an enemy showed up on his screen he won that duel something like 44% of the time
"was like the number 1 player in the world statistically"
He brought a laptop to their bootcamp and refused to use the high end PCs that hey provided
He respects Andy Miller (NRG CEO) and HECZ but says that the attitude of not being able to easily monetize their teams is "piss weak" and there needs to be a risk.
He says Chaos EC shouldn't be cutting their roster and should be competent enough to be able to figure out how to make money off their team.
He says there are still opportunities in NA and people are panicking and pulling out, and says Valorant will be the same if not worse.
He also says "bums" who couldn't even get out of groups in NA competitions, are making crazy money in Valorant and says it will continue to inflate.
He also said that he heard rumors that EG (Evil Geniuses) are done.
He also thinks that the rumors of a Valve franchised league from before was sparked up from "these lazy fabled weak NA fucking team owners basically trying to see if Valve would bite at the hook if it was dangled and they didn't"
Slasher says NA team owners are really in favor of franchised leagues because they want to make more money. "Most of the powerful team owners right now are on board with ditching this third party organization structure, or they are trying to play this power politics with all the TOs, and that is contributing to a lot of the problems there"
RL says that Riot has proved they can run a franchised league (LCS) and will be profitable in 2021 which is what a lot of team owners care about and says the competition will only serve to snatch people away from CS.
RL continues to say, "I am so sick and tired of what we have done to this scene, I am just exhausted with it." "I think we have legitimately fucked it, I really think we have. I think we're staring into almost like a CGS (Championship Gaming Series) wasteland in NA." "Counter-Strike esports is a fucking joke."
"TO's have treated CS talent like absolute human garbage for years now."
RL says that people like Sean Gares and ddk switching over to Valorant isn't for financial reasons because they are making less over there.
He points out that TO's can't even give talent a 3 month in advance calendar.
Because of the pandemic TO's won't hire certain people and some people are working more hours for the same money.
He says we as a community don't respect journalists enough which is why we don't have good journalists.
He also says DeKay is leaving the scene soon and that Thorin is close to leaving also
He says he had to talk a caster down from quitting and was struggling to find reasons.
He says that DreamHack told Vince they would hire him but not if he wants to stick with dusT and says that this is the norm in esports. "Constant leveraging of people against each other." and says this is why we don't have a talent union.
New gen casters are getting put into shit situations and the community's reaction to them is adding fuel to the fire
He says the reason Moses left was because of the terrible conditions
He says that Anders had to constantly leave his family and kid because someone fucked up or broke promises and had to constantly tell his kid to their face that "daddy can't be home this weekend."
He says that esports has always been a lie to sell you this dream, "Meanwhile there's about 2% of the cunts getting all the checks."
"Anything that Riot does, is better than Valve's inaction"
Slasher says that the larger aspect of esports as a whole compared to other entertainment mediums and Valve's lack of inattention are the bigger problems. He continues saying that the fact that Valve let their game be ran as an esport, they need to take on the responsibilities of it.
Both Slasher and RL wants Valve to take control but not on the level of Riot Games, there needs to be a balance.
In case it was ever a question: Gabe Newell has been to 0 CSGO Majors.
RL calls Valve out saying they could have done something during the gambling era.
He says Valve used to come to the majors, but doesn't think they do anymore.
RL had met with Valve at the Cluj-Napoca Major and had tried to appeal iBP's indefinite punishment and had also gave Brax's life story:
A recent family member passed away, they had lost a lot of income, they had to live in trailer, iBuyPower did not pay any salaries, and was pressured by family to make money who didn't support his career.
RL said that Valve told him, "How dare you try and make us feel guilty." "We shouldn't feel bad about enforcing the only thing that matters that we need to make players afraid of: cheating and match fixing"
RL also tried to share other info about match fixing and nothing came of it
RL points out that Source 2 or a new engine is not something you will want based on the experience of transitioning from CS 1.6 to CS:S. "Valve's track record with brand new engines being launched, not fucking great from what I remember."
Slasher says "If there is anything the community should do, is pressure Valve to hire a community manager."
They say that we need a commissioner, a community manager (not the person who runs the Twitter who posts memes all day), then we need to have a circuit
RL reiterates that Valve doesn't care about CS esports and says they need to change the culture at Valve to make them care about CS esports
Slasher says a systemic problem is making it so working on CSGO would be a bad decision for you as an employee for Valve
He also hasn't talked to Valve in ages and have sent over bugs and cheats and doesn't get emails back anymore
Slasher says we should be directing attention at the developer leads, pointing out Ido Magal, if he even is still the project lead
RL thinks that Ido and Brian are the only people that "vaguely even give a fuck about CS" and were the only people that RL recalled that actually read Reddit and paid attention from time to time
"It is really fucking precarious. Somebody has got to step the fuck up and start giving a shit"
Slasher suggests org owners, with CSPPA, with ESIC, with TOs have a concerted effort against Valve
"Riot Games are doing better things than Valve in the esports space" which is something RL didn't think he'd say.
"People who used to be talent, working with unions, arguing with other talent, when the unions fucked them over, can't understand their perspective, TOs fucking over broadcast talent, broadcast talent wanting to leave and go and work for orgs, orgs having no money, Valve might take coaches away because all the coaches are cheating, ESIC has about 4 people in a fucking call doing the investigations, everyone thinks they're spies for ESL, ESL are just the evil fucking overlords wanting to rule the scene and will just somehow, like cockroaches outliving a nuclear bomb, and Valve are in a fucking holiday in Hawaii thinking about the next Dota character because they don't give a fuck about us."
"We've peaked. If we want to sustain and exist, now is the time to figure it out. No esports lasts as long as this, we've already done 8 years. We've already broke the records. We have got to figure out a way to coexist and drive the negative forces out and we need to do it as a collective and we're not doing that."
RL compared the Counter-Strike scene to the people on the Titanic who ran around with guns robbing people while the boat was sinking.
"We have given up on being a respectable esports scene." "We are now a conduit to make money for those who want to just milk it, just have one last ride, one last roll of the dice. It's done." "What a fucking mess. What have we done to our fucking scene?"
"There's just too much self-interest driving all of this." "I don't see a way we stop the dominoes." "When it's that bad, when there's that many dishonest people that ESIC have to come out and say that if we punish them all there's no one left. What does that tell you?"
"How many opportunities have we had to clean house? How many times have we said, 'this must never happen again', and another scandal." "The entire skins betting operations was the biggest criminal conspiracy in esports ever executed and no one has been punished for it." "The people who could be driving that don't want to."
"Right now people are fans of those organizations because the scene has value. It is worth being a fan of Astralis because they are excellent at Counter-Strike. It is worth being a fan of s1mple because he is the best player in Counter-Strike, maybe the exception of ZywOo. If the scene is devalued, if the scene loses its meaning, those things lose its meaning too, and people will leave, people will stop tuning into the games. I have seen it happen in multiple esports, this is not my first time at the rodeo. I am getting big Brood War vibes right now and I don't like it."
"The role you play in all of this as fans, as viewers, as listeners, as consumers of esports content, it's absolutely imperative that you know who the good guys are. It's absolutely imperative that you use your voice. It's absolutely imperative that when things are bad, you know who, at least, is trying to make them good, and you have to apply your criticism to the right targets."
He continues saying it's no good in continuing to attack ESIC and saying how they are bad, ESIC have it hard
He says CSPPA are on the right side of the argument on BLAST but have been on the wrong side of many arguments many times.
"If you are not willing to stand along side the weakest member of the union, with the least amount of influence, and the least amount of power, then it is not a union at all and you shouldn't pose as one." "You wanna serve a bunch of special interest do it, everyone else in esports fucking does, but do not pose as something you are not." "We love the players. I've been fighting for players rights for as long as I've been able to, but the CSPPA is not what we needed."
"They are not applying the pressure to the right people, they are not fighting the right battles, they are not helping their weaker members."
He says what orgs have done by keeping or hiring coaches is bad. "When you give up on holding an appreciable standard, you've lost the scene" "Competition matters, rules matter, punishments matter, achievements matter, excellence matters" "If you start stripping that away, you have nothing" "You guys need to take that knowledge and apply it sensibly."
"Valve has sold you all down the river, they sold everyone in the esports scene down the river, tournament organizers are selling their talent down the river. Don't hate on them for sounding tired after a 16 hour day. Don't hate on them because the hype for a matchup they've seen for the 20th time in the past 3 months, they can't be as excited or it sounds contrived. Support your guys, they're there for you, these are your people."
"This community has got to start acting like one for the first fucking time. Just put the petty shit away, let's try and fix this fucking scene while we still have one to save."
"You can't rely on Valve, you can't rely on ESL, you can't rely on the CSPPA, you can't rely on anyone." "Once again, it's gonna be the likes of us, the amateurs, the people who give a fuck, rolling up our sleeves and grafting." "I'm old and tired and I don't want to have to do it again. People need to pick up the torch and do it."
"Like Michal did, like Dudenhoeffer did. You see something wrong, fix it. You see somebody doing something wrong, call it out. If you think something could be better, let people know."
"Vote with your wallets if you're not happy with the direction Valve goes in. If when we do get to the Major, they serve up another subpar, same old bullshit stickers and signatures package again, do not buy it."
"You're a powerful block and if you use it correctly we can fucking avert this disaster."
"I'm not doing another year in this broken, bust-up fucking scene, where everyone is miserable, everyone is broke, everyone is tired, and everyone is trying to fucking rob everyone else, blind, while the fucking people who are meant to be protecting you, are just fucking enhancing it and lining their own pockets."
"I'm not doing it anymore and you shouldn't want to do it either."
"I stand by every fucking thing I said. I mean it, because this game fucking matters to me, this scene fucking matters to me. I put my life into this, my adult life, and to see it in this state is fucking sad."
COVID-19 Update Press Conference: December 22, 2020 (Scheduled for 1pm - Notes included)
COVID-19 Update: December 22, 2020 Scheduled for 1pm. Today, Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito will join Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders and Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Mike Kennealy to provide an update on COVID-19. Link to livestream and recording
This fall when the region saw an increase in infections MA responded by deploying teams to support and test nursing homes, rolled back reopening, issued a stay at home advisory, strengthened the face covering mandate, restricted what type of procedures hospitals could perform, worked with hospitals to increase their capacity, and opened up two field hospitals.
This added hundreds of hospital beds, and slowed the growth in November.
Administration has released guidance urging people to spend this year celebrating with only those in their household. If you don't, practice good hygiene, socially distance, and wear a mask.
Since thanksgiving hospitalizations and cases have skyrocketed. This has slowed slightly, but not enough.
Before thanksgiving our hospitals acute beds were 67% occupied; by December 15th they were 83% occupied, and we have only recovered 1% since that peak.
The hospitals are under incredible pressure as we head towards another holiday season which will see another spike unless everyone plays a very different game than we did at thanksgiving. As a result we think its appropriate to take action now to slow that spread in a way that will avoid overrunning our hospital system.
Today we are announcing new statewide restrictions which will be in effect for at least two weeks starting Saturday Dec 26th, in addition to the stay at home advisory, face mask mandate, and early closures that are already in place. The intent of these restrictions will be to pause activity and reduce mobility so we can reduce the spread of the virus without closing schools or businesses.
Capacity limits reduced to 25% for most industries including restaurants, personal services, theaters and performance venues, casinos, office spaces, places of worship, retail, driving and flight schools, golf facilities for indoor spaces, libraries, lodging for common areas, arcades and indoor recreation, fitness centers and health clubs, museums, cultural facilities, and guided tours.
Workers and staff will not count towards the occupancy counts for restaurants, personal services, places of worship, and retail businesses such as grocery stores. All other rules and restrictions in each sector specific guidance will remain in place.
Indoor and outdoor gathering limits will be reduced to 25 people outdoors and 10 people indoors. This applies to private homes, event venues, and public spaces.
All hospitals must postpone or cancel all non-essential inpatient elective invasive procedures unless postponement would lead to high-risk for significant clinical decline of patient health. Hospitals should not schedule any new inpatient non-essential elective procedures until further notice from DPH.
Non-essential elective invasive procedures are those which are scheduled in advance because the procedure does not involve a medical emergency, and where delay would not adversely effect an individual's health. It will be clinical judgement that will judge situations on a case-by-case basis what can be postponed and canceled.
We are not shutting down healthcare; ambulatory, outpatient treatment, and preventive procedures such as mammograms, pediatric appointments, radiology, cancer screenings are not impacted. Inpatient and emergency services remain open.
We take this next step to preserve inpatient bed capacity and our clinical resources including staffing to prepare for flex surge capacity as needed. We must ensure our healthcare system can meet any acute care demands for our residents.
Nothing announced today impacts K-12 education. As the science and medical data has made clear, all school districts, including those with high infection rates, can and should bring students back into the classroom. These restrictions will help bring students back, and bring them back soon.
We are continuing to stand up Field Hospitals as alternate care sites. These hospitals provide acute care for covid-19 positive patients who need a low to medium level of care.
Worcester field hospital at the DCU Center currently has 26 patients with a staffed capacity of 50 beds. Since opening they have treated and discharged 100 patients with an average length of stay of just under 4 days. While the facility can accommodate 200 patients when completely full, it has been designed in units which can be stood up independently in 25 pod units.
In the coming weeks the second field hospital will begin accepting patients in Lowell. We are calling out for Nurses and Patient Care Associates to apply for this very important work. Visit Lowell general response .com.
The decision to reduce capacity to businesses was a difficult decision which carries very negative ramifications on peoples livelihoods and their families.
The economic package that was passed by congress will go a long way in addressing some of the financial damage that these restrictions will have on individuals families and businesses.
More help is needed for businesses, and our administration is putting together a significant economic relief fund for our commonwealth's small businesses (details coming tomorrow).
No dashboards will be posted Friday 12/25 and Friday 1/1. They will be updated Saturdays.
I am 36 years old, make $66,900, live in Portland OR and work as a Data Coordinator.
Section Zero: Background Hello all, happy hoildays! I stumbled upon this subreddit not long ago and have enjoyed the commentary and experiences everyone's shared. Wanted to add another perspective from a mid-30s first-gen American. I've had some missteps regarding careers and finances, but I feel like I'm in a slightly better place now. I tried YNAB in the past but I wasn't consistent enough with it. These days I use Mint to monitor my finances and have a "Finance Friday" each month to review all my accounts and spending. I currently live with my partner TJ and his dog RR. We do not combine finances, but he has been unemployed since March. I have helped him with some bills and basic necessities here and there until he finds his next job or career. My current financial goals are to just maintain a status quo and not get any debt until pandemic times are over. Then I will focus on a house remodeling fund and savings for taking care of my parents. Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances? My parents taught us about money from a frugal perspective. They are immigrants who worked in food service/factories. There was always this “save save save” mentality. Even when they started their own small business, we saved like there was no tomorrow. In high school, my calculus teacher bought us all “The Millionaire Next Door” book and had us read it as an assignment - that was my first structured introduction to finances. Did you worry about money growing up? No, there was always food on the table and a roof over our heads. I knew that our extended family would support us if needed. Was there an expectation for you to attend higher education? Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it? Yes. My dad didn’t finish the high school-equivalent in their country, while my mom did finish high school, but no college. My older and younger siblings took a different path in life after high school. I am the first and only in my family to graduate from college. My parents covered all tuition for my two bachelor degrees with the agreement that I support them fully during their retirement and send them gifts/extra money whenever I can. I feel very lucky and privileged that they were able to provide that education for me. At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net? 24 when I went on a work holiday abroad. My family was always available to help when needed, but the experience abroad helped me stand on my own feet. As an adult, I also inherited that “save” mentality and put a lot of my earnings towards savings. I didn’t date until my 30s, lived frugally, didn’t go out to eat/hangout with people, shopped thrift stores, and had very few hobbies. I am starting to “live a little” now though. Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? Aside from the tuition, my parents have helped with a down payment for my first house and living costs during periods of unemployment. Section One: Assets and Debt Retirement Balance If the place I was working at offered a 401k, I would always contribute up to the company match. I started my IRA in my mid-20s and would try to contribute the yearly max. I've stopped that the past 2-3 years though. My Other Brokerage is some play money, but I got tired of staring it and switched to index funds. I haven't contributed anything to it in a few years.
401k: $34,127 (5% company match on contributions)
Brokerage: $22,421 ESPP
Roth IRA: $40,615 VTIVX
Rollover IRA: $15,760 VTTHX
Other Brokerage: $7,235 VTI
Coinbase: $1,286 ETH (mostly just playing around with it)
Equity if you're a homeowner Purchased my first home for $382,000 with 20% down, right before lockdown earlier this year. Perfect timing, right?? I plan to live here until my retirement. My parents contributed $15k while I used most of my savings for the rest.
Current Equity: $80,371
Savings account balance: $3,073 Checking account balance: $7,800 Credit card debt: I charge everything on my credit card for the points, then pay it off each month using my checking account balance. Student loan debt: Traditionally no student loan debt as mentioned in Section Zero. Section Two: Income Income Progression (listed as gross income with cost of living area): High School
$11/hourMCOL - Helped with small family business.
College and first “career” job
$12-19/hour MCOL - I did events/banquet serving after classes and had an internship doing software administration.
$22/hour MCOL - Junior web developer. I realized after a year that programming was not my calling.
Mental health break
$12/hour LCOL - Work holiday abroad. I got a steady banquet server job for that whole time. It was enough to live minimally in a hostel, do weekend trips, WOOF and figure my life out.
College (again) and second “career” job
$12-15/hour LCOL - Decided to go back to school for a different bachelor's degree. While pursuing that degree, I worked at hotels and events as a banquet server again. I also did “search engine evaluation” whenever there were tasks available.
$36,000/year salary LCOL - Software administrator at a casino after graduation.
$39,000/year salary LCOL - Systemsanalyst at same casino. I left after 2 years, feeling disillusioned with the casino industry. I moved back home with my parents until I could get back on my feet again.
Third “career” jobs
$20/hour HCOL - Entry level advertising role. I was applying to all types of office jobs and that was my only bite.
$45/hour MCOL - Cold-called from a global company who needed someone with my software administrator experience from the casino job. It was an 8 month contract. Although I was starting to love my advertising job, the increase in pay was no question.
$65,000/year salary MCOL - After the contract ended and a few months of unemployment, I landed my current job at the same company. It is an “early career” role according to their job levels.
$66,900/year salary MCOL - Cost of living and merit increases after 2 years on the job. Pre-COVID we got a $5000 bonus each year. They have now stopped bonuses as well as all COL and merit increases.
Main Job Monthly Take Home: Monthly Net (paid bi-weekly): $2,758 Deductions:
Side Gig Monthly Take Home: No side gigs at the moment, but I am thinking of signing up on Upwork.com and doing Excel/data entry projects to help pay the mortgage. Other Income: TJ’s friend will be staying with us for a month in January, who will pay rent of $800 including utilities. Depending on how that goes, we may take on a roommate in the spare bedroom long-term. Section Three: Expenses Mortgage - when I bought the house, the plan was that I would charge TJ a portion of the mortgage costs as “rent”, but since his unemployment I am now covering it all myself. Regular Monthly Payment: $1677.57
Taxes & Home Insurance: $326.52
HOA: $30/year Retirement contribution: Nothing additional than what's been mentioned. Savings contribution: I used to do $50-100/month, but since COVID I’ve stopped contributing to my savings account. Investment contribution: None at this time. Debt payments: $100/month towards TJ's credit card balance of $2,307. Donations: $10-20/month, usually towards Omaze or Planned Parenthood. Utilities:
Natural Gas: $30-80/month
Xfinity internet: $60/month
Cellphone: On my parents plan. Subscriptions:
LinkedIn: $29.99/month for TJ’s job search - he’s found it very useful.
Amazon/Netflix/Hulu: We piggyback off family and friends’ accounts.
Nintendo Switch Online: 19.99/year
Gym membership: Pre-COVID I did Orangetheory for a year. I started to pick up free exercise equipment from Craigslist this year, so we have a small garage gym now and utilize YouTube exercise videos instead. Pet expenses: $10/month. TJ has stockpiled some Costco canned dog food before unemployment, but once that runs out I will likely cover the costs. We also started to make homemade dog food to help supplement. Car insurance: $460 every 6 months. Car is paid off. Regular therapy: I will start in the new year. Not sure what the costs are yet, but I will use my HSA to pay. Vitamins/Medications: $20/month Groceries & household items: $75/month Miscellaneous (eating out, house purchases, gifts, etc): $100/month Section Four: Money Diary Monday 6:30am Neighbor starts up their truck. We joke that it's our natural alarm clock. They idle for about 15 minutes before heading off. I go back to bed. 9am My real alarm goes off. I put the electric kettle on for some morning tea. While it's boiling, I do my morning routine: drink glass of water, take synthroid, use bathroom, brush teeth, quick shower. I then make tea - Jasmine Pearl English Breakfast with dark forest mix. I started ordering loose leaf tea in large amounts back in March instead of small bags or single serving packets. Seems more economical since I drink it daily. I let the dog out into the backyard so he can do his morning routine. 9:30am I go through my daily tasks for work. They entail checking processes and reports to make sure they ran successfully overnight. I then answer some emails and catch-up on Slack channels. 12pm Lunch is leftover roast chicken and quinoa from Saturday. I heat it up in the instant pot. Love that thing! Almost every meal of ours involves the instant pot. We hardly use the stovetop. We then walk the dog to the business park across from our neighborhood. There's a very short trail that runs along a drainage creek by the business park. It's quite muddy, but has a nice woodsy feeling. Over the summer, we saw sumac trees there as well. Free sumac spice! 1:30pm Department meeting on Zoom. Our director announces his resignation on the call. Everyone is shocked! Layoffs were announced for next year but this was not a part of it. I think it's a good move for him and he doesn't have to have this worry of layoffs over his head. 3pm I meet with an engineer from another team and talk about a data source they are in charge of. He helps me out in understanding it and we identify most of the fields that I need for a project I’m starting. 5:30pm I check in with my partner. He's been watching LinkedIn tutorials on internal recruiting, job coaching and general computeoffice skills. It's a career change that he wants to make - something where he can talk to and help people. He doesn't have a bachelor's, only an associates, and hopes these tutorials will get him a leg up in the job search. I sent him some entry level HR admin roles the other day and remind him to apply. I then heat up leftovers: homemade chana masala and rice. I add some butter and coconut milk to thin it out, so there's enough for both of us. 10:30pm I take some magnesium, vitamin D and Airborne. I say goodnight to the dog who sleeps in the office. Then I say goodnight to TJ. He sleeps in the spare bedroom on weeknights due to his snoring keeping me up. I'm a light sleeper while he is a pretty deep sleeper. Daily total: $0 Tuesday 9am I check Reddit Secret Santa. My match seems like a really good person. Not sure what to get, but most likely will purchase something off their wishlist. I wish I was more creative with my gift giving. 11am Meeting with business stakeholder. She submitted a few changes to an existing data process about a month ago. I make the change while on the call and have her test. Success! Marking it off the todo list. I love when we can finish things directly on a call. 12:30pm I come out of my office to make lunch. I notice my partner is not home. I check my messages and see that he's stepped out to pick up a few things. I ask for celery, carrots, and kombucha. $17. I make a quick charcuterie board for lunch: Costco salami, cheese, homemade hummus and Triscuits. It's a simple, fast meal that’s always in our rotation. 2pm My partner is back and we take the dog out for a walk and quick round of disc golf at a nearby park. We mask up and play only a few holes. Disc golf is a pretty frugal activity, you only need 2-3 discs to get started. TJ remarks that my throws are getting better, but then again they weren't great to start with. We talk about Christmas/Birthday gifts on the way back home since he was born on New Years Day. He mentioned snowshoeing but asked to not spend that much. I'll do some research! 5pm I think about personal career projects. Should I put up a portfolio of projects somewhere? I decide to try and pull some Yelp data. There’s not a lot of data points that I was interested in. Regardless, I tinker with it for an hour. TJ asks if I'm hungry. I said not so much, but felt thirsty. Maybe some ginger soup tonight? 7:30pm Dinner is served - ginger carrot soup made in the instant pot. We eat some rice crackers with it. Lately I feel like we've been eating more vegetarian dinners. It definitely helps stretch our food budget. We end the evening by finishing Fargo season 3 on Hulu. Daily total: $17 Wednesday 1:30am I'm woken up by the dog. He's been sneezing a lot and wheezes at random intervals. TJ doesn't have the money for a vet visit but I've offered to pay as long as he calls to make the appointment. I give the dog some coconut oil, rub his belly until he seems better and go back to bed. 7am Garbage day. We usually put it out the night before but I forgot. I get up to go, but TJ handles it. I think, at least. I'm too sleepy to pay attention and go back to bed. 9am I wake up and rinse some dishes that have piled up and put them into the dishwasher. We both grew up in households that had a home dishwasher, but forbade from using it. It was drilled into us that hand washing saves more water, unless you had a restaurant/industrial dishwasher. I think with modern home dishwashers, that's changed, so I wanted to try it out with our dishwasher and monitor the water bill. Don't have any dishwashing pods or powder, so I put some OxiClean in it. 12:30pm I overhear TJ on a call with a recruiting agency. It seems to be going well, lots of laughing. I heat up some taco lasagna that I freezer meal-prepped last month. 2pm Collaborate on a project at work with an engineer. My manager put me on this project since I was asking for an assignment on a more technical team. I'm learning tidbits here and there, but I don't feel like it's structured enough. 5pm I do an Orangetheory-At-Home workout and try to break a sweat. It's not the same as going to their studio. 6pm Charcuterie for dinner. Our fridge is full of store-bought and homemade pickles that go super well on a charcuterie board. Daily total: $0 Thursday 7am I wake up tired. The house has been feeling more cold, which woke me up a few times. We keep the temp at 72F during the day, at night around 68F since we thought the bedrooms keep the heat in pretty well. My mistake! 9am I do my usual morning routine and login to work. My team mostly spends the morning sending each other emojis. 11:30am Lunch today is mini quiche, frozen chicken and veggie entree, and hot dogs. Not the most cohesive meal, but it fills the belly. 12:30pm TJ heads out to his mailbox that's 30 minutes away. He is still waiting on his tax return and a 401k withdrawal. His taxes had to be filed by mail for some reason, then the IRS office shut down due to COVID. So he wanted to see if it arrived yet at the mailbox. He also takes the dog to the vet's urgent care on his way. They didn't have any regular openings available until the end of the year, and the dog seemed to be getting worse. I give TJ $40 to mail a gift package to a friend in France and also reiterate that I'll cover the vet bill when he gets it. 4:30pm I pay some bills, my favorite activity (not)! Sewer bill: $59.44 (billed every 2 months). Geico bill: $459.60 billed every 6 months. Then I follow up with my mortgage officer over email. I had sent her some documents for a refinance quote last week, but haven't heard back. Rates keep dropping, so I'm told, but what does that really mean? I do some research on realestate. 5pm TJ messages me and says he'll be back for dinner. I ask him to pick up some Popeyes via drive thru since we both don't feel like cooking today. Popeyes is currently our fancy “going out to eat” food. $24.17 for a 4pc dinner meal and a 2pc dinner meal. Daily total: $583.21 Friday 8:30am Busy morning at work. My phone is buzzing with emails and Slack messages. I try to answer them while I make tea. 10am Zoom Department happy hour. We reminisce about our director and then play those Jackbox party games. Some of them are hard! 11am TJ asks if he can make me anything for lunch. He suggests savory oatmeal, quick and easy. I tell him that I really appreciate him making meals/doing chores/etc without me prompting. We've been having conversations about "house project management" and mental load because I did most of the chores or I had to continually remind/tell him to do it. I'm really happy to see us progress on this front. I decide to work through my lunch break so I can end the day early. I don't often do that, but I'm ready to get the weekend started. 2pm I check on TJ in the spare bedroom and ask if the dog has been fed yet, since he was nipping at my feet. I notice something off about TJ and ask how he is doing. TJ is depressed about his personal life, career, finances. He doesn't know what to do, spends half the day meditating and reflecting on past trauma. I've been prodding him to get a therapist but he is confused about his insurance. He makes an appointment with a primary care doctor first. I feed the dog some homemade dog-friendly beef stew. 4pm My mom swings by the house (but doesn't enter). She currently works at a school who distributes free USDA food boxes since March. There's often many boxes leftover that would go to waste, so she will grab a box for us. Onions, potatoes, beets, turnips, eggs, cheese, butter, frozen veggies and frozen chicken. She also brought her vintage pasta maker. I asked last week if she ever used it these days and her reply was “no, feel free to have it”. I love pasta and noodles and figure it would be great to make it ourselves as a frugal hobby. 8pm We catch up on Mandalorian and watch silly Youtube videos before heading off to bed. Daily total: $0 Saturday 9am I open up my web browser and look at Craigslist and NextDoor for free stuff. I've been scouring for free landscape rocks, pegboards, and wood for house projects. I had this grand ambition to redesign our backyard. It faces our neighbor and currently the fence is pretty low. They can see into our kitchen and bedroom and we can see them. But y'know, COVID and going from dual income house to single income means it all has to be put on hold. So I've been looking for free items in the meantime. Over the past months, I've gotten planter pots, plant cuttings, a raised bed, stepping stones, all from free listings. I don't see anything worthwhile so I go and make some tea. 11am I look at Amazon and make some purchases for Reddit Secret Santa. A foodie kit, DVD of their favorite movie, and some cute pens for their writing hobby. $54. I hope they like it! 12pm TJ heats up leftover stir-fry for lunch for us. I put on some Binging with Babish and we watch how to make pasta. We have a plan - TJ makes the pasta, I make the sauce. Perfect date night activity at home. We watch some more videos on pasta and noodles to educate ourselves. 4pm I start prepping veggies. Big batch of onions, canned tomatoes, ground beef and butter in the instant pot. Meanwhile, TJ works on the pasta by following Babish's instructions. 7pm We gorge on fresh made pasta and bolognese sauce. It's so good! We end up watching Fargo. 11pm Usually I'll be in bed by now, but it's a Saturday and not tired yet (probably because of all that pasta). We play some Kirby's Dream Course on the Switch. Daily total: $54 Sunday 10am Quick walk around the neighborhood with the dog. He's on a new routine now with the medicine he's taking. It seems to be helping his breathing issues. 11am The pasta maker and flour is still out since we didn't clean up yesterday. There's some old pie crust in the fridge so I roll it out with the pasta machine for mini quiches. (Sally's Baking Addiction blog is my go-to place for her all-butter crust and quiche recipes btw). TJ helps by mixing up the eggs. 3pm I play some Genshin Impact (GI) on my phone while TJ plays Starcraft in the office. I don't usually play gacha games, but the Zelda BotW-style of GI appealed to me. A gacha game is a game with randomized characteitem boxes that you use real-money to purchase a “pull” or to spin the wheel. I know the gacha parts of the game can be a real money sink if you get addicted to them, it’s almost like gambling. My main team is Fischl, Bennett, Barbara and Noelle. I level up to AR 22 and look up free-to-play tutorials for the game. 6pm There's some leftover pasta from yesterday, enough for both of us. I throw in some roasted beets to round out the meal. We watch more Fargo while eating. Almost done with Season 3! 10pm I find a tour operator who offers a small, socially-distant snowshoeing tour up on the mountain. I reserve for two people - this will be TJ's Christmas/birthday gift. $75. Off to bed for another workday. Daily total: $75 Weekly Total: $689.79
Food + Drink: $41.17
Fun / Entertainment: $75
Home + Health: $59.44
Clothes + Beauty: $0
Section Five: Reflections Aside from the car insurance bill, this was a typical week for me, COVID or not. We make the majority of our meals at home and usually splurge on drive-thru/delivery once every other week. I may have overspent on the Secret Santa gift, but I don't often give gifts out to friends. It's not something our family does either. For TJ’s Christmas/birthday gift, we usually talk upfront about costs. I’ve gifted him fancy restaurant experiences the past 2 years, since we can share that experience, but obviously can’t do that now. Snowshoeing is a nice change of pace. The conversations with TJ this week have given me thought on how to approach him differently about finances and working together in a relationship. I’m still unsure about the future financially, particularly as my parents near retirement age and that TJ has pulled out his 401k to pay his debts. I don't know if I can support both my parents and TJ together, so I am finding ways to upskill and/or side hustles without becoming a workaholic or bogged down by stress. Writing this money diary was also the first time where I really paid attention to my past income and current income. I might be contributing too much into ESPP that could go towards the 401k or mortgage instead? I also seem to have been underpaid for what I did in past jobs, even in a LCOL area.
As someone who spends $1000+ a year on video games, here's my perspective on what is putting me off from spending money on RDO
I feel like Red Dead Online in general has highlighted some worrying trends in regards to Rockstar's design philosophy and I am concerned about the online experience in their future titles such as GTA 6.
I don't expect this post to have any massive impact on the future of RDO, but I wanted to share my expectations and attitudes as a consumer in hope that it might help Rockstar gain a better understanding of their audience. After all I have money that I am willing to spend and they seem to be after, there just hasn't been a reasonable incentive to do so.
For a long time GTA:O was my main source of entertainment and I used to regard Rockstar Games as the best video game publisher in terms of quality and value of the experience their games provided.
When RDR2 released two years ago, I was excited by the massive step-up in terms of complexity and immersion from GTA:O. I was also quite burnt out with GTA so I was prepared to turn RDO into my main source of entertainment.
I didn't own a console so instead I decided to save and build a high end PC in time for the game's PC release. I was prepared to commit 100% to this game.
October 2019 came, my PC was ready and I pre-ordered the Ultimate Edition. I got the game, played Story mode through all of Arthur's chapters, but stopped when I reached the Epilogue - I was excited to get into Online and see how it felt. And then it all fell apart.
Meh, the game felt a bit GTAish at the start, but I didn't mind it so much. I think I experienced some bugs or technical issues that made me take a break from the game and wait for a fix.
I was away for the holidays and then travelling for work so I get back to the game in late January. I finish John's story too and then head back into online. At this point I'm greeted with a message that Outlaw Pass season 2 is in progress. "Great, so I've already missed one?" I tell myself. I was not aware at that point in time that Steam PC players didn't even have access to Outlaw Pass season 1. But this was already starting to become a deal breaker for me and I'll elaborate on it further:
What is the appeal of Rockstar's games?
Let's take a look at GTA:Online, Rockstar's most financially successful title, success which they are probably trying to replicate with Red Dead Online. I don't know what goes through the minds of other players, so I'll share my personal experience. Before I stumbled upon GTA:Online in 2017 I had been mainly playing World of Warcraft for 3 or 4 years, but I was at a point in life where I just started my first full-time job and no longer had the time to pour into an MMO. I remember I used to describe it as "I come home from my job and have to log onto my other job" on raid night. I was also fed up with 90% of the game's content becoming irrelevant whenever a new update came along. it was just the same gameplay loop in a different packaging.
So what was so special about GTA: Online?
The biggest aspect for me was the Sandbox experience. It's an open world environment, you can fuck around freely, there is no linear gameplay imposed upon you or other restrictions that limit gameplay for the purpose of "balance". You are also free to experience the game at your own pace. There is no FOMO (fear of missing out) mechanic dictating that you play now or risk being locked out of content permanently.
Another big element of GTA Online that appeals to me is Customization options for the purpose of immersion and roleplay. The game contains so many references to Hollywood tropes and it allows you to act almost any persona that crosses your mind: Pablo Escobar, killer clown, every Charlize Theron role I can think of, the list is endless...
One thing that GTA Online did well and I used to praise them over other games for it was the inclusion of Universal Reward/Currency. Any activity you carry out in the game rewards the same currency, it's always meaningful progress towards your next goal. You had the ability to purchase it via Shark Cards, but the microtransaction served as an alternative in order to save time, not as a means of unlocking content behind an exclusive paywall. With the Arena Wars and the Casino DLC it looks like Rockstar has been experimenting with new ways to milk both "player engagement" in the form of time spent grinding secondary currency and revenue in the form of microtransactions. They can go claim to their shareholders "our playerbase is more active than ever and also spending money on the game". It just feels very limiting and at least the Arena Wars currency comes across as an artificial incentive for people to engage in gameplay that R* is not confident about it being popular on its own.
So I've established what were the most appealing elements of GTA:O as a consumer: 1.Freedom of Sandbox environment 2.Immersion and Roleplay in the form of customization options 3.Unique Currency serving as the means of progression
In my opinion, time-limited exclusive content should have no place in a sandbox game. I like the Outlaw Pass as an idea, it gives people something to work toward. I am just not a fan of the thought that development time goes into creating the rewards, they're added to the game, take space on my drive, but they are just locked forever with no means of obtaining them. It just diminishes my perceived value of your product. "Oh great I didn't play from the start? Time for an incomplete experience." Not to mention the fact that PC players are getting an incomplete product by default because Outlaw Pass 1 was never available on their platform. Some would argue that it's rewarding players who have been playing from the beginning. At what cost? It's also penalizing new players. Players that would've easily spent money on the pass, they just picked the game up too late, so now they are locked out of features forever. As someone who has missed almost 3 Passes worth of content, this is my biggest gripe about the game and what's holding me back from committing to the game to the point where I'd be willing to drop real life money on it. And I'm not arguing about getting the rewards for free. I am arguing for making that content available through other less efficient means. I didn't play the game when I was supposed to play it and now there's less content available for me. Oh sure, that'll definitely bring me back to the game and not make me abandon it on the spot. You can still reward players who buy the pass by unlocking the rewards for them, but why lock content forever and devalue the experience for any future player that buys your game? You could add them on a rare rotating stock for a ridiculously high gold bar price. There's a gold sink for you right there, now you're giving people a reason to spend money on your game. Or I don't even know, sell the passes again at some later time. You probably have the technology to allow players to purchase multiple passes and keep one active at a time. Just make old passes no longer reward gold or whatever.
Rockstar, you're concerned with reducing people's means of obtaining gold while also falling behind on delivering meaningful content. That's cause you're digging your own hole with your shortsighted approach on FOMO, working on adding content to the game only to then lock it away. But most importantly, you're establishing your stance: "Monetization by all means, screw player experience, screw a quality integral product, pay us right now or risk the game becoming more incomplete."
Some would argue that the Outlaw Pass is just cosmetics. I would totally get that point if this were a MOBA or a FPS or any other genre where gameplay is the predominant feature. But have a look at what's the most popular GTA content on Twitch: roleplay. Immersion and Roleplay have always been defining features of Rockstar games. Time-limited exclusive content just detracts from the value proposition of a sandbox game. If not cosmetic options, what else is there to work towards in RDO? It's not supposed to be a competitive game. K/D has no meaning, high scores have no meaning, It's a Club Penguin with guns and horses. Also the whole point falls apart because with Outlaw Pass 4 and 5 there are actual gameplay upgrades that are featured as time-limited exclusives,
The perceived loss of value from missing one outlaw pass was what made me drop the game again back in January. I picked it up again a month ago and I was actually enjoying it to the point where I was prepared to buy gold for the Outlaw Pass. Inaccessible content was a minor issue that I was willing to overlook since it didn't look like I missed out on any gameplay impacting features from previous passes. But oh boy, Rockstar, you didn't even try to be subtle in the latest update. You just reinforced the statement that you're after my money at any cost. I get that daily challenges had to be addressed, but at least the nerf didn't lock away access to content. But now you're taking gameplay impacting upgrades and holding them hostage behind a time-limited paywall. To me that's a sign that you're willing to compromise the quality of gameplay for a Q4 financial boost. It's very hard to justify spending money on this game at this point when there is no sign of good will from its developer.
GTA Online didn't need all these extreme incentives of monetization and look how well it performed. RDO feels like monetization came first and the game was build around it. Every feature feels like it was designed to psychologically entice me into spending and that's its biggest flaw. Everywhere I look I see a price, but I don't see value.
Playing cards make the ideal gift, particularly the many beautiful custom decks available nowadays. Almost everyone can use a deck of cards at some point, so they have an instant and universal appeal, especially if a deck has some customized artwork and is packaged in an appealing tuck box. In this list I want to focus on some of my favourite decks that have come out in the past year 2020. This year has been a challenging year for many of us in light of the coronavirus that has swept across the world. But in the middle of all this darkness, there have also been some bright spots, which include the brand new crop of custom decks that have appeared in the marketplace. The suggestions I'm making are very much a matter of personal choice, and other playing card enthusiasts might make other choices. I haven't seen each and every deck that hit the market in the past year, and there are undoubtedly plenty of other worthy decks that qualify for a list like this. I've also not included any decks that have haven't yet been produced, even if they have been crowdfunded. This list strictly covers decks that you should be able to obtain from online retailers and resellers. I've also not included so-called "hype decks" that sell out almost immediately at the publisher level (e.g. Fontaines), but only those that enter retail channels and are more widely and readily available. I've also included links to where you find them at PlayingCardDecks so that you can see images of the tuck boxes and cards for each item, and because they're the retailer I personally buy playing cards from the most. But you should be able to find these decks at most online retailers.
Several series of playing cards have become brands of their own, and achieved nearly cult status from collectors. This past year has seen some great additions to the line-ups from popular series that include big names like Jerry's Nuggets, Cherry Casino, and NOC. ● Jerry's Nugget Aqua Playing Cards - Jerry's Nuggets are a modern icon in the world of playing cards, due to the cult status of this deck, which was praised by cardists around the world. It was originally printed in the early 1970s, and was so much in demand in recent decades that copies fetched over $500 in the secondary market. A very successful reprinting of the original blue and red decks happened in 2019, and in the past year we've seen multiple reprints in different colours. Among my favourites in this series are the bright colours like orange, yellow, and green, which have all appeared in the past year. But there's also something for those who prefer a more muted look, such as steel and black. For more in this series, seeJerry's Nugget decks. ● Cherry Casino Tropicana Teal Playing Cards - The Cherry Casino decks capture a retro vibe, and are a throwback to the old fruit machines from gambling halls, with their distinctive cherry artwork. For me the real appeal of this series lies in the gorgeous card backs, which have a metallic sheen making them feel instantly different from all other decks. The face cards are all quite standard, so that makes them ideal for card games or card magic. Multiple new colours continue to appear in this series, such as Flamingo Quartz Pink, and most recently McCarran Silver. For more in this series, seeCherry Casino decks. ● NOC 3000X2 Purple Playing Cards - The acronym NOC originally stood for Nothing Only Colour, and in line with this the initial decks in this series were all very minimalist. Many people like to collect and use the NOC decks, and over time the series has evolved somewhat. The most recent releases show some new splashes of creativity, and with the NOC 3000X2 deck we travel into the future, past the year 3000. Vibrant purples and pinks inhabit the landscape of the cards, for a very modern and flashy look that is particularly well suited to cardistry. This particular deck is also available in a matching pink version. For more in this series, seeNOC decks.
There are several big brands that you can count on for quality, and this year was no exception, with big companies like Theory11, Ellusionist, and Art of Play all continuing to contribute wonderful playing cards to the market. ● James Bond 007 Playing Cards - When it comes to glamorous tuck boxes, it doesn't get much better than the luxury of playing card producer Theory11. This wonderful deck is a tribute to agent 007, James Bond. I collect most of the Theory11 decks, and this one is particularly terrific, with a supreme tuck box, and Bond-inspired paraphernalia on the court cards and on the card back. Close observers will find many Bond gadgets and more. Theory11 have put out several stylish releases in the past year, another one being the Hollywood Roosevelt deck. For more, seeTheory11 decks. ● Shadow Masters Legacy v2 Playing Cards - One of the companies at the forefront of the custom playing cards movement was Ellusionist and their Black Tiger deck continues to be a modern icon. While they've since been overshadowed by the many custom decks produced in the crowd-funding era over the past decade, they continue to produce some memorable decks from time to time that are worth picking up. The Shadow Masters Legacy v2 is a black deck in the classic Ellusionist style, and represents the kind of thing that made them great to begin with. A jet black background is the chief feature of this deck, and the red and white used for the artwork and pips stands out beautifully against the inky black. This deck compares favourably with any other deck from the modern era. For more, seeEllusionist decks. ● Yellow Wheel Playing Cards - The brand Art of Play is the home of influential cardists Dan and Dave Buck. Their Red & Blue Wheel decks are among my all-time favourite decks, with gorgeous metallic inks as part of a split-pip design. The Yellow Wheel deck is their latest entry in the Wheel series, that retains the original card backs but now in yellow. But the highlight is the card faces, with the split pips employing a stunning metallic silver that complements the cards beautifully. This is a completely custom deck that is certain to impress anyone who sees it. Art of Play produces many new decks each year, and their Henry & Sally deck is a fun novelty release also worth checking out. For more, seeArt of Play decks.
They are a very select group, but there are some notable designers in the playing card industry who have developed a real name for themselves, have generated a large following of loyal fans, and continue to produce high quality custom decks on a regular basis. ● Italia Radiosa Playing Cards - Italian designer Giovanni Meroni is the man behind Thirdway Industries, and his playing cards are in high demand from collectors around the world. His signature style is immediately recognizable in each of his decks, and this one is no exception. Along with its companion Italia Segreta, it's themed around the wonders and secrets of Italy. The unique court cards are the real highlight, showcasing Giovanni's usual creativity and style. The number cards are also fully custom. These are the kinds of decks that will hold their value well in years to come. If you want even more vibrant colours, check out Modern Idols, from the same creator. For more, seeGiovanni Meroni decks. ● Postage Paid Playing Cards - Behind the brand Kings Wild Project is Jackson Robinson, who is one of the few professional designers that actually makes a living out of designing playing cards. This deck was inspired by the idea of playing cards functioning as postcards, each with its own stamp and post paid stamp. All 50 US states are represented on different cards, and everything about this deck is fully customized. This deck was produced in only limited numbers, so it will be out of stock in most places. But if you're quick, you can still grab Jackson Robinson's General Admission deck, which applies a similar concept to tickets, with each card representing a vintage ticket stub from the early 20th century. For more, seeJackson Robinson decks. ● Kodiak Playing Cards - From popular designer Jody Eklund and his Black Ink Playing Cards Company, comes this delightful deck of playing cards that is geared to the poker player and collector. The cards have a very classic look, but offer a fresh take on the designs of the court cards and pips. Jody is highly respected for his approach to graphic design, and these cards will prove an excellent choice if you like playing card games, and want to bring something stylish and attractive to the table. For more, seeJody Eklund decks.
Most magicians can perform their magic with any deck, but typically they prefer to do card magic with a deck where novelty and customization are minimal, so as not to distract from their magic. These decks are well suited to performing magic, and contain bonus gaff cards or other secrets that enable them to produce miracles not possible with ordinary decks. ● Card College Playing Cards - These decks are a tribute to the most outstanding modern teacher of the fundamentals of card magic, Roberto Giobbi. Mr Giobbi is the author of Card College, a series of best-selling books which are the modern gold standard for learning card magic. Available in red and blue, these decks are simple and practical for the working magician, and as a bonus each contains two double backer gaff cards. If you want more luxury, check out the stunning Luxury 3 Deck Set, which has even more stylish cards, individually numbered tuck boxes with unique origami style features, packaged in an attractive acrylic box - the ideal collectible or gift for magicians. ● Remedies Royal Blue Playing Cards - The Remedies decks come from popular creators Daniel Madison and Daniel Schneider, and this is a successor to the Remedies Scarlet Red deck. Many collectors love the Black Roses brand of playing cards, and collect whatever they produce. This blue Remedies deck has a classic and minimalist look with bold blue card backs, and is very functional and practical. The inclusion of a special Angle Zero gaff makes it ideal for magicians. ● DMC Elites Red v5 Playing Cards - Of all the marked decks I own, the DMC Elites is easily my first choice whenever I want a marked deck with cards that can be easily read from a distance, due to the clever and yet almost invisible marking system it uses. This deck has previously been released in several different colours, and now incorporates Tamariz's Mnemonica stack. All you need is the deck, but there is a terrific Passport book available separately, which will give you some great ideas for routines you can pull off with this great marked deck. For more, seeMarked decks.
Card flourishing has really boomed in recent years, and especially shines when cardists use a deck that has colourful and striking patterns optimized for cardistry, that enhance the visual aesthetics of cards in motion, as these decks show. ● Neon Orange Cardistry Playing Cards - This deck represents Bicycle's attempt to meet a demand for a relatively low-cost deck geared towards card flourishing. The card backs have a geometric design, and the faces are all identical and completely non-standard, showcasing the latest evolution in playing cards optimized entirely for cardistry. Bright colours ensure that the cards look visually appealing in fans, spreads, and flourishing moves. Alongside this vibrant orange deck is its blue companion, the Neon Blue Aurora deck. ● Autumn Circle Cardistry Playing Cards - Tally Ho is a classic brand that USPCC has been producing for a long time. The circle back design of the typical Tally Ho deck has become iconic, and is especially appreciated by those who enjoy card flourishing. Each year the folks at Bicycle produce some in-house decks for special occasions, and the Autumn Circle Back deck is a lovely result. The colours capture the warmth and glow of autumn leaves and the mood of harvest time, while the pattern on the card backs is perfect for cardistry. ● ArrowDynamix Cardistry Playing Cards - Given the high volume of cardistry decks appearing all the time, it can be difficult to come up with something completely original, but this minimalist deck has accomplished exactly that. Each card features a giant vertical arrow on the card backs, and a giant horizontal arrow on the faces. With carefully choreographed sequences and moves, you can create truly unique patterns and effects that you simply can't achieve with any other cardistry deck.
Do you love animals, or do you have an animal lover in your life? There are a lot of wonderful custom decks that are tributes to our four legged friends, or depict some of our favourite creatures. ● Woof and Whiskers Dog Playing Cards - The real appeal of this deck is the cute tuck box, which has cardboard ears that fold up, to complete the look of the friendly dog on the front of the box. I would have liked to see some more customization with the number cards, but it's still a very charming deck, with delightful custom artwork on the court cards and aces. This is one of two Zoo 52 decks, so if you like the Dog deck, you'll also want to pick up the Playful Paws Cat deck, which is equally cute. ● Aviary Playing Cards - There are a lot of independent creators that produce Bicycle branded playing cards with the help of industry giant USPCC, but this big name producer also releases its own in-house decks. This is my favourite of their four newest releases that hit the market at the end of 2020, and is a very classy looking deck with artwork inspired by a traditional look, but with adjustments to give it a custom feel, and the presence of several birds carefully positioned throughout the deck. Of the four new releases from Bicycle, the Sea King deck is also proving to be very popular. ● King of Tigers Playing Cards - If you're looking for a deck with bling, this is it. The card backs have a borderless tiger skin pattern, which has been printed with some of the latest technology that makes use of foil for a truly eye-catching look. The tuck box is even more glamorous. While the court cards are clearly inspired by traditional courts, the Jokers bring back the tiger theme strongly, and the tiger skin look recurs throughout the deck.
Recent years have seen some wonderful novelty decks themed around different kinds of food. These are always a great way to whet your appetite for a card game, or to show off to family or friends, and have proved a real hit with collectors. ● Squeezers V3 Playing Cards - Good luck getting your hands on decks from this extremely popular series from Organic Playing Cards, because they sell out quickly. These fruit inspired decks have delightful tuck boxes, and this grapefruit themed deck even comes in a tuck box that looks like a juice box, and is actually scented like grapefruit. The cards themselves are quite practical, but add humorous grapefruit themed elements to the court cards, and new bold colours. OPC's 2020 releases also included the watermelon-themed Carvers deck, while their current release sees the brand go in a slightly new direction with the corn-themed Shuckers. ● Noodlers Chicken Playing Cards - If you like the concept behind the Organic Playing Cards series, you'll probably also enjoy this deck, which has a similarly styled tuck box to the Squeezers decks, but represents a packet of ramen noodles. The orange colour on the card backs and pips has also been inspired by the noodles theme. The artwork on the court cards has a quaint and cute style, with each character depicted in a light hearted style quite different from standard courts, and all holding a bowl of noodles. For a final laugh, the Jokers provide us with the necessary packet of "chicken seasoning" to add to our noodles. ● Citrus Playing Cards - Created by Flaminko, the Deliciousness series has been somewhat overshadowed by the more successful fruit inspired cards from Organic Playing Cards. But I love the Flaminko decks, because they apply customization to all elements of the cards, including the pips. This novelty deck is well suited for card flourishing, card games, and collectors, and cleverly captures all that is juicy and wonderful about citrus fruit.
Music is another evergreen theme, and there's a solid range of lovely decks for the music lover, whether your taste is classical or more contemporary rock-and-roll. ● Composers Mozart Playing Cards - This deck is part of a series that also includes other composers like Bach. These decks are true collector pieces, and make a wonderful tribute to some of the greatest composers of all time. The tuck boxes have a very classical look, and metallic ink enhances the gorgeous card backs. Meanwhile completely custom artwork on the faces emphasizes a vintage and classical feel. They are great for music lovers and collectors, but if classical music isn't your thing, then check out the Rock and Roll deck. ● Piano Player Playing Cards - If the piano is your instrument of choice, this is a deck for you. The creative tuck box is available in two styles, one with two black keys and the other with three black keys, which means you can place two decks alongside each other to create a larger keyboard. Fully custom characters inhabit the court cards, with the keyboard motif returning in the details of the artwork. Small touches like this really make this creative deck a thing of unique beauty. ● Soundboards v3 Midnight Playing Cards - Remember the old walk-man cassette players? In the 1980s these revolutionary electronic devices were among the first to make your personal music collection portable. The Soundboards deck replicates the look of a classic walk-man, and the Jokers complete the look by bringing the cassette tape look into the box. This Midnight edition has a dark look, so you might also want to consider the red deck if you prefer a more traditional colour.
Fiction & Film themed Decks
Most of us love a good story, whether it's in the pages of a novel or on our screens. Here are some great custom decks that are loving tributes to some of the best from the worlds of fiction and film. ● Jane Austen Playing Cards - Fans of the classic novel will appreciate the loving treatment that Jane Austen's famous novels have received in this delightful tribute from the Art of Play label. Each suit represents a different novel, with the court cards featuring the lead characters in the story. The design of the characters is inspired by period costumes and reflects the fashions from the time in which the stories are set. The classy tuck case ensures that everything is nicely packaged and well presented. ● Star Wars Playing Cards - Theory11 achieved a real coup by acquiring the rights to bring the Star Wars brand to playing cards. They were the perfect company to ensure that the result was a classy deck that did justice to the world of the films. This pair of Light Side and Dark Side decks begins with a top quality and highly attractive tuck case, as we've come to expect from Theory11. The court cards all feature different characters from the movies, and the design is the perfect blend of customization and playability, making this a practical deck you can bring out for your favourite card game, or to give to the Star Wars fan in your life. A similar pair of decks was produced later in the year in White and Black. ● King Arthur Playing Cards - The result of a collaboration between Riffle Shuffle and Studio Muti, this pair of red and green decks tell the story of the famous Arthurian legend. For me it's a personal and nostalgic childhood favourite, in light of the adventure and imagination it evokes. But as impressive as these decks are, they pale besides the King Arthur Gold deck, which has gold metallic ink on the faces, and gold foil on the card backs, for a truly extravagant look. Inside and out, this is a stunning tribute to a timeless classic from the world of fiction.
So I cheated. I already have a section devoted to cardistry, so I figured I'd sneak in a second category, by including some cardistry decks that all have a space theme. These decks all feature colourful visuals that work well for flourishing, but can also be enjoyed by collectors who appreciate their vibrant colours and exuberant designs. ● Solokid Constellation Playing Cards - This set of twelve decks captures the twelve different star signs. It was produced by Bocopo, a company well known for producing colourful custom decks that appeal especially to cardists and collectors. These decks are typical Bocopo offerings, with evocative colours that are unique to each different deck, to help capture a different feeling for each and every constellation. If you like vibrant colour, you'll certainly find something to enjoy here. ● Stargazer New Moon Playing Cards - Several different decks have now appeared in the Stargazer series, but the recent New Moon deck is probably my favourite. The circular moon that appears on all the card backs makes it an ideal deck for card flourishing moves like spins and twirls. The face cards have some truly vibrant colours, and capture well the feel of a night sky bursting with colour and life. ● Sirius B v3 Playing Cards - I fell in love with the style of the original Sirius B deck, so this third edition was always going to win me over. The court cards consist of a blur of colours that look like paints mixed together, and this style has also been applied to the pips. The colours are the real appeal here, and the signature design of the card backs also looks very nice in card flourishes.
I personally adore transformation cards, and consider them to be one of the most fascinating and memorable types of playing cards there is. The idea is that you take the pips and incorporate them into a larger picture that forms a unique work of art, for each and every card in the deck. ● Cotta's Almanac #1 Reproduction Playing Cards - This historic deck was first created in 1805 by J.C. Cotta, and was the very first of its kind. Themed on the "Joan of Arc" play by Schiller, the beauty and creativity of these cards will still win over collectors today. Lovingly produced in a high quality modern edition, this recreation is the first of the entire series of Cotta transformation decks that is being reproduced by PCD. ● 5th Kingdom Playing Cards - This deck is possibly my favourite original release from PCD in the past year. It is an outstanding example of the creativity and originality of a semi-transformation deck, where the pips have been cleverly incorporated into the artwork. Each suit represents a different culture, turning each individual card into a work of art that can be admired and enjoyed. ● Pack of Dogs V2 Playing Cards - This transformation deck is the work of John Littleboy, who has produced a number of such decks in his inimitable style, including Pack of Dogs, Kitten Club, Mermaid Queen, and Bag of Bones. The number cards are my favourites, and in this deck each of these represents a larger art piece with a dog. Each suit has a progressive image, so they don't feel totally unique from each other. It's more like a series of consecutive snapshots, and you can use flip animation to tell the story. Littleboy's Kitten Club V2 deck applies a similar concept to cats.
PlayingCardDecks doesn't just sell playing cards, but Will Roya also uses his wealth of experience to team up with designers and graphic artists to produce high quality custom decks under the PCD label. Here are some great custom decks that were published in-house over the course of 2020. ● Astronaut Playing Cards - This novelty deck is a delightful creation that will please anyone who has an interest in space and space travel, in light of its unique theme. The Kings are all depicted as astronauts, while the Queens and Jacks represent space travellers. The card backs have a futuristic look with neon lights, and this look carries over to the number cards, which are highly customized with unique red and blue pips. ● Beekeeper Playing Cards - There are plenty of bee themed playing cards already on the market, but the artwork style gives this one a truly unique feel. Two decks were produced, one with light card backs and the other with dark card backs. This is a great novelty deck for the collector, because there's especially some delightful creativity to be found with the bee-inspired pips, and the detailed custom artwork on the court cards. ● Testament Classic Playing Cards - This is a Biblical themed deck created by artist Ben Green. It's intended as an art deck, with the images on the cards depicting Biblical characters from well-known narratives. Representing a dual love for playing cards and a love for Bible-inspired art, this deck will especially appeal to the collector.
I'm a sucker for highly unusual decks with a high degree of novelty, and even though these are not ones I'd typically use for playing card games, they have very unique features that make them stand out from your average custom deck. ● Starry Night Puzzle Playing Cards - Fancy a deck that doubles as a jigsaw puzzle? This clever deck takes its inspiration from Vincent Van Gogh's famous painting, The Starry Night. The artwork on the card faces is all taken from the painting, and all the cards can be pieced together to make a single giant picture, thus effectively functioning as a large puzzle. Yet each card has clear indices so it's still something you can use for card games too. Definitely unique and out of the ordinary, this set of playing cards is a perfect choice for fans of classic art and paintings. ● Falcon Razors Deluxe Throwing Playing Cards - Rick Smith Jr has made multiple world records in throwing playing cards. His baseball background holds him in good stead, but anybody can learn to throw playing cards if you use the techniques Rick teaches. These throwing cards were a collaboration with legendary flourisher De'vo, and were featured in one of this year's viral videos from Dude Perfect, which featured Rick and his amazing card throwing. The cards are slightly thicker than standard Bicycle stock, to ensure extra durability and performance for card throwing. ● AQUA Invisible Plastic Playing Cards - If you're looking for something completely different, this might hit the mark. This is a ground-breaking deck that is the closest thing to being invisible. All the cards are made out of completely transparent plastic, after which a high gloss transparent printing is applied to selected areas of the cards to produce the designs and pips. So each card is effectively completely transparent, and yet you can see its unique artwork and determine its value and suit. The handling is surprisingly better than you'd expect for a completely plastic deck, and it's certainly something unique.
Other Gift Ideas
Do you want to let your gift recipient make their own decision about what to get, or are you not quite sure what to buy? Here are a couple of special gift ideas that might help out, even if it is to give your family or friends a convenient way to enable you to select your own gift! Firstly, there's a wide range of accessories available for playing cards, like card clips, card cases, and more. Alternatively, consider a gift card, which is available in amounts of $10, $25, $50, $100, and $200. There's also the popular Pip Box Club, which has been around for over two years. Subscribers get a selection of decks and goodies shipped to them each month, and offers great value with each box. Boxing Day Sale: Right now you can take advantage of a special sale at PlayingCardDecks, and save $10 off any order over $30 by using the code box20. This coupon is valid from Boxing Day until the end of 2020. Happy shopping, and happy holidays!
[H] Hundreds of tradable steam game gifts, removed game gifts, steam keys, more [W] TF2 Keys, Paypal
https://steamcommunity.com/tradeoffenew/?partner=128394910&token=KJaXP3jg Most non-removed games I'd be happy to trade for store price in csgo keys at paypal value, so a collector can just have the gift. I have no attachment to 99% of this stuff, anymore. Most gifts are certainly less than store price, as well. Do NOT waste my time by offering other games or other gifts. 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Founder's Server : Exclusive Access 3 [*] Universe At War [*] Windborne [*] Windborne Hero Adventurer's Pack [*] Yooka-Laylee Toybox Preorders and various exclusive versions(some contain exclusive preorder content) [*] Arkham Origins Preorder (comes with exclusive Deathstroke sub) https://steamdb.info/sub/29695/apps/ [*] Bioshock 2 Pre-Order [*] Bioshock Infinite Pre-Order WW [*] Brutal Legend Pre-Purchase [*] Disgaea PC: Digital Deluxe Dood Edition [*] Dishonored 2 Pre-Order [*] Painkiller hell & Damnation preorder (comes with exclusive preorder content) [*] Goodbye Deponia Pre-Purchase [*] Sonic Generations Preorder [*] Magicka (1st week promotion) [*] South Park The Fractured But Whole (preorder DLC included) F2P Game Gifts and/or general collectibles [*] Altitude [*] Air Brawl [*] Air Buccaneers [*] Awesomenauts [*] Brawlhalla [*] Evolve Stage 2 [*] Ori and the Blind Forest [*] Proto Galaxy [*] RIFT [*] SNOW - Gift for Closed Beta customers [*] Space Forerunner Fleet Pack Gift (Fractured Space) OTHER GAME GIFTS [*] AI War Bundle (20 11) [*] Alderamin on the Sky: A Stormy Encounter [*] Aliens versus Predator Classic 2000 [*] ARMA: Cold War Assault [*] Attack on Titan / A.O.T. 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So I just got my first order from cbd hemp direct . It came in discreet packaging . It also contained all the paperwork you need saying it’s hemp and the info on the cbd . I ordered 7 grams of paradise og. 7 grams of Honolulu haze . And 30 grams of casino cookies . I had to contact cbd hemp direct though because I received 7 grams of the casino cookies . So I will update once they contact me . I have opened the paradise og and the Honolulu haze and they smell amazing . Beautiful buds . I will post pictures and reviews on each of these products as soon as I try them . I bought all three of these on sale . The 7 gram jars were on sale for 9.99$ each . And the 30 grams of casino cookies was on sale for 15.99 . Which is a great deal as long as they fix my order lol. Shipping was only 7 dollars . So in total my order was 42.97. I ordered these December 26 and received them on January 2 . So with the holidays it still got here decently fast . Thank you for checking out my Reddit . Update * so I got a email from cbd hemp direct . And they are fixing the order and already sent me a tracking number for the 30 g of casino cookies . So I got a free 7 grams out of it lol . Very fast customer service .
Some Simple tips for CD devs to make CP2077 feel more alive in upcoming DLCs (Please read)
First off, this game was an aesthetic treat and compared to GTAV, it is indeed much more "dense" with the core areas so much more beautiful in that regard... But no game is perfect, nor is it realistic in this decade to expect a full "city simulator" for any dev or in any game, so that's not what I'm expecting out of Night City not even under the most ideal of circumstances... That said, there are plenty of room for improvement, bug fixes sure, but also beyond that I'd like to see more in the upcoming DLC's that make NightCity more alive, not even necessarily newer and larger maps, but just practical added-elements and additional functional components that would go a long way towards making the city appear more 'alive', and immersive and dynamic and all that was illuded to but never fully manifested... So in terms of most bang for buck and the low-hanging fruit (80/20 principle): In real life there is a sense of interconnecitivity and permanance... NightCity doesn't have this and is just a disconnected Hodgepodge of static elements that have no effect on one another... for example I should be able to balance the transportation cost of getting to work versus the career path that I want and the amount of money I'm making and taking into account my net worth... it wouldn't make sense for me to accept an entry level position that requires hours of commute every morning when I'm living on the other end of town... and on the otherhand if I'm processed to a VP making bigly bucks I can afford to take the automated air taxi every morning to work in central business district and still live outside by the beautiful beachfront property etc... likewise a downturn in the economy will affect my company and I could get laid off or no bonus for the year, or if I'm working a gig job that is seasonal then come spring I wouldn't need to find a second side gig to make up for the loss of income... and all of that ties into what kind of loft I can afford, what kind of car I can buy/lease/rent and the food I can eat (tv dinner vs fine dining) and the cloths that I can put in my back which affects the sort of women on the street that I can radnomdly hit on and get intro interested into d going on a date with me etc etc etc... its all interconnected and has a continuation that affecst so much more than just mindless NPCs spawning and despawning right in front on my eyes... #TRANSPORTATION 1) Bring back (or rather develope for the first time) the promised subway system... this shouldn't be that hard to do... it would add an element of connectivity of the different parts of the city... Leave fast travel as an option, for those that want to ride the train shouldn't be forced to use loading screens 2) Air taxi(s) -- in the age of Telsa self driving cars, hyperloops, drone taxis we should have plenty of automated air taxi options in the world of CP2077, basically like the taxi hailing component in GTAIV (Liberty City) except the player can hail an air taxi that lands close to where he is standing, he gets in, and then chooses any destination and it automatically flys him to the location, while allowing him to look out the windows and enjoy the night city from above / higher perspective... this is simplier than simply giving the player ability to fly hovercars/etc since an air taxi is just from point to point and its trivial to code a system that flys the player from any point in the city to any other point without crashing into any buildings... we've seen NightCity from the ground, now lets see it from the sky! 3) Rented transporation -- user pays to be able to rent jet packs, hoverboards, scooters at different locations in the city so he can use a public transportation but on a personal level... for the jet packs cap a max height so that its still basically hovering at or around slightly above ground level, giving the user the discretion of travel but not allowing him to fly or scale above buildings etc... this requires money to rent and if the equipment is damaged, lost, stolen or not returned properly the users bank account will be deducted for the amount ( see #ECONOMY) #JOBS/CAREERS/WORK/EDUCATION/GIGs Ability to work a day job to earn steady money and climb a career ladder by taking courses or going to school at night... ability to go on the nightcity job boards or online to hunt and interview for other jobs... to change industries and do other jobs... to participate in the Gig economy... like drive around in some version of ubereats delivering food or packages to people... or a corporate desk job thats basically on the computer all day... for corporate day jobs the game should give the user the ability to fastforward just like he can go to bed and fast forward for eight hours etc.... #INTERIORS 1) Skyscrapers with observation deck -- in every major city there is a theme like this, take Seattle for example you can visit the tallest building in Seattle downtown and go up on the obs deck and see the city view from high above, I would say incorporate some options like this where user can enter some of the taller buildings in NightCity, ride up the elevator to the higher decks and see the city from that view... maybe even add a floor with fine dinning where user can take a friend/date/group to the restuarant and eat while enjoying watching the scenery of the nightcity below etc... 2) All major buildings enter-able (is that a word? lol) with at least a ground lobby.... right now most of the buildings are just fake exteriors, nice to look at from the outside but completely fake and empty with no insides... Due to system restrains its not practical to simulate every room of every floor of every building in nightcity with furnished interiors and real windows and all that... but at least make the first floor /lobby area of every large and major building enter-able so that the character can walk in and out of them... for certain buildings you may want to make a working/functional lobby elevator that leads to an underground garage and/or allows the user to ride the elevator to above ground higher floors of the building... or have the elevator only allow certain floors to be accessed and furnish these floors with realistic settings/environment and this can tie in nicely with the job/work/career paths discussed in #ECONOMY section with gives you the office space to put a number of companies in which the user can find and switch jobs and work in corporate paths etc... for example allow the user to customize and decorate his own "office/desk", and if he has a window office, then that would provide another unique view/scenery of nightcity from above ground perspective, one that can only be gotten from working at that particular company/job, and gives him an incentive to work late to see the city from nighttime while burning the midnight oil:) 3) Multiple apartments, the user should be able to pick and choose from a vast selection and array of living arrangements and this necessities a lot of hotel/condo/apartment options which means these buildings need to have interiors and furnished and environments fully built out... #ECONOMY 1) Ability to find and work a job, with multiple career paths and with ability to move up in the corporate world... this provides the user with a steady stream of income for which he can use to buy fancier cars, to move into newer and better apartments /condos etc.. and to buy fancier items like designer cloths and the suches... not to mention to spend on fine dinning in high end restuarants which can tie in nicely with going on datings, impressing women with luxury cars and expensive meals and "date nights out" at elaborate events.... basically there has to be a purpose and meaning to making more money, and the process of making more money has to be derived from a job or work or career of some sort as the main component... 2) Have a real economy with unemployment, inflation, commodity prices, and all of that impact and influence and affect the user in his everyday life... for example if a major terror event or pandemic causes the Nightcity to suffer an economic depression for a few months then its possible the company that the user is working at has to lay off people and he gets canned and has to downsize to a smaller apartment, loses his girlfriend/wife, and then has to find another lower paying job and stuck in the downward cycle for a few years until he is able to win the lottery (#GAMBLING/SPECUTLATION/BETTING) or his luck somehow changes... 3) Everything should cost money, it costs money to rent an apartement and it should also cost money to eat and drink... basically he user has to spend money to eat otherwise he will starve to death... and the user has to keep paying rent every month for whatever apartment he resides otherwise he gets evicted and could even become homeless and have to live in one of those nasty tents in tenty city or under a highway bridge etc etc 4) Grocery stores, restuarants, movie theaters, hotels, and shopping malls... There should be at least a few convinennce stores, shopping malls, restuarants and other retail places spread throughout nightcity, this is a component and element of the economy as well as a means for the user to spend all the hard earned money he worked towards... for example if you give a homeless a few bucks he should be able to use it to spend at a store on the corner to get something to eat and then that makes him happy because he is no longer so hungry... there should be a tie in for economy, money, and the ability to exchange that for goods and services (barber, tatto artists cough cough) and associate these goods and services to emotional feelings of happiness and satisfication for both the user /player and the NPCs... #SEASONS There should be a distinction between autumn/fall, spring, summer, winter etc... This gives a big cycle sense of passage of time that cannot be simulated with the current day/night cycles along... in the winter the sun should rise and set at different times/angles than the summer... In addition, I'd like to see an accurate night sky map/ stars. NightCity takes place in SoCal, its trivial to map the nightsky for the year 2077 in the SoCal area... even in the latest Flight Simulator 2020 the stars are now accurate at night... Ability to choose LIVE weather based on current user location (see Flight Simulator) so say its raining in Dallas Texas where a user is playing, then in NightCity it will match that and we raining in the game as well... also ability to customize weather on-the-fly in real-time (see Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020) and have that instantly change in the game without reloading... Along with seasons I'd like to be able to see holiday celebrations for example Christmas time espeically... I want to hear holiday music and see buildings decorated with Christmas lights and the jolly spirits of it all... Think the ambiance and environment of say Polar Express, bring that alive to Night City for Xmas... #MINI GAMES and other Microcosm There is a "Go" board in Chinatown... but its fake... and the players aren't even attempting to play Go... See what Google Deepmind did with AlphaGo, Facebook made an OpenGo that they open sourced... there is also LeelaZero and KataGo free AI engines that have already been trained using deeplearning/machineAI to be far better than the Go masters... the same applies to Chess by the way... but I didn't see a Chess board in Night City yet... in any case all these board games the computer AI can now master... make these games playable in NightCity, so the user can watch two NPC's play a round of Go/Chess/etc (Ai vs Ai) or can join and sit down and take a seat and play against an NPC a real game of Go/Chess, (or in the future if CP gets a multiplayer than humans can play against one another etc) basically a microcosms and games-within-a-game.... Spotify/Netflix/youTube integrations... I'd like to see the user have a portable/personal mp3 player or app on his virtual smartphone that allows him to link to his personal -reallife- spotify account to listen to music while in the game... also on the TV screens at home to be able to watch netflix movies while in this virtual apartment chilling with his date/friends... and things like YouTube integration would be nice... maybe even pornhub integration.... Other simple games like darts, bowling and even toys like RC cars or DJI drones... give the use the ability to fly drones (check out DJI Simulator) or operate rc model cars etc... basically toys that he can buy at electronic stores or corner outlets that he can then use these toys in real life for any variety of enjoyments... this also ties into #ECONOMY and why its important to have a good job /career that pays good money! #GAMBLING/SPECUTLATION/INVESTMENTS/BETTING Have some form of virtual casinos in the game, NightCity reminds me of Vegas, yet not one slot machine and not one means to gamble or bet? How about the ability to play the stockmarket, bitcoins, and make bets and well as go gambling, cards, poker, etc this not only provides a form of entertainment but also gives the user a way to quickly win / lose a lot of money and for the risk takers they may wish to invest their money in high risk high reward speculative stocks in the stock market instead of immediately spending it on a new apartment, new car, new tech gadget etc etc... this would also tie back to #ECONOMY since the more the user earns the more income he has to spend on gambling/stocks and the better the economy does the higher his stocks return on investment... #ROMANCE/RELATIONSHIPS Should be able to court any pretty woman on the streets, to walk up to her and say hi and have a path/chance to a dialogue that leads to setting up a first date... and following that if it goes well can progress to more dates and evetnually her moving in with the user and eventually even having a kid, getting married, and the works... each female NPC should have a male preference and a threshold of compatiblity... so that for example if on the first date the guy is cheap and takes her to low end resturant, doesn't have a nice car to pick her up with, and otherwise seems like a low life then she wouldn't process/continue with him... whereas if he is already established with a multimillion apartment, supercar, takes her to most expensive restuarant in NightCity, then I could see her going back to his place on the first date and maybe even getting pregnant right then and there that night etc...
What A Day: Crash in Toomey by Sarah Lazarus & Crooked Media (12/18/20)
"Lindsey’s been a personal disappointment." - Joe Biden, in the words of so many before him What a year! We'll be on hiatus until Monday, January 4. Safe and happy holidays, and see you around the inbox in 2021.
Night Of The Living Fed
Say what you will about Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, but it takes a special kind of work ethic to spend the weekend before Christmas holding up coronavirus relief for nefarious political reasons, while taking just one quick break to get a vaccine in short supply. Sorry, not work ethic—what’s the phrase?—moral bankruptcy.
A final relief agreement remains elusive after Senate Republicans, led by Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), decided to hold billions of dollars hostage to a late-announced demand that would cut off Federal Reserve lending programs created by the CARES Act. That’s for no purpose other than to hamstring the Biden administration, and it’s a big ol’ non-starter. As incoming NEC Director Brian Deese said in a statement: “Congress’s good faith effort to deliver immediate relief should not be delayed by provisions that could put our future financial stability at risk.”
And yet, here we are! Lawmakers have until midnight on Friday to approve an extension of federal funding (and the attached stimulus package), which does not appear likely. Thanks to Toomey’s last-minute, godawful proposal, the House has passed another stopgap spending bill and the Senate is expected to do so shortly, in order to avoid a government shutdown while negotiations continue into the weekend. Republicans: Burning the Midnight Oil to Deny You Aid Unless It Screws Over Joe Biden Somehow™.
It bears repeating that the deal Republicans are obstructing is one they’ve already hacked into an insulting sliver of what it could and should be. Where Democrats have demanded $1,200 direct payments, the restoration of $600 weekly unemployment insurance, retroactive benefits, and funding for state and local governments, Republicans have winnowed that down to $600 checks (“it’s nine months of rent, Michael, what could it cost? $10?”), $300 unemployment benefits that will end earlier as a “compromise” for those checks, and a wet raspberry to be blown in the direction of the millions of people who could lose their jobs when state and local governments have to find additional budget cuts.
In their mad scramble back to Austerity Mode, Republicans have held off calls for larger direct payments from (checks notes) Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) and (squints at notes, dons bifocals) President Donald Trump.
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) shot down Hawley’s bill to provide $1,200 direct payments, citing the national deficit, which he remembered this morning upon waking from a peaceful four-year slumber in a distant forest. Sending hungry families $1,200 checks would be “mortgaging our children's future,” said Johnson, who voted for a $741 billion defense budget last week. The Washington Post reported that White House aides stepped in on Thursday to stop Trump from calling for $2,000 checks, out of fear it would blow up negotiations. We’re sick of saying this all the time, but out of respect for the presidency, it seems like we should listen to what Mr. Trump has to say.
While Republicans waste time on attempted sabotage, millions of people are in for the bleakest Christmas since Melania was at the top of her decorating game. The Labor Department reported on Thursday that new unemployment claims rose to 885,000, up 23,000 from the previous week and the highest weekly total since September. Nearly 13 million Americans are behind on their rent or mortgage, according to the latest Census survey, and just under 27.4 million adults reported suffering from food scarcity. If Ron Johnson’s so concerned about our children’s future, wait ‘til he hears about their present.
The embarrassing stimulus package that Senate Republicans will eventually, begrudgingly agree to is only on the table because they worry they’ll lose both Georgia Senate runoffs next month if they don’t pass something. Imagine what relief efforts will look like if Mitch McConnell is still in power in the new year without his majority at stake, then grab a shift to help Georgia voters send him packing.
Look No Further Than The Crooked Media
Unholier Than Thou just released a very special episode with Crooked Media alum Brittany Packnett Cunningham. Phill and Brittany discuss the idea of Jesus Christ in the modern context as a social justice warrior. With Christmas fast approaching, the discussion around the identity (as a brown man, inmate, undocumented immigrant, etc.) of the holiday’s namesake is more relevant than ever. Take a listen, and make sure to subscribe to Unholier Than Thouwherever you get your podcasts →
Under The Radar
Here, we got you a little Christmas grift: Jared Kusher helped create a shell company that funneled millions of dollars in campaign funding to Trump family members. American Made Media Consultants Corporation, whose creation Kushner approved, has spent approximately half of the Trump campaign’s $1.26 billion in total funds since 2019. The company allowed the Trump campaign to shield details of its spending, and while earlier reporting pinned the whole scheme on former Trump Campaign Manager Brad Parscale, we now know that the family was directly involved: Lara Trump was AMMC’s president, Vice President Mike Pence’s nephew was (fittingly) veep, and Trump campaign CFO Sean Dollman was treasurer and secretary. Nothing a last-minute blanket pardon won’t clear up!
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Is That Hope I Feel?
The FDA has authorized Moderna's coronavirus vaccine. Nearly 76,000 new voters, a majority of them under the age of 35, have registered in Georgia since the November election. A federal judge has rejected a lawsuit from Sens. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) and David Purdue (R-GA) aiming to get those new voters’ ballots thrown out. More than 1.1 million people in four countries have received their first coronavirus vaccine shots, according to a Bloomberg vaccine tracker that’s deeply soothing to stare at. Look at you. Thank you. Keep it going.
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