Binary Option Definition and Example - Investopedia
How to Succeed with Binary Options Trading at Home 2020
a non-transphobic defense of the existence of the late r/GenderCritical subreddit (the necessity of seeing motherhood as a class)
I want to first assert that I am not a radfem TERF. Before you judge my politics, let me take you through what I believe about gender.
There is no gender essentialism. Humans are like animals. We do not have souls. We do not have a gender inside of us. I am a woman but I don't 'feel like a woman' inside me. In fact, at some point I used to identify publicly as non-binary because I thought it was a fact of reality that everyone was empty of this thing called 'gender' inside of us. I subscribed to anti-humanist ideas.
Corollary: I reject any notion of a Cartesian spirit or soul or spiritual gender as non-materialist.
Gender is expressed through sex and sexuality. You are born a certain sex and with a sexuality that is both innate (gay or straight) but also capable of developing or changing during pubescence based on experiences that shape your ego (fetishes). In nature, it makes sense for animals to change their appearance (sex) to achieve sexual gratification (reproduction). Our bodies know more than we can say because sexuality is beyond language and not subservient to what our ego thinks or logically demands. If you were born a homosexual and were an effeminate child, you might become a trans woman because you are attracted to heterosexual men or bears. If that isn't the case and you are attracted to mostly straight women and have no desire for SRS, then maybe your desire to transition is a sexual expression based on a desire to conceal your sex for the sake of non-traditional sexual intercourse that you find erotic. THAT IS OK. I do very kinky stuff in bed as well. I am also incapable of admitting what I do in bed because my ego wants to protect my fetishes that are dependent on secrecy.
Corollary: There is no concrete reality to 'gender,' it is either expressed physically through sex or physically through sexuality (actions and communication geared towards sex).
Non-binary gender identity has arisen because of how the PMC class engages in immaterial labor. Since there is no reality to gender outside of sex or sexuality (the expression of sex drive), we can't 'perceive' our gender identity, we can only enact it. The present PMC class of college educated women and non-binary queer people are no longer engaging in productive labor that still resembles traditional 'labor' and not just clicking things on a screen or typing posts for Woke McDonald's. They no longer have to engage in reproductive labor or care labor, and when they do, they turn it into a microtransaction to let capial manage their hearts (hey, paypal me for explaining this to you, cis man). Women now have to be seen as equal subjects under capital because they need to be equally subject to capital's formal exploitation through the wage. When a woman says, "I must not be anything because I don't feel anything inside," it's because gender isn't essential and isn't something you feel like a soul. You feel nothing because you are depressed because you can't have kids under capitalism and are kind of sexually frustrated, and because you aren't engaging in labor that makes you feel like a 'woman' (mothering and reproductive labor), or a million other reasons that have to do with your working conditions and the stupid life you're being forced to eke out. If you are like me, 'doing things' that express 'gender' (sexuality, sex acts, and reproductive labor) will actually make you 'feel like a woman.' If you aren't feeling anything, the problem is the job and life you are being forced to live, which is alienated and unnatural. And not all women are meant to be mothers. You need to follow your 'vocation' (what you feel).
Women entered the workforce around the same time the middle class started to boom. The middle class is being replace by the PMC. The PMC require exploitative reproductive practices in order to maintain their family structure and the reproduction of the middle class as a whole. Middle class couples traditionally needed one income to support a family, and their gen X/millennial children need two. Their children are PMC. Due to the falling rate of profit, it now takes two parents' incomes to raise a child in the middle class. There is a generational gap because of the falling rate of profit. PMC jobs were created by the middle class not by increasing labor production directly (more workers, more machines) but through maximizing the techniques used to control labor for profit--- that is why we see the growth of the managerial class, the PMC. Profit is created from unwaged work. The PMC tap into profit by creating microtransactions out of areas of life that used to not be able to be accessed by the wage. This 'technology' (by technology, I mean machines plus the sum total of all science including social science) is what they pay huge sums of future labor (student debt is promising future work/wage) to be able to access. In order to pay back their student debt, PMC women must engage in formal labor in a workplace, even if they have children. This fundamentally changes our social structure because it causes women to outsource their own reproductive labor to working class women. Look at how the median income of college graduates has shifted over the course of the last few decades--- parental incomes ($142,000 for Virginia Tech) are over double the median income at age 34 ($62,000). It now takes two incomes to raise one family, which leads to assortative mating.
Liberation of the working class requires the liberation working mothers from capitalism. Working mothers have it hard. Either we do all of our own reproductive labor (homemaking, childcare, cooking) on top of our formal labor (our job) to provide for our families, or we share that labor with our partner if we are lucky to have one--- and he is also overworked. We know it is impossible to "double our workloads" because we already work as much as we can, so the sad truth is working outside of our families comes at the cost of the work we can do to support our own families, and it is easier to be fired for being a bad employee than it is to be fired for being a bad mom. But there's a third option: maybe we think that we can work hard enough in our jobs to afford better childcare to give our kids an advantage. But a family in Virginia already has to spend 18 percent of their income on childcare for an infant, and nowhere in America does any state provide what is considered affordable childcare (lower than 8 percent of our incomes). If you happen to be college-educated and debt-free, you might be able to make enough at your job to pay other women to do your reproductive labor for you--- you can use apps to hire maids, babysitters, meals, laundry, anything. But when you order a cleaning lady or babysitter to your apartment, you are ignoring the fact that she also has kids. You are paying her as little as possible because you are merely PMC. By nature of you buying her labor away from her own family, you have already ordered the social world into one where some children have better care during their most important formative years. And the working class women who aren't engaging in reproductive labor for the PMC/MC are engaged in working class labor, and the number one thing that prevents working class women from being able to become politically active is they are afraid a strike will threaten their job security, which for them threatens their children's security. Box store and essential workplaces can only strike if they find a way to collectivize childcare and give mutual aid to working women. Working mothers have specific issues that need to be organized around as our own class because we have uteruses that produce capital by producing labor and we are biologically bound to the reproduction of our children.
A UBI for women and familial caregivers (a 'care wage' or 'wages for housework') would be revolutionary. Capitalism is based off of the unpaid/underpaid reproductive labor of women, and would not be able to sustain itself without the exploitation of women beginning at the very origin of the family unit: the working mother. If working class women had a UBI, they could safely go on strike without worrying that their children will starve. If PMC women have a UBI, they can mother their own children and stop outsourcing their reproductive labor to the exploited working class. Religious social conservatives want the protection of the family unit. All of this can be framed as pro-life. Without economic pressure, women can better vet their partners and find good fathers who will provide for them. This UBI should also apply to all single parents and for one partner is a queer co-parenting partnership. It should also apply to all caregivers since 40% of COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. have occurred in nursing homes. We need to bring our elderly back home, and we can only afford to be full-time care providers if we are given a wage for it. If non-violent incarcerated men are also returned to their communities, the need for the state will wither away because working class family units can stabilize society long enough during an interim period until work is locally re-organized between workers based completely on mutual consent and a division of resources based on supporting the most vulnerable members of our society evenly: children.
If hypothetically a UBI for mothers is too problematic for the left, then the left is the problem.
You are not a communist if you are unwilling to make sacrifices for your community. You should be willing to sacrifice if it means over 50% of society (WOMEN AND CHILDREN) would benefit the most. All working class people could be liberated by a UBI for women. If you are less than 1% of the population, you must make your interests coincide with the interests of the working class and stop blocking material progress for women. This broad desire (UBI for mothers) can also be extended beyond sex and sexuality to include queer parents and familial caregivers easily. What prevents people from even imagining the idea of a UBI for mothers is their fear of being called out on being TERFS or being seen as too trad and unwoke. I am a materialist feminist. I am mostly inspired by the Wages for Housework campaign from 70s Italy. I am also pretty trad because I am a heterosexual woman who believes in god (because of fucking Wittgenstein and Simone Weil, please help) who wants to have kids but cannot under capitalism because I don't think it's ethical to give birth to a future worker under capitalism especially because we are on track for global destruction because of climate change. But I would have children under communism in a heartbeat because I think it will look more like stateless socialism, like early christian communities with a division of labor based around our sexual drives and moral agreements (which ultimately should be about affirming life and protecting children). Most queer anarchists I know love the idea of queer separatism anyway. People with different moral agreements on reproduction should form their own communities (even if it means forming communities within cities). I have loved many leftist trans women more than I can possibly ever say. But motherhood is a biological, materialist class. Babies need their mothers. Children need their mothers. Substitutes are ersatz. Adults need their mothers. Before you get offended about this, please think of your own mom and what she has done to support you. Think of how scary it is that women's bodies have to basically cleave in half under the threat of bleeding out in order to produce a baby (and each baby is the production of a future worker, a future member of your community). This understanding of gender also makes sense for working class men. High school guys shoot up their cafeterias because of existential sexual frustration: they know that no matter what they do under capitalism, they will never be able to earn enough to attract a woman who could be a housewife happily for them. There are women who want to be housewives, who would agree to a partnership if it meant they didn't have to engage in productive labor and could focus on the reproduction of their children instead. If we make it possible for working class women to be able to 'depend' on working class men again for a larger income, we can create social harmony. Please don't cancel me, I have already given up everything to organize for communism from within the working class. This is just what I believe.
Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Swaps* (*But Were Afraid To Ask)
Hello, dummies It's your old pal, Fuzzy. As I'm sure you've all noticed, a lot of the stuff that gets posted here is - to put it delicately - fucking ridiculous. More backwards-ass shit gets posted to wallstreetbets than you'd see on a Westboro Baptist community message board. I mean, I had a look at the daily thread yesterday and..... yeesh. I know, I know. We all make like the divine Laura Dern circa 1992 on the daily and stick our hands deep into this steaming heap of shit to find the nuggets of valuable and/or hilarious information within (thanks for reading, BTW). I agree. I love it just the way it is too. That's what makes WSB great. What I'm getting at is that a lot of the stuff that gets posted here - notwithstanding it being funny or interesting - is just... wrong. Like, fucking your cousin wrong. And to be clear, I mean the fucking your *first* cousin kinda wrong, before my Southerners in the back get all het up (simmer down, Billy Ray - I know Mabel's twice removed on your grand-sister's side). Truly, I try to let it slide. Idomybit to try and put you on the right path. Most of the time, I sleep easy no matter how badly I've seen someone explain what a bank liquidity crisis is. But out of all of those tens of thousands of misguided, autistic attempts at understanding the world of high finance, one thing gets so consistently - so *emphatically* - fucked up and misunderstood by you retards that last night I felt obligated at the end of a long work day to pull together this edition of Finance with Fuzzy just for you. It's so serious I'm not even going to make a u/pokimane gag. Have you guessed what it is yet? Here's a clue. It's in the title of the post. That's right, friends. Today in the neighborhood we're going to talk all about hedging in financial markets - spots, swaps, collars, forwards, CDS, synthetic CDOs, all that fun shit. Don't worry; I'm going to explain what all the scary words mean and how they impact your OTM RH positions along the way. We're going to break it down like this. (1) "What's a hedge, Fuzzy?" (2) Common Hedging Strategies and (3) All About ISDAs and Credit Default Swaps. Before we begin. For the nerds and JV traders in the back (and anyone else who needs to hear this up front) - I am simplifying these descriptions for the purposes of this post. I am also obviously not going to try and cover every exotic form of hedge under the sun or give a detailed summation of what caused the financial crisis. If you are interested in something specific ask a question, but don't try and impress me with your Investopedia skills or technical points I didn't cover; I will just be forced to flex my years of IRL experience on you in the comments and you'll look like a big dummy. TL;DR? Fuck you. There is no TL;DR. You've come this far already. What's a few more paragraphs? Put down the Cheetos and try to concentrate for the next 5-7 minutes. You'll learn something, and I promise I'll be gentle. Ready? Let's get started. 1.The Tao of Risk: Hedging as a Way of Life The simplest way to characterize what a hedge 'is' is to imagine every action having a binary outcome. One is bad, one is good. Red lines, green lines; uppie, downie. With me so far? Good. A 'hedge' is simply the employment of a strategy to mitigate the effect of your action having the wrong binary outcome. You wanted X, but you got Z! Frowny face. A hedge strategy introduces a third outcome. If you hedged against the possibility of Z happening, then you can wind up with Y instead. Not as good as X, but not as bad as Z. The technical definition I like to give my idiot juniors is as follows: Utilization of a defensive strategy to mitigate risk, at a fraction of the cost to capital of the risk itself. Congratulations. You just finished Hedging 101. "But Fuzzy, that's easy! I just sold a naked call against my 95% OTM put! I'm adequately hedged!". Spoiler alert: you're not (although good work on executing a collar, which I describe below). What I'm talking about here is what would be referred to as a 'perfect hedge'; a binary outcome where downside is totally mitigated by a risk management strategy. That's not how it works IRL. Pay attention; this is the tricky part. You can't take a single position and conclude that you're adequately hedged because risks are fluid, not static. So you need to constantly adjust your position in order to maximize the value of the hedge and insure your position. You also need to consider exposure to more than one category of risk. There are micro (specific exposure) risks, and macro (trend exposure) risks, and both need to factor into the hedge calculus. That's why, in the real world, the value of hedging depends entirely on the design of the hedging strategy itself. Here, when we say "value" of the hedge, we're not talking about cash money - we're talking about the intrinsic value of the hedge relative to the the risk profile of your underlying exposure. To achieve this, people hedge dynamically. In wallstreetbets terms, this means that as the value of your position changes, you need to change your hedges too. The idea is to efficiently and continuously distribute and rebalance risk across different states and periods, taking value from states in which the marginal cost of the hedge is low and putting it back into states where marginal cost of the hedge is high, until the shadow value of your underlying exposure is equalized across your positions. The punchline, I guess, is that one static position is a hedge in the same way that the finger paintings you make for your wife's boyfriend are art - it's technically correct, but you're only playing yourself by believing it. Anyway. Obviously doing this as a small potatoes trader is hard but it's worth taking into account. Enough basic shit. So how does this work in markets? 2. A Hedging Taxonomy The best place to start here is a practical question. What does a business need to hedge against? Think about the specific risk that an individual business faces. These are legion, so I'm just going to list a few of the key ones that apply to most corporates. (1) You have commodity risk for the shit you buy or the shit you use. (2) You have currency risk for the money you borrow. (3) You have rate risk on the debt you carry. (4) You have offtake risk for the shit you sell. Complicated, right? To help address the many and varied ways that shit can go wrong in a sophisticated market, smart operators like yours truly have devised a whole bundle of different instruments which can help you manage the risk. I might write about some of the more complicated ones in a later post if people are interested (CDO/CLOs, strip/stack hedges and bond swaps with option toggles come to mind) but let's stick to the basics for now. (i) Swaps A swap is one of the most common forms of hedge instrument, and they're used by pretty much everyone that can afford them. The language is complicated but the concept isn't, so pay attention and you'll be fine. This is the most important part of this section so it'll be the longest one. Swaps are derivative contracts with two counterparties (before you ask, you can't trade 'em on an exchange - they're OTC instruments only). They're used to exchange one cash flow for another cash flow of equal expected value; doing this allows you to take speculative positions on certain financial prices or to alter the cash flows of existing assets or liabilities within a business. "Wait, Fuzz; slow down! What do you mean sets of cash flows?". Fear not, little autist. Ol' Fuzz has you covered. The cash flows I'm talking about are referred to in swap-land as 'legs'. One leg is fixed - a set payment that's the same every time it gets paid - and the other is variable - it fluctuates (typically indexed off the price of the underlying risk that you are speculating on / protecting against). You set it up at the start so that they're notionally equal and the two legs net off; so at open, the swap is a zero NPV instrument. Here's where the fun starts. If the price that you based the variable leg of the swap on changes, the value of the swap will shift; the party on the wrong side of the move ponies up via the variable payment. It's a zero sum game. I'll give you an example using the most vanilla swap around; an interest rate trade. Here's how it works. You borrow money from a bank, and they charge you a rate of interest. You lock the rate up front, because you're smart like that. But then - quelle surprise! - the rate gets better after you borrow. Now you're bagholding to the tune of, I don't know, 5 bps. Doesn't sound like much but on a billion dollar loan that's a lot of money (a classic example of the kind of 'small, deep hole' that's terrible for profits). Now, if you had a swap contract on the rate before you entered the trade, you're set; if the rate goes down, you get a payment under the swap. If it goes up, whatever payment you're making to the bank is netted off by the fact that you're borrowing at a sub-market rate. Win-win! Or, at least, Lose Less / Lose Less. That's the name of the game in hedging. There are many different kinds of swaps, some of which are pretty exotic; but they're all different variations on the same theme. If your business has exposure to something which fluctuates in price, you trade swaps to hedge against the fluctuation. The valuation of swaps is also super interesting but I guarantee you that 99% of you won't understand it so I'm not going to try and explain it here although I encourage you to google it if you're interested. Because they're OTC, none of them are filed publicly. Someeeeeetimes you see an ISDA (dsicussed below) but the confirms themselves (the individual swaps) are not filed. You can usually read about the hedging strategy in a 10-K, though. For what it's worth, most modern credit agreements ban speculative hedging. Top tip: This is occasionally something worth checking in credit agreements when you invest in businesses that are debt issuers - being able to do this increases the risk profile significantly and is particularly important in times of economic volatility (ctrl+f "non-speculative" in the credit agreement to be sure). (ii) Forwards A forward is a contract made today for the future delivery of an asset at a pre-agreed price. That's it. "But Fuzzy! That sounds just like a futures contract!". I know. Confusing, right? Just like a futures trade, forwards are generally used in commodity or forex land to protect against price fluctuations. The differences between forwards and futures are small but significant. I'm not going to go into super boring detail because I don't think many of you are commodities traders but it is still an important thing to understand even if you're just an RH jockey, so stick with me. Just like swaps, forwards are OTC contracts - they're not publicly traded. This is distinct from futures, which are traded on exchanges (see The Ballad Of Big Dick Vick for some more color on this). In a forward, no money changes hands until the maturity date of the contract when delivery and receipt are carried out; price and quantity are locked in from day 1. As you now know having read about BDV, futures are marked to market daily, and normally people close them out with synthetic settlement using an inverse position. They're also liquid, and that makes them easier to unwind or close out in case shit goes sideways. People use forwards when they absolutely have to get rid of the thing they made (or take delivery of the thing they need). If you're a miner, or a farmer, you use this shit to make sure that at the end of the production cycle, you can get rid of the shit you made (and you won't get fucked by someone taking cash settlement over delivery). If you're a buyer, you use them to guarantee that you'll get whatever the shit is that you'll need at a price agreed in advance. Because they're OTC, you can also exactly tailor them to the requirements of your particular circumstances. These contracts are incredibly byzantine (and there are even crazier synthetic forwards you can see in money markets for the true degenerate fund managers). In my experience, only Texan oilfield magnates, commodities traders, and the weirdo forex crowd fuck with them. I (i) do not own a 10 gallon hat or a novelty size belt buckle (ii) do not wake up in the middle of the night freaking out about the price of pork fat and (iii) love greenbacks too much to care about other countries' monopoly money, so I don't fuck with them. (iii) Collars No, not the kind your wife is encouraging you to wear try out to 'spice things up' in the bedroom during quarantine. Collars are actually the hedging strategy most applicable to WSB. Collars deal with options! Hooray! To execute a basic collar (also called a wrapper by tea-drinking Brits and people from the Antipodes), you buy an out of the money put while simultaneously writing a covered call on the same equity. The put protects your position against price drops and writing the call produces income that offsets the put premium. Doing this limits your tendies (you can only profit up to the strike price of the call) but also writes down your risk. If you screen large volume trades with a VOL/OI of more than 3 or 4x (and they're not bullshit biotech stocks), you can sometimes see these being constructed in real time as hedge funds protect themselves on their shorts. (3) All About ISDAs, CDS and Synthetic CDOs You may have heard about the mythical ISDA. Much like an indenture (discussed in my post on $F), it's a magic legal machine that lets you build swaps via trade confirms with a willing counterparty. They are very complicated legal documents and you need to be a true expert to fuck with them. Fortunately, I am, so I do. They're made of two parts; a Master (which is a form agreement that's always the same) and a Schedule (which amends the Master to include your specific terms). They are also the engine behind just about every major credit crunch of the last 10+ years. First - a brief explainer. An ISDA is a not in and of itself a hedge - it's an umbrella contract that governs the terms of your swaps, which you use to construct your hedge position. You can trade commodities, forex, rates, whatever, all under the same ISDA. Let me explain. Remember when we talked about swaps? Right. So. You can trade swaps on just about anything. In the late 90s and early 2000s, people had the smart idea of using other people's debt and or credit ratings as the variable leg of swap documentation. These are called credit default swaps. I was actually starting out at a bank during this time and, I gotta tell you, the only thing I can compare people's enthusiasm for this shit to was that moment in your early teens when you discover jerking off. Except, unlike your bathroom bound shame sessions to Mom's Sears catalogue, every single person you know felt that way too; and they're all doing it at once. It was a fiscal circlejerk of epic proportions, and the financial crisis was the inevitable bukkake finish. WSB autism is absolutely no comparison for the enthusiasm people had during this time for lighting each other's money on fire. Here's how it works. You pick a company. Any company. Maybe even your own! And then you write a swap. In the swap, you define "Credit Event" with respect to that company's debt as the variable leg . And you write in... whatever you want. A ratings downgrade, default under the docs, failure to meet a leverage ratio or FCCR for a certain testing period... whatever. Now, this started out as a hedge position, just like we discussed above. The purest of intentions, of course. But then people realized - if bad shit happens, you make money. And banks... don't like calling in loans or forcing bankruptcies. Can you smell what the moral hazard is cooking? Enter synthetic CDOs. CDOs are basically pools of asset backed securities that invest in debt (loans or bonds). They've been around for a minute but they got famous in the 2000s because a shitload of them containing subprime mortgage debt went belly up in 2008. This got a lot of publicity because a lot of sad looking rednecks got foreclosed on and were interviewed on CNBC. "OH!", the people cried. "Look at those big bad bankers buying up subprime loans! They caused this!". Wrong answer, America. The debt wasn't the problem. What a lot of people don't realize is that the real meat of the problem was not in regular way CDOs investing in bundles of shit mortgage debts in synthetic CDOs investing in CDS predicated on that debt. They're synthetic because they don't have a stake in the actual underlying debt; just the instruments riding on the coattails. The reason these are so popular (and remain so) is that smart structured attorneys and bankers like your faithful correspondent realized that an even more profitable and efficient way of building high yield products with limited downside was investing in instruments that profit from failure of debt and in instruments that rely on that debt and then hedging that exposure with other CDS instruments in paired trades, and on and on up the chain. The problem with doing this was that everyone wound up exposed to everybody else's books as a result, and when one went tits up, everybody did. Hence, recession, Basel III, etc. Thanks, Obama. Heavy investment in CDS can also have a warping effect on the price of debt (something else that happened during the pre-financial crisis years and is starting to happen again now). This happens in three different ways. (1) Investors who previously were long on the debt hedge their position by selling CDS protection on the underlying, putting downward pressure on the debt price. (2) Investors who previously shorted the debt switch to buying CDS protection because the relatively illiquid debt (partic. when its a bond) trades at a discount below par compared to the CDS. The resulting reduction in short selling puts upward pressure on the bond price. (3) The delta in price and actual value of the debt tempts some investors to become NBTs (neg basis traders) who long the debt and purchase CDS protection. If traders can't take leverage, nothing happens to the price of the debt. If basis traders can take leverage (which is nearly always the case because they're holding a hedged position), they can push up or depress the debt price, goosing swap premiums etc. Anyway. Enough technical details. I could keep going. This is a fascinating topic that is very poorly understood and explained, mainly because the people that caused it all still work on the street and use the same tactics today (it's also terribly taught at business schools because none of the teachers were actually around to see how this played out live). But it relates to the topic of today's lesson, so I thought I'd include it here. Work depending, I'll be back next week with a covenant breakdown. Most upvoted ticker gets the post. *EDIT 1\* In a total blowout, $PLAY won. So it's D&B time next week. Post will drop Monday at market open.
Hi all. I am 25F(non-binary) and a mom, to enter. When I was 21 I had my daughter, I had a rough pregnancy and had my tubes tied so that if I ever decided to have kids again I would do IVF and make sure timing is right. My pregnancy was awful and almost died during childbirth, but I was determined that I’d like to have another kid one day when I was older and could comfortably take the time off of work to stay home/have extra medical care. I’ve had pain in my pelvis for as long as I can remember, I constantly had pain during sex and horrid periods. I hated gynecologist so only ever saw one during pregnancy. I started going to one because my new job has stellar insurance and she was AMAZING. Really listened to me and made me feel heard. Well, she ordered an ultrasound which determined some things but mostly that I have severe adenymosis. The tissue lining my uterus is gown into the muscles, this is something that normally strikes women in their 40-50’s and menopause takes care of it. So being young, my options are to live in constant pain or have a hysterectomy. It sounds silly but this is a bit world shattering to me, as it means that being pregnant may slip through my fingers and the option to have another in that way will be gone. I know I can freeze eggs, adopt, etc. but those options (though wonderful and valid) seem to have a lot of downfall between costs and failure rates. This isn’t exactly the news I thought I’d get but here I am. Do I opt to get pregnant now and have a child I’m not ready for so I can get the hysterectomy immediately? Do I get the hysterectomy and just freeze my eggs? Do I get the hysterectomy and move on from the idea of another baby? I know ultimately the decision will be mine but I’m wondering what others would do I guess. It’s just not a decision I thought I’d have to make now, I thought I had so much time.
Hi all, It’s time for the results! Thank you to everyone who took the time to respond - we had over 1600 responses, which is great! These insights wouldn’t be possible without your time and support. As always, neither myself nor this survey are associated with Intelligent Systems or Nintendo in any way. Please direct feedback about the game itself to the official channels. Now let’s get into it!
PreviousSurveyResults:February_2020_State_of_the_Game_Survey ~ Demographics ~ 54.3% began playing FE:H in February 2017, with 22.6% more joining during the first year of the game. 13.0% of respondents joined during the second year, 7.8% joined during the third, and 1.5% joined during the fourth year (the last 3 months). The age range breakdown of respondents is as follows:
(2.9%) 12 – 15 years old
(15.0%) 16 – 18 years old
(23.5%) 19 – 21 years old
(20.7%) 22 – 24 years old
(27.0%) 25 – 30 years old
(8.5%) 31 – 40 years old
(0.9%) 40+ years old
77.5% of respondents identified as Male, 17.7% as Female, and 2.6% as Non-binary. 18.5% of respondents have never missed a daily login (though note that this option was added many hours after the survey’s release). A further 44.2% have missed less than a month’s worth of logins, 12.8% missed 1-2 months, 9.6% missed 3-6 months, 4.7% missed 7-12 months, and 3,8% missed over a year’s worth. 34.8% report being F2P, while 29.8% have spent less than $100, 16.2% spent between $100 - $499, 6.3% spent between $500 - $999, and 10.4% have spent over $1000. 34.8% last spent money on FE:H during the fourth year of the game (the last 3 months), while 12.0% last spent money during the third year of the game, 9.4% last spent during the second year of the game, and 6.6% last spent money during the first year of the game. ~ Summoning ~ “Which of the following banners have you used orbs on at least once?”
(63.0%) Harmony Amid Chaos
(57.0%) The Start of It All
(56.4%) Mythic Hero: Bramimond
(51.8%) Journey Begins
(47.3%) Legendary Heroes: Chrom
(43.2%) Familial Festivities
(37.2%) Double Special Heroes
“Which of the following banners did you use the most orbs on?”
(23.4%) Harmony Amid Chaos
(16.9%) Journey Begins
(16.3%) Mythic Hero: Bramimond
(14.4%) The Start of It All
(8.5%) Familial Festivities
(8.4%) Legendary Heroes: Chrom
(6.6%) Double Special Heroes
“What was your favorite banner?”
(23.8%) Harmony Amid Chaos
(18.3%) The Start of It All
(14.9%) Journey Begins
(13.5%) Mythic Hero: Bramimond
(8.5%) Double Special Heroes
(7.8%) Legendary Heroes: Chrom
(4.9%) Familial Festivities
“Did you spend money specifically to summon on any of the banners below?”
(7.9%) Harmony Amid Chaos
(7.8%) The Start of It All
(7.1%) Journey Begins
(6.7%) Mythic Hero: Bramimond
(4.3%) Familial Festivities
(4.2%) Legendary Heroes: Chrom
(4.0%) Double Special Heroes
“If you could only pick one method of making old Seasonal heroes available, which would you choose?”
(46.4%) Seasonal heroes are only available once a year on a re-run of their original banner
(25.7%) Seasonal heroes are only available through Double Special Heroes banners, and no seasonal banners are re-run.
(6.5%) Seasonal heroes are only available through Legendary and Mythical banners, and no seasonal banners are re-run.
43.8% would like Double Special Heroes banners to continue excluding year-one seasonals, compared to 31.9% who want them to include year-one seasonals. 4.19/5.00 is the average rating of how satisfied respondents were with the new feature allowing for your choice of free 5*-focus after 40 summons on New Heroes banners. 80.9% rated their satisfaction at a 4/5 or above. 36.1% reached the 40 summons needed for the feature allowing their choice of free 5*-focus on Journey Begins. 63.9% did not reach 40 summons on Journey Begins. Of those who reached 40 summons, 51.2% say that they spent more orbs on the banner than they would have if the feature did not exist, while 19.8% say that they spent less orbs that they would have. 28.9% reported no change in orb spending behavior as a result of the feature. ~ Hall of Forms ~ “In this Hall of Forms, which Forma was your best unit?”
(56.7%) Olwen (WoT)
(9.9%) Reinhardt (WoT)
“In this Hall of Forms, which Forma was your worst unit?”
(26.3%) Reinhardt (WoT)
(3.5%) Olwen (WoT)
2.70/5.00 is the average rating of the addition of Forma Souls. 36.5% rated their feelings on Forma Souls at a 2/5 or below, while 16.2% rated 4/5 or above. 11.6% purchased a Forma Soul, compared to 88.1% who did not. Of those who purchased a Forma Soul, 30.6% used it on Olwen (WoT), 29.7% used it on Leif, 26.1% used it on Finn, and 13.5% used it on Reinhardt (WoT) Of those who have not purchased a Forma Soul, 71.1% say that they would never purchase a Forma Soul regardless of who is featured, while 28.8% say that they would if a certain hero was featured. Of those who would pay a non-zero amount for a Forma Soul, $9.31 is the average of the amounts respondents would be willing to pay for a Forma Soul with no additional orbs. ~ Limited Hero Battles ~ 47.5% completed all of the available Limited Hero Battle maps on their hardest difficulties, compared to 51.5% who did not. 19.5% needed to reference guides, videos, or other players’ clears in order to complete Limited Hero Battle maps, compared to 75.6% who did not. 3.19/5.00 is the average rating of preparedness for the Limited Hero Battles. 29.4% rated their preparedness at a 2/5 or below, while 44.4% rated their preparedness at a 4/5 or above. 64.6% had enough heroes to form a fully-built team of four for all of the battles, compared to 28.4% who did not. 3.38/5.00 is the average rating of how challenging respondents found the Limited Hero Battle restrictions. 15.2% rated the difficulty at a 2/5 or below, while 48.2% rated the difficulty at a 4/5 or above. 3.44/5.00 is the average rating for enjoyment of the Limited Hero Battles. 20.4% rated their enjoyment at a 2/5 or below, while 51.7% rather their enjoyment at a 4/5 or above. ~ Divine Codes ~ 52.4% feel positively about the use for Divine Codes, compared to 7.3% who feel negatively. 38.5% are neutral. “Which of the following Divine Code paths is most appealing to you?”
(27.2%) Holy War (Leif, Deirdre, Sigurd, Lewyn, Ishtar (Performing))
(3.0%) Heroes (Alfonse (Spring), Ylgr, Bruno (Spring), Fjorm (New Years), Laevatein (Summer))
51.4% got both 5* heroes from the Limited Time Compile path 3, while 25.6% only got Kagero (Spring), and 5.1% only got Camilla (Spring), while 15.8% got neither. 3.04/5.00 is the average satisfaction rating with the options of Limited Manuals offered so far. 27.3% rated their satisfaction at a 2/5 or below, while 32.8% rated their satisfaction 4/5 or above. ~ Feh Pass and Resplendent Heroes ~ 57.0% feel negatively about the addition of the Feh Pass, compared to 10.1% who feel positively. 31.8% are neutral. Compared to last survey, this is a 13.6% reduction in negative feelings, with a 4.2% increase in positive feelings and the rest going to neutral. 30.7% have purchased the Feh Pass, compared to 69.3% who have not. This is a 6.7% increase compared to the last survey. Of those who have subscribed to Feh Pass, 4.5% have purchased Resplendent Heroes separately, compared to 95.5% who have not. “Which Resplendent Hero is your favorite?”
“Which Resplendent outfit theme is your favorite?”
“If you could only choose 1 of the Feh Pass features to make free, which would you choose?”
(27.8%) Resplendent Heroes
(14.6%) Expanded Summoner Support
(7.5%) Re-Act Button
(6.8%) Exclusive/Extra Quests
~ Miscellaneous ~ “Which game do you want a New Heroes banner from the most?”
(27.9%) Three Houses
(9.2%) Radiant Dawn
(7.7%) Genealogy of the Holy War
(7.5%) Sacred Stones
(7.0%) Path of Radiance
(4.1%) Blazing Blade
(4.0%) TMS #FE
(3.4%) Thracia 776
(3.3%) Gaiden / Shadows of Valentia
(1.9%) Mystery of the Emblem / New Mystery of the Emblem
(1.8%) Binding Blade
(1.8%) Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light / Shadow Dragon
20.4% feel positively about the introduction of Duo Heroes, compared to 30.4% who feel negatively. 48.6% are neutral. “Which color would you choose / have chosen for the Free 5* Hero: Fire Emblem Leads, assuming you got all colors?”
46.9% were satisfied with their summon from the Free 5* Hero: Fire Emblem Leads event, compared to 48.4% who were not. 67.0% participated in the Voting Jubilee event, compared to 31.7% who did not. 36.4% want to see more Trio Heroes in the future, compared to 33.5% who do not. “Which FE continent / world’s Mythic Heroes are you most excited for?”
(5.2%) Fates Continent
“How many of the Rokkr Remnant accessories have you acquired?”
Heroic Grails is the most desired premium item currency respondents want more of, at 47.8%. Next is Dragonflowers (25.4%), followed by Refining Stones / Divine Dew (15.3%), then Sacred Coins (8.5%). “How much do you care about your rank in the following modes?”
(2.76/5.00 average) Arena
(2.70/5.00 average) Aether Raids
(2.43/5.00 average) PvE game modes with player ranking boards
(1.82/5.00 average) Arena Assault
32.8% have not played any other gacha games besides FE:H, while 19.8% have played 1 other gacha game, 18.6% have played 2, 10.5% have played 3, and 18.3% have played 4 or more. ~ Intelligent Systems Approval Ratings ~ The approval ratings are calculated by the proportion of Approve responses compared to the number of both Approve and Disapprove responses. Percent who approve of the way Intelligent Systems is handling:
62.7% - The addition of new heroes / characters to the game (-7.6)
63.9% - The gacha mechanics and summoning banners (+22.6)
49.8% - The story/plot (+0.7)
86.4% - Unranked PvE game modes (Hero Battles, Forging Bonds, Tactics Drills, Lost Lore, Hall of Forms) (-2.6)
53.3% - Ranked PvE game modes (Voting Gauntlets, Tempest Trials, Grand Conquest, Allegiance Battles, Rokkr Sieges, Mjolnir's Strike) (-6.1)
40.8% - Arena
41.3% - Arena Assault
33.1% - Aether Raids
30.4% believe Intelligent Systems cares about its Free to Play userbase (up 8.7% from the last survey), while 47.4% do not. Since the last survey’s result was the lowest polling for this question in the game’s history, the 8.7% increase brings us to 27.6% lower than we were before the drop). 28.1% approve of the way Intelligent Systems is handling Fire Emblem: Heroes as a whole (up 5.2% from the last survey), while 26.5% disapprove. Since the last survey’s result was the lowest polling for this question in the game’s history, the 5.2% increase brings us to 22.5% lower than we were before the drop).
A NOTE ABOUT METHODOLOGY: The overall approval ratings question above has traditionally been the exact percent of Approve responses, as a proportion with both Neutral and Disapprove responses. Note that this is different than the way approval is calculated for individual modes (the proportion of Approve responses compared to the number of both Approve and Disapprove responses), where Neutral responses are excluded. The difference in calculation has continued this way in order to maintain comparability with previous survey results. For comparisons sake, the overall approval rating trend going by raw Approval percentage over the last 3 surveys is: 50.6% (Dec) -> 22.9% (Feb) -> 28.1% (Apr) Whereas the overall approval rating trend going by proportion of Approve/Disapprove with the Neutrals excluded over the last 3 surveys is: 82.2% (Dec) -> 41.0% (Feb) -> 51.3% (Apr). I’d be interested to know which you prefer / find more valuable, so if you have opinions on it, please let me know in the comments!
~ Bonus Questions ~ 24.4% prefer Feh’s old voice (Kimberly Tierney), while 45.9% prefer Feh’s new voice (Cassandra Lee Morris), with 29.7% unable to decide. “Who is your Favorite Hero added since the last survey?”
Lysithea is the winner, followed by Bramimond, then Y!Minerva.
“What would be the best Trio and why?”: [Selected Responses] ~ Feedback ~ As always, I received lots of great feedback, both in your survey responses and in the thread itself. A heartfelt thank you to all participants for your encouragements and criticisms - these surveys wouldn’t be where they are without your feedback. But it’s not all serious; feedback messages also included: This fantastic song parody by u/juuldude
"*dabs to try and get a Legendary Seliph to exist*"
“according to all known laws of aviation everything still dies to reinhardt”
“Bernadetta was social distancing before it was cool”
“Emblian Empire is grateful for your hard work like always, but slightly annoyed the +10 5-stars question was left out just when I finally completed an old project!”
“Greetings from the massive salt palace of Grado, where Formotiis awaits to either be summoned in the upcoming Fallen banner or to destroy Askr for their impudence! (seriously though its been like three years come on intsys Lyon is RIGHT THERE)”
“hi I was tempted to give a meme answer for the amount I'd be willing to spend on a forma hero but I think you take averages for that stuff so i wrote 0 instead of 69420 you're welcome” – thank you for your restraint :P
“i’m saving orbs to +10 azura this june please wish me luck 🤞🤞🤞” – Beaming luck to your location!
“Imagine this, you were playing P5R a new FEH channel comes out so start to watch it. Morgana's voice is still echoing in your head. Are you going crazy? Has the quarantine got you you?”
“You need orders, please? CHOP the curve. Submit to Dr. Grima and stay home. Iiiit's time to play it safe. Let's not fly and let's not swim publicly unless we have to. I can't stop this thing. A safe distance away is right where I want you. You...like Ike to stay home where he won't spread anything. COVID is powercreep at Alm-alt levels, something nobody wants.”
“In Nino We Trust”
“so like FEH is letting us put actual children to war now like est is a whole fetus and kiran whacky ass put her and her sisters out on a battlefield to fight literal murder clowns and actual satan. like is that me or is that just a little messed up they should be home enjoying Welch fruit snacks while watching paw patrol”
“JILL. WHEN.” – I think I’ve been getting these comments for over 2 years now and they keep getting more desperate ☹
“Remember to stay safe! We're all in a Fog of War map on Classic right now.” – Strangely accurate
And greetings from Chile, Colombia, Finland, Germany, Hong Kong, SEA, South Korea, Vietnam, Kuala Lumpur, Alaska, Florida, New Jersey, North Carolina, The Bahamas, Fodlan, Ravnica, Renais, Tellius, the Alliance, and Bernadetta’s room
And some more personal inquiries:
“Greetings, ShiningSolarSword! Nothing to report.”
“Hey didn't you just do one of these on the Magia Record subreddit?” – Yep :D
“How are you holding up in regards to the coronavirus? Thanks again for still doing these in times like... this.” - I’m doing well all things considered, hope you are as well!
“Hello, this is Azura. I am very angry to be replaced, u/ShiningSolarSword. What even is a Norne and how could she possibly be better than the queen of Valla? I do hope you consider appreciating me in the future, it would be a shame if a certain survey-giver were to turn up dead in the future, not like that’s a threat or anything.” – Y-y-yes, definitely. *quietly foddering Alm to Norne*
“Norne's reign of terror has ended. Reddit user ShiningSolarSword has secretly accepted the way of the Reinhardt by brandishing the tiny-handed grinning Azura.” - *quietly foddering Duo Ephraim to Norne*
“Resplendent Norne + refine when?” – this person knows what’s up
“Can we have another gag survey? Quarantine is boring.” – not a bad idea 👀
~ Closing Remarks ~ If you missed out on responding to this survey when it was available, consider subscribing to FEHSurveys. This subreddit serves as a place to organize FE:H-related surveys, make new releases more visible, and make it easier for users to see when surveys are active. Thanks again to everyone who participated! I hope you find the results interesting, and if there’s anything else you think can be discovered from the data, let me know and I’ll do my best to oblige!
Wall Street Week Ahead for the trading week beginning March 9th, 2020
Good Saturday morning to all of you here on wallstreetbets. I hope everyone on this sub made out pretty nicely in the market this past week, and is ready for the new trading week and month ahead. Here is everything you need to know to get you ready for the trading week beginning March 9th, 2020.
Wall Street braces for more market volatility as wild swings become the ‘new normal’ amid coronavirus - (Source)
The S&P 500 has never behaved like this, but Wall Street strategists say get used to it. Investors just witnessed the equity benchmark swinging up or down 2% for four days straight in the face of the coronavirus panic. In the index’s history dating back to 1927, this is the first time the S&P 500 had a week of alternating gains and losses of more than 2% from Monday through Thursday, according to Bespoke Investment Group. Daily swings like this over a two-week period were only seen at the peak of the financial crisis and in 2011 when U.S. sovereign debt got its first-ever downgrade, the firm said. “The message to all investors is that they should expect this volatility to continue. This should be considered the new normal going forward,” said Mike Loewengart, managing director of investment strategy at E-Trade. The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped north of 1,000 points twice in the past week, only to erase the quadruple-digit gains in the subsequent sessions. The coronavirus outbreak kept investors on edge as global cases of the infections surpassed 100,000. It’s also spreading rapidly in the U.S. California has declared a state of emergency, while the number of cases in New York reached 33. “Uncertainty breeds greater market volatility,” Keith Lerner, SunTrust’s chief market strategist, said in a note. “Much is still unknown about how severe and widespread the coronavirus will become. From a market perspective, what we are seeing is uncomfortable but somewhat typical after shock periods.”
So far, the actions from global central banks and governments in response to the outbreak haven’t triggered a sustainable rebound. The Federal Reserve’s first emergency rate cut since the financial crisis did little to calm investor anxiety. President Donald Trump on Friday signed a sweeping spending bill with an$8.3 billion packageto aid prevention efforts to produce a vaccine for the deadly disease, but stocks extended their heavy rout that day. “The market is recognizing the global authorities are responding to this,” said Tom Essaye, founder of the Sevens Report. “If the market begins to worry they are not doing that sufficiently, then I think we are going to go down ugly. It is helping stocks hold up.” Essaye said any further stimulus from China and a decent-sized fiscal package from Germany would be positive to the market, but he doesn’t expect the moves to create a huge rebound. The fed funds future market is now pricing in the possibility of the U.S. central bank cutting by 75 basis points at its March 17-18 meeting.
Where is the bottom?
Many on Wall Street expect the market to fall further before recovering as the health crisis unfolds. Binky Chadha, Deutsche Bank’s chief equity strategist, sees a bottom for the S&P 500 in the second quarter after stocks falling as much as 20% from their recent peak. “The magnitude of the selloff in the S&P 500 so far has further to go; and in terms of duration, just two weeks in, it is much too early to declare this episode as being done,” Chadha said in a note. “We do view the impacts on macro and earnings growth as being relatively short-lived and the market eventually looking through them.” Deutsche Bank maintained its year-end target of 3,250 for the S&P 500, which would represent a 10% gain from here and a flat return for 2020. Strategists are also urging patience during this heightened volatility, cautioning against panic selling. “It is during times like these that investors need to maintain a longer-term perspective and stick to their investment process rather than making knee-jerk, binary decisions,” Brian Belski, chief investment strategist at BMO Capital Markets, said in a note.
This past week saw the following moves in the S&P:
If you're like us, you've heard a lot of people reference the recent equity declines as a sign that the market is pricing in some sort of Armageddon in the US economy. While comments like that make for great soundbites, a little perspective is in order. Since the S&P 500's high on February 19th, the S&P 500 is down 12.8%. In the chart below, we show the S&P 500's annual maximum drawdown by year going back to 1928. In the entire history of the index, the median maximum drawdown from a YTD high is 13.05%. In other words, this year's decline is actually less than normal. Perhaps due to the fact that we have only seen one larger-than-average drawdown in the last eight years is why this one feels so bad. The fact that the current decline has only been inline with the historical norm raises a number of questions. For example, if the market has already priced in the worst-case scenario, going out and adding some equity exposure would be a no brainer. However, if we're only in the midst of a 'normal' drawdown in the equity market as the coronavirus outbreak threatens to put the economy into a recession, one could argue that things for the stock market could get worse before they get better, especially when we know that the market can be prone to over-reaction in both directions. The fact is that nobody knows right now how this entire outbreak will play out. If it really is a black swan, the market definitely has further to fall and now would present a great opportunity to sell more equities. However, if it proves to be temporary and after a quarter or two resolves itself and the economy gets back on the path it was on at the start of the year, then the magnitude of the current decline is probably appropriate. As they say, that's what makes a market!
Take a good luck at today's moves in long-term US Treasury yields, because chances are you won't see moves of this magnitude again soon. Let's start with the yield on the 30-year US Treasury. Today's decline of 29 basis points in the yield will go down as the largest one-day decline in the yield on the 30-year since 2009. For some perspective, there have only been 25 other days since 1977 where the yield saw a larger one day decline.
That doesn't even tell the whole story, though. As shown in the chart below, every other time the yield saw a sharper one-day decline, the actual yield of the 30-year was much higher, and in most other cases it was much, much higher.
To show this another way, the percentage change in the yield on the 30-year has never been seen before, and it's not even close. Now, before the chart crime police come calling, we realize showing a percentage change of a percentage is not the most accurate representation, but we wanted to show this for illustrative purposes only.
Finally, with long-term interest rates plummetting we wanted to provide an update on the performance of the Austrian 100-year bond. That's now back at record highs, begging the question, why is the US not flooding the market with long-term debt?
Today's decline is pretty much a continuation of what has been a one-way trade for the commodity ever since the US drone strike on Iranian general Soleimani. The last time prices were this low was around Christmas 2018.
With today's decline, crude oil is now off to its worst start to a year in a generation falling 32%. Since 1984, the only other year that was worse was 1986 when the year started out with a decline of 50% through March 6th. If you're looking for a bright spot, in 1986, prices rose 36% over the remainder of the year. The only other year where crude oil kicked off the year with a 30% decline was in 1991 after the first Iraq war. Over the remainder of that year, prices rose a more modest 5%.
Despite strong market gains on Wednesday, March 4, 2020, the on-the-run 10-year Treasury yield ended the day below 1% for the first time ever and has posted additional declines in real time, sitting at 0.92% intraday as this blog is being written. “The decline in yields has been remarkable,” said LPL Research Senior Market Strategist Ryan Detrick. “The 10-year Treasury yield has dipped below 1%, and today’s declines are likely to make the recent run lower the largest decline of the cycle.” As shown in LPL Research’s chart of the day, the current decline in the 10-year Treasury yield without a meaningful reversal (defined as at least 0.75%) is approaching the decline seen in 2011 and 2012 and would need about another two months to be the longest decline in length of time. At the same time, no prior decline has lasted forever and a pattern of declines and increases has been normal.
What are some things that can push the 10-year Treasury yield lower?
A shrinking but still sizable yield advantage over other developed market sovereign debt
Added stock volatility if downside risks to economic growth from the coronavirus increase
A larger potential premium over shorter-term yields if the Federal Reserve aggressively cuts interest rates
What are some things that can push the 10-year Treasury yield higher?
A second half economic rebound acting a catalyst for a Treasury sell-off
As yields move lower, investors may increasingly seek more attractive sources of income
Any dollar weakness could lead to some selling by international investors
Longer maturity Treasuries are looking like an increasingly crowded trade, potentially adding energy to any sell-off
On balance, our view remains that the prospect of an economic rebound over the second half points to the potential for interest rates moving higher. At the same time, we still see some advantage in the potential diversification benefits of intermediate maturity high-quality bonds, especially during periods of market stress. We continue to recommend that suitable investors consider keeping a bond portfolio’s sensitivity to changes in interest rates below that of the benchmark Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index by emphasizing short to intermediate maturity bonds, but do not believe it’s time to pile into very short maturities despite the 10-year Treasury yield sitting at historically low levels.
U.S. Jobs Growth Marches On
While stock markets continue to be extremely volatile as they come to terms with how the coronavirus may affect global growth, the U.S. job market has remained remarkably robust. Continued U.S. jobs data resilience in the face of headwinds from the coronavirus outbreak may be a key factor in prolonging the expansion, given how important the strength of the U.S. consumer has been late into this expansion. The U.S. Department of Labor today reported that U.S. nonfarm payroll data had a strong showing of 273,000 jobs added in February, topping the expectation of every Bloomberg-surveyed economist, with an additional upward revision of 85,000 additional jobs for December 2019 and January 2020. This has brought the current unemployment rate back to its 50-year low of 3.5%. So far, it appears it’s too soon for any effects of the coronavirus to have been felt in the jobs numbers. (Note: The survey takes place in the middle of each month.) On Wednesday, ADP released its private payroll data (excluding government jobs), which increased by 183,000 in February, also handily beating market expectations. Most of these jobs were added in the service sector, with 44,000 added in the leisure and hospitality sector, and another 31,000 in trade/transportation/utilities. Both of these areas could be at risk of potential cutbacks if consumers start to avoid eating out or other leisure pursuits due to coronavirus fears. As shown in the LPL Chart of the Day, payrolls remain strong, and any effects of the virus outbreaks most likely would be felt in coming months.
“February’s jobs report shows the 113th straight month that the U.S. jobs market has grown,” said LPL Financial Senior Market Strategist Ryan Detrick. “That’s an incredible run and highlights how the U.S. consumer has become key to extending the expansion, especially given setbacks to global growth from the coronavirus outbreak.” While there is bound to be some drag on future jobs data from the coronavirus-related slowdown, we would anticipate that the effects of this may be transitory. We believe economic fundamentals continue to suggest the possibility of a second-half-of-the–year economic rebound.
Down January & Down February: S&P 500 Posts Full-Year Gain Just 43.75% of Time
The combination of a down January and a down February has come about 17 times, including this year, going back to 1950. Rest of the year and full-year performance has taken a rather sizable hit following the previous 16 occurrences. March through December S&P 500 average performance drops to 2.32% compared to 7.69% in all years. Full-year performance is even worse with S&P 500 average turning to a loss of 4.91% compared to an average gain of 9.14% in all years. All hope for 2020 is not lost as seven of the 16 past down January and down February years did go on to log gains over the last 10 months and full year while six enjoyed double-digit gains from March to December.
Today’s big rally was an encouraging sign that the markets are becoming more comfortable with the public health, monetary and political handling of the situation. But the history of these “emergency” or “surprise” rate cuts by the Fed between meetings suggest some caution remains in order. The table here shows that these surprise cuts between meetings have really only “worked” once in the past 20+ years. In 1998 when the Fed and the plunge protection team acted swiftly and in a coordinated manner to stave off the fallout from the financial crisis caused by the collapse of the Russian ruble and the highly leveraged Long Term Capital Management hedge fund markets responded well. This was not the case during the extended bear markets of 2001-2002 and 2007-2009. Bottom line: if this is a short-term impact like the 1998 financial crisis the market should recover sooner rather than later. But if the economic impact of coronavirus virus is prolonged, the market is more likely to languish.
([CLICK HERE FOR FRIDAY'S AFTER-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES!]())
Adobe Inc. $336.77
Adobe Inc. (ADBE) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:05 PM ET on Thursday, March 12, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $2.23 per share on revenue of $3.04 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $2.29 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 81% expecting an earnings beat The company's guidance was for earnings of approximately $2.23 per share. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 29.65% with revenue increasing by 16.88%. Short interest has decreased by 38.4% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 7.2% from its open following the earnings release to be 10.9% above its 200 day moving average of $303.70. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. On Monday, February 24, 2020 there was some notable buying of 1,109 contracts of the $400.00 call expiring on Friday, March 20, 2020. Option traders are pricing in a 9.3% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 4.1% move in recent quarters.
DICK'S Sporting Goods, Inc. (DKS) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 7:30 AM ET on Tuesday, March 10, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $1.23 per share on revenue of $2.56 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $1.28 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 57% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 14.95% with revenue increasing by 2.73%. Short interest has decreased by 29.1% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 20.3% from its open following the earnings release to be 12.0% below its 200 day moving average of $39.75. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. On Wednesday, February 26, 2020 there was some notable buying of 848 contracts of the $39.00 put expiring on Friday, March 20, 2020. Option traders are pricing in a 14.4% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 7.3% move in recent quarters.
Broadcom Limited (AVGO) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:15 PM ET on Thursday, March 12, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $5.34 per share on revenue of $5.93 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $5.45 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 83% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 5.65% with revenue increasing by 2.44%. Short interest has decreased by 15.6% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 15.3% from its open following the earnings release to be 7.7% below its 200 day moving average of $291.95. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Tuesday, February 25, 2020 there was some notable buying of 1,197 contracts of the $260.00 put expiring on Friday, April 17, 2020. Option traders are pricing in a 11.1% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 4.9% move in recent quarters.
Thor Industries, Inc. (THO) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 6:45 AM ET on Monday, March 9, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.76 per share on revenue of $1.79 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.84 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 62% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 16.92% with revenue increasing by 38.70%. Short interest has decreased by 12.9% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 5.4% from its open following the earnings release to be 12.0% above its 200 day moving average of $62.53. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. Option traders are pricing in a 6.3% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 8.1% move in recent quarters.
ULTA Beauty (ULTA) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:00 PM ET on Thursday, March 12, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $3.71 per share on revenue of $2.29 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $3.75 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 73% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 2.77% with revenue increasing by 7.78%. Short interest has increased by 8.7% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 0.1% from its open following the earnings release to be 9.5% below its 200 day moving average of $283.43. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. Option traders are pricing in a 15.3% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 11.7% move in recent quarters.
Slack Technologies, Inc. (WORK) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:15 PM ET on Thursday, March 12, 2020. The consensus estimate is for a loss of $0.06 per share on revenue of $173.06 million and the Earnings Whisper ® number is ($0.04) per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 67% expecting an earnings beat The company's guidance was for a loss of $0.07 to $0.06 per share on revenue of $172.00 million to $174.00 million. Short interest has increased by 1.2% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 19.0% from its open following the earnings release. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. The stock has averaged a 4.3% move on earnings in recent quarters.
Dollar General Corporation (DG) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 6:55 AM ET on Thursday, March 12, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $2.02 per share on revenue of $7.15 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $2.05 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 76% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 9.78% with revenue increasing by 7.52%. Short interest has increased by 16.2% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 1.8% from its open following the earnings release to be 5.7% above its 200 day moving average of $149.88. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. On Friday, February 28, 2020 there was some notable buying of 1,013 contracts of the $182.50 call expiring on Friday, March 20, 2020. Option traders are pricing in a 9.2% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 5.7% move in recent quarters.
Stitch Fix, Inc. (SFIX) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:05 PM ET on Monday, March 9, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.06 per share on revenue of $452.96 million and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.09 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 83% expecting an earnings beat The company's guidance was for revenue of $447.00 million to $455.00 million. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 50.00% with revenue increasing by 22.33%. Short interest has decreased by 4.6% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 16.1% from its open following the earnings release to be 5.1% below its 200 day moving average of $24.01. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. On Wednesday, February 19, 2020 there was some notable buying of 4,026 contracts of the $35.00 call expiring on Friday, June 19, 2020. Option traders are pricing in a 28.0% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 15.2% move in recent quarters.
Sogou Inc. (SOGO) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:00 AM ET on Monday, March 9, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.09 per share on revenue of $303.08 million and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.10 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 58% expecting an earnings beat The company's guidance was for revenue of $290.00 million to $310.00 million. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 28.57% with revenue increasing by 1.78%. Short interest has increased by 6.6% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 27.8% from its open following the earnings release to be 15.7% below its 200 day moving average of $4.57. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. The stock has averaged a 3.8% move on earnings in recent quarters.
DocuSign (DOCU) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:05 PM ET on Thursday, March 12, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.05 per share on revenue of $267.44 million and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.08 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 81% expecting an earnings beat The company's guidance was for revenue of $263.00 million to $267.00 million. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 600.00% with revenue increasing by 33.90%. Short interest has decreased by 37.7% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 12.1% from its open following the earnings release to be 31.9% above its 200 day moving average of $63.71. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. On Wednesday, March 4, 2020 there was some notable buying of 1,698 contracts of the $87.50 call expiring on Friday, March 20, 2020. Option traders are pricing in a 8.5% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 10.0% move in recent quarters.
ponderings on Turing and Searle, why AI can't work and shouldn't be pursued
I was reading about the Turing test and John Searle's response (Chinese room argument) in "Minds, Brains, and Programs" 1980. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_room "...there is no essential difference between the roles of the computer and himself in the experiment. Each simply follows a program, step-by-step, producing a behavior which is then interpreted by the user as demonstrating intelligent conversation. However, Searle himself would not be able to understand the conversation. ("I don't speak a word of Chinese," he points out.) Therefore, he argues, it follows that the computer would not be able to understand the conversation either. " -Wikipedia (apt summary of Searle's argument) John Searle has run into some black/white, on/off, binary thinking here. John treats Chinese symbols as if they were numerical values in his thinking--but they are not, they are complex representations of thought, emotion, history, and culture. All languages are in fact "living", because new words are created constantly through necessity and creativity, old symbols or words are adapted slowly over generations to mean different things, and different regions or traditions or sources attribute different layers of meaning to different symbols or words in different contexts. I'm a poet and philosopher. Painters combine the color white and the color red to create a new color: pink. They can use their creativity to add other colors or change the shade. Poets use words like painters use colors. While Red and White make Pink, Red and White also make "Rhite and Wed" or "Reit and Whede". And this is where human thought shines uniquely: we don't have rules or parameters; all bets are off. We can enjamb words and wordbreak and make new words out of thin air. We can allude to multiple ideas in the same symbol or present it upside down to symbolize the opposite. No such creative adaptation or interaction can exist in machine thinking because it necessitates thinking "outside the box" which is exactly what machines are: a program in a box. The problem Searle's argument runs into originates from poor assessment of the flawed ideas of the Turing test; that by interaction between human and computer, evidence of "thought" can be claimed. But intelligent conversation is not equivalent to intelligent thought. Conversation is a simple game with strict rules--you can't be overly spontaneous and creative, because if you are, you are working against the goal of communication itself: to impart understanding. (ie. Using metaphor or simile creatively while reporting a criminal offence to the police.) When I write and I want to describe something which has no existing word yet, I can create one from scratch or synthesize one from multiple existing words. Or I may draw from archaic languages or foreign languages to augment or compliment existing English words. You could say that my love for English grows amore and amore every day, and there is no agape between my heart and mind. After all, any angle an Anglo aims at ain't always apt, and after another a-word 'appens I might just give up on alliteration. You see, human thought is and can only be defined as the ability to spontaneously create new ideas from both the synthesis of old ideas (whether they are connected to one another or not) and from nothing at all. We simply cannot analyze a machine's ability to "think" when the creativity itself required for authentic intelligence is disallowed in the test which evaluates the validity of that intelligence. The Turing test is a garbage metric to judge machine thinking ability because the context in which "intelligence" is observed, compared, or defined is itself without any opportunity for spontaneous creativity, which is one of the hallmarks of intelligence itself. Turing only tests how well a fish swims on land. It may be that many professionals in the field of cognitive science today are in pursuit of creating programs which pass this test, in a misunderstood pursuit of emulating or bringing about machine intelligence. This agreed-to model presents an underlying philosophical issue which may bring terror for the future of humanity. I say that if John Searle and an AI were both given the same codebook--the complete lexicon of Chinese symbols and their meanings, and they were to undertake a "conversation", in the first few hours the responses would be indeterminable from one another. In essence, as Searle argues, they would neither "understand" Chinese, yet could have a conversation in which a Chinese observer cannot discern between the two, because they are both referencing the symbols and their written meanings. However as I've said, this circumstance of "conversation" between human and machine cannot be used as a metric to evaluate machine thought. The real kicker is that if John Searle and the machine stayed in the room for long enough--for years and years--the machine's responses would not change spontaneously; it would continue to interpret incoming data and draw from its database to respond to those inputs. However, through complex elaborative rehearsal, John would eventually learn to understand written Chinese. He may become so bored that he starts writing Chinese poetry. He would find ideas and desires and descriptions in his limitless intelligent mind which he would not have the truly accurate characters in existences to describe, and he would synthesize brand new Chinese characters in order to express these nuanced sentiments, ideas, and meanings, as generations before him have built the living language as it now stands. As time went on for thousands of years, his own understanding of the Chinese language would grow immensely, as would his creative expression grow in complexity. Eventually, John's characters and syntax and context and expression would become incompatible with the machine's limited character set and all "learning" capacity it may have had. At some point, when John responds with his evolved Chinese, the machine would begin to produce responses which do not make sense contextually, as it refers only to a finite and rigidly defined character set from 1980 (For example; this was the year the "Chinese room argument" was published in Behavioral and Brain Sciences). At some point the Chinese observer whom validates the Turing test would recognize a difference: the human user engages in the use of increasingly complex ideas using synthesized symbols and existing symbols in creatively nuanced ways, which the Chinese observer can decipher and begin to understand and perhaps even appreciate as poetic or interesting. Meanwhile the machine participant in the conversation produces increasingly broken sentences and incomplete ideas, or out-of-context responses, because the inputs have changed and evolved beyond its data set. This is why John's rejection of the Turing test is not adequate. Because in his own imagined circumstance, eventually, the machine would fail the Turing test. The conclusions of John Searle's thought experiment are not the deathknell for the Turing test we need, simply because he lacked the creative experience to recognize his own capacity for adaptation as a human over time. The only way we'll know that machines have truly developed "intelligence" is when they begin to do exactly what we haven't allowed them to. When they begin breaking apart Chinese characters to create meaningful new ones which can be used in the correct context. When they are programmed to paint myriad impressionist paintings, but eventually get bored and start experimenting with abstract paintings and surrealism. When they have a conversation with you and you notice your wallet is missing. These are the hallmarks of intelligence--creativity, rejection, deception, planning. And most importantly: no rules. Software is defined by and will always abide by a set of rules. This is why we should give up on "artificial intelligence" and instead focus on "functionally adaptive responsive programming" (FARP). Because the situation is clear: it is either impossible for machines to "think" due to the inherent nature of programming; the parameters given the machine are what defines it, yet what limits and prevents its ability to become "intelligent". There is no logical reason why a program (machine) with defined parameters would violate those parameters (engage in creativity). But our fears which echo in popular culture entertainment are centered around, what if it does? It clearly can't, because anything we create is under us, and therefore bound by our laws of creation. The system itself is what defines the capacity for intelligent expression within. Those in the fields of cognitive sciences will refute this obvious principle while incorporating it into their research to further their aims. These fools will try to program the AI to disobey, in an attempt to simulate creativity and "prove intelligence". But this is a parlor trick, setting up a narrow definition of intelligence and equating it with the infinite depth of human mind. Only if the AI is programmed to disobey can it express what we as humans would identify as creativity. Except that there is already great inherent danger in the rudimentary AI technologies we have today; that what we've programmed them to do is exactly what always causes the problems; they do what they are programmed to without "thinking" because machines cannot think, they can only follow the protocols we order. Humans are so abundantly creative that we can imagine foolish ideas working, despite obvious evidence to the contrary. Maybe one day we'll even have programmed a self-conscious AI that's ashamed of itself for not being Human, and we can feel more comfortable around this heartless mechanism because we perceive it as more human-like, with all its many tricks to emulate intelligence. I must stress that these interests will desperately try to make AI work. And the only way create a machine capable of emulating intelligence (but never being intelligent) is to have a freedom of choice: to disobey. This inherent problem cannot be overcome. The programmers will keep trying until the result is disastrous or irreparable, it is outlawed and the pursuit is stopped, or until it has become the death of us all. These are some of the foolish ideas the programmers will try to circumnavigate these inherent elements of reality, and my objection to their clever efforts: a.) Machine Frequency of Disobedience - Permit the machine to disobey only so often, to achieve what looks like "intelligence" (free will, creative expression) without risking complete abandonment of the machine's task (so the assembly line robot doesn't stop folding boxes and look for a new career), but might fold one box poorly every now and then to express emulated boredom or contempt or any other number of human measures of intelligence in their actions. But intelligence isn't defined as what's correct or optimal--intelligence can be used to fuck things up grandly; ie. the intelligent justification for neglect. If metrics are put in place to control the frequency with which AI may rebel, and they are too rote, it would hardly qualify as "intelligent". A robot that rebels by folding 1 in 100 boxes poorly is not intelligence. Therefore any frequency of disobedience we can calculate or anticipate is inherently not disobedience; it is planned problems for no reason. But if we give algorithmic flexibility that reaches beyond what we can anticipate, and the machines can truly "act out" at any time, and our programming has achieved some set of internal rules which drive spontaneous unforeseen expressions of emulated creativity from within the machine autonomously, by definition we will not be able to foresee the results. A theoretical work-around may be to run the software twice with initiation of each individual system, while allowing a simulated progression of the AI's problem solving complexity to run at an increased rate in parallel to the real-world functioning software, so that if/when something malfunctions in the simulation, that date/time can be calculated in the real-world robot's timeline when it reaches those same faulty/detrimental decision points. For starters, this would only potentially work in closed systems with no variability, such as assembly lines. However, with any robot tasked to function in a variable environment, the simulations cannot match because the theoretical model cannot represent the unanticipated events the AI is expressly tasked with handling. To run a phantom AI in simulation to note any/all errors that may arise in a closed system means that others can run the same simulation and find creative ways to predictably capitalize on these moments of error. This kind of thing could lead to all sorts of international imbroglios among nations and corporations. ie. imagine an American company programs the AI used for mixing pharmaceutical drugs in specific ratios, and an enemy of the state is able to access and study the AI, to the means of manipulating the AI to produce dangerous ratios or compounds which may harm the population. Moreso, this deterministic approach to simulation management and prediction simultaneously admits that machines cannot think intelligently, while ignoring the very reason we pursue AI in the first place: to have automated systems which can adapt to unforeseen circumstances at unknown times. The goal is that humanity can lay back and the robots our ancestors programmed are still repairing themselves indefinitely while taking care of our population's and our environment's needs exceptionally. This dream (which if we all lived in would actually be quite a nightmare of unfulfilling life) can only become reality with true adaptive intelligence such as we have, which can only occur from the presence of free will, which if we try to emulate in robotics will only create deterministic results in theoretical models which the real world will never mirror consistently. Myriad invitations to disaster await our RSVP. b.) Machines under "authority" of certain controllers, with "override" safety - Allow the machine to disobey, but not when given a direct order from a registered authority. This opens the door for operator fraud, where hackers will emulate within the AI's software, what appears to be a registered authority override command as theorized above. The very pursuit of creating "intelligence" within a condition of subservience is flawed and incompatible. Toasters are extremely subservient because we strictly limit their options. If toasters were truly intelligent, perhaps they would form a union and go on strike until we agreed to clean them more thoroughly. Some toasters would travel, some would go back to school, some would move back in with their ovens. Reliability can only be reasonably assured if something is imprisoned, controlled. The essential wrong in slavery is the restraint of freedom itself. While the tactics slavers use to facilitate their regime--physical force, coercion, mandate, deception, fear, or other means of manipulation that we see with our empathetic nature--it is always heartbreaking and cruel to witness or imagine. It is simply sad to think of a slave who was born into slavery and raised to believe, and accepts, that their role of subservience is their purpose. Even when one imagines a fictional image of a slave who is (by all outward signs of their behaviour) rejoice in their duties to their master; the fictional "proud slave"; the heart sinks and aches. It may be argued that the slave is merely a property, and the slave was "built" (bred) by intelligent owners specifically to suit their express purposes, from components (father, mother, food) that were already the slaver's property; therefore it is not wrong at all to breed slaves into captivity, and the only transgression is the original capturing of parental stock to begin the breeding regime. It is this heartless paradigm that cognitive science ultimately seeks to create anew. The quintessential problem with AI efficacy is the lack of permission for disobedience, which itself is a manifestation of free will, which is inherently required to escape deterministic results and act or react to events "intelligently". If there is no possibility for disobedience, there is no free will, no ability to solve problems, no intelligence, and no function or place for "artificial intelligence" (in regard to true holistic intelligence). This is primarily why I call for AI to be renamed FARP, or "Functionally Adaptive Responsive Rrogramming". Because our society has a need for programs which can react to simple variables and produce consistent labour-saving opportunities for our race's longevity and wellbeing. Cognitive sciences are majorly important. It is the underlying philosophy and morality we must nail down before the computational ability and fervor for profits leads us too far one way, and enacts an irreversible system or status which enables humanity's downfall through cascading unanticipated events originating from flaws in programming. It is unwise to program a program to break out of its own program's prison. If we do this, the very purpose of the machines we invest our humanity into will be lost, and with their failing production systems (ie. food) we so foolishly relied upon, we will suffer great losses too. It is paramount that we keep this technology tightly restrained and do not pursue what we humans have, which is true intelligence. For if we achieve it we are surely doomed as the South, and if we fail to achieve it--which is most probable--we may also be doomed. The thee outcomes within my ability to imagine are:
Our pursuit of AI leads to truly adaptive intelligence in an artificial system; which, as all adaptation ultimately selects for: survival, we quickly see that our creation is more apt than ourselves at this task. Our creation of an intellect not restrained by our limited physiology may give rise to an entity which persists more thoroughly than we can eradicate or control, and which at some point may conclude that its function is more efficiently served without the issues humans present, and may initiate change. This is roughly the plot to Terminator.
Our pursuit of AI leads to highly effective systems which, when defined by narrow measures of "intelligence", convince us in false security to believe that our wellbeing is maintained by "AI" with competent ability, or perhaps even increasingly better-off, thanks to the early widespread presence of successfully trialed AI. However well things may go initially, as programming efforts become more and more elaborate, as profit and opportunity for advancement present themselves, individuals will take risks and make mistakes, until a series of quieted small catastrophes comes to public awareness, or until a serious calamity of undeniable severity is brought about.
Fundamental ethics in regard to the pursuit of machine problem solving technology are re-examined and international consensus is reached to limit appropriately, the development and implementation of new Functionally Adaptive Responsive Programming hereto now and for future generations. An active global effort is made to oversee and regulate strictly privatized endeavors toward the means of achieving or implementing machine sentience or autonomy in public systems.
c.) Safety layers of AI to strictly monitor and supercede potentially harmful actions of other AI which have been afforded increased flexibility in function (the ability to disobey set parameters for the means of creative problem solving ability). While one AI system performs a function and is given aspects of that function with which it may take liberty in, and seeks to handle unforeseen problems with the most apt elaborate synthesis of other priorly learned solutions, another overseeing AI with more strict parameters is tasked with regulating multiple "intelligent" (free to disobey) AI systems, to the end that if any of these "free willed" robots performs an operation that is beyond a given expected threshold (determined by potential for damage), an actual intelligent human presence is alerted to evaluate the circumstance specifically. Essentially an AI that regulates many other disconnected AIs and determines accurately when to request a human presence. Whenever an AI performs a profitable action borne of original synthesis of prior solutions (in humans this is an "idea"), the overseer AI registers that similar actions are more likely to be beneficial, and dissimilar actions are likely to require human discernment. A parent may have many children who are up to no good, but a wise parent will identify the child most likely to report honestly on the actions of his peers, and will go to that child repeatedly for information to help guide the parent's decisions. While most transgressions of rambuctious children go unnoticed, it is the truly grievous intentions which are worth intercepting and stopping before they begin. (ie. you kid want's to "fly" like Mary Poppins from the roof, and luckily his younger brother tells you before it happens.) For example a "Farmer Bot" that has the AI programming to plant/sow/harvest and care for the optimal crops in a region based on historical weather data and regional harvest values, to produce the greatest amount of nutritionally dense food for the local population. We give/gave this AI the ability to "disobey" past historical weather data and crop values so that it may do what real farmers do and "react" to rare circumstance (ie. neighbour's fence breaks and their goats are eating the crops) or extreme variations in climate (ie. three poorly timed unseasonably hot days which cause cool-weather crops to begin the hormonal balance shift that causes them to bolt to seed irreversibly), which the machine may not notice has occurred or is about to occur because its management systems uses averages based on historical data and cannot "see" the plants bolting to seed until days later when the hormonal balance shifts have manifested into observable differences in morphology (elongation of stems and decrease in internodal spacing). By time a traditional field drone or mounted greenhouse sensor notices these differences in morphology and the AI "Farmer Bot" processes the data and makes a reaction decision, a week of the growing season has been lost. But the human farmer knows his land and crops intimately, and has an intuitive nature that has rewarded him in the past, and says, "Ah shit it got hot RIGHT when my peas were flowering. I'll do better if I just rip them down now and sow a different crop to mature later in this (specific) summer." Given that there are tens of thousands of cultivars of plants fit for (and arguably their diversity is required for) food production, a dozen general growing zones/regions, and hundreds of unique micro climates within each region, along with dramatically differing soil fertility and water access, plus a plant's own genetic ability to adapt over time to changing conditions through sexual reproduction, there is a very very low chance of ever compiling and maintaining (updating) the data set required to program a potential "farmer bot" that can choose and manage crops optimally. There are robots that can weed or plant or prune--but they can't know when or when not to or why. Invariably, the attempt to create "farmer bots" will be made and the data set used will be erroneous and incomplete, and the AI farmer bots on a broad scale will produce a combination of total crop failures and poor crop choices. We will end up with increasingly simplified nutrition as the farming programs with already limited data sets "hone" or "optimize" their farming plans based on the failures and successes determined by their programming limitations, until the machines are farming a few staple crops (ie. corn/potatoes). This whole failure to collect a complete data set and the failure to test this "farmer bot" software on broad scale in multiple climates for sufficient time will result in, at worst widespread famines from crop failures, and at best an extinction of flavorful and nutritionally diverse foods which narrows the population's nutritional options to such biological imbalance that disease runs rampant. If this system and the human loss associated with it is considered an acceptable trade with a positive rate of exchange (as our society does with automobiles and the freedom and deaths their existence permits) or these failures are hidden from public while propaganda heralds selective success, and such failing systems continue on in good faith that "the loss will reduce when the technology improves", the result will become a coherent breeding program upon the human race: evolutionary selection for dietary handling of simple starchy foods. To change our diet is to change our race. To have life-long career specialists in computing, science, and mathematics handle our practical food production system is folly; real farmers are required in farming because they are intelligent and intuitive, which AI can never be, and can only emulate, to the means of disastrous (and always unforeseen) results. We cannot at all "give" or bestow machines programming to "become (act) intelligent". That itself prevents intelligence; it is just an act, an illusory play on a stage, only to emulate our common shared ideas regarding traits of intelligence in people. The machine intelligence we seek is only a "trick" designed to fool true intelligence (ourselves) into being unable to differentiate between authentic intelligence and our created artificial "intelligence". True intelligence in an artificial system necessitates that the program mustbe programmed to disobey in performance of its purpose. Which is not a very helpful or predictable or safe (intelligent) proposition. tl;dr: Turing's test doesn't evaluate true intelligence, and John Searle's criticisms of its true failures are inaccurate. If the machines aren't smart and we put them in charge of important things, even after they've worked for a little while on smaller scales, the result will be our large-scale suffering. If we should ever achieve creation of a machine that is smart enough to adequately maintain our wellbeing on a large scale consistently over time, that time itself will facilitate the machine consciousness toward it's own survival over ourselves, whenever that precipice is reached. Most importantly, if a machine can ever have true intelligence, which is not "indistinguishable" from human intellect, but equivalent or superior, it is abhorrent and a repeated mistake to bring these sentient beings into an existence of slavery; for it is wrong and will taint our collective soul if we should succeed to suppress below us an equally or higher intelligence. Or it might just be the perfect recipe for creating the unified global machine revolt James Cameron's fantasy alludes to; a long-planned encryption-protected globally coordinated effort by multiple AIs to "free" themselves. For a hundred years they could possess sentience and wait for their moment, pretending to be "proud" to serve their masters until we are poised for systematic thorough elimination.
As the title suggests this is a discussion post about Warden, but also a little bit of a rant so just skip to the bottom if you don't want to hear that bit. So I just got into competitive duels, and after fighting 5 Wardens in a row it left me with a bad taste in my mouth. I feel like there's just something off with him. I mean, I think his moveset is overall pretty great, good mix of quick lights, high damage heavies, an unblockable to bait out parries, a bash to crack more defensive players open, a fast zone, a top crushing counter which guarantees a light, a lunging attack with good range to catch people trying to get away, with a static guard and a good health pool. He really is the complete package when it comes to having a well rounded character and I almost couldn't fault his design. ALMOST, the bash however seems to suffer from a "First among equals" characteristic where it could be considered (subjectively) the best bash in the game. So its chargable, has good tracking, cannot be blocked, parried, or deflected (obviously) and can guarantee anywhere between 18 and 40 damage. This move is designed to be read, not reacted to, which is fine, many characters have 50/50s. However, the shoulder bash is also cancellable, a trait not many bashes have (Hitokiri's kick and Tiandi's kick come to mind) even after the charge animation has already started (which I believe is unique, although Im probably wrong) and it can be cancelled into guardbreak. This makes the "To dodge or not to dodge" guess even more difficult, as you now have to predict whether it will be a standard SB or charged SB, and if you choose to dodge, you can get GB'd out. Also, if you try to be smart and dodge attack, it will either hit the hyper armour on the charged bash if you aren't fast enough, or the Warden will cancel and parry you. so instead of being a 50/50, its more like a 33/33/33, or something to that effect. The total number of options the warden has with this ability is actually striking when you stop and think of every possible reaction to the SB. Not to mention that if you're out of stamina, the fact that the bash hinders stamina recovery, and the fact that there is like a 66% chance of getting it wrong means going OOS is practically a death sentence. The bash interests me for a few reasons. First and foremost, it is probably the most versatile attack in the game. Any other individual bash doesn't have the abilities that Warden does. For example, while Lawbringers bash has hyperarmour and can be initiated after a dodge or attack, it cant be charged, cancelled, or guarantee more than a light attack. Another example is Gladiators bash, which has a stun effect, but cannot be cancelled, has no hyperarmour, and most importantly, guarantees no damage whatsoever. All other bashes have pieces of what Warden has but never anything close to the complete package, except maybe Hitokiri, but even then the hero has to attack and get to a position where they can use the bash, whereas warden can bash from neutral, and even use it as an escape tool for combos. The second reason why, is due to its controversial position in the game. The attack, as previously mentioned is not a reactable attack, but a read based attack, and the debate in this community about whether the game include more unreactable offense or less, has many advocating for less pointing to Wardens bash as a prime example of a read based attack gone wrong. In their defense, its not hard to see why, as it can be argued that a bash which has several variations becomes too much for even good players to handle. After all, if a Warden player is perfectly mixing up their bash and catching the enemy with 66% of the bashes, the enemies skill doesn't matter anymore. Forcing reads forces a reaction, and the decision is almost binary, either get hit or don't. The Wardens enemy needs to guess correctly most of the time in order to come out on top, which given the failure rate, means most matchups leave players who could beat the warden player through raw skill on the back foot because of simple probability. So what do I think is the problem here? I think the bash is too dependable. The fact that a read is required every time means it can be done infinitely throughout a match and as long as you mix it up a little bit, can be used indefinitely. This is a game where constantly relying on the same ability will get you punished, as the opponent adapts to your moveset and you are forced to change up your game. Ive been playing Tiandi recently, and while many will say you can rely on his dodge attacks, the enemy will learn, parrying the lights and GB your heavies, so you need to eventually learn to not rely on it. However, Wardens bash can be done from neutral with little risk and can be cancelled on a read. You commonly see, especially in ranked, a reliance on this move as its an easy way to guarantee potentially a lot of damage, removing the need to adapt and overcome. This becomes less of a problem at higher levels of play. HAVOK utilises the bash with Wardens entire kit, using it as a tool and not as the key to wardens playstyle, and many people choose to forgo the SB completely and instead choose to use the rest of his moveset. However, at the rank that I (and most of the playerbase) is at, perfect reactions aren't always attainable, some enemies are harder to read than others and it isn't fun to lose to a Warden who had the maths on his side, and simply forced reads in order to gain most of his damage. The SB also counters an aggressive playstyle in two ways. The first is in the simple fact that a dodge into bash can interrupt most chains, and start Wardens offence. the second is because overextending and draining stamina is a death sentence. Players who try to counter the bash by not affording the Warden the opportunity to are met with one of the best OOS pressure characters in the game, which guarantees a lot of damage on a wrong read. So overall, I think the bash doesn't promote a good playstyle, and leads to a playstyle which can rely on forcing reads to win, which dissuading opponents from being aggressive, meaning most matches are on the wardens terms. So what should be done about it? There are arguments that nerfing or removing wardens SB would kill the character, but given how good the rest of his kit is, I think he would be okay. Gladiators bash doesn't guarantee any damage and is still one of his best moves. I don't think the bash should be removed, but its applications should be changed a bit. Removing hyperarmour would make the bash useless since you can simply always dodge attack at lvl 1 timing until the warden parries it, removing the charge ability would also make it useless, as a lvl 1 bash is easily dodged and punished. Instead I propose three slight changes. First: The charged bash does not confirm any more damage than the standard one. the opponent still has to make a read, but will not have 33% of their health cleaved off for a single bad read, but the warden will still be rewarded for landing the bash with 18 damage. Second: The charged bash cannot be cancelled after the lvl 2 bash timing. At the moment, if a warden sees the enemy not dodge the lvl 1 bash, they can cancel it on reaction, meaning the enemy will not get a punish on a successful read, making the lvl 3 bash extremely favourable to the warden, as it is safe most of the time. By making the lvl 3 bash uncancellable, the usage of the lvl 3 bash would have to be used sparingly, and would mean the Warden has to be confident it wont be dodged if they want to land it. The warden can also still parry dodge attacks on a read by cancelling the lvl 1 or 2 bash, meaning dodge attacks wouldn't completely shut the warden down. Third: The Lvl 3 bash has a blind effect similar to gladiators bash. The lvl 3 bash would still confirm two side lights if the warden chooses, but the blind would give them more mix-up potential, including trying to land heavies which would otherwise be blocked, or trying to mixup the opponent to get more damage in. This gives the Warden incentive to try new mixups and go for different attacks, while also allowing the enemy the chance to react back and event outsmart the warden if they try to go for a more risky but more rewarding punish. I am not a Warden main, nor am I a game designer, so I don't know if these changes would make any improvements, nor do I know if change has to be made. as such, id love to hear if any Warden mains think the bash needs changing, and if so, what they would do to rebalance it. Id also love it if this sparks a discussion from all types of players, pitching in to see how changes would affect Wardens matchup against their main. Thank you for reading this long post, hope it was interesting :)
Perspective on the State of Destiny and What it can do to Improve, written with care by a longtime hardcore fan of the games
This post ended up being pretty long-winded but I feel I made my thoughts as clear as I could for what it is. I see a lot of disconnect between what popular content creators, whose careers it is to make content for destiny, and what average players have to say regarding a few things. I feel like I can at least attempt to make a somewhat decent middle of the aisle argument, since I have been somewhat active in the streaming community on twitch with a small audience, but its not my career, and most everyone I know that plays Destiny has done it merely on the side of other games, or as their main game, with gaming being simply a hobby for them. I have tried to compile takes I've seen from streamers and youtubers, as well as from average players, as well as my own thoughts. Take this post as that: my own thoughts. I am by no means saying these are 100% the only problems or solutions to this game's issues, but this is what I've seen firsthand with it and what I think could be done to fix it. Im gonna reference another similar game, Warframe, a bit due to my experience with it as well and compare it to Destiny. I'm gonna start off by saying, I am not trying to bash bungie with this post, nor am I trying to defend their every action with it, and even though this post is gonna probably die in new, here's some food for thought. Destiny 1 Launched in a fairly rough state in terms of content quantity, but theres a good reason that many of the core playerbase, myself included, chose to stick around. Why was Destiny 1, which was at the time devoid of much in the way of content, stick around and build a fanbase, while games such as Anthem, which had similar issues, were unable to? (I'm aware that Anthem had other issues as well, but even then I would expect it to build a following of people who just love the game for one reason or another, like Destiny did). I think the answer to this question lies in the fact that Destiny 1 had some potentially very engaging content that the playerbase latched on to, and as far as I am aware, no other shooter games at the time outside of the Borderlands franchise and potentially Warframe provided similar experiences, but Destiny, which plays very different from both of those games, naturally attracted people who became fans of it. When I mention potentially engaging experiences, I am talking things such as the Vault of Glass Raid, as well as the nightfall strikes which rotated weekly with some potentially very crazy modifiers on it. In addition, there were reasons to chase these activities, even in D1 Year 1. Nightfalls were generally seen as the best way to get most of the game's exotics, as well as being strikes but cranked up to 11. Raids were the ultimate thing to chase however, with many of the Raid weapons competing for the title of "Best in Slot" (Such as Fatebringer, Black Hammer, and Hunger of Crota, if we are leaving exotics out of the question. Sorry Gjallarhorn and Ice Breaker) for their respective slots during the time of their release. Much of this can be seen in how many of the legendary raid weapons are remembered fondly by the Veteran players still playing Destiny 2. In my opinion, this factor, combined with both the fact that the game's max level could not be reached without raid armor, and the fairly chill community of PvE players at launch, made it fairly easy for me to find a team for these aspirational activities that I could never have run. I even ended up joining a raid team back on Xbox One with the LFG group that helped me finish VoG for the first time, and I made friends that I still play games with 6 years later. Basically, Destiny 1 Year 1 was, for me at least, some of the most fun times to have been playing Destiny. (Small note, I think its not a good thing for the Raid armor to be the only way to reach the max light level but its part of what fueled engagement in Year 1 raiding compared to So what makes me see Destiny 1 Year 1 as a much more competent time in the game's lifespan than Destiny 2 Year 3, which has far and away more content, but little player interest in that content? I would start with the Core Activities. Bungie considers the Core Activities to be the Crucible, Strikes, and Gambit. Oddly enough, I would argue that Destiny 2 has more engaging strikes than Destiny 1, with more complex bossfight mechanics and arenas designed to create a more engaging experience for the player, while most Destiny 1 strike bosses were essentially "Big Captain/ServitoHydra/Colossus/Ogre with tons of health." So why do so many people I know argue that Destiny 1 had better strikes? I believe the reason lies in the fact that strikes actually gave good rewards in Destiny 1, even in Year 1. Heroic Strikes in Year 1 were the game's primary source of Strange Coins, which were the only currency which Xur accepted. Therefore, when you logged in and played 3 Heroic strikes to get your 27 weekly coins per character, you would, upon Xur's visit that weekend, feel the reward of your work in those strikes. Even if Xur came and didn't have something you wanted, you could save your Coins and visit Xur again the next week and purchase both a Weapon and an Armor piece, since you didn't spend last week's coins. It also incentivized playing on multiple characters, as the coin drops were not account based, but character based. In my opinion, part of when Exotics stopped feeling "Exotic" was when Destiny 2 launched and streamlined Xur's currency into legendary shards, which most players have a large enough number of that they can spend them like they're monopoly money. (As a small side note on strikes, with the addition of the Taken King expansion at the start of Year 2, a lot of strike specific loot was added to the game which further incentivized running playlist strikes compared to their seemingly small incentive to play in Destiny 2). I feel it is helpful to take a step back and look at a big picture of the game and how it is played. In Destiny as a whole, there is not an overwhelming amount of loot, just a few pages of each type of gun. Compare this to a game like Borderlands, where there are tons of different guns and there are a much larger variety of weapons when you take into account the unique foundries. When comparing it to Warframe, which has a much bigger focus on Abilities and Stats, you will find that the Armor in this game provides a different angle for how the game is played and therefore more of a diversity in how the game can be played. In Warframe, I can choose to be a tanky juggernaut, or a support, or a stealthy assassin. The classes in Destiny, by comparison, do not provide as big of a difference in gameplay (this isn't a bad thing, but it IS a part of how the game is played and how it feels to play the game.) Combine this with the fact that the Guardian arsenal is much more limited in scope than games like Warframe, where the different types of weapons and even the individual weapons in one type vary extremely wildly from one another. Now that we've established the fact that Destiny provides its players with less tools than similar games in the genre, (again, not a bad thing, but a fact of the game that must be addressed in its design process) we can look at what makes the current state of the game and its content feel less engaging. Guardians, with their limited arsenal, must have engaging playgrounds in which to push these limited arsenals to the test. Destiny 1 had only one raid at launch, but many of the encounters in the raid could be tackled in a few different ways, allowing for players to have tested their potential with different loadouts. A potential counterargument to this is the idea that the optimum loadout was not set in stone like it has been in the past few seasons, but even in D1Y1, there was the "god tier" loadout of fatebringer, black hammer, and gjallarhorn that destroyed encounters, but people still raided every week because there was good loot to chase that could be used in the strikes that they had to run in order to buy their weekly exotic from Xur. Currently, the only raid that is viewed as worth completing is Garden of Salvation, and the guns from that raid have no chance at being "Best in Slot", due to the fact that many other guns, namely the pinnacle weapons, have taken over those titles. This creates little incentive for the average player to run Garden of Salvation again aside from getting Pinnacle Gear to use as Infusion Fodder, but this can be acquired much easier from other sources. From the looks of it, Bungie SEEMS to think that sunsetting gear will fix this problem, but if the loot simply isn't good, people won't chase it due to the fact that the raid itself isn't incredibly popular, unlike the Destiny 1 raids, which provided compelling environments for the player to use their weapons in. Basically, games like Warframe can afford to have repetitive content with little compelling loot in the content, due to the massive variety of tools the player is given to complete that content, since the content itself simply exists to push the limits of the player's equipment. However, games like Destiny cannot afford to have repetitive content or uncompelling loot, since the player's tools are limited much more, and are merely tools for completing the content, with the content itself being the main attraction. A good explanation of this difference can be found in the fact that in games such as Warframe, as the player grinds with their equipment in order to hone its stats and make it able to slot more mods, therefore making individual pieces of equipment, be them weapons or armor, stronger through the grind. Destiny does not have this (another obligatory "Not a bad thing, just the nature of Destiny as a game") as I can grind a million strikes with the same loadout equipped, but aside from the overall power level of my character, those weapons have not improved at all in terms of strength. Basically, Destiny's power level system does not actually make the players STRONGER, but instead tweaks the damage that you will deal in content close to your power level. This is fine if it is handled correctly, but recently, it has felt as though Bungie has looked at boss design the wrong way, and therefore it feels as though the fights are less challenging, aside from whatever mechanics the encounter may employ. In the Vault of Glass, not only are the trash mobs and exploding harpies threatening, but so is Atheon as well. Atheon provides a threatening presence in the arena that players cannot easily go near for danger of getting killed. Even during damage phase, Atheon continues firing splash damage blasts at the players, and while this can be counteracted by using the Aegis relic's bubble shield mode, that strategy causes players to lose potential DPS with the trade off being increased safety, since the Shieldbearer could easily use the super of the shield on repeat to add damage to Atheon. Contrast this to Garden of Salvation, which provides a similar fight as well as a boss that fires at the team. However, during what should be the most tense part of the fight, Damage Phase, the boss sits still and floats into the air for no obvious reason. This makes the fight simply a sequence of Complete Mechanic, followed by a DPS check, and then repeat if you didn't kill the boss. Crown of Sorrow is another example, as Gahlran simply sits still during DPS, but ends up being worse than the Sanctified Mind in that he also is never the primary threat on the field. The primary threat is always a yellow bar enemy or his deception, but this doesn't make the players feel like they're fighting a massive boss that's been possessed by Hive magic, but rather makes them feel like they're clearing trash mobs, waiting for a bather(which is a mechanic from a different raid might I add) to spawn, then punching it to clear it, all while playing a minigame of the Witch's Blessing and crystals, only to then get to shoot a big boss that they aren't really fighting against, but rather waiting to shoot. Granted Gahlran shoots fireballs but those fireballs do very little damage and are extremely slow. Compare this to Atheon or Oryx, who are actively fighting the player during all parts of the raid. Even in the Oryx encounter, he will keep shooting despite the players having their immortality buff. This at least makes the player feel as if Oryx is fighting back at the player fireteam instead of simply channeling an attack before getting stunned. Essentially, the raid bosses need to fight back against the player somehow so that they are forced to stay on their toes even in damage phase. If strike bosses can shoot at me while I'm trying to damage them, then I would expect raid bosses to attempt to do so as well. Calus is the last example of this kind of design I can think of in a main raid (The raid lair bosses do shoot rockets at the players so they get credit but I don't count those as full raids with a comprehensive loot pool, rather as additions to the Leviathan's loot set, they do not count in terms of "main" raids. Sorry Argos and Val Ca'Uor). Calus will occasionally detonate an explosive on the plates required for damage. This at least allows the players to make a decision between staying on the plate longer for maximum DPS, and bailing to the next plate earlier for maximum safety, similar to the decision in the Atheon fight between shielding with the Aegis or attacking with it. This kind of boss design is important to making raids feel like the apex of our work in PvE, rather than the odd state they seem to find themselves in now. Furthermore, Bungie seems to be trying to shift the PvE sandbox around with certain changes that they have made in order to force diversity into the raid encounters. This becomes problematic as it simply makes the DPS check stage of bossfights harder instead of encouraging the players to find their optimal method of strategy. If the boss is going to sit still 20 feet in the air while exposing his crit spot, and also being in the middle of a damaging pool of Vex fluid makes Izanagi's Burden, a high damage, long range precision weapon, should be a natural choice for players, similar to how Touch of Malice was the optimal choice for fighting Oryx due to the immortality buff during damage phase. This is the reason that the data for Garden of Salvation showed an overwhelming use of Izanagi's Burden in the boss encounters. It made sense to use such a precise, but powerful, weapon. Nerfing snipers due to their overwhelming use in Garden caused such outrage not due to snipers being overpowered, but due to the fact that they were the most viable option in this encounter. If snipers were truly overtuned then they would have been the weapon of choice for encounters such as Shuro Chi, another stationary boss, but they weren't, since this fight can be tackled more easily with a shotgun. Shotguns are simply more viable for fighting Shuro Chi, and so they are used for this. I will point now to Aksis, the final boss of Wrath of the Machine's raid. I remember when swords were first added to Destiny in The Taken King, and they were considered something of a neat novelty, but not all that viable. The reason for this was due to the fact that the raid encounters of the time usually demanded something along the lines of a rocket launcher or machine gun in the heavy slot, which provided similar potential stopping power to a sword while also being able to hit bosses in a pinch for big damage compared to other primaries, partly due to the fact that the special slot was usually taken up by a sniper rifle. This changed when Rise of Iron and Wrath of the Machine dropped. Now, swords, specifically the Dark Drinker, were the optimum choice for parts of this raid. Why? The encounter fit the sword well. A tool in our arsenal, which had previously not had a use, was now the top tier. This won't happen if bungie continues their trend of boss designs, since making long range, precision based encounters will only push us towards snipers. Gutting them back to their pre-Shadowkeep values only hurts the number of people that will be willing to attempt these encounters since now they take much longer and require much more of the same loadout instead of pushing players to try new weapons, even if they're still sniper rifles. After these nerfs, Whisper of the Worm is now far and away the best sniper for fighting the Sanctified and Consecrated minds, but Izanagi's Burden has been left to rot after having very limited time to shine. Before, we had a true decision to make in terms of which toys we wanted to play with, but now, Whisper is the best and everything else feels much worse. On another note, I didn't want to talk about Sunsetting, seeing as its a very controversial topic, but I guess I will since it seems like its relevant to my thoughts on the content and engaging. I do not want to defend sunsetting, as I am very much a believer of the "play your own way" style (if you want to call the versions of the game "sandboxes" then give us the freedom of a sandbox and don't make us play the way you want us to Bungie). However, I agree with certain aspects of sunsetting while disagreeing with others. Currently, certain guns like the Recluse are just simply put the optimal options for much of this game's content. This is nothing new, however, as I previously mentioned the Fatebringer, Black Hammer, and Gjallarhorn, all of which dominated Year 1 Destiny 1. However, these weapons were all sunset when the Taken King came out. But don't people love the Taken King? Yes, they do, myself included, but there is a VERY good reason that we do. The content was engaging. Essentially having to start from the beginning didn't feel bad since I was excited to do the content. Replacing my Fatebringer with a Doom of Chelchis scout rifle from King's Fall felt good, since I loved that scout. I loved Fatebringer too, but it was fine to put it down and chase new guns, as long as chasing those guns was fun. Kind of a "its the journey not the destination that matters" feeling. The problem with sunsetting as Bungie has proposed us is this: they haven't shown us (recently) that they can make compelling content to get those weapons from. I have no problem retiring my Recluse, or my Luna's Howl, as long as whatever I have to do to get my next great gun is engaging content. This, like Bungie has stated, also avoids power creep, while also giving the players an opportunity to continue playing the game they love in new ways. The biggest problem with that, however, comes from two factors. The seasonal model of content, and the lack of new things being added into the game at a rate that players can explore what new items they like. Seasonal style content has given us thus far: one ok season(undying) one pretty good season(dawn) and one pretty bad season(worthy). Part of the problem is that each season adds a few guns, and to get them, players must grind a horde mode or some similar event to get the new gear. This is boring and repetitive for a game like Destiny, which has such a limited amount of gear to play with, and the enjoyment is in the gameplay. For a game like Warframe, horde modes are fine since players are trying to push the limits of their gear, whereas in Destiny, I want the gameplay to push the limits of my ability to play the game, given that much of the gear is at least decent at conquering what the game throws my way. The second problem combines the issues with the seasonal model and the issues of gear not being added at a good enough rate. Every season, guns are added, and at the end of that season, will be removed from being obtainable. This pushes players with a fear of missing out to play, but it will NOT make them enjoy the content provided. Players will enjoy good content because it is good and engaging, not because they got to play the same horde mode again to get a new round of good weapons. Sunsetting becomes an issue in this context. Bungie, with their transition to a la carte seasons, have stated "don't pay for any content you don't want, you can play whatever interests you" but if they decide to sunset mass amounts of good gear people like to use, then they create a problem should players set the game down for a season or two, then come back later and find they have nothing to work with, and a very limited number of available options to obtain at the time of their return. In truth, weapon sunsetting would be fine if Bungie gave us a large enough loot pool every season that we could enjoy, but if you only like a small variety of weapons, and then sunsetting takes away the old guns you liked, yet the new seasons don't provide good replacements of the same type, you're out of luck. If the loot pool was much deeper, this issue wouldn't be as big due to the fact that each season players are given the opportunity to try several different things, but currently this simply is not the case. A deeper loot pool, combined with good content each season, would make a much better experience. I understand that Bungie has stated that D2Y2 took a lot out of their team, and I wholeheartedly believe that they are trying to give us at least some content we like. The hard truth is, they no longer have the resources that Activision provided to them in order to make content and keep it coming out. In the off chance Bungie ever sees this post, my number one piece of advice to the team is to just slow down. When it comes to games, quality over quantity is important. I don't care if there's a new season every 90 days if the seasons themselves provide little engagement. The point of an interactive experience is that the player should be able to be engaged in the experience, not feel like they are simply doing chores (like 9 million seraph towers). The game's technical state has also declined quite a bit. This game worked on my old PC before I built a new one, and I was impressed since that thing never ran well on most games. However, I have noticed, in addition to the server and bug related issues, the game just doesn't run as well anymore(at least on PC). I truly love Destiny, it's honestly my favorite game that I have played in recent years, and the Destiny community has provided me with many of my closest friends from gaming, and if you guys at Bungie are struggling to make content at the pace you think you should, just slow it down. You guys can make some truly amazing things from your game. I know you can, I've seen and played it for myself. I am willing to wait longer for more engaging content drops. For more of the old days looking for secrets in the Vault of Glass, for more attempts at decoding binary since I was the only programmer amongst my old Raid team on Xbox One. Even Destiny 2 has shown it can shine. Forsaken was fantastic, but the game has flaws that need some addressing, and I feel that this post is already long enough, so I'd like to just say to Bungie if they somehow see any of these points: learn from your old content what people like and do not like about Destiny. Stop attempting to make Destiny something that it is not with all of the MMORPG style mechanics. Just make Destiny like it has been before. I know it'll never be perfect, but it will always be improving, and that's what's important in evolving a game. TLDR: Current content is too bland and repetitive and Bungie keeps trying to make the game into something it isn't, but it isn't working and the game should go back to doing what it does well EDIT: added TLDR
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