"I think I've lived long enough to see competitive Counter-Strike as we know it, kill itself." Summary of Richard Lewis' stream (Long)
I want to preface that the contents of this post is for informational purposes. I do not condone or approve of any harassments or witch-hunting or the attacking of anybody.
Richard Lewis recently did a stream talking about the terrible state of CS esports and I thought it was an important stream anyone who cares about the CS community should listen to. Vod Link here: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/830415547 I realize it is 3 hours long so I took it upon myself to create a list of interesting points from the stream so you don't have to listen to the whole thing, although I still encourage you to do so if you can. I know this post is still long but probably easier to digest, especially in parts. Here is a link to my raw notes if you for some reason want to read through this which includes some omitted stuff. It's in chronological order of things said in the stream and has some time stamps. https://pastebin.com/6QWTLr8T
"The last month has convinced me, that we are going to be heading into a dark place for Counter-Strike esports in 2021."
"I think I've seen the scene essentially kill itself."
"For the past 5 to 6 years, we've basically been in a holding pattern of people coming into our game wanting to run it, wanting to run all of the esports and wanting to profiteer and its been sort of a concerted effort to drive them off and push them away."
"We're spread way too thin."
"If Riot don't get involved and stop the scumbags that have moved over to Valorant from getting their feet under the table, Valorant is going to have real problems."
RL thinks too much has happened all at once for us to do anything except watch it play out, like:
Recent CSPPA strike against BLAST
ESIC failures and them not being supported enough
Teams cheating i.e. coaches/bugs
Widespread match fixing
"People who try to hold bubble events are so incompetent and fuck up and people get the 'rona and its their fault."
"People who say Flashpoint is a bubble is full of shit and is a lie and people are now suffering for that lie."
"To save money they let people go home and break the bubble for a week."
"Not just Flashpoint peoples decision, they have a partner that handles the production." (hinting FACEIT)
"People are trapped in hotels essentially under house arrest because of COVID restrictions and has fucked peoples lives up."
"It's all too much, all of this incompetence, all of this greed, maybe we ride it out."
RL says he has talked to the Riot devs (the ones working on Valorant) and says, "They are so cognizant of all the fuck ups and all the problems we have in Counter-Strike."
He continues to say that this is factored into their business plan and that we never had a competitor, but just so happens to have one coincide, when we are at our worst.
CSPPA - Counter-Strike Professional Players' Association
"Who does this union really fucking serve?"
RL believes that the CSPPA is a mockery.
He points out the hypocrisy that they wouldn't strike for the pros who were kicked out of ESL Pro League, or for Jamppi or dream3r.
He also says ESL paid CSPPA and are racketeering and many other TOs have to pay them to get their "seal of approval"
He says they would strong-arm TOs saying "well if you don't give us the money, these guys are so we'll just have to commit to playing their event."
Also points out that they will strike against a competitor they are not in agreement with (Flashpoint)
RL: "It's what it says about every other time you haven't done it and it's about every time you don't do it now moving forward." "The issues they've chosen to ignore this year alone are embarrassing."
Then he points out that there was no strike for Valve qualifiers even if we have no major but Jamppi and dream3r can't play in them.
"and Valve have said 'Oh yeah we know actually their stories are accurate, Jamppi didn't cheat, now in a legally binding document. Yep dream3r did have his account hacked in a LAN café', but they still can't play. Where is the fucking solidarity? Gone. Doesn't exist. It's not important [because] it doesn't affect you." "That's what the union does right now, it looks after all the tier 1 people."
He says the CSPPA doesn't represent all players all the time and has driven a divide where you have the haves and have-nots
"We have a tier of players that operate with impunity and do not help their tier 2 or tier 3 players out at all." "If you are not a tier 1 player you do not matter, they don't event ask your opinion."
He tells chrisJ to admit and own the fact that the reason he didn't speak up during the ESL Pro League debacle is because it didn't affect him
"They are looking after some players at the expense of other players. How the fuck is that a union?"
He says the BLAST situation is a reasonable dispute and supports the players but is not the right time for a strike and have not even identified the correct enemy
He thinks players are lashing out now due to previous incidents and are upset that BLAST are working with ESIC
He stated that CSPPA shouldn't beefing with ESIC and they should be working in harmony
He says what they need to do is talk with the teams/organizations that have sold that right to BLAST
RL: "Your employers, the people who pay you that massive exorbitant salaries, when you don't stream and you don't do interviews and you offer no value beyond your ability to click heads and you get 25k dollars a month." "Why don't you talk to them about it? Oh right. You're happy to take away BLAST's paper, but you don't want to risk your own."
"I am seeing such unbelievable cowardice from the players here with the battles you choose."
"Where was the strike action when in the qualifiers for the world championship, there were teams and players engaged in huge conflicts of interest?" "Where was the strike action when your image rights were taken and sold to every league you've ever been in every union type organization you've ever been associated with like, WESA, to your org every time you sign a contract, to the leagues you play in."
"Your image rights are essentially worthless now, there's about 10 fucking separate parties that have them, and how many of them are giving you anything for it? Not much pretty much your org by the way."
"That's a big issue. Your image is you, your image is your brand. What are you doing about that? Nothing."
He is also angry at SirScoots who is "popping off" at people on Twitter who all want the same thing, which is 'A unified Counter-Strike scene for everybody, that works for everybody, that has a sustained ecosystem that nourishes everybody.' "We don't have that now."
He also says their rankings are a joke
"Just so happened, oh look TACO, that very important prominent member of the board, we pushed his team artificially up when they weren't even in the fucking top 20, not by a long shot."
He also says the ineptitude of the CSPPA cost Flashpoint a monitor sponsor
"Is it really a player association or is it like a fucking agency at this point"
ESIC - Esports Integrity Commission
"They have been put in an impossible position."
RL says that Ian Smith, the founder of ESIC and who was done work in mainstream sports, is a good and honorable man who has dedicated his life to integrity and sports. He takes on both sides, ensuring match fixers are punished, but also doing appeals and ensuring those punishments were fair.
"ESIC is a tiny organization" and are in need of money, "They didn't run a grift like the CSPPA did."
"Saying 'you want our support and you want the players to turn up you better pay us.' They don't do that."
"Had startup seed money from MTG and since then they've been pecking shit with the hens."
Ian Smith made sure that the money given by MTG (Modern Times Group, parent company of ESL, ESEA, DreamHack) was nothing more than startup money and wouldn't be in debt to them
Ian Smith sat down with other TO's not part of MTG and wanted to partner with them. They declined and called ESIC "ESL spies and we will never align ourselves with you"
"They only were just able to afford, hiring a PR guy on a full time salary to deal with the press and send out those releases you've seen, this year."
"They have a tiny group of staff investigating these things and they have taken on the biggest problems in our scene: the cheating, the match fixing."
ESIC have had "unprecedented levels of cheating to deal with, because there's something wrong with our scene ever since we went online. There's something wrong with it, everyone's lost their fucking pride and self-respect and they got no passion for it anymore, so they think fuck it, what's in it for me?"
He calls out coaches who are talking about players rights when they would rob and steal from them.
Also says more coaches being banned are coming
He also points out flaws in community's reaction to the punishments to coaches bans: "Half of the cunts still have jobs and some of the cunts got new jobs. We didn't even shun the cheating coaches."
ESIC have "found I think another 2 or 3 exploits like that one and they are investigating them all right now, it's going on right now."
"I know that there are going to be more names getting banned, again."
"So they're doing that on a skeleton crew while, investigating 3 continents worth of match fixing in MDL and semi-pro level CS." "They're doing this with half a dozen people." "They don't have any money or any help. People barely even fucking cooperate with them, they are treated like pariahs. It's ridiculous."
"Why are the CSPPA popping off at ESIC on my Twitter timeline, when you should be working together." "because its all about what's in it in for me." "2020, the online era of CS: 'What is in it for me?' How can I cheat, how can I get my paper, how can I bleed this scene one last time before I fuck off and play shooty shooty bang bang Riot Games babys first fps."
RL says that in the CIS region, teams have gone to tournaments and have been eliminated multiple times by the same team. We found out they were cheating and those players who lost, have been cut from their roster, careers ended because of cheaters.
"They're all at it in the online era, they're all at it, they're all cheating, they're all using exploits, probably that see through smoke bug got used a bunch of times"
RL talks about how there is no integrity from dead (the player), always denying when caught doing something
On the topic of 'BLAST never said we couldn't stream snipe': "Lies, BLAST never said you could do that, they had to sort of retcon it." "because what happened after that they fucking started snitching and squealing"
"Suddenly you had like, 10 of the top 15 teams in the world, staring into the abyss of being banned for 6-12 months in line with ESIC recommendations."
He says that ESIC was put in a tough situation and couldn't enforce the bans because it would have resulted in killing CS. What resulted was, BLAST, ESIC, and teams came together and gave them a warning and told them, in RL's words "don't do this again or you're gonna get got."
He then says the top teams brushed this off and didn't give a fuck
The new MiBR team playing Flashpoint, that wasn't involved in the previous incidents are doing it again (stream sniping). He gave credit to Flashpoint for the quick resolution and punishment and respect for cogu's response to the situation.
"ESIC came out and said, once more, 'Guys, zero tolerance from now on.'" RL then got upset at community's reaction calling ESIC "pussies" for their non enforcement and said if we want competitive CS we cant ban the top 10 teams.
He points out how players have no integrity and will do anything for an edge as long as they won't get detected or banned or it's within a grey area.
"All of this shit was mad avoidable, even in the pandemic era."
He talks about why aren't we filming them. Why aren't there representatives for leagues and tournaments making sure players aren't cheating?
"How many years have we let our scene be fucking pillaged by these greedy cunts?" "We just let it happen."
RL says that gambling and skins betting which existed in moderation was "accelerated and blown up by the Call of Duty greedy fucks."
"Never forget TmarTn was on the board of EnVyUs." "His website, CSGOLotto, they had a bunch of off-the-books sponsorships." "NBK promoted them. People forget."
"Those people who had access to the skins, go to the players" "Even people like s1mple, best player in the world, even he scammed knives and skins off fucking fans."
Owners of skin casino sites would approach pros and lend them skins to use in tournaments and possibly keep them after reaching a deal
Players would tip off inside info about matches and teams in exchange for skins. Info such as: roster changes, how they played in scrims
They would use this info to bet and subvert the odds on their sites. "That happened religiously, I can't even tell you how many times it happened."
"I had access to the biggest database of information, from an inside betting circle in NA, and it would take information and screenshots from other pro players, who were feeding them info in exchange for money or skins."
"Some of these players are still playing." "Incredibly, there are players still in the CSPPA today, complaining about the BLAST recordings, that were embroiled in this murky shit back then."
RL also says that there were tournaments where teams contrived with each other, who should throw, who should win.
"There's a handful of people that are trying to fucking clean it up, and you think you get something over the line and you see something like the CSPPA and it's run by corrupt fucking chuckle heads, and now you've got another corrupt body you have to fight on a fucking daily basis, it's demoralizing."
"It's too far gone. Our entire semi-professional scene is compromised."
"It's rife guys, I'm not going to lie any more. It's not just China, it's not just Russia, it's here, it's NA, it's Europe, it's Australia, so much more than you think, so much more than we can prove."
"I get sent chat logs all the time […] and they're morons, these players, short-sighted, amateur, morons and they're doing it on WhatsApp." People would get cut from the bets because they want to make more money, then they leak the logs. He says, from the chat logs, they spread "little" bets across every site they can (400 to 1k dollars) to prevent shifting odds
He says the scumbags who've fucked off to Valorant will do the same there if Riot doesn't do something and says Valorant "is an esports scene heading for a very early fall based on the sheer volume of scumbags that are already there."
"That's tier 2 CS in a nutshell these days. They know they're never going to play in a major, so what's the punishment?"
"All of these tier 2 fucks that are fixing games now they are like the fucking mafia compared to iBuyPower" "These guys are working with organized criminals to fix entire seasons worth of games. That's what's going on in your tier 2 CS."
"I'm literally being told that there are players fixing games at all levels of Chinese esports and motherfuckers with guns are turning up to team houses and stuff."
"Everyone in NA has left we've lost a continents worth of support during this pandemic and Valve haven't said a fucking word."
RL says the Call of Duty "goblins" that destroyed CS for years are the same people who are now trying to leave CS. "The nerve to treat a game where the fans, and the community, and the TO's were nothing but good to you." "To just kick the players out now and go and leave and say 'It just doesn't make financial sense.' Oh you'll slither back when we have a major though for them stickers won't you."
There's a cascading effect in NA where people don't bother with CS anymore and people like Chaos suffer.
He says NA team owners are incompetent for always wanting it easy and always wanting a guarantee on their investment without skill or nuance.
RL says he would be able to market a team correctly and would have a good ROI and also points out how TSM wouldn't even be bothered to tweet that their team, which was one of the best in the world, was playing at the Major.
He also says not all NA owners are like that, compliments and respects Jason Lake who nearly lost everything to keep Complexity going.
He then calls out the incompetence in Infinite Esports when they acquired OpTic Gaming and bought an Indian CS team.
He says HECZ is not to blame here and that they couldn't tell forsaken was cheating when it was so obvious.
They measured his reaction time to the likes of dev1ce and s1mple
When an enemy showed up on his screen he won that duel something like 44% of the time
"was like the number 1 player in the world statistically"
He brought a laptop to their bootcamp and refused to use the high end PCs that hey provided
He respects Andy Miller (NRG CEO) and HECZ but says that the attitude of not being able to easily monetize their teams is "piss weak" and there needs to be a risk.
He says Chaos EC shouldn't be cutting their roster and should be competent enough to be able to figure out how to make money off their team.
He says there are still opportunities in NA and people are panicking and pulling out, and says Valorant will be the same if not worse.
He also says "bums" who couldn't even get out of groups in NA competitions, are making crazy money in Valorant and says it will continue to inflate.
He also said that he heard rumors that EG (Evil Geniuses) are done.
He also thinks that the rumors of a Valve franchised league from before was sparked up from "these lazy fabled weak NA fucking team owners basically trying to see if Valve would bite at the hook if it was dangled and they didn't"
Slasher says NA team owners are really in favor of franchised leagues because they want to make more money. "Most of the powerful team owners right now are on board with ditching this third party organization structure, or they are trying to play this power politics with all the TOs, and that is contributing to a lot of the problems there"
RL says that Riot has proved they can run a franchised league (LCS) and will be profitable in 2021 which is what a lot of team owners care about and says the competition will only serve to snatch people away from CS.
RL continues to say, "I am so sick and tired of what we have done to this scene, I am just exhausted with it." "I think we have legitimately fucked it, I really think we have. I think we're staring into almost like a CGS (Championship Gaming Series) wasteland in NA." "Counter-Strike esports is a fucking joke."
"TO's have treated CS talent like absolute human garbage for years now."
RL says that people like Sean Gares and ddk switching over to Valorant isn't for financial reasons because they are making less over there.
He points out that TO's can't even give talent a 3 month in advance calendar.
Because of the pandemic TO's won't hire certain people and some people are working more hours for the same money.
He says we as a community don't respect journalists enough which is why we don't have good journalists.
He also says DeKay is leaving the scene soon and that Thorin is close to leaving also
He says he had to talk a caster down from quitting and was struggling to find reasons.
He says that DreamHack told Vince they would hire him but not if he wants to stick with dusT and says that this is the norm in esports. "Constant leveraging of people against each other." and says this is why we don't have a talent union.
New gen casters are getting put into shit situations and the community's reaction to them is adding fuel to the fire
He says the reason Moses left was because of the terrible conditions
He says that Anders had to constantly leave his family and kid because someone fucked up or broke promises and had to constantly tell his kid to their face that "daddy can't be home this weekend."
He says that esports has always been a lie to sell you this dream, "Meanwhile there's about 2% of the cunts getting all the checks."
"Anything that Riot does, is better than Valve's inaction"
Slasher says that the larger aspect of esports as a whole compared to other entertainment mediums and Valve's lack of inattention are the bigger problems. He continues saying that the fact that Valve let their game be ran as an esport, they need to take on the responsibilities of it.
Both Slasher and RL wants Valve to take control but not on the level of Riot Games, there needs to be a balance.
In case it was ever a question: Gabe Newell has been to 0 CSGO Majors.
RL calls Valve out saying they could have done something during the gambling era.
He says Valve used to come to the majors, but doesn't think they do anymore.
RL had met with Valve at the Cluj-Napoca Major and had tried to appeal iBP's indefinite punishment and had also gave Brax's life story:
A recent family member passed away, they had lost a lot of income, they had to live in trailer, iBuyPower did not pay any salaries, and was pressured by family to make money who didn't support his career.
RL said that Valve told him, "How dare you try and make us feel guilty." "We shouldn't feel bad about enforcing the only thing that matters that we need to make players afraid of: cheating and match fixing"
RL also tried to share other info about match fixing and nothing came of it
RL points out that Source 2 or a new engine is not something you will want based on the experience of transitioning from CS 1.6 to CS:S. "Valve's track record with brand new engines being launched, not fucking great from what I remember."
Slasher says "If there is anything the community should do, is pressure Valve to hire a community manager."
They say that we need a commissioner, a community manager (not the person who runs the Twitter who posts memes all day), then we need to have a circuit
RL reiterates that Valve doesn't care about CS esports and says they need to change the culture at Valve to make them care about CS esports
Slasher says a systemic problem is making it so working on CSGO would be a bad decision for you as an employee for Valve
He also hasn't talked to Valve in ages and have sent over bugs and cheats and doesn't get emails back anymore
Slasher says we should be directing attention at the developer leads, pointing out Ido Magal, if he even is still the project lead
RL thinks that Ido and Brian are the only people that "vaguely even give a fuck about CS" and were the only people that RL recalled that actually read Reddit and paid attention from time to time
"It is really fucking precarious. Somebody has got to step the fuck up and start giving a shit"
Slasher suggests org owners, with CSPPA, with ESIC, with TOs have a concerted effort against Valve
"Riot Games are doing better things than Valve in the esports space" which is something RL didn't think he'd say.
"People who used to be talent, working with unions, arguing with other talent, when the unions fucked them over, can't understand their perspective, TOs fucking over broadcast talent, broadcast talent wanting to leave and go and work for orgs, orgs having no money, Valve might take coaches away because all the coaches are cheating, ESIC has about 4 people in a fucking call doing the investigations, everyone thinks they're spies for ESL, ESL are just the evil fucking overlords wanting to rule the scene and will just somehow, like cockroaches outliving a nuclear bomb, and Valve are in a fucking holiday in Hawaii thinking about the next Dota character because they don't give a fuck about us."
"We've peaked. If we want to sustain and exist, now is the time to figure it out. No esports lasts as long as this, we've already done 8 years. We've already broke the records. We have got to figure out a way to coexist and drive the negative forces out and we need to do it as a collective and we're not doing that."
RL compared the Counter-Strike scene to the people on the Titanic who ran around with guns robbing people while the boat was sinking.
"We have given up on being a respectable esports scene." "We are now a conduit to make money for those who want to just milk it, just have one last ride, one last roll of the dice. It's done." "What a fucking mess. What have we done to our fucking scene?"
"There's just too much self-interest driving all of this." "I don't see a way we stop the dominoes." "When it's that bad, when there's that many dishonest people that ESIC have to come out and say that if we punish them all there's no one left. What does that tell you?"
"How many opportunities have we had to clean house? How many times have we said, 'this must never happen again', and another scandal." "The entire skins betting operations was the biggest criminal conspiracy in esports ever executed and no one has been punished for it." "The people who could be driving that don't want to."
"Right now people are fans of those organizations because the scene has value. It is worth being a fan of Astralis because they are excellent at Counter-Strike. It is worth being a fan of s1mple because he is the best player in Counter-Strike, maybe the exception of ZywOo. If the scene is devalued, if the scene loses its meaning, those things lose its meaning too, and people will leave, people will stop tuning into the games. I have seen it happen in multiple esports, this is not my first time at the rodeo. I am getting big Brood War vibes right now and I don't like it."
"The role you play in all of this as fans, as viewers, as listeners, as consumers of esports content, it's absolutely imperative that you know who the good guys are. It's absolutely imperative that you use your voice. It's absolutely imperative that when things are bad, you know who, at least, is trying to make them good, and you have to apply your criticism to the right targets."
He continues saying it's no good in continuing to attack ESIC and saying how they are bad, ESIC have it hard
He says CSPPA are on the right side of the argument on BLAST but have been on the wrong side of many arguments many times.
"If you are not willing to stand along side the weakest member of the union, with the least amount of influence, and the least amount of power, then it is not a union at all and you shouldn't pose as one." "You wanna serve a bunch of special interest do it, everyone else in esports fucking does, but do not pose as something you are not." "We love the players. I've been fighting for players rights for as long as I've been able to, but the CSPPA is not what we needed."
"They are not applying the pressure to the right people, they are not fighting the right battles, they are not helping their weaker members."
He says what orgs have done by keeping or hiring coaches is bad. "When you give up on holding an appreciable standard, you've lost the scene" "Competition matters, rules matter, punishments matter, achievements matter, excellence matters" "If you start stripping that away, you have nothing" "You guys need to take that knowledge and apply it sensibly."
"Valve has sold you all down the river, they sold everyone in the esports scene down the river, tournament organizers are selling their talent down the river. Don't hate on them for sounding tired after a 16 hour day. Don't hate on them because the hype for a matchup they've seen for the 20th time in the past 3 months, they can't be as excited or it sounds contrived. Support your guys, they're there for you, these are your people."
"This community has got to start acting like one for the first fucking time. Just put the petty shit away, let's try and fix this fucking scene while we still have one to save."
"You can't rely on Valve, you can't rely on ESL, you can't rely on the CSPPA, you can't rely on anyone." "Once again, it's gonna be the likes of us, the amateurs, the people who give a fuck, rolling up our sleeves and grafting." "I'm old and tired and I don't want to have to do it again. People need to pick up the torch and do it."
"Like Michal did, like Dudenhoeffer did. You see something wrong, fix it. You see somebody doing something wrong, call it out. If you think something could be better, let people know."
"Vote with your wallets if you're not happy with the direction Valve goes in. If when we do get to the Major, they serve up another subpar, same old bullshit stickers and signatures package again, do not buy it."
"You're a powerful block and if you use it correctly we can fucking avert this disaster."
"I'm not doing another year in this broken, bust-up fucking scene, where everyone is miserable, everyone is broke, everyone is tired, and everyone is trying to fucking rob everyone else, blind, while the fucking people who are meant to be protecting you, are just fucking enhancing it and lining their own pockets."
"I'm not doing it anymore and you shouldn't want to do it either."
"I stand by every fucking thing I said. I mean it, because this game fucking matters to me, this scene fucking matters to me. I put my life into this, my adult life, and to see it in this state is fucking sad."
Covid-19 Update for December 8: 1,727 new cases, 1,397 recoveries, 9 deaths + Announcement of additional mandatory measures
Data is taken from the Covid-19 portal and today's availability by Dr Deena Hinshaw, Premier Jason Kenney, Minister of Health Tyler Shandro, and Minister of Jobs Doug Schweitzer. Dr Hinshaw's next availability is tomorrow. There are currently enhanced measures in effect for multiple regions of Alberta and have been enhanced as of today. This link provides a quick summary of which ones are in effect for different regions of Alberta. Top line numbers:
For values where "Current" and "Total" are the same, I have left results under Total
Cases with "Unknown source"
10,575 (83.9%) in last 7 days
+19,071 (~9.06% positive)
+45/+35 based on yesterday's post/portal data
+9 (4x 70-79, 5x 80+)
Spatial distribution of people tested, cases, and deaths (since yesterday):
All other values are compared with respect to yesterday
New People Tested
Spatial distribution of cases for select cities and regions (change since yesterday) (cities proper for Calgary and Edmonton):
High River county
I.D. No 9 (Banff)
Wood Buffalo municipality
Rest of Alberta
Other municipalities with 10+ active cases is given at this link Schools with outbreaks are listed online. Quick numbers (as of today):
108 schools are on Watch (+2)
141 schools have 2-4 cases (+10)
Spatial distribution of hospital usage (change based on yesterday's post):
Hospitalization zone are where the patient is receiving care, not zone of residence
Statements by Premier Kenney Opening Statements
Here to lay out additional health measures which are necessary to protect healthcare system and save lives
Alberta has faced most of the year with lower levels of spread, hospitalizations, and fatalities
Having said that, last few weeks are different
Incredible work is being done by healthcare workers in face of this
Delays in surgeries have occurred, which for some may result in a shorter lifespan
Not doing anything now will result in continued growth of hospitalizations and further strain on healthcare
On advice of chief medical officer, restrictions have occurred. Government realizes that this can impact businesses and cause adversities
Knows many feed policies are unjust and why provincial government has stressed education first instead of using policy
On the other hand, while space can be made, it will have further health impacts (e.g. running out of capacity in hospitals)
If stronger action isn't taken now, hundreds or thousands more Albertans will die
Data appears to suggest a stabilization (around a reproductive factor of around 1.2), but that isn't enough
As of today, all outdoor and indoor social gatherings are banned
The mask mandate will expand to all indoor places, with exception of rental homes and farm operations
As of December 13th, 12:01 AM:
(1) Retail, grocery stores, and shopping malls are restricted to 15% of capacity, down from 25%. Kiosks are open for takeaway service only. Malls cannot be used for socialization and shopping only
(2) Places are worship to 15% occupancy with previous restrictions applying. Online and drive-in services are still recommended
(3) Restaurants, pubs, bars, lounges and cafes are restricted to takeout and delivery services only. This will open up their access to provincial and federal supports
(4c) Indoor entertainment (e.g. libraries, science centres, water parks)
(4d) Trade centres
The restrictions do not apply to service visits, healthcare, or childcare .
(5) All Alberta employees must work from home unless employer requires physical presence for operational reasons (up from a recommendation)
No changes to schools beyond what was previously announced
These are all province wide and will be in effect for 4 weeks
Goal has been to be targeted. However, the whole province is seeing significant spread
Knows the holidays are important for many people
The hard truth is that the single source of spread is at-home gatherings
If we let people gather for Christmas, we'll see a spike in cases
We can't let that happen, so please follow the gathering restrictions previously noted (only in-household or with 2 close contacts if you live alone)
Increased Enterprise Support
This isn't the fault of anybody who followed the guidelines
Until the contact tracing system was overwhelmed, we didn't see it being the fault of business owners
But we are seeing spread so widespread, it doesn't matter how careful you were
These are decisions are a last resort
Knows this impact will be real. So financial support for small and medium size enterprise
4x growth in small and medium enterprise relaunch grant, while lowering eligibility from 40% of revenue lost to 30%. This will also be retroactive to March
Thanks Albertans for their work for most of the past 9 months
We are seeing the end with vaccination possibly beginning in weeks...the end is in sight
Why now, instead of two weeks ago?: Goal is to reduce contacts, assuming Albertans respond. This should be a very strong message and reduce transmissions. Measures have been increasingly harsh because each restriction creates harms, will hurt people who have sunk all their money in a business, and potentially increase self-harm. So this is a last resort
Why keep retail open instead of just curbside?: Encourages curbside, but some people may not be able to live without basic goods. Even most stringent policies around the world have kept retail open in some capacity. Feels the designation of essential and non-essential businesses in spring was a mistake
Why is cabinet being transparent about the reproductive value (R or Rt)?: Are preparing ways to publicly present this data, as well as healthcare capacity. Targeting next week
Do you think the softer measures before will cost lives/make economic recovery more difficult?: Shutting down early would have had significant impacts. Thinks it'd be a huge mistake to draw correlations between strictness of restrictions and outcomes and that there is a reasonable balance being stuck
Since you defined Covid representing "a tiny percent" of deaths, 300 deaths have occurred. There have been significant growths in hospitalization and cases. Do you take personal responsibility?: Rejects the premise of the question and calls it more of an "NDP speech". Feels the province has done more than other jurisdictions, especially early on. Also notes that BC, who has a government of opposite end of the political spectrum, has had a similar approach
Statements by Minister Shandro Additional Details on Health Measures
Goal is to limit in-person interaction
Retail restriction has a floor of 5 people
Ski hills can remain open, provided restrictions are followed
Realizes that this is a lot to take in, but person-to-person exposure is fuelling the spread
We need limit contacts and be aware of the situation around you (even outdoors or at the grocery store)
How does outdoor gathering ban even work?: Goal is to restrict social gatherings. So do not socially gather indoors or outdoors. If they gather in a park or on the sidewalk, that isn't allowed. Difficulty will certainly lie in enforcement and hopes it won't need to be used. It will be up to law enforcement to determine if they feel they need to use it
(Additional comment by Dr Hinshaw: Intention is to prevent group social activities. Not prohibited is fitness activities provided distancing occurs)
Statements by Minister Schweitzer Opening Statements
Wants to make people aware that there will be significant impacts. This is not lost on anyone in government
Knows many people are impacted because people have ignored public health orders.
Additional Details on Small Business Supports
40% may not be able to re-open after these closures without supports
Small businesses may now qualify for $20,000 support (up from $5,000) with a decrease in revenue lost to 30%
An additional 15,000 businesses should be able to qualify for this (totalling 500 million dollars)
How many people will be affected with these restrictions?: ~30,000 businesses will be affected. Will be seeing how many people
Statements by Dr Hinshaw Cases
426 schools have active cases (~18%) with total of 1,701 cases
108 schools on watch list (5+ active cases)
The Royal Alexandra Hospital has decided to place facility on "Watch" status as a precautionary measure
Hospitals are safe places to receive care, but be aware that staff are under extreme stress
Edmonton Zone will enact additional measures:
(1) Postponing up to 60% of non-urgent surgeries (up from 30%)
(2) Diagnostic imaging may be reduced by up to 40%
(3) Ambulatory visits and procedures may be reduced as needed
AHS will contact those who are impacted
This is why these measures are needed and a sign of how Covid may impact more than the ill
Scope of the Situation
If you gathered all the people who have tested positive, it would be the 5th largest city in Alberta
1/3 people have been tested
On October 8, positive rate was 1.34% with 184 cases in province
Today, positive rate is 9% and 7 day average is 1,785
Outbreaks in almost all group settings
People from 1 to 108 have been infected
Knows restrictions will impact many people
The fastest way to get there is to embrace these restrictions
Knows many people have embraced already, but everybody will need to do more
Why do we think these measures will work, after the last two rounds?: This is the most significant round of restrictions. Points to Israel as an example (who shrunk their cases faster than even their first wave). Target will be to bring the health system out of risk
If someone is coming in from out of province, is that allowed?: If it's someone from out of province, it isn't allowed
A follow up question noted an example of family members in Alberta were quarantining were 2 weeks before Christmas. Challenge is that enforcement of a "quarantine" will be difficult to control. Province is saying "gathering for Christmas" won't be allowed with people who don't live in the home. Knows it's a big imposition but any suggestions like in the question may cause a Thanksgiving-like increase in spread
Press briefings will be on Thursday from now on (exception of next week, which is Wednesday for Thanksgiving)
Good news: Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are 95% effective (data released Monday/Tuesday), RI will pilot Pfizer vaccine distribution - "there truly is light at the end of the tunnel"
Until the vaccine is available (hopefully some availability by the end of the year, anticipating widespread availability by Spring), we must double down on following restrictions so as to not overwhelm hospitals
See numbers above
'Targeted restrictions' have not helped the situation
Trending data is "alarming" - we have passed all three thresholds (5.9% weekly positivity, 247 hospital admissions, 535 cases per 100,000)
"I have tried to avoid a lockdown" - targeted restrictions are NOT working
"Severe restrictions" being laid out today
Intro - Rationale
With so much community spread, it's hard to pinpoint a single activity/location/group to trace source of infection
Patterns among people testing positive: At-home social gatherings, people going to restaurants/bars, people with others outside household
"Need to reduce mobility, reduce connectivity with people outside household"
"We know that schools are not major spreaders" I can already guess what's staying open...
High schools are more problematic than others
Path from now to end of the year
Current restrictions will be extended until the Sunday after Thanksgiving with two exceptions, effective immediately:
Social gathering limit is lowered to a single household (No social gatherings with people you don't live with)
All "big box stores" (>30,000 square ft) must have a plan for Black Friday crowds and cannot allow anyone without a mask cannot enter (stores should pass out masks)
Please do not travel
If planning to go to a restaurant, please use extreme caution
Stay at home with the people you live with
Rapid testing available at TF Green Airport Sat/Sun/Mon after Thanksgiving and Nat'l Guard to remind anyone who is returning from out-of-state to quarantine
Beginning 11/30 - "RI on Pause"
"Two week pause" in effect until 12/13
Hoping that this will ONLY be two weeks - if it does not work, total lockdown
High schools will shift to limited/hybrid plan after Thanksgiving at discretion of superintendents
Social gatherings limited to one household
Indoor dining at 33%, outdoor dining/takeout not affected
Retail at current capacity limits
Houses of worship limited to 25% capacity with a max of 125 I understand distancing but that's insanity
Colleges will have NO in-person instruction after Thanksgiving and will test all students before they leave campus for the holidays
All offices must move to remote work for everyone who can (521-HELP for technical assistance)
Bars (drinks can be delivered to tables but no bar areas open)
Bowling alleys, gyms, casinos
Indoor sports, gyms, group fitness classes, all sports except college/professional
Stimulus grants announced next week for affected businesses
Comments on "pause"
"This will only work if we do it" - threatening a full lockdown if this doesn't limit our numbers in 3 weeks
"I have been utterly ineffective in getting people to follow rules in their own homes" - jokes about memes showing her arriving at people's houses (one of the few candid moments I've seen from her lately)
Figuring out if it's working - reservation data at restaurants, test positivity, traffic data, enforcement data
Hospitals are currently at 97% of COVID beds filled - we do NOT want to ration beds/limit care
If COVID beds get filled, we may need to start cutting off other procedures incl. cancer screenings, important surgeries to make room for COVID patients
We are on track to need Cranston field hospital by week after Thanksgiving
Hospitals are working with colleges to hire medical students
There will still be greater restriction after 12/13, but cannot comment on exactly what as it depends on how this goes
Improvements to testing
2,000 daily asymptomatic tests added
300 daily symptomatic tests added
Expanding testing site at Wickford Junction
New site at McCoy opened today
New sites at Waldorf School and Stop & Shop in Greenville coming soon
Contact tracing is behind but we are continuing to hire more staff
Check results constantly and immediately isolate if positive (even if RIDOH has not called yet)
Increasing hotels available to people who need to isolate
Expanding food delivery services
Q: CDC saying that in-person learning is dangerous (I'm glad someone asked) A: "I believe that question is a mis-characterization of the data" - referencing Dr. Jha She sounds MAD about this question "we could argue about the risk, but children will suffer irreparable lifelong harm not being in school" She is trusting HS students to follow rules and "districts should keep kids in school if they can" Q: "Wasn't the idea with PPE/testing that we wouldn't have to go back? What happened?" A: "It turns out people don't follow rules very well when we have to do it for so long" Q: What is the goal in terms of ease of scheduling/getting test results and do we need to scale back asymptomatic testing? A: It isn't a perfect system (waiting to get tested) but we are working to fix it. "It's hard for me to believe you can't get a test at all" Personal note: I'm currently trying to get tested (possible exposure at work even though I have no symptoms) and I had to go online to CVS at 3:00 in the morning to get an appointment 3 days later Q: Isn't distance learning with a teacher better than in-person with a substitute? Is there a percentage (like NY) where we would switch to full distance? A: High schoolers work better with distance learning but younger kids really struggle. NY: We do not use a single metric to determine whether to shut down - "as long as schools can keep the environment safe" we will keep them open. Q: Thoughts on a possible 4-6 week lockdown or advisory to governors to do so under President Biden? A: "If congress would do their jobs" and send an appropriate stimulus, we could discuss a lockdown in RI Q: Why is Twin River open until 11/30? A: "If I could shut everything down immediately I would do that" but there is a need to be practical (restaurants who have increased inventory for next week will still be able to use it) Q: Crisis standards of care? A (Dr. Scott): Principles to help hospitals make difficult ethical decisions about care - we do NOT want to get here. (Gina): We cannot staff that many beds - patients may have medical students as nurses or not get checked on at all. We may have to "shut off" non-COVID procedures Q: Nursing home staffing (can people volunteer to bathe their family members, etc)? A: "Caregiver exemption" is in the works (allowing family to get certified to give care similar to CNA) Q: Is RI still independently validating vaccine data despite Pfizer pilot program? A: Yes. Q: Will you get vaccinated? A: I will not be first in line (not necessary), but yes. My apologies, I missed a few questions Q: General assembly? A: They will need to meet before 12/31 to pass a 2021 budget - a space is being set up at the Vets to allow a safe in-person meeting or they may choose to do so virtually Q: HS sports? A: Winter season cannot start until January - no practices at all during pause
The Pretty Idiot's Guide to Human Space: Rugen (part 1)
The salvo of coilgun shells smashes into the complex of bunkers on the opposite riverbank, sending a spray of charred dirt, sandbags, and timber flying into the air. A sloped bastion caves in, burying the rifle pits at its base. One leg of a watchtower is blasted away and the whole thing sways drunkenly before twisting and collapsing across the trenches, the flagpole on its roof somehow landing upright and leaving the enemy's blue-and-gold standard waving in the debris-laden breeze. The Human artillerymen beside me let out a cheer and jump up and down, slapping each other's outstretched hands. The army of Humans watching from beyond the battery all jump around and cheer, too, their yells loud even compared to a half-dozen high explosive shells. And... so do the Human gunners on the hillside across the river, and the army behind them. They all cheer and applaud. Even though they are, in fact, the enemy whose defenses are getting blasted into pieces the size of a poet's paycheck by the aforementioned coilguns. So... I cheer my lovely green head off right along with them, because things are exploding and stuff is burning and apparently the Humans on this planet just generally approve of that sort of thing. My name is Solontha reValthinna, and I'm the Felra who goes to the places nobody else wants to and learns about them the hard way so you can learn about them the easy way. That's my angle as an author, and that's why I'm the Pretty Idiot. ---- "Solontha, darling, I've got just the destination for your next Pretty Idiot's Guide!" My business agent only sounds that chirpy when she's found some new way to try to get me killed. I'd like to think it's because the more trouble I get into, the better the resulting books turn out. That, or she still hasn't forgiven me for that topless dance I did at the Publishers' Guild dinner party she took me to. In my defense, they provided the liquor. I just happened to drink a lot of it. Also in my defense, my topless dancing is godlike. "Not back to the Tarq Imperium, I hope? They said they'd shoot me if they ever caught me inside their borders again." My agent clucked at me. "They said no such thing. They just heavily implied it. And that was only because you wrote that they were a bunch of pointlessly brutal totalitarian fuckwads." I snorted. "That's right. And it was the 'fuckwad' part that they objected to." "Nobody likes being called a fuckwad, Solontha. Fuckwads least of all. But, no, I'm thinking we send you to write about a Human planet this time." Humans? Interesting... The few I've known, I've mostly liked. Well, I don't hate them, anyway. And they look kind of like us Felra, at least a little bit. If you took a Felra and eliminated everything behind her forelegs -- and kept her from dying from lack of some important organs, obviously -- you would have something that still doesn't look particularly like a Human. So, dye her green skin an earthier color, replace her beautiful tresses of feathery-branching tvan with coarser, single-stranded hair, remove one pair of breasts, and take a digit from each hand. She still doesn't look quite Human. Make her face a bit rounder and flatter, thicken her bone structure, and Congratulations! You've surgically converted a Felra into something that could possibly maybe pass for a Human in really poor lighting. Also, you're a sick fuck for doing such a thing. Point being, Humans are sufficiently similar enough to us that they can be cute, in a goofy bipedal sort of way. And immersing yourself in an alien culture can be more rewarding if you can also immerse yourself in some attractive alien nookie along the way. Any aspiring travel writers who are reading this can consider that a pro-tip from the Pretty Idiot. "So, any particular Human world? Somewhere with casinos, maybe? Or some place run by the Church of Giving Money, Liquor, and Carnal Pleasure to Sexy Alien Visitors?" That last bit caught my agent off-guard. "Is that an actual religion?" "If it was, do you think I'd still be working?" "Of course you would. You love travel, trouble, and remunerated smart-assery too much to just quit." Ah, I'm such a lucky Felra. Most agents charge extra for that kind of quality banter. "The place I've got in mind for you is Rugen, a frontier-level colony world well off the outer fringe of the Arm." "The tail-tip of nowhere, in other words. And what's the attraction for a Pretty Idiot to play tourist there? Societal collapse? Rampaging Felra-eating predators? Pandemic-level clown outbreak?" "How about the longest-running ongoing war in the Known Galaxy? Two hundred eighty-seven common years and no end in sight." Yow. I'm passingly familiar with war, having wandered through five or six of varying size and awfulness while sightseeing -- and writing about said sightseeing -- and three centuries is a lot of war, especially confined to one planet. I could only imagine how that could twist and scar a world and its people. The devastation. The tragedy of wasted lives and resources. The sheer dysfunctionality of societies raised for generation after generation on bitter vengeance and the never-ending march towards victory and a peace they can no longer even properly conceptualize. A world of bloodlust, paranoia, and the threat of sudden brutal death staining every moment of every day. Why, the possibilities for misery were endless. It sounded perfect for a vacation getaway. ---- I took regular commercial liners as far as Thielbarra, but had to buy passage from there to Rugen on an independent freighter that was slightly more reputable than a spaceport prostitute, just not as hygienic. There were only three other passengers headed to my destination, including a Kreevin botanical researcher who ignored everybody and a not-very-sober Zharg who worked for one of the big interstellar communications providers and who must have fucked up his job just badly enough to get sent to an isolated hole-in-the-void posting, but not quite badly enough to be fired. I ended up sharing a cabin with the only other quadruped, an adorably optimistic Iraitrian missionary who was going to Rugen to set up a temple to the Harmonious Gods and try to get a congregation going. Being the cynical agnostic wretch that I am, I just had to ask how much demand she thought there would be for a doctrine of cooperative religious pacifism in the middle of a war zone. "You offer food to the starving, not to those with bellies already full," she told me. "Our beliefs are meant to be applied in the world, not just agreed with in the temple." And did she expect to end the war all by herself? "I hope to make a difference to someone. Whether it's by teaching the Way, by being an example, or just by offering a person who needs it a roof, a meal, and a sympathetic ear. If even one person considers their life to be better for having known me, my mission will be worthwhile." Damn. I had been entertaining myself with the idea of flirting mercilessly with her for the whole trip, but all that earnestness. All that simple, undeniable goodness. Even my cynicism and libido combined couldn't look that in the face. So I flirted with the ship's captain, instead. Not that there was any real challenge in it, as despite Felra not being four-armed lizard people, Jixavan males are completely enamored of our tails, which are both more voluptuous and generally more exposed than those of their own females. Pro-tip from the Pretty Idiot: if you're a Felra and need to manipulate a Jixavan guy, buy one of those tail-stockings their women wear. Even the biggest ones will be too tight and short for you, so cut a bunch of slashes in it and pull it as far up your tail as it will go. Then wear a skirt short enough to expose the top hem of the tail-stocking and enjoy your newfound powers of persuasion. I ended up getting twenty percent off my fare and three marriage proposals. Captain Akothin had made a few runs to Rugen before, so I was able to ask him some questions about the place. If you've never read one of my Pretty Idiot's Guides before, part of my schtick, if you will, is lack of prior research regarding the places I go. My self-imposed limitation is that I can only obtain information by seeing for myself or asking someone with firsthand experience. No encyclopedias or hyperweb research. That media stuff is, at best, quarter-truths and agenda-driven grazershit, anyway. By going into a place without 'knowledge' of it, I go with fewer preconceptions. That's the 'Idiot' part of the title. The 'Pretty' part is because I am. And if you have to face life as an idiot, it really does help to be a pretty one. The good captain had never actually made planetfall on Rugen, always conducting business from orbit. Sensible. Boring, but sensible. I therefore confined my inquiries to spacers' matters. Like, were we going to have any issues with pirates or paramilitaries on our way in-system? "No pirates. Not enough shipping in or out for those guys to make a living raiding it and too far from any active lanes to make a useful base. Pirates operating across star systems have to really watch their fuel expenditures." Captain Akothin then proceeded to give a suspiciously well-considered dissertation on how to turn a profit in space piracy, which I will not share here but have filed away for future reference should too many of my books bomb on the market. And as for paramilitary ships affiliated with the warring factions? "I've never seen any." What about orbital defenses? Would there be minefields to be tensely navigated? Would we be subject to stop-and-search by military patrol craft? "Rugen's a frontier-level system." The captain looked at me like I was a moron, albeit a moron with an incredibly sexy and distracting tail. "There ain't even a transshipment station, just a few cheapo weather and comm satellites. I just put the ship in a parking orbit and they send shuttles up. But it's not like the shipments are ever so big you'd need an orbital dock anyway, and shuttles are fine for passengers. Of course, that also means no orbital repair yard and no fuel depot, but that's not much worry since Rugen is just a long detour off our Thielbarra-to-Rialto route and I always do a refuel and refit at Thielbarra for safety's sake and, um, will you marry me?" ---- The shuttle ride down was as uneventful as such things generally are and afforded a chance to take in the view of Rugen from medium-high orbit. It was not a particularly exciting planet seen from 18,000 miles above its equator -- under the sparse clouds, some smallish seas, broad smears of iron-red in the right places to be deserts, accented by patches and streamers of an odd green that was almost an indecisive blue, and some blink-and-you'd-miss-them polar caps. But the thing is, it doesn't make a damn bit of difference how many planets you've seen out the porthole, or how much of an undifferentiated dirtball the one below you is. There is no such thing as 'ordinary' when it comes to the sight of a whole damn world suspended in space right in front of you. It's a moment of magic, every single time, and anybody who says otherwise is lying, or is a soulless shithead. Or, since those aren't mutually exclusive, they could be both, like a corporate journalist or a Rybathi. I used the flight time to mentally review what firsthand knowledge of Humans I possessed. Pro-tip-slash-caveat: members of a species often behave very differently in their own polities than they do in foreign or more cosmopolitan settings. Expatriates or visitors to your world are typically trying to get along in your society and tend to adjust their behavior accordingly. Their behavior when they are in the majority and they get to decide what's normal may be radically different. That said, there were a few truths I felt comfortable in ascribing to Humans in general based on experience. For starters, sexual dimorphism. Humans born biologically male or female remain that sex, unless medically altered. Females are usually smaller and are the ones with slightly inadequate breasts. Males tend to be bigger, stronger, and coarser-looking and, like most mammaloid males, have completely inadequate breasts. This dimorphism leads to the most basic social structures being built around male-female pairings and their offspring -- family -- rather than the looser pack-based structure of Felra. These family structures appear to have a relationship similar to, though vastly more complicated than, the Felra mother-daughter bond. Basically, if you wrong a Human, you may face retribution not just from her, but from her entire bloodline. Except sometimes you won't, because, like I said, complicated. Second, though many Galactics tend to use the terms 'Human' and 'Terran' as synonyms, Humans emphatically do not. Among Humans, the word 'Terran' refers specifically to an inhabitant of the Terran Commonwealth, the oldest, largest, and apparently most detested Human stellar nation. Humans who are not Commonwealth natives tend to have negative reactions to being called 'Terrans'. In this context, the term 'negative reactions' seems to cover a range from 'cold and profane verbal correction' to 'assault with a power-nailer'. Maybe this trip would offer a chance to find out why that might be? I'd also been told that actual Terrans react poorly to being called 'Human', though I've never met any Commonwealth Terrans and can't say for sure if that's true. Third, Humans tend to be territorial, and therefore possessive. They have a strong impulse to guard things they have laid claim to. Don't try to make use of anything a Human regards as their own without asking permission first, even if you intend to give it right back. This impulse extends quite strongly to their romantic or sexual partners as well and attempting to bed, or even flirt with, a Human who has been claimed by another will tend to be met with hostility. You could try asking for permission, I guess, but that just seems to lead to socially awkward hostility. And if you don't know why socially awkward hostility is worse than the regular kind, then obviously you've never been in a fistfight with a drunken Dahu who was sporting a clingy wet kilt and a massive erection. next **** More Known Galaxy stories
Dec/29/2020 news: \\ political party law reformed: idea > individual; transparency; female % \\ Pashinyan responds to "not being enough pro-Russian" \\ who owns which business? \\ protests & snap elect. \\ burglary case & HHK MP \\ humanitarian aid for Artsakh \\ Vitalik flexes muscles \\ bills pass
Your 14-minute Tuesday report in 3589 words.
Pashinyan about pre-war negotiations and "avoiding" the war:
The idea that a flexible foreign policy could have avoided this war is being constantly circulated. Those [former officials] who believe in this thesis must answer at least one question: as a result of their "flexible" policy, why was it not possible to avoid the war of 2016, which was preceded by the unprecedented escalation of 2015 and 2014? The "flexible" policy adopted by Armenia for many years led to the introduction of Russian proposals in January 2016, which proposed the return of 7 territories (5 + 2) without any legal status for Nagorno-Karabakh. Why did Russia make such an offer? For one simple reason, as a result of Armenia's "flexible" policy, the Madrid process had come to a standstill because Artsakh could receive a Status outside Azerbaijan only with the consent of Azerbaijan. It was obvious to Russia and everyone else that Azerbaijan would not agree to this, so it was necessary to find ways to break the deadlock. And, by the way, if certain people claim that Armenia's foreign policy after 2018 was not sufficiently pro-Russian and this was the reason for the war, then why in the conditions of the "sufficiently pro-Russian" policy of 2016 were Russian proposals born and why did the April war take place? There was only one way to prevent this war: return the regions and forget about Artsakh's legal status. Now, after the war is over and we know the outcome, the number of supporters of [giveaway of 7 regions] is growing. What they forget is that if we gave away the lands to avoid the war, we would have the same situation in Syunik borders. They used to accuse us of "selling lands" [he means the contradictory statements like Nikol sold the lands, and why didn't Nikol sell the lands earlier to avoid the war]. The biggest failure by the supporters of the "flexible policies" is that they spent years trying to avoid a war instead of preparing for it. Our biggest failure is that we weren't able to recover enough embezzled public property in the past 2.5 years to help us better prepare for the war. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039231.html
businesses owned by opposition leaders
What are the known businesses owned by some of the famous people you might have seen in the public square lately?
20% share in Lorva Amrots Ltd which plans to operate two hydro-power plants on Dzoraget river. Manukyan purchased the shares in 2011 after being appointed by Serj as the head of the Public Council. In 2015-2016, he owned 30% shares in Vanavka Group. In 2015-2017 he had 30% shares in Jermakunq Group. These companies extracted and bottled water. At the time, the director of these companies was charged with illegal bottling and causing ֏55 million in damages to the state. The corruption case was sent to the IRS, which terminated the investigation after "not finding a crime". The companies export the products mostly to Russia.
Vanetsyan is a poor boy, according to the public declarations database. But if you have time, take a look at the investigative report I covered in Ap29/2020 news, according to which Vanetsyan's family allegedly used offshore firms and owns mining shares. More on that here. Here is a Hetq investigative report. Vanetsyan's father owns AV Group flower importing business. About a year ago, the police investigated several flower sellers near a stadium. An opposition outlet claimed that the sellers were "beaten and forced" to testify that Vanetsyan's father was running an underground business. This was never properly proven and the opposition's claim that Vanetsyan was about to be charged did not happen. The police confirmed that there was an investigation against several flower sellers. These flower sellers ended up hiring Vanetsyan's co-party-creator Arsen Babayan as a lawyer. Vanetsyan's father owns 50% shares of A B Export oil import company that began operating in 2017. It was a minor player that quit the market in 2019. Vanetsyan's father also owns 60% of A B Trans transportation company. In Nov/2019, CivilNet wrote about Arthur Vanetsyan's cousins' possible involvement with Zangezur Copper factory (massive business). The same offshore firm in Cyprus, which purchased Zangezur shares, was tied to Vanetsyan's cousins' another business in the same offshore. Vanetsyan's cousins also own a Switzerland-based Exoil wholesale cooking oil and shipping company. In 2019 it had a revenue of $148 million (11 billion Rubles). The cousins don't do this business in Armenia. Per 2019 registration, Arthur Vanetsyan himself owns one apartment, $10,000, and ֏1 million. Media reported in May/2020 that Vanetsyan's cousin purchased a ֏300 million mansion in Yerevan, which was donated to then-new political party "Hayreniq", co-founded by Arthur Vanetsyan and Arsen Babayan (the guy who is accused of helping HHK to fabricate documents in 2018 to hijack the Constitutional Court by appointing HHK MP Hrayr Tovmasyan as a judge). Arthur Vanetsyan's mother served as the chief of the personnel-management department in Serj and Pashinyan administrations, before quitting and working as Serj's aide. Vanetsyan's wife owns Villa Montessori preschool in Yerevan. She also runs the Young Education Center Ltd.
ARF Ishkhan Saghatelyan
Pashinyan appointed Saghatelyan as Gegharquniq governor for a brief period after the 2018 revolution, when Pashinyan created a unity-government, represented by all political parties. The honeymoon soon ended and each party went their way. Saghatelyan owns shares in i-mega Service Ltd. It's a tourism agency founded in 2006. It operates in Armenia, Artsakh, and Georgia. Saghatelyan founded Navasar company and serves as director. It's owned by his father. Saghatelyan family owns the Tsovasar hotel complex on Lake Sevan shores. It's 10,000 m2 (a hectare?). As of 2018, Saghatelyan declared ownership of 8 pieces of land, 2 apartments, ֏18.5 million, $45,000, and €15,000. Saghatelyan's father is the mayor of Gegharquniq's Geghamavan settlement. This municipality had recently sent a letter demanding Pashinyan's resignation. Saghatelyan used to be a shareholder of Shiman Ltd which is no longer active.
BHK leader Gagik "dodi gago" Tsarukyan
BUCKLE UP, KIDS! Overall, Tsarukyan runs 54 companies. Студент, комсомолец, спортсмен, u наконец, он просто красавиц. His business empire was covered in details here. Textile, gas stations, malls, Multi Group empire, Shangri-La Casino, Ararat Cognac & Wine Factory, BMW official office Euromotors (also Hyundai, Gazel, Niva), Multi Motors, Magas Invest, Multi Wellness, Olimpavan sports complex, Kotayk beer factory, TechnAlyumin door & window factory, Multi Rest House hotel chain, Paravon luxury restaurant, Onira Club, Zvartnot's airport's upper-level service company Avia Service, Farm Adama, Multi Pharm pharmacy, Multi Leon gas stations, Multi Solar solar panels. He owns shares in Frank Mueller Yerevan watch company, Fortsa, Multi Gold, Multi Diamond jewelry firms, several fish-breeding businesses. He also runs businesses in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Czechia, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Latvia. Per official declaration, he owns $168 million, €29 million, ֏675 million, 14 pieces of land, 6 houses, 2 public buildings, 1 apartment.
Details for BHK MP Mikael Melkumyan and HHK Vahram Baghdasaryan in the link below.
The street demonstrations, organized by the former regime and its allies, continue. They demand Pashinyan's resignation and the appointment of their candidate Vazgen Manukyan as the Prime Minister for the duration of a year, after which they agree to hold new elections. ARF leader Artsvik Minasyan said they don't plan to discuss snap elections with Pashinyan. "Right now, our only demand is Pashinyan's resignation. We demand SIS to immediately hold every criminal accountable". The demonstrators gathered in front of the SIS building to present the demands. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039316.html
Pashinyan meets leaders of several opposition parties
felony case: ex-HHK MP charged with armed attack on ex-IRS official
In August of this year, Russia extradited a former HHK MP Alraghatsi Lyovik to Armenia. He was wanted for allegedly burglarizing and shooting at a senior IRS official a decade ago. At the time, his case was "frozen". It was relaunched in 2018. (magic wand) NSS says: suspect Lyovik, with the help of citizens AK and AN, organized an armed burglary against IRS Chief (?) Avetisyan in 2008. AK was in the United States. In 2004, he stole $150,000 from jewelry shops in Los Angeles. He got caught but managed to flee to Armenia. Once in Armenia, AK colluded with policeman AN to organize a similar criminal ring in Armenia. [MP] Lyovik personally knew AK, and learned about their burglaries. Since Lyovik had bad relations with the IRS chief (victim), he decided to punish the victim by urging AK to burglarize his house. Lyovik revealed the plot to his brother-in-law, who happened to be the victim's personal aide. The latter gave all the personal habits and details about the victim to the burglars. [read the article for the full story, or wait for a Hollywood movie in theaters near you] The burglars and organizers are charged with felonies. https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203835 , https://youtu.be/brdozVbwQ6A , https://factor.am/274836.html , https://armtimes.com/hy/article/183522 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203835 ,
Russian Orthodox chapel will be built
... in the Armenian settlement near Nakhijevan where Azerbaijan had earlier shut down a Russian helicopter, which killed and wounded Russian pilots. It'll be on a hill in Yeraskh. Construction starts on January 6th. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039259.html
Vitalik Balasanyan will return the lands, kicks junkies, and restrict Facebook
Artsakh President Arayik earlier announced that he will allow his opponents to take jobs in the new coalition government. Kocharyan-ally Vitali Balasanyan became the Security Council chief. Vitalik: we will return Hadrut and Askeran region with the help of Russian and Armenian military-political efforts. We are in a better situation now to solve territorial issues. We will soon create border guard forces. It will report to MoD, which will report to the Security Council (his office). Drugs have no place in Artsakh. Drug users must quit or leave Artsakh now. We need to return to traditional values of giving women as wives after asking if the man had served in the army. No public official will be allowed to use Facebook during work. More: https://youtu.be/DceHyi4AB5g https://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/289056/
search operations are paused / the "welcome to Azerbaijan" sign
Azerbaijan received criticism for refusing to allow search teams to enter the Hadrut region yesterday. They also prevented UNESCO from checking the status of several Armenian cultural sights, after complaining that UNESCO was "biased" against Azerbaijan during the war. HR Ombudsman: Any untrue information can not be a reason to disrupt the humanitarian process [referring to unconfirmed rumors on social media that Armenians opened fire at Azeris in Hadrut. An unofficial Iranian social media channel claims 3 Azeris were killed but due to an internal fight.] The Human Rights Ombudsman also criticized the Azeri troops for installing a provocative "welcome to Azerbaijan" sign on part of a road that went under Azeri control near Syunik borders. The Ombudsman says it's meant to intimidate the locals. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039233.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039237.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039244.html , https://factor.am/325511.html
Context: BHK MP Naira Zohrabyan referred to the majority of Armenian voters as human trash *(or as she says: impure), and called for the establishment of forced re-education camps so people won't vote for a "wrong party" again. The ruling QP party launched a process to terminate her chairmanship in Parliamentary Human Rights Committee. Read yesterday's thread for more details.* QP MP Arthur: the law states that the Parliament can appoint and terminate the chairman. The termination of this seat does not require the same procedures as in the case of MPs and Judges. Armenian Constitution states that in Armenia, human beings are of the highest value, and inalienable human dignity is the inseparable basis of their rights and freedoms. MP Zohrabyan's public conduct is against it. // The law gives the second-largest political party the mandate to appoint the chairman of this particular Committee. BHK, being the second-largest party, said they wouldn't appoint a replacement if Zohrabyan is voted out. QP MP Arthur: per rules, if BHK refuses to appoint a new candidate, the largest (QP) party will receive the mandate. // Parliament voted 78-4 to terminate Zohrabyan's chairmanship. BHK and LHK did not vote. BHK MP Zohrabyan: this termination was a Constitutional crime. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039245.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039264.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039304.html , https://factor.am/325132.html
Parliament votes: registering parties becomes easier / ideology instead of person / financial transparency
The goal of this reform is to have political parties that are more about ideology and less about an individual. The reform will boost internal democracy within parties; it will expand the powers of the Party Assembly. Parties will be required to add more anonymous voting mechanisms. The law also requires more financial transparency. The required membership to register a party is lowered from 800 to 300. Some of the public funding given to political parties will depend on the % of female members in the administrative boards. Parliament voted 99-1 to approve it. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039270.html , https://youtu.be/bPuZViCCCxo
Parliament votes: monthly fees towards soldiers' recovery are raised
Most workers pay a monthly 1000 Dram towards the Soldiers' Fund, which takes care of wounded soldiers and families of those who died. The govt found it necessary to raise the fee to cover thousands of new recipients. Here are the new fees and salary brackets: ֏1,500 for < ֏100k/month ֏3,000 for < ֏200k ֏5,500 for < ֏500k ֏8,500 for < ֏1 million ֏15,000 for > ֏1 million Parliament voted 89-0 to approve it. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039296.html
Parliament votes: ban on public smoking is delayed until 2022
The govt had adopted a law to ban smoking in public cafes and the public display of cigarettes in grocery shops. The ruling party wanted to delay parts of the bill that were set to go into effect in January, citing possible financial issues for businesses caused by the pandemic. QP MP: the cigarette industry pays $383 million to state coffers. Healthcare Ministry: it will be a mistake if you delay this bill for the sake of $10 million in tax revenues. Parliament voted 86-0 to delay the anti-smoking bill until 2022. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039295.html
Parliament votes: no tax on goods donated to Armenia
QP MP: When you donate a charitable product to the Republic of Armenia, you are exempt from customs duties and other tax payments, except for one payment, which we are trying to exempt with this bill as well. // Parliament voted 80-0 to approve it. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039297.html
how is the Judicial Branch doing?
The Supreme Court protects or punishes judges. It also handles complaints. It's separate from the Constitutional Court. bad boys 19 complaints against judges were heard, 14 of which were petitioned by Justice Ministry and 4 by Judicial Ethics Board. 10 judges ended up receiving disciplinary penalties, 3 received a warning, 3 were reprimanded, 2 were terminated, 4 were cleared. the system is overloaded 61 judges are handling 6470 felony cases. 86 judges handle 175,940 civil cases. 24 judges handle 17,390 administrative cases. The number of Arbitration cases rose from 3100 to 9900. finances This year, Supremes appointed 20 new judges. Supreme's budget remained the same this year. They returned ֏607 million in savings back to state coffers. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039249.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039284.html
anti-corruption: SIS busts an IRS agent
SIS says: IRS border inspector took a bribe from a citizen to help him avoid paying Millions of ֏ in import taxes by splitting a large load into smaller pieces, so each piece would fall below the taxable threshold. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039293.html
Police and Nature Ministry have set up additional checkpoints as part of measures against whitefish poaching in Sevan. 24/7 monitoring on all alleys leading to the lake. They will also travel across markets to catch contraband whitefish. Why? It's the egg-laying season. Fishing is banned for now. The legally-allowed fishing tools were temporarily removed from the lake. https://youtu.be/8ZyRGpEazMQ https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039339.html
...the rest should have access to other jobs. There is an opportunity now because many businesses operate remotely. Call Center workers don't have to visit an office. Businesses would rather pay less to hire a rural remote worker than more to hire someone in a Yerevan office. The High Tech Ministry has an ongoing program to teach IT to 5,000 citizens. We must help workers to expand their skillset. We're working on a program to allow a worker to quit the job, not worry about the food on the table, and have enough time for education and learning new skills. The villagers should ideally lease their smaller lands to large agricultural producers," said Economy Minister Qerobyan. Full interview: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039319.html
State regulators bust another price-fixing ring: fruit mafia
Yesterday, the Economic Competition Committee busted the egg industry's alleged price-fixing and anti-competitive practices. Today they say a similar collision was observed in the orange, mandarin, kiwi, lemon industry. The companies Best Fruits, Art-Fruits, and Promout were slapped with a ֏39 million in penalties for colluding to raise the prices for the products that had an increased demand during the pandemic period. http://www.competition.am/.../resources/Vo370_17_12_2020.pdf https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039269.html
Lenovo slapped for "anti-competitive practice"
The Economic Competition Committee heard a petition filed by Oazis Computer company against Lenovo. The latter was issued a warning for anti-competitive behavior. Public Regulator: "Lenovo" company had the ability to influence the process of importing Lenovo computers to Armenia from non-EAEU trade bloc countries. "Lenovo" took steps to reduce the import of Lenovo computers from non-EAEU states, by discriminating against Oazis Computer importer. Lenovo is given a month to correct the issue and fix the requirement and standards related paperwork. (Facebook next?) https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039333.html
Artsakh will also increase childbirth benefits
First child: ֏300k instead of ֏100k Second child: ֏300k instead of ֏200k (or ֏500k if one parent is disabled) As for monthly child care subsidy payments, it goes from ֏15k to ֏27k until the child turns 2. https://factor.am/325487.html
700 Artsakh families continue to live in 40 settlements of Gegharquniq province. The All Armenia Fund (HimnaDram.org) has provided food and household items to 241 families ahead of New Year. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039313.html
daily life in Syunik bordering villages Shurnukh and Vorotan
[US Promotion] I would like to celebrate Thanksgiving by gifting you all books!
UPDATE: More books added by siffis and West1234567890 further down If are late coming across this post then do not worry you can still message me your email for a book. To celebrate my day off today and Thanksgiving tomorrow I would like to gift my audiobooks. In order to recieve a free audiobook gift just message me any title (below) along with your email address. If you have not recieved a gift before then you will get the audiobook for free. More details here and here. I am in the US market (but I hear from Canada and UK that it still works). Books crossed out are not available. TITLE - AUTHOR (Ordered by author)
21 Days of Meditation - Aaptiv
5K Training - Aaptiv
What Happens Next? Conversations from MARS - Adam Savage
You Ought to Know Adam Wade - Adam Wade
The Fall of Carthage: The Punic Wars 265-146BC - Adrian Goldsworthy
Children of Time - Adrian Tchaikovsky
Andrea Vernon and the Corporation for UltraHuman Protection - Alexander C. Kane
The Ten Thousand Doors of January - Alix E. Harrow
The Story of Dr. Seuss: Theodore, Ted, Geisel Who? The Story of How Dr. Seuss Grew. - Amba Brown
You Have Arrived at Your Destination: Forward - Amor Towles
A Massacre in Mexico: The True Story Behind the Missing 43 Students - Anabel Hernandez , John Washington - translator
How to Defeat a Demon King in Ten Easy Steps - Andrew Rowe
Randomize: Forward - Andy Weir
Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook - Anthony Bourdain
Chaos Monkeys - Revised Edition: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley - Antonio Garcia Martinez
Goodnight Smartphone - Arianna Huffington
Sherlock Holmes - Arthur Conan Doyle , Stephen Fry - introductions
Viva Durant and the Secret of the Silver Buttons - Ashli St. Armant
The Home Front: Life in America During World War II - Dan Gediman , Martha C. Little
Cut and Run: A Light-Hearted Dark Comedy - Ben Acker , Ben Blacker
A Grown-Up Guide to Dinosaurs: An Audible Original - Ben Garrod
The Tao of Pooh - Benjamin Hoff
Finding Tess: A Mother’s Search for Answers in a Dopesick America - Beth Macy
Bill Bryson's Appliance of Science - Bill Bryson
The Lost Continent: Travels In Small Town America - Bill Bryson
Billy Kelly: This Is a Family Show! - Billy Kelly
The History of Ancient Egypt - Bob Brier]
Rage - Bob Woodward
Starsight - Brandon Sanderson
Skyward - Brandon Sanderson
Beezer - Brandon T. Snider
The Book on Rental Property Investing: How to Create Wealth and Passive Income Through Smart Buy & Hold Real Estate Investing - Brandon Turner
The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are - Brené Brown
Algorithms to Live The Computer Science of Human Decisions - Brian Christian , Tom Griffiths
That Hideous Strength: Ransom Trilogy, Book 3 - C.S. Lewis
Perelandra: Ransom Trilogy, Book 2 - C.S. Lewis
Cosmos: A Personal Voyage - Carl Sagan
The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark - Carl Sagan
Life Ever After - Carla Grauls
Everything is Not What It Seems: The Journey to Quantum Gravity - Carlo Rovelli , Simon Carnell - translator , Erica Segre - translator
How to Build Meaningful Relationships Through Conversation - Carol Ann Lloyd]
El Norte: The Epic and Forgotten Story of Hispanic North America - Carrie Gibson
The Flying Flamingo Sisters - Carrie Seim
Press Pause: A Young Person's Guide to Managing Life's Challenges - Catherine Singer
Cesar Millan's Guide to Bringing Home a Shelter Dog - Cesar Millan
Cesar Millan's Guide to Audiobooks for Dogs - Cesar Millan
The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder - Charles Graeber
Second Skin: Audible Original Novella - Christian White
Eldest: The Inheritance Cycle, Book 2 - Christopher Paolini
The Space Race: An Audible Original - Colin Brake , Patrick Chapman , Richard Hollingham , Richard Kurti , Sue Nelson , Helen Quigley , Andrew Mark Sewell
Bluebird Memories: A Journey Through Lyrics & Life - Common , Awoye Timpo , NSangou Njikam
Cat Tale: The Wild, Weird Battle to Save the Florida Panther - Craig Pittman
The Dead Drink First - Dale Maharidge
House of Teeth - Dan Jolley
Dan Rather: Stories of a Lifetime - Dan Rather
How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States - Daniel Immerwahr
The Great Ideas of Philosophy, 2nd Edition - Daniel N. Robinson]
My Lost Family: An Audible Original - Danny Ben-Moshe , Dasha Lisitsina
Body of Proof: An Audible Original - Darrell Brown , Sophie Ellis
Sum: Tales from the Afterlives - David Eagleman
Exploring Metaphysics - David K. Johnson]
Alone with the Stars - David R. Gillham
The Pragmatic Programmer: 20th Anniversary Edition, 2nd Edition: Your Journey to Mastery - David Thomas , Andrew Hunt
The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II - Denise Kiernan
Heaven's River: Bobiverse, Book 4 - Dennis E. Taylor
All These Worlds: Bobiverse, Book 3 - Dennis E. Taylor
For We Are Many: Bobiverse, Book 2 - Dennis E. Taylor
We Are Legion (We Are Bob): Bobiverse, Book 1 - Dennis E. Taylor
Metro 2033 - Dmitry Glukhovsky
The Theory of Everything: The Quest to Explain All Reality - Don Lincoln]
Mostly Harmless - Douglas Adams
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Book 2 - Douglas Adams
So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish - Douglas Adams
Life, the Universe, and Everything: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Book 3 - Douglas Adams
The Case of the Damaged Detective: 5-Minute Sherlock, Book 1 - Drew Hayes
Forging Hephaestus: Villains' Code Series, Book 1 - Drew Hayes
I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life - Ed Yong
Mythology - Edith Hamilton
Musashi - Eiji Yoshikawa , Charles S. Terry - translator
Hunting LeRoux: The Inside Story of the DEA Takedown of a Criminal Genius and His Empire - Elaine Shannon
The Science of Sci-Fi: From Warp Speed to Interstellar Travel - Erin Macdonald]
Junkyard Cats: Shining Smith, Book 1 - Faith Hunter
The Golden Orchard - Flora Ahn
The 3-Day Effect - Florence Williams
Catch Me If You Can - Frank W. Abagnale , Stan Redding
The Panama Papers: How the World's Rich and Powerful Hide Their Money - Frederik Obermaier , Bastian Obermayer
The American Civil War - Gary W. Gallagher]
Failure Is Not an Option: Mission Control from Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond - Gene Kranz
The Creative Thinker's Toolkit - Gerard Puccio]
Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body's Most Underrated Organ - Giulia Enders
Burr: A Novel (Narratives of Empire, Book 1) - Gore Vidal
The Getaway - Greer Hendricks , Sarah Pekkanen
The Minuteman - Greg Donahue
Failure Is an Option: An Attempted Memoir - H. Jon Benjamin
The Beautiful Brain: An Audible Original - Hana Walker-Brown
A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor: A Novel - Hank Green
Bella Bella - Harvey Fierstein
The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World's Happiest Country - Helen Russell
The Iliad: A New Translation by Caroline Alexander - Homer , Caroline Alexander - translator
H.P. Lovecraft: The Complete Omnibus Collection, Volume I: 1917-1926 - Howard Phillips Lovecraft , Finn J.D. John
Hell's Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga - Hunter S. Thompson
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas - Hunter S. Thompson
Casino Royale: James Bond, Book 1 - Ian Fleming
I, Robot - Isaac Asimov
Malcolm and Me - Ishmael Reed
Peter Pan: An Audible Original Drama - J. M. Barrie
Tell Me Lies - J. P. Pomare
The Return of the King: Book Three in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy - J. R. R. Tolkien
The Fellowship of the Ring: Book One in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy - J. R. R. Tolkien
The Hobbit - J. R. R. Tolkien
The Children of Hurin - J. R. R. Tolkien
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Book 2 - J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Book 1 - J.K. Rowling
The Tales of Beedle the Bard - J.K. Rowling
The Like Switch: An Ex-FBI Agent's Guide to Influencing, Attracting, and Winning People Over - Jack Schafer PhD , Ph.D. Marvin Karlins Ph.D.
Midnight Son - James Dommek Jr. , Josephine Holtzman , Isaac Kestenbaum
The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey - James Lecesne
Break Shot: My First 21 Years: James Taylor - James Taylor
Forget Nothing - Jason Anspach , Michelle C. Meyers
The Woman Who Smashed Codes: A True Story of Love, Spies, and the Unlikely Heroine who Outwitted America's Enemies - Jason Fagone
Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple - Jeff Guinn
1066: The Year That Changed Everything - Jennifer Paxton]
Flux - Jeremy Robinson
Space Force - Jeremy Robinson
Infinite - Jeremy Robinson
When You Finish Saving the World - Jesse Eisenberg
The Mystwick School of Musicraft - Jessica Khoury
Call Me God: The Untold Story of the DC Sniper Investigation - Jim Clemente , Tim Clemente , Peter McDonnell
The Wisdom of Wolves: Lessons from the Sawtooth Pack - Jim Dutcher , Jamie Dutcher , James Manfull - contributor , Marc Bekoff - foreword PhD
Escape from Virtual Island: An Audio Comedy - John Lutz
The Men Who Stare at Goats - Jon Ronson
So You've Been Publicly Shamed - Jon Ronson
Frank: The True Story that Inspired the Movie - Jon Ronson
438 Days: An Extraordinary True Story of Survival at Sea - Jonathan Franklin
Carmilla - Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
Stuff You Should Know: An Incomplete Compendium of Mostly Interesting Things - Josh Clark , Chuck Bryant
Vroom Vroom - Josh Koenigsberg
King of Sting: The Story of Australian Conman Peter Foster: An Audible Original - Justin Armsden , Bronwen Reid , Hamish Macdonald
American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer - Kai Bird , Martin J. Sherwin
You Can Thank Me Later: A Novella - Kelly Harms
The Vikings - Kenneth W. Harl]
Building a Better Vocabulary - Kevin Flanigan]
More Bedtime Stories for Cynics - Kirsten Kearse , Gretchen Enders , Aparna Nancherla , Cirocco Dunlap , Dave Hill
The Math of Life and Death - Kit Yates
Oz. The Complete Collection - L. Frank Baum
A Murder of Manatees: The Further Adventures of Tom Stranger, Interdimensional Insurance Agent - Larry Correia
The Half-Life of Marie Curie - Lauren Gunderson
Interview with the Robot - Lee Bacon
The Messengers - Lindsay Joelle
African-American Athletes Who Made History - Louis Moore]
The Real Sherlock: An Audible Original - Lucinda Hawksley
The Devil's Highway: A True Story - Luis Alberto Urrea
It Burns: The Scandal-Plagued Race to Breed the World’s Hottest Chilli, An Audible Original - Marc Fennell
Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla: Biography of a Genius - Marc J. Seifer
The Handmaid's Tale: Special Edition - Margaret Atwood , Valerie Martin - essay
Buried Deep - Margot Hunt
Black Hawk Down - Mark Bowden
How to Win at the Sport of Business: If I Can Do It, You Can Do It - Mark Cuban
Frankenstein - Mary Shelley
Tinaca Jones - Matt Boren
Phreaks - Matthew Derby
Pont Neuf - Max Byrd
Find Another Dream - Maysoon Zayid
One Minute to Midnight: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and Castro on the Brink of Nuclear War - Michael Dobbs
The Entrepreneur's Toolkit - Michael Goldsby]
The Fifth Risk - Michael Lewis
Dear Reader: The Unauthorized Autobiography of Kim Jong Il - Michael Malice
Caffeine: How Caffeine Created the Modern World - Michael Pollan
I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer - Michelle McNamara
Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100 - Michio Kaku
The New One: Painfully True Stories from a Reluctant Dad - Mike Birbiglia , J. Hope Stein
Even Tree Nymphs Get the Blues - Molly Harper
Motivational Runs: 3 audio-guided run stories and 6 audio-guided Olympic Interval runs - MoveWith
Half Marathon Training Part 2: To the Finish Line: 6 week training plan with 22 audio-guided runs - MoveWith
Half Marathon Training Part 1: Build Up Your Pace + Endurance: 6 week training plan with 22 audio-guided runs - MoveWith
Emergency Skin: Forward - N. K. Jemisin
Silverswift - Natalie Lloyd
The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail - but Some Don't - Nate Silver
Good Omens - Neil Gaiman , Terry Pratchett
Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society - Nicholas A. Christakis
American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road - Nick Bilton
Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies - Nick Bostrom
Based on a True Story: A Memoir - Norm Macdonald
Leven Thumps and the Eyes of the Want: Leven Thumps, #3 - Obert Skye
Leven Thumps and the Wrath of Ezra: Leven Thumps, #4 - Obert Skye
Leven Thumps and the Ruins of Alder: Leven Thumps, #5 - Obert Skye
Adulthood Rites: Xenogenesis, Book 2 - Octavia E. Butler
Dawn: Xenogenesis, Book 1 - Octavia E. Butler
Wild Seed - Octavia E. Butler
Kindred - Octavia E. Butler
The Life and Times of Prince Albert - Patrick Allitt]
The Name of the Wind: Kingkiller Chronicle, Book 1 - Patrick Rothfuss
Thinking about Cybersecurity: From Cyber Crime to Cyber Warfare - Paul Rosenzweig]
Into the Water: A Novel - Paula Hawkins
The Ends of the World: Volcanic Apocalypses, Lethal Oceans, and Our Quest to Understand Earth's Past Mass Extinctions - Peter Brannen
Terminus - Peter Clines
The Fold - Peter Clines
14 - Peter Clines
Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness - Peter Godfrey-Smith
Norco '80: The True Story of the Most Spectacular Bank Robbery in American History - Peter Houlahan
Harry Potter: A History of Magic: An Audio Documentary - Pottermore Publishing , Ben Davies
How the Stock Market Works - Ramon P. DeGennaro]
How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems - Randall Munroe
The October Country - Ray Bradbury
The Selfish Gene - Richard Dawkins
The Making of the Atomic Bomb: 25th Anniversary Edition - Richard Rhodes
The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World - Robert Garland]
Treasure Island: An Audible Original Drama - Robert Louis Stevenson , Marty Ross - adaptation
Swan Song - Robert R. McCammon
The Mueller Report: The Findings of the Special Counsel Investigation - Robert S. Mueller III , Special Counsel's Office U.S. Department of Justice
Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators - Ronan Farrow
Once More upon a Time: A Novella - Roshani Chokshi
Bind, Torture, Kill: The Inside Story of BTK, the Serial Killer Next Door - Roy Wenzl , Tim Potter , L. Kelly , Hurst Laviana
Elizabeth II: Life of a Monarch: An Audible Original - Ruth Cowen
The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements - Sam Kean
Bad Luck Charlie: The Dragon Mage, Book 1 - Scott Baron
Rivals! Frenemies Who Changed the World - Scott McCormick
Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are - Seth Stephens-Davidowitz , Steven Pinker - foreword
Sea Wall / A Life - Simon Stephens , Nick Payne
Carnival Row: Tangle in the Dark - Stephanie K. Smith
D-Day: June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of WW II - Stephen E. Ambrose
The Stand - Stephen King
The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World - Steve Brusatte
Foreverywhere - Steve Burns , Steven Drozd , Gabe Soria
The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe: How to Know What's Really Real in a World Increasingly Full of Fake - Steven Novella , Bob Novella - contributor , Cara Santa Maria - contributor , Jay Novella - contributor , Evan Bernstein - contributor
Your Deceptive Mind: A Scientific Guide to Critical Thinking Skills - Steven Novella]
The Plant Paradox: The Hidden Dangers in "Healthy" Foods That Cause Disease and Weight Gain - Steven R. Gundry MD
My Dad the Spy - Stewart Copeland
The Age of Living Machines: How the Convergence of Biology and Engineering Will Build the Next Technology Revolution - Susan Hockfield
Guards! Guards! - Terry Pratchett
History's Great Military Blunders and the Lessons They Teach - The Great Courses , Gregory S. Aldrete
Great Mythologies of the World - The Great Courses , Grant L. Voth , Julius H. Bailey , Kathryn McClymond , Robert André LaFleur
This American Life - This American Life
Writing Creative Nonfiction - Tilar J J. Mazzeo]
The Man Who Knew the Way to the Moon - Todd Zwillich
The Hunt for Red October: A Jack Ryan Novel - Tom Clancy
The Chris Farley Show: A Biography in Three Acts - Tom Farley , Tanner Colby
A Crazy Inheritance: Ghostsitter 1 - Tommy Krappweis
Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood - Trevor Noah
Thicker than Water - Tyler Shultz
The Year 1000: When Explorers Connected the World - and Globalization Began - Valerie Hansen
Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders - Vincent Bugliosi , Curt Gentry
SmartLess - Will Arnett Jason Bateman Sean Hayes
Climbing with Mollie - William Finnegan
Alien III: An Audible Original Drama - William Gibson
Gump & Co. - Winston Groom
Life of Pi - Yann Martel
siffis has generously offered to include his collection. If you like any of the books below then message directly.
World War Z: The Complete Edition - Max Brooks
Ready Player One - Ernest Cline
Ready Player Two - Ernest Cline
Halo: Shadows of Reach - Troy Denning
The Sandman - Neil Gaiman
The Ickabog - J.K. Rowling
The Last Tribe - Brad Manuel
Halo Grassland - Karen Traviss
Halo: Mortal Dictata - Karen Traviss
Halo: The Thursday War - Karen Traviss
Norse Mythology - Neil Gaiman
Firefly: Big Damn Hero - Jame Lovegrove
After it Happened - Devron C Ford
Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds - Gwenda Bond
Blade Runner - Phillip K Dick
Hell Divers 1
Hell Divers 2: Ghosts
God of War - J.M. Barlog
The Time of Contempt - Andrzej Sapkowski
Blood of Elves - Andrzej Sapkowski
Solar Storms - Nicholas Sansbury
Planetside - Michael Mammay
Season of Storms - Andrzej Sapkowski
Dark Operator - Doc Spears
How to Defeat a Demon King in Ten Easy Steps - Andrew Rowe
I worked at a tattoo shop in Arizona, across the river from Laughlin NV. It was February and people were spending tax returns on tattoos, I don't remember the exact day but it was crazy busy. I got stuck with a family and tattooed until about 3am. They were generous, after all said and done I had $2000+ dollars. My wife had been waiting all night for me so in a spur of the moment decision we decided to go across the river to the casinos and spend money! I don't gamble, don't really drink and just never been interested in that stuff, but that night it sounded fun. As soon as we got out of the car at the first casino is when I noticed things were odd. The valet runs up to me and looks kinda confused why I'm in my car... like he even looked at my car and made a joke about "oh, this way you can probably just drive around". I was even more confused, I told him I would park my own car and did so. As we walked into the casino people were looking at me, like backing up and making room for me to walk by and nodding at me and just acting weird. My wife was like "WTF man? Why is everyone treating you like this?" At first I wrote it off to people just being nice and doing their jobs and whatnot. But it kept getting weirder... people kept staring at me and holding doors. My wife is asking me if I have some secret life or something?? It didn't register at the time, but one of the bartenders said "it's strange to see you here this time of day". It was like 4am, I thought it was small talk. For hours I gambled roulette and kept winning, I never played roulette in my life. All night/morning people kept staring at me, looking away when I locked eyes. I even like walked up to some dude that was looking at me and said "what's up?" And he was like " oh hey bro I just noticed you I'm sorry"...I was shocked, this guy was legit nervous to be talking to me. I'm not famous, or a gangster, or nothing. We thought maybe because I tattooed a lot of people, but I usually recognize clients and they always treat me like a friend. I saw this weird old slot machine that only gave away silver dollars, but it only took silver dollars. I was excited, so I went to find where I could get silver dollars to put in the machine and the cashier was like " wha?" I told her it was for the machine and she was adamant that there is no machine like that...I went back to find it and couldn't. It was gone... people started bumping into me and when I looked at them nobody cares anymore. I think I was the doppleganger, there were more little experiences but in a nutshell that's it. It seemed to end also when I noticed the daylight...I don't know...I've been thinking about it for a long time and it still bothers me. I don't look like anyone famous or infamous, I actually have a piercing through the bridge of my nose that makes me fairly unique and would be hard to get confused with someone else. Is this considered a glitch? Like I said there's more to it, I'm not sure if I'm the right place but I'll answer any questions I can. Thanks for your time.
I figured this was the better place to post a semi-review of the game, y'all seem more chill. I just finished the game, played as a Corpo, got the secret ending where I stormed the HQ with Johnny, and got The Sun ending, where you straight up rob a space casino. I'll put the TL;DR here, for those of you who're just scrolling: the game is a masterpiece. One of the best I've played in years. CD tried to do a lot here, more than the Witcher, and while not everything stuck the landing, the hate this game is getting is ludicrously over the top. I don't mean to diss, but games like Fallout 76 and Anthem didn't get this kind of shit, and they deserved it 10X more in my opinion. Hey, at least this game doesn't have any damn time savers or Verizon themed pre order outfits. I'm gonna get into my main points now, starting with the positives:
The soundtrack. It's amazing, from the theme at the main menu to the combat music. the radio stations are all Preem too. There's a little of everything.
The voice acting is really solid, I played a male V and he really sounded like Jon Bernthal and Frank Grillo mixed together. Keanu is of course Keanu. Something I also really enjoyed and I hope more games adopt, which I haven't seen mentioned, is people speak different languages. Like not every character speaks perfect English. There are Russians, Japanese, and Spanish gangs and they all speak their respective languages. I dug that, and it's easily explained cause you have translator tech.
Similarly to something like Mafia 3, the face models are really out of this world. Character creation is pretty extensive too, I liked being able to give my V crossbones for eyes.
Night City itself is drop dead gorgeous at times. When you're driving around North Oak, that long highway just outside town, the city is like something out of Blade Runner.
Each district feels really unique, Pacifica and Heywood being favorites of mine. All the fixers have their own shtick, and the gangs are nice and varied. Padre and the Voodoo Boys are great.
The combat is solid, and there are a lot of options for different play styles. I kind of opted for a jack of all trades type build, and had a lot of fun. Granted, there's a lot more systems then there need to be, but I'll get to that later.
The story itself is gripping, I never lost interest, even when I was off doing side quests I was still thinking about a conversation I'd had with Johnny. Speaking of which--
Johnny. I've seen this before, with Handsome Jack in Tales From the Borderlands and the Joker in Arkham Knight, but Cyberpunk really takes a new spin on it. Johnny doesn't just spout off random bullshit all the time--though he does sometimes and it's often great stuff, like him talking about his 'impressive cock'--but he does actively challenge you and get into real discussions with you. He's got a lot of layers that are fun to peel back, and he's a genuinely tragic character. Johnny is written beautifully.
The rest of the cast is superb as well. Goro, who really broke my heart when in the ending phone calls he told me to 'Rot in Hell', even though I deserved it. But Julie, River, the guy that wants you to nail him to a cross--they all find a way to stand out.
The mission design too I enjoyed, especially in the side gigs. You could be covertly infiltrating a penthouse looking for a priceless guitar one minute, to shooting up an underground nightclub the next. There's the cyber-psychos and all those NCPD crimes, and holy shit, reading those shards was straight up heartbreaking at times. There's story packed in everywhere of this game.
But I've blown the game enough now, time for some constructive criticism.
Obviously, performance wise I think we're still a few patches away from being smooth sailing. I've had a few crashes, but mostly I have issues with my controls just freezing up, like not being able to jump or shoot while aiming.
There's a disparity in the economy I find, and I haven't seen this mentioned yet, though I could be wrong. The rewards for certain quests, like the amount of credits you earn can be really low. The amount of EXP too. I think these need to be doubled at least, because 1,300 credits for a gig that I was told was 'Very Hard', doesn't check out. It's something to give thought to at least, because right now, unless you abuse the money cheat, getting cash early on can be a little tedious. There could be reward scaling too, based on your level or the area you're in.
Combat wise, there are a lot of options, which is good, but at the end of the day blasting people with a revolver that does 1,200 damage is easiest. Melee weapons are fun, as are your cyber hacks, I just feel as though there needs to be more incentive to use them.
That brings me to the skill trees. The reason I stuck with handguns is because trying to level up all those individual skills at the same time became almost impossible. Especially certain ones like athletics and engineering. I think a good change here could be either an increase into how much EXP you get form doing certain actions, a reduction in how much EXP you need, or both. Crafting needs this especially when making a legendary item only nets 300 EXP and you need 55,000 to level up.
With regards to the life paths, outside of making the intros a little longer, I'd say a more meaningful quest later on would be a nice reward. Using Corpo as an example, the opening ends before you really have a chance to do anything. I think being able to actually complete the hit, or try to and botch the job, would set things up nicely. Also, actually being able to go back and stick it to Jenkins, instead of dealing with that guy who has one conversation with you. I don't need a grand overhaul, just really those two things would do it for me.
So that's really it, I mean I can talk about this game for hours but I know no one has that kind of time. To really wrap up, the response to this game has just really left me speechless. CD isn't perfect, we learned that, but they didn't burn down an orphanage for the blind. When you have companies like Konami that charge you for save slots, and EA--nothing needs to be said about them--it's worth looking at all they get right here. Visuals can be fixed, as can performance issues. I'm playing on an Xbox One S and I think I've got my $60 worth and more. At the end of the day, if your core game isn't good, then all the patches in the world can't fix that. Here, the core story and game is fantastic, so in lets say a month, I'll be ready for a second play-through no doubt. The hate train is already starting to loose steam, which means hopefully more people will get to experience Night City and all it has to offer. I appreciate anyone who took the time to read through all my rambling. Keep fighting, Samurais, city won't burn itself!
Note: The particularly important details and music artist names are in bold text. Licensed music track names are in italics. The year is 1973, five years after the events of the Mafia III, and 22 years since Vito Scaletta’s seen or heard from his old friend Joe Barbaro. The canon ending of Mafia III with this Mafia IV story is Vito taking over the city after Lincoln skipped town, however Cassandra and Burke are left alive and loyal to both Vito and Lincoln still. Burke was able to survive his liver cancer by getting a black market liver transplant in Mexico, like he did in his ending, except with Vito running the city. On Vito and Lincoln’s behalf, Burke and Cassandra agree to stay behind in New Bordeaux and keep the city locked down, incase Leo Galante and the Commission try anything. The beginning cutscene is Vito answering his telephone after getting up in the morning in his new penthouse, on the top floor of the New Bordeaux casino he finished that was once Sal Marcano's, and grabbing a cup of coffee. It's Alma with some urgent news. Lincoln Clay came down to the cigar warehouse to visit her after 5 years of silence, and he has big news. Joe is alive in Empire Bay and has been this entire time. However, as punishment for his actions, he's become Leo Galante's personal driver against his will and is forbidden from contacting Vito ever again, or else him and Vito will be killed. Alma then tells Vito to meet Lincoln at the airport to learn more, as he's already there awaiting Vito's arrival. When they're away from anyone who could listen in on their conversation, Lincoln tells Vito he has a friend named John Donovan he's going to introduce him to, hiding in the outskirts of Empire Bay, ready to help Vito and Lincoln with their new mission Vito gets dressed in one of his signature trench coats with a suit and tie, ready to rain down hell on the Vinci crime family and their allies, and finally be reunited with his lifelong friend he previously thought was dead, Joe Barbaro. Here is my idea for the kill list, all related to the Commission in Empire Bay and their allies.
Leo Galante - Top target on the list, Vinci family consigliere who's in with the Commission and the man you thought put Joe in the ground for the past 22 years. Bury this wrinkly old cocksucker.
Johnny Galante - Vinci family capo and younger relative of Leo's mentioned in Cassandra's ending, possibly Leo's cousin even. John Donovan knows that the two are close, and that Johnny's a valuable asset to Leo's organization. Kill him both to hurt Leo's earn and influence, and to hit him straight in the heart by taking away his family and everyone he loves
Michele Galante Jr. - Another Vinci family capo, and Leo Galante’s youngest brother. Killing Leo’s little brother will both take away one of his most reliable allies, and leave him stricken with grief and enraged, and more prone to making mistakes.
Nunzio Galante - Leo’s seasoned older brother by 3 years, and yet another Vinci family capo. He knows enough about smuggling that he worked out an ingenious plan for smuggling military grade weapons into the city. He pays off corrupt officials at Empire Bay International Airport, to allow guns to be loaded inside the walls and floors of planes, unknown to everyone onboard save for the palms the Galantes and Frank Vinci have greased to cooperate and keep quiet. The time has come to put this crafty old bastard in the ground.
Don Frank Vinci - Frank Vinci is the boss of the Vinci crime family, the family Leo's been a consigliere of for decades, and a lifelong friend of his. Kill Frank, and Leo loses more ground than he could ever imagine, and will be forced to deal with both the loss of his boss, and the loss of his lifelong childhood friend.
Don Ennio Salieri - Longtime close friend of both Frank Vinci and Leo Galante, Don of the Salieri crime family, and a third party Frank and Leo call in to crush Vito's uprising, when it becomes too big of an issue for Vinci alone to handle. Salieri was eventually able to grease enough palms while behind bars to have his life sentence overturned, and he got released from prison on good behavior in 1953, after he served 15 years of his sentence. He’s since relocated to his main operations to Empire Bay, having already had connections and men present there while he was in prison, backed by the Commission and the Vinci crime family. He's seasoned, but he’s nothing Mr. Scaletta can't handle. Give this tired old fuck the gangland ending he's had coming.
Isaac - Isaac is the personal assistant to an influential loan shark named Bruno Levine, who handles the money of the Commission, including the Vinci crime family and the Salieri crime family. He does anything from serve his boss coffee, to count incoming and outgoing money for Bruno. Because of his duties, he's aware of Bruno's location at all times. You’ll need to get to Isaac to get information on his boss out of him, and dispose of him afterwards if you want to get to Bruno.
Bruno Levine - Bruno is a Jewish-American loan shark who kicks up all of his earn to both Frank Vinci and Ennio Salieri, and the Commission in Empire Bay. Killing him kills a lot of earn for the Commission, and they loses a valuable asset. In addition to getting rid of him being practical, to add insult to injury, he gave your father that loan. It's about time to put this asshole out of business.
Mr. Chu & Mr. Chu Jr. - This old man has been leading the Empire Bay Triads with an iron fist since before you were even born. The bastard has a son too, who eventually went on to become his underboss. The Empire Bay Triads became a close ally of the Vinci crime family, the Salieri crime family, and the Commission shortly after Vito killed Don Carlo Falcone in 1951, forming a lucrative partnership with the Commission. Mr. Chu and his eldest son are valuable assets for Leo Galante who give him extra reach. Melt their iron fists and show these two pricks just who they fucked with.
Eddie Scarpa - This cocksucker used to be Carlo Falcone's underboss for as long as you could remember. After you whacked Falcone in the fall of 1951, he decided to throw in with Vinci to save his own skin. He took over the smuggling and dock union extortion that fat fuck Derek Pappalardo used to run. You know all too well how to deal with this sorry fuckin' rat.
I'm thinking Vito and Joe work with Lincoln Clay and John Donovan to split up Empire Bay and distribute territory to three other factions not unlike what Lincoln did with New Bordeaux. This time though, this is a much larger city in a much, much different part of the United States. The empire building mechanics would be a lot smoother, more robust, and streamlined compared to Mafia III. They would work similarly a more modernized version of how the game Scarface: The WorldIs Yours handled it's empire building and management mechanics, minus the whole switching to other characters lower on the ladder to do your bidding. This would be ideal for a story rich organized crime game in my opinion. Here are my ideas for those factions, all close allies of the up and coming Scaletta crime family. The Cuban mob led by Alma Diaz. Vito goes way back with Alma, and she does not hesitate to answer him and Lincoln's calls to save Joe's life and royally fuck both Leo Galante and the Vinci family. Conti crime family, led by Enzo Conti. This Conti crime family formed sometime in late 1968, months after Lincoln helped Enzo flee New Bordeaux and drop off of Sal Marcano's radar. It turns out he fled north to Empire Bay and finally formed his own family, having more than enough years of experience in the underworld to handle the job. Lincoln's tight with him and manages to recruit him to Vito and Joe's cause. The Yakuza, based out of Empire Bay's Japantown. Longtime sworn enemies of the Empire Bay Triads, with bad blood going back decades. They would greatly enjoy seeing Mr. Chu and his son's heads mounted on pikes, along with whacking everyone who's ever supported their organization. You don't know them well, and they're known to be very unpredictable and ruthless. Use these traits to your advantage when taking on the Commission of Empire Bay and their friends. I should mention as expected, this entire 1973 section where you play as Vito is much shorter than Mafia III. Vito's takeover is shown much more quickly over time than Lincoln's, and there's time skips during it, to keep it short and sweet, and to show onscreen only what's important. There is also no option for your underbosses to betray you, as to reduce confusion and keep the story consistently the same each playthrough, like the first two Mafia games. However, unlike Mafia III, after all of these tasks are completed and every single assassination target on Vito’s kill list is dealt with, the game does not end. In fact, it's not even anywhere near close to being over yet. Vito's 1973 section was merely the beginning act. It was really a lead up to an entirely new Mafia story, centering around a newcomer to the American mob. Fast forward two years following Vito’s rampage that led to him taking over Empire Bay and the Commission, in the year 1975 him and Joe now rule Empire Bay, with Vito as the Don of the Scaletta Crime Family, and Joe working as his loyal underboss. You play the rest of the game as a young up and coming soldato named Louis in his 20’s, who’s a rising star in Vito’s organization. Do right by Mr. Scaletta and Mr. Barbaro, understand kid? My basic idea for the character and his backstory is that he's a young Italian-Canadian mobster from Toronto, Ontario, or whatever Mafia's equivalent of it could be called. Let's call him Louis DeAngelo. (No relation to Tommy Angelo) His family hails from Tuscany in Italy and moved to Toronto, Ontario in 1939, shortly after World War II broke out in Europe. Louis DeAngelo was born in July 1952 in Toronto, and was raised in Toronto's Little Italy. Louis fled south to Empire Bay when the feds started cracking down on his old family and put his boss in prison, and he ended up finding a new home with the Scaletta crime family. The first few missions playing as Louis DeAngelo involve shooting your away out of an arrest by a Toronto Police Service SWAT team in Toronto in December 1974, seeing the rest of the members of your old crime family either get arrested or shot in front of you as you make your escape. You spend the next two missions fleeing Ontario through Quebec and upstate New York, before finally arriving in Empire Bay in early 1975, late January to be exact. Winter is in full force with snow everywhere, Louis' arrival to Empire Bay for the first time in his life mirroring Vito's return to Empire Bay in 1945 30 years earlier, except under far different much more dire circumstances. Louis' older brother and his father, both capos in his old crime family in Toronto, are shown to be arrested by the TPS SWAT team in his first mission, the same one that attempted to gun him down when he resisted arrested. Louis knows someone had to have ratted out his old crime family, and he wants to find out who someday. The thing is though, he doesn't just want to kill them. He wants to get out of them why they did it before he kills them. More than anything else, he just wants to find out why his crime family was betrayed and served up to the feds on a silver platter, having most of his biological family sent to prison in the process. He’s out to uncover the mystery of why his family fell apart, and he’s more than willing to help people like Don Vito Scaletta and his underboss Joe Barbaro to eventually get the answers he seeks. I came up with the idea for this character because I figured that playing as a fugitive from the law made sense for the mob life, and I'm surprised we haven't had a fugitive protagonist in the Mafia series yet. In the 1975 chapters while playing as Louis, the Watergate scandal, President Richard Nixon’s resignation, and the official end to the Vietnam War are both discussed on the in-game radio during news segments. In the last 1979 chapter, the beginning of the Soviet-Afghan War is also the subject of a news segment on the radio. The story eventually transitions into the 1980's as years pass, with the scenery, cars, and music changing accordingly, and historical events of the time discussed in the game. By the time the game ends, it's 1992, and significant historical events from the past few years at the time that are covered on the radio in-game include anything from the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Gulf War, the collapse of the Soviet Union, to the 1992 L.A. riots. The rise of the internet and home computers are briefly touched upon during news segments on the in-game radio during the early 1990's section of the story, but not greatly delved into given their relative infancy in that time period. During this entire 1975-1992 stretch of the story, Vito is no longer playable, and Don Scaletta takes a backseat in the story as a main supporting character, similar to Don Salieri throughout Mafia: Definitive Edition. You now play as the Italian-Canadian Scaletta family soldato Louis DeAngelo, who is later promoted to being a capo in 1985. However, unlike Don Salieri, Don Scaletta has much more integrity, and has more genuine loyalty for his men and his associates. If you've beaten Mafia 1 or Mafia: Definitive Edition, you'll know this is something Salieri lacked in the end. The game will include a number of hit music from the 70’s that played on the radio back then, such as Bobby Womack’s Across 110th Street and Tony Christie’s (Is This the Way to) Amarillo, The Grateful Dead's Casey Jones and at least a few songs by the then new American rock band Cheap Trick, as well as popular songs from the 1960’s people still listened to at the time, such as Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs’ Wooly Bully, King Crimson’s 21st Century Schizoid Man,Zager and Evans' In the Year 2525, The Zombies' Time of the Season, and Nancy Sinatra’s These Boots Are Made for Walkin'. When you progress through the game, especially after you switch to playing as Louis DeAngelo for the rest of the story, years change, and the music changes. Different songs start playing on the radio, such as Sylvester's You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real),Randy Crawford's Street Life, and The Village People's Y.M.C.A., Cheryl Lynn's Got to Be Real, Gloria Gaynor's I Will Survive, and the Bee Gees' Stayin' Alive start playing in the 1979 portion of the game. After you've completed the 1975 section of the game, Foghat's Slow Ride starts playing on the radio. Starting in the 1977 section of the game, Cheap Trick's I Want You to Want Me and Heart's Barracuda start playing on the radio. In the 1980's portion of the game, Thomas Dolby's songs Hyperactive! and She Blinded Me with Science, in addition to Night Ranger's Sister Christian also start playing on the radio. If Hangar 13 can afford the licenses, I also think a few Michael Jackson and Madonna songs should definitely be on the radio during the 1980's portion of the story, given the immense popularity and regular radio airtime those two had in that decade. If this ended up being possible, I imagine that Michael Jackson's Smooth Criminal, Beat It, Bad, and Billie Jean being on the radio in the 80's sections would be a must, Smooth Criminal especially because of how well it suits the series. Madonna's Lucky Star, Burning Up, Like a Virgin, and Borderline would also be perfect for the 80's portion of the game to me. Also mentioned by NPCs and civilians in the game are topical events of the time period, such as the release of the groundbreaking 1973 horror film The Exorcist at the end of Vito's playable portion of the game. Other music of the 1980's segment when playing as Louis DeAngelo for the remainder of the game includes hits of the era such as Joe Jackson's Steppin' Out, The Buggles' Video Killed The Radio Star, Corey Hart's Sunglasses at Night,Laura Branigan's Self Control and Gloria, The Weather Girls' It's Raining Men, A-ha’s Take On Me, Men at Work's Down Under, Kim Wilde's Kids in America, The Gap Band's You Dropped a Bomb on Me, Culture Club’s Karma Chameleon, Twisted Sister's I Wanna Rock and We're Not Gonna Take It, Bon Jovi's Wanted Dead or Alive and Bad Medicine, Loverboy's Working for the Weekend, Dead or Alive's You Spin Me Round (Like a Record) and That's the Way (I Like It), Tiffany’s I Think We’re Alone Now, Daryl Hall & John Oates' Maneater, Aneka's Japanese Boy, Mötley Crüe's Dr. Feelgood, Girls, Girls, Girls and Kickstart My Heart, Billy Joel's We Didn't Start the Fire, Huey Lewis And The News' Hip To Be Square, Bill Medley's (I've Had) The Time of My Life, The Police's Every Breath You Take, Whodini's Magic's Wand, Tears For Fears' Everybody Wants To Rule The World, Rockwell's Somebody's Watching Me, Regina's Baby Love, Nena's 99 Red Balloons, Earth, Wind, and Fire's Let's Groove and September, Billy Idol's Eyes Without a Face and White Wedding, Rick James’ Give It To Me Baby, Wham!'s Everything She Wants, George Michael's Careless Whisper, Toto's Hold the Line and Africa, Blondie's Heart of Glass and Atomic, and Mai Tai's History. Note that not every single year and moment of the 17 year 1975-1992 section playing as Louis DeAngelo is playable or chronicled. My idea is it would be handled similarly to how the time skips in Mafia 1/Mafia: Definitive Edition were handled. Time skips of two or more years, or in this case, even longer such as 4 years sometimes, the game skipping from 1979 to 1983. This is to keep the game and story length ideal, and not risk it getting boring or repetitive, or going on for too long. Repetition was a big problem in Mafia III even if I still thought it was a superb game, so I think it'd be best to learn from that for the next big entry. The games story will skip ahead and show onscreen only what's significant, similar to the first Mafia game and it's remake, as well as certain aspects of Mafia II. Louis starts his section as a 22 year old fugitive soldato who got picked up by another crew south of the Canadian border, and in the epilogue of the game in 1992, is promoted to the consigliere of the Scaletta crime family at the age of 40, being set to take over the family once Vito and Joe become too old to run the day to day on a regular basis. The years chronicled in the main gameplay segments are as follows: 1973 1975 1977 1979 1983 1985 1986 1987 1989 1990 1991 1992 Much more of the rural areas and countryside outside of Empire Bay are included than what was available in Mafia II. The way rural environments are handled for this hypothetical Mafia IV is akin to how Mafia: Definitive Edition and Mafia III handled their rural environments outside the main cities, except much larger in scale, given the increased power of the current new consoles such as the PS5 and Xbox Series X. This region is based off of upstate New York and the surrounding areas across multiple states in the Northeastern US, and includes forests, fields, mountains, rivers, lakes, beaches, and small towns. Also included are other cities and towns, based off of other large cities in New York like Syracuse, Buffalo, and Rochester, where other story missions, business activities, and side missions take place, along with smaller notable places like Ithaca, Binghamton, and Utica. The entire states of New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Delaware, Maryland, and Ohio are also included, including places based off of all of their major cities and most of their notable towns in between. Large portions of Pennsylvania are included as well, including Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Scranton. Large portions of the eastern half of the Canadian province of Ontario are included as well, including cities based off of Toronto, Ottawa, and Niagara Falls. There's even a small portion of Quebec included, including Montreal and the surrounding countryside of the province outside that city, including a few small towns in southern Quebec. The player must pass a quick border patrol check when crossing the US-Canada border in a car or other ground vehicle. Wildlife is present in the game, mostly to add to the background, scenery, and immersion in rural environments on the map. These are all animals native to the Northeastern US, ranging from white tailed deer, coyotes, bobcats, Canada lynxes, rabbits, hares, groundhogs, gophers, beavers, raccoons, opossums, bats, chipmunks, red and gray squirrels, mice, and rats to more formidable and potentially dangerous animals that may sometimes attack the player, such as grey wolves, black bears, mountain lions, and moose. These last four animals are known to spawn in the mountainous regions, especially in New York, Ohio, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Ontario, including the rural regions based off of the Catskills and the Adirondack mountains. Dogs are present in the cities, towns, and settlements where humans live and keep them as pets, being walked and sometimes found in people's yards. Some are used as guard dogs by enemies and are aggressive towards the player on sight. Domestic cats are also present in the background of residential areas, and both Louis and Vito own them as pets throughout the game in their safe houses, as well as other onscreen characters we see the homes of throughout the game. Aircraft make their first usable appearance in the Mafia series too, from airplanes to helicopters. Vito cannot use planes or helicopters in his playable 1973 portion of the game, as he does not know how to pilot, being a paratrooper in World War II who never actually flew any of the planes himself. Aircraft are unlocked to use when Louis DeAngelo gets his pilot’s certificate offscreen in 1977, and at the end of a chapter set that year, Louis has to fly Vito in a helicopter to a penthouse in Downtown Empire Bay acting as a family safe house, equipped with a helipad. Louis frequently serves as a personal driver and pilot for both Vito and Joe afterwards, having done a lot in his time serving the family to earn their trust and respect. Melee weapons also make a return from Mafia: Definitive Edition, with even more variety this time. In their respective sections of the game, Vito and Louis may use anything from baseball bats, pipes, shovels, brass knuckles, golf clubs, police batons, switchblades, kitchen knives, bowie knives, ice picks, 2x4s, claw hammers, crowbars, tire irons, chain links, machetes, meat cleavers, pickaxes, hatchets, sledgehammers, to fire axes. This amount of melee weapons is so no matter what environment the player finds themselves in during a mission or any other game activity, there is usually a weapon of some sort nearby. If the player has obtained piano wire, you may also strangle an enemy to death with it from behind as a stealth kill, this being a classic assassination method infamous for being used by the Italian Mafia. Rope can also be found and used for similar strangulation stealth kills, appearing in the gameplay environments where piano wire can’t be found. There is a wide variety of new guns and explosives to use in this concept for Mafia IV, going with the new weapons of the time the game takes place that criminals quickly got their hands on. This includes the SPAS-12 combat shotgun, the Beretta 92 pistol, the AK-74 assault rifle, the mini uzi, the MAC-10 submachine gun, both suppressed and unsuppressed variants, the Beretta 92 pistol, the Taurus raging bull revolver, Glock handguns, the TEC-9 machine pistol, illegally modified to be full auto, the Ruger Mini-14 full auto variant, and even Vietnam war era flamethrowers, which I think is only natural given that as of Mafia III, we already have RPGs and grenade launchers. Late in the game from the 1989 section and onwards, the Benelli M3 combat shotgun becomes available. The Milkor MGL grenade launcher becomes available beginning in the 1983 portion of the game. Attached grenade launchers are also available for the AK-47, AK-74, and M16 assault rifles. Free ride makes a return in Mafia IV, with the player having the options to change the weather, time period, and an option to play as Louis, Vito, Joe, or Lincoln. Naturally, a multitude of new free ride missions are available as well. I previously posted a much earlier and less detailed draft of this on the old Mafia3 subreddit 3 years ago back in 2017 as an idea for a hypothetical Mafia 3 expansion where you play as Vito, but have since updated and revamped it to a possible Mafia IV plot, and fixed any plot holes I noticed and made it much more fleshed out and in depth, and focus on more than just Vito in the end. You may view my original here if you so desire, to compare. https://www.reddit.com/Mafia3/comments/6sldhp/spoiler_mafia_iii_vito_dlc_basic_plot_idea/ Feel free to give me constructive criticism on this, as I encourage this discourse and believe it is integral to growing and improving, to build upon or improve these ideas I've come up with, or say whether or not you think something like this should happen in the future. Thank you for reading!
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