Capturing Towns in Vestitas

Many of the towns in Vestitas can be captured as a result of engaging with the adventures associated with their hex, as often the town government is in on or targeted by whatever conspiracy is afoot. When that doesn’t happen, however, characters may capture towns with pure military force. This requires two things: To clear out the current forces holding the town, and to install new ones behind.

Every hex encounter town in Vestitas is held by three forces. For the Imperium, these forces are the PDF, the Ecclesiarchy, and the Arbites. For Chaos territory, these forces are the Red Guard, Chaos sorcerers, and the Praetorians. Every town has a single squad of PDF/Red Guard with a chimera, an Ecclesiarchy preacher or Chaos sorcerer, and a pair of Arbites or Praetorians, plus the Lord Mayor, who is either a noble or a warlord. Once the first three (PDF, Ecclesiarchy, and Arbites or Red Guard, sorcerer, and Praetorians) have been defeated, the Lord Mayor will flee, although if he ends up being killed in the fracas, that works too.

Either way, once the players have cleaned the town out, they must drop a squad of at least a half-dozen of their own loyal minions on the town to provide the muscle. Providing a spiritual leader and someone to investigate crimes that dumb-as-bricks paramilitaries can’t figure out is optional, but encouraged.

Are You Ten Thousand People?

Here’s something that happens way too often: People will come to a thread asking for advice and give their opinion. Worse still, sometimes someone will post advice that applies to general markets, and then a second someone will post their opinion as a counterpoint. Even if the first person is just making a guess about market trends based on their anecdotal experience, they are still actually trying to help the creator who asked the question. Someone who posts their opinion is implicitly claiming that a creator’s goal should be to cater to their tastes, specifically, or at best the tastes of whatever half-dozen random yahoos first walk into the Reddit/forum thread where the advice was posted.

Some creators are hoping to appeal to a broad audience of strangers in hopes of making a career out of their passion. Others have a more specific audience in mind, maybe some personal friends or what-have-you. In the latter case, no amount of personal opinions from random strangers will be at all helpful. In the former case, only the aggregated opinions of many thousands of strangers matters at all. If the creator is a writer trying to make a living self-publishing and they sell their books for $6.99 each and see about $5 of that in actual income, and if they’re writing one book per year, they need about ten thousand fans buying each book to make an average-ish annual income of $50k. If that writer asks for advice on their latest project and you walk in and give your personal opinion without even bothering to think whether or not anyone else shares it, the immediately relevant question is: Are you ten thousand people? No? Then shut up.

The Rejuvenation Pit

The magical doodad in this one involves age reversal. You can pick up some penalties if you sacrifice too many people to the pit and get yourself bumped down to fifteen years old. This immediately begs the question: Why can’t you get stat bonuses for going from 30s or 40s back to your 20s? How come there’s penalties for messing up, but no benefits for actually using the pit correctly? The answer is that characters who are already in their 20s would be unable to get those bonuses, which would be unfairly penalizing them, because it’s not like they got more characteristics at chargen or anything.

Additionally, I expect few parties will end up stumbling into the penalties, whereas many parties would figure out how to get themselves the bonuses. This means that characteristic bonuses could be had for the low price of snuffing a few Chaos sorcerers, which would benefit people who rely on those characteristics a lot (like melee builds) while being barely noticeable to people who don’t tend to use them in the first place (like ranged builds, face builds, psyker builds – anyone for whom being in melee means something has gone horribly wrong, and 5 extra points of Toughness and Strength won’t change that). It’s not like it’s a short-lived bonus, or one that requires a lot of effort to acquire.

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This Would Be A New Low In Advertising If It Weren’t For Evony

Google likes to serve me up ads for mobile games, since I do occasionally play them, usually just to have something to keep my hands busy while I listen to podcasts. This is how I ended up playing and subsequently hating Galaxy of Heroes. That’s not nearly as bad as this can get, though. Today I saw an ad for a game called “Galaxy War” (or maybe “Galactic War,” it’s hard to tell since the name is so generic that it’s buried in the store, thank God) that’s almost literally an asset flip of Unity’s free Space Shooter Tutorial. Now, it’s not quite an asset flip, since it does include some online leaderboard stuff that isn’t in the original tutorial, but the actual assets and gameplay are identical. They added some bells and whistles (probably Skinner box in nature) and called it a day.

Asset flipping isn’t new, but I got served up a video ad for this one while playing another (unrelated) mobile game. Usually this level of amateur hour sham shows don’t have an advertising budget. Like, Final Fantasy XV: A New Empire is just a Game of War clone (which is, itself, only slightly modified from Evony, which has been blighting the internet for nearly a decade now), but it’s at least got new assets. It might be copying Canadian Devil-grade fun-free mechanics that profit exclusively off of gambling addicts and advertising itself with a tower defense ad “demo” despite having no such gameplay in the actual game, but at least on the surface it appears to be an actual game of some kind. They don’t actually advertise the fact that their game is brazen theft.

I Hate EA So Much

In 2015 Electronic Arts, the sole licensees for Star Wars video games, released a Star Wars game that was completely crippled by insultingly expensive loot box mechanics to unlock your favorite characters. As an example: unlocking Darth Vader, while theoretically possible in normal gameplay, would require an enormous investment of time, or alternatively you could buy a couple of loot boxes and hope he pops out. The game I’m referring to is, of course, Galaxy of Heroes, because Battlefront II 2017 was released in 2017.

Side note: Why couldn’t they just keep up the numbering on the Battlefront games? It’s not like there’s an evolving plot to stay on top of. Calling Battlefront 2015 just “Battlefront” (we had to append the year ourselves) rather than Battlefront III didn’t signal a reboot of the franchise or anything. There’s nothing to reboot. You’re either a rebel soldier or a storm trooper, you fight battles on different planets, go. Every release is going to cover the same plot in the same eras, with possibly the exception of newer games including Resistance vs. First Order in addition to Rebel Alliance vs. Empire and Republic vs. Confederacy. Maybe you add some new units or game modes, but there’s not an ongoing story to reboot. Every single one of the games is already its own retelling of the Star Wars octilogy (and counting).

Whining aside (note from ed: this is a filthy lie, whining will remain front and center for the duration of the post), Galaxy of Heroes bugs me because it seems like it might actually be a well made game with a reasonably fun (if blatantly pandering) premise, but then it does the usual mobile game thing where actually playing the game at a reasonable pace requires blatantly extortionate amounts of money.

Continue reading “I Hate EA So Much”