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Some Background and Thoughts on FPGAs

I have been lurking on this board for a few years. I decided the other day to finally create an account so I could come out of lurk mode. As you might guess from my id I was able to retire at the beginning of this year on a significantly accelerated timetable thanks to the 20x return from my AMD stock and option investments since 2016.
I spent my career working on electronics and software for the satellite industry. We made heavy use of FPGAs and more often than not Xilinx FPGAs since they had a radiation tolerant line. I thought I would summarize some of the ways they were used in and around the development process. My experience is going to be very different than the datacenter settings in the last few years. The AI and big data stuff was a pipe dream back then.
In the olden times of the 90s we used CPUs which unlike modern processors did not include much in the way of I/O and memory controller. The computer board designs graduated from CPU + a bunch of ICs (much like the original IBM PC design) to a CPU + Xilinx FPGA + RAM + ROM and maybe a 5V or 3.3V linear voltage regulator. Those old FPGAs were programmed before they were soldered to the PCB using a dedicated programming unit attached to a PC. Pretty much the same way ROMs were programmed. At the time FPGAs gate capacity was small enough that it was still feasible to design their implementation using schematics. An engineer would draw up logic gates and flip-flops just like you would if using discrete logic ICs and then compile it to the FPGA binary and burn it to the FPGA using a programmer box like a ROM. If you screwed it up you had to buy another FPGA chip, they were not erasable. The advantage of using the FPGA is that it was common to implement a custom I/O protocol to talk to other FPGAs, on other boards, which might be operating A/D and D/A converters and digital I/O driver chips. As the FPGA gate capacities increased the overall board count could be decreased.
With the advent of much larger FPGAs that were in-circuit re-programmable they began to be used for prototyping ASIC designs. One project I worked on was developing a radiation hardened PowerPC processor ASIC with specialized I/O. A Xilinx FPGA was used to test the implementation at approximately half-speed. The PowerPC core was licensed IP and surrounded with bits that were developed in VHDL. In the satellite industry the volumes are typically not high enough to warrant developing ASICs but they could be fabbed on a rad-hard process while the time large capacity re-programmable FPGAs were not. Using FPGAs for prototyping the ASIC was essential because you only had one chance to get the ASIC right, it was cost and schedule prohibitive to do any respins.
Another way re-programmable FPGAs were used was for test equipment and ground stations. The flight hardware had these custom designed ASICs of all sorts which generally created data streams that would transmitted down from space. It was advantageous to test the boards without the full set of downlink and receiver hardware so a commercial FPGA board in a PC would be used to hook into the data bus in place of the radio. Similarly other test equipment would be made which emulated the data stream from the flight hardware so that the radio hardware could be tested independently. Finally the ground stations would often use FPGAs to pull in the digital data stream from the receiver radio and process the data in real-time. These FPGAs were typically programmed using VHDL but as tools progressed it became possible to program to program the entire PC + FPGA board combination using LabView or Simulink which also handled the UI. In the 2000s it was even possible to program a real-time software defined radio using these tools.
As FPGAs progressed they became much more sophisticated. Instead of only having to specify whether an I/O pin was digital input or output you could choose between high speed, low speed, serdes, analog etc. Instead of having to interface to external RAM chips they began to include banks of internal RAM. That is because FPGAs were no longer just gate arrays but included a quantity of "hard-core" functionality. The natural progression of FPGAs with hard cores brings them into direct competition with embedded processor SOCs. At the same time embedded SOCs have gained flexibility with I/O pin assignment which is very similar to what FPGAs allow.
It is important to understand that in the modern era of chip design the difference between the teams that AMD and Xilinx has for chip design is primarily at the architecture level. Low level design and validation are going to largely be the same (although they may be using different tools and best practices). There are going to be some synergies in process and there is going to be some flexibility in having more teams capable of bringing chips to market. They are going to be able to commingle the best practices between the two which is going to be a net boost to productivity for one side or the other or both. Furthermore AMD will have access to Xilinx FPGAs for design validation at cost and perhaps ahead of release and Xilinx will be able to leverage AMD's internal server clouds. The companies will also have access to a greater number of Fellow level architects and process gurus. Also AMD has internally developed IP blocks that Xilinx could leverage and vice versa. Going forward there would be savings on externally licensed IP blocks as well.
AI is all the rage these days but there are many other applications for generic FPGAs and for including field programmable gates in sophisticated SOCs. As the grand convergence continues I would not be surprised at all to see FPGA as much a key component to future chips as graphics are in an APU. If Moore’s law is slowing down then the ability to reconfigure the circuitry on the fly is a potential mitigation. At some point being able to reallocate the transistor budget on the fly is going to win out over adding more and more fixed functionality. Going a bit down the big.little path what if a core could be reconfigured on the fly to be integer heavy or 64 bit float heavy within the same transistor budget. Instead of dedicated video encodedecoders or AVX 512 that sits dark most of the time the OS can gin it up on demand. In a laptop or phone setting this could be a big improvement.
If anybody has questions I'd be happy to answer. I'm sure there are a number of other posters here with a background in electronics and chip design who can weigh in as well.
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The Challenges of Designing a Modern Skill, Part 3

Okay, Wendy’s or Walgreens or whoever, I don’t care who you are, you’re listening to the rest.

Introduction to Part 3

Welcome back one last time to “The Challenges of Designing a Modern Skill,” a series where we discuss all aspects of skill design and development. In Part 1, we talked about OSRS’s history with skills, and started the lengthy conversation on Skill Design Philosophy, including the concepts of Core, Expansion, and Integration. This latter topic consumed the entirety of Part 2 as well, which covered Rewards and Motivations, Progression, Buyables, as well as Unconstructive Arguments.
Which brings us to today, the final part of our discussion. In this Part 3, we’ll finish up Section 3 – Skill Design Philosophy, then move on to chat about the design and blog process. One last time, this discussion was intended to be a single post, but its length outgrew the post character limit twice. Therefore, it may be important to look at the previous two parts for clarity and context with certain terms. The final product, in its purest, aesthetic, and unbroken form, can be found here.

3-C – Skill Design Philosophy, Continued

3-12 - Balancing

What follows from the discussion about XP and costs, of course, is balancing: the bane of every developer. A company like Riot knows better than anyone that having too many factors to account for makes good balance impossible. Balancing new ideas appropriately is extremely challenging and requires a great respect for current content as discussed in Section 3-5 – Integration. Thankfully, in OSRS we only have three major balancing factors: Profit, XP Rate, and Intensity, and two minor factors: Risk and Leniency. These metrics must amount to some sense of balance (besides Leniency, which as we’ll see is the definition of anti-balance) in order for a piece of content to feel like it’s not breaking the system or rendering all your previous efforts meaningless. It’s also worthy to note that there is usually a skill-specific limit to the numerical values of these metrics. For example, Runecrafting will never receive a training method that grants 200k xp/hr, while for Construction that’s easily on the lower end of the scale.
A basic model works better than words to describe these factors, and therefore, being the phenomenal artist that I am, I have constructed one, which I’ve dubbed “The Guthix Scale.” But I’ll be cruel and use words anyway.
  • Profit: how much you gain from a task, or how much you lose. Gain or loss can include resources, cosmetics, specialized currencies, good old gold pieces, or anything on that line.
  • XP Rate: how fast you gain XP.
  • Intensity: how much effort (click intensity), attention (reaction intensity), and thought (planning intensity) you need to put into the activity to perform it well.
  • Risk: how likely is the loss of your revenue and/or resource investment into the activity. Note that one must be careful with risk, as players are very good at abusing systems intended to encourage higher risk levels to minimize how much they’re actually risking.
  • Leniency: a measure for how imbalanced a piece of content can be before the public and/or Jagex nerfs it. Leniency serves as a simple modulator to help comprehend when the model breaks or bends in unnatural ways, and is usually determined by how enjoyable and abusable an activity is, such that players don’t want to cause an outrage over it. For example, Slayer has a high level of Leniency; people don’t mind that some Slayer tasks grant amazing XP Rates, great Profits, have middling Intensity, and low Risk. On the other hand, Runecrafting has low levels of Leniency; despite low Risk, many Runecrafting activities demand high Intensity for poor XP Rates and middling Profits.
In the end, don’t worry about applying specific numbers during the conceptual phase of your skill design. However, when describing an activity to your reader, it’s always useful if you give approximations, such as “high intensity” or “low risk,” so that they get an idea of the activity’s design goals as well as to guide the actual development of that activity. Don’t comment on the activity’s Leniency though, as that would be pretty pretentious and isn’t for you to determine anyway.

3-13 - Skill Bloat

What do the arts of weaving, tanning, sowing, spinning, pottery, glassmaking, jewellery, engraving, carving, chiselling, carpentry, and even painting have in common? In real life, there’s only so much crossover between these arts, but in Runescape they’re all simply Crafting.
The distinction between what deserves to be its own skill or instead tagged along to a current skill is often arbitrary; this is the great challenge of skill bloat. The fundamental question for many skill concepts is: does this skill have enough depth to stand on its own? The developers of 2006 felt that there was sufficient depth in Construction to make it something separate from Crafting, even if the latter could have covered the former. While there’s often no clean cut between these skills (why does making birdhouses use Crafting instead of Construction?), it is easy to see that Construction has found its own solid niche that would’ve been much too big to act as yet another Expansion of Crafting.
On the other hand, a skill with extremely limited scope and value perhaps should be thrown under the umbrella of a larger skill. Take Firemaking: it’s often asked why it deserves to be its own skill given how limited its uses are. This is one of those ideas that probably should have just been thrown under Crafting or even Woodcutting. But again, the developers who made early Runescape did not battle with the same ideas as the modern player; they simply felt like Firemaking was a good idea for a skill. Similarly, the number of topics that the Magic skill covers is so often broken down in other games, like Morrowind’s separation between Illusion, Conjuration, Alteration, Destruction, Mysticism, Restoration, Enchant, Alchemy (closer to Herblore), and Unarmored (closer to Strength and Defense). Why does Runescape not break Magic into more skills? The answer is simple: Magic was created with a much more limited scope in Runescape, and there has not been enough content in any specific magical category to justify another skill being born. But perhaps your skill concept seeks to address this; maybe your Enchantment skill takes the enchanting aspects of Magic away, expands the idea to include current imbues and newer content, and fully fleshes the idea out such that the Magic skill alone cannot contain it. Somewhat ironically, Magic used to be separated into Good and Evil Magic skills in Runescape Classic, but that is another topic.
So instead of arguments about what could be thrown under another skill’s umbrella, perhaps we should be asking: is there enough substance to this skill concept for it to stand on its own, outside of its current skill categorization? Of course, this leads to a whole other debate about how much content is enough for a skill idea to deserve individuality, but that would get too deep into specifics and is outside the scope of this discussion.

3-14 - Skill Endgame

Runescape has always been a sandbox MMO, but the original Runescape experience was built more or less with a specific endgame in mind: killing players and monsters. Take the Runescape Classic of 2001: you had all your regular combat skills, but even every other skill had an endgame whose goal was helping combat out. Fishing, Firemaking, and Cooking would provide necessary healing. Smithing and Crafting, along with their associated Gathering skill partners, served to gear you up. Combat was the simple endgame and most mechanics existed to serve that end.
However, since those first days, the changing endgame goals of players have promoted a vast expansion of the endgame goals of new content. For example, hitting a 99 in any non-combat skill is an endgame goal in itself for many players, completely separate from that skill’s combat relationship (if any). These goals have increased to aspects like cosmetic collections, pets, maxed stats, all quests completed, all diaries completed, all music tracks unlocked, a wealthy bank, the collection log, boss killcounts, and more. Whereas skills used to have a distinct part of a system that ultimately served combat, we now have a vast variety of endgame goals that a skill can be directed towards. You can even see a growth in this perspective as new skills were released up to 2007: Thieving mainly nets you valuable (or once valuable) items which have extremely flexible uses, and Construction has a strong emphasis on cosmetics for your POH.
So when designing your new skill, contemplate what the endgame of your skill looks like. For example, if you are proposing a Gathering skill, what is the Production skill tie-in, and what is the endgame goal of that Production skill? Maybe your new skill Spelunking has an endgame in gathering rare collectibles that can be shown off in your POH. Maybe your new skill Necromancy functions like a Support skill, giving you followers that help speed along resource gathering, and letting you move faster to the endgame goal of the respective Production skill. Whatever it is, a proper, clear, and unified view of an endgame goal helps a skill feel like it serves a distinct and valuable purpose. Note that this could mean that you require multiple skills to be released simultaneously for each to feed into each other and form an appropriate endgame. In that case, go for it – don’t make it a repeat of RS3’s Divination, a Gathering skill left hanging without the appropriate Production skill partner of Invention for over 2 years.
A good example of a skill with a direct endgame is… most of them. Combat is a well-accepted endgame, and traditionally, most skills are intended to lend a hand in combat whether by supplies or gear. A skill with a poor endgame would be Hunter: Hunter is so scattered in its ultimate endgame goals, trying to touch on small aspects of everything like combat gear, weight reduction, production, niche skilling tools, and food. There’s a very poor sense of identity to Hunter’s endgame, and it doesn’t help that very few of these rewards are actually viable or interesting in the current day. Similarly, while Slayer has a strong endgame goal it is terrible in its methodology, overshadowing other Production skills in their explicit purpose. A better design for Slayer’s endgame would have been to treat it as a secondary Gathering skill, to work almost like a catalyst for other Gathering-Production skill relationships. In this mindset, Slayer is where you gather valuable monster drops, combine it with traditional Gathering resources like ores from Mining, then use a Production skill like Smithing to meld them into the powerful gear that is present today. This would have kept other Gathering and Production skills at the forefront of their specialities, in contrast to today’s situation where Slayer will give fully assembled gear that’s better than anything you could receive from the appropriate skills (barring a few items that need a Production skill to piece together).

3-15 - Alternate Goals

From a game design perspective, skills are so far reaching that it can be tempting to use them to shift major game mechanics to a more favourable position. Construction is an example of this idea in action: Construction was very intentionally designed to be a massive gold sink to help a hyperinflating economy. Everything about it takes gold out of the game, whether through using a sawmill, buying expensive supplies from stores, adding rooms, or a shameless piece of furniture costing 100m that is skinned as, well, 100m on a shameless piece of furniture.
If you’re clever about it, skills are a legitimately good opportunity for such change. Sure, the gold sink is definitely a controversial feature of Construction, but for the most part it’s organic and makes sense; fancy houses and fancy cosmetics are justifiably expensive. It is notable that the controversy over Construction’s gold sink mechanism is probably levied more against the cost of training, rather than the cost of all its wonderful aesthetics. Perhaps that should have been better accounted for in its design phase, but now it is quite set in stone.
To emphasize that previous point: making large scale changes to the game through a new skill can work, but it must feel organic and secondary to the skill’s main purpose. Some people really disliked Warding because they felt it tried too hard to fix real, underlying game issues with mechanics that didn’t thematically fit or were overshadowing the skill’s Core. While this may or may not be true, if your new skill can improve the game’s integrity without sacrificing its own identity, you could avoid this argument entirely. If your skill Regency has a Core of managing global politics, but also happens to serve as a resource sink to help your failing citizens, then you’ve created a strong Core design while simultaneously improving the profitability of Gathering skills.

3-16 - The Combat No-Touch Rule

So, let’s take a moment to examine the great benefits and rationale of RS2’s Evolution of Combat:
This space has been reserved for unintelligible squabbling.
With that over, it’s obvious that the OSRS playerbase is not a big fan of making major changes to the combat system. If there’s anything that defines the OSRS experience, it has to be the janky and abusable combat system that we love. So, in the past 7 years of OSRS, how many times have you heard someone pitch a new combat skill? Practically no one ever has; a new combat skill, no matter how miniscule, would feel obtrusive to most players, and likely would not even receive 25% of votes in a poll. This goes right back to Section 3-5 – Integration, and the importance of preserving the fundamentals of OSRS’s design.
I know that my intention with this discussion was to be as definitive about skill design as possible, and in that spirit I should be delving into the design philosophy specifically behind combat skills, but I simply don’t see the benefit of me trying, and the conversation really doesn’t interest me that much. It goes without saying that as expansive as this discussion is, it does not cover every facet of skill design, which is a limitation both of my capabilities and desire to do so.

3-17 - Aesthetics

I don’t do aesthetics well. I like them, I want them, but I do not understand them; there are others much better equipped to discuss this topic than I. Nonetheless, here we go.
Since the dawn of OSRS, debates over art style and aesthetics have raged across Gielinor. After all, the OSRS Team is filled with modern day artists while OSRS is an ancient game. What were they supposed to do? Keep making dated graphics? Make content with a modernized and easily digestible style? Something in-between?
While many players shouted for more dated graphics, they were approached by an interesting predicament: which dated graphics did they want? We had a great selection present right from the start of OSRS: 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007. People hungry for nostalgia chose the era that they grew up in, leading to frequent requests for older models like the dragon or imp, most of which were denied by Jagex (except the old Mining rock models). But which era was OSRS supposed to follow?
Jagex elected to carve their own path, but not without heavy criticism especially closer to OSRS’s conception. However, they adapted to player requests and have since gone back and fixed many of the blatant early offenders (like the Kingdom of Kourend) and adopted a more consistent flavour, one that generally respects the art style of 2007. Even though it doesn’t always hit the mark, one has to appreciate the OSRS artists for making their best attempt and listening to feedback, and here’s to hoping that their art style examination mentioned in June 2020’s Gazette bears fruit.
But what exactly is the old school art style? There are simple systems by which most players judge it in OSRS, usually by asking questions like, “Would you believe if this existed in 2007?” More informed artists will start pointing out distinct features that permeated most content from back in the day, such as low quality textures, low poly models, low FPS animations, a “low fantasy” or grounded profile that appeals somewhat to realism, reducing cartoonish exaggerations, and keeping within the lore. Compiled with this, music and sound design help that art style come to life; it can be very hard on immersion when these don’t fit. An AGS would sound jarring if its special attack sounded like a weak dagger stab, and having to endure Country Jig while roaming Hosidius suddenly sweeps you off into a different universe.
But coming back to skill design, the art, models, and sound design tend to be some of the last features, mostly because the design phase doesn’t demand such a complete picture of a skill. However, simple concept art and models can vastly improve how a skill concept is communicated and comfort players who are concerned about maintaining that “old school feel.” This will be touched on again later in this discussion under Section 5-2 – Presentation and Beta Testing.

3-18 - Afterword

Now we’ve set down the modern standards for a new skill, but the statements that started this section bear repeating: the formula we’ve established does not automatically make a good or interesting skill, as hard as we might have tried. Once again, harken back to the First Great Irony: that we are trying to inject the modern interpretation of what defines a skill upon a game that was not necessarily built to contain it. Therefore, one could just as easily deny each of the components described above, as popular or unpopular as the act might be, and their opinion could be equally valid and all this effort meaningless. Don’t take these guidelines with such stringency as to disregard all other views.

5-0 - The OSRS Team and the Design Process

If you’ve followed me all the way here, you’re likely A) exhausted and fed up of any conversation concerning new skills, or B) excited, because you’ve just struck an incredible skill idea (or perhaps one that’s always hung around your head) that happens to tick off all the above checkboxes. But unfortunately for you B types, it’s about to get pretty grim, because we’re going to go through every aspect of skill design that’s exterior to the game itself. We’ll be touching on larger topics like democracy, presentation, player mindsets, effort, and resource consumption. It’ll induce a fantastic bout of depression, so don’t get left behind.

5-1 - Designing a Skill

Thus far, Jagex has offered three potential skills to OSRS, each of which has been denied. This gives us the advantage of understanding how the skill design process works behind the scenes and lets us examine some of the issues Jagex has faced with presenting a skill to the players.
The first problem is the “one strike and you’re out” phenomenon. Simply put, players don’t like applying much effort into reading and learning. They’ll look at a developer blog highlighting a new skill idea, and if you’re lucky they’ll even read the whole thing, but how about the second developer blog? The third? Fourth? Even I find it hard to get that far. In general, people don’t like long detail-heavy essays or blogs, which is why I can invoke the ancient proverb “Ban Emily” into this post and it’ll go (almost) completely unnoticed. No matter how many improvements you make between developer blogs, you will quickly lose players with each new iteration. Similarly, developer blogs don’t have the time to talk about skill design philosophy or meta-analyse their ideas – players would get lost far too fast. This is the Second Great Irony of skill design: the more iterations you have of a lengthy idea, the less players will keep up with you.
This was particularly prominent with Warding: Battle Wards were offered in an early developer blog but were quickly cut when Jagex realized how bad the idea was. Yet people would still cite Battle Wards as the reason they voted against Warding, despite the idea having been dropped several blogs before. Similarly, people would often comment that they hated that Warding was being polled multiple times; it felt to them like Jagex was trying to brute-force it into the game. But Warding was only ever polled once, and only after the fourth developer blog - the confusion was drawn from how many times the skill was reiterated and from the length of the public design process. Sure, there are people for whom this runs the opposite way; they keep a close eye on updates and judge a piece of content on the merits of the latest iteration, but this is much less common. You could argue that one should simply disregard the ignorant people as blind comments don't contribute to the overall discussion, but you should remember that these players are also the ones voting for the respective piece of content. You could also suggest re-educating them, which is exactly what Jagex attempts with each developer blog, and still people won’t get the memo. And when it comes to the players themselves, can the playerbase really be relied on to re-educate itself?
Overall, the Second Great irony really hurts the development process and is practically an unavoidable issue. What’s the alternative? To remove the developer-player interface that leads to valuable reiterations, or does you simply have to get the skill perfect in the first developer blog?
It’s not an optimal idea, but it could help: have a small team of “delegates” – larger names that players can trust, or player influencers – come in to review a new, unannounced skill idea under NDA. If they like it, chances are that other players will too. If they don’t, reiterate or toss out the skill before it’s public. That way, you’ve had a board of experienced players who are willing to share their opinions to the public helping to determine the meat and potatoes of the skill before it is introduced to the casual eye. Now, a more polished and well-accepted product can be presented on the first run of selling a skill to the public, resulting in less reiterations being required, and demanding less effort from the average player to be fully informed over the skill’s final design.

5-2 - Presentation and Beta Testing

So you’ve got a great idea, but how are you going to sell it to the public? Looking at how the OSRS Team has handled it throughout the years, there’s a very obvious learning curve occurring. Artisan had almost nothing but text blogs being thrown to the players, Sailing started introducing some concept art and even a trailer with terrible audio recording, and Warding had concept art, in game models, gifs, and a much fancier trailer with in-game animations. A picture or video is worth a thousand words, and often the only words that players will take out of a developer blog.
You might say that presentation is everything, and that would be more true in OSRS than most games. Most activities in OSRS are extremely basic, involve minimal thought, and are incredibly grindy. Take Fishing: you click every 20 seconds on a fishing spot that is randomly placed along a section of water, get rid of your fish, then keep clicking those fishing spots. Boiling it down further, you click several arbitrary parts of your computer screen every 20 seconds. It’s hardly considered engaging, so why do some people enjoy it? Simply put: presentation. You’re given a peaceful riverside environment to chill in, you’re collecting a bunch of pixels shaped like fish, and a number tracking your xp keeps ticking up and telling you that it matters.
Now imagine coming to the players with a radical new skill idea: Mining. You describe that Mining is where you gather ores that will feed into Smithing and help create gear for players to use. The audience ponders momentarily, but they’re not quite sure it feels right and ask for a demonstration. You show them some gameplay, but your development resources were thin and instead of rocks, you put trees as placeholders. Instead of ores in your inventory, you put logs as placeholders. Instead of a pickaxe, your character is swinging a woodcutting axe as a placeholder. Sure, the mechanics might act like mining instead of woodcutting, but how well is the skill going to sell if you haven’t presented it correctly or respected it contextually?
Again, presentation is everything. Players need to be able to see the task they are to perform, see the tools they’ll use, and see the expected outcomes; otherwise, whatever you’re trying to sell will feel bland and unoriginal. And this leads to the next level of skill presentation that has yet to be employed: Beta Worlds.
Part of getting the feel of an activity is not just watching, it but acting it out as well - you’ll never understand the thrill of skydiving unless you’ve actually been skydiving. Beta Worlds are that chance for players to act out a concept without risking the real game’s health. A successful Beta can inspire confidence in players that the skill has a solid Core and interesting Expansions, while a failed Beta will make them glad that they got to try it and be fully informed before putting the skill to a poll (although that might be a little too optimistic for rage culture). Unfortunately, Betas are not without major disadvantages, the most prominent of which we shall investigate next.

5-3 - Development Effort

If you thought that the previous section on Skill Design Philosophy was lengthy and exhausting, imagine having to know all that information and then put it into practice. Mentally designing a skill in your head can be fun, but putting all that down on paper and making it actually work together, feel fully fleshed out, and following all the modern standards that players expect is extremely heavy work, especially when it’s not guaranteed to pay off in the polls like Quest or Slayer content. That’s not even taking into account the potentially immense cost of developing a new skill should it pass a poll.
Whenever people complain that Jagex is wasting their resources trying to make that specific skill work, Jagex has been very explicit about the costs to pull together a design blog being pretty minimal. Looking at the previous blogs, Jagex is probably telling the truth. It’s all just a bunch of words, a couple art sketches, and maybe a basic in-game model or gif. Not to downplay the time it takes to write well, design good models, or generate concept art, but it’s nothing like the scale of resources that some players make it out to be. Of course, if a Beta was attempted as suggested last section, this conversation would take a completely new turn, and the level of risk to invested resources would exponentially increase. But this conversation calls to mind an important question: how much effort and resources do skills require to feel complete?
Once upon a time, you could release a skill which was more or less unfinished. Take Slayer: it was released in 2005 with a pretty barebones structure. The fundamentals were all there, but the endgame was essentially a couple cool best-in-slot weapons and that was it. Since then, OSRS has updated the skill to include a huge Reward Shop system, feature 50% more monsters to slay, and to become an extremely competitive money-maker. Skills naturally undergo development over time, but it so often comes up during the designing of an OSRS skill that it "doesn't have enough to justify its existence." This was touched on deeply in Section 3-13 – Skill Bloat, but deserves reiterating here. While people recognize that skills continually evolve, the modern standard expects a new skill, upon release, to be fully preassembled before purchase. Whereas once you could get away with releasing just a skill's Core and working on Expansions down the line, that is no longer the case. But perhaps a skill might stand a better chance now than it did last year, given that the OSRS Team has doubled in number since that time.
However, judging from the skill design phases that have previously been attempted (as we’ve yet to see a skill development phase), the heaviest cost has been paid in developer mentality and motivational loss. When a developer is passionate about an idea, they spend their every waking hour pouring their mind into how that idea is going to function, especially while they’re not at work. And then they’re obligated to take player feedback and adapt their ideas, sometimes starting from scratch, particularly over something as controversial as a skill. Even if they have tough enough skin to take the heavy criticism that comes with skill design, having to write and rewrite repeatedly over the same idea to make it “perfect” is mentally exhausting. Eventually, their motivation drains as their labour bears little fruit with the audience, and they simply want to push it to the poll and be done with it. Even once all their cards are down, there’s still no guarantee that their efforts will be rewarded, even less so when it comes to skills.
With such a high mental cost with a low rate of success, you have to ask, “Was it worth it?” And that’s why new skill proposals are far and few between. A new skill used to be exciting for the development team in the actual days of 2007, as they had the developmental freedom to do whatever they wanted, but in the modern day that is not so much the case.

5-4 - The Problems of Democracy

Ever since the conceptualization of democracy in the real world, people have been very aware of its disadvantages. And while I don’t have the talent, knowledge, or time to discuss every one of these factors, there are a few that are very relevant when it comes to the OSRS Team and the polling process.
But first we should recognize the OSRS Team’s relationship with the players. More and more, the Team acts like a government to its citizens, the players, and although this situation was intentionally instated with OSRS’s release, it’s even more prominent now. The Team decides the type of content that gets to go into a poll, and the players get their input over whether that particular piece makes it in. Similarly, players make suggestions to the Team that, in many cases, the Team hadn’t thought of themselves. This synergy is phenomenal and almost unheard of among video games, but the polling system changes the mechanics of this relationship.
Polls were introduced to the burned and scarred population of players at OSRS’s release in 2013. Many of these players had just freshly come off RS2 after a series of disastrous updates or had quit long before from other controversies. The Squeal of Fortune, the Evolution of Combat, even the original Wilderness Removal had forced numerous players out and murdered their trust in Jagex. To try and get players to recommit to Runescape, Jagex offered OSRS a polling system by which the players would determine what went into the game, where the players got to hold all the cards. They also asked the players what threshold should be required for polled items to pass, and among the odd 50% or 55% being shouted out, the vast majority of players wanted 70%, 75%, 80%, or even 85%. There was a massive population in favour of a conservative game that would mostly remain untouched, and therefore kept pure from the corruption RS2 had previously endured.
Right from the start, players started noticing holes in this system. After all, the OSRS Team was still the sole decider of what would actually be polled in the first place. Long-requested changes took forever to be polled (if ever polled at all) if the OSRS Team didn’t want to deal with that particular problem or didn’t like that idea. Similarly, the Team essentially had desk jobs with a noose kept around their neck – they could perform almost nothing without the players, their slave masters, seeing, criticizing, and tearing out every inch of developmental or visionary freedom they had. Ever hear about the controversy of Erin the duck? Take a look at the wiki or do a search through the subreddit history. It’s pretty fantastic, and a good window into the minds of the early OSRS playerbase.
But as the years have gone on, the perspective of the players has shifted. There is now a much healthier and more trusting relationship between them and the Team, much more flexibility in what the players allow the Team to handle, and a much greater tolerance and even love of change.
But the challenges of democracy haven’t just fallen away. Everyone having the right to vote is a fundamental tenet of the democratic system, but unfortunately that also means that everyone has the right to vote. For OSRS, that means that every member, whether it’s their first day in game, their ten thousandth hour played, those who have no idea about what the poll’s about, those who haven’t read a single quest (the worst group), those who RWT and bot, those who scam and lure, and every professional armchair developer like myself get to vote. In short, no one will ever be perfectly informed on every aspect of the game, or at least know when to skip when they should. Similarly, people will almost never vote in favour of making their game harder, even at the cost of game integrity, or at least not enough people would vote in such a fashion to reach a 75% majority.
These issues are well recognized. The adoption of the controversial “integrity updates” was Jagex’s solution to these problems. In this way, Jagex has become even more like a government to the players. The average citizen of a democratic country cannot and will not make major decisions that favour everyone around themselves if it comes at a personal cost. Rather, that’s one of the major roles of a government: to make decisions for changes for the common good that an individual can’t or won’t make on their own. No one’s going to willingly hand over cash to help repave a road on the opposite side of the city – that’s why taxes are a necessary evil. It’s easy to see that the players don’t always know what’s best for their game and sometimes need to rely on that parent to decide for them, even if it results in some personal loss.
But players still generally like the polls, and Jagex still appears to respect them for the most part. Being the government of the game, Jagex could very well choose to ignore them, but would risk the loss of their citizens to other lands. And there are some very strong reasons to keep them: the players still like having at least one hand on the wheel when it comes to new content or ideas. Also, it acts as a nice veto card should Jagex try to push RS3’s abusive tactics on OSRS and therefore prevent such potential damage.
But now we come to the topic of today: the introduction of a new skill. Essentially, a new skill must pass a poll in order to enter the game. While it’s easy to say, “If a skill idea is good enough, it’ll pass the threshold,” that’s not entirely true. The only skill that could really pass the 75% mark is not necessarily a well-designed skill, but rather a crowd-pleasing skill. While the two aren’t mutually exclusive, the latter is far easier to make than the former. Take Dungeoneering: if you were to poll it today as an exact replica of RS2’s version, it would likely be the highest scoring skill yet, perhaps even passing, despite every criticism that’s been previously emphasized describing why it has no respect for the current definition of “skill.” Furthermore, a crowd-pleasing skill can easily fall prey to deindividualization of vision and result in a bland “studio skill” (in the same vein as a “studio film”), one that feels manufactured by a board of soulless machines rather than a director’s unique creation. This draws straight back to the afore-mentioned issues with democracy: that people A) don’t always understand what they’re voting for or against, and B) people will never vote for something that makes their game tougher or results in no benefit to oneself. Again, these were not issues in the old days of RS2, but are the problems we face with our modern standards and decision making systems.
The reality that must be faced is that the polling system is not an engine of creation nor is it a means of constructive feedback – it’s a system of judgement, binary and oversimplified in its methodology. It’s easy to interact with and requires no more than 10 seconds of a player’s time, a mere mindless moment, to decide the fate of an idea made by an individual or team, regardless of their deep or shallow knowledge of game mechanics, strong or weak vision of design philosophy, great or terrible understanding of the game’s history, and their awareness of blindness towards the modern community. It’s a system which disproportionately boils down the quality of discussion that is necessitated by a skill, which gives it the same significance as the question “Should we allow players to recolour the Rocky pet by feeding it berries?” with the only available answers being a dualistic “This idea is perfect and should be implemented exactly as outlined” or “This idea is terrible and should never be spoken of again.”
So what do you do? Let Jagex throw in whatever they want? Reduce the threshold, or reduce it just for skills? Make a poll that lists a bunch of skills and forces the players to choose one of them to enter the game? Simply poll the question, “Should we have a new skill?” then let Jagex decide what it is? Put more options on the scale of “yes” to “no” and weigh each appropriately? All these options sound distasteful because there are obvious weaknesses to each. But that is the Third Great Irony we face: an immense desire for a new skill, but no realistic means to ever get one.

6-0 - Conclusion

I can only imagine that if you’ve truly read everything up to this point, it’s taken you through quite the rollercoaster. We’ve walked through the history of OSRS skill attempts, unconstructive arguments, various aspects of modern skill design philosophy, and the OSRS Team and skill design process. When you take it all together, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the thought that needs to go into a modern skill and all the issues that might prevent its success. Complexity, naming conventions, categorizations, integration, rewards and motivations, bankstanding and buyables, the difficulties of skill bloat, balancing, and skill endgames, aesthetics, the design process, public presentation, development effort, democracy and polling - these are the challenges of designing and introducing modern skills. To have to cope with it all is draining and maybe even impossible, and therefore it begs the question: is trying to get a new skill even worth it?
Maybe.
Thanks for reading.
Tl;dr: Designing a modern skill requires acknowledging the vast history of Runescape, understanding why players make certain criticisms and what exactly they’re saying in terms of game mechanics, before finally developing solutions. Only then can you subject your ideas to a polling system that is built to oversimplify them.
submitted by ScreteMonge to 2007scape [link] [comments]

The 2020 Wreddit Census RESULTS!

Hey everyone!
We are excited to share the results of the 2020 Wreddit Census. 8,837 users took the time to submit their answers and we have been able to find some interesting statistics. Thank you to those who took the time to submit your response.
If you want to use the data yourself to draw your own findings or analysis, here is a link to the data as promised. There are some tabs on the bottom that look at specific factors that we found interesting.

1. Demographics

Gender
Gender 2020 2019 Change +/- Percent Change
Male 90.9% 91.4% -0.5% 0.54% decrease
Female 6.0% 6.3% -0.3% 4.7% decrease
Non-Binary 2% 1.5% +0.5% 33.3% increase
Prefer not to Say 0.7 0.6% +0.1% 16.6% increase
Ethnicity
Ethnicity 2020 2019 Change +/-
White 78.6% N/A N/A
Hispanic/Latino 9.9% N/A N/A
Asian 7.4% N/A N/A
Black/African-American 4.7% N/A N/A
Middle Eastern/North African 1.3% N/A N/A
American Indian or Alaskan Native 1.2% N/A N/A
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 0.4% N/A N/A
Other 1.9% N/A N/A
Prefer not to say 1% N/A N/A
Age
Average Age 2020 2019 Change +/-
Age 28.9 N/A N/A
The vast majority of users are in their late 20s and 30s.
Residence

Country do you reside in?

Country 2020 2019 Change +/- Percent Change
United States 59.9% 60.9% -1.0% 1.64% decrease
UK 13.8% 13.2% +0.6% 4.5% increase
Canada 7% 6.7% +0.3% 4.47% increase
Australia 3.7% 4.2% -0.5% 11.9% decrease
Note: all other countries under 2%
Living Situation (for users 25 and older)
Household 2020 2019 Change +/- Percent Change
Married and live with my spouse 28% N/A N/A N/A
I live alone 20% N/A N/A N/A
I am not married but I live with a significant other 18% N/A N/A N/A
I live with my parents 16% N/A N/A N/A
I live with Roommates 13% N/A N/A N/A
I live in a multigenerational setting 5% N/A N/A N/A
NOTE: We have a large number of teens and early 20 year olds on this sub. As a result, we felt it was best to eliminate everyone under the age of 25 for this measure as it would skew the data heavily due to the number of kids and college students.
Income Level USD (for non-married and non-living with significant other) (for users 25 and older)
Income 2020 2019 Change +/- Percent Change
Income $49,850/year N/A N/A N/A
NOTE: We have a large number of teens and early 20 year olds on this sub. As a result, we felt it was best to eliminate everyone under the age of 25 for this measure as it would skew the data heavily due to the number of kids and college students.

2. Watching Habits

How long have you watched wrestling?
Years 2020 2019 Change +/- Percent Change
Years 17 years N/A N/A N/A
What Cable TV/Streaming Services that you have?
Service 2020 2019 Change +/- Percent Change
Netflix 72.3% 84.4% -12.1 14.3% decrease
Amazon Prime 56.5% 57.4% -0.9 1.5% decrease
Disney Plus 39.5% N/A N/A N/A
Paid TV service 32.1% 45% -12.9 28.6% decrease
Hulu 34.1% 41% -6.9 16.8% decrease
HBO Max 13.8% N/A N/A N/A
none 10% N/A N/A N/A
Youtube TV 7.1% N/A N/A N/A
Sling TV 3.8% N/A N/A N/A
Hours of wrestling watched each week
Hours per Week 2020 2019 Change +/- Percent Change
Hours 4.06 N/A N/A N/A
Do you regularly watch Monday Night Raw?
Response 2020 2019 Change +/- Percent Change
No, I don't watch Raw regularly, but I do try to keep up with storylines and news 54.3% 49.3% +5 10.1% increase
No. I don't watch or follow Raw 17.5% 8.9% +8.6 96.6% increase
Yes I watch it weekly 16.1% 27.8% -11.7 42.08% decrease
Yes I occasionally watch it 12% 13.9% -1.9 13.6% decrease
How do you watch Raw (This question was ONLY asked of the respondents that said they watched Raw in some capacity)
Response 2020 2019 Change +/- Percent Change
I watch it LIVE through my cable TV provider 33.9% 45.6% -11.7 25.65% decrease
Through an unpaid stream or video website 22.9% 24.6% -1.7 6.9% decrease
I watch it LATER through DVR or OnDemand with my cable TV provider 13.9% N/A N/A N/A
I watch it LIVE through a stand alone paid streaming service (like Sling TV or Youtube TV) 12% N/A N/A N/A
I watch it LATER on DVR or OnDemand through a stand alone paid streaming service (like Sling TV or Youtube TV) 8% N/A N/A N/A
I only watch highlights, clips, or "streamables" 5.1% N/A N/A N/A
I watch it some other way not listed here 3.5% 16.6% -13.1% N/A
I wait a month and watch it on the WWE Network 0.7% 0.3% +0.4 133% increase
Note: More options were added this year, so the comparisons to 2019 may be flawed
Do you regularly watch Smackdown?
Response 2020 2019 Change +/- Percent Change
No, I don't watch Smackdown regularly, but I do try to keep up with storylines and news 53.1% 41.5% +11.6 27.9% increase
No. I don't watch or follow Smackdown 18.6% 8.3% +10.3 124.1% increase
Yes I watch it weekly 14.3% 31% -16.7 53.9% decrease
Yes I occasionally watch it 14% 19.2% -5.2 27.1% decrease
How do you watch Smackdown? (This question was ONLY asked of the respondents that said they watched Smackdown in some capacity)
Response 2020 2019 Change +/- Percent Change
I watch it LIVE through my cable TV provider 35.3% 42.5% -7.2 16.9% decrease
Through an unpaid stream or video website 22.2% 25.8% -5.6 21.7% decrease
I watch it LATER through DVR or OnDemand with my cable TV provider 15.1% N/A N/A N/A
I watch it LIVE through a stand alone paid streaming service (like Sling TV or Youtube TV) 8.8% N/A N/A N/A
I watch it LATER on DVR or OnDemand through a stand alone paid streaming service (like Sling TV or Youtube TV) 7.8% N/A N/A N/A
I only watch highlights, clips, or "streamables" 5.7% N/A N/A N/A
I watch it some other way not listed here 4.3% 18.1 -13.7 75.7% decrease
I wait a month and watch it on the WWE Network 0.8% 0.3% +0.5 166.6% increase
Note: More options were added this year, so the comparisons to 2019 may be flawed
Do you regularly watch WWE Main Roster PPVs?
Response 2020 2019 Change +/- Percent Change
Yes I regularly watch them live 27% 44% -17 38.6% decrease
Yes I sometimes watch them live but sometimes I watch them later 23.7% 24.7% -1 4% decrease
Yes but I watch them later, not live 12.8% 12.1% +0.7 5.8% increase
No I do not watch them regularly but I try to keep up with storylines 25.3% 15% +10.3 68.7% increase
No I do not watch them regularly 11.1% 4.2% 6.9 164.3% increase
How do you watch WWE Main Roster PPVs? (This question was ONLY asked of the respondents that said they watched Main Roster PPVs in some capacity)
Response 2020 2019 Change +/- Percent Change
Through their personal WWE Network streaming service 62.2% 69% -6.8 9.9% decrease
Through an unpaid stream 21.2% 15.5% +5.7% 36.8% increase
Through a friend’s WWE Network streaming service 9.1% 8.6% +0.5% 5.8% increase
I only watch highlights, clips, or "streamables" 2.2% N/A N/A N/A
I watch is some other way not listed here 2% N/A N/A N/A
I watch it through my cable provider 1.7% N/A N/A N/A
I live in a country that doesn't have the WWE Network streaming accounts, but I have one through a VPN or other loophole 0.6% N/A N/A N/A
Do you regularly watch the NXT weekly TV (non-UK)?
Response 2020 2019 Change +/- Percent Change
No. I don't watch NXT regularly, but I do keep up with news and storylines 42.9% 35% +7.9 22.6% increase
No. I don't watch or follow NXT 19% 25.1% -6.1 24.3% decrease
Yes, but I watch it later. Not as it airs 18.7% 17.6% +1.1 6.3% increase
Yes I occasionally watch it as it airs, but sometimes I watch it later 10.5% 13.2% -2.7 20.5 decrease
Yes I regularly watch it every week as it airs 8.8% 9.2% -0.4 4.3% decrease
How do you watch NXT weekly TV (This is ONLY asked of respondents that say they watched NXT Weekly TV in some capacity)
Response 2020 2019 Change +/- Percent Change
I watch it through an unpaid stream or video website 22.3% 11.1% +11.2 101% increase
I wait and watch it when it's available on the WWE network 20.1% 72% -51.9 72.1% decrease
I watch it LIVE through my cable TV provider 19% N/A N/A N/A
I watch it LATER through DVR or OnDemand with my cable TV provider 13.6% N/A N/A N/A
I watch it LATER through a stand alone paid streaming service (like Sling TV or Youtube TV) 9.1% N/A N/A N/A
I watch it LIVE through a stand alone paid streaming service (like Sling TV or Youtube TV) 8% N/A N/A N/A
I only watch highlights, clips, or "streamables" 4.4% N/A N/A N/A
I watch is some other way not listed here 3.6% N/A N/A N/A
Do you regularly watch NXT UK?
Response 2020 2019 Change +/- Percent Change
No. I don't watch or follow NXT UK 73.4% 60.6% +12.8 21.1% increase
No. I don't watch NXT UK regularly, but I do keep up with news and storylines 21.6% 26.6% +5.0 18.8% increase
Yes, but I watch it later. Not as it airs 3.2% 7.1% *-3.9% 55% decrease
Yes I occasionally watch it as it airs, but sometimes I watch it later 1.2% 3.4% -2.2 64.7% decrease
Yes I regularly watch it every week as it airs 0.7% 2.3% -1.6 69.6% decrease
How do you watch NXT UK? (ONLY asked of people that say they watch NXT UK)
Response 2020 2019 Change +/- Percent Change
watch using their WWE Networks streaming service 68.6% 78.8% -10.2 12.9% decrease
use unpaid streaming 11.4% 8.8% +2.6 29.5% increase
Through my cable/TV provider (some countries have NXT UK air on their cable package) 8% 1.1% +6.9 627.3% increase
I only watch highlights, clips, or "streamables" 4.9% N/A N/A N/A
use another friend’s WWE network account 4.2% 6.5% -2.3 35.4% decrease
I watch it some other way not listed here 2.9% 3.6% -0.7 19.4% decrease
Do you regularly watch NXT Takeovers?
Response 2020 2019 Change +/- Percent Change
Yes, I regularly watch them live 28.8% 44.2% -15.4 34.8% decrease
No I don’t watch them regularly but I keep up with storylines 20.2% 9.4% +10.8 114.9% increase
Yes, I occasionally watch them live but sometimes I watch them later 19.1% 20.1% -1.0 5% decrease
Yes, but I watch them later 16.6% 14.8% +1.8 12.2% increase
No I don’t watch them regularly 15.2% 11.5% +3.7 32.2% increase
When you watch NXT Takeovers, how do you watch them? (ONLY asked to people that said they watched NXT Takeover)
Response 2020 2019 Change +/- Percent Change
Through their personal WWE Network streaming service 60% 68.7% -8.7 12.7% decrease
Through an unpaid stream 23% 15.9% +7.1 44.7% increase
Through a friend’s WWE Network streaming service 9.4% 9.1% +0.3 3.3% increase
I watch is some other way not listed here 3.3% 3.3% No Change No Change
I only watch highlights, clips, or "streamables" 2.8% N/A N/A N/A
I watch it through my cable provider 1.1% 1.0% +0.1 10% increase
I live in a country that doesn't have the WWE Network streaming accounts, but I have one through a VPN or other loophole 0.5% 0.6% -0.1 16.7% decrease
Do you regularly watch 205 Live?
Response 2020 2019 Change +/- Percent Change
No. I don't watch or follow 205 Live 81.5% 67.7% +13.8 20.4% increase
No. I don't watch 205 Live regularly, but I do keep up with news and storylines 14.9% 22.7% -7.8 34.4% decrease
Yes, but I watch it later. Not as it airs 2.1% 4.9% -2.8 57.1% decrease
Yes I occasionally watch it as it airs, but sometimes I watch it later 0.9% 3% -2.1 70% decrease
Yes I regularly watch it every week as it airs 0.7% 1.7% -1.0 58.8% decrease
When you watch 205 Live, how do you watch it? (ONLY asked for people that said they watched 205 Live)
Response 2020 2019 Change +/- Percent Change
watch using their WWE Networks streaming service 73.7% 74.7% -1.0 1.3% decrease
use unpaid streaming service 11.3% 10.7% +0.6 5.6% increase
use another friend’s WWE network account 5.3% 5.5% -0.2 3.6% decrease
I only watch highlights, clips, or "streamables" 5% N/A N/A N/A
I watch is some other way not listed here 3.8% 4.9% -1.1 22.4% decrease
Through my cable/TV provider (some countries have NXT UK air on their cable package) 0.9% N/A N/A N/A
Do you regularly watch AEW Dynamite?
Response 2020 2019 Change +/- Percent Change
Yes. I regularly watch it every week as it airs 28% N/A N/A N/A
No. I don't watch them regularly, but I do keep up with storylines and news 27.6% N/A N/A N/A
Yes. I occasionally watch them as they air, but sometimes I watch them later 16.2% N/A N/A N/A
Yes. but I watch them later, not as they are airing. 16.2% N/A N/A N/A
No I don't watch or follow AEW Dynamite 12% N/A N/A N/A
When you watch AEW Dynamite, how do you usually watch it? (ONLY asked for people that said they watched Dynamite)
Response 2020 2019 Change +/- Percent Change
I watch it LIVE through my TV provider 28.1% N/A N/A N/A
I watch it through an unpaid stream *25.6% N/A N/A N/A
I watch it LIVE through a stand alone paid streaming service (Like AEW Plus or Sling TV) 20.4% N/A N/A N/A
I watch it LATER via DVR or OnDemand through my TV provider 10.7% N/A N/A N/A
I watch it LATER via DVR or OnDemand though a paid streaming service (Like AEW Plus or Sling TV) 8.3% N/A N/A N/A
I watch it some other way not listed here 3.6% N/A N/A N/A
I only watch highlights, clip, and "streamables" 3.3 N/A N/A N/A
Do you regularly watch AEW PPVs?
Response 2020 2019 Change +/- Percent Change
Yes, I regularly watch them live 31.6% N/A N/A N/A
No I don’t watch them regularly but I keep up with storylines 24.1% N/A N/A N/A
Yes, but I watch them later 15.7% N/A N/A N/A
No I don’t watch them regularly 14.6% N/A N/A N/A
Yes, I occasionally watch them live but sometimes I watch them later 14% N/A N/A N/A
When you watch AEW PPVs, how do you usually watch it? (ONLY asked for people that said they watched AEW PPVs)
Response 2020 2019 Change +/- Percent Change
I watch through an unpaid stream 43.4% N/A N/A N/A
I pay for the PPVs through BR Live 21.7% N/A N/A N/A
I pay for the PPVs through FITE TV 17.3% N/A N/A N/A
I pay for the PPVs through my cable provider 6.4% N/A N/A N/A
I watch it some other way not listed here 6.4% N/A N/A N/A
I only watch highlights, clips, and "streamables 4.8% N/A N/A N/A
Do you regularly watch New Japan Pro Wrestling?
Response 2020 2019 Change +/- Percent Change
No, I do not watch them regularly 39.1% 39.6% -0.5 1.3% decrease
No, I don’t watch them regularly, but I keep up with storylines and news 27.7% 29.8% -2.1 7% decrease
Yes, but I watch them later, not as they’re airing 15.9% 13.9% +2.0 14.4% increase
Yes, I occasionally watch them live, but I usually watch them later 11.5% 11.8% -0.3 2.5% decrease
Yes, I regularly watch NJPW shows live. 5.8% 4.9% +0.9 18.4% increase
When you watch NJPW, how do you usually watch it (ONLY asked to the people that said they watched NJPW)
Response 2020 2019 Change +/- Percent Change
Through their personally NJPWWorld subscription. 55.4% 48.1% +7.3 15.2% increase
Through an unpaid stream 27.1% 27.1% No Change No Change
I only watch highlights, clips, or "Streamables" 5.8% N/A N/A N/A
I use a friend's NJPW World Streaming Service subscription 5.7% N/A N/A N/A
I watch it some other way not listed here. 3.2% 7.8% -4.6 59% decrease
I watch LIVE shows through my cable provider IN JAPAN 0.3 N/A N/A N/A
Do you regularly watch Ring of Honor weekly TV?
Response 2020 2019 Change +/- Percent Change
No. I don't watch or follow Ring of Honor 84.6% 74.2% +10.4 14% increase
No. I don't watch Ring of Honor TV regularly, but I do keep up with storylines and news. 12.1% 20.5% -8.4 41% decrease
I occasionally watch it 2.7% 4.1% -1.4 34.1% decrease
I regularly watch it. 0.6% 1.2% -0.6 50% decrease
How do you watch Ring of Honor? (ONLY asked to the people that said they regularly watch it)
Response 2020 2019 Change +/- Percent Change
Through my TV provider 42.1% 33.7% +8.4 24.9% increase
Through Fite.tv 16.8% 22.6% -5.8 25.7% decrease
On the ROH website 13% 15.7% -2.7 17.2% decrease
through an illegal stream 10.3% 12.4% -2.1 16.9% decrease
Some other way not listed 6.5% 12.9% -6.4 50% decrease
Through my cable TV provider's legitimate stream 5.8% 2.7% +3.1 114.8% increase
I only watch highlights, clips, or "streamables" 5.5% N/A N/A N/A
Do you regularly watch Impact Wrestling?
Response 2020 2019 Change +/- Percent Change
No I do not regularly follow it 71.7% 68.6% +3.1 4.5% increase
No I do not regualrly follow it, but I keep up with news and storylines. 20.4% 22.2% -1.8 8.1% decrease
Yes I occasionally watch it 5.7% 6.8% -1.1 16.2% decrease
Yes I watch it weekly. 2.3% 2.3% no change no change
How do you watch Impact Wrestling?
Response 2020 2019 Change +/- Percent Change
I watch it on Twitch 37% 49.9% -12.9 25.9% decrease
Through cable provider 29.2% 20.4% +8.8 43.1% increase
through an illegal stream 14.1% 14.2% -0.1 0.7% decrease
some other way listed 7.8% 13.4% -5.6 41.8% decrease
I only watch highlights, clips or "Streamables" 6% N/A N/A N/A
Through my cable provider's legitimate stream 5.8% 2% +3.8 190% increase
Top TEN Most Watched Wrestling Promotions/Shows
Rank Promotion/Show 2019 Rank Rank Change +/- % of users watching 2020 % of users watching 2019
#1 AEW Dynamite N/A N/A 64% N/A
#2 NXT #3 +1 46.1% 56%
#3 WWE Monday Night Raw #2 -1 40.3% 61.8%
#4 WWE Smackdown Live #1 -3 38.4% 66.4%
#5 New Japan Pro Wrestling #4 -1 30.4% 32.3%
#6 AEW Dark N/A N/A 28.7% N/A
#7 NWA Powerrrr N/A N/A 8.9% N/A
#8 Impact #8 no change 7.5% 8.6
#9 STARDOM #12 +3 5.6% 4.4%
#10 Game Changer Wrestling #29 +19 4.8% 0.6%
Note: 10.8% selected NONE

3. Online Habits

Is Wreddit your most frequent source of news related to wrestling?
  • 85.6% YES
  • 14.4% No
Where do you go for wrestling news? (asked of people that DON’T have Wreddit as their #1 source)
  • 32.8% - A news site that focuses exclusively on wrestling news
  • 23.5% - Twitter
  • 17.2% - A paid subscriber newsletter
  • 8.3% - Another user-based wrestling forum
  • 3.8% - A more general sports-based news site
  • 2.2% - Facebook
  • 2% - Chat Applications like Discord or Skype
  • 1.9% - /woo/ or other imageboard
  • 1.6% - Instagram
If you didn’t use Wreddit for your news, where do you think you would go? (asked of people that DO have Wreddit as their #1 news source)
  • 32% - Twitter
  • 25.3% - a news site that focuses exclusively on wrestling
  • 14.5% - I wouldn't go out of my way to look up wrestling news
  • 7.1% - a paid subscriber newsletter
  • 7% - Another user-based wrestling forum
  • 3.6% - A more general sports-based news site
  • 3.4% - Instagram
  • 2.8% - Facebook
  • 2.6% /woo/ or other imageboard
  • 1.8% Chat applications like Discord or Skype
Are you a Subscriber to Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter?
Responses 2020 2019 Change +/-
No, I’m not interested in subscribing 65.4% 65.4% No Change
No, but I might subscribe in the future 17.9% 20.1% +2.2
No, but I have subscribed before 7.4% 6.6% +0.8
Yes I’m a regular subscriber 4.9% 5.2% -0.3
No, I don't know what that is 3.8% 1.9 +1.9
Yes, but I’m a fairly new subscriber 0.5% 0.8% -0.3
News sites visited regularly
  • 56% - NONE
  • 17.1% - F4WOnline
  • 16.6% PWInsider
  • 9.6% Fightful
  • 9.1% 411Mania
  • 7.9% WrestlingInc
  • 7% WrestleZone
  • 6.8% Ringside News
  • 6.6% ProWrestling Sheet
  • 6% PWTorch
  • 5% ProWrestling.Net
  • 3.1% SEScoops

4. Subscription Services

Which Streaming subscription services do you pay for?
Streaming Service 2020 2019 Change +/- Percent Change
WWE Network 46.3% 64% -17.7 27.7% decrease
NONE 38.4% 26.3% +12.1 46% increase
NJPWWorld 19.9% 19.4% +0.5 2.6% increase
AEW Plus 5.9% N/A N/A N/A
Fite Network 2.6% 2.1% +0.5 23.8% increase
IWTV 2.4% 0.1% +2.3 2300% increase
StardomWorld 2% 2.2% -0.2 9% increase
Everything else is less than 2%.
Which WWE Network programming do you watch regularly? (only asked of respondents with a WWE Network subscription)
Programming 2020
Live or recent PPVs 87%
Old PPVs 65%
24 documentary series 56%
NXT 54%
Undertaker: The Last Ride 40%
Old WCW PPVs 37%
Old ECW PPVs 34%
Table for 3 32%
WWE 365 32%
Steve Austin's Broken Skull Sessions 30%
RAW/SD episodes (classic or recent) 29%
Ridealong 21%
WWE Ruthless Aggression 21%
Chronicle 21%
WCW Nitro 21%
Monday Night War 20%
Edge & Christian Show 19%
Breaking Ground13% WWE Untold|12% WWE: The Day Of|12% NXT UK|10% The Best of WWE|9% World's Collide|8% UUDD Plays|7% WWE Story Time|7% WWE Photoshoot|7%
In the last year, have you paid for a non-AEW PPV, iPPV, or other non-subscription based show?
Responses 2020 2019 Change +/-
NO 86.9% N/A N/A
YES 13.1% N/A N/A
Do you plan to purchase ANY PPV or iPPV non-subscription based show within the next year?
Responses 2020 2019 Change +/-
NO 58.3% 57.2% +1.1
YES 41.7% 42.8% -1.1
You said you have no plans to purchase an upcoming non-subscription based PPV. Do you have plans to take advantage of an unpaid stream of one? (This was ONLY asked to the people that said they have no interest in purchasing a PPV in the next year)
Responses 2020 2019 Change +/-
NO 50.8% 55.1% -4.3
YES 49.2% 44.9% +4.3
Do you listen to Podcasts?
Responses 2020 2019 Change +/-
YES 64.9% 67% -2.1
NO 35.1% 33% +2.1
Top 10 Podcasts
  • 1- Talk is Jericho - 42%
  • 2- AEW Unrestricted - 25.2%
  • 3 - Cultaholic - 20.3%
  • 4 - The Steve Austin Show - 19%
  • 5 - The New Day: Feel the Power - 16.4%
  • 6 - Edge and CHristian's Pod of Awesomeness - 16.2%
  • 7 - Wrestling with Wregret - 16.2%
  • 8 - Wrestling Observer Radio - 16.2%
  • 9 - Jim Cornette Experience - 15.2%
  • 10 - Byan and Vinny - 14.3%
Note: 12.5% of respondents pay for extra content on Patreon for at least one podcast

5. Spending Habits

How much do you spend on Merch in a year?
  • Average annual spend on merch: $51.84
Have you attended a wrestling show in the last 12 months?
  • 35.2% Yes
  • 64.8% No
Note: average number of shows attended per year is 3 (for those who have attended at least 1)

6. Bonus Round

Who is your favorite wrestler?
Ranking Wrestler Votes
1 Kenny Omega 695
2 Orange Cassidy 558
3 Adam Page 488
4 Keith Lee 357
5 AJ Styles 351
6 Jon Moxley 345
7 Chris Jericho 338
8 Asuka 291
9 Daniel Bryan 284
10 Bray Wyatt 208
11 Adam Cole 205
12 Kazuchika Okada 193
13 Drew McIntyre 163
14 Kevin Owens 157
15 Seth Rollins 153
16 Aleister Black 139
17 Hiromu Takahashi 138
18 Tetsuya Naito 127
19 Sasha Banks 121
20 Io Shirai 92
Full list of /SquaredCircle's favorite wrestlers here
When you watch wrestling, who do you watch it with? Select all that apply.
Response 2020
I regularly watch wrestling alone 68%
I regularly watch wrestling alone, but discuss it live with others on a chat application or forum 32%
I regularly watch wrestling with a friend or group of friends in-person 21%
I regularly watch wrestling with a sibling (or siblings) 7%
I regularly watch wrestling with a parent(s) or guardian(s) 5%
I regularly watch wrestling with my child (or children) 4%
I regularly watch wrestling with other family members 10%
I watch wrestling with my dog (or cat) 17%
How have your viewing habits changed due to/during the Coronavirus pandemic? Select all that apply.
Response 2020
I have been watching new promotions 10%
I have been watching more of the promotions I already watch 21%
I have been learning about new wrestlers or wrestling characters that I enjoy 17%
I have been watching wrestling in the same way as before 40%
I have been watching less wrestling during the Coronavirus pandemic 33%
submitted by WredditMod to SquaredCircle [link] [comments]

Greed is Subtle

The morning alarm woke up Ghen. With an annoyed sigh, he stretched out his arm and silenced the foul-sounding chirps. Slowly sitting up in bed, he let out a deep yawn and got to his feet.
Running a couple of chitinous fingers along his antennae to stimulate them to life, he made his bed and then went to his closet. Today was a work day, so he needed his suit. Once the pants were on, he stretched out his wings so that he could button up the shirt, then relaxing them once all the buttons were secured.
Dressing for the day was done, now for the morning meal. Entering his kitchen, he took out the chilled leftovers of the evening meal last night and popped it into the radiator, first defrosting and then slightly cooking it.
During that process, he also fished out a ceramic cup and placed it in his brewer, serving himself some synthesized caffeine. His idle thought led him to being amused that, when eaten directly off a plant, it has a concentration that could kill him three times over. But after going through some refinement and roasting, all it does is make him hyper.
Once the meal was put together, his plate of heated leftovers and a cup of almost-piping-hot cup of Xia's, he took his time to enjoy it. His communicator vibrated. When he looked, he found it was from his boss.
"Hello?" Ghen answered.
"Ghen, the meeting's been moved up to a few minutes from now." His boss, Xkik, announced. "Apparently higher up has something important they want to say. We have a terminal ready for you, I'll message the login details."
"Wha-, what's so important?" Ghen asked in bewilderment. "Did a water line rupture or something?"
"No, nothing like that." Xkik replied with a slight chuckle. "It's actually about the rumors we've been hearing. That human corporation wanting to acquire us? That's what they're talking about."
Ghen could feel everything inside his thorax drop to the floor. "That must mean it's true then, right? Did we get sold off by the Queen to this company then?"
"Show up to the meeting and you'll get your answer." Xkik said simply. When he finished, Ghen got the notification on his communicator. There's the login details, allowing him to remotely attend the meeting. "They're about to start, hurry up."
Once Xkik disconnected, Ghen worked fast to login and set up the remote viewing. Once everything was done, his screen started transmitting the meeting room. It was already packed. And off by the main board, he saw his answer. There was a human, resting against the wall on his two legs. Standing right in the center of everyone's view was the coordinator, Tizx, watching the clock periodically.
As soon as the meeting's start time was reached, the coordinator began. "Alright everyone. I realize that this was rather short notice, so I want to say how appreciative I am that you made it. Now then, let's just get right to it. For some time now, many of you have been hearing rumors that a human corporation has been interested in us. Why? We never really knew. We're just an organization responsible for finding, extracting and providing water to the colony here all under the direction of the Queen herself. Well, as of now, I have the answer for you. Why don't I let Ryan say that?"
Stepping back, Tizx motioned for the human, Ryan, to take over. With a nod, Ryan practically bounced over and then took the position. "Good morning to you all. I hope my Zazk is passable, heh. Anyways, the answer to those rumors, is yes. Terran Galactic Company is indeed interested in you all. Which now leads to me. I'm here to announce that, effective yesterday evening, this water company is now a subsidiary of Terran Galactic Company, under the name of Zilia Water Delivery."
Many other sub-coordinators broke into hushed conversation, no doubt speaking their thoughts with each other about this move. Ghen could only wonder if this was even a good thing. What will the humans do? Will he still have his job? Will he have to learn how to deal with the ruthless humans?
"Now, I am well aware this is quite the...uh, change." Ryan continued. "That's why I'm happy to inform you that, no, nothing negative or detrimental will happen to you. You just have new people to answer to. Operations will continue as normal, everybody here will still keep their jobs. The only real change any of you will personally experience is that Coordinator Tizx here will now report to someone else. On behalf of the Terran Galactic Company, we are extremely excited and are looking forward to working with you all. Thank you for your time."
A week later.
At least Ryan wasn't lying. After the initial shock wore off, things went back as they normally did. There were no terminations, no reductions in annual pay or anything. Nothing really changed. At least until this new meeting was called. Ghen was at the worksite this time, so he took his seat and watched as, once again, Ryan led the meeting.
"Hello again, everyone!" He said cheerfully, his Zazk noticeably improved. "I hope I didn't end up looking like a liar, right? Everything's still normal, all that?"
All the zazk in the room confirmed, providing comments to their pleasant surprise as well as lingering thoughts.
"Awesome! Awesome." Ryan said jubilantly, his fleshy mouth revealing his bone-white teeth. "Now then, you're probably wondering why I'm here again, right? Well, I got another fantastic piece of news for you all! Two, actually. I'll start with the first: Zilia Water Delivery has just completed its IPO. The company is now publicly traded!"
Ghen and the others voiced their confusion, having no idea what in the name of the Queen Ryan was talking about. What was Ryan talking about? What's an IPO? And why exactly is being publicly traded such a significant thing?
"Oh, you guys don't know any of that?" Ryan asked in surprised confusion. After everybody confirmed, he let out a quick huff as he began his explanation. "Well, to begin, IPO is short for Initial Public Offering. Basically what that means is that, before today, Zilia was privately held. Only certain individuals could buy and sell shares here. But now that we're public? Literally anyone can buy and sell shares in the company, hence us being publicly traded."
"Uh, what's a share?" Ghen asked, still completely lost.
"Oh, boy..." Ryan muttered under his breath before returning to his peppy image. "To simply put it, a share is short for having a share of ownership in a company. When you buy a share, you're buying a piece of ownership, and when you sell, you're selling that amount."
"So wait...if someone buys a share, they're a co-owner then?" One of the other team coordinators asked.
"If they get enough, yeah." Ryan nodded. "You need a lot though, and that really depends on the company. If I had to give an answer though? I'd say usually you need to have a lot more shares than a lot of people combined to be officially a co-owner, but we call that being a majority shareholder."
"And how do we do that?" Ghen asked, now growing curious but still not understanding why such a concept exists.
"Simple. Buy shares." Ryan said simply. "And that leads into the second piece of awesome news. Zilia's corporate has a product in mind, a premium-package of water delivery. Instead of the usual water that you pump out, filter and ensure its potable before delivery, with the premium package, not only will you get that, but you'll also get all of the required nutrients and vitamins the zazk body requires! And they feel you guys have the best expertise and understanding to pull it off! So, here's what we're offering as a good-faith bonus: A 25% increase to your annual salary as well as being given stock options."
Ghen wasn't sure about the second part, but the salary definitely got his attention, as well as everyone else's. Although his job was considered to have a good pay, Ghen isn't going to say no to a higher salary. In fact, he's been focusing his work on getting a promotion so he can come home with even more credits in pocket.
"What do you mean by stock options?" Ghen asked after some time.
Ryan let out that smile again, the one that revealed his teeth. "If you choose to transfer over to the new group, you'll be provided 50,000 shares in Zilia itself. Why's that awesome? Let me walk you through it. Right now, our last closing price per share was 3.02 credits. And if you have 50,000 shares during that time, you're sitting on 151,000 credits, if you cash it out immediately."
"And why shouldn't we?" One of the coordinators demanded in an ambiguous tone.
"Because the price per share changes a lot." Ryan explained promptly. "When we got done with the IPO? It closed at 2.73 a share. Right now? My money's on the closing price being 2.99 a share. However, we are extremely confident in this premium package being successful. If it does? Well, my bet is that the share price will skyrocket to 3.12 a share. If you hold those shares and the price gets to what my bet was? You'll instead get 156,000 credits. Just by holding onto them, you just made an additional 5,000 credits!"
"And what if we have more shares?" Ghen questioned, now getting excited at the prospect of free money.
"Even more money!" Ryan laughed a bit. "And don't forget about dividends, but that's for another time. The premium group is gearing up right now, we just need the workforce. If any of you wants in, I'll be back tomorrow with all the forms needed to make it official. Take the day and tonight to think it over, yeah?"
Everything else melted into a blur. Ghen was practically on autopilot that whole day. Was this the secret to the humans' incredibly massive economy? How so many of them have amassed so much money out of nowhere? All you had to do was just buy this share out of a company and you get more money without even working?
As soon as he got home, Ghen knew what he was going to do during the night. After feverishly looking through the galnet, now having the human race connected to it, he looked and gathered up as many books that were translated into zazk as he could find, all talking about the human economic system. The last time he undertook such an intensive study was during his primary education phase.
And during his search, he even found forums on the galnet that were completely dedicated to the human's economy. All of them talking about strategies on what company, or stock, to pick. How to analyze a company's performance to determine if it was worth the money, or it had potential to grow over time. And that was when he discovered the humans found another method to the extremely simple buying and selling process. There were humans and some other immigrated aliens who made five times what Ghen could receive over a simple month just by watching the share prices during trading hours, and then buying and selling them at the proper times.
Ghen's mind was just absolutely flabbergasted. He thought it was just some strange concept only aliens could make, but no, not with the humans. They've practically made their economy into an art or a science. No, not even their economy. Everything. If humans can see a way to make money off of it, they'll do it. And if there isn't, they'll look for a way.
Healthcare was monetized. Galnet services, transportation, shopping at the store, they even made all of their utilities into profit-oriented companies.
And it was there that Ghen paused, the realization slamming into him. Everything was monetized. Which means, if you don't have the money for it, you're not getting it. Right? Are the humans truly that ruthless? So obsessed with making money? To the point that they're willing to deprive their own people of the absolute necessities if it's a source of credits?
Ghen let out a scoff. There's no way. Nobody is that cruel and callous. He's never been to the United Nations. He can't rely on what a bunch of random people on the galnet says. He decided that from here on out, he'll only go as far as saying that humans are a little obsessed with credits, nothing more.
...
There he was. Ryan, sitting in the office provided to him. And there was a rather large line leading to him. Looks like word got around. Although, the line wasn't as large as he expected it to be. Maybe the others thought it was just a ruse? That there's no such thing as making free money by spending it on such a made-up concept?
Ghen only knows that, if it is a ruse, it's an extremely elaborate one, where all of the humans are in on it. And he believes that's just extremely ridiculous. At the end, if he's unsure, he'll just take the transfer for the very real increase in his very real salary. And although he spent a very good chunk of the night reading up on how humans do things, he's still going to play it smart. He'll leave his 50,000 shares alone and see where it goes from there.
"Good morning sir." Ryan greeted warmly once Ghen took his seat. "Now, name please?"
"Ghen." He answered, barely keeping his nerves down.
"Alright...and what's your position at this location?" Ryan questioned after scribbling on his form.
"I monitor the pumping stations near the extraction sites." Ghen explained, staying on point. "To be more specific, I check to see if they're in need of maintenance, as well as reading the flow rate that's determined by the calculators installed there. If there's too little for what's needed, I pump out more. And if there's too much, I pull it back a little."
"Nice...and how long have you been doing it for?" Ryan complimented with a nod.
"As of tomorrow, ten years." Ghen replied, voice quickly changing to minor awe once he realized that fact.
"Excellent. Do you have anyone in mind you'd like to replace you here?" Ryan questioned after another scribble. "If you don't have anyone, you're free to say so."
Ghen took a moment to think it over. A bunch of names went through his mind, but one stuck with him. "Tilik. He's just been accepted here, but he's learned quickly. Very attentive and he always catches something subtle. I think he'll do really well in my position, even better actually."
"Tilik, really?" Ryan questioned with a little shock, going through his completed forms. Ghen felt a short sense of panic in him. Did something happen, or was Tilik actually transferring? His answer didn't take long to reveal itself. "Right, Tilik was actually one of the first people to want to transfer here. He's actually requested to be part of the testing teams specifically. Do you have a second choice?"
"Um...no, actually." Ghen replied, feeling a little ashamed. "Tilik was my only choice, to be honest."
"Hey, don't worry." Ryan said assuringly with his hands raised. "Nothing wrong with that. Sometimes, there's just nobody up to snuff, right? 'Kay, so, last question. Is there anything specific you'd like to do when given the transfer?"
"If you need someone monitoring new pumps, I'd be happy to do that." Ghen stated.
"So basically same job but with better payoff, am I right?" Ryan grinned. "I hear you. Sometimes, we're just not paid enough for what we're doing. I know I think that sometimes. Uh, our secret, yeah?"
"Yeah, our secret." Ghen nodded, thinking it'd be better to have friendly relations with the human, just in case.
"Awesome. Back on topic, that's it." Ryan announced, placing the form on his pile. "We'll give you a call when you're accepted."
"Oh, uh, that's it?" Ghen questioned with a shrug in shocked surprise.
"What, expecting a question like, why do you want to transfer?" Ryan chuckled a bit as he leaned in his seat. "You can bullshit all you want, but we both know the answer. Sweet money and stock options. Not saying that's a bad answer of course, just that it's pretty obvious."
"I suppose it is." Ghen commented, realizing the point. "Also, you mentioned this...dividend? Is that for Zilia shares?"
Ryan laughed a little bit before nodding. "Yep, announced before I came here. About 0.43 per share. Want to know why that's awesome? Instead of waiting for the proper price to cash out your shares, now? The company pays you for each share you hold."
"A...Are you serious?" Ghen demanded, flabbergasted.
Ryan nodded with his now-trademark grin. "Dead serious. If you get the transfer, and get those 50,000 shares? A little head math...right, if you hold onto those, in addition to your salary, you'll now annually be paid 21,500 credits, if you keep it at 50,000 shares. Only you can decide to sell or buy shares."
Ghen just stood there silent and motionless, no idea of whether to believe it or not, to which Ryan just laughed. Once he walked out of the room, he managed to snap back to reality. Again, just focus on the very real pay-raise. He'll deal with the other parts later.
After he returned to his spot, he spotted Tizx approaching by his desk. The coordinator seems to be as casual as always.
"I saw you in that line a bit ago, Ghen." He said as he leaned on the desk. "Guess you're really taking that human's word?"
"I mean, I don't know about all this share business or what not." Ghen began with a shrug, his tone sounding a little defensive. "But I mean, having a bigger salary? Course I'm going for it when I can. And if all this magic credits turn out to be real? You realize we can live like the royal servants, right? Get the best cars, the nicest food and all that?"
"I'd be very careful, Ghen." Tizx warned in a sudden shift in tone. "Don't trust those humans. The way they just...obsess over money? Come up with more and more insane ways of getting credits? I don't know, it just makes my wings twitch."
"You think this is a bad idea?" Ghen asked with a little surprise at the change-in-demeanor.
"I think you should be careful, with the humans, and with what you're saying." Tizx replied, straightening his posture. "I wouldn't put it past those Earthmen to backstab you if it gets them a few more credits. And we all know how the royal servants get if any of us lowly commoners start thinking we can break into their circle."
"I hear you, I'll be on my guard, promise." Ghen stated with a nod. With a confirming nod of his own, Tizx returned back to his duty, walking past Ghen's desk.
Several weeks later.
Everything became so much better. Ghen got the transfer. He didn't need to relocate to a new residence either. And after he was walked through into learning how to manage his stock account, and seeing that new form of payment in his hands, he already felt as though he made the best decision. But it was only when he decided to take those shares more seriously that he became privy to what he was given. After receiving the dividend payment, and actually seeing it was real, valid credits after transferring it to his main bank account, all he could describe was the most powerful high he ever felt.
While his first thoughts were to buy himself a royalty-class car, some nicer furnishings for his home, or even a better home entirely, he ended up going the smarter route.
After going back to his stock account, he discovered that Zilia's shares rose to about 3.22 credits in price. Knowing that this was the easiest money he could ever make, he took all of his dividend earnings and bought more shares in Zilia, bringing him to owning 56,891.
And from his new regional coordinator, a human named Dylan, tomorrow is the grand release of the premium package. For just a monthly rate of 14.99 credits, the tap water will now include a sizeable portion of all nutrients and vitamins required in the zazk physiology. Still, Ghen has to admit. He's not entirely sure why anybody would want such a thing, if they'd even go for it. But, as long as he's practically swimming in easy credits, he won't pay much attention to it.
And just like when he was intensively studying the basics of how the human economy worked, he barely got any sleep. His mind was constantly thinking about the things he would buy. Or rather, what other stocks to put his credits into. Even now he can still hardly believe it. Just spend your money on some, make-believe thing and, if you wait long enough and picked the right stock, you'll get more than you spent back?
His mind even wandered onto what human colonies, or even their homeworld, Earth, was like. If everybody was making so much money, what kind of things would they offer? What kind of ridiculous service or product or item can you get? He's even debating on joining some forum and just asking around. Explain how he's new to how humans do things and was wondering what he should expect if he's successful.
By the time he felt like he can go to sleep, the binary-stars of the system were rising from the horizon. After getting out of his bed and changing to clean clothes, his mind returned onto what-ifs.
What if he bought better clothes? He's had his eye on that human brand of luxury clothes, Tessuti di Venezia, that's been all the rage amongst the royal servants. Or maybe he can go on vacation and just check out Earth for real?
It was a short ride to his workplace from his home. After getting stuff his stuff and preparing to walk through the doors, he heard the roar of a car grow louder. When he looked, he saw the sleekest and quite possibly the coolest looking car he's ever seen. Each time the engine revved it would startle him, both from how harsh it sounded as well as just how intense it sounded. And after it parked, he saw the doors pop out and then slide along the body back. And there, he saw Tilik, the seat literally turning and extending out a bit before he got off.
As soon as he saw Ghen staring, he struck a rather prideful pose after putting on his lab coat and then sauntered over to Ghen.
"What do you think?" Tilik said, without any doubt inviting praise or compliments.
"D...Did you actually buy that?" Ghen asked, unable to tear his eyes away from the car.
"You're Queens-damn right I did!" Tilik laughed happily. "Thing takes off like a starship, has temperature-controlled seating, all-in-one center console, barely any bouncing on rough roads. Hoof, best decision I've ever made!"
"How much did that thing cost?" Ghen asked after letting out an incredulous laugh.
"Five million credits." Tilik replied, earning an absolutely shocked stare from Ghen. "And thanks to the incredible salary I have, in addition to all these shares and dividends, I'll pay back the credits I borrowed in no time!"
Ghen needed a few moments before he could speak again. "All I've been doing is buying more shares."
Tilik laughed and then patted the now-envious monitor's back. "Smart man. I got a little carried away, yeah, but not anymore. Any spending credits I got, going right back to investing. That's what it's called right, investing?"
"Yeah, it is." Ghen nodded, feeling a fire light up in his thorax. "And also? Today's the day that the premium water thing is being released. Here's hoping it starts out well, right?"
"Oh it will, trust me." Tilik chuckled as they both began making their way inside the workplace. "Lots of research, lots of study. By the Queen, so much of it...it'll make your head spin."
And after hearing that, Ghen had a moment of realization. "Hey, Tilik? How did you get such a nice position anyways? Weren't you just studying under me before the humans came along?"
Tilik let out a sigh after opening the door. "I'll be honest, I never wanted your job. Not because it's boring or terrible, just...I didn't suffer so many sleepless nights in the science academy just to be a glorified button pusher. This is what I've always wanted. Doing science, solving problems rather than just applying the solution, you know?"
"Wait, you got an academic certificate?" Ghen questioned, completely floored. "How did you end up beneath me then? I should've been answering to you!"
"Simple." Tilik gave a heavier sigh. "A royal servant was asking for the same job I was. Take a guess at who got it."
"Ouch. Good thing the humans came along when they did, yeah?" Ghen was taken aback. He never heard anything about a servant taking a job at his place. "Looks like you're proving yourself to be well suited."
"By the Queen, of course I am." Tilik nodded. "Like I said, I nearly broke my wings through so many nights, got certified top of my class, all just to get pushed to the dirt because someone who was born into a particular family wanted the same thing I did? I know I'm smarter than any of those empty-skull servants back in the Center. I know that, whatever, uh...corporate? Yeah, whatever corporate wants out of science, I will xeek give it to them."
"Well, let me know how things go in the lab." Ghen said, admiring his drive as they neared the main office floor. "Because this is where the button pusher needs to go."
Tilik let out a laugh as he nodded. "Hey, how about we meet up at Queen's Fine Eatery tonight. I'll pay, yeah?"
Ghen, at first, wanted to admonish him for choosing such an outrageously expensive place to go. But he quickly realized that, he truly is good for it, thanks to the humans. "Well, hey, if you're paying for it."
...
It was a fantastic opening. After being told what news sites to keep in mind for stocks, he first heard it from Dylan, and then got more detail on Business Today. There was such a massive demand right from the start that Zilia needs to increase extraction just to meet it. But what really got his attention was the effect it had. Zilia Water Delivery's share price just blasted off. After seemingly holding steady at about 3.15, by the time he got home and logged onto his account, it already reached 7.04 a share. The calculator on his account told him that he got a value-gain of 54.26%.
Never in his entire life had he felt such...joy. With all of the shares he currently has? He's sitting at 400,512.64 credits. He knows that it is woefully pathetic compared to what the royal servants have just in their pockets, but the fact that he has such money, just by owning some intangible concept? Why even work at Zilia? Why doesn't he just sit at home, figure out what companies to invest in and make his money that way?
What's even the point in working a real job, getting a pathetic pay when you can just take the money you have, determine where to spend it, and get triple back? All just sitting on your wings at home, researching?
He was so wrapped up in his excited high that he completely forgot he was going to meet Tilik at Queen's. After quickly and haphazardly putting on his nicer clothes, he got to the place only a few minutes late.
Tilik was there by the guide, no doubt having been waiting for him. As soon as he strode up, Tilik's wings stiffned out some. No doubt he must've seen the numbers as well.
"I can see your wings, Ghen." Tilik began with an excited chuckle. "Made some serious credits?"
Ghen let out an incredulous scoff, struggling to find the words for a moment. "Incredible. All I'm going to say."
"Likewise." Tilik chortled some before nodding to the table guide. "All here. Table please?"
"Right this way, sir." The guide said politely. It was a short walk, travelling between round tables. The vast majority were populated by zazk, but Ghen was surprised at seeing a few humans here as well. No doubt corporate workers checking out the local food. He did spot them having bowls filled with some kind of mass. Some were brown, others white with what looks to be black specks on them.
They arrived at their table. A rather nice one, affording a view out the windows into the busy colony streets. Once Tilik and Ghen settled in, the guide handed out the menus.
"May I suggest our rather popular option for tonight?" The guide began. "Human ice-cream. Ingredients sourced from Earth itself. Very cold, but incredibly sweet, and coming in many flavors. The most popular amongst us is called vanilla-bean. The vanilla itself soaks in the cream for much of the process, and then the innards sprinkled on top of it near the end. Rumor has it that the Queen herself has demanded personal shipments of such a treat straight from the home of vanilla, an island on Earth named Madagascar."
Ghen didn't even spare a single thought. "Vanilla bean ice cream then, please."
"Same." Tilik seconded when the guide glanced to him. With a slight bow, the guide proceeded to ferry their orders to the kitchen. Thankfully it was just a short wait before the guide returned, carrying a large plate containing bowls of ice cream. Ghen could feel the saliva on his mandibles as the bowl was placed before them. He could just feel the cold air around that glistening mass of sugary goodness. The white snow decorated with the black dots of vanilla bean.
Once the guide left them, Tilik and Ghen both dived in at the same time. As soon as the ice cream entered his mouth, touched his tongue, he exploded in incomprehensible bliss. The sweetness, the smooth and creamy mass, even the taste of vanilla he wasn't sure about was just absolutely delightful. It was so overwhelming that his entire body limped, slumping in his seat as he was forced to ride on the surging tide of joy and happiness sweeping over him.
Tilik was no different. He too was taken completely by the effects of the ice cream, his wings fluttering some against the seat. Ghen could hear some noise. It was the humans they passed by. They were chuckling, grinning, and glancing over at them discreetly. Unlike the two zazk, the humans seemingly just enjoyed the ice cream as if it was just another nice dessert to them. Or perhaps they couldn't allow themselves to succumb to the high?
And as soon as the wave of indescribable bliss and happiness subsided, Ghen knew. He just knew. This was the life. He wanted this. The ice cream was just the beginning. So many things denied because he didn't have the credits, or worse, not the blood. Because he was just a drone in the great Collective, even if he had the credits, he wasn't allowed because of what caste he was born in. That fire that sparked in him when he saw Tilik's new car? It exploded into a raging firestorm.
And when looking into Tilik's eyes, Ghen could see the same. He was on the same page as Ghen was. Both of them were sold. They have the credits. And the humans? If you can pay for it, they'll never discriminate. All they cared about is if you have the money.
And by the Queen, Ghen and Tilik will endeavor to amass as much credits as physically possible.
The rest of the night faded into a blur. A blur that evokes only one thing. Bliss. It was only when he walked through the door of his pathetic hut that Ghen's mind snapped back to focus. His mandibles felt sticky. And he felt a weight in his stomach. How much ice cream did he eat? Whatever it was, he ate such volume that the lower-section of his throax extended and rounded out, visible even under his shirt. He felt something odd in his pocket. It was a receipt. 43,000 credits for ten bowls of vanilla bean ice cream. Was that ten bowls for both of them? Or individually? Ghen didn't care. He's good for it.
Returning back to his calculator, he acted upon the decision that he had made at that eatery. He's acquiring as many books about investing and stock trading as he could find, frequent and study all the discussions and arguments presented by other like-minded individuals such as he, all to ensure he can live the good life. And he had a very good feeling Tilik was doing the exact same thing.
Well, first, the gurgling in his stomach, as well as the feeling of something rising demanded his attention. Looks like he'll need to take the night off to let his stomach get back to normal.
Three Years Later.
Ghen looked out beyond the horizon, seeing the colony that he grew up in. On the far side was where his old house was. With only a simple robe on, made from the finest silk from Earth's nation-state of China, he relaxed in his seat.
It was a long road. Stockpiling credits from pre-existing investments and from subsequent pays, he and Tilik made it. From having only half a million in assets and cash, now transformed to over eight-hundred million. And now, his call contracts on American Interstellar? They've just announced a breakthrough in their next generation of warp drives, reducing the speed coefficient even further, resulting in far faster travel. And with that, their stock price climbed sharply.
Another hundred million credits in the bank. Soon, very soon, he and Tilik are about to become the galaxy's first zazk billionares. But that's not enough. There are many humans who are billionares. Only those he can count on one hand are considered trillionares. He's going to break into that circle. He and Tilik.
Looking beyond the colony, he saw the abandoned building of the workplace he transferred to when the humans arrived. Turns out, the reason for such a high demand was that the humans also slipped in sugar to the tap water. As soon as that broke, many influential royal servants demanded investigations and outright banning of Terran Galactic Company's influence over the former government division. Zilia's stock price plummeted. But thanks to an advance tip from his human coordinator, Dylan, he and Tilik made a put contract. And that's where they struck gold, as the human saying goes.
Dylan warned that if they were citizens of the United Nations, they'd be investigated and convicted for insider trading. But, since they weren't, and the Collective were only just introduced to capitalism, there's no risk at all. Now the colony is going through a withdrawal phase, Zilia has been dissolved and reformed back as a government division and are currently at work re-establishing the standard, plain water delivery.
"Well, shit." Tilik muttered as he walked up to Ghen's side, taking well to human speech. "Looks like you win. American Interstellar's announcement really was a good thing. There goes a million credits. Ah well, the Royal Shipyards will make it back for me soon."
"Oh? Did they just go corporate?" Ghen asked curiously, glancing to Tilik.
"Hell yeah they did." Tilik chuckled, sitting down. "Queen and her retard servants fought it hard, but Royal Shipyards is now officially a human-style corporation. And, to a surprise to all the xenophobes in the galaxy, they're already being offered contracts for ship production. That'll raise the stock price pretty good."
"What's that human word...?" Ghen muttered, already having a reply in mind. "Dick? Yeah, calls or suck my dick, Tilik."
Tilik roared in laughter. "Already made them. Forty credits a share by this day next month."
"I have half a mind to go thirty." Ghen chuckled. "Either way, until then, I heard from Dylan that he knows a guy who knows several prime human women who happen to be into zazk."
"You're interested in women?" Tilik said as his wings fluttered. "With how often you tell me to suck you off, I'd have thought differently."
"Oh, I always thought it was you who was into men." Ghen responded dryly. "Just wanted to be a good friend, you know? Considering how you never seem to make it past, Hey sweet thing, I'm rich you know."
"Oh, go fuck yourself." Tilik countered with a little laugh. After he stopped, wings stiffened, he looked to Ghen. "So, know any royal servants we can put the squeeze on for more revenue streams?"
"I got just the one." Ghen nodded, sitting up. "Fzik. He's been fighting to control the ice cream trade. Worried it's a corrupting influence. Got done talking with the human CEO of Nestle earlier. If we clear the way, he'll know how to squeeze a little more gains in stock price when he makes the announcement."
Tilik's wings stiffened even more, signaling his approval. "Alright, time to throw some credits around, yeah?"
AN: Sorry for the period of no updates. College is starting up, lots of stuff to clear and work out. Not sure why but I just got a bug up my butt about incorporating money and the stock market into a short. Here it is. Sorry if it seems abrupt, character limit fast approaching. Let me know how you guys think about it!
submitted by SynthoStellar to HFY [link] [comments]

The speech that would actually redeem Bernie Sanders and start to heal the damage he has done.

Forgiveness should always be offered to someone who demonstrates that they understand how their actions caused harm, that they are sorry for the harm, and that they are committed to repairing the damage they did as well as not do it again. Bernie has not done any of this. This is the speech he would give if he were truly taking the first step on the road to redemption.
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Looking back at the last 5 years I realize that I have made some big mistakes and caused a lot of harm to a lot of people. I am here today to ask your forgiveness. Since I was a young man I believed in a vision of America that I sincerely believed would be widely adopted if I could only get the word out. I was arrogant. I assumed that the only explanations for not supporting my vision was ignorance or corruption. There was no room in my worldview for good faith disagreement or working with others. It was my way or the highway. Which is not the American way.
The first people I want to apologize to are my donors. I told you that money wins elections and that if you donated to me I would win. I asked many of you to give not simply from your excess but from your need - promising you that pain endured now to support me would pay off later. And you gave me over half a billion dollars across 2 primaries allowing me to outspend everyone except Bloomberg by tens of millions of dollars. Yes, I outspent Hillary. I was the big money candidate in 2016, not her. I spent twice as much as Joe in 2020. And they both won by popular vote landslides. Money doesn't buy elections. It just gets your message out there. If voters don't like your message then money can't help you.
I refused to accept what this meant in 2016 choosing instead to focus on how much better I had done than I ever had before. I saw myself on an upward trajectory and focused on spreading my message instead of on defeating Donald Trump. In fact, I viewed Donald Trump's election as beneficial to my long term goals. If Hillary won and made things better people would cease feeling the urgency I did. But if Trump won things would get worse and I would be in a position to harness that pain in 2020. I had no idea how much worse things would get. But that is no excuse. The very act of supporting harm to others to advance oneself is disqualifying and self destructive. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "You can't fight hate with hate, only love can do that". He was right. I was wrong.
In the beginning of 2020 I had an option to atone and put progress ahead of my own ego but I didn't take it. I could have stayed out of the race and supported Elizabeth Warren. She is a better candidate than me in many ways. She was a struggling single mother where I was a deadbeat dad - it's true I walked out on my son Levi when he was an infant - something you'd all know if the DNC had been rigging things against me. They weren't. There are many more such skeletons in my political closet that not one single Democrat has attacked me with. But you can bet the GOP would not hold back if I'd been the nominee. Warren is a much better face for the movement than I am. She has won significant victories in passing banking regulations and consumer protections - actually doing things I only talked about. I've been in Washington for 30 years while she has only held office for 7 yet her accomplishments dwarf mine. She is a decade younger and in much better health. She has higher approval ratings and support among constituencies I can't get traction in. Where I have slogans she has plans. But I was drunk on adulation and validation. I wanted the roaring crowds chanting my name like I had in 2016. I wanted the money, the interviews, the attention. So I convinced myself that her sex meant she couldn't win and that I had an obligation to run - to do what I deeply wanted to do anyway. This is nonsense. Hillary Clinton proved in 2016 that a woman can win when she got 3 million more votes than Donald Trump. With my help Warren could have won. With my help Clinton could have won. And I will spend the rest of my life trying to atone for undercutting both of them. Especially Warren who was always my friend and ally but I treated her like an enemy and encouraged my fans to attack her horribly when she got in my way. I'm so very sorry Elizabeth.
The 2020 primary was my wake up call. I expected to do better than I did in 2016 - I expected to win. My name was now nationally known, I had spent 4 years in the public eye ensuring that my message understood by all. I had finally achieved my lifelong dream of being heard. It is why I published a newsletter as a young man, why I had my own weekly television show as Burlington's mayor, why I was blogging regularly when most Senators didn't know what the internet was. It was why I was deeply jealous of Clinton for not only getting higher speaking fees than I did but having a much wider audience than me. It is why in 2016 I spent 29 million dollars on social media manipulation. If you add up every House, Senate, and presidential candidate in American history combined it is less than what I spent drowning out any other voice on reddit, twitter, and facebook. But now that I had been heard I was certain there would be a moment of class consciousness that would elect me in a landslide.
But there wasn't.
In fact not only did I lose, I lost even worse than last time. In 2016 Hillary Clinton got 4 million more votes than I did. In 2020 Joe Biden got 9 million more votes than I did. But - most shocking to me - I got 4 million fewer votes than I did last time. People who supported me in 2016 left me in 2020. How could they have seen the light and then walked away from it? I really struggled with this and understanding it was not easy. Some people noticed that I stopped showing up for work in the Senate for several months while I came to grips with losing a race I had assumed was in the bag. Important votes happened and I wasn't there. My absence made the difference in some of them. Warren, Klobuchar, Harris - they didn't let having their dreams be crushed stop them from doing their job. I did. Yet another way in which I failed to be the person I thought I was. The person I told you I was. They were fighters, showing up every day for you. I wasn't.
Most of the reason my vote total shrank was that in 2016 over a fifth of my voters listed Biden as their first choice. He wasn't running in 2016. He was running in 2020. I was so caught up in my own righteousness that I assumed every vote cast for me was truly for me. They weren't. As soon as a candidate more to their liking showed up they left. Another reason my vote shrank was due to my own behavior. I hired to run my campaign people who saw the world as I did. A simple binary choice between good and evil where I was good and everyone else was evil. Where the world was broken and only I could fix it. Nobody else was good enough. Everyone else was corrupt. They worshipped me and I reveled in it. I treated every other successful candidate as enemies to be destroyed and my staff imitated me creating a uniquely toxic campaign culture that repelled voters. My zero tolerance policy for questioning or criticism blinded us all to impending defeat. Anyone who disagreed, after all, was "low information" or "corrupt" and didn't need to be listened to. But we were the real low information people.
In examining my failures and coming to accept my faults I now understand and accept why so many voters rejected me. I failed the Commander and Chief test not once but many times in these last 5 years. I am never running for President again and wouldn't accept the nomination if it was somehow offered to me. So please, stop wishing for something bad to happen to Biden on my behalf. He is a good man and a great leader who will be a fine president. He may not be going to my destination but he is going in a good direction that will heal this country. Vote for him. And vote in every election, not just Presidential years.
- Imaginary Bernie Sanders
submitted by Mrs_Frisby to Enough_Sanders_Spam [link] [comments]

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