[GW2] The Guild Wars 2 Economy

YouTuber Bridger of the Tales of Tyria podcast made this tight video overview of the Guild Wars 2 economy. Enjoy the articulate wording, helpful visuals, and occasional humorous homemade MS paint popup. The perspective Bridger takes in viewing the MMO economy is grounded (as it must be) in understanding the specific sources of consumption and production of economic goods, a timeless approach that makes the GW2-specific terms/content seem almost ancillary. The video demonstrates useful lens for thinking about game economies:

[CK2] Get the best value from tech points

In this quick clip we hear Crusader Kings II YouTuber Kailvin muse on getting the most value from his accrued tech points:

There are actually two things going on here:

"So with no ahead penalty, it's about time." A province's level in a tech can be instantly increased by spending saved-up tech points. Each tech has a target year and a point cost. The "ahead penalty" is a percent increase to the point cost of researching a tech before its natural time. Kailvin does not want to burn points on the ahead-of-time research penalty unless he has to. We do see on this screen that he does value some techs highly enough to eat the ahead of time cost; he has nearly capped out on Military Organization and Noble Customs far ahead of time, as these techs directly improve his empire's stability.

"I hate doing it on anything that has gears turning, because we're getting that for free...we'll just steal it from the Byzantines and then put my points into stuff." The "gears turning" icon by a tech indicates the province is gradually gaining that tech over time. Having higher-tech province neighbors causes this, as does the spymaster "Steal Technology" mission. Kailvin is using Steal Technology on the Byzantines, causing his capital to gain points towards techs they have which he lacks. Kailvin looks at his cap's Siege Equipment and Shipbuilding tech levels, each nearly at level 3 with 0% ahead penalty, and thinks about spending points to instantly boost them to tier 3. He chooses not to so he can keep leeching off of the Byzantines...he can always boost later, when he has caught up to them or has immediate need.

Kailvin is getting the most out of his tech points by avoiding ahead penalties on noncritical techs and holding off on boosting techs that are still improving over time.

[Hoplite] Flawless atheist conduct run

In this post, YouTuber Elan Morin Tedronai shows off his skill in the mobile tactical roguelike game Hoplite with a flawless atheist conduct win. Since my personal experience with Hoplite is limited, I am grateful that Elan added notes to his video description reviewing interesting moments. The commentary in quotes below is drawn directly from Elan's notes in his video description.

"Depth 4. A small trick at the very beginning of the floor: Sometimes it is preferable to just pass a turn instead of moving. In this case bashing an empty tile can be used as a poor man's replacement for the patience upgrade:"

"Depth 7. These kind of layouts can be very tricky. You have to move back and forth to pry for an opening to safely jump on the other side of the lava. I almost stayed too long on the starting island. I could have jumped over next to the wizard at the 01:50 minute mark (the demon wizard would not have attacked because the footman was in its line of fire):"
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[MTG] What’s in a Gush?

It looks innocent enough, but this little card is a format-warping powerhouse. Against the backdrop of that very morning’s non-update update to Magic’s ban/restricted lists, Vintage veteran Dr. Rich Shay argues eloquently for Gush’s restriction. Lend Rich your ear for a spell (heh), then read to review the subtly powerful synergies driving the Gush engine.

Gush. The card, the art, and the Magic: the Gathering game are all property of Wizards of the Coast and are featured here under fair use.

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[EU4] Milan as a monarchy points powerhouse

Youtuber Reman's Paradox shows why Milan and republics are strong. Milan has a diplomatically central position amid the great powers, a flexible and strong set of national ideas, and access to rich provinces. Most importantly, however, Milan has an event that allows a switch to the Ambrosian Republic government type early. Republics generate super-leaders by reelecting rulers at the cost of republican tradition. As reelection increases one of a leader's attributes and attributes directly generate monarch points, long-reigning leaders generate many more monarch points than leaders without boosted attributes. A new "Strengthen Government" action for republics buys republican at the cost of military monarch points, which in turn allows the leader to be elected yet again, sustaining the combo. Despite a recent buff to monarchy governments, Reman calculates that republics still average higher monarch point generation. Reman's video (as we've seen before) is very tight with insightful fact-driven commentary ideal for what we want to showcase here, so check out the short video in full:

[OTC] Tourney match featuring aggressive pressure against lategame potential

Here we have the best of 3 Offworld Trading Company (OTC) match between players blackmagic and DeathTacticus with excellent commentary from philothanic and Zultar. In this match, we see cross-game ideas such as the strength of controlling the center as well as a race between early and lategame strategies.

Game 1. It's best to search for ways to get in your opponent's way while advancing your own gameplan. Here Blackmagic cancels an iron claim to the east and instead takes 2 iron tiles adjacent to DeathTacticus's base. This play does not lose as much tempo as it would seem, as he could not claim those 2 tiles earlier as they were protected by the timeout from DeathTacticus' own found there. These two tiles stifle the expansive opponent's options, walling DeathTacticus off from the open space northwest of his base and reducing his options for later building placement. Expansive colonies have a large tile footprint that can make it especially difficult for them to design their bases in tight areas. They face the competing incentives, wanting to connect production to the base to avoid shipping but also wanting to avoid over-clustering of buildings that increase the value of the opponent's EMPs and Power Surges (both of which randomly spawned for this game's black market):

Both players are in the top center of the map away from many of the map's resources. Zultar discusses one attractive alternative found location nearer to the center that went unused. Controlling the center of a game map (LoL mid tower, chess center squares, etc) is very strong because occupiers have the shortest average travel distances to other points on the map. In this case, reducing shipping distance to every other point on the map would help because shorter shipping lanes are cheaper to operate. Playing to shorten distances is as important here as in other map-based games, as we saw with Planetary Annililation. By founding in a particular spot, players make a (mostly) static choice about shipping costs for the map's resource patches:
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[WC3] Don’t yield map control without a good reason

In this orc vs human Warcraft III ladder match, Grubby playing orc points out that the opponent failed to properly scout and counter Grubby's play. The opponent instead pursued a turtle-and-tech strategy that gives up early information and map control, and is punished.

The human should scout which neutral camps Grubby goes for. Creeping, i.e. clearing the neutral camps, is a very important early source of experience points and items. The human worker unit, the peasant, has the unique ability to temporarily transform into the hardier militia unit. Armed with scouting knowledge, the human player should counter Grubby's creeping by using his own hero supported by temporary militia to quickly clear the camps far away from the orc's Blademaster hero:

[Baseball] Hitters gaining a new angle

Authors Travis Sawchick and Jeff Sullivan take a look at baseball strategy in an ongoing discussion. They report how pitchers have long had an information advantage over hitters, able to target weak spots. Finally some hitters have responded to statistics and thinking on hitting planes. More offensive play is generated through fly balls than ground balls, and players adjusting for more of an uppercut swing have benefited by denying more ground balls to the opposing pitchers. Established players already at their power cap have seen improved results, and there is potential for change in the training for younger hitters less set in their ways.

[Bridge] Stats as a tool to look at instantiated gamestates

Competitive bridge pair Justin Howard and Peter Hollands are looking to improve. A friend of theirs analyzed their games, comparing both teams' play against double dummy, i.e. against the best line of play given all hidden hand information:

It doesn't help to just think "make more sacrifices because we know we tend to miss good sacrifices." Instead, the players in review try to understand which specific possible sacrifices had been good or bad and why. Stats without context only go so far. These players are using their stats as a lens for reviewing the past games that fed into the stats, not just as a tool unto themselves:

[DCSS] Early shooting efficiency with halflings

In games, overlapping advantages at a shared place and time create timings of opportunity. In Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup, halfling characters often take advantage of a powerful early sling timing, due to several static game elements that favor early sling use.

Experience points (xp) are earned by killing monsters and spent to increase skill rank. Each rank in a skill costs more than the last. Further, character species vary in skill aptitudes, which determine the efficiency with which a character spends xp into skills. Halflings have an impressive +4 aptitude for the slings skill, which doubles all xp spent on slings. Because lower levels in skills are cheaper, and halflings have such a high slings aptitude, it can be very cheap and effective (in terms of xp) for a halfling character to invest a bit in slings early. The early ranged attack cheaply kills melee enemies before they close on you, and enables fighting ranged enemies without needing to close oneself. A character with less aptitude for their early weapon skill, when later considering a transition to a different weapon skill, would be more pained by abandoning the sunk xp cost:

Non-sling ranged characters may be limited by ammo in the early game, and often should conserve ammo by using melee attacks. However, sling ammo is very common, with the weakest type (rocks) being essentially limitless.

Early game halflings with slings use ranged attacks at the lowest cost of any shooting character, in terms of both ammo and xp.