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At the begin I want to warn that this debate is highly political and more serious that others of it's kind here. Humour and sarcasms are acceptable tho. At the begin of 2019 we see rising political authoritarianism, witch hunts, dyscrimination (and it's not that of color) and state detachement from citizens voice (which absolutely shouldn't happen in republic). Why would that happen you might ask? Truth it - that process was going on for several years and now is in realization stage. The moment first ACTA tried to roll out from under EU, it was clear that people representing they interests there were of corporate background. This trend only continue to dwelve further even today... even current president of USA is CEO and owner of his own company, bah. It was basis to even consider him to be choosed. That is what is going in West for years. Post-communist countries although got a bit different background - it's still oligarchy but it usually comes from parties which assumed power in opportunistic matter when old communist goverment was weak or somehow kept part of their ex-communist goverment which recovered and now runs political scene behind background but are sometimes even mafia-like (especially true in Poland and Russia). Middle West and Africa on other hand refuse to build modern states... let's call it by name. First tries to apply religion to modern matters (such as economy and medicine) - instead of learning from Christian past mistakes of the same matter which resulted in so-called "Dark Ages". Second is dependant on several things - either weak goverment which prefer to spend any money they have on themselves or is somehow bankrupt, post-colonialism (interesting matter is that I see constant withdrawal of the West from Africa... but suddenly player like China appeared there) or policy in manner "blame it on race" (Obviously we talk Zimbabwe or recently South Africa). North America faces crisis similiar to EU at the current moment as no matter how you look at it American West is not that far from European West in ties. In Asia - Asiatic nation continue they constant growth (and especially in case of China) continue to be threat for all others, meanwhile South America faces economical crisis, mainly focused at Venezuela bad financial policies of one hundred of years coming to light. One might wonder at this moment... how are economies still growing? Problem is, they isn't. Economist predict worldwide GDP slowdown, already some of countries got such slowdowns showed in statistics. That cojoined with ever increasing debt and social policies burden of even major world countries can only lead to one thing - economic crisis. It's predicted that economy will face crisis in 2020 (that's why if you have any investitions in banking or companies etc. - withdraw and just in case the moment you see sharp decline, invest in gold which is resistant to economical changes at least for now). Will IT market crash as well? I think yes. Many biggest companies instead of focusing on consumer, focused on product - which more often than don't, didn't meet consumer expectations (lightly put in some cases). Even such behemoth as Apple got recently exodus of their fans - all due to reveals that Apple are plain if not worse in quality than their competitors and that's despite paying "premium" buck for it. Gaming industry isn't better - actually I believe that major part of gaming industry market might cause economic crisis itself. Many multi-milliards gaming companies lose they money over ideas against their population but also like in case of Apple - because of bad quality of their products. Thankfully we most likely won't see repeat of Atari-caused economic crisis in gaming industry as gaming got solid foot not only in economics right now but also in culture. There is also one last issue of modern world - this is one which causes most emotions. Political views. 4 years ago you could become apolitical and everyone were fine with that. Right now it's impossible to detach yourself from situations around you... both left and right. Views are enforced against people, political decision circle around them and extremism on both side is rampant. I'm not gonna point fingers at people. Instead I want just to say, that everyone should take this three advices to heart and politics might return to normal one day: 1. Not every view you might see as right - is indeed right. Take careful approach to what you preach as the best solution. Example: "I'm for gay marriages but i'm against gay adoptions - reason for that (if you are against something, you should state opinion) is that parents might be reason for which kids will face discrimination in schools." 2. You as citizen should encourage freedoms - right to guns, free speech, free though, right to belief or right to live shouldn't be decided by your state. Our ancestors dealt with that before - and if that comes from monarchist then it's bad as I saw certain groups seeking to restrict free speech, free though, believes, right to live or right to guns because one person or certain group can use it. If somebody got malicious agenda - he will find means to do his own thing anyway unlike citizens, so why do you want to weaken citizens (people same as you) instead of real culprits? 3. Try to find common point. Before each decision of country to implement new law or abolish old one - there must be something we call "consensus" aka. agreement among voters that this is the best proposition for every party represented, ruling party (or in case of monarchy "consensus" is enforced by decision of monarch). Look around history - what were the best rulers? This one who asked and looked around and then decided what to do. Nowadays we see "democratic" parties take decision for you after they win honestly dubious elections in some countries (Poland example - as my personal). That's not how democracy should work, you have right to voice opinion - if you meet opposition as long as it rises correct points agree with it and search for consensus. Oh and last thing. We all are humans. Just reminder to people who would love to divide us each in our small boxes. Anyway that's end of my rant, had to take out my soul over all this freaking issues because it pisses me off. I don't think many people care as deeply as me, wouldn't be really suprised honestly. This rant is obviously open to debate but don't try to enforce on me your points of view - it won't work, already destroyed enough snowflakes of that kind and suprisingly - they were on both sides of "barricades".
I want to weigh in on the back and forth about dethreating and server ranking from my own point of view. First (so you're less likely to want to jump down my throat and berate me), some context and stats: I'm pretty much a perpetual silver (a bit of that is by design, more later). I currently have just over 2000 hours in the game and, while I understand that I could easily of padded that stat in Social, I didn't. That's boring and, in my view, pointless. I enjoy playing the game. I've seen a lot, raged a lot, smiled a lot, been accused of hacking a bit. I have only one account; Citadel (originally Obeya) with three characters: 1 Crim (Jobs2k: 255), 2 Enf (Laney: 255, Jobs2k: Can't remember the rank but low and pretty much unplayed. Now, the content. After many years of playing I feel like the main reason to dethreat, especially in the current segregation system, is for someone of a gold skill/experience level to gain access to bronze level servers. My reasoning is simple - gold can go to silver any time they want. A frequent exchange when I kill a gold player goes like this: "You're shit. Go to bronze." "I'm silver, this is a silver server." "Then you should be on bronze [Insert random slur]." "I'm silver, this is a silver server. You should go to gold." "You're stupid. Gold servers are empty. Everyone knows silvers play on bronze and golds play on silver. Fuck off you stupid noob scrub." Let's break that down a little. Apparently, because I am not playing at the level a gold player thinks I should be to go against them (even though I just killed them) I shouldn't be in the server they are in. Now, I know that the most likely instigator of the exchange was 'butthurt' due to 'death by scrub'. People don't like to lose. I'm allegedly a person and I don't like losing. Now, why would/should the silvers go to bronze? I see two reasons. They can fight bronze level players there. They can 'escape' the golds there. They can fight bronze players, but "silvers play on bronze" so they'll be fighting both. Silver on silver is cool, it's the way it should be, but they shouldn't be slapping around bronze players. Why not? Because the game needs to keep players, not lose them. Bronze and green players need a place where they can be safe from stomping until (at the very minimum) they feel comfortable to branch out. "But wait, you said golds dethreat to gain access to bronze!" True, and I'll be the first to say that I don't have a foolproof solution for that incredibly complicated problem. What I will say is that I don't condone it and I wish LO every bit of luck finding a way to stop it. At the end of the day this game will succeed or fail based on holding a player base. Having newbs getting stomped and leaving is, in my view, the biggest root cause of the game being 'dead/dying'. The next point thrown out is that "gold servers are empty". My immediate reaction is "OF COURSE THEY ARE! You're all HERE!", hence me saying that I shouldn't have to go to bronze because they should be in gold. I realise that (while I feel that is correct on the face of it) it isn't a viable solution at this time because the player base is so small. I understand that people don't want to take on the same 10 - 20 players for 3 or more hours. The answer to this goes back to bronze players getting happy and secure enough in the game to enjoy it and stay. They then become silver, but happy silvers. They can take a bit more and they understand the game enough not to instantly feel victimised. To finally explain what I meant by being silver by design... I'm not generally at gold skill level because I don't play for a sustained amount of time. I'm back and forth in many games I play, spending multiple days focused on one or two until my desires shift. This means I frequently return to APB in a 'rusty' state. It also means that towards the end of each period of playing APB I have recovered what I had before and even progressed into 'gold territory'. This creates a few issues. Due to my feelings on what is fair I only enter servers that match my displayed threat level. No, I don't go gold and instantly switch servers, but I do check what my threat is before going to the server list. I know that players can move to one threat level either side of their current threat level. This means silver can go to bronze and gold. While my view of fairness means I don't go to bronze, I only hold that view when I'm playing alone or with similarly skilled players (well over 90% of the time). However, if I am bringing a new player in, and trying to help them find enjoyment in the game, I'm not going to take them into silver! At this point I will enter a bronze server, but I spend most of the time helping them understand the main mechanics and watching their back to stop gold experience silvers stomping them. I rarely end up at, or even near, the top of the mission stats. Because I don't know when a friend might express an interest in joining the game, and I want to support the game and grow the player base, I essentially give up making an effort (though I won't go AFK) when I go gold. I basically maintain silver as a personal balance. It allows me to play at my general level even when I'm rusty while also helping new players when desired. No matter what is done there are going to be 'bad actors' that like to spoil things or just simply test (and play with) the boundaries. I realise that this will always leave LO (or whoever owns the game) open to criticism. That's a hard place to be and I applaud their efforts while simultaneously being glad I'm not in their position. I would like to offer two potential solutions for the community to pick apart and criticise me for. Maybe LO might even consider if it is viable: Would it be possible to time lock moving out of your threat bracket? Example: A silver goes gold. They can't switch instantly to lower server. They carry on playing where they are because it only just happened and they are doing well, having fun. If they haven't moved out of gold threat for 24 hours then they are refused entry to silver servers. Eventually they would have to stop playing (sleep, eat, RL stuff) so balance would slowly be achived. This would also mitigate people being silver, having a string of a few bad missions, then being unable to access silver to play with their friends. It could also have a knock-on impact of people trying to help others to stay at the same threat with them. Would it be possible to kick players with a threat level that differs from the server threat? Example: The server has 39/40 Enf. A silver Enf goes gold or bronze. They are marked as 'kickable' and the server registers the time. A silver Enf enters the server. Server now at 40/40 Enf. The non-silver Enf that has the highest time being 'kickable' is allowed to finish the mission they are in, prevented from 'readying up' and kicked after X seconds. Server now back to 39/40 Enf. If the server is below 39/40 Enf then players of differing threat levels can still enter based on current 'one either way' rules of entry. This solution still allows for servers to remain well populated but they would slowly balance to being full of players of matching threat level.