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Mikasa's Character Arc: What, Where, How, When
There's been some discussion on Mikasa in the sub lately, both positive and negative, and it's led me to think a bit more about her character. In particular, I've been thinking about her character flaw, what it is exactly, and whether or not she's developed past it – and if she has, what that means for her in the final arc. Isayama once said that Mikasa is a character who 'expresses herself via actions and facial expressions quite a lot'. I sometimes feel that that's why a lot of her personal story gets overlooked – because she's not loud about it, and nor is anyone else. She's one of the most reticent characters in the manga and, more importantly, deliberately written that way. It's intentional on Isayama's part for Mikasa to mostly 'express herself via actions and facial expressions', and so, as difficult as it might be to follow, that's mostly how her personal journey is told. Because she doesn't say much, talks a lot with her fists, and is the team's natural and aggressive protector, it's easy to assume that there's nothing more happening there. Isayama clearly doesn't mean for readers to overlook her, but some inevitably do because she's not as obvious and outspoken as other characters. She's not like Eren, whose dissatisfaction with the world drives him to continuously push back, or like Armin, whose self-doubt and fear of responsibility constantly battle with his natural intelligence and sense of duty. She doesn't outwardly appear to suffer from the neuroses that afflict a lot of the others in the main cast. As a result, her development as a character isn't easy to track. Where does it start? Where does it end? What even is it? It's fair to ask, in Mikasa's case, whether she even has a character arc to begin with. What changes about her? Does she actually react in any way to her experiences and evolve as a result of them, or does she remain the same from beginning to end?
Fans' opinions on Mikasa's character are often based on her feelings for Eren and the actions she undertakes to protect him. It irks some readers that Eren is Mikasa's priority, and that her life seems to revolve around him. Because they consider this her character flaw, they expect that her character development is going to rectify this flaw; that she'll move away from Eren, whether physically, emotionally, or mentally, and find something else to live for. In a 2016 interview, Isayama said: 'Mikasa's growth probably involves separation from Eren'. People generally stop at that and go from there – they either believe that Mikasa can't grow as a person unless Eren stops being important to her, or that a Mikasa who isn't separated from Eren (emotionally, mentally, or physically) is inherently a flawed character. Isayama's explanation of the 'separation' he means is never usually discussed, even though he actually does go on to clarify it: 'Mikasa's growth probably involves separation from Eren. By separation, I mean she might be able to return to that ordinary girl that she used to be in childhood'. If the all-important 'separation' for her growth is about Mikasa returning to the 'ordinary girl' she used to be, it's worth asking what isn't ordinary about the girl Mikasa became, and when that change happened. And once that 'non-ordinary' quality about Mikasa becomes apparent, it can be identified as Mikasa's flaw; the deficiency in her character that we can expect her to overcome. Mikasa loving someone or wanting to protect them isn't in itself a flaw. It's a fairly ordinary, reasonable thing, and it's something plenty of other characters already display in the story: Franz wants to protect Hanna; Ymir, Historia; Eren, Mikasa; Kenny, Uri; Levi, Erwin, and so on ad infinitum. There's a reason that Mikasa's love for and general protectiveness towards Eren never changes. It's because it's not something she was ever meant to 'grow past' or 'get over'. It was never her flaw. Her flaw is fear. Mikasa's overprotectiveness of Eren is what isn't 'ordinary', because it's connected to her deep, abiding fear of loss. Her desire to constantly stay by him is pitiful because, above all else, it represents her fear and her mistrust of the world. And it's why her 'separation' from him is about more than just 'Mikasa finds something else to do apart from care about Eren'; it's a return to her being 'the ordinary girl of her childhood': a normal girl who isn't constantly fixated on how the people she loves can die at any moment: https://preview.redd.it/gpraaqxt1sq51.jpg?width=750&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=dbcb1a366ae0b26f287143aa4d7e916d1c7b3c49
When Levi says they'll focus on one objective and that won't include outright killing Annie, Mikasa's one objection is: 'How many of our comrades has she murdered?' Mikasa has no problem being straightforward with Levi. If her first and only consideration was Eren, she'd voice it. She'd even get away with it, because they all need Eren at this point. But instead, she reveals that she has a separate, personal desire: avenging their dead. Mikasa wants to kill Annie for her own reasons.
Levi states that their goal is to retrieve Eren. He gives himself the main role of 'slash[ing] away' at the titan, meaning that he will be the one to actually save Eren, who is in the titan's mouth. And he gives Mikasa the job of distracting Annie. Mikasa accepts asecondary role in a planthat isspecificallyto rescue Eren.
And when she does break from the plan, it's not so she can go and get Eren herself. Mikasa risks the objective of the mission – and Levi, and Eren – by going in for the kill. Mikasa risks the plan to save Eren by acting on her own desire to kill Annie.
Two important shifts take place here for Mikasa. One, she entrusts Eren to someone else, as demonstrated by her action of allowing Levi to take the lead. Two, her focus stops being, even for a short while, Eren – as confirmed by her facial expression when Levi challenges her on it, because she doesn't seem to immediately realise she's even capable of that: The objective was: Forget killing the Titan. Rescue Eren. And Mikasa, for no matter how short a time, lost sight of that. The fearful, overprotective aspect of Mikasa's relationship with Eren is beginning to change, because her relationship with the rest of her world is beginning to change. With his rescue of Eren in the forest, Levi proves to Mikasa that other people are just as capable of protecting Eren as she is. And if she happens to take her mind off Eren for a bit, it doesn't mean he'll die. This is where the 'separation' begins. Mikasa starts to accept distance between herself and Eren; the distance of being able to trust others with him, of not needing to constantly be with him and personally oversee his safety. And it leads to this watershed moment in the Uprising arc: Mikasa. Whilst Eren has been kidnapped. And all they know is that he's inside a coffin with some random undertaker at some random inn. Maybe. In Chapter 4, Mikasa couldn't handle Eren being in a different part of the city from her during a mission because of how afraid she was that he'd die without her. In Chapter 30, she let Levi take the lead on getting Eren back, and was shocked when she realised that, even for an instant, she'd prioritised something else over him. In Chapter 57, Eren's been kidnapped, no one's been certain for two days about where he is or what's happening to him, and Mikasa is, well, as pictured above. The debilitating fear that used to tie Mikasa to Eren is gone for good. She's finally let Eren go, and discovered that it doesn't mean she'll lose him.
Post-timeskip Mikasa is in a good place, and long past the fear with which she faced the world as a young girl. She's with Eren, working with the Volunteers, and she and Armin are excited about the possibilities of the widening world. Then Eren effectively betrays the SC for reasons they can't fully understand, and, once again, Mikasa's world begins to change in alarming, unpredictable ways. https://preview.redd.it/y4f97ksi2sq51.png?width=346&format=png&auto=webp&s=a17a0410c8f25e97ee450b57d9636e5fc147b874 For the first time in a long time, she loses someone she loves. Eren's in jail and Mikasa remains by Sasha's grave, pondering the old words that bind her and Eren together: 'If we don't win, we die. If we win, we live. If we don't fight, we can't win.' Ironically enough, Sasha is the only character in the entire manga to have said those words apart from Eren and Mikasa themselves. And she's now dead as a result of Eren's fight. So what exactly is Eren fighting for, and what does winning that fight entail? This is the first time in the manga that Mikasa begins to doubt Eren, and the first time their bond has ever really been threatened. And not by the world, titans, or murderous kidnappers, but by Eren himself. The idea that there is beauty where cruelty also exists has informed Mikasa's perspective on the world since Eren wrapped his scarf around her. He showed her that it is possible for the two things to co-exist; for there to be human cruelty as well as human kindness, cold as well as warmth, life as well as death. But Eren is now showcasing the exact cruelty that Mikasa used him as a beacon against. What he's done is undoing what she believes in; it's not just that it's shaken her view of Eren – it threatens to undo Mikasa's whole world-view. In that same 2016 interview, Isayama spoke of Eren and Mikasa's eventual separation being ideological: 'If I were to draw the separation of Eren and Mikasa . . . Mikasa would have to endure the strain of being stuck between Eren and Armin. Even though she can sympathise with Armin, who considers things from a ''globalism'' perspective, it’s possible that she can't just let the more self-focused Eren go'. This ideological separation begins the moment Eren defects from the SC. It's from this point onwards that EMA's paths truly begin to diverge, and Mikasa in particular is presented with a choice that she's never had to face before. Of the two people she loves most in the world, does she choose the 'self-focused' Eren or the 'globalist' Armin? The choice she makes will most likely conclude Mikasa's character arc once and for all, and it's a choice that's been building since before the time-skip, represented by her interactions with two characters in particular: 1. Mikasa and Floch At the award ceremony in Chapter 90, Floch points out something interesting about Mikasa in what is otherwise an easily overlooked moment in the manga. Although multiple people were present on the rooftop during Serumbowl, he is the only one to explicitly draw attention to the fact that Mikasalet go. She resigned herself to losing Armin because Hanji convinced her that Erwin was more important to humanity and Mikasa's grief at losing him was something that would pass. https://preview.redd.it/oqjfh2gk2sq51.png?width=584&format=png&auto=webp&s=f13d8f9a80608e4ac8a85c30d3ddc79b751ad1dd Floch sees this as maturity, but the realisation that she was willing to let Armin go for the sake of humanity is something that Mikasa is shocked by. It makes her falter, and let go of Eren. Mikasa has always defined herself as Armin and Eren's protector; she's presented in the story as such, and she styles herself as such. She's the one who keeps Eren and Armin safe. But Floch's words make her realise that, on the rooftop, she was able to step away from that role – because her world has expanded beyond Armin and Eren. It has expanded to include Hanji and Levi and the other Scouts – and humanity. Mikasa is capable of making choices that hurt her deeply for the sake of a greater cause. 2. Louise and Mikasa Louise meets Mikasa on three occasions. The first time, Louise tells Mikasa she likes her because Mikasa saved her, and gave her something to strive for: 'You can't save anyone without power. It's okay for us to fight against unjust violence. That's what I learned' (109). In the same way Eren 'gave' Mikasa a motto to live by, Mikasa gave one to Louise. The second time, Louise tells Mikasa that she's happy to be by her side again, fighting for the same goal. Mikasa is ambivalent towards her. And she leaves her scarf behind, choosing to go and fight the titans without it. In between the second and third meetings, Mikasa talks to Armin. She asks him if he's really going to tell Connie to give up on his mother and let her remain a titan; Armin says yes, he is. When Mikasa asks what should be done about Eren, Armin replies that there's nothing to be done; he's a lost cause. After Armin leaves, Mikasa notices that the scarf is missing, and goes to retrieve it. The third and last time they meet, Louise is dying. She tells Mikasa that Eren wanted her to throw the scarf away, but she thought that she could take it to be close to Mikasa. Though she appears to sympathise with Louise's plight, Mikasa demands the scarf back from her. She walks away from Louise even as Louise tells her that she had no regrets, because she chased after Mikasa, devoting her heart. Each meeting between Louise and Mikasa mirrors, in an abbreviated way, the different stages Eren and Mikasa's relationship has gone through. 1: Louise's initial love and gratitude, and her taking Mikasa as an inspiration; 2: their fighting side by side as equals; and, finally, 3: their literal separation as Mikasa chooses to walk away. Louise reminds Mikasa of what Eren means to her. Mikasa never seeks to stop Louise from talking about her feelings; instead, she listens. She might not reciprocate, but she does understand. And her understanding Louise's love reminds her of her own. She walks away, but she takes the scarf with her. Despite what Armin said, and what Louise told her about Eren and the scarf, Mikasa chooses to keep a hold of it in the way she keeps a hold of the hope that Eren can still be brought back. Mikasa is capable of holding on to the person she loves even when he's gone too far. Mikasa Chooses . . . Mikasa Despite the apparently binary choice, Mikasa doesn't have to choose to side with Eren (allow the Rumbling to go ahead) or with Armin (kill Eren to stop him). She said it herself: there's a third option. Her way. Eren's wandered so far down his path that he's lost sight of Mikasa and of Armin; of what connects him to the world. Mikasa chooses, not to support him or to believe that he's a lost cause, but to remind him that walking away from his humanity doesn't mean that he can't turn around and walk back. Kruger said 'Anyone can become a god or a devil. All it takes is for someone to claim it for it to be true' (88). But if there's someone to challenge that belief, then the possibility remains of breaking the facade and setting the story straight – thereby freeing that person from the role they've either taken on out of necessity, or been assigned. It's something we've already seen happen. All it takes is for one person to question it, and the goddess falls apart to reveal an empty, unloved young girl, or the devil's mask cracks open to show the boy still grieving for the world he's lost. Ymir knows that Historia's faking it; Mikasa knows that Eren is kind. Each of them challenges the story that their loved one is telling in order to keep going: Historia to survive, Eren to achieve his dream. It took Mikasa years to truly overcome the cruelty she had seen as a child. Despite everything, she did, in the end, go back to being that 'ordinary girl'. She came to acknowledge that cruelty exists, as does death – but life must nevertheless be lived, people loved, experiences had, and faith kept. Seeing the beauty in a world that is inherently cruel is, and always has been, Mikasa's greatest strength. It's something she is capable of offering Eren, who no longer seems to believe in that duality, or in his own humanity. She can show him what he showed her; that the world isn't black or white, cruel or beautiful, dark or light. It's both. And it's possible to live with that.
Mikasa is no longer fighting to protect Eren from the world; she's fighting to protect the world from Eren. She's the person best suited to do that not only because she's his family, but because Eren's despair and anger at the world is what she might have ended up with herself. If any character was dealt a crueller hand by the world than Eren, or could have become as bitter about the world as him, it was Mikasa. But he stopped that from happening because his kindness showed her that the world, as bad as it was, had good in it. Little by little, Eren's abandoned that view of the world himself. He no longer sees both its beauty and its cruelty, but has confined himself to seeing - and acting on - only one. When they fought Annie in Stohess, Mikasa had to remind Eren that the world was cruel, because Eren had lost sight of that truth. Now, Eren's lost sight of another, equally valid truth; that the world, as cruel as it is, is also beautiful. That he, as inhuman as he thinks he is, is also kind. If Mikasa manages to 'bring Eren back', she'll have come full circle. She started off as a little girl who was seeking something, anything, to hold on to. She needed a saviour, and she got one in the form of Eren. In this scenario, she'll end as a saviour herself, someone who is now able to pass on the light that she once received. Her fear of the world and of losing her loved ones subsided; she managed to find the warmth she needed to carry on. She doesn't need Eren's scarf anymore – but he might need hers.
My perspective on Mikasa is that she's not a very obvious character when it comes to development, and so she sometimes appears static. And because so much of her drive is Eren, a lot of fans look to her relationship with Eren to change for proof that she's somehow developed. But Mikasa's obstacle, her personal flaw, isn't Eren himself, and never has been. Her flaw has always been her deep and debilitating fear about losing the people she loves – Eren and Armin – and her inability to really trust or love anyone apart from them. Mikasa's separation from Eren = her beginning to trust the rest of the world not to stab him in the chest, almost behead him, or eat him alive whilst she's not there. It's good for her because it means she stops being so terrified that she'll lose Eren, not because it means she'll stop loving him or wanting him to be safe. And she reached that point of separation a long time ago in the manga. It was fully realised the moment she decided to trust Levi during the Uprising arc, despite the fact that Eren was literally gone from her side and she had no way of knowing whether he was dead or alive. The final confrontation is where Eren and Mikasa's ideological separation, the one discussed by Isayama in the interview, will/won't occur. It – and its finer details – can unfold in a number of ways, and each one could mean something different for Mikasa's character. But her choosing to face Eren in this way is a natural culmination of her development until now. I've no concrete theories on what will actually happen once the Alliance reaches Eren, but I'm fairly certain that Mikasa is central to the resolution of this arc. And what with the way she's been written by Isayama so far, that's no bad thing. So, to finally end this ramble, I hope that this post at least offers people a different perspective on Mikasa's character and how it's changed over the course of the story. I look forward to reading any other observations/thoughts on Mikasa's development that people might have. Many thanks for giving mine a read!
FutureICX AMA with nblaze (Midos) and the ICON Pilipinas Community
Hello ICONists! Today we’re happy to outline and highlight the intricate components of FutureICX, our vision for the dapp’s future and the reason for its creation through this AMA with ICON Pilipinas. Many community members have highlighted questions they’d like answered and were happy to discuss the foundations of our project, our ideas and how FutureICX differentiates itself from other gamified trading applications within the blockchain sphere! We look forward to answering all of your questions! nblaze: Hey everyone! As most of you probably know I’m nblaze from ICON P-Rep team Midos and together with the P-Rep team Sharpn we have built the FutureICX.io app, which was released earlier this week. This has been quite a long and exciting journey which started almost a year ago and we are all very excited that we have finally been able to achieve such a successful app release with so much positive feedback coming in our direction. Jenny: How did you come up with the idea for FutureICX and how was this project started? nblaze: Well, as a long-term holder of ICX, I have always been fascinated by ICON’s system and was looking into ways to contribute to it. I began extensive research surrounding the best P-Rep teams to delegate my ICX to, but somehow this did not feel enough, and I wanted to do more for the chain (and respectively for my investment). After jumping through a lot of different plans and ideas, including lotteries, raffles, games, payment systems etc., I noticed that a lot of people in the trading channels love to make predictions; long story short, approximately half a year later I partnered with the Sharpn P-Rep team. We’re extremely grateful for a Grant that the ICON Foundation and the ICONation teams provided us and we continue to press forward with amazing results. Jay: Throughout the entire development journey, there's sure to be plenty of ups and downs experienced. What's one particular fond memory that stands out to you the most? nblaze: Oh, I would need to go all the way back to the planning phase of FutureICX. I had gone to bed pretty late one night as I was very excited about the Dapp idea, but somehow, I constantly kept hitting a brick wall in trying to figure out how it would work. No matter what I thought of, several hours of planning later I have thought of something critical that would be a major issue. That night I was tired and honestly becoming a bit discouraged that I would never find a system that would work. After going to sleep, I woke up approximately an hour later with a clear idea about the system that I would like to use for FutureICX. I had no sleep from this moment onwards, just got to my computer and worked on it all night. It was really an ‘Eureka’ moment that I'm quite fond of. Jenny: What are your plans, either near-term or longer-term now that FutureICX has been released? nblaze: Of course, we are still working on FutureICX’s current state and are making sure that everything is running well. The app is stable, and players are happy with it. We have already started making plans for our next development stage through and although I cannot share very much, I can tell you that we are aiming for 3 additional original trading games, additional trading pair predictions and maybe even different crypto payment options. Hopefully everything will go well, and we would be able to reach those targets (and who knows, maybe more). Twitter and Telegram follower questions theanerz: What is the Mission and Vision of FutureICX? nblaze: I like this question as it is simple and yet very complicated to answer. FutureICX is aiming to be a multi-purpose platform that could be used by a wide range of players. It could be used as a mean to get additional gains from trading, as a learning tool, as a proof-of-skill or even as a fun app that you can have fun and gamble on. It is also very beneficial to the ICON chain as it not only creates transactions, it could also be a replacement of the ‘exchange’ trading in which no ICX are leaving the system (thus reducing sell pressure and increasing the price of ICX) and finally as a tool which can reduce the circulating supply as the ICX tokens placed in predictions are locked until the outcome is processed. I wrote an article a few days ago about this exact topic – what has inspired us to make the app and what are the benefits of using it. Anyone interested can find it at this link: https://forum.icon.community/t/futureicx-io-vs-conventional-trading-article/1069 ricnnobre: FutureICX is a platform for traders and therefore a minimum of knowledge in technical analysis is needed to predict where the value of ICX is going. Doesn't that restrict the audience that will use the platform? nblaze: True, the platform is for the most part aimed at traders, however most people that trade in it are not professionals. This allows for beginner traders to have a tool where they can compete with a lot of similar skilled traders instead of professionals, whales and institutional traders and this makes FutureICX a good learning tool to use. The prediction times are also fixed so this eliminates second-guessing and reacting emotionally on a trade that you have already set. As you are not competing against the bank, this also gives the players the opportunity to progress with their prediction sizes as they get better and even potentially make a living out of this if they are good enough and hit their predictions on a regular basis. It can of course also be used as a fun gambling tool as a lot of traders seem to be using the exchanges for that anyway. RGerburt: DApps in which users spend money without obtaining any benefit causes loss of interest over time. Does FutureICX have any form of reward for traders who fail to succeed in their predictions? How to maintain the loyalty of users, mainly those who are not good traders? nblaze: We have put in great efforts in trying to be helpful to such players. FutureICX offers dividend returns (each 1 icx that you spend gives you 1 dividend point and the dividend points respectively give you a % of the dividend pool, which is 10% of the amount of ICX that all players spend, at the end of the week – you can see details of that on top of the main screen and in the ‘help’ section, which is the place where our system’s theory is located). One of our awards also gives returns to the player that has spent the most. If that doesn’t work, you can always go for an ‘influencer’ strategy and have your friends and followers generate dividends for you (every 1 icx spent by someone that registered via your affiliate link gives you 0.5 dividend points) lavicrep69: They call us Betlords of the Icon Pilipinas we are one of many supporters of FutureICX. I just would like to know, because for us statistics and achievements are really a big deal. I saw the "Tropies (Sniper, Marksman, Cannoneer, Monthly) and the ICX reward" that you will get from consistent playing/predicting. I’m just wondering if you have global ranking of top players on each trophy or tier like a data base link on blockchain that we can always check to improve our standing? And will we have a "copy prediction options?” I’m sure it will be a good idea coz we can follow players and see their statistics. nblaze: There are such options, but we are planning to expand on those. In your ‘Profile’ page you can see how many awards you have earned, the most recent ones and how much you have earned through them. The monthly awards are also giving a monthly ranking of the top 10 players and giving them rewards for it. However, we do understand that we will need to and will improve even more in this direction nhene00: The market today has a lot of development projects on the blockchain platform. One of the factors that makes the platform appealing to many users is its special features. So, what are the outstanding features and advantages of FutureICX to attract users and investors? nblaze: We truly believe that our app was designed in a really unique way. You have the exchanges, binary options and futures on one hand, you have the raffles, lotteries, casinos and games on the other. We try to be none of those and to provide a new experience to our players. We also think that we offer a unique system, created from scratch, that benefits a lot of different types of players and strategies. As every other platform though, we would need the users/community’s support and feedback in order to progress even further. We do not believe that this will be an issue with ICON’s community though. ThomaXMiller: How will the dividends/point system work? When will the $3000 Pool be distributed? nblaze: You earn dividend points with every prediction that you and your affiliates make, and you get a % of all prediction amounts respectively to the amount of points that you have at the end of the week CHARLoTTE9o: If it’s less risky and much more profitable for traders, how will you and the whole team benefit from this? nblaze: The app has built in 5% commission, that is how we profit (you can see the full details in the 'help' page of the app). It is also not much more profitable for all traders of course; it simply provides better opportunities (according to our own deductions of course) than a normal exchange would. Ketz23: DeFi is one of the hottest topics in the blockchain space right now. Can $ICX share your opinions on DeFi with us? Do you think that DeFi will disrupt the existing financial system? What is Unification approach towards the DeFi sector? nblaze: I don’t think that I’m qualified enough to give such comprehensive opinion in Defi in general I’m afraid. willydavec1: You mentioned earlier about gambling, more games to play, In this era where there are tons of cryptocurrency gambling addicts, do you have any plans to minimize their addiction? A good project needs to care for its users/gamblers/players. Do you have any plans for them, any limitations? For example, 1000 USD worth of loss, they must be restricted for a few hours, something like that. nblaze: I believe that it would be hard to get addicted to our app - its 1 prediction/day or week, that is not a major concern imo. Also please keep in mind that this is no gambling application - you are not playing against the house and you can easily be profitable long term. So, an 'addiction' could mean improving your trading skills and making a living out of this. Neajmik: The hardest thing about any business is not building a product. What is often the hardest is getting people to use the product. How will FUTUREICX team resolve this to make your project become mass adopted and be more attractive in investotraders eyes? nblaze: True, we are doing our best from the app's side - getting feedback, building a product that our players like, promoting it to the best of our abilities. I think that the rest is up to the actual players: if they like it, they will naturally promote the product. I also think that the affiliate system would help a lot with that as a player could earn by being a 'promoter' and not even playing a single game (although not playing would limit his potential gains). SiliLovers: How does it feel after the first daily prediction was resolved earlier? nblaze: Amazing. 2500 ICX placed in predictions on the first day, quite a bit of positive feedback, happy winners all around. I love it! lavicrep69: If I am an ICONist and use d’apps like ICONbet how will you convince me to play FutureICX if it was my first time? nblaze: We wouldn’t. We believe that ICONBet has their own player market and we have ours. The activities on both platforms are completely different so there will be no need to pull players from one to the other. ICONists could play easily play on both and be equally happy with their experience Neajmik: What are the ways that FUTUREICX generates profits to maintain your project and how can it benefit both investotraders and your project simultaneously? nblaze: We have a 5% commission for that, so we don’t actually aim to benefit from the players' losses, on the contrary, we try to limit them for the less experienced traders. That is why each prediction amount is split into: 80% into the selected reward period pool, 5% towards the weekly/monthly awards, 10% towards the dividends and 5% to our team so we can keep improving the Dapp. That gives players opportunities to gain, even if their prediction did not come true HiImGroot: What are your plans for global expansion; is FutureICX focusing on only trading at this time or are you focused on building and developing your Dapp for more quality experience with users? nblaze: We’re hoping that with the second phase of our app we will be able to go into different crypto markets as well. This is still a long shot of a plan and requires a lot of variables to piece together but if we are able to do this, that would generate ICX transactions (as our Dapp is fully based on the ICON chain) while we are processing predictions that are payed with other cryptocurrencies. matT325: Where do you see FutureICX 2 or 3 years from now? nblaze: As a large gamified trading platform with a lot of players, many more trading games and options and working with a lot of different chains and projects while generating icx transactions in the process. LadyCrows: To advertise a project, you need to provide benefits and features, security aspects of the project. How does FutureICX differ from other decentralized trading applications? nblaze: There are quite a bit, so I’m not sure that I can list all of them in one short message. We have multiple gain channels, tiered rewards, dividends, awards, independent affiliate gains, our Dapp is fully decentralized (so every transaction is secure and verifiable), we are using a decentralized oracle for results (fairness and security), our tx process time is short and recorded on the chain thanks to ICON as well. ThePredator11: Why did you choose this platform name "FutureICX? nblaze: This was entirely a team Sharpn contribution. I picked Midos as an app name - they suggested FutureICX and we went with it and kept Midos as the name of my P-Rep instead. CryptoHodler22: If you put in an amount of $ICX for a long term prediction you can't stake them. Is there a form of divided for long-term wages? nblaze: That is absolutely correct – you would not receive any staking rewards for the duration of the prediction and that is the main reason that we have not set up a ‘monthly’ prediction or something like that. FutureICX is not aimed to make long-term holders to unstake their bags and come play. It is focused on the circulating ICX that instead of going to the exchanges, can come to ICX and have greater benefits from that. In terms of if the players are not losing from locking their ICX into a prediction on FutureICX, instead of staking them, the staking rewards for 10 days are around 0.2% - with FutureICX the rewards start from 120% and you could earn up to 450%/day if you know what you are doing I think that as with anything else, you have to balance your targets and decide what would be the best strategy for your money Ramle13747634: What is the greatest risk that you've taken before you do the first move of making the FutureICX that was released recently? Is it worth it to take the risk? nblaze: I think that building FutureICX was a very large risk in itself for me as in order for the project to see the light of day, I have personally spent almost an year working on it without any payment so far (while financing some parts of the app’s development out of my own pocket) and without any guarantees that I would be able to finish it. However I think that it was worth the risk and I would definitely do it again – I have not done this app to make money and have no delusions that it will make me rich or something. Im just happy that Im seeing it live and players loving it so far. This motivates me to develop FutureICX even further and provide even more fun experiences for the Iconists Neajmik: You received a lot of questions related to utilities and technology, future vision etc. So now I want to ask what do you want to receive from the community? nblaze: The greatest support that we can receive from the community is spreading the word about our app, about your opinion of it (good or bad it doesn’t matter – you are entitled of your own). At the end of the day, we have designed the app to be attractive to newcomers and to reward properly the proactive players assisting us with that task (via the affiliate bonuses), however our PR resources are limited and we would appreciate any help that we could get. So if I have to summarize – talk with people, brag, show off, discuss, even rant about FutureICX to people, it will all be of help to us and will also earn you extra gains 😉.
Escape from Tarkov New Player Guide 2.0: 75 Pages and packed with all the information you could ever need for success!
Greetings, this is dumnem, also known as Theorchero, but you can call me Theo. I'm an experienced Tarkov player and I'm writing this guide to try and assist new Tarkov players learn the game, because it has one hell of a learning curve. We'll be going over a lot of different aspects of this guide, and it is going to be huge. Feel free to digest this in parts. Additionally, this is a work in progress. I will write as much as I can in one Reddit post, but subsequent parts will be in additional comments. Google Docs Version (Note: Link is placeholder atm, but here is a sneak preview!) Disclaimer: Tarkov recently updated to .12! That's a HUGE amount of information that I need to update. Please be patient! If there is anything I have gotten wrong or may have omitted, please let me know. This is Primarily directed towards Tarkov Novices, but should be useful for even Tarkov Veterans. It hopefully includes everything you need to know to be able to go into a Raid equipped for success and to successfully extract with gear. Want to play with friends? Want to have fun and learn Tarkov? Check out my discord here.
[Updated for .12]
Money making strategies completed.
Minor grammar adjustments, adding additional medical items.
Added additional resources, updated old ones.
Hideout section complete
Table of Contents
Tarkov Overview - What is Escape from Tarkov?
Tarkov Resources - Useful links
Tarkov's Health System
Tarkov's Hideout System
Tarkov's Quest System and Progression
Tarkov's Hotkeys to Know
New Player's loadouts - LL1 Traders
What to Loot - How to get the most money per slot
Stash Management - How to combat Gear Fear
Tarkov Economy - How do I make money?
Tarkov Overview - What is Escape from Tarkov?
Escape from Tarkov is a tactical, realistic, FPS with MMO elements developed by Battlestate Games. It is currently in closed Beta. The game features several maps in which your primary character, your PMC, goes into Raids in order to find and salvage loot and useful equipment to survive and thrive in Tarkov. Death is very punishing in Tarkov. If you die you lose everything you had on you when you die (with the exception of what's inside your Container and your melee weapon) including any equipment you brought with you or what you found inside the Raid. Enemies can be players (PMCs) or Scavengers ('Scavs') that are either controlled by AI or by players. Unlike many shooters, AI enemies in Tarkov are deadly - they can and will kill you on sight. They have recently been upgraded to act more intelligently, shoot more accurately, and react to situations on the map, such as investigating noise of gunfire or searching. It features beautiful and immersive environments, intricate and in-depth weapon modification system, a complex health system, dynamic and specific loot placement, and multiple options for engagement. Do you want to play slow and stealthy, to avoid fights, or set up a deadly ambush on an unwary foe? Or do you prefer raw combat, where only your quick wit, placements of shots, and tenaciousness determines who gets out alive? It's your Tarkov. You make the rules.
Tarkov Resources - Useful links
I take no credit or responsibility for any of the content in these links. To the best of my knowledge, these are updated consistently and are accurate, but user beware.
Huge collection of all the keys in the game. These are also on the wiki, but this page has them all on one page, and tries to inform the user if the key is worth keeping or using. Check it out here. This section is open to revision. Mention me in a thread (or in the comments below) about a resource and I'll see about adding it here.
Courtesy of Veritas (Send me his reddit username?), It's located here. (Open in new tab.) Contains: Detailed information about: Ammunition, Health, Firearms, Body Armor, Helmets, Rigs & Backpacks, Labs & Quest keys. Outdated! Needs to be updated for .12
Offline Raids - Player Practice
Offline raids is a feature added for testing and learning purposes for both new and veteran players alike. It is an incredibly useful tool. In an offline raid, your progress is not saved. This means you don't keep anything you find, keep any experience 'earned' if you successfully extract, or lose any gear when/if you die. To access OFFLINE Raids, head into a Raid normally until you see this screen. Then Check the box indicating that you want to do an OFFLINE raid and you're good to go! You even have a choice on whether or not to add AI. You can also control how many AI enemies spawn, fewer than normal or a great deal more! You can even make Scavs fight each other. (Framerates beware.) You can control how many scavs spawn (if any) as well as a number of other paramaters. New players should use offline raids as a tool to practice shooting, controls, movement, etc.
Tarkov features several maps - ranging from wide, beautiful vistas to ruined factory districts, to an abandoned laboratory where illegal experiments were being conducted. It is important to learn the maps you intend to play. In order to keep your gear, you must 'extract' at one of your designated exfiltration points. Not all extracts will be active every game, and some are conditional.
To see what extracts are available to you, double tap 'O' to show raid time and your exfils. If it has a ???? it might not be open.
Gate 3 Extract A small, fast-paced map that was primarily created for PvP. Scavs spawn in all the time. Very close quarters, shotguns and SMGs tend to dominate here. PMCs can only access one Exit (Gate 3) without the Factory Exit Key. Good place to go if you need PMC kills as action is pretty much guaranteed. It is recommended NOT to bring in a lot of gear to Factory until you are experienced. Factory Map in PvP is best played in Duos - due to the layout of the map, a Maximum of 6 PMCs may be present in the game. Due to the split spawn points, you effectively have 'sides' that have up to 3 spawn locations that are close together. This is why it is recommended to secure/scout enemy spawn locations. If you go in with a Duo, you at max have 2 players on your side for an even 2v2, and if played smartly you can eliminate them and know your 'side' is secure from aggression for the time being. Upon loading in, scavs usually take a couple minutes to spawn, though this depends on the server in question and isn't super reliable. For new players, the best loadout in Factory is going to be a MP-153 Loadout - using just an MBSS (or similar bag) and ammo in your pocket to fight other players and Scavs. Scavs will often spawn with AKs and other 'vendorable' weapons, so is a good source of income. Factory is also one of the best maps to Scav into, as Scavs can typically avoid the Exit camping strategy employed by a lot of weaker or newer players in order to secure gear, because they typically have extra exfiltrations whereas PMCs without the Factory Exit Key are stuck using Gate 3. If you go in with a modicum of gear, it is recommended to keep at least a flashbang (Zarya) in your container. This will allow you to quickly slot it into an empty chest rig or pocket so you can throw it into the exit door, this will flash enemies and is cheap to do - the one time you survive because you flashed the 3 exit campers using shotguns will make this strategy extremely valuable.
Extract map A fairly large map that was recently expanded and is expected to receive an overhaul within a patch or two, due to the choke point design of the map. Essentially, players spawn either on 'warehouse' or 'boiler (stacks)' side. If you see a large red warehouse ('big red') near you (Customs Warehouse), then you spawned on the warehouse side. If you don't, you likely spawned near Boiler side. Players can also spawn in several places in the woods North of boilers. This map has the most quests in the game. Geared players often come to customs to challenge other squads over Dorm loot and to fight a Scav boss. New players are usually trying to do one of several early quests, such as ‘Debut’ which tasks them with killing 5 scavs on Customs and acquiring 2 MR-133 shotguns (pump shotties) from their corpses. Construction is also a popular hotspot as it has a lot of scav spawns as well as the location for the Bronze Pocketwatch, which is Prapor’s second quest. Customs itself does not offer very much loot on average. There are several spots which can contain decent, but the vast majority is located in a couple different locations. Dorms is the best loot location for Customs. It has two sets, 2 story and 3 story dorms. They each have their own sections of good loot, but the best is considered to be 3 story dorms, due to the presence of the Marked Room. The marked room requires a marked key to open, and has a good chance to spawn rare loot, such as keytools, documents cases, weapons cases, and high-end weapons. Due to the nature of the high value of this room, it’s almost always contested and it’s one of the best rooms in the game to farm, albeit with difficulty to successfully extract with the loot found. Note, though the key required has a maximum amount of uses, it is a fairly cheap key, and worth buying if you like to run customs and go to Dorms. Dorms also has a ton of early quests (Operation Aquarius, for one) with some keys being valuable to use, but most dorms keys aren’t worth that much on the market. There’s too many to list here, but make sure to check the Map Keys and You at the top of the guide to determine what the value of a particular key is. Checkpoint (Military Checkpoint) is also a decent loot spot, though not nearly as good as Dorms. If you have the key, it has a grenade box and 2 ammo boxes which can spawn good ammo. The jacket in the blue car also can spawn good medical keys as well as medical items. It is very close to the gas station, so I’ll include that here as well. The Gas Station is one of the possible spawn locations for the scav boss. It has loose food items, a weapon box in the side room, with two keyed rooms leading to a safe and a med bag and box. Also contains a couple registers and food spawns on the floor. The emercom key can spawn on the seat in the ambulance out front. North of the gas station is the Antenna, which contains 3 weapon boxes, a tool box, and a med bag. Possible location for scav boss spawn, albeit rarely, and also spawns regular scavs, like checkpoint and gas station. Beyond that, there’s scattered loot around the map in different places, but usually not enough to warrant going out of your way for. There’s also scav caches, mostly around the middle road outside construction and around the boiler area. The scav boss for customs is 'Reshala.’ He has 5 guards that have above-average gear and can be tough to deal with solo. The guards tend to be more aggressive than normal scavs, so they can be a lot to handle but are vulnerable to fragmentation grenades or flashbangs due to their close proximity to one another. Reshala himself has a good chance to have one or more bitcoin in his pockets, as well as his unique Golden TT, which is required for a Jaegar quest and used in conjunction with other Golden TT's to purchase a Tactec, good plate carrier. Reshala may spawn either Dorms (either bldg), New Gas Station, or rarely the tower north of the gas station. Scav bosses are dangerous enemies with escorts that have above-average loot (sometimes great loot) and are hostile to everyone, Including player scavs. Scav guards will approach a player scav and basically tell them to leave the area, and if they walk closer towards the scav boss they turn hostile. The ‘official’ spawn rate for Reshala is 35%.
Woods Map with Exfil A very large map that is mostly just a large forest, with the occasional bunker, and the Lumber Mill in the center. The Lumber Mill is the primary point of interest, as it contains a couple quest locations and is the primary location to farm Scavs, as Scavs killed on woods are a good source of end-game keys that are hard to find. Since the map is so large and open, sniper rifles with scopes usually reign king here. You will see a lot of players with Mosin rifles as they are a cheap way to train the Sniper skill (for a quest later on) and are capable of killing geared players and scavs alike. Overall, not usually very populated. An early quest from Prapor sends you here to kill a number of Scavs. A good map to learn the game, as although the loot is not fantastic, you can get experience with how the game runs and operates while fighting AI and possibly getting lucky with a key find off a scav. As of .12, Woods now houses a Scav boss that acts as a Sniper scav. He is incredibly dangerous and usually carries a tricked-out SVDS. The 7.62x54 caliber is not to be underestimated. That caliber can and will wreck your shit through what most players are capable of wearing, especially early on in a wipe. He may also carry an AK-105, so he's going to be dangerous at both short and long ranges. He has two guards, and he typically patrols the area around the Sawmill, and carries a key to a cache nearby full of goodies. His key is part of a quest for Jaegar. Woods also has two bunkers, one of them being an extract and requiring a key. Both bunkers have some moderate loot in them, thus worth visiting, though not necessarily worth going out of your way for them. Several quests occur around the sawmill area, which contains a good couple keys that can spawn.
Shoreline Map, with Loot, Exfil, etc A very large map, notorious for its FPS hit. Generally speaking, one of the better maps for loot. The primary point of interest is the Resort, but scavs spawn there, and is primarily occupied by hatchlings (players only with hatchet, ie melee weapon) and geared players. Resort has great loot, but requires keys to access most of it. A great map to learn though from new players as the outskirts still contains plenty of loot and combat opportunities with AI scavs. You can hit Villa, Scav Island, Weather station, Docks, etc and come out with a backpack full of valuable gear fairly easily. The Village (Not to be confused with villa) contains a lot of toolboxes which can contain lots of parts used to upgrade your Hideout. Location of many quests, including a large quest chain where players are required to kill many, many, scavs on Shoreline. For this and other reasons, probably the best map for new players to learn the game with. A good loot route is to hit the village (caches in it), scav island (2 med bags, 2 toolboxes, 2 weapon boxes, 1 cache), burning gas station (weapon boxes and a safe), pier (potential extract, 2 pcs 2 safes and lots of filing cabinets), and weather station. Scavs may spawn around these areas, but most players just head straight for resort anyway, so you are much less likely to encounter them, especially if you avoid Mylta power (most players hit it on the way to or leaving from the resort). Excellent route as a player scav as well.
Detailed map Great, great loot area, but very complex map. Old computers might face unique struggles with this map. Features a mostly-binary exfil system like Shoreline, but.. kinda worse. Exfil camping is fairly common on this map, but usually avoidable. Huge map with multiple floors and many many different stores. Communication with teammates is a challenge on this map, but the map is also fantastically detailed. This map features a lot of loot that depends on the kind of store you're in. It's a great place to farm rare barter materials which are valuable to sell on the Flea market or to use for quests or for hideout upgrades. An early quest (from Ragman) sends you here to kill a large amount of Scavs. I'd recommend getting Ragman to level 2 and accepting his quest asap when going to Interchange, as getting this quest done can take a while as it is and you want all scav kills to count towards progress. Both the tech stores (Techlight, Techxo, Rasmussen) and department stores (Groshan, Idea, OLI) are the primary places to hit. There’s also Kiba (weapons store) as well as Emercom and Mantis. Players have different strategies, but this map is unique in the sense that it really rewards exploring. Most stores will have things you can grab that are worth quite a bit but are often overlooked. Very popular place to go in as a Player Scav.
Brand new map, chock full of loot. Has more complex extracts than other maps, save for Labs. Excellent place to farm rare barter items, computer parts, and especially military hardware. PMCs have limited extracts, most being conditional, and the ones that aren’t require activation of ‘power’ to turn on the extract, which alerts the map the extract has been opened and can spawn Raiders (more on them below.) Additionally, has a scav boss by the name of Glukhar, who has multiple heavily armed guards. He has multiple spawn locations and can arrive with the train.
DISCLAIMER: Labs, like much of Tarkov, is under constant development, so issues may be fixed or created without warning. Always check patch notes!
Labs is a very complex map compared to the rest of Tarkov. There is a great deal more exfiltrations but many of them have requirements or a sequence of events needed to be able to extract from them. It is recommended to read the Tarkov Wiki on Labs before raiding there.
LABS IS NOT LIKE OTHER MAPS. READ THIS SECTION CAREFULLY.
Labs is a lucrative end-game raid location, comparable to 'dungeons' in other games. They are populated by tougher enemies that give greater rewards. In order to go to labs, you need to acquire a keycard, this functions like mechanical keys but instead of opening a door, they unlock your ability to select Labs for a raid. They may be found in-raid in various locations, most notably in scavs backpacks, pockets, and in filing cabinets. They may be purchased from Therapist at LL4 for 189K Roubles. Labs are populated by a unique kind of AI enemy, Raiders.
Raiders are the Labs form of Scavs, or AI enemies. However, unlike other maps, they cannot contain player Scavs. Raiders have a much tougher than your average scav, they are capable of advanced tactics (such as flanking) and throw grenades and use other consumables as a player would. Once 'locked' onto you, they are typically capable of killing you very quickly, even if you are wearing high-end armor. In Tarkov, Raiders act like the avatars of Death. They are clad in USEC and BEAR equipment, as they are effectively AI PMCs. Many changes have been made to labs and specifically how Raider AI works and to prevent exploits to easily farm them as well as bugs where they could be deadlier than intended. A general rule of thumb is not to fight Raiders directly. They can and WILL kill you. Raiders can spawn with 7N9, or 'big boy' ammo. This ammunition type is incredibly lethal to players, even those wearing the toughest armor. If you get shot in the head, doesn't matter what kind of helmet, face shield, killa helmet, etc you are wearing, you will almost certainly die. Because Raiders are controlled by AI, they have zero ping. They may also end to immediately respond as if you were aggressive even if they did not originally know you were there - ESP Raiders effectively will prone and return fire even as you ADS and put them in your sights. This is why engaging a Raider must be done very, very carefully. There are a few strategies that you may employ, most commonly some form of baiting them towards an area and then killing them when they arrive. Players may accomplish this by generating noise - gunfire, melee weapon hitting walls, crates, etc, player deaths, players Mumbling (F1 by default) can all attract Raiders to investigate your area. Due to the high power of Raiders, players often go in with minimal loadouts and seek to avoid conflict with other players, especially geared ones. Most players avoid PvP in Labs, though a good portion of the playerbase thoroughly enjoys hunting down poorly-geared players after they kill a few Raiders for them. As such, players will lay prone in a hallway, or crouch in a room, and attract Raiders to enter their domicile by opening the door, and immediately headshotting them. Few Raiders actually wear helmets (though some do) so most players specialize in 'flesh ammo' or, ammunition that foregoes armor penetration in favor of raw damage in order to kill Raiders more reliably, because Raiders have slightly higher head health than PMCs do. Raiders spawn with a great variety of equipment, weapons, armor, and materials such as medication or hideout parts. They tend to have chest armor and may have different helmets. Their pockets can contain Labs keycards, morphine, Ifaks, cash, and other items. They're always worth checking. Raiders are a good source of grenades, they will often have F-1's and Zarya's in their rig or pockets that you can use to fight off players and Raiders alike. Recently, changes have been made to Labs to make them less profitable so that other maps are more appealing. The cost and rarity of keycards increased, as well as reducing the frequency that raiders spawn, so that they come in more infrequent groups but also tighter in formation, while also lowering the overall output of individual Raiders, so that they are less likely to have a bunch of extra materials, such as grenades and other items.
Experience Farming on Labs
Labs is one of the best places to farm experience in the entire game. Killing a Raider with a headshot awards 1100 Experience. This does not include any looting, inspection (searching bodies), examine, streak, or other experience. Killing a large sequence of Raiders gives additional bonus experience in the form of Streak rewards, usually 100 bonus exp per additional kill. Surviving the raid multiplies all of these sources of experience by 1.5x
Changes coming to Labs
Disclaimer: I am not a BSG developer or employee. This is what I have seen on this subreddit and heard elsewhere. Some might be purely rumor, but other points are confirmed by Nikita Labs is undergoing constant changes. Nikita and BSG take feedback seriously, and always consider what the players are telling them. It known that Labs will eventually be accessed via the Streets of Tarkov map, and will require you to enter that map, make it to the labs entrance, and then extract from Labs to return to Streets of Tarkov and exfil from there as well. This will likely add an additional layer of risk to being ambushed for your goodies along your way out, as well as punishing damage taken in labs more severely. Additionally, keycards will have a limited number of uses, and may open more than one room. The full extent of the changes coming is not known. Remember, you can load a map in OFFLINE mode to practice against bots or to learn the map without fear of losing gear.
Tarkov's Health System
Tarkov Wiki Article Tarkov has a very advanced health system, and while it might seem overwhelming at first, you'll get the hang of it rather quickly. It features a very wide variety of effects and injury, including hydration, energy, blood pressure, blood loss, fractures, contusion, intoxication, exhaustion, tremors and more. Not all of the Health System is implemented yet. Expect changes! Your character (PMC, or otherwise) has a combined Health of 435. Each of his limbs have separate health. Taking damage to a limb that reduces it to 0 'blacks' that limb. Blacked limbs are a problem. They greatly impair the activities your PMC performs, and taking damage in a blacked limb amplifies the damage by a multiplier and spreads that damage among your other non-black limbs equally. You cannot heal a blacked limb without the use of a Surgical Kit. Notes:Bloodloss applies damage to the affected limb and can be spread like other damage to a blacked limb. Treat immediately. Also causes significant dehydration! Bloodloss also helps level your Vitality skill, which in turn gives you experience towards your Health skill, which is necessary to reach level 2 of in order to improve your hideout. Losing a limb applies additional effects. Fractures also apply these effects but not the damage amplification (Except for damage if running on fractured leg.) Fractures require specialized medical kits to heal. Dehydration is what happens when your Hydration level reaches 0. You can view your Hydration level in your gear page, at the bottom left. Becoming dehydrated is extremely bad. You take constant damage. Taking dehydration damage can kill you if you have a black chest or head. Restoring hydration helps train Metabolism, which improves positive effects from food and drink. Head/Chest: Bullet damage resulting in losing your head or chest is instant death. Note: Bloodloss resulting in your Head/Chest being black does not result in death, but any damage to them beyond that point will! A back chest will causes you to cough (much like your stomach!) Painkillers: Prevents coughing that comes from your chest. Doesn't help otherwise. Stomach: Massively increased rate of dehydration and energy loss. You must find liquids or exit the Raid soon. Additionally, your PMC will cough sputter loudly, attracting attention. A black stomach multiplies damage taken by 1.5 and redistributes that damage across your entire health pool. Painkillers: Significantly reduces the frequency and volume of the coughs. Arms: Makes activities like searching, reloading, etc, take additional time, as well as adding a sway, reducing accuracy. Arms have a .7x damage multiplier. Painkillers: Reduces sway, removes debuff Pain. Legs: Blacked legs cause your PMC to stumble and be unable to run. Blacked legs have a 1x damage multiplier. Painkillers: Allows you to walk at full speed and to run. WARNING: Running while your legs are blacked or fractured WILL DAMAGE YOU.
Tarkov features many health items - 'Aid' items, which can be used to restore your characters health and to fix ailments or injuries he receives as the result of combat or mishaps. The two most important health conditions to consider are bloodloss and fractures, which have both been covered above. Some food items may have ancillary effects, such as losing hydration. Since in the current patch the only ailments to worry about are bleeding and fractures, it changes which health items are most necessary. We'll go over them below.
Medical Items on Wiki AI-2 medkit The newb's medical kit. You receive several of these when you start Tarkov - they'll already be in your stash. Available from Level I Therapist, they are cheap and effective way of healing early in the game. They will not stop bloodloss. Because of this, you also need to bring bandages or a higher-grade medical kit. Affectionately called 'little cheeses' by the Tarkov community. Using it takes 2 seconds, and because of how cheap it is, it's often brought in by higher level players to supplement their healing without draining their main kit (which is capable of healing bloodloss or sometimes fractures). Due to its short use time, it's often very useful during combat as you can take cover and quickly recover damage taken to a vital limb. They're also useful as you can buy them from Therapist to heal yourself if you died in a raid. Bandages The newb's bloodloss solution. Available from Therapist at Level I. A better version, the Army Bandage is available at Level II, after a quest. Mostly obsolete after unlocking the Car Medical kit, but some players value them due to the Car's overall low health pool. Activating takes 4 seconds, and removes bloodloss to one limb. Splint The newb's solution to fractures. Cheap, takes five seconds to use, and takes up 1 slot. Fractures are much more common this patch, due to them being added back in the game from standard bullet wounds, not just drops. Available from Therapist at Level I, no quest needed. Can be used to craft a Salewa. Alu Splint More advanced form of the normal split. Works the same, but has up to 5 uses. Recommended to carry in your container if possible, due to frequency of fractures from gunfire. CMS (Compact Medical Surgery) Kit New medical item added in .12, fantastic item. Allows you to perform field surgery, removing the black limb state and allowing you to heal it beyond 0 hp. Takes 16 seconds to use, and cannot be cancelled so make sure you are safe if you are using it! Will reduce the maximum health of the limb it's used on by 40-55%, but will effectively remove all negative effects incurred by having a black limb. Highly recommended to carry in your container for emergencies. Can be bartered from Jaeger LL1, and purchased for roubles LL2. Surv12 field surgical kit Same as the compact surgical kit, but takes 4 seconds longer, and the health penalty is reduces to 10-20% max health of the limb. Considering this kit is 1x3, taking up a huge amount of space, it's probably not worth using. It's just too large. Better this than nothing, though. Car Medical Kit The newb's first real medical solution. Available LL1 as a barter (2 Duct Tape) and available for Roubles after completing Therapist's second quest. Has a larger health pool than AI-2's (220, vs AI-2's 100), and removes bloodloss. Takes up a 1x2 slot, so requires to be placed in a tactical rig in order to be used effectively. Cheap and fairly efficient, takes a standard 4 seconds to use. Rendered effectively obsolete when the Salewa is unlocked. Often kept in a player's secure container as a backup health pool, before IFAKs are unlocked. Salewa Good medkit for use in mid and end-game. Contains 400 total health and can remove bloodloss. More rouble efficient form of a healing due to its high health pool, costs 13k roubles. Same size as the Car medical kit, so requires a tactical rig to use effectively. Because Tarkov does not currently have effects like Toxication in the game at the moment, this kit is favored by most players who go into a raid with at least a moderate level of gear. With a high health pool and relatively low cost, it's also a more efficient way of healing damage sustained while in raids. Unlocked at Therapist Level II after completing a level 10 Prapor quest, Postman Pat Part II. Required as part of Therapist's first quest, Shortage. This makes Salewas very valuable early on in a wipe as it gatekeeps the rest of Therapist's quests, most of which occur on Customs early on. Can be crafted in your meds station with a painkiller, splint, and bandage. IFAK Fantastic medical kit, and is the one preferred by most players. Features 300 health and the ability to remove bloodloss and a host of other negative effects that are not yet implemented into the game. It does not, however, remove fractures. Taking up only a single slot, it is favored by players in all stages of gear, and it is recommend to carry one in your Secure Container in case of emergencies. Is available at Therapist Level II for a barter (Sugar + Sodium), and may be purchased for Roubles at Level III after completing Healthcare Privacy, Part I. It is a fairly expensive kit, but due to its durability, its small size, and ability to remove bloodloss, it is a very common medical item used by players of all levels. Can be crafted in Lvl 2 medstation. Grizzly The 'big daddy' medical kit, boasting an impressive total health resource of 1800. It is also a very large kit, taking up 4 slots (2x2) - in order to be able to use this quickly, it would require specialized tactical rigs that feature a 2x2 slot. It removes all negative effects (some costing HP resource), including fractures. Used by highly-geared players who intend on staying in raids for an extended period of time, or by players with additional Secure Container space available in case of emergencies. It is available for barter at Therapist Level II, and purchase at Therapist Level 4. Due to its price point from Therapist at just under 23k Roubles and its healthpool of 1800, it is by far the most efficient method of healing from raid damage, at a 1.3 roubles per health, dramatically lower than other options available. Can be crafted in Lvl 3 medstation.
Using any of these items results in your character being 'On Painkillers' which allows you to sprint on fractured and blacked legs, as well as reducing effects of fractures and blacked limbs, and removing the debuff Pain. Essentially, the only difference between most of these items are the speed of use, price, availability, and duration of the effect. Note that the Hideout has changed how some of these items are used, and because Tarkov is under constant development, it is very likely that these materials may be used to create higher-grade medkits or to upgrade your medstation. That being the case, it's best to hoard the unknown items for now as efficiently as possible until you know you don't need them. Analgin Painkillers The holy grail of pain medication. "Painkillers" have 4 total uses. The total duration is greater than Morphine and less risk of waste. Takes a short time to use, and is available from Therapist Level 1 for both barter and Roubles. Makes a loud, distinctive gulping noise. Can be used to craft Salewa kits. Morphine Quick application of painkillers. Favored by some highly geared players as it has greater usability in combat then it's typical counterpart, Painkillers. Has a longer duration, but only one use. It is required for a fairly early Therapist (and a late Peacekeeper) Quest, so it is recommend to hoard 10 of them, then sell the rest unless you intend on using them. They are worth a good amount to Therapist and take up little space so they are a valuable loot item. Available from Therapist for Roubles at Level 4, after completing Healthcare Privacy, Part 3. Augmentin Basically a cheaper Morphine. One use, 205s. Not recommended over Painkillers due to its cost. No current barter for this item, so usually it's just a fairly expensive, small loot item. Most likely a component of a medstation manufacturing process or upgrade. Keep it. Ibuprofen Powerful painkiller. Lasts 500 seconds and has 12 uses. This item is recommended as your long-term solution for painkillers. While it is valuable because it's used to trade for THICC items case, it's the cheapest component and is very useful as a painkiller. It has a long duration and a large amount of uses, so keep it in your container for use as a painkiller if your primary painkillers wear off. Don't use it completely up, though. Keep the 1/12 bottles for the trade. Vaseline Powerful medical item. Cannot be purchased from dealers. Has a maximum of 10 uses. Removes Pain, applies Painkillers for 500 seconds (8.3 minutes). Useful to keep in your container as an alternative to Painkillers, though it takes 6 seconds to use, which is longer than other painkillers. Used as part of a barter trade for the Medcase. Golden Star Balm Fairly useful medical item. It can remove Pain and Contusion (not a big deal of a debuff, goes away on its own shortly) and provides a small bonus to hydration and energy. It also removes toxication and Radiation exposure, both of which are not yet implemented into the game. Like Vaseline, has a maximum of 10 uses. Painkiller effect lasts for 10 minutes, and takes 7 seconds to apply. Recommended to take only if you are going on large maps and you have extra room in your container. Can be used with Ibuprofen and 5x Med parts to craft 7 Propital.
An Introspection into My Complicity to Racism as a Person of Color
(tl;dr at the bottom) I made myself willfully ignorant to the strife that is at the forefront of the media today. It wasn’t until Treyvon Martin was killed while carrying a bag of skittles, Michael Brown was shot dead, and the subsequent furor that erupted from each of those instances, that I realized I was living a willfully ignorant and privileged life. And now, I regret ostracizing myself from the things that made me that ignorant person. I obfuscated anything that had to do with my African-American side of my multiracial self, out of anger towards my father. My dad grew up in the projects in New Jersey. Growing up poor, my dad made something of himself and enlisted in the US Air Force. After 20 years, he retired from serving his country in 2000. During his time in service, he met my mother (an immigrant from northern Europe) they traveled the world, and raised my brother and I. Personality conflicts and other family matters brought about a rift between him and I, and is reserved for a conversation on another day. Full anger and resentment, I did all that I could to distance myself from anything that I could that would relate the two of us. I ignored him. I avoided sports, most especially football and basketball. I stood clear of conversations about airplanes and cars, and resisted learning how to change the oil in my car. I talked disparagingly about the military and fought vehemently against his desire for me to take ROTC instead of civics. I avoided recognizing myself a person of color in a society where your skin color determines almost everything. I’d see civil rights activists and champions, race-based organizations, or leaders of the Congressional Black Caucus in the media and think, “They’re only self-segregating and making race an issue more than it really is. Not everything is about being Black.” I avoided taking African-American politics and history courses in college because I did not want to sit through what I saw as race-baiting courses. During the student organization fair my first semester, I was approached to join the multicultural student association, which I declined; I scoffed at and trashed an award for superior performance among the university’s multicultural students I received from them. I saw myself as Firstname Middlename Lastname and that’s it. Today even, I see myself as person who just so happens to be from a multicultural background, and that is not going to be the only thing outwardly rewards me and defines who I am. I want to be rewarded and recognized for being me. I am more than a statistic of a box that gets checked on forms. Every school year, by September 30, Delaware public schools had to collect and aggregate information from cards we had to fill out with demographic and emergency contact information, so they could get their state and federal dollars. For the longest time, there was never an option for “Other” or “Multiracial,” or the option to select more than one race on those cards. I never checked a box. Based on her experience in the school system, my mom told me that when schools received cards without a race identified, they would consider the student to be the race of the mother. I was not white, nor was I black. All of this infuriated me because I did not want to be delineated to a statistic and I was being forced, sometimes not given the option, to make a social construct decision that not representative of me. My dad was fortunate to get back-to-back orders for Germany and England. When his final set of orders came up, my family chose Dover Air Force Base. One of his options was a base in Georgia; my parents decided that because of our family make-up — interracial marriage, biracial children — that Georgia may not be the best option to raise a family. Although it isn't a radiant bouquet of heterogeneity, Dover, Delaware is pretty diverse compared to the surrounding cities and towns. Being the capital of the state, the second largest city, and hosting an important military base helps to bring social diversity to the city. I grew up, as I perceived, like most middle-class Americans — my brother and I were able to go to good schools; our parents were able to buy a house in the suburbs and held good jobs that afforded us simple luxuries. Even though our development was less than half of a mile from a low socioeconomic and historically black neighborhood, we never felt threatened by that neighborhood’s purported high crime rate, and we lived on as such. Most of my childhood friends were white, mostly because of my dad’s job and where we were living, both abroad and in Delaware. The American school I attended in Germany was fairly diverse, from what I can remember, but at that age, I never saw people based on their race — we were just American kids, going to school in Germany. When we moved to Dover, my perception and experience of living and going to school on base was pretty much the same as Germany, except, we could go to the local stores and not worry about speaking German, badly. And I would say it was the same once we moved off base and I was attending civilian schools It was around fifth and sixth grade when I started to notice differences in socialization — more social segregation based on likes and interests, that was sometimes correlated to race. This was also the early, early stages of conflict between my dad and I. I tried to be friends with everyone, but I found myself gravitating and socializing with the white kids because I felt like we had more in common: music, Pokemon, soccer. Maybe it was the shared commonalities that brought about my friends. Or was I able to make those friendships because my light skin made me passable for being a white kid? I mean, I liked what they liked and schools may have assumed I was since multiracialism wasn’t thing. I don’t want to ruin the few close friendships I have, so I’ll abstain from learning my friends’ honest answers, and hope that we are friends because of my character, personality, and interests. I had never felt more ostracized by peers than in middle school. For me, middle school was the Hogwarts Sorting Hat for social stratification that would define me for life. Maybe it was just the negative and hormonal culture of middle school, but if you didn’t walk, talk, or do the unwritten norms and expectations of a social stratum, you were shunned and/or ridiculed. I felt it most among my black peers who would scoff me because I wasn’t “black enough” to be social with them. In eighth grade, a light-skinned kid, who identified as black, said to me, “We look the same, but why don’t you talk or act black? Are you even black?” When I told him I was biracial, my mom is white, from EuropeanCountry, and my dad is black, from New Jersey, his response was, “maybe you should act more like yo daddy.” By this time, my dad and I were always arguing over the littlest things, so a comment like that infuriated me all the more because he was the last person with whom I wanted to be associated. I vehemently resent the notion that because my skin color is of a certain shade, I had to conform to certain social norms or it qualified me for rewards. I just wanted to be seen as and to be me. When I was applying for colleges and universities, it was suggested that I apply to Delaware State University, the local (and only) HBCU in the state. That suggestion came with a caveat that I should apply as a white student to qualify for a minority scholarship. When I heard that, it was an automatic no. I didn’t look into whether it was merit-based or if it was based on which bubble I colored in on the application, but I assumed it was the latter. To me, it was just another example of life giving me socially-imposed binary options because options for multiracial or other still weren’t a thing, and I would be just another statistic that was lauded about to reap benefits. The only overt and intentional act of racism I can honestly say I ever experienced was from a camo-wearing, white kid on the bus going home from school in sixth grade. I don’t remember the context, but I remember the offense: “Shut up, you stupid piece of caramel.” Knowing full-well what he called me, I “clapped back,” playing dumb and asking him why he called me a piece of cardboard. At the time, I didn’t think anything of it; he transferred to another school and I let it pass. A few years later, as a high school freshman, I saw the same kid walking around the hallways almost always donning an oversized white t-shirt and jeans barely covering his backside; him and a few other white students hung out with the black kids during lunch and after school. He was colloquially identified as a “wigger.” I took English in the spring semester and learned the literary term “juxtaposition.” The very first thing that I associated that word to was an image of the camo kid calling me a piece of caramel, next to his older self (possibly) appropriating the culture of people who are caramel-skinned and darker. The mental image is still something that comes to mind and I taught at it. I have not had any animosity towards him and appreciate that he had gained respect across the social strata. His comment didn’t hurt me then and doesn’t pain me now. What does pain me now, however, is my unchallenged and unchecked privilege to be able to walk away from that incident in sixth grade, see the same kid again in ninth, then go on living my life unscathed by it or any other overtly intentional action of racism or discrimination directed at me. I knew racism had not been eradicated in the 1960s, but I thought it was subdued, hush hush, and only happened in rare instances, like on the bus coming home, or whenever the media caught footage of a Klan rally. I didn’t know or think to know that African-Americans and people of color were likely harassed, arrested, or killed in the neighborhood nearby at a higher rate than their white neighbors. How privileged was I to be able to reject a scholarship and admonish an award based on my skin color, when, because of how broken the system is, sometimes that is the only way people of color are able to afford to get a college education or get recognized for their successes and achievements? How privileged am I to only slightly fear that my life may be at risk while walking or driving in the South, when there is no doubt that someone darker than me has fear gauge that is always on the high end of the scale?. How privileged was I to brush off the pain and suffering of others, near and far, all because I didn’t want to be associated with my dad? How privileged was I to treat race relations the same way white people did? How privileged I was to be so racist. As I was writing this, I thought about some of my students and the school district where I did my student teaching in Pennsylvania in 2014. Majority of the students were white, from mid- to upper-middle class families and neighborhoods. During my time in the district, I noticed that more than a few of my African-American and other low-socioeconomic status students were from one neighborhood within the district, one that was identified as having a low-SES. This all came to mind because I asked myself, “Is it possible that those students' families wound up living there due to to redlining?” I only learned about redlining within the last two years. So thinking back to 2014, there I was, a senior studying at a four-year university, about to graduate, teaching American government, and I did not even fully know or understand possible reasons for some of my students’ situations because of my own willful, self-imposed ignorance. How privileged is that? If I had looked inward to see that my both my mother and father worked so hard, and spent so much money and time to provide for my brother and I, so we would not live in a neighborhood like my students did. I was so blinded and insensitive to see that my dad made something of himself so we, his family, did not have to live in similar conditions as his upbringing, which enabled me to not ignore the realities of other people of the same world I lived in. Although a lot of my ignorance is of my own doing, I’d be remised not to acknowledge how white-washed the public education curriculum was, looking back. African-American history was relegated, almost entirely to the month of February. I recall a couple instances where prominent figures were discussed outside of the 28- or 29-day window, like Jesse Owens during the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. Not once in my elementary or secondary education did we cover Juneteenth and the significance of June 19, 1865. I didn’t learn about the Black Wall Street Massacre, or that contemporary Pride Month celebrations are attributed to the activism of Marsha P. Johnson and other African-Americans and people of color, or what the underlying systemic issues were that fueled the Rodney King riots. It was as if that part of the history and civics curriculum stops after 1968, then picks picks up again in 2008. It’s even worse regarding Native American history: Pocahontas, false Thanksgiving narratives, the good parts of manifest destiny and Sacajawea, “the Trail of Tears was wrong, now moving on.” I didn’t learn about Europeans intentionally gifting Native Americans blankets, laden with smallpox until I took American History I in college, and that was within the first week of class. I’m not blaming education system for my own faults, but it contributed in my lack of initial awareness of issues. I can only imagine how much more I would have learned, then, if I had opened myself up to a new, different perspective perspective, instead of being resentful and selfish. What if I had taken African-American History or African-American Politics? I would have been enlightened to, acknowledged, recognized, and reacted to the pain and injustice, and I, for sure, would not be feeling as remorseful and disappointed in myself as I am. I’m “woke” now, and I regret, deeply regret being so naive and incredulous I used to think, “Not everything is about race or being black,” whenever Rev. Al Sharpton or others were on TV. Hearing them continually saying that there are still problems of racism and discrimination in America, made me uneasy. But now, looking back, that was the point. Almost all of the struggles of African-Americans and other people of color are due implicitly or explicitly to their race. Challenging racism and discrimination is undoing something that is so deeply woven into the fabric of our society; that uneasy, uncomfortable feeling is the loose stitching that could potentially reveal the ugly, harsh truth that is paramount across this country, and is our unwillingness and reluctance to want to change the narrative or the system. I attempted, and succeeded for the most part, in disassociating myself from my dad. In turn, I disassociated my identity from a pseudoscience, a social construct of taxonomy rooted in the United States on hatred of the other because of the natural, immutable circumstance that happens to be largely based on someone’s skin color. My resentment and disassociation was fueled by my own opinions, incited my racism. This social construct is built on hatred, whether unconscious or overt, systemic or extrinsic, and it reigns unchecked. When it is challenged, others have retorted with cries of “don’t do that like that,” demanding conformity to the status quo. The protestors change tactics to continue demanding changes to the system because it is horribly broken. However, it seems that no matter what form of protest is used, it’s not the “right way” to fix the problem. People of all walks of life took to the streets to protest the murder of George Floyd,another black man at the hands of an institution of the state, an institution that was created for entrapping and returning black people who were deemed property of white people — that is not the proper way. Colin Kaepernick loves his country so much, he knelt during its national anthem because it is harming its own and doing nothing about it; seems that was too vile and negatively effected revenue, because that was also the wrong way to protest. “Protest like MLK.” Okay… Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. advocated for active, non-violent, peaceful protesting for justice and equality until the day he was assassinated — assassinated because what he professed, was not the right way to go about getting change. Our nation’s founders wrote that when the government infringes upon the natural rights of its people, the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, it justifies the right of the people to revolt in an effort to alter or abolish it. Although he advocated nonviolence in his pursuit of racial justice, he acknowledged “…that a riot is the language of the unheard.” Some of protests of today have turned riotous; that means that the cries of racial injustice are still unheard, 54 years after Dr. King said those words. So, what is the right way to elicit change? I have changed my thought process because I recognize, see, and feel the pain and disenfranchisement of Black/African-Americans, Indigenous, and People of Color. I see that, now more than ever, there is a need to address and take concerted action to bring about justice and equality, and heal this 400-year old wound of our country. Thanks for reading. tl;dr: I'm a person of color who was complicit in systemic racism and used racist rhetoric as part my attempt to disassociate myself from my African-American dad.
This time last week, we put out a subreddit survey to gather demographic info and solicit opinions on the current state of Rule 8 (low-effort content) and Rule 9 (non-original fanart). In 7 days, the survey got 1,558 responses, which is a whopping 0.77% of our 203,000 subscribers. We didn't expect to get anywhere close to full participation, given that a bunch of those subscribers are probably no longer active, and more still just view /FireEmblem through their own front page and so they were never going to see the survey in the first place. Effectively, each response to the survey is "representing" 130 people. While perusing these results, it's important to keep in mind that this survey expresses the opinion of respondents to the survey, not necessarily our subscriber base at large. That said, we are still going to look to its results in informing our policies. Here are the results.
Okay, disclaimer, I bungled things up here with regard to TMS♯FE. It was only brought to my attention that I forgot to include it as an option after 490 responses were already submitted. As such, I'll list the actual percentages for it in the remaining thousand or so responses below. Here's a graph of which FE games respondents have PLAYED, but not necessarily beaten. TMS♯FE's real percentage is around 11%. Unsurprisingly, nearly all respondents have tried out Three Houses, and then Awakening follows it up. The very first FE game, Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light, is also unsurprisingly the least-played game. The graph for which FE games respondents have BEATEN turns out similarly. TMS's actual percentage is around 7%. Unsurprisingly, the NES games also have the highest discrepancy between playing a game and beating it – less than 50% of people who've tried FE1 or FE2 have actually beaten them. If you flip between the two graphs, you'll see that the only game that changes position between them is FE11 - more respondents have beaten Radiant Dawn than Shadow Dragon despite the fact that Shadow Dragon is slightly more-played. What were respondents' FIRST FE games, and which is their FAVOURITE? Because the visuals are unhelpful, here's a chart of the responses. I think Reddit formatting should let you sort the columns by frequency if you click the headings.
*Again, TMS got screwed, so multiply its responses by 1.5 to get an estimate of what it should've gotten. Contrary to what one might expect, Awakening still dominates the first-game category for our respondents, followed by the localized GBA titles, and only then does Three Houses show up. If Fates's three versions are combined, it ends up right below Three Houses and right above Path of Radiance. This might be tied into our underrepresentation of new subscribers – presumably a lot of them started with Three Houses. Meanwhile, Three Houses certainly dominates the favourite-game category, with nearly half of respondents saying it's their #1. Either the game is well-loved, or recency bias is a big thing. Or both. Radiant Dawn has to settle for a distant second place, followed by Awakening and Path of Radiance, all in single digit percentages. Unsurprisingly, Three Houses also takes the crown for the highest favourite/played ratio – 49.7% of people who've played Three Houses listed it as their favourite game, far higher than any other game. Don't let the colours of this graph fool you - one-third of respondents sided with the Blue Lions first, while more than a third chose Black Eagles and less than a third chose Golden Deer.
Rule 9 concerns fanart. It states that fanart can only be posted by its original artist, or someone who paid the artist to create it and who is posting it with permission. As such, we remove any "found fanart". I've documented our reasons for Rule 9 in the survey post, so please refer to that if you have questions about why it exists. First off, how do respondents feel about the current amount of fanart on the sub? Well… they feel… differently. We polled this using a sliding scale from 1 to 5, where 1 means "I want way more fanart on the sub", 5 means "I want way less fanart on the sub", 3 means the current amount is okay, and 2 and 4 represent their respective extremes, but, like, less extreme. As you can see, the sub is undoubtedly divided on this, but to our pleasant surprise, a plurality of respondents indicated that they don't want more or less. Nearly half of respondents chose 3, while the remaining 50% were divided almost equally between wanting more or less. Hooray for no-win situations. That in itself, however, wouldn't be enough to justify not touching Rule 9, so we asked about it specifically. Nearly three-quarters of respondents are fine with the current Rule 9. Most of the rest want it to be relaxed. A small percentage want us to ban fanart entirely. An (undocumented) amount presumably would be happy if we confined all fanart to a single day of the week or some other measure to cut down on art without outright banning it. We aren't considering that as a course of action, which is why it wasn't included on the poll. We also asked if users would be open to having a single day of the week where non-OC fanart could be posted (properly-sourced, obviously). Almost immediately after putting this question up, we realized that this would probably be a bad idea, and so we're glad that the response was rather lukewarm. A 45/55 split might not sound like it's definitive, but having given it some thought, it's nowhere near the result we would need to justify actually putting that plan into action. We also included a section for free-form feedback on Rule 9. At the bottom of this post I'll include a link to an anonymized spreadsheet containing all the free-form responses we got for each question like that. Given what you're about to see next in the Rule 8 section (hoo boy), we're going to go ahead and consider a 75% vote in favour of keeping Rule 9 the same a wild endorsement of our preferred course of action, which is this: Going forward, Rule 9 will be unchanged.
Rule 8 concerns low-effort content, including unedited screenshots, pictures of merch/game boxes, and memes. After Three Houses released, we started enforcing Rule 8 so strictly that memes as a whole were effectively banned. On this survey, we polled each component of Rule 8 separately to see if respondents thought they should be allowed on the sub. Should unedited screenshots of dialogue be allowed? A little over 50% of respondents said no. There isn't sufficient support here for us to reconsider our stance on this one. I want to be clear here in saying that we're not looking for majority rule necessarily – our decision would be the same if the numbers were flipped and slightly more than 50% of respondents said yes instead. Should unedited screenshots of gameplay be allowed? Here there was less of a split. Around 60% of respondents said yes. According to the free-form results (again, linked at the bottom of the post), we get the impression that some people would like gameplay screenshots to be allowed if they show something interesting, instead of just, you know, a shot of a maxed-out Ike or getting a 1% crit. If that was our policy, we'd then have to judge those posts based not on effort, but how noteworthy and radical they were. While I personally am not super opposed to a coolness-based moderating system, we'd prefer that gameplay stuff be confined to the Everyone Plays Fire Emblem thread or shared via self-posts rather than reversing our stance on screenshots. (Of course, EPFE has ironically been temporarily suspended to make room for these survey posts, but that's a separate problem.) 60% support isn't overwhelming enough for us to reconsider this part of the rule. Should merch posts or pictures of game boxes be allowed, keeping in mind that "collection" posts are already allowed and would continue to be? Around 70% said no, so this is clearly the part of the rule that we're going to get yelled at about the least. And then we arrive at the big one – memes. Three options here, as well as a free-form "Other" option that… I'm not really sure why we included when we had a separate free-form section right after. Whoops. Anyway, around 20% of respondents are fine with the current anti-meme Rule 8, another 20% want all memes to be allowed, and the remaining 60% would prefer a discretion-based system where we only remove memes that are truly "low-effort". Herein lies the rub: even the people who answered that question the same have different views about what makes something low-effort. If we do end up going back to the discretion-based system, we either have to somehow nail down a solid definition for what makes something removable, or else deal with posts on a case-by-case basis. The possible problems with a discretionary system encouraged us to include a separate option on the survey. We asked respondents whether they would be supportive of a system where memes were restricted to a single day of the week. This was independent of their answer to the previous question, so if someone voted "no", they could have meant "no, I want memes every day" or "no, I don't memes at all". At least one respondent said that this binary choice indicated a lack of integrity of the mod team, that it was emblematic of the fact that we had already decided to ban memes before even making the poll, and that we should repoll the question. Given that we already covered that distinction in the previous question, it wasn't really relevant for the purposes of this question. All this question asked was whether you would support a meme day, because frankly, we just wanted to know to what extent such an arrangement would piss people off, not why. Slightly over two-thirds of respondents indicated that they would be okay with a meme day system. This leaves the mod team with two viable options – either we return to a discretionary system where some memes live and some die, or we cut the knot and allow most memes, save for those that violate Rule 1, on a single day of the week. We have not yet decided which approach we prefer – admittedly, the team is split. We wanted to get these results to you as soon as possible, though, in advance of having actually made a decision. One thing is clear, though: with only 20% of respondents happy with the current state of Rule 8, we can't just leave things as they are. A factor that is going to colour our decision is, again, how divided the sub is on this issue. A lot of the free-form responses (which, to be fair, make up a relatively small percentage of the sub) expressed that the curbing of low-effort content is a big reason some people enjoy the sub. Meanwhile, other responses indicated that banning memes has killed the sub. To an extent, we can't win. If we return to a discretionary system, some people are going to hate that some memes are still banned, and some people are going to be upset that memes are allowed again at all. If we go with a meme day instead, some people are going to be upset that we half-assed it, and others are going to find the sub unusable on that day of the week. We can't please everyone. We have to go with whatever is more practical. We're currently hashing this out. In summary: Screenshots and merch posts will remain banned. Rule 8 will be loosened with regard to memes in a manner to be determined.
Free-form responses and general feedback
We included a question about how good the mod team is doing in general. Stop it, you guys, we're blushing. Finally, we included free-form response sections on the following topics, with the following response rates:
Any thoughts on Rule 8?
Any thoughts on Rule 9?
Any other rules that should be modified?
Any general feedback?
These responses contained some really good thoughts. For transparency, here is a Google doc containing all of the responses, with each column alphabetized for anonymity, and I do mean all of the responses, including the handful that I would have preferred to remove because they contained personal call-outs. I did take the liberty of censoring the responses we got that were just the n-word. The main thing to take away from these responses is that y'all can't agree on anything. As you can see, depending on the question, these free-form questions got between 93 and 248 responses, so they make up a smaller subset of our already-small sample size, so while they do represent important viewpoints of our subscribers, take them with a tiny grain of salt. Oh, right, which mod would win in a fight. That was also a question. Well, first of all, we're all winners because we get to serve this wonderful community. That said:
I'd like to thank the Academy for awarding me a single vote less than the people who cared so little about this that they didn't even bother to pick the "I don't care" answer. Benefits of stealing the "post every announcement thread" job.
The responses have been tallied, sorted, and calculated! The first annual subreddit census results have arrived! Thank you to everyone who took the time to participate! This first census will become the baseline for all future censuses and will work as a reference point for the community. A total of 169 users submitted responses for the census. Out of our 4,181 subscribers (at the time the census closed) that comes to a participation rate of 4.0%.
👨 Gender 👩
1.8% Prefer not to say
📅 Age 📅
35.5% 21 - 25 years old
32.5% 16 - 20 years old
16.0% 26 - 30 years old
7.1% 31 - 35 years old
7.1% 15 or younger
1.2% 41 - 45 years old
0.6% 51 or older
🌎 Country 🌏 Our subscribers hail from a total of 26 different countries! The top 4 countries selected were:
60.4% United States
9.5% United Kingdom
3.6% Prefer not to answer
The following countries each accounted for less than 2% of subscribers: Sweden, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Portugal, Nigeria, New Zealand, Mexico, Malaysia, South Korea, Kenya, Italy, Israel, Ireland, India, Germany, Denmark, Croatia, China, Brazil, Bahrain, Australia, and Argentina
📆 When did you become a fan of TXT? 📆 Over half (58.6%) of the subscribers became fans pre-debut! It’s good to see there are fans who are sticking around. At the same time, STAR (30.8%) and MAGIC (10.7%) each seemed to bring in their fair share of new fans too. 💕 How did you become a fan of TXT? 💕 After seeing some of the “Other” free responses, I definitely realized there were more answer options needed than what we’d originally included. I also realized, the question should have been more carefully worded to ask “What lead you being interested in TXT before becoming a fan?” Something to keep in mind for next year! That said, I looked at all the responses and combined them accordingly. Example: Responses that chose “Twitter” and responses that chose “Other” then wrote in “other social media” or “Reddit” have been combined to make the category “Social Media/Online Communities”.
73.4% Big Hit/BTS
6.5% Social Media/Online Communities
1.8% Their music
0.6% Award Show
Unsurprisingly, most of us are here after becoming interested that they were a new Big Hit artist or BTS’s brother group. 📺 What types of TXT content do you consume? 📺 The top 5 types of content enjoyed by our subscribers are:
82.2% Debut/Comeback Shows
74.0% Social Media
71.0% Official Fancams
The following types of content are consumed by less than 60% of our subscribers: T:Time, TALK X TODAY, Variety Show Appearances, VLive Streams, Paid Content (DVDs), Unofficial Fancams/Photos 💳 In 2019, did you buy official TXT merchandise? 💳
📘 In 2019, what types of official merchandise did you buy? 📘 The most popular types of merchandise among the subreddit in 2019 were:
7.7% Seasons Greetings
💸 In 2019, how much did you spend on official TXT merchandise and attending live performances (in USD)? 💸 A bit more than half the subreddit (58.0%) spent $0 on TXT merchandise and attending live performances. The remaining responses showed:
24.3% $1 - $50
16.6% $51 - $250
1.2% $251 - $750
1.2% $751 - $1250
1.8% Prefer not to say
🎫 Have you been to a TXT live performance event? (showcase, music show, festival, etc.) 🎫
If you answered Yes to Question 9, what performance did you see? All nine people who have seen TXT live attended their showcase tour in the US! The most popular stop was Los Angeles, CA where 3 of the 9 subredditors saw them.
💿 Favorite TXT album? 💿
76.9% The Dream Chapter: MAGIC
23.1% The Dream Chapter: STAR
🎵 Favorite TXT songs? 🎵 Even though TXT’s song count at the time of census was only 15 songs, choosing three was still a struggle. The top 3 most chosen songs were....
68.0% Run Away
34.9% New Rules
🎥 Favorite TXT MV? 🎥 The top 3 MVs were…
35.5% Run Away
19.5% Nap of a Star
💃 Favorite TXT choreography? 💃
29.6% Run Away
23.1% New Rules
👑Run Away achieved a “triple crown” this year for coming in first place for favorite song, MV, and choreography!👑 😊 Who is your TXT bias? 😊 Currently, the subreddit’s most popular bias is… Yeonjun! OT5 came in a close second place. When looking at responses from only females or only males, Yeonjun was still the most popular bias among both genders. Each non-binary responder chose a different bias, so none was most popular. 📹 Favorite T:Time video? 📹 This response was optional, because understandable there are A LOT of T:Times to choose from. 52 people wrote in a favorite, and there was a big variety of responses! Since the responses were so varied, the winner actually only tallied 3 votes, but that was still more than the others, and so, the 2020 favorite T:Time is... [T:TIME] Cute trick on sleeping boy! 😄 What was your favorite TXT moment of 2019? 😄 This was also an optional write in question. 82 people wrote in a favorite TXT moment, and while there was a good variety of answers, one clearly came out on top. The favorite TXT moment of 2019 with 25 votes was… 🎉 Winning Rookie of the Year! 🎉
First, we want to say thank you to everyone who told us we’re doing a good job, and that they like the subreddit. Sometimes, it can feel like we aren’t doing enough or that enforcing rules could stunt our fledgling subreddit, so those compliments and kind words really mean a lot. More people filled out their favorite thing than an improvement too, so the positivity was great to see! By far, the most asked for improvement was more activity and more comments. 24 out of the 39 responders mentioned more comments or more subreddit related activities as what they would like to see improve. We also agree! We would love to see more comments on posts with more of you interacting. If you’ve been nervous or feel awkward about leaving a comment, please know that there are other users out there that are interested in reading your thoughts! The census confirmed it :). That said, we have been brainstorming some ideas for future subreddit events, so hopefully we can get those started in February. We hope everyone will look forward to them!
Continuing We had three groups of demo wire: mine adit, ANFO on the mine floor, and just because, some black powder placed into the old, but unused, drill holes in the mine face. The party room was going to be detonated remotely. We decided to blow the face first, then the ANFO, then the adit. After the applause died down, I’d trigger the party room. Then, the final drinking light for this mine site would be lit. Tomorrow, we pack up and travel south. But first! “Good evening, ladies and gentlemen! Welcome to your first abandoned mine demolition. This hole in the ground has become a menace, alas, through no fault of its own. But steps must be taken to remove it as a threat to society; to protect society from itself. I’ll let you cogitate over the irony of that statement at your leisure. Please, folks. This once was the provider of many a family’s daily bread, butter, and beer. A moment of silence. A moment of reverence. A moment of reflection. This is the place where you cut your subsurface teeth, where you lost your mining virginity, and now…we’re really gonna pop yer cherry!” They laughed! They actually laughed loud and long. I was amazed. This was just my B-list material. Dr. D and I alternated countdowns, Lucas was manning the detonators. Everybody, even the cooks, dish machine operators, and custodians joined in on the Safety Protocol song. First went the face/black powder. A loud, rolling BOOM followed by the mine blowing a huge white smoke ring skyward. Not bad for a first shot. Then the ANFO. Lucas needed to use the recently acquired replacement for Ol’ Reliable, my personal plunger-actuated blasting machine, as we needed the voltage and amperage. The ANFO shook everyone in camp, even set those in suspended hammocks rocking. “We’re over a half-mile from the mine and you can actually here see the effects of low-explosives.”, I said, regarding the swinging hammocks. “Did the Earth move for you, too?” Even that got a laugh. Next came the mine adit itself. The sharp cracks of the dynamite were so distinctly different than the rolling thrump of the ANFO. People were getting a good physical demonstration of the differences in different types of explosives. Everyone was about to clap, hoot, or holler, and head for the bar or leave when I shouted them down. “What are you doing? Where are you going? We’re not done here yet, folks. We have a little bonus. Relax, sit back, and enjoy the death of the cess-pit. The end of the fetid party room. The cessation of the sewer some people around here went to have fun. Want fun? What could possibly be more fun than over 100 pounds of Torpex, PETN, RDX, Dynamite and Kinestik binary high explosives…and a remote detonator?” All eyes one me grew three sizes that day. “And I’m prepared to offer the honor of pressing the big, shiny red button to…the highest bidder!” Consternation and grumbling. “Actually, I kid. Before this, I had given a slip of paper to Dr. D. On that paper is a number, between 1 and 100. Here are some official guessing paper and pencils. The paper was recently outsourced from the DOI, so no fair trying to use any other. Now, write your guess down, a single number, between 1 and 100, one guess per participant. The closest gets the remote detonator and the honor of destroying the den of filth. In the case of prizes, duplicate ties will be awarded. You have 2 minutes before my number will be revealed. GO!” Five minutes later, Dr. D announces the winner. There were no duplicates and my number was 86. Dr. I from Berkeley was the winner. She was a petite little hydrogeologist with a mean streak a mile wide. She grinned like a maniac when I handed her the remote detonator. She wanted to go immediately, but I restrained her for a 5 count. “5...4…3…2…1…HIT IT!” Whoa. Even though the mine was strictly closed, when that Torpex torpedo went off, the whole state probably felt it. It was very much like an earthquake. A very noisy, even that far underground in a closed-off mine, shatteringly brilliant earthquake. Dr. I was ecstatic. “I did that?” “Yes, you did. You’ll be receiving the bill in the mail.” I joshed. It didn’t matter. Nothing could dampen the mood at that point. Before lighting the drinking lamp, I recited a bit of doggerel for the crowd to close and commemorate our first victorious mine closing. “The Earth shakes, the ground cracks, And out steps fmax. Pleased as punch, fresh as a daisy, He watches while the world goes crazy. Strata shakes, structures tumble, Seismographs jump, formations crumble. When he’s finished, spent with sin, He returns as fmin.” (fmax refers to the high-frequency band-limitation of the radiated field of earthquakes.) It’s a geology thing… They seemed to appreciate the effort. They loved that immediately afterward I lit the evening drinking lamp. Dr. D, Lucas, and my own self had our cigars, drink, and maps. We were looking for our next contestant. Given the reaction of the crowd, I figured they’d be ready for something a little more ‘aggressive’. We had 11 days left, so it couldn’t be too far afield, as I didn’t want to waste time in transit, but here in Nevada, that wasn’t going to present a problem. Lucas pointed out the Gobbler’s Knob mining area. It was studded with mines marked with the red ‘X’ of the Bureau indicating these mines had been vetted for critter populations and were slated for demolition, and there was quite the assortment. Sure, it was a good three and a half hours distant as a direct shot, or a full day for this crowd. However, we could just camp there for the last part of the trip; it would make a fine base camp. There were more than enough mines, in close proximity, of all types. So, it was decided and announced. We’d all rendezvous at the titular Gobbler’s Knob gold mine area. I’d scout the area with Lucas and Dr. D, who would follow in his field car. We’d find a place to set up base camp. Sure, it was a diversion from the planned itinerary of the project, but that was at my discretion anyways. Given the shakedown at the Sharp Curve mine, we figure the less over-the-road travel for this crowd, the better. I chatted with the concessionaires and explained our new plans. They were relieved, as once settled, they wouldn’t have to tear down and set up again every few days. We would be relatively closer to some larger cities, so they could assure us to continue the high quality of food and drink. So, we were set. Lucas asked to ride with me and since he didn’t mind my cigars, so long as I shared. So Dr. D, in his rental field vehicle, and Lucas and I in the Hummer, hit the trail first. We’d be there in three or so hours. Real geologists don’t get lost out in the field, they just become slightly temporarily dislocated. Not to waste any time, I had Lucas get on the radio and relate our plans to the Bureau. After this, he called the Nevada State Troopers and let them know what we were up to as well; just in case, as insurance. He called the local police in the town of Goonhaven, NV to warn them that we were on the way. They were most appreciative. They liked geologists and miners. They even gave us the address and phone number of the town’s single liquor store. We had a radiotelephone lash up through the Bureau HF radio, so I had Lucas call the Boozerama and advise them we’ll need a lot of clear ice for the catering guys. Plus they might just want to go ahead and lay in a double, ok, triple supply of beer as there’s a gaggle of thirsty pseudogeologists on the way that are going to hang around for a week or more. I asked them if they had any Russian Imperial Export vodka. They said they had some, but a good variety and supply of other brands. I thanked them and warned them again, that the geologists were coming. I also requested that they source some Bitter Lemon and a few cases of assorted Nehi flavors. They said they would try. Always nice to phone ahead and give ample warning. Elicits discounts. Lucas was a natural as a navigator. “OK, Rock. Stay on the goat path until you hit Big Barn rock. Take a left and head up to Copperhead Canyon. Once past the canyon, go right on past Nellie’s Nipple and follow the arroyo. Once you pass Sniggler’s Gulch, hang a right and another right and we’ll be on the road to Gobbler’s Knob.” I lowered my polychromic safety squints in place and said: “Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads”. I dropped the Hummer into low, stomped the gas, and leaped out across the desert; the trailer with nearly a ton of high explosives bouncing jauntily behind us. Lucas started to protest, thought better of it, got us both a cold drink out of the back seat, just sat, white-knuckled it as he watched the desert fly by. We made great time as we averaged some 60 miles per hour over the flat, rocky desert. Well, maybe not average, but we did hit 60 mph until Lucas got too alarmed and worried feverishly over the trailer full of boom that was fast on our tails. We pulled into the ghost town of the main Gobbler’s Knob camp. It was a large, open area up in the mountains. We got out and began our photoreconnaissance. There was a lot of antique mining equipment and paraphernalia up here. Looks like we were either too high up in the middle of nowhere or perhaps the locals didn’t care enough to brave the route up to the camp area. It was as close to pristine as one could get in the region. It really looked like with a little spit and polish, one could fire up the mines once again. The Gobbler’s Knob mining district covers an area of approximately 30 square miles in the Grunion Range in Nevada. Gold was discovered in the Gobbler’s Knob district in 1905, although quartz veins in the vicinity of the ‘Knob’ had been worked as early as 1866. The district immediately became one of the bigger "boom camps" of Nevada. The greatest production was reached in 1931, and since that time mining has declined until it was abandoned in the early 1940s. Placer gold, post-1945, from the deep gravels of the adjacent gulches have added to the total output. Total gold revenues from the area topped $550 million dollars. The geology is extremely complex. The southern part of the district is underlain by closely folded Paleozoic rocks. These formations have been divided into five units, to four of which local names have been given. The oldest of these units, probably of Cambrian age, consists dominantly of siliceous mica-schist but contains beds and lenses of quartzite and dark sandstone and five beds of crystalline limestone. The total thickness exposed is estimated to be about 5,000 feet. Above this, and provisionally assigned to the Ordovician, is about 800 feet of chloritic schist, altered by thermal metamorphism to a "knotted" schist. This unit, in turn, is followed by 800 feet of gray limestone, partly altered to black jasper, which near the top grades into black slates. The lowest fossiliferous stratum is a thin bed of black slate' containing graptolites, which is separated from the underlying limestone by a thin layer of quartzite. The graptolites are of No-Kill-I (Ordovician) age. Above the graptolite bed is limestone similar in character to that below, followed by a great thickness of chloritic schist, with here and there thin beds of cherty slate and crystalline limestone. The total thickness of this group of beds probably exceeds 4,000 feet in the area mapped. The Gobbler’s Knob mining district has produced an additional $350 million worth of copper, lead, silver, and rare earth elements. Productive rocks include the Pogostik Group, Euyankinme Quartzite, and Awfully Good Formation of Ordovician age, Lonesome Goose Dolomite of Silurian age, the Nowheyinhell Formation and Devil’s Dingus Limestone of Devonian age, and unnamed clastic units of Mississippian age, notably Bob’s Lime, the Coonskin Quartzite, and the Frammish metaconglomerates. These rocks were folded into an overturned anticline and then broken by high-angle normal and reverse faults. Paleozoic rocks were intruded by a granitic stock having a rhyolite porphyry core and by rhyolite porphyry dikes. Primary pyrite, chalcopyrite, galena, and sphalerite and tetrahedrite in host rocks of marble and diopside and garnet skarn have been altered by weathering to oxide, carbonate, sulfate and silicate minerals. Some mineralized rock contains remarkably high concentrations of rare earth elements and beryllium. We had carte blanche out here. We were the only bipedal mammals, as far as we could see, for hundreds, if not thousands, of square miles. Lucas tried to raise any local folks on the HF, VHF, ULF, and CB radios. Nothing. We were isolated, but we had our traveling funnel-cake trailers bringing up the rear. It was as nice a field area as one could ask. Lucas and I scouted the area looking for an area to erect Camp Central. I had almost decided in occupying one of the larger old miner’s shacks. That is until Lucas pointed out the local indigenous population of packrats, coyotes, possums, and probably fleas, ticks, mites, no-see-um’s, and snakes. “Good idea, Lucas”, I replied after reflection, “Let’s find us a new spot to camp out.” Dr. D can slaloming into the ‘Knob in a flurry of dust and flying alluvium. “Sorry I’m late, Guys, “he apologized, “But I found an outcrop of jaspalite out in the desert. I just had to stop and take samples.” He showed us the jaspalized lahar, or quartzified ancient volcanic mudflow, samples. They were a riot of colors. Blood red jasper, green jadeite, yellow topaz, bluish-quartz knots, and purplish purpurite, a purply-purple mineral species. It was very purple. Esme would have loved some samples to play with if all her lapidary equipment wasn’t already in storage. Dr. D got out the Gobbler’s Knob topographic map and stood on the roof of his rental, another reason rental car companies hate geologists, peering through his binoculars. Lucas and I were exploring around the old campsite when Dr. D called us over. A short distance away, there was a prominent wavy outcrop of thickly bedded sandstone. It has some nice re-entrants, like little rocky bays in an ancient geological harbor. This was fairly close to the flat highlands of the main camp but would be a prime dwelling for trailers, with some degree of privacy and the off-site storage of nearly a ton of high explosives. In front of the outcrop, was a flat, wind-swept sandy blowout area that would be prime for the catering trailers. If we parked the Porta Johns behind the outcrop, they’d still be close enough to be of facility. But they’d be distant enough that we wouldn’t be gassed in our sleep if the winds shifted during the night. Plenty of parking off-site a piece once the trailers were set. The general area showed no signs of being anything of a hydrological nature, so it didn’t act as a wadi boundary, nor were we camping in a dry wash. We should be protected from the worst of the winds and rain if the inevitable summer high-desert thunderstorm rolled through. “Boom!”, I said, “Gentlemen, we have a camp! First come, first served. Let’s go claim our spots.” We all smiled, piled into our respective vehicles and drove the 350 meters or so over a small rise to our new home for the next week plus. I found a very secure dead-end slot-canyon for the trailer. I backed it in, disconnected it from the Hummer, and secured it to some rock bolts Lucas and I pounded into the very living rock walls of the canyon. Lucas and I chose the next re-entrant to the left. It was one of the larger ones, plenty of space to park the Hummer and for Lucas and my tents. Dr. D selected the one immediately to the right of Trailer Canyon. His rental fit in parallel to the rock face, and he pitched his tent between the rock wall and his vehicle. He had a flat area to pitch his tent, drag out his work table, and sling his hammock between the car and the outcrop. He’d be protected from the wind and rain, and any onslaught other than directly vertical. Clever dude. He even erected a sun-shade he devised from a thick sheet of tarpaulin and some support pipes he scrounged from the surrounding area. We helped him fabricate this bit of brilliance with guy lines attached to rock bolts we pounded into the outcrop and extra tent pegs anchored deep into the desert floor. Very clever. He was secure as houses now. We were set and ready to go. All we needed now was the rest of the retinue to arrive. Lucas went walkabout once we had dragged out my worktable and one of the coolers I carried. I was working away on my field notebooks when Lucas ran up with a 2x2 foot square sheet of what appeared to be weathered white Masonite. “What you got there, Luc?”, Dr. D asked. “There’s tons of this shit lying around”, Lucas explained, “All the same size and thickness. I figure we’re going to be here a while, so we gather some posts, and we have a supply of ready-made signs for the crowd when they arrive.” So, Lucas, Dr. D and I spend the next couple of hours devising road signs for the new arrivals. “Slot 1 =>. Slot 2 =>.” And so one for the basic trailer parking/tenting slots. “Food =>”, which needed to wait until the caterers' arrival. “Shitters =>”, again, had to wait until the Porta-San farm arrived. And so on and so forth. All in bright day-glow orange. Lucas and I did a rattlesnake sweep through the entire camp area and found not even a shed skin. We did find a slot canyon cut clear through the outcrop that would provide great access to the Porta Johns behind the outcrop. It was like this place was designed for us. The food trailers and Porta Sans arrived at virtually the same time. We directed each to the area we thought would be best for each. The Porta San driver agreed this was a good place for the loos, especially since they’d be out of the elements and still close enough to be a convenience. The caterers hemmed and hawed a while, but over a cold beer or two, decided the areas we already designated would prove to be acceptable, with a few minor alterations. A little C-4 remade those minor alterations and relocated some errant boulders. Before you knew it, we were back in business. We figured the day would be a wash as it would take these hydroheads most of the day to find their shoes, much less a distant campsite. So, Lucas and Dr. D went out in his vehicle and posted sings to help direct these hopeless folks to the campsite. I stayed back at camp and pored over the maps, literature, and write-ups regarding the area and the mines it contained. There were literally hundreds of mines out there. Some no more than small prospect drifts that chased a vein of precious metals until it petered out in a few hundred yards. Others were full-fledged scary-ass deep, hard rock mines with vertical transit shafts whose depths were measured in thousands of feet. I discounted those the Bureau hadn’t vetted as to animal worthiness and those that were deemed animal sanctuaries. A quick count left me with 104 mines to choose from. Some I could close “Old School” with a bundle of dynamite and a quick tug on a set-pull-forget and toss fuse. Others were so extensive, it would take me and a trained crew at least a week to explore, devise, set, prime, and charge the thing. OK, I selected 10 easy mines for quick annihilation and set those aside as Class-1, the easiest bundle-of-boom, for later. Sort of a bonus as the project drew to a close. I mean, who wouldn’t want to go all 1880s and pop the fuse on a bundle of stick dynamite then chuck them down a deep hole? I know I would. Then I chose five or six what I considered medium-class, or Class-2, mines. Multi-level, dry, no real obvious nasties like rotten cribbing, loose broke down piles of rock, talc…gad, talc… or noxious gasses. These went into pile number two. Then I chose two that I considered Class-3 mines. Real bastards. Multi-level, flooded, raises, winzes, stopes, shifts, staves, shafts, tunnels, all sorts of fun shit. I decided that Dr. D, Lucas and I would discuss which of these we’d close. It was a point of vanity, I guess. I needed to nuke just one of these tricky fuckers to show the Bureau what they were going to be missing once I left. As well as prove what I can accomplish out in the field, even saddled with a passel of greenhorns. With my field notebooks up to date, all my demolition paperwork in order, and piles of mine candidates to choose from, I declared the day a wash and lit the drinking light. Dr. D looked at our supplies and declared it inadequate. Besides, we didn’t have any Bass Ale, his favorite tipple. He decides that he and Lucas would run into town, only about 75 miles distant, pick up the necessary supplies, and bet me a sawbuck he’d return before the first camper made camp-fall. “You’re on!”, I said as I handed Lucas the cash for the wager. I also slipped him a few extra bucks if he found any good looking cigars, vodka, bourbon or beer we just couldn’t live without. The concessions folks got wind of our plans and asked if one of their tribe could accompany Dr. D and Lucas to town with a couple of coolers for ice. They could make ice on-site, but it’d be hours before they had any in abundance. Dr. D had no problem with that as they could bungee the coolers down to the roof rack of the rental. I asked Dr. D if this extra time to get ice would invalidate our wager. In a flurry of dust and cigar smoke, he yelled out the window as he, Lucas and the food court guy hauled ass town ward: “No way! I’ll still beat them all back!” I was essentially alone out in the wilds of Nevada’s high desert. Nothing much to do, I loafed around, wandered over to the boomtown remains and had a look round, and generally just mooched about waiting. Back at Rock Central, as Dr. D had christened our campsite; as he had created, posted, and signed the signs to prove it, I was called over to one of the cook trailers. They had questions for me. They wanted to know what the gunfire was all about the other day. They’d heard rumors of everything from armed insurgency to just some late-night target practice. I regaled them of the story of the ‘Motorcycle Gang That Couldn’t Think Straight’ and they laughed and laughed. They were pleased to know they were well protected out here in the boonies. After that, with nothing much else to do, I offered them all a beer or whatever else they could find in my depleted larders. They gratefully accepted and we sat around, just shootin’ the shit for a while. Two or three beers in, one of the head chefs excused himself and returned a bit later with an unlabeled bottle of suspicious-looking clearish fluid. “We keep some on hand for emergencies”, he told me, “But since they were working for the Bureau and had to conform to their rules, we were asked to run a dry camp.” “Well,” I said, “As long as it’s kept under control, and as I’m the sole Bureau representative here; I don’t run a dry camp, so if it’s kept low-key, I don’t see a damned thing.” After the whoops and hollers died down, I was presented an iced glass of very suspicious-looking homemade high-octane hooch. The head chef, who assured me he has CIA credentials, i.e., Culinary Institute of America, and knew how to run a still, promised me I’d find his latest creation most enjoyable. Or unusual, I forget which. “Slurp!” Jesus H. Tap Dancing Christ on A Soda Cracker! That stuff was smooth. No, not smooth. What’s the opposite of smooth? Sandpapery? Abrasive? Crenulate? Squamulose? Rock ripping? He smiled broadly as I choked down that slug. I gasped for breath. My eyes glazed over. My ears were on fire. My teeth vibrated. My nose ran off. My tongue was contemplating filing for divorce. It was pure loathsomeness. It was fucking horrendous. I hated the fucking stuff. “Care for another?” he asked. “Oh yes, please,” I replied. A while later I heard a car approaching. Given the speed at which it was traveling, I knew without looking who it was. Yep, five minutes later Dr. D roared into camp, sliding backward to a stop only feet from the lead chow trailer in a cloud of Cretaceous floodplain dust. “Did I win?” he asked, as he looked the camp over. Lucas and the cook assistant fumbled out of the car as best their rubbery legs would allow. “Sure as hell.” I replied, “Lucas, please pay the man.” We helped remove the coolers of the roof of Dr. D’s car. Each was filled with a single crystal-clear block of water ice. Seems this old town still had an ice house and it was simple as squash to take dimensions of the cooler, and chip a chunk of the correct size off the glacier they had in the storerooms. The cook crew were ecstatic. Dr. D found his Bass Ale and bought the town dry. Lucas had purchased a supply of classic field camp beers: Lucky Lager, Henry Weinhard's, Hamms, Blatz, Falstaff, Walter’s Bock, Grain Belt, and Buckhorn. It was frosty, ice-cold nostalgia. Plus, Lucas found a bottle of George Dickel, Rebel Yell, and Hoggs Bourbon for me. As well as liters of Monopolowa, Popov, Bowmans’s, Royal Gate, and Ruskaya Vodka. He also admitted to a bottle of Yukon Jack and Captain Morgan for himself since everyone else was getting what they wanted. Plus three cases of really weird flavored Nehi soda. No Bitter Lemon though…he was disconsolate. But still smiling like a loon. Dr. D had also stopped and filled his trunk with firewood purchased from a farmer on the outskirts of town. We stacked that centrally next to where we’d construct the communal fire pit. The high desert. Out in the middle of absolute nowhere. Camping. Few creature comforts. A serious geology job laid out in front of us, a couple already behind us. Campfires. Good friends. Good food. Good cigars. Cheap booze. It really was like coming home again. Finally, some hours later, just as the sun was getting ready to bounce off the western edge of the desert, the trailers and campers began to arrive. They all caravanned, en masse so they wouldn’t get lost. Their tarmacked travels took them through many tank towns, so they stopped along the way for beer, booze, and other things to make the camp run that much more smoothly. One after another, the tenters and campers pulled in. Dr. D, Lucas and I decided we had done enough for one day, so we sat at Lucas’ and my campsite, stoked a smallish campfire and decided to sample the wares of Dr. D’s sojourn to the big city. The trailers all parked, first come, first served. No arguments, no bitching, no sweat. The tenters consolidated the northern end of the camp area, the trailers, the south. The chow triangle was rung and it was dinner time, all right on schedule. Deep-fried cod and chips, mushy peas, Toad in the Hole, Yorkshire Pudding, and roast joints of beef rounded out the British-themed meal. There was Spotted Dick, Banoffee pie, and Syllabub for pudding. You had to eat your meat or you couldn’t have any pudding. Maybe the chef really was CIA. After tea, and before the drinking light was lit, I called everyone for a quick meeting to explain what I had intended for the next 10 days. I explained how Class -1, -2, and -3 mines were defined. I noted that we would, at minimum, close at least one of each type in our time remaining. Everyone would be in on Class 1 & 2 mines, but I’d only ask for volunteers for the single Class-3 mine, due to its inherent complexity and danger. I also noted that since this would be home for the next near score of days, that I have access to VHF, HF, UHF, ELF, SW, and CB radios, with a lash up for telecommunications with the Bureau HF radio, if there was an emergency. I also have a satellite phone if there were any particularly spectacular emergencies. It was available, but not for idle chit chat. Perhaps, later in the week, I noted, I could allow a 10-minute call home for everyone if there was nothing untoward that happened in the interim. There were general shouts of approval on all points. I asked for questions, and there were none. Either I was that good at covering all the bases of these guys were really thirsty. “Folks”, I said, “The drinking light is lit. Remember, we muster front and center tomorrow 0630. Please bear that in mind. Naz dirovya!” After a catered breakfast of breakfast pizza, breakfast burritos, and breakfast Egg WacMuffins, I had the whole crowd assembled, most all sipping coffee and a few lamenting some real humdinger headaches. “OK, gang”, I began, “Class-2 mines today. Class-1 mines are super easy, barely an inconvenience. I’m retaining them as door prizes for the best mine demolishers nearer the end of the week. I won’t say much about these exit prizes, but suffice to say, think 1880s, and bundled sticks of dynamite.” That got the crowd’s interest. As usual, I broke the crowd up into groups. Dr. D, being near as up as me on mine construction and dangers, so kindly offered to take one group in the morning so I could handle the second group in the afternoon, or vice versa, just for flavor. After that, we’d compare notes, ask for volunteers, go back in and charge the mines. Then, we’d retire to a safe distance and blow the living shit out of them. We’d alternate, and when I wasn’t in the mine, he’d radio back what he thought would be appropriate to nuke these mines out of existence. I’d begin work on building the demolition charges. After which, I’d store them, then I’d take a group on a walkthrough. We’d all get together, have a powwow, get people’s impressions and concerns of the mine and formulate a demolition procedure. That way, in six days we blasted out of existence six Class-2 mines. We were humming along like a well-oiled machine. No bitching, no kvetching, just lots and lots of questions, good food, cheap booze, and cheaper beer with mines closing left and right. Things were actually humming right along. Until the afternoon of day 8. Clouds rolled in, covering the skies with their frothy white, billowy cloudiness. I was looking up to the unfolding aerial montage when Lucas and Dr. D wandered over. “You saw it as well.”, Dr. D noted., “Best get the word out, it’s going to be a real toad-floater.” He and Lucas were old-time field hands out in the desert. They knew what was coming. I agreed, this had all the earmarks of a major-league desert thunderstorm. Heavy rain, wicked winds, thundering thunder, dismal darkness, all split by jagged lightning. I called for an immediate camp meeting. “Folks,” I said loudly, so the cook crew could hear as well, “Look due up. We’re in for a real humdinger of a summer thunderstorm. As soon as we’re finished here, get back to your camp. Secure everything not nailed down. Check guy ropes and make sure they’re doubled-down. If it’s loose, pack it, or nail it down tight. I don’t know how many of you have experienced Mother Nature at her nastiest out in the field, but make no mistake, she’s got stuff that makes my best explosives look like Tinker Toys. Get sorted and hunker down. There will be wind. There will be rain. There will be wind. They may be hail, so tenters, you might want to call in some favors with the folks who have trailers. Questions?” There were none, but Dr. D added, “Rock ain’t just whistlin’ Dixie here, gang. It’s got all the earmarks of being a nasty bugger. Prepare to take cover and hunker down solid.” They saw that when the two most senior field trippers said that this was to be a real event, it’s best to listen and ask questions later. The camp scattered. Lucas and I flattened our tents, no need getting them ripped to shreds. I made certain the explosives trailer was nailed down, locked, and well-grounded. What are the odds of a lightning strike? Don’t care. I made double-damn uber-certain. Dr. D flattened his camp and said he’d ride it out in his rental. I offered him a spot in the Hummer, as it was big enough for us to sack out if the storm lingered. He declined. He said he’d be fine in his rental. The cook trailers were stowed and secured, and if the Port-a-San farm took a hit, there wasn’t much now we could do but hope otherwise. Lucas, Dr. D and I sat out in out camp chairs, with fresh cigars and beers, savoring the ridiculously salubrious pre-storm ozonic fresh air, awaiting the inevitable atmospheric show. The clouds above roiled, rolled, and built to astonishing heights. They grew as dark and foreboding as a volcanic ashfall. Over more beer and cigars, and maybe a tot of bourbon, we watched and waited. And waited. “Was this going to be a false alarm?” I wondered. KA-HOLY SHIT-BOOM! The thunder roared. Nope. Not this time. We all sat outside admiring the coming show. It was going to be fun, lots of lightning and peals of thunder. Torrential rains, for certain, with that exciting hint of hail that might come for a visit. Over beers, we sat, watched, and pointed out some of the amazing structures in a building series of cranky cumulonimbus clouds. “PLOP!” the first drops of rain appeared. The camp chairs went into the back of the Hummer. Dr. D departed to his sanctuary and Lucas and I sat in the truck, fiddling with the radios to see if we could get any info on the storm. KRRAACK! Lightning buzzed with a vengeance. We’re in the high desert out here. Some 9,000’ plus above sea level. Puts us that much closer to the storm. KABOOM! Thunder rumbled. “Odd”, I thought, “Not much rain or wind…” The Hummer rocked like it took a hit from an RPG. The rain and wind I wondered about had arrived. If you had anything not locked down outside, it was well on its way to California by now. Rain pummeled. Winds howled. Lightning cracked. Thunder rumbled. And it got very, very dark. Dr. D did a great job of picking out our camp location. The rain puddled, ponded, then ran off to the west. The winds, for at least a small part, were funneled around the campsite rather than lay waste to it. But that’s where all the good things ended. The hail began. Pea-sized first. Then marble-sized. Then organic, free-range, farm-fresh, egg-sized. Finally, high-velocity ice golf balls. It made a hell of a racket on the reinforced roof of the Hummer. I didn’t even want to think what it was doing to thin-sheet aluminum topped trailers. It grew in intensity. Winds whipped even stronger. Hail bounced merrily of the outcrops, cook trailer’s roofs and the very ground. In short order, it looked as if it had snowed. The entire campsite’s grounds were covered with whole inches of accumulation of hailstones. Then, as quickly as it appeared, it was over. The sun cautiously peeked through the waning clouds and lit the devastated tableaux for all to see. Lucas, Dr. D and I got out of our vehicles to survey the circumstances. We brushed the icy accumulations off our tents and raised them so they’d begin drying. There would have been nothing left if we hadn’t collapsed them first. Slowly, the rest of the campers showed up. They milled around the snow-like accumulation and just goggled. Many had never seen, much less experienced, such climatic fury firsthand. Of course, everyone had to pick up and examine the hailstones. Then it happened, one northern wag decided that since it looked like snow, it must act like snow. One West Coaster was the first casualty. He took a hailstone snowball to the back. That’s all it took, a snowball fight broke out. It was hilarious, even though I was less than amused when I played innocent bystander and took a snowball hit directly to the cocktail in my hand, spilling my drink. “Of course you realize.”, I mused, “This means war.” Many campers learned that day, through hard experience, you never start a snowball fight with Baja Canada and Real Canada residents. The carnage was spectacular. It was a late night before anyone hit the sack. They were having too much fun. I finally picked the last mine of the tour, the Gobbler’s Knob #33 shaft. I gave it several days because it was a motherfucker. Fully 7 levels deep. A central shaft that was 33’ across the diagonal, hence the mine’s name. The deepest record we had for the mine was the last work face in level 7 was at 2,729 feet below surface level, more than a half a mile in depth. The last reports were that level 7 might have flooded. Looks like I’m going to need some severely hardy folks to accompany me on this initial trek. After dinner that night, I called a camp meeting. I explained the need for the initial reconnaissance of this mine, and I was looking for volunteers. This was an entirely optional mine, although I’d like input at the nightly meetings. You don’t have to go, but it’d probably look real good on those final reports I have to write up for everyone. Yeah, no pressure. No pressure at all. Of course, Dr. D and Lucas volunteered immediately. Truth be told, if that’s all that wanted to go, it would have been fine with me. However, Dr. I, the Ms. maniac torpedo detonator from earlier, Dr. F, and Dr. H and his associate made the move forward. “OK,” I declared, “That’s seven. Just in case, do any of you have technical rope-climbing skills? That might come in handy on this recon trip.” Dr. H decided that it might be a bit too strenuous for him, but asked if his associate, Gary the Grad Student could accompany us. This guy was supposedly half-gibbon, he was that good of a technical climber. I almost told him to get bent as I didn’t need anyone showing me up. Of course, I relented. I noted that we’d all meet here, tomorrow, fully kitted out with all our gear, at 0600 for the initial assault. We’d take the Hummer as it had plenty of room. The mine adit itself was less than a mile distant, but we’d get so knackered walking that distance even in the early morning desert heat, that I insisted we drive, even if it took a couple of trips. There was a pretty good Happy Hour that night, but not for six of the more intrepid adventurers. We held off until after our explorations were complete. I had copies of the latest mine schematics and handed one out to everyone. “Carry this with you and mark it as you go”, I said, “Find something not on the map, like an ore chute, drift, stope, raise, or winze, make a note. Also, keep tabs on where you are at all times.” All agreed as this was serious nut cuttin’ time. This mine could be a real killer. I doubt it’s going to cut any of us any slack. After checking and re-checking our gear, at the mine adit, we synchronized our watches and rechecked our coordinates. Our ELF radios would work underground as would the mine GPS we had along. To be continued.
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