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About Moromete

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  1. For me, Spice Wars does capture the nature of the books and translates it into a solid strategy experience that blends a variety of sub-genres. It looks like both too much and too little at first but play at least one game to its conclusion and its becomes clear how the various systems mesh. The developers have been delivering solid updates, with both new features and balance tweaks, and after winning on Normal with the four factions I have to say that they play in different ways and encourage players to try out strategies and ideas. Yes, the game is mostly dedicated to gamers who have a connection to Dune as an universe and it takes some time to see how the interlocking systems make it exciting. I don't get the criticism that there's nothing to do at times but then again I always play on the fastest speed. The big issue right now is that matches, even on small maps, are too long for multiplayer unless you play with friends who are willing to commit. I look forward to getting another faction before the end of summer.
  2. I'm gonna do this by writing as I listen to the actual podcast (I also read the article and might make some comments directly linked to it) - a lot of video games offer optimal paths/choices/strategies, that does not mean they are endorsed; endorsement of bad ethical moves would require the developer via the game to directly signal something as being what the game wants to tell people. I understand that people expect and see discourse embedded in all elements of a product but the trio should take into account that the main element of most modern video games is a sort of gameplay, especially in the strategy space, and that most developers do not have the resources to deeply investigate/explore/talk about sub-text; - Kaiser is playing Crusader Kings in a weird way or has been reading the Reddit for it too much. The most efficient way of dealing with kids is to marry them well or find ways to give them tasks that remove them from the line of succession. Even when not role-playing it's a bad idea to kill everyone but the best heir. He should also brush up on his Ottoman history. CK also has no achievements that reward genocide or ethnic cleansing. It is efficient to sometime kill other people's children but adopting new cultures is one of the most beneficial things one can do at times. The Mongol story does not say anything about ethics but about the problems that knowledge of the past introduces in video games that focus on the past, hindsight is 20/20. - The fact that the most efficient way to run a Civilization campaign is to always pick Communism or Fascism is not an ethical choice, it is a gameplay one. It might have some ethical value to the player but mostly people engage with choices from a direct consequences perspective. Would Civ be a better game in any way if it made democracy a much better choice in terms of effects than any other? - the decision to not engage with parts of Frostpunk because they are horrifying is a valid one but the developers put work and though into that and it would be a very bad outcome for the studio if a majority of people made that kind of choice. - Alpha Centauri makes it clear that nerve stapling is a very bad, last resort decision. Also there's no secret project that nerve staples an entire faction or something similar. Aiming for Talents is the better idea even when playing Miriam or Yang. - Zacny does have a useful insight around the 68 minute mark. video games need to be as interesting as possible and as open about the topics they tackle as possible while guiding players to more extensive sources of information. That means focus on mechanics in the strategy space, communicate intentions, find ways to show the community where you draw inspiration from, describe your process. - the discussion about bloodline optimization in CK II does make some good points and is the most interesting part of the podcast. The fact that traits are so visible and easy to select for is a weakness of the game. But bloodline optimization, even without knowledge of genetics, was something rulers did, even if the results were not positive. In US politics taller candidates do better even in our modern, enlightened civilization. I'm not saying Paradox should encourage players who want to create a world of white, blond, blue-eyed Norse. But Gigaknight should be something that can exist inside the grand strategy title. And most players, myself included, choose marriage based on alliances or prestige gain (is it more ethical to select for personal fame than for positive bloodline traits?) - the guest, Ruth Cassidy, mostly repeats the points from the article and has almost nothing new to say about the games that the other two talk about. Zacny and Kaiser also go on long tangents that have little to do with the subject and don't allow Cassidy to add anything to them (like the movie critic stuff). Maybe the show needs more editing? - regarding most direct video game mechanics talk, the trio needs to think more about scope. It's a bad idea to want Stellaris to become an entirely different game when that game or a version of it exists. The only ethical choice to make in regards to video games is to never engage with them, either by playing or by developing them. Time and resources are better used to better ourselves and other human beings. But we do not live in a world that accommodates such absolutism.
  3. I have only encountered Endless Space 2 recently, after the big Statecraft update, so I cannot comment on how the game has evolved. But I have played it enough that I some of the criticism feels way off. Most of my games are played in large galaxies, ring shaped, with all the major factions in, medium density and many constellations. I also play on "It's like you have guns and they have better guns". Grabbing good ground is very much needed, especially when it comes to unique planets that can sustain certain system builds (mainly for science and influence, with my playing style), even if terraforming becomes important later on and can make it easier to boost even bad planets. Wars and conflict with other empires are mostly based getting the best systems and making sure that they are somewhat defensible. The fact that new resources are popping up as the game progresses also means that interactions with other races become important and sometimes wars are required to get access or to deny them to others. I never felt lonely in the game, even if the AI is kinda weak during the mid-game. It can pose a challenge if it creates a solid alliance and I have had games where I had to scramble to beat back determined attacks. Politics can be managed and there's no inevitability to the rise of the Militarists. I won as the Sophons while mostly keeping the Science party in power by carefully building out systems and making sure that I had the population and the heroes. Did the same as the Lumeris alternating between Pacifists and Industrialists. I won as all versions of the United Empire, while making sure that the party they quoted in the fiction as being in power actually was leading. In my games the pirates serve as a check on dumb expansion moves and a way to make sure that the player does not commit to stupid wars early on. Normally it only takes a fleet of 10 ships, with two cruisers (or equivalent, depending on race), led by a hero, to stop most pirate fleets, which means only ring 3 research, which is mid-game. Their growth could be tweaked a little and it might be a good idea to introduce a way to bribe them in order to keep away, the system can clearly become better. There are some valid points that the 3MA crew brings up, including the fact that there's a big gap between what diplomacy can be and is and the fact that the various factions are not as unique as they could be. At the same time I feel that there are plenty of critiques that apply to the genre rather than the Endless Space 2 implementation.