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Author Topic: [0.9.1a] Idoneus Citadel Exiles - (Overdue) 0.41 Update  (Read 39576 times)

Scarlet-MagicianX26

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Re: [0.9.1a] Idoneus Citadel Exiles
« Reply #15 on: December 06, 2020, 07:52:57 PM »

6 Years since my last ICE playthrough, how quickly time passes... I always have a soft spot for ICE, and i'm very glad you decided to update and release this mod once again ! I thought this was a good occasion to start a campaign with them. I'll write a bit about how things went, what i liked, what i disliked, some suggestion for the future too.

I still have some memories left of the how the faction worked, so i didn't went in completely blind, which did help me quite a bit during early game. I knew the Citadel ships were glass cannons, with decent armor but terrible hull, leaving them extremely vulnerable to high HE damage. Fortunately, being phase ships, they could dance around the battlefield without being caught, but when they get caught, there rarely is a second chance for them.


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I began this campaign with a Nexerelin as part of the Idoneus garrison with a "small combat fleet" start, at the command of a Flashghast, a Seraph and a Shiekwraith. The Flashgast looked like a promising flagship to start with, so it's with this one that i did lead in battle.

The Flashghast is an extremely mobile missile boat. Arguably a better, more agressive, phase version of the Vigilance. Its heavy missile loadout makes it pretty deadly during early game, although the limited ammo limits its usefulness during prolonged engagements. Or at least, that's the theory when you look at the Flashghast just by itself. In practice, i was accompanied in battle by a Seraph tug, and that changed everything.


The Seraph is a fairly expensive, harmless little frigate with no defense system whatsoever. It's also the most important part of any Idoneus fleet thanks to its maintenance drone system. The drones have long (unlimited?) range, can phase, will repair armor, will reload ammo (missiles included) and prevent peak performance/CR degradation.

And they stacks.

But even with just one Seraph on the battlefield, the maintenance drones turned my Flashghast, a pretty good frigate by itself, into an unstoppable war demon. When a fast, missile boat, severely limited by its low peak performance suddenly no longer have to worry about ammo and CR, things get a bit ridiculous. Loaded with Sabots and Harpoons, it could kill fast, and the resupplying drones ensured it kept killing. Yes, the missile regeneration took time, but eh, no CR degradation, i had all eternity to defeat my enemies. With my Seraph chilling in the safety of the battlefield's corner, my lone Flashghast could take on a theoretically infinite amount of opponents. It wasn't rare for me to take on overwhelmingly larger fleets with just those two ships.

Later on, i experimented a bit further with stacking several Seraphs on the battlefield, vastly increasing the missile regeneration. At this point i could keep them on autofire and they would dump missiles all the time. The maintenance drone effect is lessened on non Idoneus ships, but still good enough to be overpowered.

So yeah, if there's one nerf that need to be taken on the whole faction, it's on the maintenance drones. Repairing armor is fine, especially for Idoneus ships that really needs it during mid/late game. Ammo regeneration however, is way too strong, and preventing CR degradation even more so. Moreover, i noticed later that with missile boats like the Eidolon and Apocrypha would monopolise the drones to regen their ammo, depriving the frontline ships from the much needed armor repair bonus. Removing the ammo regen effect would at least negate this issue.

Another thing i would like to see is a nerfed range for the drones, as to prevent cheesing tactics like stacking Seraphs on the bottom of the map. With less range, they would need to be closer to the frontline and put themselves in danger. Yes, they're extremely vulnerable, but such massive buff like armor regeneration deserves a high risk that goes with it.

Also, i think something needs to be done to prevent drone stacking. While Idoneus ships are by nature quite fragile, drones stacking can still make some ships like the Abraxas obnoxiously hard to take down, and it's probably possible to cheese it even further with a non Idoneus ship. Maybe this would require a rework of the drone system itself to work though.


Beyond the broken Flashghaste/Seraph combo, i also had a Shiekwraith in my fleet. I won't tip toe around it, i found the Shiekwraith wanting. I really tried to make it work in one way or another but never could get anything worthwhile out of it. It's definitely supposed to be a support destroyer, unfortunately it's FoF Inverter ECM isn't the most reliable missile defense system, it doesn't work for very long and needs quite a while to recharge. Its falx beam array have too little range to be safely used, and when it used, it's with debatable usefulness in most fights. It felt out of place during most early/mid game battles, too fragile, not enough impact on the fight. Later on i used those as PD platforms with converted hangar to escort my larger ships, but even then i wasn't very convinced.

During my campaign, i had quite a few scuffle with the Idoneus Citadel Exiles, and the Shiekwraith was a common sight in their fleets. While relatively harmless, this ship is however very tedious to fight. Its Shallow Phase is more or less the same as the old Starsector phase cloak that could be turned on and off without cooldown. While Starsector evolved with time and got rid of its frustrating old cloak system, the Shiekwraith version is still present, and still as obnoxious as ever. It's not just for the Shiekwraith by the way, the Kelpie, Eidolon, Palantir and Apocrypha shares the same phase system. I really wish Shallow phase would either be reworked in something similar to the current Starsector phase cloak (something with a cooldown between phasing) or replaced with the infinitely more satisfying Phase warp that cloak in short bursts.

I hope the Shiek will get some love in some future update, to make it more useful to use, both during early and late game, and less frustrating as an opponent.


The Specter was among the few first ships i bought. An unassuming, but competent mainstay frigate that i used throughout the game. It's pretty mobile, decently armed, and cheap. They are easy to catch in between two phase warp, and their fragility rarely gave them a second chance in battle. Still, when i needed something to capture an objective or support a ship, the Specter wasn't a bad choice, at least for early/mid game, later on they just wouldn't survive. Not incredible, but it works.
I also noted some kind of bug with variants. When you choose a variant, say Assault variant with the heavy machine gun in the hidden medium hardpoint, then switch to a strike variant with the Flamebolt cannon, it will change all weapons except the hidden one. The player have to manually remove the hidden gun first. This bug seems to happens with the Soulbane as well. Maybe it's linked to hidden weapons?


The Palantir sensor ship don't have much going for it. It's not even armed! But it is as cheap as it's possible to get, and fast. Perfect for capturing objectives at the start of battle. The enhanced sensor system is a nice gimmick that allows the player to know where the enemy is going a bit earlier than usual.

The Pentagram(S) is more of a joke than a proper combat ship, but at least it's a funny joke. It will die a lot, and sadly doesn't kill all that much. Even as cheap as it is, i didn't found it worth keeping it in my fleet. Despite this, everyone should at least try once the space shuriken.

The standard variant of the Pentagram however... It's not quite as fun. Unfortunately, it's not very good as well. Its strange weapon layout indicate a point defense ship, however its ability to cloak itself, as well as the Enthropic Inversion Matrix interrupting its weapons makes the Pentagram pretty bad at its job. On top of that, the narrow weapon arcs on the energy turrets and ability to turn very fast means the PD weapons will struggle to keep track of their targets. I somehow managed to make it decent with a burst PD build, but then, it was merely decent compared to something cheaper and reliable like the Centurion. For some reason, it's also incredibly fast, 200 top speed, faster than a Hound !

The Athame drill frigate is almost in the same category as the Pentagram(S). It's a joke ship, but an extremely deadly one. Its fission drill allows it fly through the target, dealing horrific damage. Unfortunately the Athame will also damage itself in the process. In between the enemy's ordnance and the self-damage, Athames rarely survive their first assault. Even at 2 DP to deploy, they felt far too unreliable for my taste. Extremely terrifying when the AI is fielding them though.

I feel it's the kind of ship that would work better as a fighter instead of a frigate. With adjusted stats and sprite size, it could be an interesting, and actually usable, alternative take for a bomber.


I got the Nightseer quite late during my campaign. The Citadel super frigate proved a bit tricky to use at first, but overall quite useful, if very fragile. The large hybrid hardpoint allows for incredible firepower for a frigate, and the mobility offered by the light phase jaunt ensure it can bring that firepower right where it's needed. One powerful trick i learned while flying this ship is the ability to fire while "jaunting" despite being intangible. This allows the ship to jaunt over the target and unload right when it's on top of it. It requires a bit of practice, but it works wonderfully when combined with high burst weapons.

But even without that fancy piloting trick, the Nightseer can still be useful. The Ether Warp cloak creates a mini black-hole when used, swallowing and removing nearby ordnance, in a somewhat similar way to the Blackrock Imaginos. The main drawback of the Ether Warp is that it eats all projectiles, including yours and your allies, so it requires some trigger discipline with the cloak not to screw up.


The Soulbane is how i remember it. Reliable, powerful, surprisingly resilient, always useful. From the beginning to the end of the campaign, it made the backbone of my fleet. It's a curious mix of a Sunder and a Medusa, all blended together with a phase cloak. It's mobile enough to catch most targets, its large energy hardpoint can drill through most opponents, and the good armor coupled with the Phase Warp makes it a tricky ship to pin down.


Early to mid-game with just a pack of Soulbanes is doable, but i eventually reached a point where i needed fighter support. I was very reticent about buying an Eidolon carrier. Not that it is a bad ship, but it got maintenance drones as its system, and i wanted to avoid using those as much as i could, as not to be tempted to cheese my way through this campaign. Resisting the urge to turn it into a sabot/harpoon monstrosity, i did outfit my Eidolon as a long range fire-support. I was very lucky to get my hand on the Gandiva large missile launcher, which is basically a reaper LRM. For some reason, i struggled to find Idoneusian (is that the word?) weapons during my game. Most of the time, i was forced to salvage them from the wreckage of the Exiles fleets i preyed upon.

To get back on the Eidolon, it makes for a decent carrier and also a very good missile boat. Sadly, it can't do both at the same time, or at least not very well. It's OP starved, and while it can mount both missiles and fighters, it doesn't leaves much place for hullmods, and the Eidolon really wants hullmods. Building that ships require compromise. Do i really want those expensive bombers? Or should i get ECCM package instead? I ended up favoring fighters over missiles on my Eidolons. One reason is because ICE do have some pretty good fighters, the other reason is as said earlier in this post, as a missile boat, the Eidolon tends to hoard all the fleet maintenance drones to resupply its missiles, something i wanted to avoid. Just like the Shiekwraith, it got shallow phase, making it impossible for the enemy to quickly burst it down. Unfortunately, it also applies when it's on the enemy's side which can be a headache. Unlike the Shiekwraith however, you can't really ignore an Eidolon loaded with missiles.


I also got myself a pair of Kelpie cruisers. A normal version, and the (S) version. The Kelpie(S), just like the Pentagram(S), is a "blade" ship that fight in melee. Unlike the Pentagram however, this cruiser is extremely powerful in the hands of the player. The tractor beam can easily disrupt enemy formations, bringing the hapless target to the Kelpie's maw, letting the fission blades grinding it to dust. Those blades bites hard, hard enough that even the biggest capital ships learn to fear the Kelpie(S). Thanks to its Enthropic Inversion Matrix, the damage it receives from a struggling prey turns into armor regeneration. That system is also what prevent the Kelpie from being disabled by the target's death explosion.

The AI is extremely bad at using it, but as flagship it's arguably overpowered. Even more so when you consider that it only cost 15 DP to deploy. Nerfing the beast combat abilities would be a shame, that's what makes it fun to use. On the other hand, a more severe logistic cost could be a good first step to bring the ship to a more balanced level.

Compared to the (S) variant, the bladeless Kelpie is much less impressive, yet noticeably more expensive to field. Its fission blades have been replaced with 12 small energy hardpoints, and the tractor beam by a medium universal turret. It's... Very awkward to use. Vanilla and ICE lacks the small energy weapons to turns the Kelpie into something worth fielding. Maybe some other mods do, and with some safety override build it could work. Probably not, at least not for the AI. Because of its shallow phase (again) and the EIM system, the Kelpie is extremely AI unfriendly. I did try something easy like a tactical laser boat, but alas, without much success. The only way i managed to make it work was as a flagship, with a very unsubtle loadout.

Spoiler

0.7.2 Aurora flashback
[close]

It's as stupid as it looks, but 14.000 energy alpha strike plus 4000 HE will still get results in battle. However, it's not because it works with some weird cheesy build means it's a good overall ship. There's just too many issues. I feel the Kelpie needs an entire rework to justify its existence.


Much more reliable than those two, the Voidreaver is the elite Idoneus cruiser. At 35 DP, it's in the same weight category as the other "super" cruisers like the Doom. It's equipped with a unique Ether Warp cloak that spawn weak EMP arcs when phased. Not strong enough to shake off frigates but good enough to deal with missiles and unshielded fighters. On top of it, the Graviton Deflector hullmod can deflect incoming projectiles, making it extremely potent in a slugging match as long as it stays at low flux.

On top of that, the Voidreaver is quite overgunned. It's hard to miss the huge and powerful built-in Hypermass driver, although i used it less and less as i played the campaign. Extremely high-flux cost, forced overload on firing, and knockback effect on the target, usually accidentally saving it from a follow up. I wasn't very fan of the Hypermass driver. It works, but feels very clunky to use.
Just like the Eidolon, the Void feels constantly starved for OPs. It wants many guns, many hullmods and many vents points but lacks the OPs for everything. It's the kind of ship that works extremely well when all goes according to plan, but rapidly fall apart when caught in a tricky situation. Fortunately for me, i eventually found a foolproof safety net for my Voidreavers, or any other ships in my fleet for that matter.


The Apocrypha command ship is that safety net. Stat wise, it's a very unimpressive ship. Slow, fragile, limited armament, only 3 flight decks, as expensive as a Paragon... Its one big advantage over other ships (beyond the overpowered maintenance drones that is) is its Recall Teleporter hullmod. This hullmod will teleport any allied ship to its destination at the condition that it brings the targeted ship closer to the Apocrypha. Demonstration :

Spoiler
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Ship being stranded on the edge of the map, surrounding by enemies? Recall teleport. Reinforcements can't cross the map fast enough to reach the front line? Recall teleport. Apocrypha being harassed by enemy frigates? Recall teleport a combat ship to deal with those. There are quite a few tricks possible with this system. It also works with the player flagship, although you must engage auto-pilot to "allow" the teleportation to happen. That's why the Apocrypha is extremely powerful, it can reliably save allies wherever they are in an instant. This is also the main reason an opposing Apocrypha is a priority target in battle, as it will deny any coup de grĂ¢ce you were about to deal to an enemy target.

But that's not all! Built-in in the ship is the Tactical Ansible hullmod, the predecessor to Operation Center. Unlike its vanilla counterpart, the tactical ansible doesn't require the player to directly helm the ship for it to work. The regenerating command points make sure you can exploit the Recall Teleporter whenever you need it.

Speaking of the tactical ansible, i feel it's too strong. As a built-in hullmod in the Apocrypha, it's absolutely fine. Unfortunately, it's modular, and can easily be strapped on a Dram chilling on the bottom of the map with the Seraphs and still bring the command point regen bonus. I think it shouldn't be a modulable hullmod, only the Apocrypha should have it.


And finally, we got the faction's big boy, the Abraxas battlecruiser. Just like the Apocrypha, it doesn't look very impressive at first glance. Not very fast, low armor, even lower hull, and it's the only non-phase Idoneus ships with the Seraph. On the other hand, it does have pretty good firepower with its converging turrets, and very good flux stats to back those guns. But beyond that, the Abraxas got two main strengths that makes the difference.
First : its ship system, heavy flash jaunt. Yes, like the Nightseer's, although with a cooldown between uses. It can do the same "fire while jaunting" trick as its smaller cousin, but it's harder to pull of due to its limited mobility. Not like it needs it though, the Abraxas can jaunt to the target flank and unload its firepower in all impunity, with enough firepower to rip through shield and armor. When retribution is coming from the enemy or flux is too high, it can reset the jaunt to its original position. In practical terms, it can reach a target much farther than what should normally be possible. No ship is safe from an Abraxas even when it appears out of range. The jaunt is also an extremely good tool to juke dangerous projectiles like torpedoes.

On top of its incredible mobility, the second Abraxas strength is its Nova reactor. It's a hullmod with the ability to auto-repair the ship's armor, except for the core. Combined with the appropriate combat skills, hullmods and maintenance drones support, an Abraxas can be one of the hardest thing to destroy in the entire sector. It still fears very high HE damage like reapers, but will shrug off anything else like it's nothing. Both of those advantages allows for the battlecruiser to jaunt into the most dangerous situation and get out relatively unscathed. And in the eventually it get surrounded, i still got an Apocrypha to save its butt.

By the way, extending shield is incompatible with the Abraxas. There's no hullmod conflict message, it just refuse to install itself. It's fair that this hullmod is incompatible on this ship, but it should be signaled in one way or another.


Lastly, by the end of this campaign, i managed the capture the Exiles colony ship, the Shalom. I admit i half-expected capturing that ship would give me a mobile colony at disposition just like the Exiles. But eh, i guess it would require some advanced scripting wizardry to pull off. That would still be a cool feature, as the current Shalom doesn't do a whole lot.


Beyond the ships, i have a few observations to make regarding the ICE hullmods. For exemple : Munition AutoFac works... Very randomly? I can't get it to work reliably in the simulator, sometimes it does reload things, sometimes it does partially, sometimes it doesn't. Either i'm missing something about this hullmod or it's bugged.

Reverberation Dampener is a no brainer. It's a cheap way to reduce HE damage, the biggest threat to Idoneus ships. As a built-in hullmod on blade ships it makes sense, but as a modular hullmod it's just too good.

Shunt coating is very niche. Given Citadel ships never have enough OPs for everything they want, i'm not sure i would ever spend 12 OPs on something so unreliable. Perhaps this one could get a buff.

Tactical Ansible, as i already said it, don't think should be modular. Mounting it on some cheap frigate, letting it sleep on the edge of the map and still getting the bonus is just too easy.

Phase bypass. Decent hullmod for forcing a missile boat to stay out of phase so it can keep firing all the time. It's currently good thanks to maintenance drones resupplying missiles. With nerfed drones however... I'm not sure.


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Finally, the end of this post ! So, my opinion on this mod... Well, a originally made by Sundog is bound to be memorable. It's fun, it's pretty, it's original, it just works, i like it. However there are a few things that i think really needs adjustments. Some ships, some hullmods and the maintenance drones, especially the maintenance drones.

While i did enjoy this campaign, i'm not sure i would keep the mod activated for future playthrough. It's good, but needs polishing in my opinion. Quality-wise, it's not quite up there with the other "big faction mods". At least, not yet. I really hope this mod will keep being updated and improved in the future. It's just too unique and cool to be left abandoned. For those that are curious but skeptical, i think it definitely deserves a try.

Oh, and one last thing. Shouldn't this thread moved to the mods section of the forum? It's largely functional enough to deserve a place there.
Hi.

First off, I want to say thank you for the extensive review you've done for this mod, because this sort of stuff is going to be really beneficial down the line for future changes. I will, in fact, pass back all this information to the current mod author ASAP.

Though I would like to apologise: The mod version you were playing isn't exactly the most up to date version of said mod; there has been an extant 0.41v for CN for a while, but I had not gone to the effort in translating/proofreading because of my studies. There were major tweaks to some of the core faction features, although the main set of your observations are still roughly accurate. Not to worry, I will emphasise on them in the future.

I will have the mods move this to the main subforum once I'm done with the new update. Otherwise, again, thanks for your magnificent effortpost.
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Young man, strive to be the best, so that you can cry against the endless apathy of the world. For until our story ends by the touch of death, let it be weaved into the grandest tapestries of life.
==|==
When adrift upon a sea of stars, seeketh redemption's light to lead thee home.

Scarlet-MagicianX26

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Re: [0.9.1a] Idoneus Citadel Exiles
« Reply #16 on: December 16, 2020, 07:26:32 PM »

0.41 RC-2 update: https://github.com/Scarlet-MagicianX26/ICE-EN/raw/master/ICE%200.41%20RC-2.7z

Changelog will come once I've fixed the formatting issues with it
« Last Edit: December 16, 2020, 07:28:39 PM by Scarlet-MagicianX26 »
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Young man, strive to be the best, so that you can cry against the endless apathy of the world. For until our story ends by the touch of death, let it be weaved into the grandest tapestries of life.
==|==
When adrift upon a sea of stars, seeketh redemption's light to lead thee home.

Acronen

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Re: [0.9.1a] Idoneus Citadel Exiles - (Overdue) 0.41 Update
« Reply #17 on: July 19, 2021, 08:46:41 PM »

Not intended as a necro, just curious since the pretty recent update of the game. Is this mod effectively dead with 0.9.5 or is there any chance it will be updated? It sounds like it was quite complex and difficult to update to 0.9.1 and a lot of work (which I don't expect from any modder since I myself lack any modding skills, and just really appreciate the added fun you folks provide through them), so I was just curious since I really loved it. (I still have an old version of Starsector installed so I can play with this mod, and others that haven't been updated like the Approlight/Originem mods which are my favorites)

At any rate, thank you for the mod. It has provided many many hours of fun for me, and even though I really like the 0.9.5 features, I sometimes play the older version to have fun with this faction and its mechanics. (the capital ship for this faction is my favorite)
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Algoul

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Re: [0.9.1a] Idoneus Citadel Exiles - (Overdue) 0.41 Update
« Reply #18 on: July 21, 2021, 07:16:22 AM »

My guess is that the resurgence of mod will only happen if a competent enthusiast takes care of it. The mod is very beautiful, elegant design of ships captivates instantly. But i hardly can imagine how much work need to do for conversion to 0.95
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not a luddic path member

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Re: [0.9.1a] Idoneus Citadel Exiles - (Overdue) 0.41 Update
« Reply #19 on: July 22, 2021, 04:53:48 PM »

How would one go to converting this to 0.95? Can I just do it myself with some beginner knowledge with Java?
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Master Troano

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Re: [0.9.1a] Idoneus Citadel Exiles - (Overdue) 0.41 Update
« Reply #20 on: July 24, 2021, 04:01:11 AM »

This is absolutely amazing. I really hope someone resurrects this
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DownTheDrain

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Re: [0.9.1a] Idoneus Citadel Exiles - (Overdue) 0.41 Update
« Reply #21 on: July 24, 2021, 04:49:54 AM »

There's a bootleg update floating around elsewhere but I haven't actually tried it so I don't know how broken it is.
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Aeios

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Re: [0.9.1a] Idoneus Citadel Exiles - (Overdue) 0.41 Update
« Reply #22 on: July 24, 2021, 08:46:17 AM »

There's a bootleg update floating around elsewhere but I haven't actually tried it so I don't know how broken it is.

I tried it. Safe to say it's not working properly. The game will crash when the Exile fleet tries to settle a planet.
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DownTheDrain

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Re: [0.9.1a] Idoneus Citadel Exiles - (Overdue) 0.41 Update
« Reply #23 on: July 24, 2021, 12:10:28 PM »

There's a bootleg update floating around elsewhere but I haven't actually tried it so I don't know how broken it is.

I tried it. Safe to say it's not working properly. The game will crash when the Exile fleet tries to settle a planet.

That's unfortunate, guess I don't need to waste a playthrough on giving this a try then.
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