What I do not like about MechWarrior Online, done with it

Well, been playing this for about 4 years but am now done with it as of April, 2016. Like any game, it has its fans and critics plus everyone in between. Given criticism of it, I feel it is time to list mine. Not completely listed by priority, the last 4 are not really sorted.

#1 – Negative Social Experience

This only really cropped up for me since Fall/Winter 2015, prior to that there had been problems but not as pronounced as from Fall/Winter 2015 on. After Fall/Winter 2015, several problems cropped up.

First was the massive increase of players who complained on a loss, this showed up with the change to the new Tier system. Over time, I came across more and more people who complained loudly on the in game VOIP when the team I was on lost, some complaints even went so far as idiots demanding that the rest of the team not have children because they lost a fucking video game. Really. Another more popular complaint were the people who complained about how others played, usually the complainers were the ones who died first and refused to leave the match to play another in a different Mech. No, they had to use the Mech they just died in so they hung around and complained instead of going off somewhere to wait without being all pissed off.

Then there’s the Forums, again over time they had problems, but since Fall/Winter 2015, it just got worse, especially how certain players wanted to use their rank as a way to force others to only play by the small group of ranked players beliefs. No product sells well by appealing to a small sized group. Increased use of politics has also made it worse, if I wanted to play politics, I would either be in a political game or news topics. Political stuff is even more insane given how foolish a number of people are thinking the current Presidential race in the USA is real.

This pretty much killed it for me, everything else is a criticism that I could live with though valid.

#2 – No Chat Filter.

There is no filtering of language in chat, instead you have the option to turn it off. Some push others to do this but there is a portion of players who only communicate by chat so without it, they cannot talk to their own team.

#3 – Lack of Tactical Thinking by Some Community Members.

This sometimes relates to #1. One outstanding moment was when some guy tried giving orders to the team and started screaming like a lunatic for the team to push around a corner. The ‘12 man Deathball Push’ has become way too popular

#3 – PUG Matches.

This is all that has been available most of the time. There is no single player experience that some other games have allowing people to become more comfortable with the controls in a more forgiving environment than PvP. The few objective oriented battles, most do not fight for the objective, almost all matches turn into Deathmatch type fights, sometimes if you try to go by objective, your own team will treat you like crap for it. Private matches exist in free and pay form but it can be a problem getting enough people since you need full 12 man teams for free.

#4 – Lack of n00b Friendly Area & Tutorials.

No area for new people to train and learn in away from more experienced opponents. Tutorials have been pretty sparse, the first was just for movement. It was later modified into a better one but still lacked some things.

#5 – Equipment Balance.

Still an ongoing issue, some weapons just do not make people want to use them. Certain Mechs are not given adjustments needed to make them worth using while others go too far. Some other equipment serves little purpose or does not outweigh the benefits that popular equipment has. While ECM got downgraded about the time I left, it was still overdone combining a few different pieces of tech into one.

#6 – Too Many Battlemechs, Not Enough Content.

Too many things to get over time give the game a PokeMech feeling while some other areas should have been priority for needed work. A counter argument typically made that the artists needed to do something did not really fly, there were other areas needing work that artists could work on such as map fixes, texture improvement, cosmetic items. Since the business model made buying Mechs the main cash generator, this problem never went away. Needed were some more map variety, alternate mission objectives and major fixes to Community Warfare.

#7 – Store Design Needs Work.

Some elements of the store could be made more user friendly.

#8 – Speed Seems a Bit Off.

Compared to previous MechWarrior games that made you feel like you were in a walking tank, this felt more like an armored person. I didn’t come here for Halo or anything similar.

#9 – Graphics.

There have been graphical issues, some have been fixed yet there are problems remaining. Invisible objects that allow people to look at hidden enemies though the objects are made invisible due to graphics settings and distance.

#10– Timeline Issues.

Starting from 3050 was a bad idea to me, while considered popular it also has to worst balance issues as seen from how many changes have had to be made from the TT rules. There have also been fudges, CW map always starts from a 3050 perspective yet there have been some modifications to bring in later Mechs.

So I have been done with this for quite some time especially due to #1. Seriously, when people are flying off the handle over losing a fucking video game, they have problems. Whenever I lost, sure there were times I did not like it but I did not take it out on the whole team and make dumb comments about people’s personal lives over it.

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The Puffington Post – an Example of Bad Journalism

Usually a good number of people accuse news reporting of being bad only when they perceive it as biased against their point of view. There is not much objective, fact based reporting anymore including the increase in biased news sources and adding in readers who want bias. I came across an example of this while looking up something in a search engine. A link to this story showed up in the list, since I have lived on Staten Island for about 40 years of my life, I looked at it. What is in it shows how far journalism has fallen, how badly influenced by dishonest pop culture it is and how horrible today’s reporters have become.

This guy Scott Conroy makes it sound as if all of the borough supports Donald Trump. This was based on his visiting one neighborhood of the island and judging about 475K residents from that one neighborhood. He then paints a false picture as if all 475K residents are Trump supporters, Republicans and a few other things some of which are promoted by other media falsely. Now since I live here and know this borough better than most outside it, I feel compelled to list the pile of reasons why Mr. Conroy and some of the people commenting are wrong. Bear in mine this is also put out by the Huffington Post or, as I now call them, the Puffington Post since this is an inflated piece of fantasy trying to pass itself off as honest and factual from a “news source” that has a biased take on news.

Voter Turnout

Public view is there are a lotta Republicans in Staten Island, what Democrats we have are called Blue Dogs. Both of these images are false. According to actual statistics from New York State found here, we have more Democrats than any other group either Active or Inactive. Sticking to Active voters, latest stats from April 1, 2016 as of this post show 119,328. While less than half of total voters at 264,464, the rest is mainly divided between Republicans (76,352) and Blank (53,756) with some other smaller party representations (Independent, Conservative, Working Families, Green, Women’s Equality Party, Reform I think REF stands for, and Other). So all Democrats need to do is get their voters mobilized and get some Blanks and they win. Problems however are several.

First, voters do not come out in numbers to support. Let’s look at the House election, one of the few contested elections here. I will show the 2010, 2012 and 2014 elections going through stats from the NYC Board of Elections Results page.

In 2010 the House election was between Michael McMahon the Democrat incumbent voted in before by special election, Michael Grimm the Republican and Tom Vendittelli the Libertarian. In Staten Island (Richmond County) McMahon got 41,637 Democrat and 3,522 Independent votes; Grimm got 44,029 Republican and 7,188 Conservative votes, Vendittelli got 691 Libertarian votes. These numbers alone would lead you to think we have more Republicans. Compare them to the state numbers at the link above this time for the ones from November 1, 2010 just before election day. Then we had 117,298 Democrats, 75, 316 Republicans, 49,682 Blank, 7,745 Independents, 4,107 Conservative, 929 Working Families, 243 Green and 52 Libertarians. Only 35% of Democrats showed up to vote compared to 58% of Republicans, 57% of Conservatives and 45% of Independents. Democrats lost due to voters not showing up despite adding in the slight Democrat advantage in voters from the areas of Brooklyn that were also in the district at the time. Total voter turnout was about 39%.

In the 2012 House election, Richmond county had as of November 1, 2012 totals of 119,376 active Democrat voters; 76,572 active Republicans, 51,958 active Blanks; 8,790 active Independents; 4,262 active Conservatives; 1,016 active Working Family members; 255 active Greens and 76 active Others. Voters came out to 62,446 Democrats and 3,400 Working Family members for Mark Murphy compared to 70,155 Republicans and 9,261 Conservatives for Michael Grimm. Percentages come out to 52% Democrats, 92% Republicans, 335% Working Family members and 217% Conservatives. The last 2 was probably some Blanks and Independents voting on those lines but their numbers in voters were too small to make up for the larger number of Republicans that came out again. The district had been redone to change the Brooklyn neighborhoods that increased the Democrats voting there yet this still was not enough to make up the larger Republican numbers that came out in Richmond county even in a year with a Presidential election that causes larger numbers of voters to show up. Total voter turnout was 59%.

Now we come to 2014 when the Democrats had Domenic Recchia try to beat Michael Grimm. On November 1, 2014, there were 121,062 active Democrats; 76,257 active Republicans; 52,945 active Blanks; 9,203 active Independents; 4,237 active Conservatives; 1,088 active Working Families; 324 active Greens and 93 active Others. When the votes were tallied, they came out to 27,935 Democrats and 2,446 Working Families for Recchia against 39,006 Republicans, 5,935 Conservatives and 1,988 Independents voting for Grimm. There were also 1,880 Green votes for Henry Bardel. This gives us 23% Democrats, 51% Republicans, 225% Working Families, 140% Conservatives, 22% Independents and 580% Greens. Total voter turnout was 31%.

Of course higher than 100% for any party clearly means that party got votes from other voting groups. The important thing though is that of the Democrats who have the largest voting block, they get very low percentages of voters to show up compared to the Republicans. This is why what should be a Democrat House seat roughly 75% of the time winds up going Republican all the time.

The Effects of Media Image

There is a media image of Staten Island that has grown to become popular yet also inaccurate. The image that Staten Islanders are, “Jersey Shorin’, Mob Wivin’, redneckin’, racist Republicans where all the bad cops go,” an image Scott Conroy tries to drag out. Truth is far from that. While Staten Island has some Italian heritage as other locations throughout the country, it also has a lot of other ethnicities mixed in. Irish, Russian, African, Caribbean, Mexican, Far East and more can be found if looked for. In addition, a majority of people here do not have mob connections.  Due to how the Island has evolved over the years, it is most definitely not full of rednecks and has a lot of city type issues in need of attention, issues that too frequently get pushed aside by media imagery causing a backlog of problems. A definite majority are not racist, the number of race related issues is actually vary small and some issues appearing as race related on the surface are actually caused by other factors. The bad cop image seen in some media such as Blue Bloods and Law & Order as a place bad cops are sent for punishment is on a very small scale and downplays the crime issues that deserve more attention.


Outsiders do not know this but in Richmond County, geography usually matters when it come to politics. Look at a map of Staten Island. Roughly anything north if Interstate 278 the Staten Island Expressway is considered Democrat territory, south is Republican with the exception of the area of Assembly District 63. I know it seems strange given the registered voter numbers saying there are more Democrats but there is more dense housing in the northern part of the Island. There is also some mixing, I have met Republicans who live in the northern section and Democrats in the southern part. Local politics also backs this up. At the city level, we have 3 Council Districts within the county, District 49 typically is occupied by a Democrat while District 50 and District 51 have Republicans in them. In state politics there are 4 Assemblymen and 2 Senators. District 61 and District 63 have for some time been Democrat, District 62 and District 64 are usually occupied by Republicans. In the state Senate, District 23 is pretty much Democrat while District 24 has a Republican. So not counting the federal House seat, we have 4 Democrats and 5 Republicans in various political positions.

Typical Island Politics

There is this that some do not mind and others are bothered by. Geography as described above is one factor in most elections, another is that sometimes opposing parties will not run a candidate against someone up for re-election, yet another is that political party committees seem to have little interest in running primaries against someone even if someone steps up to try. Usually the only elections that actually stimulate people are the federal House seat, Council District 50 sometimes and the local District Attorney. It should also be mentioned that the type of politics usually ‘sold’ through media as dirty to sway votes does not play well here. Take the Grimm elections of 2010, 2012 and 2014. In 2010, McMahon was actually the favorite to win by a lot until a stunt was pulled where McMahon’s team brought an ex-wife of Grimm to a debate in support of McMahon. That one move designed to insult Grimm actually won him votes even among Democrats. In 2012, Mark Murphy ran a campaign that was constantly reported as being about nothing but Grimm’s character, only once was an issue even discussed. 2014 brought Recchia who did the same thing with the support of the national DNC (who foolishly think this type of campaigning is normal for everyone) but when constantly confronted on issue questions due to popularity that also came with the DNC, Recchia continually stumbled. Over his time in office despite issues coming up about his life, Grimm continued to win due to the tactics used against him. It is also interesting how Democrats cannot take advantage of there being 2 Republican factions that sometimes go against each other.

Issues on Staten Island

Outsiders also do not know of, and at times care, about what issues are of concern to people who live here. Not only the ‘standard’ ones heard discussed, there are also specific issues unique to this location due to its nature. It is a geographic island with only 5 ways on and off it, a free ferry that only carries passengers and some complain is getting crowded plus 4 bridges, 3 of which are done to older standards and all 4 have tolls that must be paid when getting onto the Island. The toll situation actually makes it less likely people will travel to other areas compared to how other places have various ways to get into and out of their home locations, this results in a feeling that people are trapped here. There are environmental issues due to all the (supposed) protected wild lands, traffic issues due to the worst mass transit of the city, housing issues due to growing population on a fixed size landmass while some builders try to keep a suburban feel to the borough.

Summary / Conclusion

Basically the main factors that seem to drive politics here are not those spoken by outsiders like Mr. Conroy. Instead it is a combination of Geography, incumbents being favored due to their usual success record (there have been a few exceptions), smear campaigns promoted nationally being disliked by voters, you get pretty predictable results and low interest in political activity by residents. People come to believe not much will change even though a number of them want it to on various issues. That doesn’t mean politics is not interesting, rather it is more unsupported and the support that exists does not generate interesting elections.

So I hope this begins to clear up some misconceptions about Staten Island politics, one of many issues of the borough of Richmond not understood by outsiders and wrongfully reported by people like Mr. Conroy.

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‘Big Al’ Sharpton Rides Again

Once again Rev. Sharpton is claiming the 60s are back again.

Actual story is two groups of kids meet in Mariners Harbor in Staten Island. For those who do not know, Mariners Harbor is one of the problem neighborhoods of Staten Island, has been for decades. Each group is there to support one member of the groups. The two are having an argument over a girl. This meeting escalates into a fight and during this, a kid named Dayshen McKenzie is running from other kids. McKenzie suffers from asthma and he has an asthma attack while being chased that causes him to die.

Good ol’ ‘Big Al’ doesn’t wait for full details, he hears of McKenzie being black and pursuers using words not liked, Big Al cries racism and wants to jump straight to federal investigations. However as the story details develop, it becomes clear there is no racial component to the story, instead it is described as two gangs having a meet.

Now my take as a 40 year resident here is this.

I once had something like this happen to someone. They were in a relationship and one day he found out she had another boyfriend. Since like some people both these guys believed in having on one relationship, they arranged to meet and settle what was going on. For some reason, the other guy was having friends with him so my friend thought he need some people along in case things got out of hand. My other friends and myself go along for this meet.

They meet near a school where my friend and the guy get together to talk out what is happening while everyone else just stands around waiting to see. One friend goes over to what looks like a sculpture made out of telephone poles on the school playground and decides to climb up to the top. There was no easy way to get there so he climbs it by wrapping his arms and legs around the pole and shimmies up then sits on the highest pole. Later someone said this freaked out the other guy’s friends.

After talking, my friend and the other guy decided that they were being played by the woman. For whatever reason, the other guy wanted to stay with her but my friend was not interested in this type of behavior and wanted out. No fight or anything else happened.

The point of my story is it has some similarities to this incident Sharpton complained about. Thing is in this recent one, it appears the men involved could not work things out and a fight started that escalated out of hand. This seems to happen a lot, just go to YouTube and search for, “Fight over woman,” and, “Fight over man.” Some people feel proud and glorify this behavior. In my view, a good portion of responsibility for what happened here belongs on the two men in the argument, they could have resolved this in a manner with no violent outcome just like my friend and that other guy did.

Also if these two groups in the recent incident were gangs, gangs are known to be racist since every gang today only accepts those of their own race and acts hostile towards other gangs, then any racism is the fault of all who attended and they should all be treated that way. Why is Sharpton not addressing that? He’s been ignoring it for a long time.

This incident also happened in Mariners Harbor, a known problem neighborhood for years. It does not help that the city has over time decreased the amount of police on the NYPD, in the past decade the number has shrunk by about 5,000 while the city population grows. With an increasing population while the police number stays constant comes the potential for more crime related problems to occur with a worse response. There’s another thing Sharpton will not address.

Add in the fact that in this borough incidents that people of all races consider racial have happened where the victims were not black, another thing Sharpton never talks about. Then add in the false comparison to the 1986 story of Micheal Griffith in Howard Beach, Queens.

It is pretty clear to many people of all races who live here that Sharpton is a one trick story only caring when the perception of white on black racial incidents occur even if it means covering up the truth. I have no idea what federal agency he thinks will look into this, I have asked around and gotten no answer. I would like to know so I can contact them myself and tell them why this is not racial as I did here, I am one of many that has had enough of the false public perception placed on this borough by figures like Sharpton.

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My News Website Account Gone?

   Yesterday I went to login to the SILive news website as I do on occasion to find a popup that asked me for my email, birth year and zip code as if I was creating a new account. I typically use the login through Facebook but I also tried the login through Google and using Username & Password, none of them worked. From all I have seen, it appears my account was turned off though I see comments I made up to my last activity, August 7, still present. I find it strange and odd that I received no notice of this yet this is from a news website that has had problems.

– Avatar pics not changing. Used to be if your SILive account was linked to a social media service, the avatar would change when you changed the one on the social site, this has not happened for some time.

– Failure to update profile. There have been times I tried to update my profile such as avatar and informational changes, either they do not take or, in one case, it created a whole new profile for me that was NOT my intent.

– Replies not taking. It seems for some time if you try to reply to someone, the rely disappears just as you hit Add Comment depending on what you put in it. If you put the exact same post as a new comment separate from the conversation, it goes through fine.

– Comments Pending then disappearing. I see this at times, a comment will show with a yellow box and Pending in it, then the comment disappears without notice. Is there a magic censor at work?

   If I was a conspiracy minded person, I would accuse certain people who I have had disagreements with (seems to be a longtime Staten Island tradition from before the days of the Internet), but a number of people even those who disagree vehemently on subjects know the SILive website has problems. It does not look good for a news site to turn off someone’s account without even a notice of why, any website that deactivates your account will usually tell you why at least by email.

   This on top of longtime problems have really gone on too long. While the site is the place the Staten Island Advance reports on news, I know from my own searching it is part of a group of sites run by another company called Advance Publications Internet in Jersey City as seen here.

   I have tried contacting about some of these problems before through the Contact Us form on the site and received little response usually told to do things that do not fix anything or I get silence. I am quite through with the manner this site has been handled and will be making this known to others. I have asked the SI Advance if they do not believe me to put up the email I sent them (most of it is in this blog with a few changes) with a poll and asking for feedback on how others feel about the site.

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Great Kills Park radiation

I remember going there in the 70s. Going to the public beach that has been relocated west of where it was. Venturing into the Lower New York Bay water and feeling something pinch me, I never went into ocean water around here since. Watching relatives and other fish off the bulkhead on the south side of Great Kills Harbor. Biking along the roadway leading into the park and seeing horseshoe crabs on the sand.

Today it has been about a decade since the first discovery there. Eight years since they detected radium at a local federal park, Great Kills Park in Staten Island, New York, part of the Gateway Recreation Area.

The work is unfinished.

Original discovery of a radium spot happened in 2005 and the cause, a piece of old medical equipment, was removed. Two years later they found 5 more locations, more removal from these sites. Another two years, they find more contaminated spots forcing a closure of part of the park. Since then until today, about half the park is fenced off and closed including a few ballfields, a model airplane field, one of the roads. All of these closures are due to the radium they have found and are looking for more of. People have asked for information but it has been trickling out while these fenced off areas go unattended so they are not only unused but also unattended.

In the pictures I took recently, the ballfields for example have wild growth growing all over due to lack of maintenance  Some of the closing makes no sense at all, in one spot I found the south part of Bulkhead Road closed but a trail end nearby was open. Also, the maps provided online show the closed area in the northwestern part yet the same fences with similar warning signs block off portions of the park not mapped for radium.

What really annoys me is the slow process of it all. Several years of work and still little word of what is going on with no end in sight. This is radium and radiation, I would think it would get some priority better than this.

Now the government shuts down thus shutting down the park and all this radium work. Thanks for nothing.

Latest local news story on this long standing problem.

Some pictures of fenced off areas.

Gateway 1Gateway 2Gateway 3Gateway 4Gateway 5Gateway 6Gateway 7Gateway 8Gateway 9

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Truth, Lies and Video Games

AKA, Why High Damage Does Not Matter in video games.

There are many beliefs that if a Player does not do X damage (or achieve some other result), that Player did not contribute to the team in a game based on team play and values. The following are all the reasons why this belief is bogus from the game MechWarrior Online. Except for the first one, the others are not in a priority order.

  • Math

The big killer, math shows how it is not possible for everyone to deal out the damage number required by some. The important numbers here are:

– Enemy total Center Torso, one of the ways to kill a Mech. With IS XL, you could do Side Torso but you never know exactly who has XL and who has STD all the time, you may figure out some but not all.

– Enemy total Leg, the other way to kill a Mech.

Damage Output of your team’s Mechs also matters but you need to know their loadouts and heat tolerance to know how often they would fire, unless you are on a premade team, this information is unknown so we will not look at it.

Let’s look at a sample team composition from a match I had.

Damage Example

Now we will total up the Center Torso & Leg values (Armor & Internals) of each side assuming full armor in those sections.

My Team

Locust-1E, 32 Center Torso, 48 both Legs

Raven-3L, 60 Center Torso, 96 both Legs

Raven-4X, 56 Center Torso, 96 both Legs

Enforcer-4R, 88 Center Torso, 144 both Legs

Blackjack-1X, 66 Center Torso, 132 both Legs

Shadow Hawk-2D, 96 Center Torso, 156 both Legs

Mad Dog-Prime, 106 Center Torso, 168 both Legs

Hellbringer-B, 110 Center Torso, 180 both Legs

Timber Wolf-C, 120 Center Torso, 192 both Legs

Battlemaster-1S, 150 Center Torso, 216 both Legs

Stalker-3F[C], 152 Center Torso, 216 both Legs

Dire Wolf-A, 158 Center Torso, 252 both Legs

Total, 1194 Center Torso, 1896 both Legs

This is the minimum values need to kill my team assuming full armor in kill areas. Divide that by 12 players gives 99.5 Center Torso, 158 both Legs each player would have to contribute to kill the enemy team efficiently assuming no damage was splashed around on other sections.

Enemy Team

Ember, 54 Center Torso, 96 both Legs

Raven-3L[C], 60 Center Torso, 96 both Legs

Huginn, 58 Center Torso, 96 both Legs

Nova-B, 80 Center Torso, 144 both Legs

Enforcer-5D[R], 82 Center Torso, 144 both Legs

Hunchback-4H, 86 Center Torso, 144 both Legs

Fang, 96 Center Torso, 168 both Legs

Orion-M, 120 Center Torso, 192 both Legs

Timber Wolf-C, 120 Center Torso, 192 both Legs

Stalker-5M, 140 Center Torso, 216 both Legs

Banshee-3M, 146 Center Torso, 240 both Legs

Boar’s Head, 158 Center Torso, 252 both Legs

Total, 1200 Center Torso, 1980 both Legs

This is the minimum values need to kill the enemy team assuming full armor in kill areas. Divide that by 12 players gives 100 Center Torso, 165 both Legs each player would have to contribute to kill the enemy team efficiently assuming no damage was splashed around on other sections.

Compare these minimum values to those being tossed around by some users. 350, 400, 700, etc. per player, values that are 3 times or more the minimum to kill by CT, 2+ times to kill by legging. This inflation may be to accommodate splash damage and skill but honestly, they are still overvalued. If someone does about 100 damage, they still contributed based on minimum values needed to kill by Center Torso, 160 would be for legs though not many go for that route.

Remember, this does not take into account loadouts. There is no data on what the Mechs were carrying but players who know the Mechs can get a rough idea especially if you are on a team where you know your allies and their weapons. You know a Light Mech will not dish out damage the way an Assault can so those average values will usually be adjusted down for a Medium or Light and up for Heavy and Assault Mechs. Some Mechs like Ravens carry TAG or NARC that could have helped a LRM user get damage, even kills. You can also see the Enforcer I used got less than 500 damage, I know people who would say that sucked. That Enforcer used weapons designed to give strong alphas for its weight and I placed them where they needed to be as seen by the 2 kills.

In the match, you can see the Raven-4X, one of the Timber Wolf-Cs and the Ember did below 100 damage. The 4X can be excused due to being a Light, the Ember was probably a Disconnect or AFK so only the Timber Wolf with less than 100 damage can really be faulted for not putting out enough killing damage. Maybe it cannot though, the Timber might have gotten pinned down in a bad spot, that happens as well, I have even had it happen to me. Everyone else gave out enough and more to different degrees of the minimum needed to kill. What is pathetic is using the chosen damage values some players use, they would discredit 18 or more of the 24 players despite what the math clearly shows.

  • Stat Padding

Yes it is real. There are ways to screw around in this game to make you look more important and skilled than you really are.

Damage Stat Padding

One example is Damage Stat Padding, this is usually done by taking certain Mechs & loadouts such as an Enforcer-5D using LBX plus Lasers, this loadout that I have used will do a significant amount of damage and has a better chance of hitting fast Mechs but has a harder time actually killing an enemy. You can also take a loadout and use it in a particular fashion to make it look like you did a lot of battle damage but some does not actually count. One example, I once watched a Spider with 1 Large Laser find a Disconnected Mech, usually people shoot Discons in kill areas but this Spider took his time shooting up arms and other areas. Why? Because his damage score would be higher getting him more rewards and he could claim to have done more battle damage though a portion was against an unmoving enemy with no pilot. Another example, I once drove a Hunchback into an enemy force and weaved among them shooting various targets, usually Assaults. Spreading so much damage around on big Mechs will get high scores and rewards but is not actually killing them, it is only done to spread chaos and disorganize enemy forces. Here is an actual picture of players on an enemy team encouraging other players to Stat Pad for CB typically called Farming though it also will make the Padders look like better players than they are.

Stat Padding

Win/Loss Stat Padding

Another form of stat manipulation, this is done by bringing certain items that increase the chance of victory and using them correctly. Most obvious example, ECM. It does not matter how many counters are made and mentioned, I have actually done this and countered most of the counters showing they are not that relevant. I ran my first ECM Mech, 3 Kit Foxes that all used the same build with ECM on all 3. Just by positioning myself correctly to cover allies, I saw more team victories than when I ran non-ECM Mechs.

Kill Stat Padding

How to get easy kills, look for Discons at start, flank around and eliminate them, instant KDR manipulation. There seems to be plenty still available.

  • Role Warfare

On a team, there are roles (positions) people work in for the benefit of the team. MWO has been planned to have roles though some are unhappy what they picture as those roles has never come about. Thing is, there are roles and they are used, just some do not acknowledge them or know about them. MWO roles would include Tank, Alpha Striker, DPS, Shot Caller, Recon & Hunter. There may be others but these are the standout ones offhand. I have seen them done in game and done them myself. Here is how they work.

Tank – Usually the bigger Mechs on a team such as some Assaults and Heavies though tanking can be done by other Mechs depending on the situation. You basically go out taking some shots on enemies and moving to allow enemies to damage you a lot until you reach a point where you need to pull back. During this, your allies should be coming out to shoot enemies who should not be shooting those allies because they are shooting you.

Alpha Striker – A Mech build made to deliver a large amount of damage by firing all weapons at once. This can cause serious heat issues that force the Alpha Striker to pull back until cooling off for another shot.

DPS – The ability to rapid fire certain weapons on a constant basis, where the Alpha Striker delivers a large amount of damage all at once, the DPSer does it over a period of time. DPSers in MWO suffer from a serious problem that makes them weaker than DPSers in other games.

Shot Caller – Seen on some teams, this is the guy who calls out targets to be focused on by the team for faster killing.

Recon – The pilot who reports on enemy positions and information such as weapon loadouts, also will drop intel gathering devices such as UAVs.

Hunter – Seeks out key targets for elimination or harassment, also good when the enemy force is down to a small number, able to predict where this small number of enemies will go so they do not elude pursuit.

I have done these roles at times as have others, of them only the Alpha Striker and DPSer will really do significant damage regularly. It is possible for the other roles to cause high damage but not as often.

  • One Shots

I have seen a few of these lately. Right at match start, 1-3 fast players get the jump on someone and manage to insta-kill the target resulting in 0 damage for the insta-killed player. Is that the dead player’s fault that he got jumped so fast? Begs the question if game mechanics need be altered to prevent this as it can lead to NPEs (Negative Player Experiences) that can cause people to quit. Gaming is a business and the company plus good community members should not want One-Shotting or other NPEs. I also saw such One-Shotting in the game Transformers Universe when it was in BETA due to several reasons, it got so bad even high ranked respected players complained about certain game elements causing it. The big problem here is that there is a certain small faction of players that like this concept and do not want it removed even if it harms the greater community or even the game itself.

These are just 4 obvious reasons why a person’s worth should never be measured by the damage output in a video game. Too bad some people refuse to accept that and let this obsession colorize their judgment.

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Eric Garner, Staten Island and the Truth

So as I said recently, there has been something I have been working on for months. That may seem too long until you look at how involved it is.

I am sure by now you are familiar with the incident involving Eric Garner and police on Staten Island that happened about a year ago. I am also sure you have followed what people say are connected stories since then. Thing is, all this media coverage is about a borough, Staten Island, that not many know about and has been wrongfully represented in the media. This media misrepresentation has happened to other areas before, you would think such sources would know better. Unfortunately, there are people who try to push agendas that are so wrapped up in their cause, they will knowingly misrepresent things such as area images to promote their cause just or not.

I have lived in Staten Island for about 40 years and I can say a lot about it including a large portion of media representation is highly inaccurate. This includes the story that has been told that we have rampant racism. Yes, there was some racism here back in the 70s and 80s though nowhere as bad as more notorious places around the country. This is 2015 though and there is much less than there was. One of the obvious ways of seeing this is to understand race and geography. There was a story on Inside City Hall, the local channel NY1’s political show, in the past few years regarding changing populations in Staten Island based on census data from 2010. Used to be that almost all the non-white people resided on the North Shore, basically everything above the Staten Island Expressway. There were and still are white residents there but you could count on finding the non-whites there. The South Shore, everything below the Expressway, was pretty much rock solid white. This new data from the 2010 census showed more non-whites had moved into areas of the South Shore plus areas that used to be largely black were now mainly Latino. You can also see this by going around the Island to different neighborhoods. Then look at the crime statistics, you notice that how much and what types of crime did not change much in the different police precincts. This data clearly proves blacks do not cause crime simply by being black yet none of those with black oriented causes ever talk about it. You have to wonder why.

Consider also other problems in Staten Island that include:

– Having the highest tolls in the country. There are 5 ways on and off the Island, 4 bridges (Verrazano-Narrows to Brooklyn, NY; Bayonne to Bayonne, NJ; Goethals to Elizabeth, NJ; Outerbridge to Perth Amboy, NJ) and 1 ferry to Manhattan. The ferry no longer allows cars in order to carry more people usually going to and from work plus some tourists. That leaves 4 bridges to cross, sometimes to see relatives elsewhere, shopping, vacations, etc. Point is these bridges are all tolled to those entering Staten Island but it is free to leave and they all have the highest tolls in the USA. So residents feel like they have to pay to get home often despite any discount plans thought up. A lot of other places, even those with tolled bridges, tunnels and highways, have free options for travel but not people living on an Island surrounded by water on all sides. This gives the Island one of its nicknames, Prison Island, due to residents feeling trapped here and affects their lives in several ways.

– Environmental problems. There are many throughout the Island not known to those outside it. The Bloomfield area where Gulf oil use to be that needs remediation of the land, potential radiation at the area used by the old Manhattan project, radiation discovered in the federal Great Kills Park the government says it is working on but never provides details about what is going on and keeps extending the date of when it will be finished, lands that were supposed to be protected as natural areas being given up for housing, people using natural lands as dumping areas and possibly more. So far the only real items that have been worked on here include the remediation of the Brookfield area for a park and a recent court date set for someone who was caught recently dumping sewage into a natural preserved wetland.

– Housing & population issues. I once blogged about the horrible housing built and still being built on Staten Island. This construction lead to a population boom that has been pretty large, as of the 2010 census the Island had over 450,000 residents, as of this blog that is estimated to be about 475,000. This does not include illegal residents. Back in the 1980s, when I went to high school, the population was roughly 100,000 fewer people than today. You have an increasing population in a limited geographical area surrounded by water on all side trying to keep a rural atmosphere. I am sure if you looked through the history of other such locations such as nearby Manhattan this also happened. The important issue here is that a limited land area can only fit so many people before you are faced with a clear choice. Either change the new housing as was done in Manhattan or impose a population cap. You cannot just keep on packing in more people into the same rural housing in such a limited land area.

– Transportation. When it comes to modes of transportation, more than any other New York City borough, the Island relies on cars. This sounds strange because when people think of NYC they think of our famous subway and rail lines among other things. The Island once had 3 rail lines, North Shore, South Shore and the South Beach extension but two of these (North Shore and South Beach) were abandoned due to bus competition with lower fares. This left one rail line that still exists today. The South Beach line has been built over though there are a few places where you can find remnants of its rail line along with pictures online of how it used to be. The North Shore line, while abandoned, still has a portion of its infrastructure remaining and there has been long studies on how to reactivate it culminating in a plan to bring a express busway that, in the future, can be turned into a light rail line also. This plan though is stuck on paper having been skipped over for Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) funding recently in favor of other NYC areas. So Staten Island is stuck with relying on its city bus service and cars for transport. This is made rougher because of ongoing stories for years of worsening road conditions especially after winter when melting snow and ice takes its toll on infrastructure. Lots of roads wind up with potholes that may not be filled until summer even including major roadways. A number of these major roadways, unlike in other NYC boroughs, are only 2 lanes wide, one lane in each direction. There are few roads with more than 2 lanes.

These are just 4 major issues offhand, we have others. These issues result in a lot of frustration, annoyance and even anger that can be misunderstood by outsiders, they also never get mentioned when Staten Island is portrayed in view of those on the outside looking in.

Next time, I will follow up with some other detailed information about race on the Island that further proves the image shown to be wrong.

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