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Repost of u/Cpt_Tsundere_Sharks 's post about the unfulfilled martial fantasy
First off, a request to the mods: Can you not delete the post so that people can read what the post was about since it had a lot of content Other than that, u/Cpt_Tsundere_Sharks post:
For a long time now, I have been playing almost exclusively martial characters, very rarely if ever playing full spellcaster classes. Some people would say that this is boring, that I should expand my horizons, do other things, but part of the reason I play so many martials is that the ultimate warrior is my ideal power fantasy. I don't care for the wizard who can bend space and time or the druid who can turn themselves into a dragon or the cleric who has learned to become the very avatar of their god on this mortal plane. These things do not interest me, they are not the representation of the kind of character I would want to become at the height of their power in a fantasy setting. No, my power fantasy is the man who can take on the world through martial prowess alone. To be a character who has become so skilled with his blade, so mighty with the wielding of weapons, that he is considered an army unto himself. A terror that carves its way through the battlefield, bolstering the morale of his allies and crushing the enemies that stand before him with unstoppable force. But, therein lies the problem. This is not possible for martial characters in Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition. Now, let's back up a bit and get some context first. Please bear with me, this is probably going to be a long post. A conversation that I regularly participate in the comments of this subreddit one where I feel martial characters are underpowered in comparison to spellcasting classes. Many would disagree by saying something along the lines of this: "Spellcasters are versatile with low hit points while martial characters are tanky with good single target damage. That's the trade off." The idea is that it is fair that a wizard can cast Fireball to hit multiple targets at once because eventually the Fighter can learn to make 4 attacks in one turn and use all of them to absolutely wail on one guy. AoE damage vs. Single Target damage. And for a while, I agreed with this notion. It's only recently that I've come to realize that even if this is true, it's still unfair. There are situations that can represent a challenge without access to magic that simultaneously can be handwaved with magic. Stealth can be trivialized through Pass Without a Trace or higher level castings of Invisibility. Uncross-able divides can be crossed with Dimension Door or Arcane Gate or even just a simple Misty Step. A person can be convinced to do something with a casting of Suggestion or forced to do something with Dominate Person. These are the things that magic is capable of accomplishing. And this capacity to be useful in a myriad of circumstances is one of the great draws of being able to cast magic. However, it's considered to be a fair trade that martial characters are not good/completely incapable of accomplishing such things simply because they are good at being able to hit things. Not even things, but a singular thing. Single target damage. Only Fighters get more than two attacks per Action, so getting mobbed by a large number of enemies at once is very bad for any martial character that is not a Fighter, and only marginally less bad if you are a Fighter. The problem of course is simply that they aren't capable of hitting them all at once. The martial's current role in a party is that they are supposed to be the ones who deal a large amount of damage to the boss enemy on their turn. The Barbarian uses their Reckless attack to roll 4d20 and try to get a Brutal Critical on the Demogorgon, the Fighter uses their Action Surge to try and hit the Adult Red Dragon 8 times, the Paladin uses all of their highest level spell slots to Divine Smite Acererak for 7d8 Radiant Damage. Lots of damage, but only on the single enemy. I find this to be unfair as a trade off for two primary reasons: It feels bad to be only good at fighting single enemies. All of these martial examples are not likely to be good at skill checks. Good at what they're good at, sure, but most characters will only end up with between 4 and 6 proficiencies unless they're a Rogue or take the Skilled Feat. And in all of these cases, the optimal stat distribution causes them to not be naturally good at other things as well. Barbarians are very multi-ability-dependent, needing high Strength and Constitution but then also needing Dexterity to bump up their AC, each being prioritized in that order. That means the other three mental stats will become worse. Fighters also tend to prioritize Strength and Constitution (if you're playing the classic archetype) and most Paladins do the same with Charisma being a tertiary stat since it is their spellcasting. So with all of them prioritizing Strength and Constitution, there is only a single skill (Athletics) between those two abilities. Even if you play a Dexterity Fighter, you're only getting good at 3 skills. As opposed to a Wizard or a Druid or a Cleric who put their points into their main stat and become decent at 5 skills as a result. Whether martial or spellcaster, all of these classes get 2 proficiencies to start. But by nature spellcasters will be skilled at more things than the martials will be because their main stats are better for more things. So it feels like being a martial makes you only good at fighting single enemies while spellcasters get to be good at fighting multiple enemies, getting over impassable obstacles, and many different kinds of skill checks. Which brings me to my second reason. Spellcasters are actually just as good or better at single target damage than martial characters. The average damage for a failed save on Meteor Swarm is about 50% more than the average damage for 8 successful hits with a greatsword as a Fighter using Action Surge. Meteor Swarm: 20d6(rolls of 3)+20d6(rolls of 4) = 140 8 Greatsword Attacks with 20 Strength: 16d6(rolls of 3 and 4) + 40 = 96 "But that's a 9th level spell vs Action Surge. Of course the 9th level spell is more powerful." Let's compare instead a mid level Wizard vs a mid level Barbarian using the Comprehensive Damage Per Round Calculator. Wizard lvl 12 First round animate object as a 6th lvl spell vs. ac 17 - dmg output 48.3 Second and third round animate object + 2 castings of Cone of Cold - dmg output 78.3*2 Total damage for a lvl 12 wizard in 3 rounds: 204.9 Barbarian lvl 12 Human barbarian, 20 str, PaM, GWM, a +1 glaive vs. ac 17 +5 to hit (10-5 from GWM) First round bonus action rage and 2 reckless attacks 1d10+1(Glaive)+5(str)+3(rage)+10(GWM) - dmg output 36.3 Second and third round glaive attack and bonus action attack with the end. - dmg output 52.1*2 Total damage for a lvl 12 barbarian in 3 rounds: 140.5 As you can see, the Wizard handily outstrips the Barbarian. And we even gave the Barbarian a magic item and feats that time. Spellcasting classes are capable of outputting just as much or more single target damage as a martial class. The argument that is often made after this is that a martial class can continue to output this throughout the course of a day whereas a spellcaster has to use many resources that they can only get back later, but I contest this by saying most people don't have that many encounters per day and that while a martial can sustain this damage over the course of several rounds, most encounters will not last long that long anyways. All the enemies will be dead before a martial can stack up enough hits to match what the spellcaster has already done. Even if we do assume multiple rests and encounters over a day, the Wizard can use Arcane Recovery to get back the 6th level spell slot they just used. So they're still probably just fine for the next encounter. So for those two reasons, I present the case that martials truly are left in the dust by spellcasters in almost every regard. That's the context for this. But this isn't just me crying because I'm a power gamer who wants to be OP. More than just the mathematics of it, I feel that there is a power fantasy is left almost entirely unfulfilled for martial characters. What is it that makes warrior characters in movies and stories stand out, look cool, and feel powerful? What does Captain America do? https://youtu.be/oRwFd1G6_U4?t=42 What does The Punisher do? https://youtu.be/01SYT5MPsHw?t=28 What does The Bride in Kill Bill do? https://youtu.be/a3aFv8IQb4s?t=319 Neo and Trinity do? https://youtu.be/NgAmX8GRwDw?t=57 Aragorn? (the most classic of all fantasy warrior archetypes) https://youtu.be/wSgeEH-Zwbk?t=3 Thor? (yes, even though he uses magic I still argue he's a martial character because of the way that he primarily engages in physical combat) https://youtu.be/-mHaq88BAV4?t=131 Ip Man? https://youtu.be/Kv9ygN2B8WU?t=97 John Wick? https://youtu.be/SamAItb8L58?t=86 Or John Wick? https://youtu.be/0L9SzBANF0w?t=264 Or what about John Wick? https://youtu.be/ElZ9y6l9KhI A common theme with all of these characters is that they can fight many opponents at once and still win. Whether outnumbered by a handful or outnumbered by a hundred, they make a real contest out of something that would and should make instant losers out of anybody else. When they do it by themselves, they're badass. When they do it in the middle of a battlefield, their martial prowess inspires the common soldiers around them. This is all part of the fantasy of being a powerful non-magic fighting character. I put in John Wick three times because the whole draw of his character is that he's so hyper-competent at killing that he can take down entire organizations of enemies by himself. Even in a world of assassins and professional killers, they consider him their Boogeyman. And this character was so popular it spawned a franchise that thusfar has made more than $500 million dollars at the box office. But the part where he has a 1v1 with the bad guy is not what makes us like him. It's arguably the most underwhelming part of the first John Wick movie. Being able to fight many enemies is often cooler than fighting a single skilled enemy. https://youtu.be/WAwl1mprHZI?t=153 Take this clip from the movie Hero as a prime example that shows both ends of the spectrum. In the first half of the scene, two people are fighting their way through a literal army on their own and winning. In the second half of the scene, there is a duel between two swordmasters. And while the duel exhibits great skill, it is not the more impressive half of the scene. To put it another way, the thing that makes you think Broken Sword is skilled is not that he duels the Emperor. Rather, it's the other way around. You believe that the Emperor is skilled because he is capable of fighting Broken Sword, a man who just cut his way through an entire army with the help of only one other person. https://youtu.be/fLxSRdnGucA The pinnacle of a martial character's "cool factor" is not the ability to be able to participate in skilled single combat against someone of equal skill, but to be outnumbered so dramatically that there should be no chance of winning, and yet they can and do anyways. The odds and logic of the situation tell you that it is impossible. But they accomplish the impossible with nothing but the swiftness of their sword. Now, don't get me wrong, one on one fights definitely are cool. But what can take an entire scene to establish that competence can be established in seconds using a battle in which the hero is heavily outnumbered. They are cool in different ways, one being naturally more drawn out than the other, but it's important to have both. If you're only limited to one or the other but not both, that kind of sucks. https://youtu.be/xT66YPk0Q5w?t=190 https://youtu.be/jx9Phl04VSQ?t=905 Back to D&D, it is not possible to be this kind of character as a martial. Firstly, due to the mathematics and action economy of the system, it is always more efficient to put all of your damage onto a single target because it's hard to spread out. Secondly because you are limited in the number of attacks you can make, that puts a hard limit on the number of enemies you can kill per turn. 20th level Fighter with 4 attacks? Barring specific subclass abilities or feats, it's literally impossible to exceed killing that number of enemies. Even with feats, you only max out at 5 attacks (using the bonus action attack from Great Weapon Master) on your turn without using Action Surge. If you are outnumbered 100 to 1, how long do you think a 20th level martial character could last? Say you're a 20th level Fighter against 100 Goblins, no Great Weapon Master feat. Assuming you hit with 100% accuracy and kill every one of them in one shot and use both of your Action Surges, it will take you 23 turns to kill them all. And for each one of your turns, they can also make their turn, surrounding you on all sides and attacking you 8 times a turn in response. For ease of calculation, if you had 18 AC wearing non-magical plate armor, Mob Combat rules (found on DMG page 250) assume you are statistically likely to take 12 damage per turn. 252 damage (using average damage) over 21 turns of keeping you surrounded. If you have enemies that aren't CR 1/4 against a 20th level character, say 100 CR 1/2 Thugs, they could make two attacks each, that turns into 16 times per turn and that turns into 30 damage per turn. 630 damage over 21 turns. If the Fighter had 20 Constitution and maximum health rolls (10 on a d10) at every level, they would have 300 hit points. They would barely survive against the goblins. They would not survive against the thugs. That's not even including the possibility of being attacked from range with shortbows and crossbows and such. Eventually, you will lose. And it won't even really be close. We think these characters should be capable of surviving situations like these, after all at 20th level any Fighter should be a legendary character based on their prowess and skill. But the way the game works, they just aren't capable of surviving. What is the power fantasy of a spellcaster? To be so powerful that they can bend reality to their will? To cast magics that affect the very fabric of existence? Could a 20th level spellcaster survive a 1 v 100? Quite handily I think actually. How about a 1 v 1000? Well, given that Meteor Swarm allows you to make explosions of 40d6 damage in a 40 foot radius in 4 different locations, you could actually hit 900 creatures at once if they were all bunched up enough (each meteor can hit 225 creatures at peak efficiency). Turn that down to a 1 v 100 real quick. Mathematically, it's entirely possible simply because they can deal enough damage at a fast enough rate combined with the myriad of spells they can use for damage mitigation (Shield, Blade Ward, Blink, Stoneskin, Mirror Image, Blur, etc.) Many might argue that this is fair, as it is unrealistic for a single person to be able to fight 100 people at once without magic and win. That could never happen in real life. But then I would counter with this: Aren't we playing Dungeons and Dragons? Is it realistic for someone to be able to pull meteors out of orbit with their mind? Or open up gates to other dimensions because they figured out how to tear holes in reality? Or to have discovered a word that is so powerful, so forbidden, that simply speaking it can cause another person to drop dead on the spot? Or to raise an undead army of skeletons? Why does realism become the limit for a Fighter when the Wizard's entire existence is predicated on breaking the rules of our reality? Almost any spellcaster's power fantasy can come true. If you want to be someone who causes explosions on the battlefield, you can do that. If you want to be someone who turns illusions into reality, you can do that. If you want to be a seer who prophesies the future, you can do that. If you want to take over the world with thousands of full powered spellcasting clones of yourself, you can even do that. You are more limited by your own imagination and creativity than the actual rules of the game. But the simple fantasy of "I want to be able to fight a bunch of guys at once" is out of reach of the martial character, despite the fact that it's supposed to be the primary thing they're good at. To summarize and conclude, I am of the opinion that the most common image of a skilled fantasy warrior is exemplified in their ability to fight a large number of enemies at once or in quick succession, not their ability to handily defeat a single opponent. The biggest design flaw and biggest disappointment for martial characters is their inability to fulfill this fantasy. Their single target damage is mechanically what they are known for, but I think what martial players like me really want more than anything is to be able to fight many enemies at once. I believe one of the ultimate power fantasies for a martial character is to be able to fearlessly charge forward into any number of enemies with full confidence of victory until a suitable challenger approaches. If Dungeons and Dragons is a game of wish fulfillment, the wishes of martial players like me cannot be fulfilled as it is currently designed. https://youtu.be/qLJMDDxt408?t=25 I've been looking at old playtest packets for 5th edition and I found out some interesting things. The 11th level Hunter Ranger feature, Multiattack used to be something that any martial character had a choice to take at some point. Whirlwind Attack was available to be learned by Fighters and Monks, and Volley was on the list of Fighter maneuvers that could be learned. It seems to me that the reason that martial characters are so subpar in comparison now is that they were watered down across the board, mechanics that used to be able to be used by many are currently sequestered into individual subclasses. Now, to be clear, I'm not really looking for a "solution" to this problem. At least not as far as 5th edition is concerned. The issues are too fundamental, too rooted in the core of the system to solve without an egregious amount of homebrewing. But I did want to put this out there as a topic of discussion to see if others in the community find validity in my idea. Is the problem of "linear fighters vs quadratic wizards" just an issue of efficiency, versatility, and mathematics? Or is the true problem that martial characters lack the ability to fulfill what is probably one of the core wishes of people who want to be warriors in fantasy settings? edits: many typos I spotted after the fact -_- Edit 2: There's a lot of common responses I keep seeing pop up here that I want to address here in the main post. "This is a game of resource management, you should just have more encounters per day to balance it out!" First of all, this isn't something that a player can do themselves. This is entirely dependent on a DM and it's much more work for them to do so and be accommodating. They have to balance every encounter. It isn't as simple as just "having more encounters." Someone has to do that work. Second of all, I mentioned this, but at a certain point it just becomes a slog when you're being constantly worn down every day just to give enough time for turtle martials to catch up to rabbit spellcasters. I don't know about you, but even as a martial, I wouldn't have fun doing this all the time. Third of all, it completely ignores the point of my post. I don't care about being able to mathematically catch up to the wizard over the course of a day, I want to feel badass in my own right and I want to be able to do it whenever I want. It doesn't matter that a Wizard can cast Meteor Swarm once per day and I can use Action Surge once/twice per short rest. The point is that I use it and I'm done. And until I get that next short rest, I'm just as weak as a Wizard. Fighters can "recover" more quickly than spellcasters, but in the actual encounter? In the actual fight? They have less resources that they can burn through more quickly than spellcasters. This is the crux of the problem here. Without rests, there is nothing that makes a Fighter better than a Wizard. Anything I can do, he can do better, 🎶 he can do anything better than me. 🎶 It's basically the same thing as saying a Wizard can finish a marathon with their spells but then they'll be really tired when they're done. You can finish the marathon too if you take a few hour long rests along the way. Why can't I just finish the marathon with my own strength? Am I at least faster at sprinting the hundred meter dash? No, the Wizard is faster at that too, but you'll be able to do another hundred meter dash in an hour or so. He still can too, he'll just be marginally slower than you. Do you see the problem with this argument yet? "Martial characters should be getting magic items to make them better and then they'll be as good as spellcasters." But spellcasters don't need magic items. This only supports the argument that martial classes are handicapped in comparison to spellcasters. It's essentially saying that spellcasters can stand on their own but martial classes need a magic item wheelchair to be able to keep up. Do you see the problem here? Why is it too much to ask that martial classes can stand at the same level as spellcasters through just their own class features? "Cleave is a really good tool." And I agree. But last time I asked my DM, he said no. Maybe I'll get to ask him again, but I respect his rulings because he's my friend and I respect him. "It sounds like the 5th edition system is not for you. You should try something else, like Pathfinder 2e!" I would if I could but my group seems happy playing 5th edition. As much as this post is a huge complaint rant, not everything is about me. And I won't DM a Pathfinder game because frankly, I'm not good at DMing. I think other people have less fun when I'm behind the screen and I think I have less fun when I'm behind the screen. I wish it weren't the case, but it seems to be the one I'm stuck with. I just don't have a mind made for DMing.
Please be civil in the comments and follow the rules.
To start with, I should mention that I am a huge N. K. Jemisin fan. I first read The Killing Moon back in 2013, and since then, I have read every book she’s ever published. When The City We Became was announced, I was thrilled. The premise was clever and weird and right up my alley. The idea of a critique of Lovecraft was fascinating. I marked its release date on my calendar, and when my copy arrived, I read it in frantic gulps as I worked from home at the height of quarantine. I say all this because I want you to know how badly I was rooting for this book. I genuinely expected it to be brilliant. I also want to be clear that this is not going to be a complaint about the book’s politics. I’ll admit, parts of it made me uncomfortable. The book’s raw and joyful anger (to borrow an idea from the introduction to Jemisin’s excellent short story collection, How Long ‘Til Black Future Month?) and its near-complete lack of sympathetic white characters was difficult for me to process at first. Difficult enough that I put any attempt to critique the book on hold until I was sure that my own white fragility was not the only reason for my discomfort. But it’s been months now. Eventful months, in which I, like millions of other Americans, have spent a great deal of time thinking about race. And while I can safely say there is still more about this issue that I don’t understand than that I do, I can at least say that I now know myself well enough to say that racial politics are not my issue with this book. I don’t know, maybe I’m wrong. If I’m being an asshole, please let me know. Honestly, I love the idea of turning Lovecraft’s mythology on its head. Both he and Jemisin write of a sometimes invisible but nonetheless ever-present threat marshalling its forces on the edges of our world. For Lovecraft, this threat is a manifestation of the Other, the sum of the foreign and seemingly unknowable human beings who lived outside his experience and who he therefore could not conceive of as anything but terrifying. For Jemisin, the threat is much less abstract, and well within her experience: white supremacy, gentrification, and an unbroken series of attempts to confine to the margins or else outright destroy all versions of humanity outside one narrow band. Lovecraft’s fear, or the version of it that lives on inside billions of people, wasn’t just a private torment, but something that continues to create real danger for marginalized peoples all over the world. And it is more than fair that she ties these ideas to the broader concept of “whiteness.” The whole of American history speaks to the legitimacy of her effort. The events of the summer of 2020 alone would justify it. The vision of whiteness she presents is obviously far outside how most white people, including me, view ourselves—but how a person is seen by others is, alas, as much a part of them as the way they see themselves. Indeed, sometimes the way we’re seen from the outside is more accurate than our own perceptions. Certainly the subject is a reasonable one to explore in fiction. None of this is my problem with The City We Became. In fact, I’m grateful to this book for forcing me to do a lot of hard emotional work I might otherwise have put off indefinitely. Reading it almost certainly made me a better person. My problem with this book is the way that, by the end, it gets hopelessly tangled in its own metaphor. * All right, from here on out, it’s all spoilers, all the time. Partway through the book, it’s revealed that the big bad, the Woman in White, is not just trying to destroy New York City because she’s an extradimensional horror and that’s what extradimensional horrors do. White, as she’s often called, is working to stop New York from coming alive because every time a city is born, it destroys countless other populated worlds and, with them, trillions upon trillions of people. This reveal intrigued me. I thought, wow, okay, Jemisin is really attacking Lovecraft’s xenophobia from all sides. Lovecraft’s monsters are ineffable. Their motives can’t be known, and so our understanding of why they threaten us—why they tear apart our minds, our bodies, and our worlds—can only ever be summed up as, “They do this because this is what they do.” If those monsters represent the parts of humanity Lovecraft was so terrified of, that’s a problem. He couldn’t comprehend that the people he hated were people with accompanying human motivations, and so the horrors he manifested them as in his writing have no motivation at all. Jemisin, I thought, is turning that on its head. Not only does the monster have a motivation, it’s an understandable one. She’s not killing million New Yorkers for fun. She’s not using New York as a blood sacrifice or trying to steal humankind’s precious bodily fluids. She doesn’t even want to create monster Lebensraum or something. She wants to save an uncountable number of living beings, and views the cities of Earth as a reasonable trade. There’s a great scene sometime later where some of the heroes get a glimpse at one of these other worlds. It’s incredibly alien, even grotesque, and the characters have to stop and marvel at the idea that these beings are people, different from but equal in every way to themselves. If New York City is born, those people die. This is such a great conflict, I thought. The characters’ horizons are expanding, just like mine are. Somehow they’re going to have to figure out a way to save both themselves and all these innocent people. Jemisin’s really going to dig down and explore the concept of “otherness” and how we decide whose lives matter and whose don’t and— And then the characters collectively decide, yeah, fuck that. New York City comes alive. All those other worlds presumably burn. The Woman is White remains a flat, gleefully evil villain. Her superiors are presented as cruel taskmasters, with no explanation given for their cruelty (other than them being just big bad scaries, I guess). And that’s the book. Of course, the problem with presenting the Woman in White and her ilk as people with reasonable motivations is that they are also presented as living embodiments of white supremacy. The Woman in White’s M.O. is to use unjust American power structures to create roadblocks for our heroes. Mainly, she gives various white characters supernatural encouragement to act on their preexisting racist, sadistic tendencies: a Karen calls the cops on the Black man who serves as the avatar of Manhattan, a group of neo-Nazis invade an art gallery directed by the Lenape avatar of the Bronx, and the police . . . well, the police act pretty much exactly how you’d expect. She also runs a sinister operation called the Better New York Foundation, which does much the same, but through more financial and political means. So if you humanize her, you also humanize all of that. And that’s obviously not okay. So then why introduce this cosmic trolley problem? If the Woman in White is a metaphor for white supremacy and gentrification, doesn’t that mean, in the context of that metaphor, that white supremacists and gentrifiers are also engaged in some kind of legitimate fight for the survival of white people, or whatever? (They’re not.) Or, okay. If I was on a mission to save trillions of innocent people, and all I had to do to accomplish it would be to use local power structures, however evil, against the people trying to stop me . . . I could justify that in my head. I think most people could justify a lot of things in that situation. But this is really not a moment in history, if such a moment could ever exist, to be using the lives of Black, brown, and indigenous Americans to make an abstract point about the flexibility of morality in extreme situations. And, anyway, I really don’t think that’s what Jemisin is trying to do. Was she trying to make a point about the right of marginalized peoples to fight for their own survival, whatever the cost? If the Woman in White can sacrifice New York to save those anonymous trillions, then I guess the protagonists can sacrifice the anonymous trillions to save New York. But she never really argues for that explicitly. And that argument really throws a wrench into the whole idea that no matter how unlike you a person is, they still deserve to have their personhood acknowledged. Were those alien beings truly not as valuable as humans after all? Or does their value just not matter? Certainly City’s protagonists barely blink at sacrificing them. Was the Woman in White just lying? If so, I’m sorry, but that’s just boring. That means that this is going to be a whole trilogy about unquestionably good people fighting against unquestionably bad pseudo-people, and that makes me kind of uncomfortable. Jemisin is an excellent writer. She didn’t win all those Hugo Awards for nothing. And I am more than willing to give her the time and space to expand on the ideas she’s introduced, and to show me that things are more complicated than they appear. I will buy the next book in the trilogy, and more than likely the one after that. But in the meantime, this book confuses me. It’s a strange mix of vibrant, beautiful prose and awesome ideas with repetitive scenes of the protagonists evading White’s machinations and a convoluted thematic core. If I’m missing something, please, dear God, tell me.
Hey all, I've been researching coins since 2017 and have gone through 100s of them in the last 3 years. I got introduced to blockchain via Bitcoin of course, analyzed Ethereum thereafter and from that moment I have a keen interest in smart contact platforms. I’m passionate about Ethereum but I find Zilliqa to have a better risk-reward ratio. Especially because Zilliqa has found an elegant balance between being secure, decentralized and scalable in my opinion.
Below I post my analysis of why from all the coins I went through I’m most bullish on Zilliqa (yes I went through Tezos, EOS, NEO, VeChain, Harmony, Algorand, Cardano etc.). Note that this is not investment advice and although it's a thorough analysis there is obviously some bias involved. Looking forward to what you all think!
Fun fact: the name Zilliqa is a play on ‘silica’ silicon dioxide which means “Silicon for the high-throughput consensus computer.”
This post is divided into (i) Technology, (ii) Business & Partnerships, and (iii) Marketing & Community. I’ve tried to make the technology part readable for a broad audience. If you’ve ever tried understanding the inner workings of Bitcoin and Ethereum you should be able to grasp most parts. Otherwise, just skim through and once you are zoning out head to the next part.
Technology and some more:
The technology is one of the main reasons why I’m so bullish on Zilliqa. First thing you see on their website is: “Zilliqa is a high-performance, high-security blockchain platform for enterprises and next-generation applications.” These are some bold statements.
Before we deep dive into the technology let’s take a step back in time first as they have quite the history. The initial research paper from which Zilliqa originated dates back to August 2016: Elastico: A Secure Sharding Protocol For Open Blockchains where Loi Luu (Kyber Network) is one of the co-authors. Other ideas that led to the development of what Zilliqa has become today are: Bitcoin-NG, collective signing CoSi, ByzCoin and Omniledger.
The technical white paper was made public in August 2017 and since then they have achieved everything stated in the white paper and also created their own open source intermediate level smart contract language called Scilla (functional programming language similar to OCaml) too.
Mainnet is live since the end of January 2019 with daily transaction rates growing continuously. About a week ago mainnet reached 5 million transactions, 500.000+ addresses in total along with 2400 nodes keeping the network decentralized and secure. Circulating supply is nearing 11 billion and currently only mining rewards are left. The maximum supply is 21 billion with annual inflation being 7.13% currently and will only decrease with time.
Zilliqa realized early on that the usage of public cryptocurrencies and smart contracts were increasing but decentralized, secure, and scalable alternatives were lacking in the crypto space. They proposed to apply sharding onto a public smart contract blockchain where the transaction rate increases almost linear with the increase in the amount of nodes. More nodes = higher transaction throughput and increased decentralization. Sharding comes in many forms and Zilliqa uses network-, transaction- and computational sharding. Network sharding opens up the possibility of using transaction- and computational sharding on top. Zilliqa does not use state sharding for now. We’ll come back to this later.
Before we continue dissecting how Zilliqa achieves such from a technological standpoint it’s good to keep in mind that a blockchain being decentralised and secure and scalable is still one of the main hurdles in allowing widespread usage of decentralised networks. In my opinion this needs to be solved first before blockchains can get to the point where they can create and add large scale value. So I invite you to read the next section to grasp the underlying fundamentals. Because after all these premises need to be true otherwise there isn’t a fundamental case to be bullish on Zilliqa, right?
Down the rabbit hole
How have they achieved this? Let’s define the basics first: key players on Zilliqa are the users and the miners. A user is anybody who uses the blockchain to transfer funds or run smart contracts. Miners are the (shard) nodes in the network who run the consensus protocol and get rewarded for their service in Zillings (ZIL). The mining network is divided into several smaller networks called shards, which is also referred to as ‘network sharding’. Miners subsequently are randomly assigned to a shard by another set of miners called DS (Directory Service) nodes. The regular shards process transactions and the outputs of these shards are eventually combined by the DS shard as they reach consensus on the final state. More on how these DS shards reach consensus (via pBFT) will be explained later on.
The Zilliqa network produces two types of blocks: DS blocks and Tx blocks. One DS Block consists of 100 Tx Blocks. And as previously mentioned there are two types of nodes concerned with reaching consensus: shard nodes and DS nodes. Becoming a shard node or DS node is being defined by the result of a PoW cycle (Ethash) at the beginning of the DS Block. All candidate mining nodes compete with each other and run the PoW (Proof-of-Work) cycle for 60 seconds and the submissions achieving the highest difficulty will be allowed on the network. And to put it in perspective: the average difficulty for one DS node is ~ 2 Th/s equaling 2.000.000 Mh/s or 55 thousand+ GeForce GTX 1070 / 8 GB GPUs at 35.4 Mh/s. Each DS Block 10 new DS nodes are allowed. And a shard node needs to provide around 8.53 GH/s currently (around 240 GTX 1070s). Dual mining ETH/ETC and ZIL is possible and can be done via mining software such as Phoenix and Claymore. There are pools and if you have large amounts of hashing power (Ethash) available you could mine solo.
The PoW cycle of 60 seconds is a peak performance and acts as an entry ticket to the network. The entry ticket is called a sybil resistance mechanism and makes it incredibly hard for adversaries to spawn lots of identities and manipulate the network with these identities. And after every 100 Tx Blocks which corresponds to roughly 1,5 hour this PoW process repeats. In between these 1,5 hour, no PoW needs to be done meaning Zilliqa’s energy consumption to keep the network secure is low. For more detailed information on how mining works click here. Okay, hats off to you. You have made it this far. Before we go any deeper down the rabbit hole we first must understand why Zilliqa goes through all of the above technicalities and understand a bit more what a blockchain on a more fundamental level is. Because the core of Zilliqa’s consensus protocol relies on the usage of pBFT (practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance) we need to know more about state machines and their function. Navigate to Viewblock, a Zilliqa block explorer, and just come back to this article. We will use this site to navigate through a few concepts.
We have established that Zilliqa is a public and distributed blockchain. Meaning that everyone with an internet connection can send ZILs, trigger smart contracts, etc. and there is no central authority who fully controls the network. Zilliqa and other public and distributed blockchains (like Bitcoin and Ethereum) can also be defined as state machines.
Taking the liberty of paraphrasing examples and definitions given by Samuel Brooks’ medium article, he describes the definition of a blockchain (like Zilliqa) as: “A peer-to-peer, append-only datastore that uses consensus to synchronize cryptographically-secure data”.
Next, he states that: "blockchains are fundamentally systems for managing valid state transitions”. For some more context, I recommend reading the whole medium article to get a better grasp of the definitions and understanding of state machines. Nevertheless, let’s try to simplify and compile it into a single paragraph. Take traffic lights as an example: all its states (red, amber, and green) are predefined, all possible outcomes are known and it doesn’t matter if you encounter the traffic light today or tomorrow. It will still behave the same. Managing the states of a traffic light can be done by triggering a sensor on the road or pushing a button resulting in one traffic lights’ state going from green to red (via amber) and another light from red to green.
With public blockchains like Zilliqa, this isn’t so straightforward and simple. It started with block #1 almost 1,5 years ago and every 45 seconds or so a new block linked to the previous block is being added. Resulting in a chain of blocks with transactions in it that everyone can verify from block #1 to the current #647.000+ block. The state is ever changing and the states it can find itself in are infinite. And while the traffic light might work together in tandem with various other traffic lights, it’s rather insignificant comparing it to a public blockchain. Because Zilliqa consists of 2400 nodes who need to work together to achieve consensus on what the latest valid state is while some of these nodes may have latency or broadcast issues, drop offline or are deliberately trying to attack the network, etc.
Now go back to the Viewblock page take a look at the amount of transaction, addresses, block and DS height and then hit refresh. Obviously as expected you see new incremented values on one or all parameters. And how did the Zilliqa blockchain manage to transition from a previous valid state to the latest valid state? By using pBFT to reach consensus on the latest valid state.
After having obtained the entry ticket, miners execute pBFT to reach consensus on the ever-changing state of the blockchain. pBFT requires a series of network communication between nodes, and as such there is no GPU involved (but CPU). Resulting in the total energy consumed to keep the blockchain secure, decentralized and scalable being low.
pBFT stands for practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance and is an optimization on the Byzantine Fault Tolerant algorithm. To quote Blockonomi: “In the context of distributed systems, Byzantine Fault Tolerance is the ability of a distributed computer network to function as desired and correctly reach a sufficient consensus despite malicious components (nodes) of the system failing or propagating incorrect information to other peers.” Zilliqa is such a distributed computer network and depends on the honesty of the nodes (shard and DS) to reach consensus and to continuously update the state with the latest block. If pBFT is a new term for you I can highly recommend the Blockonomi article.
The idea of pBFT was introduced in 1999 - one of the authors even won a Turing award for it - and it is well researched and applied in various blockchains and distributed systems nowadays. If you want more advanced information than the Blockonomi link provides click here. And if you’re in between Blockonomi and the University of Singapore read the Zilliqa Design Story Part 2 dating from October 2017. Quoting from the Zilliqa tech whitepaper: “pBFT relies upon a correct leader (which is randomly selected) to begin each phase and proceed when the sufficient majority exists. In case the leader is byzantine it can stall the entire consensus protocol. To address this challenge, pBFT offers a view change protocol to replace the byzantine leader with another one.”
pBFT can tolerate ⅓ of the nodes being dishonest (offline counts as Byzantine = dishonest) and the consensus protocol will function without stalling or hiccups. Once there are more than ⅓ of dishonest nodes but no more than ⅔ the network will be stalled and a view change will be triggered to elect a new DS leader. Only when more than ⅔ of the nodes are dishonest (66%) double-spend attacks become possible.
If the network stalls no transactions can be processed and one has to wait until a new honest leader has been elected. When the mainnet was just launched and in its early phases, view changes happened regularly. As of today the last stalling of the network - and view change being triggered - was at the end of October 2019.
Another benefit of using pBFT for consensus besides low energy is the immediate finality it provides. Once your transaction is included in a block and the block is added to the chain it’s done. Lastly, take a look at this article where three types of finality are being defined: probabilistic, absolute and economic finality. Zilliqa falls under the absolute finality (just like Tendermint for example). Although lengthy already we skipped through some of the inner workings from Zilliqa’s consensus: read the Zilliqa Design Story Part 3 and you will be close to having a complete picture on it. Enough about PoW, sybil resistance mechanism, pBFT, etc. Another thing we haven’t looked at yet is the amount of decentralization.
Currently, there are four shards, each one of them consisting of 600 nodes. 1 shard with 600 so-called DS nodes (Directory Service - they need to achieve a higher difficulty than shard nodes) and 1800 shard nodes of which 250 are shard guards (centralized nodes controlled by the team). The amount of shard guards has been steadily declining from 1200 in January 2019 to 250 as of May 2020. On the Viewblock statistics, you can see that many of the nodes are being located in the US but those are only the (CPU parts of the) shard nodes who perform pBFT. There is no data from where the PoW sources are coming. And when the Zilliqa blockchain starts reaching its transaction capacity limit, a network upgrade needs to be executed to lift the current cap of maximum 2400 nodes to allow more nodes and formation of more shards which will allow to network to keep on scaling according to demand. Besides shard nodes there are also seed nodes. The main role of seed nodes is to serve as direct access points (for end-users and clients) to the core Zilliqa network that validates transactions. Seed nodes consolidate transaction requests and forward these to the lookup nodes (another type of nodes) for distribution to the shards in the network. Seed nodes also maintain the entire transaction history and the global state of the blockchain which is needed to provide services such as block explorers. Seed nodes in the Zilliqa network are comparable to Infura on Ethereum.
The seed nodes were first only operated by Zilliqa themselves, exchanges and Viewblock. Operators of seed nodes like exchanges had no incentive to open them for the greater public. They were centralised at first. Decentralisation at the seed nodes level has been steadily rolled out since March 2020 ( Zilliqa Improvement Proposal 3 ). Currently the amount of seed nodes is being increased, they are public-facing and at the same time PoS is applied to incentivize seed node operators and make it possible for ZIL holders to stake and earn passive yields. Important distinction: seed nodes are not involved with consensus! That is still PoW as entry ticket and pBFT for the actual consensus.
5% of the block rewards are being assigned to seed nodes (from the beginning in 2019) and those are being used to pay out ZIL stakers. The 5% block rewards with an annual yield of 10.03% translate to roughly 610 MM ZILs in total that can be staked. Exchanges use the custodial variant of staking and wallets like Moonlet will use the non-custodial version (starting in Q3 2020). Staking is being done by sending ZILs to a smart contract created by Zilliqa and audited by Quantstamp.
With a high amount of DS; shard nodes and seed nodes becoming more decentralized too, Zilliqa qualifies for the label of decentralized in my opinion.
Generalized: programming languages can be divided into being ‘object-oriented’ or ‘functional’. Here is an ELI5 given by software development academy: * “all programs have two basic components, data – what the program knows – and behavior – what the program can do with that data. So object-oriented programming states that combining data and related behaviors in one place, is called “object”, which makes it easier to understand how a particular program works. On the other hand, functional programming argues that data and behavior are different things and should be separated to ensure their clarity.” *
Scilla is on the functional side and shares similarities with OCaml: OCaml is a general-purpose programming language with an emphasis on expressiveness and safety. It has an advanced type system that helps catch your mistakes without getting in your way. It's used in environments where a single mistake can cost millions and speed matters, is supported by an active community, and has a rich set of libraries and development tools. For all its power, OCaml is also pretty simple, which is one reason it's often used as a teaching language.
Scilla is blockchain agnostic, can be implemented onto other blockchains as well, is recognized by academics and won a so-called Distinguished Artifact Award award at the end of last year.
One of the reasons why the Zilliqa team decided to create their own programming language focused on preventing smart contract vulnerabilities is that adding logic on a blockchain, programming, means that you cannot afford to make mistakes. Otherwise, it could cost you. It’s all great and fun blockchains being immutable but updating your code because you found a bug isn’t the same as with a regular web application for example. And with smart contracts, it inherently involves cryptocurrencies in some form thus value.
Another difference with programming languages on a blockchain is gas. Every transaction you do on a smart contract platform like Zilliqa or Ethereum costs gas. With gas you basically pay for computational costs. Sending a ZIL from address A to address B costs 0.001 ZIL currently. Smart contracts are more complex, often involve various functions and require more gas (if gas is a new concept click here ).
So with Scilla, similar to Solidity, you need to make sure that “every function in your smart contract will run as expected without hitting gas limits. An improper resource analysis may lead to situations where funds may get stuck simply because a part of the smart contract code cannot be executed due to gas limits. Such constraints are not present in traditional software systems”.Scilla design story part 1
Some examples of smart contract issues you’d want to avoid are: leaking funds, ‘unexpected changes to critical state variables’ (example: someone other than you setting his or her address as the owner of the smart contract after creation) or simply killing a contract.
Scilla also allows for formal verification. Wikipedia to the rescue: In the context of hardware and software systems, formal verification is the act of proving or disproving the correctness of intended algorithms underlying a system with respect to a certain formal specification or property, using formal methods of mathematics.
Formal verification can be helpful in proving the correctness of systems such as: cryptographic protocols, combinational circuits, digital circuits with internal memory, and software expressed as source code.
“Scilla is being developed hand-in-hand with formalization of its semantics and its embedding into the Coq proof assistant — a state-of-the art tool for mechanized proofs about properties of programs.”
Simply put, with Scilla and accompanying tooling developers can be mathematically sure and proof that the smart contract they’ve written does what he or she intends it to do.
Smart contract on a sharded environment and state sharding
There is one more topic I’d like to touch on: smart contract execution in a sharded environment (and what is the effect of state sharding). This is a complex topic. I’m not able to explain it any easier than what is posted here. But I will try to compress the post into something easy to digest.
Earlier on we have established that Zilliqa can process transactions in parallel due to network sharding. This is where the linear scalability comes from. We can define simple transactions: a transaction from address A to B (Category 1), a transaction where a user interacts with one smart contract (Category 2) and the most complex ones where triggering a transaction results in multiple smart contracts being involved (Category 3). The shards are able to process transactions on their own without interference of the other shards. With Category 1 transactions that is doable, with Category 2 transactions sometimes if that address is in the same shard as the smart contract but with Category 3 you definitely need communication between the shards. Solving that requires to make a set of communication rules the protocol needs to follow in order to process all transactions in a generalised fashion.
There is no strict defined roadmap but here are topics being worked on. And via the Zilliqa website there is also more information on the projects they are working on.
Business & Partnerships
It’s not only technology in which Zilliqa seems to be excelling as their ecosystem has been expanding and starting to grow rapidly. The project is on a mission to provide OpenFinance (OpFi) to the world and Singapore is the right place to be due to its progressive regulations and futuristic thinking. Singapore has taken a proactive approach towards cryptocurrencies by introducing the Payment Services Act 2019 (PS Act). Among other things, the PS Act will regulate intermediaries dealing with certain cryptocurrencies, with a particular focus on consumer protection and anti-money laundering. It will also provide a stable regulatory licensing and operating framework for cryptocurrency entities, effectively covering all crypto businesses and exchanges based in Singapore. According to PWC 82% of the surveyed executives in Singapore reported blockchain initiatives underway and 13% of them have already brought the initiatives live to the market. There is also an increasing list of organizations that are starting to provide digital payment services. Moreover, Singaporean blockchain developers Building Cities Beyond has recently created an innovation $15 million grant to encourage development on its ecosystem. This all suggests that Singapore tries to position itself as (one of) the leading blockchain hubs in the world.
Zilliqa seems to already take advantage of this and recently helped launch Hg Exchange on their platform, together with financial institutions PhillipCapital, PrimePartners and Fundnel. Hg Exchange, which is now approved by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), uses smart contracts to represent digital assets. Through Hg Exchange financial institutions worldwide can use Zilliqa's safe-by-design smart contracts to enable the trading of private equities. For example, think of companies such as Grab, Airbnb, SpaceX that are not available for public trading right now. Hg Exchange will allow investors to buy shares of private companies & unicorns and capture their value before an IPO. Anquan, the main company behind Zilliqa, has also recently announced that they became a partner and shareholder in TEN31 Bank, which is a fully regulated bank allowing for tokenization of assets and is aiming to bridge the gap between conventional banking and the blockchain world. If STOs, the tokenization of assets, and equity trading will continue to increase, then Zilliqa’s public blockchain would be the ideal candidate due to its strategic positioning, partnerships, regulatory compliance and the technology that is being built on top of it.
What is also very encouraging is their focus on banking the un(der)banked. They are launching a stablecoin basket starting with XSGD. As many of you know, stablecoins are currently mostly used for trading. However, Zilliqa is actively trying to broaden the use case of stablecoins. I recommend everybody to read this text that Amrit Kumar wrote (one of the co-founders). These stablecoins will be integrated in the traditional markets and bridge the gap between the crypto world and the traditional world. This could potentially revolutionize and legitimise the crypto space if retailers and companies will for example start to use stablecoins for payments or remittances, instead of it solely being used for trading.
Zilliqa also released their DeFi strategic roadmap (dating November 2019) which seems to be aligning well with their OpFi strategy. A non-custodial DEX is coming to Zilliqa made by Switcheo which allows cross-chain trading (atomic swaps) between ETH, EOS and ZIL based tokens. They also signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a (soon to be announced) USD stablecoin. And as Zilliqa is all about regulations and being compliant, I’m speculating on it to be a regulated USD stablecoin. Furthermore, XSGD is already created and visible on block explorer and XIDR (Indonesian Stablecoin) is also coming soon via StraitsX. Here also an overview of the Tech Stack for Financial Applications from September 2019. Further quoting Amrit Kumar on this:
There are two basic building blocks in DeFi/OpFi though: 1) stablecoins as you need a non-volatile currency to get access to this market and 2) a dex to be able to trade all these financial assets. The rest are built on top of these blocks.
So far, together with our partners and community, we have worked on developing these building blocks with XSGD as a stablecoin. We are working on bringing a USD-backed stablecoin as well. We will soon have a decentralised exchange developed by Switcheo. And with HGX going live, we are also venturing into the tokenization space. More to come in the future.”
Additionally, they also have this ZILHive initiative that injects capital into projects. There have been already 6 waves of various teams working on infrastructure, innovation and research, and they are not from ASEAN or Singapore only but global: see Grantees breakdown by country. Over 60 project teams from over 20 countries have contributed to Zilliqa's ecosystem. This includes individuals and teams developing wallets, explorers, developer toolkits, smart contract testing frameworks, dapps, etc. As some of you may know, Unstoppable Domains (UD) blew up when they launched on Zilliqa. UD aims to replace cryptocurrency addresses with a human-readable name and allows for uncensorable websites. Zilliqa will probably be the only one able to handle all these transactions onchain due to ability to scale and its resulting low fees which is why the UD team launched this on Zilliqa in the first place. Furthermore, Zilliqa also has a strong emphasis on security, compliance, and privacy, which is why they partnered with companies like Elliptic, ChainSecurity (part of PwC Switzerland), and Incognito. Their sister company Aqilliz (Zilliqa spelled backwards) focuses on revolutionizing the digital advertising space and is doing interesting things like using Zilliqa to track outdoor digital ads with companies like Foodpanda.
Zilliqa is listed on nearly all major exchanges, having several different fiat-gateways and recently have been added to Binance’s margin trading and futures trading with really good volume. They also have a very impressive team with good credentials and experience. They don't just have “tech people”. They have a mix of tech people, business people, marketeers, scientists, and more. Naturally, it's good to have a mix of people with different skill sets if you work in the crypto space.
Marketing & Community
Zilliqa has a very strong community. If you just follow their Twitter their engagement is much higher for a coin that has approximately 80k followers. They also have been ‘coin of the day’ by LunarCrush many times. LunarCrush tracks real-time cryptocurrency value and social data. According to their data, it seems Zilliqa has a more fundamental and deeper understanding of marketing and community engagement than almost all other coins. While almost all coins have been a bit frozen in the last months, Zilliqa seems to be on its own bull run. It was somewhere in the 100s a few months ago and is currently ranked #46 on CoinGecko. Their official Telegram also has over 20k people and is very active, and their community channel which is over 7k now is more active and larger than many other official channels. Their local communities also seem to be growing.
Moreover, their community started ‘Zillacracy’ together with the Zilliqa core team ( see www.zillacracy.com ). It’s a community-run initiative where people from all over the world are now helping with marketing and development on Zilliqa. Since its launch in February 2020 they have been doing a lot and will also run their own non-custodial seed node for staking. This seed node will also allow them to start generating revenue for them to become a self sustaining entity that could potentially scale up to become a decentralized company working in parallel with the Zilliqa core team. Comparing it to all the other smart contract platforms (e.g. Cardano, EOS, Tezos etc.) they don't seem to have started a similar initiative (correct me if I’m wrong though). This suggests in my opinion that these other smart contract platforms do not fully understand how to utilize the ‘power of the community’. This is something you cannot ‘buy with money’ and gives many projects in the space a disadvantage.
Zilliqa also released two social products called SocialPay and Zeeves. SocialPay allows users to earn ZILs while tweeting with a specific hashtag. They have recently used it in partnership with the Singapore Red Cross for a marketing campaign after their initial pilot program. It seems like a very valuable social product with a good use case. I can see a lot of traditional companies entering the space through this product, which they seem to suggest will happen. Tokenizing hashtags with smart contracts to get network effect is a very smart and innovative idea.
Regarding Zeeves, this is a tipping bot for Telegram. They already have 1000s of signups and they plan to keep upgrading it for more and more people to use it (e.g. they recently have added a quiz features). They also use it during AMAs to reward people in real-time. It’s a very smart approach to grow their communities and get familiar with ZIL. I can see this becoming very big on Telegram. This tool suggests, again, that the Zilliqa team has a deeper understanding of what the crypto space and community needs and is good at finding the right innovative tools to grow and scale.
To be honest, I haven’t covered everything (i’m also reaching the character limited haha). So many updates happening lately that it's hard to keep up, such as the International Monetary Fund mentioning Zilliqa in their report, custodial and non-custodial Staking, Binance Margin, Futures, Widget, entering the Indian market, and more. The Head of Marketing Colin Miles has also released this as an overview of what is coming next. And last but not least, Vitalik Buterin has been mentioning Zilliqa lately acknowledging Zilliqa and mentioning that both projects have a lot of room to grow. There is much more info of course and a good part of it has been served to you on a silver platter. I invite you to continue researching by yourself :-) And if you have any comments or questions please post here!
In Final Fantasy XIV, the ability to obtain the highest level sellable body piece, the Ornate Neo-Ishgardian Gear, is directly tied to the ability to complete Wondrous Tails, a weekly log where players attempt to complete nine out of a set of twelve challenges. Each challenge results in a "stamp" being placed on a 4x4 grid, with increased rewards being offered for each time the player creates a complete horizontal, vertical, or diagional line with four stamps. Ornate Neo-Ishgardian Gear is offered as an option when players connect three lines, the maximum line total resulting from nine stamps on the grid. There have been many writings discussing Wondrous Tails probabilities. This writing advanced upon those before it by revisiting the probability of obtaining three lines simultaneously but then follows by looking into the opportunity costs of doing so, the price of the resulting Ornate Neo-Ishgardian Gear, and the benefits offered by its sale and consumption.
Table of Contents
Probability of Success
Probability of Success
Defining the liklihood of lining up three rows in Wondrous Tails is multi-step process. There are nine "stamps" which are awarded and subsequently placed on a 4x4 grid. The liklihood of putting a stamp in the correct place requires an examination into the total number of obtainable combinations as well as the total number of winning combinations. It is easier to explain the process by highlighting what Wondrous Tails is not. We will contrast Wondrous Tails with another Final Fantasy XIV staple, the Jumbo Cactpot. The cactpot requires the player to select four numbers, each one being 0-9, as part of a lottery announced every Saturday. Because there are ten possible numbers for each selection, and four numbers to choose, the chance of winning the cacpot can be expressed as: 1 / n^k or 1 / 10^4 = .0001 Given that you are allowed to purchase three cactpot tickets per week, your odds are actually: 3 / 10000 or .0003 In the case of the cactpot, the values are independent; they can repeat. If you choose a nine as your first number, you are not prohibited from choosing nine as your second number (as opposed to many real-life lotteries that only allow a number to be chosen once). Likewise, if the winning numbers of this week’s cactpot are “4321”, there is nothing prohibiting next week’s numbers from being “4321” as well, though the chances of the winning numbers being the same two weeks in a row are diminutively small. 1 / 10000^2 or 1/ 100000000 All of this is to say that the variables are able to repeat. In the case of Wondrous Tails, they cannot. The variables in Wondrous Tails (or WT) are dependent. On a 4x4 grid, if one space is occupied by a token, then another space cannot simultaneously be occupied by another token. Using 1 / n^k is no longer applicable. Using diminishing numbers such as (1 / n^k) * (1 / (n-1)^k) * (1 / (n-2)^k) … to model a space removed after each stamp would also be incomplete because it fails to account for the fact that there are twelve spaces on the board but only nine stamps. The solution is found in combinatorics, specifically the solution is found as a k-combination which, itself, is equal to the binomial coefficient. The formula for a k-combination is:
C(n,k) = n! / k!(n-k)
where there are k distinct objects and n samples. Plugging the numbers for WT in, we are given:
There are 11,440 total stamp arrangements in WT. As with the cactpot, there are multiple opportunities for success with WT. Though you only receive one grid per week, the only requirement is that three rows are made; their orientation, position, or shape is irrelevant. A winning shape on a 4x4 grid can be rotated 90, 180, and 270 degrees as well as mirrored to produce multiple placements of the same shape.. If we examine all of the ways to create three 4-point lines with nine points on a 4x4 grid, we are left with 24 solutions. 3 line wins in Wondrous Tails source Because we have 24 chances for success, our odds are then: 24 / 11440 ≈ 0.21% The pressing question now is, "is it even worth it?"
The first value to consider in this question is the time needed to complete a series of WT. Individual times will differ, but I will use my own for purposes of demonstration. I look for one box that I can unsync repeatedly with second chances (if you run your dailies and/or have newer people in your FC that you help, you should have a problem with too many second chance points in any given week). On any given book, the top row is reserved for Main Scenario dungeons of various levels. This leaves 4x3 slots for various trails, raids, Deep Dungeons, etc. to populate. I will not go into calculating averages for this population, but I can usually guarantee an ARR extreme dungeon that I can unsync quickly. Going for Garuda, King Moggle Mog, or Ramuh are in the 1:30 range for me (and you could surely optimize that number down more). On the worst end, there may be no trials and I end up running Sastasha at 4:45 (this is rare though). I’ll stick with my 90-second number for now. We now have the assumption that I will run WT nine times at 90 seconds per run. Not counting acquisition, turn in, and duty selection, I spend 810 seconds running WT content (or 13.5 minutes). Given that I have a 0.21% chance of achieving three rows on any given week, I will, on average, take 100 / .21 ≈ 476.19 weeks to reach my goal and I will spend 13.5 * 479.19 = 6,428.57 minutes doing so.
These numbers are nice to have, but they still don’t answer the question “is it even worth it?” Provided you’re on FFXIV, and you have 13.5 minutes each week, what’s to say you shouldn’t? In order to find that number, the opportunity cost of pursing WT must be determined. The opportunity cost of any activity is the sum of what other activities are forgone by making that choice. If a person has a dollar to spend on a candy bar or soda, if they choose the soda then the candy bar is their opportunity cost (if they're required to spend that dollar). For the purposes of this evaluation, we’ll ignore estimating intagibles, sunk costs, etc. To determine one’s own opportunity cost, evaluate how much gil could be made on other activities in the same time. For analysis purposes, I will once again use my own results; If I am concentrating on money-making, I can earn around 300,000 on average in an hour. This breaks down into about:
10 minutes of finding a sample of items on the marketboard,
25 minutes of gathering,
15 minutes of crafting,
5 minutes of listing, and
5 minutes of managing the listing against the mouth-breathing asshats that undersell me by a single gil (you know who you are).
Given that 13.5 minutes is 22.5% of an hour, we’ll reduce my earnings per 13.5 minutes to 300000 * .225 = 67,500. It’s not a perfect conversion, but I’ve never approximated my money-making capabilities per 13.5-minute period. Foregoing the 67,500 gil that I could make each week with the 479.19 weeks that I would need to obtain three rows, I find that my opportunity cost is 67500 * 479.19 = 32,345,325. A single piece of Ornate Neo-Ishgardian gear should be a little over 32 million gil. So, we now have an approximation of the item's value; the final question is, “how much can I actually get for it?”
How Much is the Item Worth?
An Ornate Neo-Ishgardian Gear piece allows five materia slots to be melded to it by default. Without the ornate piece, five slots can still be melded, but the success rate becomes lower for each piece beyond the allowable slots. Further, as the standard Neo-Ishgardian Gear has only two slots, any slot beyond the third must be of a material quality one less than the preceding slots. On an ornate piece, all five slots can be socketed with the highest materia available for that item level. This leaves us with two variables to examine: the average cost of creating a non-ornate piece with max melds and the stat difference between an ornate piece with max melds and a non-ornate piece with max melds. The average price for an Ornate Neo-Ishgardian Gear piece is 6,464,286 on Malboro as of the time of this writing (August 8, 2020). This is far below the 32,345,325 that we value the item at when contrasted against its cost to produce; this also includes zero markup, or profit, for our time. This low-pricing phenomenon might stem from lack of information regarding the item’s estimated value (unlikely in an entire population) or from the notion that sellers adjust their prices until they find the prevailing rate at which buyers will purchase their goods (that's economics, baby). In this case, it would be a closed-book matter to say that acquiring an item at 6,464,286 / 32,345,325 = 20% of its real value is a steal as a buyer (and ruin as a seller)… but, of course, this assertion also must be challenged. Specifically, the question becomes, “how much benefit will I get from consuming this item?”
The average price for a standard Neo-Ishgardian Gear piece is 73,036 on Malboro at the time of this writing (August 8, 2020). The average price for the “big three” materias (Savage Aim, Savage Might, Heaven’s Eye VIII) is 14,442. The average price for the comparable Materia VII counterparts is 1,980. Melding a Neo-Ishgardian piece with 3x VIII materia and 2x VII materia will product the following success rates:
Successful Meld Chance
Taking averages for each success, here is the estimated gil cost to overmeld the gear to five slots:
Successful Meld Chance
Avg. No. of Attempts
Total Cost for Slot
The performance differences must be taken into consideration as well. Each of the big three provide +60 of their respective stat at the 8th level, and +20 of their stat at the 7th level so the difference is +300 vs + 220 respectively. The costs of purchase and meld each piece is as follows:
The stat bonus of the standard gear is 1,823 for tanks and non-magical DPS and 1,767 for magical DPS and healers. We’ll average it to 1801. The total difference of power between these gears is as follows:
Compared with Price
% Price Increase
% Performance Increase
For a 2,745.6% increase in price, you can take home a 4.95% gain in performance for this item. So, what can be said to the question of “how much benefit will I get from this item?” Only that “it depends”... Most players will not realize a benefit from the increased gear. I would model that increase as the time saved by increased damaged output as a function of gil-making potential, i.e. “How much time will I save by doing extra damage, getting dungeon drops, and selling them for additional gil?” If that amount is greater than 6,536,496-238,072 = 6,298,424, then you should, of course, make the purchase.
Given the probability of obtaining three rows in WT versus the opportunity cost of doing so, it is not worth the pursuit strictly as a method of obtaining Ornate Neo-Ishgardian Gear to sell. Secondary rewards and benefits may outrank that decision for you. Given the percentage state increase versus the percentage price increase, there are very few players that would recuperate their investment in Ornate Neo-Ishgardian Gear versus overmelded HQ Neo-Ishgardian Gear.
If you've made it this far, you've probably had a few instances where you've thought, "but what about ..." and you're probably onto something. In any case, there are a lot of assumptions and magic numbers at play. Namely, this estimate is predicated upon my own performance and deals only with gil-making. For this reason, I have detailed my calculations so that, if you were so inclined, you could channel your inner healer and adjust. As I was writing this section, I realized that I could just quickly make a calculator inside of the notebook link here, so I have, in fact, adjusted for you. (did I mention that I main WHM?) I've taken the time to list out a few more assumptions, limitations, and thoughts that I didn't have time to work out; feel free to create your own weights and formulas! :D
Statistical outliers: provided you can get three rows ahead of the likelihood of 0.21%, how much time is worth it? At which attempt does profit move to breakeven? A good question, but this document is already too long.
Only Malboro was sampled: I'm lazy. Well, that's not true; I don't like mindless tedium. I don't have the patience to log every transaction on every world over days. If mining MB data wasn't against ToS, I would've aggregated data over worlds and times.
Intangible benefits: What if having the extra 80 points from the ornate meld is what helps you get a first world clear or join a static where you derive a lot of enjoyment? What if you care about prestige? There are only a handful of these things floating around; it certainly sends a wealth statement! In that case, assign values to those intangibles if you want to attempt a comparison. Make sure to factor in your opportunity costs foregone by spending that gil.
I undercut by one gil but I'm not an asshat: you can lie to yourself but not me.
I'm filthy rich and spending millions of gil is no problem, no matter the reason: your fuction of gil and time are probably much higher than mine and would increase the value of the item considerably from a seller standpoint; there are probably few situations where pursuing WT for money would be worth your while. If your were a buyer, then you might arrive at a point where your opportunity costs of purchasing are so low that you derive value from consumption. Most importantly, if you are that rich, are you hiring? I can do lots of things.
Spending the time making gil rather than completing WT would likely not be a one-for-one tradeoff, money-wise. Every item has an aggregate demand curve and, if you spent 6,428 minutes flooding the market with a good (or an array of goods), you will affect supply. Provided supply exceeds demand at a given price point, the price will fall until equilbrium is reached (and marginal revenue equals zero and long-term economic profit equals zero and all those other perfectly-competitive assumptions because people are hard). Pursuing WT is a chance to diversify and sell something very much in demand: Sure, no question about that. If you're hitting the market so hard that a 0.21% success chance represents a worthwhile venture for you, then we are in different places in our game experience.
I enjoy WT and that's got to count for something, right? Me too and that's why I do them. I play a video game to have fun and that's enough of a reason to fill in your stickers if that's what you want to do. This writing deals with efficiencies and probabilities, not life advice (except for the one-gil thing... going on the record pretty strongly about that one).
If I'm already doing these runs as part of my dailies, helping FC members, etc., then doesn't that affect the outcome: yeah, definitely. Your opportunity cost is much lower because you're not trading off time that you would otherwise use to optimize making money.
Using shuffle increases probability and reduces opportunity costs. By how much is a function of how easy it is to obtain second chances for you and how many repeats you use to complete your journal.
What's the opposite of a shitpost? I'm asking for a friend
Why doesn't the US Left recognize and applaud China as the most progressive nation in the world? Let’s count the ways that it is.
This is a piece written by Dennis Etler, a former Anthropology professor at Cabrillo College in California. 1) The Communist Party-led government has been arresting, prosecuting, and incarcerating corrupt bigwigs, including politicians, bureaucrats, and business people who have been involved with kickbacks, bribery, and other forms of malfeasance in a massive anti-corruption drive that the Chinese people overwhelmingly endorse. It's as if major banksters, fraudsters, and politicos were arrested and tried in the US for their corrupt practices. 2) After the 2008 global financial collapse, the PRC engaged in a massive stimulus program of investment and construction of much-needed infrastructure, including a national superhighway system, mass transit, bridge building, and the world's largest high-speed rail network, which has transformed China and cut transit times to a fraction of what they once were. These are the types of investments that the US Left has been clamoring for decades with no result. 3) China's massive stimulus program saved the world from a depression that would have devastated the world's economy, especially the least developed and poorest countries. In so doing China has literally saved millions of lives from poverty and destitution throughout the world. China has also financed the continued build-up of US debt which has kept the US economy afloat for the last decade. 4) China has been the world leader in the investment and construction of alternative energy sources, including solar, wind, and other non-fossil fuel sources. It is moving rapidly in replacing dirty coal with much cleaner natural gas and is investing hundreds of billions of US dollars in environmental clean-ups which resulted from its unprecedented growth over the last two decades. These are the sort of programs and investments the US Left has been clamoring for decades. 5) China has taken the lead in combating climate change both at home and abroad, pledging billions of dollars to help poor and emerging nations deal with its environmental impacts. It has also vowed to forgive loans and debts of poor and developing countries and increase financial aid. This is unmatched by the US where foreign aid and debt forgiveness are blocked by a reactionary Congress. 6) Over the last two decades, China has raised 600 million people out of poverty, twice the population of the US. While the US Middle Class is dwindling the Chinese Middle Class is burgeoning and now numbers over 300 million, the size of the entire USA. But does the US Left herald that? No, they continually disparage China for alleged "human rights" abuses touted by an array of US government-supported NGOs that have an avowed intent of fomenting pro-American "democracy movements" that further US imperialism and global hegemony. 7) China is the leading nation in the world supporting the sovereignty of nations that oppose US intervention and control. The PRC has established a plethora of financial institutions and trade associations and has invested in countless infrastructure projects worldwide that serve as an alternative to the US-dominated IMF and World Bank. China has supported every progressive government in the world that the US Left loves, including Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador in Latin America, and other countries throughout the world who have stood up to US bullying and regime change color revolutions. 8) China has the largest labor movement in the world. Workers are free to strike and demand redress of grievances against both foreign and domestic capitalists that the government has allowed to do business. The government takes a hands-off policy and frequently tacitly supports labor actions for unpaid wages and benefits. The Chinese government has raised the minimum wage of workers in the lowest-paid industries 20% per year over the last few years while inflation remains low, increasing the spending power of migrant workers substantially while beginning reforms that will allow migrants from rural areas more easily settle in urban centers and receive social benefits. All the while the US under Obama deports millions of migrants from Latin America, who serve the same role as Chinese migrants from the countryside. And yet all the US Left can do is deride China for still having problems and contradictions in its developmental strategy. 9) While the US economy still stagnates the Chinese economy while slowing down ON PURPOSE still outstrips US economic growth by a wide margin. China also invests in the arts and culture, building museums, and cultural and educational resources throughout the country, many of which are free to the public. 10) China while a socialist country in which the commanding heights of the economy are state-owned allows and encourages entrepreneurship and private capitalism on an unprecedented scale for a socialist country, allowing for a surge in innovation and job creation in the private sector. China thus has a more vibrant private economy than most developed capitalist countries, including the US. Need I go on? So why doesn't the US Left extol all these developments? Because China protects itself from predatory US government policies that avowedly want to see neo-liberal political and economic changes that would transform China into a US vassal and protege? Because China has a millennia-old political culture that is highly developed and differs from the Western "democratic" model that is dysfunctional and oligarchical? Because China tries to rein in corporate giants like Google and Facebook who want to control China's internet? Because China has vowed to protect its territorial integrity against US encirclement and containment? Because China resists attempts at US-backed dismemberment by arch-reactionaries in Tibet, Xinjiang, Hong Kong, and Taiwan? Really? Is the reason why the US Left engages in China-bashing because they support US Imperialism's attempts to destabilize China and foment a neo-liberal color revolution there? Or is it because the US Left fundamentally and to its core has a racist attitude towards China and can't countenance its rise from an economic backwater to become the most powerful economy in the world?
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With the cities across Mozambique vacant for the time being while the population undergoes the Great Cultural Transformation, that leaves the cities open and ready for total remodeling. By remodeling, President Menete meant, bulldozing most of the city and starting over from scratch. While only a few streets of Maputo were considered truly modernized, not a lot of tears will be had about starting over. Which was once a city for 1,000,000, Maputo will be completely redesigned and planned from the ground up to have enough space for 2,000,000 people, who will be the upper crust of FRELIMO and the Government, the Vanguard cadre. Maputo was the exemplary colony of Portugal, and situated right next to Matola, the two cities are virtually inseparable. Just as Maputo will, Matola and Maputo will be combined, taking the name Maputo, and both will be created from the ground up. To maximize reusable resources, the buildings must all be carefully dismantled, and deconstructed so that most of the resources will be usable in the reconstruction of the new city. Maputo has a number of issues, being mostly huts, is not visually pleasing, no sewer, no metro-system, poor roads, poor electricity coverage, water integration, internet, the list goes on of the many issues Maputo has. The Maputo International Airport is poorly designed, and slapped in the middle of the city which awkwardly eats up a huge area of land. The only real redeeming part of the city is the port, but even then- it is definitely not ready for the level of trade that Maputo needs to hold. However, some token spots have been selected to not be destroyed, like the Samora Machel Statue, it will just be stored, as well as Vila Algarve building for the former Portuguese Secret Police, and Maputo Katembe Bridge. The Samora statue will be placed in protective storage for the mean time, while Vila Algarve will be completely preserved in its current status, as it will become the Portuguese Oppression Museum. Additionally, the railways will be retained, but the Maputo Railway Station will be destroyed and rebuilt in a different design. With approximately 100,000 workers from the People's Militia, this will take four months to complete, and when it is leveled- the construction of a new Maputo can begin. The new Maputo will become completely urban-planned like a true Soviet-style city. First, the city will be designed alongside Russian architects and urban planners to cross hatch all of the roads in the city north to south as names of FRELIMO revolutionary figures, and east to west as international socialist figures like Karl Marx, Josef Stalin, Vladimir Lenin, Xi Jinping, Kim Il-Sung, and the like. There will be two major roads in the city that will be larger and longer than the rest, namely General Menete Avenue which will be a completely modernized Avenida de Marginal, and Progress & Science Avenue which will take place of Avenida de Joaquin Chissano. With the exception of these two roadways, the rest of the city will be sectioned off into districts as follows:
Mpilo District - Maputo Port Authority, Industrial Area, President Menete Railway Station
Ganyah District - High-class residential area, State-Owned Enterprise HQs, Office Buildings, restaurants, local businesses
Ghakarhi District - Parks, light entertainment, shopping centers, sports centers
Phiwokwakhe District - Residential area, restaurants, local businesses
Induna District - Directly borders Maputo Bay, holds General Menete Avenue and the seat of government
Fokazi District - Embassies, universities, high-scale shopping centers
Spamandla District - Entertainment, High-class residential area, restaurants, local businesses
Bongani District - Residential area, restaurants, local businesses
Ilha Xefina District - Island off Maputo's coast, will only hold the new Maputo International Airport and hotel for foreign guests, Revolutionary Gateway Bridge will be created to connect Ilha Xefina District to Maputo proper
These will be the largest and most important districts in the new Maputo. Before any grand construction begins, the sewers must be dug, the water-pipes must be laid, along with internet cabling, and power-lines must be installed. This will prevent any over-ground wire-management and will keep it all centrally contained. At this time, the roadways can also be constructed three lanes on each side with clear dividers separating each side. Traffic light management systems will be installed along with roadway cameras which will be part of a greater "Security Network" project which will CCTV-capture the entire city, and prospectively cities in Mozambique. New signage in Xitsonga will be installed as well. Residences In the residential districts the land will be plotted off for the large scale apartment projects, so the foundation digging process can begin, because under the apartment complexes will be parking garages so that a parking ban can be enforced on the open streets, and keep them more empty during all day hours. The apartments will be constructed in the usual cookie cutter fashion, and will have integrated water systems, sewage, internet, electricity, and AC units as it is excessively warm in Mozambique. This will be standard across all residences in the city, both general and high-class. Because the capital city is for the most loyal supporters of FRELIMO and President Menete, they will be provided for the best. The roofs of each of the buildings will have solar panels on them to give back to the energy grid, while personal solar panels will be provided for each unit for use in their windows. Each unit will have three bedrooms, a kitchen, a common room, laundry room, two bathrooms, a dining room, and a study (Because this is the upper crust capital). The high-class residences that are apartment buildings will have a second story to each unit, and the other options for high-class residences include townhouses, and a select few mansions. The residences will all have gated entry, for apartments there will be three complexes per residential block, which will be gated off. Key card access on foot, or camera-parking pass access for vehicles. The entries and exits of the residential areas will be run by an officer from the Ministry of People's Security, the public law enforcement ministry. Visitors will have to check in and show identification upon entrance, mail will be delivered to the security entrances. There will be at least one officer manning the entry/exit 24 hours a day. Maputo Metro System At this time, the Maputo Metro System will be dug out as well at 500 ft deep, which will also serve as a bomb-shelter network. Three lines will be dug, two will be public, one will be for use of the military, government, and Presidency. The two public lines, Victory Line and Equality Line will provide basic ridership services. With around 2,000,000 people in the city, it is expected ridership will move around 500,000 to 750,000 in a day. No food or drinks will be allowed on the metro services to keep the system clean. Service will run from 6:00 AM to 12:00 AM. For riders, tickets can be purchased by stop at a kiosk when entering for a low cost, or by acquiring a Revolutionary Pass which covers transportation by bus, taxi, and metro. Revolutionary Passes can be tapped at the turnstile to give access to the subway and once again when leaving to calculate distance and rate. These cards can be topped up at the same ticket kiosks, but the Revolutionary Passes are only for party members and offer a lower rate than normal. The Maputo Metro System will use SFM16 CRRC Qingdao Sifang rolling stock cars. Service for each station will be monitored by television with expected arrival times listed, cars will rotate between stations no longer than five minutes. Maputo International Airport After the old Maputo International Airport is dismantled due to its unwieldy location, island reclamation projects will begin on Ilha Xefina island to hold the new Maputo International Airport, and the Grand Maputo Hotel at the south side of the island. The Maputo International Airport will retain its old IATA, ICAO, and WMO callsigns, just its location will be moved, and modernized. It will operate two concrete runways of 3,800 meters in length. The airport will consist of two terminals complete with duty free stores, business and first class lounges, gift shops and other amenities like internet. The future of travel to Mozambique is uncertain, and truthfully, the Ministry of National Development has no idea of what sort of traffic to see. Terminal 1 will be domestic flights, whereas Terminal 2 will be international flights, and considerably nicer. Extensive hangars and repair facilities will be constructed as a normal airport might have, as well as a baggage claim system. Revolutionary Gateway Bridge To connect Maputo proper to Ilha Xefina island, it will require a suspension bridge with cable-stay capabilities to span 1.5 miles. The bridge will be 90ft wide and support highway-scale traffic on both sides. Clearance below the bridge should account for 375 ft so that freighters, and military vessels can pass underneath the bridge as needed. China’s Shandong Gaosu Group has been invited to lead the designing and construction of the bridge, to be supported by the People’s Militia work teams. Grand Maputo Hotel Orascom has been invited by the President to construct the largest hotel in Maputo which will service foreigners, domestic government travellers, and heads of state in the future. Most notably, Orascom has built the Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang in the neo-futurist style- which is exactly the style that Mozambique is looking for. While Orascom will be given free reign on design, look, and features, the President has a list of specific requirements for the company to meet:
Built with Neo-Futurist Style
Between 1,900 Ft and 2,000 ft
Has a rotating restaurant
Between 100 and 170 floors
Can be completed by 2030
Costs under $2 Bn
Will hire Mozambican labor
Can display videos, images, or colors from the glass walls at night
Maputo Port Authority During this overhaul, the Maputo Port will be expanded and modernized to support a large export capacity that Mozambique will need to bring in its revenues. The Port Authority is looking for 35 container berths, quay length of 15,500 m, an area of 600 hectares of container facilities, 130 quay cranes, and supporting capacity between 20 - 30 million TEUs annually. The fact of the matter is, Mozambique is way too poor to construct this port by itself and will need China Merchants Port to construct it. To finance this, Mozambique is proposing the Gwadar Port standard, where China Overseas Port Holding Company creates a joint venture with the Mozambican Government, like Sino-Mozambique Port Management Corporation, which will give some revenue both to the Mozambican Government, and China to pay back for the costs of construction, which will pay off and transition to Mozambique in 20 years. General Menete Avenue General Menete Avenue will be the most important road in the country, the seat of the Mozambican Government and also the longest continuous road in the city. The presence of the road will revolve primarily around Revolution Square. Revolution Square is a proposed area in front of the new Presidential Residence- the Palace of the Revolution, where military parades and other celebrations will be held for viewing on a national and international scale. On the West side of the square, will be the Palace of the Revolution. President Menete has contacted Mansudae Overseas Projects and asked them to design and commission the Revolution Square, the Palace of the Revolution, National People’s Assembly- comprising the Great Hall of the Nation, and the FRELIMO Party HQ that all will comprise the square. The East side of the square will have a nice view of the ocean. The North side of the square will have the FRELIMO Party Headquarters, which is also the meeting building for the Central Committee, comprising the Hall of the Workers- where the Central Committee and the National Party Conference convenes. The south side of the square will have the National People’s Assembly, where the seat of the legislature is. Between the Palace of the Revolution and Revolution Square, General Menete Avenue will split the two, making it a perfect location for a military parade. At the center of Revolution Square, the Samora Machel Statue will be dug out of storage, cleaned off and placed there. Alongside it, a similar statue will be commissioned by Mansudae Overseas Projects to also be 31ft in height, depicting President Menete. The two statues will be placed side-by-side, and in front of it, will be the National Flagpole, which will be the world’s tallest flagpole at 565 ft. which will carry a super-sized national Mozambican flag. Flanking the Palace of the Revolution on the north and south will be all the headquarters of the various ministries, and the Central Military Commission. One of the Maputo Metro stops for the public, and for the private government line will be Revolution Square. Palace of the Revolution The Palace of the Revolution, upon its completion will currently be the most high-scale and luxurious residence in the country, fit for a President, dare I say- a king. The complex itself spans 4.6 square miles behind General Menete Avenue and behind the properties of the ministries surrounding the facility and is accessible by the private government Maputo Metro line. The main house itself has 300 bedrooms, 115 bathrooms, and 400 other rooms. While three floors are above ground, there are also two floors below ground for access in dangerous situations like war, nuclear attack, and the like. In addition to the Maputo Metro access, it also has an underground railroad (more about that coming soon). The underground levels are protected with layers of thick concrete covered in lead, walls reinforced with iron rods. On the facility grounds is a moderate-sized military base, for the protection of the President, while the State Security Department also has VIP protection units inside the house. The facility limits are surrounded by electric fencing, mine fields, and security checkpoints. For leadership, government figures, the main entrance is actually through the metro, train, or a non-descript back road and foot entrance, where most of the security checkpoints are. The grounds areas have a shooting range, a swimming pool with waterslide, a racetrack, horse stables and riding area, a manmade lake with a yacht, seadoos, its own private airfield, and a large garden. The interiors are about just in the same level of excess as its outside, with banquet halls, interior gym and track, a spa and sauna, interior shooting range, bowling alley, ice rink, and its own restaurants, in addition to several kitchens. President Menete has asked the Supreme Marshal Kim Jong-un for permission to open a Pyongyang Restaurant inside his Palace of the Revolution, in addition to a Samtaesong (DPRK-based fast food chain). Unlikely to get any US companies to bite, President Menete also asked Canada if it could have a single Tim Horton’s location in the Palace of the Revolution. Contrary to popular belief, the Palace of the Revolution is not strictly just for the President, but also consists of the Cabinet members and their families, as well as key individuals designated by the President. Basic Idea Map of Maputo
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