5 Common Mistakes Almost All Traders Make

Weekend Review- THE REVIEW

More tough times for Kepa, Bielsa's Leeds can't stop scoring (or conceding), and Erling Haaland is entirely too tall
Hosts: Taylor Rockwell and Ryan Bailey
Peacock is awful
Chelsea v Liverpool (7:07)
[Highlights]
Manchester United v Crystal Palace (24:34)
[Highlights]
Leeds v Fulham (41:33)
[Highlights]
Southampton v Tottenham (50:17)
[Highlights]
Borussia Dortmund v Borussia Monchengladbach (59:02)
[Highlights]
Juve v Sampdoria (1:06:30)
[Highlights]
Kickers v Orlando City B
Postponed.
Kickers host Inter Miami II on Wednesday September 23 @ 6:30
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MAME 0.222

MAME 0.222

MAME 0.222, the product of our May/June development cycle, is ready today, and it’s a very exciting release. There are lots of bug fixes, including some long-standing issues with classics like Bosconian and Gaplus, and missing pan/zoom effects in games on Seta hardware. Two more Nintendo LCD games are supported: the Panorama Screen version of Popeye, and the two-player Donkey Kong 3 Micro Vs. System. New versions of supported games include a review copy of DonPachi that allows the game to be paused for photography, and a version of the adult Qix game Gals Panic for the Taiwanese market.
Other advancements on the arcade side include audio circuitry emulation for 280-ZZZAP, and protection microcontroller emulation for Kick and Run and Captain Silver.
The GRiD Compass series were possibly the first rugged computers in the clamshell form factor, possibly best known for their use on NASA space shuttle missions in the 1980s. The initial model, the Compass 1101, is now usable in MAME. There are lots of improvements to the Tandy Color Computer drivers in this release, with better cartridge support being a theme. Acorn BBC series drivers now support Solidisk file system ROMs. Writing to IMD floppy images (popular for CP/M computers) is now supported, and a critical bug affecting writes to HFE disk images has been fixed. Software list additions include a collection of CDs for the SGI MIPS workstations.
There are several updates to Apple II emulation this month, including support for several accelerators, a new IWM floppy controller core, and support for using two memory cards simultaneously on the CFFA2. As usual, we’ve added the latest original software dumps and clean cracks to the software lists, including lots of educational titles.
Finally, the memory system has been optimised, yielding performance improvements in all emulated systems, you no longer need to avoid non-ASCII characters in paths when using the chdman tool, and jedutil supports more devices.
There were too many HyperScan RFID cards added to the software list to itemise them all here. You can read about all the updates in the whatsnew.txt file, or get the source and 64-bit Windows binary packages from the download page.

MAME Testers Bugs Fixed

New working machines

New working clones

Machines promoted to working

Clones promoted to working

New machines marked as NOT_WORKING

New clones marked as NOT_WORKING

New working software list additions

Software list items promoted to working

New NOT_WORKING software list additions

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I replayed (almost) all Metal Gear games... Here are all my thoughts on them!

Background:
Given the current state of the US and the world as a whole, it is not a good time to be a college student. Academic institutions have stopped to a grinding halt and have uncertain plans for the upcoming school year. Despite this, I have had no shortage of things to do. Even though I just finished my summer classes, I still have a lot to do. I continue to work remotely for my school's IT department and also do research with my professor in artificial intelligence (yes, Metal Gear influenced my career choice). My intent is not to flex my credentials or anything, but to explain my motivations. I realize how lucky I am to work on the things I love and build my career when many others can't at this moment. Still, I occasionally feel like I'm more active than I'd like to be. This is where Metal Gear comes in. I grew up with the series and haven't touched many of them in years. I was planning on revisiting the series for some time now too. Since I was at home and needed a way to destress, I said fuck it and decided to revisit all the games. I'll be explaining my thoughts with some version notes and the difficulty I played on in release order. I hope this is an entertaining read!

Metal Gear (PS3 HD Collection), Difficulty Played: Original
The one that started it all. IIRC, Kojima started development on a shoot em' up inspired by Commando but had to change direction due to the MSX2's limited hardware capabilities. Instead of fighting enemies, your objective is to avoid them. Simple, but a brilliant solution. Thus Metal Gear was born. I feel like this game has aged surprisingly well. It's not incredibly refined, but it definitely has that arcade charm and gameplay. Tactical espionage action at it's simplest. You can even see the origins of many modern MGS classics like the cardboard box, radio team, etc. This game is in desperate need of a Resident Evil-style remake though. The game's design leaves a lot to be desired. There's meaningless backtracking and the way ID cards work to open doors is absolutely moronic. And sometimes it's not really clear how to progress in the game like obtaining the bomb blast suit for example. Guards can only see in lines and the bosses are uninspiring. And despite 30 years of retcons and plot developments, the story is still vague and underdeveloped. FOXHOUND commander Big Boss sends Solid Snake to infiltrate Outer Heaven, also commanded by Big Boss (retconned as Venom Snake) to rescue Gray Fox and spread misinformation to the West (retconned as the Patriots) by... getting captured? Killed? Acquiring a false report? Not clear. And what kind of misinformation? To keep up appearances? To report Metal Gear isn't nuclear armed? Fake Big Bosses' death? Also not clear. Still, it's a humble beginning to a beloved franchise and should be appreciated.
Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake (PS3 HD Collection), Difficulty Played: Original
This is where Metal Gear really becomes Metal Gear. MG2 is an improvement over MG1 in every way. Graphics are better, gameplay is a lot better, and most importantly, it has a coherent story. It's incredibly impressive how this was developed for the same MSX2 system as MG1. And this is where Metal Gear adopts its quirky, goofy yet serious identity. You have dumb shit like "poisonous Zanzibar hamsters" juxtaposed with strong, anti-war themes. Absolutely brilliant. For an 8-bit game, it's very concise and articulate with this message. This game was so good, that the story and gameplay for MGS1 reused many of the ideas present in MG2. I think that if MG2 was remade, it would be better than MGS1 since they are the same game, but MG2 has a more interesting premise. Big Boss as the main villain is already reason enough. Not all is perfect though. The game design suffers from the same issues present in MG1 with unnecessary backtracking, the crappy card system, and confusing progression. I really think that everyone should give this a game a try since it is often underappreciated and overlooked in favor of the later games.

Metal Gear Solid (PC Integral), Difficulty Played: Extreme
If MG2 created the modern Metal Gear identity, MGS1 perfected it. Kojima and the team really outdid themselves when making this game. This game set a groundbreaking precedent in attention to detail and cinematic storytelling not just for future MGS games, but all video games that came after. To this day, I still think that MGS1 has one of the best atmospheres in gaming. The characters in this game are incredible and in my opinion have the best performances in the entire series. Every single one of them is iconic and memorable. As Otacon says though, "it's just like one of my Japanese animes." Revisiting MGS made me realize that the entire series is basically a long-running, edgy shonen anime based in video game form. You have all the iconic tropes like: a giant mecha, technobabble, superpowered characters, excessive chit-chat with villains and too much dialogue in general, every character having some sort of tragic backstory, some life lesson as a theme, and so on. None of this is bad though. In fact, it enhances the charm. The love of American action movies combined with the oddities of Japanese storytelling is what makes MGS so memorable. Unfortunately, some of the writing in this game is really jarring. MGS has really bad writing at times, but for some reason it was much more painful in this game for me than the others. The romantic elements were cringeworthy, the twists were handled poorly, and Liquid Snake, despite allegedly having an 180 IQ, has no grasp on basic genetics, among other issues. The gameplay isn't much of an innovation over MG2 either. It's just the same thing, but rendered in 3D. It added first-person mode, but that's about it. Regardless, this game is a classic.

Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (PS3 HD Collection), Difficulty Played: Extreme
My personal favorite of the series. Once again, it innovates on the gameplay. Although the controls take an unwieldy, maximalist approach that uses way too many buttons sometimes, it presents you with a lot of options. It's very slick and versatile once you master it. I've seen some people on this sub say that the camera is not conducive with the game design for an enjoyable experience, but I think this is exaggerated BS. I played on Extreme with no radar and did fine. You're given all the tools you need to succeed. The bosses of this game are insane though. Even the more exploitable fights like Vamp and Solidus can still be tricky. The RAY fight on Extreme has got to be my favorite boss from any video game though. It's was incredibly tense with so many opponents who could potentially one-shot you. A single mistake could be fatal. The gratification I had after decommissioning 20 of those assholes can't be described with words. As for story, I can understand how some may not like the postmodern, artsy, almost pretentious approach the it takes, but I love it. MGS2 parodies MGS1 in the most brilliant way possible. It's an amazing deconstruction of sequel expectations and many of its ideas regarding society and technology are becoming more and more relevant. I also liked Raiden as a protagonist because of how well he contrasts with Solid Snake. He also has more noticeable character development. I would like to point out that I was still a baby when this game came out in 2001. Therefore it was impossible for me to get memed by Kojima's bait-and-switch. When I first got into the series, I already knew that Raiden was the main playable character. I can understand why many were/are frustrated with this change or simply just don't like Raiden. But I think the writing just works better in this game than MGS1. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of examples of bad writing and questionable narrative choices in this game. However, while bad writing hurts MGS1, it actually strengthens MGS2. All the incongruities and ridiculousness present in the game build on its message that there is no objective truth. Seriously, MGS2 makes me question everything that I believe in. I've never been more terrified of a video game than the entire Arsenal Gear segment, and this isn't even a horror game. Resident Evil zombies and Silent Hill fog monsters will never hurt me. But censorship, authoritarianism, and misuse of technology can. The real terror is reality. And for that, I treat this game like the Bible. I will say that my veneration of this game is a recent development. It was actually my least favorite until a few years ago. It was after seeing several analyses on this game that my opinion shifted. And since I'm older now, I naturally have a different perspective on life than I did before. MGS2 definitely gets better with age.

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (PS3 HD Collection), Difficulty Played: Extreme
Over the years, I've had a growing sentiment that MGS3 is overrated. I was glad to be proven wrong. I still like MGS2's existential edginess more, but I concede that this game is the best MGS experience overall. This game deserves every word of praise that it receives. This entire game is an adorable homage to James Bond and other spy thrillers. Seriously, listen to that opening! The story is also the most sensible and best-written in the series. At first glance MGS3 doesn't seem to do anything bold, appearing to be very orthodox and conventional. Despite this, it never failed to excite and maintained that signature MGS personality the entire time. Additionally, the characters are all so likeable. Despite looking and sounding exactly like Solid Snake, Naked Snake has his own distinct personality. He's much more of shit-eating jokester and is a lot more social. And despite the mission he's sent on, he's super unprofessional and I love it. His characterization really adds to the atmosphere of blissful naivete this game goes for. And his chemistry with the rest of the characters is great. You have the radio support team who are also a bunch of lovable, unprofessional jokesters. Then there's EVA, who is an equally awesome female lead. The romance and sexual tension between EVA and Naked Snake actually feels natural, like normal people. It's not painfully awkward like Meryl and Solid Snake or artificial like Raiden and Rose (although that may have been the point with them). Then there's the Boss, who is one of the best supporting female characters in gaming. The contribution her powerful, motherly presence has on the story cannot be understated. The Cobra Unit was pretty shallow to be honest, but they were still memorable and were a fun collection of superpowered weirdos to fight. They didn't really need more than that. Oh, and Ocelot being retconned as a Snake fanboy is hilarious and fitting. There's too many good things about this area of the game and I need to go on. Once again, gameplay innovations! It still has the awkward MGS2 controls, but now you can use them to their full potential. While MGS3 is a super linear game, the number of strategies you can use are limitless. Look at James Howell's FOXHOUND guide on YouTube. He demonstrates multiple methods of entering and exiting the SAME room. Seriously, the dude shows like four different ways to defeat the Ocelot unit and that's barely scratching the surface. Every obtainable item can be meaningfully and that is brilliant... I need to move on but this game fucking rocks.
Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops (PC Emulated), Difficulty Played: Normal
I gotta say this right of the bat. This shit was not fun to play. I don't really mind if a game has bad graphics, but bad performance makes me want to DIE. 20 FPS physically hurts. Literally. The choppiness gave me a few headaches. I could have increased the framerate, but I read several user reports say that it messes up cutscenes. Plus, I figured I should suffer playing through it in its pure, unadulterated form. The game controlled like garbage and the recruitment mechanic sucked. Still, it's impressive that the development team ported the Snake Eater engine to the PSP. That is an achievement that deserves to be commended. Story wise, it's standard Metal Gear. It's a good time, but I don't really like the direction it took. The inclusion of Gray Fox and Campbell was kinda random and didn't meaningfully develop their characters. They were just there for the sake of being there. Not a good or bad thing, but they could have been totally new characters and the roles would be exactly the same. I also didn't like the implication that Big Boss got the idea and resources for Outer Heaven from Gene. It just rubbed me the wrong way. And what I really didn't like was retconning the entirety of Operation Snake Eater as some elaborate assassination ploy by the CIA because The Boss was "too charismatic" or some BS like that. Like, why? She was loyal to the end. Her being a threat to the US is not consistent with her character. It implies that obtaining the Philosopher's Legacy, destroying the Shagohod, and keeping the Khrushchev administration in power is not enough justification for the US to sacrifice the Boss. It's an unnecessary complication of the story that sets a bad precedent for using "the Bosses' will" as a convenient MacGuffin to explain character motivations or conflicts. Good thing the game is considered semi-canon so I can pretend these parts didn't happen. Still, I appreciate it for what it is. It's proof that a Kojima-less Metal Gear can still be Metal Gear. Not to mention, "Calling to the Night" is an incredibly underrated theme.

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (PS3), Difficulty Played: The Boss Extreme
The greatest movie game I've ever watched. It's such a shame that this game never got an official port outside of the PS3 because this game is stunning despite the meh performance. The 30 FPS didn't really agree with me, but it wasn't headache inducing like Portable Ops. I have a pretty beefy PC rig so I could've used the custom RPCS3 build to play it at 60 FPS, but I wasn't willing to gamble on the program's stability especially when the cutscenes are so long. Just like Portable Ops, I had to experience it in its raw, unadulterated form. I really wanted to hate this game for being a fanservice disaster... but I couldn't do it. This was the first Metal Gear I completed start to finish. This is the game that got me into the series. I was like 11 or 12 at the time and I had no idea what was going on, yet every little piece of lore kept me wanting to know more about the rest of the series. Nostalgia aside, this game is the most endearing trainwreck I've ever experienced despite the clear disdain and borderline self-hatred Kojima put in while making this game. MGS4 was always going to happen, but Kojima’s involvement was uncertain. I’m genuinely curious what direction this game would’ve took if he quit the series back then. MGS2 alone is already hard to follow up on, and by also having to relate all the events in MGS3, Kojima inadvertently placed the story into a position where writing successive games would become very difficult. I wonder how Murata or whatever writer would approach the story without Kojima’s input. Would it be more or less of a clusterfuck than what it is now? Who knows? Regardless, I think MGS4 is a worthy conclusion to the series. It hits every emotional chord it needs and gives a sense of closure. It really hits you with a feeling that this is indeed the end. The “war has changed” speech gets me every time. In many ways, I feel that MGS4 is as much of a critique on gaming industry trends as it is on the military industrial complex (although it is ironic since this game features so many licensed firearms). Think about it. Forcing Snake (Kojima) back into a life of battle (video games) not because they want to (MGS2), but because they have no choice. The nature of warfare (game development), has shifted from ideology (the messages he tried to tell in MGS 1-3) to profits (fan satisfaction, corporate responsibilities, etc). The war economy strengthens this point by demonstrating how war has infiltrated ever aspect in the MGS universe, like gamer’s seeming obsession with war games like MGS. And the fact that MGS4 demystifies everything with nanomachines or some bloated conspiracy relating back to The Boss is a big middle finger to everyone who clamored for explanations. Kojima was probably like “You couldn’t think of an explanation yourself? Okay, I’ll give you an explanation appropriate for your handicapped intelligence.” In a way, it’s just as postmodern as MGS2 if not more. The metanarrative has always been MGS strong suit after all. But this is one extremely expensive art project in that case. I realize that I also need to be objective in this retrospective. Once you get into this mode of thinking, a literal pile of shit can be interpreted as a gold mine. I am not likening MGS4 to a pile of shit by the way. I’d say that MGS4 did well given what it was tasked to do. All the loose ends are tied up and it (mostly) deals with its characters very well. The characterization of Old Snake is so well done. His depiction as a fallen legend from a bygone era seeking peace is so tragic and powerful. And I really liked Raiden too, but not for the typical reason. I thought he was a good representation of the fans who failed to understand MGS2. Rather than move on and become a better person, he becomes a parody of those who just want to be “cool” and “edgy.” It reverses the dynamic in MGS2. Now that Snake is a decrepit senior citizen, epic ninja dude Raiden is the guy that everyone wants to play as now. And Meryl was excellent too, representing people who were able to mature and move on. She’s all grown up and has found her own purpose in life. It was sad seeing how far she’s moved on from Snake. The whole “marry me Johnny uwu” part was awful, but I suppose it adds to the point of moving on. Liquid Ocelot was a real treat to watch in this game as well. I thought the whole cast was pretty strong. The only character I thought was bad was Naomi. None of her actions make any sense. Even fucking Revolver Ocelot makes more sense than her and he is the king of convoluted conspiracies. She did a total 180 from her MGS1 self for no real reason and she killed herself because? Sniper Wolf and Gray Fox nostalgia? There’s a ton of cheap fanservice in this game but most of those are minor, have some purpose to the plot, or aid characterization. This instance was none of those. And in her debrief video after the virus upload, she never bothered to tell Snake that the new FOXDIE replaced the old one and he could live the rest of his life. Like seriously? This dude almost shot himself to prevent a now nonexistent threat. Plus her hot British accent is gone which is big sad. Also, Sunny contributing to FOXALIVE was kind of jarring. I understand her entire character is to show the new generation inheriting the ideals and problems of the old, but it’s just so random to have a seven-year-old prodigy. She should’ve been a little bit older. She was 11 in Rising and I was totally chill with that. Minor gripe I suppose. As a self-contained narrative, the game isn’t that confusing. However, the way it fits with previous games is super awkward. Big Boss appearing at the end of the game is also very random and has got to be the biggest violation of the “show don’t tell” principle I’ve ever seen anywhere. But given how the Japanese dub literally reconciles real-life father and son, it’s nothing short of beautiful. I prefer this over the original execution ending. Snake has suffered enough. He’s been punished since the day he was born. Personally, I will contend that the twist that the Patriots were the MGS3 support cast isn’t that bad. The identity of the Patriots has been hyped up so much that the answer could never be that satisfying. Would it really be better if they were new, original characters? Considering that they would most likely all be dead anyways, I doubt it. The hive-mind, collective consciousness that MGS2 depicted them was good, but the MGS community has proven itself incapable of abstract thinking after not understanding MGS2 in general. The whole thing would’ve worked better if Major Zero acted more like Colonel Campbell in MGS1, a “trusted” friend who knows more about the operation than he seems and is actively lying to you. The Paramedic, Sigint, and rest are whatever, but Zero wasn’t fleshed out enough to have this huge role. Hindsight is 20/20. They had no idea the plot would go this way. But shoehorning the Bosses’ will as a motivation for everything is stupid. Like I said for Portable Ops, it just became a convenient MacGuffin. There’s a sort of irony here. I could see how Zero’s world government can be traced back to the Boss with “the world can be one again”, but aside from a few throwaway lines he barely has a connection to her. What, did he really hear her entire speech from Snake’s radio? On the other end, I don’t understand how Big Bosses’ warmongering mercenaries can be interpreted from the Bosses’ ideals and he is the one who has a fleshed-out relationship with her. This is where I go “bruh moment” on the writing. Yeah, Liquid Ocelot was also stupid, but the writers had no choice and that kind of shenanigan totally makes sense for his character anyways. This is just an objectively bad cop-out. Gameplay is pretty good. Just the same as MGS3 but now it doesn’t handle like a Rube Goldberg machine. Unfortunately, you don’t really get an opportunity to use the mechanics to their full potential. The game is super cutscene heavy and only act 1 and 2 are truly conducive with experimentation. Overall, I think this game gets shit on too much and I love it.

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (PS3 HD Collection)
This was actually the first Metal Gear game I ever played. My Dad got it for me on PSP close to when it was released. Unfortunately, 10 year old me was shit at video games and rage quit at the Hind boss fight so I put it on hiatus until the HD release came out. Online co-op came in clutch. I don't know why I found this game so difficult back then because now I find Peace Walker to be the easiest game out of all the Solid titles. Even the red skull vehicle missions aren’t too bad as long as you’ve grinded for the appropriate equipment. I have to mention that it was here where I was started to feel burnout from cycling through so many games so quickly. This one took me a bit longer to complete because I needed to extended breaks between sessions. But this game was still a treat. I was really confused with the plot because it seemed like Snake totally forgot about EVA’s debriefing and misremembers his fight with the Boss, but once I realized this game was about him coping with the truth rather than learning the truth, it finally clicked. For me, it cleared up a lot of the baggage left from MGS4. Outer Heaven is less of an interpretation of the Bosses’ will than it is an active rejection of it. When finally accepts the title of Big Boss, he refuses to resign himself to the same fate. That makes a lot more sense to me. Additionally, while it didn’t do that good of a job in this regard, it showed the origins of the alleged conflict between Zero and Big Boss that MGS4 mention. It also did some cool foreshadowing of the Patriot AI. I must mention that this game came out at a super awkward place. It’s post-MGS4 yet it chronologically takes place towards the beginning of the timeline. I also really liked the characters in this game. I was shocked to see how lively and colorful the entire cast was. You could tell they had a great time in the recording booth and most of it was just optional tapes! Unlike Campbell in Portable Ops, Miller is a much more realized character and has depth. He has great business acumen but is also as much of a dipshit as Snake. Then you had the bisexual chad Strangelove. I’m studying computer science, so her tapes were super interesting and relevant to me. I’d love to have her as a professor in real life. Even Cecile, a totally unimportant throwaway waifu, has some great moments in optional tapes. And it’s all very well acted too. Sadly, Hot Coldman was very uninspiring, lame villain. He was just kinda there. But it seemed clear that the real focus was the Boss AI and Cipher. Unfortunately, I don’t like David Hayter’s voice in this game. The Old Snake aesthetic doesn’t suit Big Boss. It sounded too forced to me. I’m not a big fan of Portable Ops, but they should have given Hayter the same voice direction. I am very satisfied with how they decided to expand this “Big Boss arc.” I know many don’t like how they continued the series, but I think this was a meaningful contribution. Although this is when the tech in Metal Gear got weird. Strangelove made an AI that replicated the Bosses’ thought patterns from brief personal experience and a bunch of documents. The best we have in real life is Alexa. It’s too advanced. Sure, there were always nanomachines and nuke tanks but that was all speculative fiction. I didn’t have a problem with the AI bosses. I think they were all fun and engaging. All of you who wished for human bosses are a bunch of homicidal maniacs. Although the breadth of vehicle missions suck. They’re not hard if you grind for equipment, but they are very tedious. And the grinding itself is a huge problem. So much of it is the just the same repetitive junk to farm soldiers or wait out development time. Good thing it’s only side content. I also understand that this was initially developed for the PSP, but the missions are way too short even if they are supposed to be bite-sized. Most of them can be completed in five minutes or less. But I appreciate the effort needed to put this much content into the game. Peace Walker is a great game.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (PC), Difficulty Played: Hard
This whole game is a meme and I live for it. This is the only hack-and-slash I’ve ever played so I don’t consider myself super qualified to talk about its merits. But with what I’m given, I’ll say that the gameplay is slick and well-polished. Very fun to play and on top of the power-metal soundtrack, it was an adrenaline high the whole way through. It momentarily cured me of my burnout. Rising also made me to buy Devil May Cry for more of the same. Eventually I will get around to playing those games. I felt like the writing of this game was weak. To me, it was so unfocused with what it wanted to do. It went all over the place from child soldiers, free will, patriotism, and a whole bunch of other things. This game touches on a lot of interesting topics but it’s so haphazard with how it deals with it. It’ll mention some new topic and then barely develop it. It’s a shallow ocean. And it seems like the writers weren’t really sure what they wanted to do with Raiden. His “Jack the Ripper” persona is so inconsistent when it manifests. He’ll be totally normal in the game but then you call the codec and he’ll do this gravelly voice and talk about how he loves fighting or vice versa. He just has this weird multi-personality disorder that I don’t think was fully intended. But considering that this game is spinoff and a parody of the series, I give it a free pass. Raiden’s character development from MGS4 may have been completely invalidated, but since it was so over-the-top and wasn’t afraid to make fun of itself, it doesn’t offend me. All the characters from Raiden to Armstrong were all so colorful and lively. Even the radio support team has a ton of good codec moments that give a good laugh or provide good worldbuilding. It’s a blast to experience it all. And I think it’s all because Platinum nailed the tone for this game. The level of edginess in Rising was the perfect balance of both cringe and cool. And come to think of it, it barely has anything to do at with the rest of Metal Gear aside from Raiden and Sunny. Yet, it perfectly uses that Metal Gear aesthetic and fits into the universe. It feels like it “belongs” in the series. I seriously want a Rising 2.

Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes (PC)
I skipped this game at launch because even 14-year-old me knew it was a cash grab (and I had no money anyways lol). Funnily enough, I finally played it in like 2018. There’s no way to sugarcoat it, this game is just tech demo. An excellent tech demo, but a tech demo nonetheless. The Fox engine is a marvel in both graphics and performance. Easily one of the best game engines in recent years. And I’m not sure how, but I have over 30 hours on this game recorded on Steam. I probably idled the game overnight on accident, but I’m not sure. Still, it has a deceptive amount of content. I’d say it’s about the same as your average DLC. As for story, it’s a good transition from Peace Walker to MGSV. It effectively establishes the tonal change between the two games. And I really liked the little “side quest” of collecting Chico’s tapes. The way the plot unraveled itself even after you complete the main mission is a neat storytelling trick. And obviously I have to address the huge change that occurred in this game... The voice actor change. I like Kiefersnake. As much as I love David Hayter, Kiefer Sutherland’s voice really suited the character in my opinion. He sounds much more natural and gives a better impression of a non-accelerated aged man. I’ve heard some people say that it just sounds like Jack Bauer to them. This wasn’t a problem for me since I don’t watch 24, but after watching some clips of it I think this is a totally valid frustration. Anyways, decent game.

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (PC)
I call this one “Blue Balls: The Video Game.” I love this game. In fact, I’ve 100%ed it twice. However, my franchise fatigue got really bad at this point. I wanted to be done. My burnout was so bad, that I just skipped missions non-essential to the story. And the fact that I was able to do this what I think is the game’s biggest weakness. Many of the missions are inconsequential and only tangentially related to the main story. I really wish the whole story followed the example of missions 28, 29, 30, and 31, which comprise the segment where you meet Code Talker, cure the parasite outbreak, and then confront Skull Face. You had a little bit of cutscene and exposition before the mission, and then a little bit of cutscene and exposition afterwards. Sometimes there isn’t even a helicopter ride in or out. It doesn’t even have to be that much, just enough to ensure that a consistent and comprehensible story can be told. Basically, just follow Peace Walker’s example. If it were up to me, I would restructure the story entirely. I would have most of chapter 1 hype up this bombastic, lofty, hate-filled crusade against Cipher and Skull Face. Then, missions 28, 29, 30, and 31 happen as they did normally. Huey still kills Skull Face. I think that a boss fight with him misses the entire point of what this game was going for. The end of chapter 1 should remain dissatisfying and anticlimactic to preserve the message that revenge is a wasted effort. Then chapter 2 is where you put all the mundane missions like mission 10: rescue some guy or mission 15: get rid of these Walker Gears. Juxtapose these basic “job” missions with all the misfortunes like the second outbreak, Quiet’s sacrifice, Eli stealing Sahelanthropus, etc and you strengthen what chapter 1 was going for. After the characters get their “revenge,” life just goes on for them. The major threat is gone and all there is to do is to keep doing more jobs. And that’s when you realize that they really haven’t solved anything, and nothing has changed since this new state of normalcy. And finally, you learn the truth after becoming far too entrenched in the body double ruse to ever find a way out. Not to put myself on a pedestal since this is my idea, but I think this is a better way to tell the story. It preserves the writer’s intent but reordering it in such a way that it’s not a disjointed mess. It’s such a shame since I think that MGSV has a cool story with a lot of great ideas but is hampered with a botched presentation. All that stuff about language really grabbed my attention. It really got me thinking. And where MGS4 had too many cutscenes, MGSV had too little. Which sucks since the cinematography is so well done. Not only that, but I don’t like how the tapes were handled. In Peace Walker, they were entirely optional and provided additional context or characterization while the voice actors goofed off in the recording studio. Now, some of those tapes hold important plot points that easy to neglect due to the formatting. And when you do listen to them, you’re probably half paying attention since you’re also doing a side op at the same time and then you get Ocelot’s daily reminder to hide from a chopper or some other distraction. You could listen in the ACC or on base, but that hurts the pacing of the game since it forces unnecessary inactivity. And a lot of this information should’ve been better integrated into the cinematics. But objectively, the content of the tapes are interesting and well-performed. But again, botched presentation. This “audio diary” method works best in games like Bioshock that make heavy use of atmosphere and environmental story telling. MGSV was not well-designed with those in mind given the open world. And it really failed to capitalize on the cast’s talent. Especially Kiefersnake who was such a wasted opportunity. He doesn’t need to be super talkative, but I would’ve liked a little bit more than what we got in the game. The characters are a weak point in general. Kaz is a one-dimensional. Ocelot is still a devil’s advocate kinda guy but it’s a lot more subdued. Quiet was alright. And Volgin, Liquid, and Psycho Mantis honestly didn’t add anything meaningful. Huey and Skull Face were fantastic though. Huey being an absolute piece of shit actually enhances the Otacon and Solid Snake bromance. It gives them a shared trauma of wanting to absolve the sins of the father and illustrates how much better they are than their predecessors. Plus, despite how despicable Huey was, many of his accusations towards Diamond Dogs were very valid. So even is the good guy anymore? And Skull Face was epic. He is an amalgamation of many MGS villain traits. He’s got Volgin’s cruelty, Ocelot’s cunning, Solidus’ charisma and idealism, etc. He’s a delightful cocktail of evil. Too bad he didn’t show up more. Kojima claiming that his absence as well as other things to enhance the “phantom pain” just comes off as an excuse to me. I also really like the body double twist. I made a comment on another post addressing this so I’ll just copy paste it here:
MSGV’s ending is not an acknowledgement to the fans and is a brilliant inversion of MGS2’s ending. In MGS2, Solid Snake encourages Raiden to break free and form his own identity separate from the Snake persona as well as the player. In MGSV, Venom Snake’s identity is completely erased and replaced with that of Big Boss. The title of “Big Boss” is extended to Venom and is depicted like some kind of “gift.” What kind of deranged, mentally ill person would accept ever accept a gift like that? 9 years and your entire identity lost while becoming a human shield just to get some lousy recognition. Big Boss has to carefully word himself so you don’t completely lose your mind. While Raiden became his own man independent of the fans, Big Boss and Venom (you the player) are now one in the same. You’re just an expendable tool doomed to a life of eternal warfare. I think it’s Kojima’s way of saying “Thank you for you contributions... Wait, you’re not satisfied yet? Here, you can be Big Boss too. You get no peace now, keep fighting these meaningless proxy wars (video games).”
I interpret it as a final “fuck you assholes!” that Kojima disguised as a compliment and I love it. The dude has always had a tumultuous relationship with fans. But again, we must do an objective analysis. My only problem with it is that I feel like it wasn’t incorporated well into the story and it’s somewhat obvious from the beginning. In comparison, MGS2’s twist is handled with a lot more care, with it slowly unraveling throughout the whole thing rather than character creation, a couple throwaway lines, and then boom you remember the prologue differently. And in general, the reveal itself is not handled well. Mission 46 is exactly the same as the prologue aside from the beginning and end of it. I wish there was more effort to differentiate them from each other. Maybe play as Ishmael? The overall mission would play out the same, but it would be enough difference to justify replaying it. Anyways, gameplay is easily peak of the series. If you let go of tranquilizing everything and start formulating weird, unorthodox strategies you can have a lot of fun with this game. It sucks to have to budget your resources, especially with the higher tier equipment, but it’s manageable. The main ops are all pretty good, just wish that they hall had perfect stealth, subsistence, extreme, etc. But thank God for PC modding. The side ops a trash though. Peace Walker’s had issues but at least they had variety. MGSV’s are all the same thing. Overall, I think the game was too ambitious. The gameplay is phenomenal, but the story comes off as a less elegant MGS2 to me. Still like it though. They tried.

Metal Gear Survive (PC)
I actually skipped this game on release and have not played it until now. I actually planned on stopping at TPP, but this game was like $7 on Steam sale and I wanted to experience all its shitty glory for myself. It's not great..., but not terrible either. Just very mediocre. I don't know why I should invest my time into this game when I can go play Resident Evil or Fallout instead. The story is meh and the characterization is laughably terrible. I chuckled when Nicholas said he would miss Dite if we left, as if I had any attachment whatsoever to the location or characters. I had a soft spot for Miranda though since she looks and sounds like a girl I used to date, but that's about it. And you thought Venom didn't like talking? I think the Captain says less than five words the entire game. The silent protagonist thing doesn't work well here. Admittedly I spent way too much time making the player character look like me. Finally, a Filipino video game protagonist lmao. Anyways, the gameplay itself is not satisfying. I found it boring and repetitive. Doesn't help that the world is uninteresting and a pain in the ass to explore. Everything looks the same and the way that the map works is an inconvenience that doesn't add any challenge or depth. It was also depressing to see all MGSV assets so blatantly and lazily reused. I screamed when I saw Luftwa Mansion. And nanobot zombies is such a stupid and novel idea, so why didn't the devs at least have fun with it? This game had some serious potential to be a hilarious meme loved by the community like Rising, but it's too lifeless and dull to come even close. I don't know why the game was directed this way. I could see how this game could be a good co-op experience, but the underlying experience is so unimpressive that I don't want to invest more time into it. A total waste of the FOX Engine and the team's talent. It's such a shame since the intro of the game hooked me by showing the aftermath of Ground Zeroes. They should have made a game where they followed MSF remnants continuing operations in Central America, a sort of Peace Walker-lite. Or they could have made a game following XOF with Reeve as the main character. Anything above those lines would have been better.
submitted by WhodatBollocks to metalgearsolid [link] [comments]

IQ Farming Guide For Explorers of Time, Darkness, and Sky

Greetings Explorers!
I noticed that Harad12 recently wrote a guide to using honey gather to farm for IQ, which is something I had independently thought of and had been experimenting with myself this week. The previous guide was certainly on the right track, but my own work with it brought up a number of details that could improve the efficiency of this method. As such, I decided that writing a new guide was the easiest way to keep all information easily available. I will try to make this guide usable at any point in the game and on any of the three versions, though having Apple Woods available is a clear and unavoidable minimum requirement.

So, down to business, what is the basis of this method?
The premise of this guide is to provide a faster and more efficient way to farm IQ than the normal method of gathering large quantities of Gummis. A Gummi that matches the type of a Pokemon provides 5 IQ points. However, another item called Nectar provides 10 to any type. Nectar can also potentially be gathered faster and more reliably than any type of Gummi, and that is what this guide will focus on.
This method of IQ farming relies entirely on the ability Honey Gather, an ability completely unique to Combee. (in gen IV, at least) Note that if it has evolved into Vespiquen, it will lose this ability.
In my efforts to be complete, this guide will be quite long. Much of it is explanation of relevant mechanics, if you only want the short version, I will try to bold the relevant bits.

If I don't have Combee, How do I get it?
Combee can be recruited on floors 6-12 of Apple Woods. They have a positive recruitment rate, so they don't require any extraordinary effort to recruit. If you are playing Explorers of Darkness, it will not appear unless you use a wondermail code that allows you to meet it first, Such as the one below.
X5&F \@YKQ 0-70
\@FWH 0FX& P8Y9
(where \@ is just @) (Example from Bulbapedia)
Combee should be recruited on Even floors, making them Female. This will allow you to evolve them if you decide you no longer need them, but also, in Explorers Female Pokemon have increased Accuracy and Evasion, whereas Males have a higher critical rate. The accuracy and evasion is more useful for how we will be using them. (Though truthfully, it won't make that big a difference.)

How do I set up my team?
If you have gained the ability to switch out your leader you will need two or three Combee. If you are not at this stage, you will use 1-2 Combee. I have been using two and it works quite well. If you want complete efficiency, three is the way to go.
Combee is recruited at level 12-13, if you are playing Explorers of Sky it will,have the moves Sweet Scent, Gust, and Bug Bite at level 13. If you are playing Time/Darkness, they will only have Sweet Scent and Gust. This is their complete learnset. Disable Sweet Scent, it does us no good.
The loss of Bug Bite on Time/Darkness is unfortunate, but Gust was by far the superior move, so it should only make a difference while leveling Combee to the point where their basic attack is good enough.
You will probably want to level these Combee up somewhat, but level 20 should be adequate for most of our target dungeons. You can level them up as you choose, mine leveled up as I took them on trial runs working out the exact mechanics.
Once they get to high enough levels, be sure to turn off the exclusive move user IQ skill, to let them basic attack enemies.
If you are playing Explorers of Time or Explorers of Darkness, you will also need to unlock the IQ skill Collector on your Combee! This will account for apparent differences in treasure box rates between them and Sky. A note on this skill can be found near the bottom of this guide.

There is another ability which will make this a lot easier, Illuminate. Illuminate is an ability for Volbeat (Upper Steam Cave), Staryu (Brine Cave), Starmie (anywhere named "Sea"), Chinchou, and Lanturn (both in Miracle Sea). Any of these choices should work, though some have certain advantages or better availability. In the Explorers games, Illuminate causes an enemy to spawn on the floor at the end of any turn the Pokemon was hit. This is bad when you are struggling through a hard dungeon, but excellent when you need large numbers of enemies to spawn, which is the case here. I recommend using only one Illuminate Poke, and all other available slots should be Combee, if possible. You should make the Pokemon with Illuminate team Leader, if you have this option.
I chose Volbeat as mine, because it started with the useful move Moonlight, which in Clear weather restores 50 HP to the entire team. This is reduced in other weathers, making it a little less reliable. Holding a Weather Band on Volbeat will restore its effect for the whole team, but X-Ray Specs are the recommended hold item, so if you want to do this you will need to switch to the Weather Band one turn before Moonlight is needed. If you are using Volbeat, do not use Double Team. 0 damage hits trigger Illuminate, misses do not.
Staryu/Starmie are also highly recommended, due to learning recover, which is not affected by weather, but only effects them. Staryu also learns Harden, but Starmie can only have it from evolution, which requires a Water Stone. They are also recruited at a much higher level than Volbeat and Combee, which is good for end-game players who don't want to spend time leveling, but makes them less accessible to early game players.
When a Pokemon with Illuminate is hit, you will see the message " Blinked!" at the beginning of your turn. This indicates the ability worked, and another enemy has spawned. if you have X-Ray Specs held, you will see another red dot appear on your map. (I went the entire game without knowing what that message meant.)
X-Ray Specs are an extremely useful held item for our purposes, since they show the location of all items and enemies on the map, these should be held by your team leader. Held items for your Combee are not required, but Pecha Scarves will protect them from poison, one of the major threats in the best dungeons for this strategy. These can both be received as mission rewards.
Other items you may use are apples, reviver seeds, oran berries, and max elixirs, but it is very important to keep as much inventory available as you safely can! If you are just starting the game, you will only have 16 slots available in your bag, but this will go up as you progress through the plot. The largest size is 48, which I will generally assume, but I found myself only using around 8 slots for preparations, so this is easily possible with less bag space!
One more note, go to options and set Speed to Fast and "Far-off pals" to Self. Since our party will be splitting up, this will make this go much faster, as the game will not have to cut away repeatedly every turn. You can still view your allies in the team menu to see and map their surroundings. You should also make sure the map is clearly visible on one of the screens.

What dungeon do I go to?
The only requirements for our target dungeons are:
  1. Low Level
  2. Treasure Boxes can drop
  3. Short
I have been using Oran Forest for this purpose in Explorers of Sky, though it is not the only option.
It is unlocked in Time and Darkness through a rescue mission in an unknown dungeon, or in Sky by making a cumulative 60 recycles in Spinda's Cafe.
It is a level 8-12 dungeon, and only has 4 floors, plus a fifth floor as an end-of-dungeon loot room. It also has a large number of Oran Berries (in case you couldn't guess), which can be used to heal your relatively vulnerable Combee.
Other suggestions are pending, but need to be examined in detail in both Sky and Time/Darkness before they can be fully recommended.
There are no advantages to using higher level dungeons for this! In fact, in Explorers of Sky, even the largest inventory can get filled in four floors of this, so there is no reason to go to longer dungeons for this. However, the drop rate appears to be lower in Time/Darkness, so longer dungeons may be beneficial if you are having trouble filling your inventory. Treasure Boxes from higher-level dungeons will have better item rewards when they are not Exclusive Items, but it is also possible the wider variety might decrease the odds of Nectar, which is the only thing we care about.
However, it is possible that boxes might drop more frequently in different dungeons, so trying other dungeons may have positive results.

How does it actually work?
Through repeated experiments, I have worked out that honey gather works as follows:
If an enemy is defeated by a Pokemon with honey gather and they drop a treasure box, there is a 30-50%* chance the box will contain Nectar! The enemy must be defeated by a Pokemon with Honey Gather, it is not enough to have Combee in the party or as leader! This also means multiple Combee does not raise the chance, it just allows another party member to get Nectar from boxes.
*More research is needed, See the Box Pruning tip at the bottom for more info.
So, to make use of this information, our goal is simply to have as many enemies as possible to get knocked out by Combee!
At the start of each floor, we must allow our Pokemon with Illuminate to get hit as many times as possible. If it is not party leader, This means making it so that it cannot defend itself while under attack until necessary. This does not mean allowing it to faint, just get hit repeatedly. Also, Illuminate only triggers once per turn, so only one Pokemon with Illuminate is needed and it only needs one Pokemon attacking it. There are several ways to do this, but the easiest ways to accomplish this if you are not controlling it are with a Diet Band (fairly rare), by setting its tactics to "Get Away From Here!" while it is trapped (untested), or to set up its moves so it does something useless each turn (like using a move with 0PP left). If you are controlling it, it is simply a matter of holding B+A to pass turns while they attack you.
After that, The Combee should have their tactics set to "Go The Other Way" to allow them to spread out and defeat enemies. If your Combee are not yet strong enough to fight on their own, you may instead use "Go After Foes" which causes them to follow you like the default "Let's go Together", but causes them to actively seek out enemies in the same room, letting you guard them while they fight. But remember, Combee must land the finishing blow or any boxes will not contain Nectar.
Be sure to keep an eye on the health of your Pokemon, we may be in a low level dungeon but Combee's stats are not as high as your starters. If Combee is knocked out, you will have to finish the dungeon and try again.
When the floor runs low on enemies (seen with X-Ray Specs), allow your Illuminate Pokemon to get hit some more. If you run out of enemies, move on to the next floor, it's faster than waiting for new spawns.
An enemy holding an item will never drop a treasure box, so you should pick up items as soon as you can, including boxes dropped by other enemies. This will especially cause a problem if your Combee fights a hallway full of enemies, since each enemy will pick up the box dropped by the first one, preventing additional drops.
Using this strategy, I was able to get more than 40 boxes in a single run of Oran Forest, making me glad I brought few items in.
Since you are spending a lot of time on each floor, you may require apples even in this 4-floor dungeon. Remember you can also snack on the Oran berries on the floor to restore 5 belly and heal the damage caused by hunger.
You should leave the dungeon as soon as your inventory is full, or as soon as the going gets tough. There is no penalty for coming back more prepared the next day.
Now that you have left the dungeon, you will need to appraise the boxes. This will cost 150p per box, or 1200p per page of 8. If you came out with 40 (more is unreasonable,) that would cost 6000p to appraise. This could be expensive at the start of the game, but it is well worth it. If money is tight, you might sell the exclusive items from the non-Nectar boxes to recover 125p per item. Far more painful than the cost is waiting through Xatu's dialogue for... every... single... box....
At my estimate of 50% Nectar, this results in around 20 Nectar, equal to two stars of IQ, or 40 Gummis of the appropriate type. At that rate it should only take 5 runs to max any given Pokemon.
If you are playing explorers of Sky, you can use them at Spinda's cafe for a chance at an extra point of IQ, and a lower chance of a stat boost from a miracle drink. If you are not playing Sky, don't worry, the bonus is only 1 point compared to the 10 they already give, so at even if half of them gave the bonus the Nectar would only work at 105% efficiency in Sky, or 1 bonus Nectar for 20, nothing serious to worry about. Sky players also have to go through Spinda's entire routine for each Nectar, so possibly a net loss there. However, there is a better alternative for all versions, it simply requires some setup.
An even better solution to feeding the nectar to your Pokemon was proposed by u/ugly_sabbia. If a Gummi or Nectar is thrown at a Pokemon, it will apply its usual effects to them. However, the IQ skill Pierce Hurler allows a thrown item to hit multiple Pokemon, applying their effect to each of them. By lining up your other three party members, you can feed all three a single Nectar, effectively tripling the effects! To line them up, you will want to position each one and tell them to "Wait Here". You can also tell them to "Wait Here", and then switch positions with them until they are lined up. You should note that thrown items can still miss teammates, so you will need to either hold Lock-on Specs (Found in Zero Isle, confirmed in a Kecleon Shop in South) or a move that gives the Sure-Shot status, either Lock-On or Mind Reader. The IQ Skill Pierce Hurler is held by IQ Groups A, B, C, and F. It requires 850 points of IQ (8.5 stars) to unlock, equivalent to 85 Nectar. Notably in IQ Group A is Combee, which we have already recruited, and Magnemite, which learns Lock-On. In order to do this, you will need your Pierce Hurler to be party leader, which may make it more difficult for players who cannot yet switch their leaders. Starters from one of these IQ groups are Bulbasaur, Charmander, Cyndaquil, Torchic, Mudkip, Chimchar, and Piplup, and if you are playing Sky, Eevee, Shinx, and Riolu, so if you are playing as one of these Pokemon, you can still do this without switching leaders. You can also use the rare Pierce Orb to apply this effect to your leader for a single floor, bypassing the requirement to have this skill. I saw one of these in Zero Isle South in a Kecleon shop while confirming the Lock-On Specs location, but I have not ruled out the possibility that they can be found elsewhere or earlier.
If you do not yet have access to Zero Isle or these items, I have devised a budget option that still allows for around 90% accuracy. By using Combee's Sweet Scent while Confused (or Cross-Eyed?), and turning off the IQ Skill Non-Traitor, you can reduce your own team's evasion. I found two totter seeds was the appropriate length of confusion to reach the maximum reduction. However, when told to "wait there" while confused, my Combee moved around instead of using Sweet Scent, even with an enemy present. If you can not make Combee your leader, you can instead try an X-Eye seed on Combee, or find a Dungeon where an enemy will use Sweet Scent on you, like the Wild Combee at Apple Woods. You will still miss occasionally, unfortunately, but this is another instance where we can benefit from the extra accuracy for Female Pokemon if your Leader is Female, our Combee, for example.
Note that No-Guard works differently in Mystery Dungeon, so using a Pierce Orb with Machoke does not guarantee the throw will hit. However, Lock-On and Mind-Reader will. Other accuracy-boosting moves and abilities may help, but obviously Combee does not have them.
This method of feeding has the advantages of being possible in any version, potentially tripling the effects, and being much faster and entertaining than Spinda's Cafe. It does mean no chance of miracle drinks, but we were already passing up quite a few stat points from Gummis, so this is an insignificant loss. This trick can also be used with Vitamins and Gummis. Note that Joy Seeds, Life Seeds, and Sitrus Berries are better used with the IQ skill Nature Giver, to apply to four Pokemon instead, not covered in this guide.
A limit on this strategy is that Large four-star size Pokemon can be brought in a team of at most three, so this limits you to feeding two Pokemon at a time if one is huge. This affects large Legendaries, large Pokemon such as Gyarados and Onix, and surprisingly Castform. however, it is still more efficient than other methods.
Testing proved that the Bounce Band has no effect on Pierce-Hurled items, so I can reasonably say this is the current efficiency limit.

Are there any improvements for better efficiency?
For people looking to improve on this method, there are four or five simple things you can do to improve your efficiency.
The first, and simplest, is exclusive to Sky. Explorers of Sky added many exclusive items to the game, and Combee received one of them. This is the 3-star rarity Nectar Bow, which raises the odds of enemies dropping boxes when Combee defeats them. This item will randomly appear in the Croagunk swap shop , where you can trade any 5 other exclusive items for it. It has a higher chance to appear after you brought Combee into a dungeon, so if it isn't there just check after your next Combee mission. It appeared fairly frequently when I was testing, so don't worry if it doesn't show up immediately. Having it in your bag is enough to trigger the effect, and it applies to all Combee and Vespiquen in the party.
The second option has the same effect, but is also available in Time and Darkness. As an IQ group A Pokemon, Combee can learn the IQ skill collector at 370 IQ points (4 stars), which only takes 37 nectar. This has the same effect as the Nectar Bow, but you have to earn it separately on each Combee. This probably stacks with the Nectar Bow, but I have not tested it yet. In Time/Darkness, this is almost mandatory due to the apparently much lower treasure box rates.
Another Exclusive item that might help is Sky Gem, which will raise their movement speed by 1 if the weather is clear. This will be impossible to get early in the game, but end-game players who have it might benefit from it, the faster they move, the faster they can defeat enemies. Sky Silk is on floor 13 of Zero Isle North, the dust comes from jobs, turn them in at the Croagunk swap shop.
The fourth option is the simplest: the stronger your Combee, the easier it can defeat enemies. The less you have to micromanage your Combee, the quicker things will go. This can be done by leveling up or by finding the right items or team set ups to make them stronger. One possible path is the type-exclusive items for Bug and Flying types. They are found as follows:
Sky Silk (Attack + Defense): Zero Isle North, 13th Floor
Green Silk (Attack + Defense): Zero Isle North, 30th Floor
Sky Dust (Sp. Attack + Sp. Defense): Reward for a job with ???? as the reward (from a flying-type client?)
Wonder Dust (Attack + Sp. Attack): Reward for a job with ???? as the reward (from a Bug-type client?)
Additional items are reached by trading in these items, but the later ones do not increase stats.

The last option needs some further research. I have devised a method I refer to as Box-Pruning. If we can increase the proportion of boxes that have Nectar, we can get the same IQ gains in fewer runs. But how can we do this? The contents of the boxes are hidden until you return to town! Well, as it turns out, not entirely. When you sort your inventory, boxes are sorted by category, but it appears that in any given category the boxes containing Exclusive Items are sorted to the end. This makes it simple, we just leave the boxes least likely to contain Nectar in the dungeon. This can be accomplished by throwing them in an empty room before switching floors. You should only do this if you expect to fill the space before you leave the dungeon, and don't need the Exclusive Items. Roughly 50% of boxes have exclusive items so after filling up your inventory and sorting once, you should leave the boxes behind as follows:
Groups of 3-4: get rid of the last box
Groups of 5-6: get rid of the last two boxes
Groups of 7+: get rid of the last three boxes
Keep in mind, after the first time you do this, all remaining boxes in categories that lost a box have reasonable odds to contain Nectar, so they should not be included in the count if you choose to empty a little more later. You might leave more boxes than I suggested if you are willing to spend more time gathering, I simply used statistics to estimate which boxes are least likely to contain Nectar.


Additional advice:
Combee can be quite vulnerable, and there are several things that can be surprisingly dangerous to them. The first is Poison, which is not dangerous because of the damage, but rather because it stops their natural health regeneration. Going from fight to fight with no healing can be dangerous, and you should be ready to help with healing, status cures, or by giving them Pecha Scarves. In Oran Forest, Budew and Wurmple can inflict poison.
Stat decreases, while not inherently dangerous, can render Combee vulnerable if left untreated. You can fix this by luring them to Wonder Tiles occasionally. Surprisingly dangerous in this regard is Oddish in Oran Forest, who can use Acid to reduce Sp. Def, making you more vulnerable to the next use of Acid. This can snowball if left unchecked. Other Pokemon may use Leer, making you more vulnerable to all physical attacks, which can be even worse if left unchecked. Less dangerous is growl, reducing attack. If this becomes a serious problem, turning Gust back on or restoring its PP if necessary should restore your combat capabilities, and it is hard to imagine a situation where your attack was so low that Gust was ineffective in Oran Forest.
Fixed damage can be dangerous in some dungeons, as no amount of defense increases or level advantage can reduce it. This is a serious risk in dungeons with Yanma or Yanmega, which has Sonicboom for a flat 20 damage.

The Disadvantage:
Unlike using a Gummi, using Nectar does not increase any stats. To reach 900 IQ points (9 stars), where all but three Pokemon have their last skill, it will take 90 Nectar. This is equivalent to 180 Gummis of the correct type. Each of these Gummis would have raised a stat by one point, so a Pokemon with maxed IQ using Nectar will be 180 points behind one who used the correct Gummis. at the generous assumption of 2 points in everything per level, this would still be at least 18 levels of strength difference. Of course, if you maxed IQ using the exact wrong Gummi (e.g. Purple on a pure Normal type), you would need 900 Gummis for 900 stat points, almost certainly pushing the stat caps of 255 (or 252? I forget.) each. I suppose this can be mitigated by pointing out that having all IQ skills does not mean you can no longer eat Gummis, but rather you no longer have to care what type you eat, but it is still something to consider. However, due to the massive time difference, I still recommend this strategy.

Closing notes:
When preparing to write this guide, I did two runs with the Nectar Bow in my bag to make sure I had all my facts straight. The first, I had Combee in my party, but defeated all enemies using Volbeat. Out of 71 KOs, I got 10 boxes, none of which had Nectar, and the Neon Scarf made enemies drop money 8 times. I would hypothesize they are both using the same 1/8 rate, but more importantly it shows that Combee in the party is not enough.
In my second run, My Combee KO'd 81 enemies, dropping 25 boxes, 13 of which had Nectar. This is where my initial estimate of 50% came from, and shows that Combee needs to get the final blow to get nectar and does not need to be the party leader. It also shows how much faster the Nectar Bow makes this, and I expect the IQ skill to have the same effect. Further runs indicated the true rate of Nectar is lower than this.
I would expect the IQ skill + Nectar Bow to have an even higher rate, but I did not feel testing was necessary before initially posting this.
With this strategy in Sky, I took a Pokemon from 1-star IQ to 9-star with just a couple runs per day for two days. I spent more time cleaning my inventory than running dungeons. I expect a decreased efficiency in Time/Darkness unfortunately, but it hopefully will still be worth using.
Also, I should note I used lots of info from Bulbapedia.
*Edits: corrections, feeding method from u/ugly_sabbia, some additional information added.
*Edit phase II: Accounting for version differences, added Box Pruning, confirmed item locations, special thanks to u/15-minutegaming for extensive feedback and suggestions
I will probably be taking a break from working further on this guide for a while, since I have something else I need to be doing, but I have not ruled out the possibility of further refinements in the future.
submitted by Cuthon to MysteryDungeon [link] [comments]

Defending the Draft: Philadelphia Eagles

Defending the 2020 Draft: Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles entered the 2020 draft with the following selections:
Draft Picks
Round Pick Notes
1 21 Eagles' own pick
2 53 Eagles' own pick
3 103 Compensatory Selection
4 127 Eagles' own pick
5 168 via NE for Michael Bennett
5 196 via CHI
6 200 via CHI
6 210 via SF
7 233 via CHI
Note 1: The Eagles traded their own 3rd (pick 85) and their own 5th (pick 166) to the Detroit Lions for CB Darius Slay.
Note 2: The Eagles traded with the Bears for RB Jordan Howard last year with the compensation to be later determined. Based on the 2019 season, that draft pick ended up being the Eagles own 6th round pick (pick 200) in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Here is a fun recap on all our Day 3 trades.

2020 NFL Draft Needs

I’ll detail the following needs here in tiers from most to least pressing:
Tier 1 Tier 2 Tier 3
WR CB RB
SAF LB Center
OT
Below are my thoughts prior to draft day and after free agency.
Tier 1
  • WR: Agholor is thankfully gone. Alshon is old, slower, mouthy, fragile, and may be on his way out. And DJax is old, probably still effective, but coming off a season he virtually missed. Greg Ward is fun and all but he's not a building block, JJAW may give them nothing. This position is devoid of talent in the short and long term. Additionally, this position directly helps the biggest investment - Wentz. Top need no question.
  • SAFETY: Philly ultimately let Jenkins walk after declining his option; he then signs in NOLA at a price we easily could have matched. There was a need to find a natural successor to him but he wasn't washed. Now they have nothing to replace him with... that includes Mills. They re-signed McLeod but his inability to cover last year isn't talked about enough. Hopefully he just needed more time back from injury. Fortunately, they added Will Parks as a solid SAF3 option. Overall, this position is tenuous at best now and has nothing reliable long term.
Tier 2
  • CB:Thankfully the Eagles traded for Darius Slay. I believed the Eagles needed to be aggressive in the veteran market for someone reliable at this position since the CB market was better in FA and for trades. Additionally, the Eagles signed NRC, one of the top slot CBs, to a one year deal. Both players are fits and tremendous upgrades. There is still a hole at CB2 and the long term depth is troubling. Maddox hasn't secured a position, Jones has been a bust and nearly done here, Douglas isn't liked by the coaching staff and likely gone soon, and LeBlanc hasn't shown enough. This position is still a weakness, just less so this year after FA.
  • LB: This is easily the most talent-deprived group on the roster. This is a group that is young, inconsistent, and slow. There is no standout talent nor is there anyone to be excited about. LB isn’t a bigger need due to the relative lack of importance the organization gives the position and the ability to hide holes here through scheme.
  • OT: Given the (mostly likely, we'll see) departure of Jason Peters, the Eagles still have a need for a tackle to develop and serve as a backup swing tackle - they didn't sign one in free agency. We’ve seen positive things out of Jordan Mailata in each of the last two preseasons but we have never seen him in real game action to know if he can actually play at this level yet. I’m erring on the side of caution, pretending Mailata doesn’t exist until he proves his worth at this level. Dillard will be the LT since he has no positional versatility. That leaves the backup swing tackle, a role filled by Big V, empty.
Tier 3:
  • RB: They really just need a reliable body here that can be effective between the tackles and get the yards blocked for them. They don't need a starter.
  • CENTER: Kelce has thought about retirement as early as last year and has since stated he's back. His contract structure figures to keep him here thru 2021 as well. Can't hurt to address this spot and the need will rise over time.
DRAFT SELECTIONS
  • 1.21 - JALEN REAGOR, WIDE RECEIVER, TEXAS CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY
The initial reaction to the selection of Reagor was pretty unfair considering need, fit, and his overall ability entering the NFL. He was my personal WR6 with a round 1/2 grade and my last receiver I felt genuinely comfortable in round 1 should the Eagles go that route; so pick 21, on the surface, is pretty good! The problem is the elephant in the room, my WR2, CeeDee Lamb.
Good on the Cowboys for taking Lamb who they rated highly as much as it makes me want to vomit. I believe in keeping strengths strong especially at premium positions. I think the impact Lamb could have in Dallas, especially in the short term, is greater than the impact they'll get from any defensive rookie they would have taken instead. Had they passed on Lamb for said defensive talent, that decision would be completely understood. Need is a real factor for teams we often overlook (present company included). It just makes a strong unit more formidable; it's a selection that directly helps their QB, the most important position in the sport. It's kind of the idea I wanted the Eagles to do (and they did ultimately) by just throwing what you have to help out your QB. Just the Cowboys are better positioned for immediate gains in that regard considering they already have Cooper and Gallup.
But that's where the understandable outrage comes from with regards to Jalen Reagor. CeeDee Lamb was right there. He was a consensus top player in the draft, let alone WR, by virtually every media outlet and draft guy you could follow. This isn't Couch Potato Paul's number 1 WR, this was Dane Brugler's WR1. You get the point. Given the dire need for the Eagles to maximize a top flight QB after surrounding him with arguably the worst receiving room 2 out of his 4 years as starter, tensions were high. I was mad but not at the same time. Rumors swirled pre-draft about the possibility of moving up for Lamb but it never materialized even though he got really close.
I don't think I would have paid a second round selection to move up for Lamb like what was rumored with the Falcons; that's a high price to pay for a WR and I tend to agree with PFF on the analytics of trading up (depends on how far and compensation). Let's think about this though. We all know but never really acknowledge that team boards can be wildly different than draft twittepersonal boards. This makes complete sense and there is nothing inherently wrong with it. But if it's true I get the feeling the Eagles were never really in on Lamb. I'm not suggesting they were "low" on Lamb, rather, I think they were just higher on Reagor based on his skill set, fit, and need. It's a take but not a completely unreasonable one; it's definitely risky and I think the floor with Lamb is much higher than Reagor. If the pre-draft trade rumors were true, it was for Ruggs. Someone with speed and a high athletic profile that can win outside. Lamb is still a good athlete, but Ruggs is on another level. As is Reagor.
As for Reagor, he is a good WR prospect with a pretty high ceiling. The absolute best case scenario, and this isn't a comp, is that he ends up as out Steve Smith Sr. Their builds, athletic ability, how they win, and fit are pretty similar. That's an awfully high bar for Reagor that I don't expect him to hit, but I think that's the trajectory if everything goes according to plan. Reagor is a really nice fit for Philly for a number of reasons. The first, he's fast; while he isn't just a speedster as evidenced by his 93.3 percentile combine testing performance, his movement ability has been a quality the Eagles have sorely lacked in the Doug Pederson era. We had it in 2017 with Torrey Smith then 2019 with Desean Jackson for essentially 1 game. It's been a slow, plodding offense otherwise. While Reagor had a disappointing 40 time at the combine, he has shown time and again an ability to win on deep routes down the field and generate explosive plays.. He's also well-versed in an outside alignment, something the Eagles were sorely lacking in a long-term prospect. He has good feet off the LOS to win in the early stages of routes, and can play strong through contact.. He also has the ability to make the first guy miss in the open field regardless of alignment. The Eagles were among the worst teams in the NFL in YAC ability and Reagor can help change that dynamic.
Reagor is not a flawless prospect but very few are. One area that bothers me are his drops. While he suffered from some of the worst QB play in college, Reagor still had a low adjusted completion percentage when targeted. It's important to note that he did have a lot of drops in the screen/short game, but that's not a good enough thing to overlook either when those plays are generally more successful. That screen drop had nothing to do with poor QB play. From the PFF piece in the previous paragraph, Reagor aligned on the right side of the offense close to 83% of his snaps at TCU. This doesn't mean that Reagor can't have success in the slot or on the left side early on, but it's more of a projection than you'd like. Lastly, another key area of concern for Reagor is his ability to win off the line against physical press coverage. He's a pretty solid route runner with good feet off the line but is largely untested in physical press man coverage; most WRs entering the NFL today are as well. It's an area of concern as you saw him struggle with it against Oklahoma in 2019 and against Ohio State. He needs to get stronger off the line as he will see much more of this in the NFL.
All in all, I think Reagor is a fine player and a good pick. It's just the comparison to Lamb, and maybe even Justin Jefferson, is one that will follow him throughout their time in the NFL. I love Jefferson as he was my WR4. I'll admit I don't think he was the greatest fit in the world for Philly in the short term, but I think he is a player the Eagles could need and will be very good. Reagor is also a fit. Even though I had Jefferson over Reagor, I'm fine with the selection. As I previously mentioned, very few prospects enter the league without holes in their game and Reagor is no different. The issue for the Eagles - and ultimately Reagor - is that this selection needs to be an immediate hit for the team to have any sort of offensive success this year. Reagor doesn't need to be an All Pro on day 1 but he cannot be as effective as JJAW (the other end of the two extremes). This offense was bland and lacked playmakers. This was the Eagles marquis offseason addition for their beleaguered WR room. Not Cee Dee Lamb. Or even a trade for DeAndre Hopkins. Reagor needs to provide some sort of offensive spark pretty soon for the Eagles offense to be successful.
  • 2.53 - JALEN HURTS, QUARTERBACK, OKLAHOMA
This was the second most controversial selection in the entire draft after the Packers took Jordan Love in the first round. I’ll be honest, this selection brought the Negadelphian out of me; all Eagles fans are born with this genetic defect, but people manage it to varying degrees of success. I like to think I am well-versed in handling bouts of Negadelphianism but this selection pushed me off the ledge.
I’ll start off real quick right here with my overarching thoughts on the selection since I am going to unhappily rant, especially since we have the benefit of time since the selection: I still hate it. I’m not one of those Eagles fans that automatically changes their opinion of a player or move just because they are an Eagle. I try and be fair, understand decisions, understand and accept when I am wrong, and just be honest. This selection still pisses me off. To be clear, this selection is not about Hurts to me; it is about the process and the decision-making from the Eagles brass. If you would have told me we drafted Hurts in the 3rd round with the 103rd selection, I might have cringed but would have been fine with it. I like Hurts the prospect and I value the position greatly to continue to take dart throws. I just loathe the resources used to satisfy an organizational philosophy.
As for Hurts, I think he was the perfect developmental QB in the draft since it wasn’t going to cost a 1st round pick to acquire him. PFF and Sports Info Solutions all rated Hurts as accurate per their statistical models. I generally agree but would phrase it differently; I do not believe Hurts is a precision passer but is generally accurate. What do I mean? I think he can put the ball in advantageous positions for receivers to make plays when he is in an offense that can create opportunities for him and his receivers, like at OU. I don’t think he has the arm strength to make difficult throws like Carson Wentz and others, nor do I think he gets there, but he can be an effective passer in a good situation. He has all the intangibles you’d want in a QB with excellent athletic ability. You won’t mistake him for Lamar Jackson, but he is an effective runner for the position. I think the playmaking ability is good to have in a developmental QB even if his ceiling isn’t overly high. Hurts is still a relatively slow processor and I think is still a see it then throw it passer. Doesn’t mean he won’t be good, but he has limitations right now and enough fatal flaws to limit his overall upside. But for what he can be, he’s a fine prospect. It’s the fit and resources that make me crazy.
PFF wrote an article (paywall) detailing why Hurt was a great selection. I get the logic and the analytical basis for the selection. But in my opinion, it’s a little too big-brained in actuality for the Eagles and PFF. Disregard all talk from the Eagles, media outlets, redditors, etc: Jalen Hurts was not selected to be our Taysom Hill. The Eagles are telling you everything you need to know with this selection – they are hedging on Carson Wentz. I accept the theory behind it given the injury history, not including the cheap-shot concussion, since the QB position is so important to the rise and fall of NFL franchises. I just find the irony hilarious when the Eagles say “no one understands the value of a backup QB more than we do.” Really? You don’t think the Patriots do?? They lost to Foles; they started their dynasty with some guy named Tom Brady who was originally a backup. To me, this sentiment is just hubris. The ultimate irony as it pertains to the Eagles is Nick Foles was signed as a Free Agent before the season he helped win a Super Bowl. Sure, he was originally drafted by the Eagles, but he returned via Free Agency. I understand the value of a cheap back up QB but cheap doesn’t mean he will be good right away.
In an ideal scenario, Jalen Hurts never plays. Carson Wentz continues to stay healthy or mostly healthy. In this situation, Hurts would never really play, he would never really get the practice reps needed to develop since he isn’t a starter, and then what? You trade him? I’m all for drafting and developing QBs in later rounds in the hope you can spin that player off for a better pick or two down the line, but what is the benefit in using a 2nd round pick to do that? In order to get equal value for the resources used to get Hurts, the Eagles need to get at least a 2 for him, that’s silly.
Consider the following:
There have been 47 QB trades since 2010 (not including draft day trade ups), roughly 25% of those trades netted Day 2 picks or better (12 total). Of those 12 trades, 3 had draft picks going with the QB being traded to the other team. Here are those trades: Teddy Bridgewater + 6th for a 3rd (Jets), Sam Bradford + 5th + conditional 6th (didn’t convey) for Nick Foles + 2nd + 4th, and Charlie Whitehurst + 2nd for a 2nd + 3rd (following years draft).
Additionally, of the 12 trades that netted a Day 2 selection or better, 4 included multiple Day 1 or 2 pick combinations and/or a player: Alex Smith for a 3rd + Kendall Fuller, Sam Bradford for a 1st + 4th (following year), Alex Smith for a 2nd + 2nd (following year), and Carson Palmer for a 1st + 2nd (following year).
So the Eagles used a selection with a 25% chance of netting at least similar value they used in acquiring Hurts in the future. To me that’s bad process. All this pick really says is the Eagles are hedging on Carson Wentz and believing that Hurts can be a good QB in the NFL (which he might be). And if he is and Wentz continues being a top flight QB, Hurts still will never play. What the heck is that?
They spent a second round pick on a guy that doesn’t help their current starting QB. How is that remotely acceptable? The only way this selection is a hit is if Wentz can’t play anymore and Hurts is an effective QB or they spin Hurts off for more than they paid for him in a couple years. Which, as we saw above, is really freaking hard! That’s bad process to me. You can find quality backups in free agency; I know this since I watched the Eagles do it. Oh, and there is a chance he could be inactive at the start of the season given the limited offseason work. I don’t believe in draft grades, but if I did, I would struggle to give this anything other than a Z-
  • 3.103 - DAVION TAYLOR, LINEBACKER, COLORADO
I initially loved this selection on draft day as it fit a need as I outlined earlier in this review. The Eagles are (mightily) short on talented Linebackers that also are athletic. It’s dangerous to be mediocre and slow in the middle of the defense, which the Eagles were. Taylor was a prospect I really liked, and still do, for his developmental upside at a position of need. I’m just skeptical of the value of this selection – probably a round too early.
Taylor is basically new to football. He wasn’t permitted to play as a yute due to religious obligations. His football history is basically his time at Colorado. This can be a good thing, he doesn’t really have any bad habits and is a ball of clay. With good coaching, in theory, he can be molded into the player the Eagles need him to be. The downside to his lack of football history really is his lack of football IQ. This is a serious flaw as it lowers his floor should he fail to develop. At the very least, Taylor will be an effective special team’s player. If that’s the floor for your 3rd round selection you did a bad job drafting.
As you can see, I’m not in love with the Eagles day 2 selections but I do like Taylor the prospect, I just feel it is risky given the need. The Eagles projected starters at Linebacker before the draft were Nate Gerry, TJ Edwards, and Jatavis Brown… yuck. Gerry really isn’t a good player but the team loves him. Edwards is likely to be a decent scheme player, generally on the field in heavy run situations due to his athletic limitations in space. And Brown is just a guy. Linebacker is a low-priority position for the Eagles but this is still an awful unit. Taylor has the upside to become the best of the bunch but it is likely not going to be any time soon, which is the issue. He has some coverage ability and an ability to click and close vs the run and screen game, but you need to limit his responsibilities to these areas early since his overall ability right now is very limited. If everything goes right, his ceiling projects to a player in the mold of Deion Jones, but in 2 to 3 years at best, if at all. However, his floor is the Earth’s Core. To me, this is the perfect prospect for one of your Day 3 selections given the low floor and high upside, not something you do on Day 2 considering he likely won’t provide instant impact.
  • 4.127 - K'VON WALLACE, SAFETY, CLEMSON
Take K’Von Wallace at pick 103 and then Davion Taylor here and I feel pretty good about the selections. Wallace was one of my pound the table players in the draft like a number of draft people I follow. He’s very good, multi-purpose safety that fills a large need for the Eagles especially with the departure of Malcolm Jenkins. You know how Brent Venables used Isaiah Simmons in a variety of ways? Wallace was one of the guys who would rotate with Simmons and fill in the responsibilities that Simmons vacated on a play-by-play basis. Now, I’m not saying that Wallace is the caliber player that Simmons is, I’m just saying he is a talented player that helped unleash Simmons in the variety of ways he was used.
I was particularly attracted to Wallace pre-draft because of his man coverage abilities. The Eagles aren’t shy from playing man-to-man but severely lack the personnel to be able to do it effectively on a consistent basis. Malcolm Jenkins could play man but he was relegated to largely LinebackeBox Safety duties due to the preference of Jim Schwartz always being +1 in the box (sigh). Wallace isn’t really a box-type Safety, which I love. Yes, love. He can be in the middle and the slot in man and zone coverage. Wallace has the size, length and athleticism to run with bigger and faster receivers while covering those slippery bastards in the slot. On any given play he can rotate to a deep safety role as needed. I think it gives the Eagles a chance to present defenses with a variety of looks in the middle if they choose to get creative – which would be a departure from the current ethos. Wallace is also a good blitzer and sure tackler, both of which we could use.
It's nice to have a safety with size, athletic ability, and man coverage ability on the roster at such a young age. He’s already the most promising safety prospect on the team. It wouldn’t shock me to see him supplant Mills and/or Parks as a starter by the season's end. One frustrating aspect to this selection is I don’t feel like they have a true ball-hawking style safety to play mostly over the top to compliment Wallace’s projected skill-set. Sure, the Eagles brought back Rodney McLeod, but he looked like a shell of himself in 2019. Maybe the extra year away from his recent knee injury will help – the Eagles really need it. Additionally, what fun it would have been to have Wallace develop alongside Malcolm Jenkins so they wouldn’t have to hope for Wallace to develop quickly. Jalen Mills isn’t going to help him; who do you think got Mills lined up on a regular basis? Hopefully Wallace supplants Mills while Parks plays as the Safety 3 by the season's end. I’m not trying to trash Mills as normal, I just don’t think a perpetually bad cover man will suddenly get better with a position switch and green hair.
This is easily my favorite selection by the Eagles in this draft.
  • 4.145 - JACK DRISCOLL, OFFENSIVE LINE, AUBURN
Based on everything I’ve seen, Driscoll is a perfectly cromulent offensive line prospect. He doesn’t have any standout traits or very clear flaws. At worst, he projects as a developmental OL piece and a rotational player along the offensive line should the need arise. This is perfect for Philly as it was a need of ours. He’s proficient in run and pass blocking while generally technically sounds, rarely out of form on a play by play basis. He knows his own physical limitations and plays within them pretty successfully. He also has really good hands usage which should help his transition to the NFL. He’s also a plus athlete, which is valuable in developmental players.
A significant area of concern for Driscoll entering the league is his overall length and ability to handle power and anchor. He doesn’t have the long reach with a 26th percentile arm length to play tackle on a regular basis. Furthermore, he’s a pretty light prospect that struggles with power and pad level on a consistent basis. Given his ability to play consistently well, he should be able to bulk up some to improve on his ability to handle power and to anchor, but tackle is likely a position he won’t be pegged for with the Eagles. There have already been talks that Driscoll would be moved inside, possibly develop at center in the future. This is probably the right move as he may not be able to handle the power necessary to play outside. If he develops well enough, he could in theory become a decent Kelce replacement should he retire soon. He’ll never be the blocker Kelce is in the open field, but he doesn’t need to be. Good pick.
  • 5.168 - JOHN HIGHTOWER, WIDE RECEIVER, BOISE STATE
This is what I love from the Eagles: double-dipping at receiver with actual playmakers. Hightower was a guy I really liked in this range of the draft due to his speed and explosiveness. The Eagles needed a lot of that and made sure they left the draft with an overabundance of it. Respect.
What Hightower has is speed; he’s a fluid mover in space, throughout his routes, and with the ball in his hands. He’s a limited route runner but the routes he does do well fit the needs of the team. He can sell a post corner and other double-moves down field to help create space for explosive plays. His QBs had a rating of 124.1 when targeting him downfield (20+ yards) and can get off the line quickly and easily. At the combine, Hightower ran a 4.43 but with a 1.49 10 yard split (boner). He also jumped 38.5”, 86th percentile, which is bananas.
Hightower could probably stand to add a little weight but not much to slow him down. I think he is a little soft through contact so it’s an area he could look to improve upon. In the short term, the Eagles could help up using both in the slot and outside; the former would allow them to line up him off the line of scrimmage giving him a free release off the line, which is exciting. Hightower doesn’t have a ton of production at the college level and he’s not without flaws, but his current abilities fit a role the Eagles currently need. He’s also a good kick returner which we haven’t had in years. Good pick for Philly.
  • 6.196 - SHAUN BRADLEY, LINEBACKER, TEMPLE
One thing I think is nice is the Eagles took another player, and at LB, that is a plus athlete. Bradley had a really nice combine and tested as a 64% percentile weight-adjusted athlete. And he is a local kid, so that means no matter how bad he may be, Eagles fans will think he is great. I’m kidding, mostly.
I like this selection, I’m not sure how you could criticize a 6th round selection, unless that selection is a total trash bag like Clayton Thorson. Bradley is a fun player to watch and plays with an edge for the position. He’s a true Off-Ball Linebacker and decent in coverage, but really only zone. He executes run fits well and plays with a tenacity you need at LB. Based on reports I’ve read post-draft, Bradley is a hard-worker and extremely coachable. You have to love that.
While he is a fun player to watch, he’s definitely undersized for the position. His height, weight, and arm length put him at the 29th, 28th, and 29th percentile for the position – not ideal. Because of this, at times he can be washed out of play and unable to finish on plays just due to measurables. He’s a fun player to have and a good selection at this juncture.
  • 6.200 - QUEZ WATKINS, WIDE RECEIVER, SOUTHERN MISS
I had to laugh when the first name that came to mind with the selection of Quez Watkins was Todd Pinkston, who had a decent career for the Eagles once upon a time.
The Eagles really tickled my fancy with this selection as they went for the ol’ triple dip at the Wide Receiver position in the draft. I like the strategy; find guys that fit what you need and over-address it. The best case scenario means you drafted too many good receivers, which is a problem I hope we have for once.
Watkins is a lot like Hightower but even more soft through contact. I would be insulting to Charmin to call Quez Watkins, “Charmin Soft.” I’m not critical of the selection, quite the contrary, Quez just screams role player at this level. Like Hightower, Watkins is fast, explosive, and a big play waiting to happen. His 4.35 40 yard dash is legit AF and when he can get a free release, look out.
Much like Hightower, but I think to a larger extent, Watkins struggles off the line with contact. This is especially true against press man. Check out his Alabama tape; if Diggs can erase you, that should give you pause. If the Eagles utilize Watkins like Hightower, and even Desean, you can reap the rewards of that playmaking ability. He needs to be a predominantly slot receiver or outside in reduced splits where he can get free releases. Otherwise, he’s going to struggle in the NFL.
I think Watkins has an outside shot at the roster but I think it is more likely he ends up on the practice squad. I just don’t see him adding much value on special teams where he can make the team. He has return ability, but so does Hightower and Reagor. The other two players can just simply offer more right away. This is still a good selection, just not without its limitations.
  • 6.210 - PRINCE TEGA WANOGHO, OFFENSIVE TACKLE, AUBURN
I was shocked at this selection because I thought Prince was selected much earlier; I had a day 2 grade on the fellow and I know that was a common sentiment in the draft community. One thing I didn’t realize is that Wanogho was a medical flag for a knee issue during the Senior Bowl that tanked his stock on draft day, unfortunately. However, if he returns to full health, my Eagles will be a big beneficiary of his ability. It feels nice to add a Nigerian Prince to the roster (ba dum tiss).
Prince is a good athlete and a big ol’ boy when you watch him. It’s unfortunate that we can’t verify his overall athletic ability with combine numbers, but he looks fluid in the games I’ve watched him play. He’s also very strong and packs a good punch to opposing rushers. He may have a high stance, generally, but he doesn’t often get beat with power on the edge. He’s also a pretty good hand-fighter as well.
He’s such a young player and like Davion Taylor above, still a ball of clay. Football is still relatively new to him and as expected his play can be erratic. He’s not a technician or fundamentally sound, which the lack of experience plays a big part. He’s also struggled with timing in college; he can be late to jump or too soon leading to penalties. That may possibly stem from a lack of experience as well or an inability to grasp some fundamentals. He has the ability to develop into a starter or at worst a backup swing tackle – exactly what we needed. As previously mentioned, Prince was a medical red flag, so there is concern about the knee I just can’t address. All in all, if Prince is healthy he should be able to develop into a fine rotational tackle. Good value here.
  • 7.233 - CASEY TOOHILL, DEFENSIVE END, STANFORD
Toohill is a tough projection but he is likely a situational pass rusher for the Eagles should he develop into a role in the NFL. Honestly, Toohill reminds me of current Eagles defensive end Joe Ostman. Toohill played LB at Stanford. If he played that position in Philly, it would likely be in a SAM role situationally. I don’t think he has the coverage ability to grow into that in the NFL, so it’s better to use his strengths moving forward and his athletic ability as a pass rusher. His combine was so good Toohill tested as a 94th percentile weight adjusted athlete. He can rush the passer but is very inconsistent as he lacks a general pass rush plan. Additionally, Toohill lacks a lot of strength at the point of contact, both as a rusher and run defender.
TRADE
It's Howie Roseman, baby.
  • MARQUISE GOODWIN
TO PHI TO SF
Marquise Goodwin 6.190
6.210
Assuming Goodwin can provide any sort of a spark for the Eagles this season, this trade was absolute steal for them. Goodwin doesn’t need to come in and be a WR1, but if he can be an effective WR3 or WR4, it would provide a great boost for the offense. If you can sense a theme for the Eagles in this draft, it is speed and playmaking ability. Goodwin once ran a 4.27 40 and was an Olympic long jumper. In his career, Goodwin has averaged 16.6 yards per reception and a knack for busting off huge plays
NOTABLE UDFA SIGNINGS
  • GRAYLAND ARNOLD, CORNERBACK, BAYLOR
Philly is in a weird spot with its CB room. Slay is the CB1 for the foreseeable future but there isn’t anything solidified beyond him long term. NRC will be the starting slot in 2020 but isn’t signed beyond. Avonte Maddox projects as the second outside CB on the defense but hasn’t solidified a role anywhere on the defense. Rasul Douglas, Sidney Jones, and Cre’von LeBlanc haven't locked down roles yet either.
  • MICHAEL WARREN, RUNNING BACK, CINCINNATI
Warren is the quintessential between the tackle bowling ball of a running back. He’s a limited receiver, but he offers good vision and movement ability for someone of his build. I think this is a really good addition to the team, especially with the UDFA value, as he compliments Miles Sanders and Boston Scott perfectly. The Eagles do not need a guy to get 10 touches per game; just someone who can take some work late in games when we have a lead and be a reliable between the tackles option should he be needed.
ROSTER PREDICTION
Position Players
QB 3: Carson Wentz, Nate Sudfeld, Jalen Hurts
RB 4: Miles Sanders, Boston Scott, Corey Clement, Michael Warren
WR 6: Desean Jackson, Jalen Reagor, Marquise Goodwin, Greg Ward, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, John Hightower
TE 3: Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, Joshua Perkins
OL 10: Andre Dillard, Lane Johnson, Brandon Brooks, Isaac Seumalo, Jason Kelce, Jack Driscoll, Jordan Mailata, Matt Pryor, Nate Herbig, Sua Opeta
DL 9: Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Malik Jackson, Javon Hargrave, Genard Avery, Hassan Ridgeway, Josh Sweat, Joe Ostman
LB 5: Nate Gerry, TJ Edwards, Davion Taylor, Duke Riley, Jatavis Brown
CB 6: Darius Slay, Nickell Robey-Coleman, Avonte Maddox, Sidney Jones, Rasul Douglas, Cre'von LeBlanc
SAF 4: Jalen Mills, Rodney McLeod, Will Parks, K’Von Wallace
Specialists 3: Cameron Johnston, Jake Elliot, Rick Lovato
Comments:
  1. I would expect the Eagles to add a veteran RB prior to camp, I just don’t think they need to. I’m not about vulturing touches from talented players to washed-up vets. Just keep Michael Warren instead and save the cap space. We’ve gotten by with less talent than him at RB. Look at Josh Adams! While I don’t think Corey Clement is very good, he can at least do spot work in the role of Sanders or Scott.
  2. Heavy on OL just like last year as it is a position the Eagles love. Additionally, there is more uncertainty than in years past. Dillard is the assumed starter at LT and that would only be threatened should the Eagles bring back Jason Peters. Otherwise, I think they keep these 10. Driscoll would serve as a guy to keep on the roster to develop. Herbig is a backup G/C, Opeta is a backup G, and Pryor a backup G/T. I think Prince Tega Wanogho ends up as an IR stash.
  3. Mostly the same CB room as last year with the exception of Slay and NRC.
  4. You know Mills is a lock.
  5. LB is a total guess. Gerry, Edwards, and Taylor are locks. I think Duke Riley is probably one too since the Eagles went out of their way to let everyone know they made him Special Teams captain at the end of the season (poor KGH). Jatavis Brown could make the team but that’s far from certain.
  6. Quez finds himself on the outside looking in here with 6 WRs on the roster. JJAW won’t be moved. I fully expect Alshon to be gone.
Future Needs
  • EDGE RUSHER: You wouldn’t expect me to list this as a top need for the Eagles given the perception of the DL but they are actually less certain at the position than what’s talked about. Brandon Graham is still a top-flight EDGE rusher and a leader on the team but he’s in his 30s and closer to the end of his career than the beginning. The Eagles must see a real jump from 4th year EDGE Rusher Derek Barnett. The 2017 1st round pick has been a solid player for the Eagles since he’s entered the league but hasn’t quite lived up to the 14th overall selection hype. He’s the best option they currently have on the roster to be a complete EDGE Rusher. If he continues to struggle with injuries, penalties, and inconsistent play, the Eagles will find themselves with a serious problem. Barnett’s 5th year option was picked up after the draft and he should remain on the roster through the end of his rookie deal, but he’s currently not a player you commit big dollars to and it’s not certain if he ever will be. He’ll likely always be a solid player, but can be a great player? Time will tell. This is a team with a complete rusher in Graham, a solid rusher in Barnett, and a bunch of pass rush specialists. The need in the short and long term here is very real. In my opinion, I think Barnett will have a good 2020 but still not be the player the Eagles should give big money to and I would plan accordingly. Either way, they cannot end next offseason without some kind of Barnett insurance.
  • WIDE RECEIVER: How can this be a need when they just added 4 receivers, 3 in the draft? Well, Goodwin is likely gone after 2020. Jackson could end up a cap casualty if necessary. Alshon should be gone. And we don’t know if JJAW can amount to anything. This doesn’t even include the possibility that Reagor might not be good enough, and day 3 guys usually miss. Let’s say Reagor is legit, they still need another wide receiver to grow with Wentz and be a starter alongside Reagor. Hightower and Watkins are likely role players, WRs 3-5 types, at best. The Eagles should come out of another loaded WR class in 2021 with another stud. Help the damn QB!
  • CORNERBACK: Slay’s contract structure guarantees him a place on the 2021 Eagles and I think his play will justify that as well. After that, your guess is as good as mine. Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas may not be here, Maddox might flame out, and NRC will be a FA… then what? Big holes here but at least we got Slay (please be good.)
  • SAFETY: McLeod and Wallace are the only sure things on the Eagles roster in 2021 and I think the Eagles would be wise to add a natural McLeod replacement sooner rather than later as he could be cooked. I don’t expect Jalen Mills to be here much longer. Unless Jim Schwartz remains DC, then Mills could get a lifetime contract. Parks is a solid player but until he gets more years added onto a deal I’m not counting on him being on the roster.
  • CENTER: I liked the Eagles plan to address the OL in the draft and their day 3 selections but they are still dart throws. 2021 is the last year Kelce is under contract and could very well retire. Absent another deal, we don’t know if he’ll be around beyond that. Center, and OL in general, is important. It’s a position they’ll still have time to address but it’s creeping up there in need.

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