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AaronWilsonCB

June 2017, where do you see the meta?

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Just now, Isante said:

If you are consistently going for 50-75% goal shots, you are unlikely to win a tournament.  I am not saying going for a 50% in a game, or 75% in a game is a bad idea.  I am saying if you are trying to win in an environment such as a tournament, you are not going to win most of the time if you are going for 50%-75% shots in every game :)

Depends on way too many other factors to make that statement. Obulus scored plenty of goals in S2 winning games, and he never gets above 3. Going for middling-odds shots is a fine tactic as long as you are planning to recover in some manner if you miss. Just going for shots with bad odds and no backup is turning the game into a coinflip, which is still fine in some situations, where you don't have any other options.

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3 minutes ago, Gauntlet said:

Depends on way too many other factors to make that statement. Obulus scored plenty of goals in S2 winning games, and he never gets above 3. Going for middling-odds shots is a fine tactic as long as you are planning to recover in some manner if you miss. Just going for shots with bad odds and no backup is turning the game into a coinflip, which is still fine in some situations, where you don't have any other options.

3 dice Obulus shot is an 88% chance.  96% with the S2 Tap in plot card. 

 

Going for a 50% shot in a game might be the only path to victory in that game which is fine.  Finding yourself taking many of those in an event is not a great path to success.

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18 minutes ago, Isante said:

3 dice Obulus shot is an 88% chance.  96% with the S2 Tap in plot card. 

 

Going for a 50% shot in a game might be the only path to victory in that game which is fine.  Finding yourself taking many of those in an event is not a great path to success.

It means you need to be lucky to win much, but winning a tournament requires the dice to go your way anyway (or alternatively, be a better player, but I'm assuming you're on an even playing field here).

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Another big factor to consider is if something comes out too strong and SFG feels like they need to make some mid-season adjustments.

Conversely, things could vastly underperform, and there could be some positive changes to how players perform.

 

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9 hours ago, malladin.ben said:

Alex, I think you may well be onto something about one strong way to play in S3, but I also think there's elements of player psychology that may come into play that will affect the meta differently. 

[snip]

However, I don't think (or perhaps hope) that this denial-dominated playstyle will necessarily become an overriding aspect of the meta for the whole game.

Hey, so I should maybe make myself more clear about what I'm predicting here, and why.

You're absolutely right about player psychology and it's very hard—practically impossible—to predict the trends of the whole playerbase of something like Guild Ball. Not only are there different preferences for how to play, but most players never get exposure to other players from outside their local or regional metagame. Also, not every player "wants to win" as their main gameplay goal; as you described, you want to play close exciting games, and I think that's a totally legitimate way to view the game. I'm much the same way outside of a tournament setting, but in a tourney I have one very specific goal, to win. That doesn't mean I need to crush everyone I meet or ruin anybody's day (in fact just the opposite—I sincerely hope my opponents have a very good play experience from start to finish), but sometimes crushing your opponent 12-0 is your best route to victory, and in that case I wouldn't hesitate to take that route. Sometimes the best path is to play a tight slow game that ends 12-10, or whatever, and I hope I would identify that and take that route as well. 

So, I can't possibly predict what will be the most played strategy, model, or guild in the game. What I'm really intending to predict in the above post is something like "what strategy will self-select to the top rankings of tournaments most consistently, effectively defining the metagame of successful competitive play." Not quite as sexy as "what will the game look like in 6 months," but more accurate. 

8 hours ago, Frostmane said:

I don't think @Slothrop is wrong at all, but in six months it will be interesting to see how the meta has shifted. If we look at the World Champs as an example then, at least from the finals, we can say that aggression is a viable tactic. Taking risks paid off for Tim, and while it did come down to a missed shot that was 75% to hit aggressively attacking the goal put him in a strong position early.

Despite the manner in which Jordan lost to Tim, I actually think that finals game was an excellent illustration of why I think a controlled, ball-killing brawly game will come out on top at major events in 2017. 

To illustrate my point I'm going to take a look at three of the most visible players in Guild Ball: Jordan, Tim, and Trent. I've talked to all three at least a little bit and think I can talk with some authority about their playstyle; if any of them have a problem with my characterization I'm more than happy to adjust it or admit I'm wrong.

  • Jordan is a player who has excellent mathematical skills for both precise calculation and on-the-fly estimation. He also has what I would call great respect for the results of these calculations, in that he uses them to determine the most likely path to victory, and doesn't second guess the calculations even if the dice don't end up going his way. When he takes a 75% shot on goal and misses, he doesn't see that as player error, unless there was a way to get a percent chance above 75.
  • Tim, I think, is also a player with strong mathematical skills, though I get the impression he isn't quite as fast as Jordan. But unlike Jordan, he's not risk-averse. Tim demonstrated that he's more than willing to take lower-chance opportunities for greater rewards; this introduces a great deal more randomness into his playstyle, which someone like Jordan would identify as a weakness of the plan (and Tim might not even disagree!), but the plus side is that the times when these plans do succeed introduce a gamestate where Tim has a far more dramatic advantage than a player like Jordan would achieve. If a player like Tim can capitalize on this type of unlikely scenario (as Tim himself demonstrated he can), then the player at least has a chance to outperform expectations or catch another good player in a spot they aren't prepared for. 
  • Trent is an idiot who has no idea how to play the game. Kidding! Trent is a player who does not rely as heavily on quick probability assessment and instead uses experience and instinct (as well as prepared mathematical assessments he's memorized, like "How likely is Obulus to hit 3 successes on a 4+/1 model") to make efficient individual decisions and transform an abundance of those into an insurmountable advantage. I consider myself a player like Trent, but Trent is a better example cause I scrubbed out and didn't make it to World Champs. The unfortunate reality of Trent's style is that, while it carries him to the top of the mountain very often, this style suffers versus players like Jordan, who are far less likely to make individual mistakes than someone playing like Trent. Trent can make 10 good decisions in a row, but if he misunderstands something about the board state at any moment, that 11th, wrong decision will give an opening that Jordan will immediately capitalize on. Trent is a top-skill example of the way I expect most players of Guild Ball play, and unfortunately the difficulty curve for this playstyle ramps up considerably at the top end. It's not impossible to be the best player in the world like this, but I think it's harder for this playstyle than it is for Jordan or Tim's. 

What does this all mean for the Season 3 ball thing? First, that Jordan, in the face of all these fancy new football players, will self-select to a playstyle that admits the least variance in dice and game outcomes. This would be the denial-heavy, ball-killing playstyle. Second, that Tim will probably end up playing the above-mentioned fancy new footballers, and hope to push Jordan-like players into situations where they can no longer control the gamestate. Third, that players like Trent will play more aggressively, giving up more advantages to Tim-like players but being well-prepared to punish Tim in the case that any of these high-risk, high-reward plays go horribly wrong.

So what I see happening is that most of the top players in each region will end up playing like Jordan in order to avoid crazy, high-speed games where captains like Midas run away with the win before they get a chance to participate. Denial-style players will naturally rise to the top of most tournament brackets since 1. their strategies are more likely to win consistently and we will have a larger sample size, 2. players like Trent may be denying players like Tim the opportunity to even get to the top table, and 3. players like Trent will most likely lose to players like Jordan except in cases of a huge skill disparity. Thus, the ball will be killed by most top players, because that strategy is most likely to self-select to top table, and top table is how we identify top players

If I had to advise someone on who to bet on in the Season 2 World Championship Finals, I would say Jordan. I would say Jordan in a second or third game even after watching the first. This is to take nothing away from Tim's incredible achievement, especially if he is able to play a more controlled style and consciously made the decision to play hyper-aggressive against Jordan, identifying that that is the "best" (even if less-consistent) way to beat a player like Jordan. Adjusting your own playstyle to play against an opponent's is a hallmark of a great player of any game. But Jordan and risk-averse players like him are ones to watch for what happens to the top competitive metagame, even if a player like Tim once again wins a World Championship. 

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8 minutes ago, Slothrop said:

So what I see happening is that most of the top players in each region will end up playing like Jordan in order to avoid crazy, high-speed games where captains like Midas run away with the win before they get a chance to participate. These denial-style players will naturally rise to the top of most tournament brackets since 1. their strategies are more likely to win and 2. players like Trent may be denying players like Tim the opportunity to even get to the top table, and 3. players like Trent will most likely lose to players like Jordan except in cases of a huge skill disparity. Thus, the ball will be killed by most top players, because that strategy is most likely to self-select to top table

I agree with you up to this point.

In particular, I don't think denial is necessarily any more likely to win, or at least I don't think it's something which can be judged this early, before any tournament results or even much playtesting has happened. I expect that the end result (or at least the result I am hoping for) is that 'Jordans' do well against 'Trent', 'Trent' does well against 'Tim' and 'Tim' does well against 'Jordan'. You said yourself that the high-risk/high-reward playstyle has a lot of potential to steal games from a cautious ball-killing player. 

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8 minutes ago, Gauntlet said:

You said yourself that the high-risk/high-reward playstyle has a lot of potential to steal games from a cautious ball-killing player. 

Well, it has more potential to steal games than 'Trent,' but that's sort of my point: neither 'Trent' nor 'Tim' consistently beats 'Jordan.' Consistency is key in a metagame, not individual wins. Consistency makes trends. 

That said, I can't argue that it is early days yet, and if the playstyle interactions I outlined are incorrect (or, worse, some part of Guild Ball turns out to be overpowered, e.g. Midas just being straight up broken or something) then this whole thing goes out the window. 

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The difference between Jordan and Trent is that Trent calculates a 75% chance that his shot will succeed; Jordan calculates the 25% chance that his shot will fail.

In terms of which playstyles generally rise to the top, the reason control tends to dominate, regardless of game system (always bet on blue) is that most systems don't really have counterplay to control effects outside of other control effects.  They tend to have a rather binary state with little reliance on dice variance that makes them consistently capable of winning as long as they're not misplayed.  Control effects also tend to work universally compared to other strategies.

In general, the one great weakness to the system for me (which is only notable in the sense that most great games have half a dozen) is that there's really no counterplay to Character Plays outside of having a high defense stat and hoping the dice go your way.

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7 minutes ago, LunarSol said:

In general, the one great weakness to the system for me (which is only notable in the sense that most great games have half a dozen) is that there's really no counterplay to Character Plays outside of having a high defense stat and hoping the dice go your way.

If you are slow and have tough hide that sorta counters character plays too...?  #brewers

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I'm going to add a brief analogy to card games (specifically magic): Typically in a metagame there are three kinds of decks, aggro, midrange and control (at least in a healthy format). Since the cards you use dictate your playstyle, let's just call these playstyles. What you're left with is essentially a loop: aggro beats control beats migrange beats aggro (And so on). Similar to what @Slothrop proposes above what you're essentially doing is creating scale of most to least risky.

It's no real secret that most of the very best Magic players prefer, over the long term, to play Control decks. They tend to be the most skill intensive, require concentration and understanding, and offer the highest reward for the least risk. On the other end of the spectrum is aggro, which is the highest variance, and when it works it's a no brainer, but controlling and winning consistently despite the variance is also something that is only typically seen at the highest levels. You have to really understand the concept to play very aggressively and still mitigate the risks that are inherent within such a playstyle. Finally, in the middle is midrange. Most people seem to prefer midrange, because it has less variance but more action. The decisions you make are more straightforward than a control deck, but you don't have the same top end power. Similarly you can get crushed by the variance of an aggressive strategy, but you're more able to withstand it since you have some more tactical flexibility.

Brining this back on topic, if you're looking for a metagame you're going to see mostly teams that are flexible and able to take the best option presented to them at the time and do something with it. Most people want this style of play, after all. The best players won't necessarily gravitate to what Alex calls ball killing/controlbut rather I think the best players will gravitate to the ends of the aggro/control spectrum, because that's where the best opportunities for success lie. It comes down to a willingness to accept and work with variance.

Using the WC as an example, it's entirely possible that if there was a way to objectively rank players that Jordan is better than Tim. If both players play the same style, you expect Jordan to win more often because they are doing the same thing. Tim overcame this by taking risks, which paid out for him but had they not he'd have gotten crushed.

In team terms, I think that Morticians in S2 were too good at control. IMO the best purely aggressive team is Fish, because goal scoring is worth double a KO, but misses are hugely costly. In S2 Morticians too easily dominated the Fishermen, and could out attrition the Butcher's in a combat game. Add to the fact that A+G weren't good at all for Fish in S2 and they were miles behind, either down a player that meshed with their play style or down an activation, both of which are terrible. Season 3 list building and other changes actually pushes the strength of the Fish as an aggressive team since they can somewhat disguise their captain pick and play offense/defense as required.

Long story short, I agree with @Slothrop but see a meta where there is a class of the best players willing to eschew control for an aggressive control counter that has ways to mitigate, via list building, its matchups with the bulk of the pack.

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Another factor that is equally important is that Tim put in the work. I actually agree with most in saying that Jordan is the worlds BEST player, but the world championship isn't always won by the world's best. We see this time and time again in sports (which also is one of the reasons I think guild ball is a phenomenal game). 

The rankings system is not based on who wins worlds but rather who consistently wins the game.

Tim actually had a higher chance of winning than anyone originally perceived specifically because of his ability to force Jordan to play his game due to sheer unpredictability. In a vacuum (that we can look at the worlds finals match in), Tim actually benefits dramatically from taking lower chance-higher risk plays, whilst Jordan benefits from being more cautious and taking the more mathematically succinct choices in the case that Tim misses.

It is possible to say that Tim is more adaptable, especially due to his sheer number of games he has played as well as his ability to win other tournaments where if he's taking the high risk high reward plays frequently then he is deemed to lose a majority of the events he plays in, according to the math. 

The best part of all this is that if some smuck came down and did what Tim did then I think 90% of the community would agree that it is a fluke. Yet, because of who Tim is, and how qualified he has shown himself to be, I actually think it shows for the health of the game. 

/end important part of response...

as far as the ball killing style. I think it will be hard to play that way with the new Engineers and potentially the super speed of some mascots + the fact that they can play much more aggressive. I feel that killings the ball will require your opponent to get an early goal, and then they literally have a bonus against the opposing team who then while trying to kill the ball will need to hold onto it until they can use it strictly to win. 

I am slightly worried that killing the ball will become a mainstay in top tier competitive play, but more and more do I see it becoming a potential gameplay style due to HOW strong some of the football players are with access to the ball, as an example... Blackheart is extremely stronger at killing, maneuverability, and point scoring with the ball, and without it can suffer from his reduced speed and loss of commanding aura. Similarly Midas is particularly hard to stop when he has access to the ball, and utilizing the new plot card that forces a reroll can spell immediate demise for the defending player. 

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18 minutes ago, Narak said:

I am slightly worried that killing the ball will become a mainstay in top tier competitive play, but more and more do I see it becoming a potential gameplay style due to HOW strong some of the football players are with access to the ball, as an example... Blackheart is extremely stronger at killing, maneuverability, and point scoring with the ball, and without it can suffer from his reduced speed and loss of commanding aura. Similarly Midas is particularly hard to stop when he has access to the ball, and utilizing the new plot card that forces a reroll can spell immediate demise for the defending player. 

Killing the ball has already been around a fair bit at the top levels.  Adepticon finals involved Morts vs Morts with the exact same lineups except I had Casket and @Slothrop had Mist.  I was able to 'kill' the ball and force him to play the slow grind game which I was slightly advantaged in. 

As yourself and others have stated, I do think certain Captains such as Ballista/Midas, who are now, in a lot of ways, better ball players, will cause the opposing players to kill the ball or make very safe actions with it.  I can almost guarantee if I ever receive the ball vs Ballista, I am likely going to hold it rather than try to score a goal only to give it to Ballista for a fairly 'free' goal and start the goal wars.  It will be interesting to see how it pans out for sure though!

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43 minutes ago, Frostmane said:

Magic control deck analogy

 

IMO Control decks are popular among top Magic players because they provide you with the most options at any given time and have less straightforward lines of play, which appeals to the people who are skilled at the game and able to put in the time to become good at it.

I don't think that necessarily carries over to Guild Ball - even the most linear playstyles don't play themselves, and every situation has multiple lines of play and options at all stages of the game. IMO that makes the inclination towards a controlling playstyle for a competitive player less common in Guild Ball compared to in Magic.

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In terms of consistency: I played 45 tournemant games, in 13 tournemants, lossing 7 games, winning 6 tournemants. 

I tend to be a pretty controll based player,  but sometimes,when i expect myself to lose the attrition i am going for the aggressive plays.After sleeping 3 hours max and having some drinks i didn't though i could win a slow game.

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10 minutes ago, Timmaay said:

In terms of consistency: I played 45 tournemant games, in 13 tournemants, lossing 7 games, winning 6 tournemants. 

I tend to be a pretty controlled based player,  but sometimes,when i expect myself to lose the attrition i am going for the aggressive plays.After sleeping 3 hours max and having some drinks i didn't though i could win a slow game.

The madman!
Just to be clear, I wasn't saying you necessarily are only inconsistent. But I think you chose an inconsisent style at the World Finals. The real you unfortunately fell to the wayside of the theoretical Tim in my blathering, sorry. :)

Looking forward to see what you end up playing most this year though.

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19 minutes ago, Gauntlet said:

IMO Control decks are popular among top Magic players because they provide you with the most options at any given time and have less straightforward lines of play, which appeals to the people who are skilled at the game and able to put in the time to become good at it.

I don't think that necessarily carries over to Guild Ball - even the most linear playstyles don't play themselves, and every situation has multiple lines of play and options at all stages of the game. IMO that makes the inclination towards a controlling playstyle for a competitive player less common in Guild Ball compared to in Magic.

My point was more towards style than anything. I absolutely think that Guild Ball play falls on the aggro/control scale, with most people aiming to be somewhere within a standard deviation of the middle. My point is that where @Slothrop suggests that ball control is the option for players at the top of the game, I counter that being at the very ends of the spectrum between scoring and control is a better way to look at it.

@Timmaaychose a less consistent style of aggressive play to make up for the fact that he was probably still drunk and was playing against the world's first guild ball playing robot.

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TAKE THIS QUIZ TO FIND OUT WHICH GUILD BALL PLAYER YOU ARE MOST LIKE. THE RESULTS WILL SHOCK YOU!

 

According to Buzzfeed I’m 60% Tim, 30% Trent, 7% Jordan, and 3% Samantha?

 

I like players like Tim. Players like Tim “Big Dick Plays” W. are exciting to watch and exciting to play. This of course has nothing specifically to do with aggro-style players winning or losing big events. It’s just a thing I like. Oh and this is literally based on 1 game that I watched. So maybe some good ole fashion grains of salt are to be taken with it.

 

I would completely and totally agree with you if finals games were a BO3. I think in that situation, the more conservative, more consistent player wins the majority of the time. You see it all the time in professional sports. The teams that play fast and loose, and fire off low percentage shots or passes tend to lose series’ over more disciplined, and patient teams. They may get a few games as the numbers go in their favor, but the more games they play the more the numbers get normalized and the stronger consistency becomes. This is why mid-season series of most sports, barring an emotional rivalry, are largely boring. It is not hard to look at the stats and past performances and determine the winner. Especially when one team is just empirically better than the other.

 

I find it fascinating that we watched the same game and came to completely different conclusions. But before I continue, I think there’s a condition that must be made clear. There is no merit in lolsorandom Guild Ball. What I don’t want to be taken away from this is the notion that you can “just do whatever” and it’ll work out. This is more about the merits of recognizing when a lower percentage risk is absolutely worth it vs. playing Guild Ball strictly by the numbers.  Okay.

 

In Guild Ball, as more players move toward your Jordan style of play, does decision making become predictable? Does the decision tree start to shrink as you become more and more dictated by success rates? Is the “right” decision always the one with the highest chance of success? Assuming equal skill and no mistakes in decision making, the only determining factor between 2 Jordans, other than inherent faction balance, is the randomness of dice, and in that way, doesn’t RoboBall (I refuse to let a playstyle be named after Jordan, damnit) Guild Ball become similarly risky to the way Tim plays? When you do everything you can to hedge your bets and you still come up short, and your opponent doesn’t, doesn’t that kind of become the same thing as taking risks? I think because of these things, we have not seen the end of Big-Dick-Guild Ball beating RoboBall. Sports analysts have these discussions all the time, it seems. Hell, Moneyball is literally a movie around a real life instance of baseball being looked at the way Jordan looks at Guild Ball. It’s not a perfect analogy, obviously Guild Ball and baseball are different games. But I think there are a lot of similarities.

 

Ultimately what I believe makes a strong contender in the Guild Ball scene is someone who can look at the game like all Jordan, Trent, and Tim. Who can know their percentages but also evaluate when risks are an acceptable path to victory. Who say “Okay, this is a 30% chance to get way ahead, what do I lose in terms of momentum (little m) if it doesn’t work out.” I think there are more factors to Guild Ball than the numerical chance of success, and I think recognizing and employing those factors in your decision making will be what leads you to a World Championship win more than exclusively raw numbers.

 

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I like the idea of a player that can think like a robot, a drunk robot, and an Australian. I think @Slothrop is implicitly thinking, and at least somewhat correctly, that there's a hierarchy where one archetype can think like the players "below" them. Taking Jordan "Deep Blue" Nach out of the picture, I think if you look at them as preferred playstyles that there's room for every archetype to succeed, and that someone who can switch between them like a hungover German is probably in the best position.

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14 minutes ago, Absoclass said:

Assuming equal skill and no mistakes in decision making, the only determining factor between 2 Jordans, other than inherent faction balance, is the randomness of dice, and in that way, doesn’t RoboBall (I refuse to let a playstyle be named after Jordan, damnit) Guild Ball become similarly risky to the way Tim plays? When you do everything you can to hedge your bets and you still come up short, and your opponent doesn’t, doesn’t that kind of become the same thing as taking risks? I think because of these things, we have not seen the end of Big-Dick-Guild Ball beating RoboBall. Sports analysts have these discussions all the time, it seems.

If you can find two perfectly identical players in skill level and worldview, I would agree with you that their matchup is effectively determined by dice. But no two such players exist. There is always some risk with a dice game, but I disagree that (to just make up random numbers) taking an 80% play is "similarly risky" to taking a 40% play. That kinda just seems like nonsense, man.

I totally agree, though, that we haven't seen the end of risky plays beating safe plays. Part of what I was saying was that we can identify meta trends even if certain individual results go against those trends, which they will.

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I have a response to your response but I'm moving this weekend and don't have time to respond until the weekend is over. Briefly, I'll say that I need to clarify some things and am definitely not saying that 80% and 40% are the same thing. 

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8 hours ago, Isante said:

If you are slow and have tough hide that sorta counters character plays too...?  #brewers

I was referring mostly to control effects tied to character plays.  Blind is the classic example, but in general these abilities have a "roll the dice and see what happens" aspect that's generally absent throughout the rest of the system.

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