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Fallout Fallout 4 Thread

Silverfish

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Many a True Nerd is pretty gay, but if you ever want a laugh, check out the videos "debunking" him that run longer than entire seasons of tv shows.
 

Yosharian

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Nobody really argued that FO4's mechanics were the issue, although many people dislike the focus on settlement building, and some might criticise its MMO-style encounter design. But those aren't the core issues for most people.

The big problem with FO4 is the storytelling and writing, generally speaking. And also the worldbuilding. They're atrocious. Like, really bad. And the voiced protagonist, along with its stupid baked-in find-your-son plotline, was a terrible design decision.

Customising your weapon, building up your power armor, even building settlements to a certain extent - these aren't the core problems (although they have their own flaws).
 

Robotigan

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Nobody really argued that FO4's mechanics were the issue
Yeah, they kind of do. I don't want to force you to answer for these critics because you seem reasonable but the Fallout fandom is almost cult-like in their aggrandizement of 1, 2, and New Vegas. To the degree where no developer with an interest beyond remaking these games has any reason pay attention to them. So most don't.
"You want to revamp the level system so each level up and perk feels significant? That's dumbed down normie shit!"
"You want to overhaul weapons into a modular, customizable progression system? I don't care, New Vegas had more weapon variety!"
"You want to make Power Armor and laser/plasma weapons into distinctive build classes? No! Those should just be the default late game equipment!"
"You want to modify the moment-to-moment shooting mechanics into something that feels natural and engaging for a third-person FPS? Fallout isn't a shooter!"
"You want to give junk items and dungeon crawling an actual game purpose? Fallout isn't a looter shooter!"
Etcetera...
The big problem with FO4 is the storytelling and writing, generally speaking. And also the worldbuilding. They're atrocious. Like, really bad.
Anyone who says FO4's story is intolerably bad is either new to video games or is flat out lying to themselves about the quality of storytelling in the medium. I realize this is a supremely controversial opinion that's bound to receive many colorful reacts, but I've stood by this belief ever since the game's release. Yes, I hate the forced backstory, voiced protagonist, and dialogue limitations but that's not unique to RPGs nor even a dealbreaker for Codex judging by many of the favorites around here. But a lifetime of playing games has trained me to slog through cliched, cringe-worthy writing. Most game stories simply aren't that good. When I've revisited some childhood favorites, the narrative is rarely what holds up best. In fact often the greatest strength of narratives in older games is how little they lean on it throughout the playthrough. Even Fallout 1 and especially 2 can feel like an R-rated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sometimes.
 

Poseidon00

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I can live with the settlement building and the awful hunt for randomly spawned "legendary gear" rather than uniques. None of this adds to what makes Fallout good, which is an indictment on its own, but it doesn't piss me off either.

The forced backstory and the voiced protags aren't a problem either. I can live with them and may even learn to like them in the right game.

There is just virtually nothing of interest going on in the game. Not with any side quest, not in any town, not with any npc, not with the main plot, not with any faction. It's all so fucking surface level.
 

Yosharian

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Hmm well ok, that's true that FO4's perk system was a dumbing down of the previous skill system, I'd forgotten about that.

This is one of those cases where I both understand what Beth was trying to do, but at the same time appreciate the argument about dumbing down. I absolutely despise FO4's persuasion/charisma mechanics for example - those aren't really new though, considering what Skyrim did with that.

I personally prefer the granular feel of putting points into distinct skills, and I don't really like what Beth did to replace skills. I don't particularly mind the new perk system, but I do find that it generally isn't as interesting as FONV's perk system (although that had its own flaws).

I don't particularly like the fact that every. single. fucking. item. in FO4 can be broken down into something because it kind of turns it into Pacman, but I also appreciate that it does give you a reason to loot things so... meh. I'm conflicted there.

Anyway, I stand by my point that FO4's biggest problem is the writing. I can stomach all these other changes, but the writing is just .... ugh. Awful.

I don't agree that Fallout is badly written. Fallout 2, for me, is a bit of a mixed bag, I never really liked it as much as FO1. New Vegas has some truly brilliant writing. So no, don't really agree on that point.
 

Valdetiosi

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"You want to revamp the level system so each level up and perk feels significant? That's dumbed down normie shit!"
What significance does leveling up does if level scaling exists in the game? Also, with the right set-up, you could max out a skill in 3 or NV within the first couple of levels. 4 prevents you from taking the final perk level until you are in the level 30 or even 40 range for some skills, such as Sneak and Lockpicking.

"You want to overhaul weapons into a modular, customizable progression system? I don't care, New Vegas had more weapon variety!"
Such nice customizations like more damage, more ammo, silenced and scopes, on a few select of guns. It would be more appealing if gun diversity actually would be there, but for some reason there's lack of gun types in the game. It took even Point Harbor DLC to finally add one lever action type rifle, and even that loads 5 bullets into the gun even if you only fire it once.

"You want to make Power Armor and laser/plasma weapons into distinctive build classes? No! Those should just be the default late game equipment!"
Exactly, late game equipment is where it excels at. What if Daedric Armor was a mech armor you just use as a tank in Elder Scrolls games and power it up with Daedra Hearts? I don't think it would be that appealing to turn cool armor into mini-vechile.

"You want to modify the moment-to-moment shooting mechanics into something that feels natural and engaging for a third-person FPS? Fallout isn't a shooter!"
RPG and FPS mechanics haven't blend well on any of the Fallout games.

"You want to give junk items and dungeon crawling an actual game purpose? Fallout isn't a looter shooter!"
Funny, New Vegas already did that. And Classic games managed to avoid that by not having any junk items in the first place.
 

Lemming42

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Anyone who says FO4's story is intolerably bad is either new to video games or is flat out lying to themselves about the quality of storytelling in the medium. I realize this is a supremely controversial opinion that's bound to receive many colorful reacts, but I've stood by this belief ever since the game's release. Yes, I hate the forced backstory, voiced protagonist, and dialogue limitations but that's not unique to RPGs nor even a dealbreaker for Codex judging by many of the favorites around here. But a lifetime of playing games has trained me to slog through cliched, cringe-worthy writing. Most game stories simply aren't that good. When I've revisited some childhood favorites, the narrative is rarely what holds up best. In fact often the greatest strength of narratives in older games is how little they lean on it throughout the playthrough. Even Fallout 1 and especially 2 can feel like an R-rated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sometimes.
Fo4's story is intolerably bad. The fact that videogames in general are bad doesn't alleviate the direness of Fo4. But more to the point, I think you're doing two things here - firstly conflating "story" and "setting", and secondly underestimating how important these two concepts are for the success of a Bethesda-style game.

The game has a serious issue at its core - the vast bulk of the gameplay is intended to be self-directed exploration, where the player seeks out dungeons of his or her own accord and delves inside. The earlier Fallout games obviously didn't have to grapple with this, because they didn't have a similar gameplay model - players spent most of their time in dialogue or exploring non-combat zones such as towns, and doing quests. New Vegas recaptures some of this by treating the overworld as basically an afterthought, and sets up the game so that the player is directed from quest to quest, with self-directed exploration being largely optional and a way to voluntarily shake up the gameplay between story-based content.

Fallout 4 rejects the need for a coherent setting or interesting quests or anything else of the sort, because they decided to make an open world combat game, not a game in the vein of the original Fallout games. Alright, that's fine - let's take a look at Fallout 3, which largely did the same thing.

For its myriad problems, Fallout 3 achieved acclaim in the mainstream, if not on the Codex or NMA. For many, it was their first foray into Fallout, and while we can sit here for hours and rightly rip apart Bethesda's impression of the Fallout world, Fo3 still paints a visually and thematically exciting world full of strange characters to meet and peculiar situations to encounter. To pick an illustrative example: the subway vampires. To a fan of the previous Fallout games, they're cringeworthy and tonally jarring, but to a newcomer, they're another fascinating addition to the game's vaguely surreal, almost psychedelic world. It's something memorable and unique, and it encourages the player to press on with the dungeon crawling that forms the bulk of the gameplay - if this subway has vampire cannibals, what might the next dungeon hold? (The answer is "nothing" but you don't realise that during your first playthrough)

Fallout 4 is so grim and boring that it fails to recapture anything that worked in the previous Fallout games, not even achieving Fo3's veneer. The world is samey and dull, the factions are not only badly written but also boring even at the conceptual level, and everyone you meet in those factions is a total void who might as well be replaced by a cardboard cutout with "TWAT" written on it. The only characters I even remember are Piper (boring twat), Danse (boring twat), Preston Garvey (Satan) and Kellogg (inexplicable twat). The synth plot is dull enough to induce comas, the Minutemen are a fucking irritant, and the game only has one actual town - and the less said about it, the better. Even the world design itself is a drag with scarcely any memorable locations. Fallout 3 and Skyrim, for their many faults, had striking and unique dungeons at times (that one where you fall through the floor in Skyrim, the street laced with mines in Fo3, etc). Fo4 feels like it was made by procedural generation or something, it's just a few rooms recycled over and over with fuck-all inside.

Few people are going to want to explore a world so empty and a setting so lifeless. Why go delving into another boring-ass subway if the game isn't even bothering to sell you the lie that you might find something of interest in there? You can actually feel the boredom and lack of passion of the overworked, miserable designers seeping through into the game. It's not just that the story and setting are bad (though they are), it's something much worse - they're dull. Fallout 3 was retarded but enjoyed widespread acclaim because, whatever you might say about the nonsensical story and world, it definitely wasn't boring. People were excited to see what lay around the next corner, to discover strange landmarks like the town with the minefield, to find Dogmeat in the scrapyard, to stumble into the village with that weirdo who likes Nuka Cola. Fallout 4 can't incite the same response in the player, and doesn't try. This is the reason, I think, that even mainstream gamers - the same people who very much enjoyed Bethesda's previous offerings - were lukewarm at best and hostile at worst towards Fo4.

To this day I don't know what they were thinking. "Open world shooting game with crafting and perks" was already done by the Far Cry series, which cornered the market and is leagues ahead of Fallout 4. They made a really shit, clunky version of Far Cry with far worse shooting and "Legendary" monsters who slow the gameplay to a hideous crawl whenever they pop up. Absolutely pointless project, waste of time, money and effort. All they had to do was make Skyrim with guns, or another Fallout 3, and they somehow dropped the ball so spectacularly that they more or less killed the franchise for (what's shaping up to be) at least a decade.
 

Robotigan

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Anyway, I stand by my point that FO4's biggest problem is the writing.
Oh for sure, but when writing is the biggest problem in a popular game that usually implies the rest of the game is pretty good. A lot of contrarians will twist themselves into pretzels to try to support the notion that a game millions of people and often they themselves have poured hundreds of hours into is somehow bad. Even the infamous "It's a good game but not a good Fallout game" critique seems to begrudgingly admit FO4 is fun to play which I'd argue is the most important quality for a game to have.
I don't agree that Fallout is badly written. Fallout 2, for me, is a bit of a mixed bag
I think what you're latching onto is mostly the strength of its premise and your memory's picking out the ideas that worked best; lest we forget furry telepathic Deathclaws were an actual thing in FO2. Even if FO4's main story thread doesn't resonate well, it's moment-to-moment character writing is certainly more consistent than either of the originals. And at the risk of shocking your systems too much, FO76's character writing and voice acting is the best in the series (which just goes to show that writing isn't the most important thing when it comes to making a good game). In fact what offends old school fans most about Bethesda's Fallouts is that they're more character than concept-driven.
 

Butter

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"In fact what offends old school fans most about Bethesda's Fallouts is that they're more character than concept-driven."

This is ridiculous on its face. Name five characters from either FO3 or FO4 and tell us about their personalities. Surely they're well defined in these character-driven games, right? They wouldn't just be cardboard cutouts who exist to dispense radiant quests.
 

Robotigan

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To pick an illustrative example: the subway vampires. To a fan of the previous Fallout games, they're cringeworthy and tonally jarring
"TONALLY JARRING" :lol:

I don't even disagree, but it's hilarious that anyone who played Fallout 2 can say this with a straight face.
 

Lemming42

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That reinforces my point - I'd suggest Fo2 succeeds in a similar way to the way Fo3 succeeded for so many people. The world is interesting and full of memorable encounters and characters, even if none of it really makes sense. Arch Dornan is a ridiculous character and the presence of the Navarro base barely makes sense, playing chess against an intelligent scorpion is really dumb, the Chosen One saying "Fuck! I hate this game!" while being attacked by mobsters is retarded, the Deathclaws are absurd (though personally I think it's often wildly overstated just how out of place they are - the potential for their existence is already hinted at via the logs you can find in The Glow in FO1 that mention the scrapped intelligent racoons), and so on.

But they're all memorable, there's always something to see and do in Fallout 2. If you're prepared to go along with its comedic take on the setting and just enjoy the ride, it's a great game (until you get to the dreaded tanker basement). If you're not prepared to go along with it, it's kind of an irritating game and possibly even offensive depending on how much you liked Fallout 1, but it's still not dull. Fallout 3 works the same way - vampire cannibals are retarded, but I still remember them 14 years later, even if I mostly remember them for my "what the fuck is this shit" reaction. Fallout 4 is just mind-numbing by comparison, a world consisting of nothing. I was agog for a moment when I read your post just up there about how the games are more character-driven - I barely remember anyone from Fallout 4! I can kind of see that argument about Fallout 3, which throws intolerable but, uh, "unique" characters like Moira and Burke and fucking Three Dog at you right out of the gate, but Fo4 is just a monotonous trek through nothingness. The journey into that Kellogg guy's mind was the nadir, it somehow made him even less interesting than his prior role of "bald man who shot your husband".
 

Robotigan

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Name five characters from either FO3 or FO4
I don't even have to leave Diamond City:
Piper - Headstrong and nosy; acts more on instinct/impulse
Nick Valentine - Noire detective who acts as a more pragmatic foil to Piper. Often imparts cautious wisdom to the player.
Mayor McDonough - Paranoid and worried well, so much so it drives him to corrupt behavior.
Myrna - Nervous and paranoid wreck.
Crocker - Sociopathic and obsessive about his surgical practice

They wouldn't just be cardboard cutouts who exist to dispense radiant quests.
This is pretty much "I only played with the Minute Men" the comment. Which to be fair, the game does push its most boring faction on you really hard.
 

Sunsetspawn

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Fallout 4 does everything wrong, but it truly excels at having shit art direction and music, and that latter bit is quite the feat considering Inon Zur did great work on F3 and his half of NV. It's almost as if the director of the entire project had some sort of chip on his should about something. Hmmmm, what could that be?

Look at the 3 title screens all scored by Zur: F3 evoked a desolate, cold-war based, post-apocalyptic, metropolitan wasteland; NV put a heavy western spin on the prime melody with touches of atompunk technological ambience (and a killer B7); and F4 turned 3's theme into a piano-centered superhero theme entirely disconnected from visuals of an old gas station. What? It cannot be overstated that Zur's employer requested that. The title theme was completely disconnected from the setting, and so too went every single piece of scoring in Fallout 4. The main themes of 3 and NV set the tone for the entire games, and fucking 4's tone was everywhere and nowhere at once, much like the gameplay and narrative.

Todd was trying to make Fallout his own with Fallout 4, with complete disregard for the cohesion of the final product. I have no hope for Starfield.
 
Last edited:

Butter

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Name five characters from either FO3 or FO4
I don't even have to leave Diamond City:
Piper - Headstrong and nosy; acts more on instinct/impulse
Nick Valentine - Noire detective who acts as a more pragmatic foil to Piper. Often imparts cautious wisdom to the player.
Mayor McDonough - Paranoid and worried well, so much so it drives him to corrupt behavior.
Myrna - Nervous and paranoid wreck.
Crocker - Sociopathic and obsessive about his surgical practice

They wouldn't just be cardboard cutouts who exist to dispense radiant quests.
This is pretty much "I only played with the Minute Men" the comment. Which to be fair, the game does push its most boring faction on you really hard.
I played through the game with the Brotherhood and couldn't tell you about any of them. I don't even know who Myrna and Crocker are. From my perspective, Fallout 4 is using the Skyrim school of NPC design, where you can go through multiple quests with people (e.g. Karliah) because they have plot relevance, but they don't ever leave a lasting impression. I ran around with Danse for a while and all I remember is he sounds like George Clooney and is later revealed to be a synth.
 

Hirato

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I'm not even mad at Bethesda for dumbing down the skill system the way they did.
A full fledged one is clearly too much for them to handle, so simplifying it down to perks you buy based on your SPECIAL stats is actually genius.
And since they insist, it certainly meshes a lot better with FPS style gameplay too.

Problem is, they did nothing fun or interesting with it.
They went back to the Fallout 3 design of boring perks, and learned nothing from New Vegas' approach.
 

Butter

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I'm not even mad at Bethesda for dumbing down the skill system the way they did.
A full fledged one is clearly too much for them to handle, so simplifying it down to perks you buy based on your SPECIAL stats is actually genius.
And since they insist, it certainly meshes a lot better with FPS style gameplay too.

Problem is, they did nothing fun or interesting with it.
They went back to the Fallout 3 design of boring perks, and learned nothing from New Vegas' approach.
It was essentially required because of the dumbfuck design. 7 attributes with 10 perks each means they can only put 70 perks in the game, so they made everything have ranks. It's hard to do the interesting bespoke perk design of New Vegas when you then have to design a second or third or fourth rank to it. That means goodbye to Meltdown, Jury Rigging, Long Haul, Silent Running, Light Step, Paralyzing Palm, etc.
 

Yosharian

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Yeah you guys put it better than I could really.

Nick Valentine is pretty cool, though.
 

Robotigan

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It was essentially required because of the dumbfuck design. 7 attributes with 10 perks each means they can only put 70 perks in the game, so they made everything have ranks. It's hard to do the interesting bespoke perk design of New Vegas when you then have to design a second or third or fourth rank to it.
It had more to do with FO4 reinventing how the entire progression system worked. Without dice rolls, skills are just a lot of unused granularity. What's the point of being level 33 or 72 in a skill when every check is 25/50/75/100? Realizing skills had become somewhat extraneous, Bethesda rolled their utility into the perk system. So now skill check 25/50/75/100 is replaced with perk rank 1/2/3/4. Considering you get a perk every level up in FO4 instead of every other level up as with NV, I think it's fine to have these boring perks. Still beats a perk-less level.

If you're worried about this system limiting the number of perks, I don't think 10x7 was ever a hard upper bound. Just a reasonable number (New Vegas had a comparable amount) of unique abilities that they made a pretty UI for. In 76 there's a different UI that accommodates 205 perks.
 

Lemming42

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Swamped by high HP melee enemies - especially the xenomorphs, a bullshit addition to the game to start with - with no way to avoid combat, can't even run past them because they block the single hex wide corridor leading to the goal. If you've built a combat-focused character and have, like, Enclave Power Armor with the Plasma Rifle and can deal out consistent critical eye shots then it's not too bad, but if you've built a character who doesn't focus on combat and you don't have any well-equipped party members to handle the whole thing for you, then it's an absolute shitshow. Only real way to get through at that point is to desperately shove any spare points into Throwing and use the entire game's supply of plasma grenades.
 

Bad Sector

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Insert Title Here RPG Wokedex Codex Year of the Donut Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag.
I see, hmm. I had the Enclave Power Armor (i don't remember which weapons i focused though). I might have hit a bug or did something i don't remember because IIRC the monsters there didn't attack me (i did attack them though because i wanted to gain as much level as i could before the final area).
 

Hirato

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I'm not even mad at Bethesda for dumbing down the skill system the way they did.
A full fledged one is clearly too much for them to handle, so simplifying it down to perks you buy based on your SPECIAL stats is actually genius.
And since they insist, it certainly meshes a lot better with FPS style gameplay too.

Problem is, they did nothing fun or interesting with it.
They went back to the Fallout 3 design of boring perks, and learned nothing from New Vegas' approach.
It was essentially required because of the dumbfuck design. 7 attributes with 10 perks each means they can only put 70 perks in the game, so they made everything have ranks. It's hard to do the interesting bespoke perk design of New Vegas when you then have to design a second or third or fourth rank to it. That means goodbye to Meltdown, Jury Rigging, Long Haul, Silent Running, Light Step, Paralyzing Palm, etc.
You're right that doing 10 perks doesn't help; an uneven distribution would make far more sense.
But even if you take a ranked approach, there's no need to get rid of them all.

What I think they should've done a lot of was lock basic gameplay things behind these perks, with the perks not only unlocking them, but powering them up to almost cheating levels.
Consider if perception had an opening ranked perk like follows:
Firearm Handling I (Pe 1) - Boost to firearm damage, and allows you to aim with iron-sights and scopes.
Firearm Handling II (Pe 3) - Boost to firearm damage, faster reloading speed, and allows reloading on the run.
Firearm Handling III (Pe 6) - Boost to firearm damage, and allows dual-wielding of pistols.
Firearm Handling IV (Pe 10) - Boost to firearm damage, allows you to trigger a bullet time at will that will drain your AP.

And agility had a lockpick series like this:
Lockpicking I (Ag 1) - Allows you to pick locks, period.
Lockpicking II (Ag 4)- Makes lockpicking easier, and allows you to force locks open (or fail and jam them), or breach them with controlled explosives
Lockpicking III (Ag 7) - Makes lockpicking easier, and allows you to set up proximity booby traps on containers and doors.
Lockpicking IV (Ag 9) - Makes lockpicking easier, and allows you to replace the locks on doors, and lock them - idea being that you can block enemy routes, and/or cheese them.


I came up with these in about 10 minutes, if Bethesda had the gumpton to attempt anything of the sort, the system would be significantly more interesting.
 

Butter

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It was essentially required because of the dumbfuck design. 7 attributes with 10 perks each means they can only put 70 perks in the game, so they made everything have ranks. It's hard to do the interesting bespoke perk design of New Vegas when you then have to design a second or third or fourth rank to it.
It had more to do with FO4 reinventing how the entire progression system worked. Without dice rolls, skills are just a lot of unused granularity. What's the point of being level 33 or 72 in a skill when every check is 25/50/75/100? Realizing skills had become somewhat extraneous, Bethesda rolled their utility into the perk system. So now skill check 25/50/75/100 is replaced with perk rank 1/2/3/4. Considering you get a perk every level up in FO4 instead of every other level up as with NV, I think it's fine to have these boring perks. Still beats a perk-less level.
I didn't say it was anything to do with wrapping skills into perks. The problem is someone with OCD wanted exactly one perk per point of each SPECIAL, with no exceptions. That means 70 perks, which already isn't a lot, in a game where you get a perk every level and that doesn't have a level cap. It requires multiples ranks on everything, which means that unique effects get scrapped for things that can be more easily scaled.
 

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