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Forgive me if it's already been posted, but I did a search and didn't find anything quite what I was looking for.

 

Here's something that I've always wanted to see in a game, but rarely saw executed to any real extent in an RPG, and I think Project Eternity certainly has both the team and the means to get it done, though the desire, the economy or the value of the idea is certainly arguable for either side. Anywho, here it is.  Let the player be evil. 

 

Now now, I don't mean "But I selected Neutral Evil at character creation for my prestige class later" or "He just sucker punched an orphan, of course he's evil".  I mean as a component of the main storyline.  All too often if there's a good path and an evil path, with the good guy having clear reasoning for doing what he's doing but the evil player character merely seems to be doing the good guy's job because it happens to pay the bills and he had nothing else to do at the moment.  The story typically is only ever designed with a good character in mind, and the evil character tossed in merely as an optional afterthought.  The good guy may be trying to fight the evil to save the people, the neutral guy may be doing it for revenge, or to restore balance or something, any of them with a myriad of possible reasons, by why is the evil character fighting them instead of lending them a hand?  Because he doesn't like them?  No!  To supplant them as the rising malevolent force in the lands.  All that killing is just the murder-training he needs to both remove the competition and secure power and prestige for himself, reaping the lucrative rewards (Strength, money, influence) of being devious, murderous and cruel.  Let everyone see the beginnings of a power-hungry tyrant already gathering his forces, a small but highly skilled band of killers and underhanded manipulators rather than a crusading group of heroic friends.

 

I would like the option of doing horrendous things not because those things are bad and you're a bad man and this is how you go about proving it, but because from a perspective of a villainous power-monger, it simply makes sense when you're thrown morals out the window after covering it in lantern oil and setting it on fire.  I would like to see uncertainty in characters you deal with when they enlist your aid to attempt to save themselves, wondering if the cure might not be worse than the disease (Well, I'm assuming you're about to take out some great menace to the realms, but seeing as the project is in such an early stage that we don't even have an actual name for the game yet much less a credible idea of the storyline...), and from those that are evil that they might recognize one of their own ilk and tempt you with offers of power.  I would like to see an evil character with dialogue and event options that elicit reactions from other characters, not along the lines of "Oh, what a complete bastard.  He extorted me for extra reward and he's a terrible person." but into the realm of "No... No!  He's gone too far this time!  I don't care if how much he's done to our enemy, this cannot stand and he has to be stopped!" (Okay, that one may be a little hard to swing story-wise when you have important story characters trying to end you as in that case it'd give the writers so much more work to do as its basically requiring a secondary storyline for the rest of the game after you impale the mouthy fool on a barbed spear and parade his corpse about as a lesson to any others who don't much care for your methods).

 

That's what I'd like to see, anyhow.  It'd be a game in which by the end of it, by the unforgivable things you did to gain power, your vicious culling of the opposition by blade and by manipulation as well as having shown a clear desire to gain control by any means necessary, you are as bad or worse than that which you were sent to destroy, to the horror of those who helped put your feet upon the path.  To end the game with the feeling of, if not the actual act, rather than "Ah, I've finally done it, my cherished people are finally safe", it's more a feeling of "And now it's my turn..." as you turn the fall of the enemy to your own advantage. 

 

One major reason I'd like to see this is because I think it'd do wonders for replayability, which with most games with an evil option that I play, when I do my first good run, I'm thinking "Woo, I'm saving the world!" but as I play my second, evil run, all I'm left with is "Woo, I'm saving the world, but I'm being slightly less nice about it this time!"  Yeah, I'd like to have something a little more involved with the other side of the coin this go 'round.  Also, I just feel a game would feel so much more complete if rather than killing some fellow or being involved with some plot and having the guards come after me like  "Ahaha, look at me, I'm playing against the system now!" and then reloading your save prior to said dastardly act, it seems as if the game was purposely designed with route in mind and as a result doesn't just say "You are bad.  Guards will chase you now" but instead gives the player options, has them confronted with someone other than the guards, and reveals an entirely new path that you could take, which I think would throw a curve ball to a lot of gamers, though it might just be one which they would be quite happy to receive. 

 

Of course, I think the major difficulties would be first of all that it would require a 'very' flexible storyline, which in turn would require a 'lot' more options, which then would lead to a great deal more writing, which would possibly lead to an overall less cohesive experience due to how many different parts had to be included but too much to properly polish, by the time it's all said and done with might've been time better spent refining some other aspect of the game.  There might not be a lot of draw for a player looking for that sort of option in the story and thus might not be seen as an effective use of time and money, which is entirely reasonable from my standpoint.  I'm sure there's more, but I'm honestly too tired to think them all up right now, and I figured I'd let you fine, wonderful individuals come up with all the reasons that this is a terrible idea and I'm a terrible person for having thought it up and spent time writing it as well as purposely trying to come up with evil stuff and should be taken out back and shot for the number of run-on sentences in this wall of text if nothing else!

Edited by Dwarfare
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Evil is good. <-- see what I did there? <sigh> :wacko:

 

What if your goal as an evil player is to build up to super-villain status by the end of the game, then export-save the character so that when you play through as a good guy, it uses your super-villain as the end-game-boss-level-baddie? A sort of ironic self-perpetuating way of creating a reason for your next playthrough.

 

Or if that's too difficult to design, just have your bad-self as a lieutenant of end-game-boss-level-baddie.

 

Edit:

 

The chaotic/evil character option has been hotly discussed recently in the context of why it doesn't always suit quest-only XP and needs to consider combat XP as a viable way of accounting for "irrational behaviour". I too would like to play both good and bad characters (and variations thereof) over multiple playthroughs. And since P:E will have the option of mature themes, it makes perfect sense to play evil and have as awesome a challenge as other alignments. They aren't using alignments though, they'll be replaced by a kind of reputation/faction system.

Edited by TRX850

Me? I'm dishonest, and a dishonest man you can always trust to be dishonest. Honestly. It's the honest ones you want to watch out for.

 

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I'm fine with you wanting to role-play evil. But I don't believe in absolute morality like that, and I think it makes for weak characterisation. So yes, I hope there are options to behave as a sociopath, perhaps even a whole path to follow. But, and this is important. I wouldn't ever tag any choice as good or evil. I'll leave that up to the player.


Remember: Argue the point, not the person. Remain polite and constructive. Friendly forums have friendly debate. There's no shame in being wrong. If you don't have something to add, don't post for the sake of it. And don't be afraid to post thoughts you are uncertain about, that's what discussion is for.
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Pet threads, everyone has them. I love imagining Gods, Monsters, Factions and Weapons.

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Difficult to revisit this topic without going back into what evil is.  I mostly look at evil these days as either what happens when someone has a personality disorder, is evil as the bible would paint it, or just for a joke play like this: 

 

Might be getting more evil/practical as I get older though; replayed Witcher 1 recently and just had to skin a main character to get his fur for a mutanagenic potion while the love of his life pined away somewhere awaiting  his return, and the game assumed I did it because 'monsters had to die'.  Nope.

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My understanding is that evil is not going to be a faction. Nor is good. It's up to the player whether they view a particular factions goals as good or evil; hence you decide for yourself which faction represents the "dark path".

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Ya know I heard the same thing about New Vegas... and yet when I kill Legionaries I gain Kama and when I kill NRC I lose Karma.

 

Honestly if I had a clue how to mod NV I'd remove them... just that ONE thing and you have a MUCH more morally ambigious game taht matches a LOT more with the stuff you're told about the factions IN the bloody game itself... You're pretty much told outright that NRC are NOT 'good guys' and that Ceaser has plans for the Legion beyond bloodthirsty conquest.

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The only thing an evil playthrough needs is to not be nonsensical in a I-just-killed-an-orphan-with-his-dead-kitten way and it'll be fine. I suppose I could mention Kreia, but she was never truly evil, more egomaniacal, perhaps, in a non-obvious way.

Edited by Christliar

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This game is being designed by the same people which created a book that promised (and delivered) me power if I mutilate myself, sell a companion into slavery, and then kill another friend. Other activities provided were bargaining with a demon, manipulating another's love for you into productive knowledge/action, and even manipulating a righteous entity into suicide to evade retritbution. This list could continue.

 

I have every faith that the profitable, rational, morally dubious path you seek will be well accomodated for within this game.

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This game is being designed by the same people which created a book that promised (and delivered) me power if I mutilate myself, sell a companion into slavery, and then kill another friend. Other activities provided were bargaining with a demon, manipulating another's love for you into productive knowledge/action, and even manipulating a righteous entity into suicide to evade retritbution. This list could continue.

 

I have every faith that the profitable, rational, morally dubious path you seek will be well accomodated for within this game.

Don't forget soul eating devourer of dead gods.


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Where is the line beetwen good and evil ?

 

Good and evil in most cases are when someone is judgeing. For example if some on kills entire vilidge becouse he likes is (then he is psychopath) adn it's easy to call him EVIL. But if someone kills entire vilidgle becouse they are all sick with some super-virus (and not killing 1000 people will kill 100 000 000 people) then thats not so easy to judge him as evil or good.

 

I don't wan't evil to be psychopats, i want gray character to play as arch-evil ... someone that has PROPER motivation ...

 

Good exampie is Ammon Jerro (he is killing but in the end he want to save the world) .. and in my opinion ..

 

 

IF WE WILL HAVE ANOTHER "SAVE WORLD MAINQUEST" i wnoud love to see that for exampie main character want to save world (or disroy it if has proper motivation) and some archevil that ALSO WANT's TO SAVE THE WORLD and only reason they are figting is difrences in casualties ... and their actions ...

 

I also think that AMMON JERRO like arch evil (someone that you can uderstand) is much better archevil candidate for archevil then Black Gerrus (if i pronance this right)

 

 

But for a main character ... (that we will create) the only case when i will play as evil is when my character will have proper motivation ...I also liked haw they handled CIVIL WAR quest in SKYRIM. Two fractions both thinks that they are "good" and both have some good arguments for their actions ...

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This game is being designed by the same people which created a book that promised (and delivered) me power if I mutilate myself, sell a companion into slavery, and then kill another friend. Other activities provided were bargaining with a demon, manipulating another's love for you into productive knowledge/action, and even manipulating a righteous entity into suicide to evade retritbution. This list could continue.

 

Hmm, I wonder what book is he talking about? Sounds like a cracking good yarn, as long as the good guys win in the end.


"It has just been discovered that research causes cancer in rats."

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This game is being designed by the same people which created a book that promised (and delivered) me power if I mutilate myself, sell a companion into slavery, and then kill another friend. Other activities provided were bargaining with a demon, manipulating another's love for you into productive knowledge/action, and even manipulating a righteous entity into suicide to evade retritbution. This list could continue.

 

Hmm, I wonder what book is he talking about? Sounds like a cracking good yarn, as long as the good guys win in the end.

 

In  Planescape: Torment there was  this talking book ,The Grimoire of Pestilential Thought, that could convert you into evil. I never used it as I always play good characters :)

Edited by BruceVC

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” -  George Bernard Shaw

 

"What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead" - Nelson Mandela

 

 

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Ya know I heard the same thing about New Vegas... and yet when I kill Legionaries I gain Kama and when I kill NRC I lose Karma.

 

Honestly if I had a clue how to mod NV I'd remove them... just that ONE thing and you have a MUCH more morally ambigious game taht matches a LOT more with the stuff you're told about the factions IN the bloody game itself... You're pretty much told outright that NRC are NOT 'good guys' and that Ceaser has plans for the Legion beyond bloodthirsty conquest.

 

I always took that as the general perception of what you did.  People in the game tend to perceive the NRC as better so your karma which is rep reflects that.  I like the idea that you do horrendous things and it tells you outright you did something bad.  Killing a village even if it is for the greater good is still an evil act to some degree.

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Meh. The point of "evil" is that it's a narrative construct, and not something that actually motivates real people in any direct way. In other words, how many people realistically set out to be evil? But of course, you can be "doing the right thing for the wrong reasons" and equally "doing the wrong thing for the right reasons", so where does that leave us?

 

Well, there aren't many interesting characters that are "doing the wrong thing for the wrong reasons", so in most games it's a question of whether you are "doing the right thing for the right reasons", such as love or courage, or "doing the right thing for the wrong reasons", like money and power. And that as you mention is how most games go. The untapped potential for me however is not in the one-dimensional "evil" characters, but rather the characters that are "doing the wrong thing for the right reasons". In my opinion the latter of those two groups is much more interesting and relate-able. As far as someone who just seeks to increase their own power and influence, a game with a linear storyline isn't really the most conducive to that, since that kind of interferes with the idea that the trajectory of the main plot is greater and more important than the progression of one's character.

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Meh. The point of "evil" is that it's a narrative construct, and not something that actually motivates real people in any direct way. In other words, how many people realistically set out to be evil? But of course, you can be "doing the right thing for the wrong reasons" and equally "doing the wrong thing for the right reasons", so where does that leave us?

 

Well, there aren't many interesting characters that are "doing the wrong thing for the wrong reasons", so in most games it's a question of whether you are "doing the right thing for the right reasons", such as love or courage, or "doing the right thing for the wrong reasons", like money and power. And that as you mention is how most games go. The untapped potential for me however is not in the one-dimensional "evil" characters, but rather the characters that are "doing the wrong thing for the right reasons". In my opinion the latter of those two groups is much more interesting and relate-able. As far as someone who just seeks to increase their own power and influence, a game with a linear storyline isn't really the most conducive to that, since that kind of interferes with the idea that the trajectory of the main plot is greater and more important than the progression of one's character.

 

 

I like your post. Im thinking the same but i also think that "Doing wrong thing for wrong reasons" i also intresting BUT only if character has proper history that in some cases justifies him neing "Evil".

 

For example you see you have character that in first look is one dimentional EVIL, he kills farmers, cows etc. But when you find something about his preius life you discover that he was witness of his daughter and wife being raped and killed by some bandids then when he tries to get some help from other people he is beaten and sold for slavery.

 

After 10 years of killing people with his bare hand on arena he menage to escape and is make his revange on every human becouse he thinks that everybody is gulity.

 

It all comes down to history and motivaton. If someone is acting like pure evil it somethimes is only and echo of his personal tragedy. In reality we have serial killers, in most cases their first become victim then this expierence twisted their minds.

 

I don't believe that people can act purevil without some life truma. Someone can be selfish, someone can be cruel but i never met a person that i can call "Pure Evil" and i hope i never met someone like this.

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Difficult to revisit this topic without going back into what evil is.  I mostly look at evil these days as either what happens when someone has a personality disorder, is evil as the bible would paint it, or just for a joke play like this: 

 

Might be getting more evil/practical as I get older though; replayed Witcher 1 recently and just had to skin a main character to get his fur for a mutanagenic potion while the love of his life pined away somewhere awaiting  his return, and the game assumed I did it because 'monsters had to die'.  Nope.

Lol Skeletor, what happened to the magic of over the top villains?


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Difficult to revisit this topic without going back into what evil is.  I mostly look at evil these days as either what happens when someone has a personality disorder, is evil as the bible would paint it, or just for a joke play like this: 

 

Might be getting more evil/practical as I get older though; replayed Witcher 1 recently and just had to skin a main character to get his fur for a mutanagenic potion while the love of his life pined away somewhere awaiting  his return, and the game assumed I did it because 'monsters had to die'.  Nope.

Lol Skeletor, what happened to the magic of over the top villains?

:grin: I use to love Masters of the Universe. I even had the Castle and all the figurines

 

The reason we don't see this type of over the top villains anymore is that Evil has become much more subjective, complex  and difficult to define. I prefer more depth to my evil characters in games and books. And people expect that anyway


"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” -  George Bernard Shaw

 

"What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead" - Nelson Mandela

 

 

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I think the key to making a good evil path is to have lots of good feedback. Most people are intrinsically rewarded for doing good things, even in a game. Most people just get a good feeling when they complete a quest where they rescue a child from bandits or help a village cure a plague.

 

Most people probably don't feel good when they complete an "evil" quest where they sell a bunch of people into slavery or destroy an ancient library that contains the collective knowledge of an entire civilization. So there has to be extra feedback to make you feel good about doing those bad things and encourage you to do more evil quests.

 

Dungeon Keeper does this very well. You have this awesome voice who condescends smugly towards the "heroes," congratulates you on your cruelty, and inspires you to achieve even greater acts of depravity.

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If players truly find one path more rewarding than the other, I don't see why Project Eternity should go out of its way in such a manner to "correct" that. Whether people feel bad about themselves for playing an evil character isn't really the developers' problem in my opinion. When it comes to either path equally feasible in concrete IG respects, sure.

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People feeling bad about playing an evil character is the developer's problem since it discourages player from playing the game that way. Developers don't just create different ways to play a game for its own sake, they do it in the hopes that players will actually try to play the game differently and to increase the game's replay value. Therefore, the developer will try to make stealth more fun for players who may not like stealth or make melee combat more fun for players who may not like melee combat, etc. Similarly, if they're going to add evil paths for players then they should create features to make it more fun to play evil characters.

 

There's also the fact that the developer wants to create consistency between the player and the player character. There are plenty of people who aren't good at fully role playing a certain character. It's hard for them to imagine themselves as another person and make choices that the other person would make but they wouldn't personally make. So there should be features that lets those kinds of players get into a different frame of mind.

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Most people probably don't feel good when they complete an "evil" quest where they sell a bunch of people into slavery or destroy an ancient library that contains the collective knowledge of an entire civilization. So there has to be extra feedback to make you feel good about doing those bad things and encourage you to do more evil quests.

That's a tall order. I suppose it's best accomplished by having the evil path be more "evil-lite" than truly horrific. In my experience, evil typically involves a lot of what historian Paul Fussell described in his WWII book Wartime as chickens*** behavior. The American WWII GIs defined chickens*** as "...behavior that makes military life worse that it need be: petty harassment of the weak by the strong; open scrimmage for power and authority and prestige; sadism thinly disguised as necessary discipline; a constant 'paying off of old scores'; and insistence on the letter rather than the spirit of ordinances. Chickens*** is so called--instead of horse- or bull- or elephant s***--because it is small-minded and ignoble and takes the trivial seriously."

 

An honest portrayal of evil would involve a significant amount of chickens*** being dished out by evil organizations and individuals. That might appeal to a limited element in the cRPG community, but I can't imagine it being a major draw for most of the players. "Evil-lite" or focusing on the glamour of evil as often portrayed by Hollywood might prove a superior tack for allowing the players to tickle themselves with the glamour of evil without feeling like abject scum. To use a WWII analogy, many more players would enjoy the look and fearful reaction from others if their character was all decked out as a Waffen SS tank commander, but they might not be so happy to spend time as a SS-Totenkopfverbände guard (Death's Head unit, genocide duty).

 

I favor depicting evil in all its horror and wickedness as an antidote to the allure of its largely illusory glamour, but this wouldn't help players enjoy playing (in D&D terms) a blackguard or an assassin very much. More likely it would give a number of them a bit of a "spiritual cramp" (C.S. Lewis). Then again, I tend to favor realism to the detriment of fantasy more often than many who play cRPGs and RPGs. Ain't I a fuddy-duddy? ;)

Edited by Tsuga C
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Ahh Dungeon Keeper!  I think that's what Skeletor did when he got kicked out of Eternia (wonder if Obsidian can use that without getting sued?).  Playing that game was like being an evil Minsc or Grobnar.  So long as the extrinsically motivated evil path is laced with a bit of humour, I'm game.  Maybe Obsidian can be convinced to install a few mistress's in the stronghold dungeon in the event we need to rapidly get some information from some characters...

 

 

Regarding Tsuga C's post:  Percy Wetmore from The Green Mile comes to mind from your Paul Fussell quote.  I think it would be pretty disturbing if any game company felt the need to write that tone/character into a dialogue or alignment/personality.  Ugh.  Even as an antagonist.

Edited by Chippy

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People feeling bad about playing an evil character is the developer's problem since it discourages player from playing the game that way. Developers don't just create different ways to play a game for its own sake, they do it in the hopes that players will actually try to play the game differently and to increase the game's replay value.

 

There's also the fact that the developer wants to create consistency between the player and the player character. There are plenty of people who aren't good at fully role playing a certain character. It's hard for them to imagine themselves as another person and make choices that the other person would make but they wouldn't personally make.

 

 

I suppose it's best accomplished by having the evil path be more "evil-lite" than truly horrific.

 

"Evil-lite" or focusing on the glamour of evil as often portrayed by Hollywood might prove a superior tack for allowing the players to tickle themselves with the glamour of evil without feeling like abject scum.

 

I emphatically disagree. I think it's vastly more important that the game provides a range of narrative and emotional possibilities than it is that each option in the game appeals to all players. If a player cannot enjoy playing a truly evil character (even when they already get such things as the best loot in most games), then that player should simply stick to "good" characters. If you're really so desperate to replay the game a million times, then you can just suck it up that you might have to play a character outside of what you're comfortable with. The point of evil characters has never been for the player to feel warm and fuzzy, and it defeats the purpose to try to shove that square peg into the round hole. "Evil lite"... so you guys are really asking for diluted narrative? Moreover, the game shouldn't be tailored to players who are poor at fulfilling their character's role. Not to mention the fact that you're never stuck picking every evil option just because you choose one. While relating to characters is important, if you can't relate to an evil character then it's not for you. It's just a game anyway.

 

This is really just a completely silly issue. The simple fact of the matter is that the only thing that could make playing "evil" characters more fun that hasn't already been done is making them less evil, in which case you're not playing an evil character.

 

The idea of tailoring elements of gameplay to the players who don't like those very elements seems highly irrational to me. I don't like classic wizards/sorcerers personally, and if the developers spent their time trying to make those classes appeal to me, they'd probably no longer appeal to the people who like them in their current form, and in all likelihood they still wouldn't appeal to me.

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  I was thinking in terms of a character like Grobnar being given a helm of opposite alignment, I wouldn't expect him to then become a diluted character because he wasn't as heavy when placed on a scale with the practical incarnation from PS:T.  There are just certain aspects of evil behaviour that jump out of a game as ...misplaced... like suddenly making Grobnar into a child killer similiar to the gnome murderer encounters in BG1/2, or what I hear happened to the protagonist's close family member in DA2.  All moot though as I'm confident the writing from Obsidian wouldn't sink to those levels. 

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