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How can they make P:E interesting at 'Epic' levels?

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Assuming we eventually get an expansion pack or the like which is the equivalent of Throne of Bhaal or Mask of the Betrayer, an expansion which takes our party to the realms of near-godlike power. 

 

Throne of Bhaal screwed up both in terms of story and in terms of gameplay. Their solution to providing a challenge to epic characters was to make every two-bit mook you run into also borderline epic level, and armed with an absurd amount of extremely powerful magical equipment. Either that or to throw wildly implausible enemies at you, such as a fellow Bhaalspawn who was an adult dragon with an adult son (jesus, just how long ago did Bhaal start planning this thing anyway?)

 

Likewise, in terms of plot, everything felt thrown together at the last minute. Despite knowing that their entire Bhaalspawn premise entailed a final resolution of that overarching plotline, the developers lurched into ToB like they had completely forgotten that particular story would have to have an ending. So they threw some random epic-level enemies at you from out of nowhere, gave you an extremely feeble plot twist, and ended it about as predictably as could be imagined. 

 

Meanwhile, Mask of the Betrayer does a fantastic job, overall, on the plotline...in fact, a much better job in that department than the game it was 'expanding.' A full-scale attack on the Wall of the Faithless, a struggle of (well, in theory) downright cosmic importance, felt like exactly the kind of thing epic characters should be doing. Unfortunately, however, they too featured absurdities like epic level gnolls guarding an academy or epic level Red Wizard 'students.' And, of course, you're so powerful at that point that most fights can be quickly resolved with 'hose the area down with epic level area-effect spells and watch everything die.' 

 

But that opens up the question: what should they have done? Realistically, what exists to provide a challenge to an entire party of level 20+ characters that doesn't come across as more than a little forced? What kind of storyline is appropriate to characters who are so absurdly powerful? Or should P:E even follow in the D&D's footsteps that far, allowing you to become so powerful by the time you reach the extreme upper levels?

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I'm a fan of epic levels. I think that HotU and MotB handled them best, but I agree that some of the epic level soldiers didn't make sense. So just have all "epic" foes be grounded in the setting.


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How can they make P:E interesting at 'Epic' levels?

Not having levels at all would certainly help.

 

Not really, unless you turn the RPG into not-an-RPG and remove all the cool abilities and equipment that come as you make progress through the game. Sooner or later, whether such progress is officially represented by levels or not, the characters are going to start becoming so powerful that challenging them will become difficult.

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I'm a fan of epic levels. I think that HotU and MotB handled them best, but I agree that some of the epic level soldiers didn't make sense. So just have all "epic" foes be grounded in the setting.

 

I actually completely forgot about Hordes of the Underdark. That was a great game, too.

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Not really, unless you turn the RPG into not-an-RPG and remove all the cool abilities and equipment that come as you make progress through the game. Sooner or later, whether such progress is officially represented by levels or not, the characters are going to start becoming so powerful that challenging them will become difficult.

Nope. Look at real life. Or pretty much any novel not licensed from a leveled rpg. A soldier, veteran of 20 years, can still meet a lot of challenges.

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Not really, unless you turn the RPG into not-an-RPG and remove all the cool abilities and equipment that come as you make progress through the game. Sooner or later, whether such progress is officially represented by levels or not, the characters are going to start becoming so powerful that challenging them will become difficult.

Nope. Look at real life. Or pretty much any novel not licensed from a leveled rpg. A soldier, veteran of 20 years, can still meet a lot of challenges.

 

 

That's because real life isn't an RPG. In playing an RPG, above all a fantasy RPG, most people expect their character to be a great deal more powerful at the end than the character was at the start. Whether this is quantified with 'levels' is optional, but the steady increase in power as you gain XP or whatever else will almost certainly be there.

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You can advance as a character even without levels, levels are just an easy way of showing progress. You might as well have skills, perks, and a lot of other kinds of things that makes you advance as a character without setting an arbitrary number on how strong you are. If you swing your sword, your proficiency in swords could go up, and unlock new abilities. It would still be levels in a way, but condensed to what you are actually using in the game.

 

I find it kinda awesome to play a monk in BG though, when you in the late game pummel dragons to death, with your fists. It just makes me feel fuzzy inside.

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Most people expect a good computer game to be a clone of Halo or The Sims.

 

If one go with “their perception of most people this and that“ road, one shouldn't say their making a good crpg. “Most people” as you say won't play a crpg, doesn't know what a rpg is, and doesn't care.

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For Epic levels, the average exploration and encounter approach isn't going to cut it. Your power levels are beyond nearly everything you're going to face in a typical location. I think you need to travel to where the challenges are, which may mean moving to distant locations around the globe, or leaving the globe altogether and going to another plane or realm.Perhaps elevated souls are directly tasked by the gods to accomplish great things, meaning you'll become an agent of a deity and be sent against the greatest perceived threats? If you succeed, then your soul will ascend to wherever it is elevated souls go.

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Drop the trash combat, make each foe memorable, difficult and intrinsically wrapped up in the narrative. 

Open up new vistas of gameplay, whether that be adjudicating on the rule of law, governing a fiefdom, maintaining a standing army, opposing or fostering a rebellion or becoming embroiled in byzantine politics, etcetera. 

Make choices and consequences extremely important, New Vegas style, so we know that we are important and no longer itinerant sellswords.

Keep the world grounded in its own reality, so that we still face very real and human problems.

Open up more possibilities on how to deal with situations.

Start learning the secrets of the gameworld, and possibly what lies beyond. But let those secrets birth a hundred questions, so that as our wisdom grows we realise that our ignorance will too.

Gather rare components, ores and such so that your Wizard might begin crafting great and powerful artifacts alongside a skilled craftsman.

Introduce foes against whom there is no victory, there is only a possibility of containment at a price, and the risk of madness and corruption then. Tharizdun, Lovecraft, etcetera.

Start having ones soul bleed over into the weapons, armour and accoutrements that the character weilds. Strengthening but more importantly personalising them.

Recognise the characters potency, but still recognise that he is mortal and his mistakes and stupidities will have results.

Additionally, facing mortality and either raging against it or accepting that limitation, for a caster class or a great individual this might be particularly galling. Kresselack the Black Wolf and the Nameless One spring to mind.

 

Edit: Well that's what i'd consider interesting anyway.

Edited by Nonek
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Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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Drop the trash combat, make each foe memorable, difficult and intrinsically wrapped up in the narrative. 

Open up new vistas of gameplay, whether that be adjudicating on the rule of law, governing a fiefdom, maintaining a standing army, opposing or fostering a rebellion or becoming embroiled in byzantine politics, etcetera. 

Make choices and consequences extremely important, New Vegas style, so we know that we are important and no longer itinerant sellswords.

Keep the world grounded in its own reality, so that we still face very real and human problems.

Open up more possibilities on how to deal with situations.

Start learning the secrets of the gameworld, and possibly what lies beyond. But let those secrets birth a hundred questions, so that as our wisdom grows we realise that our ignorance will too.

Gather rare components, ores and such so that your Wizard might begin crafting great and powerful artifacts alongside a skilled craftsman.

Introduce foes against whom there is no victory, there is only a possibility of containment at a price, and the risk of madness and corruption then. Tharizdun, Lovecraft, etcetera.

Start having ones soul bleed over into the weapons, armour and accoutrements that the character weilds. Strengthening but more importantly personalising them.

Recognise the characters potency, but still recognise that he is mortal and his mistakes and stupidities will have results.

Additionally, facing mortality and either raging against it or accepting that limitation, for a caster class or a great individual this might be particularly galling. Kresselack the Black Wolf and the Nameless One spring to mind.

 

Edit: Well that's what i'd consider interesting anyway.

what about chult while you becoming a big hero others will stat belive in you now sins its a magical world ther might be soul linkz channeling specials in to you and you loyal followers

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Not having levels at all would certainly help.

 

Not really, unless you turn the RPG into not-an-RPG and remove all the cool abilities and equipment that come as you make progress through the game. Sooner or later, whether such progress is officially represented by levels or not, the characters are going to start becoming so powerful that challenging them will become difficult.

 

 

I disagree.

I don't see the "leveling obsession" as something inherently possitive or necessary for a RPG.Wihle removing levels ersay isn't necessary, a differnet leveling paradigm is necessary.

If the player can at any point reach "epic" levels, then the desing is inherently borken already, since it's going to be a b***  to balance or to provide meaningfull narrative or world.

 

Personally, I' do away with HP increase orany automatic stat incfreases per level. Minimum increases. Skills. Feats. Something to make a character more knowledgable and versatile without making him OP.

 

I personally WANT to be human (and thuis very killable) at lvl 20 just as much as I was at lvl 1.

I don't want to see a dozen bandits and go "meh, they are no danger" as I walk right in their midsts and yawn as they stab me for 1HP of damage(or no damage).

If I want to feel like part of that world/setting, then I have to feel like I am there. I should react to danger as a normal person living there would. Which is to feel fear every time I fight, because I know I CAN be killed.

 

 

 

That's because real life isn't an RPG. In playing an RPG, above all a fantasy RPG, most people expect their character to be a great deal more powerful at the end than the character was at the start.

 

I say poeple have a very shallow view of power. What IS power? How do you define it? How do you measure it? Why do so may people in RGP's only see it as increase in the NUMBERS.

And it's about time such expectations were shattered and changed.

Edited by TrashMan
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* YOU ARE A WRONGULARITY FROM WHICH NO RIGHT CAN ESCAPE! *

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Oh I would add that the intelligence of ones opponents needs to escalate, an Emperor or King in this time period is not the spoiled snob of modern nobility, he is born into power and danger, and drinks down ruthlessness and duplicity with his mothers milk. Not as an arrogant affectation, but as a means of survival, because walking the path of power is a life or death stroll.

 

Thus make such opponents forward thinking, potent and very dangerous, no more so than when they feel threatened.


Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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Oh I would add that the intelligence of ones opponents needs to escalate, an Emperor or King in this time period is not the spoiled snob of modern nobility, he is born into power and danger, and drinks down ruthlessness and duplicity with his mothers milk. Not as an arrogant affectation, but as a means of survival, because walking the path of power is a life or death stroll.

 

Thus make such opponents forward thinking, potent and very dangerous, no more so than when they feel threatened.

all hail the mighty king! its more color full then that especially in a fantasy world like the empero is mandated by the Dragon concil of the 12 dragon and they have in fact been removing emperors in the past well why ther in ancient time was an empire of men who tryed to hunt down the dragons but the dragons won

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hopefully P:E won't have standards like "epic levels"

like, yes, my favorite example - jagged alliance 2 :)

with all your skills maxed out, all the top gear equipped,

if you get an accurate headshot - that's a headshot

takes at least two thirds of your HP, leaving you not-so-epic

bleeding and with action points halved

sometimes can even drop your stats permanently

 

and hopefully the devs will help us realize that in a fantasy world ->

-> you, too, can be overwhelmed by random thugs who catch you by surprise

even when you're a great martial artist, swordfighter or magician

 

and sometimes it IS "epic" - just to survive a situation like that

 

does not require titan-size adamantine golems facing you

just plain cruelty of a moment, like i said before

 

let's hope that when an army fails against our party->

->there will be more explanation rather than just "epic level"+"magic items"  :luck: 

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I hope we don't get to epic levels....

 

It would kind of put a stop to the idea of carrying the character forward to future adventures if you became an indestructible superhero, same reason I don't want a "save the world" quest, it just makes sequels kind of implausible....

 

and my favourite part of RPGs is usually the start when you are weaker...

 

I think you should always be able to come unstuck, weaker foes should still be a threat if you don't take them seriously..getting stabbed with a sword should never be trivial.

Edited by motorizer

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Easy you don't have epic levels like they do in DnD. Your characters are never considered god-like in terms of power. The problem with DnD it turns into a hack and slash at higher levels because of game mechanics. 

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Assuming we eventually get an expansion pack or the like which is the equivalent of Throne of Bhaal or Mask of the Betrayer, an expansion which takes our party to the realms of near-godlike power. 

 

 

 For the record, I hope we see a bunch of sequels (the good things about not licensing somebody's rule set) and that it will be possible to play through them with a single character. It was one thing I especially liked about the BG series.

 

 

Throne of Bhaal screwed up both in terms of story and in terms of gameplay. Their solution to providing a challenge to epic characters was to make every two-bit mook you run into also borderline epic level, and armed with an absurd amount of extremely powerful magical equipment. Either that or to throw wildly implausible enemies at you, such as a fellow Bhaalspawn who was an adult dragon with an adult son (jesus, just how long ago did Bhaal start planning this thing anyway?)

 

 Well, Bhaal always was kind of OCD like that. Anyway, I think the linear plot was a disaster. The previous games were good, in part, because of the exploration. Still, your point is spot on in that having a repeat of BG1 except with Elder Orbs in place of Xvarts wouldn't have made it good. One thing I would have liked was to have the earlier settings be a part of the story (I'm sure this was an IP/Licensing issue) but returning to Candlekeep to use the library, or something like that, could have been fun. Returning to your BG2 stronghold and doing things related to that could have worked too. You can get to the Watcher's Keep from either SoA or ToB but for some reason you can't get back to Athkatla once you've hit the expansion. 

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Don't make the game combat focused. PE+Exp is alright, but PE2's expansion and PE3 are another matter. Ziet's in a formspring answer about how he would have made BG3 hit it spot on.

 

If your character is so powerfull that is practicaly a demigod, the classic combat focussed- exploring the wilderness won't cut it anymore. By then the PS:T or MotB(but without 80% of it's combat) model is better.Have a narrative focused game, where your character faces chalenges other than bashing random idiots to the head. Your character is beyond that, and he should be able to one-hit almost anything in the game. Make the encounter's few but relevant, with suitable "epic" enemies that make sense.

 

Don't make the enemie's janitor an 20 level fighter. Make him 2 and let your character demolish the whole base until the leader. And then balance the leader encounter for a fully rested party at full power. Don't design an attrition focused game.

ToB could have worked better if it was narrative focused, with you strugling with Bhaal's essence, having to discover the Five's identities and way's to beat them yourself instead of telling you where they are from the start. And then have the only memorable fights to be the Five themselves, Watcher's Keep and the Abyss. No need to have random watchmen wielding +3 armor sets.

Edited by Malekith
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Not really, unless you turn the RPG into not-an-RPG and remove all the cool abilities and equipment that come as you make progress through the game. Sooner or later, whether such progress is officially represented by levels or not, the characters are going to start becoming so powerful that challenging them will become difficult.

 

 

I disagree.

I don't see the "leveling obsession" as something inherently possitive or necessary for a RPG.Wihle removing levels ersay isn't necessary, a differnet leveling paradigm is necessary.

If the player can at any point reach "epic" levels, then the desing is inherently borken already, since it's going to be a b***  to balance or to provide meaningfull narrative or world.

 

Personally, I' do away with HP increase orany automatic stat incfreases per level. Minimum increases. Skills. Feats. Something to make a character more knowledgable and versatile without making him OP.

 

I personally WANT to be human (and thuis very killable) at lvl 20 just as much as I was at lvl 1.

I don't want to see a dozen bandits and go "meh, they are no danger" as I walk right in their midsts and yawn as they stab me for 1HP of damage(or no damage).

If I want to feel like part of that world/setting, then I have to feel like I am there. I should react to danger as a normal person living there would. Which is to feel fear every time I fight, because I know I CAN be killed.

 

 

 

 I see your point, but put yourself in Candlekeep as a squishy mage but with the spellbook and items from ToB and you'll walk through BG1 in no danger at all without ever hitting the 'Level Up' button, right? 

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I think the best way to handle the potential of "epic" levels is to have a place in the setting for them.
Take your example of D&D, the setting is built around level 1-20. Once you get up to level 15-20, it's a given that you're probably done mucking about doing sidequests and random encounters and fighting mooks, and you're fighting elite things like greater demons, golem guardians, high-level NPC enemies, top it off with some dragons... Because there's still a lot of dragons, demons, and such in the setting... not as many as low level orcs and gnolll, but enough that it doesn't make the setting break.
D&D then attempts to go *beyond* that and then you're at the point where there's too many high-level things than you expected from the setting... especially if you get stuff like 20th level "peasants".
A setting that's designed that way... that there are regions of the universe that are more densely populated with such powerful things... would go a long way in making it go smoother. Kind of like how Final Fantasy works (even though it's still kind of silly in its own way).
Especially if your power curve is designed to handle that. D&D tops out at 9th level spells like time stops and meteors and there just isn't much else to go... so the epic level progressions, rather than being dynamic like 1-20 just become repetive number infaltion more and more.
 

 

I disagree.

I don't see the "leveling obsession" as something inherently possitive or necessary for a RPG.Wihle removing levels ersay isn't necessary, a differnet leveling paradigm is necessary.

If the player can at any point reach "epic" levels, then the desing is inherently borken already, since it's going to be a b***  to balance or to provide meaningfull narrative or world.

 

Personally, I' do away with HP increase orany automatic stat incfreases per level. Minimum increases. Skills. Feats. Something to make a character more knowledgable and versatile without making him OP.

 

I personally WANT to be human (and thuis very killable) at lvl 20 just as much as I was at lvl 1.

I don't want to see a dozen bandits and go "meh, they are no danger" as I walk right in their midsts and yawn as they stab me for 1HP of damage(or no damage).

If I want to feel like part of that world/setting, then I have to feel like I am there. I should react to danger as a normal person living there would. Which is to feel fear every time I fight, because I know I CAN be killed.

 

 

 


That's because real life isn't an RPG. In playing an RPG, above all a fantasy RPG, most people expect their character to be a great deal more powerful at the end than the character was at the start.

 

I say poeple have a very shallow view of power. What IS power? How do you define it? How do you measure it? Why do so may people in RGP's only see it as increase in the NUMBERS.

And it's about time such expectations were shattered and changed.

 

 

Because making it by numbers is easier to program as a game.
I'd say once you've gotten rid of the rising numbers, you're better off getting rid of numbers entirely, and making it a different sort of game... an action-adventure, a point-and-click adventure... but not an RPG.
It'd also require a system of control more reliant on the skills of the player. In an RPG you rely on stats and hit points to avoid or soak attacks because you can't parry or dodge at will like you can in, say, a fighting game or something like that.
Which is the kind of game I prefer to play, but that's not necessarily what we're getting here.

 

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Personally, I' do away with HP increase orany automatic stat incfreases per level. Minimum increases. Skills. Feats. Something to make a character more knowledgable and versatile without making him OP.

 

I personally WANT to be human (and thuis very killable) at lvl 20 just as much as I was at lvl 1.

I don't want to see a dozen bandits and go "meh, they are no danger" as I walk right in their midsts and yawn as they stab me for 1HP of damage(or no damage).

If I want to feel like part of that world/setting, then I have to feel like I am there. I should react to danger as a normal person living there would. Which is to feel fear every time I fight, because I know I CAN be killed.

Exactly., I wouldn't have said it better.

 

 

I say poeple have a very shallow view of power. What IS power? How do you define it? How do you measure it? Why do so may people in RGP's only see it as increase in the NUMBERS.

And it's about time such expectations were shattered and changed.

Edit, missed that. Yet again it's quite right.

 

Power is about favoring your allies and punishing your enemies. It has tremendously little to do with numbers.

 

I know that some of you don't see that yet, but you need to get your head out of the usual crpg paradigm. Way of doing things if you prefer. Being powerful isn't at all a necessity of role-playing gaming, a lot of time it's just an hindrance. And even if you're character is powerful, that absolutely doesn't need him to be a antique demi-god punching everything that moves.

 

If you want, real power doesn't mean stomping dragons bare handed. Real power is not to have to fight in the first place for example.

Edited by BlackyNoir

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Because making it by numbers is easier to program as a game.

I'd say once you've gotten rid of the rising numbers, you're better off getting rid of numbers entirely, and making it a different sort of game... an action-adventure, a point-and-click adventure... but not an RPG.

It'd also require a system of control more reliant on the skills of the player. In an RPG you rely on stats and hit points to avoid or soak attacks because you can't parry or dodge at will like you can in, say, a fighting game or something like that.

Which is the kind of game I prefer to play, but that's not necessarily what we're getting here.

 

 

easy =/= good.

 

Skills. Feats. Influence. Making a character more diverse, giving him more options. That is power.

Not the dry, numerical "Ha! I have 200 HP he has 100!" one. And this is as it should be.

The problem isn't number (because there will always hevto be SOME numbers), it's over-reliance on them.

 

Isn't a character with 20 skills more powerfull than one with 5? Even if his HP or attack and defense didnt' even atutomaticly increase with level? Yes, yes he is.

Is a character with political connection more powerfull that one without? Yes.

 

Power is power. In every shape and form it comes. And CRPG's are focused on just inflating your HP and damage.

 

And no, a control system more reliant on skills of the player isn't necessary at all. It's still a cRPG. It still has attributes and feats and skills. It just changes the progression and methodology.

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I agree with trashman 100% on this.

 

Progression can go from dealing with small village problems, bandits etc....to minor local politics and territorial disputes...to getting dragged into the schemes, machinations and wars of the nobles of the main factions.. as your reputation and influence increase.

Skills can add new ways to defend against that sword blow that would still do serious damage if it connects, or new ways to attack or to avoid conflict altogether by stealth or diplomacy

 

That is progression done in a way that is 1000 times more interesting than 100hp > 200hp > 500hp

 

Someone mentioned jagged alliance 2 earlier, in that game you can increase HP, but everyone has a maximum of 100, and its tough to get there, and to start with high HP means sacrificing other upgrades .. In that game it can gain you an edge, but you still need strategy, equipment and a little luck to win.

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