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Lost in the Sauce: Trump, Cruz, and Gohmert team up to incite election-related violence
Welcome to Lost in the Sauce, keeping you caught up on political and legal news that often gets buried in distractions and theater… or a global health crisis. Housekeeping:
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I put the latest info on Trump's phone call to Raffensperger in this comment.
According to experts, Trump’s conduct has potential criminal exposure:
A federal statute makes it a crime when one “knowingly and willfully … attempts to deprive or defraud the residents of a State of a fair and impartially conducted election process, by … the procurement, casting, or tabulation of ballots that are known by the person to be materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent under the laws of the State in which the election is held.” A Georgia statute similarly provides that a “person commits the offense of criminal solicitation to commit election fraud in the first degree when, with intent that another person engage in conduct constituting a felony under this article, he or she solicits, requests, commands, importunes, or otherwise attempts to cause the other person to engage in such conduct.” …The hard part for prosecutors would be proving Trump’s state of mind, because the statutes require proof of knowledge and intent. Prosecutors would have to show that Trump knew that Biden fairly won the election, and Trump was asking for Georgia officials to commit election fraud. And it’s not clear prosecutors could make that case.
At least 12 Republican senators plan to challenge Biden’s Electoral College win on Jan. 6, when Congress is set to officially count the votes. The effort is being led by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and includes Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), John Kennedy (R-La.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), and Mike Braun (R-Ind.), as well as new Senators Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), and Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.). Separately, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) is pursuing a similar plan.
"Congress should immediately appoint an Electoral Commission, with full investigatory and fact-finding authority, to conduct an emergency 10-day audit of the election returns in the disputed states. Once completed, individual states would evaluate the Commission’s findings and could convene a special legislative session to certify a change in their vote, if needed," the senators said in a joint statement. “Accordingly, we intend to vote on Jan. 6 to reject the electors from disputed states as not ‘regularly given’ and ‘lawfully certified’ (the statutory requisite), unless and until that emergency 10-day audit is completed."
Their plan is not going to succeed in preventing Biden from taking office, as majorities in both the House and the Senate would need to support a challenge against a state’s electoral votes. For an objection to be made, at least one member of both the House and Senate would need to submit it in writing. Then, the House and Senate separately convene to consider the issue. Debate is limited to two hours for each objection. After debate concludes, the House and Senate vote to uphold the objection and throw out the state’s votes. If the majority of the House AND the majority of the Senate does not uphold the objection, the state’s electoral votes are counted as cast.
Vice President Mike Pence’s role is simply to preside over the joint session, opening and presenting the certifications from each state. In his absence, the Senate pro-tempore Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) will lead the session. At the end of the process, the presiding officer announces who has won the majority of votes for president and vice president.
The most immediate danger from Trump and Cruz’s doomed election gambit is rightwing terrorism and general violence: Trump, in particular, is inciting his supporters to swarm D.C. on Jan. 6. “JANUARY SIXTH, SEE YOU IN DC!” Trump tweeted last week. Four rightwing rallies are scheduled, including one headlined by George Papadopoulos and Roger Stone. The Proud Boys and other extremists are planning to attend the rallies and may set up an “armed encampment” on the National Mall, according to the Washington Post. On social media platform Parler, the leader of the Proud Boys said that members will be there “incognito” and may “dress in all black” to impersonate leftwing protestors.
Enrique Tarrio: "The ProudBoys will turn out in record numbers on Jan 6th but this time with a twist...We will not be wearing our traditional Black and Yellow. We will be incognito and we will spread across downtown DC in smaller teams."
Rep. Louie Gohmert has more explicitly tried to incite violence, saying the failure of his legal challenge to the election means “you gotta go the streets and be as violent as Antifa and BLM.” (clip)
At the same time, pro-Trump lawyer Lin Wood suggested that Pence could “face execution by firing squad” for “treason” if he doesn’t go along with the attempt to subvert the election.
Obstructing the transition
Biden’s transition director has accused the Office of Management and Budget of stonewalling the incoming administration’s team. OMB Director Russ Vought is not allowing key staff to meet with the transition team to help prepare the president-elect’s first annual spending plan, a move that could delay major proposals. Vought pushed back on the charges, saying that his agency needs to focus on finalizing the Trump administration’s regulations before the president leaves office.
“OMB leadership’s refusal to fully cooperate impairs our ability to identify opportunities to maximize the relief going out to Americans during the pandemic, and it leaves us in the dark as it relates to Covid-related expenditures and critical gaps,” [Biden transition Exec. Dir. Yohannes] Abraham said.
Earlier last week, Biden himself said Trump officials are not cooperating with his team, singling out the Defense Department for obstructing information on crucial national security issues. “Right now, we just aren’t getting all the information that we need from the outgoing administration in key national security areas. It’s nothing short, in my view, of irresponsibility,” Biden said. The Defense Dept. finally scheduled meetings with the incoming team this week, after not briefing the transition for weeks.
The timing of the resumption in meetings is notable because it comes after the one year anniversary of the U.S. assassination of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani on Jan. 3. NATO officials are reportedly worried about the lack of coordination from the Trump administration: "We need the incoming Biden administration to be fully briefed and ready to deal with these very dangerous issues facing NATO's security."
Sabotaging the Biden Administration
U.S. Agency for Global Media CEO Michael Pack is taking steps to keep control of Radio Free Europe and Radio Free Asia during the Biden administration. As chairman of the boards of Radio Free Europe and Asia, Pack and his fellow members have added binding contractual agreements that will make it impossible to remove him or other pro-Trump allies from the board in the next two years.
In other words, although President-elect Joe Biden has already signaled he intends to replace Pack as CEO of the parent agency soon after taking office in January, Pack would maintain a significant degree of control over the networks.
The State Department is likely to designate Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism “as an 11th hour effort to create hurdles for the incoming Biden administration.” The label, which requires the approval of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, would undo a major accomplishment of the Obama administration. To take Cuba back off the list, the Biden team would need to conduct a formal review, a process that might take several months.
Such a designation would impose restrictions on US foreign assistance, a ban on defense exports and sales, certain controls over exports and various financial restrictions. It would also result in penalization against any persons and countries engaging in certain trade activities with Cuba.
The Trump administration has been rushing to finalize a myriad of rules before Biden’s inauguration. Since Election Day, the Trump administration has issued about three to four times as many new regulations as it did during other periods of Trump’s presidency. Rules that haven’t been finalized or taken effect can be suspended by an incoming president, which Biden has said he intends to do. By contrast, rules that are finalized can take months, or even years, to undo.
“As a general rule, it takes at least as much process to undo or modify a rule as it does to put the rule in place,” said Jonathan H. Adler, a professor and an administrative law expert at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. “The Trump administration is magnifying that challenge for the Biden administration.”
Trump loyalists are urging the president to stymie Biden’s efforts to rejoin the Paris climate agreement and the Iran nuclear deal. Sens. Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham are working to get the agreements submitted to the Senate for ratification, requiring a two-thirds vote, with the goal of failure. While such an outcome wouldn’t prevent Biden from rejoining the accords, Cruz and Graham hope it would make their resurrection more problematic.
A vote against them would signal GOP opposition to the world and, they hope, undermine any unilateral action by Biden to rejoin the agreements. One senior congressional aide told RCP that sending them to die in the Senate “would be the final nail in the coffin.”
Further reading: “Biden To Be Saddled With Trump’s Payroll Tax Deferral Mess,” Forbes. Further reading: Biden will inherit a backlog of tens of thousands of visa requests from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — and a bureaucratic tangle that refugee advocates say President Trump ignored or made worse.
Trump money and properties
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance is employing forensic accounting specialists to examine Trump’s finances and business operations. Vance is looking “for anomalies among a variety of property deals” and trying to determine “whether the president’s company manipulated the value of certain assets to obtain favorable interest rates and tax breaks”.
The analysts hired by Vance probably have already reviewed various bank and mortgage records obtained from Trump’s company as part of the ongoing grand jury investigation, and they could be called on to testify about their findings should the district attorney eventually bring criminal charges
In yet another shady business deal connected to Trump, the United States sold the ambassador’s residence in Israel for more than $67 million. The person who bought the residence is none other than Trump mega-donor Sheldon Adelson. The property only became available due to Trump's controversial decision to relocate the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to contested Jerusalem. Furthermore, State Dept. representatives reportedly lied to Congress about the sale, perhaps to hide that Adelson purposefully overbid.
For now, there is no alternative residence for the ambassador, David Friedman, Trump’s former lawyer, who currently uses a suite at Jerusalem’s King David Hotel or rooms at the former Jerusalem Consulate General when he spends nights in Jerusalem… As a result, the United States appears likely to end up leasing the residence it has owned since 1964 from the GOP-affiliated casino mogul. “It is very strange that we are now paying Sheldon Adelson,” a congressional aide told The Daily Beast. “It is not above board. We have a number of questions. Did they get two independent appraisals? Was it a sweetheart deal? Was Adelson the highest donor? Was there a reason to sell it now?”
Trump’s businesses have taken in $10.5 million of donor money over the course of his presidency. $8.5 million came from the Trump campaign and related entities that Trump controls directly; $2 million came from other Republican candidates and committees. The biggest beneficiary was Trump’s NYC hotel, taking in $3,039,979 over the four years of his presidency, with $891,003 of that in just the final four months of the campaign. Trump’s DC hotel is ramping up room prices and requiring a two-night minimum stay for two key events this month, as the president tries to squeeze more profit out of his office. On Jan. 6, when Congress is set to formally count the votes cast by the Electoral College, room rates are listed at over eight times the price of surrounding dates. Trump is encouraging his supporters to attend a protest of Biden’s win on the 6th. A room during the inauguration costs five times the normal rate, at $2,225 per night. Trump’s Turnberry Resort in Scotland posted a £2.3 million ($3.1 million) loss in 2019, marking the sixth year in a row it has failed to turn a profit under his ownership. Since Trump took over the historic property in 2014, its losses now total nearly £45 million ($61.5 million).
The fact Turnberry remains in the red comes in spite of significant tranches of payments it has received from the US government during Mr Trump’s single term in office… the US Secret Service spent nearly £25,000 to accommodate its agents at the resort during business trips by Mr Trump’s son, Eric, an executive vice-president of the family firm. Since Mr Trump’s election, the property has received close to £300,000 from the Secret Service, US State Department, and US Defence Department
A Florida state lawmaker is calling for Mar-a-Lago to be penalized - and possibly shut down - for flouting coronavirus restrictions during a New Years Eve party. While Trump and the first lady did not attend, son Don Jr., attorney Rudy Giuliani, Rep. Matt Gaetz, and Fox News personality Jeanine Piro were captured on video among the maskless crowd. Guests paid as much as $1,000 for access to the ballroom to be entertained by Vanilla Ice.
State Rep. Omari Hardy: “My constituents are not snowbirds like @DonaldJTrumpJr & @kimguilfoyle. My constituents live here. This is their home, and they're going to have to deal w/ the consequences of a potential super-spreader party at Mar-a-Lago long after Junior & wife leave here on their private jet.”
Are you ready for a Donald J. Trump Airport? According to the Daily Beast, Trump has been asking aides about the process of naming airports after former U.S. presidents. Further reading: “Jared Kushner’s family real estate business wants to raise at least $100 million in capital through Israel’s bond market… Kushner has helped spearhead a series of moves that have been applauded by the conservative pro-Israel community, including moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv and recognizing Israeli sovereignty in disputed areas such as the Golan Heights. Kushner also has close ties to Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.”
The Census Bureau missed it’s end-of-year deadline to produce numbers that determine representation in Congress and the Electoral College for the next decade. The agency is working toward Jan. 9 as an internal target date for completing the current stage of processing records. "If we miss Jan. 9, it's hard to envision that we would get apportionment done before inauguration," a Census employee told NPR.
The final timing of the 2020 census results' release could undermine President Trump's efforts to make an unprecedented change to who is counted in key census numbers before leaving office… If the first census results are not ready until after Trump's term ends on Jan. 20, it would be President-elect Joe Biden, not Trump, who would get control of the numbers, which are ultimately handed off to Congress for certification.
(SELLING) PRE-BLACK FRIDAY SALE: OVER 200 Titles list. Mixed of Newer Titles, Older and Old titles alike. Lots of $2 and below titles as well. Thanks for checking at my list....
NOTE: Please READ... 1.) Will reply to potential sale and inquiries as soon as i can. 2.) All titles are sold as split whenever possible, so please redeem what you pay for. 3.) Redemption site & format is indicated besides every title, all MA eligible titles is labeled with (MA), (MA or iTunes) or (iTunes/ports), meaning they all port to all services if available. While, titles with labels (Vudu), (iTunes) or (vudu or iTunes) doesn't ports MA and stay on the service it was redeemed. Stay Safe Folks.... SAME FLICK / SAME PROMOTION: Spend $10 above and get 5% off total or spend $20 and get 10% off total; otherwise firm. 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Why Goons are the "Good Guys" of Eve - An essay by Asher
Quick note: This post took me a long time to write, many hours between conception, editing, and execution. If you would be so kind as to not downvote it strictly because you disagree with me, I’d appreciate it. If you think this is a low effort post, or doesn’t contribute to discussion, then please do. This started out as more of a bullet point list of reasons but as I rewrote it became more of a story of my experiences as they relate to Goons. I hope you all enjoy it more this way. One of the conceits of the war from the PAPI front is that “Goons are the bad guys of Eve”. I’ve found this narrative vexing, because over the last five years I think Goons have swung from comical Eve bad guys to the best of the large alliances in Eve. I’ll explain why I believe this is so. But first let’s address some things: One of the disadvantages of being around for so long is that we have to carry around all of the bad baggage from years past. There are a lot of “old twitter posts” some of which are pretty awful. Bad people, bad memes, and the like. Some of it is just stupid in retrospect, some of it deeply embarrassing. The positive news is that I think the alliance has become the leading example of what a large alliance should be in the game. Good to its members and a fun adversary to an outsider. Going back to 2015 Goons had gone through 1 “cultural revolution” which had defanged a lot of the casually terrible stuff that was common in Eve back then (ie: jewing was a common term for ratting/krabbing) but still had a lot of vestiges that wouldn’t be fully swept away until cultural revolution 2 (where we probably landed on the side of too heavy handed, but that’s a story for another day). However it was, in my opinion, peak “bad Goon” in terms of gameplay philosophy. Sion had just pushed the Viceroy plan - something I considered one of the most ill-conceived efforts to get content in quite a while. “Helldunks or blueballs” was the byword, and Reagalan snapping the phrase at some unremembered skirmish commander saying just that was the talk of the Eve subreddit. Spin was, in the most generous terms, pretty far-fetched. Line members were considered pretty dumb and the apparatchik were fairly devoted to passing down the party line. At the time I was an up-and-coming FC. I had already formed my Reavers SIG about a year before in Oct. 2014 and had won some heavily outnumbered fights against most expectations. I was getting a big push from alliance leadership and kept winning fights as I got sent out on mainfleets I was quickly got promoted into bigger roles to the point where I was running main fleets as the main FC. Laz was mostly AFK after winning B-R5 and trying to do the streamer thing, but still around for big fights. Not long after Vily left Goons. A few months later Endie, Elise and others would start aggressively lobbying me pretty hard to leave Goons and I started getting BIG CASH OFFERS on the table from other people as well. This was the start of the Casino War. At this point I think Mittens started sensing the sharks circling and promoted me to ‘skymarshal’. This is a mostly tongue in cheek position but one that meant you were in charge of the Goon military. At this point I had a lot of problems with the way some things were being handled in the alliance military, but I was fully committed to making change from inside rather than leaving my group behind (I had only been playing Eve seriously since 2013, but I’ve been a Goon since the early 2000s). One of my biggest problems was the “helldunks or blueballs” philosophy. I thought it was a great way to win one war but a terrible way to retain members. During much of 2015 I had the feeling that we were rotten to the core, that our strength was mostly fleeting. Although there were some specific moments that I felt could have stopped the Casino War before it started, (mostly by counteracting SMA’s mind boggingly bad decisions) I felt that theViceroy program and the disasterous lowsec campaign had already exposed a lot of our weakness to the whole galaxy. Despite the losses, the Casino War turned out to be a huge boon to Goonswarm and our allies that stuck with us. It got us out of Deklein into Delve which was (at the time) much better space. We would have never got rid of Deklein otherwise. It taught us a lot of lessons about sprawl and not fighting over-extended. It showed us the flaws in our organizational structure. But most importantly it opened minds to re-evaluating certain dearly held doctrinal beliefs. One that I wanted to challenge almost immediately was helldunks and blueballs. I felt that our guys being generally unchallenged lead to us having great numbers of fair weather friends who could be relied on for dunks but would split when the going got tough, both in Goons and throughout the other alliances in the CFC. In our exile to Saranen, we saw exactly that. My doctrinal belief was, and still is, that regularly placing your guys in tough positions results in better pilots and in people who are happier overall. We grow personally and as a group by overcoming challenges. A helldunk is a Pepsi Cola. A struggle overcome is a 14 year old scotch. After the Casino war we moved to Delve and were in pretty bad shape resource wise but you knew every person who stuck with you was true blue. I’ve never had more fun than my days in Saranen as the war wended its course to an end, and part of that reason was you knew that every person who was with you in Saranen would ride with you against all odds. I was determined to capture the ‘Saranen Spirit’ for people who were there and for those who would start playing or join us later. It took a while though. When we first arrived in Delve PGL followed us there with the goal of destroying us once and for all, but by this point there was no fat left. Every single person was battle hardened and the money and will to follow us had run out. We stopped his campaign pretty quickly. Change came slowly at first. We had a lot of wounds to lick, a lot of data to process and people were just tired. The first turning point against helldunks/blueballs came with our Hakonen deployment. We took a shot at Tribute with just carriers and dreads versus an enemy supercap force that clearly outnumbered us. It was a very fun deployment for us but we did eat a ton of negative publicity about how “bad” we were. I think it bothered Mittens a bit (maybe a lot) and I don’t think he had yet realized the value we gained out of it. After seeing GOTG’s impressive subcapital and supercapital contributions during the Hakonen deployment, we decided to deploy some of our combat SIGs to Pure Blind to begin harassing our enemies on that front, once again committing to an offensive in a deliberately handicapped fashion. For almost a year, we whittled down multiple alliances with relatively tiny subcapital fleets and the odd dreadbomb. All of this built up to a climax in 2017. X-47 was one of the most consequential fights in recent memory, and once again we put ourselves in a rough spot to get it. We started the titan fight with dead-even numbers against an enemy with Keepstar advantage and all that entails. Less remembered but even more significant was the oppressive tether doomsday bug/feature, which put our super fleet at a significant disadvantage. In the armor timer, we gave them the opening volley and it started off really poorly for us, but we ended up pulling out a victory. The hull timer was a much more lopsided victory in terms of Titan kills, , and the Keepstar death all but ended serious resistance in the war. Still, I remember the anxiety going into the fight, I don’t want to sound over-dramatic but I spent the whole night before prowling my house, unable to sleep. I had figured out the value of the Imperium supercapital fleet and it was in the millions of dollars if you converted it to plex. It’s a huge amount of pressure on the shoulders of the FC to know that if you mess up you could lose that for the people who put their trust in you. It’s also a very small group of people in video game history who can make a statement like that so it’s a fun and unique cadre to belong to and my respect to those of you who have shouldered that burden before. Throughout all of these campaigns, I think it became more and more clear that this new military philosophy was the superior one, and ditching the ‘helldunk’ strategy was the correct move. Over time I slowly pulled Mittens towards my view point on this - that there is something of more value than just numbers. Our doctrines started evolving too. This might sound comical, but for a long time Goons had avoided cap chains. It was thought that the Goon line member couldn’t handle it. Now when I see our fleet spreading ewar really effectively, and our very effective cap chaining logi, and multiple FCs all doing different tasks, I can’t help but smile. Hard work pays off. After X-47 we wrapped up that war and went home. We would come back in the not too distant future to finish the work we had started. We expected a stronger response in Tribute, but after an initial hard fight the regions were vacated and we glassed it. Unlike every other group in the game, we didn’t immediately find some renters or delegate an underling to occupy the space. We left it fallow and a really healthy ecosystem of small alliances has flourished. We didn’t know exactly what would happen in this space, but since we left Deklein we have very conspicuously and openly avoided taking space and sprawling out. And I was very satisfied to see what can happen when you leave some space open for anyone to use. After that last northern campaign, we went home again during the chaos era before we started our GEF campaigns the following year. Once again, we deployed against superior enemy numbers with capital superiority and fought outnumbered in two separate campaigns. At this point it felt like we had burnt away all vestiges of helldunks or blueballs. Coming into July I had this short convo with Mittens, and I think it illustrates how our relationship has grown and the trust that you can build even with people who initially had vastly opposing views on how things should be run: https://i.imgur.com/YyIE1bs.png I’d like to address a few more points that I think lie strongly in our favour: Supercaps – Goons have been opposed to them for as long as I can recall. All our CSMs have publicly come out in favour of them being nerfed, even though it’s long been to our strategic benefit for them to be strong. Over the last few years we’ve lost people in comparison relative to other alliances. Some people have aged out, some didn’t like the way we fought wars and went to climes that agreed with them more, but we’ve always had the most supers and we’ve constantly argued that they are unhealthy for the game. I have personally lobbied for them to be nerfed, in public and in focus groups with Devs, because it’s our belief that they are unhealthy for the game. Part of why we are being attacked is because our enemies believe that dreads can be used against titans much more effectively than in the past, and they can flex their numbers advantage in that area on us. If we end up losing because of this, we’ll have lobbied ourselves into that position. I think part of the gulf in perspective between us and our enemies, especially the TAPI FCs is that they just fundamentally view the game differently than we do. But at one point we were much closer. Vily left in 2015 in the middle of helldunk/blueball and copious spin and he’s brought the Goons culture of 2015 to Test. There’s a Test poster – who I won’t name because I’m pretty sure he gets off on being recognized – who has been making the argument that Test are more Goonie than Goons. And to him I say: I agree with you. Test have inherited the mantle of Goons and we became something else. Vily is Goons without the growth. PGL tried to destroy us in 2016 and thought we’d cave in like a rotten pumpkin because that’s what happened with his alliance. When we didn’t I believe he was shocked but he thinks it will be different this time. Well, I’m going to be the bearer of bad news for him because this group has been through much worse than we had in 2015. We have a lot of people who have been fighting consistently against people who had every advantage over them and they’ve come out the other end stronger. Will it be enough to beat 3x our numbers? Who knows, but I know these guys will be with me no matter what happens. I’ve been hearing the same story over and over in my fleets, I have pretty open comms (sorry Euros that I annoy with this policy) and people have been more reflective as of late. And I kept hearing the story from one guy after another about how they thought that Goons were the bad guys until they joined them. So tonight I asked my fleet to X up if they thought or had heard that Goons were the bad guys before they joined, this was the result: https://i.imgur.com/mJCEiS7.gif I’ve been pondering this, and wondering why people would join the bad guys. Every story varied but often people had tried other things and were unhappy and Goons were an unhappy choice initially but once they were in they saw how things actually worked and were happy with it. Some ended up by chance through a corp moving or just a friend invited them and that overcame their doubts. The point was that even though they heard we were the bad guys once they were here and got to experience our culture they saw it was different than what they had elsewhere. That’s partly why I think a lot of our guys are really passionate, they feel unfairly attacked. Now I’ve come a long way, but I want to address the 5 ton elephant in the room: The Mittani. I’m very aware that he said something stupid almost a decade ago. I addressed my thoughts in much more depth here. I don’t believe it was said with malice, but it still was an awful thing to say. However in my time interacting with him he’s always been a very passionate guy but I’ve never seen him suggest an untoward thing. He wants to win, he wants to use whatever legal way possible to do it and he’s a guy who’s shown a lot of growth personally. If he wanted to do something I thought was immoral I would hear about it and I wouldn’t support it, but I’ve never once been put in that position. I think a lot of you don’t understand that he’s a wrestling promoter. He can’t help but play a heel. He’s fantastic at it. And he’s fantastic for the game, lots of you guys on the other side want to win so you can wipe the smug smile off his face. This is awesome. More leaders should be like this, there are a few I really would like to do the same to (or have done in the past) and it’s great to have people that motivate you to fight them. The worst thing for this game would be a bunch of staid boring diplomats who didn’t inspire any vitriol. This game is about fighting after all. Another good thing about Goons and the Imperium is our diplomatic stance, although I don’t want a bunch of diplomats running the game I am very keen on keeping our words and Goons have done this more than any other group. Sister Bliss was talking with me about why Init has stuck with Goons and he said something about how every other group in the game had promised Init the world then screwed them when it was convenient and Goons were the only one who stuck to what they said and he values that. A few quick more bullet points:
Goons do not like renting. Of all the big alliances we’ve had the smallest rental program, we only reluctantly got into it when OTEC was broken and had to secure some income. We closed our rental program, but we kept out word and grandfathered our old renters so that they could stay and not lose what they’d agreed to. I think renting is a net bad thing for the game, actually very bad so I’m proud of this one. Culturally Goons have always opposed rental programs.
We forced the game into taking on all players regardless of skill point level. Groups like Brave, Horde, etc followed in our footsteps on this one. I firmly believe that getting players into groups that have the bandwidth to teach them the game with proven programs that know how to retain people is the best way to do it, rather than just hoping they join random highsec corp #1850 and hoping they aren’t run by toxic incompetent people.
Goons don’t sprawl. We’ve held 4 regions but 2 of those were more out of necessity than any desire to hold them. In one region we did the Querious Fight Club which has launched over 20 corps into nullsec alliances around the game or independently. Right now Pandafam covers 12 or 13 regions and is renting out many of them to aggressively botted alliances. If you look at the MER Frat is making more money than any other nullsec group and it’s not even close. Because of how densely packed we are our space is terrible for botting, probably the worst space in the game for it, which is another tick for us.
This is a personal one but Goon doctrines are more interesting. Screw Munnins, down with boring arty doctrines. I’m really happy we’ve been iconoclastic in our doctrinal decisions and have seen success with those choices.
So, that about wraps up my voluminous tome. What should you do with this information? Well, I hope no matter what side you were on you found it an interesting read. I’m not trying to convince anyone to not fight us. Jay and I were talking right as the war was starting about how we were in the perfect spot, no one expects us to win so if we do it’s more credit to us but if we lose it’s to be expected. If we end up back in an NPC station then I get to just replay my favorite time in Eve ever. But I hope I have shown you a little bit about why I believe Goons are one of the best alliances in the game right now, thanks for reading.
** Wed 12/2 - Christmas TV shows - ALL CHANNELS ** - part 1 of 3
all times EST - check local listings. Deck the HallsTomorrow, 12:00 AM / FAM-E 52As two neighbors in a small town prepare for the festivities of Christmas, they get into an all-out war when one decides to decorate his home with so many lights that they are visible from space, but they soon learn the true meaning of Christmas. The Most Wonderful Time of the YearTomorrow, 12:00 AM / HALMRK 68A single working mother's disdain for the holiday season is put to the test when her uncle, a kindly, retired police officer, brings a mysterious stranger by her home in an effort to rekindle the Christmas spirit for her and her young son. Martin- Holiday BluesTomorrow, 12:00 AM / BET 71Martin wants to take Gina to Philadelphia in order to visit her parents for the Christmas holiday, but when their bus gets unexpectedly snowed in at the station, their bags also get stolen, jeopardizing their trip altogether. A Godwink ChristmasTomorrow, 12:00 AM / HALLMV 84When a St. Louis antique appraiser accepts a marriage proposal from her boyfriend, her aunt invites her to her Nantucket home near Martha's Vineyard, but while there, she meets a charming inn owner and begins to fall in love with him. People Presents: Once Upon a Main StreetTomorrow, 12:01 AM / LIF-E 38A woman makes plans to turn an empty storefront into a year-round Christmas shop, but when she learns a man has the same idea, they both agree to help the current property owner with his holiday chairman duties with hopes of winning the space. Finding ChristmasTomorrow, 2:00 AM / HALLMV 84After men from New York and North Carolina decide to switch residences during the holiday season, each one encounters a woman from the other's life, and as romance ensues, the time for each person to return home approaches. Dear ChristmasTomorrow, 2:04 AM / LIF-E 38A popular podcast host known for being a love expert prepares for her holiday episodes where she shares true romance stories with her listeners, but despite the subject matter of her show, she has never experienced love herself. PJ Masks- PJ Masks Save ChristmasTomorrow, 2:15 AM / DISNEYJR 179The PJ Masks work alongside Santa Claus when Romeo decides to ruin Christmas for everybody to being placed in the infamous naught list. Extreme Christmas TreesTomorrow, 3:00 AM / TLC 46From the breath-taking decadence of the largest Christmas tree installation in Las Vegas to a fragrant fir adorned with over $200,000 worth of specifically collected ornaments, the holidays will officially be kicked into high gear. Disney's Mickey Mouse Clubhouse- Mickey Saves SantaTomorrow, 3:25 AM / DISNEYJR 179Christmas is in danger of not happening this year when Santa's sleigh breaks down on Christmas Eve and he is unable to deliver all of the presents in his bag, so Mickey and friends come to Santa's aid and help ensure all the gifts are given out. Rick Steves' Special: European ChristmasTomorrow, 3:30 AM / WEDU-DT 3/ PBS / HDTVHost Rick Steves hosts a colorful celebration of Christmas traditions from all across Europe, with traditions from England, to Wales, France, Norway, germany and others; bright Christmas markets and performances from local choirs. Felix the Cat Saves ChristmasTomorrow, 3:45 AM / STRZFK 274The Professor and Rock Bottom are plotting to ruin Christmas by creating the world's largest blizzard, and it's up to Felix the Cat and Poindexter to journey to the North Pole and save Christmas with the help of Santa Claus. Double HolidayTomorrow, 4:00 AM / HALMRK 68A career-driven woman competes for a promotion opportunity at work with her office co-worker, but when the CEO asks the two of them to plan the company's Christmas party, they start to learn more about one another and feelings begin to develop. The Christmas OrnamentTomorrow, 4:00 AM / HALLMV 84After a widow decides to keep her winter holiday festivities relatively low key, she soon encounters a Christmas tree lot owner who provides her with a decorative item, and she starts to realize that there may be a lot more to life. Fresh Beat Band of Spies- Christmas 2.0Tomorrow, 4:13 AM / NGN-E 125The Fresh Beat Band of Spies must embark on an adventurous journey to the North Pole in order to deck the halls and prevent Christmas from being ruined by an elf, who is overly enthusiastic, and his mechanical Santa Claus The Great Christmas Light FightTomorrow, 4:55 AM / AMCALL 64Families from Pleasanton, Calif., Hillsboro, Tenn., St. George, Utah and Duluth, Minn. compete in a contest to see who can impress the judges with creative Christmas house decorations in order to win the prize of $50,000. Buttons: A Christmas TaleTomorrow, 4:57 AM / STRZFK 274Two orphan girls' only wish is to find a home for Christmas, and when they meet two unexpected visitors, they turn out to be their guardian angels who, with a little help, turn the tide of events and change their lives forever. Love That Girl!- Happy Hold Up DayTomorrow, 5:00 AM / TVONE 146The holiday season takes a turn for the worst when a group of bank robbers decides it is the perfect time to undertake a Christmas Eve heist that results in the unintended consequence of Imunique and her friends being taken hostage. Christmas in HomesteadTomorrow, 6:00 AM / HALMRK 68A famous actress comes to a Christmas-obsessed small town in Iowa to shoot a holiday-themed movie and is surprised to find herself falling for a local innkeeper who is also a single father as she receives a lesson in the true meaning of Christmas. Christmas on Honeysuckle LaneTomorrow, 6:00 AM / HALLMV 84When a woman returns to her hometown in order to celebrate the holidays for the last time in the home she grew up in, she discovers a hidden surprise in her mother's antique desk which teaches her the true meaning of Christmas. What's Happening!!- ChristmasTomorrow, 6:00 AM / TVONE 146Raj and Dee plan to have Christmas dinner at Bill's place because Mama has to work and cannot celebrate with everyone, but she may actually wind up being alone for the holiday when her plans suddenly change at the last minute. It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas MovieTomorrow, 7:00 AM / FAM-E 52Kermit the Frog and the Muppets have to scramble to raise money to save the Muppet Theater when the bank owner who holds their mortgage wants to transform the building into a casino, and they receive assistance from an angel. The Andy Griffith Show- The Christmas StoryTomorrow, 7:00 AM / SUN 89Andy empties the Mayberry jail in a gesture of goodwill for Christmas, unaware that the spiteful designs of Ben Weaver threaten to eclipse the festivities of the season unless Andy can find a way to impart some holiday cheer to the cranky codger. Disney Mickey Mouse- Duck the Halls: A Mickey Mouse ChristmasTomorrow, 7:00 AM / DISNEYXD 122Donald Duck gets himself into a peculiar situation when he decides to stay with Mickey and the gang to celebrate Christmas festivities with them instead of traveling south for the winter alongside Daisy and the other ducks. A Christmas Winter SongTomorrow, 8:00 AM / LIF-E 38A musical bond forms between a Christmas shop owner and a former jazz singer who has hit rock bottom as the store owner tries to help the artist reconnect with his daughter and grandchildren in time for the towns annual holiday concert. CMT Christmas MusicTomorrow, 8:00 AM / CMTV 45/ NewA selection of Christmas-themed music videos is presented from some of the industry's most popular artists, including rising stars and music icons. On the Twelfth Day of ChristmasTomorrow, 8:00 AM / HALMRK 68A woman is delighted when a man for whom she has long held feelings moves to town, and his lack of holiday spirit motivates her to come up with 12 Christmas gifts that offer tasks she hopes will inspire him to rediscover his passion. Operation ChristmasTomorrow, 8:00 AM / HALLMV 84After her military officer boyfriend is forced to deploy right before Christmas, a single mother and her children are inspired by their own difficulties to help other families of military members, with their efforts going viral. ...continued in part 2
After 15 years, EVE Online is having it's first $1,000,000 battle tomorrow. Here is your guide to the action.
tl;dr: Four years ago there was an EVE battle where $300,000 worth of stuff was destroyed, and it made the news. After that battle, EVE’s greatest player, The Mittani, made a bunch of money selling out his massive 15,000 person super-organized gaming community to other games for cash. This went well, but then he tried to raise $150,000 in a kickstarter to get Sci-Fi Author Jeff Edwards to write a book about himself and a famous war he won in EVE Online. The rest of the EVE player community revolted against this idea, the kickstarter fell short in spectacular fashion, and the community then united to destroy The Mittani’s EVE empire once and for all, bank rolled by a massive EVE casino run by one guy. Towards the end of that war, the guy who ran that casino was banned because the CS:GO gambling scandal made the game company behind EVE afraid of lawsuits related to gambling. With no money bankrolling them, the EVE community split apart before they could deal the final blow, and now 15 months later, EVE’s greatest player is back for revenge in what could be EVE Online’s first $1,000,000 battle. Hi, IAMA fleet commander in the MMO video game EVE Online. EVE Online is the game that many of you “love to read about, but would never actually play”. I don’t blame you, it’s a complicated time sink, and if you’re not careful it can add a few years to your college career (plenty of people take 6 years to graduate though, so it’s no big deal). It’s likely that the last time many of you read about this game was back in 2014 when roughly $300,000 worth of warships were destroyed in a single day, as reported by Wired, CBS, ABC, etc. Well, nearly four years later, a crazy timeline of events has led us to what is going to be EVE Online’s first $1,000,000 dollar battle, that will dwarf the size of the famous battle four years ago. This battle will be occurring tomorrow at roughly 20:00 UTC (3 pm US Eastern). Since plenty of you gamers enjoy reading about the crazy people who play EVE Online, I’ve decided to type up a simple guide to the battle happening tomorrow as well as the unbelievable events that led up to it, so you can continue to read about EVE from a safe distance.
A super basic guide to EVE Combat:
EVE combat really isn’t that hard to understand if you’ve ever played even just a few video games and understand basic video game concepts. EVE has many many ship classes, divided into three main groups: subcapital, capital, and super capital. But there are really only two that matter: Titans (the biggest super capital class), and Force-Auxiliary Carriers (the only capital class ship that can efficiently heal capital and super capital ships). Titans are the best ships in the game because they have the largest hitpoint pool by a large margin and they do the most damage. Titans are also the most expensive ships in the game by a large margin, which is why two sides with lots of titans rarely fight each other, and when they do it tends to make the news. The big fight that happened in 2014 that I mentioned above is the last time that two real titan fleets faced off against each other. In that battle, each side fielded roughly 80 titans, with the losing side losing 59 titans and the winning side losing 16 titans. Tomorrow, each side will field over 250 titans, and likely 1,000 support capitals and super capitals. The story of how the game went from a 100 titan battle to a 500 titan battle in 4 years, with no big battles in between, is truly amazing and worth reading for even the most casual observers, but before I get into that here’s a brief aside on why all the news media like to quote EVE battles in $$ values (hint: for clicks, but it’s technically accurate).
How did $300,000 get destroyed four years ago? And why is this a $1,000,000 battle?
Though a majority players are content to just pay the monthly subscription and play the game, EVE Online has a convenient method for calculating the conversion rate of in-game currency (called ISK, I’m going to use ISK from now on) to real world currency because it allows its players to buy “subscription time” and sell it on the in-game market for extra ISK. Basically, I can take $15 dollars, buy a 30 day subscription code, put that on the in-game market, and someone can use ISK to buy that game time and play the game for free. Using this, we can calculate the conversion rate for any ship or item to generate amazing headlines so the EVE players can justify how much time they all spend on this game. Fun Fact: Just like other games with microtransactions, there are crazy people in EVE who blow stupid amounts of money on this game. Not many EVE players know this, but the current Chinese Player group (Fraternity Coalition) has had their current war funded by one guy for the last two months, and he has spent $70,000 doing that, and they’re still going to lose anyway, which is kind of hilarious. But enough about that, let’s get to the fun part, the crazy story of how the game got to where it is today.
Why are $1,000,000 worth of nerds facing off in a battle tomorrow?
The great thing about this story is that we can pick up right where we left off in 2014. After that big giant battle, the winning side (The ClusterFuck Coalition, CFC from here on) were kings of the universe. While they didn’t own all of the space, it was clear that no one could challenge their power. Their leader, The Mittani, had built the largest and most organized online gaming organization on the internet, with an estimated member count exceeding 15,000 people, and capable of summoning over 1,000 players to login to the game at a moment’s notice. With nothing left to conquer, he decided to try and grow the CFC into something even greater. He had already started a gaming news website named after himself, so he started a Twitch channel to go along with it, and then started cozying up to people in the gaming industry. He started approaching different gaming companies and offering to bring the CFC to their game if they would give them special promotions and free ingame items, and this worked. They did this for Planetside 2 and H1Z1. The Mittani would constantly push these promotions on his members in the CFC, and for the most part this went pretty well. Then, in late 2015, they decided to aim even higher. The Mittani had somehow gotten to know Sci-Fi author Jeff Edwards, and convinced him to write a Sci-Fi book about a war that happened in EVE Online. The Mittani was going to do a $150,000 kickstarter to pay Edward’s fee, and his media machine spun into full action to attempt to raise the money from not just the CFC, but the entire EVE Online community. There were two problems with this plan though: 1) The CFC was starting to turn on the idea of being constantly harassed for money, and 2) The war he wanted to write about was one that his side won, and The Mittani, famous among EVE players for his ego, was likely going to be the main character. The final straw was when he renamed his gaming organization to ‘The Imperium’, because ClusterFuck Coalition wasn’t advertiser friendly. The events surrounding the failed kickstarter are immortalized in one of /eve’s greatest post The EVE community was ready to revolt, but it took the richest person in EVE Online to get them all together into a cohesive coalition capable of defeating The Imperium/CFC. That person was Lenny, who ran a wildly successful casino website where players could use ISK to play. Bank Rolled with virtually infinite money, the newly formed Moneybadger Coalition absolutely steamrolled the Imperium in a few months, taking every single piece of land they owned. The Imperium retreated out of their territory, and most of the Moneybadger Coalition was content to let them run away, satisfied that if the Imperium ever threatened again that Lenny would be there to throw money at the problem.Rock Paper Shotgun wrote a good summary of the war Then, the CS:GO Gambling scandal happened, and the company that makes EVE Online, CCP, became scared that lawsuits could start coming their way if they continued to allow a giant casino website to run using in game money. This was exacerbated by the Imperium publicly whining and complaining about the casino website for weeks, until CCP made an announcement. The announcement declared that gambling was no longer allowed with ISK, and that they had identified one player who was trading ISK for real life currency against the rules. Though Lenny still denies it and no concrete evidence was ever provided, Lenny was banned from the game and all of his in game assets frozen. Moneybadger's bank disappeared in a single day. It was August 2016 by the time the dust settled, nearly 10 months after the failed kickstarter, and the galaxy slid into a semblance of peace. But The Mittani swore revenge (publicly on his twitch channel), and what followed was the game’s greatest arms race, with the Imperium/CFC and the former Moneybadger forces each building massive super capital fleets. Over the past few months the Imperium has been hinting at a major invasion, even feigning a few attacks north into Moneybadger space. But that time is now over. Suddenly and without warning, the Imperium turned a harmless border skirmish into a full scale invasion, catching the Moneybadger forces with their pants down. Tomorrow is the first decisive battle of this new war, it could potentially dwarf the famous battle from four years ago.
So what will actually happen?
In all likelihood? Nothing. And it’s at this point that I must reveal the reason for typing this post. You may be thinking, “Wow, EVE has a really engaged community for someone to take the time to type up a post like this”, but oh how naive you are. The purpose of this post is to point out that the fleet commanders on both sides of this battle are nothing but complete cowards. I’ll tell you exactly what’s going to happen. The Mittani will hype his people up for hours, and the Moneybadger people will do the same. Then their fleet commanders will get their fleets onto the field of battle and place them into their “safe zones” that they’ve setup for themselves (it’s a dumb new game mechanic). Then, they will stare at each other for literally hours, and send out NPC drones that they barely control that mostly do nothing, while leaving all of their Titans in complete safety. They will then each make up a bunch of excuses, declare the other side as “cowardly” for not directly charging into their defensive position, and tell everyone to log off from the game. Don’t believe me? Everyone in EVE knows this, even the players involved in tomorrow’s battle. I’m serious, here was the top post on /eve for most of today from a group within the Imperium Don’t let these people tell you it’s “the game’s fault that they can’t fight each other”, it’s no one’s fault but their own. I’m just hoping that both sides don’t end up staring at their computer screens for 8 hours tomorrow doing nothing, but that all depends on the fleet commanders.
Album of the Year #20: Lil B - The Hunchback of BasedGod
(Note: This review exceeds Reddit’s 40,000 character limit for text posts so three additional comments are posted in this thread with the rest of the review. Sorting comments by “old” will bring them up for you in order.)
EPISODE I: THE HUNCHED BACK MENACE
Welcome to Old BasedWorld Hurried crowds, sparse synths and ringing cathedral bells in the streets of Old BasedWorld set the scene for our journey. High above the town in the Old BasedWorld Cathedral, a young man with a hunched back dreams of a brighter tomorrow.
Staring Out My Window “The only way you could really feel this pain is from the BasedGod” – From this opening line along with the somber instrumental accompanying it Lil B makes it clear that this project will be different from the hyphy material he’d been releasing since Black Ken. The BasedGod’s stirring musical backdrop allows Brandon to reminisce on the times he spent as a troubled youth staring out the windows of Old BasedWorld’s Cathedral (as pictured on the album cover), dreaming of a normal life with the rest of the citizens across the bridge in San Francisco New BasedWorld.
The Many Sides of a Genius Using a compilation of voicemails taken directly from Old BasedWorld’s only working phone, Lil B uses these messages to convey his own message. The people leaving these voicemails were clearly important people in Brandon’s life and, one could say, are some of the “sides of genius” that helped him develop into the man he is today. It continues the album’s narrative of a brilliant soul whose talent and ambition are unnoticed by the outside world, with only those who are closest to him recognizing the genius within.
Ain’t Gon Pick Up One of the people leaving a voicemail on “The Many Sides of a Genius” mentioned how Lil B never picks up his phone, so it’s only appropriate that the next song has B discussing why he chooses not to answer the phone in Old BasedWorld’s Cathedral. It also ties back in to the theme of unrecognized talent, with Brandon stating in the chorus “I ain’t gon pick up, nobody gives a fuck so I don’t give a fuck”. References to stomach pains and Crohn’s disease further highlight how B is feeling “sick to [his] stomach” of being disrespected: by the end of the song, the listener fully understands why Lil B wouldn’t be interested in picking up his phone.
Hunchback of BasedGod One of the album’s great conceptual triumphs. Lil B states from the jump that this song is meant to be a set of instructions for the Hunchback of BasedGod for his eventual descent from his perch back into the town of Old BasedWorld and beyond. It’s still unclear whether or not Lil B himself is the Hunchback, the BasedGod, the Hunchback of BasedGod, or none of the above: the abstractness allows the listener to form their own perceptions and create their own story. Again, there’s a continuation of themes from the previous songs, with further references to stomach pains and issues of self-worth and meaninglessness coming from Lil B: with so much pain in this world, is it even worth it for the Hunchback to enter society? By the end of the song, Brandon affirms that it is, stating, “Do it and don’t just watch/ Step in the game and have fun/ We all townspeople, we one/”. As such, the Hunchback leaves the cathedral, passing through the cobblestone streets of Old BasedWorld while hushed onlookers stare silently, as he ventures out towards New BasedWorld.
Berkeley San Francisco Its the BasedGod This song is delivered from the perspective of the Hunchback, as revealed in the first line of the first verse: “I got the hunched back from all the depression”. Themes of struggle from the previous tracks reemerge, but you get the sense that the Hunchback is beginning to build up his self-esteem, boasting how he refuses to conform to the looks and expectations of the other townsfolk. He also seems to have gotten past the lack of recognition that was hindering him on “The Many Sides of a Genius” and “Ain’t Gon Pick Up”, as he proudly exclaims, “Who cares if I’m famous?” This gives the Hunchback the confidence to finally travel across the bridge he so often observed from his cathedral window. The townspeople are stunned: the Golden Gate BasedWorld Bridge had been badly damaged and decayed for decades, with no one daring to cross in the fears that it would collapse. But the Hunchback’s persistence leads him to make it across unscathed.
Outer Mission Music With his feet firmly set in New BasedWorld, the Hunchback visits the colony of Outer Mission, a tight-knit community of New BasedWorld inhabitants who are unsure of how to react to their visitor. Lil B spends much of this track describing his interactions with the colony’s locals, which include Justin Timberlake, Alex Rodriguez, and Lionel Messi as tribe members. He also manages to make the situation surrounding the identities of his disparate personalities even more confusing, stating, “Lil B, I’ve seen him in public/ Is that the Hunchback of BasedGod, or is that the BasedGod? It’s BasedGod/” Will we ever know the difference?
Wake Up Get High Go Back to Sleep In spite of a renewed sense of confidence brought upon by his decision to leave his old life behind, not all is perfect in the Hunchback’s mind. On this joint (pun intended) he harkens back to his days in the cathedral, where he would spend his mornings smoking heavy doses of marijuana in order to numb the pain of his seclusion, often to the point of losing consciousness. It’s also worth noting that the only weed that grows naturally in Old BasedWorld is mids, so the Hunchback would need to smoke a significant amount to achieve the desired effect.
Video Game That I Still Play The irony in the title of this song is that the “video game” the BasedGod is referencing here is in fact a metaphor for his own life’s journey. As he so aptly states during the chorus: “My life is like a video game/ It’s been so weird, but I still play”. The fact of the matter is, Lil B could have chosen to rage quit this game of life long ago, but his perseverance has brought him to a new place of inner peace within the confines of New BasedWorld, even if the townsfolk are still unsure of how to respond to their new neighbor.
I Rather Die Then Go Home At the end of the previous song, the Hunchback makes reference to an incident where he visited the Café Au Coquelet, a boutique restaurant in New BasedWorld. Upon his arrival, he received a similar reaction to those he used to receive in his homeland: “I go to restaurants, people stop smiling”. While some of the townspeople have begun to appreciate his presence, many of the other New BasedWorld residents still recognize his outsider status and continue to shun him as a result. This song is B’s response, with a firm affirmation that he would rather die than have to go back to the life of isolation he led in the Old BasedWorld Cathedral, where he wasn’t really living life to begin with. That said, the song’s mistitling of based comrade The-Dream’s original line of “I’d rather die than go home” as “I rather die then go home” leaves the Hunchback’s true intentions up for interpretation.
Crying in the Club After finishing a five-course meal at the boutique, B ventures out to the party district of New BasedWorld, where he surprisingly gets admitted to one of the most exclusive night clubs in the land. As he observes the scene, the crushing reality of the differences between himself and the other clubgoers becomes apparent. A single tear is shed, followed by another, and another, until the BasedGod is in a state of full-blown emotional distress. In spite of his condition, he makes it known that he isn’t ashamed of wearing his heart on his sleeve, openly admitting in the chorus: “I don’t really care if I hurt myself, I don’t really care who sees”. This unyielding display of raw emotion brings the music and dancing to a halt. All eyes are now fixated on the strange being with the tear-stained T-shirt and the disfigured spine. He lets out a desperate plea: “I just want a hug…” To the surprise of the Hunchback, the residents of New BasedWorld collectively embrace him, looking past his outer deformities to recognize the beautiful soul that exists within. Historians would later acknowledge this moment as the primary catalyst for the BasedWorld Revolution™.
EPISODE II: THE COLD WARS
Voyage to Berkeley California Meanwhile, down in the town of Old BasedWorld, the townsfolk slept restlessly, their dreams invaded by shadowy fake based figures digging away at their souls. Every day, people would wake and stare at the Old BasedWorld Cathedral. Why was the Hunchback not ringing the bells that had kept the evil spirits of the fake based realm out of their lives? It was then they realized that the Hunchback had crossed the sacred bridge and ventured to New BasedWorld. Frantic to reconcile with the gatekeeper they had long taken for granted, a group of the townspeople decide to bravely seek out the BasedGod in the hopes that he will return. However, they recognize that crossing the BasedWorld Bridge is something no mortal man is capable of doing and living to tell the tale. Using a secret map rumored to have been drawn up by Captain 66 himself, a group of citizens board a modest ship to cross the San Francisco BasedWorld Bay on a warm summer’s eve. Will they survive? Only time will tell.
Across the Sea And here, ladies and gentlemen, we are presented with the greatest plot twist this side of the Fingerpoke of Doom: It turns out Lil B is not actually the Hunchback and/or the BasedGod after all.
Indeed, unbeknownst to the townspeople (who themselves had just assumed all three entities were combined as one person), Lil B has remained in BasedWorld all along in disguise. About halfway into their journey across the Bay, Lil B’s resentment towards his shipmates and their longing for the Hunchback’s return gets the best of him, and the violent persona exhibited on tracks like “Murder Rate” and “Domestic Violence Case” overtakes Lil B’s natural pacifist tendencies. In a fit of rage, he attacks them, “knocking them off the boat” into the shark-infested waters and keeping all of the remaining LifeVests to himself. B himself recognizes the consequences of his actions, ending the song by saying, “This darkness… It’s scary.” Nonetheless, he refuses to be stopped in his mission to visit New BasedWorld and confront the Hunchback all on his own.
Where Is the Potion Having arrived on the shores of New BasedWorld, Lil B ventures into town. Knowing that the only way to find the elusive Hunchback is through the townspeople who may have caught a glimpse of him, he travels to the aforementioned nightclub, with floors still drenched in the BasedGod’s tears from earlier, asking, “Where is the potion?” The response he’s given comes in the form of several bottles of liquor, which quickly dispel any notions of anxiety or self-doubt that may have stopped Lil B from completing his mission. A few of the club’s premium members willingly show him the spots around town where they had spotted the Hunchback, but any further clues of his whereabouts are hard to come by. Before they know it, they find themselves at one of the many riverbanks in New BasedWorld, where a celebration of the BasedGod’s glory is in full swing.
Riverdance This instrumental is what Lil B and the clubgoers heard as they made their way to the bank of the river. Speaking with more of the natives, Lil B learns more of the Hunchback’s travels and experiences in New BasedWorld and begins to put the pieces together in his mind for where the BasedGod may be headed next.
Wolves and Snakes As Lil B continues to plot his course, the BasedGod, who has just finished eating a salad on his way to the colony of Chaddick, senses a disturbance in the Based Force, feeling as though him and his hunched back may be in grave danger. He ponders on the wolves and the snakes that he was forced to deal with in his past life and reflects on the growth he’s experienced since leaving the dreaded, darkened halls of the Cathedral. In spite of this, he can’t help but shake the feeling that, like in the proverbial rear-view mirror, one of these wolves and/or snakes may be closer than they appear…
Meeting on UC Berkeley Campus Today Undeterred, the Hunchback makes his way to UC Berkeley, New BasedWorld’s sole institution of higher learning. After giving a spirited 90 minute lecture on the power of positivity (modeled after previous lectures at such high class institutions as NYU,Carnegie Mellon and Princeton), the BasedGod is greeted by a mass of adoring students at the university. The male students beg for the BasedGod to fuck their bitches, and said bitches are more than willing to oblige. In a grand spectacle, the Hunchback has consensual sex with all 1,000 of the college’s female attendees while this instrumental blares out of speakers across the campus, being awarded with a trophy as a result of his success.
Artistic or Autistic Elsewhere in New BasedWorld, Lil B attempts to strategize his next move. However, planning the escapade is made difficult thanks to B’s second most potent Internet distraction after his Twitter feed: Reddit. Going through a series of faked based comments on the hiphopheads subreddit, Lil B is particularly struck by a comment suggesting that he may in fact be suffering from the neurological disorder autism. The assertion is an eye-opening moment for him: after all, the elevated levels of lead found in Old BasedWorld’s drinking water had been a concern amongst the town’s scientists for years, and his own behaviors and thought patterns seemed to align relatively well with the common symptoms of the condition. After a brief moment of solemnity, Lil B realizes that his immaculate catalog of music has been made possible because of who he is, and if he is autistic, it is an essential component of his artistic output. This song is the result of this revelation.
Free 03 Our story continues as the BasedGod chooses to use his newfound fame and glory to give back to the New BasedWorld community. He begins volunteering at the New BasedWorld Penitentiary, espousing his worldview and giving advice to the inmates on how to make positive contributions to society after they have served their time. One particular inmate catches his eye: a fellow hip hop artist named 03 Greedo, who was arrested a few years earlier in a drug trafficking scheme. The Hunchback’s conversations with the young man have a profound impact on him, and in the weeks and months to come, Greedo becomes the model prisoner for other inmates to aspire to be, with intentions of joining the ministry upon his release. The BasedGod, proud of what he was able to accomplish, promises to dedicate a song on his new 50 song mixtape to Greedo.
Rhode Island Rhode Island, officially the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It is the smallest U.S. state by area, the seventh least populous, but is also the second most densely populated. Rhode Island is bordered by Connecticut to the west, Massachusetts to the north and east, and the Atlantic Ocean to the south via Rhode Island Sound and Block Island Sound. It also shares a small maritime border with New York. Providence is the state capital and most populous city in Rhode Island.
As Rhode Island is located on the opposite side of the continent from Old and New BasedWorld, it has nothing to do with this story other than this brief mention of its existence.
I’m Depressed Again While the Hunchback is continuing to make great strides in improving the lives of the people in New BasedWorld, he continues to be fazed by an ever-growing sense of something troubling being on the horizon. A dark evil is emerging that he cannot foresee, and he worries that by the time he learns what this evil may be, it will be too late. This sends the BasedGod back into a spiraling depression, one not felt since the last day he had spent alone in the cathedral. He warns his closest confidants of the impending doom, saying, “Real talk… Feel it through your heart. Feel it through the spirit. You can feel it through the dark, cold as ever.”
Café Au Coquelet At the same time as the Hunchback is experiencing this sense of dread, Lil B has made his way to Café Au Coquelet, one of the first spots in New BasedWorld that was graced by the power and the glory of the BasedGod. Lil B immediately detects the Hunchback’s prior presence in the vicinity: all of the restaurant’s guests are acting unusually positive and based towards one another, and the only dish that anyone has ordered over the past week has been the clams casino. Lil B also recognizes that the music playing in the background of the restaurant (the instrumental that is this song) was created by the BasedGod. Enraged, he stands up on the restaurant tables and begins to lambast the townsfolk for having fallen for the lies and deceit of a false prophet. He dictates a new philosophy, beginning by disposing of the food everybody has already ordered and teaching them how to cook for themselves. Before long, the entire restaurant is cooking to “Like a Martian”. A growing sect of New BasedWorld begins to emerge in objection to the Hunchback’s teachings, with Lil B and the swag movement as their new leader.
Downtown Berkeley Protest Back in the colony of Berkeley, the BasedGod is gathering his followers together for a celebration of optimism and goodwill unto others. His new instrumental track plays as the Hunchback’s followers enjoy the festivities. It is at this moment that the BasedGod feels a searing pain encompass his entire being, and he recognizes that this is the moment he has been fearing for the past few weeks: the evil has arrived. A mass of residents from the other New BasedWorld colonies have descended upon the party with torches and handguns. Dressed in pink shirts, tiny pants and Vans sneakers, they march to the center of the crowd in unison, yelling nonsensical phrases such as “Figaro!” and “Martha Stewart!” as the frightened followers of the Hunchback look on. At the front of the mob is the leader, the enigmatic Lil B. He flashes a slight smile at the BasedGod, who stares directly back into the eyes of his former student. As the crowd of pretty residents begin to hurl insults and grievances towards the based residents, Lil B raises one hand, and the noise stops. Then, he begins to walk away. B’s worshipers follow him out of the city square in silent unison. Many of the Hunchback’s flock wonder if this is the end of the madness. However, the BasedGod knows deep down inside that this is just the beginning.
EPISODE III: REVENGE OF THE BITCH
Bring the BasedGod and Lil B Gifts This is a Cold War, and we know what each side is fighting for. The New BasedWorld citizens have been divided into an even split, with half of the townsfolk (now calling themselves the “Task Force”) following the ways of the Hunchback and the other half (now calling themselves the “Bitch Mob”) committing themselves to the teachings of Lil B. In a frantic attempt to prove the superiority of one leader over the other, the townspeople begin to bestow luxurious gifts and rewards upon their idols in an attempt to make one appear more grandiose than the other. Lil B relishes in his newfound fame, gladly accepting a plethora of PlayStation 2 and Xbox 360 games from his fans, along with a fully registered copy of FL Studio to allow him to produce beats on the same level as the BasedGod. Meanwhile, on the other side of the village, the Hunchback seems uncomfortable embracing his new role as a worshipped deity. Having become accustomed to people ignoring him or being flat-out disgusted by his appearance, the adjustment to now becoming the leader of thousands of men is one that is not made easily.
Body Shaming The opposing sides of New BasedWorld’s population quickly transition from honoring their respective leaders to creating smear campaigns against the opposition. One of the Bitch Mob’s most talented computer hackers manages to secure nude photographs of the Hunchback and distribute them online, highlighting the embarrassing weight gain that the BasedGod has endured over the past 5 years. The Hunchback is at first distraught upon hearing the news: “Why are they body shaming me? Why would they say all these mean things?” It is only when the BasedGod taps into his creamy center, where all the gooey happy-lovin' goo sits that allows him to be the nicest, most compassionate person he’s ever been, that he’s able to let the world know that he will not fall down so easy. He releases this song on his MySpace as a rebuttal, saying, “There's no reason to bully people and make fun of folks”. The Task Force immediately lauds the song as the perfect response to the scandal, while the Bitch Mob lashes out at the lack of trap drums and celebrity-based adlibs.
Stopped Talkin’ But I Still Rap “So self-conscious, you feel me?”: Despite the approval of his comrades, the BasedGod is unable to shake the ever-persistent sense of self-hatred that is being exacerbated by the actions of the Bitch Mob. He feels his mind regressing to a prior state of fear and insecurity akin to that of his days spent in isolation in the Cathedral. Deep inside, the Hunchback finds himself in the midst of an existential crisis: how can one speak on the benefits of positivity and self-love when one does not truly love thyself? What would the consequences be of allowing this negativity to manifest itself in real time? Surely, an admission of hopelessness would spell defeat for the Task Force, allowing Lil B and his army of pretty townsfolk to rule the land for all eternity. But it would also be hypocritical for the BasedGod to continue to preach the Gospel of Based when his mind is not in a based state of being. In a move that would prove to be one of the most shocking of the Cold War, the Hunchback gathers his followers in the town square to announce that he will be taking an oath of silence until peace can be found between the two factions of New BasedWorld, capping off his decree with the debut of his ‘final’ song, “Stopped Talkin’ But I Still Rap”. The crowd gasps and devolves into hysteria, with thousands pleading for the Hunchback to reconsider, rightly worried over what would become of the based movement without the voice of its sole originator. But the BasedGod is persistent. He silently walks through the crowd, hugging each of his based brethren (and consensually face-fucking some of the females) before departing, possibly for good. Some time after midnight, he successfully crosses the Based Bridge and returns to Old BasedWorld, making his way back to the Cathedral without a single soul noticing his presence. He travels to the deepest, darkest depths of the Cathedral’s caverns, located miles beneath the Earth’s surface, where he begins an indefinite period of contemplation and meditation. This sequence of events would prove to be a milestone of the BasedWorld Revolution™, and would be forever immortalized in the cover art for the Where Did the Sun Go? mixtape.
Intermission It was a bad time for both Old and New BasedWorld. The Hunchback just stayed inside his Cathedral and he never came out. People said his brain was infected by fake based devils. The Task Force hurt the most of all: without their leader, they crumbled and succumbed to the will of the Bitch Mob. Lil B’s tyrannical rise to power was all but complete. In the months that followed, he would expand his territorial control, conquering the villages of Albany and East Oakland and even sending troops to claim regions of land as far away as Hawaii and Nepal.
Nearly a full year after the disappearance of the BasedGod, Lil B’s armies waged war on Old BasedWorld. The BasedWorld Bridge was destroyed, leaving Lil B and his followers (who controlled the naval fleets) as the only ones who had access to both sides of the territory. After taking most of its citizens hostage and establishing a new structure of government with Lil B at the helm, the Bitch Mob began to formulate its Ultimate Bitch Plan to capture the Hunchback. One night, they rushed the Old BasedWorld Cathedral, setting it ablaze and burning the once-iconic structure to the ground in the hopes of finding the charred body of the BasedGod buried underneath the rubble. When they failed to retrieve the body, the contingent of pretty boys and girls was ordered by Lil B to venture underground, as an ancient prophecy had foretold the Hunchback’s journey to the center of the Earth. Armed with assault rifles of all varieties, they began their descent into the depths of the caverns.
However, the deeper they traveled, the more they became disillusioned by their actions, and the actions of their once-beloved leader Lil B. They did not realize that the closer they got to the Hunchback, the more they were swayed by his righteousness and his way of being. Soon, they were no more than a few hundred yards from locating the BasedGod. It was at this moment that they had a great awakening, recognizing the error of their ways and freeing themselves from the spell that had been placed on them by Lil B. They abandoned their mission, instead choosing to return to the surface without the Hunchback. Lil B, furious at the group’s reluctance to complete their task, began to chastise his former followers, and prepared to issue one of his infamous curses upon them, one which would result in certain death. Having become completely overwhelmed with the guilt and the shame of their exploits as part of Lil B’s army (and also acknowledging the fact that none of them would ever win an NBA championship now without signing to Golden State), they instead turned the guns Lil B had given to them on themselves, committing mass suicide on top of the remains of the Old BasedWorld Cathedral. Thousands of Old BasedWorld onlookers stared in paralyzing shock as the sound of hundreds of guns discharged at once. What followed was several hours of silence, as Lil B, covered in the blood of his former troops, coldly stared at the mass of dead bodies, trying his best to process what had just taken place.
EPISODE IV: A NEW HO(PE)
The Waterfront West Berkeley at Night Meanwhile, on the other side of the Bay, most of the former Task Force members still remaining in New BasedWorld have all but accepted their fates, purchasing clothing that is too tight for them to wear comfortably and listening to the government-approved “Cooking Music” playlist on a constant loop. A small contingent of Hunchback loyalists remain, holding private meetings in the basement of the Café Au Coquelet and listening to the “Based Music” playlist in shrouded secrecy. Upon learning that Lil B and a commission of his troops had left to invade Old BasedWorld, the few remaining Task Force members felt it was safe enough to worship the Hunchback out in the open one last time. As most of the Bitch Mob members who had crossed the BasedWorld Bay with Lil B had come from the village of West Berkeley, the BasedGod’s loyal comrades choose the village’s Waterfront area as the gathering place for the ceremony. Unbeknownst to any of the group’s members, the mass suicides in Old BasedWorld were taking place at the exact same time as the celebration in New BasedWorld was commencing. The Task Force members rejoice, harmoniously singing the BasedGod’s favorite songs of worship: “B.O.R. (Birth of Rap)”, “The Age of Information” and “No Black Person Is Ugly” are belted out towards the heavens. Suddenly, the youngest of the Task Force’s members (who goes by the name of u/insabnma) feels a twinge underneath his bare feet. He looks down at the ground and notices that he has stepped on a golden USB drive, encrusted with diamonds and embroidered with the word “BASED” in all caps. The curious group of based boys and girls procure a laptop and, upon plugging the drive in, are amazed to find a .zip folder of 13 unreleased instrumentals credited as being produced by the BasedGod. Even more amazingly, the first song is entitled “The Waterfront West Berkeley at Night”: the exact place and time of day that they are performing their ritual. The Task Force members ecstatically listen to the new music, with several being driven to the point of involuntary orgasm. Throughout the night, word spreads throughout New BasedWorld of the drive’s existence, and suddenly, the followers of the Hunchback have a renewed sense of hope.
Games of Berkeley and Magic Cards The next evening, thousands of Task Force members, old and new, join together in the town square of Berkeley, the last place that the Hunchback was seen alive. A Task Force party has commenced, with various games being played and the Based Music playlist blasting from the colony’s speakers. As it is nearing midnight, the townspeople are each given a magic life card, rumored to be the same life cards that were discussed in the BasedGod’s legendary philosophical diatribe [“Life on Earth”](). At the stroke of 12, the second of the BasedGod’s 13 secret instrumentals is played, as the crowd enthusiastically chants “Thank You BasedGod” along to the beat. The expectation is that the Hunchback will hear their prayer and reemerge by the end of the song. However, this was not to be the case: the instrumental ends, with the BasedGod nowhere to be found. For a moment, the Task Force is disheartened, wondering if the signs pointing to a return of the Hunchback were too good to be true. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, a shooting star flies across the Berkeley sky, the brightest and most brilliant star that anyone in the colony has ever seen. It continues to arc across the northwestern skyline and appears to land in the village of Albany, a formerly based territory which has been overrun with members of the Bitch Mob. The Task Force is again filled with a renewed sense of hope at this discovery, as they courageously follow the signs that could lead them to the Hunchback’s holy ascension.
Walking Through Albany California Upon arriving in Albany, the Task Force members notice a contingent of Bitch Mob members huddled around a large crater, approximately one mile in diameter. Evidently, this is where the shooting star had landed. One of the senior members of the tribe is examining the star, which, contrary to its once large and brilliant appearance, has been reduced to the size of a small rock. Several Bitch Mob members now make their way into the crater to examine the fallen star. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, the once-dead star explodes into thousands of pieces, each piece shooting out towards the heads of a Bitch Mob member (though some less fortunate members wind up getting hit in the balls). When the star touches each member, it instantly uploads the third of the BasedGod’s secret instrumentals directly into their cerebral cortex. The Bitch Mob members are at first displeased at the lack of poorly mixed 808s and rattling hi-hats, but soon after, they begin to comprehend and enjoy the BasedGod’s alternative production style. Once the song has finished, they have all been converted into full-fledged comrades of the Task Force. The Berkeley delegation of Task Force welcomes their new brothers and sisters into the fold, and the group marches on to spread the word of the Hunchback’s return to the other villages.
The Sound of Being Bullied While this is all occurring in the BasedWorld territories, something else entirely is beginning to unfold in the far away kingdom of Detroit, Michigan. Teejay Witherspoon, the Bitch Mob’s certified rarest hacker, leans back in his chair and slyly grins. His successful exploitation of the BasedGod a year ago has proven to be a major turning point in the young man’s life. His notoriety has allowed him to start a rap career of his own, with several music videos on YouTube having gone viral throughout the past 12 months. His loyalty to the Bitch Mob has been unquestioned, and he has since been promoted to a senior position within the fold. As he clicks his way through a darkweb laundering scheme one evening, he leaves to take a shit and, upon returning to his computer, notices that a mysterious golden USB drive has been plugged into the laptop. Only one file exists on the drive: an audio file entitled “The Sound of Being Bullied.flac”. Teejay curiously loads the file into VLC, and the instant the song begins, he is assaulted with a rush of crushing despair and depression. The title of the song spoke for itself. Teejay is experiencing the totality of the Hunchback’s negative emotions that had been fueled by his prior actions, but even more intensely, and as the emotions begin to amplify, he next notices that his physical being is being affected as well. His body is shaking uncontrollably, his skin is beginning to peel, his eyes are popping out of his skull. After four minutes and seven seconds of agonizing torture, his entire being bursts into flames, unable to handle the power of the BasedGod’s wrath. The song ends.
No Longer Afraid of the Dark It’s dark. The air is still. The ground is hot. Water drips from the ceiling. The Hunchback, in a deep state of reflection, hasn’t moved a muscle for over 12 months. His shriveled body has been starved of nourishment and exercise, but fortunately, his weight gain has had the positive effect of having enough fat stored to keep him alive. The amount of based energy needed to have maintained this state of being has aged the BasedGod considerably. He has been devoid of almost any sense of perception for at least a few months. A faint glow radiates from his being. He has concentrated his powers to what was thought to be an unattainable degree of positivity. Before his extended withdrawal from society, the negative side of the force was something that the Hunchback struggled to put out of mind. At the level of based he now encompasses, the light of positivity is too grand for the BasedGod to fail. He is no longer afraid of the dark. And that’s because the dark no longer exists. The cavern has been filled with his based radiance. And the Hunchback is almost ready to return and spread this radiance throughout the land.
Nepal Wants the BasedGod All across BasedWorld, shooting star sightings have been abound, and thousands upon thousands of Bitch Mob members have been converted to Task Force faithful. Even beyond the traditional confines of BasedWorld, rare star sightings have also been seen in the Bitch Mob’s disparate properties. A star lands in the Bitch Mob’s Nepalian expansion territory. After having its people cleansed with the power of the BasedGod’s sixth secret instrumental track, Nepal adopts a new constitution which entails all of its citizens to embrace the Hunchback’s teachings of optimism and self-love.
Taxi Around Town The streets of Old BasedWorld have been in dire need of repair ever since the Bitch Mob ransacked the colony, but that doesn’t stop Travis, one of the land’s only remaining horse-drawn taxi drivers, from making a buck. One evening, he picks up a mysterious hooded figure in one of the town’s more dangerous districts. The man enters the carriage, greeting the driver with two words: “Hello, Travis.” The driver says nothing. The horses begin their trek through the streets, passing by a row of burning buildings. Travis breaks his silence. “It’s lit,” he says. “The buildings, that is. There’s only a few Bitch Mob members left at this point but they always blow these things up.” The figure feels more comfortable speaking to the driver: “I hear you got the nomination”. It dawns on Travis that this person must be almost exactly one year behind the times: has he ever even heard of Cardi B? Regardless, he plays along. “Straight up. Won’t be long now.” The figure smiles, quipping, “Well, I hope you win.” He then proceeds to remove his hood. Travis looks back and momentarily gasps. His composure returns soon thereafter. Unsure of how to proceed, he attempts to continue the conversation. “I… I read about you in the papers… How are you?” Knowing he’s referring to the suicides, the figure replies, “Oh, it’s nothing new, I got over that.” They sit in silence for the remainder of the ride. Soon, the horses come upon their destination, the edge of the BasedWorld Bay. The figure gets out of the car. Turning to Travis, he asks, “How much was it?” Travis is nearly speechless. He lets out one final Auto-Tuned “So long………..LA FLAME!” and the horses gallop off.
Berkeley California Before Lil B A massive cleaning project has commenced throughout Berkeley. The townspeople have nearly all been converted to followers of the BasedGod by this point, and in a unanimous vote, the colony’s leaders choose to rid Berkeley of any and all trace of Lil B and his formerly effective propaganda. Murals are whitewashed, statues are torn down, and portraits are removed from public spaces as the eighth of the BasedGod’s 13 secret instrumentals is played on a loop. The many books proclaiming Lil B’s omnipotence are collectively burned to ash in the town square. Even saying the name “Lil B” is punishable by fine of up to $30,000, equivalent to the amount of money Lil B had charged for features (in contrast to the Hunchback’s extremely generous $0.01 minimum fee for a verse). The townspeople are once again a tight-knit unit of based human beings living their best lives. It was just like Berkeley California before Lil B.
tl;dr some SJW pearl-clutching about gambling being evil Edit: Everyone go read Ohh_Yeah's comment here, he basically says what I'm trying to say in the OP, except he does it better and with ~1100 less words than I do. It's been a few days since Hypernet has been announced, I think that it's time for a summary of some general opinions about it, and the arguments for and against. Disclaimers:
I've seen a friend's life almost ruined by a gambling addiction fuelled by the convenience of mobile game loot boxes. I hate gambling with a passion, and I hate the Hypernet as a feature as a result of this. That being said, I'm going to try and approach both sides as well as I can (im still biased as fuck though).
I am not a lawyer, so I am not going to be speculating about the legality of the hypernet at all.
What is the HyperNet? To keep my word count down I'll avoid explaining in full here. Take a look at this comment by a member of the ISD team (actually a much better explanation than the devblog). You should also hop on Sisi to try it out for yourself. "CCP are Hypocrites" Before I dive into things, I want to kill some misconceptions that have been floating around for the past few days, namely that CCP are being hypocrites by releasing this feature. This is simply not true.
"But CCP Banned SOMER Blink because gambling is bad." Not true. In 2014 The founder of Somer was banned for falsely asserting that a promotion he was running was CCP-approved. There was a little more to it than that, full details here for those interested. Gambling was still permitted in Eve for over 2 years following Somer's ban.
"Okay, but gambling was eventually banned because gambling is bad, right?" Not true. The only official CCP statement that I can find (besides the original announcement in 2016), is this interview with CCP Seagull several weeks later. In it she cites wealth imbalance as the reason behind the change, and makes references to it being a partially legal decision.
I have found no article, interview or Reddit comment where a member of CCP expressed that there were any moral reasons behind the gambling ban. Take a look at CCP Falcon's comment history if you wish to look for yourself. My search was probably not exhaustive, but it was fairly thorough. I'm quite happy to edit this if someone finds anything that I missed. Now, for the opinion part: The Good
It won't be an RMT haven like IWI was. CCP-managed means CCP have full access, which means there's going to be much less opportunity for RMT here than with player-run gambling. It will probably still happen depending on how thorough CCP are with monitoring things, but there's certainly less room for it.
Rare / expensive items will change hands more often. The devblog states this, and to be fair it is probably true. I imagine that raffles will lead to more common sales of rare and expensive items such as officer mods, powerful abyssal modules and potentially AT ships.
It's a sink for ISK and PLEX. I'm not keen on the idea of a new PLEX sink personally, but a new ISK sink is not a bad thing.
You are gambling with real money. This is a concept that not all agree with, but the fact is: ISK can be purchased with real money, and (if you're willing to break the EULA) real money can be purchased with ISK. ISK is absolutely a commodity that many in the real world assign value to. Otherwise ISK sweatshops (that one is unconfirmed, but here is a GM source) would not exist.
Casino stream / event sponsorships will not be returning. This was probably the biggest loss from the 2016 gambling ban. Read Jestertrek's comment on the 2016 ban announcement here for more details.
The language used in the client is deliberately misleading. The language that CCP is using to describe this feature is very deliberately worded to advertise this feature as, not a gambling mini-game, but, as the devblog puts it, "an avenue in which players can exercise their freedom in trade, while engaging in an entertaining and social activity at the same time." To me, this feels like a way to covertly avoid the moral implications of gambling, and instead try to rebrand the feature as something new and unique. Some examples:
Not a gambling mini-game, but a "wealth creation service". Note the tagline: "Creating Value / Connecting Worlds". Imagine seeing that as a tagline on an online gambling site.
Not a raffle, but a "HyperNet Offer"
Not a raffle ticket, but a "HyperNode".
No mention of the words "gambling" or "raffle" that I can see, anywhere in the client, including in the tutorial you get when it first starts up. The closest you get is the word "fortune".
It has features specifically designed to encourage people with poor impulse control. The app is designed with the same flashy lights and sounds that most gambling websites include. Some examples:
The hypernet makes a sound any time a ticket is purchase on a visible raffle (ie, from one of the 12 raffles visible on the main screen immediately upon opening the hypernet). This sound is louder and more urgent if you have a raffle selected, and even louder still if someone multi-buys.
There is a satisfying "click" every time you purchase a ticket.
There is a flashy animation every time a raffle is fully purchased. Reminds me a little of League of Legends lootboxes.
It is very convenient. This sounds like a weird one to list as bad. But if you have a gambling addiction or poor impulse control, you are going to be 4 clicks from purchasing a raffle ticket at all times while logged into Eve (Open neocom -> Open hypernet -> purchase ticket -> confirm purchase). Ticket prices can go well into the billions of ISK.
Children can access the hypernet. The minimum age to play Eve Online according to their ToS is 13. Now, I'm not going to make the argument that CCP should be designing every single part of their game with children in mind. However, in my opinion they should absolutely consider children when implementing gambling mechanics, for the following reasons:
The misleading language mentioned above means that a child may not immediately identify the hypernet as a gambling mini-game.
Gambling addictions ruin lives. Providing convenience to someone with a gambling addiction will ruin their life even faster. If a person is young / uninformed enough to not recognise that they even have an issue? Oh boy...
You've probably heard horror stories about children using their parents' payment details to buy apps & microtransactions. In most games, the money can be refunded relatively easily (assuming the company is open to such a policy). In Eve's case, money gambled away on the Hypernet is lost into Eve's economy, and is probably impossible to refund. Sure, kids can already buy PLEX on their mom's credit card and feed it into suicide gankers. But a convenient raffle, described by the developers as a "wealth creation service"? Very different situation in my opinion.
Conclusion In my opinion, this feature has been designed to be as predatory as possible, and appeal to anyone with poor impulse control, with little to no thought or care towards anyone in the Eve player base who may be vulnerable. I'm sure many of you think that this is an insane overreaction, and I don't look down on anyone with this opinion. But I do think that many here do not have the context of experiencing a gambling addiction, first-hand or second-hand. It's not an experience that I would wish on anyone. Here's for hoping that the Hypernet doesn't put any of you through those experiences in the future.
Going through old issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and posting highlights in my own words. For anyone interested, I highly recommend signing up for the actual site at f4wonline and checking out the full archives. PREVIOUS YEARS ARCHIVE: 1991 • 1992 • 1993 • 1994 • 1995 • 1996 • 1997 • 1998 • 1999 • 2000
The wrestling industry in the United States is in uncharted waters right now and Dave is starting this issue by examining the overall situation. Part of it is due to outside factors. The mood of the country is still shaken by the events of 9/11 and the effects of the attack on the economy are still uncertain. WWF is the only major pro wrestling company and its closest competitor is UFC, which isn't even wrestling. Dave says it's been a horrible year for the business, with WCW and ECW folding. Wrestling magazines closing up shop. The Invasion angle was totally botched. By every metric, business is declining. It's a terrible time to start a new company in the U.S. because getting a major league product off the ground is a just too expensive. Dave thinks the WWA idea in Australia might be the best option right now. Build some buzz over there where the market is easier and then try to strike a deal to air it in the U.S. But the biggest problem with WWA is, well, Vince Russo is the guy in charge. Dave says that Russo's idea of wrestling was a massive failure in WCW and the problem is that he didn't learn from it, and to this day continues to blame his WCW failures on outside forces (18 years later, that hasn't changed). Dave expects WWF to feel the crunch of business declining and suspects that many of the low-paid developmental wrestlers under contracts should probably start being concerned for their jobs.
WWF and DirecTV struck a temporary deal to air the Unforgiven PPV. If you recall, they have been negotiating a new deal and it wasn't going well. But the two sides agreed to air Unforgiven under the terms of the old deal while they continue to negotiate a new one. Not airing the show would have cost both sides around $1 million each in lost profits, so needless to say, they both want to settle this. So for now, negotiations continue...
The unpredictable concerns over the economy in the wake of 9/11 are already becoming noticeable. Merch sales for WWF were down significantly since the attacks. House shows this week did okay but most of those tickets were bought when they first went on sale weeks and months ago, prior to the attack. The next round of house shows go on sale this week and seeing how those sell will be the real test. One WWF house show in Fairfax, VA was already cancelled this week due to low advance sales. WWF is also scheduled to return to Madison Square Garden in 2 weeks. Tickets for that show went on sale before 9/11 and were already weak and needless to say, they aren't picking up any steam now. Rock is working that show (one of the few house shows he's doing) and it seems that since returning from filming Scorpion King, even the Rock doesn't have the same drawing power he had beforehand. That being said, WWF has lots of revenue streams, lots of cash reserves, lots of stock they can sell, and they pay their wrestlers far less than any other sport. So WWF is uniquely positioned to weather this storm and probably still be okay.
For UFC, on the other hand, 9/11 couldn't have happened at a worse time. UFC's parent company Zuffa is based out of Las Vegas and the attacks have hit the Vegas casino business hard, with cancelled trips, people spending less money, etc. Nobody wants to get on a plane these days, much less just to fly to Vegas and throw away money in an uncertain economy. Zuffa owner Lorenzo Fertitta, who operates casinos in Vegas, also owns an investment company whose major offices were in the World Trade Center. Financially, Fertitta is getting hit on all sides right now, right as he's trying to get the revived UFC off the ground.
Oh yeah, speaking of WWF Unforgiven, that show is in the books and was highlighted by Kurt Angle winning the WWF title from Steve Austin in his hometown by making Austin tap out clean. The crowd was kinda flat for most of the show, despite a lot of good matches. From a long-term booking standpoint, Angle winning the title doesn't make a ton of sense, because there's a lot of mileage in Austin as champion, but it seemed as though the decision was made to give the crowd a feel-good ending considering the last few weeks the country has had (Bruce Prichard later admitted that, yeah, having Angle win the title here was purely a short-term "give the American audience something patriotic" decision). There were also a bunch of minor injuries during the show with Perry Saturn, Edge, Jericho, and Austin all got busted up lips or eyes.
The biggest story coming out of the show was the UndertakeKane vs. Kronik match which was so bad that it resulted in Kronik leaving the company after only debuting 3 weeks ago. Dave says it was the worst WWF PPV match of the year. No word on why Kronik left yet (some say they quit after the match and others say they were fired) but they have already reached out to Russo about working the WWA tour in Australia. The big story going around is that Jim Ross told them they would be sent to OVW or HWA for more training and in protest, they quit but Dave hasn't been able to verify that. If it's true, Dave suspects WWF was hoping they would quit because those 2 guys have lots of experience (both have worked for WWF in the past) so Dave feels like this might have been a way to push them into quitting. Considering they're not great workers anyway and they were notorious troublemakers in WCW, Dave doesn't understand why they were even hired in the first place, aside from the fact that Brian Adams and Undertaker are friends and it was basically a favor for Taker. (Dave clarifies a bit of this in later issues, not all of that is entirely correct).
Other notes from the PPV: Dave points out that Raven is in the best shape he's been in years. The first Edge vs. Christian match, which needed to be a star-making performance for both guys as they branch off as singles stars, was good but the lack of crowd reaction hurt it a lot. The aforementioned Kronik match gets negative-2 stars. RVD was one of the few guys to get a reaction, as the crowd was nuclear for him. This is the match where Jericho got his eye busted from a kick and needed stitches and Dave says RVD is getting a reputation for this sort of thing, which isn't good. And Angle's family celebrated with him in the ring after he won the title and they played it up as if he finally achieved his life-long dream, conveniently forgetting that Angle's already won the title once before. Lots of 3 and 4 star matches here, but the crowd really hurt the show overall.
UFC 33 is happening before you read this but after press time, so Dave hasn't seen it yet. And I wouldn't normally cover this but this show is legendarily bad, so here we go. Things were looking good at first. The show sold out weeks in advance, setting a record live gate and attendance for the company and UFC did a hell of a job promoting the main event for months beforehand. But then 9/11 happened and the economic woes of that are expected to take a toll on the buyrate. Then, due to 9/11, the high-profile Felix Trinidad vs. Bernard Hopkins boxing match got moved to within 24 hours of the UFC PPV, which is also expected to cause a major hit to UFC's PPV numbers. Then 10 days before the show, Vitor Belfort had to pull out of the show due to an arm injury in training, completely derailing the main event they spent months building. Vitor somehow fell through a glass window during training and suffered a horrible cut that required 40 stitches and partially severed his tricep. When he couldn't go, UFC scrambled to find a new, big name opponent for Tito Ortiz. First, they reached out to Ken Shamrock and offered him $180,000 to take the fight on a week's notice. Shamrock countered, asking for $500,000 and that pretty much ended those negotiations. So then Frank Shamrock was offered $150,000 but also turned it down, not wanting to risk his 4+ year unbeaten streak by taking a fight on such short notice with no time to train and prepare. It eventually went to Russian fighter Vladimir Matyushenko. Many insiders are predicting Matyushenko will win because he's a better wrestler and punches harder. Dave gives credit to Ortiz for also taking this fight without having time to prepare for it and thinks it's a hell of a risk for Ortiz. So we'll see.
Antonio Inoki and the promoters from PRIDE and K-1 held a joint press conference in Japan to announce another Inoki New Year's Eve show taking place on 12/31. It will be a joint show with PRIDE fighters, K-1 fighters, and pro wrestlers. The hook for the show is that there's expected to be a lot of Inoki's guys (all of whom fight for PRIDE) going against K-1 fighters, so basically inter-promotional MMA with a wrestling twist.
The idea of Universal getting into the wrestling biz is back on the table and it looks to be a go starting in November. Hulk Hogan had been in talks with Universal off and on for most of this year about starting a new promotion but as of press time, word is Hogan is not involved in this. Hogan is said to be more interested in returning to WWF than he is running his own promotion but until his lawsuit with Time Warner (over the whole Vince Russo/Bash 2000 incident) is settled, he probably won't be doing anything. Hogan is trying to argue in the lawsuit that the incident damaged his career, and it's going to be hard to prove that if he goes back to WWF and has a big money-making run there. Plus he's still recovering from a recent knee surgery. Jimmy Hart has continued negotiating with Universal and it appears he and Nasty Boy Brian Knobs will be running this new promotion, with Kevin Sullivan helping with booking. A 2-hour pilot is scheduled for filming in November and several former WCW stars and other unsigned names (mostly old 80s stars) have been contacted about coming in. They're also looking at some younger indie names and seem especially interested in former ECW star Super Crazy. Dave expects this to be run like an old Memphis-style studio territory show and figures Jerry Lawler will probably be involved too unless he re-signs with WWF before then. Anyway, Dave doesn't seem to have high hopes for this succeeding (indeed, it does not).
And now we have an article from Ben Miller. Dave drops an editor's note and says to welcome Ben Miller as a columnist for the Observer and expects him to have a column in here once a month or so. It's fine I guess, but it's really just an opinion piece by some guy who isn't Dave. But to his credit, it's a well-written column that makes some good points about what WWF needs to do to improve and make the Invasion angle and upcoming brand split work. But it just feels out of place here in the Observer. I believe Miller later become a columnist on the website and was involved for years after this.
In Puerto Rico, former WWF wrestler Tiger Ali Singh now wrestles for IWA and since 9/11, he has become the biggest heel in the promotion, with the fans chanting "terrorist!" at him (just in case you're wondering, Singh is from India and is not Muslim).
Remember the MMA fighter Brian Johnston who suffered a major stroke backstage at the last PRIDE show? Good news! It was originally thought he would be paralyzed from it and confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life, but in the last few weeks, he's made a miraculous recovery, regaining a good deal of movement on his right side and is even able to stand with assistance. He still can't talk but he has total recognition of people who visit him. Doctors are optimistic that he will make a full recovery and should be able to walk again, although it would take an even bigger miracle for him to ever compete in MMA or wrestling again. (Here's an article about him from 2013. Long story short, he mostly recovered. He still suffers symptoms and doesn't have full motor control, but he recovered well enough to pretty much live a full life. But no, he never fought again).
Antonio Inoki finally made it back to Japan after being stranded in the U.S. after 9/11. As soon as he got back, he spoke with the media and criticized NJPW for the main event of their upcoming Tokyo Dome show, saying nobody wanted to see it and bashing them for not booking Fujita vs. Ogawa instead. Dave thinks this is some peak-WCW shit. The most popular icon in company history rips into his own company right before a big show, saying their main event sucks and nobody wants to see it. That's gonna do wonders for ticket sales. At least in WCW, the owners of the company weren't criticizing it publicly. While we're on the subject, Dave reviews the most recent NJPW TV show and says it's WCW-in-its-last-year levels of bad. Three different matches get negative star ratings. ("dAvE iS bIAsEd fOR neW jaPAn!")
Bushwhacker Butch was hospitalized this week with a staph infection. He had complained of a neck injury and then passed out and was rushed to the hospital and diagnosed with staph and pneumonia. As of press time, he's still hospitalized and breathing through tubes (yeah he ended up getting sepsis and nearly dying).
In regards to the WWA tour in Australia, Vince Russo is reportedly pushing to have toplessness or maybe even full-frontal nudity for a women's bra & panties-type of match on the PPV they're filming. One of the women is former ECW/WCW valet Kimona/Leah Meow (so yeah, this match happened, but she wasn't in it. It was 3 women and a guy in drag, all nameless people who never went anywhere in the business. It was called a Skin To Win match. Two of the women (Penthouse Pets brought in to "wrestle" end up getting their tops taken off but they were wearing pasties because I assume they were forced to. When this PPV aired in the U.S., the match was edited off. Russo's brilliant billion dollar idea that would have revolutionized the industry, foiled by the censors again!).
Dave has been hearing rave reviews about a 4-way indie match featuring American Dragon, Low Ki, Christopher Daniels and Scoot Andrews, with many who saw it calling it the independent match of the year. Dave hasn't seen it yet but expects to have a tape in a week or two and will report back.
The New York Times did an interview with Linda McMahon for a story about how WWF is handling the current real-world situation in the wake of 9/11. The story hasn't ran yet but it's expected to reference WWF's exploitation of the Gulf War in 1991. In the interview, Linda mentioned that the name 'Raw Is War' is going to be changed to simply 'Raw' and that the December PPV Armageddon will be renamed (it becomes Vengeance). She also admitted that the events of 9/11 did play a part in Kurt Angle winning the WWF title this past week (I completely forgot Linda admitted it here).
Notes from Raw: Dave says it was a strange show. For starters, the night before at the PPV, they talked about having a big birthday celebration for Stephanie on Raw the next night. But that didn't happen. Stephanie's birthday was acknowledged, but there was no big party or angle about it. They also spent the entire episode teasing what would happen when Austin showed up but the entire show aired and....he never arrived. Dave again points out that hyping something for 2 hours and then simply not delivering is some WCW shit (it's also some 2019 WWE shit). There were several little things like that throughout the show also. Dave thinks back to 18 months ago when WCW used to do dumb shit every episode and he would always write, "WWF would never do this," and here we are 18 months later and it's happening all the time. Shane McMahon announced a match with Kurt Angle defending the WWF title against Booker T, leading Dave to wonder how in the hell Shane, as part of the Alliance, has the authority to make WWF title matches. DDP is now doing a self-help gimmick (who'da ever guessed?). RVD has been getting over huge as a face lately, so of course they put him in a match with Rock (the most popular guy in the company) and had him lose clean, which accomplished nothing other than killing RVD's momentum.
Sean O'Haire got into a fight in the crowd at an indie MMA show last week and was actually choked out by another fighter before the police broke it up. The guy who choked him out was also a lot smaller than him, but he also came up behind O'Haire to do it. But size doesn't matter and Dave says when a trained fighter gets the jump on you from behind and puts you in a choke, you're probably going to sleep no matter how big you are. That being said, O'Haire is lucky he doesn't work for Bill Watts because losing a real fight (to someone smaller than you no less) as a pro wrestler would get you fired back in Watts' day. O'Haire and the other guy were arrested after O'Haire was awakened from his slumber.
Eddie Guerrero is expected to leave rehab soon. During his time in treatment, Guerrero has been living with Tom Prichard, who has also been battling some addiction issues. Guerrero is still being paid his downside guarantee and is expected to be brought back to TV when he's done with rehab. Dave talks about how some guys don't succeed in rehab but then points out how William Regal is seen as the best case scenario. Regal had a nasty drug habit and was on the verge of washing out of the business and being deported, but he cleaned himself up and is now back on WWF TV in a prominent role and doing great. Dave hopes the same for Guerrero. When he's out, he'll probably spend some time in OVW first before returning to WWF.
Jim Ross answered a bunch of media questions on some conference thing last week. It was mostly a discussion about the future plans for WCW and since there isn't any definite plan yet, he had to be vague. Praised Booker T, RVD, and Kanyon for being 3 of the WCW guys to adapt well to WWF. Others praised Hurricane for the same but Ross was kinda dismissive of him, seeming not to agree. Noted that Jazz from ECW has signed and will be working with Sharmell Sullivan in OVW. Speaking of Sharmell, she was pretty much only signed as a favor to Booker T. He also praised Rey Mysterio and Juventud Guerrera but basically said there's no place for them in WWF right now. Ross was asked about Ken Shamrock and praised him but said Shamrock has a lot of MMA stuff he wants to do and only wants to wrestle in WWF part-time. But they want him full-time, which is why he hasn't been brought back at all. In regards to Rock's blooming Hollywood career, Ross shrugged it off and basically said Rock is under contract to be a wrestler full-time and that's what he loves to do. Ross predicted that Rock may take off once a year to film a movie but that the WWF is his priority. Time will tell on that. If his movie career takes off, Dave doesn't see Rock sticking around.
Various WWF notes: the list of wrestlers who are hurt right now in WWF is absurd. Dave says it would be easier to list who's not hurt. Anyway, Dave lists everyone who's hurt, their injuries, their surgeries, when they're expected back, etc. There's going to be a WWF-themed episode of NBC's The Weakest Link show featuring WWF stars taping this week. Mick Foley is appearing on Celebrity Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. Shane McMahon was on the Opie & Anthony Show and was asked about Stephanie's breast implants, which led Shane to respond that "they are 2 good reasons to tune into Smackdown this week." Dave thinks that's kinda weird. Sara Undertaker has dyed her hair brown and is training to wrestle.
WWF is meeting with former WCW wrestler The Wall next month. He was originally going to be signed and brought in when they bought WCW, but then they learned he had a pretty nasty drug problem so they passed on him. Dave kinda doubts they'll hire him. He's big, but he's also not very good and already in his 30s with a drug strike against him. They might sign him and send him to developmental but they already have a ton of guys wasting away down there already.
If you've been noticing all the references to Ric Flair on WWF TV lately, it's not an accident. There has been a lot of consideration recently of buying out the remainder of his Time Warner contract. The reality is WWF has completely failed to create any new stars out of the WCW names they signed and if they are serious about running WCW as its own brand next year, they need big names. The other names discussed were Sting and Goldberg, but they both have a lot higher contracts with more time left on them and economically, it just doesn't make sense to WWF right now to bring them in. That being said, Dave kinda questions how valuable Ric Flair could be in WWF these days. WWF has a younger audience than WCW did and Flair isn't getting any younger. He can talk his ass off but as far as working matches, Dave doesn't seem to see much value in Flair as an in-ring guy beyond a few nostalgia matches with big name WWF stars. All in all, Dave feels like bringing in these big name WCW stars would have worked much better if they did it at the beginning of the angle months ago. Although in the end, it doesn't matter who they had. The way it was booked, with WWF just rolling over WCW like they were nothing and nobody wanting to sell for or put over the WCW stars, it would have still failed no matter who they had.
The latest on Triple H is that he isn't expected to make it back by Survivor Series as originally hoped. Now it's looking more like December (not quite).
FRIDAY:First season of Tough Enough comes to an end, WWF ordered to pay the World Wildlife Fund's legal bills, details on new XWF promotion, more on Kronik, NJPW ticket sales, and more...
Going through old issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and posting highlights in my own words. For anyone interested, I highly recommend signing up for the actual site at f4wonline and checking out the full archives. PREVIOUS YEARS ARCHIVE: 1991 • 1992 • 1993 • 1994 • 1995 • 1996 • 1997 • 1998 • 1999 • 2000 Hi everybody! Man, I missed y'all. So in case you missed my explanation for why I took the last 2+ months off, basically my whole life changed recently. Wife got a new job that required us to move to a new city. Which meant I also had to find a new job, we had to sell our house, find a new place to live, get settled in a new city, and all that fun stuff. It's been a really hectic and crazy couple of months, but everything has worked out great and we're all good now. A million thanks to everyone for all the nice messages and well-wishes during all this. You guys are awesome and SquaredCircle is by far my favorite corner of the internet. In the midst of all this, I finally managed to get caught up on writing these things. My plan is to hopefully keep the usual M/W/F at noon EST schedule that has worked so well for the last couple of years. But full disclosure, that may not always be possible. My last job was pretty comfortable, I could sit at my desk and surf Reddit while working at the same time and it was never a problem. My job situation has changed so this will probably be posted during my lunch breaks and that might vary. So while I will always try to post at around the same time as everyone is used to, that may not always be possible. So just bear with me while we make this work. That's pretty much it. And now, let us begin....the final year of the Observer Rewind! Oh yeah, one other thing. I hate to come back after such a long absence and drop a turd. But this issue kinda sucks and there's almost nothing major happening this week. But don't worry, they get better from here!
Dave opens the first issue of 2001 with a look back at the top wrestlers of 2000. The Observer award votes are still being tabulated and whatnot but Dave decides to look at the top candidates and give his own personal thoughts.
Kurt Angle had a star-making year. One of the best talkers in the business and already one of the best in-ring guys after only really one full year. Dave says if he continues to improve at this rate in 2001, barring injuries, he may be the best in the world by this time next year (yup). Chris Benoit is probably the best in-ring guy in wrestling today and his jump from WCW to WWF (along with the other 3) pretty much tore the heart out of WCW and they've never recovered. Benoit was going to be a main eventer and likely multiple-time world champion in WCW, headlining PPVs and TV, and who knows what may have been different if he had stayed. They almost certainly would have still self-destructed, but at least the matches would have been better. Triple H is the likely Wrestler of the Year winner and Dave wouldn't argue it. He spent 2000 as one of the top guys (alongside Rock) in WWF and had numerous MOTY-quality matches, was a top draw for PPV, tickets, ratings, everything. Held the title repeatedly. An incredible feud with Kurt Angle that unfortunately fizzled out but was great while it lasted, etc. Hard to argue that Triple H had the best 2000 out of anyone in wrestling. Toshiaki Kawada. Without him, AJPW ceases to exist in 2000. His star power and that alone is the only thing keeping that promotion alive and the feud with NJPW has put Kawada in a position of having dream matches that will sell out the Tokyo Dome. His match with Kensuke Sasaki was one of the biggest matches in the history of Japanese wrestling. And in ring, he's a Benoit-level worker. You could argue that other wrestlers were better this year, but nobody was more valuable to their promotion than Kawada was to AJPW. Mitsuharu Misawa didn't really have the kind of amazing in-ring year that he's been known for in the past. But the importance of the NOAH split from AJPW is hard to overstate and was likely the biggest business story in wrestling all year in Japan (worldwide, Dave thinks the slow death of WCW is a bigger story in the long-term). If this award was for most influential wrestler outside the ring, Misawa would get it due to the successful start of NOAH. The Rock should probably be the favorite. He's not the in-ring talent that Triple H has, but he's still pretty damn great and has had some classic matches this year. He was the top draw for WWF by far and kept the company afloat with Austin out injured for most of the year. Plus, his sheer celebrity and mainstream value to the company is huge. Kazushi Sakuraba is a controversial pick and there's been a lot of debate over whether he qualifies, since he's MMA and not pro wrestling. Dave argues the case to why he should be eligible but it's hard to make a fair comparison to wrestling. But Sakuraba's historical legacy in MMA was cemented this year when he started beating members of the Gracie family one-by-one in PRIDE. Speaking of......
Kazushi Sakuraba added another Gracie head to his mantle last week, defeating Ryan Gracie at PRIDE 12. It was controversial because Gracie came into the fight with a shoulder injury suffered in training a few days earlier and doctors had told him not to fight. Gracie agreed to still do the fight but only if it was limited to a 10 minute time limit, which fans didn't find out about until the day of the show and booed the shit out of it. There may have been an agreement made before the match because though Gracie's injury was well-known (Gracie cut a promo about it before the fight, about how their family is tough and they don't listen to doctors and yada yada. Basically, giving themselves an out if/when Gracie inevitably lost), Sakuraba never went after it in the fight. But he dominated the match and won by decision after the 10 minute time limit. He has now beaten Royler, Royce, Renzo, and Ryan in the span of the last 13 months (and that's why they call him the "Gracie Killer").
The next major story is a recap of the recent RINGS show, and then a brief note that TV ratings aren't available and then....that's it for the top front page stories. We're already halfway through the bulk of the issue and there's not much on actual wrestling at all so far. Just a bunch of MMA recaps. Let's see what the second half brings us...
RVD will likely be appearing at the AJPW Tokyo Dome show in late January. No word if he'll work a match but he's at least hoping to be there for the Stan Hansen retirement ceremony, since Hansen helped him a lot in his earlier years when Van Dam worked for AJPW in the early 90s.
The biggest show in Pro Wrestling NOAH history took place last week, selling out a 12,000 arena. Shinya Hashimoto debuted, pinning Takao Omori. Kenta Kobashi beat Jun Akiyama in a match many are calling the best of the year. Hashimoto is expected to work a few more shows for NOAH but he isn't signed.
A couple of rookies in NOAH are getting a lot of praise. Takashi Sugiura is already being compared to Kurt Angle, because he's a former amateur wrestler who is making a good transition. And the other is Kenta Kobayashi (later KENTA and then Hideo Itami), who will actually main event a show next month, teaming with Kobashi (the names are SO similar) against Misawa and Marufuji.
Dave saw NJPW's latest show (which aired on PPV in Japan) featuring an inter-promotional match against with AJPW's Masa Fuchi and Kawada against NJPW's Takashi Iizuka and Yuji Nagata and he gives it the full 5 stars. Which is funny because on most lists you find online, this match isn't listed. Most people thought NJPW didn't get a single 5-star match between 1997 and 2012 but in a throwaway paragraph reviewing this show, he calls it a definite 5-stars and potential MOTY. So there ya go: the lost 5-star classic.
Antonio Inoki will have a 5-minute "exhibition match" at his New Year's Eve show (Dave is seemingly unaware at this point that Inoki's opponent will end up being Renzo Gracie).
Legendary wrestler Johnny Valentine is on death's door. Back in August, he broke his back falling off his front porch, which nearly killed him. In September he nearly died from a lung infection. He's been in and out of comas throughout that time and now he's back in the hospital again for the same reason (he ends up hanging on until April).
Dave saw the latest TV taping from the UPW indie promotion in California. WWF sent the Hardyz and Lita to work the show. Juventud Guerrera, Christopher Daniels, and Michael Modest were on it as well. WWF developmental wrestler Nathan Jones recently started there. Of all the guys working for UPW, Prototype (real name John Cena) shows the most promise. He's got an incredible look and superstar charisma, but he's not that good in the ring yet. Dave hopes he won't be rushed to the big leagues too soon because he will be exposed and it's hard to overcome the rep as a bad wrestler. Lots of people have been comparing Cena to a young Sting. Either way, Dave thinks the guy has a ton of potential to be a star if they don't fuck it up.
RVD seems to have accepted the idea that he's not going back to ECW and has said at some point in the next few months, he'll decide whether he's going to WWF or WCW. His agent has had talks with both companies. WWF is interested but they're more interested in Jerry Lynn because apparently the wrestlers in WWF who have worked with both of them prefer Lynn (RVD kinda had a reputation for accidentally hurting people). WCW is interested but can't do anything because there's a hiring freeze right now. RVD is probably the most marketable free agent on the market right now but there's still no guarantees of anything for him.
Randy Savage will appear in the Spider-Man movie as villain named "Saw Bones McGraw" (close enough, Dave). They're filming scenes with him and Spider-Man in a cage match.
ECW held a show at the ECW Arena that was said to be somewhat of a weird show. The crowd was down from usual, only about 1000 people, rather than the usual over-packed crowd. Everyone on the roster were given checks post-dated for the following Tuesday, which now leaves them 6 weeks behind on pay. But there's no more shows scheduled until the PPV next week. Super Crazy returned, even though his father died the night before. And during the main event, Sandman tried to recreate the famous chair incident from a few years ago, asking fans to throw chairs in the ring, which many thought was pretty negligent considering how dangerous that is for all the fans at ringside. Justin Credible caught a chair in the head that he wasn't prepared for and several fights broke out in the crowd during the incident also, due to fans getting hit by other fans. Then security ended up attacking fans and it was a whole mess for awhile there. (And that, folks, was the very last real ECW show ever at the ECW Arena. Pour one out for the end of an era.)
Notes from the latest ECW Hardcore TV: neither the Dudleyz match or the Tazz promo from the tapings aired. Dave assumes WWF wouldn't allow it. Joey Styles talked about Mikey Whipwreck having 17 documented concussions which Dave thinks is pretty scary. That's basically it.
Notes from Nitro: Kevin Nash, DDP, and Sid Vicious all returned and none of them were punished for walking out last week, nor was Scott Steiner punished for his off-script promo. Nor were he or DDP punished for their backstage fight. Eric Bischoff flew out the day before and basically sat down with everybody to hash out their problems. He gave everyone the impression that he'll be taking over the company in 2001 and is trying to start things with a clean slate. Needless to say, there was a lot of resentment from the undercard wrestlers about top stars being able to just walk out of live TV tapings, shoot on the mic, and get into fights and not only go unpunished, but be put right back on TV the next week in their same top positions. Lex Luger walked out earlier this year and came back in a stronger position than when he left. Buff Bagwell has been in and out of trouble all year, is hated by much of the locker room, but still gets significant TV time in the uppercard. Meanwhile, guys like Lance Storm and Mike Awesome are out there every night busting their asses (with Awesome fighting to overcome the career-killing 70s guy gimmick) and they're barely a focal point of the show. Some in management wanted to punish everyone who walked out, but with Bischoff expected to take control any day now, they were afraid to because it's no secret that DDP and Bischoff are close friends, as are Bischoff and Nash. So it was believed any punishment levied against them would just be overturned by Bischoff anyway. Anyway, this is the Nitro that isn't airing in the U.S. but was still taped for international markets. Not much in the way of storyline progression, mostly just matches.
Former wrestler Tom Zenk was on a radio show discussing the potential WCW sale to Bischoff, calling it "a fire sale to the arsonist" and saying Time Warner is selling the company because it's not profitable, to the guy who made it unprofitable to begin with.
Remember an incident last year where Bagwell punched a ring crew member and got charged for it? Bagwell plea bargained out of it and was ordered to pay a $500 fine, one year of probation, and perform 20 hours of community service. At the time, Bagwell was suspended for 30 days over it, which cost him approx. $45,000 in pay. A rare example of WCW actually punishing someone.
WCW sent a few guys (David Flair, Mark Jindrak, Sean O'Hair, and Jung Dragons) to work the NWA Wildside show, which is their developmental territory. Speaking of, wrestlers Air Paris and AJ Styles have been stealing the shows at the Wildside events lately.
Road Dogg was sent home from the Smackdown tapings and was suspended indefinitely without pay. At this time, there's no plans to bring him back. He showed up in bad shape to the tapings and had a match teaming with K-Kwik against Lo Down that was said to be an embarrassment because of his performance. WWF wants him to get his life in order before they even consider bringing him back. He's gone through rehab a couple of times but it never took. Dave says the difference between WWF and WCW is that chances are, you're not going to see Triple H and X-Pac going on TV for the next few weeks doing Road Dogg's catchphrases and trying to go into business for themselves on his behalf, unlike some people. (Here's the match. I dunno, doesn't seem any worse than Road Dogg's usual bad matches. But you do hear the commentary talking about Road Dogg looking out of it and hinting that maybe he has a concussion. And you can definitely tell that he's a little off his game, but if you didn't know to specifically look for it, I doubt you'd really notice. He was never Ric Flair in the ring to begin with.)
Notes from Raw: they had a hardcore match with Blackman, Holly, and Raven that ended up outside in the 9 degree winter weather. Dave feels sorry for those guys out there in tights and no shirt wrestling in that. The RTC cut a promo talking about how bad the internet is. (I went on the Network and watched this and it's great. Bull Buchanan cuts a promo on the APA's "Always Pounding Ass" shirt and then Goodfather finished it off with this quote: "The internet has become a harbinger of nothing more than filth and decay. The world wide web is there to trap you until it slowly strangles all the goodness from each and every one of you!" Well, he's not wrong.)
WWF officially sold the hotel and casino they bought in Las Vegas a few years ago. The original plan was to remodel the hotel as a WWF theme hotel, with a TV studio and small arena so they could hold live shows. But they quickly realized that it just wasn't feasible and have spent the last two years trying to sell it. They finally unloaded it for $11.2 million which is about $2 million more than they paid for it in 1999, so at least there's that.
There's been talk of bringing Bobby Heenan back to WWF to do commentary on one of the B or C-level shows, but that discussion seemed to go nowhere. Larry Zbyszko will also be getting an announcing audition soon and has pitched himself to be the new WWF on-screen commissioner as well.
The Rock was supposed to be doing announcing for the Orange Bowl Parade but WWF pulled him out of it. The company is being extremely protective of Rock right now and want to make sure he looks good in any non-wrestling mainstream thing he does, and there was concern about him doing commentary on a parade since, I mean, wtf does Rock know about parades? They didn't want him to look out of his depth or put in a situation he wouldn't be good at.
Update on WWF possibly moving out of Titan Towers: right now, many of the employees are doubled up in offices because they've outgrown the building and are out of space. There's been talk that they may sell the building and move to a new location soon.
Davey Boy Smith had another hearing for allegedly making death threats towards Bruce Hart. He pleaded not guilty. Bruce's estranged wife Andrea is now living with Davey Boy. His previous charges stemming from threats against Diana Hart Smith and Ellie Neidhart were dropped. Smith now says he's been clean since July, that he wants to open a wrestling school, and that he's no longer in the WWF. In a Calgary Sun story, Smith said, "I was involved in that (Hart) family for 20 years and I'm sad to say it was the worst 20 years I ever had." That led Bret Hart to speak out to defend his family name, and he said, "If it wasn't for my family and the opportunities my father gave him, Davey would still be working in the Wigan mines. He's talking about a dysfunctional family at the same time he has taken off with my brother Bruce's wife--you're right in the thick of it, buddy." (It's amazing how much of the Hart family drama played out in the Calgary Sun over the years.)
The Chyna issue of Playboy reportedly sold more than a million copies, while the first Sable issue did around 800,000. Dave expects a lot more WWF women in Playboy considering those kinds of numbers.
WEDNESDAY:Paul Heyman in talks to sell ECW, Antonio Inoki's New Year's Eve show, Vince McMahon Playboy interview, WCW fires Mark Madden, and more...
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