Binary.Com Auto Trading Robot - Learn Binary Options Trading

Retard Bot Update 2: What is there to show for six months of work?

Retard Bot Update 2: What is there to show for six months of work?
What is there to show? Not shit, that's why I made this pretty 4K desktop background instead:
4K
On the real: I've been developing this project like 6 months now, what's up? Where's that video update I promised, showing off the Bot Builder? Is an end in sight?
Yes sort of. I back-tested 6 months of data at over 21% on a net SPY-neutral, six month span of time (with similar results on a 16 year span) including 2 bear, 2 bull, 2 crab months. But that's not good enough to be sure / reliable. I had gotten so focused on keeping the project pretty and making a video update that I was putting off major, breaking changes that I needed to make. The best quant fund ever made, the Medallion fund, was once capable of roughly 60% per year consistently, but in Retard Bot's case 1.5% compounded weekly. "But I make 60% on one yolo" sure whatever, can you do it again every year, with 100% of your capital, where failure means losing everything? If you could, you'd be loading your Lambo onto your Yacht right now instead of reading this autistic shit.

The End Goal

1.5% compounded weekly average is $25K -> $57M in 10 years, securing a fairly comfortable retirement for your wife's boyfriend. It's a stupidly ambitious goal. My strategy to pull it off is actually pretty simple. If you look at charts for the best performing stocks over the past 10 years, you'll find that good companies move in the same general trajectory more often than they don't. This means the stock market moves with momentum. I developed a simple equation to conservatively predict good companies movements one week into the future by hand, and made 100%+ returns 3 weeks in a row. Doing the math took time, and I realized a computer could do much more complex math, on every stock, much more efficiently, so I developed a bot and it did 100% for 3 consecutive weeks, buying calls in a bull-market.
See the problem there? The returns were good but they were based on a biased model. The model would pick the most efficient plays on the market if it didn't take a severe downturn. But if it did, the strategy would stop working. I needed to extrapolate my strategy into a multi-model approach that could profit on momentum during all different types of market movement. And so I bought 16 years of option chain data and started studying the concept of momentum based quantitative analysis. As I spent more and more weeks thinking about it, I identified more aspects of the problem and more ways to solve it. But no matter how I might think to design algorithms to fundamentally achieve a quantitative approach, I knew that my arbitrary weights and variables and values and decisions could not possibly be the best ones.

Why Retard Bot Might Work

So I approached the problem from all angles, every conceivable way to glean reliably useful quantitative information about a stock's movement and combine it all into a single outcome of trade decisions, and every variable, every decision, every model was a fluid variable that machine learning, via the process of Evolution could randomly mutate until perfection. And in doing so, I had to fundamentally avoid any method of testing my results that could be based on a bias. For example, just because a strategy back-tests at 40% consistent yearly returns on the past 16 years of market movement doesn't mean it would do so for the next 16 years, since the market could completely end its bull-run and spend the next 16 years falling. Improbable, but for a strategy outcome that can be trusted to perform consistently, we have to assume nothing.
So that's how Retard Bot works. It assumes absolutely nothing about anything that can't be proven as a fundamental, statistical truth. It uses rigorous machine learning to develop fundamental concepts into reliable, fine tuned decision layers that make models which are controlled by a market-environment-aware Genius layer that allocates resources accordingly, and ultimately through a very complex 18 step process of iterative ML produces a top contender through the process of Evolution, avoiding all possible bias. And then it starts over and does it again, and again, continuing for eternity, recording improved models when it discovers them.

The Current Development Phase

Or... That's how it would work, in theory, if my program wasn't severely limited by the inadequate infrastructure I built it with. When I bought 16 years of data, 2TB compressed to its most efficient binary representation, I thought I could use a traditional database like MongoDB to store and load the option chains. It's way too slow. So here's where I've ended up this past week:
It was time to rip off the bandaid and rebuild some performance infrastructure (the database and decision stack) that was seriously holding me back from testing the project properly. Using MongoDB, which has to pack and unpack data up and down the 7 layer OSI model, it took an hour to test one model for one year. I need to test millions of models for 16 years, thousands of times over.
I knew how to do that, so instead of focusing on keeping things stable so I could show you guys some pretty graphs n shit, I broke down the beast and started rebuilding with a pure memory caching approach that will load the options chains thousands of times faster than MongoDB queries. And instead of running one model, one decision layer at a time on the CPU, the new GPU accelerated decision stack design will let me run hundreds of decision layers on millions of models in a handful of milliseconds. Many, many orders of magnitude better performance, and I can finally make the project as powerful as it was supposed to be.
I'm confident that with these upgrades, I'll be able to hit the goal of 60% consistent returns per year. I'll work this goddamn problem for a year if I have to. I have, in the process of trying to become an entrepreneur, planned project after project and given up half way through when it got too hard, or a partner quit, or someone else launched something better. I will not give up on this one, if it takes the rest of the year or five more.
But I don't think it'll come to that. Even with the 20% I've already achieved, if I can demonstrate that in live trading, that's already really good, so there's not really any risk of real failure at this point. But I will, regardless, finish developing the vision I have for Retard Bot and Bidrate Renaissance before I'm satisfied.

Tl;Dr

https://preview.redd.it/0plnnpkw5um51.png?width=3840&format=png&auto=webp&s=338edc893f4faadffabb5418772c9b250f488336
submitted by o_ohi to retard_bot [link] [comments]

Space Engineers Feb 2019 public test UNOFFICIAL survey results (data dump)

Results are from 71 valid responses (86 responses total but 15 hadn't actually played the test) Thanks to all that submitted responses!

Graphical results

https://imgur.com/a/Ff1FF3i

New block comments

Progression tree comments

Cargo ship / random encounter comments

New spawning system comments

Temperature mechanic comments

New chat / inventory size comments

Overall test comments

This is a pretty amazing update. Nice job, Keen! I look forward to seeing the full release. Here are a few things I really like, in no particular order:
With that said, there's still room for improvement:
I also have a few things I'd like to see in future updates:
And to everyone at Keen Software House, seriously, great update. I love Space Engineers, and I love to see it improve. Keep up the great work!
submitted by lilbigmouth to spaceengineers [link] [comments]

Trading, psychology, and the benefits of Trading Bots.

Trading, psychology, and the benefits of Trading Bots.

https://preview.redd.it/8lhgwekhbmv31.jpg?width=823&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=35c417aa683b9fcdf37a126127c2e60c3ab405c2
Most beginners who open trading accounts on cryptocurrency exchanges and start independent trading, see only one goal — to earn as quickly as possible.
This is a big mistake. The fact is that trading on the stock exchange will only become truly profitable when it becomes a priority for the person who came to trading. As a rule, to combine trade with any other occupation and at the same time everywhere to succeed will not work.
Trading for a novice trader should be if not the main, then a very important and priority occupation. No need to wait for quick results.
Trading on the stock exchange — the same profession as a doctor, Builder or engineer. The only difference is that she can’t go to University. Just as one learns to be a Builder for five years, so it takes years to learn all the wisdom and secrets of the trade. Trading on the stock exchange is not a Stayer distance, it is a marathon. And the winner is the one who will find the courage to reach the end.
In addition, trade is very much changing a person, showing his qualities, which in everyday life he does not know. Over time, if a trader really wants to succeed in trading, he must completely rethink his life, change the system of values and look at many things, change himself.

Fear as a Component of Trading

The strongest emotion known to man is, of course, fear. What gives rise to the exchange’s fears? We can not predict the behavior of the market, and therefore fully control their money invested in its instruments. In addition to the unknown, when there is no understanding of how to safely get out of a predicament, we are afraid in advance of what traumatized us earlier. Because fear is so emotional, you need to surround yourself with the right facts to drive it away. We need to know for sure that our trading system should not generate more than three consecutive losing trades. Winners plan what to do if their trades fail.
So only a systematic approach will protect us from ourselves. That is why the investment rules written in the trading templates exist not only to communicate the best market opportunities but, more importantly, to protect us from our own internal “demons”.

Emotions in Trading

Seekers of strong emotions, adrenaline forget everything in pursuit of excitement. It follows that a novice investor, overtaken by the “adrenaline curse”, will trade at the slightest opportunity. Yet Dostoevsky, one of the most famous and avid players, said that for him the most acute feeling in life — to win money. The second most acute feeling is to lose them.
Paradoxically, few things give more pleasure than getting rid of the pain and torment of being in a losing trade. This creates a mental internal conflict. Awareness of losses brings “excitement” or a sense of exaltation, and our emotionality does not care what we pay for these experiences losses in the brokerage account. “Adrenaline curse” will drive us into the trade for thrills and extract them from there, regardless of the price.

Intuition on the Exchange

The mind of an intuitive investor tries to construct mental constructions of events. I will try to explain what mental construction is by the example of a chess player’s thinking. The grandmaster understands and remembers the position of each figure in terms of its mental constructions and relationships inherent in the arrangement of figures. The random arrangement of the figures does not fit into any of his mental constructs, and he cannot structure what he sees.
Market patterns on cryptocurrency charts compared to chess compositions include an excessive element of chaos so that they can be interpreted intuitively. Investors with intuition are able to achieve success with the help of” flair”, but this flair often leaves them. The intellect of the rational trader, on the contrary, is manifested in his ability to logically comprehend what is happening to him and to the reality around him and to make on this basis the simplest and most correct decision. Intuition is the ability of a person to penetrate into the essence of things not by reasoning or logical thinking, but by instantaneous, unconscious insight. This is the ability of a trader to “ see the market not with his mind but with his heart.” But, even with a highly developed intuition, you can not act on the market, using only it.This is the trap of intuitive trading — it is impossible to learn.

Fear of Taking Responsibility

What distinguishes successful traders from losers who lose money? First of all look at life. Most people are very passive.
If you ask people if they are happy with their lives, the answer is likely to be negative. On the question of who is to blame, I would say that the fault of the parents who have not given a good education, why now not get a good job; blame the employer who delays wages; blame the dollar, which is rising, then falling; to blame the President and the government who do not pay pensions, etc., In their troubles and problems most of the people blame anyone but themselves.
The same thing happens in the market because the exchange is a mirror of our life. Talk to the trader losing money, ask why he can’t make money in the market. He replied that the fault of the insiders, manipulators, blame the binary options broker too much Commission, to blame the neighbor who suggested the deal, which turned into a heavy loss. In other words, he himself would have been a millionaire long ago, but for a number of reasons, certainly beyond his control, until that happened.
If a person wants to achieve something-not just to lead a life, which are millions of ordinary people (every day to go to work, save five years for a car, twenty years for an apartment, etc.), and to live a full life, so that the financial issue went into the background, to work for fun, not for money, he needs to take responsibility for everything that happens in his life. A person needs to realize that the cause of everything that happens to him is himself.It is this view that allows you to succeed in life and in any business. And trade is no exception.
This is the way successful traders look at life. Once you realize that the cause of all your losses is yourself, and not some mythical manipulators, then the case will move forward.
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In the age of digital technologies, when artificial intelligence develops, computer technologies improve, mankind creates various tools to facilitate their own life and everyday life.
If we pay attention to trading, then this direction is actively developing, getting new and unique tools. Since any trader (beginner or experienced specialist) is subject to emotions and various psychological factors, there are tools such as trading bots.

Trading Bots/Robots

A trading robot (bot) is a program that has a certain algorithm. It buys or sells cryptocurrency assets, focusing on the situation in the market. The first trading robots appeared in 2012, and since then they have become more and more perfect. Currently, according to some estimates, 90% of short-term transactions are made either by bots or with their participation.
Bots are usually developed for specific trading platforms. Most cryptocurrency exchanges have an API, and they are generally positive about free auto trading within their platform.
In contrast to the positive attitude to exchange robots, exchanges often have a negative attitude to arbitration robots. On the rules of trade can be found in the official documentation of the exchange, and if there is no such information, the question can be asked directly to technical support.Some people wonder: is it possible to write your bot trader? This is not an easy option, which is suitable only for experienced programmers. After writing, bots are tested for a long time in the market, corrected numerous errors, corrected strategy.
A programmer can also write a bot based on someone else’s code. Some bots are open source, and anyone can find it on GitHub and modify it to fit their needs.
Buy a bot for trading cryptocurrency: there are inexpensive programs for trading (about $ 10), and the cost of more high-quality and complex exceeds more than $ 200 and even $ 1000. There is no maximum price limit for bots, top bots are written to order $ 1500 and more.
Users are usually offered a choice of several tariff plans for crypto bots, from economy to luxury. The inexpensive option includes the most basic trading algorithms, and the expensive one brings maximum profit and works on more complex algorithms. Arbitration bots are a more expensive exchange. Known cases when downloading the bot, people got on your computer virus-miner or virus-cipher, which encrypt all your personal files and demanded a ransom in bitcoin, usually in bitcoin. Naturally, after transferring the ransom to the specified wallet, no decryption of the files occurred.
Trading strategy of stock and arbitrage bots can be very simple, for example:- When the price of cryptocurrency decreases, you need to buy it.- If the price rises, it should be sold.- Or much more complicated. The algorithm can take into account historical data for the last time, indicators, navigate by signals. Quality bots analyze more than a hundred parameters when placing orders.
Some programs do not change the algorithm, and there are bots that can connect or configure additional parameters. This option is well suited for experienced traders who have their own preferences in the style of trading.
A standard bot can perform such actions:- To assess the market situation, to monitor the rate at a given period of time, to make a forecast. In manual trading, it can show signals to the trader.- Create buy or sell orders.- To report on the profit or loss received.
On the example of our IMBA-Exchange, we came to the conclusion that we also need to provide an opportunity for each trader to use bots so that they can be in a comfortable trading environment.
Our exchange specialists are developing their own bot for cryptocurrency trading, which will be an excellent and convenient addition to every trader who wants to eliminate the psychological factor and seeks to get stable earnings without losing personal time.
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IMBA-Exchange Metronix bot makes life easier for every investor.
For example, Ing. Michael Eder the CEO of IMBA-Exchange, who has 10 years of experience in trading and the last 3 years in cryptocurrency trading, has firmly decided for himself that in the current realities trading on the exchange simply needs bots:
Throughout the time that I have been trading, I can confidently say that today trading bots are necessary for all traders as the main tool. No matter how long you are in exchange trading, but the nature of the person is designed so that under the influence of psychological factors, market conditions, etc. You still make mistakes and, as a result, this leads to financial losses.Our Metronix Trading Bot will help to solve these problems and eliminate negative consequences. A bot is a tool; it has no feelings. He performs a specific task for a given program and performs it almost unmistakably. The task of the trader is to monitor the situation on the market and correctly, as well as at the right time to configure your bot.
Stay with us, in front of you will find many interesting and new.
Material developed by experts IMBA-Exchange
submitted by IMBA-Exchange to u/IMBA-Exchange [link] [comments]

#Website Announcements 2018

#Website Announcements 2018
Order is bottom (oldest) to top (newest).
------
#---# Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year #---#
I’m sure you are all itching to join us in having a good ISW’mas and to kick this festive period off with a great deal of internet spaceship based chaos.
It gives us great pleasure to open the alpha to you all, hopefully you will enjoy this, the first version, of many to come!
Naturally there will be issues so please do let us know, give us feedback and suggestions and let’s try and make ISW bigger and better than it once was.
Please join us in Click here for Slack and Click here for Discord
Have Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
Yours, The Dr’s

#---# December Developer Update - Get HYPED Edition #---#
Happy Holidays to everybody! Everything is infused with Peppermint, Christmas music is playing in every public place, Interstellar War is going to have an Open Alpha, people are decorating for the season, everyone is shopping for gifts, and hoping to find something great under the tree this year.
Wait....
Did you just read that Interstellar War is having an OPEN ALPHA!!!
That's right folks! Santa and his elves (aka the Doctors) are bringing something exciting for all of us. We have been chugging along aggressively over the past few months and think it is time to show off what we've got.
Everyone is invited to this party, so spread the good news that ISW is coming to town!
ISW Holiday Alpha-stravaganza Info
  1. December 24th - January 4th: From Christmas Eve til the 4th the game will be an open alpha
  2. You can register right now, and on Christmas Eve the account will be activated.
  3. Or, on those dates you can go to the homepage, register, and start playing immediately.
  4. Everyone playing is expected to the adhere to the Rules of Conduct.
  5. The alpha will end Jan. 4th, and the game will be suspended while we recover from the mayhem of letting everybody go crazy, and fix everything you guys broke. At this time we do not know if a reset will be necessary. It will be a judgement call based on what happens.
Tips, Tricks, Recommendations and Warnings
  1. The game is completely playable and we are still adding features and functionality through the end of this month. However, it is an alpha, so we suspect that there will be bugs and exciting things you will break.
  2. There are still some feature gaps that we are hoping to get into the game, but we are choosing to open the floodgates with some missing functionality that we will add, rather than keeping you guys waiting.
  3. Building: We intend to have some basic functionality for building, but you might want to hold off maxxing it out. There will be terraforming and planet claiming, but other functionality is pending.
  4. Security: The redesign of how it will work is underway, but time constraints mean it is not functional. Don't bother putting points into it.
  5. Cloaking Doesnt work. At all.
  6. IMPORTANT - FACTION CHOICES: when we open it up, there will be NO faction changing or username changing. We recommend that people discuss joining different factions so we don't end up with only two factions with players. Try something other than Terran
On behalf of the Doctors, I want to thank all of you for sticking around and following our development. We are very excited to be able to bring something to all of you this holiday season.
Interstellar Wars is back! (from December 24th to Jan 4th. Normal rules and conditions apply, the doctors cannot be held liable for angry spouses, grandmothers, parents, or other entities which may take issue with you spending Christmas morning playing ISW instead of spending time with loved ones)

#---# November Update #---#
Hey there everybody, I know this update comes a bit late in the month, but it contains exciting news. We can’t express how much we appreciate your support and patience through the process, and we believe that the wait will have been worth it. This is a labor of love for us, and we are pouring as much time and energy as possible into getting it up and running as fast as possible.
Get HYPED, because we are so close. We are planning an opportunity to get people into the game and start having fun, breaking things, and getting a full blown dose of that good old fashioned nostalgia.
Major updates:
  1. We have been making incredible headway and are aiming for a Christmas Alpha release.
    1. Much of our time is being spent on finishing up and polishing the existing game features as we try to implement as much as we can before the Alpha go-live.
    2. How this will look and how many/who will be involved is still being determined, but we have some BIG plans.
    3. Look for the Alpha Announcement at the beginning of next month, and instructions for how to join the Alpha shortly after that.
  2. The Admin team has put together a preliminary Rules of Conduct, check it out at the end of the update. We needed to put this together so that the community has rules that govern behavior. We want everybody to want to play the game and know that they aren't going to run into issues.
Development Updates:
  1. Planets and Systems
    1. Mapped planet locations and Imported to the game
    2. Imported Planet minerals
    3. Linked Mining to the Tick
  2. Ship Combat
    1. Shield functionality added
    2. Critical Hits! Will be implemented after the Alpha
  3. NPC Interaction
    1. Populated NPCs in All Star Systems
    2. Behavior Adjusted, Auto-Attack, Chase, Fight Back~
    3. Experience for Killing NPCs added~
    4. Shared Experience Distribution pushed to later build, delayed until after Alpha~
    5. Add enemy Ship Size and Rank to Tooltip
  4. Character
    1. Experience implemented, includes experience from NPCs and Mining
    2. Leveling up skills added and working
  5. Architecture and UI Improvements (technical)
  6. Business Planning
    1. Created a Patreon
    2. Supporter tiers and levels still in development
  7. Arena, unsure if it will make first Alpha build
  8. Building: we are hoping to push it into the Alpha build, but will depend on time constriants.
    1. Implement Building Skill
    2. Implement Terraforming/Claiming planets
    3. Add the old ISW Building Tables
    4. Add Size/Space Attribute to planets
  9. Security (Unlikely for Initial Alpha build)
    1. Mechanics for actual combat completed
    2. Boarding
    3. Taking control
  10. Bug Fixing (edited)
Interstellar War Rules of Conduct
Interstellar War is a game created by fans, for newcomers and fans, of the original Interstellar War. We aim to recreate the experience of excitement and player interaction that made it a great game. Cracking jokes, creating rivalries, pulling off impressive heists, and inter-player politics are a part of Interstellar Wars, but building a community of collective fun is about trusting that players are doing the right thing and treating each other properly.
Our Code of Conduct is intended to outline the behavior that can take away from the collective and therefore will not be tolerated.
  1. Offensive language - You must not use any language that is offensive, discriminatory, racist or obscene.
  2. Player Abuse (includes spamming) – You must not threaten, insult, solicit, or abuse other players of this game.
  3. Bug abuse (cheating) - Any bugs found within the game must be reported to ISW Admins immediately.
  4. Using third-party software like bots or Macros - You must not use other programs to gain an unfair advantage at the game.
  5. Account sharing/trading - Each account should only be used by ONE person.
  6. Multiple logging in - If you create more than one ISW account, they must not interact or be used to gain an unfair advantage within or outside the game.
  7. Password scamming - Asking for another player's password for any reason will not be tolerated.
  8. Asking for personal details (addresses, phone numbers, emails, etc.) - To protect players' safety and privacy, you must not ask for personal details.
  9. Advertising/website - You are not allowed to actively advertise in the ISW game or ISW forums.
  10. Real world trading - ISW items must only be exchanged for other items/services within the game.
  11. ISW Admin or Mod impersonation - You should not attempt to impersonate Admins or Mods in any way.
  12. Misuse of official forums - Forums must be used respectfully at all times.
  13. Encouraging others to break rules (all rules included) - You must not encourage others to break any of the rules.
  14. All rules are at the discretion of moderators and Admins, but we are reasonable gods.

#---# October Update #---#
Hey Community!
Major updates:
  1. The skeleton of the game is playable. You can start from the beginning, gain experience and credits by mining and killing npcs, buy better ships to get more EXP and CR, jump to Hyperspace and visit other Star Systems. IT FEELS LIKE ISW!
  2. Chat is live, along with the in chat Combat log
  3. Governments motions are live
Upcoming/Work In Progress Updates:
  1. Planet Mapping Continues.
  2. Ship Combat
  • Shields First
  • Critical Hits!
  • Link Mining to the Tick
  1. NPC Interaction
  • Populate NPCs in All Star Systems
  • Behavior Adjustment, Auto-Attack, Fight Back, Repair
  • Experience Distribution
  1. Planets
  • Correct Mineral/Planet Table
  • Add Size/Space Attribute to planets
  1. Architecture Improvements (technical)
  2. Business Planning: Looking into Patreon
  3. Arena (Nice to have, unsure if it will make first Alpha build)
  4. Building (Unlikely for Initial Alpha build)
  • Implement Building Skill
  • mplement Terraforming/Claiming planets
  • Add the old ISW Building Tables
  1. Security (Unlikely for Initial Alpha build)
    1. ~Mechanics for actual combat completed~
    2. Boarding
    3. Taking control
We are incredibly excited about the progress we've made, and a Christmas gift for all of us.
We are targetting an Initial Alpha release in the last quarter before Christmas. ISW is almost back!
- The Doctors

#---# September #---#
Hey Everybody!
The progress on ISW continues in ernest. The summer has been busy, so thanks for not taking up the torches and pitchforks when the August Update did not come
Major Updates:
  1. The Arena is underway and being tested with 100 ships!
  2. NPCs: We've populated the NPCs and have been testing combat against them to make sure it feels right and fun, and doing some tweaks where we felt appropriate.
  • NPC experience will be implemented next.
  • We have an exciting change where anyone who attacks and deals damage will gain a portion of the experience.
  • They attack and get aggressive after you have engaged.
  1. Chat functionality has been progressing nicely.
  2. Government systems and fuctionality is built out. We've been working on adjusting the way some of the systems work, and how the standings (At War, Cease Fire, Neutral, Friendly) Let us know if you think the standings should affect whether you can attack another faction.
  3. I have been working on mapping the Star System planets, which is a manual, tedious, and exciting process.
We're feeling really excited about the progress and where we are getting to.
- The Doctors

#---# July Update #---#
Hey there everybody!
We Doctors have been chuggin’ along nicely, designing, coding, tweaking, and adding features as fast as we can.
Some major accomplishments this past month despite us both moving homes:
-Shield Design aligned with the way ships work, -Designed security both as a base functionality and planning for the future -Player Experience and Skill ups are LIVE! Designed the NPC experience gain. -Mining, unloading, and selling minerals is live! You even gain exp from Mining! -Government systems have been tweaked to align with the faction background material, and designed so that they should all be equally viable. They should be live pretty soon.
We are feeling super positive about the pace and how nicely everything is coming along. We can’t say when the Alpha will go live, but we are aiming for SOON™, and it is well inside the realm of possibility that Christmas comes early.
Our Current Project Plans Below
  1. Engineering
  • Ship System Control (On/Off binary)
  • Powernet
  • Repair
  • Lock Repair to the Tick
  • Design Shield Functionality
  • Add Shield Functionality
  • Lock all Module Performance to Module % Health
  1. Player Skills and Attributes
  • Add Player Skills (Command, Gunnery, Engineering, Piloting, Security, Building)
  • Add Player Experience Attribute
  • Experience Point Cost/Skill Level Up Calculation
  • Skill Level Ups (Spend Experience)
  • Link Skills to Various Systems
  1. Planet Interaction Mechanics
  • Planet Attributes + minerals tables
  • Move to orbit
  • Mine!
  1. Economy
  • Ship Inventory Interaction.
    • Add/Create [Mining or loot etc],
    • Remove (see below)
  • Trade Screen: Xfer to Base/Another Player (Delayed)
  • Sell to Starbases
  • ?Faction Mineral Tables?
  • Auction System for Minerals (Delayed)
  1. NPC introduction to tactical. Attributes/tables there, just populate them
  • Create Base level NPC loot (exp, credits, minerals)
  • Design NPC exp awarding
  • Determine NPC placement coordinates
  • Ensure NPC behavior is correct (edited)
  1. Security
  • Design Security Combat
  • Implement MVP Security
  1. System Layout
  • Planets Coordinates in Core systems
  • Planet Coordinates in secondary/bonus systems
  1. Government Systems Revamp
  • Adjust GovSys to be inline with Racial lore and feel
    • Collective
    • Democracy
    • Oligarchy
    • Dictatorship
  • Design/Adjust Government to Bring them inline with eachother.
  • Implement high level government systems.
  1. ARENA!!!! Do it
  2. Chat
  • Test Chat UI
  • Update/Upgrade the test chat system
  • Implement channels

#---# June Update #---#
Hey Community!
As hinted in our last update, we've had a number of commitments that have halted our progress. Thankfully (as those of you in slack would have seen) progress has been made and we should be back on track in due course to start implementing the remaining features.
Below as before is our current High level document for tracking design and implementation, less the now removed the completed tasks and updated with a few now complete/inprogress.
  1. Engineering
  • Design Shield Functionality
  • Implement Shield Functionality
  • Lock all Module Performance to Module % Health
  1. Player Skills and Attributes
  • Skill Level Ups (Spend Experience)
  1. Planet Interaction Mechanics
  • Mine!
  1. Economy
  • Ship Inventory Interaction.
    • Remove (see below)
  • Trade Screen: Xfer to Base/Another Player
  • Sell to Starbases
  • Faction Mineral Tables
  • Auction System for Minerals
  1. NPC introduction to tactical
  • Create Base level NPC loot (exp, credits, minerals)
  • Determine NPC placement coordinates
  • Ensure NPC behavior is correct (edited)
  1. System Layout
  • Planets Coordinates in Core systems - In progress

#---# May Update #---#
Hey Community!
The Admin team wanted to provide an update on our progress and our current work being done. The members of the Admin team have had some personal responsibilities that briefly interfered with the pace of implementation, but we can assure you we kept the ball rolling.
Below is our current High level document for tracking design and implementation. We’d like to be highly transparent with you guys. If you have questions or input let it rip on Slack.
  1. Engineering
  • Ship System Control (On/Off binary)
  • Powernet
  • Repair
  • Lock Repair to the Tick
  • Design Shield Functionality
  • Implement Shield Functionality
  • Lock all Module Performance to Module % Health
  1. Player Skills and Attributes
  • Add Player Skills (Command, Gunnery, Engineering, Piloting, Security, Building)
  • Add Player Experience Attribute
  • Experience Point Cost/Skill Level Up Calculation
  • Skill Level Ups (Spend Experience)
  1. Planet Interaction Mechanics
  • Planet Attributes + minerals tables
  • Move to orbit
  • Mine!
  1. Economy
  • Ship Inventory Interaction.
    • Add/Create [Mining or loot etc]
    • Remove (see below)
  • Trade Screen: Xfer to Base/Another Player
  • Sell to Starbases
  • Faction Mineral Tables
  • Auction System for Minerals
  1. NPC introduction to tactical
  • Create Base level NPC loot (exp, credits, minerals)
  • Determine NPC placement coordinates
  • Ensure NPC behavior is correct (edited)
  1. System Layout
  • Planets Coordinates in Core systems
You can see some screenshots below as well.
Starbase and Star Ship


#---# April Update #---#
Many of you have been asking after the progress being made, and Dr. Strange and I wanted to give you all an update. Moving forward, I will be taking over the Project updates so Dr. Strange can use his superior abilities elsewhere. My aim is to go frequent, informative, and transparent.
Dr. Boom (that’s me) is a Game Designer, rules engineer, and Project manager. He is responsible for most of the formulas that make use of ship statistics, player attributes, and leveling/experience. He is the guy who assembled most of the tables, and designed the NPC statistics. All of my ideas are bounced off Dr. Strange, dude’s a genius.
Dr. Strange is the Lead Developer mastermind behind all of the actual code, systems interactions, and screen layouts that comprise the game. He manages the database that holds the tables that populate the information within the game. Anytime something new needs to be added to the game, an adjustment or tweak needs to be made, etc. he is the man doing it.
Dr. Who is the Workspace Admin and he manages the web portals, and keeps everything online. Without him the lights go out.
Together, we discuss ideas, determine prioritization, and then test our ideas once they’re live. We have made significant progress, but there is still work to do.
First, I want you all to know what you can currently do in the game, and then in my next post I’ll give you a glimpse into our development project pipeline.
Currently, the game is in an incomplete state. You can commission a ship, board it, turn the systems on, fly around, fire your weapons, repair the ship hull. You can even “Activate Hyperdrive”, and then scoot on over to another of the 9 current starsystems. But we aren’t quite "there" yet.
The team has our project plan for the “Ultra-Minimum Viable Product” and we would like to share it very soon. Our goal is to complete that and then open up an Alpha testing phase.

https://preview.redd.it/ep9srpoyf7841.png?width=1050&format=png&auto=webp&s=89988870ec5a1d4da1a71aba25ee8ad8b3c685cd

https://preview.redd.it/k7hnmtdzf7841.png?width=1067&format=png&auto=webp&s=13e29691102bfe0ee22ea329d8a6bce6c863bdd9
#---# A year in review #---#
Well, nearly, it’s been 9 months since the first update (but who’s counting). It was an exciting day for us all and although we’ve been working away as fast as possible, time and commitments permitting, it’s always been somewhat difficult to show (let alone describe) some of the work taking place.
Hopefully however you will now notice the somewhat dramatic nature of recent changes and pop over to Slack with any feedback.
Although it may seem minor, the update(s) you are now seeing is the result of 6 months of behind the scenes decisions, development and design.
This new design also marks the first release since we first launched, to put that into perspective, 1520 files have been modified/created and 304347 lines of code have been written.
We’ve still got a way to go but hopefully this will serve as a taster of what direction we are moving in; currently however we’ve got some troublesome NPC’s to wrangle and mechanics to tweak.
Hopefully you all had a good Christmas and are looking forward to the year ahead.

#---# All of your bases #---#
As some will have likely seen on Slack, recently a picture of all of the starbases occupying the void was posted. Although this may seem a little greedy or indeed sinister the purpose was in fact quite the opposite.
By bringing all the starbases into one system we’ve been flitting between them, grabbing different ships and having a bit of a free-for-all, although fun, this is in a view to test that everything is working as it should when ships are purchased, commanded, shot and destroyed.
This effectively being what we’d all like to be doing. Although these areas are looking more rounded there is still quite a bit of work to be done and a lot to be tested.
Much as the previous hinted, we are still considering a preview/testing session, although this may evolve to an alpha style release. Although limited, it would allow us to test a lot of the core mechanics and stresses of certain aspects of the game.
As ever work is ongoing and I’ll endeavour to keep posting updates, feel free to pop into Slack and give us a poke however… we don’t bite.

#---# Trigger Happy #---#
Since the last update, we’ve been working tirelessly on the game mechanics, ship combat, engineering and module interactions. All of which have come a long way. Each has been tested (perhaps a little too much) and I’m excited to soon start considering a limited alpha… a date with a dev if you will.. where I will likely invite a select few on a number of dates for “supervised” testing.
There are, as ever, still several issues to work out and balancing to consider but for the most part it should feel like the old game, with a few surprises.
Tactical, for some time has been an issue for us. I’m happy to say this is no longer the case, we’ve achieved something which will hark back nicely to 2002 but also fit in 2017 (it’s really been that long!) and I suspect most will be excited to see.
Special mention, for those that have joined slack and provided support/feedback, thank you (you know whom you are). For those that haven’t, join us: Slack
PS, although updates have been less frequent, don’t fear, we are tirelessly working away. Find us on slack if you need constant reminders and sneak peaks of what we’re tinkering with.

#---# Objectives #---#
Buy a ship, launch, explore…. Then??... over the next few weeks we will be looking at the much needed “what happens next” aspect. Currently our one system is a little lonely… lacking much more than a few boring planets and a starbase.
First up is NPC’s, what we have are NPC’s that are a little lifeless, they spawn as necessary and roam a system (within reason) … at this point we’re looking at adding some firepower and attitude into the mix.
To start this off we will be looking firstly into how damage is delivered, which skills and modules have which effects and more importantly how this is relayed to you to make decisions upon.
We have a few ideas of our own but are open to suggestions (forum if you please). This will likely be a time consuming processes so updates as ever may be few and far between but rest assured we are still here and toiling away.
Lastly, we have a slack channel, please feel free to join and ask questions or be there purely for moral support... this will be rescinded if abused or if we’re harassed too vigorously . Slack Invite

#---# What good is tactical anyway? #---#
As many will fondly remember, starbases where the hub of most activity within ISW, mainly as this is where our vast arsenals of ships where stored. With this in mind our attention is now shifting away from tactical and it seems as good a point as any to delve into starbases.
Currently we can purchase, dock, commandeer, repair and sell ships… all a good start but more critically we are now able to undock… it seems however docking is somewhat of an art form at present….
Over the coming weeks (once we get our ship back into the base and stop flying around tactical) we should hopefully refine some of the mechanisms involved and start to round of other areas off the game.
Stay tuned.

#---# Tactical Part 3 #---#
Tough decisions ahead; for some time now the focus has been exclusively on the new tactical. The idea behind the new tactical is to allow us to slowly move away from turn based logic (but not too far) and add other dynamic layers to the gameplay.
For example, previously ship moment was constrained to the ticks and was purely linear, the newer tactical allows real time ship movement by double clicking the grid, the fastest route (avoiding obstacles) is calculated and said ship will begin its movement. This allows greater use of ship characteristics such as a speed and range but also will add an element of piloting to the mix.
Furthermore, the real-time aspect would also prevent the need to refresh the game which has various performance benefits.
Here in lies the dilemma, the added complexity in delivering tactical 2 is putting a strain on development as naturally there are more hurdles to overcome. As a result it is consuming more time than anticipated.
The existing or old tactical however has been implemented and does function as before (albeit slightly upgraded) however at this stage it feels a little out of place.
At this stage in the project it might be worth taking a fork in the road and returning to tactical 2 at a later stage or it might be worth the delay to proceed as we are.
Decisions decisions.
Over the coming weeks I will be away on holiday, a higher power has banned the use of laptops for the duration and as such there will be a break in development. I will however endeavour to monitor the forum and answer questions so please discuss.

#---# Tactical Part 2 #---#
Having eluded to something a bit different being on the cards for tactical, I wondered how best to visualise something that we’ve been tinkering with…
Alas words didn’t seem quite enough soo…. maybe look ... here
N.b: Full disclosure this is a prototype (we are in closed development after all).

#---# Tactical Part 1 #---#
It’s been a while since the last update, mainly because we’ve been tirelessly testing different options which alongside other commitments has taken a fair bit of time.
Some of these include:
  • TacticalXL: Expanding the tactical screen, somewhere in the region 1000px x 1000px.
  • TacticalDynamic: Expand the map to the available screen dynamically.
  • TacticalCamera: Have the player centred in the view (camera) whilst they move around a map (like the old starmap).
Unfortunately, there are issues with those among a few less notable options. We do however have another option albeit a complex one. Currently we’re exploring this further but as is likely evident we aren’t given too much away, but stay tuned… there may be a few surprises ahead.

#---# Tactical #---#
Over the coming weeks our focus is shifting to tactical. The tactical grid allowed for most of the games actual behaviour by using the 15 second tick to allow players to move, shoot and generally cause chaos (as I’m sure most will recall).
Tactical however was quite basic, click here, go there, click here, shoot that. It also only spanned a whopping 580px by 440px (7 x 9 squares), this leaves us some room to get a bit creative in modernising the game.
Here in lies a dilemma, how should we modernize tactical?
Right now, we have a few ideas which we are exploring, ranging from the seemingly simple “make it bigger” through to some quite experimental ideas that could open several doors.
We’re not 100% sure which route at this stage we will take but there will be a few more updates in coming weeks as we explore each accordingly.

#---# The Tick #---#
There have been a few posts in the past about which aspects of the game we are looking to keep and which are looking to improve or even replace.
The 15 second tick being somewhat crucial among them. This past week we’ve been focusing on the tick, something that we had already put in place but thought it best to revisit.
In the days of old the ill-fated browser refreshing and server unavailable slowly got the better of the game, to keep this in check we’re adopting a new approach.
Instead of refreshing the browser or polling the server for updates we are now pushing data directly to your browsers, this has several benefits but key among them are that:
  • We can cut the number of browser refreshes (eventually to nil)
  • We can keep all users synchronised in real time (refreshing will be discouraged)
But why keep the 15 second tick?
The game lends itself to a delay, you may need to type a message, cycle your weapons, pick a destination and ultimately choose whom to fire upon (or not).
This will likely be revisited again over time but for now, we’ll be ticking.

#---# Forum #---#
Is it Back? In short, Yes.
Over the recent weeks there have been numerous changes afoot. As a result, we’ll not only be breaking our radio silence but also aiming to deliver more updates on a more frequent basis.
The first of which is the forum, we’ve been forced due to technical reasons to create a new forum. In the interim, both will be available and we encourage you to move any content/ideas and or suggestions from the old to the new (as well as signing up).
OLD: http://community.interstellar-war.com/
NEW: https://iwcommunity.interstellar-war.com/
We will eventually close the old forum and have no plans at this stage to create any new forums.

#---# Update #---#
Comming Soon™
submitted by LuzPT to InterstellarWar [link] [comments]

Petu's Challenger Shen Guide with Detailed Matchups! (2017 Summer)

SELLOUT(?) EDIT: Guide is up on Solomid.net

Hey, /summonerschool
I'm Petu and I've been playing Shen since his rework in 2016. I hovered around MasteD1 last season and I’ve been Challenger for the whole of season 2017. In April, I was ranked as the best Shen in the world by League of Graphs. This is my third Shen guide and I’m hoping it’s going to be valid until the next season. The last chapter of the guide lists my personal tips on every single top lane matchup. You can use this guide before every game and CTRL+F the champion you’re playing against for a brief overview of the matchup.

Table of Contents

Pros and Cons Playstyle Abilities Runes Masteries Itemization Gameplay Tips Matchups

Pros and Cons:

Pros: Map pressure Playmaking potential Supportive capabilities Tank shredding Dueling
Cons: Requires great map-awareness No waveclear No built-in sustain Long ult cooldown

Playstyle:

Shen is the dictionary definition of a tank. If ahead, he can tank the enemy team 1v5 for an extended period of time due to his Ki Barrier and Spirit’s Refuge. But he also plays like a support, he can keep his carries alive by using his ultimate and positioning his Spirit Blade near his carries in teamfights. Shen is also an incredible powerful duelist against tanks due to the MaxHP% Damage on his Q and the constant passive shields. Shen can also initiate teamfights extremely well with a Taunt+Flash Combo. His dueling power and global ultimate (and teleport) make him an excellent split-pusher.

Abilities:

Passive – Ki Barrier Cooldown: 10 seconds
After using an ability, Shen shields himself from 50 - 101 (based on level) (+ 14% bonus health) damage for 2.5 seconds. If the triggering ability successfully affected at least one champion, Ki Barrier's cooldown is reduced by 4 - 7.5 (based on level) seconds. Shen's power manifests as a Spirit Blade that he can control with abilities.
Even after the passive nerfs, Ki Barrier is a strong ability. It allows him to trade better in lane and tank for longer in teamfights. It’s also great for surprising turnarounds – some people just never remember the shield. In theory, a level 18 Shen could keep his shield up 100% of the time in teamfights with proper use of his abilities.
Q – Twilight Assault Cost: 140-100 Energy Cooldown: 8-5 Seconds
Shen recalls his Spirit Blade to his location and empowers his next 3 basic attacks within 8 seconds to deal bonus magic damage. Enemies the blade collides with are slowed by 35% for the next 2 seconds when moving away from Shen. If the Spirit Blade collides with an enemy champion, the empowerment is enhanced, dealing bonus damage and gain 50% bonus attack speed. Empowered attacks against non-champions deal additional damage, but their damage is capped.
This is Shen’s main ability and it should be maxed out first. It gives him great damage, chase potential and easy passive procs. You should always try to keep your enemy between you and your Spirit Blade to maximize the damage output and amount of Ki Barriers. Mastering the use of your Spirit Blade is a major key to success with Shen. The tooltip doesn’t mention this, but Twilight Assault increases your Autoattack range to 200. This can be useful in many situations. It’s very important to use all three of your empowered basic attacks to get Energy back (Shadow Dash Passive) or you’ll find yourself running out of Energy.
W – Spirit’s Refuge Cost: 40 Energy Cooldown: 18-12 Seconds
Shen primes his Spirit Blade for 2 seconds, causing it to project a protective zone around it for 1.75 seconds if he or an allied champion move nearby, causing allies in the zone to dodge attacks.
Spirit’s Refuge might seem like a lackluster ability, but a good W on your carries in a teamfight can mitigate so much damage that it could turn the whole fight around. Your W is good against champions like Renekton, Camille, Mordekaiser etc. because their trading patterns involve an autoattack enhancer. Rank 1 Spirit’s Refuge has a 18 second cooldown, so opponents can punish you if you waste it. Using your W correctly in teamfights can be tricky sometimes as you might have to leave your Spirit Blade near your carries and avoid using your Q. Spirit’s Refuge blocks Jungle Monster basic attacks including Rift Herald and even Baron Nashor but not the Dragon!
E – Shadow Dash Cost: 150 Energy Cooldown: 18-10 Seconds Range: 600
PASSIVE: Shadow Dash's and Twilight Assault's damage recovers 30 / 35 / 40 Energy.
ACTIVE: Shen dashes in the target direction, dealing physical damage to all enemy champions and monsters he hits and taunting them for 1.5 seconds.
Shadow Dash, Shen’s most iconic ability after his Ultimate. This is Shen’s playmaking tool and one of the reasons I play him. Taunt is an extremely powerful form of Crowd Control; It allows you to protect your teammates and pick off enemies. It’s also really good if you’re getting pushed to your tower in lane because taunting someone gives them tower aggro. The threat of Taunt allows you to CS safer undertower. Similar to his W, Shen’s E has a long cooldown which can be abused by smart opponents. Shadow Dash can be combined with Flash to change the direction or extend it’s range. This allows Shen to pull of amazing multi-man taunts in teamfights or when getting ganked. Missing your taunt can lead to lost trades or teamfights.
Ultimate – Stand United Cooldown: 200/180/160
Shen channels for 3 seconds, shielding the target allied champion for up to 5 seconds. The shield scales based on the target’s missing health. (Max value at 40% HP) Upon completing the channel, Shen and his Spirit Blade blink to the target ally’s location.
And here we have the reason why we pick Shen: his ultimate, Stand United. Stand United is such a powerful ability, it allows you to split-push without leaving your team in danger. Shen’s Ultimate combined with Teleport gives him more global pressure than any other champion in the game. If you have a Twitch (stealth) or a Zac (gap-closer) in your team, you can use Stand United to engage sneaky ganks and catch your opponents completely off guard. Stand United’s cooldown is extremely long and wasting it can set you behind by a lot. The more you play Shen the easier it becomes to quickly judge whether or not an ultimate is worth it.

Runes:

Standard: VS. AD VS. AP Budget VS. All
Experimental: 30 CDR @ 18 Aggro VS. AD Aggro VS. AP
There is no clear consensus on what the optimal rune page for Shen is. Choosing your runes comes down to preference mostly. The two pages at the top are the only ones I use and need to play Shen. Different Shen players prefer different runes, but almost everyone uses attack speed marks and health seals. The rest comes is up to you. If you’re skeptical about the HP regen quints you can substitute them for Armor or Health. Personally, I’ve found much more success with the added sustain that the regen runes provide. If you’re new to Shen I would advise you to use the budget page.

Masteries:

Standard Alternative
Shen uses Grasp of the Undying as his Keystone. Fervor and Courage of the Colossus were options in the past, but in my opinion Grasp is the clear winner. There are interesting options in tier 4 of the the Resolve tree. All of them are good but right now I prefer Fearless because it’s a very strong mastery and makes your laning phase safer. The first mastery page is what I use in all of my games. The “Alternative” page was shown to me by Riddler Shen. He likes taking short trades often and abuses the damage of Grasp and Fresh Blood in combination with Assassin.

Itemization:

Starting Items:
Choose your starting items based on the enemy laner and the difficulty of the matchup. Doran’s Shield is a good option versus any champion and you can’t really go wrong with it. Ruby Crystal + 2 Pots used to be my favorite start but the new DShield is probably outright better. Triple Bead start feels really good, but fills your inventory, which can be quite annoying. Cloth armor and 1 Rejuvination Bead might be my new favorite start. It gives you armor and sustain and allows you to get your items faster than the other options.
First back:
Pick up one of these on your first back. If you can’t afford one, buy components like Ruby Crystal, Cloth Armor and Boots of Speed. You should always have one control ward on the map, so buy one on your first back aswell. Buying a refillable potion on your first back is also very efficient and allows you to have those 2 potions whenever you need them.
Core:
Shen’s core build consists of one waveclear item, tank boots of your choice and a tank item of your choice.
Defensive Items: Shen can build any tank item in the game that doesn’t give mana. Your build should vary from game to game depending on the enemy team composition.
Offensive Options:
Never build more than one offensive item on Shen. Nashor’s Tooth is a fun item but doesn’t offer any survivability, so I would advise you not to build it unless super fed or in a normal game. Titanic Hydra should be your go-to offensive option in 90% of games.
Supportive Options:
If you have a fed carry on your team, you should build one of these as a third item. Locket now scales with your Bonus HP, making it extremely powerful in late game teamfights.

Gameplay Tips:

Matchups:

Aatrox – Easy Block his 3rd hit with W. Never trade when he is close to 5 stacks. Be aware of his revive passive and don’t dive him carelessly.
Akali – Medium Block her Q-AA with W. Sunfire cape lets you see her in her shroud. She can kill you level 6 with 2 or 3 ult stacks. If Akali doesn’t snowball with kills she’ll be useless in the late game.
Camille – Medium Always (try to) dodge her E, Camille’s W is often easy to dodge by moving towards her, Block her second Q with W. Camille is exceptionally good at setting up ganks due to his E and Ultimate, so you have to be very careful when pushing against her.
Cho’Gath – Medium You lose short trades, Shadow dash out of his Q, try to predict when he will ult and block some of it with your passive shield.
Darius – Hard Darius has kill pressure on you from levels 1-3 but you can try to trade with him levels 4-5, Block his AA-W with your W and move/dash to him when he Qs to deny the heal. Shen can’t duel Darius in the late game because of his passive and true damage ult. In teamfights try to peel for your carries and deny Darius from getting the reset on his ult.
Dr. Mundo – Easy Unlosable matchup, dodge as many Qs as you can and block his E with your W.
Ekko – Easy He has good waveclear, but can’t kill you. Dodge his Q and W his Dash-AA.
Fiora – Hard You can fight her early, but she will always beat you in a 1v1 unless you’re super far ahead. If you get a gank, you have to taunt-flash her or otherwise she will parry your taunt. Try to deny her Ultimate heal by blocking the vital procs with your W and then walking next to a wall.
Fizz – Medium Most of Fizz’ damage comes from his W so you have to block it. Always try to dodge or dash his ultimate. Avoid fighting him in the early game.
Galio – Hard Galio destroys Shen is every aspect. He beats you in waveclear and can match your ult with his ult/tp. The only way to win this matchup is by getting a gank early and snowballing. He outscales you aswell.
Gangplank – Hard You have to bully or kill GP level 1-4 or you lose the matchup completely. Set up your spirit blade behind his creeps for a level 1 trade and deny minions from him. If he has a barrel up, dash in and taunt him and immediately kill the barrel to win the trade. Wait for him to Orange your taunt before Q-slowing him. Don’t be afraid to use W or your passive whenever it is up to block his Q poke.
Garen – Easy Block his Q with your W and you basically won the lane.
Gnar – Hard Gnar can constantly harass you and kite you later with frozen mallet. Try to get as much farm as you can while staying healthy. Look for ults and win the game through global pressure. You can use W to prevent him from proccing Hyper.
Gragas – Medium Don’t E before he uses body slam. Block his W with your W. Don’t ult near him because he will either E you or R you to cancel it.
Heimerdinger – Hard Stressful matchup because you have to consistently dodge his Rockets and Grenades. Your W blocks turret autos (even his R-Turret) so use it to trade with him in his turrets. Once you get through the laning phase he can’t win you 1v1. If you ult bot at a bad time you’re most likely going to lose your tower.
Illaoi – Hard Playing against an Illaoi is like a minigame where you have to dodge her E and tentacle attacks. If she hits her E you dash out of range. If she misses her E you dash in and take a short trade. When she ults you dash out and reengage when the ult is over.
Irelia – Medium Use your W right before she stuns you and then dash in to trade. You can beat her in a 1v1 if you’re even. Not a very mechanical matchup.
Jarvan IV – Medium I haven’t had enough experience in this matchup to judge it accurately but it seems like the matchup is pretty even. You can block his passive AA with W. If he misses his E-Q you can punish him with a taunt into extended trade. If you’re getting ganked be sure to save either your taunt or flash to get away from his ult.
Jax – Medium He wins level 1, after that you’re even until the late game. When Jax activates his E, you should wait a bit and then Taunt through him to dodge the stun and force him to follow you. Then you drag your spirit blade through him and use the empowered autoattacks to win the trade. Don’t even think about dueling him in the lategame, he is Jax!
Jayce – Hard Great Jayce players are a pain the ass for any melee top laner, even more so for Shen because he doesn’t have any ranged abilities or waveclear. The constant autoattack harass can be tilting, but you should remain calm and try to get any cs you can. Landing a taunt doesn’t guarantee a good trade: Stormraider’s Jayce will E-Q after the taunt and chase you with autoattacks. Pick your trades carefully and you will eventually outscale him. Try to save your W for his Cannon W or first melee attack (bonus damage).
Kennen – Hard Kennen is very similar to Jayce. Get as much cs as you can while staying healthy. Pay attention to his W stacks and block the empowered autoattack with your W. If he uses E to waveclear you can get a good trade or even kill him with a taunt into Q.
Kayle – Hard Another ranged lanebully (man I hate top lane sometimes). Kayle does a lot of damage, but she’s easy to gank. If you land a taunt she’s screwed. Kayle scales super well so be careful about 1v1ing her in late. You can protect your carries from her with your W and Taunt.
Kled – Medium His Q is a pretty slow skillshot and it’s relatively easy to dodge from max range. If he has W up, let him get 1 aa on you and then use W to block the 3 remaining attacks. Don’t wait too long before using E to escape his Q because it will interrupt your dash. Kled’s roams are really telegraphed so you have more than enough time to ult wherever he’s ulting.
Lissandra – Hard Lissandra isn’t played at all this season so I don’t have much experience vs her. She has harass, waveclear and crowdcontrol to stop your ult. Your W is practically useless vs her so I would wait until level 4 or 5 to level it up. You can stop her from teleporting to her claw with a welltimed taunt.
Malphite – Easy Malphite’s kit is so binary that there’s not many tips I can give you. You beat him at all stages of the game and his only way of stopping your ult is his ult. Losing to a malphite in lane is practically impossible.
Maokai – Medium You beat him early but lategame his passive heals become way too big and you can’t kill him solo. Your W doesn’t stop his passive heal (even though it should). He can interrupt your dash with his Q so you should wait before using it. If you get a lead you should play really aggressive and stop him from getting to late game.
Mordekaiser – Easy Mordekaiser is useless if he’s behind but if he gets ahead of you he’s going to be a big problem. You should block his third Q with your W. Mordekaiser has no escapes so ganking him is super easy. Ask your jungler to gank top and snowball your lead to other lanes with your Ult.
Nasus – Easy Nasus is weak in the early game and you can bully him. Try to prevent him from getting free Q stacks. Blocking his Q in trades is very important. Your TPs and ults are much more impactful than his. Post-6 try to bait him into using his ultimate and then disengage. Once his ult is down he has no way of beating you.
Nautilus – Medium Nautilus does a surprising amount of damage with his E in the early game. You can block his rooting autoattack and W hits with your W. When running away from him try to wait until he hooks and then dash away. If you dash first he can interrupt it with his hook. If he’s diving you activate your W just as his ult hits you.
Olaf – Hard Olaf is rarely seen in the top lane nowadays, but he’s one of hardest matchups for Shen. He can chase you forever with his Q and you can’t taunt him because of his ult. Olaf falls off pretty hard in the late game. He has no way of stopping your ult so you can escape with it if necessary.
Pantheon – Hard Pantheon, the bane of all top laners. Pantheon is an extremely dominant lane bully for the first 10 minutes of the game. His constant Q spam will eventually result in a kill if the opposing player doesn’t know how to play against it. You have to play extremely safe in the early game vs a Pantheon (even more so if he has ignite). Let his first Q hit you without blocking it, this will proc the Doran’s shield regen. Block his second Q with your passive shield and after that keep on using your passive whenever you can. If you dash at him early you will die. Get as much cs as you can and stay healthy because he can burst you to death from ~50% HP. Pantheon falls off extremely hard in the late game so you can most likely duel him around level 14. Be ready to ult where he is ulting! If you get your jungler to gank top, keep in mind that he can use his ult to escape the gank if you use all your hard cc right away. His passive shield blocks your Q bonus damage. You can interrupt his E with your taunt.
Poppy – Easy Poppy hasn’t seen much play since the nerfs. He doesn’t have kill pressure on you and you outduel her at all stages of the game. Don’t dash on her before she uses her W. You can stop her ult channel with a taunt if you’re quick enough. Always walk out of the second part of her Q.
Quinn – Medium Quinn is annoying like any other ranged top laner, but Shen has the tools to deal with her. If you get marked by her passive or she’s dashing on you, be ready to activate W. Quinn’s damage comes from her passive and blocking it will result in you winning almost any trade. Quinn can interrupt your dash with her E knockback so wait for a good oppurtunity before dashing towards her. You can match her ult roams with your ultimate. Quinn wins games by picking off lonely carries, but you as Shen can completely stop her from doing just that.
Renekton – Medium Renekton is a lanebully, but Shen is one of the best counters to him. This matchup requires experience but once you get used to Renekton’s trade pattern you can win him in lane. With enough experience you’ll block every stun which will stop him from getting fervor stacks. If you block the stun you’ll win the trade every time. Renekton’s ult is similar to Nasus’: You want to bait it out, disengage and then reengage.
Rengar – Medium Good Rengar players are scary because they have so many options and know which one to choose at all times. Some Rengars cheese by taking either small wolves or raptors before coming to lane and try to kill you on the first wave by hitting level 2 (thanks dekar). You can trade with Rengar when he’s just used his empowered ability. This will guarantee that he can’t cleanse your taunt. If Rengar ults to jump on you, use W when he’s mid-air to block the guaranteed crit. If he has a combat summoner spell (Exh or Ign) don’t even bother trying to fight him.
Riven – Medium Riven is difficult to chase or get away from, but a good taunt will turn any fight in your favor. When you see Riven dashing towards you be ready to activate W before she stuns you. This will deny her from getting fervor stacks (if she has fervor) and using her passive efficiently. In extended fights try to dash ’under’ her 3rd Q to dodge the knockup. The outcome of this matchup is heavily influenced by the skill of the riven player. Under high diamond Shen should win it most of the time.
Rumble – Easy This matchup used to be much harder but the new Doran’s shield just destroys Rumble completely. You can play very aggressive against a Rumble if you keep your ward coverage up. Save your W for when he overheats and block the bonus damage autoattacks. Post-6 keep your dash because you need it to escape his ultimate. Rumble players are used to being the bullies and playing aggressive against them can work surprisingly well.
Singed – He probably won’t be in lane anyways Honestly, I haven’t played versus a Singed in ranked this season. My only tip is to not chase him.
Sion – Medium There are two different common Sion builds: Tank and Full AD. Shen performs better versus the tank variant, but can handle AD Sion aswell. When you see Sion charge his Q IMMEDIATELY dash at him (Unless you want to escape ofc). If you dash quick enough he can’t knock you up and you will interrupt the channel. After that just stay close to him and chase him with Qs. Sion’s ult is easy to dodge by moving and even more so with a dash. The only way you lose to a Sion is if you take a fully charged Q to the face. Sion players like to Q in bushes because you won’t see the range indicator. Just keep this in mind and don’t get hit by his Q.
Swain – Hard Seeing Swain in champ select makes me want to not play Shen. The matchup is absolutely terrible and you have no way of beating him without jungle assistance. Your W is almost useless versus Swain and he will beat you in extended trades due to his ultimate. If you dash in he will root you and then you take a full duration E-Q to the face while he walks away. The only oppurtunity you have on him is level 2 if he uses his cooldowns to clear the wave. The best tip I can give is either dodge or pick another champion.
Tahm Kench – Medium Tahm Kench is a tank that deals a surprising amount of damage, similar to Shen. You beat him by not letting him get 3 passive stacks on you. Your W is very important. Use it when your think he wants to go for a trade. If he can’t get his stacks on you he has no way of winning the trade. You outscale him pretty hard and your ultimate is way better than his. If you get a good trade don’t be afraid to keep chasing him until he uses his E. That’s when you back off (now he doesn’t get to heal through the grey health).
Teemo – Medium Teemo will harass you pretty hard in the early game, like any ranged top laner. You can’t win short trades vs him because of his blind. However, extended fights fall in to your favor. Most Teemos build like an AD Kennen: Frozen Mallet and attack speed items. If you miss your taunt he can chase you down and kill you, so wait for the perfect opportunity before using your E.
Trundle – Easy Trundle is generally the counter to tanks, but Shen’s kit functions well against this troll. Blocking Trundle’s chomp with your W allows you to get good damage on to him without taking any in return. Good Trundle players will stop your dash with their pillar. Get a feel for your opponent and you’ll see if he can do this consistently. Trundle’s ult is extremely strong vs any tank and I would advise you not to duel him when he uses it.
Tryndamere – Medium Tryndamere feels very oppressive, but beating him is possible. Tryndamere with a full rage bar is one of the strongest early game champions. Tryndamere with no rage is one of the weakest. The key to beating tryndamere is playing aggressive from the start, you can’t let him hit minions for free and build up that rage bar. Zone him with your Q from level 1 and force him to use his rage to heal instead of fighting you. If Tryndamere gets ahead you’re in for a train of pain. He can dive extremely well with his ultimate and is hard to stop from snowballing.
Urgot – Medium Urgot is a lane bully like most ranged champions. His Qs can’t be blocked by your W unlike Ezreal’s. Urgot’s most important ability is his E. You should always dodge it by moving or by dashing. If he hits his E he’s going to get atleast 3 Qs on you for free. Urgot has no escape so ganking him is extremely easy, especially pre-6. Try to get your jungler to gank him and enjoy a free lane. Once you’re ahead he can’t fight you.
Vladimir – Hard Vladimir is super annoying to deal with. He can poke you until the end of the world because he doesn’t have mana. He heals any damage you deal to him in lane and escapes ganks with his blood pool. He’s very similar to Swain, one of the champions I would either pick another champion against or dodge. If the Vladimir is bad you might get a taunt on him and kill him. If you get a lead you can start bullying him and denying him gold and experience.
Wukong – Easy Wukong has been out of the meta for a long time, so people seem to have forgotten how strong is level 2 and level 3 are. However, he’s not a problem for Shen. When he dashes to trade, you can pop your W, block his Q and then taunt him. His trading pattern is simple and you can hit a taunt 100% of the time when he dashes to you. Beating him should not be a challenge.
Yasuo – Medium Yasuo players have extreme variety in skill. Beating a Yasuo with Shen is easy, unless the yasuo knows how to play against you. Yasuo can block your Spirit Blade with his wind wall, denying your empower autoattacks. This cripples Shen completely and allows the Yasuo to destroy you. Bypassing this is pretty simple: you have to hit your taunt! When he’s taunted you can freely Q through him without a fear of him stopping the blade with his wind wall. After he’s slowed by your Q you can hit him 3 times and back off. Yasuo’s ult gives him a huge bonus armor penetration, so dodging the tornado is extremely important, especially in late game duels. Shen’s W blocks Yasuo’s Q. The tornado is only blocked by it if you’re the first target getting hit by it.
Yorick – Easy Yorick is very easy to deal with as Shen. Most of his damage comes from his Q and his ghouls. Both of those are blocked by your W. He has no movement abilities so you can hit your taunt without much effort. Always wait for him to summon his ghouls before you use your W. If you get caught in his trap after you’ve wasted your E and W you’ll get chunked or killed. Smart usage of your W wins this matchup completely by itself. Lategame he has no chance of dueling you. Once you get a Titanic hydra you can oneshot his ghouls with the cone attack.

TL;DR:

Runes
Masteries
Skill Order: R > Q > E > W
Build tank items
Splitpush and ult when team is fighting
If you follow all these steps this will pop up in your client.
In all seriousness, I would appreciate if you read the guide and gave me feedback. I’m trying to share my knowledge of the champ as well as I can! You can talk to me about Shen in the comments, the shen main discord channel or my youtube channel. I’m not sure why I use my free time writing >5000 word guides about virtual ninjas :thinking:
submitted by PetuTheBeast to summonerschool [link] [comments]

Petu's Challenger Shen Guide with Detailed Matchups (Summer 2017)

Hey, /shen
I'm Petu and I've been playing Shen since his rework in 2016. I hovered around MasteD1 last season and I’ve been Challenger for the whole of season 2017. In April, I was ranked as the best Shen in the world by League of Graphs. This is my third Shen guide and I’m hoping it’s going to be valid until the next season. The last chapter of the guide lists my personal tips on every single top lane matchup. You can use this guide before every game and CTRL+F the champion you’re playing against for a brief overview of the matchup.

Table of Contents

Pros and Cons Playstyle Abilities Runes Masteries Itemization Gameplay Tips Matchups

Pros and Cons:

Pros: Map pressure Playmaking potential Supportive capabilities Tank shredding Dueling
Cons: Requires great map-awareness No waveclear No built-in sustain Long ult cooldown

Playstyle:

Shen is the dictionary definition of a tank. If ahead, he can tank the enemy team 1v5 for an extended period of time due to his Ki Barrier and Spirit’s Refuge. But he also plays like a support, he can keep his carries alive by using his ultimate and positioning his Spirit Blade near his carries in teamfights. Shen is also an incredible powerful duelist against tanks due to the MaxHP% Damage on his Q and the constant passive shields. Shen can also initiate teamfights extremely well with a Taunt+Flash Combo. His dueling power and global ultimate (and teleport) make him an excellent split-pusher.

Abilities:

Passive – Ki Barrier Cooldown: 10 seconds
After using an ability, Shen shields himself from 50 - 101 (based on level) (+ 14% bonus health) damage for 2.5 seconds. If the triggering ability successfully affected at least one champion, Ki Barrier's cooldown is reduced by 4 - 7.5 (based on level) seconds. Shen's power manifests as a Spirit Blade that he can control with abilities.
Even after the passive nerfs, Ki Barrier is a strong ability. It allows him to trade better in lane and tank for longer in teamfights. It’s also great for surprising turnarounds – some people just never remember the shield. In theory, a level 18 Shen could keep his shield up 100% of the time in teamfights with proper use of his abilities.
Q – Twilight Assault Cost: 140-100 Energy Cooldown: 8-5 Seconds
Shen recalls his Spirit Blade to his location and empowers his next 3 basic attacks within 8 seconds to deal bonus magic damage. Enemies the blade collides with are slowed by 35% for the next 2 seconds when moving away from Shen. If the Spirit Blade collides with an enemy champion, the empowerment is enhanced, dealing bonus damage and gain 50% bonus attack speed. Empowered attacks against non-champions deal additional damage, but their damage is capped.
This is Shen’s main ability and it should be maxed out first. It gives him great damage, chase potential and easy passive procs. You should always try to keep your enemy between you and your Spirit Blade to maximize the damage output and amount of Ki Barriers. Mastering the use of your Spirit Blade is a major key to success with Shen. The tooltip doesn’t mention this, but Twilight Assault increases your Autoattack range to 200. This can be useful in many situations. It’s very important to use all three of your empowered basic attacks to get Energy back (Shadow Dash Passive) or you’ll find yourself running out of Energy.
W – Spirit’s Refuge Cost: 40 Energy Cooldown: 18-12 Seconds
Shen primes his Spirit Blade for 2 seconds, causing it to project a protective zone around it for 1.75 seconds if he or an allied champion move nearby, causing allies in the zone to dodge attacks.
Spirit’s Refuge might seem like a lackluster ability, but a good W on your carries in a teamfight can mitigate so much damage that it could turn the whole fight around. Your W is good against champions like Renekton, Camille, Mordekaiser etc. because their trading patterns involve an autoattack enhancer. Rank 1 Spirit’s Refuge has a 18 second cooldown, so opponents can punish you if you waste it. Using your W correctly in teamfights can be tricky sometimes as you might have to leave your Spirit Blade near your carries and avoid using your Q. Spirit’s Refuge blocks Jungle Monster basic attacks including Rift Herald and even Baron Nashor but not the Dragon!
E – Shadow Dash Cost: 150 Energy Cooldown: 18-10 Seconds Range: 600
PASSIVE: Shadow Dash's and Twilight Assault's damage recovers 30 / 35 / 40 Energy.
ACTIVE: Shen dashes in the target direction, dealing physical damage to all enemy champions and monsters he hits and taunting them for 1.5 seconds.
Shadow Dash, Shen’s most iconic ability after his Ultimate. This is Shen’s playmaking tool and one of the reasons I play him. Taunt is an extremely powerful form of Crowd Control; It allows you to protect your teammates and pick off enemies. It’s also really good if you’re getting pushed to your tower in lane because taunting someone gives them tower aggro. The threat of Taunt allows you to CS safer undertower. Similar to his W, Shen’s E has a long cooldown which can be abused by smart opponents. Shadow Dash can be combined with Flash to change the direction or extend it’s range. This allows Shen to pull of amazing multi-man taunts in teamfights or when getting ganked. Missing your taunt can lead to lost trades or teamfights.
Ultimate – Stand United Cooldown: 200/180/160
Shen channels for 3 seconds, shielding the target allied champion for up to 5 seconds. The shield scales based on the target’s missing health. (Max value at 40% HP) Upon completing the channel, Shen and his Spirit Blade blink to the target ally’s location.
And here we have the reason why we pick Shen: his ultimate, Stand United. Stand United is such a powerful ability, it allows you to split-push without leaving your team in danger. Shen’s Ultimate combined with Teleport gives him more global pressure than any other champion in the game. If you have a Twitch (stealth) or a Zac (gap-closer) in your team, you can use Stand United to engage sneaky ganks and catch your opponents completely off guard. Stand United’s cooldown is extremely long and wasting it can set you behind by a lot. The more you play Shen the easier it becomes to quickly judge whether or not an ultimate is worth it.

Runes:

Standard: VS. AD VS. AP Budget VS. All
Experimental: 30 CDR @ 18 Aggro VS. AD Aggro VS. AP
There is no clear consensus on what the optimal rune page for Shen is. Choosing your runes comes down to preference mostly. The two pages at the top are the only ones I use and need to play Shen. Different Shen players prefer different runes, but almost everyone uses attack speed marks and health seals. The rest comes is up to you. If you’re skeptical about the HP regen quints you can substitute them for Armor or Health. Personally, I’ve found much more success with the added sustain that the regen runes provide. If you’re new to Shen I would advise you to use the budget page.

Masteries:

Standard Alternative
Shen uses Grasp of the Undying as his Keystone. Fervor and Courage of the Colossus were options in the past, but in my opinion Grasp is the clear winner. There are interesting options in tier 4 of the the Resolve tree. All of them are good but right now I prefer Fearless because it’s a very strong mastery and makes your laning phase safer. The first mastery page is what I use in all of my games. The “Alternative” page was shown to me by Riddler Shen. He likes taking short trades often and abuses the damage of Grasp and Fresh Blood in combination with Assassin.

Itemization:

Starting Items:
Choose your starting items based on the enemy laner and the difficulty of the matchup. Doran’s Shield is a good option versus any champion and you can’t really go wrong with it. Ruby Crystal + 2 Pots used to be my favorite start but the new DShield is probably outright better. Triple Bead start feels really good, but fills your inventory, which can be quite annoying. Cloth armor and 1 Rejuvination Bead might be my new favorite start. It gives you armor and sustain and allows you to get your items faster than the other options.
First back:
Pick up one of these on your first back. If you can’t afford one, buy components like Ruby Crystal, Cloth Armor and Boots of Speed. You should always have one control ward on the map, so buy one on your first back aswell. Buying a refillable potion on your first back is also very efficient and allows you to have those 2 potions whenever you need them.
Core:
Shen’s core build consists of one waveclear item, tank boots of your choice and a tank item of your choice.
Defensive Items: Shen can build any tank item in the game that doesn’t give mana. Your build should vary from game to game depending on the enemy team composition.
Offensive Options:
Never build more than one offensive item on Shen. Nashor’s Tooth is a fun item but doesn’t offer any survivability, so I would advise you not to build it unless super fed or in a normal game. Titanic Hydra should be your go-to offensive option in 90% of games.
Supportive Options:
If you have a fed carry on your team, you should build one of these as a third item. Locket now scales with your Bonus HP, making it extremely powerful in late game teamfights.

Gameplay Tips:

Matchups:

Aatrox – Easy Block his 3rd hit with W. Never trade when he is close to 5 stacks. Be aware of his revive passive and don’t dive him carelessly.
Akali – Medium Block her Q-AA with W. Sunfire cape lets you see her in her shroud. She can kill you level 6 with 2 or 3 ult stacks. If Akali doesn’t snowball with kills she’ll be useless in the late game.
Camille – Medium Always (try to) dodge her E, Camille’s W is often easy to dodge by moving towards her, Block her second Q with W. Camille is exceptionally good at setting up ganks due to his E and Ultimate, so you have to be very careful when pushing against her.
Cho’Gath – Medium You lose short trades, Shadow dash out of his Q, try to predict when he will ult and block some of it with your passive shield.
Darius – Hard Darius has kill pressure on you from levels 1-3 but you can try to trade with him levels 4-5, Block his AA-W with your W and move/dash to him when he Qs to deny the heal. Shen can’t duel Darius in the late game because of his passive and true damage ult. In teamfights try to peel for your carries and deny Darius from getting the reset on his ult.
Dr. Mundo – Easy Unlosable matchup, dodge as many Qs as you can and block his E with your W.
Ekko – Easy He has good waveclear, but can’t kill you. Dodge his Q and W his Dash-AA.
Fiora – Hard You can fight her early, but she will always beat you in a 1v1 unless you’re super far ahead. If you get a gank, you have to taunt-flash her or otherwise she will parry your taunt. Try to deny her Ultimate heal by blocking the vital procs with your W and then walking next to a wall.
Fizz – Medium Most of Fizz’ damage comes from his W so you have to block it. Always try to dodge or dash his ultimate. Avoid fighting him in the early game.
Galio – Hard Galio destroys Shen is every aspect. He beats you in waveclear and can match your ult with his ult/tp. The only way to win this matchup is by getting a gank early and snowballing. He outscales you aswell.
Gangplank – Hard You have to bully or kill GP level 1-4 or you lose the matchup completely. Set up your spirit blade behind his creeps for a level 1 trade and deny minions from him. If he has a barrel up, dash in and taunt him and immediately kill the barrel to win the trade. Wait for him to Orange your taunt before Q-slowing him. Don’t be afraid to use W or your passive whenever it is up to block his Q poke.
Garen – Easy Block his Q with your W and you basically won the lane.
Gnar – Hard Gnar can constantly harass you and kite you later with frozen mallet. Try to get as much farm as you can while staying healthy. Look for ults and win the game through global pressure. You can use W to prevent him from proccing Hyper.
Gragas – Medium Don’t E before he uses body slam. Block his W with your W. Don’t ult near him because he will either E you or R you to cancel it.
Heimerdinger – Hard Stressful matchup because you have to consistently dodge his Rockets and Grenades. Your W blocks turret autos (even his R-Turret) so use it to trade with him in his turrets. Once you get through the laning phase he can’t win you 1v1. If you ult bot at a bad time you’re most likely going to lose your tower.
Illaoi – Hard Playing against an Illaoi is like a minigame where you have to dodge her E and tentacle attacks. If she hits her E you dash out of range. If she misses her E you dash in and take a short trade. When she ults you dash out and reengage when the ult is over.
Irelia – Medium Use your W right before she stuns you and then dash in to trade. You can beat her in a 1v1 if you’re even. Not a very mechanical matchup.
Jarvan IV – Medium I haven’t had enough experience in this matchup to judge it accurately but it seems like the matchup is pretty even. You can block his passive AA with W. If he misses his E-Q you can punish him with a taunt into extended trade. If you’re getting ganked be sure to save either your taunt or flash to get away from his ult.
Jax – Medium He wins level 1, after that you’re even until the late game. When Jax activates his E, you should wait a bit and then Taunt through him to dodge the stun and force him to follow you. Then you drag your spirit blade through him and use the empowered autoattacks to win the trade. Don’t even think about dueling him in the lategame, he is Jax!
Jayce – Hard Great Jayce players are a pain the ass for any melee top laner, even more so for Shen because he doesn’t have any ranged abilities or waveclear. The constant autoattack harass can be tilting, but you should remain calm and try to get any cs you can. Landing a taunt doesn’t guarantee a good trade: Stormraider’s Jayce will E-Q after the taunt and chase you with autoattacks. Pick your trades carefully and you will eventually outscale him. Try to save your W for his Cannon W or first melee attack (bonus damage).
Kennen – Hard Kennen is very similar to Jayce. Get as much cs as you can while staying healthy. Pay attention to his W stacks and block the empowered autoattack with your W. If he uses E to waveclear you can get a good trade or even kill him with a taunt into Q.
Kayle – Hard Another ranged lanebully (man I hate top lane sometimes). Kayle does a lot of damage, but she’s easy to gank. If you land a taunt she’s screwed. Kayle scales super well so be careful about 1v1ing her in late. You can protect your carries from her with your W and Taunt.
Kled – Medium His Q is a pretty slow skillshot and it’s relatively easy to dodge from max range. If he has W up, let him get 1 aa on you and then use W to block the 3 remaining attacks. Don’t wait too long before using E to escape his Q because it will interrupt your dash. Kled’s roams are really telegraphed so you have more than enough time to ult wherever he’s ulting.
Lissandra – Hard Lissandra isn’t played at all this season so I don’t have much experience vs her. She has harass, waveclear and crowdcontrol to stop your ult. Your W is practically useless vs her so I would wait until level 4 or 5 to level it up. You can stop her from teleporting to her claw with a welltimed taunt.
Malphite – Easy Malphite’s kit is so binary that there’s not many tips I can give you. You beat him at all stages of the game and his only way of stopping your ult is his ult. Losing to a malphite in lane is practically impossible.
Maokai – Medium You beat him early but lategame his passive heals become way too big and you can’t kill him solo. Your W doesn’t stop his passive heal (even though it should). He can interrupt your dash with his Q so you should wait before using it. If you get a lead you should play really aggressive and stop him from getting to late game.
Mordekaiser – Easy Mordekaiser is useless if he’s behind but if he gets ahead of you he’s going to be a big problem. You should block his third Q with your W. Mordekaiser has no escapes so ganking him is super easy. Ask your jungler to gank top and snowball your lead to other lanes with your Ult.
Nasus – Easy Nasus is weak in the early game and you can bully him. Try to prevent him from getting free Q stacks. Blocking his Q in trades is very important. Your TPs and ults are much more impactful than his. Post-6 try to bait him into using his ultimate and then disengage. Once his ult is down he has no way of beating you.
Nautilus – Medium Nautilus does a surprising amount of damage with his E in the early game. You can block his rooting autoattack and W hits with your W. When running away from him try to wait until he hooks and then dash away. If you dash first he can interrupt it with his hook. If he’s diving you activate your W just as his ult hits you.
Olaf – Hard Olaf is rarely seen in the top lane nowadays, but he’s one of hardest matchups for Shen. He can chase you forever with his Q and you can’t taunt him because of his ult. Olaf falls off pretty hard in the late game. He has no way of stopping your ult so you can escape with it if necessary.
Pantheon – Hard Pantheon, the bane of all top laners. Pantheon is an extremely dominant lane bully for the first 10 minutes of the game. His constant Q spam will eventually result in a kill if the opposing player doesn’t know how to play against it. You have to play extremely safe in the early game vs a Pantheon (even more so if he has ignite). Let his first Q hit you without blocking it, this will proc the Doran’s shield regen. Block his second Q with your passive shield and after that keep on using your passive whenever you can. If you dash at him early you will die. Get as much cs as you can and stay healthy because he can burst you to death from ~50% HP. Pantheon falls off extremely hard in the late game so you can most likely duel him around level 14. Be ready to ult where he is ulting! If you get your jungler to gank top, keep in mind that he can use his ult to escape the gank if you use all your hard cc right away. His passive shield blocks your Q bonus damage. You can interrupt his E with your taunt.
Poppy – Easy Poppy hasn’t seen much play since the nerfs. He doesn’t have kill pressure on you and you outduel her at all stages of the game. Don’t dash on her before she uses her W. You can stop her ult channel with a taunt if you’re quick enough. Always walk out of the second part of her Q.
Quinn – Medium Quinn is annoying like any other ranged top laner, but Shen has the tools to deal with her. If you get marked by her passive or she’s dashing on you, be ready to activate W. Quinn’s damage comes from her passive and blocking it will result in you winning almost any trade. Quinn can interrupt your dash with her E knockback so wait for a good oppurtunity before dashing towards her. You can match her ult roams with your ultimate. Quinn wins games by picking off lonely carries, but you as Shen can completely stop her from doing just that.
Renekton – Medium Renekton is a lanebully, but Shen is one of the best counters to him. This matchup requires experience but once you get used to Renekton’s trade pattern you can win him in lane. With enough experience you’ll block every stun which will stop him from getting fervor stacks. If you block the stun you’ll win the trade every time. Renekton’s ult is similar to Nasus’: You want to bait it out, disengage and then reengage.
Rengar – Medium Good Rengar players are scary because they have so many options and know which one to choose at all times. Some Rengars cheese by taking either small wolves or raptors before coming to lane and try to kill you on the first wave by hitting level 2 (thanks dekar). You can trade with Rengar when he’s just used his empowered ability. This will guarantee that he can’t cleanse your taunt. If Rengar ults to jump on you, use W when he’s mid-air to block the guaranteed crit. If he has a combat summoner spell (Exh or Ign) don’t even bother trying to fight him.
Riven – Medium Riven is difficult to chase or get away from, but a good taunt will turn any fight in your favor. When you see Riven dashing towards you be ready to activate W before she stuns you. This will deny her from getting fervor stacks (if she has fervor) and using her passive efficiently. In extended fights try to dash ’under’ her 3rd Q to dodge the knockup. The outcome of this matchup is heavily influenced by the skill of the riven player. Under high diamond Shen should win it most of the time.
Rumble – Easy This matchup used to be much harder but the new Doran’s shield just destroys Rumble completely. You can play very aggressive against a Rumble if you keep your ward coverage up. Save your W for when he overheats and block the bonus damage autoattacks. Post-6 keep your dash because you need it to escape his ultimate. Rumble players are used to being the bullies and playing aggressive against them can work surprisingly well.
Singed – He probably won’t be in lane anyways Honestly, I haven’t played versus a Singed in ranked this season. My only tip is to not chase him.
Sion – Medium There are two different common Sion builds: Tank and Full AD. Shen performs better versus the tank variant, but can handle AD Sion aswell. When you see Sion charge his Q IMMEDIATELY dash at him (Unless you want to escape ofc). If you dash quick enough he can’t knock you up and you will interrupt the channel. After that just stay close to him and chase him with Qs. Sion’s ult is easy to dodge by moving and even more so with a dash. The only way you lose to a Sion is if you take a fully charged Q to the face. Sion players like to Q in bushes because you won’t see the range indicator. Just keep this in mind and don’t get hit by his Q.
Swain – Hard Seeing Swain in champ select makes me want to not play Shen. The matchup is absolutely terrible and you have no way of beating him without jungle assistance. Your W is almost useless versus Swain and he will beat you in extended trades due to his ultimate. If you dash in he will root you and then you take a full duration E-Q to the face while he walks away. The only oppurtunity you have on him is level 2 if he uses his cooldowns to clear the wave. The best tip I can give is either dodge or pick another champion.
Tahm Kench – Medium Tahm Kench is a tank that deals a surprising amount of damage, similar to Shen. You beat him by not letting him get 3 passive stacks on you. Your W is very important. Use it when your think he wants to go for a trade. If he can’t get his stacks on you he has no way of winning the trade. You outscale him pretty hard and your ultimate is way better than his. If you get a good trade don’t be afraid to keep chasing him until he uses his E. That’s when you back off (now he doesn’t get to heal through the grey health).
Teemo – Medium Teemo will harass you pretty hard in the early game, like any ranged top laner. You can’t win short trades vs him because of his blind. However, extended fights fall in to your favor. Most Teemos build like an AD Kennen: Frozen Mallet and attack speed items. If you miss your taunt he can chase you down and kill you, so wait for the perfect opportunity before using your E.
Trundle – Easy Trundle is generally the counter to tanks, but Shen’s kit functions well against this troll. Blocking Trundle’s chomp with your W allows you to get good damage on to him without taking any in return. Good Trundle players will stop your dash with their pillar. Get a feel for your opponent and you’ll see if he can do this consistently. Trundle’s ult is extremely strong vs any tank and I would advise you not to duel him when he uses it.
Tryndamere – Medium Tryndamere feels very oppressive, but beating him is possible. Tryndamere with a full rage bar is one of the strongest early game champions. Tryndamere with no rage is one of the weakest. The key to beating tryndamere is playing aggressive from the start, you can’t let him hit minions for free and build up that rage bar. Zone him with your Q from level 1 and force him to use his rage to heal instead of fighting you. If Tryndamere gets ahead you’re in for a train of pain. He can dive extremely well with his ultimate and is hard to stop from snowballing.
Urgot – Medium Urgot is a lane bully like most ranged champions. His Qs can’t be blocked by your W unlike Ezreal’s. Urgot’s most important ability is his E. You should always dodge it by moving or by dashing. If he hits his E he’s going to get atleast 3 Qs on you for free. Urgot has no escape so ganking him is extremely easy, especially pre-6. Try to get your jungler to gank him and enjoy a free lane. Once you’re ahead he can’t fight you.
Vladimir – Hard Vladimir is super annoying to deal with. He can poke you until the end of the world because he doesn’t have mana. He heals any damage you deal to him in lane and escapes ganks with his blood pool. He’s very similar to Swain, one of the champions I would either pick another champion against or dodge. If the Vladimir is bad you might get a taunt on him and kill him. If you get a lead you can start bullying him and denying him gold and experience.
Wukong – Easy Wukong has been out of the meta for a long time, so people seem to have forgotten how strong is level 2 and level 3 are. However, he’s not a problem for Shen. When he dashes to trade, you can pop your W, block his Q and then taunt him. His trading pattern is simple and you can hit a taunt 100% of the time when he dashes to you. Beating him should not be a challenge.
Yasuo – Medium Yasuo players have extreme variety in skill. Beating a Yasuo with Shen is easy, unless the yasuo knows how to play against you. Yasuo can block your Spirit Blade with his wind wall, denying your empower autoattacks. This cripples Shen completely and allows the Yasuo to destroy you. Bypassing this is pretty simple: you have to hit your taunt! When he’s taunted you can freely Q through him without a fear of him stopping the blade with his wind wall. After he’s slowed by your Q you can hit him 3 times and back off. Yasuo’s ult gives him a huge bonus armor penetration, so dodging the tornado is extremely important, especially in late game duels. Shen’s W blocks Yasuo’s Q. The tornado is only blocked by it if you’re the first target getting hit by it.
Yorick – Easy Yorick is very easy to deal with as Shen. Most of his damage comes from his Q and his ghouls. Both of those are blocked by your W. He has no movement abilities so you can hit your taunt without much effort. Always wait for him to summon his ghouls before you use your W. If you get caught in his trap after you’ve wasted your E and W you’ll get chunked or killed. Smart usage of your W wins this matchup completely by itself. Lategame he has no chance of dueling you. Once you get a Titanic hydra you can oneshot his ghouls with the cone attack.

TL;DR:

Runes
Masteries
Skill Order: R > Q > E > W
Build tank items
Splitpush and ult when team is fighting
If you follow all these steps this will pop up in your client.
In all seriousness, I would appreciate if you read the guide and gave me feedback. I’m trying to share my knowledge of the champ as well as I can! You can talk to me about Shen in the comments, the shen main discord channel or my youtube channel. I’m not sure why I use my free time writing >5000 word guides about virtual ninjas :thinking:
submitted by PetuTheBeast to Shen [link] [comments]

An in-depth review of the "Ghost Mode" gameplay overhaul mod

As I'm sure you can all relate, the 10th Witcher Games Anniversary video brought a lot of feels. And with them came the itch to do yet another playthrough of my favourite video game. This time, to freshen up the experience, I decided to break from my tradition of only installing visual enhancement mods and look into the gameplay overhauls recommended on the sub.
To my surprise in-depth assessments of these mods were nowhere to be found. True you can look up detailed descriptions of what they change, but that won't give you an impression of how the changes work in practice nor an objective look at how they impact the overall experience. Thus the goal of this thread is to help you decide if you would enjoy using "Ghost Mode" for your next playthrough and to serve as a resource for posterity.
Note: the title of this post is no misnomer. This is a long read. If you already have an idea of what the mod is about and are just wondering "if it's any good", then feel free to skip to the TLDR rating section at the bottom.
 

Setup

First thing first, all the changes introduced by the mod remain true to the vanilla feel, flow and story of the game. There is no need to worry that the game you know and love will suddenly be unrecognisable, that you won't know your arse from your elbow. Secondly, I do not plan to rehash the full changelog in this review. Changes from Vanilla will only be mentioned if they are relevant to the point I am making.
Dsiclaimer: this review is written with the above in mind. I do not claim my experience to be completely exhaustive. For example, things which were difficult or annoying for my setup might be trivial for others and vice versa. Your mileage may vary.
 

General Gameplay

The mod has been implemented in a competent way. I did not notice any performance decrease compared to Vanilla and encountered no game breaking bugs. There was only a single major issue in 2.6 which was repeatable and highly annoying, but thankfully it seems to be fully fixed with version 2.7.
Immersion has been improved and the game world is more believable. Some examples:

Quests and Experience

The way the experience penalty works has also been changed. Previously you would get 100% of quest experience if you were at most 5 levels above the quest level, and basically 0% if you were 6 levels above or more. Now for every level you are above a quest the experience reward is reduced by 16%. This also works the other way around, you will receive an experience bonus for doing quests which are higher level than you.
This way you get the best of both worlds. You get to tailor the quest order to your liking, without having to suffer meta-gaming pressure, and at the same time Geralt will not end up overlevelled.
 

Combat

This is usually the number one reason why people recommend this mod and it is clear to see why. The author has implemented a great number of improvements to nearly all of the vanilla systems. Combat is more challenging and rewards players for their skill and preparation better. Geralt's overpowered traits and abilities have been toned down and your specialisation makes a much bigger difference to how you approach fights.
Overall, most battles are more fun with GM compared to vanilla. However this comes at a cost: namely the "realism", feel and flow of combat have all decreased to facilitate the above. Let's examine the 4 main areas where GM changes combat and evaluate them in detail.

Enemy behaviour

The first thing you will probably notice is that "all enemies have a reduced reaction time". The reason I put quotes around that phrase is because I don't know the actual inner workings of the mod and precisely how it has modified the AI scripts. Therefore I am just calling the effect as I saw and experienced it during my playthrough. The easiest way to describe it is: the time frame between you being in range of an enemy and the enemy starting their action is now much lower.
The primary effect of this change is an increase in difficulty. You now have to have faster reflexes in order to be able to dodge enemy attacks. Additionally, enemies will spend significantly less time in a hit recovery state after you land a blow. Which means that you won't be able to chain as many attacks as you could before, since your enemy will dodge/retaliate much more rapidly.
This change really shines when it comes to boss fights. The faster enemy reaction time forces you to play by the boss' rules and pay attention to their mechanics, rather than treating them as a higher health & damage generic enemy. To give a concrete example, let us look at the Olgierd fight at the burning manor.
In Vanilla you can easily beat him on Death March by ignoring the fight's mechanics. You simply position yourself slightly outside of his melee range and start a rend which he walks into. Then you follow this up with a quick dodge to the side to avoid the sand in the eyes and immediately start another rend. The boss gets locked in the above AI loop and you win pretty easily. The reduced reaction time in Ghost Mode counters this perfectly. By the time you are winding up your rend the boss, instead of walking into your sword, starts his own attack which targets where you will be after you swing and hits you before you can deal any damage.
So to beat him I had to actually play by the rules, which means conventional sword swinging is out of the question, especially as you also leave yourself open to a quick counter attack which kills you in 2-3 hits. The rules in this case are: counter his attack, swing once and go on the defensive. There are three different attacks he throws at you:
  • The red charge: when you are far away from him, it is the easiest to counter and the bare minimum required to win. If you can only counter this then you will win, but it will take ages.
  • The phase charge: is when he turns semi transparent and steps side to side. He only does this if your are slightly outside of melee range, so you have much less margin of error on your counter. If you are quick enough you can counter this type of attack with a close to 100% success rate, which means that a better player can defeat him much more rapidly.
  • Finally we have the slash combo, which he does when you are in melee range. This one is also counterable, but the reaction time is so small I didn't feel it was worth the risk. Especially because if you fail it and only parry you will be locked in that stance for a few of his hits which will drain your stamina significantly (and you cannot counter without stamina, but more on this topic later).
So as you can see from the above GM makes you pay attention to the intended mechanics and rewards skilled play.
The change to reaction time also has its downsides however, and they are major ones. Most notably, enemies which have extremely fast attack animations by default become unfair in melee combat. Especially if they are in a group. The best example of this problem are all of the insectoid type enemies like the endregas and the kikimores. Their attack animation is fast and when you pair it with an increased aggression and run speed it means that you literally cannot attack them preemptively. If you start any type of attack (without dodging one of their attacks or parrying first) they will strike you first, even if you were outside of their melee range when you initiated your swing. As you can probably tell fighting groups of these enemies is extremely annoying especially early on. Later you can cheese them by unloading your entire reserve of Dancing Stars & Northern wind bombs for some semblance of crowd control, but even that is like putting a plaster on an amputated leg. What's strange is that looking at past feedback numerous people have complained about these enemies, throughout the mod's life cycle. Yet the author has failed to address the problem, which is that they shouldn't have reduced reaction time in the first place. Such empty difficulty, only for its own sake is never good.
Another downside is that early on you cannot take on groups of certain enemies, like wraiths, nekkers or insectoids for example, without resorting to AI abuse. This probably only applies to the higher difficulties, but when the best way of beating groups in the early game is dragging enemies one by one to the edge of their AI leash it doesn't feel good. No matter how skilled you are in melee combat you cannot defeat such packs head on without numerous deaths, which doesn't make you feel like a witcher at all in those encounters.
Finally, GM also implements monster "dodge" with a much more heavy handed approach compared to Vanilla. All sorts of enemies will now dodge your attacks more frequently. This is yet another example of where combat quality was sacrificed in order to increase combat difficulty. I write "dodge" in quotation marks because normally the word implies that the enemy sees your attack and reacts to it by getting out of the way. This mod makes the enemies which "dodge" the most feel like blatant AI bots with rigid if-then logic in their script, which harms immersion. Some examples:
  • Enemies dodging mid attack, when it makes no sense for them to do so
  • Werewolves dodging while airborne in the middle of their lunge
  • Humans dodging attacks that come from behind them and they cannot see
  • Shrieker glitching into its "on the ground" dodge animation while flying, after being shot with a crossbow
  • Occasionally enemies dodging attacks while burning, sirens dodging when knocked down etc.

Skill Balance changes

A lot of adjustments have been made to the skill tree in order to improve how balanced Geralt is in combat. The changes can mostly be summed up by saying "baseline Geralt was nerfed". What that means in practice is that witchering aspects you do not invest points into will be significantly worse compared to vanilla. For example the signs, crossbow and damage bombs are a lot less useful for my mainly sword focused build. This is a good thing as specialisation encourages more diversity in your playstyle. Here are some examples:
  • Quen no longer always blocks at least 1 attack, regardless of how much damage it's supposed to absorb. Now it's no longer the combat crutch it used to be in Vanilla as it will only absorb the value of the shield and the rest of the damage will go through.
  • Poison and bleed effects are no longer extremely overpowered boss monster killers. Their duration and damage are significantly reduced to the point where 1 poison application is equal to about 2 additional sword attacks. Still good, but now balanced.
  • Crossbow & Bombs now only deal half damage if they were auto aimed. And of course manual aiming during combat is way too slow unless you have invested into the related skills. There seem to be a few minor bugs related to these items. For example manual crossbow shots sometimes don't bring big flyers down despite hitting them successfully. Superior Samum, manually aimed, dealing 5 (yes five) damage on kikimores.
  • In general overpowered skills have been nerfed (rend, whirl, euphoria etc.) while underpowered abilities have been buffed (crippling strikes, undying, counter attack etc.).
Overall the skill tree feels significantly more polished and we now have a lot more viable choices to pick from.

Defensive techniques (dodge, roll, counter, parry)

The way dodging and rolling worked in Vanilla was a simple binary check. Did you press the appropriate button before the attack connected with your character? If yes then avoid all damage, regardless of where your character ended up going (for attacks which can be dodged). And while this was still a big improvement from the second game, the i-frames were way too generous and the moves lacked any stamina cost. Which made it all to easy to just spam the dodge button and be invulnerable. GM changes this behaviour by also taking into account the direction Geralt moves in when dodging/rolling with respect to the enemy attack. Now if you dodge in time but still end up connecting with the attack, depending on the angle, you will take partial damage and debuffs based on what direction you were going in.
Parrying and countering have been significantly enhanced compared to the base game. Essentially now you can parry/counter nearly all attacks, those coming from monsters included. Taking counters as an example, you may counter light attacks just like before - by reducing all incoming damage - but now you retaliate against monsters with a "counter slash". This also applies to heavy attacks (including hammer and spear wielding humans) except that damage is reduced only by 50%. Both parry and counter now have a stamina cost depending on the attack you have deflected. This is a great addition to the game in my opinion. It plays perfectly with the risk and reward scale. Countering carries a greater reward because you spend your time negating the monster attack and dealing damage on your own, instead of just negating as you would with a dodge. However the risk is also greater because you confusing monster light and heavy attacks means you will take significant damage, especially if your build is not prepared for it. Yet another gameplay element where skill is rewarded.

Armour, stamina and different playstyles

Stamina management is now a big part of combat, rather than a mere afterthought with Tawny oil. The base regeneration rate is significantly reduced, all combat actions pause this regeneration for a short while and counter and parry stamina costs are increased. The armour you are wearing now also affects your stamina more than the Vanilla regeneration penalties. Light armour has no penalties and increases stamina regen, medium armour introduces a stamina cost for rolling & sprinting and heavy armour has stamina costs associated with rolling, dodging and sprinting.
Armour now plays a much bigger role in the game thanks to its significantly increased damage absorption capabilities. Plenty of enemies now have high armour values which also makes the armour penetration stat on swords better. To help with this, your heavy attacks now have a significant amount of armour penetration by default. This means that quick attack spam is no longer maximum dps against all enemy types and you will have to mix in heavy attacks much more frequently. Some enemies like golems are so heavily armoured that using quick attacks against them is basically pointless. Similarly, high armour values on your gear now make a big dent in the incoming damage whereas in Vanilla they were useless and the only thing that mattered were the resistances on the gear.
Both of these changes together translate into very distinct melee combat playstyles depending on which Witcher set you are wearing, which is one of the best features of GM for me.
  • Light Armour: the Cat set provides the combat experience which is closest to Vanilla DM, with a few important tweaks. Firstly, because you have very little damage reduction, Quen is practically useless. It won't even fully absorb a light attack from a drowner. This combined with the change to the defensive techniques means that you actually have to be quick on your feet and good at dodging, you can only rely on your own skill. Secondly you can also mix in counters for increased dps once you are familiar with the attack patterns of the enemies. However you still have to dodge heavy attacks due to your lack of defence. This makes the Feline armour playstyle a skillful dance combining counters & dodging which is extremely fun, especially against bosses and small enemy groups.
  • Medium Armour: the Wolf set is a bit of a jack of all trades, master of none. It has less damage compared to the Cat but more defensive stats and armour. This essentially means that your playstyle is similar to the Cat but you reduce some of the risk and settle for a lesser reward. You still can't afford to counter heavy attacks, but at the same time the stamina penalties for sprinting and rolling are mostly irrelevant as the latter is only necessary to get out of the way of enemy AoE attacks. As a result you will be safer against large groups compared to the cat but will have to settle for reduced offensive capabilities.
  • Heavy Armour: the Bear set in GM presents a markedly different combat experience compared to vanilla. The quickest way to describe it is as an "immovable object". The stamina cost for dodging means that you will spend all of your time holding your ground and countering ALL enemy attacks (apart from AoE). The high armour value and damage resists mean that you can shrug off heavy attacks with ease. Combine this with talents that use adrenaline to heal you and an Ekkimara decoction to create a true tank build. However, due to the slow stamina regeneration signs are pretty much out of the question because every sign costs 10+ counter attacks leading to a big dps loss. This playstyle is extremely fun against groups of enemies because it allows you to combine defense with offense and simultaneously negate enemy damage. It also has its weaknesses - namely big enemies and bosses who make heavy use of area effect attacks, such as Griffins and Imlerith for example. Overall I didn't spend much time testing this playstyle in my run, but I found it very satisfying and fun. Definitely keen on using it for a complete playthrough in the future.
 
Another highlight of the GM combat enhancements are the 1v1 fist fights (seriously). They are much more challenging, fun and skill intensive due to the reworked stamina system. In Vanilla these were pretty formulaic - keep your distance from the opponent so that they only lunge with a heavy attack, which is easier to counter compared to the fast jabs. Counter it, throw a one-two and then rinse and repeat. In Ghost Mode you no longer have the stamina to consecutively counter all attacks and must spend some time in between counters to recover, which introduces a great deal of tension and makes the fights more skillful. Remember, dodging pauses your stamina regeneration so you don't have an easy way around this. Especially as many arenas are quite small which make this process challenging. Furthermore blocking jabs costs significantly less stamina, so if you're confident in countering the opponent's fast attacks you have a great opportunity to skill display. In addition group fist fights are a lot easier compared to Vanilla, because the opponents aren't health sponges. This is another great change in my book as those were pretty tedious and the fist fight system doesn't really work great for group combat.
 
Finally, to finish off this section, I would like to spend some time looking at enemy balance in the Blood & Wine expansion. There were several problems with it in my opinion, which overall decrease the quality of the experience.
  • Giant centipedes deal too much damage. Yes they are generally easy to avoid, however them one shotting a character in master crafted Feline Gear + Quen + Superior Insect Oil + Protective Coating + 600 hp green mutagen at full life seems excessive. I'd suggest a 30% damage nerf. For comparison, level appropriate Giant Centipedes hit harder than red skull cyclopses and werewolves.
  • High concentration of monsters which work badly with the reduced reaction times due to their instant attacks.
  • Arachnomorph damage seems to be balanced against them hitting you once when most of the time they double tap you, which enables 1 small spider to pretty much instantly kill you from full life if you make a mistake. Damage should be reduced by at least 40%.
  • The two Guardian Panthers in the Professor Moreau quest are extremely overtuned for when you face them and, as a consequence, require extremely cheesy strategies to beat.
  • Alps are probably the hardest enemies in the whole game. Thankfully you only have to fight them twice. The first one's alone and she's manageable, but the second involves you getting tag-teamed by a Bruxa as well and that one is quite painful. It's a good thing Dettlaff can mind control other "lesser" vampires, because otherwise one of those ginger vamps would easily wipe the floor with both him & Regis at the same time.
 

Items and crafting

  • Witcher set bonuses now scale with the number of pieces equipped rather than being binary. Bonuses also apply from the lowest set tier and not just Grandmaster level. This is a good change in my book as they diversify your combat style from an earlier stage of the game. Set swords are no longer the best weapons for their level requirement, so exploring the world and doing contracts for relics feels much more rewarding.
  • The weapon & armour upgrade kits, sold by master craftsmen, are a great addition to the game. They allow you to increase the base damage/armour of your equipment by increasing its level requirement by 1 (i.e. the Aerondight effect). This enables you to make use of those special relic swords like: Hjalmar's Steel Sword, Pang of Conscience, Blade of the Bits, Winter's Blade etc. from the moment you obtain them to as long as you wish. This means that you must only pick a weapon based on if its secondary stats have synergy with your build, and this opens up a lot of choices and min-maxing.
  • Speaking of special relic swords, these now have significantly improved secondary stats which makes them stand out from the generic random relics. Depending on your build you will probably end up using one of these for most of your playthrough. It feels great to get a "special" sword reward for a quest which is actually useful and not vendor fodder like in Vanilla.
  • Equipment crafting now requires significantly less materials, so you are no longer forced to dismantle an entire army's worth of arsenal to craft something. Unfortunately the craftsmen will now rip you off much harder, comparatively to Vanilla, with their fees. So if you want to unlock all the levels of the Runewright and deck out Corvo Bianco in the various Witcher sets you will still have to pick up and vendor massive amounts of loot.
  • Crafting costs of random weapons in the early game, before you can access sets and contract relics, are prohibitively expensive.
  • White Gull isn't so difficult to produce anymore as it doesn't require Redanian Herbal and you can craft the Mandrake Cordial yourself, white honey now comes with more charges - both are nice QoL changes.
  • Potions and bombs require significantly less ingredients, so theoretically you would need to spend less time picking flowers. However considering that you could buy most of these cheaply from herbalists in the vanilla game (and still can) this change is more or less irrelevant in practice.
Cooking recipes are a good addition to the immersion in my experience. A witcher on the path should be able to cook himself a meal while squatting in some untamed wilderness. Unfortunately, in practice I did not use these recipes at all after leaving White Orchard. There are a few problems with the current implementation:
  • Food & drink healing is not balanced according to the amount of ingredients required to produce. For example, right at the start of the game you can learn how to make apple juice which is in the top tier of drink healing and costs next to nothing to make, in contrast with other much more expensive drink recipes which very often heal for less. Food recipes require way too many ingredients (the vast majority of which must be bought) and offer sub par healing in comparison.
  • Human enemies in Velen and onwards drop way too much food, often between 2-3 pieces each. Why should I waste money buying ingredients and cooking when I could obtain something nearly as good for free?
  • Coking recipes are too expensive for what they offer. They could use a 50% coin cost reduction across the board. Food recipes should require less ingredients. There should be more distinct healing "tiers" for different food & drink, less total recipes and bandits should drop less grub to incentivise people to interact with the system.
 

Nitpicking

  • Enemies focusing more on NPCs during combat (if present) makes certain escort quests significantly more annoying on Death March: namely the Black Pearl and the Skellige mine clearing duo. Those NPCs could use a buff to their survivability.
  • All wolves/dogs & boars are significantly weaker compared to the vanilla game. Probably a design decision, but it feels out of place since all other enemies are harder. Wolves in the Land of a Thousand Fables do have level appropriate stats unlike all their siblings for some reason.
  • Kinks to the extra books/notes feature: fist fight quests keep giving you the same note after a brawl for every brawl, many texts are given out at weird times. For example, right at the beginning of some action sequence.
  • Early game bosses and contract monsters (level req < 15) could use a modest health reduction to prevent boredom. Later on the only enemy that felt too "health spongy" was Iris' nightmare. Those Olgierds could use a health reduction because at the moment the fight is quite repetitive, lacks the atmosphere of the burning manor fight and so becomes a bit tedious.
  • The base Yrden duration is too short and makes fighting Wraith bosses extremely tedious early on, until you get Enhanced or preferably Superior Moon Dust.
  • Superior Cursed Oil now requires berserker skin which is not obtainable in Skellige if you investigate the massacre with Ceris. Previously there was a bug where berserkers spawned near Kaer Morhen, but this seems to be fixed in the newest version. The only place I found berserker skin in the whole game was in the Borsodi vault (?), dropped by one of his guardsmen (??). Either put a copy of the ingredient somewhere in the Vildkaarls' village, or change it to some other more lore appropriate place. The current location makes no sense.
  • The inventory weight system is at best a sidegrade to Vanilla. Yes, it is unrealistic that Geralt is able to hold all these weightless ingredients in Roach's saddlebags. So this mod now gives them weight and forces you to regularly deposit all your ingredients in the stash. Then to access them more conveniently every time you are at an appropriate vendor (alchemist/blacksmith/armourer) Geralt is able to telepathically access said stash to obtain the ingredients. To me it seems like one unrealistic element was simply replaced with a different one equally as unrealistic, so what's the point?
    • In all fairness you can reduce the weight of all items from the mod options, but that slider leads to even more immersion problems. Because if you wish to compensate for the weight on all the ingredients you have to turn up the slider so much that all the swords and armour now weigh practically nothing as well. A better solution would be keeping the weight slider and adding a check box for "Zero ingredient weight", or just using the vanilla weight system because the current implementation isn't a clear improvement.
  • I find the name of the mod to be a bit unfortunate, since it has nothing to do with any of the content. Makes you wonder if it's one of the reasons why it is not more popular.
  • Grapeshot seems to deal insignificant damage to higher level enemies. Superior version of it hits arachas for 5 damage with an aimed shot for example. Even without bomb talents it shouldn't be this weak.
  • Aerondight has lost a great deal of its unique flavour (all items can now be upgraded) and the nerf to its secondary stats was too great. Before it would give 10% attack power per stack, up to 10 stacks, now this has been reduced to 5% crit damage. For comparison, random relic swords can spawn with 60%+ critical damage and have 4 other secondary stats as well. Not to mention free sockets, which cost ~8000 gold for Aerondight. Finally, while the bonus at maximum stacks is still great it's now harder to maintain due to the decreased enemy reaction time, is basically non-existent against all the instant attack foes (and for heavy armour builds) and has overlap with several consumables (thunderbolt potion & oils now give crit chance) and talents which reduces its effectiveness even further. Overall the sword feels underwhelming and not worth using.
  • Olgierd's sabre, Iris, no longer gains charges when enemies block your attacks and doesn't buff the damage of the fast attacks. To compensate it now deals 10% of target's maximum life in addition to the other bonus damage when charged. I was very excited to use this sword with the new item upgrade kits and was left moderately disappointed. The life loss penalty is still too big and basically forces you into using Katakan decoction which doesn't feel great. Furthermore, to charge the sword you must deliver 3 successful fast attacks in succession. Against armoured enemies this feels horrible as you're effectively whacking them with a wet noodle until you can charge the finisher. In addition, humans are much more likely to dodge your attacks compared to before causing you to often whiff on the charged strong attack while still paying the health cost. Overall the sword is still worth using and feels satisfying with the Severance runeword, however I would like to see some quality of life change: for example halving the health penalty.
  • This mod breaks the following achievements: equipping a full witcher set (Armed and Dangerous), equipping all the grandmaster set pieces (Dressed to Kill), equipping Aerondight (Embodiment of the Five Virtues). Tested on GoG. Probably irrelevant for 99% of people, but worth mentioning.
  • The Undvik set has less armour than the basic Feline set, despite having a higher level requirement and being heavy armour.
  • Superior Full Moon heal, based on current toxicity, either does not work or heals a minuscule amount.
  • Kill count bestiary section feels a bit too arcade-y and gimmicky for my tastes. Would prefer it hidden at the bottom of the list and collapsed by default or, better yet, an optional toggle in the mod options if possible.
 

Scoring (TLDR)

I will now attempt to rate this mod based on an arbitrary scale I just made up. A score of 5/10 means that overall the mod neither improves nor deteriorates the experience when compared to the original game. A higher score than that is good, lower is bad.
  • -1 for the fast reaction times on enemies with instantaneous attack animations (and the fact that this hasn't been fixed for so long) and the balancing issues of Blood & Wine.
  • -0.5 for the overall lowered quality of the combat experience: namely its feel, flow & realism.
  • -0.5 for all the points listed in the Nitpick section.
  • -0.5 for the experience penalty system which promotes meta-gaming and for the subpar support of the NG+ mode
Overall: 7.5/10. Despite the occasional hiccups I thoroughly enjoyed my playthrough with Ghost Mode. I found the mod to be an overall improvement to the base game and definitely recommend it.
 

Never Asked Questions

Q: What difficulty should I play on?
A:
  • You are looking for a similar challenge to vanilla Death March or early game B&BB, to see if you like the other gameplay changes? Story & Sword. If you don't care about the combat then I would suggest that you also reduce monster damage from the mod options.
  • You played on Death March from level 1 and found it too easy? Blood and Broken Bones.
  • You played on Death March from level 1 with self-imposed limitations such as: no Quen, not using set swords, deliberately skipping some of the best talents and found it too easy? Death March.
 
Q: What build did you use?
A: Combat/Alchemy - GM Death March
I went for delusion & poisoned blades first. Muscle memory & strength training second, then back to alchemy for protective coating, afterwards filled out the combat tree. Undying was only equipped once the first B&W skill slot was unlocked and I could move an alchemy skill there, on lower difficulty levels I would replace it with Razor Focus. Delusion is optional. I pick it mostly for RP reasons although the extra stamina regen is nice, especially early on. If you don't want to use it then replace it with the Synergy skill from the alchemy tree.
 
Q: Any other interesting stats/tidbits from your run?
A:
  • Hardest 1v1 fight: werewolf outside of the Whispering Hillock, ~10 deaths.
  • Other boss fights with number of deaths in parenthesis: WO Griffin (1), Imlerith (2), Toad Prince (0), Olgierd (3), Caretaker (1), Olgierds (2), Caranthir (0), Eredin (1), Dettlaff (0)
  • Hardest group fight: arachas cave south west of Harviken on Faroe, 8 deaths.
  • Found the "Tor Zirael" sword for the first time ever in 4 playthroughs, not sure if finally lucky or spawn chance increased in the mod. Unfortunately, stats wise it's still rubbish.
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