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On Spells and Society, or how 5e spells completely change everyone's lives.

Today i have a confession to make: i'm a little bit of a minmaxer. And honestly, i think that's a pretty desirable trait in a DM. The minmaxer knows the rules, and exploits them to maximum efficiency.
"But wait, what does that have to do with spell use in society?" - someone, probably.
Well, the thing is that humans are absolutely all about minmaxing. There's a rule in the universe that reads "gas expands when hot", and suddenly we have steam engines (or something like that, i'm a political scientist not an engineer). A rule says 1+1 = 2, and suddenly we have calculus, computers and all kinds of digital stuff that runs on math. Sound is energy? Let's convert that shit into electricity, run it through a wire and turn it back into sound on the other side.
Bruh. Science is just minmaxing the laws of nature. Humanity in real life is just a big bunch of munchkins, and it should be no different in your setting.
And that is why minmaxing magic usage is something societies as a whole would do, specially with some notable spells. Today i will go in depth on how and why each of these notable mentions has a huge impact on a fantasy society.
We'll go from lowest level to highest, keeping in mind that the lower level a spell the more common it should be to find someone who has it, so often a level 2-3 spell will have more impact than a level 9 spell.

Mending (cantrip).
Repair anything in one minute. Your axe lost its edge? Tore your shirt? Just have someone Mend it.
Someone out there is crying "but wait! Not every village has a wizard!" and while that is true, keep in mind any High Elf knows a cantrip, as can any Variant Human.
A single "mender" could replace a lot of the work a smith, woodworker or seamstress does, freeing their time to only work on making new things rather than repair old ones.

Prestidigitation (cantrip).
Clean anything in six seconds. Committed axe murders until the axe got blunt, and now there's blood everywhere? Dog shit on your pillow out of spite? Someone walked all over the living room with muddy boots? Just Prestidigitate it away.
This may look like a small thing, but its actually huge when you apply it to laundry. Before washing machines were a thing housewives had to spend several hours a week washing them manually, and with Prestidigitation you can just hire someone to get it done in a few minutes.
A single "magic cleaner" can attend to several dozen homes, if not hundreds, thus freeing several hours of the time of dozens of women.
Fun fact: there's an interesting theory that says feminism only existed because of laundry machines and similar devices. Women found themselves having more free time, which they used to read and socialize. Educated women with more contacts made for easy organization of political movements, and the fact men were now able to do "the women's work" by pushing a button meant men were less opposed to losing their housewives' labor. Having specialized menders and magic cleaners could cause a comparable revolution in a fantasy setting, and help explain why women have a similar standing to men even in combat occupations such as adventuring.

Healing in general (1st-2nd level).
This one is fairly obvious. A commoner has 4 hit points, that means just about any spell is a full heal to the average person. That means most cuts, stab wounds, etc. can be solved by the resident cleric. Even broken bones that would leave you in bed for months can be solved in a matter of seconds as soon as the holy man arrives.
But that's nothing compared to the ability to cure diseases. While the only spell that can cure diseases is Lesser Restoration, which is second level, a paladin can do it much more easily with just a Lay on Hands. This means if one or two people catch a disease it can just be eradicated with a touch.
However doing that comes with a cost. If everyone is instantly expunged of illness, the populace does not build up their immune systems. Regular disease becomes less common, sure, but whenever it is reintroduced (by, say, immigrants or contact with less civilized humanoids) it can spread like wildfire, afflicting people so fast that no amount of healers will have the magic juice to deal with it.
Diseases become rare, plagues become common.

Continual Flame (2nd).
Ok, this one is a topic i love and could easily be its own post.
There's an article called "Why the Falling Cost of Light Matters", which goes in detail about how man went from chopping wood for fire, to using animal fat for candles, then other oils, whale oil, kerosene, then finally incandescent light bulbs, and more recently LED lights. Each of these leaps is orders of grandeur more efficient than the previous one, to the point that the cost of light today is about 500,000 times cheaper than it was for for a caveman. And until the early 1900s the only way mankind knew of making light was to set things on fire.
Continual Flame on the other hand allows you to turn 50gp worth of rubies and a 2nd level spell slot into a torch that burns forever. In a society that spends 60 hours of labor to be able to generate 140 minutes of light, this is a huge game changer.
This single spell, which i am 99% sure was just created as an excuse for why the dungeon is lit despite going for centuries without maintenance, allows you to have things like public lighting. Even if you only add a new "torchpost" every other week or month sooner or later you'll be left with a neatly lit city, specially if the city has had thousands of years in which to gather the rubies and light them up.
And because the demand of rubies becomes so important, consider how governments would react. Lighting the streets is a public service, if its strategically relevant to make the city safer at night, would that not warrant some restrictions on ruby sales? Perhaps even banning the use of rubies in jewelry?
Trivia: John D. Rockefeller, the richest man in history, gained his wealth selling kerosene. Kerosene at the time was used to light lamps. Gasoline was invented much later, when Rockefeller tasked a bunch of scientists to come up with a use for some byproducts of the kerosene production. This illustrates how much money is to be had in the lighting industry, and you could even have your own Rockefeller ruby baron in your game. I shall call him... Dohn J. Stonebreaker. Perfect name for a mining entrepreneur.
Whether the ruby trade ends up a monopoly under the direct supervision of the king or a free market, do keep in mind that Continual Flame is by far the most efficient way of creating light.

Gentle Repose (2nd).
Cast it on a corpse, and it stays preserved for 10 days.
This has many potential uses, from preserving foodstuffs (hey, some rare meats are expensive enough to warrant it) to keeping the bodies of old rulers preserved. Even if a ruler died of old age and cannot be resurrected, the body could be kept "fresh" out of respect/ceremony. Besides, it keeps the corpse from becoming undead.

Skywrite (2nd).
Ok, this one is mostly a gag. While the spell can be used by officials to make official announcements to the populace, such as new laws or important news, i like to just use it for spam. I mean, its a ritual spell that writes a message on the sky; what else would people use it for?
Imagine you show up in a city, and there's half a dozen clouds reading "buy at X, we have what you need", "get your farming supplies over at Joe's store" or "vote Y for the city council".
The possibilities are endless, and there's no way the players can expect it. Just keep in mind that by RAW the spell can only do words, meaning no images. No Patrick, "8===D" is not a word.

Zone of Truth (2nd).
This one is too obvious. Put all suspects of a crime into a ZoT, wait a couple minutes to make sure they fail the save, then ask each one if he did it. Sure its not a perfect system, things like the Ring of Mind Shielding still exist, but it's got a better chance of getting the right guy than most medieval justice systems. And probably more than a few contemporary ones. All while taking only a fraction of the time.
More importantly, with all the average crimes being handled instantly, the guards and investigators have more time to properly investigate the more unusual crimes that might actually involve a Thought Shield, Ring of Mind Shielding or a level 17 Mastermind.
There is a human rights argument against messing with people's minds in any way, which is why this may not be practiced in every kingdom. But there are definitely some more lawful societies that would use ZoT on just about every crime.
Why swear to speak the truth and nothing but the truth when you can just stand in a zone of truth?
Another interesting use for ZoT is oaths. When someone is appointed into an office, gets to a high rank in the military or a guild, just put them in a ZoT while they make their oath to stand for the organization's values and yadda yadda. Of course they can be corrupted later on, but at least you make sure they're honest when they are sworn in.

Sending (3rd).
Sending is busted in so many ways.
The more "vanilla" use of it is to just communicate over long distances. We all know that information is important, and that sometimes getting information a whole day ahead can lead to a 40% return on a massive two-year investment. Being able to know of invasions, monsters, disasters, etc. without waiting days or weeks for a courier can be vital for the survival of a nation. Another notable example is that one dude who ran super fast for a while to be the first to tell his side of a recent event.
But the real broken thing here is... Sending can Send to any creature, on any plane; the only restriction being "with which you are familiar". In D&D dead people just get sent to one of the afterlife planes, meaning that talking to your dead grandfather would be as simple as Sending to him. Settling inheritance disputes was never easier!
Before moving on to the next point let me ask you something: Is a cleric familiar with his god? Is a warlock familiar with his patron?

Speak With Dead (3rd).
Much like Sending, this lets you easily settle disputes. Is the senate/council arguing over a controversial topic? Just ask the beloved hero or ruler from 200 years ago what he thinks on the subject. As long his skeleton still has a jaw (or if he has been kept in Gentle Repose), he can answer.
This can also be used to ask people who killed them, except murderers also know this. Plan on killing someone? Accidentally killed someone? Make sure to inutilize the jaw. Its either that, being so stealthy the victim can't identify you, or being caught.

Note on spell availability.
Oh boy. No world-altering 4th level spells for some reason, and suddenly we're playing with the big boys now.
Spells up to 3rd level are what I'd consider "somewhat accessible", and can be arranged for a fee even for regular citizens. For instance the vanilla Priest statblock (MM348) is a 5th level cleric, and the standard vanilla Druid (MM346) a 4th level druid.
Spells of 5th level onward will be considered something only the top 1% is able to afford, or large organizations such as guilds, temples or government.

Dream (5th).
I was originally going to put Dream along with Sending and Telepathy as "long range communication", but decided against it due to each of them having unique uses.
And when it comes to Dream, it has the unique ability of allowing you to put your 8 hours of sleep to good use. A tutor could hire someone to cast Dream on him, thus allowing him to teach his student for 8 hours at any distance. This is a way you could even access hermits that live in the middle of nowhere or in secluded monasteries. Very wealthy families or rulers would be willing to pay a good amount of money to make sure their heirs get that extra bit of education.
Its like online classes, but while you sleep!
Another interesting use is for cheating. Know a princess or queen you like? She likes you back? Her dad put 400 trained soldiers between you? No problemo! Just find a 9th level Bard, Warlock or Wizard, but who am i kidding, of course it'll be a bard. And that bard is probably you. Now you have 8 hours to do whatever you want, and no physical evidence will be left.

Raise Dead (5th).
Few things matter more in life than death. And the ability to resurrect people has a huge impact on society. The impact is so huge that this topic needs topics of its own.
First, diamond monopoly. Remember what i said about how Continual Flame would lead to controlled ruby sales due to its strategic value? This is the same principle, but a hundred times stronger. Resurrection is a huge strategic resource. It makes assassinations harder, can be used to bring back your officials or highest level soldiers over and over during a war, etc. This means more authoritarian regimes would do everything within their power to control the supply and stock of diamonds. Which in turn means if anyone wants to have someone resurrected, even in times of peace, they'll need to call in a favor, do a quest, grease some hands...
Second, resurrection insurance. People hate risks. That's why insurance is such a huge industry, taking up about 15% of the US GDP. People insure their cars, houses... even their lives. Resurrection just means "life insurance" is taken more literally. This makes even more sense when you consider how expensive resurrection is: nobody can afford it in one go, but if you pay a little every month or year you can save up enough to have it done when the need arises.
This is generally incompatible with the idea of a State-run monopoly over diamonds, but that just means different countries within a setting can take different approaches.
To make things easier, i even used some microeconomics to make a sheet in my personal random generators to calculate the price of such a service. Just head to the "Insurance" tab and fill in the information relative to your setting.
With actual life insurance resurrection can cost as little as 5gp a year for humans or 8sp a year for elves, making resurrection way more affordable than it looks.
Also, do you know why pirates wore a single gold earring? It was so that if your body washes up on the shore whoever finds it can use the money to arrange a proper burial. Sure there's a risk of the finder taking it and walking away, but the pirates did it anyway. With resurrection in play, might as well just wear a diamond earring instead and hope the finder is nice enough to bring you back.
I got so carried away with the whole insurance thing i almost forgot: the possibility of resurrection also changes how murders are committed.
If you want someone dead but resurrection exists, you have to remove the vital organs. Decapitation would be far more common. Sure resurrection is still possible, but it requires higher level spells or Reincarnate, which has... quirks.
As a result it should be very obvious when someone was killed by accident or an overreaction, and when someone was specifically out to kill the victim.

Scrying (5th).
This one is somewhat obvious, in that everyone and their mother knows it helps finding people. But who needs finding? Well, that would be those who are hiding.
The main use i see for this spell, by far, is locating escaped criminals. Just collect a sample of hair or blood when arresting someone (or shipping them to hard labor which is way smarter), and if they escape you'll be almost guaranteed to successfully scry on them.
A similar concept to this is seen in the Dragon Age series. If you're a mage the paladins keep a sample of your blood in something called a phylactery, and that can be used to track you down. There's even a quest or two about mages trying to destroy their phylacteries before escaping.
Similarly, if you plan a jailbreak it would be highly beneficial to destroy the blood/hair sample first. As a matter of fact i can even see a thieves guild hiring a low level party to take out the sample while the professional infiltrators get the prisoner out. Keep in mind both events must be done at the same time, otherwise the guards will just collect a new sample or would have already taken it to the wizard.
But guards aren't the only ones with resources. A loan shark could keep blood samples of his debtors, a mobster can keep one of those who owe him favors, etc. And the blood is ceremoniously returned only when the debt is fully paid.

Teleportation Circle (5th), Transport Via Plants (6th).
In other words, long range teleportation. This is such a huge thing that it is hard to properly explain how important it is.
Teleportation Circle creates a 10ft. circle, and everyone has one round to get in and appear on the target location. Assuming 30ft. movement that means you can get 192 people through, which is a lot of potential merchants going across any distance. Or 672 people dashing.
Math note: A 30ft radius square around a 10ft. diameter square, minus the 4 original squares. Or [(6*2+2)^2]-4 squares of 5ft. each. Hence 192 people.
Getting hundreds of merchants, workers, soldiers, etc. across any distance is nothing to scoff at. In fact, it could help explain why PHB item prices are so standardized: Arbitrage is so easy and cheap that price differences across multiple markets become negligible. Unless of course countries start setting up tax collectors outside of the permanent teleportation circles in order to charge tariffs.
Transport Via Plants does something very similar but it requires 5ft of movement to go through, which means less people can be teleported. On the other hand it doesn't burn 50gp and can take you to any tree the druid is familiar with, making it nearly impossible for tax collectors to be waiting on the other side. Unfortunately druids tend to be a lot less willing to aid smugglers, so your best bet might be a bard using spells that don't belong to his list.
With these methods of long range teleportation not only does trade get easier, but it also becomes possible to colonize or inhabit far away places. For instance if someone finds a gold mine in the antarctic you could set up a mine and bring food and other supplies via teleportation.

Major Image (6th level slot).
Major Image is a 3rd level spell that creates an illusion over a 20ft cube, complete with image, sound, smell and temperature. When cast with a 6th level slot or higher, it lasts indefinitely.
That my friends, is a huge spell. Why get the world's best painter to decorate the ceiling of your cathedral when you can just get an illusion made in six seconds?
The uses for decorating large buildings is already good, but remember: we're not restricted to sight.
Cast this on a room and it'll always be cool and smell nice. Inns would love that, as would anyone who always sleeps or works in the same room. Desert cities have never been so chill.
You can even use an illusion to make the front of your shop seem flashier, while hollering on loop to bring customers in.
The only limit to this spell is your imagination, though I'm pretty sure it was originally made just to hide secret passages.
Trivia: the ki-rin (VGM163) can cast Major Image as a 6th level spell, at will. It's probably meant to give them fabulous lairs yet all it takes is someone doing the holy horsey a big favor, and it could enchant the whole city in a few hours. Shiniest city on the planet, always at a nice temperature and with a fragrance of lilac, gooseberries or whatever you want.

Simulacrum (7th).
Spend 12 hours and 1500gp worth of ruby dust, and get a clone of yourself. Notably, each caster can only have one simulacrum, regardless of who the person he cloned is.
How this changes the world? By allowing the rich and powerful to be in two places at once. Kings now have a perfect impersonator who thinks just like them. A wealthy banker can run two branches of his company. Etc.
This makes life much easier, but also competes with Continual Flame over resources.
It also gives "go fuck yourself" a whole new meaning, making the sentence a valid Suggestion.

Clone (8th).
If there's one spell i despise, its Clone.
Wizard-only preemptive resurrection. Touch spell, costs 1.000gp worth of diamonds each time, takes 120 days to come into effect, and creates a copy of the creature that the soul occupies if the original dies. Oh, and the copy can be made younger.
Why is it so despicable? Because it makes people effectively immortal. Accidents and assassinations just get you sent to the clone, and old age can be forever delayed because you keep going back to younger versions of yourself. Being a touch spell means the wizard can cast it on anyone he wants.
In other words: high level wizards, and only wizards, get to make anyone immortal.
That means wizards will inevitably rule any world in which this spell exists.
Think about it. Rulers want to live forever. Wizards can make you live forever. Wizards want other stuff, which you must give them if you want to continue being Cloned. Rulers who refuse this deal eventually die, rulers who accept stick around forever. Natural selection makes it so that eventually the only rulers left are those who sold their soul to wizards. Figuratively, i hope.
The fact that there are only a handful of wizards out there who are high enough level to cast the spell means its easier for them organize and/or form a cartel or union (cartels/unions are easier to maintain the fewer suppliers are involved).
This leads to a dystopian scenario where mages rule, kings are authoritarian pawns and nobody else has a say in anything. Honestly it would make for a fun campaign in and of itself, but unless that's specifically what you're going for it'll just derail everything else.
Oh, and Clone also means any and all liches are absolute idiots. Liches are people who turned themselves into undead abominations in order to gain eternal life at the cost of having to feed on souls. They're all able to cast 9th level wizard spells, so why not just cast an 8th level one and keep undeath away? Saves you the trouble of going after souls, and you keep the ability to enjoy food or a day in the sun.

Demiplane (8th).
Your own 30ft. room of nothingness. Perfect place for storage and a DM's nightmare given how once players have access to it they'll just start looting furniture and such. Oh the horror.
But alas, infinite storage is not the reason this is a broken spell. No sir.
Remember: you can access someone else's demiplane. That means a caster in city 1 can put things into a demiplane, and a caster in city 2 can pull them out of any surface.
But wait, there's more! There's nothing anywhere saying you can't have two doors to the same demiplane open at once. Now you're effectively opening a portal between two places, which stays open for a whole hour.
But wait, there's even more! Anyone from any plane can open a door to your neat little demiplane. Now we can get multiple casters from multiple planes connecting all of those places, for one hour. Sure this is a very expensive thing to do since you're having to coordinate multiple high level individuals in different planes, but the payoff is just as high. We're talking about potential integration between the most varied markets imaginable, few things in the multiverse are more valuable or profitable. Its a do-it-yourself Sigil.
One little plot hook i like about demiplanes is abandoned/inactive ones. Old wizard/warlock died, and nobody knows how to access his demiplanes. Because he's at least level 15 you just know there's some good stuff in there, but nobody can get to it. Now the players have to find a journal, diary, stored memory or any other way of knowing enough about the demiplane to access it.

True Polymorph (9th).
True Polymorph. The spell that can turn any race into any other race, or object. And vice-versa. You can go full fairy godmother and turn mice into horses. For a spell that can change anything about one's body it would not be an unusual ruling to say it can change one's sex. At the very least it can turn a man into a chair, and the chair into a woman (or vice-versa of course).
But honestly, that's just the tip of the True Polymorph iceberg. Just read this more carefully:
> You transform the creature into a different creature, the creature into a nonmagical object, or the object into a creature
This means you can turn a rock or twig into a human. A fully functional human with, as far as the rules go, a soul. You can create life.
But wait, there's more! Nothing there says you have to turn the target into a known creature on an existing creature. The narcissist bard wants to create a whole race of people who look like him? True Polymorph. A player wants to play a weird ass homebrew race and you have no idea how it would fit into the setting? True Polymorph. Wizard needs a way to quickly populate a kingdom and doesn't want to wait decades for the subjects to grow up? True Polymorph. Warlock must provide his patron 100 souls in order to free his own? True Polymorph. The sorcerer wants to do something cool? Fuck that guy, sorcerers don't get any of the fun high level spells; True Poly is available to literally every arcane caster but the sorcerer.
Note: what good is Twinned Spell if all the high level twinnable spells have been specifically made unavailable to sorcerers?
Do keep in mind however that this brings a whole new discussion on human rights. Does a table have rights? Does it have rights after being turned into a living thing? If it had an owner, is it now a slave? Your country will need so many new laws, just to deal with this one spell.
People often say that high level wizards are deities for all intents and purposes. This is the utmost proof of that. Clerics don't get to create life out of thin air, wizards do. The cleric worships a deity, the wizard is the deity.

Conclusion.
Intelligent creatures not only can game the system, but it is entirely in character for them to do so. I'll even argue that if humanoids don't use magic to improve their lives when it's available, you're pushing the suspension of disbelief.
With this post i hope to have helped you make more complex and realistic societies, as well as provide a few interesting and unusual plot hooks
Lastly, as much as i hate comment begging i must admit i am eager to see what spells other players think can completely change the world. Because at the end of the day we all know that extra d6 damage is not what causes empires to rise and fall, its the utility spells that make the best stories.

Edit: Added spell level to all spells, and would like to thank u/kaul_field for helping with finishing touches and being overall a great mod.
submitted by Isphus to DnDBehindTheScreen [link] [comments]

Here’s what story mode needs

I have been replaying Red Dead 2 for a week or so. I have only finished the game once and now I’m going real slowly and thoroughly through it, enjoying every bit of it.
I have made a small list of things Rockstar could bring to the game as an update or maybe even a DLC in the future, things I believe will make story mode even more astounding. (I won’t comment on Online, it’s a lost cause).
1 - The one thing Online does better than Story is clothing. It would be good to have all Online clothes on story mode. I want my Arthur to wear a poncho.
2 - More space on the stables. I like multiple horses, but my four Arabians take up all slots. We need at least to have it doubled.
3 - Let us ride, keep and bond with mules and donkeys. They look cute and would go superb with this ranch Arthur I have.
4 - Add legendary birds. The animals are cool, but imagine climbing a mounting and having a shot at legendary eagles, vultures, parrots, crows.
5 - Let us craft more than one fucking tonic or piece of ammo at a time. The game is not realistic when it comes to setting a fire during rain, it doesn’t have to be here either.
6 - Give us an option for carrying on more big pelt on our horses if we don’t mount it. I would gladly and proudly lead my horse on foot if that meant having one more big pelt in my place on her.
7 - And this is a big one: add lawmen routes thought the map instead of simply spawning them when we rob a train so we can feel rewarded for waiting and planing. Also don’t have them identify us even when wearing a mask.
8 - Stop making Arthur put his guns back on the saddle automatically. I ride for a bit and then O’fuckin’driscols or a pack of wolves ambush me and I have to cycle through all my guns. That is, when my horse doesn’t launch me into the air and I have to fight a damn bear or cougar with a cattleman revolver.
9 - Allow us to name outfits and save more than four. I like different Arthurs for different occasions. I like to dress up for each time I go out hunting, play poker in Saint Denis, rob a house, rob a train, sell stagecoaches I found with some people on it. That’s more than four situations. I already cycle through 20 guns. Let me cycle through 10 outfits.
10 - Make it so cops stop shooting and instead try to physically arrest you when you put your guns down. You may have noticed this, but talking to someone and aiming at them is the same button. Also, grabbing someone, getting on horse and sitting down to rest is also on the same button. That’s okay, but let me surrender, I don’t wanna die.
11 - Add horse races. A nice way to make money, betting, racing, illegal or not. Online already has it.
12 - Add illegal fist fights. I like the fighting system, really do. It’d be awesome to have Arthur earn some money punching folk.
13 - Add services just like we have on Online. Storylines can be created very easily this way. Let me deliver some stuff or help a lady moving. Protection jobs are nice, too.
14 - Make it so stealth works. I throw a knife at a guy’s head and his pal 20 yards away knows exactly which rock I’m hid behind? Come on.
15 - All cities look alive and are full of buildings. Make it so we can enter those buildings, rob’em, flee, get caught. This would make the world even more alive and, with unique houses with nice, weird, scary, cute or even thrilling things going on inside... Well, I’d pay for that.
16 - Make it so Arthur swims properly.
17 - Let us own a Wagon so I can hunt for longer before having to go back to the trapper or camp.
18 - Game is already rated R. Let Arthur have sex. Dude is always depressive about how no one wants him, give the man a win.
19 - Add more sweet supernatural (or not) mysteries like the vampire in Saint Denis. I was hooked to the game until I solved it and facing the creature at the end was amazing, the reward too. Go full Skyrim and put in a werewolf too.
20 - Let us fly balloons more.
21 - As Arthur, put only the cities of the west on lockdown and let him roam New Austin. I want to ride Arthur through some desert with no law on my ass.
My small list became a 21-item one. Sorry about that. Anything else y’all would add? What can make the best game even better?
submitted by Bjern98 to reddeadredemption [link] [comments]

GeForce RTX 3090 Review Megathread

GeForce RTX 3090 Review Megathread

GeForce RTX 3090 reviews are up.

Image Link - GeForce RTX 3090 Founders Edition

Reminder: Do NOT buy from 3rd Party Marketplace Seller on Ebay/Amazon/Newegg (unless you want to pay more). Assume all the 3rd party sellers are scalping. If it's not being sold by the actual retailer (e.g. Amazon selling on Amazon.com or Newegg selling on Newegg.com) then you should treat the product as sold out and wait.

Below is the compilation of all the reviews that have been posted so far. I will be updating this continuously throughout the day with the conclusion of each publications and any new review links. This will be sorted alphabetically.

Written Articles

Anandtech - TBD

Arstechnica - TBD

Babeltechreviews

NVIDIA says that the RTX 3080 is the gaming card and the RTX 3090 is the hybrid creative card – but we respectfully disagree. The RTX 3090 is the flagship gaming card that can also run intensive creative apps very well, especially by virtue of its huge 24GB framebuffer. But it is still not an RTX TITAN nor a Quadro. These cards cost a lot more and are optimized specifically for workstations and also for professional and creative apps.
However, for RTX 2080 Ti gamers who paid $1199 and who have disposable cash for their hobby – although it has been eclipsed by the RTX 3080 – the RTX 3090 Founders Edition which costs $1500 is the card to maximize their upgrade. And for high-end gamers who also use creative apps, this card may become a very good value. Hobbies are very expensive to maintain, and the expense of PC gaming pales in comparison to what golfers, skiers, audiophiles, and many other hobbyists pay for their entertainment. But for high-end gamers on a budget, the $699 RTX 3080 will provide the most value of the two cards. We cannot call the $1500 RTX 3090 a “good value” generally for gamers as it is a halo card and it absolutely does not provide anywhere close to double the performance of a $700 RTX 3080.
However, for some professionals, two RTX 3090s may give them exactly what they need as it is the only Ampere gaming card to support NVLink providing up to 112.5 GB/s of total bandwidth between two GPUs which when SLI’d together will allow them to access a massive 48GB of vRAM. SLI is no longer supported by NVIDIA for gaming, and emphasis will be placed on mGPU only as implemented by game developers.

Digital Foundry Article

Digital Foundry Video

So there we have it. The RTX 3090 delivers - at best - 15 to 16 per cent more gaming performance than the RTX 3080. In terms of price vs performance, there is only one winner here. And suffice to say, we would expect to see factory overclocked RTX 3080 cards bite into the already fairly slender advantage delivered by Nvidia's new GPU king. Certainly in gaming terms then, the smart money would be spend on an RTX 3080, and if you're on a 1440p high refresh rate monitor and you're looking to maximise price vs performance, I'd urge you to look at the RTX 2080 Ti numbers in this review: if Nvidia's claims pan out, you'll be getting that and potentially more from the cheaper still RTX 3070. All of which raises the question - why make an RTX 3090 at all?
The answers are numerous. First of all, PC gaming has never adhered to offering performance increases in line with the actual amount of money spent. Whether it's Titans, Intel Extreme processors, high-end motherboards or performance RAM, if you want the best, you'll end up paying a huge amount of money to attain it. This is only a problem where there are no alternatives and in the case of the RTX 3090, there is one - the RTX 3080 at almost half of the price.
But more compelling is the fact that Nvidia is now blurring the lines between the gaming GeForce line and the prosumer-orientated Quadro offerings. High-end Quadro cards are similar to RTX 3090 and Titan RTX in several respects - usually in that they deliver the fully unlocked Nvidia silicon paired with huge amounts of VRAM. Where they differ is in support and drivers, something that creatives, streamers or video editors may not wish to pay even more of a premium for. In short, RTX 3090 looks massively expensive as a gamer card, but compared to the professional Quadro line, there are clear savings.
In the meantime, RTX 3090 delivers the Titan experience for the new generation of graphics hardware. Its appeal is niche, the halo product factor is huge and the performance boost - while not exactly huge - is likely enough to convince the cash rich to invest and for the creator audience to seriously consider it. For my use cases, the extra money is obviously worth it. I also think that the way Nvidia packages and markets the product is appealing: the RTX 3090 looks and feels special, its gigantic form factor and swish aesthetic will score points with those that take pride in their PC looking good and its thermal and especially acoustic performance are excellent. It's really, really quiet. All told then, RTX 3090 is the traditional hard sell for the mainstream gamer but the high-end crowd will likely lap it up. But it leaves me with a simple question: where next for the Titan and Ti brands? You don't retire powerhouse product tiers for no good reason and I can only wonder: is something even more powerful cooking?

Guru3D

When we had our first experience with the GeForce RTX 3080, we were nothing short of impressed. Testing the GeForce RTX 3090 is yet another step up. But we're not sure if the 3090 is the better option though, as you'll need very stringent requirements in order for it to see a good performance benefit. Granted, and I have written this many times in the past with the Titans and the like, a graphics card like this is bound to run into bottlenecks much faster than your normal graphics cards. Three factors come into play here, CPU bottlenecks, low-resolution bottlenecks, and the actual game (API). The GeForce RTX 3090 is the kind of product that needs to be free from all three aforementioned factors. Thus, you need to have a spicy processor that can keep up with the card, you need lovely GPU bound games preferably with DX12 ASYNC compute and, of course, if you are not gaming at the very least in Ultra HD, then why even bother, right? The flipside of the coin is that when you have these three musketeers applied and in effect, well, then there is no card faster than the 3090, trust me; it's a freakfest of performance, but granted, also bitter-sweet when weighing all factors in.
NVIDIA's Ampere product line up has been impressive all the way, there's nothing other to conclude than that. Is it all perfect? Well, performance-wise in the year 2020 we cannot complain. Of course, there is an energy consumption factor to weigh in as a negative factor and, yes, there's pricing to consider. Both are far too high for the product to make any real sense. For gaming, we do not feel the 3090 makes a substantial enough difference over the RTX 3080 with 10 to 15% differentials, and that's mainly due to system bottlenecks really. You need to game at Ultra HD and beyond for this card to make a bit of sense. We also recognize that the two factors do not need to make sense for quite a bunch of you as the product sits in a very extreme niche. But I stated enough about that. I like this chunk of hardware sitting inside a PC though as, no matter how you look at it, it is a majestic product. Please make sure you have plenty of ventilation though as the RTX 3090 will dump lots of heat. It is big but still looks terrific. And the performance, oh man... that performance, it is all good all the way as long as you uphold my three musketeers remark. Where I could nag a little about the 10 GB VRAM on the GeForce RTX 3080, we cannot complain even the slightest bit about the whopping big mac feature of the 3090, 24 GB of the fastest GDDR6X your money can get you, take that Flight Sim 2020! This is an Ultra HD card, in that domain, it shines whether that is using shading (regular rendered games) or when using hybrid ray-tracing + DLSS. It's a purebred but unfortunately very power-hungry product that will reach only a select group of people. But it is formidable if you deliver it to the right circumstances. Would we recommend this product? Ehm no, you are better off with GeForce RTX 3070 or 3080 as, money-wise, this doesn't make much sense. But it is genuinely a startling product worthy of a top pick award, an award we hand out so rarely for a reference or Founder product but we also have to acknowledge that NVIDIA really is stepping up on their 'reference' designs and is now setting a new and better standard.

Hexus

This commentary puts the RTX 3090 into a difficult spot. It's 10 percent faster for gaming yet costs over twice as much as the RTX 3080. Value for money is poor when examined from a gaming point of view. Part of that huge cost rests with the 24GB of GDDR6X memory that has limited real-world benefit in games. Rather, it's more useful in professional rendering as the larger pool can speed-up time to completion massively.
And here's the rub. Given its characteristics, this card ought to be called the RTX Titan or GeForce RTX Studio and positioned more diligently for the creatoprofessional community where computational power and large VRAM go hand in hand. The real RTX 3090, meanwhile, gaming focussed first and foremost, ought to arrive with 12GB of memory and a $999 price point, thereby offering a compelling upgrade without resorting to Titan-esque pricing. Yet all that said, the insatiable appetite and apparent deep pockets of enthusiasts will mean Nvidia sells out of these $1,500 boards today: demand far outstrips supply. And does it matter what it's called, how much memory it has, or even what price it is? Not in the big scheme of things because there is a market for it.
Being part of the GeForce RTX firmament has opened up the way for add-in card partners to produce their own boards. The Gigabyte Gaming OC does most things right. It's built well and looks good, and duly tops all the important gaming charts at 4K. We'd encourage a lower noise profile through a relaxation of temps, but if you have the means by which to buy graphics performance hegemony, the Gaming OC isn't a bad shout... if you can find it in stock.

Hot Hardware

Summarizing the GeForce RTX 3090's performance is simple -- it's the single fastest GPU on the market currently, bar none. There's nuance to consider here, though. Versus the GeForce RTX 3080, disregarding CPU limited situations or corner cases, the more powerful RTX 3090's advantages over the 3080 only range from about 4% to 20%. Versus the Titan RTX, the GeForce RTX 3090's advantages increase to approximately 6% to 40%. Consider complex creator workloads which can leverage the GeForce RTX 3090's additional resources and memory, however, and it is simply in another class altogether and can be many times faster than either the RTX 3080 or Titan RTX.
Obviously, the $1,499 GeForce RTX 3090 Founder's Edition isn't an overall value play for the vast majority of users. If you're a gamer shopping for a new high-end GPU, the GeForce RTX 3080 at less than 1/2 the price is the much better buy. Compared to the $2,500 Titan RTX or $1,300 - $1,500-ish GeForce RTX 2080 Ti though, the GeForce RTX 3090 is the significantly better choice. Your perspective on the GeForce RTX 3090's value proposition is ultimately going to depend on your particular use case. Unless they've got unlimited budgets and want the best-of-the-best, regardless of cost, hardcore gamers may scoff at the RTX 3090. Anyone utilizing the horsepower of the previous generation Titan RTX though, may be chomping at the bit.
The GeForce RTX 3090's ultimate appeal is going to depend on the use-case, but whether or not you'll actually be able to get one is another story. The GeForce RTX 3090 is going to be available in limited quantities today -- NVIDIA said as much in yesterday's performance tease. NVIDIA pledges to make more available direct and through partners ASAP, however. We'll see how things shake out in the weeks ahead, and all bets are off when AMD's makes its RDNA2 announcements next month. NVIDIA's got a lot of wiggle room with Ampere and will likely react swiftly to anything AMD has in store. And let's not forget we still have the GeForce RTX 3070 inbound, which is going to have extremely broad appeal if NVIDIA's performance claims hold up.

Igor's Lab

In Summary: this card is a real giant, especially at higher resolutions, because even if the lead over the GeForce RTX 3080 isn’t always as high as dreamed, it’s always enough to reach the top position in playability. Right stop of many quality controllers included. Especially when the games of the GeForce RTX 3090 and the new architecture are on the line, the mail really goes off, which one must admit without envy, whereby the actual gain is not visible in pure FPS numbers.
If you have looked at the page with the variances, you will quickly understand that the image is much better because it is softer. The FPS or percentiles are still much too coarse intervals to be able to reproduce this very subjective impression well. A blind test with 3 perons has completely confirmed my impression, because there is nothing better than a lot of memory, at most even more memory. Seen in this light, the RTX 3080 with 10 GB is more like Cinderella, who later has to make herself look more like Cinderella with 10 GB if she wants to get on the prince’s roller.
But the customer always has something to complain about anyway (which is good by the way and keeps the suppliers on their toes) and NVIDIA keeps all options open in return to be able to top a possible Navi2x card with 16 GB memory expansion with 20 GB later. And does anyone still remember the mysterious SKU20 between the GeForce RTX 3080 and RTX 3090? If AMD doesn’t screw it up again this time, this SKU20 is sure to become a tie-break in pixel tennis. We’ll see.
For a long time I have been wrestling with myself, which is probably the most important thing in this test. I have also tested 8K resolutions, but due to the lack of current practical relevance, I put this part on the back burner. If anyone can find someone who has a spare 8K TV, I’ll be happy to do so, if only because I’m also very interested in 8K-DLSS. But that’s like sucking on an ice cream that you’ve only printed out on a laser printer before.
The increase in value of the RTX 3090 in relation to the RTX 3080 for the only gamer is, up to the memory extension, to be rather neglected and one understands also, why many critics will never pay the double price for 10 to 15% more gaming performance. Because I wouldn’t either. Only this is then exactly the target group for the circulated RTX 3080 (Ti) with double memory expansion. Their price should increase visibly in comparison to the 10 GB variant, but still be significantly below that of a GeForce RTX 3090. This is not defamatory or fraudulent, but simply follows the laws of the market. A top dog always costs a little more than pure scaling, logic and reason would allow.
And the non-gamer or the not-only-gamer? The added value can be seen above all in the productive area, whether workstation or creation. Studio is the new GeForce RTX wonderland away from the Triple A games, and the Quadros can slowly return to the professional corner of certified specialty programs. What AMD started back then with the Vega Frontier Edition and unfortunately didn’t continue (why not?), NVIDIA has long since taken up and consistently perfected. The market has changed and studio is no longer an exotic phrase. Then even those from about 1500 Euro can survive without a headache tablet again.

KitGuru Article

KitGuru Video

RTX 3080 was heralded by many as an excellent value graphics card, delivering performance gains of around 30% compared to the RTX 2080 Ti, despite being several hundred pounds cheaper. With the RTX 3090, Nvidia isn’t chasing value for money, but the overall performance crown.
And that is exactly what it has achieved. MSI’s RTX 3090 Gaming X Trio, for instance, is 14% faster than the RTX 3080 and 50% faster than the RTX 2080 Ti, when tested at 4K. No other GPU even comes close to matching its performance.
At this point, many of you reading this may be thinking something along the line of ‘well, yes, it is 14% faster than an RTX 3080 – but it is also over double the price, so surely it is terrible value?’ And you would be 100% correct in thinking that. The thing is, Nvidia knows that too – RTX 3090 is simply not about value for money, and if that is something you prioritise when buying a new graphics card, don’t buy a 3090.
Rather, RTX 3090 is purely aimed at those who don’t give a toss about value. It’s for the gamers who want the fastest card going, and they will pay whatever price to claim those bragging rights. In this case of the MSI Gaming X Trio, the cost of this GPU’s unrivalled performance comes to £1530 here in the UK.
Alongside gamers, I can also see professionals or creators looking past its steep asking price. If the increased render performance of this GPU could end up saving you an hour, two hours per week, for many that initial cost will pay for itself with increased productivity, especially if you need as much VRAM as you can get.

OC3D

As with any launch, the primary details are in the GPU itself, and so the first half of this conclusion is the same for both of the AIB RTX 3090 graphics cards that we are reviewing today. If you want to know specifics of this particular card, skip down the page.
Last week we saw the release of the RTX 3080. A card that combined next-gen performance with a remarkably attractive price point, and was one of the easiest products to recommend we've ever seen. 4K gaming for around the £700 mark might be expensive if you're just used to consoles, but if you're a diehard member of the "PC Gaming Master Race", then you know how much you had to spend to achieve the magical 4K60 mark. It's an absolute no brainer purchase.
The RTX 3090 though, that comes with more asterisks and caveats than a Lance Armstrong win on the Tour de France. Make no mistake; the RTX 3090 is brutally fast. If performance is your thing, or performance without consideration of cost, or you want to flex on forums across the internet, then yeah, go for it. For everyone else, and that's most of us, there is a lot it does well, but it's a seriously niche product.
We can go to Nvidia themselves for their key phraseology. With a tiny bit of paraphrasing, they say "The RTX 3090 is for 8K gaming, or heavy workload content creators. For 4K Gaming the RTX 3080 is, with current and immediate future titles, more than enough". If you want the best gaming experience, then as we saw last week, the clear choice is the RTX 3080. If you've been following the results today then clearly the RTX 3090 isn't enough of a leap forwards to justify being twice the price of the RTX 3080. It's often around 5% faster, sometimes 10%, sometimes not much faster at all. Turns out that Gears 5 in particular looked unhappy but it was an 'auto' setting on animation increasing its own settings so we will go back with it fixed to ultra and retest. The RTX 3090 is still though, whisper it, a bit of a comedown after the heights of our first Ampere experience.
To justify the staggering cost of the RTX 3090 you need to fit into one of the following groups; Someone who games at 8K, either natively or via Nvidia's DSR technology. Someone who renders enormous amounts of 3D work. We're not just talking a 3D texture or model for a game; we're talking animated short films. Although even here the reality is that you need a professional solution far beyond the price or scope of the RTX 3090. Lastly, it would be best if you were someone who renders massive, RAW, 8K video footage regularly and has the memory and storage capacity to feed such a voracious data throughput. If you fall into one of those categories, then you'll already have the hardware necessary - 8K screen or 8K video camera - that the cost of the RTX 3090 is small potatoes. In which case you'll love the extra freedom and performance it can bring to your workload, smoothing out the waiting that is such a time-consuming element of the creative process. This logic holds true for both the Gigabyte and MSI cards we're looking at on launch.

PC Perspective - TBD

PC World

There’s no doubt that the $1,500 GeForce RTX 3090 is indeed a “big ferocious GPU,” and the most powerful consumer graphics card ever created. The Nvidia Founders Edition delivers unprecedented performance for 4K gaming, frequently maxes out games at 1440p, and can even play at ludicrous 8K resolution in some games. It’s a beast for 3440x1440 ultrawide gaming too, as our separate ultrawide benchmarks piece shows. Support for HDMI 2.1 and AV1 decoding are delicious cherries on top.
If you’re a pure gamer, though, you shouldn’t buy it, unless you’ve got deep pockets and want the best possible gaming performance, value be damned. The $700 GeForce RTX 3080 offers between 85 and 90 percent of the RTX 3090’s 4K gaming performance (depending on the game) for well under half the cost. It’s even closer at 1440p.
If you’re only worried about raw gaming frame rates, the GeForce RTX 3080 is by far the better buy, because it also kicks all kinds of ass at 4K and high refresh rate 1440p and even offers the same HDMI 2.1 and AV1 decode support as its bigger brother. Nvidia likes to boast that the RTX 3090 is the first 8K gaming card, and while that’s true in some games, it falls far short of the 60 frames per second mark in many triple-A titles. Consider 8K gaming a nice occasional bonus more than a core feature.
If you mix work and play, though, the GeForce RTX 3090 is a stunning value—especially if your workloads tap into CUDA. It’s significantly faster than the previous-gen RTX 2080 Ti, which fell within spitting distance of the RTX Titan, and offers the same 24GB VRAM capacity of that Titan. But it does so for $1,000 less than the RTX Titan’s cost.
The GeForce RTX 3090 stomps all over most of our content creation benchmarks. Performance there is highly workload-dependent, of course, but we saw speed increases of anywhere from 30 to over 100 percent over the RTX 2080 Ti in several tasks, with many falling in the 50 to 80 percent range. That’s an uplift that will make your projects render tangibly faster—putting more money in your pocket. The lofty 24GB of GDDR6X memory makes the RTX 3090 a must-have in some scenarios where the 10GB to 12GB found in standard gaming cards flat-out can’t cut it, such as 8K media editing or AI training with large data sets. That alone will make it worth buying for some people, along with the NVLink connector that no other RTX 30-series GPU includes. If you don’t need those, the RTX 3080 comes close to the RTX 3090 in raw GPU power in many tests.

TechGage - Workstation benchmark!

NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 3090 is an interesting card for many reasons, and it’s harder to summarize than the RTX 3080 was, simply due to its top-end price and goals. The RTX 3080, priced at $699, was really easy to recommend to anyone wanting a new top-end gaming solution, because compared to the last-gen 2080S, 2080 Ti, or even TITAN RTX, the new card simply trounced them all.
The GeForce RTX 3090, with its $1,499 price tag, caters to a different crowd. First, there are going to be those folks who simply want the best gaming or creator GPU possible, regardless of its premium price. We saw throughout our performance results that the RTX 3090 does manage to take a healthy lead in many cases, but the gains over RTX 3080 are not likely as pronounced as many were hoping.
The biggest selling-point of the RTX 3090 is undoubtedly its massive frame buffer. For creators, having 24GB on tap likely means you will never run out during this generation, and if you manage to, we’re going to be mighty impressed. We do see more than 24GB being useful for deep-learning and AI research, but even there, it’s plenty for the vast majority of users.
Interestingly, this GeForce is capable of taking advantage of NVLink, so those wanting to plug two of them into a machine could likewise combine their VRAM, activating a single 48GB frame buffer. Two of these cards would cost $500 more than the TITAN RTX, and obliterate it in rendering and deep-learning workloads (but of course draw a lot more power at the same time).
For those wanting to push things even harder with single GPU, we suspect NVIDIA will likely release a new TITAN at some point with even more memory. Or, that’s at least our hope, because we don’t want to see the TITAN series just up and disappear.
For gamers, a 24GB frame buffer can only be justified if you’re using top-end resolutions. Not even 4K is going to be problematic for most people with a 10GB frame buffer, but as we move up the scale, to 5K and 8K, that memory is going to become a lot more useful.
By now, you likely know whether or not the monstrous GeForce RTX 3090 is for you. Fortunately, if it isn’t, the RTX 3080 hasn’t gone anywhere, and it still proves to be of great value (you know – if you can find it in stock) for its $699 price. NVIDIA also has a $499 RTX 3070 en route next month, so all told, the company is going to be taking good care of its enthusiast fans with this trio of GPUs. Saying that, we still look forward to the even lower-end parts, as those could ooze value even more than the bigger cards.

Techpowerup - MSI Gaming X Trio

Techpowerup - Zotac Trinity

Techpowerup - Asus Strix OC

Techpowerup - MSI Gaming X Trio

Still, the performance offered by the RTX 3090 is impressive; the Gaming X is 53% faster than RTX 2080 Ti, 81% faster than RTX 2080 Super. AMD's Radeon RX 5700 XT is less than half as fast, the performance uplift vs the 3090 is 227%! AMD Big Navi better be a success. With those performance numbers RTX 3090 is definitely suited for 4K resolution gaming. Many games will run over 90 FPS, at highest details, in 4K, nearly all over 60, only Control is slightly below that, but DLSS will easily boost FPS beyond that.
With RTX 3090 NVIDIA is introducing "playable 8K", which rests on several pillars. In order to connect an 8K display you previously had to use multiple cables, now you can use just a single HDMI 2.1 cable. At higher resolution, the VRAM usage goes up, RTX 3090 has you covered, offering 24 GB of memory, which is more than twice that of the 10 GB RTX 3080. Last but not least, on the software side, they added the capability to capture 8K gameplay with Shadow Play. In order to improve framerates (remember, 8K processes 16x the pixels as Full HD), NVIDIA created DLSS 8K, which renders the game at 1440p native, and scales the output by x3, in each direction, using machine learning. All of these technologies are still in its infancy, game support is limited and displays are expensive, we'll look into this in more detail in the future.
24 GB VRAM is definitely future-proof, but I'm having doubts whether you really need that much memory. Sure, more is always better, but unless you are using professional applications, you'll have a hard time finding a noteworthy difference between performance with 10 GB vs 24 GB. Games won't be an issue, because you'll run out of shading power long before you run out of VRAM, just like with older cards today, which can't handle 4K, no matter how much VRAM they have. Next-gen consoles also don't have as much VRAM, so it's hard to image that you'll miss out on any meaningful gaming experience if you have less than 24 GB VRAM. NVIDIA demonstrated several use cases in their reviewer's guide: OctaneRender, DaVinci Resolve and Blender can certainly benefit from more memory, GPU compute applications, too, but these are very niche use cases. I'm not aware of any creators who were stuck and couldn't create, because they ran out of VRAM. On the other hand the RTX 3090 could definitely turn out to be a good alternative to Quadro, or Tesla, unless you need double-precision math (you don't).
Pricing of the RTX 3090 is just way too high, and a tough pill to swallow. At a starting price of $1500, it is more than twice as expensive as the RTX 3080, but not nearly twice as fast. MSI asking another $100 on top for their fantastic Gaming X Trio cooler, plus the overclock out of the box doesn't seem that unreasonable to me. We're talking about 6.6% here. The 6% performance increase due to factory OC / higher power limit can almost justify that, with the better cooler it's almost a no-brainer. While an additional 14 GB of GDDR6X memory aren't free, the $1500 base price still doesn't feel right. On the other hand, the card is significantly better than RTX 2080 Ti in every regard, and that sold for well over $1000, too. NVIDIA emphasizes that RTX 3090 is a Titan replacement—Titan RTX launched at $2500, so $1500 must be a steal for the new 3090. Part of the disappointment about the price is that RTX 3080 is so impressive, at such disruptive pricing. If RTX 3080 was $1000, then $1500 wouldn't feel as crazy—I would say $1000 is a fair price for the RTX 3090. Either way, Turing showed us that people are willing to pay up to have the best, and I have no doubt that all RTX 3090 cards will sell out today, just like RTX 3080.
Obviously the "Recommended" award in this context is not for the average gamer. Rather it means, if you have that much money to spend, and are looking for a RTX 3090, then you should consider this card.

The FPS Review - TBD

Tomshardware

Let's be clear: the GeForce RTX 3090 is now the fastest GPU around for gaming purposes. It's also mostly overkill for gaming purposes, and at more than twice the price of the RTX 3080, it's very much in the category of GPUs formerly occupied by the Titan brand. If you're the type of gamer who has to have the absolute best, and price isn't an object, this is the new 'best.' For the rest of us, the RTX 3090 might be drool-worthy, but it's arguably of more interest to content creators who can benefit from the added performance and memory.
We didn't specifically test any workloads where a 10GB card simply failed, but it's possible to find them — not so much in games, but in professional apps. We also weren't able to test 8K (or simulated 8K) yet, though some early results show that it's definitely possible to get the 3080 into a state where performance plummets. If you want to play on an 8K TV, the 3090 with its 24GB VRAM will be a better experience than the 3080. How many people fall into that bracket of gamers? Not many, but then again, $300 more than the previous generation RTX 2080 Ti likely isn't going to dissuade those with deep pockets.
Back to the content creation bit, while gaming performance at 4K ultra was typically 10-15% faster with the 3090 than the 3080, and up to 20% faster in a few cases, performance in several professional applications was consistently 20-30% faster — Blender, Octane, and Vray all fall into this group. Considering such applications usually fall into the category of "time is money," the RTX 3090 could very well pay for itself in short order compared to the 3080 for such use cases. And compared to an RTX 2080 Ti or Titan RTX? It's not even close. The RTX 3090 often delivered more than double the rendering performance of the previous generation in Blender, and 50-90% better performance in Octane and Vray.
The bottom line is that the RTX 3090 is the new high-end gaming champion, delivering truly next-gen performance without a massive price increase. If you've been sitting on a GTX 1080 Ti or lower, waiting for a good time to upgrade, that time has arrived. The only remaining question is just how competitive AMD's RX 6000, aka Big Navi, will be. Even with 80 CUs, on paper, it looks like Nvidia's RTX 3090 may trump the top Navi 2x cards, thanks to GDDR6X and the doubling down on FP32 capability. AMD might offer 16GB of memory, but it's going to be paired with a 256-bit bus and clocked quite a bit lower than 19 Gbps, which may limit performance.

Computerbase - German

HardwareLuxx - German

PCGH - German

Video Review

Bitwit - TBD

Digital Foundry Video

Gamers Nexus Video

Hardware Canucks

Hardware Unboxed

JayzTwoCents

Linus Tech Tips

Optimum Tech

Paul's Hardware

Tech of Tomorrow

Tech Yes City

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Small reviews of (I think) all incremental games I've ever played on Android

I don't know if this will be useful to anyone. So I write a line or two about every game I play, and decided to find all the incremental in my game journal and post them here. It starts with the latest games I've played and I think goes back to several years back. One thing I've realized is I have such a love-hate-hate relationship with this genre since I think I've hated 90% of the games and 100% of myself after each incremental phase. I usually angrily stop playing them for a while and restart them again, so this is more or less a journal of addiction, I suppose.
THE BEST GAMES I'VE PLAYED ARE THESE (no order):
  1. Kittens Game
  2. Antimatter Dimensions
  3. Oil Tycoon
Honorable Mention: Eggs, Inc
The rest: more or less hated it
Additional comment if you decide to scan through it, I complain a lot, so it is perfectly reasonable and normal to think, "why the fuck are you even playing these games, idiot??".

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Time Idle RPG
This game was confusing. It tells me the game's resources is time, where you get 1 of it every second, but that's not really something as unique as I assumed. It would have been cool if time as resources meant you used it to deal with something related to time. Maybe time travel? Maybe slowing and speeding time?
Instead time as resource buys you stuff like a library. And then you buy a camp or something. Honestly, I wasn't really feeling it.
2
Path of Idling
The biggest cardinal sin for me when it comes to incremental is when a game has a lot of features and it just completely throws them all at you instantly. The joy of a great incremental is how things slowly open up and each new achievement feels progress.
The game is a RPG game and these are the things that opened up for me in the first few hours.
Combat which includes normal fighting, dungeon, raid, boss, PVP (locked, but it just needs an ascend, which I haven't done)
Skills
Hero upgrades which include Passive (strength, defence, stamina, intelligence), Train, and a huge Tree
Town which you can buy workers who get you various things like gold, orbs, knowledge, etc. You can upgrade stuff here.
Quest that also includes Perks and Skill quests.
Gear which 5 equipment slots, plus craft plus trade plus smelt
Also gear for your Pet, which is also another tab!
Now, here is the thing. Because I have all of this pretty much instantly, I don't really know which ones are helping me go past a well. How is adding 10 points in strength helping me? Should I have added five in strength instead and five in defence? I have already bought 20 or so upgrades in the Tree, but I have no idea if I am made the optimal choice. There is no real excitement with getting new gear. And so on.
The dev has added a lot of features, now it's time to rework the game, and have the features take their time.
2
Idle Slayer
The game is like a super simple platformer. Your character is running and any enemy it hits, it automatically slays it. There is no HP, and all enemies die in one shot. Your only active play is jumping occasionally to grab coins or hit the flying enemies. Also, you have a run skill that has a cool down.
With the coins, we get new weapons that give us more coins. Enemies give us souls which is used for the prestige system that provides us with an interesting skill tree which provides a lot of choices on the path you want to do in terms of upgrades.
So far excellent, however, the game has an extremely serious issue of pacing. The game initially progresses so fast that in the first hour or so, you get almost all the weapons aside from the last two, which then grinds down to a snail pace. You can upgrade your past weapons, but they never really get into play again. Reaching high levels of past weapons sometimes gave me upgrades of that weapon of 10,000% but they still did nothing to my overall coin per second. I think the pacing needs to be fully reworked. It would have been nice to get new weapons after certain prestige cycles, so that every new weapon feels like we have passed a significant wall. The best part of an incremental game for me is to face a wall, and when I finally break it, I feel powerful again for a while. This game feels like this though, powerful powerful powerful powerful WALL........break it....WALL. And so on. I'm still playing it as I want to get some of the skills, but I feel like it could have been so much better.
4
Exponential Idle
A very back to the foundation kind of incremental. The premise is that you are a student and working on a formula. There is a neat story where as you progress in the game, your character progresses through university. Each upgrade gives you more and more automation until I reached a stage where I would check back once every 2 or 3 days, click a 2nd layer prestige reset, and close it. Meaning the game was something like 5 seconds of game player every 2 days. I just opened it for this review and realized I had reached the end game. The story wraps up and it tells me "You can take a rest. Travel a bit. Go outside!" NO, DON'T TELL ME WHAT TO DO GAME.
3
Factoid
Factoid & Spark should have the same review as they are almost the same game with only small differences. The games are the most basic kind of incremental, where you buy something with resources, until you get the next thing which gives you more of the resources. Both give you upgrades to speed things up, and finally prestige and it's own prestige upgrades. That's it. It's nice little change of pace from all the recent incremental that sometimes do too much, but obviously due to the very simple nature of it, it does eventually feel pointless, specially after you more or less open up everything and the prestige upgrades just keep repeating.
3
Spark
Factoid & Spark should have the same review as they are almost the same game with only small differences. The games are the most basic kind of incremental, where you buy something with resources, until you get the next thing which gives you more of the resources. Both give you upgrades to speed things up, and finally prestige and it's own prestige upgrades. That's it. It's nice little change of pace from all the recent incremental that sometimes do too much, but obviously due to the very simple nature of it, it does eventually feel pointless, specially after you more or less open up everything and the prestige upgrades just keep repeating. 3
Antimatter Dimensions
Easily top 5 incremental on mobile. Does everything perfectly. You progress nicely, and when new features open it, not only is it rewarding but more importantly, it keeps adding new dimensions (lol) to the game. I'd at the end game as I write this, and I realize that there was no point in the game where it felt stale. Each new prestige layer made the game feel fresh and almost like a new incremental game.
5
Melvor Idle
It seems this game was mainly aimed at Runescape players, which is probably why it didn't click for me. It also run extremely slow on my phone which also played a part in me not really getting into.
2
A Girl Adrift
The animation is really pretty and is a nice change of pace for incrementals, but I didn't really like the too much active play. Really had to keep going back and forth to different areas to do the fishing which got too repetitive for me.
You travel to different areas of the map to catch fish, which you get points and then you upgrade stuff, but I didn't really find any real excitement about the upgrades because I kept having to go back to previous areas to fish similar creatures.
3
Archer: Danger Phone
I'm really annoyed how terrible of a game this was. Two things I like, the TV show "Archer" and incremental games, and it's done in the most lazy manner. The game is the worst aspect of idle games where it's just a straight path of clicking the next upgrade with absolutely zero decision making. Every once in a while there is a mini game where Archer gets to shoot others but it's done in the most basic form of early 2000s flash games, where the animation budget is probably 3 dollars. Same static background and both enemies and Archer have just two animation frames. The absolute laziness of it is almost insulting to the player, because it feels like we aren't even worth the effort.
There is an Archer story in the game which develops really fast, which is the only positive part, but no voice acting is again another evidence that the creators of the game weren't given any budget for this.
1
Home Quest
This game is way too slow. You have to collect materials to build your settlement but everything takes time, so you click for a few seconds, and then you have to leave the game. Which I'm fine with, but the problem isn't the idle part of it, it's how the idle part of it combines with constant checking of the game which annoys me. I like an idle game where you forget to start the game for a day, you come up to a lot of resources, but this is a game which needs you to check back in every 30 minutes or an hour to really get anywhere. I felt that the micromanagement was getting worse as I progressed (without any actual thing to do when I am active in the game) that made me give up.
2
Idle Industry
This is probably an interesting game, but I gave up because the one thing I really disliked was the amount of resources and manufacturing that very quickly opens to you. You can buy raw materials, and you can either sell these raw materials or turn them into finished goods and sell them either. And each of these has several upgrade options (increase selling price, increase production, etc). Without even really getting too deep into the game, I have around 20 raw materials and around 30 finished products. A satisfying part of this genre is to have things slow open up for you, which gives me a decent feeling of satisfaction. But the money I got would quickly open up new products, so I would just jump ahead and purchase more expensive ones, and after a while I had a lot of materials and products at zero, and was instead focusing on latter ones.
2
Masters of Madness
Somewhat neat atmosphere and visuals, but too much active clicking. Click, upgrade to get more per clicks, get minions to get you some points without clicking, typical clicker, but with the added benefit of almost no idling. I like idling incrementals but clickers is a hard no from me.
1
Soda Dungeon 2
Basically similar to the first one, as far as I could tell. I did "finish" it but maybe I shouldn't have, since it really is the same thing from early on, specially once you get all the heroes and you kind of sort out which characters work best, then it's just the same. But because it was somewhat short and no real wall, it was at least easy to stick to it to the end.
2
Bacterial Takeover
Played for a decent amount and was actually more interesting that I thought, given the buttload of ad incentives. You create and upgrade bacteria, attack planets, and eventually go into a blackhole to prestige. Most of the game was good, but the part that killed it for me was the prestige system. Once you prestige, planets get super easy to attack, which becomes a lot of active play. I realized that each prestige was taking me at least 30 minutes to get to where I was, and it was just meaningless clicking. It got to a point where I was putting off prestige because it seemed like it would be a hassle so I stopped.
2
LogRogue
Cute graphics. The hero sort of hopping to hit the tiny monsters is cute to look at, but how long can you look at it and do nothing before you realize that it's boring? I suppose this is a game where it's just not for me. I don't like to have my phone open on a game and just watch it like a crazy person and do nothing. My rule is simple for incrementals. While the app is open, be active, if there isn't any choices to make, close the app while resources build up or whatever. I don't like it being open while I do nothing.
3
A Kittens Game
Incremental games are so strange. I get in and out of the phases. I loved this for so long and so obsessively that I wanted to only play incremental games. And then, just like that, I was wondering why the fuck I was wasting my time with this. Has happened countless times before.
But still probably the best incremental ever.
5
A Dark Room
An incremental cult classic of sorts but I don't find it really matches the genre. There is a bit of incremental at the beginning with people huts and stuff but then its just a ascii exploring game, which wasn't interesting to me.
2
Little Healer
Saw it mentioned in the Reddit incremental forum in one of the posts and thought it was a healer themed incremental which sounded neat. But it's like being a healer in a raid in World of Warcraft without any if the extras. Just a couple of bars representing your team mates and you healing them while they fight the boss. I didn't even like playing the healer in WoW so no way would I play this game.
1
Clickie Zoo
Started playing for a few days until I realized there a beta released with the dev reworking the game completely from scratch and releasing it as "Idle Zoo Tycoon". So, played that instead but this seemed like a game I would enjoy anyway.
4
Idling to Rule the Gods
The UI and one drawing if your character is really ugly enough to be distracting to me. The game, seemed interesting and I eventually was into it, but seems like a game that has been constantly being updated, which is not always a good thing, because features are obviously updated regularly to it, making the whole thing a bit bloaty.
I guess, this is the problem with this game for me, it's too fat. Also, one main part of the game is that your character creates Shadow Clones up to a maximum limit. Which is fine except the clones can't be made in offline mode. This might not be a big deal in its original web browser game but that doesn't work as well in a mobile format.
2
Realm Grinder
This is one of the really popular incremental and it's fanbase seems to love it for it's depth, but to be honest, I don't play these games for the depth, I play it for the simple dopamine rush of doing the same thing over and over again. It relaxes.
Although, I didn't even get to the depth part because I dislike games where it rushes in the beginning. I constantly bought buildings, got spells, and got upgrades without even looking at the description. Apparently, later on, we can get complicated race upgades, which seems not what I'm looking for in such a genre.
2
Spaceplan
A short (!!) incremental with an actual story (!!!). That's two cool points for it but unfortunately, the game mechanics of increment genre isn't so good. It's a space game with nice visuals and a great ending (cool music set to cool graphics) but the game itself wasn't really that fun. This same exact game would have been better in a different genre (maybe something like "Out There"?)
3
Zombidle
Felt like idle games again and this is the kind of examples that kept me away. Too much clicking and seems like advancement will start to get irritating since it relies on IAPs
2
Eggs, Inc
While I was playing it, Eggs, Inc was probably my favorite Android game I had ever played. But like most incremental games, there comes a moment when I suddenly stop and think, what am I doing?
Because there is something fascinating about Incrementals. Their addictiveness is in a way the whole point. An incremental is less of a game and more an act of electronic addictiveness. What's the point?
Eggs, Inc is a very well made and fun incremental but even the best in its genre is still pointless.
4
Castle Clicker
Supposedly a mix of incremental and city building but didn't really find out since the clickings were way to much. I know this is supposed to be the genre but I like the incremental part more than the tapping part. This seemed to be a good way to hurt your fingers.
2
Endless Era
This RPG clicker game is like other such games but with horrible GUI and animations. Tap tap tap. It's my fault for downloading such games. Why would I ever think this would be fun???
1
Idle Quote
An incremental game with a unique twist. This time we get to make up quotes! The first negative about the game and this irritates me a lot is most of the quotes are fake. A quick search on Google and this proves it. Quotes are generally attributed to Buddha or Ghandi or shit like that and it's usually fake like most quotes on the internet. This kills the major possible advantage of the game because I thought coming up with arbitrary words would at least give me some quotes to learn. Aside from the this, the game isn't fun either because it slows down very quickly meaning you combine words very slowly at a certain stage of the game and then it becomes a boring grind.
2
Monster Miser
An incremental game with almost no graphics. We just see character portraits of monsters which we buy and then upgrade until we buy the next monster. Eventually we prestige which gives us multipliers. The only game choice is choosing between two monsters with each new monster with unique benefits. Annoyingly there is a max limit which I wish didn't exist because I wanted to prestige so much that I would be over powerful in upgrading like that "Idle Oil Tycoon". Still, pointless but reasonably fun.
3
Pocket Politics
An incremental take on politics sounds fun but it's so generic that it could have been about anything. A Capitalist idle game or a cooking idle game, it wouldn't matter. IAP was also the usual shitty kind.
1
Time Clickers
A shooter incremental sounds like a cool twist but it's not a FPS like I imagined it would be. I'm just stuck in a room and I was shooting blocks. Upgrades didn't give me any enjoyment since I was shooting fucking blocks.
1
Tap Tap Fish - Abyssrium
I thought this was going to be relaxing incremental but the ridiculous and generic IAPs and all the social integeration spoil it. Too much time is spent in them asking you to buy or share or tweet or post or give them a blowjob. And there is nothing relaxing about that.
2
Cartoon 999
Incremental game about comic book writers, but not the marvel DC kind, it seemed to be the webcomic one and I think it's a Korean developer so all the characters and injokes made no sense to me. The whole thing was just targeted to a very specific audience.
2
Dungeon Manager
Incremental games need to be simple but this is beyond simple, it's just upgrade a fighter to level 5, go to next dungeon character, do the same, and just continue without any of the delicious balancing of upgrades like other idle games.
2
Final Fortress
Incremental games are already pointless but when it's super heavy on IAP than its also annoying, but when it always has bugs that doesn't register my offline earnings, then it just needs a uninstall in its face.
The zombie skin was also crappy.
1
Mana Maker
Here is how I know this clicker isn't very good. It doesn't make me hate all clickers and my life and mobile gaming in general for being so addictive and pointless.
So fail, sorry.
2
Infinity Dungeon
The usual incremental RPG that I should probably never play again. Starts simple enough and then gets more or a chore as you play.
1
Another incremental game which I had promised myself not to play anymore because they are so pointless and repetitive and endless. Well, this wasn't infinite and had a goal at 999 level so I thought it was good but while the humor was cute, the game did become very repetitive. Every 10 levels the slimes changed but after every 100 levels the whole thing restarted and while the monsters got stronger, I seemed to get even stronger. So the game became easier as I progressed and there was no more challenge. By level 800, I gave up.
2
Tap Dungeon RPG
Okay, I'm running out of ways to complain about those incremental RPG games that all have similar problems. It starts off reasonably fast and fun but soon it seems like I am in a data entry job. Doing the same thing over and over again with little changes.
1
Dungeon 999 F: Secret of Slime Dungeon
Another incremental game which I had promised myself not to play anymore because they are so pointless and repetitive and endless. Well, this wasn't infinite and had a goal at 999 level so I thought it was good but while the humor was cute, the game did become very repetitive. Every 10 levels the slimes changed but after every 100 levels the whole thing restarted and while the monsters got stronger, I seemed to get even stronger. So the game became easier as I progressed and there was no more challenge. By level 800, I gave up.
2
Tap Dungeon RPG
Okay, I'm running out of ways to complain about those incremental RPG games that all have similar problems. It starts off reasonably fast and fun but soon it seems like I am in a data entry job. Doing the same thing over and over again with little changes.
1
Tower of Hero
You start on the first floor of the tower and keep fighting your way up by summoning your heroes (by clicking) and recruiting other fighters, get upgrades, level up, and then, ugh, here is the typical incremental RPG part, restart, get items, and do it ALL over again.
There is something fun about restarting and getting slowly stronger each time but it also feels so pointless after a while. Such a pointless genre now that I have played a billion of such titles, heh.
3
Pageboy
Yet another incremental RPG which I have no idea why I downloaded because I'm sick of the genre. I played a pageboy to a knight who does the fighting while I collect the lot. I collect the loot, buy stuff for the knight, and eventually I restart to do the same thing again and get better items but this game I didn't even RESTART! Because fuck it! Fuck it!
2
Idle Warriors
The story is cute. Human population is regressing while monster population is on the rise. So the humans start enslaving monsters to mine for them! The brave warriors beat the crap out of monsters, kidnap the bosses, and enslave them. The animation of monsters slaving away while speech balloons above them talk about their wife and children is funny.
But the game itself is another RPG incremental which I should start staying away from. These games are like a chore for me nowadays because I'm doing the same crap again and again. The blame is probably on me because it seems like a reasonably solid game. But hey, fuck it, I PERSONALLY didn't enjoy it.
2
Tap! Tap! Faraway!
Any game that is remotely like Tap Titan scares me. They are addictive at first and very fast moving but after every restart gets more and more annoying. It soon turns into a time eating activity with the player having to redo the initial levels to get relics to get better items to progress further to restart to get relics to and so on until the player realizes how much time he is putting in the game for a repetitive activity.
2
Auto RPG
Now that is a title the game developers didn't spend too much time on. RPG battles are automatic but I can help out by clicking like a mad man. I started with one hero but would get additional members in my party as the story progressed. Party members receive skills as as they level up and while all the skill usage is automatic, it did give me a sense of progression which is extremely important in a RPG and which I think is usually lacking in incremental games. It usually starts feeling useless but in this game at least there are new maps, new members, and an actual end sight!
There is an infinity stage once the last boss is defeated but I am glad the infinity stage happens AFTER the end and it's not the game itself.
4
Merchant
Hire a hero and send on to battle. The battles is done automatically and takes time, starts with something short like 10 seconds with each battle taking longer. The loot is raw materials which can be used to craft equipment which also takes real life time with better items taking longer. The crafted items can either be sold or equipped to the hero to make him be able to fight stronger monsters.
I was worried I would hate the longer crafting and fighting times because I hate games which I have to watch for a task to finish but even though the durations for longer, I had more to do. However, I don't know what would have happened in the end game because I gave up on it. New maps were exactly like the first map just with different heroes but the progression was similar in each level which felt that I was doing the exact same thing all over again but with longer task times.
2
Idle Oil Tycoon
This is the best idle game I played. It's graphics aren't just minor, they are none existent. It's just numbers, so basic that my sister thought I was on a stock market app.
It's such a simple concept. Invest, get oil, upgrade then like other idlers restart to get a bonus and do the full thing all over again. When I finished the game, I played the unlimited mode which I played until the unlimited mode couldn't handle the numbers anymore.
5
Soda Dungeon
This kind-of Idle Dungeon was great. I started with weak ass fighters who would fight on my behalf while I collected the loot. I then got to use the lot to upgrade the sofa bar to recruit more adventurers. Not sure why it was a sofa bar. Maybe they wanted to make it a family game and not have alcohol? Sounds weird but the sofa element in a RPG game sounds weirder.
The game only hit a brick for me when, like most other incremental games, there is no real closure. Once I thought I bet the big bad guy, it just goes on, harder but similar enough with no end in sight. Eventually, we have to stop playing right, but it always feels a bit like a let down when I don't feel like I have finished the game.
4
10 Billion Wives Kept Man Life
The two games from this company, 10 Billion Wives and Kept Man Life, have similar strengths and weaknesses.
I liked the silly premises from both. In 10BM, I had to get married as much as I could, using the loves I collect to marry more expensive wives! In KML, I'm a boyfriend who doesn't work and I have to please my career gf so she would take care of me.
Both start reasonably fast and I was willing to grind through difficult parts but the end game is like a brick wall. Passing through it to get all the achievements is pretty much impossible unless one puts in way too many hours. And it's a shame because I really wanted to get all the achievements to see all the tiny little extra stuff.
3
Adventure Capitalist
One of the better incremental games, but now that I am out of the short lived incremental fan phase, I realized how dumb the genre is. Tap, tap, tap, upgrade, do this a million times, reset, and do it all over again like a moron. The game does deserve credits for me acting like a moron and playing it for so long but I also cheated and got free cash and then if occupying became even more pointless.
3
The Monolith
A combination of an incremental and a civilization building game seemed like an excellent idea and in some ways, it was, specially how we get to upgrade through the ages from cavemen to futuristic. But no offline feature means that the resets aren't enticing.
2
USSR Simulator
An incremental game that has a great theme (USSR!) but absolutely horrible to enjoy, even though I did stick to it. After a certain upgrades, the game just turned into me popping in the game, clicking an upgrade and then forgetting about the game for a few days.
2
RPG Clicker
They should call these games tappers not clickers. We are not clicking anything on a touchscreen device. Anyway, tap tap tap level up buy weapons tap tap and uninstall.
1
Logging Quest Logging Quest 2
[Review is for the original and its sequel]
There is not much of a difference between the game. I actually played them both at the same time because the actual game is offline. You choose your hero, send them to a dungeon, and then come back to the game after a while to see how well they did. I thought an offline RPG like this might be interesting but then, if you don't really play a game, how much fun can it be?
1
Another pointless incremental. I was in an incremental phase and got so many incremental games that I know realize were absolutely pointless.
Hit a tree, buy upgrades, get a new hero, and continue hitting a tree. Not much offline it seems which is what I like about incrementals.
1
Galaxy Clicker
A space incremental that should have been a lot of fun. You get to upgrade your spaceship and buy new ones and explorer new planets. But first of all, the interface is so ugly that it makes playing the game less enjoyable. And a lot of things I didn't really get no matter how much I would play like the full exploring planets. The spaceships were nice, so it could have been fun.
2
Megatramp
A pretty pointless incremental kind of game. You are a tramp and then you can collect money to buy upgrades to make more money, with no strategy needed, nor any effort needs to be made to hurt your brain cells.
1
Inflation RPG
It supposed to be some kind of incremental RPG, I think, which has you resetting and getting more powerful and then fighting monsters to get insane levels. It is very unique but I couldn't get into it.
2
Widget RPG
Are you fucking with me? This is button bashing rpg in the most extreme manner. You get a widget, so you don't even have to open the game and distract yourself from the button bushing. Just click the button and the game plays behind the scenes and gets you experience, loot, and kills.
It's a ridiculous idea that is fun for a few minutes to see what they come up with but there is only so much button bashing you can do.
2
Capitalist Tycoon
I downloaded this game because I was in an incremental/idle game phase and really enjoyed AdVenture Capitalist. But this game is nothing like that. On the surface, it seems similar, buy small investments, make money, buy bigger investments, and so on.
But with this game, there is no offline mode, and you keep having to wake up managers, AND the goal is to see how much you make in one year. Bah. I prefer the incremental approach which makes you build and build and build, not try to rush it in just a year.
2
Clicking Bad
An incremental clicking game that is themed after Breaking Bad. It is a fun idea it's a very simple game with little to do aside from the obvious of upgrading and upgrading. The only twist might be to balance out making lots of money selling drugs and not attracting the law but even that is only a small challenge at the start. Eventually, you will get enough upgrades to bring the law risk so down that it makes no impact on the game play.
2
Zombie Tapper
A super basic incremental clicker game with a zombie team. Click click click to eat brains, use brains (?) to buy zombies to do the brain eating for you and then buy upgrades for your zombies, and buy new zombies and it all feels very pointless.
1
Bitcoin Billionaire
I started to enjoy incremental games, but it needs to have a good offline mode, because I don’t want to just play a game where I keep tapping. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t play. I played it, and I played a lot of it, because I could reset the game (like most incremental games) and it gives you a small benefit where you could finish the full game a bit faster (it gives you bonus income). So, I kept finishing and resetting, and each time the start to finish would shorten, so I thought I would reach a stage where I could finish each start-to-finish in an instant! It didn’t happen. I got bored first.
3
Tap Titan
An addictive tapping game. Just tap on the creatures, level up, get new skills, hire heroes, and then reset and to it all over again to progress further. It’s an incremental game where it depends on resets to progress, but no real offline bonus, so you have to be playing online. Which got boring, so I installed an app that does the tapping for me, which is actually a stupid way to play the game, but this isn’t an attempt to prove to anyone my intelligence. Anyway, thankfully something went wrong and my progress got deleted, WHICH WAS A GOOD THING, because the game was extremely addictive.
4
God Squad
I’ve realized most incremental games are stupid. Tap on monsters to kill, collect gold, buy Roman Gods, level them up, fight other monsters, and then get bored.
1
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There is no getting around it; Mass Effect Andromeda is a poor game.

It seems like every year since the game came out there is hot debate about whether the game is 'really that bad' and if it 'deserves another shot with fresh eyes' and I'm going to say: It's pretty damn bad and it isn't really worth the time it asks of you.
First and foremost my full disclosure that I'm a huge Trilogy and extended universe fan. The first 3 mass effect games were not perfect but on balance as collection I can't think of a more impactful trilogy of games or a more well crafted sci-fi universe.
When Andromeda was announced I had mixed feelings. Sure I wanted a new Mass Effect game because I loved the franchise, but I did question if I needed a new Mass Effect game. Was I really ready to re-invest my attention, love and time into a new cast of character who almost certainly wouldn't be as memorable as the first?
I decided to just accept that I'd play it sooner or later so I wanted to give it a chance, I wanted to try and build cautious excitement for it. I should probably also say I completely ignored the development 'backlash' re-the facial animations and the Ess-Jay-Dubyoo reactionary shit. I never let these things colour my opinion of a game. Not FF7 Remake, not TLOU2 and certainly not a Mass Effect game.
So when I finally got the game I really wanted to give it a fair shake, despite there being things right off the bat I didn't like.
I really didn't like the opening, it felt cold, disconnected and frankly kind of rushed. I found it hard to get invested in the Ryders because they frankly just lack the subtle charm of Shepard. I also was not crazy about the 'Important Father' plot device that annoyed me in Fallout 3. But I stuck with it.
Then, finally after about 25ish hours into the game I gave up. I was bored and I saw no reason to keep playing. Andromeda was the first game I ever returned after getting halfway through it. I left it feeling angry both that I wasn't able to see the game through and that I wasted time trying to like it in the first place.
It wasn't the worst game I ever played, but it was a pointless, messy slog that missed the mark on basically everything that made the Trilogy special.
The Story
Now I think I should mentioned that I didn't find the story of the original Trilogy to be anything groundbreaking. It was a fairly standard 'ancient evil' action-adventure. But what made it stand out was the world building, and the story-telling. Andromeda lazily tries to re-hash the entire story of the Trilogy into one game and sacrifices any sincere attempt at world building which leaves the conflict feeling weightless.
When i played the Original Universe I felt I was part of a living breathing universe that was turning and developing independent of me. Andromeda had me colonizing empty, boring, barren planets in a universe devoid of any life or personality while I fought the most insultingly one-note B-movie race of 'baddie aliens' the Kett.
There is no getting around it, the Kett suck. They have no proper introduction so for a lot of the game you're wondering why the hell you are shooting at them other than the fact they are shooting at you. This is where I start disregarding arguments that it's a good game but just 'not a good mass effect game'. No. The Kett are just bad sci-fi villians, they belong in an a retro arcade shoot em up like Galaga, not in a Triple A franchise of any genre. But because they ARE apart of Mass Effect you are left wondering how they went from Saren to that.
The Characters
I honestly don't hate the all of the cast of Andromeda that much. I really don't like Ryder, but then shepard casts a large shadow. Liam or Cora bored me but then so did Kaiden, Ashley, Jacob and Miranda.
Peebee was tolerable but kind of annoying and a clear pandering to the 'bet you can't wait to romance her!' crowd. Drak was okay, but I couldn't shake the feeling that if he was in the original Trilogy he'd be a quest giver character with maybe 20 mins of dialogue, and for that he just feels like a stretched out extra.
Vetra was my favourite. Garrus and the Turian race in general set high expectations with their unique writing and development and I think Verta did the race proud. She was funny, relatable and probably the only one who I looked forward to talking to, or was interested in what she thought.
Jaal sucked. I hated Jaal. Similar to the Kett he feels like watered down versions of what was interesting in the OT specifically Javik and Thane. Jaal is nowhere near as interesting or unique as either of them, precisely because he is so shamelessly modelled after them in personality and character. Apart from the annoying passive-aggressive Scottish religious woman I can't for the life of me remember any other character, so they must not have stood out.
The Gameplay
Let's talk about the combat! This is the 'saving grace' of the game isn't it? It's so expansive and customizable, and it gets back to the more RPG roots of ME1, right?
Well, no. The combat is indeed more developed and there is far more freedom between class powers but this doesn't nessecarily make the game more fun when you look at the context it grants you these freedoms. Yes you have more powers to play around with, but when you spend you time fighting waves and waves of cookie cutter Kett mooks and the occasional bullet sponge charging beast the combat loses its tension.
Mass Effect OT had fairly simple combat in terms of functions but there was thought out map design for each encounter. When I was pinned down by enemy fire and being actively flanked by foes who could do some real damage up close I was having fun, I had to think on my feet, I had to think about which team mate could assist and from which angle. I had less freedom but more engagement.
In Andromeda if any enemy is giving me trouble I can leap out of danger or abuse some poorly designed structure or landscape to cheese combat encounters. No tension or excitement just different way to throw colorful effects at repetitive enemies.
This also becomes more glaring when you realise just how much damn combat you go through. Because of the nature of the planets and the awful 'go there, kill that' quests you burn yourself out on the encounters and fighting just becomes a slog. Combat encounters in mass effect should never feel like 'gameplay filler' they are supposed to immerse you in the dangerous world. Andromeda just plays like a subpar looter shooter. Nothing has any meaning.
Being a vast open universe isn't enough if there isn't places I want to explore. I spent time reading about planets in the original 3 games because the universe was bursting with character, it made the lore something to give a shit about. Andromeda just has worlds the look like standard video game levels.
Again I want it to be known I don't think Andromeda is the worst game ever made, I just think it fails to do what it's trying to do. There might have been an acceptable sci-fi romp game in there somewhere but the execution was terrible. And because of it, the series is literally dead now.
submitted by DynamoJonesJr to patientgamers [link] [comments]

[OT] Ten Months ago I responded to a prompt about wandering into a cave and finding a world with tamable monsters. Today, Into the Tall Grass is a published novel!

Hello everyone!
To repeat what the title said, ten months ago I responded to a prompt:
[WP] When out in the woods, you discover a cave that leads to a world that operates under Pokémon logic... And find that you have an innate ability to tame the monsters of this world.
The idea absolutely gripped me - and now I’ve published a novel inspired by that prompt and my love of monster taming games! Here’s the details:
Two suns, foreign plants, and a whole slew of monsters to tame.
Amateur entomologist and reluctant Life Scout, Caleb finds far more than he expected when he stumbles through a hidden cave and into a new world full of Kritt - monsters that can be tamed and taught to fight. He also didn’t expect evil overlords and their minions looking to use the power of Kritt to grind this world under their bootheel.
Unless someone stops them, that is.
Once meeting Antoinette, an affectionate ant Kritt that bonds with Caleb, and Karla, a tamer of this world that’s living off the land and preparing to strike back against the Darkholds, they set off. Their goal? Help free the people of this world from the Overseer’s grasp. A mountain’s worth of threats stand in their way, though: the Overseer’s soldiers, terrible abominations, wild Kritt, and all the trouble Caleb’s sarcastic mouth can cause.
Welcome, Caleb, to the world of Kritt. Now evolve - or perish.
Into the Tall Grass is a Portal Fantasy/Isekai book with strong gamelit elements.
FAQ
Harem/Sex/Murder?
Nope. This story is designed to capture the feel of those classic games, and while it does have higher stakes than those games, it is designed to capture the light-hearted feel that we all love.
Audiobook?
Nothing yet announced, but I’ll update if there is one!
Stats?
Into the Tall Grass is a stat light gamelit, and the stats do not appear explicitly until later in the book once Caleb gets his totally-not-a-Pokedex goggles. The later books in the series will have more detailed stats as Caleb delves further into the system that runs this world.
Shorts?
They’re comfy and easy to wear.
Where do I catch the book?
Well, you first need to learn HM Cut, go to the hole in the wall after beating the second boss...or you can just get it on Amazon
Amazon US Link - UK | CA | AU | DE | MX | JP | IN | BR | FR | ES | IT | NL
I want to sample before I pick up?
Well, good news for you - just read on!
Caleb Cooper slapped at his arm with a growl. Another mosquito. He wouldn’t have said camping was his least favorite activity in the world. Even at sixteen, he could easily imagine worse ways to spend his time. He could have his feet dipped in acid, or be stabbed in the back repeatedly, or repeat algebra. But no one was forcing him to do any of those, because he’d passed algebra and hadn’t angered any Bond villains lately.
“C’mon, try to smile some,” his dad said, walking up behind him and shaking his back. “What more could you want? We’ve got the great outdoors, we’ve got trees, we’ve got sun, we’ve got fresh air...this is perfect!”
Caleb sighed. “Oh, yeah, surrounded by kids who’re still in junior high. It’s everything a growing teen could want. Toxic plants, the sun, brats who think I’m a weirdo, the sun again...what’s not to love? You know, I could be going to a party tonight.”
His dad’s smile didn’t waver. “You do so love the party scene. I mean, the last one you went to was...Jimmy Dryer’s eighth birthday party? Getting wild up in the hizzouse there.”
“Okay, dad, I need to tell you two things. First of all, if you say hizzouse out loud, ever again, I will die. I will literally fall over dead from embarrassment. No, I know the correct definition of literally and I am using it correctly, that is actually what will happen. Do you want to be responsible for filicide via intense shame?”
“I’m positive that’s not actually possible.”
“Oh, it totally is. Remember Becky? Died last year because her mom was singing ‘Ain’t nuthin but a G Thang.’ Sure, they say Becky changed schools because they moved, but it was all a cover up. Heard her mom singing and pow!” Caleb punched a closed fist into his empty hand. “dropped over dead.”
His dad laughed. “Noted. And the second thing?”
“You might have picked up subtle hints about this, what with me mentioning it no less than two hundred and ninety eight times on the drive down here according to you. I don’t really like camping.”
There was a long pause, and his dad’s face fell. Caleb immediately winced, but it was too late. “You used to beg to go out every year, remember?”
Yeah, in like 8th grade. When all his friends had been in boy scouts with him, and he’d been able to spend time with them. But high school had come, and his friends had moved on. But the Coopers came from a long line of Eagle scouts. His dad was an Eagle Scout, his grandfather had been an Eagle Scout, and Caleb’s dad would be damned if his son wasn’t an Eagle Scout. “Right,” Caleb muttered. “Sorry, I’ll give it a chance. I’m sure once I get back in the groove it’ll be fine.”
“That’s the spirit!” His dad’s face lit back up.
Caleb gave him an expression that could have been a grin if you squint hard enough. “Awesome. I’m going to...head out.” He turned to trundle off into the woods.
“Where are you going?” his dad asked.
Caleb held up a glass. “Going to see if I can find an Acorn Weevil. There’s a lot of oaks around here, and I’d like one for the collection.”
It was the one part of the outdoors Caleb enjoyed -- catching insects. It was a bit of an odd hobby, but Caleb was a bit of a junior entomologist and enjoyed it. He was thinking about going to college for entomology after he graduated. Something about the wide variety of possible insects, finding things that people usually overlooked, categorizing them...it was calming. He had several glass cases of them pinned at home, many of them gathered from scouting trips like these.
Naturally, it was the one part of the outdoors his dad didn’t like. His father turned green and motioned for Caleb to go ahead. “Don’t wander too far!” he shouted.
Yeah, yeah. It wasn’t like he could go too far even if he wanted to. The campsite was in the middle of a series of mid-Missouri bluffs, and wandering more than an hour’s walk would inevitably lead to a solid rock wall. Or a road.
Step by step, the sounds of the rest of the boy scout troop receded in the forest behind him. Caleb let out a sigh of relief. He was the only high schooler still in the troop, and a lot of the older kids thought he had to be some kind of loser to still be doing this at his age.
They aren’t wrong, Caleb thought. Just not for the right reasons. Being a boy scout isn’t what made him a loser. It was his complete lack of social life at high school, relegated only to a few other dorks at lunch who he didn’t really hang out with, and the fact that he collected bugs when most people were going to parties or making out or getting drunk or playing video games or even playing Magic: The Gathering - that made him a loser.
That’s right. The MTG kids could look down on him for bug collecting. Was that fair? Obviously, they deserved someone who they could look down on too, and Caleb understood that unlike their weird hobby, his weird hobby was also gross. Still, didn’t he deserve the same? Someone he could silently judge and feel superior to? But, no, the only ones lower than him on the social hierarchy were kids with actual issues, and Caleb didn’t want to be that kind of jerk.
The worst part was, he felt bad for not enjoying the scouts anymore. If his dad had planned these trips as one on one things, where they could go out and find rare insects, or even some other wildlife finding things like birdwatching or something, Caleb would have loved their trips as much as he used to. Well, probably. Maybe. I’d like it better if I knew this was the alternative, Caleb amended. These days, however, he’d found most of the insects at their usual camping sights. He actually had an acorn weevil already, but there was no way his dad would remember it - since his dad didn’t really look beyond his own wants. He wanted an Eagle Scout, so an Eagle Scout Caleb would be.
Especially after what had happened with mom. Dad had become rabid about father-son activities since then. “It’s just the two of us now,” Dad said once, when he’d had a bit too much to drink after work. “Just the two of us.”
Caleb shook his head and brushed away a tree branch before it could slap him in the face. The stinging in his eyes was a good reminder why he didn’t want to go down that particular rabbit hole.
A little while later, as he had expected, Caleb found himself at one of the bluffs. It was a solid expanse of rock, covered in creeping vines. The tendrils would be crawling with acrobat ants, which made them a nice place to stop because they’d keep the wasp population down in the region. Maybe I could try to find a nest. Maybe even a queen. That thought he discarded - it would be a prize, but the only way he’d ever add an ant queen to his collection would be if he found one dead. It felt different than taking a single insect and putting it on his board. Taking a queen could wipe out an entire colony.
When I finish college, I’ll get a whole terrarium. Then I can have living ones. That way I’ll get to enjoy my insects in peace and make sure I never ever have people invite themselves over. They’ll be all ‘oh, can I come over’ and I’ll be like ‘sure, don’t mind the ants.’ And then I’ll have alienated another person! That would be better and would make him feel better about what he did. Even the knowledge that he was killing bugs sapped the fun out of his hobby. Of course, that same hobby would also guarantee his adulthood was as lonely as his teenage years, so maybe…
“Gah!” Caleb cried, and kicked a rock at the bluff. It was stupid and childish, but it helped with the frustration. He leapt to the side to avoid the rebound.
He needn’t have bothered. The rock went straight through the vines instead of plinking off the bluff. Caleb froze, then slowly started inching toward the barrier. Is that a...cave? He reached out, brushing some vines away, only to reveal a cave on the side of the cliff. It went back a good twenty or thirty feet in a crevice easily large enough for him to walk through before vanishing into darkness.
Bet I could find something new in there. He groaned. Because amateur spelunking has such a high success rate. That can’t possibly go wrong. Oh, wait, I’m thinking of...actually, I don’t know anything where amateur is a good thing.
Ignoring the warnings of his own hindbrain, something he was exceptionally good at, Caleb flipped on his flashlight. While he wasn’t a big fan of being a scout, their motto of “Be Prepared” had stuck with him more firmly than he cared to admit. Summoning his courage, he headed inside.
The cave was large enough for him to walk upright, at least. I wonder if anyone’s ever even been in here before? It was possible he was the first human to ever notice this cave hiding behind the vines, that his were the first human footsteps in this cave. Who knew what could be ahead? Hell, if it went deep enough, he might discover an entirely new species - cave ecologies were often very isolated from the rest of the world.
That thought overrode the lingering fears of going spelunking alone, and Caleb pushed ahead. To his relief, the cave didn’t really branch off anywhere, so there was only a miniscule risk he’d find himself wandering in circles. It wasn’t long until he was plunged entirely into darkness aside from his flashlight.
“You have now left the domain of the sun,” Caleb said in his best announcer voice. He’d heard that line from…was it a webcomic? Or a blog? He couldn’t remember, and that train of thought was derailed as his heart started to beat faster. The primal fear of the dark still clung to him, and he wasn’t as certain as he’d been at the outset that this was a good idea. Given he’d been fairly certain this was a terrible idea, that was saying something. Just as he was about to turn around, he saw it.
It looked like an ant, but it wasn’t like any ant Caleb had seen before. It was large, nearly a foot from mandibles to thorax, and too brightly colored to be a normal cave dweller with its exoskeleton covered in gold and black swirls. Its eyes were wrong, too, looking more like something you’d see on a mammal than on an insect. It should have been frightening, but somehow, it was oddly cute. The gentle eyes, the way it moved awkwardly, like it was a newborn that hadn’t quite grown into its legs...it had an overall appearance of helplessness. It looked up at Caleb and chirped curiously.
Holy crap. “Well, hello there,” Caleb said. “What are you?”
The strange ant chirped again. I have to catch it. It was too big for his glass jar, but that didn’t matter. It also didn’t matter that his dad would refuse to let Caleb bring it back alive. Caleb would find a way, damn it. This wasn’t just a new species, this was an insect that shouldn’t be possible. Ants didn’t get this big, and certainly not in caves. Caleb reached out a tentative hand.
What the hell are you doing? he thought. He knew nothing about the thing. It could be venomous. It could be dangerous. It was a wild animal, and he was trying to pet it?
Much to his surprise, the ant didn’t recoil from his hand or lunge at it. Instead, it studied it curiously, then rolled over on its back and began to wave its legs in the air like a cat trying to get attention, chirping happily.
Screw it. Caleb ran his fingers over the thing’s belly. It made a sound halfway between a chirp and a purr, almost like a trill. “Oh my God, I have to find a way to keep you. What do you eat?”
Not that he expected the ant to answer. He didn’t expect the ant to respond at all, besides continuing to make happy little trills as Caleb gave it a belly rub. Its exoskeleton was softer than he expected, covered with fine hairs that probably served to keep off water but also made it unimaginably soft. Already Caleb wasn’t thinking about the enormity of the discovery, he was thinking about taking it for walks around the block, or letting it chase a laser pointer.
Then, abruptly, the ant fell silent and righted itself. It hissed in Caleb’s direction.
He froze, shying back and running his hand through his own hair.. “Woah? What’s wrong? Too many tummy rubs?”
And then he realized the ant wasn’t staring at him. It was staring over his shoulder.
Caleb spun, whipping the flashlight around, and came face to face with an oncoming monstrosity. It was a bipedal insect creature with four limbs, nearly as tall as Caleb was. The upper limbs ended in vicious stingers, and the lower limbs had grasping pincers. Instead of mandibles, it had tentacles growing from under its six beady eyes.
That flashlight saved Caleb’s life. The creature shied back, its eyes glowing in the brilliant light.. The ant screeched and began to run deeper into the cave. That seemed smart. Panicked by the monstrosity, Caleb followed.
This isn’t happening. The sound of Caleb’s feet pounding against the floor of the cave filled his ears. His heartbeat joined the sound, and the light swung wildly. He was gaining on the ant. A surge of adrenaline hit, and Caleb reached down to scoop it up. The ant trilled in confusion, and lacking anything else to do, Caleb put it on his head without breaking stride. He kept running, the ant now turning behind him and shrieking more and more. It's gaining on us! Caleb could almost imagine it saying.
Then the light ahead grew bright. Without warning, he was back out into the forest, into the sun.
The monstrosity skidded to a halt near the entrance of the cave, waving its tentacles and roaring but refusing to enter the sunlight. Caleb was fine with that. Caleb was fine with doing nothing but running at a breakneck pace, his new friend sitting on his head and now trilling in defiance. Darting forward, he wove in and out of the trees, turning to avoid tripping over rocks. At one point, his vision a fog of panic, he was thought he jumped a stream.
It wasn’t until his lungs started to burn that Caleb started to slow down. A few steps later, he dropped to the forest floor, panting.
After a few minutes of gasping, he took stock of his surroundings. With dawning horror, four realizations hit him. The first was that he’d somehow run through a bluff that stretched for a hundred miles in less than a day. The second was that the trees didn’t look like anything native to Earth, let alone Missouri. That alien impression was greatly aided by the fact that there were two suns overhead, one red and one yellow, which was number three. Multiple suns were kind of a big one. Finally, and most importantly, he had completely lost track of where he was in relation to the cave.
Panic seized him, and Caleb plucked the ant off his head with shaking hands and held it across his knees, on its back. It came to Caleb so naturally that he didn’t even think about the fact that his panic response was to cuddle a strange animal until after he had. The ant looked up at him with eyes full of warmth and gratitude. “Where the hell am I?” he asked.
In response, the ant started to purr.
Chapter 2
After a bit, the ant began to struggle. “I can’t just keep calling you ‘the ant,” Caleb said to it as he put it down. The ant looked up at him and clacked its mandibles. “Hmm. Don’t know if you’re a girl and or a boy ant. Although if you’re eusocial, those terms probably don’t matter anyway. You’re not a queen or you’d be in your hive, so...are you a soldier? Or a worker?”
Maybe it was Caleb’s imagination, but the ant seemed to be happier with the word soldier. That’s probably just wishful thinking. You need to get your priorities in order, man. You’re in a world with two suns, you should be flipping out right now! And yet, he felt strangely calm. Maybe it was just because the whole thing was so surreal. Or maybe it was just because he expected at any moment to wake up back in his tent with the story of a crazy dream. Or maybe you’ve just snapped, and any moment now you’re going to realize you’re completely barking mad. Caleb shook his head. If he was dreaming or crazy, there was no point trying to figure it out. Either he’d wake up, or he’d be put in a nice padded room and given pills until he could see things normally. “How about Antoinette?” he said.
The Ant - Antoinette - began to bob its head and marched over to Caleb’s hand, pressing its head against his palm until he started to scratch it. Might as well think of you as a she, he thought. Giving her a name seemed to have done the trick, and Antoinette was now trilling and purring happily against his hand. “So, Antoinette, don’t suppose you know if I’ve gone crazy or anything, do you?”
Antoinette was not particularly eager to respond. After some time scratching and spacing out, Caleb shook his head. “If this is all real, I have to start thinking of what comes next,” he said to Antoinette. “C’mon girl, let’s get moving.” As soon as Caleb stood, Antoinette reared onto her hind legs. Smiling, Caleb scooped her up and put her on his shoulder. Even though she was nearly as long as a cat, she weighed about half as much. That, plus the long years of scouts giving Caleb at least some muscles to work with, meant she could stay on his shoulder easily. “Okay. Let’s go back and see if that thing is gone from the cave, right?”
Immediately Antoinette’s demeanor changed. She began to shiver and rubbed against his cheek. “You can’t possibly understand me,” Caleb said. Antoinette continued to shiver and rub, and Caleb decided it had to be his imagination. Even if Antoinette seemed to be more along the lines of a small mammal in terms of intelligence than an ant, there was no way she had the intelligence of a human - and even if she did, she couldn’t speak or understand English. She was probably just picking up on his nerves over returning. As he turned to retrace his steps, he reached up and began to stroke her back. “Don’t worry. If it’s still there, I won’t be going anywhere near it.”
Antoinette’s shivers seemed to subside. “Totally a coincidence,” Caleb said with a nervous chuckle. “No way you understand anything I’m saying.”
The look she sent his way could easily be called reproachful.
The trees here really weren’t like anything he’d ever seen before. They towered over his head, looking more like giant, single ferns than they did like trees. There weren’t any visible roots, they all just shot out of the ground. At the top they branched oddly, feathering into individual strands that were covered with tiny leaves that grew away from the rest of the body of the plant, maximizing the sunlight its green blade could get. It was a relief to see those tiny leaves on the trees though - up until then, between that and the giant ant, he was beginning to worry he’d somehow been shrunk and was walking among giant blades of grass.
As soon as he had the thought, he couldn’t quite shake it, but too many other things were wrong for that to be the case. The dirt was still normal sized, not huge chunks like they would be if he’d shrunk coming over here, and there weren’t any obvious giant landmarks to indicate he was tiny. Still, it was a strange feeling, and he was relieved when he found the stream from earlier. That had to be normal sized. Water wouldn’t flow with that kind of babble if it was shrunk down, not unless it was hundreds of feet wide from his perspective.
The relief was almost immediately quashed when he realized that he didn’t recognize this part of the stream at all. He hadn’t exactly been taking in the scenery, but he still had expected to at least recognize something. Unfortunately, nothing about this part of where he was looked even remotely familiar. He grimaced. “Is this where we were?” he said aloud.
Antoinette trilled, an almost sad sound. It was like she was saying “I have no idea, you think I was paying attention?” Caleb had to laugh at himself. Already he was assigning actual full sentences to Antoinette. “Okay, well, rule one,” Caleb told her. “Head downstream. It will take me to somewhere eventually, and hopefully that somewhere will include someone who has the faintest idea what the hell is going on and how I can get back to the cave.”
Resolution made, he started to walk in that direction. It was a beautiful day here in...wherever this was, and thus far - joy upon joys - he hadn’t seen a single mosquito. As long as he was stuck in this weird dream or psychotic break or whatever was going on, he was going to enjoy it. He did see a few more traditional insects climbing along the fern-trees he’d marveled at before, which was nice. It helped him feel less like he was tiny walking in a giant world. As much as he wanted to, he resisted the urge to peer down for a closer look at them. Right now they were tiny specs climbing along in rows, and if he didn’t look too closely he could tell himself they were just normal ants. The moment he did, he was certain he’d notice things that would mark them of nothing from Earth, and that idea straight up terrified him.
“Yes, that’s right,” he said to the foot-long ant on his shoulder. “The terrifying thought is the insects here might be different. Crap on a stick, I am going insane.”
There was definitely a spring in his step as he walked, but not from how happy he was feeling. It was like every step carried a little bit...extra. It added to the surreal quality of everything. He’d noticed it before when he’d been running down the hill, but now that he was fully aware of how he was moving and a bit less panicked, he could really feel it. “Oh yeah,” he said. “Definitely dreaming.”
And since this is a dream... He reached up and carefully pried Antoinette from his shoulder. She chirruped in confusion. “Don’t worry, girl,” he said, placing her on the ground. “I’ll be right back. I just want to test something.”
Antoinette cocked her head at him, and Caleb grinned. Then, tensing up his legs, he kicked off the ground.
And went sailing through the air. “Oh my God!” he shouted. He’d had a decent high jump before, but this...it took him nearly ten feet into the air. He whooped in excitement and pumped his fist as he reached the apex of his jump. He could see over the fern trees! He could see smoke in the direction he was walking! He could see...he could see a bird.
It wasn’t like any bird he’d ever imagined. It was soaring through the air like a hawk, but its feathers were red and blue, and its face was more like a reptile’s than a bird’s. It looked almost like an archeopteryx, but without the claws on its wings, and with three massive feathers streaming out behind it. It wheeled in the air. It was beautiful.
Then gravity reminded him that, while he could jump high, he wasn’t able to fly. Caleb began to fall. The fall was faster than it should have been, given his leap. It felt like he was falling in normal gravity. Okay, this is it. I fall, and right before I hit the ground, I wake-
The thought was cut off when he slammed into the dirt beneath him. The impact drove the air from his lungs, which was the only thing that spared him from crying out in pain. He tasted blood, and his vision was obscured by black spots. Caleb could only whimper. He collapsed to the ground in a heap. What little of his brain was still working confirmed that he hadn't actually shattered his legs. The rest of it just screamed in pain. This isn’t a dream. That was now painfully clear. Dreams couldn’t possibly hurt this badly.
Antoinette walked up to him and nudged him with her mandibles. When he didn’t respond right away, she climbed onto his chest and began that rumbling trill. Caleb could only wheeze as he tried to catch his breath. Antoinette studied him, and a long tongue raced out of her mouth to lick his forehead. “Thanks,” he managed to grunt, glad she was so much lighter than a cat - otherwise she’d be crushing his chest. “No, really.”
It took him a few more minutes to stand again, and only when he was able to was he certain he hadn’t broken any bones. He took a few deep breaths, feeling an ache across his entire back. “I saw some smoke ahead,” he said to Antoinette, who was clawing at his leg. “I really hope that’s a town, and that they can help. And also that they have painkillers. I’d kill someone for some painkillers.”
Antoinette clacked her mandibles.
“No, I mean, it would have to be someone I didn’t like!”
Antoinette kept clawing his jeans and Caleb shook his head. “Mind walking alongside me for a bit? I need...I need a new back. And legs. Really just a new body. Phew. Give me some time to recover.”
Antoinette stopped clawing and trilled sadly. Again, Caleb was struck with the distinct impression she could understand him. But that doesn’t make sense, he thought. There’s no way she could. It’s just...insane.
“You there!”
The sudden shout nearly made Caleb scream, and he whirled to face the speaker. Antoinette did as well, hissing.
“You need to step away from the Kralant. I don’t want you getting hurt.”
The man was wearing something that looked like a military uniform from the eighteen hundreds, black and red with buttons that pinned up far on the left side of his body. He wore a cap that matched the color of his suit, and he stood with a rigid formality. For all that, he looked like he couldn’t be much older than Caleb.
More interestingly, however, the bird Caleb had seen earlier was perched on his shoulder. “You...want me to move away from Antoinette?” Caleb asked, trying to register what he was seeing.
“You...named it?” the soldier said, sounding incredulous. The bird on his shoulder peered at Antoinette hungrily, and Antoinette clacked her mandibles and hissed. She showed none of the fear she had towards the monstrosity in the cave. The soldier only frowned. “Who are you?”
“Caleb,” Caleb said, narrowing his eyes. “Who are you?”
“I am Ruzo, First Private of the Darkhold Omal. This is Silv.” The bird chirped at its name, although it didn’t take its eyes off Antoinette.
“I’m sorry, you called Antoinette a Kralant and seemed surprised I named her. Is Silv its name, or is it it's species?”
“He,” Ruzo said, stressing the word, “is a Silvtherix. I named him Silv.”
“Wow, very original name there.” Caleb couldn’t help himself. Something about Ruzo’s attitude was rubbing him the wrong way. It was his imperious demeanor, like he owned the place. Who the hell does he think he is?
“Says the boy who named a Kralant Antoinette,” Ruzo said, although he flushed a bit at mockery. “I need you to come with me, Caleb. These woods are forbidden. I thought you’d just gotten lost, but since you’re a Tamer...clearly you’re in violation of the Treaty. Put your hands behind your back.”
“Okay, first of all, working Antoinette’s species into her name is a brilliant pun. I didn’t just chop off part of the name and call it good. Second of all - put my hands behind my back?” Caleb asked. “Who the hell do you think you are?”
“First private of the Darkhold Omal,” Ruzo said, repeating his earlier words and with the same drilled in efficiency. “Who do you serve, Caleb?”
“Oh. Uh. Well...I’m with Troop One-Eighteen,” Caleb said, uncertain what else to say. “Boy Scouts, United States of America. And, private, I’m a Life Scout. So, yeah. Shove that up your craphole and spin on it.”
It was pretty clear that Ruzo had no idea what anything else Caleb said meant, but his eyes narrowed at the last sentence. “I don’t know who you serve. But clearly, someone needs to teach you manners.” He swung out his arm. “Silv! Attack!”
With a shriek that put a chill into Caleb’s bones, Silv took to the air.
In response, Antoinette let out a hiss of challenge.
Oh you’ve got to be kidding me, Caleb thought, squaring up.
I’ve definitely gone insane. But the pain in his back reminded him that insanity was much less certain than he’d previously believed. He could be absolutely certain of one thing, however - he had no idea what he was doing.
Silv shrieked as he swooped through the air, diving for Antoinette. Caleb couldn’t help but notice how dangerously curved those talons were, each ending in wicked barbs. It looked like they could tear through flesh like razorblades. “Antoinette, do...something!” Caleb shouted in panic.
As soon as the words left his lips, he felt something. It was almost like a tug on his skin, but it was a strange and alien feeling. Like part of him had been yanked away. Antoinette leapt to the side, snapping her mandibles. Silv passed through the space she had just vacated, his talons clutching only empty air. Confidence flashed through Ruzo’s eyes. “Do something? That’s the best you have? Silv is going to tear your Kralant apart.”
Caleb’s heart started to pound. In the games, the monsters would always faint at the end of fights, then there would be a heroic rush to town and the monster would be cured. Looking at those talons, it was hard to imagine this fight would be that harmless. “Antoinette, do something ranged this time!” Caleb said, frantically going through his pockets. That strange tug happened again, but Caleb ignored it. He needed to help.
A meme he’d seen the other day on his phone flashed through his mind as he frantically patted his pockets, modified for his current situation. “I’ve had Antoinette for only half a day, but if anything happens to her I’d kill everyone in this field and then myself.” Really, Caleb? You’re watching a pair of monsters fighting for their lives and the best you have are memes and vague commands? It’s not like he could do much else. He didn’t really have any kind of weapons on him. A simple Swiss army knife, too small to be used for actually fighting anyone. Not that he had any idea if he could actually bring himself to stab Ruzo. The guy was an ass, but Caleb had never hurt a fly.
Well. Metaphorically speaking. He’d squished plenty of flies in his day.
Besides that, he didn’t have much else. A can of bug spray. Some twine. A granola bar, still in its wrapper. A zippo lighter. A...wait, that’s it. Caleb looked back up to the fight as he pulled four of the items out of his pocket, trying desperately to get his hands shaking at another terrifying scream from Silv.
Silv was circling the fight, staring down at Antoinette with eyes full of fury. Ruzo was watching Caleb with a curious expression, as if he were trying to figure out what kind of stupid thing Caleb was going to do next. Oh, if you had any idea how stupid I was about to be, you’d be...very...uh...shocked? Antoinette was on the ground, watching Silv carefully.
“Now!” Ruzo shouted.
Silv screamed and dove towards Antoinette. The Kralant had never seemed so small before, but she held her ground, her mandibles pointing towards the sky.
Then, the moment Silv got close, Antoinette let loose a spray. It was white and stringy, almost like spider silk. Silv flapped his wings hard, letting a gust of air blow the strands away. Where they touched the dirt they sizzled like acid. Caleb’s eyes widened. “Holy crap, what was that?”
Antoinette trilled happily and rose up on her hind legs, letting loose another barrage of caustic strands. Silv took to the air, getting out of range, and screeched in fury at having its attack interrupted. “You really don’t know?” Ruzo said, his eyes hard. “You’re an absolute moron, aren’t you?”
“Yeah? Well, would a moron be doing this?” Caleb responded. It wasn’t exactly the witty repartee he’d been hoping for. With the distraction the battle had provided him, he’d managed to tie the zippo around the bug spray and held up his prize.
“...it seems one would,” Ruzo said, his forehead creasing. “What the hell is that supposed to be?”
Silv dove down towards Antoinette again, banking to dodge the spray of acidic webbings. In response, Caleb flicked the zippo opened and stepped forward. A small flame sprang to life, and Ruzo’s eyes widened. “What are you doing?” he shouted. Caleb ignored it. He pressed down on the top of the bug spray.
The fine mist met the flame of the zippo and flamed to life. Silv screeched in sudden fear and pulled back, still several yards from reaching Antoinette. Antoinette whipped her head around and gave Caleb a curious chirp. “That’s right!” Caleb shouted, pointed the improvised weapon at Ruzo. “You think you’re going to hurt Antoinette? I will literally set you on fire.”
Ruzo’s eyes were wide, and Silv flew over to his outstretched arm, landing on it like it was a tree branch. The massive bird looked like it shouldn’t be something Ruzo could hold, but his arm never wavered. “You...are an Artificer? I should have known…” he trailed off, studying Caleb up and down.
“Yeah, that’s right. I’m an Artificer,” Caleb said, hoping the term was descriptive enough to be able to fake what he thought it meant. “I just built a flamethrower. Back down, buddy, or I swear to God I’m going to set you up like a cheap firework.”
Of course, it was a total bluff. Ruzo was a good fifteen feet away. The flame from this thing could go a foot, max. If Ruzo called him on it, Caleb would find himself having to reveal the limits of his homemade weapon very, very quickly. And when he did, what would happen? Would Ruzo send that damn bird after Antoinette again? Or would he send Silv straight after Caleb, trying to tear out his eyes?
Oh man. This is really, really looking bad for me.
“I’m surprised, Artificer,” Ruzo said, reaching up to stroke Silv under the beak. The bird leaned into the touch and chirped. “Entering the battle so early? You must have something serious you’re hiding. Something the Darkhold Olam will want to know. Well, if you wish to make this a test of that…” Silv began to crawl up his arm until their heads were butting together. “I’ll be more than happy to oblige.”
“Yo, you’re talking a pretty big game for someone who’s about to get his ass set on fire,” Caleb said, but the brave words couldn’t stop the tremor in his hands. “Why don’t you stop what you’re doing and go away? I don’t want to hurt you.”
Ruzo laughed, a mocking sound, as Silv began to work around to his back. The bird started to wrap wings around Ruzo’s face, and the spots on his wings matched up perfectly with Ruzo’s eyes. “Don’t worry about that, little Artificer. I promise, I’m in absolutely no danger.”
Their forms began to glow. Caleb took a step back, reflexively pressing down on the button for the bug spray. The flame seemed almost dark when compared to the immense light pouring out both soldier and monster as they began to rise into the air. “Antoinette?” Caleb said, shaking so badly he thought he might fall over. “I think I’d like to wake up now.”
Antoinette cooed in a sound that trembled with fear.
The glow vanished. Ruzo was gone. So was Silv. In their place was a single being, one that combined traits of both monster and man. Ruzo’s hair was now the bright feathers of the bird, his hands and feet ended in the wicked talons that the bird had shown in its diving sweeps at Antoinette, and two immense wings jutted from his back. Worst of all were the eyes, however. Ruzo’s normal two human eyes peered out at Caleb, but above those were the exact same eyes that had adorned Silv’s head. “So that is your flame, little man?” Ruzo said, and his voice had an odd quality to it, some kind of echo, like it was being spoken through two mouths. “I thought you Artificers claimed you could match am Tamer’s power. Looks like you’re just another worm.”
“Uh…shit,” Caleb said, looking down at Antoinette. “Do you know how to do that?”
This time there was no imagining it. Antoinette shook her head, and there was real fear in her eyes.
“Yeah, me either.” Caleb dropped to one knee and held out a hand. “Get on.”
Antoinette leaped onto Caleb’s arm and wrapped her legs around as Ruzo took to the air.
“So, Artificer,” Ruzo said, every word laced with mockery. “What will you do now?”
Fortunately, for the first time since he’d arrived here, Caleb knew exactly what to do.
Screaming in fear, Caleb turned and ran away from the four-eyed taloned bird-human hybrid that was rising into the sky. And as he did, the small part of his mind that couldn’t stop from being sarcastic even now couldn’t help but point out that it was totally unfair – none of the games allowed you to do that. Where’s the overly drawn out tutorial when you really need it?
Want to read more? Why not pick it up now?
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