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Werthead

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  • Birthday 01/22/1979

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  • Social Justice Robot from the Future
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  1. Lancer is one of the highest-profile modern TTRPGs, so it was fun to see Quinns' take on it. His conclusion is that it's a bit too "board game pretending to be an RPG," and lacks a lot of out-of-combat depth, but is still fun. Interesting as I just picked up MechWarrior: Destiny, which is a rules-lite take on the venerable mech franchise which indeed emphasises out-of-mech roleplaying and adventuring, whilst still allowing for in-mech combat (and even interfaces with both the BattleTech detailed combat rules and the Alpha Strike less-detailed, faster-playing rules).
  2. I think it is important not to panic and immediately declare the sky is falling. Russia continues to make incremental gains only at incredibly high costs. Where the danger is is somewhere on the line where Russia can penetrate through several lines of defence quickly and then "erupt" in the Ukrainian rear. However, that is more difficult than it first appears: the apparent success of Russian IFVs in crossing Ukrainian lines near Robotyne is worrying, but Ukraine immediately deploying heavy reserves to obliterate them shows they can adapt to that kind of situation. Ukraine does need further western support, particularly artillery ammunition; the Ukrainians have effectively said that getting enough artillery ammo by itself would basically allow them to hold their current positions. The 800,000 shells the Czech Republic found recently will, by itself, provide Ukraine with enough ammo to continue fighting defensive and possibly even offensive actions for at least several months to come, depending where it is concentrated on the line. Whilst individual weapons cannot necessary win the war, they can make life a lot harder for the Russians. The Black Sea has effectively been half-cleared of Russian vessels, operating near Ukrainian territory even for high-tech AWACS-ish aircraft has become difficult and the deployment of F-16s may make it too hazardous to fly bombers and cruise missile-carriers as close to the borders as possible. It is correct to say that this is primarily a ground war and Ukraine needs to either retake ground from the Russians in a cost-lite manner (incredibly difficult) or it needs a stratagem to effectively outlast Russian offensives until something in Russia snaps (which may sound optimistic, but that's what we said before Prigozhin's death march, and the signs of strain within Russia continue to grow more pronounced). These are both difficult outcomes to achieve with Kyiv seemingly reluctant to put more, younger troops on the ground. This is still the most precarious moment of the war for Ukraine since probably the summer 2022 offensive which took the twin cities, there should be no doubt of that, and this moment will last until the end of the year when we see what impact the US Presidential elections have on the situation.
  3. I think there is a hint that live action Aang does have a bit of a crush on Katara in the finale. Not much but it's there. It's presumably less of a problem in the second season (when the actor playing Aang will be 15 or 16) and less in the third (when he'll be closer to 18 at this rate). Azula also All that fuss and they finally
  4. Flying them in Microsoft Flight Simulator is a lot of fun. Way back in 1991 Cryo released the first Dune video game. The OG version had you being able to fly ornithopters manually over the desert, but the desert was just a flat yellow background and hitting the controls just changed your orientation on the map, it didn't change the visuals. The CD-ROM version had much better graphics for the desert but it was the same issue. This is a completely different type of flying:
  5. Larian are also starting to sound stressed from some toxic fans sending threatening messages about bugs and also the delays to mod tools. They're probably keen to move on in the near future.
  6. One story doing the rounds internally in Russia is that Navalny was set to be released as part of a prisoner transfer but Putin had some sort of major rage-out the night before and ordered him to be iced instead. Hungary has ratified Sweden's accession to NATO, removing the last obstacle to enlargement. Russia launched a raid on Ukrainian positions outside Robotyne using several IFVs, but were swarmed by drones. Two of the drivers hell-rode into the middle of the town, surrounded on all sides by Ukrainian forces and the continuing-to-attack drones. It did not end well for them. True, but looking at the figures even assuming all those were KIA, that would "only" raise things into the 40,000s (maybe on a par with the 42,000 figure the BBC turned up from chronicling Ukrainian funerals and memorials), though obviously that's still horrendous. The MIA figure has come down a lot as well due to prisoner swaps with Russia, with several thousand Ukrainian troops returning to Ukraine (as well as several thousand Russian to Russia, of course).
  7. Zelensky has provided an updated figure for Ukrainian KIAs in the war: 31,000. That seems surprisingly low, with previous estimates of 70,000 before last summer's offensive rising to around 100,000 now. If the 31,000 figure is correct, that suggests Ukraine has had much greater success in extracting wounded soldiers than previously thought. Zelensky notably refused to give the figure of injured and non-combat-capable troops, suggesting that figure is vastly higher. This figure is more in line with online and offline reporting of Ukrainian deaths in newspapers, on social media, funeral and memorial services held etc; these figures had been updated to around 42,000 just last month. Whilst this sounds "positive", at least in the sense that Ukrainian losses may be half or even less what was previously reported, the failure to address injured and permanently unable to fight suggests that figure might be uncomfortably high; for future military operations, soldiers permanently removed from the fighting pool are still a net loss even if they have not been killed outright. Russians KIA are running at 120,000 at the lower end of estimates and around 200,000 at the higher end, with total Russian casualties (including no-longer-combat-capable) running from 330,000 to 410,000. On the KIA ratio Russia seems to be running at a minimum of a 3:1 loss ratio to Ukraine, rising to a possible 5:1.
  8. There seems to be a general consensus that the Alpine car was the worst performer on the grid in testing and looked dogshit in a way that even the Haas couldn't compete with. Interesting to see if that remains the case. The Renault engine seems to be universally agreed to have the poorest power output on the grid as well. Renault/Alpine need to seriously think about what they're doing there. Otherwise Red Bull looks very impressive, maybe not quite as dominant in 2023 but there's not a lot in it, with a big step up from Mercedes and a minor one from Ferrari. Aston Martin and McLaren seem on a par around fourth place. RB Visa WTF (the artist formerly known as AlphaTauri/Toro Rosso) and Williams seem in a similar place right behind them. Difficult to see where Sauber Kick Stake Vampire Bollocks are at the moment. Haas might as well put up the FOR SALE sign at this juncture. Of course, too many variables in testing to really say for sure. Drive to Survive S6 opening with Christmas in the Horner household and the Father Christmas they hired asking, "Has Daddy been good this year?" is maximum WTF. Then Nyck de Vries saying he's a better driver than Yuki Tsunoda and then having his arse comprehensively handed to him. Lance Stroll breaking his wrists, returning to the grid in pain and Lando immediately asking, "Can you have a wank yet?" is peak Norris. Also Fred Vasseur is comedy gold (keeps enquiring about Sainz's love life when the camera is on them), and Steiner and Binotto's bromance in the vineyards of Italy feels like a pilot for a new spin-off show.
  9. I'm not sure what happened with the "first episodes are the worst then it gets better," idea, so far it's the exact opposite. The first 2-3 episodes are probably the best. They shot a lot of this on the Volume, but for some reason they have mobile greenscreen elements as well on the Volume which I've never seen before, I think for shots with bending. I'm assuming that makes it easier to integrate the CG foreground elements with the background. I get the necessity of using this tech to shoot in the snow for safety reasons, with so many child actors around, but it seems weird when they used it to depict a generic forest.
  10. I'm starting to think those unconfirmed stories that Ukraine has bootstrapped something to increase Patriot's range by 10-15% have something to them. Either that or the Russians are being really stupid with putting irreplaceable assets so close to their interdiction range.
  11. Doing the Fall of Reach on a TV budget, even a TV mega-budget, is quite a call. Not a bad start either (I assume the rest of the battle will unfold over the rest of the season). Nice Game of Thrones nod as well:
  12. Avdiivka was largely evacuated a decade ago. There were some hardcore hold-outs living among the ruins, but the idea that any more than a few hundred (at best) were left living there when the Ukrainians withdrew is beyond credulity.
  13. Episodes 3 and 4 are confused and confusing as all hell. On the plus side I really rate Ken Leung - he roamed around the last few seasons of Lost as the only sane guy in the village pointing out the WTFery everyone else was taking way too easily in their stride, and that was coming from someone who could talk to the dead - and it's a shame he's not been in more high-profile stuff. I wonder if he'll have a Lost reunion with Daniel Dae Kim (probably not at this rate). On the plus side, the CG depiction of Omashu is stunning, and I'm impressed they actually did the cart racing and jumping, I assumed that would be cut. ETA: There's one brief bit where you can see Earthbenders powering the delivery system. The OG creators are probably happy they stayed in the land of animation. If they wanted to be smart, they'd drop a trailer or teaser for the new animated film in the near future.
  14. Yeah, I think the only dangerous escalatory target that is within the ability to hit is the Crimean Bridge, and even that's probably not that escalatory (especially since Russia keeps fixing it every time they knock bits of it down within 3-5 months). If Ukraine agrees not to hit Moscow and major cities or even any target at all within Russia's borders, they'd probably still take Taurus without a moment's hesitation. What it does do is bring the absolute entirety of Russian-controlled Ukraine within striking range, ammo dumps within the entire territory, all of Crimea and huge chunks of the Black Sea beyond which Ukraine already has fire control. That's a significant improvement in capacity.
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