Stale Economy? Are players actually trading?

Hello
I have been “playing”/choring this game for a couple of months. At first I was making progress as my local exchange needed a steady supply of Rations and my chosen starting production was exactly that. Recently the market has been flooded by a lot of players who dropped upwards of 800 rations per posting and doing so at a rate which was half of what was the going rate. In other words, rations went from 75 credits each to 40. I don’t know if 75 was high, but there doesn’t seem to be that many being sold even at 40, so I have not had any market activity for some time. Now I am starting to wonder if players can produce everything that they need, making themselves self sufficient, and therefore I have played the game wrong (gearing up to supply a market with constant demand). If this is a game that players generally don’t need to exchange products with each other, what is the point? Is everyone supposed to just expand into the void until they produce every product for their own consumption?

Currently this game feels like established companies/players can have an easy time smothering startups who do not have the ability to diversify products and insure that they are the only big players in markets. Which BTW, I don’t understand why crushing prices to keep other players from advancing is even necessary. Is this normal or tolerated by the etiquette of the gameplay? I would think that even if players feel the need to compete and “be the best”, it has to be acknowledged that by preventing growth of a playerbase, they are eventually going to smother the game as a whole and they will not have a “universe” to be the best at.

I believe that the best way to create market activity would be to create new demand. Maybe advanced companies become expected to provide more consumables to their employees than startups. Another idea would be to have non player demands like planets/governments buying supplies.

I am interested to see what everyone else thinks, I honestly don’t know if anybody else is having similar issues or has been enjoying the way things go. I am okay with the thought that this is just something that isn’t for me, and if other people are having fun / success all the power to it.

Eyyyy capitalism baby!

I think a lot of what you’re feeling has to do with the age of the Universe conjoined with no clear “end goal” or “top-tier” market maker. I personally have the opinion that PIO outputs have been too profitable for too long leading to a situation where (at the margin) players don’t see a reason to advance into higher tier industries.

Let’s use my favorite building for this illustration: the humble Weaving Plant (WPL). For those not in the know, the WPL produces 5 outputs, two of which (KV and TK) are very clearly for upper tier consumption, two of which are very clearly for lower-tier consumption (COT and NL), and one that’s specifically for consumables (Bandages and AI Assisted Lab Coats for Scientists). To be clear: three WPL outputs are clearly for mid/late game, and two are for the early game.

The WPL uses 70 settlers, and thus produces demand for PT + EXO and it outputs (in the early game) COT and NL. In the extreme early game, producing COT lets you use only 10 PG to produce 30 OVE instead of PE + PG. It is also the only way to make PWO, and required for MED (which is a level OVER Settlers). Meanwhile, the other early game recipe (NL) is really only useful for LDEs as HMS and HSS are not useful until you start to employ techs / engineers.

So, with all that in your mind, put yourself in the shoes of someone looking to make a new building. A lot of people are producing PIO consumables, so if I go to build the WPL I’m going to need to source EXO and PT (or make it myself). Additionally, everything I make is only demanded by players or is used by my own enterprise to become more efficient. If players don’t know a WPL’s outputs are available and the market doesn’t exist, I have to go into a production totally blind. I can’t guarantee profit. Again, I am either using my own outputs or selling to other players.

Thus, as a player trying to figure out “should I build a WPL?” I inherently have to ask “Who is buying or using COT / NL?” which necessitates people using COT or NL, which means the downstream demand for the product must exist. The derivative outputs of a WPL (OVE, PWO, LDE) don’t really have the problem of not being in demand which means that taking the leap / risk to make a WPL is significantly reduced.

Compare that with asking, “Should I build an EDM?”

First of all, the inputs for an EDM are advanced enough that other settler industry must exist to even consider producing some of the outputs (with the exception of the SCN). Secondly, the outputs of the EDM are mainly consumed by Tech buildings or population infrastructure that encourages tech, engineer, and scientist population to grow (again, with the exception of the SCN).

Thus, if you’re going to build an EDM the odds are that you’re building the EDM for the scanner recipe… but even if you aren’t, you will already know why you’re building it… and the answer isn’t to make money but to enable making another product.

You’ve reached the point in the game now where players just don’t have a goal that makes sense to pursue. Shipbuilding is gated behind BER (only hot planets have ZIR), and a purely PIO based company will never produce enough economic value to need additional ships. The game requires more depth as the SET/TECH doldrums are pretty bad.

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Only FTL Ships need BER but this is still a good point. I think the bigger Issue is that due to there being no low tier FTL ships and due to the start pf game ships being so good ship building isn’t in demand and so no one will move up the chain. To be honest this might fix itself though corps settling hot planets eventually but for now I think all of the starter industries are both high demand and high supply and the price of a lot of the tier one resources does seem to be going down making it hard to profit from a lot of them.
Edit: I also think next universe the ships we are given should be a bit worse especially as the current starter ships would cost insane amounts of money to make and we get 2 of them meaning the most of the late game content is kind of given to us at the start. I’d suggest something like 2 starting ships with FTL and STL but with a new commodity similar to the glass based STL for FTL travel and the starting ships could also probably live with smaller cargo bays (maybe 250m/250t) at the start of the game which again would encourage ship building and moving up tiers. Also I think this has been suggested before but ship refitting would put less risk on going into ship building.

Keep in mind this game is still in alpha development and therefor is still in active development with the basics in place and higher tier stuff being explored and developed.

What we are experiencing right now is a deflationary economy. This means there is less or constant money going around while everyone is expanding production. This means your money increases in value and there is less incentive to actually produce something.
Unless you are actively selling to a Market Maker (MM) you have to hope someone is buying your products. But seeing prices drop every day most players are pushed towards cutting expenses which in most cases means creating your own inputs and getting less reliant on buying inputs on the CX. Overall this leads to your observation of stagnant markets as much of the economy shifts towards intra-company or intra-corporation deals.

Until something is changed in regards to money creation and circulation we won’t see this change. There has been plenty of good suggestions how gameplay could be improved but we have to give the devs more time as they are a small team.

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Its because all players can make all things.

In real life most companies don’t produce for more than 1 industry, and buy in everything else they need.

In conclusion players have to be guided to specialise more through mechanics, and/or NPC populations with constant demand need to exist. Cities, settlements etc. Again I can only suggest cities with the most populated becoming the capital city, because

  1. It’d look nice on the planetery info secreen
  2. It’d give corps or individual companies bragging rights for having the most populated cities. To sustain this benefits could be introduced for owning capitals or large cities at end game.
  3. There would always be a potentially infinite resource sink for new players to sell to as the galaxy is colonized.

This isn’t the only suggestion i’ve heard for raising consumers and demand to match production however. As long as one exists then anything can be balanced by the devs themselves easily and directly by managing NPC growth, potential and needs. Without the need to interfere with players directly.

*I also want to add that the pacing of the game lends itself to people who will take their time and set up their own production lines, at least until there is enough of a reason and benefit to specialise.

As Taiyi noted, this is a direct result of a deflationary economy. As players produce more and more stuff, players do not have enough currency to buy that stuff because currency is not being added to the economy at the same rate that stuff is. When players grow, the amount of stuff created increases exponentially, while the amount of currency generated is almost non-existent. This results in falling prices, and selling stuff becomes more difficult as the number of sellers greatly outnumbers the buyers. In response, players begin to diversify out of necessity to cover their own basic needs as much as possible. While this keeps their costs down, it results in less trade, and further contributes to the deflationary spiral. Every day fewer players will be buying on the markets, looking instead for ways to make themselves self-sufficient or work out back room deals to make trades with friends or corporation members.

I have heard that the same problem occurred in the early stages of last universe as well, except that after a while players began farming the electronics MMs to generate large amounts of currencies. Unfortunately those MMs have been nerfed significantly, along with others, so the deflationary spiral is hurting a lot more now with no real end in sight. This results in whacky (and unfulfilling) things like people building farms just to sell GRN to the MM. I hope that @molp and @Counterpoint are taking notice and are considering alternative ways of injecting currency into the economy, as this problem will only get worse if nothing is done.

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The interesting thing is that this should technically make starting late in the game easier as new players would be able to purchase more with the currency that they have. Unfortunately, people are not selling building modules at reduced prices yet so being exclusively food production is a loosing strategy.

I think that it wouldn’t be a bad idea if players could have a better window into the current markets when they start a new game. So if I could see that food production isn’t selling as well as another finished product, I would be more likely to make a startup for products in demand.

I do still think that player trading should be encouraged by decreasing efficiency in either production outside of your specialty or at stages of growth or total comapny size. Naturally, if trading is not supposed to be the focus of the game, this suggestion does not make sense, but I don’t understand the point of the game if there is no trading or endgame.

I think there is one more effect to players growing. Not only are we making more, but with the lack of higher tier demand, we are making more basic items. With the exception of players going for multiple bases making the same thing, not only are we each making more, we are making more items that we no longer need from the market. Thus not only is the world going deflationary, most players are becoming more and more self sufficient (with only hastens the drop in demand for T1 materials).

Everyone keeps saying that the economy is deflationary, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the constant stream of new players joining, buying some things with their 40k starting cash, and then leaving the game, or COLIQing and staying, is actually leading to a steady increase in the money supply.

I suspect the main reason that prices are falling everywhere is the other factor mentioned above - that we’re all producing more tier 1 goods than we consume. For example, a single full base on Promitor can supply 7 or 8 other full bases with DW/RAT. And Promitor itself is full. So unless there are the equivalent of 7/8 full planets elsewhere in the universe, all depending on Promitor for DW/RAT, there will be more produced than consumed. This seems to be true for all common resources and tier 1 products.

In theory, this wouldn’t be a problem if all players expanded as efficiently as possible, since all the excess production would end up in the form of construction materials for new buildings and bases. But players aren’t 100% efficient. A large proportion of the universe’s wealth is sitting on the markets at unrealistic bid/ask prices. New players coming into the game can’t necessarily see the current optimal profit path, so just end up making more DW/RAT/C/LST/FE, even though there’s oversupply of all those.

This all stems from the fundamental issue that there isn’t much incentive to move up to tier 2 production. If it were in the interest of advanced players to switch production away from the usual tier 1 suspects, then the flow of goods might even out.

I’m not sure how this could be achieved, but I suspect part of the answer may be in more efficient alternatives to tier 1 production, using tier 2+ ingredients. To take an existing example:

10 H2O → 7 DW
10 H2O + 1 PG → 10 DW

You want to arrange things such that someone at tier 2 is better off just producing PG and selling it to new players, rather than continuing to make the DW themselves. This could be done by having more of these types of recipes, also at higher tiers. Some ideas:

10 H2O → 5 DW (existing recipe but reduced efficiency)
10 H2O + 1 PG → 7 DW (existing recipe but reduced efficiency)
10 H2O + 1 BAC → 9 DW
10 H2O + 1 (Water filter made in AML) → 10 DW

1 MUS + 1 PIB + 1 GRN → 15 RAT
1 ALG + 1 GRA + 1 MAI → 15 RAT

10 OVE + 1 AL → 10 EXO (existing recipe, but now takes twice as long)
10 OVE + 1 AL + 1 TRN → 10 EXO (regular time)

1 STL → 5 PT (existing recipe)
1 STL + 2 SFK → 7 PT
1 STL + 1 TRN → 8 PT
1 STL + 1 W → 10 PT

4 LST + 2 SIO → 50 MCG (existing recipe)
4 LST + 2 SIO + 5 EPO → 60 MCG
4 LST + 2 TIO + 10 EPO → 70 MCG
4 LST + 2 TIO + 5 NR → 80 MCG
4 LST + 2 BOS → 100 MCG

6 FEO + 1 C + 1 O → 3 FE (existing recipe)
6 FEO + 1 C + 1 O + 1 FLX → 4 FE (existing recipe)
6 FEO + 1 C + 1 O + 1 FLX + 1 SEN → 5 FE

4 HCP + 2 MAI → 4 C (existing recipe)
4 HCP + 2 MAI + 1 SEN → 5 C
4 HCP + 2 MAI + 2 GRN → 4 C (existing recipe)
4 HCP + 2 MAI + 2 GRN + 1 SEN → 6 C

In conjunction with the above, it should probably be more difficult to get extra bases. Currently, advanced players are more likely to keep their existing tier 1 buildings, and add new bases and tier 2+ buildings. It should be more profitable for an advanced player to convert their existing buildings to the tier 2+ ones, rather than keep expanding indefinitely. This can be done with ideas discussed elsewhere, such as an efficiency penalty that grows with company size (which can be mitigated by running expert-specific programs in the HQ to encourage specialization) as well as making HQ upgrades more expensive (i.e. requiring higher tier materials) for each upgrade.

Hopefully, advanced players would then push to get to the SCA, so they can sell SEN to all the new players, who would gladly buy SEN for improved efficiency, etc. While the advanced players themselves don’t benefit from hanging on to their own SME and INC - efficiency penalties mean that they are now better off buying those outputs cheaper on the market.

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There are multiple ways how low demand for T2/T3 can be approach. Making more complex but efficient recipes as mentioned above, adding T1 buildings upgrades increasing efficiency but could be done only with T2/T3 materials, creating random events on planets sinking products (especially not used or with low usage currently or overproduced). Those projects when fulfilled could end up with some temporary efficiency buffs (or debuffs to eff if not fulfilled) or could simply generate money. Option to give power to governors to trigger specific events that would generate money, which could help move away from MM, adding quality for products, so you have higher tier RAT lasting maybe longer or provide larger eff buff, but to produce it would require standard RAT to sink oversupply, yet would be produced with T2 buildings. Making improved materials changing some of the characteristics of material - like lowering weights of the final products, adding consumables like fuel buffs or cargo minimizers, production eff boosts for higher damage, more durable fabs requiring slower repairs, production lines parts that needs to be replaced (FS owners would be happy) and I can go all day with ideas, of course I am not sure how reasonable and feasible those are (and would have to be balanced), but there is a lot of potential to address the current state with a different design. But in the end that would require dev time involved and I do have a felling devs are more focused on PR/other, rather than focusing dev time on things that matters and would keep players happy/entertained (revamping map does not seems impactful at all for gameplay and its being done for months now). Since I’m playing (almost half year now) there was no changes that mattered and those that happened (new fuel recipe, some formulas for planetary safety, questionable decision not communicated about RAT/DW MM, bonus for bases permit, LM for shipping on CX ) didn’t look like requiring massive hundreds of production hours ← and that would be more of a problem to me, rather than current stale economy, so unless there is something community does not know, any improvements wont happen anytime soon or even this calendar year with the development speed/focus we are a witness of now. I wish more energy would be put (or more information about the actual development with screenshots, idea drafts, brainstorms done etc) on improving gameplay features with the currently established model.

EDIT: and by “this” idea - i’m referring to the more advanced formulas that produce higher amounts of goods with higher tier product inputs.

This is a fantastic idea that would allow further specialization than just the 5 experts max. This would partially solve the issue where companies can’t research to get ahead → they can go up in tier to get ahead. And that would create higher tier demands/products and allow others to expand on that.

Right now, too many players are ENCOURAGED to do vertical integration because of the game setup. And to do so all on the T1 planets and T1 products. That’s really sad and requires several players to self sacrifice their profits and companies to move the universe forward. There needs to be natural incentives to move up and this is an easy idea to try.

the real world has companies doing 1 primary market and trying to improve their margins in that market - not do 50 markets. There needs to be more ways for a player to say “how can I make more, for cheaper, of my product than my competitor?” And then there needs to be more people saying “that guy has way better margins than me, I should do another product where I have edge he doesn’t”

-Uber

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I made this point after my third week of playing.

While the Expert System rewards you for specializing, it does not actually disincentivize vertical integration strongly enough to really encourage a player to do one, two, or at max three, industries. For an example, look at the industries around running FPs:

  1. Resource Extraction (For getting H2O)
  2. Agriculture (For farming to produce RATs)
  3. Food Processing (To create RAT/DW)

Your company (in theory) has no business then going out to try and produce IRON. The natural progression is to move up the food chain by building HYFs, ORCs, VINs, FERs etc. Even at this point, there isn’t enough directionality to the food business to encourage a more efficient process to produce T1/2 materials.

Consider what happens if you go full hog and set up a three way base with two other players:

  1. The first guy does nothing but extract H2O. You’ll get a very high level of RE experts quickly with 40 COLs
  2. The first guy sells water to the FRM/HYF runner and to the Food Specialist. The farmer produces everything to make RATs. This player will eventually expand out to ORC/VIN as the third player grows
  3. The third player buys water from the first player, and crops from the second player, and produces RAT and DW. Eventually, they will produce more advanced foods (COF/KOM etc) but this is only when the chain is running efficiently.

All three players running one expert line will be able to absolutely smoke the competition… but instead what you really get is three players who are all diversified across three industries (or two and importing water), and also making a BMP because they don’t want to buy OVE/PWO.

Bases need to specialize and there needs to be a penalty (not just a lack of incentive) to spreading yourself thin on one plot.

This is somewhat dangerous territory though, as it opens up the possibility for veterans to heavily use those tier 1 recipes themselves and push new players out of the market completely. The other way around (tier 1 players delivering materials for higher-tier recipes) are usually more favorable.

Can you maybe elaborate on why you think that “having more of these types of recipes, also at higher tiers” would work against this problem? On first thought it seems like this would just replicate it for the higher tiers as well.

Thanks a lot for the input! :slight_smile:

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The other way around (tier 1 players delivering materials for higher-tier recipes) are usually more favorable.

Isn’t this what we currently have? Tier 1 products are used by everyone, while tier 2+ products are mainly used by tier 2+ players. Hence nobody has any incentive to move up the tiers. If tier 2+ products were in demand by tier 1 players, then there would be far more of a market for them, and they would be more attractive to produce.

This is somewhat dangerous territory though, as it opens up the possibility for veterans to heavily use those tier 1 recipes themselves and push new players out of the market completely.

I agree that this is a concern, although I think it is no worse than the situation we are currently in. Bear in mind that it only takes one veteran player to “break ranks” and start selling the tier 2+ goods on the CX and then all the tier 1 players can benefit from the new recipes. Plus if the recipes are well designed, the veteran player should be able to make more profit from making more of the tier 2+ ingredients and selling those, rather than hanging on to their tier 1 buildings which take up space in their base.

I think the new recipes would stimulate trading by themselves, and are worth adding for that reason alone. But I see them having particular benefit in conjuction with other changes. In a separate post I have argued for changes that make it less easy to expand indefinitely. So veteran players couldn’t so easily have 5 bases churning out tier 1 recipes - they would have to “give up” their tier 1 buildings in order to make room for the tier 2+. Not in a strict 1 for 1 exchange sense, but they should at least be financially incentivised not to have lots of different buildings at different tiers in different specialties.

Ideas for this include:

Make it less easy to get new base permits. The upgrade from 2 to 3 permits only uses B-fabs. Why? It should be at least L-fabs. Then 3 to 4 is the exact same B-fabs again. At least you should require more of them, but ideally it would be L-fabs plus some A-fabs. Then to go from 4 to 5 would require all A-fabs, and so on.

Add an efficiency penalty that increases with each added production building. Players can then reduce the penalty in specific areas by running programs in their HQ, which use consumables. So for example, someone with two full bases has a 20% efficiency penalty overall, but they can run a “settlers” program and a “chemistry” program so that they get no penalty at all for making PG in their POL. Instead of making DW themselves (at a 20% penalty), they sell the PG to tier 1 players who only have a couple of FPs and get no penalty (yet) for making DW with pioneers.

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I think we all agree that in general the whole T3/T4 level requires rebuilding as there is clearly no need to chase for it and that would require a lot of redesigns.

I will add some random ideas still - add things that could improve yields efficiency/ timing from higher tiers. Add additional consumables for different tier or even do a specific consumables for a specific technology or even building. Make more things required for lower tiers to be better and make them from combination of new (higher tier) resources and lower tier resources. Make plots matter - different plots offer a range of resources or even more crazy idea - the raw materials are not infinite and in order to extend ability to extract more, do higher tier projects/research that would grant some more yield, but eventually this would run out also and those bases would have to be moved somewhere else or swapped to reprocessing and new planets needs to be searched/used to get those resources, so for that reason making materials to settle other planets would make a lot of more sense as there would not be any other option. Add R&D in general to suck higher/lower numbers of resources from different tiers to improve a specific area - not only experts. Maybe divide the workforce structure more, so instead of PIO you have PIO manufacturer requiring DW/RAT/COF/PWO + a tool/something else specific etc, PIO farmer etc, add option you need to buy workforce not only use upkeep. Add Bases specialization when constructed giving clear +/- for specific fields so that it would encourage only specific type of industries, like metallurgy +30-40%EXT +30-40 %SME -20%MANUFACTURE -50% food production etc, which can be worked with R&D to swap those numbers further. You can do similarly with workforce - give them stats on areas that could be adjusted/managed by different factors.

Note to myself: I guess I need to gather all of those idea and put them in to the section they belong to - new ideas/feature instead of spamming threads.

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There is a lack of utility. Everyone needs consumables, they have great utility, therefore everyone makes them. The problem isn’t “How do we convince people to hire techs to make more DW?” This game already has very complicated recipes in the electronics categories. The content that we need is already in the game. It’s the lack of utility that is stopping us.

We have BMF (mainframe), BWS (workstation). If the HQ is an office building then it obviously needs IT equipment. Of course the ship has sailed with the upgrade system but there is still the possibility to split the efficiency upgrades and the permit system into three upgrade categories. B-Fabs for permits (backwards compatibility), BWS+software (local database, window manager) for queue slots, BMF+software (machine learning, networking, search algorithm) for efficiency upgrades. Permits can be permanent but the last two should get worse over time like a degrading building or ship. You know like software updates in the real world.

I like the idea of materials running out → an easier way to do this might be to decrease the output of the whole planet over time/use. This would encourage new players AND old players to settle new worlds, rather than milking the very nice starter T1 planets.

It also rewards people that branch out → being on a planet on your own means less competition for (i.e. slower decay of) the resources.

Why do the (now full) starter planets still have the best concentration of some resources? Given how long they’ve been full, we should NOT see the original starting planets in the list of top 10 for ANY resource they have.

-Uber

Trade is created through inequality, the problem is someone can easily branch out and outclass someone who’s just sololy focused on say AL or FE production(which is why Metallurgist is a hard profession).

For instance a construction will seek to produce FE or AL themselves rather then buy it. They’ll also do that for Carbon, RAT, DW and so on.

It get worse as you go up the tiers as raw resource extraction rates don’t matter anymore, and everyone is basically on a level playing field-There is no “PG” resource deposit to make the recipe produce more or go faster, or INS deposit that would differentiate between producers.

The problem with this (tier-1 players supplying tier-2 players) is that the verticality of the tier-2 player is not impacted. It is simple to continue to produce your tier-1 materials in supplying the tier-2 portion of your base. By flipping this order (tier-2 makes tier-1 more efficient), the vertical integration ceases to make sense.

Yes, you could conceivably have a player straddling the first and second tier pushing their tier-2 production down into tier 1… but that should only happen while the other recipes that use the tier-2 production consumable are coming online.

Let’s take Fick’s carbon recipe stack for a good example:

As long as 1 SEN costs less than 2C, it makes sense to buy SEN (assuming that the time is equivalent or better than the 4/2/2 reaction); however, the reaction for SEN is way overloaded and a tier-2/3 player producing SEN is guaranteed to produce more SEN than they can use alone if that player is only making Carbon.

Hell, even if our player is running an SCA, INC, and SME, they would still be unable to use every SEN that they produce in a 6 hour period meaning that SEN should bleed off the player and into the market. Having an efficiency factor for SEN to C via the Carbon market-maker means that one SEN should always sell for a minimum of 450. Suddenly, the SCA is producing 9000 currency worth of gross goods every 6-ish hours. This massively outpaces tier 1 production gross values and should make it immediately beneficial for tier-2/3 players who would then be incentivized to give up their tier 1 production on SEN consumers to develop or use their electronics experts and more efficiently deliver SEN.

I understand your concern with vets outpacing newbies on production… but the economic incentive just isn’t there for them to actually do it… this is doubly true if you make it harder to expand to multiple bases which is why that proviso is an essential part of Fick’s suggestion.

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