Random Thoughts – Randocity!

No Man’s Sky Review: What are Expeditions?

Posted in botch, video game, video game design by commorancy on July 27, 2022

No Man's Sky_20200306074944What exactly are No Man’s Sky Expeditions? Simply put, they are extended gameplay tutorials. Let’s explore.

Early Tutorials

Sometime around the year 2000, game designers found that it was simpler (and cheaper) to include a small intro tutorial in the game than producing an expensive and time consuming instruction manual. The purpose of a tutorial is to show the gamer how to use basic game mechanics to accomplish various tasks. It’s easier to do this interactively than trying to explain it in a written manual, which ultimately no nobody really reads.

In games like Call of Duty, these tutorials show you how to use the weapons, learn the button controller layout, such as stealth moves and so on. These tutorials began as simple introductory systems. These tutorials typically occur outside of the game’s normal play mode. Some games force tutorials to be completed, which prevents you from progressing into the game’s normal play mode until you complete all of the necessary tutorials.

However, game developers quickly realized the problem with these locked tutorials. Gamers weren’t happy with this forced intro system which tested a gamer’s patience before they could actually begin playing the main game. Gamers simply wanted to get into the meat of the gameplay immediately and couldn’t while locked into completing a silly, but long tutorial session.

Worse, many of the tutorials produce situations that ultimately never materialize in the game. It’s really frustrating to teach a gamer a specific technique which is never useful once actually in the game. The Titanfall game is guilty of forcing such a tutorial system, which also taught techniques never used in the game. What was the point in teaching a useless technique?

Tutorials Today

Today, game developers still use these in-game tutorial systems in various forms. Rarely are these tutorials forced, like in the above example. Many games allow you to skip the tutorials entirely, but they allow you to revisit any of the tutorials later if you want to learn a specific move, understand a mechanic better or simply hone skills around specific mechanics.

The best of all worlds is when a game developer chooses not to force a tutorial, but allows the player to skip them and revisit them later if needed. If tutorials are required, then the game developer should offer up a reward for completing them… as is done in the No Man’s Sky Expeditions.

Since most games have settled on standard controller layouts and many use similar mechanics, most gamers can easily fall right into a game within a few minutes, being required to learn only a few new concepts specific to that game.

No Man’s Sky has taken Tutorials to a New Level (aka Ways to Improve)

With the introduction the Expedition idea in 2021, Hello Games has turned long, but very basic tutorials into a gameplay mode, for better or worse. It is a gameplay mode that sees gamers earn rewards for all of their other game saves, but only after enduring very basic tutorial concepts.

Personally, I’d have preferred if Expeditions could be played on our existing game saves rather than cluttering up our game with a bunch of new saves, each used for a separate expedition. It’s a waste of space on our PC or console… space that we can’t get rid of easily because those saves earned the rewards.

More than this, I’d like to see expeditions offer us more than the simple, basic tutorials. Instead of teaching us basic concepts like using a portal, flying our starship, using hyperdrive on our freighter or installing technology modules, I’d prefer adding much more advanced features added to the expeditions that eventually get added into our normal play after the expedition is over. Basically, Hello Games should use expeditions as a preview mode for new features that eventually get rolled up and unlocked for our regular saves. As for these tutorials, the vast majority of players aren’t playing No Man’s Sky for the first time. We already understand all of these basics in abundance. That we must endure a somewhat condescending tutorial gameplay mode just to get some very basic rewards is quite time-wasting and insulting.

I’d have preferred a system that turns No Man’s Sky on its head, like allowing us to test out new features before being fully release to all game save modes. As an example, pick a planet and setup a PVP area. Then flatten that area and allow players to use a new unique vehicle to enter a new arena tournament. This allows full on competitive PVP on a specific planet. More than this, allow normal save players (not part of the expedition) to visit and spectate if they choose not to play the expedition. Simply spoon feeding us basics to collect a few low-level rewards seems mostly pointless. Instead, design brand new creative uses of the game engine, worlds and environments… then allow players to use those new areas in completion of an expedition. Better, use expeditions as a pre-release area to entice gamers to want to see what’s new and what’s coming.

Another example. Most worlds have large cave systems. Enable some kind of “egg hunt” in the caves of a specific world. Once you collect all of the necessary items and turn them in, you’ll get your expedition reward. This might require a new technology to be equipped on the scanner to allow searching for underground cave hollows. As it is now, it’s almost impossible to locate caves, thus a new technology must be added to the Multitool to allow for locating hollowed areas underground. Such a new Multitool feature would be an excellent use of an expedition to test this tool and get player feedback.

Now, I’m not advocating for expeditions to become strictly beta test areas, but pre-releasing fully working, but unreleased ideas allows Hello Games to understand if a feature is a hit or a bomb.

No Man’s Sky — 2016 Version

When No Man’s Sky (NMS) arrived in 2016, it had no tutorial. Gamers had to learn to play by doing. That’s fine, too. I find that tutorial systems take some of the fun out of learning the mechanics of the game and how far you might be able to take those mechanics. Tutorials teach you a straight-and-narrow approach for an individual mechanic, but it does not at all teach you the ways of using those mechanics in creative and unique new ways… ways that the developers might not have intended or, indeed, understood.

No Man’s Sky Expeditions

Let’s get into the meat of this review. What exactly is an expedition? To make an analogy, an Expedition is to No Man’s Sky as a Season is to Fortnite… mostly. More than this, an expedition is simply an extended tutorial for No Man’s Sky.

There are a number of pluses and minuses to expeditions and that’s what this article intends to uncover. Before we get into the advantages and disadvantages, let’s understand deeper what an expedition further is.

Extended Tutorial

Yes, a No Man’s Sky expedition is effectively an extended tutorial. That’s pretty much it in a nutshell. Hello Games takes you on a long-winded, convoluted journey by teaching you how to use, obtain and unlock features in No Man’s Sky in each expedition in an extremely detailed tutorialized way. Along the way, this very long extended tutorial will unlock a few exclusive items such as decals and decorations and an occasional piece of technology. These are both a plus and a minus.

If you’re thinking you would like to jump into the latest expedition, understand that it really only serves to teach you, in an almost condescending way, how to do extremely basic things in the game. When you complete a single phase milestone, the game unlocks certain rewards.

For example, in Expedition 8 (the current expedition running as of this article), visiting another player’s Freighter (a milestone), the game will give you a full Atlas Pass set, 5 million units and unlock all of the Portal glyphs. Nevermind that you have to find a random gamer, team up with them in a group, then hop aboard their freighter. Other player freighters don’t appear in multiplayer. They only appear after you’ve explicitly teamed up with another player. A hassle, to say the least. Why HG couldn’t have improved the game to allow all active gamer freighters to be visible and visitable without teaming up is unknown. That would have been an exceptional improvement to the game.

Almost all of the items that a phase milestone unlocks can usually be had without a phase milestone. It’s that if you perform a specific milestone, you’ll unlock them more quickly and easily in one step. The exceptions here are the expedition exclusive rewards. You can’t easily see which one these are, but you’ll know if you’ve played No Man’s Sky before. In effect, think of an expedition as a way to cheat your way through the game in just a few weeks simply by following the extended tutorial. By cheating, I mean that you get “sets” of basic items unlocked, like the Portal Glyphs, simply by doing a fairly simple thing. In a “Normal” game, it would take you way longer to get these Portal Glyphs.

On the flip side, however, the “new” exclusive Expedition rewards require extensive hoop-jumping exercises before the game unlocks these. If it’s an old mechanic, one thing unlocks the entire set. If it’s a new mechanic, expect to spend hours and hours jumping through burning hoops to unlock a couple of silly decals.

Advantage: Milestone Rewards

As mentioned just above, each phase milestone issues various rewards, most are standard while a few are exclusive to the expedition. While this is technically an advantage, it’s also a disadvantage because the game teaches you to get the basic items simply by performing basic milestones. With exclusives, you can only get these by performing a milestone. With the basics, you can get them by performing the milestone (the fastest way) or by doing standard in-game play (slower). While this is considered mostly an advantage, it honestly teaches the gamer the wrong way to get the basics if you intend to play using a “Normal” save. In other words, to get the basic rewards in a non-expedition save, you’ll have to do a whole lot more work by following the originally designed and intended method. There are no “expedition shortcuts” available in a normal game.

Disadvantage: Crap Rewards

Likewise, the primary disadvantage of expeditions is that they offer fairly crappy exclusive rewards. What I mean by that is, for example in Expedition 7, the final “big” reward was collecting the Living ‘Leviathan’ Frigate for your frigate fleet. While this frigate is unusual in its looks, it’s really nothing special as a frigate. It doesn’t have any features that are more unique than any other frigate you can find in the game. It’s a living frigate, but beyond that skin on the ship, it offers little unique benefit. In fact, it’s not even really a great frigate in and of itself. I have way better frigates in my fleet than this “reward” frigate.

What that means then is spending 6 weeks working your way through achieving 40 different milestones, each taking a substantial amount of time to complete. Then, only to be rewarded with something that isn’t substantially better than what you can buy with a couple million units. You can spend 6 weeks getting this “reward” or you can spend 6 weeks or less gathering enough units to buy several regular frigates, not just one.

That’s not say that the unique rewards, such as decals, aren’t somewhat interesting, but it may not be worth spending 6 weeks to complete an expedition that’s effectively a basic, but very extended tutorial.

Advantage: Rewards collected on other saves

Since the introduction of the Quicksilver shop in the Anomaly station, Hello Games has added the ability to collect expedition rewards for all of your game saves. So long as you play through an expedition, it will unlock unique rewards during that expedition. Thus, your other game saves can also collect those rewards, such as the Leviathan Frigate. That’s cool and all. Again, is it really worth spending 6 weeks just to unlock this reward for another game save?

Disadvantage: Starting Over

Starting any expedition, you must start a brand new game save. This means starting No Man’s Sky over from scratch with a minimally configured Exosuit, Multitool, Starship and, if given, a Freighter. It also means spending loads of time again collecting resources, units and nanites. It further means you need to collect salvaged data so you can, once again, unlock all of the unlockables at the Anomaly station and it means spending loads of time finding, then unlocking features in the Exosuit, Starship, Multitool, and Freighter.

In the case of Expedition 8, this “tutorial” is all about the newly introduced Freighter features. I’ll specifically discuss Expedition 8 more below. This means that Expedition 8 is effectively a very long tutorial to teach you how to unlock rooms in your freighter and build them. As a tutorial, it’s really basic. There’s a huge disadvantage to Expedition 8 in and of itself and I’ll also discuss that below.

After about the 3rd time going through an Expedition, the entire having-to-start-over thing gets very old. Being plopped down in a system with hazardous planets and being forced to forage for resources on these annoying planets is at once, time consuming and yet very, very pointless. If you choose to join an Expedition, that’s where you start.

Hello Games needs to figure out a way for us to import our character and at least one starship from a previous save into an Expedition save so we can start off with our suits and ships unlocked. Unless the goal is to tutorialize our way through the Exosuit and the Starship, then give us the ability to import those things that make no difference to the Expedition. Why make us continually start over from the beginning when it isn’t needed or relevant? It’s pointless and actually a severe disadvantage to expeditions. It also makes an expedition take way longer than is necessary.

Disadvantage: Slots

When starting over from scratch, that means minimal slots unlocked on the Exosuit, Multitool, Starship and Freighter… with the Freighter being the most difficult to unlock and the Exosuit being the most expensive. You can wait through achieving milestones to unlock some Exosuit and Multitool slots or you can buy your way into unlocking them.

During Expedition 8, I needed my Exosuit slots unlocked much, much faster than the milestones were offering. There were simply not enough slots given on the Freighter or Starship or Exosuit to proceed. I decided not to wait and paid 6 million units to buy 72 Drop Pod Coordinate Data, which I randomly found at a single Trade Terminal vendor.

I’d already paid to unlock all of the “General” slots by visiting space stations and the anomaly station. These slots are relatively cheap to unlock with the most expensive costing around 220,000 units. The only slots left unlocked are the incredibly expensive “Cargo” slots. I could spend a million or more units to unlock 1 slot at a time (after the first two or three) or I can pay 6 million units and chase down Drop Pods on a planet. I chose the latter.

I found a suitable anomaly “mushroom” planet, which has perfect weather and few sentinels. Then, I went to work with my trusty Signal Booster. Just craft this bad boy and drop it on the ground. Then use it to locate a Drop Pod using one of the purchased Drop Pod Coordinate Data items each time. Rinse and repeat. I did this maybe 45 times or however many slots were locked. It’s also way faster to do it this way than hyper traveling to system after system to unlock them at new space stations.

After I finished unlocking all Cargo slots, I proceeded to unlock the remaining Technology slots. That left me with 26 unused Drop Pod Coordinate Data items. I sold them back for 3 million units. To unlock almost every single Cargo slot and half of my Technology slots cost me around 3 million units all told… way, way cheaper than purchasing Cargo slots from a bunch of newly discovered space stations. In fact, if I had paid at space stations, I’d have spent maybe 20-50 million in total to unlock all of the Cargo slots. No. Using Drop Pod Coordinate Data is the cheapest and fastest way to unlock Cargo slots… and, it can be done on one single docile planet. In my case, unlocking that number of slots took me around 2 hours of real time. It’s pretty monotonous and repetitive, but once it’s done you don’t need to do it again.

Expedition 8: Polestar

Let’s review this latest expedition. With Expedition 8: Polestar, Hello Games has introduced some questionable new additions to the Freighter that really offer no added value to the game or to the freighter itself.

To reiterate, these new freighter room additions really add no substantial value to the overall game. In fact, the building additions dumb down parts of the game so much as to take the game in a completely wrong direction.

Building and Freighters

Building in No Man’s Sky has always been about using a construction kit and then placing specific technology objects wherever the player chooses. It’s a creative and rewarding endeavor because the player can use these objects in creative and interesting ways. The construction kits offer basic room designs that can be placed in unique layouts, including upper and lower floors.

Unfortunately, Hello Games has taken a huge step backwards with this latest freighter update. Gone is the basic room construction kit in the freighter and in replacement we get dumbed down and stupid single purpose rooms. Worse, though, is that these single purpose rooms are unconfigurable. Meaning, you must plop the room down as a whole as is. Gone is the empty room where you can place technology objects creatively. Now it’s just a single purpose whole room. Nothing creative at all about that.

Worse, Hello Games has decided to force the player to unlock these rooms from the freighter configuration area using Salvaged Frigate Modules (a form of in-game currency). Unfortunately, bar none, these modules are the single most difficult items (and currency) to locate in the game world. The only way to obtain them is by random spawn only. The chances of one of these spawning is probably 1 time out of 50, with the odds perhaps even higher than that. Meaning, it’s rare that these will spawn.

They can’t be purchased at all with any other more abundant currency, such as units or nanites. Nope. You must spend loads of time grinding in and around places that may or may not randomly spawn them.

Prior to this latest update, there were limited unlocks that required the need for the Salvaged Frigate Module currency. Since this update, there are many, many new items that now require them. Yet, Hello Games has not improved the spawn rate of these modules or made them easier to locate, making this Freighter update (and this expedition) at best a chore to complete. Worse, few of the expedition rewards offer Salvaged Frigate Modules as rewards. When they do, it’s between one and three at most, when the game ultimately requires around 15-20 of them to unlock all of the rooms, not counting the need for at least that many again to unlock hyperdrive add-ons and other useful freighter features.

When you’re playing outside of an expedition, you could spend several weeks and chase down only a handful of Salvaged Frigate Modules. Yes, they’re that rare.

Hello Games did a complete disservice to us with this update. Not only are these rooms almost 100% pointless to unlock as they don’t increase the freighter’s usefulness (thus wasting Salvaged Frigate Modules), the game itself is worse because of the new dumbed down building system combined with the need for even more Salvaged Frigate Modules to unlock these new features.

Overall, Endurance (the name of the update) is probably one of the crappiest updates Hello Games has dropped for No Man’s Sky.

New Rooms vs Old

Why is it so crappy? Because these new rooms don’t play well with one another, but more importantly, with the older legacy rooms. When you put these new rooms side by side with an older room, there are too many glitches and visual problems. Sometimes, the game leaves huge gaping holes. Yes, it’s that bad.

It’s also crappy because of the dumbed down building. With a game that includes building features, we don’t want single use rooms. We want a construction kit that offers creative building options. By dumbing down the construction in this way, Hello Games clearly doesn’t understand what us as gamers want from a building mode. Though, Hello Games was on the right track with the newest construction kit add-on for bases, these new one-use rooms in the freighter are a huge step backward for the game.

Freighter Improvement?

That’s the question, does this update greatly improve the freighter? No. Why? The freighter’s two main purposes include 1) being a starship garage and 2) launching frigate missions. That’s really the entire purposes of a freighter. With this update, nothing’s changed. The freighter’s usefulness is still limited to those two purposes. It’s far easier to equip your Starship for long distance hyperdrive travel using easier-to-obtain Nanites than trying to chase down rare Salvaged Frigate Modules only to get maybe half the distance with a freighter. No. The way to hyperdrive travel long distances in No Man’s Sky is still by using a starship. You simply cannot equip a freighter to achieve the hyperdrive distances that a starship can when properly equipped with technology modules. Freighters still do not offer enough technology modules in this or any other area.

With Endurance, we are once again forced to run around re-buying and re-unlocking all of the technology we had already spent weeks unlocking for base building. Instead, Hello Games has firmly separated base building from freighter building to the detriment of No Man’s Sky.

Freighter and base building should remain interlocked using the exact same features. If there’s a zone where you can build, all building construction tools should be available in every location. Instead, now we have these stupid one-use rooms that only work on a freighter and which also make zero sense. This change effectively takes the fun of building out of the game.

Base Building

The bigger problem is that, eventually, Hello Games will pull these single purpose rooms down into planetary base building. It doesn’t make sense to support two completely separate build systems. Eventually, Hello Games will want to marry this newer room based build system onto all build zones. What that means is that eventually base building will inherit this single use room concept, doing away with all of the current structures and technology by replacing them with these insipid all-in-one rooms.

For a game with construction capabilities, this really takes No Man’s Sky too far backwards. If you’re planning to take building back this far and dumb it down this much, then simply take building out of the game entirely. There’s no purpose in offering single purpose rooms and calling it “building”. Plopping down a handful of single purpose rooms is not considered in-game building. There’s nothing at all creative about that. Creation comes from construction kits, not from single pre-configured rooms.

This idea as a huge mistake and it is also badly implemented. In short, it’s an extremely disappointing move for No Man’s Sky.

Should I play No Man’s Sky Expeditions?

It depends. For Expedition 8, I’d suggest not. The Freighter additions are ultimately pointless and useless. With the exception of one thing, the Singularity Drive. This drive might be worth playing through to get this. Unfortunately, to get this drive, you have to play through Phases 1-4 and parts of Phase 5 to unlock it. There are still questions surrounding this drive, though. Since it’s a Singularity Drive, that means it likely uses the same jump mechanism as a black hole. When you traverse through a black hole in No Man’s Sky, technology ends up breaking once you emerge.

This means repairing technology after using a black hole and likely after using the Singularity Drive. I’ve stopped using this mode of travel because 1) it’s too random, 2) it doesn’t really get that much closer to the center and 3) technology breaks after using it. Traveling through a black hole is like circling a drain. You pop a teeny bit closer to the center, but you’re still just circling. It takes hundreds of hops through a black hole to get you even the tiniest bit closer to the center. It’s really, really pointless and it means repairing lots of technology with wiring looms along the way.

Outfitting your starship with the longest light year jump distance is really the best way to get to the center of the galaxy. It also avoids the broken technology problem each time you jump. I really despise it when Hello Games insists on breaking technology on the ship after using a jump technology. It’s such a complete waste of time and resources.

Also keep in mind that the Polestar expedition is entirely designed as a tutorial to teach you about these pointless freighter add-ons. Since the freighter itself isn’t drastically improved by these additions, I can’t recommend playing Polestar. Play if you like, but don’t expect great things if you do.

I also find that the rewards from the expeditions don’t match the time and energy expended to get through the milestones. While the rewards are “nice to haves”, they’re not ultimately required to play the game. That’s partly because Hello Games knows there’s no other way to get these rewards other than completing an expedition that eventually ends and may never return.

That means that if you never play a single expedition, you’re locked out of those expedition rewards. You can’t unlock them in any other way than by playing the expeditions. Ultimately, that means that the rewards offered by playing an expedition must ultimately remain inconsequential to any other game saves you may already have. This is why most of the rewards consist of posters or decals or other cosmetic items to decorate your base, with only one or two rewards being even moderately functional items.

Completed

[Updated Aug 6, 2022] I’ve recently completed Expedition Polestar. I didn’t complete the “Optional” milestone because it is a pointless multiplayer exercise that does nothing to help this expedition succeed; with its reward of 5 million units, unlocking of 16 glyphs and Atlas Pass set. The extra units are actually the most useful portion of this milestone, but units can be had in so many better ways than this. Unlocking the portal glyphs and the Atlas passes are entirely pointless as they are unneeded.

After completion of Expedition Polestar, there are still a large number of unresolved problems. The first problem is that while Starship Hyperdrive plans are unlocked, the red, green and blue drives are not! This means that your Starship is limited to yellow star systems only, forcing you to unlock all of the drives for the freighter ?!?? This also means that even though you have completed the expedition, the game is still nowhere near close to a “normal” save game mode. Secondarily and more importantly, the base computer remains locked with no way to unlock it. This precludes any base building after completing Expedition Polestar. Worthless!

I don’t know if the lack of unlocking these items was a simple oversight on the part of Hello Games or if they’re intentional. Either way, the left over save is pointless. Not only can you not build bases after you’ve completed this expedition, you can’t mine for resources on planets. This means you’re stuck using your crappy multitool alone to continue to gather resources from resource piles on planets. A complete waste of time and effort.

Some may think that these plans might get unlocked after the expedition clock times out weeks later, but I doubt it. If it hasn’t unlocked by the end of the expedition as part of the expedition, it’s never likely to unlock for that expedition save.

If you’re thinking of playing this expedition with the intent you can continue to use this game save after, you likely won’t want to. Even the biggest reward, the Singularity Drive, is more of a gimmick than it is useful. I wouldn’t suggest playing this expedition strictly for the Singularity Drive. It’s really not worth it for that. In fact, it seems Hello Games has been giving us ever crappier rewards (and saves) for each successive expedition.

To be honest, this is not only the single crappiest update for No Man’s Sky, Expedition Polestar is the single crappiest expedition to date. There’s nothing really of value to be had from these Freighter additions. In fact, these additions are so bad as to take the game back to a worse state than before the update… not just from a bugs perspective, but also from the single-purpose room building that Hello Games has now foisted onto us. There’s really very little that’s redeeming about this expedition overall.

Recommended: No
Stars: 1.5 out of 5
Play Value: 1.5 out of 5
Overall Rating: 1.5 out of 5
Overall Comment: Don’t play expeditions unless you really enjoy condescending tutorials that take forever and offer mostly pointless rewards.

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Is Trump Guilty or Not?

Posted in legal, politics, verdict by commorancy on July 22, 2022

brown wooden gavel on brown wooden table

I know there’s a lot of speculation, particularly since the January 6th Select Committee Hearings. Let’s explore what might make Trump guilty of something and what that something might be.

Electoral College Vote

To begin to understand how the January 6th riots became a reality, we must jump back in time to the Trump “Save America Rally” at the Ellipse the morning of the riots. However, before we discuss the content in this rally, let’s talk about what it takes to put together such a rally. More than this, why was January 6th chosen for this specific rally in the first place?

Election Lost

We all should now know and understand that Trump lost the 2020 election. We actually even knew it long before January 6th, but Donald Trump is a major sore loser. He simply cannot stand to lose. Thus, to avoid having to admit defeat, he chose to lie and claim the election was stolen. This lie is ultimately how the Save America Rally began.

Invitations to this rally began to circulate perhaps weeks before the actual event. In fact, I saw a tweet requesting attendance to the event on January 2nd, before the event from Donald Trump’s now suspended Twitter account. I even replied to a tweet in this stream.

More than this, this invitation was also sent to extremist groups known for violence, such as The Proud Boys, the Oathkeepers and others. Donald Trump was well aware of whom were being invited to the Rally. Of course, he didn’t know which groups might show because it wasn’t an RSVP thing, but he assumed at least some of these groups, if not all of them, would show… and show up, they did.

This is the precursor that must be understood to what later transpires at the “Save America Rally” the morning of January 6th at the Ellipse.

The Ellipse

The morning of the Ellipse began with a mostly RA RA session, but with some inciting rhetoric from both Trump and a bunch of Trump sycophants, including Rudy Giuliani. Trump, during his speech, included certain key phrases to work up the crowd and to specifically incite them to take action. Let’s read his closing words from that speech!

But I said, “Something’s wrong here.” Something’s really wrong. Can’t have happen. And we fight. We fight like hell. And if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore. Our exciting adventures and boldest endeavors have not yet begun. My fellow Americans for our movement, for our children and for our beloved country and I say this despite all that’s happened, the best is yet to come. So, we’re going to… we’re going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue, I love Pennsylvania Avenue, and we’re going to the Capitol and we’re going to try and give… the Democrats are hopeless, they’re never voting for anything, not even one vote… but we’re going to try and give our Republicans, the weak ones, because the strong ones don’t need any of our help, we’re going to try and give them the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country. So, let’s walk down Pennsylvania Avenue, I want to thank you all, God bless you and God Bless America.

Thank you all for being here, this is incredible, thank you all very much.

Former President Donald Trump at the Ellipse on January 6th

Donald Trump was, after this speech concluded, advised by his team not to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue and he took that advice and did not march along side the crowd. Instead, they did so of their own accord, but at Donald Trump’s prompting.

Let’s take a few more words of this apart. For example, “the bold ones”. For this he is specifically referring to those like The Proud Boys and The Oathkeepers. He didn’t mention them by name, but he knew such “bold” groups were in attendance. He could see them in the crowd from the podium. For “the weak ones”, he’s trying to incite the people who don’t normally perform violent acts to step up and “take back our country”. For “take back our country”, that rhetoric is specific to the “Stop the Steal” lie discussed below.

Because Trump and his followers believe the election was stolen, he wanted everyone at that rally to “take back the country” from those who have been labeled as “thieves”… when, in fact, it was Trump who was the thief and who, at the time, was attempting to dismantle Democracy and the Constitution and illegally take a position from the duly elected candidate, Joe Biden and harm the rest of America by setting aflame the fabric of Democracy.

“Fight Like Hell”

A lot of people claim that these words are innocent. They aren’t. They’re actually fighting words. Let’s understand fighting words.

Screen Shot 2022-07-22 at 2.23.38 AM

Violent actions began almost immediately (within a few minutes) after this speech concluded at the Capitol… as it was stated by Trump where “fight like hell” needed to occur. Once the people had walked down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol, all hell broke loose and the violence began. In this definition above, it says “incite an immediate breach of the peace”. How quickly “immediate” must be is a matter of debate, but I’d say it also matters based on its context… context that Trump supplied in his speech. “We’re going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue… we’re going to try and give them (the weak Republicans) the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country.”

Trump told the crowd exactly what to do, where to do it and when to do it… and then followed through.

Once the rioting began, there were 187 minutes of continuous rioting that remained until Donald Trump broke his silence and requested the rioters to leave the Capitol grounds. However, by that time, the police may have been getting the crowds under control, no thanks to the President’s 187 minutes of inaction and silence.

It’s not just the “fight like hell” words, though. It’s all of the subtext in his and other people’s speech both before and after and the Save America Rally. It’s even in the name of the rally, “Save America” as though America needed saving. Saving from what exactly? The peaceful transition from one president to the next.

Stop the Steal

Again, we must step back in time to understand where this rally began and why. The “Save America Rally” wasn’t a one-off rally that appeared out of nowhere without context. No. It began as part of the “Stop the Steal” campaign that Trump initiated.

As we all know, Trump rejected (at the time in 2020) the idea that he had lost the election. In fact, he so rejected the notion that he lost the election, he fabricated all sorts of scenarios as to why it cannot be possible. From bad voting machines, to dead people voting, to faked ballots, to voting fraud, to election rigging on the part of the Democrats. He even attempted to rig the election himself in his favor by trying to replace the legitimate Electors with a set of his own choosing, Electors that would be faithful to Donald, not to Democracy.

Anything Donald could wrap his little greedy paws around, he’d use as a possible reason for Biden having won illegitimately. This included many, many failed lawsuits and paying for independent third party auditors to re-audit ballots in some key states. None of this worked… not the lawsuits, not the audits and definitely not his lies. The states that were accused of “rigging” or “cheating” have since audited and re-audited each and every vote cast many times to prove Biden legitimately won the election.

All of this was to no avail. Nothing has convinced Donald Trump that he has lost the 2020 election. As of this article’s date, Donald Trump is still attempting to perpetuate this lie.

No, the Save America Rally was intended for one singular purpose: to storm Capitol Hill and prevent the Electoral College from completing its job. That was the single, solitary purpose behind the Save America Rally. The rally was simply a precursor to rile up the crowd and give them a purpose. That’s exactly what Trump did in his speech.

The crowd, however, knew exactly the reason why they were there… to “Stop the Steal”. Of course, there was no steal involved. The election was free and fair and just. Nothing was stolen from anyone, least of all Donald Trump. Trump lost the election in the same way he had won it four years earlier. The voters cast their vote for Joe Biden in 2020 just as they had cast their vote for Donald Trump in 2016.

However, because the rally attendees knew exactly what “Save America” meant and knew exactly why the rally came to exist, it opened the door for exactly what happened on January 6th on the Capitol grounds.

Violence

Because it was known to at least some people in Trump’s administration, and likely to Trump himself, the types and groups of people who were invited to the rally, not just everyday citizens, but groups of extremists, it should have been known that violence was an inevitable outcome. Instead of attempting to quell that possibility during the Save America Rally, Trump did the opposite. He told them to “fight like hell” because “something is wrong”. The crowd knew exactly why they were there and it wasn’t to stand and listen to Donald Trump.

The day was January 6th, the day the Electoral College votes were to be counted. Having a rally specifically on that day with a march down to the Capitol was handwriting on the wall. There’s no way to “stop” the Electoral College by standing there peacefully outside. No. The crowd knew this. They didn’t need to be told, even though Trump more or less spelled it out with “Fight like Hell”.

The people handling this Electoral counting activity in the Capitol could only be stopped from within. That meant breaching the grounds and entering the building… which is exactly what the crowd proceeded to do and ultimately did. However, Pence and the rest of the House and Senate took shelter away from where the crowds were, thwarting advances by the crowds… only delaying the counting process.

The point to all of this is that Donald Trump’s prior rally lies combined with this Save America Rally speech lead directly to the violent outcomes of the crowd that commenced. If the Save America Rally hadn’t taken place, there would have been no riot. The riot was a direct result of the Save America Rally and, more specifically, because of Donald Trump’s words immediately prior to the crowd walking to the Capitol.

Motives

Clearly, Donald Trump had motive, opportunity and intent here. We know what that motive is. We understand the opportunity because of the Rally. We also understood the intent and outcome he desired. The motive was to stop the Electoral College and prevent them from continuing with their vote count so that he could continue his Presidency. How exactly that was to happen, Trump didn’t really care. Stopping the Electoral College vote would have been simply a stopgap measure. Meaning, even if the House and Senate hadn’t performed their vote count, President Biden would have still taken office. The vote was already official. The Senate and House portion is simply a formality. It is a formality which could likely be forgone without any problems in the system.

Exactly what Donald Trump thought he could accomplish by stopping that vote count with people breaching the Capitol is unknown.

Mike Pence

As Vice President, at the time, Mike Pence was requested by Donald Trump to reject some or all of the Electoral College vote counts. However, that’s not a power that the Vice President holds during the Electoral College vote count procedure. His role is procedural and as a facilitator of the process. The Vice President holds no power to veto, change or alter Electoral College votes in the way that Donald Trump had requested.

Why is this information important? It goes to motive on the part of Trump. Clearly, Trump was willing to try any and every avenue at this disposal to try to retake the office come January 20th, inauguration day. Trump wanted to be the one being inaugurated. Unfortunately, there was no way forward to that end short of dispensing with Democracy and the Constitution entirely… which is likely what Donald Trump wanted. Clearly, Donald Trump didn’t care whose toes he stepped on, whose coat got wet, or who fell in his puddles of water, so long as the outcome he wanted materialized.

When Pence told Trump he would be unable to do as requested by attempting to change the outcome of the Electoral College, Trump effectively tweeted that Pence had effectively turned on him. This, at the time that Pence and other representatives were holed up in fear of their lives against rioters… and at that time the tweet went out, the rioters began chanting “Hang Mike Pence”. Trump’s tweet alerted the rioters to the fact that Pence was not on board with keeping Trump in power.

Pence remained steadfast and continued with his oath and duties all while Trump did nothing to quell the rioting for 187 very long minutes.

187 minutes

Here’s a turning point. If you didn’t believe Trump had any hand in launching the riots, then you should after you understand that it took Trump 187 minutes to make a statement to stop the rioting, which he himself launched at the Ellipse. He wanted the Electoral College vote count to stop. He wanted to remain in power as President. This is all a given.

So, for that 187 minutes, he sat quietly (mostly), Tweeting only a few times. None of those communications were to tell the rioters to stop. No. Instead, they were, like the Pence tweet mentioned above, more or less attempting to egg the rioters on.

Even still, at the end of those grueling 187 minutes (at least for the cops there at the Capitol), Trump finally called a halt, but then rewarded the rioters with “Go home. We love you. You’re very special”.

You don’t reward people for bashing other people’s heads with barriers, fire extinguishers and flagpoles all while dousing them with pepper spray. That’s not what you say to people involved in violent activities. That statement was, in fact, so inappropriate as to be distasteful. It also goes to show, once again, motive, opportunity and intent. A person truly wanting the violence to stop doesn’t offer up rewarding words. Truly disgusting.

Motive, Opportunity and Intent

All three of these indicate a mindset of Trump at the time. Let’s support these with Trump’s actions:

  1. Trump knew he had lost the election, but created the big election lie
  2. Trump began the Stop the Steal rallies
  3. Trump sued states to attempt to prove voter fraud
  4. Trump invited people to the Capitol on the day of the Electoral College vote count specifically to interfere and stop the count
  5. Trump incited and fomented the riot at the Capitol from the people who attended the “Save America Rally”
  6. Trump more than likely knew violent extremist groups were present at the rally
  7. Trump incited the crowd with phrases like “Fight like hell” and “Save America”
  8. Trump did nothing for 187 minutes while these groups continued attacking the Capitol
  9. Trump rewarded the attendees at the end of those 187 minutes once he knew they couldn’t succeed
  10. Trump lost at this attempt

The motive, then, is to attempt to stay in power as President illegally beyond his Presidential term. The opportunity is to use his public power and words to wield citizens as weapons against the U.S. Government. The intent is to stop the peaceful transition of power.

What was the intent during his 187 minutes of mostly silence? The same as stated above. However, there’s no way to know what was going through Trump’s head. That’s the reason for the January 6th hearing testimony. To uncover conversations people had with Donald Trump during those 187 minutes. These conversations and other information may be very relevant to see a glimpse into the mind of Donald Trump, to see what he was thinking and possibly doing (or not doing).

Guilty or Innocent?

While 187 minutes with him doing nothing to stop the riot may not be considered a crime as part of his Presidential duties, as part of a wider and larger operation, including his election lie, the Stop the Steal concept, the Save America Rally insurrection incitement and the subsequent riot when combined, it may point to other illegal activities. It certainly leads to this conclusion.

That Trump is likely guilty of attempting to overthrow the election to remain in office. What he did is actually a form of Advocating to Overthrow the Government, which is highly illegal and carries a fine and up to 20 years in prison, along with a 5 year ban on holding any government position. Advocating to overthrow may be further considered a form of treason if other conditions are present (i.e, 187 minutes of silence).

At the time of the Capitol riot, the rioters should be considered an enemy of the United States. As a result, Trump doing nothing during those 187 minutes to stop the rioters could see him considered guilty of “adher[ing] to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort in the United States.” The very definition of Treason. If the rioters are labeled an enemy of the United States for the duration of the riot, then Trump should be considered “giving aid” during that 187 minutes of silence. He started the whole thing and then did nothing to stop it. That’s very much “giving aid”. His “rewarding” words stated when he asked the rioters to go home solidifies the fact that he was “giving aid”.

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Anyone who attacks a Federal building should automatically be considered an enemy of the United States for the time they continue to attack. It doesn’t matter if the person is a natural born citizen or not. It’s the action of attacking which changes the status of the person to an enemy of the United States.

Some argue, well Trump would be overthrowing himself as he was still in power at the time. No, he was actually attempting to overthrow the future Biden administration, which was just days away from taking office. Trump’s tenure was ending and he knew that. Trump wasn’t overthrowing himself, he was attempting to overthrow Democracy (and Biden). He was attempting to light the Constitution on fire and burn it all to keep himself in power and keep Biden out of the office after Biden was so duly elected.

Clearly, it failed. Trump failed. It wasn’t for lack of trying and it wasn’t without damage and consequences to police who lost their lives, to the Capitol building that needed repairs and to at least one rioter who was killed… not to mention, the damage it has done to the reputation of the United States around the world.

This all means that because of Trump’s direct actions, not only is he likely guilty for Advocating to Overthrow the Government, not only may he be further guilty of Treason, he is likely also responsible for the deaths during the Capitol riot. After all, if he hadn’t held the “Save America Rally”, those extremists might never have showed up. It was due to his Tweet and his prompting that led people to the Ellipse and ultimately to the Capitol that day. Therefore, at the very least, Trump is partially responsible for the deaths of those at the Capitol on January 6th, 2021. Because of his 187 minutes of inaction, he likely intentionally let the rioters continue unabated which appears that he had “given them aid and comfort in the United States”, the very definition of Treason.

Trial and Consequences

All of this means, especially after all of the January 6th Select Committee’s investigation, that there should be more than sufficient evidence for the Department of Justice to hold a trial over Donald Trump’s actions prior to and leading up to the January 6th riot event.

Leave the trial up to a jury to decide whether or not Trump is guilty of any or all of these charges. Personally, I don’t see innocence here. There is nothing at all innocent about lying about election fraud, then inviting violent extremists to the Capitol, unleashing them onto an unsuspecting police force and then giving them 187 minutes to perform their damage, kill people, all in an attempt to halt the Electoral College vote process. That doesn’t at all say innocent to me. No, Trump definitely needs an indictment and a trial over all of this.

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