Categories
Debriefings

PHANTOM SIGNAL

filed by Agent O

Hello, Agents old and new.

Much has changed since the last time Blaseball was live. I won’t talk much about the actual games – we’ve got two weeks with this pocket universe, I don’t even know who most of these players are, and any championships won’t stick – but the website is very different, and that’s worth talking about.

Let’s begin.

The Bridge

EMERGENCY ALERT

On Sunday, at the time we typically get the election (2PM Texas time), a countdown on the website reached zero. We saw the capital letters and italics typical to the “Emergency Alert” text, followed by a number of words related to digital signal processing:

STATIC
NOISE
ARTIFACTS
BURN IN
PHANTOM SIGNAL
STATIC

The Microphone then both tweeted and showed up on the website with the word “TUNING”, which then had a number of periods after it that kept fluctuating. Meanwhile, on Twitter, the Commissioner responded to a BNN reporter asking “who’s on the mic, parker?” with “no one”.

Further simultaneous tweets and microphone-website-broadcasts followed, “REDUCING NOISE”, “INCREASING GAIN”, “TESTING 1 2 3”, and eventually “SIGNAL CLEAR”. (The Commissioner called this a “sound check.” and insisted things were fine.)

Then, one last “automated” message:

BRIDGE: OPEN
ACCESS: PUBLIC

Read-Only

Remember how I said we were getting disposable rosters for the duration? There was a test season, one we can see only as scattered Feed entries, which contained evidence of such things as a Spies/Beams player feedback swap, a number of players who mysteriously disappeared from rosters and who no longer have player pages but were present in Feeds, and the Philly Pies yet again failing to win a championship.

Furthermore, earlier this week (at the same time these rosters and entries went live), there was a phantom election visible that we were unable to vote in. The Decrees were called “Circuits”, one of which would pass, called Circuit 0 and Circuit 1. Both said they would be a “Two Week Season”, but Circuit 0 was also labeled “Wild Cards” and Circuit 1 “Mild Cards”.

The other half of the election was “Charges”, per-team but decided by majority vote, where voting fans – presented with a single option called “Charge” – were asked to “Choose a Player to Charge the Microphone.”

According to the Feed, during the “election” of this read-only season, a number of players were turned into “Static”. Thus, I draw the conclusion that someone chose players from each team to Charge the Microphone.

But we didn’t make that choice. Someone else did.

Who?

new team who dis [sic]

We also got a whole new roster, a completely different set of names from the ones previously available, for the beginning of this Circuit. Thus, the names we got less than a week ago are completely different from the ones we have now. Another set of NPCs to write lore for!

We also received slightly adjusted Conferences (the things that were previously called Subleagues) and Divisions – we are no longer in the same division as the Kansas City Breath Mints, and have in exchange received the Breckenridge Jazz Hands.

Finally, our team has the best average Defense stars in the league. It’s bittersweet for some of the oldest Spies fans. The blooddrains of season 10 did not just destroy our defense, they destroyed our mechanical identity. We were the team that really scared the Crabs because they couldn’t steal if they couldn’t get on base. Then, 36 blooddrains later, we looked exactly the same as everyone else in Wild Low: an assortment of home run hitters who refused to swing. So having a team that’s the best at defense once again, just like old times…

The Death Mints

The Kansas City Breath Mints have suffered the first incineration of this season: Jam Robbie, who was replaced with Silvio Teacup. In a sort of grim humor, there is now a “time since last incineration” tracker on the front page. It is ticking up. It will probably be reset again very soon.

It’s possible the weather dial has been turned up for the Short Circuits – these players are clearly set up to be temporary, so incinerations and feedbacks sting less. But who knows?

A Few Amusing Names

A lot of names were only mildly interesting, normal, or just straight-up duds, but a few –

The Breckenridge Jazz Hands have a player named BBQ Sky. The Fire Eater and former Dallas Steaks player August Sky could not be reached for comment.

A certain Cactus Castillo has shown up on the Mexico City Wild Wings, which is funny because Castillo Turner, the player currently in possession of the Super Roaming Fifth Base, is commonly thought of as being a cactus. Someone joked about Cactus Castillo being Castillo Turner wearing faked low star ratings as a disguise.

Finally: is Duck Hoarse made of hoarse-sized ducks or duck-sized hoarses? You decide.

You Bet

The new betting page allows you to pick one or more teams. If all the teams you pick win, you win votes. If any of the teams you pick lose, you receive nothing for the entire lot.

Furthermore, you get to bet up to nine hours/games in advance (enough for a work shift, or for sleep). However, if you place a bet on, for example, the merits of a good pitcher who is then incinerated, the bet will not change either its target or its reward. Just like Wills, bets execute exactly as filed. At least you can cancel and redo them!

Preliminary optimization advice is to always do a combo bet. I’ve been hearing conflicting advice on whether an underdog bet plus 1-3 very safe bets, or 2-4 bets on near-50% teams, are better options. Either way, the advice was supposed to be to place two bets. But while I was writing this, betting has been rebalanced to make small bet combos less profitable, making larger and more improbable bet combos better in comparison – so it could change again.

The first verified correct bet on all twelve games is that of someone from the Yellowstone Magic, who received 25K votes and got shouted out by the Ticker: “it would take a little magic to pick all 12”.

The Non-Phantom Election

An hour or so after that Emergency Alert, though, the Election changed dramatically. The phantom election options disappeared without (visibly?) doing anything, and we got a whole new slate of options. This time, there are Amplifications (decided with a simple majority within the team) – one for each major stat category – and Distortions (Blessings raffles, but maximum one per team).

The lack of detailed options, the fact that this team only lasts for two weeks, as well as the fact that this election is the only one that will make improvements that actually see play (since at the end of next week the roster will disappear anyway), have all significantly de-emphasized strategy. There’s not much talk about what we should pick, but I personally think it would be funny to go for the defense option and make our team even more of a stone wall.

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