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Thread: Vampire the Masquerade:Bloodlines

  1. #1
    Roam's Avatar
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    Vampire the Masquerade:Bloodlines

    I know, I know: ancient game. But recently sold well in the summer sale, so I had a lot of friends on steam talk to me about it again, and decided to replay it. I must admit, I totally forgot how friggin awesome this game is, and therefore decided that it was worth a thread.

    For those not in the know: It was made by Troika games, a trifecta of former Fallout 1 developers, who made a grand total of two games. Arcananum and VtM:Bloodlines. The latter being a highly highly flawed (unfinished) product which pretty much killed them, but then later got picked up as a cult classic with an incredibly loyal community that has managed to keep the game up to date (resolution and graphics patches), fixed it (a massive unofficial patch that removes 99.9% of the game breaking bugs it had upon launch) and restored it (adding a HUGE ton of content that was meant for DLCs/Expansions or simply struck before release).

    The most recent Wesp Patch (the unofficial community patch) is from June 2012, so is still being updated, and they keep finding more and more stuff to improve/add to an already superb game.

    To give an indication of gameplay: A lot of you have played Deus Ex 3, which was composed of equal measures original Deus Ex aspects and heavily influenced by Bloodlines. Except that Bloodlines does everything better. (context: I'm a massive Deus Ex fanboy, but hated Deus Ex 3)

    It's a World of Darkness setting which you may know from the inevitable CCP failure/abortion in the coming years. It's a first person RPG, with abysmal combat (the fps component is alright, I guess, but the melee and unarmed combat is atrocious) but incredibly strong atmosphere, character customization and great writing. It's also rather adult in its themes, in a non-retarded manner, in stark contrast to recent games that tried to incorporate sexual themes in RPGs ("HEY NERDS, THIS IS A SEX REFERENCE. GET IT, GET IT? LET'S JUST REPEAT IT SO WE CAN BE SURE YOU GOT IT, OKAY? SEX!").

    Anyway, I had completely forgotten how much I love the crap out of this game, and thread is here because it'll inevitably come by again sometime in a sale, and because it's still a relatively obscure title.

  2. #2
    GiDiYi's Avatar
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    +1up in regards to this game.

    I got it fresh from the press back then (2004?). It was so horribly broken, yet so good.

    Don't get me wrong, it was unplayable to an extent, where you simply couldn't advance the main storyline at some point, because the game was bugged (as in, no way to get around it without cheating). Well, I cheated to get past (was quite late in the storyline and it's a bit blurry, but I think you were in a cave and supposed to get in a boat or something and there was no way in bloody hell to get the boat moving, so you had to no-clip yourself to the exit iirc). It was the mainstoryarch where you had to get past if you wanted to finish the game, no matter who or what you were playing, so it really shows how massive the derp and how nonexistant the QA must have been.

    I played it as the 'Casanova' type vampire (forgot the naming) and I basically talked myself through the game. Truly awesome.

  3. #3
    Roam's Avatar
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    If there's an interest, I can make a comprehensive post for those just starting for the first time (or replaying as a result of the summer sale with the patches that came out since then) about clan differences, mechanics, disciplines and the likes.

    Also, if you're interested in getting this: By all means go torrent it. The developer studio is dead, so any money you do spend on this through steam won't be going anywhere near the game developers, but to Activision because it holds the publishing rights.

  4. #4
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    Additional + 1. So buggy, but easily the closest we've come to getting something on par with the original Deus Ex, and worth playing through twice just for the Malkavian playthrough. It's just a shame the later sections aren't as good and way too combat heavy(infinitely respawning kuei'jin can fuck right off).

  5. #5
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    Fond memories. Liked it back then (got it a bit after release and could at least play the storyline). Coll to see the fans are still updating it, well worth the trouble if you get the feeling of the game.
    Also it's from a time where vampires where non-sparkling and horrible

  6. #6
    Roam's Avatar
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    We should note that for people who don't know the game: the patch actually fixes all of the issues, so these days it's perfectly fine to play. When we refer to it as flawed and buggy, we're referring to the base game as it was first released.

    Also, I would argue that there's 4 major playthroughs that are utterly different game experiences, not just two. And that's not even accounting for actual ingame character growth differences (like melee/ranged/social etc), but purely clan/histories.

    Edit: Anyway, let me know if there's interest in a lengthy post explaining some of the intricacies of creating a first character. If you're too lazy to post saying you'd be interested, plusrep me or something if you're at least interested in reading it.
    Last edited by Roam; July 30 2012 at 10:26:37 PM.

  7. #7
    evil edna's Avatar
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    bought this on release, got to near the end and got fucked by bugs, never finished it.

    tried it again with patches early this year, got a ways in, it crashed once , had flashback, never played again.

    really good game tho

  8. #8

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    Got it in a Steam sale last year. Enjoyed the setting a lot, but stopped playing after the game bugged & I couldn't make a door in that Asian guy's lab maze open. One of the few games I've played where the setting was genuinely dark & at times unsettling (that snuff movie quest was unpleasant to say the least) & had probably my favourite morality system (or rather there being two, sometimes conflicting systems to gauge your actions by). Combat hasn't aged well but it's bearable & forgivable since it's from that period where RPGs still hadn't really figured out how to make the transition from 3rd to 1st person (see also Morrowind).

    I didn't know about the unofficial patches etc, though. I might try it out again with those when I cba to start it up again.

  9. #9
    Roam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lancehot View Post
    Got it in a Steam sale last year. Enjoyed the setting a lot, but stopped playing after the game bugged & I couldn't make a door in that Asian guy's lab maze open. One of the few games I've played where the setting was genuinely dark & at times unsettling (that snuff movie quest was unpleasant to say the least) & had probably my favourite morality system (or rather there being two, sometimes conflicting systems to gauge your actions by). Combat hasn't aged well but it's bearable & forgivable since it's from that period where RPGs still hadn't really figured out how to make the transition from 3rd to 1st person (see also Morrowind).

    I didn't know about the unofficial patches etc, though. I might try it out again with those when I cba to start it up again.
    Do it. The patches are amazing not only for fixing the game, but also by the staggering amount of content they add. From dialogues, quest lines, entire areas, more skills and clan histories. It's pretty great.

  10. #10

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    really good game to play, got it last year in the sale.

  11. #11
    Bought this game in a steam sale awhile ago, never played but I always hear people raving about it.

    What stuff should I get besides the wesp unofficial patch?

  12. #12
    Movember 2012 ElweSingollo's Avatar
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    epic game is epic but get the fan patches otherwise it's buggy as hell can't remember which one I got there are 2 variety's iirc and you have to be carefull with one since it changes a shitload of stuff although iirc you can get a vanilla version of that patch that just mainly fixes the bugs.

  13. #13

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    A truly amazing, underrated game. It's easily in my top 3 or 5. Get wesp patch, play through at least once as malkavian. If you enjoy atmosphere and story, you'll love this game.

  14. #14
    Venec's Avatar
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    Malkavians #1 clan.

  15. #15

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    So who do you think the cab driver is?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by dr axler View Post
    So who do you think the cab driver is?
    Spoilered cause of request:

      Spoiler:

    Friend of mine swears it's Cain.
    Last edited by Omega Supreme; July 31 2012 at 02:40:17 AM.

  17. #17

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      Spoiler:

    Quote Originally Posted by Omega Supreme View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by dr axler View Post
    So who do you think the cab driver is?
    Friend of mine swears it's Cain.
    I kinda got that vibe as well. The accent, the knowledge, the way he speaks. Man they don't make games like this anymore...
    Nothing confirmed though. Always wanted to know if any other storyline revealed more.
    Last edited by dr axler; August 6 2012 at 09:26:53 AM.

  18. #18
    I'm guessing a malkavian wasn't the best idea for a starting character?

  19. #19
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    When I first started playing and then found out it uses the Source engine.

    It blew my mind how shit movement is compared to HL2 etc. "How did they fuck up the Source engine so bad?"

    But the atmosphere and effort in the game made it not matter.

  20. #20
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    Alright, I got myself a plusrep asking for this, so here goes:

    Before we begin:

    You need to do a few things to even make the game playable. Obviously install in steam, but then right click in library and make sure that auto-update is OFF. Not that there will ever be updates for this, but steam has been known to randomly redownload "lost" files after the unofficial patch is applied, thereby screwing up your game.

    After that, you've got a few options with mods, at present.

    Obligatory: Wesp patch site

    Wesp's patch should always be updated on the above list, and he generally maintains a relatively updated download location for some of the other big mods. Quick rundown:

    -Wesp's Unofficial Patch: The major player here. All other mods are based on a version of his patches, because they are just so indispensable. They fix all the major bugs, and as previously mentioned add a fuckton of content, from quests to dialogues to skills and histories. The latest patch includes a resolution fixer, to drag the game kicking and screaming into normal gaming resolutions, and comes in NORMAL and PLUS mode.

    IMPORTANT NOTE: Never ever use normal, always use PLUS mode. A long time ago there was a slight controversy within the community as a result of one guy going completely apeshit all over the forums about "how dare Wesp decide what to fix and what content to read to the game I'm a free amerikun!", and he kept coming back after being talked to calmly several times. Eventually Wesp decided to add a version of his patch which only fixes the basic gamebreaking bugs, but nothing else. The guy in question still raged for years to come, but the version stayed. Plus doesn't actually remove anything from the original content, it just adds content that was removed.

    -Camarilla/Final Nights. A mod that tries to get VtM:B as close to the pen and paper sourcebooks as possible. Unfortunately, this isn't necessarily a good thing.. Is not compatible with the newest version of Wesp, so they are mutually exclusive. It does implement an older version of Wesp's patch, and contains a bunch of semi-pro voice acted custom quests and content. The quality seems to be rather inconsistent, and I would definitely recommend you DON'T use this patch until after your first/second playthrough with the main game.

    -Clanquest. Another mod that wanted to add some spice to the different clans with individual clan quests and stuff. However, it's no longer updated properly and is build on a really old version of Wesp's patch, so I wouldn't really recommend this either, unless you are a veteran and want to try some new stuff.

    All of the above can be downloaded from the link I posted above.

    Okay, now we've got our chosen mod installed, the game is properly updated and the steam settings are solid. Okay, let's do this shit!

    Character creation

    Alright, I can't talk about character creation without getting a little into the lore part..

    LORE PART, CAN BE SKIPPED IF YOU'RE TERRIBLE.
    Each Vampiric clan is identified based on the unique idiosyncrasies of their genetic heritage. Caine (the father of all vampires) initially sired a number of Childers, referred to as the Second Generation (your power in VtM isn't based directly on your age, but rather the generational distance to Caine. The further you are, the weaker your vampiric blood). Together with his Second Generation Childers he founded a biblical city where Kindred (vamps) and Kine (humans) lived together in relative harmony. Or so the story goes. The first Children of Caine were immensely powerful, and there were only a few (Enoch the Wise, Irad the Strong and Zillah the Beautiful. There are rumours of a fourth, referred to as The Crone). In time, they too Embraced new Kindred, and thus a Third Generation (commonly referred to as the Antediluvian primogens) came into being. After the embrace of the Antediluvian primogen, Caine forbade anymore Childers to be made, and supposedly the city lived in peace for centuries, until Noah's flood destroyed the city and destroyed everything Caine held dear. Heartbroken, he went into self imposed exile, and the second and third generation rebuild part of the city. Shortly after, the ambitious and greedy Primogens schemed and manipulated for more power, resulting in the death of their second generation Sires. Angered by this treachery and brutality, Caine supposedly cursed each primogen and their bloodline with their unique traits for all eternity as punishment. Thus, the clans were born.

    Character creation mostly comes down to clan, so here's a rundown of the Clans in the game. I am going to be categorizing them on the 4 ways they affect your game experience, as opposed to the lore/ingame faction alliance:

    The "Normal"

    -Brujah, the warrior philosophers. The Brujah are the rebels, the anti-authoritarian, freedom-toting, quick-to-anger and violent anarchists. Originally a scholarly and academic clan of warrior philosophers, the True Brujahs got more and more usurped by the new norm of anarchist hotheads. A Brujah player has no real disadvantages and is perfect for a jack of all trades character. You get +1 to Unarmed/Melee skills, and -2 to Frenzy checks (which is a non-issue if you keep your Humanity high) because you're hotheaded and prone to strong emotions. One of the main factions in the game is composed of mostly Brujah, and I can definitely recommend them as a first character.
    Disciplines:
    Celerity: Vampire speed, time slows down and you can move lightning quick.
    Potence: Major increase in your strength and melee/unarmed skills.
    Presence: Your vampiric will confuses and demoralizes your enemy. Can also be used in dialogue options since the latest Wesp patch.

    -Gangrel, the animalistic loners. The Gangrel are a bit of an oddity in the game, because they aren't actually allied with the Camarilla in the official lore, as opposed to all the other clans. Gangrels were cursed to be more attuned to their inner beast than any other clan, and they often exhibit certain physical features that betray their animalistic nature (claws, fur, animal eyes etc). They are not very bright, learned or crafty but they can survive in barren areas and are excellent melee fighters, but awful ranged fighters. They get +5 to a bunch of skills when in frenzy mode, and a -1 to all frenzy checks. In stark contrast to their primal nature, one of the oldest Gangrel is an erudite scholar and historian, intent on figuring out the truth behind the history of the Kindred and their creation. (His name is Beckett, he appears a few times in the game). Fun to play, but no great impacts on the plot progression.
    Discplines:
    Animalism: A nature summoning spell. Summons animals based on the level of the skill that will attack your target.
    Fortitude: Straight up heavy damage reduction. One of the main ways you can survive as a melee fighter.
    Protean: A discipline unique to the Gangrel, you tap into hidden ways of the beast. Level one gives you the ability to see further in the dark and increases your Wits score, level three will grow claws that do aggravated damage, and lvl 5 is a gruesome, brutal killing machine.

    -Toreador, the beautiful ones. Of all the clans, the closest one to the human world. The toreadors are artists, actors, writers. They are obsessed with beauty and their lore weakness is in fact the complete entrancement by anything that is beautiful. Ingame, they are good ranged or social characters, due to their innate high appearance stat and auspex discipline. You gain +1 appearance, and any humanity shift (good or bad) is doubled, because you care so much about the human world. In my opinion: kinda boring to play, unless you want to go around seducing everything and everyone (which you can do fine with any of the others as well).
    Disciplines:
    Celerity (as before), presence (as before)
    Auspex: Heightened vampire senses that allow you to see through walls and increase your perception stats (and thus firearm skill). Kinda useless, but the stat bonus is nice.

    -Ventrue, the aristocrats. Ventrue are the snobbish nobility of the vampire clans. Ambitious, power hungry and prone to manipulation and scheming, with an intense dislike for the "lower", more feral clans. Another clan that has no real major impact on the gameplay experience, and are more than capable to be build in any way you like. Do note that the Ventrue are the most loyal to the Camarilla out of all the clans, so bear that in mind for roleplaying purposes. Ingame you get +1 to Charisma but can never feed from lower class humans or rats, because it physically sickens them to the point of vomiting. Makes feeding harder, but not impossible. Good clan, the disciplines are a lot of fun and being able to Dominate in conversations is awesome for a social character.
    Disciplines:
    Fortitude, presence (as before)
    Dominate: Your mind completely overpowers that of your victim. Initial levels will induce trance, later levels will make your victim utterly loyal to you and can even cause them to kill themselves just to get out of your way out of sheer love and admiration. Can also be used in dialogue options, which is often a damn good way of dealing with problematic humans or situations.

    The following clans have some fundamental effect (some more than others) on the gameplay or plot. Generally recommended for advanced players, but I will note if and when you should roll one of them.

    -Tremere, the Mages. The tremere have the strongest "family bond" out of all the clans. They are intensely loyal and will defend their collective schemes and objectives with zeal. They are incredibly secretive, and have mastered the use of occult blood magics, the main reason why they are unlike any of the other clans in terms of gameplay. They can still be fine as a first playthrough characters, but are better for a second playthrough to go full Tremere loyalty roleplay (which changes the main story and endings, therefor NOT recommended for first characters). The Tremere are generally respected but not trusted by the other clans, because no one can really read them or find out what they are scheming. The Tremere, being the most erudite of the clans, exploit this fear wherever they can of course. Gameplay wise, a Tremere can never max out any of the physical stats, but they do have access to the most brokenly overpowered skill in the game, Thaumaturgy. Don't expect the combat to ever get difficult, because your blood magic will make short work of any foe, so feel free to focus mostly on scheming and social skills.
    Disciplines:
    Dominate and Auspex (as before)
    Thaumaturgy: A blood magic nuke that increases in power exponentially with each level you upgrade. Level 3 is the best power:cost ratio, but lvl 5 is an insane aoe nuke that just obliterates anything the game can and will throw at you. Be advised this spell makes the combat a snorefest, but is quite fun to try.

    -Nosferatu, the disgraced. The Nosferatu are one of my favourite clans, but are again NOT advised for first playthrough, again for gameplay rather than plot reasons. The Nosferatu were cursed with a simple disadvantage: They are hideous, and will instantly violate the masquerade if they are ever seen by humans. Therefore, you are forced to always use the sewers as your means to get to locations, and thereby miss out on a bunch of quests (while of course gaining other unique ones to compensate) above ground. Nosferatu are the master sneaky bastards, they are incredibly intelligent and have embraced modern technology for its awesome potential for information gathering. Most vampires are disgusted by the Nosferatu, but no one can deny their usefulness due to their talent at finding and uncovering information, and are accepted (but not liked) for this pragmatic reason. They created a global vampire computer network called Schrecknet and have an awesome sense of humour. One of their favourite "jokes" is to find beautiful and vain movie starlets, then Embracing them to turn them into hideous monsters. Hilarious. Gameplay wise, you can never raise your appearance or your seduction score, and may NEVER be seen by humans because you'll violate the masquerade (5 violations and it's game over). On the plus side, rats seem to like you and will give you extra blood points, so go nuts on them. A lot of fun, but very different from the other clans. The Nosferatu are a pretty loyal bunch to each other, and you'll get a unique haven later in the game, as well as a bunch of special quests.
    Disciplines:
    Potence, Animalism (as before):
    Obfuscate: A new one, essentially invisibility for sneaking around and distorting the perceived reality. Pretty awesome.

    -Malkavian, the insane. Finally, everyone's favourite Malkavian. Truly the coolest clan, and one of the most fun to play. Heavily HEAVILY discourage you from rolling a Malkavian as your first character however, because you'll spoil the entire plot for yourself within like the first half hour. Malkavians are a pretty cool bunch and strangely enough a pillar of the vampire community, considering their trickster/prankster nature.

    ..Oh, and they are all irrevocably insane. Like batshit insane. And psychic. But mostly just horribly insane. It's in the blood, or something.

    Anyway, Malkavians do most of everything pretty good (like the 4 "normal clans"), with the exception that you have limited control over your dialogue options, because they are all unintelligible with strange stream of consciousness references and insane ramblings. The madness does gift them with strange flashes of insight of past, present or future events, and it's been theorized that all Malkavians share some level of consciousness in a huge telepathic network of some kind, explaining their tendency to know or understand things they shouldn't be able to know. This has, of course, never been verified, because Malkavians are batshit insane and it's therefore impossible to get them to talk about it. In terms of gameplay, they get an innate +2 to inspection, and can use Dementation in dialogue. They will also have flashes of insight that can help in dialogues or quests. The (arguably) bad part is that all their dialogues are crazy ramblings and nonsense. They also pretty much realize how the plot will progress from the start, frequently making references in their dialogues to future events and spoiling a gazillion things left and right. Also has one of my favourite scenes in any video game, but I won't spoil that for you. (It involves a certain taxi driver). A lot (A LOT) of fun, but don't make the mistake of choosing this as your first character and ruining the entire game for yourself.
    Disciplines:
    Obfuscate and Auspex as before for good sneaky or ranged characters.
    Dementation is their unique discipline, which essentially shares the fun of being insane. Doesn't affect kindred (as much), but will instantly "kill" human enemies. Is also a dialogue skill, that frequently results in hilarious situations. To give one example, upon accidentally bumping into somebody from before you were embraced (and thus risking a masquerade violation), you can influence her in dialogues using dementation to slowly convince her she's a turtle trapped in a human body.

    Right. Geez, finally done. Then there's histories and stuff, but those are pretty self explanatory and you can figure that out for yourself.

    Stats and skills are pretty self explanatory, but I can answer some question about those later if anyone has something specific. (Quick protip: Scholarship is a god stat in the beginning for almost any character, due to it raising two rather important feats)

    A quick rundown of the factions in the game, so you can plan ahead what clan to roll and how to roleplay him/her:

    -Camarilla, the "status quo". Camarilla was founded by the 7 clans listed above (gangrels quit soon after though) and is a hierarchal sort of government that enforces the rules of the Masquerade (ie: don't let the fucking humans know we exist). In the Camarilla, each city has a Prince and a Sheriff, and some other titles and positions. The Camarilla is frequently the podium for lots and lots political machinations, subterfuge and backstabbing because bored kindred take to politics. Ingame, LaCroix is the Prince of LA, and a pretty power hungry ventrue guy. The Camarilla expects you to abide by its laws, and not fuck around with the masquerade.
    -Tremere are part of the Camarilla, but are sort of a subfaction due to their much higher loyalty to their own people and objectives. If you play a Tremere, you will owe allegiance to Strauss, the leader of the LA Tremere Chantry (ie: local family), and you'll get different quests, a unique haven (house) and a different ending.

    -Anarchs, the rebels. Ragtag community that "owned" LA before the Camarilla moved back into town. This faction is largely composed of Brujah, and believe that while the Masquerade and its laws are essential to everyone's survival, it shouldn't be a bunch of old aristocrats at the top having power over everyone else. No clear hierarchy within the Anarchs, because everyone is more or less equal but Nines Rodriguez is mostly the figurehead of the movement. Smiling Jack, one of the oldest and most cunning vampires around, is a proud Anarch, and doesn't take shit from no one. No unique housing, but plenty of quests and a hot commie redhead as one of their members.

    -Kuei-Jin are the asian equivalent to Kindred, and there's no love between them. You can sorta ally with them during the main quest, but they don't much like you because you're a Kindred.

    -Sabbat, the main "baddies". The Sabbat believe the Masquerade is a bunch of bullshit, and that the Camarilla is composed of stupid old fucks. They generally commit lots of wanton murder, will drain humans dry while feeding, and don't give a shit about hiding or keeping secret, because "humans are just cattle". They also have frequent "recruiting drives" where lots of young lowlifes are kidnapped and embraced, without ever explaining their new condition to them, so that the confused, traumatized and scared kids can be used as foot soldiers or cannon fodder.

    That concludes this (way too fucking long) post, but it should help you understand the game and lore a bit better, as well as helping you create your character for a (first time) playthrough.

    Thanks for reading, and give some plusrep for the effort I put in this, or something.

    Edit: Some typos and stuff.

    Also, can the dudes above me use some friggin spoilers please?
    Last edited by Roam; July 31 2012 at 01:54:31 AM.

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