The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is 10 years old today

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ArbitraryWater

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In one of those great moments that reminds me of the fleeting nature of time and existence, the game that put Bethesda on the map for a lot of people (myself included) is now a decade old. While I've become less tolerant of Bethesda's style of open-world RPGs as time has gone by, I'll certainly give my respects to the game that introduced me to those big open worlds in the first place. It didn't really matter that the combat felt weightless, the engine was janky, the level scaling aggressive, the RPG systems imbalanced, and the NPCs all ugly. It was a massive world to explore and I was young enough to be entranced by that sort of thing, having never played Morrowind. I don't imagine it's aged all that well, but I'd still rather play it than touch Fallout 4 again.

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ClairvoyantVibrations

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One of my favourites for sure. Maybe I'll boot it up tonight...

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Turambar

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#3  Edited By Turambar

Coincidentally, I just threw out my PC copy of the game (along with a bunch of other stuff) this morning. This was also my first Elder Scrolls style game. While the massive open world was incredibly fun, the quantity over quality aspect of it was never something I fully embraced.

I played it like a giant check list while wishing it'd adhere to a more linear presentation like all the RPGs I was playing at the time. If I went back to it now, I get the feeling I'd appreciate it much more.

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fisk0

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#4 fisk0  Moderator

That moment when you exited the sewers and saw the vast world before you was probably my absolute favorite gaming moment of the new millennium. As a whole I didn't like Oblivion as much as Morrowind, but that aforementioned moment just did an absolutely amazing job at showing what the new consoles could handle and the choice you had as a player to go wherever you wanted to.

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Veektarius

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My preferred method of playing Oblivion was to start a game and never visit Kvatch, meaning I would never have to deal with the Oblivion rifts. Probably not a good sign when your main plot point is something that I wanted to actively avoid.

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villainy

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10 years... figured I'd boot it up for nostalgia's sake. Fresh install, start launcher, set graphics, click play.... black screen and back to desktop without even a crash message. Ahhh *wipes a tear* just like old times.

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fisk0

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#7 fisk0  Moderator

My preferred method of playing Oblivion was to start a game and never visit Kvatch, meaning I would never have to deal with the Oblivion rifts. Probably not a good sign when your main plot point is something that I wanted to actively avoid.

That's kinda how I've played all Elder Scrolls games. The main story have never been the main attraction. I kinda played too far into Skyrim's storyline, as I did the trials in the mountain temple and unlocked non-stop dragon attacks every time I went outdoors, which started killing the NPC's in all the small poorly defended villages, leaving pretty much everything but the major cities pretty barren. The only story in Skyrim that really interested me was the civil war quest line, which I played to completion over my 250 hours with that game.

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paulmako

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Fallout 3 was my first Bethesda game but I went back to Oblivion after hearing people talk about it obsessively. It was still impressive, but getting vampirism sucked.

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xanadu

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The Dark Brotherhood from that game is still the best thing they've ever done.

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nickhead

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Man...first Elder Scrolls game for me too. I even recently fired this up and it still has its hooks in me. I still remember seeing the cover of...Game Informer I think? and saying to myself "wow this is the next generation."

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odinsmana

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"Whodunnit" is still the best piece of content Beteshda has created. One of the all time rpg quests.

While there are a lot of lows in Oblivion I still think the highs are really good. The dark brotherhood, the deadra quests, the mage guild recommendation quest line, Hackdirt... I think that playing through a curated selection of quests from that game is still very much worth it.

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EMPRPNGN

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I spent several hundred hours with this game over the years, and it was also my first open world RPG. Still remains one of my favorite gaming experiences.

Happy anniversary, Oblivion.

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devise22

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"Whodunnit" is still the best piece of content Beteshda has created. One of the all time rpg quests.

While there are a lot of lows in Oblivion I still think the highs are really good. The dark brotherhood, the deadra quests, the mage guild recommendation quest line, Hackdirt... I think that playing through a curated selection of quests from that game is still very much worth it.

Agreed with all this. And how can we ignore the Shivering Isles DLC? Easily some of the best Bethesda content, Sheagorath was a magnificent character too.

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takayamasama

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While Morrowind is always the best in my heart, hot damn did I love Oblivion more then it seemed some people did. Or at least it seemed like the opinion on Oblivion degraded over time.

And I thought the Oblivion Gates were amazing, I hunted them down like crazy as soon as you opened them, and was sad they close for good after beating the main story.

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OurSin_360

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It was the reason i got a 360(that and fight night rnd 3) and i loved the shit out of that game even though i never beat it (or any bethesda game ever lol).

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ripelivejam

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Thank you i love hearing about my impending motality.

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flasaltine

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#18  Edited By flasaltine

@takayamasama said:

While Morrowind is always the best in my heart, hot damn did I love Oblivion more then it seemed some people did. Or at least it seemed like the opinion on Oblivion degraded over time.

And I thought the Oblivion Gates were amazing, I hunted them down like crazy as soon as you opened them, and was sad they close for good after beating the main story.

Im with you bro

Loading Video...

The atmosphere was way better than Skyrim.

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Calmgamer

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One of my all time favorite games. The moment when I exited the sewers (end of tutorial) and looked around at the vista - realizing I could go anywhere - was one of the best moments of my gaming life. I spent hundreds and hundreds of hours in that world.

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soimadeanaccount

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Probably the best storyline of the three recent TES. The world feels a bit small and crowded tho, and they were struggling with how to do level scaling.

Played Morrowind first, but never quite get why people rave endlessly over it...it was good. The world feels nice, really like a few of the big cities, but that's about it.

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Colony024

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Also, despite its world being fairly generic medieval fantasy stuff (unlike the alien environments and giant-bug-public-transport-system in Morrowind), it was rather vibrant and colourful. The "everything must be grey and/or brown for realism's sake" trend hadn't quite settled in yet I think.

Happy birthday, Oblivion.

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Firepaw

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Three cheers for my favorite Bethesda game! Happy 10 years, Oblivion.

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BeachThunder

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*Walks up to ArbitraryWater, dramatically stretches neck forward and stares deeply into his eyes*

*Jokes with ArbitraryWater about how Oblivion is filled to the brim with terrible gameplay mechanics, then hands him a bribe for no particular reason*

*Returns neck back to normal position and starts jumping on the spot for three hours*

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Dave_Tacitus

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Until RDR came along, Oblivion was comfortably my favourite game of last generation. The world wasn't as mysterious and strange as Morrowind's (but what are you gonna do when you're setting a game, effectively, in middle-England?) but, man, did it play better.

I used to have a favourite spot to sit after a hard day's adventuring.

No Caption Provided

Also the first game I modded the snot out of, from top to toe.

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Teddie

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Y'know, I remember picking this game up for around $10 on PS3, playing the first dungeon (prison?), and then thinking "oh no, this game is dark and has creepy monsters, I guess this is actually a horror game", and then not playing it for another 5 years or so when I realized I was just a really dumb kid.

I think I go back to this game every few years with an increasing amount of mods piled on, but never make it past 2 hours playtime. Just doesn't really have the same effect in a post open-world-boom industry (also post New Vegas, and yes I am one of those people), and apparently I already saw all the best quests.

Still feels like it has more heart, intrigue and creativity in it than whatever Skyrim was supposed to be, though ;)

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Carlos1408

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My first time playing through this game was a magical experience. I will never forget Oblivion. :D

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Bollard

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@devise22 said:
@odinsmana said:

"Whodunnit" is still the best piece of content Beteshda has created. One of the all time rpg quests.

While there are a lot of lows in Oblivion I still think the highs are really good. The dark brotherhood, the deadra quests, the mage guild recommendation quest line, Hackdirt... I think that playing through a curated selection of quests from that game is still very much worth it.

Agreed with all this. And how can we ignore the Shivering Isles DLC? Easily some of the best Bethesda content, Sheagorath was a magnificent character too.

Both of these are spot on, and @arbitrarywater's OP echoes my sentiments on the game exactly. Was my first Bethesda experience too, and I was of an age where the world was quite literally magical to me. I spent my first 10 hours in the game stealing plates out of inns in the Imperial City to sell to the Thieve's Guild.

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devise22

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#28  Edited By devise22

@teddie said:

Y'know, I remember picking this game up for around $10 on PS3, playing the first dungeon (prison?), and then thinking "oh no, this game is dark and has creepy monsters, I guess this is actually a horror game", and then not playing it for another 5 years or so when I realized I was just a really dumb kid.

I think I go back to this game every few years with an increasing amount of mods piled on, but never make it past 2 hours playtime. Just doesn't really have the same effect in a post open-world-boom industry (also post New Vegas, and yes I am one of those people), and apparently I already saw all the best quests.

Still feels like it has more heart, intrigue and creativity in it than whatever Skyrim was supposed to be, though ;)

Skyrim is a better game. I'm finally just going through it now and I recognize the better combat, overall better crafting systems, skill systems and the list goes on. However I can't seem to fall in love with a Bethesda game as hard as I did with Oblivion. It's almost like Zelda in a way I feel, or Mario. In that the first one you really dig into makes it mark, and then the rest even when they are objectively better can't seem to break the love affair you have with what came first.

Oblivion is hardly the perfect game, but I think you hit the nail on the head. This game came out just after the 360 launched (like the year after) and Bethesda is enjoying the success it is now because of how many people who had never even played an RPG who picked it up and just goofed around having fun in that world. I think the biggest reason Skyrim, and by extent Fallout 4 feel more underwhelming is because Bethesda hasn't really moved the needle since Oblivion. They just make more, larger versions with a few new mechanics/systems on what they already have. They really haven't fundamentally changed any system to an extreme enough degree to give their other games the identity that I felt Oblivion had.

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pcorb

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I refuse to believe Oblivion is much more than 5 years old. 7 at a push.

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Snail

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shut up

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stryker1121

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Same boat as you, OP. Oblivion was the game that got me hooked on open-world RPGs. Love it to pieces.

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ll_Exile_ll

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I was a sophomore in high school when Oblivion came out. I was lucky enough that particular semester to have my best friend in like 75% of my classes each day, and I distinctly remember we would spend most of our time in school each day talking about this game, sharing stories about where we'd been and what we'd discovered. Then, after school, I'd pretty much play it from the time I got home to the time I went to bed. There was a good few weeks there where I spent like 7 hours a day playing it on school days and even more on the weekends, all the while spending a large portion of my time in school talking about and thinking the game.

Needless to say I was super cool in high school.

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TheWildCard

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My first Elder Scrolls as well. Really tried to like it, but ultimately nothing hooked me. Kind of shocking how much more I liked Skyrim.

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#34  Edited By burgavo

Happy B-Day Oblivion! I actually went back and finished some quests a few weeks ago and still had some fun with it. The light bloom on Vicente Valtieri's face was still broken though.

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Dave_Tacitus

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@burgavo: He's a vampire (spoilers, obviously!).

One of the first ways to tell is their reaction to bloom.

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BananasFoster

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I remember getting Morrowind for Xbox on day 1 while I was at work at a grocery store. On my breaks I would just pore through the manual and imagine how amazing it was going to be. It was great, for the time, but it was missing something. When Oblivion came out, it finally felt like Bethesda made good on the promise of what The Elder Scrolls could be. And it was the first game that could compete with Ultima 7 for the title of "best RPG ever made". It wasn't until Skyrim that Bethesda stole the crown.

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BananasFoster

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Also, despite its world being fairly generic medieval fantasy stuff (unlike the alien environments and giant-bug-public-transport-system in Morrowind), it was rather vibrant and colourful. The "everything must be grey and/or brown for realism's sake" trend hadn't quite settled in yet I think.

Happy birthday, Oblivion.

The idea that things are dark and grey because of "realism" is just categorically false. People who like that crap just like it because they feel like it's "severe" and makes them "hardcore". The real world doesn't look like that, ever. It's why when they make horror films that look like that, they have to desaturate the film footage and add filters in post-processing.

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JasonMasters

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#38  Edited By JasonMasters

I put about 150-200 hours into Oblivion. It is still my favorite Elder Scrolls.

It was such a huge jump visually from Morrowind, the fast travel made it suffer-able (I was in college at the time and two jobs didn't leave me much time to waste).

While Skyrim is great also, Obilvion was just a huge leap in a lot of areas. Skyrim didn't have the same punch when it came out.

..Imma play this now.

EDIT: I forgot to mention that the Mage Tower and Knights of the Nine were my favorite parts of this game.

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Bane

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Ah, Oblivion. I've got so many great memories from that game. The best is probably how this game taught me how awesome mages could be. I had always been a warrior kind of guy in my rpgs, but I decided to try a mage in Oblivion and it was a transformative experience.

One not-so-great memory is this game will forever be linked to the Red Ring of Death in my mind. My Xbox died to the RROD the very first time I booted up Oblivion. I had to wait a couple of weeks or so for Microsoft to send me a replacement before I could play again, and it was torturous.

Oblivion cemented the Elder Scrolls as my favorite series of all time. Happy 10th anniversary!

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Colony024

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@bananasfoster: Yeah I never meant to imply that desaturating everything actually is realistic; you only need to look out the window to disprove that. But it is an argument you see floating around quite a bit, and I think you're right about it being ascociated with a gritty feel, and trying to mimic certain types of movies (which in turn, as you said, are also stylising everything). Same thing goes for lens flares, "dirty lens" effects, bloom, etc. It's all trying to make it look like a movie, not like you're actually seeing through a character's eyes, and though I think this can work if applied with some subtlety, a lot of games go way overboard with it.

Ah well, I just wanted to express that I appreciated Oblivion's vibrant colour scheme, even if the NPCs all have potato heads.

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BananasFoster

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@bananasfoster: Yeah I never meant to imply that desaturating everything actually is realistic; you only need to look out the window to disprove that. But it is an argument you see floating around quite a bit, and I think you're right about it being ascociated with a gritty feel, and trying to mimic certain types of movies (which in turn, as you said, are also stylising everything). Same thing goes for lens flares, "dirty lens" effects, bloom, etc. It's all trying to make it look like a movie, not like you're actually seeing through a character's eyes, and though I think this can work if applied with some subtlety, a lot of games go way overboard with it.

Ah well, I just wanted to express that I appreciated Oblivion's vibrant colour scheme, even if the NPCs all have potato heads.

Oh, I know you weren't saying that desaturating everything looks realistic. I was agreeing with you.

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poser

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Oblivion blew my mind back in the day. Lots of great games have come out in the last ten years but Oblivion was the last video game that I truly enjoyed. One of the greatest games ever made.

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Excitable_Misunderstood_Genius

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Perhaps one of my most disappointing game experiences was firing up Oblivion.

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Ryuku_Ryosake

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#44  Edited By Ryuku_Ryosake

My favorite Oblivion memory from one of my many modded runs of that game. Lucien Lachance leader of the Dark Brotherhood looked exactly like one Vincent Caravella. That whole quest line immediately became maybe the best video game experience I have ever had.

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dgtlty

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Yet another reminder that I am getting old. Thanks.

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squirrelbait

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I-It's you! The hero of Kvatch!

That's my memory

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clagnaught

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I got Oblivion the day it came out. Back in 2006, I played it and enjoyed it quite a bit, but my real memories came from a year later. When I graduated high school in 2007 I decided to play Oblivion again. This time I did a lot more of the side quests and optional guild related stuff. I went from a 20 hour run time to a 120 hour run time. Playing through Oblivion at that time was a really relaxing and refreshing period over that summer vacation. My last year of high school was really long and exhausting (both physically and mentally) and to be done with that and just sit on a couch and play through a game like that was kind of therapeutic for me. Skyrim and Fallout 3 did a lot of things better, but a lot of my favorite Bethesda memories still come from Oblivion.

Also my brother and I would quote some of the really awkward lines from the game at random years later, so that was fun too.

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Oddballs

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I have put at least two thousand hours into this game. When I load it up it makes me sad because there's no more game to play.

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MightyDuck

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Great game! Ugh, I was a sophomore in college when this came out. Feeling old over here.

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