Department of Interior’s Misstatement on Montana Mine Expansion Causes Short-Lived ‘Market Sensation’ FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Montana Public Radio: We’re getting perspective now on last week’s news that the U.S. Interior Department said it had approved a major coal mine expansion in Montana. It caused the stock of the mining company involved to temporarily spike.Six days later, Interior rescinded its statement, saying no expansion was approved, and the original approval statement was the result of “internal miscommunication.”Matthew Preston is the research director for North American coal markets for a global research and consulting firm called Wood Mackenzie.Here’s his take on Interior telling the Associated Press that it had approved Westmoreland Coal’s proposal to expand it’s Rosebud Mine outside Colstrip by 10.5 square miles, potentially adding 19 years of life to the mine.“It did cause something of a sensation in the market for a small period, brief, of time, and relatively small scale, but it was something that you can’t just pass over lightly.”Westmoreland’s stock, which lost 93 percent of its value last year, rose by as much as 49 percent on news that Interior had greenlighted the company to mine an additional 60 million tons of coal at Rosebud. That didn’t sound exactly rational to Preston, given that the sole customer for the Rosebud mine’s coal is the Colstrip power plant.“I’m not sure what the market was thinking, because it’s been pretty clear that the life of the Colstrip plant is limited. You know, a third of the plant is going to go away in 2022, and perhaps the whole plant by 2028, so adding another 60 million tons to the reserves they have wouldn’t seem to make much difference. But, the market was somehow interested in that. You know, it’s a market, so sentiment happened to turn, and people took that announcement to heart, I guess.”The Colstrip plant’s life is being limited by at least one of the west coast utilities that buys its electricity. Seattle-based Puget Sound Energy has made it clear that it plans to source its energy in the future from sources with less impact on climate change.Some supporters of coal based energy are optimistic that the Trump administration will turn the industry’s fortunes around, and that that could mean an extended life for the Colstip power plant and the mines that support it. Wood Mackenzie’s Preston doesn’t share that belief.“Yeah, no, I don’t think so. I don’t think anything that the Trump administration is doing right now would change the minds of the folks that are owners of the Colstrip plant. Everybody can change their minds, but the owners of the plant seem set on moving some other direction than coal.”Still, the Interior Department’s statement that the Rosebud mine expansion was OK’d did have an impact on Westmoreland’s stock price, meaning investors potentially made or lost money based on the statement and its retraction six days later.“And it’s certainly unfortunate, from the point of view of the folks that may have made the decision to invest or not invest because of that. I don’t know that there’s any regulations that would come down on specific individuals within the Interior [Department],” Preston says. “I don’t think there’s any — this is my opinion — I wouldn’t expect there to be any ulterior motive to this announcement and then retracting it, I think it was as they state, a miscommunication within the office.”The Interior Department and Westmoreland Coal declined interview requests from Montana Public Radio and Yellowstone Public Radio.More: Interior’s Misstatement On Montana Coal Mine Leads To Small ‘Market Sensation’
RAGE 2 may not be a monetized online service game, but it still aims to capture engagement by creating long cycles of play with tons of stuff to do. As some Ubisoft games prove, this could actually be a bad thing. When I saw this RAGE 2 gameplay stream from Twitch user CohhCarnage, I immediately thought: “Hey, this looks like a Ubisoft game.” A lot of my hype died on the vine right there. Instead of the chaotic, in-your-face explosive action RAGE 2’s trailers showed, I was met with a very lifeless-looking open world filled with exploration, vehicles thrown in to make foot travel less montonous, and oodles and oodles of stuff to collect. There’s objectives telling you to uncover chests, do X to get Y, and a massive array of abilities to unlock by collecting in-game materials. Throw in tons of enemies on a huge map and we have all the trimmings for a singleplayer grind-fest. I think this is exactly what Bethesda wants…but it doesn’t exactly fit with the publisher’s current live focus. The game is clearly designed to be repeatedly played over and over again and grinded to eternity. Everything looks like it’ll be stretched way too thin, though, to make the experiences really count. What’s weird is that RAGE 2 is missing the most important engagement hook: online play. Every bit of gameplay reminded me how much more fun the experience would be with another player, especially during the hulking boss fights. This is a big, big missed opportunity. Bethesda says RAGE 2 won’t have co-op multiplayer and is strictly singleplayer-only. Everything about RAGE 2 screams that it’d be more fun with a friend, and Bethesda has been chasing live games for a while now. Just look at Fallout 76, the online-only Fallout disaster, and the online co-op based Wolfenstein: Youngblood that features microtransactions. Clearly the team is trying to re-capture the magic of 2016’s Doom, and admittedly by the trailers, they seemed to have pulled it off. But actual gameplay paints a very different picture, one that’s drowned out with objectives, a massive world, and drab arcade-style repeatably-slayable enemies. It reminds me of an old Ubisoft game before the publisher started to embrace innovative live services. RAGE 2 might have parallels to Doom, but it lacks the latter’s presence and power. Gunplay is great, and combat looks awesome…but things just feel too open. There’s that weird Ubisoft feel to it that brings the annoying sense of always having something to do irregardless of what you’ve already done. Doom had a kind of interactive open-ended environment, too, but it had a commanding presence that pulled all your attention; destruction, mayhem, demons and gallons of blood called to you like a weird macabre siren song. As FromSoftware proves with its games, the best way to keep players engaged with a singleplayer, offline product over time isn’t to suffuse it with stuff to do or things to collect or adds to kill. Ubisoft learned this lesson the hard way and had to dial back a lot of its tactics with Assassin’s Creed games. It’s all about creating an environment where players are challenged and feel a sense of growth, not from the wacky chaos they can dish out–that belongs in games like Crackdown 3 or Borderlands 3–but from the actual experiences themselves. This culminates with immensely tough boss battles and areas that make gamers struggle to survive, forcing them to adapt and use strategy. Now RAGE 2 could do this throughout the game–we only saw a small portion–but I think the main goal is to keep users in the game with lots of grind/progression mechanics that aren’t necessarily additive to the core experience. If I had to describe RAGE 2, I’d say it’s Far Cry: Doomed Mad Max Edition…and whether or not that’s a good or bad thing remains to be seen. Of course we’ve yet to actually play the game, and I’d love to try it out for myself to give some impressions, but from where I sit RAGE 2 looks like its been tamed and watered down to fit neatly into that singleplayer engagement wrapper that just doesn’t sell that well any more (looking at you, Just Cause 4).