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Thread: Distant Worlds II - Some ideas on getting the most out of the upcoming content

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    Distant Worlds II - Some ideas on getting the most out of the upcoming content


    Update: February 1st 2018: The Distant Worlds II Fleet Roster sign-up is now open : Link

    Distant Worlds II

    An expedition proposal...

    The 14th January 3304 marked the 2nd anniversary of the launch of the first Distant Worlds Expedition. Although DW2 won't launch until much later this year, we wanted to mark the occasion by sharing some ideas we hope to incorporate into the coming event.

    In addition, Frontier are actively receptive to ideas via their focused feedback series at the moment, and we hope there will be a platform for explorers, prospectors, and miners to express their ideas too on what they hope the ED:Beyond series will bring. Some ideas suggested for DW2 would incorporate a lot of the new content hinted at during Expo 17, and also some speculative ideas on how to utilize that content on big expeditions - so with plenty of time to go before Q4, maybe now is the best time to present it to the community, and Frontier, to see if it has any merit, and importantly to give enough time to see if it could work with what's planned in Beyond. Effectively what's being presented here is just one example of how major exploration events could begin incorporating other play styles and game mechanics (mining and logistics for example) while utilising some of the fantastic new content that's coming (Carriers, new ships and modules, miners 'toolkits', and Deep Core Blasting etc).

    Although details are sketchy at the moment, FD have revealed, among other things, that exploration is getting some love with revamped worlds and their geology, environmental anomalies, and mysterious ‘things’ to discover. Naturally these will be the core elements that DW2 will be built around and incorporate into its exploration and discovery events during the long journey ahead.

    In addition, FD also mentioned that prospecting and mining is being revamped and fleshed out.


    Over the past two years since Horizons’ release there have been over 30 major expeditions taking literally thousands of players into the depths along with them, yet none have been able to effectively incorporate certain gameplay mechanics that would allow a wider range of playstyles to take part in these deep space events - namely prospecting and deep space mining.

    This is one aspect that we really want to include on Distant Worlds II this time around.

    Giving participants a practicable reason to utilise and enjoy Beyond’s new prospecting and mining mechanics could offer a whole new dimension to deep space events. Example; with resource scouting & discovery roles, there comes the extraction and deep core blasting roles for miners, and with mining roles comes logistical roles via mineral collection & transport, and with mineral transport roles comes fighter squadron escort roles. Teamwork is encouraged and certain fleet roles begin to have essential reasons behind them to warrant their inclusion.

    Teamwork is something that we have all witnessed or been a part of on large organized expeditions despite the limitations on offer (i.e. cooperation has been mainly limited to group rock-ratting for Jumponium, occasional fuel rat rescues, or exploration wing scouting). With a practicable reason to include prospect scouting, mining, and deep core blasting, the opportunities for even more interaction and cooperative play expand that list considerably, and more roles also lead to more emergent gameplay.

    But how do you incorporate prospecting and mining into deep space events where the traditional emphasis has been on exploration and sightseeing? What tangible goals can be set for such players? Why even prospect for and mine hundreds of tonnes of minerals out in deep space when there is no one out there that needs it? The bubble has untapped abundance on its doorstep, so why go prospecting in the Galactic Aphelion 40,000 light years from the nearest outpost? There's a lot of resources out there, far beyond humanities shores, but no practical reason to go gather them.

    The introduction of Megaships and Carriers could change that if, for example, for them to leave the confines of the near bubble that has all their logistical essentials in abundance, they instead could begin to operate much further afield thanks to that logistical support (especially refueling) being supplied by the playerbase. - Food for thought for FD?




    Community Goals and Large Player-Driven Events

    For Distant Worlds II we are submitting a CG proposal to FD as early as possible, to give them plenty of time to ponder the idea before Q4 2018 and to see if it has any merit. The CG would be run in conjunction with the DW2 expedition, but would not be exclusive to it. The CG proposal is just one possible idea of how Megaships and/or Carriers can be incorporated into deep space exploration events and bring new roles and gameplay to those events.

    In addition, and despite the expedition being nearly a year away, we have opened official DW2 fleet roster registration early too (sign up: here). Included are options for prospecting and logistic-specific roles - this is to see if enough participants are interested in taking part in the Community Goal aspect of the expedition, and thus justify the DW2 organization team pitching their ideas to Frontier Developments during the focused feedbacks.

    Like the linked examples below, there has been a lot of forum discussion regarding CGs lately, with many players becoming disillusioned with them for various reasons, mainly due to their repetitiveness and the same grindy gameplay involved, or the story behind them not engaging a player's imagination to care enough to take part. They seem very ‘clinical’ and are rarely designed to have complete failure as a possible outcome. That makes them too simplistic in nature with very limited depth - they often feel like they’re on rails, where the ‘story or lore’ outcome has been predetermined no matter how well or poorly a CG is attended and progressed. In the case of construction CGs, they all follow a similar script; deliver commodity A, B, and C to a station in system Y, and eventually a brand new station will appear in system X. There is no intermediate gameplay involved - and invariably no risk of it failing.

    Improving Community Goals (a post by Obsidian Ant) : Link
    Community Goals as content delivery and story progression tools (a post by Rootstrat) :
    Link

    Therefore, we feel that any CG proposal we submit for a Distant Worlds type event has to meet several criteria to make it worthwhile;

    • It has to have a logical goal behind it, and importantly give participants a reason to care about being actively involved (outside of just monetary gain).
    • To avoid too much repetitiveness, it has to give players taking part the option to switch loadouts and utilize as many different gameplay mechanics as possible, and in doing so allow them the choice to take on different event roles any time they like. Random ‘incidents’ would also break up the monotony and the inclusion of such events should be explored and implemented if at all possible (see additional ideas at the end of the CG proposal).
    • Having it entwined with the Distant Worlds II expedition gives both the CG and the expedition itself a new dimension to the whole joint venture, i.e. there is a background ‘story’ for the CG to play against, and a practical ‘hands on’ aspect to the expedition beyond sightseeing the galaxy.
    • Having the CG ‘Hub’ travel through iconic locations allows participants to experience many diverse and interesting environments to scout out and prospect in along the way, which in turn could offer new challenges; be them environmental or simply prospecting for rare mineral deposits in and around the various waypoints. Some of these diverse locations would include an already pre-scouted ringed neutron star and a ringed proto-star, both of which offer spectacular environments for players to experience whilst mining.





    • If accepted the CG will hope to incorporate dedicated groups like the Fuel Rats, Rock Rats, and any interested mining-based player factions, to play significant roles on DW2.
    • Although solo participation will always be an option, teamwork should be encouraged to make the experience more social and efficient. Working in tandem with a major community organized event like DW2 will provide the infrastructure for that teamwork to flourish via roles, comms, schedules, and all the background cooperation that big expedition events pride themselves on.
    • Emergent gameplay is often born from major events, and this will be explored and encouraged throughout this event & CG.
    • Above all, it has to be challenging as to give players who see it through to a successful conclusion a sense of achievement and pride for their participation. A CG failure should therefore be a possible outcome too.





    The Outline

    This proposal would be based around escorting a Megaship (or Carrier) across the galaxy to act as the fleet flagship during the journey, and as a CG construction hub at its destination, in addition to using mined ice-based materials for fuel synthesis along the way to keep it refueled at designated waypoints and prepped for its next scheduled weekly hyperjump. The refueling aspect is purely speculative at this stage as we don't know what FD have planned for maintenance support (if anything) or indeed if Megaships will become more interactive and dependent on commanders' logistical efforts for them to operate far beyond the bubble.

    The proposal would strive to fit in with previously established lore and utilize current (and planned) in-game content;

    • In essence the ‘lore’ would be along the lines of the Jaques hyperjump CG from early 2016 that tasked players to ship fuel to the starport prior to its intended hyperjump to Beagle Point (coincidentally as a nod to what DW1 achieved), so it is not asking for any radically new lore as the principle of hyperjumping large structures across the galaxy has already been attempted.
    • It wouldn’t expect any special consideration regarding the construction aspect of the CG as groups like the Chapterhouse Inquisition have already paved the way with their successfully implemented deep space outpost construction CGs of 2017.
    • Nor would any radically new in-game ‘props’ be required that other player events and groups haven’t already received.


    If it is accepted, naturally the CG should be open to all players and not be exclusive only to DW2 participants.

    The in-depth proposal is posted below. If you would like to support this initiative and give constructive feedback, please do.



    Distant Worlds II “Outbound” - Incorporating a Construction Community Goal at Sagittarius A*, and at Beagle Point.
    Outbound route; Palaeni to Beagle Point (via the Sagittarii Conflux, the Norma Expanse, Sag-A*, Perseus Stem, the Galactic Aphelion, the Abyss, and the Solitude Void)

    Preface (inc. background history)

    Distant Worlds 3302 was a large scale expedition across the galaxy that began in January 2016 and took six months to complete. The expedition coincided with the launch of Horizons 2.0 and it caught the zeitgeist of the exploration communities desire to explore the new content of that release. Over 1,300 commanders took part in its six month long endeavour to map out the first galactic ‘Jumponium’ highway for the Mapping Project, stretching 81,500 light years from Pallaeni to Beagle Point.

    According to Michael Brookes, the event was covered in eight different gaming magazine articles, and spawned several hundred Distant Worlds YouTube videos. It was extensively covered by the streaming community, and has given rise to hundreds, if not thousands, of forum posts and blogs on various forums, Reddit, Wiki’s, and external websites. A weekly newsletter series was also created during the event, which was eventually turned into a book.

    The event incorporated many aspects of community created content and gave rise to groups like the Rock Rats and the Candy Crew. It was the foundation of the FleetComm community, which today has in excess of 3,000 members dedicated to exploration.

    Distant Worlds was the event that directly inspired Jaques the Cyborg to attempt a starport hyperjump to Beagle Point - in recognition of what the DW fleet had accomplished. Jaques hyperjump failed, and he ended up in a region 22,000 light years from Sol - a region that subsequently became known as 'Colonia', and the birth of humanities first outer colony. The overwhelming feeling of DW 3302 has been extremely positive and its influence on exploration, mass expeditions, and background lore has made it an event that is still talked about fondly today by the community who took part, and those who watched it unfold.

    The organizers of DW1 are now planning to launch DW2 to coincide with the release of the Q4 2018 “ED: Beyond” content update. Like with Horizons, the organizers are eager to promote and utilize the new content that comes with that release and incorporate as much of it as possible into this new expedition.

    Early indications show that DW2 is going to be just as popular, if not more so, than the original expedition was back in 3302 - with over 2,000 people signing up to take part within the first 2 weeks of the roster thread going public (and this with a year still to go before its launch, nor any wider publicity made outside of the exploration forum).

    We would like to build upon the success and popularity of fleet exploration and incorporate more community content and events into this new ambitious event. One aspect we would like to explore this time around is the inclusion of a Community Goal that will bring a new dimension of gameplay and objectives for players to take part in and enjoy during their journey across the galaxy.


    Distant Worlds II - “Outbound” Community Goal Synopsis

    • The Distant Worlds II Expedition - a 16 week* journey across the Milky Way, from Pallaeni to Beagle Point, via Sagittarius A*, and incorporating a two-stage deep space construction Community Goal.
    • The construction CG would take place at Sagittarius-A and then at Beagle Point;
      - Stage 1 - Building an Astrophysics Lab (Outpost) in orbit around Sagittarius-A (or in a neighboring star system).
      - Stage 2 - Building a Deep Field Telescope Array on the surface of Beagle Point 2 (Darwin’s Legacy).
    • During the outbound journey, the event will incorporate mining and/or deep core blasting mechanics and their specific roles for Megaship logistical support (refueling) - provided logistical requirements for Megaships (or Carriers) becomes a feature in ED:Beyond.
    • The Expedition and CG will launch once the Q4 2018/Q1 2019 content update is live and stable.


    *the exact time frame is currently a placeholder and may be subject to change depending on how much time the majority of players can commit to this venture, and how much time FD can allocate to a CG (if its accepted).


    Requirements

    • A faction neutral “Expedition-Class” Megaship with docking and outfitting facilities to act as the fleet flagship during the journey, and as the construction CG Hub at two specific deep space destinations.
    • The ability for commanders to deliver mined minerals to the CG tier goals when docked with the Megaship at its destination.
    • Discovery Scanners and Mining ‘Toolkits’ (cited for Q4), along with their associated hardware, available via outfitting aboard the Megaship.
    • SRV and Fighter resupply readily available from outfitting aboard the Megaship.
    • The Megaship is required to travel a pre-scouted Distant Worlds II route across the galaxy - hyperjumping to designated waypoints on a weekly* basis. (*update Jan 16th - feedback from this thread indicates that fortnightly jumps would allow players with less game time to rendezvous and take part in refueling ops - this option could be explored and the overall mission timeframe adjusted accordingly.)
    • Jumps would occur during Thursday server resets.
    • Due to the nature of this class of Megaship (ie. commissioned purely for science & discovery related endeavors, and its faction neutrality), along with the essential logistical interaction by players that allows it to travel vast distances, the Megaship should not have a blackmarket or be subject to UA disruption (see the "Challenges Ahead" section for alternative ideas on balancing CG progress).
    • If technically possible, remaining docked aboard the Megaship during its weekly hyperjumps should not be an option as this would undermine the integrity of the events goal to be a challenging undertaking for the accompanying fleet. Shortcuts across the galaxy has often been a contentious discussion and is something we would prefer Distant Worlds not to be associated with.


    Content Promotion

    Distant Worlds II will make use of and help promote much of the new content to be released throughout the “Elite Dangerous : Beyond” series - this includes;

    • The new mining mechanics
    • The new discovery mechanics
    • The updated Horizons content (i.e. selecting interesting geological surfaces to act as expedition basecamps)
    • Utilizing a Megaship or Carrier
    • (Speculative) A series of Fleet Carriers acting as bases of operations for exploration wings, prospector teams, and escort squadrons overseeing mining operations.


    Playstyles that will be accommodated on the DW2 expedition, and the CG itself

    • Explorers
    • Deep Space Prospector Scouts
    • Miners
    • (Speculative) Deep Core Blasters
    • Fuel Rats
    • Rock Rats
    • Repair Rats (i.e. repair limpet haulers)
    • (Speculative) Carriers & Fleet Escort Squadrons
    • Logistical Support (Freighter Pilots transporting mined minerals)
    • Fighter Escorts (protecting mining operations and escorting haulers)
    • Geological Surveyors (seeking active surface POIs - geysers/fumaroles/organics)
    • Galactic Mappers and Astrophotographers (for the Mapping Project)


    Establishing the Route

    In Q2 2018, the Galactic Mapping Project team will set up a scouting event tasking explorers to look for candidate locations through which the DW2 fleet will travel later that year. These locations will act as waypoints for the weekly fleet gatherings during the main expedition. It is also likely that we will use some of the previous and more popular DW 3302 basecamps intermixed with brand new locations to explore.

    During Q2 players will be asked to post their scouted locations to a public thread, and we will chose from those submissions the locations that become the official DW2 waypoints for the upcoming expedition. (Update : April 1st 2018 - this scouting event is now open : Link).


    Provided the CG proposal is accepted, the community created DW2 route and selected waypoints will be submitted to Frontier Developments by the end of Q2 2018 (approximately 6 months prior to DW2’s launch) as to give FD plenty of time to suggest alternative waypoints (if needed) or ask the DW2 organizers for refinements or other suggestions etc.



    The Community Goal Proposal (Draft 1.0)
    (note: this is a draft proposal that is subject to major changes depending on FD stipulations and gameplay requirements).


    Stage 1: The Sagittarius A* Event Horizon Astrophysics Lab (Outpost)

    Stage 1 - Introduction

    Sagittarius A* at the heart of the Milky Way is the only supermassive black hole the human race has access to. Situated approximately 23,000 light years away, these days it is well within commute range of the scientific community. Close up scientific study of the supermassive black hole is an opportunity that humanity would embrace.

    The construction of an orbiting science installation close to the event horizon of Sag-A* would be an endeavour we feel humanity would have undertaken once it became feasible to travel to the galactic core in relatively short time frames, and coupled with the introduction of Megaships acting as mobile construction sites, we feel it is now logistically viable to begin construction of a science outpost at this unique location.

    In the interests of neutrality and to promote scientific endeavor, the controlling NPC faction should have no affiliations with political entities, ties to existing power blocs nor player factions, and should instead have science and research (on behalf of humanity as a whole) as its only motive.

    If this proves to be a contentious location, then a neighbouring system to Sag-A* would suffice (although from a purely gameplay perspective having an installation above the event horizon of a supermassive black hole would be visually stunning - and make the endeavours outcome more worthwhile).


    Stage 1 - Mission Goal

    In Q4 3304 Transorbital Dynamics (an NPC corporation), commissions the Distant Worlds fleet to escort its mega ‘construction’ ship to Sagittatus A* and invites the wider community to take part also. This stage of the journey will take approximately 6 weeks. The Megaship would act as the Expeditionary Fleet Flagship and would rendezvous with participants at specific expedition waypoints during this initial phase of the journey.

    The Megaship would remain in orbit above each basecamp waypoint for 1 full week, before jumping to the next waypoint along the route (during server reset), while the rest of the fleet makes its way between waypoints to each subsequent rendezvous.

    Example Route...

    Stage 1 - Non-CG Phase: The Outbound Journey (inc. logistic support for the flagship)

    Logistical operations would occur on a weekly basis while the Megaship is in orbit around a DW2 basecamp world awaiting refueling. Mined ice-based minerals will be used to synthesise the ships jump fuel needed for it to cross the galaxy. Players would search for systems abundant with pristine ice rings close to the waypoint system and extraction teams ('Rock Rats') would begin mining operations there. Fleet haulers and Fuel Rats would collect the minerals at source and ferry the relevant ones to the flagship for the refueling process, with Carrier escort and their fighter squadrons overseeing the entire operation.




    Suggested ice-mined materials required for its refueling could include;

    • Hydrogen Peroxide & Platinum (as Platinum can catalyse Hydrogen Peroxide into water and oxygen and is used in fuel cells).
    • Other elements could include; Liquid Oxygen, Methane Clathrate, Lithium Hydroxide, Methane Crystals
    • Or other more exotic and rarer elements planned for ED: Beyond that require Prospector Scouts to locate prior to the flagships arrival at each weekly waypoint
    • Additionally, incorporating rare minerals only available via deep core blasting would add an element of risk vs reward to the overall mission


    The materials could also be purchased in the bubble or Colonia and freighted out to the Megaship, allowing deep space transport convoys to take part.

    Handwavium alert...
    Q: Why not fill the Megaship with all the iced-based materials it needs for its fuel synthesis, and deliver enough of it for its entire galactic crossing prior to leaving the bubble?
    A: The Megaship is a deep space variant - the “Expedition-Class”. It has sacrificed fuel capacity and various heavy armaments to keep its mass as low as possible so that large hyperjumps are attainable. It only has a fuel tank capacity that allows it to jump a maximum of 6,000 LYs per hyperjump per week before it requires refueling by commanders. Hence weekly ice-mining operations will be required to refuel it at each waypoint visit.


    Players can keep tabs on the flagship fuel gauge when they're docked with it - indicating whether sufficient fuel is aboard prior to its next scheduled hyperjump countdown.

    If for whatever reason an insufficient amount of ice-based minerals have been deposited aboard the Megaship prior to its next scheduled jump (Thursday server downtime), the ship is delayed 1 week and remains at its current location and the expedition progress will be delayed - this creates incentives for participants to coordinate efforts to keep the mission on track.

    It's important to clarify the logistical support idea outlined here, and not to confuse it with the actual CG (which comes later)...

    The refuelling of the megaship at each waypoint should not be considered to be a series of CGs. This Stage 1 proposal as presented here is merely a working example of how Megaship (and possibly Carrier) logistical support could work if FD decided to incorporate logistical support for these kinds of deep space variants. Currently refueling Megaships is not a game feature, but so far there is no word if that will be the case permanently, or if it will also apply to Carriers.

    This idea is presented here to give FD some early thoughts about how these deep space variants (Expedition-Class Megaships) can become more interactive and dependent on player activity (particularly resource gatherers) when operating in deep space *if* FD decide to implement the feature during ED:Beyond.

    If this feature is not in FDs thinking and Megaships in ED:Beyond require no player activity or refuelling for them to travel the depths, the CG as outlined here would remain viable as it requires the megaship to still act as a typical Construction CG Hub at its destinations (Sag-A* and Beagle Point).

    Alternatively, if Megaship refueling is a mechanic that will not be part of ED:Beyond, the mining aspect of DW2 could still work if the Megaship is used to store mined elements that players gather and deliver to it at each of its weekly waypoint stopovers. Thus by the time it reaches Sag-A* it will already have a stockpile of minerals aboard to begin the refining and manufacturing process to build the outpost there. Ditto for the Beagle Point phase of the mission.


    Stage 1 - CG Phase: Objective & Outcome

    Once the Megaship has reached Sag-A*, the week-long construction CG begins. Players rendezvousing with the Megaship are now tasked to mine metallic-based minerals from around the galactic core systems and deposit them aboard the ship over the course of its stay at Sag A* (1 week), as well as refuel it for its next jump.

    Handwavium alert…
    These metallic based minerals will be refined and used in manufacturing and assembling the outpost superstructure and its components aboard the ship, prior to it deploying the installation in orbit above the event horizon.


    Suggested mined metallic-base materials required for outpost construction could include;

    • Rutile, Cobalt, Gallite, Coltan, Uranite, Lepidolite, Bauxite
    • Or other more exotic and rarer elements planned for ED: Beyond
    • Additionally, incorporating rare minerals only available via deep core blasting would add an element of risk vs reward to the overall mission


    Several tiered goals would be set.

    1. Tier 1 would see the construction of the Event Horizon Science Outpost.
    2. Tier 2 would see the addition of medium sized landing pads attached to the science station.
    3. Tier 3 would see the addition of large landing pads along with repair and refuel facilities.
    4. Tier 4 would add a commodity market - with an emphasis on importing food, water, computers, and scientific equipment.
    5. Tier 5 would open a mission board - with an emphasis on courier missions. i.e. shipping NPC science personnel to and from the science outpost and/or transporting scientific data packets to NPC science institutions back in human space (be it the bubble or Colonia).







    Stage 2: The Beagle Point Deep Field Telescope Array

    Stage 2 - Introduction

    The outer galactic rim offers an unobstructed view of intergalactic space. It is the perfect place to study distant cosmological structures like the Virgo Galactic Cluster and the Magellanic Clouds. A surface installation out on the galactic fringe at Beagle Point, now an iconic system, would also act as a focal point for deep space explorers - a welcome rest stop for weary travellers, and an interesting piece of lore for the continuing expansion of human scientific endeavours.

    In the interests of neutrality and to promote scientific endeavor, the controlling NPC faction should have no affiliations with political entities, ties to existing power blocs nor player factions, and should instead have science and research (on behalf of humanity as a whole) as its only motive.


    Stage 2 - Mission Goal

    Transorbital Dynamics now tasks commanders to escort their Megaship from Sag-A*, across the far Galactic Core, through the Aphelion regions, across the Abyss, and out to the galactic rim via the Solitude Void.

    Over the course of a further 10 weeks the ship would make weekly jumps to each Distant Worlds II waypoint along the Galactic Aphelion route (again one jump per week) and rendezvous with the fleet at those locations to be refueled using the same logistical procedure used during the Stage 1 journey. Waypoints during Stage 2 would be situated approximately 6,000 light years apart.

    Stage 2 entails the building of a Deep Field Array on the surface of Beagle Point 2 (Darwin’s Legacy) - using the orbiting Megaship as the manufacturing plant.

    Example Route...


    Stage 2 - CG Phase: Objective & Outcome

    Once the Megaship reaches Beagle Point, the 2nd construction CG phase would begin and players would once again begin mining operations for metallic-based minerals from the galactic rim regions and deliver them to the ship, which now acts as a manufacturing plant for the soon-to-be constructed surface Array.

    Several tiered goals would be set.

    1. Tier 1 would see the construction of the Deep Field Surface Array.
    2. Tier 2 would see the construction of additional medium sized landing pads attached to the Array.
    3. Tier 3 would see the addition of large landing pads along with repair and refuel facilities.
    4. Tier 4 would add a commodity market - with an emphasis on importing food, water, computers, and scientific equipment.
    5. Tier 5 would open a mission board - with an emphasis on courier missions. i.e. shipping NPC science personnel to and from the science outpost and/or transporting scientific data packets to NPC science institutions back in humans space (be it the bubble or Colonia).


    Due to the nature and distance of this outpost, it should not have a black market.






    The Challenges Ahead


    In the interests of balance, we understand that a Community Goal should have tangible opposition trying to prevent its success, and in true Distant Worlds spirit we fully expect and embrace the fact that this should be a difficult endeavour. To achieve its intended goals it should require endurance, patience, commitment, and the ability to overcome whatever unknowns that are encountered during the 16 week mission to Beagle Point.

    Currently only hostile player action and UA bombing are effective in balancing CG progress. However, due to the nature of this Megaship (ie. faction neutral - science and discovery based), along with the distant locations it intends to take place at (Sag-A* and Beagle Point), we understand that this kind of opposition and its countermeasures may become logistically impracticable due to the distances involved, in addition shutting down Megaship services would put a halt to the fundamental reason behind having a megaship be part of the expedition (ie. the ability for players to take part in refueling ops, and take on different roles via loadout switching). Therefore we would instead welcome any other opposition ideas FD deem practicable for the outbound journey before the CG Hub reaches those locations, be them alien incursions or rogue AI raiders to hinder refueling operations if those entities perceive this human endeavor to be a threat, or an encroachment through their territories, or any other ‘surprises’ FD can incorporate, as these encounters would disrupt progress without totally crippling a players ability to counter it. Addition: 18th Jan. 2018 - In addition the new megaship "hacking" feature could be used by pirates (human or NPC) to steal fuel resources - thus creating a tangible way to counter the mission progress if enough opposition is mustered.

    One “failure” aspect that could be incorporated is adding a set time frame to escort the Megaship to the CG location, so that several delays to the Megaships weekly waypoint departures (due to insufficient fuel being delivered) can cause Transorbital Dynamics to scrub the mission. Example; The scheduled mission is 16 weeks long, but it could have an additional 2 week grace period. If the flagship has failed to reach Sag-A* by week 8, or Beagle Point by week 18, then the CG could be forfeited due to the sponsoring NPC corp running out of funds for its mission. This kind of gameplay adds incentives and encourages players to work together to make sure the CG has the best possible chance of being initiated at Sag-A* and BP respectively on the dates they're scheduled to begin. If they miss that deadline and the construction Hub megaship is still enroute - no CG.

    Additionally, injecting a variety of possible outcomes, encounters, or environmental anomalies to overcome would enhance the overall experience.




    The Waypoint Schedule


    The time frame indicated throughout this proposal (16 weeks) is currently a placeholder and may be subject to change depending on how much time the majority of players can commit to this venture. The actual CGs would last 1 week each, the first once the Megaship reaches Sag-A*, ending 7 days later when the ship departs for Beagle Point, the second at Beagle Point, again ending 7 days later when the sponsoring NPC corp decommissions the Megaship. Whatever CG tier goals are reached by day 7 of each respective CG, determines what kind of facilities each outpost gains.

    With that said, the current schedule thinking is along these lines...

    The fleet would need to take into account the time needed to reach its next rendezvous waypoint, mine sufficient ice-based minerals to refuel the flagship while it’s there, explore the local POIs, and take part in whatever basecamp activities and other events that are scheduled for that waypoint. For this we would situate the first six major waypoints approximately 4,000 light years apart for the journey to Sag A*.

    For the journey from Sag-A* to Beagle Point, there would be a further ten major waypoints and these would be approximately 6,000 light years apart, as the distance to cover would be around 60,000 light years from the core to the far galactic rim.

    With ship jump ranges increased across the board due to engineered mods, travel times since DW1 have been significantly reduced for even moderately engineered ships. We therefore feel this weekly waypoint to waypoint distance is now easily achievable for players committed to this kind of endeavor.

    Amendment: Jan 16th 2018 - An idea posted here (link) to make the Megaship hyperjumps occur on a fortnightly basis and jump twice as far during it (that is, skipping alternate waypoints) has been suggested as a means to allow players with less gametime more time to rendezvous with the ship and enjoy the mining/refueling aspects of the outbound trip since the megaship would effectively remain in orbit above a basecamp for two weeks instead of one. Refueling requirements would have to be adjusted accordingly so more fuel is needed during each stopover.




    Event Participants (inc. Colonia)


    While the Megaship is stationed in Pallaeni, players wanting to take part in the CG would register by docking with it and using its bulletin board to sign up. The DW fleet would depart the Frontier approximately 1 week prior to the flagships departure - to give commanders ample time to reach the first waypoint and begin ice mining operations - awaiting the Megaship arrival.

    Jaques station could also be a possible location for players to sign up to the CG too, and a request to Colonia to send Colonial Marine Carriers to escort civilian miners from the colony and rendevouz with the fleet at Sag-A* would encourage more players to take part and enjoy the social aspects of the Sag-A* CG.

    Although the expedition and the associated CGs can be experienced solo, we will encourage players registered with the Distant Worlds fleet to work in teams to achieve the mission goals.

    Being part of the Distant Worlds fleet is not a requirement to take part in the CG. The CG should be inclusive to all players - whether they want to help or hinder the mission goals. Although some aspects of Distant Worlds II will be conducted in a private group (non-CG related basecamp events for example), participants should be free to take part in the CG aspect of the mission in any mode they wish; be it open play, their own private groups, or solo mode.




    CG Tier Structuring


    The CG tiers need to take into account the number of participants actively taking part at each stage, and the increasing distances to and from the CG hub and the bubble as the mission progresses across the galaxy. Due to the nature of this endeavour and the endurance requirements of the journey, it is possible that eventually only those dedicated to deep space operations will see out the remainder of the mission. Stage 1 (Sag-A*) may see many participants taking part alongside the DW2 fleet as Colonia is only around 10,000 LYs away from Sag-A*, and the Bubble 23,000 LYs away, whereas the Beagle Point goal (Stage 2) may be a less attended aspect of the overall goal due to the sheer distance involved, and as such this stage may end up solely relying upon the DW2 fleet to complete. Stage 1 and Stage 2 tiered goals will need to take this into account.

    As a rough guide; of the 1,300 commanders who set out on the first Distant Worlds Expedition back in 3302, 571 made it all the way to Beagle Point. Due to increased FSD ranges and decrease in travel times across the galaxy, plus the added stimulation of the accompanying CG, we don’t expect there to be as much attrition on DW2 as there was on DW1.




    Additional Ideas


    1. Weekly Galnet articles could keep players informed of the status and location of the Megaship as the expedition across the galaxy progresses.
    2. A mining mission may become repetitive if players have to constantly do it over a long period of time (16 weeks) or have to mine the same elements over and over again. Therefore to break up any monotony random "incidents" or "monkey wrenches" could be thrown into the mix to make the event more varied and create incidents and new challenges for players to overcome - example; a vital component on the Megaship has broken down, the fleet is required to seek out and deep core blast for vital resources that the autofabs need to repair it. Additionally rival NPC corporations could send task forces to disrupt refueling events or even attack and damage the Flag Ship in an attempt to delay its progress.
    3. Once the mission has been completed, the Megaship could stay in orbit above Beagle Point 2 as a monument, or be used in future CGs or deep space exploration bulletin board missions out in those regions.
    4. The megaship could be escorted to Podar - an Earth-Like World close to Beagle Point that has three orbiting moons. The perfect resting place for the vessel, or a possible location for outer-rim colonization in which the megaship could be utilized for.
    5. Alternatively the Megaship could be retired from service and “landed” on the surface of Beagle Point 2 (during a server reset). This would be a spectacular surface POI for future explorers to travel to and visit in the years to come.
    6. Players taking part in the CG could be awarded a mission decal if/when both outposts have been constructed.




    A Blueprint for the future?


    If the proposal presented here - logistic support for deep space Megaships - proves viable, it could open the door to some major expeditions in the future, especially prospecting focused events. For example; seeding certain regions of the galaxy with rare and sought after elements that have long since been exhausted throughout colonized space (due to heavy industry), could be the genesis of bulletin board missions that task players and groups to escort an NPC factions Deep Space "Prospector" Megaship to far off locations, and task players to go and look for pockets of ultra rare elements when there (which the Megaship will gladly take delivery of once miners on the mission have located and extracted them).

    The ideas as proposed in this thread could compliment these kinds of NPC generated missions - giving the community the background lore and props to build whole expeditionary events over.

    And this is only the beginning. It's merely one possible foundation to use that could take exploration, prospecting, and scientific research into our galaxy, to the next level of gameplay events. A more fleshed out idea on how this kind of gameplay, including how chained missions could be incorporated, has been written up by the Rock Rats and is presented on post #3 of this thread. The ideas presented there expand on what's proposed here and goes on to add further layers of depth that future Expeditions, Community Goals, Missions, and Community Content can utilise in (possible) future Elite Dangerous content updates.

    An example of how parts of the galaxy can gain 'character' and be used as the backdrop for some interesting gameplay events and missions...






    A note on Megaship "variants" that could be utilized on Missions and Expeditions


    Its not known at this stage whether Megaships (or Carriers) will require some logistical support provided by players. Aspects of this proposal (refueling) does depend on this being the case. However, there may be opposition to this kind of mechanic being implemented as it does rely on group-play to make utilizing such ships in events, missions, expeditions etc, to work. Not everyone is part of large groups so a balance that allows smaller groups, and even wings, to utilize such vessels during smaller-scale missions could be explored. One idea to consider is to introduce Megaship or Carrier 'variants'. Some examples;

    • Heavy Military Class Megaship - this requires regular logistical support (refueling and occasional maintenance and restocking via the delivery of various components, and ammunition etc).
    • Expedition Class Megaship - similar to above, but logistical requirements are much lower as this variant has been stripped of heavy weapons and armaments as to make larger hyperjumps attainable.
    • Science Class Megaship - a lighter version of the Expedition Class - requires occasional maintenance via computer equipment delivery, and refueling.


    As for range, as an example guide, maximum hyperjump range could be limited to 6,000 light years per hyperjump per week. With refueling required prior to its next jump. Something in this ballpark would take an Expedition-Class Megaship around 11-12 weeks to travel from Sol to Beagle Point, which prior to the Engineering era was about the average time taken for commanders (in non-buckyball mode). The Distant Worlds 3302 Fleet, for example, took 12 weeks to travel from the bubble to Beagle Point.




    In Closing

    Miners have little incentive or reason to ply their trade beyond the boundaries of the bubble or Colonial borders as they invariably stay close to the markets or mission hubs that require their labour. Adding roaming “Exploration-Class” Megaships and/or incorporating some sort of logistical support for Carriers would give resource gatherers and deep space prospecting scouts tangible reasons to ‘work’ further afield. They would become integral parts of major events beyond human borders that incorporate Carriers and Megaships.

    In regards to the CG and DW2, if this proposal is unfeasible, the DW2 organizers would be happy to discuss alternative ideas with Frontier Developments.

    - Erimus (CG Proposal
    ), Dr. Kaii (Co-organizer), and the Distant Worlds Organization Team.




    Distant Worlds II - “The Voyage Home”

    The return route for DW will be to retrace the historical route taken by the USS Voyager circa 2371-2378 AD - many thanks to Stealthie for his work on the maps DW2 will use as guides.



    The Voyager Trail, by Stealthie : Link











  2. #2
    Please bear in mind that what is proposed here is not the entirety of which Distant Worlds II will be built around. This idea is merely one of the gameplay events we have planned that could be ran in parallel to DW2, and is a project that we’d like Distant Worlds fleet members to have as an option to take part in (for those interested) during their long journey to the far outer rim. For prospecting and mining roles to be viable on DW2 though, this does depend wholly on some sort of practical reason to warrant their inclusion. Prospecting for certain minerals for Megaship hyperjump fuel provides that practical reason, as does the construction CG at its destination.


    We have quite a few events and projects in the works that fleet members can get wrapped up in if the CG part is of no interest to them, or indeed if FD reject it outright.


    - There will be scouting missions for Mapping Project POI's
    - Exploration excursions to intermediate waypoint locations
    - Geological Surveying for the Milky Way Society of Organics and Geology Project
    - Environmental Space Anomaly discovery missions and their cataloging
    - Basecamp events, including; SRV Tag Extreme, Canyon Races, Fighter Races, SRV Mountain Climbing events, SRV Destruction Derby
    - The Legacy Campaign (more info on this later!)
    - A Distant Worlds II ED:RGP event
    - Buckyball events
    - The DW Newsletter
    + lots more...


    DW2 will be packed full of fun, Construction CG or not!

  3. #3
    Dear Explorer,

    As Rock Rats we obviously will touch on the subject of planets and prospecting but we also wanted to give an feedback on the global picture of the expedition, mining or exploration.

    All of these ideas in the end should find a balance between what realistically can be done by Frontier and what we think benefits the game and the players.

    1. The global picture

    When you read these questions...

    “But how do you incorporate prospecting and mining into deep space events where the traditional emphasis has been on exploration, geological surveying, sightseeing and POI mapping? What tangible goals can be set for such players when they’re leaving humanity and all its infrastructure far behind? Why prospect for and mine hundreds of tonnes of minerals out in deep space when there is no one out there that needs it? The bubble has untapped abundance on its doorstep, so why go prospecting in the Galactic Aphelion 40,000 light years from the nearest outpost?”

    Isn’t the answer you expect to find different resources in far away places? When you go out there to that nebula 50k away from the homestead, don’t you feel, you should be finding some new material? And if not there, somewhere out there, it just waits for you to be found? Right?

    And then the day comes! You found a sample. Why you should be excited about it? For science, for discovery, for being amazed, but also, for creating gameplay.

    At the same time there also needs to be a story involved. You want to be part of it. We create our own stories but we also jump into existing ones. A little nudge in the right direction can work wonders.

    Tying all that together that means the Astrophysics Lab and Deep Field Telescope Array need:

    • Regional resources for their respective tier constructions
    • Tier missions that have a scientific reward
    • A higher level story link connecting the missions


    Let us look at the visual idea shown in the CG proposal...




    What do you see ? You see a galaxy full of regions and nebula’s that have unique resources. But more then that: you see the Galactic Mapping Project using all of it’s existing lore into actual gameplay mechanics.

    What we see is a galaxy with story, history, discovery, in other words… a galaxy with character.

    Now imagine this:

    • The goal of the CG is not to reach BP or not even to harvest resources, but to make scientific discoveries (that require reaching BP ofc).
    • The pioneering of these discoveries start only after constructing the lab and the array
    • With enough support the astrophysics lab will deliver scientific results about the black hole Sag A*
    • The deepfield telescope array will observe the Magellanic Cloud (and specifically the BH within) and also forward any findings to the scientific community
    • Both the lab and the array use a chained mission story
    • When all discoveries (missions) have been researched the CG is completed and reveals a hint at the technological possibility for connecting the 2 black holes for warp travel


    And there you have it. The goal of the lab at Sag A connects into the goal of building an array at Beagle Point which connects into the ultimate community goal hinting at science of reaching the Magellanic Clouds. We think the fleet carrier ship ties into this as well as in that such a warp drive can only be fitted on a carrier.



    Now, even if FD refuses the idea of making the magellanic clouds accessible, other ideas can easily be put in place without changing the core mechanic of chained missions, using rare resources found in specific places to lead to scientific discoveries that, together, form a story and plot.

    2. Planetary prospection

    Now let’s get to the bottom of this: planet surfaces

    Imagine that...


    • You enter a system and after scanning a planet, instead of seeing which materials are there and their arbitrary abundance, you see a map of the planet showing regions, showing which of those have the best concentrations, showing interesting surface features.
    • You go down there and check out and mine that high concentration you saw on your radar, you need a specialised vehicle instead of a standard SRV. For those that saw Armageddon, they surely remember the Armadillo...
    • Additionally the outfitting of SRVs might be brought more inline with the outfitting of ships, meaning different modules with certain purposes and sizes and classes, to tailor your SRV’s capabilities to your needs.
    • You just found an unknown location full of rare resources. Now you might have several options: Sell the location to someone who intends to mine it for the ressources or to someone who sees scientific value in your discovery? Or keep it secret and mark the location for yourself to come back at a later date with proper mining equipment for that tasty profit. Whatever the case, you might get to have your name tag on the location and give it a name, similarly as we did for the GMP. Think of “Windy Peak” or “The Black Marshes” regions 40.000 ly out there...
    • Players can mark such locations whether its because of an interesting POI, a resource bubble or a waypoint for a race. Maybe they can carry beacons in their SRV that have a certain weight. Or maybe they can just shoot a prospector limpet in the ground. Yes, the same limpet you use to mark asteroids while mining !
    • Those beacons would be persistent for a few days until they run out of energy as they do not carry any solar panels.
    • A squadron’s fleet carrier being mobile enough to be in orbit of such locations, could serve as a base of operations to transport resources to from the surface and store them for later bulk transport to a location with demand.
    • Scientific information is part of a story, sometimes by accidentally discovering while exploring surfaces, but sometimes also linking into the start of a chained mission with a story to tell. And we are not talking about dry info messages in the top left corner. Think lore, think story, think science points you gather, think Stellaris for example.
    • You have no guarantee you’ll find something, scanning a system might or might not reveal interesting data
    • Atmospheric landings imply different types of rocks, we should be able to find things on these planets that explain the type of geology the planet is made of, perhaps this can tie into the exploration mechanic


    3. Mining



    A lot of what we can think of for prospecting applies to mining as well.

    Imagine that...

    • You have to find high concentration places in the asteroid rings, go in and take samples around the rings, so the location where you are matters in terms of finding something. Preferably you could map it, you can return to it, make claims to it
    • If you run out of cargo space and good stuff is still out there, maybe you don't want to mine it but just mark it and sell positions to whoever wants to ?
    • The prospector limpets we have now are not only persistent but also visible from supercruise, for yourself, friends, squadrons, etc (might need selectable option, who you want to share the location with)


    The list of ideas we could have are obviously endless. But we wanted to give a good idea on how we see the global picture of exploration, prospecting, mining.


    4. Mission Example

    We use the existing lore of the regions to create a story for each mission that requires that material. A bonus would be to have those missions audio-recorded.

    Astrophysics Lab - Mission 2: The Torment Region

    [Existing GMP data] The interarm gap between the eastern Norma arm and the Sagittarius-Carina arm. Nicknamed "The Torment" by the first explorer to chart the region (CMDR Akira Masakari, 3301 AD).

    Exiting from the core area, the relative low density of stars in this region makes routes convoluted, and the complex core systems give place to an endless series of M class stars. Traversing this area from the core, or from anywhere else, tests the endurance of the pilots that want to go further.

    [Added for mission]It is rumoured this region contains a red variant of a material called ‘Rutile’. Our scientists are confused and disagree on its existence as they only know the common black form having one of the highest refractive indices at visible wavelengths of any known crystal. Nevertheless, a recently leaked Federation intelligence report claims “a red crystal” has been sold on the black market 2 days after Akira’s ship returned home from his journey in 3301 AD. Speculation grows wild in the scientific community as to whether this crystal exists and .. what it can do.

    There is only one way to find out...

    Progress [0/2000] Red Rutile
    Ok so now you have an idea on how one single mission can benefit from what we already have: GMP data, lore, existing materials (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rutile) and.. a bit of creativity.

    Those are what I would call the material missions. They are needed to advance the mission chain in the lab and the array. The result of a material mission is a scientific discovery.

    Astrophysics Lab - Mission 2: The Torment Region

    Progress: 2000/2000 Red Rutile. Mission completed !


    Rutile is a common accessory mineral in high-temperature and high-pressure metamorphic rocks and in igneous rocks. Normally rutile crystals are most commonly observed to exhibit a prismatic or acicular growth habit however…
    These red variants are very peculiar in that their growth habit changes depending on their maturity lifecycle. In fact, first observations indicated there are at least 5 different mutations when living in the exact same conditions of heat, pressure and space.

    Our scientists now believe there is the possibility of applying this mutation growth principle on our own warp drives yet a lot of pieces of the puzzle seem to be still missing...


    And how uniquely different is Red Rutile from Black Gallite ?


    Each region must feel unique in the way we process and gather it’s rare material. The nebulae are perfect to accomplish that goal in that certain locations within the region can give a unique feeling and atmosphere.


    And here we arrive at planets. Frontier has the possibility to make them feel more unique as well. So do they need to handcraft the planets ? No not necessarily. But they might need to “handplace” the locations of these materials so that they are found in typically beautifull locations. FD and us need to determine “good spots” and that is where are our scouts will have to play a role and feed FD information (as has been done for the POI tourist beacons).


    So if this idea is adopted it basically means that

    • A selection of regions need to be done
    • Stories need to be written for the lab and array missions
    • The glue between those stories needs to be written for the black hole warp CG discovery


    Writing those stories is something the community could easily help with as they have done a few times for the GMP.



    We hope this gives you enough inspiration to let us know what you like and fueling your own ideas

    The Rock Rats


  4. #4
    Very much looking forward to this endeavour! Can't wait to see what the game will be like until then and if we can make some or all of this happen!

    Cheers,
    Greytest

  5. #5
    I think this is a great idea! You have my full support! Let's hope everything pans out ideally on FDs side

  6. #6
    It announces a great adventure !

  7. #7
    I've only skim read this and I'm already keen. Count me in! Happy to do some scouting.

    @Baroness Galaxy there are lots of black bits in your post - guessing there should be text. I'm on iPad if that makes any odds.

  8. #8
    The scouting missions for DW2 could also help update and expand on planetary locations for the Galactic Mapping Project in general. I think there will be some really great synergy between DW2 and the GMP once the new planetary colors and terrain starts getting implemented.

  9. #9
    re: available megaship / carrier types, i'm hoping there will be an option of cheaper/smaller ones. Specifically one to support the Fuel Rats for deep space operations like DW2.

    All it really needs is Refuel and Restock (limpets, no ammo), high jump range with frequent relocation (to keep up with support duties), Small+Med pads only (DBX and AspX Rats are fairly popular, they could transfer to ratcondas if needed).
    Make it cheap and fast, with less upkeep costs (ratting doesn't pay very well... ).

    Certainly looking forwards to 2018, and seeing how this expedition goes.

  10. #10
    Didn't read the whole thing (yet), but from the little I did, looks like great ideas.

    Not sure if this is in there, but I have one idea that I think would be helpful for large expeditions. When we do the mass jumps, there's a lot of "wing me" activity back and forth to get everyone into the same instance. I wish there was perhaps some mechanism that could be used for these expeditions where a expedition leader or such could drop a beacon that everyone could hone in on. It could be a certain kind of limpet perhaps.

  11. #11
    Thoroughly looking forward to it. I hope to have an extremely unique looking Cobra Mk III. I also hope to have an Xbox One X by the launch day.

  12. #12
    Looking forward to seeing the details of the roles ...

  13. #13
    Originally Posted by Han Zulu View Post (Source)
    Didn't read the whole thing (yet), but from the little I did, looks like great ideas.

    Not sure if this is in there, but I have one idea that I think would be helpful for large expeditions. When we do the mass jumps, there's a lot of "wing me" activity back and forth to get everyone into the same instance. I wish there was perhaps some mechanism that could be used for these expeditions where a expedition leader or such could drop a beacon that everyone could hone in on. It could be a certain kind of limpet perhaps.
    That's what as been done for the CCC and is indeed an option we'll keep in mind.

  14. #14
    These are excellent proposals, with many great ideas. It's see how Frontier respond...hopefuly in the positive!

  15. #15
    Looks like a great Idea, getting me excited to get back into ED, may just have to dust off my Oculus and gaming rig, if I can get to it in computer/ now store room. Haven't been able to play in a year.

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