An open letter to Frontier Development

So what you're saying is that this particular entertainment company employs a fiscally-conservative budgeting methodology that avoids budgeting for entertainment. Because that is the most logical conclusion we can draw from both your statement and Frontier's inaction on interactivity.

There is £40 million in the bank, but no money for lurid tales about Pranav Antal's countless illegitimate children on GalNet.
I would say yes. As far as they're concerned, they're only going to get so much revenue from ED until New Era is released. They've created a budget based on that and that's why things are so, so quiet. Just to be clear, I don't like the way they're doing this, I'm just explaining what their logic could be behind this approach. I don't mean to sound alarmist but at the moment they are burning their existing playerbase's good will at such a rate, that unless New Era is something special, people will move on.
 
As others have pointed out, legal difficulties are present, but they are not insurmountable. It comes down to a question of will (lowercase w ;)) and resources.
I never said they were insurmountable. If i gave that impression then i am terribly sorry. I just wanted to express that filtering and controling player created content is work. More than many people would imagine.

So if resources are scarce, as FD currently indicated, then it's actally more cost efficient to have an employee write something once or twice a week and roll with it. Just imagine a player created article mentioning three player characters. You have to dig for each of them, find out if they might violate some IP. Also make sure that not only the exact spelling is not used by another IP, but also that they are not phonetical representatives, nicknames of characters in another IP or anything like that.

Just checking all possibilites can be plenty of work and it's a bit of a minefield. In contrast just one or two articles a week, written in 20 minutes each, would already go for such a long way and would be so great for the game! So under the assumption that resources are limited, this might be the best compromise and i'd already be quite happy if this would happen.

But Elite Dangerous needs its story back; INRA, Thargoids, COL70, permit locks, Halsey, the Dark Wheel, Raxxla, even the machinations of the Power Play characters. It's a vast canvas upon which incredible stories can and should be told. Lore and narrative is an essential backdrop for player activities.
Absolutely! Gimme, gimme! :)

PS. Frontier have acknowledged this thread on their recent livestream, a good first step. :)
Awesome! Let's hope we get something back. :)
 

Stephen Benedetti

Community Manager
Frontier
Greetings Commanders,

We would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to voice their concerns and feedback around the reduction of GalNet articles, as well as sharing with us suggestions on ways that we could utilise existing community groups and content to re-introduce them.

We wanted to expand a little more on the details of what led us to this decision. While the previous narratives that were told through GalNet articles gave an insight into what life was like in the 3300's, they also gave players an expectation that these stories were unfolding in-game, and that commanders could fly out to the system and see or even engage with what was happening (which they could not). This, in part, contributed to our reason to shift the focus of GalNet articles to in-game narratives and occurrences, over out-of-game ones.

However, we also want to mention that the narrative/writing team are not solely responsible for writing GalNet articles, but also a number of other duties that contribute to the creation of Elite Dangerous. With the advent of the Fleet Carriers update and the 2020 release, their efforts have been focused on ensuring that all of the text required for it is done in time. Although they are an extremely talented team, they are a small team, which means that we had to prioritise some content over other content, such as GalNet articles. Although we love seeing the incredible content the community news outlets create, editing and implementing it into the game still demands a degree of focus that we do not have currently in scope for the writing team.

We hope that provides some context to why, at the current time, the plans for GalNet articles are unlikely to change. That said, we have passed this feedback on to the team for consideration and will keep you updated if there are any changes.
 
Thanks you for your reply Stephen,
whilst I am aware it's not their only daily or even weekly task, and I can appreciate they are incredibly busy.
One did wonder why the Galnet site has not actually updated for over a month. This fact alone does point to the OP's predominant query.
 
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Greetings Commanders,

We would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to voice their concerns and feedback around the reduction of GalNet articles, as well as sharing with us suggestions on ways that we could utilise existing community groups and content to re-introduce them.

We wanted to expand a little more on the details of what led us to this decision. While the previous narratives that were told through GalNet articles gave an insight into what life was like in the 3300's, they also gave players an expectation that these stories were unfolding in-game, and that commanders could fly out to the system and see or even engage with what was happening (which they could not). This, in part, contributed to our reason to shift the focus of GalNet articles to in-game narratives and occurrences, over out-of-game ones.

However, we also want to mention that the narrative/writing team are not solely responsible for writing GalNet articles, but also a number of other duties that contribute to the creation of Elite Dangerous. With the advent of the Fleet Carriers update and the 2020 release, their efforts have been focused on ensuring that all of the text required for it is done in time. Although they are an extremely talented team, they are a small team, which means that we had to prioritise some content over other content, such as GalNet articles. Although we love seeing the incredible content the community news outlets create, editing and implementing it into the game still demands a degree of focus that we do not have currently in scope for the writing team.

We hope that provides some context to why, at the current time, the plans for GalNet articles are unlikely to change. That said, we have passed this feedback on to the team for consideration and will keep you updated if there are any changes.
Thanks Stephen! please continue to focus on the new content (and related Galnets!). While there is a vocal clique who want fluff to entertain them I'm sure the majority of us are more interested in new actual content with FC & 2020 :D (y)
 
Thanks for replying, Stephen
However, we also want to mention that the narrative/writing team are not solely responsible for writing GalNet articles, but also a number of other duties that contribute to the creation of Elite Dangerous. With the advent of the Fleet Carriers update and the 2020 release, their efforts have been focused on ensuring that all of the text required for it is done in time. Although they are an extremely talented team, they are a small team, which means that we had to prioritise some content over other content, such as GalNet articles.
From my point of view, I think the problem is the "a small team" bit. For the 2020 release things are where they are, and I understand that this close to the 2020 release there's also no time to recruit, induct, train, etc. the extra staff needed to run Galnet, Interstellar Initiatives, new tourist beacons, POIs, etc. alongside the work needed to make that release.

However, I think something that Frontier has consistently underestimated is the amount of this ongoing work needed to keep Elite Dangerous as a dynamic game, over and above the work done by automated systems such as the BGS. They've realised since the very early days that roles such as yours are permanently required ... and I think the same is true of the narrative/writing roles.

Looking historically at the big narrative events:
2015 - first CGs, Lugh War, Imperial and Federal government crises (leading into start of Powerplay)
2016 - Dangerous Games, foundation of Colonia
2017 - Colonia Expansion Initiative, Salome storyline, lots of new POIs for the Thargoid plot and other stories
2018 - Lots of Galnet story arcs linked to CGs, Gnosis misjump
2019 - Interstellar Initiatives (new witch head settlement, Blight, etc.)
2020 - ...nothing?

There's lots of features and scope in the current game for telling a very wide range of stories - as the diversity above shows - and presumably the 2020 release will add even more options.

But what the game needs is a dedicated "operational" team who can write Galnet, set up Interstellar Initiatives, place little bits of in-game content in for the fluff articles (a few wreckage POIs, a new comms beacon, etc.) and for this to be there even at busy times enough to keep things going (in the same way that, even with 2020 coming up, Support and Community Management keep going).
(And sure, when it's quiet between releases maybe that team can have more resources and do some really big stuff!)

So long as its only 2020 that goes down in Elite Dangerous history as "the year nothing happened", that's unfortunate but will soon be forgotten when stuff starts happening again in 2021. If it ends up being a regular occurrence every year before a major release ... that's not good.
 
Greetings Commanders,

We would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to voice their concerns and feedback around the reduction of GalNet articles, as well as sharing with us suggestions on ways that we could utilise existing community groups and content to re-introduce them.

We wanted to expand a little more on the details of what led us to this decision. While the previous narratives that were told through GalNet articles gave an insight into what life was like in the 3300's, they also gave players an expectation that these stories were unfolding in-game, and that commanders could fly out to the system and see or even engage with what was happening (which they could not). This, in part, contributed to our reason to shift the focus of GalNet articles to in-game narratives and occurrences, over out-of-game ones.

However, we also want to mention that the narrative/writing team are not solely responsible for writing GalNet articles, but also a number of other duties that contribute to the creation of Elite Dangerous. With the advent of the Fleet Carriers update and the 2020 release, their efforts have been focused on ensuring that all of the text required for it is done in time. Although they are an extremely talented team, they are a small team, which means that we had to prioritise some content over other content, such as GalNet articles. Although we love seeing the incredible content the community news outlets create, editing and implementing it into the game still demands a degree of focus that we do not have currently in scope for the writing team.

We hope that provides some context to why, at the current time, the plans for GalNet articles are unlikely to change. That said, we have passed this feedback on to the team for consideration and will keep you updated if there are any changes.
Well, the Solution(s) to the in-game vs. not in-game Problem have been presented and are very easy to implement.
So this issue can be considered fundamentally solved.

On the small team : since you're running and selling a live Game, I'd say your small team then needs to grow a little. It's clearly and visibly understaffed.
Pulling all support off a live game component - as in entirely pulled - is IMHO sending out wrong and very bad signals.
It makes it look (as others have stated) like "abandonware" in that respect now, which I'm quite confident is undesired, considering you plan to sell DLC to that very audience in the foreseeable future.

If it's supposed to be a "Dynamic, live and breathing Galaxy", it just needs exactly that. Dynamic events/action and some news covering those.
It clearly isn't at this point, which >is< an issue. An increasingly severe one I might add.
 
While the previous narratives that were told through GalNet articles gave an insight into what life was like in the 3300's, they also gave players an expectation that these stories were unfolding in-game, and that commanders could fly out to the system and see or even engage with what was happening (which they could not). This, in part, contributed to our reason to shift the focus of GalNet articles to in-game narratives and occurrences, over out-of-game ones.
Well I personally continue to think that's a damn shame (and VERY easy to fix without simply scrapping those articles althogether). But thanks for taking the time to respond.
 
I can understand that fleet carriers and the 2020 update require a lot of time and work, but surely that workload was anticipated during the planning process.
I, on the other hand, CANNOT understand how Fleet Carriers require a lot of work. They were supposed to be FINISHED months ago! And if the same person who writes GalNet articles also is responsible for debugging the programming code of Elite Dangerous, well then that's proof positive that the game is surely and utterly DOOMED (no sarcasm intended).
 
And if the same person who writes GalNet articles also is responsible for debugging the programming code of Elite Dangerous, well then that's proof positive that the game is surely and utterly DOOMED (no sarcasm intended).
Not even necessarily. You can actually be a good writer and a good coder. But in the unlikely case that the same person would do both things, i even dare to say that mixing both a bit could make him more productive. I know that after some hours of coding i also need to take my head off from it and do something else for a little. Writing a bit of fluff text would actually be good use of that time.

That all being said, i consider it quite unlikely that the roles of writer and coder are on the same person in a team of the size ED is supposed to have. And on the writers being fully busy on the new update, i also wonder, if they couldn't take out like half an hour per week for some GalNet articles. I think it would help the game a lot.
 
I can only think of one thing. They don't want to experience another "September-Update"-Desaster. And it's not allowed (yet) in the UK to tear your employees apart. ;)
this. they're allegedly 'rationalizing the codebase' (sic). they gave themselves a considerable, fixed buffer for that and any progress we'll see only on release. 6 months is a lot if you have a good team going, it's barely enough to get one going if you don't. will see! i expect a purely pr motivated 'beta' aprox 1 month before.
 
This is where it went a bit wrong for me.

The change shouldn't have been about the writers, the change would have been better if it was putting people onto adding things into the game to support the narratives/occurrences.
Totally with you on this regard. I can think of a planetray wreck of a celebrity or the same one begging for help (Distress-Call USS), or hunting a criminal down at the next megastructure. Shouldn't be TOO complicate to seed them in the game. (y)
 
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