Engineering Grind vs. Limited Gaming Time

Deleted member 163043

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Engineering Grind vs. Limited Gaming Time: The Farming grind for Engineering Micro-Resources that leads to burnout and ends with players leaving the game.

Note: TLDR Summary... This is a feedback and suggestion thread on the balance between FUN, grind, and the limited spare time that most of the target audience may have. The key point being FUN, and whether certain aspects of the material grind are engaging and interesting.

I am writing this suggestion and feedback article because I have seen too many friends leave Elite, and I myself have now left Elite twice, all because of the same reason… …the grind in Elite is just too extreme for the limited spare time most adults have to play a game.

Personally, I love the experience of Elite, I think it is an amazing concept, but one held back by its own (fixable) issues and limitations. One of these is the grind.

I understand that every game has grind, and I believe Mr Braben has previously spoken about the grind in games and why it is there. However, I think any game developer should need to question the balance between that grind, the limited time most adults have to sit down and play a game, and whether they are enjoying themselves within that grind experience.

Elite is a game/simulator experience, which is mostly played by a mature audience. Most adults lead busy lives, with many responsibilities. Most will have jobs, run businesses, and even have families to manage, and therefore will have limited time in an evening and over weekends to sit down and get into a good game. This should be a very important factor to consider.

Doing a little bit of research to see what David Braben may think about the grind in games for people who have limited spare time, I came across this interesting comment from an interview with Rock Paper Shotgun in 2015.

Within this interview RPS asked: ”It’s a demanding game in terms of the time investment required to get anywhere with it. Do you hope to add activities to it that can be accomplished in shorter spells of time, so that people who are time poor like yourself can find quicker satisfaction?”

Mr Braben answered: “Yes, that’s something that – and the learning curve side of it – that we can improve. We will look at doing that. You can play the game for a short period of time. People say that about Skyrim, which I thought was a really good game. I played that for a few tens of hours, which was a lot for me, but I felt like there was still so much more to do. And it feels like that; you can go in, you can do a few missions, you won’t necessarily progress all the way up to Elite, but having said that, have you had a good time doing it? That’s the ultimate test.”

Full article: https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2015/03/12/david-braben-on-fan-anger-interview/

It goes without saying that people play games to have fun, with fun being that key aspect, especially when they lead busy and often stressful lives and therefore have limited time to sit down and get into a game. After a long days work, and after the kids are put to bed, adult gamers generally want to sit down, log into a game, and just have a bit of enjoyment in their limited downtime. They want to relax, have some fun, before going to bed, getting up, and continuing the grind of real life work.

In the above comment from David Braben, he stated that the ultimate test is whether the person playing had a good time. I would say that right now in Elite, Elite is failing that test miserably when it comes to engineering ships, and having fun doing it, especially when you have a limited amount of time to play games in the evenings and weekends.

Obviously as developers you are aware of the issue, and have recently adjusted the farming experience by adding the ability to store larger amounts of materials on board ship, and the addition of the material trader. While both of these adjustments feel like a step in the right direction and certainly ease the pain of the grind a little, at the same time, you have also added more materials; which means more time grinding for those types. The overall effect is that while in one way the grind is eased; it is also stretched in another direction.

Even after these beneficial adjustments, there are aspects of the basic farming for micro-resources aspect of engineering that are still too time-consuming, boring, and extreme. The dangers of making aspects of the game experience too ‘grindy’ and time consuming, and without any fun during that process is that it leads players to get so frustrated and burnt out that they stop logging on. I have personally experienced that quite a few times, leaving for many months at a time because this type of farming was getting too time consuming and frustrating. This is where people just leave and start to play something else.

I myself am currently taking a break from the game for this very reason. I know other players that have experienced this, and sadly have never returned. It therefore seems a real shame that such a fantastic game/simulator experience then loses players only because the grind is far too extreme and tedious to fit into normal life.

So this is my feedback on the engineering grind, which has led to players having months away from the game, and in some cases leaving altogether:

Engineers

I don’t see much wrong here. Yes it takes a while to unlock engineers, but it seems realistic and I, like many, found it to be a fun journey, building your reputation through the galaxy and achieving goals. I mostly enjoyed this part of the sim/game, though aspects did border on a little too ‘grindy’ for limited time available. At least with this part of the grind, you can see the progression and are engaged while doing it.

Raw Materials

Again, I don’t see much wrong here. I think it’s a realistic and overall good simulator experience to find out which planets have what percentages of material you are looking for, and then to venture off to those planets and mine them with an SRV. Once again, the player is engaged while grinding these materials. I don’t think there is much to change here, though it can be quite time consuming for the rare materials, and there are no shops that sell such materials, even for extortionate prices.

I’m not sure how feasible it would be to find such materials if it were not for exterior sites such as eddb and Inara, however, I don’t personally have a problem with this, and find it all the more immersive sitting in my cockpit, using my laptop to find planets, and then flying to them. In the future it might be nice to see that handled in game, but I don’t feel it’s a major problem in terms of the grind vs. limited time discussion.

Data

This is an area that is bordering on being a bit too ‘grindy’, tedious, and boring. It seems natural that we must scan other ships to get data… that makes realistic sense, and is a good part of the simulator experience, however, the grind for looking for the more rare types of data is a little too much.

The issues occur with grade 5 materials… for one example, Data Mined Wake Exceptions from Famine distribution centres. Firstly, finding such distribution centres is not always an easy task. Then it is far too time consuming and becomes tediously boring flying back and forth scanning every wake in the desperate hope that you find this type of data. The data is so rare that this actually can take hours, floating around scanning ships and getting frustrated that the materials are not spawning.

I can understand wanting to keep certain data rare… but I think you need to also consider that as this simulator is mainly aimed at mature adults, many of whom only have limited periods of free time… making things this rare, with the process so boring, endangers the player to get so frustrated and burnt out that they log off and don’t return.

Manufactured Parts

Ok, with total respect for the development team, this is where I, and many I have spoken to, feel there is a major flaw in the experience that is Elite. Farming for manufactured parts is not only incredibly mind numbingly boring and frustrating, to the point of losing all interest in the game, but also makes no sense whatsoever and thus completely breaks the simulator experience. I think this is the major issue in the grinding experience for materials that just pushes players over the edge and leads people to say ‘enough’.

Currently the only way to get these types of manufactured materials is to float around in the black of deep space, 100,000 or so light seconds from stars in the system, looking out for Unidentified Signal Sources (USS), in particular, Higher Signal Sources (HSS). Obviously the higher the grade, the more rare the signals are, and even then, there is no guarantee the type of materials needed will be present in the rare spawning HSS.

When it comes to manufactured materials, one has to ask, where are the shops in the future? If this is a simulator experience, what is it simulating? If they are manufactured materials, why can we not purchase them from the manufacturer?

In reality, if someone has a car they wish to engineer, perhaps a new sports car, or maybe a street-racer car, the individual has a choice of places they can look for manufactured parts. They could go to the manufacturer or reseller, they could go to an actual engineer who could attain the parts for them, or even order the parts online. An individual may even look for second hand parts at a scrapyard.

What they WOULD NOT do, is drive around the M25 (a circular motorway around London) in circles for an entire weekend and every night of the week, in the desperate hope of finding some manufactured parts at the side of the motorway. Yet, this is exactly what Elite makes players do.

It not only feels wrong in terms of a simulator experience, but also feels absolutely boring and tediously frustrating to the extreme. There is nothing interesting or engaging about this experience. It is just horrid. It is this reason more than anything else that I, and many friends, have left Elite for months at a time, with some never returning.

As an example: I recently returned to the game after learning that adjustments had been made to engineering. I had been gone from the game for 6 months or so. I returned and had fun for a while, and thought I would pick up the gauntlet and carry on where I had left off, wanting to engineer my ships.

However, I soon faced the same problem… Every evening for a couple of weeks I logged on, floated around in the black of deep space looking for rare HSS to get grade 5 materials… The process was so boring and time consuming, entire evenings of free time where lost, and yet I found very few materials. Some nights I would be drifting in the black of deep space, waiting… waiting… waiting for HSS… and would literally fall asleep in the chair. Each night I logged off, feeling frustrated my evening had been wasted, and I had achieved nothing. So, deciding I perhaps needed more time, I decided to spend the weekend farming to try and just get past this obstacle. After an entire weekend lost, and very little achieved, it was back to work on Monday and feeling quite perturbed about my time in Elite Dangerous. A few more evenings wasted floating around in the black of deep space the following week, desperately looking for HSS, and still not finding enough grade 5 manufactured parts. At that point I had to ask myself, “Am I having fun?” The answer was no. I asked myself “So what am I doing this for?” In the end I left Elite Dangerous once again and started playing something else in my evenings.

This experience seems to be the same for so many I speak to. So, the whole concept of engineering is a good one, but it seems let down by this one part in particular, and to the overall detriment of the game, where Elite is just losing players because of too much extreme mind numbing grind across too many areas.

Suggested Solutions

The solutions seem pretty simple.

We know there are manufacturers in the game that produce the various ships. Where are they based? It would be very cool to be able to buy certain parts direct from the manufacturer, even if such parts where very pricy.

There could even be a range of parts doing the same thing, but some have better stats and are more expensive due to rarity. This is something that would mirror real life, where a range of parts can be used to achieve the same goal, but certain more rare parts would have a better effect.

You could still include the floating around space for the chance of finding some for free, if players wanted to chance that. You could even have a scrap yard experience like visiting Dav’s Hope, which would also be quite fun and immersive… but at the very least… make manufactured parts, purchasable from manufacturers like in real life.

Elite Dangerous has such an extreme grind in so many areas, from the grind for military ranks in the Empire and Federation, the grind for materials and engineering, the grind to make money, and now the grind for Guardian parts… with so much grind, the game can really afford to lose a little and yet still have players being very busy and continually drawn back to the game. I think removing manufactured parts from the overall grind and/or making adjustments to the way that grade 5 manufactured parts can be obtained, would only benefit the game, as currently there is no balance between fun, limited gaming time, and the grind.

Overall, I think the following questions need to be asked:
What is the purpose of grinding in games?
Is the purpose of this grind balanced with the fun of the game experience? (Is the player having fun while grinding?)
Is the grind balanced with the limited time most adult players will have to spare on the game?

Considering the Average Target Audience and Their Time Available to Play

While every game has a small 1% of supreme players who may not work and will play many hours each day, being the top PvP and competitive players, this is surely a small spectrum of the whole player base.

From being involved in many different discord’s, it seems apparent that the average player is an adult, many of whom have jobs and families to run, and therefore have limited time to run a hobby like Elite Dangerous. For this larger spectrum of the player base, spending an entire evening just farming for materials would be an issue alone, but the reality is, it takes even longer than this.

Currently, to get enough materials to engineer anything from one module to an entire ship, a player would have to spend many nights, even whole weekends JUST looking for materials. The issue is, when a player comes home from work, does some family chores and puts the kids to bed, then has some alone time to log on to Elite, that player generally wants to have some fun doing missions, bounty hunting with friends, exploring the galaxy etc. It’s just not feasible to spend every precious limited moment of Elite time, sitting, floating in deep space, searching for super rare materials to engineer your ship over the course of entire weeks.

I’m sure any consideration on easing the extreme grind for materials in Elite would only benefit the game, and ensure Elite does not keep losing players through this type of frustrating burn out.

I have friends who I have often thought of introducing the game to, knowing they would enjoy the experience of flying ships in space, but I have not done so because I also know they have even less time than I do, and they just want to log into a game and have some fun before going back to work the following day. Seeing as I have left the game a few times myself, I would not want to be responsible for introducing them to a game that would just bore and frustrate them.

I love the concept of Elite and having left the game once again, would happily return t if it could be adjusted with slightly less grind and in particular within this area of manufactured parts; being more engaging, immersive, and logical. I am sure other friends, who have left and never returned, may also return if the game achieved some sort of balance between fun, limited gaming time, and the grind.

Elite Dangerous is such a great concept, a wonderful simulator, has great vision, and obviously has had so much work gone into the graphics and creating the epic sound experience… To let it fall flat on its face and fail through a grinding experience that is so intense and boring, where the game is often losing players, is just such a terrible shame.

CMDR MacCait
 
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While every game has a small 1% of supreme players who may not work and will play many hours each day, being the top PvP and competitive players, this is surely a small spectrum of the whole player base.
So, your whole post is saying something: I want the same stuff this 1% has, without the investment they had?

Can I have your stuff?

Edit: I wish you and your friends good luck and fun, here or everywhere else!! :)
 

Deleted member 163043

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So, your whole post is saying something: I want the same stuff this 1% has, without the investment they had?

Can I have your stuff?

Edit: I wish you and your friends good luck and fun, here or everywhere else!! :)
If you feel that is what the whole post says, then I gather you didn't read it, but just skimmed it.

I tried to make a constructive post, with objective and constructive feedback and suggestions. The post has nothing to do with wanting the same stuff as 1%'ers. Your comment doesn't feel constructive. If it was TLDR, why comment at all?... other than to troll or look for salt.

If you really feel there is nothing wrong with the grind for materials, that it is fun, engaging, and fits perfectly into the time you have free to play... then I'm happy for you.

Just a note for future trolls... there is no food here :rolleyes:
 
If you feel that is what the whole post says, then I gather you didn't read it, but just skimmed it.

I tried to make a constructive post, with objective and constructive feedback and suggestions. The post has nothing to do with wanting the same stuff as 1%'ers. Your comment doesn't feel constructive. If it was TLDR, why comment at all?... other than to troll or look for salt.

If you really feel there is nothing wrong with the grind for materials, that it is fun, engaging, and fits perfectly into the time you have free to play... then I'm happy for you.

Just a note for future trolls... there is no food here :rolleyes:
Neither troll, neither salt. Just what I understood from your post (and I still understand it that way after re-reading it), but if you don't want others to post their opinions even if they are short, don't worry, I can ignore the whole thing, like I prolly should have done initially.
 
Well, you're flat out incorrect.

You can easily get G3 upgrades just by playing the game without doing any sort of grinding. G4 requires a bit of work, but the components are only a bit harder to find. Only G5 mats require specific effort to locate and even then you could get enough over time just by playing the game. If you're as casual as you say then you're not going to need more than G4 and you'll find enough mats to do some G5 eventually. Since you're only playing casually you wont need more than one ship's worth so it won't be a lot.

Just by travelling you'll bump into HGEs. Equip a wake scanner and scan every wake as you're going out of a station. Drop into every Encoded and Combat Aftermath you see. Keep an eye out for and take any easy missions for rare mats you see on your travels. You will have to hunt for elements but you'd be surprised how much good stuff you can pick up just by checking the scanner to metallic meteorites whenever you find yourself on a planet for whatever reason. Casual mining will also net you a good number of elements.

You will get more than enough mats to engineer as a casual player. Now, if you want to fully G5 10+ ships in a fast timeframe, prepare to grind.
 
That is a big post. The frustration about the grind obviously motivated you to write out quite a bit. Elite in it present state is more like solitaire than a conventional mmo.

Repeat a very limited range of tasks over and over.

It is completely blatant in its design disregard for conventional mmo mechanics.

Your frustration may be a mismatch between what previous games you have played look and feel like, and what this flight sim actually is.

Elite has sexy visuals and audio, a decent flight model, ok pew pew experiences... but then it runs dry. (this is clearly an over simplification)

That initial endorphin pop with starting Elite fades fast and you get angry about it. You never got mad at Minesweeper for being redundant, because it is Minesweeper.

This is Elite. Just put it in that context and you won't get so upset.
 
Hello, fellow human here with a job and daily chores. In my 600+ hours of gameplay my wealth amounts to a Chieftain and 25 million credits, and its awesome. In my opinion your reasons for playing are in need of adjustments.

I start the game, put some radio (sidewinder or lave), check the status of my faction and proceed in helping it how I can (assassination, courier, whatever). I am decently engineered and at no point did I farm for it (thx for the mission reward choices and for the material trader). I explored but very little, just to put my name out there :D. I take long breaks but thats just the way I play this game, for relaxation.

Did any of this felt like grind? The first few hours yes, cuz i played it as any other game and I aspired to be the best and have everything. Now? A few days ago I just donated 500k+ credits, from the little I have, just for a little influence for my faction. I like it that everytime I return to the game I am still able to advance in any direction I want cuz I still didn't hit any cap. I am master in combat rating, I have few credits so I still need to pay attention, I don't have an A rated ship and its not fully engineered, and thargoids are still stories for me cuz they are not my problem.
So I'm asking you, what grind?

Edit: This is the longest post I had the patience to read in my entire life. You better appreciate the amount of attention this human decided to invest.
 
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Deleted member 163043

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To save any confusion on what the post is about :rolleyes: I added a TLDR note:

Note: TLDR Summary... This is a feedback and suggestion thread on the balance between FUN, grind, and the limited spare time that most of the target audience may have. The key point being FUN, and whether certain aspects of the material grind are engaging and interesting.

[smile]
 
This is just an opinion post in the suggestions section, and we are not kids :)

So, what is your suggestions: make it fun? give mats easier? add a 'father of two with a job' checkbox on your profile to get a x5 bonus?
 

Deleted member 163043

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That is a big post. The frustration about the grind obviously motivated you to write out quite a bit. Elite in it present state is more like solitaire than a conventional mmo.

Repeat a very limited range of tasks over and over.

It is completely blatant in its design disregard for conventional mmo mechanics.

Your frustration may be a mismatch between what previous games you have played look and feel like, and what this flight sim actually is.

Elite has sexy visuals and audio, a decent flight model, ok pew pew experiences... but then it runs dry. (this is clearly an over simplification)

That initial endorphin pop with starting Elite fades fast and you get angry about it. You never got mad at Minesweeper for being redundant, because it is Minesweeper.

This is Elite. Just put it in that context and you won't get so upset.
Is this an MMO? I thought it was a space simulator? perhaps that is where I am going wrong? :D

I guess the reading experience is subjective, and how people may read between the lines and get something that wasn't actually intended. But yes, thoroughly enjoyed aspects of the game, and as stated in each point, find SRV gathering and even some data scanning, both engaging and enjoyable.

The points on manufactured materials have come up a great many times in conversations with other players met in game, and on discords etc. That is what inspired me to write a feedback thread on it. The idea to leave feedback on this is not a recent thing, but has been sitting there in the back of my mind for a year or so, however long it was when Elite first came to PS4.

It's not about getting so upset... I didn't think that was how my post came across, but perhaps I am wrong. It is about leaving feedback in the feedback and suggestions thread, giving constructive and detailed feedback and what I thought were logical arguments for the balance between fun and grind experience.

The main point was manufactured parts. If it is a sim (and not an MMO) then where are the shops in the future? If the parts are manufactured, why is it that currently, the only way to get said parts is to float in deep space looking for scraps? Surely in the future, the manufacturers also sell parts for the ships they build?

Searching for manufactured parts in this way, and of course IMO, seems both ilogical in terms of a sim, and is one part of the game that is not engaging at all. So for a least quite a few players I've spoken to, it isn't engaging, isn't fun, is time consuming, and doesn't make sense within a simulator experience.
 
Raw Materials

Again, I dont see much wrong here. I think its a realistic and overall good simulator experience to find out which planets have what percentages of material you are looking for, and then to venture off to those planets and mine them with an SRV. Once again, the player is engaged while grinding these materials. I dont think there is much to change here, though it can be quite time consuming for the rare materials, and there are no shops that sell such materials, even for extortionate prices.
Volcanism sites can be an excellent way to pick up the rarer materials quickly. At the moment these can only be found by time-consuming searches, extreme luck, or sharing coordinates with other players (mostly outside the game itself) ... but it sounds like the Q4 Exploration improvements will make that much more practical.

Data
This is an area that is bordering on being a bit too grindy, tedious, and boring. It seems natural that we must scan other ships to get data that makes realistic sense, and is a good part of the simulator experience, however, the grind for looking for the more rare types of data is a little too much.
Largely agreed - data shows up far more slowly than the other two types in most cases. That said, data is also far less *used* in blueprints (and not at all in synthesis) so you don't need anywhere near as much of most types to start with, and most of it just shows up as you do other things if you remember to scan ships as you go along.

I got more than enough Datamined Wake Exceptions to max out two G5 FSDs and get well into G5 on several more just scanning one or two wakes at a time after leaving each station. Still have some left but it's not worth spending them on an extra 0.5LY range...

Manufactured Parts
Currently the only way to get these types of manufactured materials is to float around in the black of deep space, 100,000 or so light seconds from stars in the system, looking out for Unidentified Signal Sources (USS), in particular, Higher Signal Sources (HSS). Obviously the higher the grade, the more rare the signals are, and even then, there is no guarantee the type of materials needed will be present in the rare spawning HSS.
This is not true any more - there are multiple other sources for the highest-grade materials.
1) Exquisite Focus Crystals and Biotech Conductors are mission rewards.
2) All G5 manufactured materials can be obtained (in small quantities) from the destruction of Anacondas and other very large ships.
3) In some cases the G4 material of the same type is so easy to get that trading up at the material trader makes sense. Alternatively, if you like surface scan or Palladium haulage missions, you can get far more EFCs/BCs than you need and cross-trade them instead.

I've upgraded several ships to mostly G5 and most of the manufactured materials used came from one of those sources rather than HSS.
 
There are multiple other sources for the highest-grade materials.
1) Exquisite Focus Crystals and Biotech Conductors are mission rewards.
2) All G5 manufactured materials can be obtained (in small quantities) from the destruction of Anacondas and other very large ships.
3) In some cases the G4 material of the same type is so easy to get that trading up at the material trader makes sense. Alternatively, if you like surface scan or Palladium haulage missions, you can get far more EFCs/BCs than you need and cross-trade them instead.
I think I know where the problem is.. if there was any youtuber that made a video about this instead of all doing the same 'grind' 'relog' kind of boring thing people wouldn't need to think. Sadly, they are all busy with the trending topic of pointless NPCs right now.
 
I've never bothered to go looking for manufactured materials in the manner suggested by the OP. There is Dav's Hope, but even that isn't the best source. My preferred method nowadays is to carry "shady" passengers in a stealth DBX. Once allied with local factions, relatively straightforward missions offering five G5 mats as a reward are quite common. You can then trade down for whatever you want.

A useful side-effect of running passenger sightseeing missions is that you get to visit lots of sites with fumaroles, ice geysers, and suchlike. These are excellent sources of raw materials.
 
Engineering Grind vs. Limited Gaming Time: The Farming grind for Engineering Micro-Resources that leads to burnout and ends with players leaving the game.

Note: TLDR Summary... This is a feedback and suggestion thread on the balance between FUN, grind, and the limited spare time that most of the target audience may have. The key point being FUN, and whether certain aspects of the material grind are engaging and interesting.

I am writing this suggestion and feedback article because I have seen too many friends leave Elite, and I myself have now left Elite twice, all because of the same reason… …the grind in Elite is just too extreme for the limited spare time most adults have to play a game.

Personally, I love the experience of Elite, I think it is an amazing concept, but one held back by its own (fixable) issues and limitations. One of these is the grind.

I understand that every game has grind, and I believe Mr Braben has previously spoken about the grind in games and why it is there. However, I think any game developer should need to question the balance between that grind, the limited time most adults have to sit down and play a game, and whether they are enjoying themselves within that grind experience.

Elite is a game/simulator experience, which is mostly played by a mature audience. Most adults lead busy lives, with many responsibilities. Most will have jobs, run businesses, and even have families to manage, and therefore will have limited time in an evening and over weekends to sit down and get into a good game. This should be a very important factor to consider.

Doing a little bit of research to see what David Braben may think about the grind in games for people who have limited spare time, I came across this interesting comment from an interview with Rock Paper Shotgun in 2015.

Within this interview RPS asked: ”It’s a demanding game in terms of the time investment required to get anywhere with it. Do you hope to add activities to it that can be accomplished in shorter spells of time, so that people who are time poor like yourself can find quicker satisfaction?”

Mr Braben answered: “Yes, that’s something that – and the learning curve side of it – that we can improve. We will look at doing that. You can play the game for a short period of time. People say that about Skyrim, which I thought was a really good game. I played that for a few tens of hours, which was a lot for me, but I felt like there was still so much more to do. And it feels like that; you can go in, you can do a few missions, you won’t necessarily progress all the way up to Elite, but having said that, have you had a good time doing it? That’s the ultimate test.”

Full article: https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2015/03/12/david-braben-on-fan-anger-interview/

It goes without saying that people play games to have fun, with fun being that key aspect, especially when they lead busy and often stressful lives and therefore have limited time to sit down and get into a game. After a long days work, and after the kids are put to bed, adult gamers generally want to sit down, log into a game, and just have a bit of enjoyment in their limited downtime. They want to relax, have some fun, before going to bed, getting up, and continuing the grind of real life work.

In the above comment from David Braben, he stated that the ultimate test is whether the person playing had a good time. I would say that right now in Elite, Elite is failing that test miserably when it comes to engineering ships, and having fun doing it, especially when you have a limited amount of time to play games in the evenings and weekends.

Obviously as developers you are aware of the issue, and have recently adjusted the farming experience by adding the ability to store larger amounts of materials on board ship, and the addition of the material trader. While both of these adjustments feel like a step in the right direction and certainly ease the pain of the grind a little, at the same time, you have also added more materials; which means more time grinding for those types. The overall effect is that while in one way the grind is eased; it is also stretched in another direction.

Even after these beneficial adjustments, there are aspects of the basic farming for micro-resources aspect of engineering that are still too time-consuming, boring, and extreme. The dangers of making aspects of the game experience too ‘grindy’ and time consuming, and without any fun during that process is that it leads players to get so frustrated and burnt out that they stop logging on. I have personally experienced that quite a few times, leaving for many months at a time because this type of farming was getting too time consuming and frustrating. This is where people just leave and start to play something else.

I myself am currently taking a break from the game for this very reason. I know other players that have experienced this, and sadly have never returned. It therefore seems a real shame that such a fantastic game/simulator experience then loses players only because the grind is far too extreme and tedious to fit into normal life.

So this is my feedback on the engineering grind, which has led to players having months away from the game, and in some cases leaving altogether:

Engineers

I don’t see much wrong here. Yes it takes a while to unlock engineers, but it seems realistic and I, like many, found it to be a fun journey, building your reputation through the galaxy and achieving goals. I mostly enjoyed this part of the sim/game, though aspects did border on a little too ‘grindy’ for limited time available. At least with this part of the grind, you can see the progression and are engaged while doing it.

Raw Materials

Again, I don’t see much wrong here. I think it’s a realistic and overall good simulator experience to find out which planets have what percentages of material you are looking for, and then to venture off to those planets and mine them with an SRV. Once again, the player is engaged while grinding these materials. I don’t think there is much to change here, though it can be quite time consuming for the rare materials, and there are no shops that sell such materials, even for extortionate prices.

I’m not sure how feasible it would be to find such materials if it were not for exterior sites such as eddb and Inara, however, I don’t personally have a problem with this, and find it all the more immersive sitting in my cockpit, using my laptop to find planets, and then flying to them. In the future it might be nice to see that handled in game, but I don’t feel it’s a major problem in terms of the grind vs. limited time discussion.

Data

This is an area that is bordering on being a bit too ‘grindy’, tedious, and boring. It seems natural that we must scan other ships to get data… that makes realistic sense, and is a good part of the simulator experience, however, the grind for looking for the more rare types of data is a little too much.

The issues occur with grade 5 materials… for one example, Data Mined Wake Exceptions from Famine distribution centres. Firstly, finding such distribution centres is not always an easy task. Then it is far too time consuming and becomes tediously boring flying back and forth scanning every wake in the desperate hope that you find this type of data. The data is so rare that this actually can take hours, floating around scanning ships and getting frustrated that the materials are not spawning.

I can understand wanting to keep certain data rare… but I think you need to also consider that as this simulator is mainly aimed at mature adults, many of whom only have limited periods of free time… making things this rare, with the process so boring, endangers the player to get so frustrated and burnt out that they log off and don’t return.

Manufactured Parts

Ok, with total respect for the development team, this is where I, and many I have spoken to, feel there is a major flaw in the experience that is Elite. Farming for manufactured parts is not only incredibly mind numbingly boring and frustrating, to the point of losing all interest in the game, but also makes no sense whatsoever and thus completely breaks the simulator experience. I think this is the major issue in the grinding experience for materials that just pushes players over the edge and leads people to say ‘enough’.

Currently the only way to get these types of manufactured materials is to float around in the black of deep space, 100,000 or so light seconds from stars in the system, looking out for Unidentified Signal Sources (USS), in particular, Higher Signal Sources (HSS). Obviously the higher the grade, the more rare the signals are, and even then, there is no guarantee the type of materials needed will be present in the rare spawning HSS.

When it comes to manufactured materials, one has to ask, where are the shops in the future? If this is a simulator experience, what is it simulating? If they are manufactured materials, why can we not purchase them from the manufacturer?

In reality, if someone has a car they wish to engineer, perhaps a new sports car, or maybe a street-racer car, the individual has a choice of places they can look for manufactured parts. They could go to the manufacturer or reseller, they could go to an actual engineer who could attain the parts for them, or even order the parts online. An individual may even look for second hand parts at a scrapyard.

What they WOULD NOT do, is drive around the M25 (a circular motorway around London) in circles for an entire weekend and every night of the week, in the desperate hope of finding some manufactured parts at the side of the motorway. Yet, this is exactly what Elite makes players do.

It not only feels wrong in terms of a simulator experience, but also feels absolutely boring and tediously frustrating to the extreme. There is nothing interesting or engaging about this experience. It is just horrid. It is this reason more than anything else that I, and many friends, have left Elite for months at a time, with some never returning.

As an example: I recently returned to the game after learning that adjustments had been made to engineering. I had been gone from the game for 6 months or so. I returned and had fun for a while, and thought I would pick up the gauntlet and carry on where I had left off, wanting to engineer my ships.

However, I soon faced the same problem… Every evening for a couple of weeks I logged on, floated around in the black of deep space looking for rare HSS to get grade 5 materials… The process was so boring and time consuming, entire evenings of free time where lost, and yet I found very few materials. Some nights I would be drifting in the black of deep space, waiting… waiting… waiting for HSS… and would literally fall asleep in the chair. Each night I logged off, feeling frustrated my evening had been wasted, and I had achieved nothing. So, deciding I perhaps needed more time, I decided to spend the weekend farming to try and just get past this obstacle. After an entire weekend lost, and very little achieved, it was back to work on Monday and feeling quite perturbed about my time in Elite Dangerous. A few more evenings wasted floating around in the black of deep space the following week, desperately looking for HSS, and still not finding enough grade 5 manufactured parts. At that point I had to ask myself, “Am I having fun?” The answer was no. I asked myself “So what am I doing this for?” In the end I left Elite Dangerous once again and started playing something else in my evenings.

This experience seems to be the same for so many I speak to. So, the whole concept of engineering is a good one, but it seems let down by this one part in particular, and to the overall detriment of the game, where Elite is just losing players because of too much extreme mind numbing grind across too many areas.

Suggested Solutions

The solutions seem pretty simple.

We know there are manufacturers in the game that produce the various ships. Where are they based? It would be very cool to be able to buy certain parts direct from the manufacturer, even if such parts where very pricy.

There could even be a range of parts doing the same thing, but some have better stats and are more expensive due to rarity. This is something that would mirror real life, where a range of parts can be used to achieve the same goal, but certain more rare parts would have a better effect.

You could still include the floating around space for the chance of finding some for free, if players wanted to chance that. You could even have a scrap yard experience like visiting Dav’s Hope, which would also be quite fun and immersive… but at the very least… make manufactured parts, purchasable from manufacturers like in real life.

Elite Dangerous has such an extreme grind in so many areas, from the grind for military ranks in the Empire and Federation, the grind for materials and engineering, the grind to make money, and now the grind for Guardian parts… with so much grind, the game can really afford to lose a little and yet still have players being very busy and continually drawn back to the game. I think removing manufactured parts from the overall grind and/or making adjustments to the way that grade 5 manufactured parts can be obtained, would only benefit the game, as currently there is no balance between fun, limited gaming time, and the grind.

Overall, I think the following questions need to be asked:
What is the purpose of grinding in games?
Is the purpose of this grind balanced with the fun of the game experience? (Is the player having fun while grinding?)
Is the grind balanced with the limited time most adult players will have to spare on the game?

Considering the Average Target Audience and Their Time Available to Play

While every game has a small 1% of supreme players who may not work and will play many hours each day, being the top PvP and competitive players, this is surely a small spectrum of the whole player base.

From being involved in many different discord’s, it seems apparent that the average player is an adult, many of whom have jobs and families to run, and therefore have limited time to run a hobby like Elite Dangerous. For this larger spectrum of the player base, spending an entire evening just farming for materials would be an issue alone, but the reality is, it takes even longer than this.

Currently, to get enough materials to engineer anything from one module to an entire ship, a player would have to spend many nights, even whole weekends JUST looking for materials. The issue is, when a player comes home from work, does some family chores and puts the kids to bed, then has some alone time to log on to Elite, that player generally wants to have some fun doing missions, bounty hunting with friends, exploring the galaxy etc. It’s just not feasible to spend every precious limited moment of Elite time, sitting, floating in deep space, searching for super rare materials to engineer your ship over the course of entire weeks.

I’m sure any consideration on easing the extreme grind for materials in Elite would only benefit the game, and ensure Elite does not keep losing players through this type of frustrating burn out.

I have friends who I have often thought of introducing the game to, knowing they would enjoy the experience of flying ships in space, but I have not done so because I also know they have even less time than I do, and they just want to log into a game and have some fun before going back to work the following day. Seeing as I have left the game a few times myself, I would not want to be responsible for introducing them to a game that would just bore and frustrate them.

I love the concept of Elite and having left the game once again, would happily return t if it could be adjusted with slightly less grind and in particular within this area of manufactured parts; being more engaging, immersive, and logical. I am sure other friends, who have left and never returned, may also return if the game achieved some sort of balance between fun, limited gaming time, and the grind.

Elite Dangerous is such a great concept, a wonderful simulator, has great vision, and obviously has had so much work gone into the graphics and creating the epic sound experience… To let it fall flat on its face and fail through a grinding experience that is so intense and boring, where the game is often losing players, is just such a terrible shame.

CMDR MacCait
How about this: trade offline time for some materials progression?

So a player could land, deploy a thing, then log off while it works.

  • A listening station would scan the system for data, but eat manufactured components (different components for different data chances?)
  • A mining ring would pull elements that the planet has available, in smallish quantities.
  • A prefab manufacturing facility would create manufactured materials.

And all of this capped, you don't just log off for a month, you need to check every day or two for maximum gain. And the system would be more effective, the less amounts of resources you have.

So, people running on fumes get a big boost, but people with large inventories don't see much difference.
 
Is this an MMO? I thought it was a space simulator? perhaps that is where I am going wrong? :D

I guess the reading experience is subjective, and how people may read between the lines and get something that wasn't actually intended. But yes, thoroughly enjoyed aspects of the game, and as stated in each point, find SRV gathering and even some data scanning, both engaging and enjoyable.

The points on manufactured materials have come up a great many times in conversations with other players met in game, and on discords etc. That is what inspired me to write a feedback thread on it. The idea to leave feedback on this is not a recent thing, but has been sitting there in the back of my mind for a year or so, however long it was when Elite first came to PS4.

It's not about getting so upset... I didn't think that was how my post came across, but perhaps I am wrong. It is about leaving feedback in the feedback and suggestions thread, giving constructive and detailed feedback and what I thought were logical arguments for the balance between fun and grind experience.

The main point was manufactured parts. If it is a sim (and not an MMO) then where are the shops in the future? If the parts are manufactured, why is it that currently, the only way to get said parts is to float in deep space looking for scraps? Surely in the future, the manufacturers also sell parts for the ships they build?

Searching for manufactured parts in this way, and of course IMO, seems both ilogical in terms of a sim, and is one part of the game that is not engaging at all. So for a least quite a few players I've spoken to, it isn't engaging, isn't fun, is time consuming, and doesn't make sense within a simulator experience.

If you don't want to do it, then don't.
You are not obligated to do anything in this game.
People play to triple elite in a sidewinder.

It's not actually a simulator either.
 
Just keep it simple, no need for all the Chase the Tail elements of Engineering as it is now.
Put all Data, Materials, and anything else needed, Up for sale at Traders Stores.

Better Yet, Let the Engineers Sell all upgrades, at their Store.
That way there is only one Grind, which is for Credits.

Having to do Grinds more than 2 or 3 times, to get the gear you want,
is not only Frustrating, Boring, and unneeded Time Sinks.
But Destroys the FUN of Playing.

Let us get the upgrades we want easily, so we can spend the Time Playing How we want,
rather than Grinding for what should be Market Items, same as Ships.
 
Is this an MMO? I thought it was a space simulator? perhaps that is where I am going wrong? :D

I guess the reading experience is subjective, and how people may read between the lines and get something that wasn't actually intended. But yes, thoroughly enjoyed aspects of the game, and as stated in each point, find SRV gathering and even some data scanning, both engaging and enjoyable.

The points on manufactured materials have come up a great many times in conversations with other players met in game, and on discords etc. That is what inspired me to write a feedback thread on it. The idea to leave feedback on this is not a recent thing, but has been sitting there in the back of my mind for a year or so, however long it was when Elite first came to PS4.

It's not about getting so upset... I didn't think that was how my post came across, but perhaps I am wrong. It is about leaving feedback in the feedback and suggestions thread, giving constructive and detailed feedback and what I thought were logical arguments for the balance between fun and grind experience.

The main point was manufactured parts. If it is a sim (and not an MMO) then where are the shops in the future? If the parts are manufactured, why is it that currently, the only way to get said parts is to float in deep space looking for scraps? Surely in the future, the manufacturers also sell parts for the ships they build?

Searching for manufactured parts in this way, and of course IMO, seems both ilogical in terms of a sim, and is one part of the game that is not engaging at all. So for a least quite a few players I've spoken to, it isn't engaging, isn't fun, is time consuming, and doesn't make sense within a simulator experience.
Yeah - I said flight sim. You can call the bgs a sim, but it's not really you the individual player's sim, it's either a pmf (10 players or more that have been blessed by FDEV), or an npc faction you adopt. That dimension of the game has literally zero to do with engineering, so yeah - flight sim.

The engineering mat grind is a placeholder for actual content. It gives you a grind activity for ship ownership progression which is an analogy for character progression. You can tell from my tone that I do not respect the mat gathering mechanic. I can offer a cheesy way to get many manufactured mats (other than improvised components). Find a large pop system in war. Find a High Intensity conflict zone with a single cap ship. Preferably fighting for a winning side. Ally yourself with the cap ship side. Park yourself near the belly of the cap ship with a bunch o limpets and long range lazors. Smack the bigger pinatas being hit by the cap ship. Instant mats, G5 too. GL.
 
Time management in ED really boils down to how many ships do you think you need.
If you know what you want to do and focus on getting, outfitting, and engineering a ship for that role, then it's fine.

It's when you start thinking that you need to have every ship, engineered to the max, that the whole thing becomes a bit overwhelming time-wise.
This is the main reason I prefer multi-role ships rather than purely specialized ones.
 
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