Exploration, variety, and adding some excitement to the wider galaxy.

Exploration is fairly monotonous. Jump In > Honk/Scoop > Scan > Jump Out. Jump In > Honk/Scoop > Scan > Jump Out. So on and so forth. It lacks any real variety in tasks despite the huge variations available in ships, and with engineering, module set ups available to Commanders to perform tasks. Exploration doesn't have to only be the realms of paper thin ships built exclusively for light weight, it doesn't have to boil down to riding an FSD through space with a scanner. To that end, I have a few suggestions that could be considered for added gameplay in the Q4 update, or further updates in the future, and how these suggestions could give additional variety to exploration ship builds and mechanics.

  • Terrain features are coming in the Q4 update, that we already know. Make these terrain features "discoverable" locations under a scan, giving planetary landings more meaning than just pretty sightseeing. For example "Deep Canyons: 2000cr" "Volcano: 5000cr". This would tie in nicely with the upcoming Codex as it would allow Commanders more features to fill out. Given the fragility of current ship builds for exploration, this could make integrity more than a second thought to avoid damage from planetary landings as lightweight builds may be unsuitable for true planetary exploration.
  • Probes and sample collection. In the much loved series Star Trek, the Federation are scientists as well as explorers, it would be amazing to bring some more of that unknown thrill and sense of purpose to Elites universe. It would also give a little more excitement to Explorers on their return to the bubble as they may find themselves a target for piracy making shieldless and weaponless exploration builds something of a risk if commanders choose to also collect samples. This could be achieved either through the use of an SRV much like surface prospecting/salvage collection, or via a limpet utilising the new multi use limpet controller. exploration with the added mechanic of sampling unusual materials/features (something similar to the Brain Trees, Guardian relics, and Barnacles comes to mind) would give commanders the incentive to equip cargo rack and carry goods. Not only would this give more profit, it could give depth to the wider galaxy, additional codex information, and again, give variety to exploration builds. Fuel Rats already show us that exploration/long range builds are highly possible while carrying cargo or extra weight.
  • Data Piracy. As seen with the new Megaships and the planetary installations, the theft of data isn't something unknown to Elites universe, it's rife across space. Explorers carry millions of credits of data within their ship daily, and it's surprising that it would go unnoticed by more enterprising individuals. Making this data available for theft would give that little bit of risk that Exploration at the moment lacks. This could be done using the new Recon limpets as they're already used to identify information on Megaships, and would give a more varied use for the ships data scanner. This could give incentive to explorers to equip better thrusters and point defence to avoid limpets, and to stay out of range of the pirates data scanner long enough to escape and/or break the scan.
+1 for great ideas! I definitely want to see the piracy for sure but oddly more than that I want to see this science aspect. I already equip cargo racks on the off chance I find something important or undiscovered and making that a bigger possibility or at least adding a more defined reason behind using cargo in exploration would be great! Great post
Same! I really think a scientific exploration mechanism would bring a lot more to charting the unknown. All throughout history explorers have collected samples during their journey, exploring the new world, mars, the moon, unknown jungles. Why would galactic exploration be any different?

Plus there would be no shortage of interested players. Look at Canonn and how many players love their science and game studying. I'd like to imagine sample collection would be simmilar feeling to that.

YAWL (yet another wish list) and WILTS (what I'd like to see) are of interest to many and unfortunately much gets buried by yet another one, pages of great ideas and thoughts on the gameplay can be "lost like tears in the rain"

That said...

Exploration, Why do we get paid for finding another barren rock that is just like so many other billions, where does the money come from to pay these insane amounts for something that has a snowball in hells chance of ever being visited again let-alone for a mining operation 25000 ly from anywhere or for terraforming to actually take place!

The harsh reality is ED really needs to stop paying us for useless information, don't get me wrong, my greatest enjoyment is out in the black and bouncing around on a rock thousands of light years from the nearest weapon!

But exploration payment really needs a reason and a value!

I'd like the chance to find objects that don't necessarily have an answer... intrigue if you like, not just a data point, dumped cargo, a coffin, (if you drive long enough on a planet you can rescue enough people to populate Manhattan... I'm joking)
But what about...

* A highly polished rock
* A wall
* A regular shaped raised but barren area of ground
* A carved hole... old mine working/construction area/storage area...
* A carved Auditorium type structure
* A Statue, broken or otherwise
* A collection of regular shaped carved stones
* An area of a planet with a very rare processed metal... like a broken structure or sheet/ingot form (not in ED kegs) perhaps embedded in ice and unmovable.
* A gigantic artificially levelled area
* A natural basin of water... perhaps ice melt from natural or artificial origin
* An Artificial basin of water/liquid gas
* Lifeforms like, giant sandworms, crabs, bugs and/or skeletons and shells of such beasts

It should be these non human things, samples and information that should pay for the Explorers trips, yes, we should get a few quid for information on an inhabitable world... perhaps even scan for lifeforms but until we get an atmosphere we'd best put that on the back burner, the White Dwarves and Neutron stars could be added the the highway guide but really the rest outside the
bubble is in general not much use except for filling up a database

We'd need need more scanners and such to feel complete and perhaps some of these things could be reserved for ranks within the Explorers Guild... if there were such a thing, perhaps there should be, perhaps there will be in an update for Explorers, who knows? I don't, but I do know that when people say Exploration is boring they have a point in that it could be so much more... it's not boring to me and many others but it could be SO much more interesting... and the best part is we don't really need complete stories just a little more intrigue..
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