Focused Feedback - Balancing Ship Engineering & Material Gathering

Bruce G

Senior Community Manager
Frontier
Greetings Commanders

Now that Update 8 for Odyssey is live, we'd like to reignite the series of balancing changes that started before Odyssey's release. Now, it's time to turn our attention to ship Engineering. We recognise there has been significant feedback for on-foot Engineering too, but we'd like to approach these one at a time due to the number of aspects involved. Specifically, we'd like to look at the balancing of the Engineering grind, which largely relates to...

Material Gathering

Availability and Time Required

To obtain them as fast as possible, materials within Grades 1 to 3 are typically traded down from Grade 4 and 5s. To make them worthwhile to gather by themselves, should their availability and the rate at which they are obtained be increased?

Similarly, Grade 5 materials can be traded down into 3 Grade 4 materials within the same category. However, Grade 4 and Grade 5 materials take similar amounts of time to gather. Should the number of materials picked up per instance be increased to account for this?

We're also aware that some materials are much harder to find than others as they are tied to rarer BGS states. Let us know which materials ought to be made more readily discoverable.

Any estimates regarding how long it took to earn a given Engineered module by gathering materials will also be helpful in addressing this aspect of balancing.

Alternate Gathering Methods

We appreciate that the repetitive nature of material gathering may not be for everyone. Some have called for ways to earn materials while engaging in the specific types of content they already enjoy.

We'd like to hear your feedback on the idea of unique missions offered by Engineers themselves. These could be repeatable and offer materials specific to the upgrades offered by the Engineer who issues them. Let us know what you think of this idea and how many materials this might offer relative to gathering the materials manually.

Another idea is to allow materials to be "bought" with items that are not obtainable at Commodities Markets. This could include things such as Exploration Data, Bounty Vouchers, Void Opals and Thargoid Hearts and would allow players to earn materials while playing within their chosen disciplines.

Rolling for Engineering Improvements

Some time ago, Engineering was changed so that some improvement was guaranteed with each roll. However, the amount by which your progress towards the next module grade is still random. This means sometimes the same number of materials will produce a minimal increase. Should this be changed so that the same number of materials are always required to reach the next tier? This would allow Commanders to know exactly how many materials are needed.

Other Feedback and Suggestions

Feel free to respond with other ship Engineering balancing feedback and suggestions that go beyond the ideas mentioned above. To keep the conversation on-topic and help us collect the feedback, this thread will be closely moderated. Please only reply with responses to the topics mentioned and keep feedback constructive. Unrelated or unhelpful posts may be removed during clean-up. If you find this has happened to your post, consider raising your points in another thread within the Dangerous Discussion section.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts!

O7
 
Another idea is to allow materials to be "bought" with items that are not obtainable at Commodities Markets. This could include things such as Exploration Data, Bounty Vouchers, Void Opals and Thargoid Hearts. This would potentially allow players to earn materials while playing within their own chosen discipline.
This is one of the better ideas I've seen.

Rolling for Engineering Improvements

Some time ago, Engineering was changed so that improvements were guaranteed with each role. However, the amount by which your progress towards the next module grade is still random. This means sometimes the same number of materials will produce a minimal increase. Should this be changed so that the same number of materials are always required to reach the next tier? This would allow Commanders to know exactly how many materials are needed.
Yes!

Other Feedback and Suggestions

Feel free to respond with other ship Engineering balancing feedback and suggestions that go beyond the ideas mentioned above. To keep the conversation on-topic and help us collect the feedback, this thread will be closely moderated. Please only reply with responses to the topics mentioned and keep feedback constructive. Unrelated or unhelpful posts may be removed during clean-up. If you find this has happened to your post, consider raising your points in another thread within the Dangerous Discussion section.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts!

O7
We should have a proper Cmdr to Cmdr trade option. I can drop feets materials to my friends, while cumbersome, it works and has saved many hours of tedium. A similar option for ship materials would be welcome. Less work (?) than a proper ui transaction, but a proper built for the purpose UI would be fantastic.
 
To obtain them as fast as possible, materials within Grades 1 to 3 are typically traded down from Grade 4 and 5s. To make them worthwhile to gather by themselves, should their availability and the rate at which they are obtained be increased?
Yes. Very much yes.
Similarly, Grade 5 materials can be traded down into 3 Grade 4 materials within the same category. However, Grade 4 and Grade 5 materials take similar amounts of time to gather. Should the number of materials picked up per instance be increased to account for this?
Again, yes please. This game could stand to be much less grindy.
We're also aware that some materials are much harder to find than others as they are tied to rarer BGS states. Let us know which materials ought to be made more readily discoverable.
Honestly? Locking some materials behind BGS states was a bad idea to begin with. Just un-gate those materials and increase their commonality and yields when gathered.
Any estimates regarding how long it took to earn a given Engineered module by gathering materials will also be helpful in addressing this aspect of balancing.
I'll be frank, I have ADD, so I'm not a "normal" player as my patience and attention span are a lot shorter than most - I have yet to achieve Grade 5 in anything because material farming is such an absolute bore that I lose any enthusiasm for the game if I do it too much.
We'd like to hear your feedback on the idea of unique missions offered by Engineers themselves. These could be repeatable and offer materials specific to the upgrades offered by the Engineer who issues them. Let us know what you think of this idea and how many materials this might offer relative to gathering the materials manually.
Yes! I would spam the hell out of engineer missions. That is tangible progress towards a goal I can track and follow, as opposed to mindlessly repeating a single task.
Another idea is to allow materials to be "bought" with items that are not obtainable at Commodities Markets. This could include things such as Exploration Data, Bounty Vouchers, Void Opals and Thargoid Hearts. This would potentially allow players to earn materials while playing within their own chosen discipline.
I don't know about using Core Mining minerals as currency, but this is definitely an interesting idea. And doing missions for the engineer's settlement should also help you gain reputation with them. It would be slower than just experimenting with upgrades, but it would also be cheaper, since you're not wasting materials just to build rep.
Some time ago, Engineering was changed so that improvements were guaranteed with each role. However, the amount by which your progress towards the next module grade is still random. This means sometimes the same number of materials will produce a minimal increase. Should this be changed so that the same number of materials are always required to reach the next tier? This would allow Commanders to know exactly how many materials are needed.
RNG will always ruin someone's day and make them quit the game if core mechanics are dependent on it. This is a change you should've made in the first place when you guaranteed the improvements. So yeah, this is a good change.
 
after a year of playtime on xbox and recently switched to pc ... it seems alot and very intimidating - i dont like they way you can only find certain military grade items in particular id like those added to some rare drop list where they can be found. Spread it out a bit too please!! and wow who put a rocket up.... Waay to go FDEV - and a patch. dont forget to finish the economy eek. Lower the trader exchange please slightly.
 
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Greetings Commanders

Now that Update 8 for Odyssey is live, we'd like to reignite the series of balancing changes that started before Odyssey's release. Now, it's time to turn our attention to ship Engineering. We recognise there has been significant feedback for on-foot Engineering too, but we'd like to approach these one at a time due to the number of aspects involved. Specifically, we'd like to look at the balancing of the Engineering grind, which largely relates to...

Material Gathering

Availability and Time Required

To obtain them as fast as possible, materials within Grades 1 to 3 are typically traded down from Grade 4 and 5s. To make them worthwhile to gather by themselves, should their availability and the rate at which they are obtained be increased?

Similarly, Grade 5 materials can be traded down into 3 Grade 4 materials within the same category. However, Grade 4 and Grade 5 materials take similar amounts of time to gather. Should the number of materials picked up per instance be increased to account for this?

We're also aware that some materials are much harder to find than others as they are tied to rarer BGS states. Let us know which materials ought to be made more readily discoverable.

Any estimates regarding how long it took to earn a given Engineered module by gathering materials will also be helpful in addressing this aspect of balancing.

Alternate Gathering Methods

We appreciate that the repetitive nature of material gathering may not be for everyone. Some have called for ways to earn materials while engaging in the specific types of content they already enjoy.

We'd like to hear your feedback on the idea of unique missions offered by Engineers themselves. These could be repeatable and offer materials specific to the upgrades offered by the Engineer who issues them. Let us know what you think of this idea and how many materials this might offer relative to gathering the materials manually.

Another idea is to allow materials to be "bought" with items that are not obtainable at Commodities Markets. This could include things such as Exploration Data, Bounty Vouchers, Void Opals and Thargoid Hearts. This would potentially allow players to earn materials while playing within their own chosen discipline.

Rolling for Engineering Improvements

Some time ago, Engineering was changed so that improvements were guaranteed with each role. However, the amount by which your progress towards the next module grade is still random. This means sometimes the same number of materials will produce a minimal increase. Should this be changed so that the same number of materials are always required to reach the next tier? This would allow Commanders to know exactly how many materials are needed.

Other Feedback and Suggestions

Feel free to respond with other ship Engineering balancing feedback and suggestions that go beyond the ideas mentioned above. To keep the conversation on-topic and help us collect the feedback, this thread will be closely moderated. Please only reply with responses to the topics mentioned and keep feedback constructive. Unrelated or unhelpful posts may be removed during clean-up. If you find this has happened to your post, consider raising your points in another thread within the Dangerous Discussion section.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts!

O7
Firmly in the "BUY OUTRIGHT" camp on this and always have been. We have billionaires mugging ships for parts, that should be READILY AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE. Be done with the whole "gather" game around them entirely and just let people buy the parts they need. Could you imagine the chaos if every time someone wanted to mod their car they had to Road Warrior 15 Kia Optimas hoping for one of them to have a new spark plug?

EDIT: Expanding on this a bit. Let's work in a reason to have some of these permits maybe? Need a new Flux Capacitor? Well it looks like you can only buy those in the Noroads System. Which you need a Permit for. See where I'm going here? Have the materials hunt occasionally take you into places you need a permit for, leading to other things. We have lots of Permits for systems that are in no way special currently. Make them special.
 
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Material Gathering

Availability and Time Required

To obtain them as fast as possible, materials within Grades 1 to 3 are typically traded down from Grade 4 and 5s. To make them worthwhile to gather by themselves, should their availability and the rate at which they are obtained be increased?
The issue, for me, is that simply picking them up itself is barely worth the time given how much you get of a G1 when trading down from a G5. A solution might be to have increased mission rewards for lower-rated materials, maybe.

We're also aware that some materials are much harder to find than others as they are tied to rarer BGS states. Let us know which materials ought to be made more readily discoverable.
I think the biggest issue are those that can only be obtained in one not-so-engaging way. Think 'wake scanning'.
Alternate Gathering Methods

We'd like to hear your feedback on the idea of unique missions offered by Engineers themselves. These could be repeatable and offer materials specific to the upgrades offered by the Engineer who issues them. Let us know what you think of this idea and how many materials this might offer relative to gathering the materials manually.
Excellent idea. Thing is, if the mission is fun and the reward guaranteed upon success than it already reduces 'grind' by a lot. The main issue with grind is 1) its not fun, 2) its not guaranteed to get you anything for your time. Dedicated missions would go a long way to solve both issues.

Another idea is to allow materials to be "bought" with items that are not obtainable at Commodities Markets. This could include things such as Exploration Data, Bounty Vouchers, Void Opals and Thargoid Hearts. This would potentially allow players to earn materials while playing within their own chosen discipline.
Excellent idea.
Rolling for Engineering Improvements
Some time ago, Engineering was changed so that improvements were guaranteed with each role. However, the amount by which your progress towards the next module grade is still random. This means sometimes the same number of materials will produce a minimal increase. Should this be changed so that the same number of materials are always required to reach the next tier? This would allow Commanders to know exactly how many materials are needed.
Originally the randomness was there to have everyone have their own 'unique' ship with various strengths not shared by all. The current system pretty much did away with that, making the randomness mostly just annoying. At this point removing it completely seems sensible to me.
Other Feedback and Suggestions
Feel free to respond with other ship Engineering balancing feedback and suggestions that go beyond the ideas mentioned above. To keep the conversation on-topic and help us collect the feedback, this thread will be closely moderated. Please only reply with responses to the topics mentioned and keep feedback constructive. Unrelated or unhelpful posts may be removed during clean-up. If you find this has happened to your post, consider raising your points in another thread within the Dangerous Discussion section.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts!

O7
Fleet carriers have had the interesting side effect of creating a first step towards a player market. People buy engineeriong commodities and such and sell them on their FC for a profit. It would be great it a similar market could exist for mats/data. Some love to grind for [x], others have plenty of money and would be willing to pay handsomely for it. It would allow people to focus more on what they enjoy, and the things that are not readily awarded currently (eg. people who for some reason love wake scanning) would be much more rewarded then. Doesn't have to be via FCs, but it would be a possible way to go.
 
The rate of exchange is terrible between like grades . G5 150 to another grade 5 = 25 . So even to max out say grade 5 you need to collect 900 to fill all top grades .
Put that in and spend 4 hrs hunting and not getting anywhere near that amount plus with HGE sometimes ending before you are close .
I don't mind collecting them but I dont want to spend 30 hrs just collecting , just for engineering .
 
I totally agree with the new proposed gathering methods. This gives you different ways to gain all the required materials. Maybe an other idea is that those materials could be made from minend elements. You can mine all the elements and make the materials yourself.

Also the unlock raid should be a fixed vallue instead of roling a dice. You already worked hard enough for the materials them self.
 
Been a while since I posted here but I'm really glad to see you guys are looking at changing engineers, they've been in dire need of another overhaul for a while now. So, in no particular order:

Upgrade rolls: yes please just kill them already. They don't really add anything except frustration when a roll fails to reach the next tier. Simple solution: get rid of that stuff altogether. Make each upgrade tier a one-and-done affair. You want to upgrade from from G1 to G2? That'll be three sulphur. G4 to max G5? That'll be five selenium, a pharmaceutical isolator and an exceptional scrambled emission data (just pulling these out of my cargo hatch, been a while since I looked at engineering recipes). Nuke the random upgrades, I want to know how much it will cost me to upgrade so I can plan that stuff.

Acquisition: I like the idea of engineer missions. That's good. I'd definitely bias them more towards high end materials, maybe give players multiple material reward options (so instead of credits/rep/material it can be a data/raw/manufactured reward choice). Make them more challenging than generic board missions to compensate, stuff like haulage missions with guaranteed pursuer spawns, non-wing assassination missions with engineered targets, stuff like that. I'd also add material rewards to high-risk activities across the board. Make the risks commensurate with the rewards, it's something ED has long been really bad at and this is a good opportunity to at least partially alleviate that. So add material rewards to, say, bounty bonds, combat bonds (NOTE: make the exchange ratio for combat bonds better than bounty bonds, CZs are harder, the reward for doing them needs to be better to justify the increased effort), maybe scenario rewards for stuff like defending megaships and installations as well (would be nice to actually have a reason to go to those). Make the rewards for other activities lower than the bond rewards. I've done enough mining that I can tell you for a fact, void opals are a million times easier than hunting Thargoids or doing high intensity CZs. While you're at it, maybe have a special tier for player bounties as well, scaled with notoriety? I like the idea of using Thargoid hearts to buy materials, but if you don't balance the material reward to be suitably massive people just won't do it. Aim high, you can bring stuff down later if necessary.

Edit: I've seen some people suggest the obvious "just let us buy them" option. I would be broadly in favour, especially if we can also sell materials for credits. Make the scaling with rarity grade suitably high that G1s aren't worth a lot and G5s cost a decent chunk of change, and balance other new methods of getting materials so they're more efficient in terms of conversion to credits than just buying materials. Being able to sell materials would be a nice way for commanders to dump materials they don't really need and provide an alternative income stream for explorers/salvagers as well.

Spawning: I'd definitely like to see spawn rates for G4 and 5 materials increase and for spawn rates to be balanced. I have like fifty Imperial Shieldings but hardly ever see Pharma Isolators. High grade signals need a wider spawn pool, I think. Also, maybe separate encoded signals with data materials and encoded signals with a large number of mid-grade materials into separate signal types?

Other stuff: Also, while you're at it, do please seriously consider looking at the engineering upgrades themselves because they are in dire need of rebalancing. The power disparity between engineered and non-engineered ships is vast right now and it just feels oppressive. Some form of stat compression, diminishing returns for engineered defensive modules (especially HRPs and shield boosters) is absolutely necessary IMO. Damage upgrades for weapons could also do with a bit of reining in.
 
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@Bruce G
1) next time you do this NEEDS to be focused feedback on ship balance.

2) from the anti xeno side of things. We need you to introduce a guardian material trader. We also need to be able to use the thargoid mats for something. They are completely useless right now except for a few synth. We also need certain guardian mats to be easier to find closer to the pleadies or the cap increased for how many we can get.

3) on the human side of engineering. Engines should NOT need pharmaceutical isolators. That makes it very hard to get grade 5 engines. The engineering mod reverberating cascade needs to be removed, heat damage needs to be buffed and thermal shock needs to be buffed so that ways it makes the target overheat to 102 percent. The counter to shields should be cooking someone to death instead of completely eliminating he shields.

4) Modifications to be removed: Shielded mod for literally every utility and the fuel scoop. Lightweight mod for all the weapons. Remove all of the current engineering for limpets, literally useless. Remove the reinforced and shielded mod for life support. Get rid of the shielded mod for the FSD. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD ALSO GET RID OF THAT STUPID JITTER FOR RAPID FIRE AND INTERTIAL IMPACT

5) Modifications to be added: Fuel scoop mod to allow it to scoop more fuel. Limpet controllers to allow for more limpets to be shot out. Repair limpet controller to allow for it to repair either faster or repair a larger amount.

6) Change the faster boot sequence mod to allow it to charge the FSD faster instead of turning it on faster -_-

This one is a seperate thing because of how I feel about this.



ENGINES AND ENGINE ENGINEERING NEEDS A BLOODY OVERHAUL.
Dirty + drag drives are FAR too dominate in elite dangerous.
All of this is in my opinion of how things need to change for the engines and their engineering.

1) How the min mass, optimal mass, and maximum mass works needs to change. Yes it should keep how it currently works with how if your over max mass then you cant move etc. However what needs to change is that closer to your optimal mass you get the easier it gets to change direction, NOT just rotation.

2) Make that change above then the experiemental mod called Drive Distribution will actually have a purpose other than to make smaller engines push a bigger ship for exploration. Because with the changes i suggested, if you push the mass below the optimal mass then the ships ability to change directions=maximum

3) Yes this part will have a repeat but its to make it clear what im suggestion. The Drag Drive experiemental needs to be for raw speed and a small buff to the rotation of the ship. The Drive distribution needs to be the experiemental for manuverability. The rotation needs to be massively buffed ALONG with the ability to change direction.

4) Number 3 carries over to the Clean and Drag drive modifications. Drag should be mainly for raw speed and acceleration and Clean drives should be mainly for rotation and direction change.
 
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You need to especially address Raw materials, as currently the best way to get them, the crystal shard sites, don't exist in odyssey, so currently Horizons is the only way to get raw materials; and horizons is scheduled to be eventually discared once odyssey and horizons merge. That would turn the Raw material grind from a slow slog to a cross country funeral durge.
 
Or come at it from the other direction: Let us choose which material we get as mission reward. It's not fun to look at the mission board and see that once again not a single mission offers what you're actually looking for.

Then we'd know what to expect in terms of how much time a certain upgrade takes to acquire. The mission board roulette and general RNG is what creates a lot of the frustration.

Addressing the points in the OP:
1. Please just don't nerf trading down. It's the only thing keeping it all somewhat sane at the moment.
2. Engineer missions would be great, something a lot of us have wanted for a long time (although mostly it was thought of as an alternative to the current "placeholder" unlock requirements). I just think due to the amount of upgrades and necessary materials, we'd still end up with the mission board RNG.
3. Yes, getting rid of the roll RNG would be great.
 
Availability and Time Required
To obtain them as fast as possible, materials within Grades 1 to 3 are typically traded down from Grade 4 and 5s. To make them worthwhile to gather by themselves, should their availability and the rate at which they are obtained be increased?
Most defiantly. I can spend as much time grinding G1 mats as G5 mats and the G5 has a much better rate of return over time. Given limited play time (2-5hr/week), the whole aspect of engineering just prevents me from actually playing and exploring in order to just grind unlocks. But then I end up just sitting to do the grind because as events unfold I need access to engineering mats for the parts and pieces needed to keep playing.
All this just means that those with limited play time either give up or get stuck in an endless grind. I.E. Spend all my play time for 2-8 weeks just to unlock the mats needed to make an AX combat ship. Then new AX comes out, events are over, or something else changed and now I'm grinding all over again...

Similarly, Grade 5 materials can be traded down into 3 Grade 4 materials within the same category. However, Grade 4 and Grade 5 materials take similar amounts of time to gather. Should the number of materials picked up per instance be increased to account for this?
Again, YES!

Alternate Gathering Methods
We'd like to hear your feedback on the idea of unique missions offered by Engineers themselves. These could be repeatable and offer materials specific to the upgrades offered by the Engineer who issues them. Let us know what you think of this idea and how many materials this might offer relative to gathering the materials manually.
I like this idea for those that want story/directed farming methods. But returns of mats should probably be in the 10-15 for G1 and reduce by a few for every higher grade down to 1-3 for G5. Combined with some small CR and REP/INF rewards that seems reasonable. Spending 20-60 mins on one mission for 1-5 G1-3 mats means that I'm headed back to the min/max grind that ruins the whole process.

Alternatively, you have this follow-on mission function that seems to rarely be used. Having a series of small missions that make up a mini story at random or just simply build on each other, but that unlocks a higher rate of return (more mats per reward for higher risk/more time) would be amazing. Mission 1 in the series offers 2 G5 mats, mission 5 offers 10 G5 mats but is extreme risk. Die or fail and start the sequence over. Doing a whole series would net quite a few mats along the way at a growing rate of risk.


Another idea is to allow materials to be "bought" with items that are not obtainable at Commodities Markets. This could include things such as Exploration Data, Bounty Vouchers, Void Opals and Thargoid Hearts. This would potentially allow players to earn materials while playing within their own chosen discipline.
Yes to the "Rare Item" trader above. It doesn't make sense that Carbon eng mats can't be bought or traded in a space trading economy game.

But also... Junk Yards! Lore says yes. Add visitable junk yards where we can go "mine" junk. Add a plasma cutter like the mining laser or EVA for Odyssey where we can go purge sealed containers for mats and cut apart junk ships for ship style mats. This expands the play loops and would be very cool visually!

Rolling for Engineering Improvements
Some time ago, Engineering was changed so that some improvement was guaranteed with each roll. However, the amount by which your progress towards the next module grade is still random. This means sometimes the same number of materials will produce a minimal increase. Should this be changed so that the same number of materials are always required to reach the next tier? This would allow Commanders to know exactly how many materials are needed.
This should have been done as part of the balancing. No reason to roll (at least that big of a spread) for something like this when the rate of return on the improvement is fixed. Maybe a small modifier or just go to a fixed amount.

O7 Commanders!
 
Do away with materials for engineering entirely. It's fine for crafting and synthesis but we should just be able to pay for engineer upgrades directly. I love this game but the thought of collecting materials to engineer another ship keeps me from playing it more than I'd like to. It took me months to get into AX because the grind involved in collecting mats kept putting me off. I really want to jump into PvP as well but It'll probably be months before I'll be able to stomach the grind to build the appropriate ship for that too. As someone who only gets a few hours a week to play it's hard to justify spending that time collecting materials which is an activity I'd rather not engage in at all in it's current state.

The game has fantastic, deep and immersive content. I don't see why it needs to be locked behind pointless grind.

I recently introduced a few friends to this game. After spending a few months learning the ropes they wanted to try other things like AX but but once they realized the grind involved they decided against it. They have more credits than I do but can't spend it on things they WANT to be doing in game.
 
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