Focused Feedback - Balancing Ship Engineering & Material Gathering

Engineered Module Recycle or Credit...

So, how many of you have engineered modules or weapons you no longer want or need, which you keep for the sole reason that they have been engineered, taking up storage?

As you graduate from smaller ships to larger ships, you will no doubt have engineered modules or weapons you no longer need or want, but selling them for peanuts is out of the question.

I would like to suggest several possibilities to recycle modules or weapons with engineering to recover the materials and data spent on them.

Using the same engineers who did the work, there could be a section called "Recycle".

If you choose to recycle an engineered module or weapon, you would get the cost of the item, along with the return of the materials and data you spent on that module or weapon.

This could be done in two ways. You can choose to "Recycle" the entire engineered module or weapon, or the engineer could give you "Credit" for the material or data needed for a new modification. It would add a layer of usefulness to engineers.

This would take a bit of the grind out of the search for materials or data, which you technically already own, wrapped up in a useless engineered module or weapon you now have taking up space in your inventory.

It would also have the benefit of saving space in your module inventory.

Certainly, in the year 3303, we have learned the value of recycling.
 
Has anyone documented what mats spawn in what circumstances?

I tried to search the other day but didn't find anything explaining what manufactured mats drop from killing ships. I've noted that low/med RES zones seem to drop a lot of shielding/crystals/alloys of level 1-3, with a smattering of other materials. Is this based on the type of RES zone or maybe based on the ship I kill? Massacre pirates seem to give biotech conductors and exquisite focus crystals as level 5 manufactured mats rewards, do other missions types give other level 5 manufactured mats? I still haven't spent time to document everything that drops, but seems like bigger ships might drop some other interesting materials. I'll try to figure out raw and encoded in the future, but shooting the crystal shards for lvl 5 raw materials isn't too bad, in fact it's quite fun. Still I have no idea what to do, to again fill up on encoded as I don't want to relog at Jameson's crash site...

Stacking massacre missions and then trading when some are full has made wonders for my credit balance and manufactured mats storage. I'm wondering if there is a more efficient way to gather by mixing up mission types instead of using the material trader.

To be honest I'd rather spend time grinding RES/CZ than relogging at HGEs. I might go to collect once if I find it and the faction states indicate that I might get something juicy, but relogging to desktop to pick up level 5 mats is really mind numbing and not something I want to do again. I also don't really want to chase HGEs as they are mostly so far away that I have to spend an inordinate amount of time in supercruise to get to them.

FWIW, personally I didn't mind the unlocking process to get access to the engineers, in fact it showed me many aspects of the game that I'd otherwise would have missed. Even the 5000ly one which sent me on my first solo flight to a nebula, discovering the neutron star highway to Colonia, etc, etc.

Maybe I'm not playing the game as it's conceived to be played, but when I buy a new ship for some purpose it kind of seems mandatory to engineer it immediately to get the best out of it. Maybe not the intended way, but part of my fun is designing and engineering ships to then take them out to see how well they work.

Edit: I forgot, I think the material trader is costing too much in materials. Since it seems really hard to pick up some materials it seems like the traders are a necessary evil, still trading 96 for 6 is really costly...
 
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Better trading ratio + cooldown time

Can we get a better ratio for trading (1:1 or 1:2) and to balance it add a 24 hour cooldown time instead to stop you doing too many at once?

I think this would remove the boring grind of finding materials but achieves the design goal of keeping people playing the game for a long time.
 
The current state of Engineering in Elite Dangerous offers players a huge boost to ship potential for those willing to invest the time. However, randomness in material costs, availability and primarily the Material trader's maths create a brittle system which encourages players to farm high grade materials using, mostly, immersion breaking techniques.


What may seem like a far reaching problem can be largely mitigated with simple tweaks to the material trader and engineer blueprints. These changes have the net effect of allowing changes in the BGS to be more easily compensated for within the trading system.



The State of things

There currently exists 108 material types split into 3 categories: Raw (gained from surface prospecting and mining), Manufactured (missions and ship wrecks) and Encoded (missions rewards and Scanning ships) and 23 sub categories. 80 have 5 grades and 28 have 4 grades. Each pickup of a material provides 3 units. They appear in varying quantities throughout many aspects of the BGS and gameplay, some in very specific niches (pharmaceutical isolators), others more broadly (Focus crystals). The spawn rates are largely unknown though the spawn circumstances are fairly well documented.


Material Traders exchange materials within each of the three categories. Trades can be done horizontally within a sub category or vertically between sub categories. The trading ratios between low grade to high grade, high grade to low grade and between sub categories are fixed at 1:6, 3:1 and 1:6 which preferentially benefits gaining G5 materials and trading across and down.


The dominant farming strategies almost all have one thing in common: they rely on farming G5 & G4 materials in large batches using relogging. This, combined with a lack of gameplay differentiation between regular material acquisition methods contributes to the feeling of 'grind'. Importantly, these dominant strategies don't rely on farming what you need, but what is easiest to get.


And here is why:

meterial trader example.jpg




Result


G5 material farming is nearly 1000x more efficient than farming G1
. The staggering disparity means that any solution which does not address this would lead to counter-intuitively disparate numbers for things such as mission material rewards, surface prospecting and materials dropped after ship destruction. Even if we compressed the table using the smallest whole number ratio we still end up with a ratio of over 15x.


The second major flaw of the table is that ratios are linked. Changing the ratio between G4 and G3 also affects how all other grades are traded. This means that the table cannot respond to individual materials being abnormally scarce/abundant without unbalancing the table as a whole.


This reality forces players seeking efficiency and those who make guides down a narrow set of repetitive, immersion breaking gameplay tasks which are simply not the most enjoyable way to play for most people.



Solution


This problem can be solved simply:


Remove horizontal trading and make each member of the row a discrete value used by the blueprints. Make blueprints require a total of these values, rather than a specific number of material within the row.


E.G. Blueprint Requires 27 units of Focus crystals. Crystal shards supply 2 units, Refined focus crystals supply 9. You can give her 14 units of Crystal shards, 3 units of Refined Crystals or any combination. The player can manually chose or let the system choose.


This would have the effect of allowing the tabled to be flattened far more than the current maths allow and each material value to be tweaked without severe knock on effects. It also means that commanders only need to focus on the 23 categories rather than the 108 types and encourages looking at the values more broadly.


You could preserve having experimental effects needing specific materials as farming a specific type in rare circumstances would be an exception to normal gameplay activities, rather than the rule.





RNG in the Engineering process


The current system inherits random roll effects from it's predecessor while removing the random multidimensional effect and replacing it with -fairly- linear progress towards a goal. While the rolling can be enjoyable on a level similar to playing a slot machine it means anyone setting about in a determined fashion to engineer their ship has to plan for this uncertainty which drives them to conservative and overcompensatory play i.e. better get much more than I need 'JUST IN CASE'. Making the farming problems worse.


As a given blueprint has a fairly straight line from G1 to G5 we can consider this a a progress bar from 0 to 100% engineered and it should probably simply be displayed as this with the player selecting their desired percentage and the materials being calculated for them. Further engineering on the module picks up from the previous percentage until the player has reached their desired amount or 100%


The language could be changed to support this, with the initial module being engineered and then the bar called something like turning or optimisation. So you have an FSD engineered with increased range with an optimization of between 0 and 100%
 
Better trade rate for cross trade would be great!

The best change I want to see for gathering materials is adding them all in the list of mission rewards and ability to change the material type reward for missions (Example: If the mission gives material reward, give option to choose what type it is. (Random, Data, Manufacturing or raw).

Binding mission material type reward to BGS state might be another solution, but seeing how HGEs are implemented it might be a lot trickier. Some states are rare and are overridden by other more popular stated. With that being said, it could work if a good analysis is made.
 

rootsrat

Volunteer Moderator
I'd like to remind everyone that Focused Feedback threads are NOT for discussion please. You can reply to the OP only and you cannot engage in discussion with other users in the FF threads.

Thanks.
 
How about being able to find pre upgraded stuff at stations like in with suits and guns. Like a random grade/blueprint with a lower chance of an experimental being on. I have done no odyssey engineering but i have full G3 stuff from this. This is a thing i really like about odyssey that ships should get too imo.
 
I would prefer to unlock upgrades that could then permanently be bought like Guardian tech.

Engineers should give upgrade materials or blueprints as mission rewards.

Or gate upgrades behind rank like with Imperial and Federal ships or powerplay rating but with no or at least less rapid rank degradation.

I also like the idea above of buying a certain material freely but only in a permit locked system. Not for all of them but as a nice variety.

Definitely better to have parts of the game you actually play contribute rather than having to, say, stop fighting to collect mats to get better guns.

RNG aid rarely a positive experience. Odyssey has that better - a fixed requirement for a fixed gain.
 
Tie quality of mats dropped to rank of killed vessel more logically

If im in a resource extraction area, its noticeable that im far more likely to get Pharma Isolators (or other G5 mats) from an Expert or Master Anaconda than i am from a Dangerous or Deadly one, which is backwards.

Higher quality materials should drop more from higher difficulty enemies, reliably.

Note that, yes, this would allow easier farming of Pharma Isolators since Anacondas drop them semi often, and you can pick up Deadly assassination missions and be guaranteed to face a deadly/dangerous/elite Anaconda (though, why its ONLY Condas that drop Pharma Isolators i dont know. Corvettes dont, and NPC Cutters ~dont exist)
 
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.
This would by far be a great way to go about this and should have been done years ago.
 
Alternate Gathering Methods
Well, before you start developing more kinky things, which will take months to work properly, as we know [sorry, that had to be :p ], there are around 35 very rare manufactured mats and data, respectively rare raw materials available. Of which - as far as I have noticed during a couple of hours in game - mostly Biotech Conductors, Exqusite Focus Cristals and a limited variety of data are used as mission rewards.

So, before reinventing the wheel, why not brush up what's already there by, as in this example, adding ALL rare and very rare mats and data as mission rewards?

Doesn't sound like rocket science, right?

Then take the chain-missions (or whatever they are called) and give them some sense.
"Thx Cmdr, you just brought us 450t of Tritium and we gave you 50m Cr mission reward. Now, since we are best buddies, please deliver this data to a 450.000 ls outpost for 63k Cr - enjoy the trip!" describes the present situation in this feature. I mean, what the, has anybody ever done the second mission?!1!? :LOL:

Use this feature to, instead of connecting random events, give the missions a logical connection, maybe even a story, increase rewards each step/level and make those who reach lvl X of this game-in-game and "win the boss-fight", happy by rewarding them something special - like a shipload full of mats (Human, Guardian, Thargoid)...
Best played in a wing ofc.

Last but not least, there were/are Tip-Offs.
Great idea, really! But the rewards? C'mon, why is this not something special, as the name would tell, but a waste of time? Put a cache with nice stuff there and everybody will be happy.

This might sound easy going, but I do of course understand that coding takes time and costs money, hence repairing these existing features could be less of an effort than starting something new. Also, I did not have time to browse through all postings, so if these topics have already been discussed, forgive me.

Besides, if I might note, having to return to the on-foot-mission-giver after having delivered something, is not only stupid but as well different to the in-space version of delivery missions...

Just saying, o7
 
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Missions are an important part of the gameplay loop but are severely underutilized. Rewards should be greatly increased on the higher end (G4, G5), since the primary method currently involves seeking out a location and relogging repeatedly until a material is maxed, then heading to a trader to trade down to the desired material. If missions were at least somewhat comparable to the relogging methods, and not even necessarily as lucrative, I would personally be more apt to undertake missions. Two reasons I do not are 1) quantities are far too low to justify the time investment and 2) I do not like going to a mission board and searching for the material I need, only to find nothing and either have to wait for the board to update and check again or go to a different station that might have the same problem. I realize system states, population, power, etc., all impact what types of rewards may appear to a degree, but in the amount of time it can take to determine a location that provides exactly what you are seeking it's faster to just go farm imperial shielding a few times, trade down, and be done with it. That said, I would rather do missions and feel compelled to play the game rather than game the game. Also, I find it hard to believe that in 3300 C.E., stations are completely isolated from one another. I should be able to land at a station and find nearby missions at other stations that provide the rewards I am seeking.

Gathering materials in a resource extraction site proves cumbersome as well. In theory, destroying higher level ships should yield higher grade materials (I realize it has been mentioned elsewhere in this thread that it's easier to get G5 off master/expert than it is off dangerous/deadly, but that issue should be addressed regardless). In a hazardous resource extraction site, as soon as your target is down, you already have another target in sight; there isn't a lot of time to spend gathering materials, and if you want G4/G5 materials, you will probably be in a hazardous site. I'm not sure about others, but I don't want to pause between kills to wait for limpets to gather up materials. On top of it all, you have to take your combat ship and fit both a collector limpet module and a cargo rack (which could be as little as 2 tons, but then you have to craft limpets all the time) to your painstakingly-engineered combat ship. This isn't fun; I spent time unlocking guardian modules, engineering my ship, designing it how I want to play it and now I have to dump two of my modules to gather materials. One possible solution, and I've seen other posts here suggest limpets are a nuisance as well, would be to have a dedicated material collector module. The module could be a guardian tech piece or an engineered collector limpet module--that way it has to be unlocked--but the module could provide a single, re-usable limpet with a fairly wide collection radius that collects only materials. While this would still require a module, at least it doesn't demand two slots in my precious combat ship.

In the same vein as above, SLFs could also be set up to gather materials. This way you could bring along two friends to a resource extraction site and they could scoop materials in the SLFs, which could actually be a pretty fun activity in those small, agile ships. The rewards could be duplicated to all commanders currently in the multicrew session.

O7 commanders, and thanks for reading my first forum post.
 
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

#1. Pharmaceutical isolators & military super capacitor, improvise components. Need to be removed from those BGS states..

#2 Trade rates are completely horrendous. G5 encoded & manufactured mats need better trade dividends.

#3 The engineering missions sound like an amazing idea…but let it be Skill=Reward

#4 Please don’t make it too easy where the point of EVERYONE flying around in fully G5ed ships with little to no playtime of effort lol
 
Engineered Module Recycle or Credit...

So, how many of you have engineered modules or weapons you no longer want or need, which you keep for the sole reason that they have been engineered, taking up storage?

As you graduate from smaller ships to larger ships, you will no doubt have engineered modules or weapons you no longer need or want, but selling them for peanuts is out of the question.

I would like to suggest several possibilities to recycle modules or weapons with engineering to recover the materials and data spent on them.

Using the same engineers who did the work, there could be a section called "Recycle".

If you choose to recycle an engineered module or weapon, you would get the cost of the item, along with the return of the materials and data you spent on that module or weapon.

This could be done in two ways. You can choose to "Recycle" the entire engineered module or weapon, or the engineer could give you "Credit" for the material or data needed for a new modification. It would add a layer of usefulness to engineers.

This would take a bit of the grind out of the search for materials or data, which you technically already own, wrapped up in a useless engineered module or weapon you now have taking up space in your inventory.

It would also have the benefit of saving space in your module inventory.

Certainly, in the year 3303, we have learned the value of recycling.
Out of all the ideas on this thread this one is definitely one of the best!
 
I appreciate the intention to rework engineering (because it could bring me and some friends back to the game).

Now about the suggestions:

Definitive pro on earning it by missions. I'd also just add materials to ALL missions as a bonus. Maybe (especially on engineering missions) let us select which ones.
Also, just let us buy those things for credits. I'm serious. Let people do what people want to do - credits is the common denominator which is rewarded by all activities. Simple conclusion follows: Buying engineering materials with credits rewards all activities.
It's all about choice and currently the engineering is lacking in that department (from every angle).

Thanks!
 
I kind of think that if you can buy engineering materials for credits, then you might as well get rid of them altogether.. On the other hand what are ship kills going to drop for you to collect..? I'd really be more for engineering missions, and more variety as mission rewards and as drop loot. And possibly less greedy material traders!
 
Engineered components for about 20 ships so far...

My QoL wish list

On HGE...

1. I am ok with different item types being from HGEs in different states. However some components do turn up more often than the others due to the randomness. Some adjustments to the loot table will be nice. If one system state/allegiance combination can give only 1 type of material, that would be best.
i.e. So I don't have to visit like 10 HGEs just to find a spawn of Proto Radiolic Alloys. (and toss out 9 HGEs worth of Proto Heat Radiators in the process)

2. Increase spawn rate and/or loosen requirements for HGEs to appear. I believe the hate for BGE + HGE combination will go away if spawn rate increases.

On the other emissions...(encoded, degraded)
1. The loot table is rather large for each type, which makes it difficult to target specific materials. I'll actually be ok with using state/allegiance combinations to split up this loot table.

2. One thing I will like to see is the ability to "salvage" wreckage. With the proper tools, wreckage can be broken down into both raw and manufactured components.

Others:
1. Certain materials are easiest to get by being a pirate in Anarchy systems and horrible to get elsewhere. If folks don't feel good murdering innocent traders for upgrade materials, they shouldn't be made to. E.g. Conductive, Chemical series
Allow materials to be dropped from NPC battles, e.g. Conflict zones, nav points, hazardous mining points.

2. Make up-trading viable. Gives people more reason to salvage lower grade materials.
Increase of lower grade quantity per instance.
Reduction of exchange rates

3. Add Surface mining, raw materials can be a side product.

4. Asteroid mining. Increase rates of rarer materials. Think its up to grade 3 only now?
 
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