ANNOUNCEMENT Game Balancing

Bruce Garrido

Community Manager
Frontier
Greetings Commanders!

Game balance has been at the heart of many discussions around Elite Dangerous, for a long time, and rightly so. At its core, Elite Dangerous is about blazing your own trail and we want all Commanders to feel fairly rewarded for whichever path they choose.

To this end, we have taken a close look at the current state of the game and where we would like it to be. Using our data combined with your feedback, we have created a plan of incremental changes we hope will bring the key gameplay mechanics more in line with each other.

What's Changing?

Elite Dangerous has seen a lot of changes since its release in 2014. Among many other aspects of the game, these changes have affected the core gameplay elements and how players earn credits. Over that time, while we have made some balancing adjustments, these elements have inevitably grown out of sync.

In response to your feedback, will bring a series of balancing adjustments to the rate at which credits are earned in each core gameplay mechanic: mining, trade, combat and exploration. Our goal is to have rewards better match the level of skill, effort, and risk each method requires. This means we'll see increased credit rates in some activities and reductions in others.

Crucially, this re-balancing will be an ongoing process where we spend time observing how the changes affect the game and how you, the community, respond both in-game and with your feedback. This may mean several adjustments are needed for each type of gameplay before settling on final values. Giving each method attention in isolation will allow us to more accurately see the results and tweak accordingly, hence the step by step approach, but ultimately they all need to work in the context of each other.

Mining and combat stand out from your feedback as needing the most attention with regards to balancing. As such, we will begin with mining, bring the top range down to a point we see as fair and look at which aspects of mining should offer the greatest rewards based on the skill required.

After this, we intend to look at increasing bounties and solo combat missions in the weeks that follow to meet expected levels. From there we can turn to the still important but less pressing elements such as other mission types and exploration.

These changes will be woven into Elite Dangerous lore and introduced through the narrative. The first can be expected early next week in the form of a GalNet article.

Mining and Trade

Mining has been the most lucrative role within Elite Dangerous for a long time. While this makes perfect sense as pilots find, extract, and transport huge quantities of precious minerals, the gap has become disproportional. This has allowed even brand new Commanders to become wealthy enough to buy the highest performing ships very quickly. For the health and longevity of Elite Dangerous, we're going to considerably reduce the payout of this activity so that it remains lucrative but players won't feel compelled to head out to the latest triple hotspot whenever they need credits.

The following changes will be implemented early next week as a starting point:

These approximate maximum prices offered by markets for the following commodities will be introduced:
  • Painite - 600,000
  • Low Temperature Diamonds - 700,000
  • Void Opals - 1,300,000

To recognise and reward the extra effort and skill needed for core mining, the majority of minerals extracted this way will see an increase in price, barring Void Opals mentioned above. Several mining commodities which can be bought will have the range of their prices increased, resulting in a higher number of goods with strong profit margins (25,000+) when commodity markets are in suitable states.

To benefit trade, we'll also bring the following changes:
  • Commodity markets will offer the average price rather than minimum price when selling in bulk. This will affect all commodities.
  • The base prices of a number of general salvage items will be increased.

What's Next?

As above, these first changes will happen early next week. We'll spend time observing their effects and listening to your feedback before deciding whether further adjustments are needed.

Next, we intend to adjust combat rewards in the form of bounties and mission payouts. You can expect to hear the planned changes before the date is announced in a post similar to this one.

Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding that this isn't a fast process and it will take time for the effects to become clear.

We would also most importantly like to thank you for your continued constructive feedback on this topic, which will be invaluable during this process!

Thanks for your support,

o7
 
Thank you very much for the effort, but point manual changes can't really fix the core of the issues.
The only way to actually fix the credit balance is to implement an actual working economy model for the whole game.
With no such things as hardcoded "base" prices, in first place.
The commodities prices should only depends on actual trading.
The combat rewards should be based on how many commanders are participating (the more commanders - the lesser rewards) and how big is the danger. Pirates NPC activities can be dynamic to make this work - in less protected systems with more trading there will be more pirates and vice versa.

Manual changes will only move the top profit activities from one mechanic to another, or, with all-things-nerfed, it would just add a pointless grind to everyone...
 
Awesome! Looking forward to hear more about the future changes and adjustments aswell. Starting with mining makes perfect sense as it stands now, and has for a long time


MDH
 
Will there also be any patch notes or fixes along with these tweaks to mining, because the Pulse Wave Analyser has been broken for a VERY long time and mining is really weird to do at the moment anyways. It's been one of the highest voted things on the issue tracker and nobody seems to be addressing it.

Edit: It's been broken since the small update in September and 166 people have mentioned that it's broke, hell, I was having the issue all day yesterday: https://issues.frontierstore.net/issue-detail/19374
 
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To benefit trade, we'll also bring the following changes: Commodity markets will offer the average price rather than minimum price when selling in bulk. This will affect all commodities.
Either you or I don't understand how the game currently works ...... when I last tested for all trade goods except for minables you get the MAX price when selling in bulk .... even to 0 demand. I don't really understand how lowering that to average will benifit trade.
 

StefanOS

Volunteer Moderator
Finally... time to bring some balance in this credit mess. Let's see how this will turn out, and if a balance is achievable.
Hint: dont expect anyone to say the payouts are correct f.e. for mining. But if 50% say its too low, and 50% its too high... then its right!
 
These approximate maximum prices offered by markets for the following commodities will be introduced:
  • Painite - 600,000
  • Low Temperature Diamonds - 700,000
  • Void Opals - 1,300,000

To recognise and reward the extra effort and skill needed for core mining, the majority of minerals extracted this way will see an increase in price, barring Void Opals mentioned above. Several mining commodities which can be bought will have the range of their prices increased, resulting in a higher number of goods with strong profit margins (25,000+) when commodity markets are in suitable states.
Excellent. Finally it'll be worth mining literally anything other than these three - and it makes sense that the laser-mineable ones that are easy to obtain in huge quantities from mapped runs aren't as lucrative.
 
I have a question. What does this mean?

To benefit trade, we'll also bring the following changes:
  • Commodity markets will offer the average price rather than minimum price when selling in bulk. This will affect all commodities.
I am aware of the bulk tax thing that happens when you sell more than 25% of the demand at a (non-fleet carrier) market. Presumably the above means that the penalty for selling more than 25% won't be as great but at what point was the minimum price applicable anyway?

My understanding has always been that there's always been a sliding scale so if you, for example, sell an amount equal to 25.1% of a demand, you'd receive more per unit than you would if you were selling 35% and so on.

Obviously, there must currently be a floor which is presumably the minimum price mentioned above but it would be helpful to have some more info.
 

Bruce Garrido

Community Manager
Frontier
As much as I like mining... I think this is a good step. I would like to see an increased payout for combat and AX as well. How about paying out the full bounty for PVP bounty hunters instead of a percentage?

I think any method should pay roughly the same, say about 50m/hour?
Thanks for the suggestion! For PvP payouts specifically, how would you account for players gaming the system with friends and alt accounts?
 
Balancing potential earnings against intended early game progression rate is very welcome, and balancing credit payouts should be something that can significantly affect the experience & satisfaction of the achievement of progression for many players.

Are there plans to alter the challenge presented by the AI, or that are likely to alter faction influence & conflicts, or is this only about earning potential?
 
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