ANNOUNCEMENT Game Balancing

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.
Bravo and o7. Totally salute Frontier finally tackling this issue. Good luck!

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.
On this point (and I think you may have already spotted this), I'm not an AX pilot but I am completely aware that one of the most skill based and risky things a pilot can do in this galaxy (short of Speedbowling) is to take on one (or more) of the various sub-types of Thargoid Interceptor (they're basically Elite's equivalent of a "boss fight"). So I hope you'll also be increasing the rewards for AX combat as I understand they're disproportionately low at the moment.
 
People seem to disagree what the "real" issue is. After taking all the feedback and data on board, we think it's a holistic issue and mining is the activity most affected by power creep and changes we reference near the start of the post.

Let us know what changes you'd make to AX for us to consider.
I really dont think mining is a issue, its the payout off all the other styles of play.
We need larger payouts for combat bonds for AX combat, Maybe some missions? Killing a Hydra pays 15mill and can take a hr or more of game play taking 1 down alone, and then the recourses remanufacturing amo, repair limpets adds to the cost. and then loosing a ship in battle costs us 5mill in rebuy fee's.

In the real world its mining that is billionaires, they will be the 1's to push us out to outer space looking for resources in real life.
 
As part of combat adjustments - I think now that we have commodity markets in carriers the 2 million limit on bounty payouts serves no purpose and should be removed to encourage PvP bounty hunting.

There's extremely notorious players out there with bounties in the hundreds of millions, would make for extremely interesting gameplay for both the bounty hunters and wanted players.
 
It's great news seeing careers finally getting a proper balance pass.

Hopefully at some point smuggling will get a pass as well, as it's currently in a terrible state.

Would also love to see the rare goods price increase maximum distance increased by quite a lot too, to give rare trading some purpose after the first 3 days of playing and bring it more inline with other occupations. I would rather spend an entire weekend collecting rares from all over to fill a ship and then taking them alll the way into some remote deep space station for one big paycheck over flying A<->B a hundred times.
 
It's certainly open for consideration. Let us know how you think AX combat payouts should be adjusted.
If I am not completely mistaken, as a former miner and current AX pilot, the changes to mining prices would mean laser mining would end up in the region of 100-150M/hour or so. For AX combat to be even comparable, I would personally suggest the following bond values:
Cyclops 2M (it is fine now)
Basilisk 20M
Medusa 60M
Hydra 150M

Cyclopses can still be insta-gibbed by a single commander and raising the bond significantly higher than it currently is would promote avoiding the heart mechanics (ideally the gibbing mechanic should be patched out to avoid credit exploits such as wings gibbing Hydras).
Top AX pilots can take out a Basilisk in a matter of minutes, but this is only accounting for the fight itself. The Basilisk still has to be found and most likely the commander will have to go back to a station for restock and repair afterwards. Most commanders certainly could not take out four Basilisks per hour solo.
Top AX pilots can take out a Medusa solo in about 15-20 minutes. This requires repairs between runs as well as some synthesis. A more reasonable time for a reasonably skilled commander is a fight time of around 30-40 minutes. Add the time for gathering materials for synthesis and repairs and 60M per Medusa is still not on par with post-correction mining.
A Hydra solo is a significant investment of time in terms of the fight itself and requires a large amount of synthesis - and many commanders will also need to use premium ammo synthesis to stand a reasonable chance of success. It is a very high-risk endeavour and should pay accordingly.

All of the bonds I quoted above are on the low side for a solo commander and will not reach the same level as mining even with the proposed changes to mining. However, I understand that one also needs to account for the fact that wing kills can be significantly faster. If at all possible, I would correct this by adding an additional part to the bond that is not awarded equally to all commanders participating in the kill, but instead split between the commanders. Solo kills require both more skill and is a higher risk endeavour than wing kills as a wing can continue the fight while a commander that blows up rejoins it and if a solo commander blows up the fight with any progress in it is irrevocably lost. Reasonable payouts in that case could be in the form of a base bond + a bond depending on how many commanders have damaged the Interceptor before its destruction.

Off the top of my head, I would then go with something like the following:
Cyclops: 500k base bond + 1.5M split bond
Basilisk: 10M base + 20M split
Medusa: 20M base + 70M split
Hydra: 50M base + 250M split

I would consider myself a fairly proficient AX pilot and taking out a Hydra takes me an hour with premium ammunition (+ an hour and a half or so of grinding materials for that ammo). Using basic ammo, it took me 1h20mins yesterday, which does not require as much synthesis materials, but definitely higher skill.

I believe that the bonds could go even higher than this if one truly wants to award skill and risk, but the bond levels quoted would at least put AX combat on a similar level to (corrected) mining.
 
AX combat is by far the most difficult PvE combat in the game. Taking on the most basic Thargoid Interceptor might be "easy" for players with a lot of skill, but it's a huge task for many other players. It's very risky, and extremely easy to lose a ship.

As far as I see it, changes for AX combat pay would need to reflect this extremely high risk activity. PvP aside, it's likely among the most risky activities within the game. Payout does not reflect this. My suggestion would be to take a look at what your plans are for increasing regular combat pay, and then apply that to AX combat with an additional bonus.
^ This.

Mining is pretty low risk, but conversely pays the highest rewards. Anti-xeno is the highest risk activity in the PVE game, but mining pays more? Crazy.
 

Bruce Garrido

Community Manager
Frontier
I made a video a while ago when Open Only Powerplay was being discussed, since that would genuinely guarantee meaningful PvP in the game. It's just something to get your toes wet in terms of potential changes for PvP.

I'm pro Open-only Powerplay and BGS personally. I understand this is a long standing debate and know a few of the reasons it hasn't happened before. Maybe we'll be ready to have that conversation again sometime in the near future.
 

Bruce Garrido

Community Manager
Frontier
If I am not completely mistaken, as a former miner and current AX pilot, the changes to mining prices would mean laser mining would end up in the region of 100-150M/hour or so. For AX combat to be even comparable, I would personally suggest the following bond values:
Cyclops 2M (it is fine now)
Basilisk 20M
Medusa 60M
Hydra 150M

Cyclopses can still be insta-gibbed by a single commander and raising the bond significantly higher than it currently is would promote avoiding the heart mechanics (ideally the gibbing mechanic should be patched out to avoid credit exploits such as wings gibbing Hydras).
Top AX pilots can take out a Basilisk in a matter of minutes, but this is only accounting for the fight itself. The Basilisk still has to be found and most likely the commander will have to go back to a station for restock and repair afterwards. Most commanders certainly could not take out four Basilisks per hour solo.
Top AX pilots can take out a Medusa solo in about 15-20 minutes. This requires repairs between runs as well as some synthesis. A more reasonable time for a reasonably skilled commander is a fight time of around 30-40 minutes. Add the time for gathering materials for synthesis and repairs and 60M per Medusa is still not on par with post-correction mining.
A Hydra solo is a significant investment of time in terms of the fight itself and requires a large amount of synthesis - and many commanders will also need to use premium ammo synthesis to stand a reasonable chance of success. It is a very high-risk endeavour and should pay accordingly.

All of the bonds I quoted above are on the low side for a solo commander and will not reach the same level as mining even with the proposed changes to mining. However, I understand that one also needs to account for the fact that wing kills can be significantly faster. If at all possible, I would correct this by adding an additional part to the bond that is not awarded equally to all commanders participating in the kill, but instead split between the commanders. Solo kills require both more skill and is a higher risk endeavour than wing kills as a wing can continue the fight while a commander that blows up rejoins it and if a solo commander blows up the fight with any progress in it is irrevocably lost. Reasonable payouts in that case could be in the form of a base bond + a bond depending on how many commanders have damaged the Interceptor before its destruction.

Off the top of my head, I would then go with something like the following:
Cyclops: 500k base bond + 1.5M split bond
Basilisk: 10M base + 20M split
Medusa: 20M base + 70M split
Hydra: 50M base + 250M split

I would consider myself a fairly proficient AX pilot and taking out a Hydra takes me an hour with premium ammunition (+ an hour and a half or so of grinding materials for that ammo). Using basic ammo, it took me 1h20mins yesterday, which does not require as much synthesis materials, but definitely higher skill.

I believe that the bonds could go even higher than this if one truly wants to award skill and risk, but the bond levels quoted would at least put AX combat on a similar level to (corrected) mining.
Thanks!
 
While I see that AX combat bonds has been specifically discussed, I am in agreement that it is considered a high-end PVE activity and it's rewards currently is certainly in agreement to be reviewed to see if this can be more reflective of the risk, HOWEVER, I think we need to ask ourselves from an AX pilot's point of view, the activities of past and present. With this Bruce, the current frustration of AX Conflict Zones not being present in the game, is there any consideration to review why this was intendedly removed and can this be perhaps reintroduced to coincide with the possible review of bonds being awarded for such a high end activity. While I am also in agreement that AXI specific missions would be certainly an intriguing idea, I would also like to perhaps invite what seemingly was quite fun in terms of activities such as AX Conflict Zones
 

Bruce Garrido

Community Manager
Frontier
who cares, the game is already hugely unbalanced by all the people that took advantage of the very late ( like 5 years late lol ) balancing effort from the developers, why would I come back to a game where everyone is filthy rich and the new players will be punished by it? ( and yes the money other players have matter on a multiplayer pvp game)

the only way to balance this would be to major inflate the rewards and cost of things, so the gap between new players and old players would not be that big.

but as usual it will be a half baked balanced with the usual FD signature.
Sorry to hear you aren't enticed to come back. Happy you're still on the forums!
 

Ozric

Volunteer Moderator
Thanks for the update Bruce. I think it's very good that the team are looking at balancing and that they are aiming to do smaller incremental changes. But I would like to ask that you look at other areas rather than the ones that always get changed? Mining and Combat have had by far the most attention since release anyway. I would be very grateful if as part of this you could do a balance pass on Smuggling.

It has had only one change to it since the release of the game to my knowledge, and that was when Silent Running was changed to give it virtually no drawbacks at all because of the amount of time it takes to heat up your ship. One of the things you talk about wanting to get right is risk vs reward, I guess in this case it's not far off the mark because there is virtually no risk and so therefore there is virtually no reward, sometimes it's hard enough just to find somewhere you can make a profit.

I did make this suggestions thread with a bit more detail https://forums.frontier.co.uk/threads/please-look-at-smuggling-as-part-of-the-upcoming-balancing.558882/

Because you can't search black markets using the Commodities Market, or the filter in the Galaxy Map, you have no way of being able to work out what the prices are going to be before you get to a station. From my small sample set, state didn't seem to make a difference and demand didn't make the difference I would expect it to either. There is almost no reward in Smuggling!

But there's no risk either. I visited 6 stations for the first set and 3 stations for the Narcotics. When I dropped into each station instance, I didn't use silent running, I didn't even think about the fact I was carrying illicit cargo. I just flew towards the station, requested docking clearance, and casually flew into the station in my Cobra Mk.III. All were Medium or High security systems.

A bigger issue perhaps is the need to actually make some proper changes to the way security respond in different security systems, like the revamped C&P system was supposed to do. Make it more likely to be scanned in high security systems. Make Silent Running work more like it used to, so you actually had to do some heat management, rather than just flicking it on and sauntering towards the station with no risk of cooking your ship. Give powering off modules, or cold engineering some purpose.
Introduce some risk.

And as for the rewards, well they clearly need to be so much higher. At the moment there's no reason at all to do smuggling other than some rp. The return is far less than you can make from normal trading and given how much harder it is to find a reliable profit, it's more frustrating than anything else. If a commodity is illegal in a system, then the buyers should be paying at least the top end of the market for it (if not more), as they will be selling it on to their buyers at a far higher price due to the difficulty sourcing it.

I'm hoping this is an opportunity to make a start to the changes, by at least getting some decent reward for taking part. Smuggling is even the first of the core gameplay elements that is mentioned on the website



No they can't



Thanks for reading, and here's to hoping that something can and will be done.
 
Thanks for the suggestion! For PvP payouts specifically, how would you account for players gaming the system with friends and alt accounts?
I have been proposing on reddit for the past six years to allow players to set bounties coming from their own credit balances on other players, which someone can take to see their location along with a notification of them logging in, perhaps a sighting, to go and kill them to redeem said bounty. No credits are "created" as it would be a direct 1:1 credit transfer from bounty giver to the bounty hunter. Perhaps if someone has achieved notoriety in a recent amount of time they would not be able to set bounties.
 
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