I'm too negative

I've recently come to the realisation that my occasional contributions to this forum have a significant negative bias. I'd like to correct that, or at least try to balance it a little.

I've made no secret of the fact that Elite Dangerous isn't what I'd expected Elite IV to be, as I waited over the years for its eventual appearance. I assumed - and, honestly, with little objective justification - that the next Elite game would further emphasise the 'simulation' aspects of Frontier and First Encounters over what I tend to think of as the more 'arcadey' elements.

'Immersion' is a word that's fallen out of favour in this and many other gaming forums, so let me instead refer to 'believability'. While I'm happy to accept the foundational conceits of any sci-fi space game - FTL travel being a key example - there are parts of ED that still lack believability for me. I've grumbled about each of them before, but they include the dogfighting combat style and the flight mechanics (such as the "top speed in space" issue).

And I struggle with little things, too, like the lack of a kill-rotation function in Flight Assist Off. Hard to imagine it, when such technology is a basic part of all 21st-century spacecraft. Or the lack of an HUD flight path indicator. Or the absence of a comprehensive autopilot. All things that have sparked my previous grumblings.

But this is what I wanted to balance. I'm doing the game down when there's really no need. That's been the problem with my previous posts. I've concentrated far more on things that I don't think are ideal, and tended to ignore the things I like - even love - about this game.

From here on I might well sound a bit fangirlish - but the truth is I like Elite Dangerous. I like it a lot. I've spent countless hours playing it, and although I've taken breaks I've always found myself returning to it. And there are certain parts of the game that are "samey" or lacking in depth - no realistic assessment could deny that, and some will say that's a spectacular understatement. But for reasons I'll get to in a moment, I have to say that I'm lucky, and for me the "depth" question isn't the problem I understand it is for some.

On balance, if I don't get caught up in the all-too-easy indulgence of picking at faults and having a good grumble, the positives of the game far outweigh the negatives. If they didn't, I wouldn't keep coming back. There wouldn't be a little part of my mind that's always living in the game world even when I'm not playing. And I certainly wouldn't be sitting here in my real life with an Empire pendant round my neck (the keyring from the store makes a really good one if you pop a suitable chain on it).

This game is absorbing. Perhaps not because of the story it leads you through, because it doesn't really have one. (And not because there'll be Thargoids one day, because honestly - sorry, Frontier - I'm not remotely interested in Thargoids as anything more than mysterious rumour, distorted and patchy history, and background urban legend.)

The game absorbs me because of little things - the aesthetics, for example: the visuals and the sound design in this game are breathtaking - and broader things. An example of the latter: there's something about the knowledge, as I go about my ordinary, real-world day, that there are people out there in that reality who share another world with me: fellow spacers, fighters, defenders, bounty hunters, truckers, explorers, fuel rats, and other such starry-eyed swashbucklers. There's a certain sense of community there, even though I don't generally play directly with others and don't tend to be on comms much. And I like a game that creates that sense, even if, as in this case, the community is a little... fractious. I liked the sense of shared experience in the original Elite and in its earlier sequels: the fact that we weren't all being pushed through the same story, but living our own.

In not-very-short-any-more, I've done a lot of griping about things that aren't perfect for me, but not given due attention to the fact that the game exists, it has a lot of merit and I've enjoyed many hours of playing it.

And I think, in light of all my negativity, it's worth taking a moment to show some appreciation for the game I enjoy, rather than harping on about the one that never was.

So thank you, Frontier, for your hard work putting this thing together and keeping the Elite franchise alive. Thanks to the graphic artists and sound designers who've created the feel of the world. Thanks to the story writers and artists, whether employed by FDev, licensed by them, or doing it just out of enthusiasm for the game world. Thank you to the third-party app developers who work so hard to provide tools to make the ED experience better and deeper.

Enough complaining from me. ED cannot be so things to all people. nothing can. So I'm going to fly my ship and live my space life and enjoy what I've got.

Right. End of fangirling.
Fair enough read, pilot. I find most players are you; like the game, see the flaws, at the same time; it's sometimes a choice whether you want to like or be upset about the state of things. There are some extra-barky types out on the fringes, but most of us just want to play some kind of Pretend Spaceman.

Or Spacegirl.

SpacePerson. >_____>




Fly safe, CMDR. o7
I'm glad to see someone who seem to have realized what negativity can do with us. While not something bad in its own, we have the fatal tendency to get lost in it until it gains its own momentum and starts to build up a screwed reality in its own.

I've read your post and can understand very well some of your stages and gripes with the game, I've got my own. I think it's more common than one might think. There are in fact a lot less "white knights" than it sometimes appears. Though to some you'll always be the white knight just for still loving the game..
Yea, thanks for letting me fly a spaceship Fdev (in VR no less), you done good! I will whinge and cry tears of pure salt over many things but when I take off in my Clipper I feel like I'm home. [smile]
So thank you, Frontier, for your hard work putting this thing together and keeping the Elite franchise alive. Thanks to the graphic artists and sound designers who've created the feel of the world. Thanks to the story writers and artists, whether employed by FDev, licensed by them, or doing it just out of enthusiasm for the game world. Thank you to the third-party app developers who work so hard to provide tools to make the ED experience better and deeper.

Right. End of fangirling.

People are rarely aware of their perception bias. It's easy to spot the one or two things that are glaringly wrong without noticing the hundreds and thousands of things that are right. It's the fundamental reason game boards are typically so rife with complaints. They're creating a subjectively entertaining product where manywill only notice the flaws.

Whenever I get frustrated by a bug (looking at you tech6) or design flaw (PP, BGS, etc, etc) I stop and just really focus on the detail and all the things that have to go right to even get to the point that I can notice the bug.
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As part of the help to stop being negative I would suggest you rename this post from: "I'm too negative" to something like "I can be more positive" :D (Yes jokes!)

Seriously though, good post. I think most people would agree Elite does a few things excellently but many things less well and some poorly. It has a broad audience and is far from finished which does invite the negativity and in many cases rightly so with certain things. But it's always good to put those bad things against the context of the good bits. If it was a bad game all around we would almost all have quit ages ago never to return, but as you say it has a certain appeal that after a while we get an itch and it drags us back. That and the bits that are excellent make the bad bits stand out more.

It's also very British to complain about everything, it's programmed in :D We've just had our first sunny spell with temps in the 20+ degrees Celsius, all around "It's too warm!" when the remaining 11 months of the year they do nothing but complain about the weather :)
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For me, one of the defining 'immersion' features of Elite is the very thing that people say makes it lack depth: huge volumes of space and planet-sized planets, with not much to do on them.

Consider meatspace astronomy. Space probes that take literally years to get to their destinations, and communications lag of tens of seconds...or minutes... Discovered a new asteroid or planet? Great! Now keep observing it over many months to figure out what its orbit is, composition if you have a nearby star for it to transit.

Even the slowest aspects of exploration in Elite are downright instantaneous when you think about it in those terms.

The Apollo program, conceived in May of 1961, didn't see its first crewed flight until October of 1968.
How long has the James Webb Space Telescope been in Development Hell? Two decades!

Any complaints about the speed of Elite's progress can't help but make me chuckle.

...but then again, you could probably give me a copy of Elite that's stripped down to just the galaxy map and I'd still be able to spend innumerable hours just exploring that in wide-eyed wonder.
I'd wish someday the main menu or some system would show a number of the players logged into the game of all instances. Or better yet, a move to central servers for the mmorpg aspect. So like the OP mentioned you get a feel for the busy galaxy and other fellow travelers even if you don't come across them. For sure Fontier did such a good job setting the bar so high where the initial experience of the first hundred hours can be a rare liftetime experience in gaming or a simulation experience never felt before unless one had played the previous elite games. Then it's all too easy to nitpick about wanting more after becoming used to the novel achievements of ED which possibly says more about the human capacity to adjust to wondrous experiences in life rather than the enormous challenges Fdev face in continuously upgrading their groundbreaking world for a limited patience audience.
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Good post OP. I've been negative because of some of the design decisions that have been implemented in ED. But you sometimes realise that you need to take a step back, take a deep breath, and enjoy some of the finer moments the devs have put into the game. :)
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Good post OP -similar to the conclusion I came to abou my own posting style in 2.3 beta (tele-presence was my sore point). As the last time I felt that "lost" with the game was in 1.3, I have decided to give 3.3 a miss when it comes out :)

These days - if I have nothing constructive to say, or at least slighlty funny, I move along to another thread. Note: that is my definition of funny YMMV.

I like your use of believability - similar to my use of "suspension of belief", its a thorny area as it is subjective.

I agree with TKitr Rep to you. I think we sometimes should remember this is still a game in process and considering the size of the company and they're financial strategy along with them wanting to get the game out there they are doing a good job. They have told us that season 3 will be focused on updates that will tie in the features and coalesce the game. I'm excited to see this come to fruition. In the meantime it's hard to have patience. I enjoy the game by doing different things and sometimes just taking a break. In the end I believe we're going to see a great game.
OP, I have no problem with you being negative as long as you don't cling on to it. Negativity is a great thing. Let's celebrate it and then let go of it, so it doesn't envelop us.
Complains that the flight model isn't believable enough. Asks for a flight assist computer that still does half the flying.

This isn't meant to be a dig - it's more an observation that there are varying levels of believimmersuspension and the devs are on a hiding to nothing if they try to please everyone all the time.

I think all flight assist should he disabled permanently for all Cmdrs. I know it's not going to happen though, so I just get on with playing the game and using the tools at my disposal to enjoy myself.
I hear you OP. I recently came back to Elite from a break, having gotten somewhat fed up with the flaws which seemed so glaring at the time. After a decent hiatus, I was surprised and impressed all over again with many of the little things I had gotten used to after many hours of play. It felt refreshing to fall back into the muscle memories of the old hotas setup but with a renewed sense of appreciation for all the things that have been done right. As you said, the visuals and music are spot on. I was impressed again with the general "feel" of my surroundings, the cleverness of the pop up system panels, the cabin layout, the station interior, and the vastness of space itself. There is I think an aesthetic of emptiness (or maybe loneliness?) about the game in general; that sense of being so small in such a vast place (which could easily lead to hopelessness), and yet the comfort (or maybe challenge) of having so much freedom to determine one's own course leads to a precarious sense of balance that I much appreciate. There really is a lot to love about Elite. As with other games, sometimes the bugs, design choices, updates, or what-have-you swing the balance of things more to the side of annoyance for me, but I find that purposefully shifting one's expectations and perspective can sometimes go a long way toward alleviating that annoyance. Distance can obviously help in that regard. I'll be the first to point out the flaws (and there are some real head-scratchers for me), and I think that is useful to do, especially when developers actually do listen, but I think you are right in also trying not to lose sight of all that is praiseworthy as well. This is a beautiful game in many respects.
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