Is it time to reward exploring rather than following?

tl;dr: There's not much point going exploring when you can just open someone else's list of systems, fly around them, and be an Elite billionaire in a couple of days. How about we make the real rewards go to explorers who actually find new stuff?


OK, so I stuck that at the top to save time for those players who will scream "nerf bat!" who can go straight to ranting about it below. For the rest of you:


My logic is that while data is valuable, when you do the Road to Riches you're only grabbing data that someone else has got, and Universal Cartographics already has it. I'm not suggesting that you get nothing for this, because it's fairly safe to assume that every scan of a body reveals something new and useful, but I believe it should be the initial scan that is the real reward.
Frontier often seem to comment that people are anchored to the bubble and "don't get out much" and I am certain that this is because you can reap the rewards of 'exploring' without stepping out of your comfort zone.


What I would propose is that the values are re-balanced to boost the rewards for genuine discoveries at the expense of the rewards for planets that have been scanned, but not by you. This would admittedly make it harder for brand new players to make money from exploration, but I believe it would make it a much more lucrative career option and give a much greater sense of achievement once you've put together your first ship and got out of the small area that has been properly discovered.


This could bring in a five tier system of values:

  1. Discovery Scanner; known bodies: very low payout for bodies that have been scanned, but not by you.
  2. Detailed Scanner; known bodies: slightly higher payout for bodies that have been scanned, but not by you.
  3. Discovery Scanner; unknown bodies: High payout for bodies that you are the first to scan.
  4. Detailed Scanner; discovered bodies: Significantly higher payout for bodies that have not been scanned, but have already been "honked" by someone else.
  5. Detailed Scanner; unknown bodies: Very High payout for bodies that have not been scanned, and were "honked" by you.

As for the actual values, I can't comment. Balancing is a fine art, and I'll leave that to the experts, but I would expect tiers 1 & 2 to be noticeably lower than the current minimums, and 4 & 5 to be somewhat higher to really encourage deep space exploration, and reward the effort involved.
 
Exploration should be fun and rewarding.

Unfortunately the definition of "reward" as suffered from hyperinflation, and convenience and ease seem to have taken away the fun.

Many moons (and other stellar objects) ago, exploring the shallows with a Sidewinder and Basic Scanner was fun. I would fly rings around the system to spot the one dot moving against the background of stars. Finding planets this way was a challenge and very satisfying.

Then I could afford an ADS and *HONK!* the entire system is layed out before me...

No challenge, no effort. If you are just here to collect numbers this will be for you, but its not exploring anymore.


I have proposed a few times that Discovery Scanners should be rated by sensitivity not range, and discovery should be based on multiple honks and distance and time travelled within a system (reset on hyperjump) -- triangulation method. This, combined with the DS sensitivity and the size of the object giving you a chance to detect. Objects within a minimum radius begin detectable by a single honk only.

Then there is the reward aspect.

One approach is to consider each system a "package" and give bonuses for combinations. Lets say there is a deduction for each "UNEXPLORED" object in your set -- too many unknowns reduce the value of the survey. Then bonuses for asteroids (currently worthless) if there is an economic target in the system, as they represent easy resources. Bonuses for multiple economic targets -- as investing in the system will yeild greater long term benefits. Bonuses for a wide range of resources (so ground surveys to identify minerals etc), as less will need to be shipped in. Perhaps bonus if there are multiple systems being "cashed in" within a short jump of one another with feasible resources as well.

So not much for a system you just pass through and !HONK!

Then we could look at actual discoveries. Finding alien ruins (procedurally generated) or artifacts in space, scanning, samplings. I wish...
 
So not much for a system you just pass through and !HONK!
That's kind of where I was going with the ADS scans being at the low end of the value scale. I think the Q4 update will address some (if not all - we shall see) of your comments, which is why I've focused purely on the monetary rewards which I feel are unbalanced in the current format.
 
There's been a lot of debate over the years on the whole topic, mostly it seems some people do not want exploration rewarded because it is "Easy", and then people complain because their "Difficult" action, doesn't pay as much, quotations used because these things are entirely subjective, but yeah exploration is without a doubt the profession that pays the least when looking at it in terms of time/hour.

But there is likely going to be a large pushback on the subject, so who knows.
 
some people do not want exploration rewarded because it is "Easy", and then people complain because their "Difficult" action, doesn't pay as much
Yeah but there's no point at all in Elite because the most rewarding business is passenger transport, or wing delivery missions where one can sit at the starport and the wing do the job so you get easy money for doing nothing.

There are multiple examples to show how unbalanced is the Elite economy, probably one of the hottest topic.

In my opinion OP is right. It makes no sense that new discovery bonus is lower than the scan value itself. Exploration needs a rebalance and it also needs new features to be scanned as exploration data: some already present in the game (lava spouts, geysers, rare material collection) and some new.
 
IMO the problem would be solved by making the whole bubble and surroundings explored. Nobody should be able to cash in ELWs inside the bubble, that is just nuts. So that "road to riches" would become far longer, making it exploration. This way no system needs any change.
 
IMO the problem would be solved by making the whole bubble and surroundings explored. Nobody should be able to cash in ELWs inside the bubble, that is just nuts. So that "road to riches" would become far longer, making it exploration. This way no system needs any change.
While I somewhat agree with this in principle, I disagree from a gameplay perspective. No completely new player (or even reset account) under this system would be able to make any progress (rank, money or otherwise) exploring until they were well established in progressing within the bubble, and I think that would make the problem worse - only players aiming for triple-Elite would ever get around to exploring. If you can't explore at all in the bubble there's nothing to create an urge to go further, so you need the ability to work up to a cheap explorer (DBX, for example) within the Bubble before being able to reap the real rewards of deep space exploration.
 
IMO the problem would be solved by making the whole bubble and surroundings explored. Nobody should be able to cash in ELWs inside the bubble, that is just nuts. So that "road to riches" would become far longer, making it exploration. This way no system needs any change.
Maybe not zero reward but low. The reward should be also related to the distance of the station that you're selling it.

An ELW 20kLY far from the bubble should reward you at least 10x more than an ELW on the border of the bubble.

This would push players to move further. When I started exploring I thought that the rewards were based on the distance too, I was quite surprised to find out it's not so... It's quite obvious...
 
My biggest sticking point is that exploring is little more than another "career path" in that it's just a way to make money. A terrible, time-consuming, and generally dull way to make money. The concept of cartographic data is completely pointless and arbitrary. A station will gladly pay the same credits to every one of a million pilots who sell them the same exact data from the same systems where absolutely nothing of note has changed. Ooooh the planets moved! Of course they moved, it's called an ORBIT.

Exploring shouldn't have been about money in the first place. It creates a false sense of reward. The money is nothing to write home about...nor should it be, really. Unless you're asleep at the stick when you jump into a binary star system and melt your ship in the corona, there's basically zero risk in exploring. Exploring should be about finding things, investigating mysteries, looking for clues and unusual phenomena...things which we basically don't have right now.
 
An ELW 20kLY far from the bubble should reward you at least 10x more than an ELW on the border of the bubble.
I would take the opposite position -- a newly discovered ELW which is easily accessible is more valuable than one which is remote and hard to reach. The question is who is paying for this information and how do they intend to monetarize it?

While it is true that it is more of an achievement for the player, its not necessarily more valuable commerically.

Perhaps this is a case where separating Exporation experience from a purely financial figure?
 
Money is only relevant to exploration until you reach Elite rank - and not necessarily even then, since as @SenseiMatty says, you can take sightseeing missions and never scan a single system but still reach Elite. If someone wants to use Road-2-Riches to get there that's up to them - it has no impact on anyone else, so why worry about it?

I'm all for adding new and interesting mechanics to exploration, but that's a question of gameplay, not reward.

This is simply another "I want the way I like to play to be worth more than the way other people like to play" thread, complete with standard "You're not exploring properly" trope.
 
Surely first discoveries should be paid premium credits and subsequent visits to that system should pay less and less per visit.

In fact shouldn't the first discoverer be paid a percentage of each further discovery.
 
Last edited:
I would take the opposite position -- a newly discovered ELW which is easily accessible is more valuable than one which is remote and hard to reach. The question is who is paying for this information and how do they intend to monetarize it?

While it is true that it is more of an achievement for the player, its not necessarily more valuable commerically.

Perhaps this is a case where separating Exporation experience from a purely financial figure?
I agree that a nearby planet is worth more than one far away, but I also think that the ones far away shouldn't be worthless or we can simply forget about exploration. This is why I think the current system is just fine and should be left as is, with the bubble being explored as it has no sense that you can 'discover' an ELW with a huge population. Or anything in the bubble...

While I somewhat agree with this in principle, I disagree from a gameplay perspective. No completely new player (or even reset account) under this system would be able to make any progress (rank, money or otherwise) exploring until they were well established in progressing within the bubble, and I think that would make the problem worse - only players aiming for triple-Elite would ever get around to exploring. If you can't explore at all in the bubble there's nothing to create an urge to go further, so you need the ability to work up to a cheap explorer (DBX, for example) within the Bubble before being able to reap the real rewards of deep space exploration.
For me not gaining exploration rank would actually create an urge to go further. Becoming an elite exporer while fiddling in the bubble and even transporting passengers is what kills it IMO.
 
Exploration should be fun and rewarding.

Unfortunately the definition of "reward" as suffered from hyperinflation, and convenience and ease seem to have taken away the fun.

Many moons (and other stellar objects) ago, exploring the shallows with a Sidewinder and Basic Scanner was fun. I would fly rings around the system to spot the one dot moving against the background of stars. Finding planets this way was a challenge and very satisfying.

Then I could afford an ADS and *HONK!* the entire system is layed out before me...

No challenge, no effort. If you are just here to collect numbers this will be for you, but its not exploring anymore.


I have proposed a few times that Discovery Scanners should be rated by sensitivity not range, and discovery should be based on multiple honks and distance and time travelled within a system (reset on hyperjump) -- triangulation method. This, combined with the DS sensitivity and the size of the object giving you a chance to detect. Objects within a minimum radius begin detectable by a single honk only.

Then there is the reward aspect.

One approach is to consider each system a "package" and give bonuses for combinations. Lets say there is a deduction for each "UNEXPLORED" object in your set -- too many unknowns reduce the value of the survey. Then bonuses for asteroids (currently worthless) if there is an economic target in the system, as they represent easy resources. Bonuses for multiple economic targets -- as investing in the system will yeild greater long term benefits. Bonuses for a wide range of resources (so ground surveys to identify minerals etc), as less will need to be shipped in. Perhaps bonus if there are multiple systems being "cashed in" within a short jump of one another with feasible resources as well.

So not much for a system you just pass through and !HONK!

Then we could look at actual discoveries. Finding alien ruins (procedurally generated) or artifacts in space, scanning, samplings. I wish...
Thank you! I never looked at exploration in that way since I've always been reliant on the DS. I think I'll have something to finally log in for after months when I get some time off. I was on my way to Saggy but I think I might slow way down and try it without using the DS in the way you described. Exploration should be about looking for things and finding ineteresting places first and foremost! For me, the experience (and maybe bragging rights :p ) is worth more than the credits which I can get mining, combat and trading.
 
This is simply another "I want the way I like to play to be worth more than the way other people like to play" thread, complete with standard "You're not exploring properly" trope.
Thanks for the insight into how I play - I never realised that you had been analysing my gameplay so closely.
Oh, hang on, you haven't, in fact, you have no idea how I play. This is simply another trolling reply by someone with nothing useful to add to the discussion.
 
I have proposed a few times that Discovery Scanners should be rated by sensitivity not range, and discovery should be based on multiple honks and distance and time travelled within a system (reset on hyperjump) -- triangulation method. This, combined with the DS sensitivity and the size of the object giving you a chance to detect. Objects within a minimum radius begin detectable by a single honk only.
I'm surprised this isn't what they went with when making the game. That sounds way more fun, or at least engaging. Behind you all the way, dude.
 
Top Bottom