More Wing Mission Nerfs - AKA We work hard for our money

The fact is, FDev has a history of failing to properly balance and incentivize both solo and especially multiplayer activities, and we have all seen this happen time and time again. Something pays too high to the wrong rank of player, and instead of redesign the mechanics of credit payouts to maintain balance, they nerf the mission payouts to avoid "Content Skipping" or something like that, until they're unrewarding. They need to seriously examine the possibility of making payouts based on contribution/rank to mission completion a real possibility, or make credits no longer the main system of progression. Multi-crew is a perfect example of the reward system functioning to disincentivize using it.

The Space Simulation aspects of the game are some of the BEST out there, in my opinion. But the game part is boring, unrewarding, and overly dependent upon our "beloved" RNGesus. Even with the high paying fetch (Collect) missions, I wasn't making much more than 25 million an hour, in an actual wing, and I'm already Elite. The fact that the missions pay the same regardless of effort is asinine. Some people play as the escort, so there should be a "Minimum" payout, for the escort (or a Role Selection option). Also, Wing currently lacks the commander level tools for coordinated wing behavior.

The Multiplayer aspects of Elite Dangerous are sadly, very broken (meaning they function so that people avoid using them). Solo missions still pay well, if you're elite though they are still questionably grindy. The Fetch missions have only been nerfed back to where they were before they got broken, and then fixed again. They're still profitable, even doing solo (though often not as much as some of the solo missions). Eventually a friend and myself will do a more thorough video on this... But I will still post my ideas on fixes to these problems here.

1. Credits should not be Main Progression (Outside of Trade Rank) - Yamiks said it best with, "Credits are not Progression" and I feel he's part right. It is a form of progression, but it causes problems when you depend on it too much, for many things. Moreover, wing missions have and currently do allow fast player progression if you know where to look (or have a Elite friend). I went from Sidewinder to a nearly A-rated Krait MK-II in 19 hours of play, playing with a friend on another sidewinder newbie account. Moreover, the Ships DO NOT perform differently enough for them to be a stand-alone test of player skill in progression. The fix would be a Rank Requirement for ships, perhaps rank testing (even as much as I dislike rank grinds.) However, ALL Activities should contribute to this progression, seamlessly, regardless of where or when. Moreover, the progression should be reasonable. A month in Sidewinder to unlock an Cobra is not reasonable.

2. Wing Mission Payouts should display the 4 person payout, Then divide by contribution - A mission that pays 10 million should actually be displaying a payout of 40 million cr, and then divide that amount by the effort provided and/or number of players. The idea that someone could do a Wing Mission solo, and get 1/4 of the total pay the mission can offer is nonsensical. Right now, a regular solo cargo delivery mission in Shinrarta can pay as much as 9 million cr for 300 tonnes, putting the price/tonne at exactly 30Kcr/tonne (rounding, of course). The average Wing Delivery Mission pays 2000cr X (number of players participating) per tonne. Even with maximum wing size, you're not even breaking 8500cr/tonne (seen them as high as 2400 doing solo). Some of these wing delivery missions want to pay 5 million for 5000 tonnes of cargo, literally meaning you can make more money buying cheap and selling high straight off the market.

3. Abolish All Solo Missions! - There should be no such thing as a mission that is Solo Only. All missions should be potentially Wingable Missions, but never REQUIRE you to have a wing either. If you want player involvement in a multiplayer-focused, shared universe, making missions that only one person can participate in breaks the game. With the recent glitch to "Collect" Wing Missions, the mission behavior of Wing Missions was copied over to Solo Source and Return missions (unless this was already there before). All missions could potentially be designed to allow for, pay and divide among a wing. I'd think that the only difference should be for Cargo/Commerce missions "Bulk" or "Non-bulk" shipping. Bulk = over 1000 tonnes. Bulk should pay more than non-bulk by a wide margin, but less per tonne, due to longer time to completion (like happens in reality).

4. Multi-crew increases Rebuy But Pays all Players at 100% - If you can simply wing up and get the same pay, then Multi-crew needs to do the same thing to be viable. Real world insurance always increases cost for liability when there are multiple operators. This change could allow Multi-crew scenarios to be viable in a way they never have been before, as well as posing more financial risk. Each player pays the Owners Rebuy + 10% of the Rebuy Amount on top of. Furthermore, all fines or bounties should be increased against a multi-crew criminal action. This change is really about increasing financial risk having other players on your ship, due to the DPS and game-play advantage of having a crewed ship, as well as a decent justification of not nerfing payouts for crew.

5. Crew Members Don't Count Against Wing Size - Crew Members should not occupy wing slots while in multi-crew, or multi-crew should be expanded to allow fully multi-crewed wings. This change makes it so that Multi-crew is not immediately inferior to Wing combat set ups, in terms of DPS output, and gameplay advantages and may actually serve to revive the mostly dead game-mode. As is, you actually nerf your combat efficiency to use Crew over Wing for multiplayer scenarios. Moreover, a player can potentially be way more lethal in a Fighter than an NPC, or at least that is how it should be if you want to incentivize play. Remember here, Players NATURALLY Gravitate towards the game's META regardless of what you intended for the design to do. Because no one likes to waste their time, (And we thought you didn't either -nudge nudge-)

6. OPTIONAL **(If Credit Progression Remains As Is) Require All Players to meet the Rank Requirement in Trade Missions - If mission payout is really that big a deal, because of the fact that your ship and Rank Directly affects the missions and payouts you have access to, then ALL MISSIONS need to bar participation and pay to players who DO NOT MEET those requirements. Rather than penalizing all the Trader Elites who want to do wing missions with friends, due to the payouts of delivery missions, make them legitimately Rank Locked for wing members. Because that is the WHOLE REASON for this post. I'm tired of my ability to play and enjoy Elite Trade professions, as well as earn credits to liberate myself from the grind, all on account of Stopping Newbies from going from Sidewinders to Anacondas in an hour (overstating the speed, but for effect).

7. Combat Missions and Bounties should pay the MOST - This is simple risk versus rewards here. Doing raw PvE bounty hunting is way underpaid, and due to engineers PvP combat is high pay, but very difficult without hundreds of hours of engineering, or an expensive ship in the combat META. Combat Missions risk versus reward simply isn't worth it, in many cases. I can make double to quintuple the money doing a trade missions out of a certain ports. So, why would I risk an expensive 30+ million rebuy to go up against one or a wing of bullet-sponge engineered NPC ships, if I can make more in 10 minutes in other activities? FDev, you talk a lot about Risk Versus Reward in your mechanics, but I have yet to see this manifest in game. In 5 hours of exploration, I can make upwards of 35 Million Credits, but in combat, I make maybe 6. Or I can make 50 - 100 million in that time doing trade. Without talking about Thargoid Bounties.

8. All Players should have Commodity Storage - There are so many times I could get a reward that could later be used to complete another mission, but I can't carry the volumes of commodities around with me to save them in such an event that an NPC wants them. Mind you, for immersions sake, stockpiling certain commodities should be illegal or otherwise some commodities should expire after a period of time. You wouldn't buy Cargo-Bay-Aged Ham, now would you? Moreover, somethings are actually better if you hold on to them for a period of time, waiting for the demand to climb for them, then selling when the price is right. This could add an entirely new gameplay element, as well as allow for commodity rewards to be something other than an annoyance. This would also be a boon to miners. Mind you, certain limitations on that storage would be reasonable to exist. But I don't think it would be much to give every player 3000tonnes.

This super TL;DR list (which you could have skipped over the explanations bit unless it was important to you specifically), are anything but an exhaustive list. The key summary to take from this is, "Stop Nerfing payouts to Stop Newbs from becoming Billionaires"... I shouldn't have to say that. The other message you could take would be... People want to play together, balance the game to incentivize that and we'll love you for it. Stop making multiplayer activities a brutal slog, or otherwise making it better to go solo, or avoid a feature altogether. Stop punishing your veterans, because of broken balancing issues. Give us the tools to actually play the game how we want, without it breaking our experience of it. But, above all... We care about the state of your game enough to care to leave our thoughts. Stop ignoring our feedback, or letting the vocal minority of players skew the game.

Elite Dangerous is the game I've wanted to play since the first times I played a space sim with simple vector graphics, otherwise I'd have left it a long time ago. I bought a second copy of the game, just so I could have a newbie account to play with when I got bored with my main. I don't speak for all players, nor could I. I just want the game I love to play when I'm able, to be the best it can be. I think that's all most of us are asking. All my critique aside, I'm just a player. I have real world experience with supervision, administration, and other military related professions, so some of my critique man go well beyond the scope of my experience. But, I have put over a thousand hours into Elite and extensively tested and used it's features.

Regardless, I wish FDev well and do not mean anything I've stated here as an insult to the product they've made. Fly like you stole it!

Commander Reneta Scian
 
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