Engineers My Elite Dangerous inflection point

Preamble:

So I suppose this post has been building up for a while - first off it's not a "bye I'm leaving" nor a vague threat to Frontier - but it's a culmination of 26 months of playing this game from Premium Beta until now. The inflection point is that my initial enthusiasm for the game has waned to the point I feel that a long overdue Titus rant needed to be posted :D

For me probably the most fun thing I've done with ED was a meta-gameplay of making my videos - since September 2014 I've done a total of 13, so that's an average of one every two months - they are time consuming to make.

In the early days there wasn't even a debug camera, but it helped. A lot of the time was spent finding interesting locations and then putting them together. I had more time to do this - but now not so much. 12 was released in January, 13 was in May.

And part of it is what I realise is the biggest commodity in Elite Dangerous is exactly that - time. The game has been designed this way because you cannot inject money into the game from the real world.

I see this from plenty people here in the forums, and on reddit and steam - the low grumble of complaints has become rather loud.

My personal perspective:

This year alone I've:

* Had a family holiday in Devon
* Had a diving trip in Lanzarote
* Had a holiday in France
* Had a holiday in Finland
* About to take a holiday to Kenya for two weeks in July
* Take a two week holiday in Peru in August
* Another week dive trip in Rhodes in September

On top of that a 40 hour work week, with roughly an hour of commuting a day. Live with a partner who isn't a gamer. Own a dog, who needs walked. Scuba dive and enjoy photography. Spend time with friends and enjoy their company, try enjoy the sun (because it can be rare in the UK) by spending my time outside.

I also try spice things up by not playing Elite Dangerous all the time, because it isn’t the only video game in the world - but I wish it was the game I wanted to play all the time (but it isn’t).

Edit: As mentioned below yes that's a lot of holidays - but when you're planning a family then you need to get those out the way while you can so it's less luck more timing :D

So where am I going with this... ?

In part I feel the direction that Frontier have been pushing the design is that instead of being a space simulator and MMO, they have instead created a game where you have to "do all the levels". They want us to grind time to have access to part of the game. If this was a small game then maybe that wouldn’t be so bad - but it’s a game that simulates a whole galaxy and spreads the game over a very large surface area.

That is, if I want to take part in The Engineers I have to:

* Bounty Hunt to collect materials (fine - this is my preferred career and what I enjoy with the time I play the game)
* Possibly do a bit of piracy to also collect material (not really what I want to do because I prefer to be chaotic good)
* Mine asteroids (I definitely don't want to do this, I find the mechanic laborious and far too time consuming)
* Mission run (I'd do this, but a lot of missions still appear bugged or do things like change targets to stations 300k ls inside systems)
* SRV - Drive across tens of KM of barren planet surfaces to shoot tiny rocks and hope they contain some magic space dust.

To access the engineers as well I have to collect their golden tickets like meta alloys - and to do that I have to travel to one of the far locations in the hope I can possibly collect something, or have to wait.

In that there is no exploration, which linked to the above bit about the video is another thing I enjoy about this game. The only thing exploration has linked to the game is the occasional community goals where you can make more money out of selling the data.

I've never taken part in Powerplay - but I feel it’s exactly the same. If I wanted to access the good stuff in that then I would have to spend weeks doing merit collection, helping push around magic bean counters to keep some omnipotent overlords happy. Again, simply no time - nor any real interest since these characters have little or no impact on me wanting to be a bounty hunter for hire.

With the upcoming releases I feel that they are continuing to push on features that large parts of the community, including me, won't really care about. Multi-crew ships - cool feature if you play with friends, but as we know from years of argument on here and reddit that there are lots of solo players, even in open and private groups. Personally I will appreciate the ship-launched fighters though.

"So Titus, are you getting to the point?" I hear you cry! (and I realise this is a bit of a rambling post)

I am one of the people adding my voice to tell Frontier that if they don’t listen to the players and work on quality of life features for Elite: Dangerous then they will see an ever-growing frustrated base leave and it will take a long time to gain their trust back, if ever.

And this isn’t the first time I’ve said this kind of thing - go back to Beta, I was vocal then about what I saw as a whole bunch of mis-steps, some of which are yet to be corrected.

I read the forums and reddit a lot and I see a lot of people make lots of similar requests - some wildly out there (no you're not getting offline mode!) - but many are absolutely reasonable, and I think Frontier's idea for the game is starting to tilt too far from what their community are asking for. Namely:

* The ability to buy and sell materials and data - Out there, there are people who have plenty time to play this game and collect the materials and data, and plenty people who don’t have time to.

If I want to make a nice roast dinner, I would go out and buy the ingredients and then make the meal. I might expect that I gather some vegetables from the garden but I don’t expect to have to go kill the animal and butcher it. Someone else does that and I buy the goods.

* The RNG Debate - Linked to the above problem with time, another failure on the part of The Engineers is the RNG. I was willing to give it a try, to give a pass on this - but after using it I see how flawed it is and I’m not prepared to spend any materials because if I get a bad roll it might take me several days to be able to find the replacement materials to try again.

I’m now leaning towards the idea that all module levels should be open and work on the same principle of synthesis - that if I want a Level 5 module then I understand the requirements to get it - that is I choose to put my time into it. As it current stands I can go for a Level 5 module and still get something terrible and all that time has been wasted.

* Module storage and transfer - I, and many other are one-ship players. If we do partake in the engineers then it means that if we want to keep the modules that we’ve spent all that effort on then we have to essentially triple the effort we put into the game - to have enough money to not only buy a new ship and cover the insurance costs, but then to spend the time finding the materials again and then hope that we roll something good.

* Module sales - I’m not 100% sure on this one as I haven’t done it, but I hazard a guess that if I enhance a module and then sell it, that module disappears into the ether - all that effort wasted. Again linked to time, players who have time could create modules that other players could buy directly. If I have a limited edition item I’d probably stick it on Ebay and auction or sell to the highest bidder

I think the middle two could be hugely mitigated by the first one - have the ability for us to sell our materials and data on an open market - maybe limit it to High Tech systems. Similarly the last one could limited to high-tech systems and allow players to put up items on something similar to the bulletin board - allowing transfer for hard cash.

Like I said, this is about quality of life features. This game doesn’t run on subscriptions - it comes from base sales, plus the willingness of players to buy future seasons, plus all the little nick-nacks like Skins, Bobbleheads and ship kits (which I’ve not bought into yet).

I’m lucky in that I have a lifetime subscriptions, I don’t need to give Frontier any more money to enjoy this game - but a large proportion of their customers do.

Take a step back Frontier - listen to the people playing your game. Yes it’s your game but if people are not enjoying it then they won’t be playing it for much longer.

Fin


TL;DR - The commodity of Elite: Dangerous is time, and Frontier provide no quality of life tools to mitigate that by allowing us to throw imaginary credits at time to lessen in.


Postscript:

Oh another thing I've since thought of - the lore and story line - again unless you have time to be part of is pretty much non existent in-game. I see bits and pieces of it around the internet - but in game I feel I have zero idea about what's going on.
 
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I rather like the new additions, but then I'm only interested in beefing up my FSD range and any mods that reduce mass to beef up my FSD range so I can see why feeling like you have to grind out all the mods for all the ships forever might feel like a bit of a time sink. Also I have no significant other or friends so I can spend as much or as little time as I choose doing things.
 
Module sales - I’m not 100% sure on this one as I haven’t done it, but I hazard a guess that if I enhance a module and then sell it, that module disappears into the ether - all that effort wasted.
Just as with other modules, when you sell an engineered item it remains in the buyback at that station. You can sell it, switch ships and buy it back on the current ship. No wasted effort.
 
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Preamble:

My personal perspective:



This year alone I've:

* Had a family holiday in Devon
* Had a diving trip in Lanzarote
* Had a holiday in France
* Had a holiday in Finland
* About to take a holiday to Kenya for two weeks in July
* Take a two week holiday in Peru in August
* Another week dive trip in Rhodes in September

On top of that a 40 hour work week, with roughly an hour of commuting a day. Live with a partner who isn't a gamer. Own a dog, who needs walked. Scuba dive and enjoy photography. Spend time with friends and enjoy their company, try enjoy the sun (because it can be rare in the UK) by spending my time outside.

I also try spice things up by not playing Elite Dangerous all the time, because it isn’t the only video game in the world - but I wish it was the game I wanted to play all the time (but it isn’t).


[.
To be fair everyone has to work for a living so I really don't understand your point. Also most normal people do not have the time or the money to go on the sort of holidays you seems to manage. So if you are expecting some sort of sympathy from a post like this you are not going to get it by showing off. You seem to have a very hard life ...

If you don't want to play the game then don't, if you have been actively playing it since PB then you probably need to step away anyway. All I see is rant followed by showing off followed by another rant.
 
Part of IRL and loving to hop from one game to another, I'll probably never manage to access everything in the game - no top tier ships, very few engineers unlocked and fewer modules engineered. I'm destined to be one of the numerous CMDR John Average that'll eventually scratch only a few micrometers of what ED has to offer. And I'm ok with that. This was the case for the previous Elite/Frontier games. That's even what I seek in Elite Dangerous: being a teardrop in a living ocean having fun in the moments to moments, witnessing a world too vast to be grabbed by hand where my footprint is insignificant.

I'm totally in love with ED for what it already offers: scale, the story - my story - I write as I play. With a little effort, roleplaying in ED is really excellent, even through its (voluntary*) limitations

Though I totally adhere with your excellently made arguments, because they point at what could make the world more alive, make me feel the currents in this ocean. I don't need to be the Skywalker of the galaxy, I don't need to own the best ships equipped with the best modules ever. But I need to feel it living, I need to make some places my Home, I need it to push me to find other places to call Home.

Repped.

* In the case of engineers for example, I'll probably never meet some because they'll require activities I won't do (because it's not fitting my roleplay, or my level of involvement in the game). And that's fine!
 
To be fair everyone has to work for a living so I really don't understand your point. Also most normal people do not have the time or the money to go on the sort of holidays you seems to manage. So if you are expecting some sort of sympathy from a post like this you are not going to get it by showing off. You seem to have a very hard life ...

If you don't want to play the game then don't, if you have been actively playing it since PB then you probably need to step away anyway. All I see is rant followed by showing off followed by another rant.
Fair point, a lot of people do work for a living. Maybe if I hadn't spent so much time creating what was essentially free marketing for Frontier with my time, and instead played the game I'd be in those upper echelons of the Elite and flying the best ship, but I didn't. And re: holidays - there is a reason my partner and I are getting them out the way this year - I'm sure you can guess why when we're at the ages of 35 and 36.

For me, Elite Dangerous came out around the time I was just coming out of a 12-year physically and mentally abusive relationship and back then, when I had left that I did have more time for it. It took me a little while to break out of the shell of that. The videos were a very good creative therapy for me. Also it's why my rants used to be much more ranty on here - there was a lot of pent up anger.

Since then yes my life has turned around, and yes I get to enjoy it more - but along with that I've also seen a lot of changes in this game that continue to make it less playable - and I'm not alone in that sentiment, you just have to read similar posts here and on reddit to see that.

I'm someone who's had Elite in my life for near on 25 years and I want this game to succeed. My life has grown along with the game - but it feels like instead of growing with it's player base - it's pushing a lot of them, including me away.

I don't want to leave the game but if it continues down a path like this then maybe that's the only choice.

Edit; Yea sorry I'm frustrated and ranty and I suppose I didn't need to bring it up, but I just wish Frontier hadn't gone down this path that is designed to waste a lot of time for not a lot of payoff.
 
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I think that you should be able to buy and sell mods on the open market. In a previous thread I put that:

"FD need to keep the game balanced for all players, allowing some variations of the expansions to flow into the earlier versions: eg the mission board.
Players with Horizons can get engineer mods eventually, why cant non Horizon players salvage mods from wrecks and use those on their own ships."

Thats what I think :)
 
Part of IRL and loving to hop from one game to another, I'll probably never manage to access everything in the game - no top tier ships, very few engineers unlocked and fewer modules engineered. I'm destined to be one of the numerous CMDR John Average that'll eventually scratch only a few micrometers of what ED has to offer. And I'm ok with that. This was the case for the previous Elite/Frontier games. That's even what I seek in Elite Dangerous: being a teardrop in a living ocean having fun in the moments to moments, witnessing a world too vast to be grabbed by hand where my footprint is insignificant.

I'm totally in love with ED for what it already offers: scale, the story - my story - I write as I play. With a little effort, roleplaying in ED is really excellent, even through its (voluntary*) limitations

Though I totally adhere with your excellently made arguments, because they point at what could make the world more alive, make me feel the currents in this ocean. I don't need to be the Skywalker of the galaxy, I don't need to own the best ships equipped with the best modules ever. But I need to feel it living, I need to make some places my Home, I need it to push me to find other places to call Home.

Repped.

* In the case of engineers for example, I'll probably never meet some because they'll require activities I won't do (because it's not fitting my roleplay, or my level of involvement in the game). And that's fine!
That's a very fair point regards not having access to every engineer. Agreed, I don't really see the need for that. But the way Frontier have designed it some engineers are blocked off until you level up with others so in a way they do have that "play all the levels" path built in.

Like you yes I'm quite happy with the Cmdr Average Joe life too - but then in it's current state it feels like Frontier are wasting a lot of opportunities. If I never access engineers then all that effort that's gone into materials and data collection feels wasted. If it was just you and me that would be fine, but it's not - it's a growing number of people being vocal about it. I'd be sad if it was all for nothing.

Some people just want to be traders - but if they want to have access to better FSD drives then they have to jump out of that role and take up combat to be able to access all the materials.

To truly play that role, they should be able to not leave that comfort zone and instead play to their strengths which is to have the buying power of obtaining these materials.

Like the marketing said - Blaze your own trail - but at the moment it feels like it comes with a caveat that you have to blaze that trail along a pre-defined rail that Frontier have decided.
 
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It was an expansion with the intent of getting people to play all aspects of the game to some degree, outside of SRV use I actually haven't had to do anything I didn't want for long enough to be relevant and/or missions can be taken to supplement.

I think its legitimate to say you don't want to destroy haulers though, this one didn't sit well with me even though I'm a pirate and I think that all ships should drop almost all the ship components with a mild bias towards a certain group.

So for example chemical distilleries would drop more often from haulers, but you'd still get them from everything else occasionally, polymer capacitors would be found more often from CZ's / Authority ships but would be available in RES at a reduced amount too.

I'm somebody who always advocates two paths in gaming - the optimum path where you can focus your intent, and the general path where you can pick things up as you play normally and still progress albeit at a reduced rate. They've taken a reasonable stab at this but putting every component on missions as a reward has diluted the general play path so much that its barely valid, you basically have to go do the specific activity related to a material.
 
Just as with other modules, when you sell an engineered item it remains in the buyback at that station. You can sell it, switch ships and buy it back on the current ship. No wasted effort.
Only if that works. They said it worked with powerplay modules, but I sold my prismatic shields on my Anaconda and got an error from the outfitting trying to buy it back. I reported this to Frontier. They asked for details, so I sold (to rebuy) the Prismatics on my Clipper and got the same error. Never got them back. Lost four weeks of play and a lot of merit-farming as a result. Don't use this method without being aware you may just lose that module.

To the OP:

Engineers is not a lost cause. There are some - as I see it - simple things that could be changed to address the issues. A player-only-driven market in materials/data/mission commodities would certainly be a good start.

  • More transparency with upgrades i.e. "Your FSD max range is 12Ly and with this modification would be 14Ly. Proceed Y/N?" not meaningless (to us) numbers and percentages.
  • The ability to deliver cargo/data/materials to an engineer in advance of using blueprints, no longer making it mandatory to have cargo racks for most mods. You could then use and upgrade combat ships without cargo racks. Something not currently possible, since most level 3 or higher mods require commodities.
  • Change the randomness on modifications to tiered bands, not a 0 to 100% range, so that a level 5 mod should always be better than a level 4, even if it isn't the best. i.e. level 1 = 10% improvement +/-10%, level 2 = 30%+/-10%, to level 5 = 90%+/-10%.
  • The ability to apply same mod to multiple items with the same result. i.e. If I have enough materials for 3 blueprints, I should be able to apply the same upgrade to all three multi-cannons with the same outcome (if done together).

I agree the synthesis model is better than the roulette wheel. But I understand (from a developers perspective) why Frontier wanted the variation.

I think a player market in materials would also allow non-Horizons players to engage, giving them a reason to collect materials and benefit indirectly from it, getting credits not mods.

The problem is a good idea on paper just doesn't work sometimes when you get to playing it and the current Engineers implementation feels like a whiteboard concept. I called this during the first week of BETA on 2.1 (before they went fish) as I said then "random materials for random rewards" wasn't a game play concept that many people would enjoy.

Let's hope that the constructive criticism is taken on board and these things are made more logical and progressive.
 
Only if that works. They said it worked with powerplay modules, but I sold my prismatic shields on my Anaconda and got an error from the outfitting trying to buy it back. I reported this to Frontier. They asked for details, so I sold (to rebuy) the Prismatics on my Clipper and got the same error. Never got them back. Lost four weeks of play and a lot of merit-farming as a result. Don't use this method without being aware you may just lose that module.

To the OP:

Engineers is not a lost cause. There are some - as I see it - simple things that could be changed to address the issues. A player-only-driven market in materials/data/mission commodities would certainly be a good start.

  • More transparency with upgrades i.e. "Your FSD max range is 12Ly and with this modification would be 14Ly. Proceed Y/N?" not meaningless (to us) numbers and percentages.
  • The ability to deliver cargo/data/materials to an engineer in advance of using blueprints, no longer making it mandatory to have cargo racks for most mods. You could then use and upgrade combat ships without cargo racks. Something not currently possible, since most level 3 or higher mods require commodities.
  • Change the randomness on modifications to tiered bands, not a 0 to 100% range, so that a level 5 mod should always be better than a level 4, even if it isn't the best. i.e. level 1 = 10% improvement +/-10%, level 2 = 30%+/-10%, to level 5 = 90%+/-10%.
  • The ability to apply same mod to multiple items with the same result. i.e. If I have enough materials for 3 blueprints, I should be able to apply the same upgrade to all three multi-cannons with the same outcome (if done together).

I agree the synthesis model is better than the roulette wheel. But I understand (from a developers perspective) why Frontier wanted the variation.

I think a player market in materials would also allow non-Horizons players to engage, giving them a reason to collect materials and benefit indirectly from it, getting credits not mods.

The problem is a good idea on paper just doesn't work sometimes when you get to playing it and the current Engineers implementation feels like a whiteboard concept. I called this during the first week of BETA on 2.1 (before they went fish) as I said then "random materials for random rewards" wasn't a game play concept that many people would enjoy.

Let's hope that the constructive criticism is taken on board and these things are made more logical and progressive.
Apparently I've already given you rep recently, but +1. Plenty of quality of life things on that list that would improve the state of play and be less frustrating.

One thing I would say I understand (in the current game) is why there is no Y/N button. Essentially you are giving the material for them to create the item - the results can only be generated after that. That's reasonably realistic as to why you wouldn't get them back either. I can see why people are asking for it though.
 
Well said Titus, many players agree with you as of late too, including myself. Elite’s greatest problem right now is that it does not respect the players time investments, in fact it negatively rewards time investment far too often. Power Play is a huge cause of this, but Lord the engineers in 2.1 are just as bad if not worse. That coupled with the increased interdiction rates and you suddenly get a game that is so very frustrating and less rewarding to play. And it is a game. This is not real life, it does not have to be as punishing or difficult as a Vegas slot machine. It does not need to be as tedious or frustrating to play as Diablo III vanilla was.

Simply removing the RNG from the engineer crafts and having fixed tiers of upgrades would pretty much fix the entire system honestly, or even having very narrow ranges on the randomization so that at least each new tier of upgrade could feel rewarding over the previous tier. Anything to make the player’s efforts feel worthwhile instead of wasted time.

I’m taking a break from Elite and playing other things while I wait to see if the devs adjust anything for the better. I hope they do, because right now I don’t even really feel like logging in, and that saddens me. [sad]
 
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This year alone I've:

* Had a family holiday in Devon
* Had a diving trip in Lanzarote
* Had a holiday in France
* Had a holiday in Finland
* About to take a holiday to Kenya for two weeks in July
* Take a two week holiday in Peru in August
* Another week dive trip in Rhodes in September

On top of that a 40 hour work week, with roughly an hour of commuting a day. Live with a partner who isn't a gamer. Own a dog, who needs walked. Scuba dive and enjoy photography. Spend time with friends and enjoy their company, try enjoy the sun (because it can be rare in the UK) by spending my time outside.

I also try spice things up by not playing Elite Dangerous all the time, because it isn’t the only video game in the world - but I wish it was the game I wanted to play all the time (but it isn’t).


Oh another thing I've since thought of - the lore and story line - again unless you have time to be part of is pretty much non existent in-game. I see bits and pieces of it around the internet - but in game I feel I have zero idea about what's going on.
Dang, how do you fit in a Forty hour work week with that many Vacations? Or do you go on Vacation for a living?

It's not very surprising to see your concern with 2.1. If you want all the new shiny toys, you're going to have to spend time getting them. It seems you have time to read all the forums, time to write a diatribe about the failings of ED, and time for some rather nice vacations. And that's your prerogative, but not ED's fault.

I don't think it's fair for people to say the game takes too much time, when it's the time constraints they have IRL. ED was, and is a long-term approach to building a game, so it only makes sense that some game mechanics take a long time. Especially for players with the above time constraints.

LLaP

S1E
 

palazo

Banned
That hurt, but another player leaves the game, the grind and RNG is making all players leave the game.
Even players who are long in the game.

Well I hope Frontier fix that it has to address these things you are commenting, and you can come back soon.

Fdev solves this RNG right now Focus on that.!!!!! Please.

We do not care version 2.2 until you put all that is missing in the 2.1, please frontier solves the waste of time.
 
Dang, how do you fit in a Forty hour work week with that many Vacations? Or do you go on Vacation for a living?

It's not very surprising to see your concern with 2.1. If you want all the new shiny toys, you're going to have to spend time getting them. It seems you have time to read all the forums, time to write a diatribe about the failings of ED, and time for some rather nice vacations. And that's your prerogative, but not ED's fault.

I don't think it's fair for people to say the game takes too much time, when it's the time constraints they have IRL. ED was, and is a long-term approach to building a game, so it only makes sense that some game mechanics take a long time. Especially for players with the above time constraints.

LLaP

S1E
I never said anything about having all the shiny things. I'm quite happy in my Python, sitting on Expert level and slowly working my way up to Elite at my own pace - maybe I'll get around to doing trading and exploration in my own time too - but that's part of my point.

Those things can be quite happily done in my own time with little or no effect on the BSG or any other player and have zero punishment for taking that linear path.

But everything else Frontier have added to this game does require a very steep time commitment, even to get to level 1. For example I can fly to one end of the bubble and pick up Soontil Relics, then fly to the other just to access an engineer. Then I can access the recipes that tell me I don't have some or all of the required materials - and even if I do those might be wasted on a terrible pull of the one armed bandit mechanic.

The gameplay is not accessible (nothing to do with difficulty) even to people who have been playing this game since before it's release. They are, in a form of making a game, saying that you're not welcome to what they are adding if you're not willing to dedicate your life to the game.

As to your first question: No, but a combination of well timed bank holidays, 4 weeks holiday at work and living very frugally.
 
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Apparently I've already given you rep recently, but +1. Plenty of quality of life things on that list that would improve the state of play and be less frustrating.

One thing I would say I understand (in the current game) is why there is no Y/N button. Essentially you are giving the material for them to create the item - the results can only be generated after that. That's reasonably realistic as to why you wouldn't get them back either. I can see why people are asking for it though.
I meant after the wheel has spun, have a clear explanation of what the modification would do. Currently it goes opt to proceed Y/N. Use mats. [Show results]. Apply Y/N.

My change would be [show results in plain English], so you can decide if the Apply is worth it.

You'd lose materials, but at least you wouldn't apply something that didn't give you the results you wanted.
 
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I meant after the wheel has spun, have a clear explanation of what the modification would do. You'd lose materials, but at least you wouldn't apply something that didn't give you the results you wanted.
Oh thanks for clearing that up - I misread it. Yes, this 100%
 
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