NPC Wings and Crew - Single and Multiplayer Balance

Elite Dangerous has always been marketed and advertised as both a Single and Multiplayer game.

"...alone or with others..."

Since release- we've seen the introduction of a great many features that offer choice for everyone- with the exception of features that have no effect on Single player choice because they are intended to benefit only Multiplayer customers.

So Frontier... how bout them NPC Wings and Crew for Solo? When are you going to introduce this so that players who never bought this game with the intention of playing with others have similar features and options?

Would be a nice confirmation that this game isn't going in the direction of "multiplayer-only" by continuing to introduce features that have no benefit for Solo play.
 
I agree. Those features have been barely usable from the start.

It should be possible to have multiple NPCs for manning turrets and several fighters at once.
It should also be possible to hire NPC wingmates.
+ appropriate missions.

Then those features would actually make sense, rather than being a waste of development time.

We have seen wing mechanics done well in previous games like Freespace or Tie Fighter where you can instruct your mates to do stuff. That would add a lot of depth to the game, since pew-pew would not be just random shooting, but also thinking about squadron tactics beforehand and issuing orders to counter NPC's tactics during the battle.
 
Elite Dangerous has always been marketed and advertised as both a Single and Multiplayer game.

"...alone or with others..."

Since release- we've seen the introduction of a great many features that offer choice for everyone- with the exception of features that have no effect on Single player choice because they are intended to benefit only Multiplayer customers.

So Frontier... how bout them NPC Wings and Crew for Solo? When are you going to introduce this so that players who never bought this game with the intention of playing with others have similar features and options?

Would be a nice confirmation that this game isn't going in the direction of "multiplayer-only" by continuing to introduce features that have no benefit for Solo play.
They have mentioned NPC crew and an NPC comms system a few times. Whether they are working on it or not or intend to shortly is another question.
 
Well quite, I'd like more done with hired crew and some NPC wingmates but still.. After the LaveCon update I don't think we can reasonably say FD aren't working on things that will benefit solo players - sure MP players will benefit too but exploration particularly is something of solo pursuit and that looks to have a serious overhaul come Q4.
So yeah, lets have those things, but also lets keep some perspective. We've still got a good game that is getting better and it is getting better for all of us whatever mode we prefer.
 
They have mentioned NPC crew and an NPC comms system a few times. Whether they are working on it or not or intend to shortly is another question.
Yeah, I would have thought that in the spirit of "core game improvements" this would be a Beyond candidate... considering PowerPlay was introduced with Horizons, along with other multiplayer only features. It would only make sense to improve choices for players of all modes.

I agree. Those features have been barely usable from the start.

It should be possible to have multiple NPCs for manning turrets and several fighters at once.
It should also be possible to hire NPC wingmates.
+ appropriate missions.

Then those features would actually make sense, rather than being a waste of development time.

We have seen wing mechanics done well in previous games like Freespace or Tie Fighter where you can instruct your mates to do stuff. That would add a lot of depth to the game, since pew-pew would not be just random shooting, but also thinking about squadron tactics beforehand and issuing orders to counter NPC's tactics during the battle.
Agreed- and with SLF in implementation for ships that can equip Fighter bays- it's proven that it's doable.

Can't rep yet but +1
 
Yeah, I would have thought that in the spirit of "core game improvements" this would be a Beyond candidate... considering PowerPlay was introduced with Horizons, along with other multiplayer only features. It would only make sense to improve choices for players of all modes.
To be fair, I don't think it will come in with beyond, but I believe they will continue to update the core beyond beyond and sell DLC's as a means to continue to fund the game. Just my thoughts on the ongoing developments and how they may go forward.
 
I agree. Those features have been barely usable from the start.

It should be possible to have multiple NPCs for manning turrets and several fighters at once.
It should also be possible to hire NPC wingmates.
+ appropriate missions.

Then those features would actually make sense, rather than being a waste of development time.

We have seen wing mechanics done well in previous games like Freespace or Tie Fighter where you can instruct your mates to do stuff. That would add a lot of depth to the game, since pew-pew would not be just random shooting, but also thinking about squadron tactics beforehand and issuing orders to counter NPC's tactics during the battle.
I would also like to see cabin crew, engineers etc and yes a Turret controller too if you have turrets with a full on NPC comms system and some kind of management as well.
 
I would also like to see cabin crew, engineers etc and yes a Turret controller too if you have turrets with a full on NPC comms system and some kind of management as well.
I'd even go so far, to have a crewman, be it player or NPC only man a single turret.
Add a nice internal view and you have a way better experience for the players,
the exterior camera in MC i find horrible.

Different NPC skills are needed to complement this, maybe even specialization on specific weapon types (pulse laser/burst laser/etc.).
 
I'd even go so far, to have a crewman, be it player or NPC only man a single turret.
Add a nice internal view and you have a way better experience for the players,
the exterior camera in MC i find horrible.

Different NPC skills are needed to complement this, maybe even specialization on specific weapon types (pulse laser/burst laser/etc.).
I would have done the turret view completely differently. I would have had a different looking crew seat specifically for the turret that is on a gimbal which moves around in any angle with the HUD encompassing everything infront of you. Your ship become invisible apart from the turrets that you control, so you are effectively sitting in a large chair in space that spins around as you track ships to attack them with the weapons that are available.

Then instead of the extra pip, have a seperate set of pips for each weapon that you can use to take from one weapon to another and slightly overcharge a weapon but could create damage to the module at the same time. Give the gunner a bit of management within the weapons system. Obviously if there is only one turret, then you can't take anything away to give to something else. That to me would look great and have some nice options to play with.

Then the NPC crew when we get one would have a skill to get better at with the manipulation of the gunner pip system.
 
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I'd even go so far, to have a crewman, be it player or NPC only man a single turret.
Add a nice internal view and you have a way better experience for the players,
the exterior camera in MC i find horrible.

Different NPC skills are needed to complement this, maybe even specialization on specific weapon types (pulse laser/burst laser/etc.).
I would have done the turret view completely differently. I would have had a different looking crew seat specifically for the turret that is on a gimbal which moves around in any angle with the HUD encompassing everything infront of you. Your ship become invisible apart from the turrets that you control, so you are effectively sitting in a large chair in space that spins around as you track ships to attack them with the weapons that are available.

Then instead of the extra pip, have a seperate set of pips for each weapon that you can use to take from one weapon to another and slightly overcharge a weapon but could create damage to the module at the same time. Give the gunner a bit of management within the weapons system. Obviously if there is only one turret, then you can't take anything away to give to something else. That to me would look great and have some nice options to play with.

Then the NPC crew when we get one would have a skill to get better at with the manipulation of the gunner pip system.
The advantages of such a system (doesn't even have be specialized) is also that with the announced additional MC types, such as Exploration, Mining and so forth, NPC crew could level skills based on what they actually utilize or where they're positioned. If they're positioned in a turret- they'd level their skill in Combat with each kill. Mining, same thing with acquiring rocks. Exploration, scanning. Etc.
 
The advantages of such a system (doesn't even have be specialized) is also that with the announced additional MC types, such as Exploration, Mining and so forth, NPC crew could level skills based on what they actually utilize or where they're positioned. If they're positioned in a turret- they'd level their skill in Combat with each kill. Mining, same thing with acquiring rocks. Exploration, scanning. Etc.
Agreed. Give them a specialisation which they can get better at a nice little NPC management part there. Could be even deeper though with other options.

So many possibilities with NPC crew members.
 
NPC crew and NPC wingmen will add a new layer of gameplay that's for sure. I hope FDEV will add them in the future, not so far away i hope :) +1 OP
 
The advantages of such a system (doesn't even have be specialized) is also that with the announced additional MC types, such as Exploration, Mining and so forth, NPC crew could level skills based on what they actually utilize or where they're positioned. If they're positioned in a turret- they'd level their skill in Combat with each kill. Mining, same thing with acquiring rocks. Exploration, scanning. Etc.
I'd say that for simplicity's sake they should be bound to the same rankings as players - combat, trading and exploration. Everything in the game is one of those three pillars, and it would be quite fitting for NPC wingmen/crew/pilots to also follow the same system.

Combat would obviously involve all combat-related activities, ranging from manning turrets on our larger ships all the way through to piloting their own independent ship.

Trading would involve them knowing what and when to buy for when they help you on trade runs, they could even pick up missions based on their own rank and the destination to further supplement their income and provide you with extra materials. When functioning as crew in your own ship, they would both be capable of automatic cargo management (so you could allocate part of your ship's cargo capacity for them to sort out with their own missions and trade goods to either double up on missions and rare goods or to simply reduce workload on the player) as well as attempting contact with special wares traders or mission gives in space during the journey. When in their own ship, they would simply pick up relevant goods and missions for the projected next destination before flying off in convoy with you. Trading skill would also determine what goods they would bother with while mining, penniless traders would likely just pick up everything while elite traders would only ever pick up the best things for missions and based on local markets.

Exploration would involve a lot of the tech side of things and scanning stuff. Explorer crew members would be able to keep the ship running and masterfully manage local ship systems, while also helping scan everything than can get their hands on (both stellar objects and ships, including relevant cargo scans and wake scans). They could even add a scouting SLF, designed to be launched in supercruise (effectively an SLF that trades weapons and a PD for a tiny FSD), which explorer crew could take out to help scan systems even faster. Explorers in their own ships would be able to help the player scan systems in supercuise, as well as the explorer skill helping with prospecting while mining.

Obviously, most activities realistically involve a combination of the above different skills, which would make crew management a delicate balance. Training a complete A-team of crew would be a massive drain on player income but be convenient, while keeping specialists on call would be a pain to manage but would be better for the bank balance in the long run (assuming FD add in some kind of reduced pay for inactive crew members).Either way, they would need to have a serious review of wing and crew payment mechanics if NPC wings were to become a thing, as currently wing mechanics seem to magically multiply all sources of income in some way, while currently NPCs are a serious drain on overall income. Some kind of balance would have to be worked out, balancing income between pilots of a wide variety of different ranks as well as balancing rewards between those who own the ships in question and those that are having them provided to them.
 
I'd say that for simplicity's sake they should be bound to the same rankings as players - combat, trading and exploration. Everything in the game is one of those three pillars, and it would be quite fitting for NPC wingmen/crew/pilots to also follow the same system.

Combat would obviously involve all combat-related activities, ranging from manning turrets on our larger ships all the way through to piloting their own independent ship.

Trading would involve them knowing what and when to buy for when they help you on trade runs, they could even pick up missions based on their own rank and the destination to further supplement their income and provide you with extra materials. When functioning as crew in your own ship, they would both be capable of automatic cargo management (so you could allocate part of your ship's cargo capacity for them to sort out with their own missions and trade goods to either double up on missions and rare goods or to simply reduce workload on the player) as well as attempting contact with special wares traders or mission gives in space during the journey. When in their own ship, they would simply pick up relevant goods and missions for the projected next destination before flying off in convoy with you. Trading skill would also determine what goods they would bother with while mining, penniless traders would likely just pick up everything while elite traders would only ever pick up the best things for missions and based on local markets.

Exploration would involve a lot of the tech side of things and scanning stuff. Explorer crew members would be able to keep the ship running and masterfully manage local ship systems, while also helping scan everything than can get their hands on (both stellar objects and ships, including relevant cargo scans and wake scans). They could even add a scouting SLF, designed to be launched in supercruise (effectively an SLF that trades weapons and a PD for a tiny FSD), which explorer crew could take out to help scan systems even faster. Explorers in their own ships would be able to help the player scan systems in supercuise, as well as the explorer skill helping with prospecting while mining.

Obviously, most activities realistically involve a combination of the above different skills, which would make crew management a delicate balance. Training a complete A-team of crew would be a massive drain on player income but be convenient, while keeping specialists on call would be a pain to manage but would be better for the bank balance in the long run (assuming FD add in some kind of reduced pay for inactive crew members).Either way, they would need to have a serious review of wing and crew payment mechanics if NPC wings were to become a thing, as currently wing mechanics seem to magically multiply all sources of income in some way, while currently NPCs are a serious drain on overall income. Some kind of balance would have to be worked out, balancing income between pilots of a wide variety of different ranks as well as balancing rewards between those who own the ships in question and those that are having them provided to them.
Absolutely agree. I see it much like this- with cost management associated as well.
 
Agreed. Give them a specialisation which they can get better at a nice little NPC management part there. Could be even deeper though with other options.

So many possibilities with NPC crew members.
Depth in the game is always welcome. We've so little of it currently with the combat arena pew-pew direction Frontier has apparently decided to focus on.
 
Depth in the game is always welcome. We've so little of it currently with the combat arena pew-pew direction Frontier has apparently decided to focus on.
I think you are being overly harsh there. Trade just got a very nice update to its trade tools. And there have been some other great non-combat updates such as holo-me.

Combat itself is in a pretty sure place as PvE is concerned. I like a bit of combat at times, but res site and combat zone are utter rubbish.

Combat has all the tools, but no places to use those tools that are any good.

Trade is probably the strongest profession, great tools, an ever-changing commodities market depending on system states etc. That is now in a good place.

From what I can see with mining and exploration, they will equally be in a good place after the Q4 update.

Combat though will be very much the worst part of the game at that point.
 
Elite Dangerous has always been marketed and advertised as both a Single and Multiplayer game.

"...alone or with others..."

Since release- we've seen the introduction of a great many features that offer choice for everyone- with the exception of features that have no effect on Single player choice because they are intended to benefit only Multiplayer customers.

So Frontier... how bout them NPC Wings and Crew for Solo? When are you going to introduce this so that players who never bought this game with the intention of playing with others have similar features and options?

Would be a nice confirmation that this game isn't going in the direction of "multiplayer-only" by continuing to introduce features that have no benefit for Solo play.
agreed... sadly at some point between DDF and release something changed imo and it seems clear to me now that MP content is where the developers interests lie in the game. just look at the key updates.

wings, cqc, crew, (soon) powerplay, executive control ships.


I hope to be pleasantly proven wrong but its been what over 3 years now since wings launched and nothing has changed regarding DDF wingmates so i would not hold your breath.
 
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