Phase 4 Feedback Thread

So, I finally have been able to jump in for Phase 4. And I'm just not impressed. The expansion lacks balance and consistency. For example I took my t10 to a surface CZ. I pulled two NPC's away from the base and proceeded to have fun. A single direct hit from a Size3 Beam should instantly vaporize an on foot target. But instead I watched multiple hits not even phase the shields of an on foot NPC and at point blank range. I eventually landed shots that killed them. But that's not the point. My point is that it just flat out doesn't make sense. There is no flipping way in H-E-Double Hockey sticks that an on-foot target should be able to withstand that.

I'm not saying we need to be able to go melt through fields of NPC's in our ships, but when we say "NPC SHILED ARE TOO STONG" well it's not a damn lie. I understand that NPC's are turned up to 11 for the alpha, but guys. This is ridiculous.

Here is a video of the last 10 minutes out of the hour I spend doing this.
Source: https://youtu.be/czNSrXWS8Mk
 
No interaction with panels in the settlements.
I tried few infiltration missions but they are all unplayable. because it's not possible to interact with any panels like disabling alarms, turrets and generators. I stand in front of these and press to interact but nothing happens. I tried several missions in several settlements but it's all the same.
I already did some mission like these in the previous alpha phases but there was no issue at all.
 
As posted this, along with quite a few other, bug has been well documented on the issue tracker, but with no feedback from FDev's and no fix tested in the alpha (theorists state it has been tested outside of the Alpha which makes no sense whatsoever) we have no way of knowing if it has actually been fixed.
Even issues marked as 'fixed' on the tracker are still causing issues in the Alpha which begs the question why were players allowed to participate in the Alpha at all? oh wait we paid for it.
Reports of incomplete issue tracker reports and, what appears to be, a very rushed release date certainly point to a cash motivation. Shame really as elite has always had the potential to be truely incredible.
As for the missions being unplayable I'm sure the die-hards will point to the possibility that Frontier needed players to play more pvp so didn't bother trying the fix actually in the alpha so that players just wouldn't bother doing them. That is something i really hope is not the case as it would show a total disregard to the player base.
 
No continuity/consistency in the gameplay:
Took a mission. Parked my ship and SRV just outside the outpost (not on the pad).
Mission failed because I've been killed.
I respawned in a nearby orbital oupost without ship.

ISSUE 1: There was no Shipyard service the outpost so I couldn't transfer my ship from the planet to the station nor I could transfer other ships
I decided to take an APEX. The system map showed my ship to be on the planet where I was killed.
ISSUE 2: Zooming to the planet surface the outpost did no shown the ship icon anymore. I zoomed out and the ship icon appeared again on the planet. Fortunately I remembered the name of the settlement where I was killed so I booked the shuttle to get there.
ISSUE 3: When I reached the outpost neither my ship nor my SRV was there.
 
As posted this, along with quite a few other, bug has been well documented on the issue tracker, but with no feedback from FDev's and no fix tested in the alpha (theorists state it has been tested outside of the Alpha which makes no sense whatsoever) we have no way of knowing if it has actually been fixed.
Even issues marked as 'fixed' on the tracker are still causing issues in the Alpha which begs the question why were players allowed to participate in the Alpha at all? oh wait we paid for it.
Reports of incomplete issue tracker reports and, what appears to be, a very rushed release date certainly point to a cash motivation. Shame really as elite has always had the potential to be truely incredible.
As for the missions being unplayable I'm sure the die-hards will point to the possibility that Frontier needed players to play more pvp so didn't bother trying the fix actually in the alpha so that players just wouldn't bother doing them. That is something i really hope is not the case as it would show a total disregard to the player base.
This is the fact...... I hope official release on 19th this month will go well... so much... ss (2021-05-04 at 04.43.42).png
 
Some additional feedback at the end of alpha

Things I love:

  • Ground combat zones are at their best when multiple CMDRs are present, in ships, vehicles and on foot. Getting bombarded from the air offers an intense experience I haven't had elsewhere.
  • Combat pacing seems to have improved since earlier phases.
  • Multiple ways to complete objectives is satisfying and also helps when one or more routes are bugged.
  • Perhaps unintended, but combat zones that never end are a lot of fun.
  • Planetary tech and lighting upgrades are already impressive. Looking forward to release.

Things that could be better:

  • In a game the size of ED, having a fixed number of flora types is really disappointing - particularly if this model is to be repeated with fauna in future. The design of the plants looks and feels believable, but procedurally generated plants that became more and more extreme further from inhabited space would provide a compelling reason for players to explore every planet in the galaxy. Odyssey really doesn't have enough for me to recommend it to explorers, so this is probably top of my list of improvements. Planetary tech (as much as I love it) isn't enough.
  • Ship weapon effects (particularly impacts, explosions) don't look as good when you're at human scale.
  • Minor combat gripe - giving you a view of the battlefield as you are being dropped in feels like a natural way to locate where the action is... until the deployment mechanism flips you 180 degrees and you completely lose your bearings!
  • NPC animations and models (when you're up close) stand out as much less realistic compared to the rest of the graphics.
 
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I'll be on the road tomorrow, so my testing for phase 4 has come to an end. Below is my feedback for this phase.

TL;DR: Was there actually anything new to test in this phase? We really need a good beta to finish the job before release.

My main gripe with this phase was basically mentioned above. None of the issues I had during previous phases have been solved:

  • VR is still dysfunctional:
    • The grey-framed cinema screen when on foot doesn't bother me, but I don't see the point of it. It makes no difference to sit-down VR, except by delivering a sub-par experience. Unless we are expected to get out of our chairs for that part of the experience (and I won't be), I can't see why the cinema screen is necessary.
    • Some UI displays are still misaligned.
    • Clouds seem to still move with headlook changes.
    • DSS interface still won't work, as the probe vector still is detached from the orbital body in focus making aiming near-impossible.
    • I haven't tested if the screen still stays black after death in on-foot conflict zones.
  • DSS filters are still not working right. This may be due to the new planetary tech not being fully implemented yet. Well, implement it! It will also need to be tested as it certainly won't be perfect upon first launch. At the moment, the new planet surfaces look great if a bit too much like simple 3D skins at times.
  • The DSS filters disappear when approaching a planet and leaving supercruise. We need a way to tag interesting locations, or a way for the filters to persist in normal space.
  • The bio sampler mini-game is just plain silly. Similar to the old Engineering casino interface and more recently the timer on seismic charges, it seem to be gamification just for the sake of it. It is actually fun enough to collect stuff and figure out how to get enough samples in an area without having to move around too much. I will accept this mini-game in its current form if reloading guns is also made to require a quick game of Candy Crush.
  • The genetic diversity mini-game is fine, but underdeveloped. Distance is one aspect that influence variety, but it is not the only thing. How about making the genetic diversity within a population more random, but with a dependency on distance, and give the pulse scan the ability to highlight specimens with different genetics? It could be a simple shade-of-blue variation, or a yellow-green-blue gradient. But it could give the user a puzzle to solve, with the small possibility to find the needed variability in a small location and a larger chance if searching a wider area.
  • The on-foot radar is pretty useless outside finding man-made elements. It needs a bit of love so it can show similar stuff to what we see with the SRV scanner.
  • The flatland game is still dysfunctional. The first half hour of play in flatland is riddled with CTDs. The game eventually stabilises, but that's a long time to wait and also an often frustrating time as the reload may end up being 100 kls back in Supercruise, or 50 km from a surface target that the crash happened 2 km away from.
  • The System Map could show landable planets better. It's nice to see which ones have atmosphere, but really that's just information (and information that can be hard to find!). What we really need to know is whether we can land there.
This feedback, except for the flatland feedback, is almost the same as I had for Phase 3. Only difference I see now is a litter of those eternally annoying and pointless Fleet Carriers, and that I now can try to find a spot to land in a large ship rather than a small one.

So maybe this was really just Phase 3b? When does Phase 4 start?

:D S
 
No continuity/consistency in the gameplay:
Took a mission. Parked my ship and SRV just outside the outpost (not on the pad).
Mission failed because I've been killed.
I respawned in a nearby orbital oupost without ship.
Had that happening to me too.
I wonder, how the game decides when to spawn you at your ship, and when at the next station/outpost.
Maybe this is Crime-stat related..

So many unanswered things.
 
I also echo the need for the outfitting menu to stay the same; or the "sell and replace" to default to OFF. I sold a few engineered components because of this. Ideally retain the old menu, the new one seems like a less intuitive and less user friendly version of the current. Every suggestion I would have is a current feature in Live.

Same for the Galaxy Map, it's an over-inflated version of the current one with the content buried. Other than bookmarks and the copy feature, it's a downgrade in my opinion.

It seems like crime is the most efficient way to get Engineering components by a long shot. It's ok if there is a most efficient route, but there shouldn't be such a difference before using the relog technique. I hesitate to call it an exploit because the grind is so astronomically high that I would not bother with it is it stays as is for live unless I could use the relog method. I suggest instead of scaling the number of parts, increase the need for the more rare parts. Of which it still makes no sense why Pioneer doesn't just sell upgrades outright.

NPCs gear evaporating is also immersion breaking. ID Lock hand wave the guns, maybe. But ammo and loot should be present. Infinite ammo stations are also an issue; if they exist then the real issue is the ammo reserves and lethality of the weapons.

The ability to explode ships aside, the scaling for shields and weapons is too extreme. No doubt its FDL syndrome all over again, but worse. I can only imagine that new players will be preyed upon in open unable to do anything for themselves. Solo exists, sure, but that's not fun if a selling point is the living galaxy. I'm not saying every one should have the same gear, but on-foot conflict zones will be one of the first combat paths open to new players. The could be solved by some sort of instance matchmaking based on combat ranks. A Mostly Harmless player shouldn't be matched in a conflict zone where an Elite player is present. Space or on Foot.
 
The organism scanning gameloop feels a bit disconnected.

Compare it to the planet salvaging gameloop. I get a bit of combat action, get bounties, get loot and find circuits and tech I can use to upgrade my kit.

What do I get for exploration? Just a scan, now with no mini-game and a some credits (less than a bounty in many cases). The discovery tag is nice but really thousands of commanders will be getting the same. There's not even any missions connected to them.

Maybe if the hand scanner also revealed natural graphene deposits? If I could extract chemicals from the plants? Maybe if success in the minigame yielded chemicals but you got the data anyway? Some incentive for succeeding instead of not much?
 
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Something that I've considered a bug for years, and is still present in Odyssey despite the new map UI: In the system map, if you're in VR the cursor speed (using directional button mappings) is about half the speed as compared to doing it in 2D. I don't see why VR players need to be penalized with a much slower cursor travel speed.
 
Did a mission with cmdr Jack Lyttle using physical multicrew
  • Physical multicrew worked well for us
  • I couldn't see a way to share the combat mission (it was a "kill everyone at this settlement type")
  • As we killed people, the mission kill counter didn't go up.
  • All Combat missions should be shareable IMHO
 
The ranks of Harmless-Elite opponents are not reflected in any aspect of the choice of missions. The window of missions in kiosks itself and quest givers is somewhat truncated and uninformative. What rank are the digital threat levels responsible for, why don't they warn me when my level is below the mission level?
 
  • This can apply to the space gameplay also, but can the relog material exploit be removed please and the material rewards from missions/salvage be substantially increased? I want to progress within the game doing the fun stuff, like fighting in CZs for the faction that is rewarding me materials. In the future, I would love to see special High Grade Emissions signals that are harder to find in the FSS, but you can't use collector limpets to salvage and have disembark in space to cut open panels. Perhaps other unfriendly salvager ships can arrive/already there, giving some danger to them.
  • Is it possible to have some kind of side leaning action in FPS, so you can use cover more effectively?
  • I'm a bit concerned about what happens in an Open Play scenario where an grade 1 player comes across a grade 5 player - are they going to be an unkillable god? Upgrades/engineering should perhaps just give an edge, but a skilled G1 player should be able to best a G5 player
 
Shield/Damage upgrade range between G1 and G5 is too big. Players with unlimited game time/exploiters will have an unfair advantage over players with limited time.

Material grind is tedious and will turn off players in longer perspective.
 
The hull colours are still 'off' on my custom paint job on my Python. I have the beautiful copper colour scheme in Horizons, but the imported ship into the Alpha Phase 4 has been a dreadful dull colour almost like MDF. The Argos Python, maybe?

Please restore the lovely copper colour I actually paid Arx points for.

Cheers
 
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