Some thoughts about immersion + ideas

First of all, I have to say: I love Elite Dangerous. Sound design is AAA (++), game depth is AAA, graphics are AAA, effects are AAA. Nothing to mention here. Therefore every following comment is meant to be constructive criticism. And you might guess where it's going. I'm going to talk about feelings. This is a personal point of view. But I try to be objective.

>>> Right to the beef here: <<<

Some people call this game boring.

OK... maybe it is. But why?

Option A: Grind

A friend of mine is an explorer player type. But he would never play the game. It's a lot to explore in the game. But it's too repetitive to him. Others might call it grind. What makes a game a grind?

Games have to put obstacles in the way of the player, which he loves to remove.

Rewards in ED are always the same. You gather something and bring it back to where you've got it - a table, a spreadsheet, a chart. Your reward is another type of text. A higher number, which shows how long you've been playing the game. Yay, I'm Master Combat, Entrepreneur Trade, Elite Explorer. Wow.
OK, that's how games worked in the 90's. I loved that back then. Who remembers X-Wing? That's a good example how you can achieve something without just text. X-Wing had military awards and decoration. You had this locker with the representation of your uniform and all these cool medals. This was awesome. I still love to remember this. Why was this so great? It was something I could relate to. And it was difficult to achieve. I cannot relate to text or numbers, in the same way.
OK, you can say ED has something similar. Yes, it's true! In a more complex system you have all those cool ship modules you can buy. You have the difficulty to achieve engineers. That's an achievement mechanic, which brings something relatable to the game. But I think it could be much more! There could be something more relatable to missions, than just clicking accept, fly to station B, fly to station A, increase in text and numbers. OK, that's the most boring scenario. But played most often to achieve ranks for factions. There could be more. Why can't there be bureaus, where you can talk to NPCs? When you are higher ranked, you gain access to cooler rooms with nicer people. It's the same mechanic, which is literally already there, just displayed differently. Do you remember Wing Commander Privateer? They produced emersion with all these diffent rooms. Something along those lines. I'm not talking about spacelegs! I'm talking about something personally relatable! Something which brings text and numbers to virtual reality. What makes GTA great? It's the story told (imho). It doesn't have the half of the game depth ED has. But it transports it better. In GTA you have characters you can relate to. You build a relations to them. Why can't ED just create a relation to the station factions, faction leaders, engineers or alien races, which it already has?

There's just a small link that's missing. It's a story/immersion, which should to be told by NPCs.

The same applies to exploration. OK, here it's not only text and numbers. But back in the bubble it is. I want to see where I've been. I want others to see, where I've been. I want the game react on my exploration. Hey you've found an earthlike world just around the corner. We are going to send you back there and find out more about this place. Explorations should not just end with cash. It should start chain reactions. What about a followup mission? Maybe a beacon to be installed to find out, what's going on there. You fly back and deploy it. Maybe with a small grind. Maybe you can bring scientists, who find out new exciting facts about that particular planet. And maybe colonization takes place afterwards. Maybe the scientist find out, the system will end in an super nova soon and this cool little ELW ends up to be worthless. All that could be something really hard to achieve - maybe as a community event. Exploration should be more special. Like a medal you can only achieve once. Not everybody can achieve this particular medal. Maybe you can just name the planet. Hey folks look, that's my planet. OK, the game has something similar. My name is under that icy body in the system HIP *randomNumber*. Hey wow, this piece of text will be there forever. That's a special mechanic. Everybody who comes to the system thinks: Nothing for me again, next system. .oO(Damn you) Well done "Kleckerklotz". There can be more about that. This sh**ty little planet could be the next outpost in real time 6 months after final exporation of the community.

Which brings me to community events. You do it for the increased amount of cash. Who cares about that Top Ten List? It's never ever displayed somewhere again. Or is it?

Well I could continue here. Mining, trade, combat. It all ends up in numbers and text. So sad! *orangeface*

Option B: Frustration Level

I love complex games, where I have to find my way through. ED never talks to the player. I remember the first time my ship was wrecked by combat and I wanted to dock at a station to repair it. But my sensors where dead. I could not select the station, to request a permission. I thought, that's the end. The game forced me to google the problem. For a casual player this would be a game killer. But this was frustrating even for me. This is only one point. Not to mention unintended wanted levels. Everybody knows the situation to forget to request docking permission, which results in fines and pure hectic rushes. Everybody knows the loop of shame. Everybody knows the situation of looking for *putRandomMaterialHere* search. Everybody knows the time spent to find out, which configuration is needed for what situation. I'm playing the game for about 430 hours now. Just today I found out for what purpose a field neutralizer is. Yeah baby, complexity.
What about consistency? This is an UX-Killer-Argument. Why is the Detailed Surface Scanner named differently in the upper menu? I guess it's Stellar Bodies Scanner or something. Player frustration is inevitable. Why are the limpets hidden in a separte menu outside outfitting? Even if that has a good reason, why can't the game remind me of restocking my limpets. It could be directly under the repair/refuel bars in the station service menue.

I could continue to mention frustrating scenarios. But it's about the big picture. Not every single fact.

Option C: Emptiness

The game isn't empty. It's a fact. But all the cool content is hidden behind option A and option B. FDev please do something about it. This game is so great. Despite the fact it's all just tables, charts, spreadsheets. It has a really good amount of mystery the player can reveal. This potential in a more inviting setting and the active player count could go up. Please learn from X-Wing, learn from the GTA series, learn from Farmville. I know the last one is a strange example. But it has done something right in terms of player interaction. There are so many good examples. Do something. Please.
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