Specialised ships — Suggestion

It’s always bothered me a little bit that some ships are clearly intended for a very specific purpose, and yet they’re not actually particularly specialised for that purpose.

The problem seems to be that the main tool for customising a ship is through the optional internal modules. But these are completely generic (with the single exception of military slots, but even they’re quite generic within that context), which means that adding/removing slots to a ship doesn’t really make it “specialised” in any meaningful way.

On the flip side, you don’t want to *force* players to use a ship in a certain way, as personal choice and freedom is an important driving force behind E:D.

So, suggestion:
  • On specialised ships, add an extra *core* internal module slot (of a relatively large class) that can only be used for a specific module.
  • To balance out the change, remove (or reduce) one of the optional module slots. BUT, the removed slot should be a couple of classes smaller than the one you added.
  • The specialised ships then come in two configurations, that can be changed over at any outfitting (and there could be a cost associated with the change). So configuration “A” is the standard set of module slots that we have now. And configuration “B” is the one that takes advantage of the ship specialisation, with an extra core slot and a removed/reduced (small) optional slot.
  • For general purpose ships, leave the modules exactly as they are. Their core internal modules remain as standard, and don’t have any special configuration option.
Intended consequences:
  • Specialised ships can punch above their weight, but ONLY in their specialised field. So for example, maybe a medium-sized exploration ship might be able to fit a class 7 FSD, even though its biggest optional module slot is a class 5. i.e.: On this medium-sized explorer vessel, you wouldn’t be allowed to fit class 7 shields, class 7 passenger cabins, class 7 refinery, or anything else in that new larger-than-usual slot.
  • General-purpose ships can be made more meaningfully general purpose. So maybe the Python / Anaconda / Cobra etc. can be given minor bumps to their optional internals. This means that not only will they have more flexibility than specialised ships in their specialised “B” configuration, but they’d also have a slight edge when compared to specialised ships in their non-specialised “A” configuration.
  • In contrast to the above point, specialised ships would feel *slightly* under-powered if used for some other purpose. You certainly wouldn’t be prevented from using, say, an Orca as a military ship. But you’d know that a general purpose ship would get a slight bonus to overall optional utility slots that you’re missing out on, while you’ve got that core internal passenger cabin sitting idle and unused.
  • It wouldn’t be a headache to introduce for existing ships with existing modules in all of the current optional-internal slots, as these existing ships would stay in the non-specialised “A” configuration until the player actively changed them (which might involve dropping some modules first).
Some example specialisations that would make a lot of sense given the in-game ship descriptions and designs:
  • Explorer — Oversized FSD slot. (Asp Explorer, Diamondback Explorer)
  • Scout — Oversized fuel scoop. (Asp Scout, Diamondback Scout)
  • Trader — Oversized cargo rack. (Hauler, Type-6, Type-7, Type-9)
  • Transport — Oversized luxury passenger cabin. (Dolphin, Orca, Beluga, Imperial Courier?)
  • Pirate — High-class FSD Interdictor. (Sidewinder, Eagle, Viper?)
  • Military — High-class hull reinforcement package. (Vulture, Keelback?, Fer-de-lance, FAS, Chieftain, Type-10 Defender)
  • Mining — Oversized refinery. (Some future mining ship…?)
I picked the example specialised modules to be things that non-specialists don’t care about so much (which is why shields aren’t in the list, as almost everyone cares about shields). An exception might be the FSD, but I’d argue that it’s only really explorers that *obsess* over maximising their jump range. If you’re staying in the bubble, then most stations can be got to fairly easily regardless.
 
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So, suggestion:
  • On specialised ships, add an extra *core* internal module slot (of a relatively large class) that can only be used for a specific module.
You're wasting your time because it won't work. The reason we know it won't work is because they already did add an extra slot for military ships and restricted it to certain military type equipment, and now we get all these threads demanding to know why they can't put X into the military slot or just use it for general cargo. I don't expect to see any more specialised slots because all it does is cause arguments.
 
You're wasting your time because it won't work. The reason we know it won't work is because they already did add an extra slot for military ships and restricted it to certain military type equipment, and now we get all these threads demanding to know why they can't put X into the military slot or just use it for general cargo. I don't expect to see any more specialised slots because all it does is cause arguments.
I see your point, but I don’t think military slots are the same as what I’m proposing here. First of all, military slots are still quite generic, you can install quite a few different types of module in there. So it doesn’t really make your ship a specialist in anything.

And secondly, military slots are only for combat. So I can totally see why people complain about not being able to use them for other types of module — If you’re an explorer, miner, trader, basically into anything other than shooting ships, you’re left out in the cold. No extra bonus slots for you. What I’m suggesting here covers a much broader range of play styles, and fits in with the implied (but not realised) specialisations that are already present in a lot of the existing ships.
 
What is the motivation for creating specialized ships?

I personally like the fact that you can use any ship for any purpose.
Those two things aren’t mutually exclusive though. With the above suggestion, you’d still be able to go exploring in a Python, or into a combat zone with an Asp.

The point is that there’s no way to trade generalisation for speciality, even in ships that are ostensibly designed for a specific purpose. Why not have the option to sacrifice a general purpose module for increased specialisation in particular ships (i.e.: those ships that are already supposed to be designed for that specific purpose)? It would give you an extra layer of gameplay on top of what we already have, rather than taking anything away.

As a concrete example, if you want to go exploring but also want to keep some extra cargo space (for salvage) and weapons/shields (for Thargoid attacks), then a general purpose ship with a maxed-out FSD is still something you can choose. But if you want to explore the galaxy at extreme levels, it would be nice to be able to sacrifice some shields and cargo space *in exchange* for an over-powered FSD (aside from the small boost gained by the weight reduction).

I just really like the idea of having some ships that can be turned into super-focussed beasts in exchange for some meaningful sacrifices. It wouldn’t prevent people from also using those ships for other purposes, it would just give us more options.
 
I see your point, but I don’t think military slots are the same as what I’m proposing here. First of all, military slots are still quite generic, you can install quite a few different types of module in there. So it doesn’t really make your ship a specialist in anything.
No, you missed my point entirely. Military slots weren't something that combat ships had to start with, or weren't general purpose slots converted to military use, they were added, yes specifically added on top of the original slot assignment, to certain ships to make them more combat oriented, to give them a better combat capability, this was entirely and only their purpose, to add extra combat capability, so no they were never "quite generic" they are a specific addition to ships to be used for combat purposes. Only the other day I saw someone asking why they couldn't be used for SLF. Any purpose specific slot will immediately become subject to demands to being opened up to general use, that's the only point I am making.
 
No, you missed my point entirely. Military slots weren't something that combat ships had to start with, or weren't general purpose slots converted to military use, they were added, yes specifically added on top of the original slot assignment, to certain ships to make them more combat oriented, to give them a better combat capability, this was entirely and only their purpose, to add extra combat capability, so no they were never "quite generic" they are a specific addition to ships to be used for combat purposes. Only the other day I saw someone asking why they couldn't be used for SLF. Any purpose specific slot will immediately become subject to demands to being opened up to general use, that's the only point I am making.
I agree with your description of how military slots work, but in my view that makes them fairly generic. First, they can be equipped with more than one type of module. Contrast that with the above suggestion, where any one “specialist” ship could only fit one specific item into their specialist slot (e.g.: fuel scoop for Scout, FSD Interdictor for Pirate).

Secondly, I don’t agree that “combat” is a specialisation at all. A trader trying to defend against piracy might engage in “combat”. A pirate attacking a trader will be doing “combat”. A bounty hunter will need to “combat” pirates, and a military vessel in a combat zone will also do plenty of “combat”. Yet the specific needs of the player (and their ship) is very different in all of these examples. So no, I don’t think that military slots for “combat” are the same thing as my suggestion, not at all.

And again, they completely ignore any specialisation that isn’t combat.

To be clear, I’m not arguing that military slots are a bad thing. Just that they’re not relevant when trying to figure out if my suggestion would work well or not.
 
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