Elite Dangerous: Odyssey Mission Q&A - Recap

Likewise, I can say that I am unhappy with the current state of the game, hence am currently not playing and am not planning to buy Odyssey
Never mind, the 4 copies of Odyssey I'll end up buying will fill the hole left by your not buying...

It is quite curious that one who has opted not to play can be quite so concerned about those who continue to play - who would I call 'casual' in this case? (although with only 4,000 hours or so in-game I suppose i could be called casual...)

Your opinion is, of course, absolutely valid.
 
Can we play alpha if we buy it after March 29th? How long will the alpha last?

It will depend when the Deluxe (Alpha version) of the game get's withdrawn. As long as it's for sale it will be accessible I'm sure, though of course you'll get less value from it, every day you miss of the Alpha and for that reason I wouldn't be surprised if it did get withdrawn when Alpha releases.

Deluxe includes a copy of the soundtrack too but nobody on here - maybe even FD themselves at this point - can tell you how long Alpha will last.
 
To clear things up, I'm not a bitter console player. I was just poking a little fun at the possible state of the release version.
 
Greetings Commanders!

Last week was big for Elite Dangerous: Odyssey news! Not only did we release a brand new look at Odyssey pre-alpha gameplay, we also revealed that the alpha will begin on March 29 on PC (more details on this soon). The gameplay reveal was followed by a live interview with developer Gareth Hughes, answering questions around the mission itself, and giving more interesting insights into Odyssey! You can watch the entire interview over on YouTube, but if you prefer to read, we've got a refined version of Gareth's answers after the mission playthrough video below.


Let's get straight into the questions:

Q: So this is pre-alpha footage we're seeing in this video?
That's right! Things have changed rapidly, we're in that end phase of development where we are really balancing and polishing everything. We're seeing pretty dramatic day-to-day improvement, the quality level is going up and up and up!

Q: This video showed off one particular mission, at one particular site, on one particular planet - and this is scaled galaxy wide?
That's it! We're looking at 27 different settlement types, spanning six different themes: agricultural, industrial, extraction, tourism, research, military. There's a really wide variety of settlements, each of the themes has unique building types that can facilitate unique mission types. We also have more generic missions that work across all of the themes. There's lots of variation depending on the planet, the type of faction that currently has ownership of the settlement (via BGS) and more.

Q: Could you talk about what kind of NPCs we might encounter at a settlement?
Generally we split the NPCs into two distinct types in terms of behaviour. There's the guards that you were fighting against, and the civilians. Obviously they are different in terms of loadout and how they act in the settlement but I think the more fundamental thing that drives your interaction with settlement NPCs is the background simulation and your relationship with the faction. If you have a friendly relationship with that faction then you're free to pretty much go anywhere and explore, maybe you'll find some mission givers there that you can interact with. However, if you have a bad relationship with that faction, that settlement may just end up in a shoot on sight situation.

If you go in shooting, that's going to upset even the most friendly NPCs! As soon as you're killing NPCs without reason, you're given a bounty straight away, and you're pretty much fair game! The settlement doesn't have a hive mind in terms of what you're doing. If you're detected doing something that's going to elicit a hostile response from the AI, before the whole settlement is aware of that, the message has to be radioed out - you're given a window of opportunity to interject before they can send that message out.

Q: Sometimes the NPCs will ask you to stop for a scan, can you talk about this?
That's right, they have the same scanning device as you do, and it can pick up on your existing criminality. You might have a cordial relationship with the faction, but if you do something suspicious, they'll scan you with the Profile Analyser, if they detect an in-jurisdiction crime on you, then they will react immediately. You also see in the video, that some buildings have gating. There are a few ways to get through that day, either via overloading the mechanism, or you'll also notice a number '3' above the panel - this is the authorisation level required. The way you get this authorisation is by scanning an NPC that already has it - you're effectively stealing their identity. The NPCs don't like you doing this, and if you get scanned whilst in possession of a cloned authorisation, they will react.

There's lots of ways you can approach a settlement, it's not the case that you have to go in guns blazing. It's also not the case that you can't achieve mission objectives that are nefarious by stealthing your way in and avoiding criminality that's going to get you in trouble straight away.

Q: If you've been scanned once, will NPCs just leave you alone?
NPCs can be interested by suspicious stimuli. So for instance if they saw the cut panel on the floor, they'd know something didn't seem right, and if they see you near the panel - they'll investigate you. If you have just been scanned, another NPC won't just come and scan you again instantly, but if you're moving through and setting off all these stimuli, they're going to respond!

Q: Are there things that a player can do to avoid settlement defences like turrets and Goliaths?
Absolutely, what you did in the mission playthrough was like the ultimate 'pull the plug' - taking the regulator will shut down pretty much everything like turrets, that does mean all the NPCs will react to that though. If you're doing a more stealthy approach, the command building often has multiple consoles that you can access to turn off various security systems. If you're patient, you can scan the AI, understand the patrol routes, apply some mods to your suit to make you more stealthy, or use a silenced weapon, you can get to that building and disable those features to make your life easier if you don't want a firefight. If you're detected in an area that you don't belong, they'll warn and fine you at first, but if you're persistent things will get more aggressive!

We've got some classic missions like assassinations, and new missions like sabotage and heists. Some of those may give a bonus payment if you're not discovered or don't kill anybody. We're trying to give the missions a lot more flavour and storytelling in terms of the context around them.

Q: Can you talk about what happens if you fail a mission, or die?
If you die, you fail the mission you're currently doing. When you die, you get a choice of two things. If you're on foot and don't have a ship (which is possible in Odyssey), you'll respawn at the nearest port or outpost. If you do have a ship, you'll get a choice to respawn at the port, or in your ship. If your ship is on the planet surface, you'll respawn in your ship on orbit, if it's docked at a port already, you'll respawn in your ship at the port. Anything that's in your backpack inventory (different from permanent storage) is lost when you die.

Q: The NPCs in the video weren't so tough compared to others, can you talk about NPC difficulty?
This relates to the classic time to kill question. The answer is it's incredibly variable, as it's all gear driven. If I have the worst gear against AI or players with the best gear, they're going to have a significant advantage over me. They're going to feel spongey to me, and I'll feel easy to kill for them. If we're on a level, then it's a lot of different. In terms of AI, there's also behavioural elements to combat that scale up when you fight higher tier AI, including things like accuracy, dodging etc. If you're doing difficult missions, you're going to get good rewards. Once you scan players or AI, you can tell exactly how powerful they are.

Q: Can you give us some more examples of mission types?
An interesting one is kind of the inverse of what you did in the video! That settlement may be in an offline state, and you may be tasked to go down, get into the reactor building, and put that settlement back online. Some of the buildings might be on fire, so once it's online, you have to go building by building, de-pressurise, put fires out and so on. There may be scavengers or other NPCs there to make your job harder.

Q: Can you talk a bit more about the authorisation levels in settlements?
Yes, this is basically one of the ways we gate off areas from access. There is a consumable device in the game that's quite expensive which overrides something that usually needs a certain authorisation level. NPCs don't like seeing them, of course, but it's another way the player can move through the settlements. It's about choice, if I'm on a relatively low paying mission, do I want to use my expensive device, or do I want to swap into my Utility Suit and use my cutter and other tools?

Q: Can you talk about the different suits in Odyssey?
Yes, as you see in the video, players can take up different roles depending on the suit they use. The tactical suit for example, can carry two different weapons, which is unique to that suit, so you need to consider the best suit for the mission you're about to engage in.

Q: There are different types of weapons in Odyssey, could you tell us why a player might use them?
Way back when we started prototyping combat, it became quite clear to us early on that the ship combat has some really interesting concepts behind it, so we basically stole them! The premise is that kinetic weapons are good against armour, lasers are good against shields, and plasma re decent against both but not quite as good as the other two. When it comes to choosing a loadout, you'll want to choose your weapons to be the most efficient, so you may want lasers to take out shields and kinetic to finish them off. If you're working as a team, you can specialise, one player can be ant-shield, and another can finish them off via kinetic.

Q: For the getaway, we landed to the side of the settlement for a quick escape, there's been a small change in this, hasn't there?
Yes, you can now automatically land on planet surfaces. It's hard to encapsulate all the changes in a few minutes of video. When players get hold of the alpha, that's when they'll really understand what we've done.

Q: Can you talk about suit management?
There are different things that can pull on the suits' power. There's the life support machine, things like the shield (which is power hungry when turned on), and some of the tools can use your suit power. Survival actually starts to become something you need to become considerate of in certain situations. If you're at a settlement, there are areas where you can recharge your suit, but if you're out exploring, there's certainly a risk factor involved. Environmental factors can also have an effect on how hard your suit has to work to keep you alive. If you're in really extreme temperatures, you'll be taking physical damage. You can disembark somewhere on the planet with safe temperatures, but you can quite quickly end up somewhere where the temperature is much hotter, and end up in danger.

Q: Finally, how important is the upcoming alpha?
From my perspective, I'm interested in player feedback on the economy - how much is a bounty worth for example. When players start playing it, they'll quickly establish where we need to tweak things. There's also things like weapon balance that we'll be looking at, and we'll have time to take that on board and react.


Thank you again to Gareth for joining us on his birthday! With the alpha fast approaching on March 29, we'll have even more information on Elite Dangerous: Odyssey in the coming weeks. Until then, fly safe Commanders.


o7
I really liked the video. It looked like it was a lot of work to put together, but that kind of work that is actually fun!
I'm not too keen on the whole shooting part myself so I was looking at other things and... Hm. I think it was too colourful. And, though I really hope that's the Alpha, movement looked very arcade.

I was hoping for more sluggish movements, and realistic animations for everything, like, in a sim.
If Elite was a fantasy game, it would be a lot more like Kingdom Come than Skyrim, and that's what I expect to see when I leave my ship in a space sim game. Not the horses and the melee of course, but simulated body weight and movement. I sincerely hope it will be like that on release.
 
I really liked the video. It looked like it was a lot of work to put together, but that kind of work that is actually fun!
I'm not too keen on the whole shooting part myself so I was looking at other things and... Hm. I think it was too colourful. And, though I really hope that's the Alpha, movement looked very arcade.

I was hoping for more sluggish movements, and realistic animations for everything, like, in a sim.
If Elite was a fantasy game, it would be a lot more like Kingdom Come than Skyrim, and that's what I expect to see when I leave my ship in a space sim game. Not the horses and the melee of course, but simulated body weight and movement. I sincerely hope it will be like that on release.
They would have to make different animations for all the different types of gravity out there. I can't really see that as happening, I would imagine that could take ages to work out, and probably not worth all the effort. It needs fun and engaging, not realistic and possibly boring.
 
Did anyone else notice that the Pilot said he was coming in from the west but the players were running South East?

Maybe the 'voice over' was the 2nd or 3rd take but the video was the 1st?
Pug
 
Hmm. No, I think it consistent in terms of direction, they ran out the 270 degree direction, the ship came in 60-90 degrees. As far as I can see?
 
Two questions:
1. Will physical multicrew allow us to physically go into SLFs or is it going to still be just telepresence?
2. Will outposts/starports on surface get any upgrades beside social hub (like insides of some other buildings and interactions with some assets on foot)?
 
Two questions:
1. Will physical multicrew allow us to physically go into SLFs or is it going to still be just telepresence?
2. Will outposts/starports on surface get any upgrades beside social hub (like insides of some other buildings and interactions with some assets on foot)?
Have a listen to today's livestream, it is a bit long but contains quite a lot of answers... I wish I'd made notes..
 
lol 60 to 90 to What???

Datum young man!
Pug
I must be bored :D

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Love the look of these missions, perhaps my biggest concern is that surface missions may only happen at these (small-ish) installations, and there's a limited number of mission templates, then gameplay could get samey very quickly. Ideally they'd add "wrinkles" that'll spice missions up. E.g. a security ship shows up on a random patrol and starts scanning which changes the nature of your mission. Or some installations may not be approached from the air so you need to escape (steal?) an SRV to get away and back to your ship etc.

The mission gameplay in ED generally is a bit static and templatey... Go here, do X, then go there and do Y, mission over. Few surprises or natural feeling gameplay.

TBH, I think if on-foot combat zones are a thing, they might be far more entertaining. Attack a settlement that has a lot of challenging NPCs, sounds great. Or for a non-lethal option - act as medevac for combat zones. Flying in, picking up wounded and getting them outta there, under fire.
 
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