Rebalancing older content. Enabling new players to "catch up" to the veterans.

The credit grind, the Engineering grind, the Guardian grind, and pretty much every activity in this game need to be rebalanced irrespective of the new players (I mean, they would benefit too, since it's garbage for everyone).
 
No. As far as Odyssey content is concerned, we all start at the same place - no weapons or suits engineered, no new engineers unlocked. There is very little advantage for existing players over new players
Pretty damn sure you are going to be able to buy grade 5 suits.
 
The OP's idea isn't a good one, it sounds a lot like the millennial generations own flawed logic that "I want all the stuff other people spend a lifetime working for but I don't want to work for it myself just give it to me" kind of logic. It would ruin the game IMO and anger a lot of players like myself who had to spend days/months/years playing and earning it all 'the hard way'.
 
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For a new player starting fresh today, they are at a distinct disadvantage to a player who has poured countless hours in to Engineering, Credit gathering, unlocking the myriad engineers and advanced tech through brokers.
I'd argue that material gathering really is a progression. The primary way of upgrading your ship is through it. Since, as you say, there is no "path" or "story" you're writing your own (Blaze your own trail).
You're hitting nails on the head here that I'm not entirely sure you know you're hitting.

OP, you are correct. Elite has problems. New players will see these problems and either choose to act like the rest of us and pour their countless hours into the engineering and credit grinds, or they will bounce. They will leave. They'll see the YouTube videos offering them knowledge on how to most efficiently gather engineering mats and realize that even with the relogging "exploits" it will still take them hours to get what they need to upgrade their ship (and yes, engineering upgrades are most definitely a form of progression).

Your suggestion of what problem you'll solve, however, is somewhat vague. You want to streamline content to get other players "up to speed" (with what? I dunno, there's no "endgame") because other MMOs do that when they release expansions (and yes, Elite is an MMO. Not a classic MMORPG, but something vaguely close to it. It is an MMO inside a galaxy sim). Why do Blizzard and Square Enix add these catch-up features? Because they want people to play their game. The problem you are ultimately trying to solve with these suggestions and in the context in which you've framed your post is player retention.

Anecdote time. I started playing Elite this year, along with several of my friends. We are all in our early-mid 20's and have played a lot of video games. Like, a LOT of video games. We have spent thousands of hours playing League of Legends together, hundreds playing PUBG, Fortnite, Halo and Battlefield. One of us has over 2000 hours in Destiny 2 and maintains 4 max level WoW characters in retail. Another is in a top Horde guild in WoW Classic. Several of them joined me in playing almost 1000 hours of Monster Hunter World. We've all spent our own time playing hundreds of hours in games like Skyrim, Fallout, and Red Dead Redemption. Several of us are big Mass Effect fans and have played all 4 games in the series. One friend and I have joked about adopting a child and naming it "KOTOR 3". My point is, we play games. Including space games.

Of the 8 of us who started playing Elite this year, the number still playing after just 2 months is... 3. The WoW classic guy, our friend who bought Elite on launch because his dad said it was cool and has played it on and off since then, and me. All 5 of those who dropped off have cited the engineering grind as the main issue, and the lack of meaningful activities outside of ship progression as the second biggest issue.

If Frontier wants Elite to be successful, retain players, and make money off them to please their shareholders, they need to do 2 things:
  1. Reduce the repetitive, mind-numbing task of collecting engineering materials. Yes, I'm aware people can "take their time and play the game", but AT MINIMUM there needs to be a system allowing people to easily find the high grade materials they're looking for (WITHOUT third-party tools), have fun collecting them, and do so within a reasonable time frame. (Edit: as per OP's original point, this should apply to unlocking engineers and grades of mats as well. I approve of the idea of reducing down to 3 grades per material family instead of 5)
  2. Create and encourage meaningful content aside from ship progression. This could be anything. This could be base building, single-player campaign missions, reworked Powerplay or CQC, ANYTHING. There needs to be an "endgame" that players with fully kitted out Anacondas can actually use their Anacondas for, without having to join a roleplay squadron and play pretend.
This game is fantastic at its core. It is the only space arcade game in a galaxy sim I know of that has any semblance of depth to its systems and makes it feel like I'm flying a spaceship. I like it a LOT more than No Man's Sky. I've never played Star Citizen but there's a reason people call it Scam Citizen. However, the current engineering progression system absolutely neuters Elite. It scares people away. And even if you power through it - then what? Honestly, even after playing almost 300 hours of the game in such a short amount of time, I don't think I would recommend it to anyone I know.

Sorry for the rant. But you're onto something, and the angry responses to your suggestions show us why the game is being held back - too many people don't want it to change. Elite has so much potential to be one of the best games of all time, but it just hasn't had the funding and effort put into it. And the devs don't play the game.

P.S. The last thing I did in game was start on delivering 50 units of Fujin Tea to Broo Tarquin so I could upgrade my beam lasers. Fujin is 3 jumps away and they apparently only sell 6 units at a time. It sucks.
 
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For a new player starting fresh today, they are at a distinct disadvantage to a player who has poured countless hours in to Engineering, Credit gathering, unlocking the myriad engineers and advanced tech through brokers.

You're joking, right?

From the beta launch, it took me 7 months of (very) casual play to get from my Sidewinder into a Type 6. There were no Engineers. I then spent another six months messing about in a Vulture and then a Python. After that, people started finding mission stacking exploits and I participated in one of the early ones at 17 Draconis, which got me into an Anaconda and my first half billion. I then subjected myself to a couple of months of casual grind in order to get the rank for a Corvette - I think Horizons dropped around that time. After that the proper "wing massacre stacking" exploits were discovered and in one Christmas holiday I jumped from 0.5 billion to 10 billion.

Compare and contrast to 2018, where I skipped four Trader ranks in a single transaction the very next day after core mining was first introduced. A two hour mining trip in a D-rated Anaconda with no engineering effectively enabled me to buy another 1.5 D-rated Anacondas.

New players don't even know they're born. The game has never been dumber. Sure, I'm all in favour of reworking literally everything so that it's not a tedious grind. But talking about equity for new players as if they're disadvantaged is completely ludicrous.
 
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I started playing shortly after launch. Honestly the most fun I had was in the first couple of years, when ship progression through credits was the only goal and credit income was SLOW. Making my way from my sidey, to my hauler, to my cobra, to my T7 and slowly earning enough credits for my next ship upgrades and getting to know the galaxy, was the best time I had in Elite.

If I'd never played since launch, logged in for the first time this year, and was presented with an Anaconda within half a week, I would've probably put the game down shortly after.
 
Definitely no on all. These ideas will only lessen the game and make everything more trivial and less fun.
 
You're hitting nails on the head here that I'm not entirely sure you know you're hitting.

OP, you are correct. Elite has problems. New players will see these problems and either choose to act like the rest of us and pour their countless hours into the engineering and credit grinds, or they will bounce. They will leave. They'll see the YouTube videos offering them knowledge on how to most efficiently gather engineering mats and realize that even with the relogging "exploits" it will still take them hours to get what they need to upgrade their ship (and yes, engineering upgrades are most definitely a form of progression).

Your suggestion of what problem you'll solve, however, is somewhat vague. You want to streamline content to get other players "up to speed" (with what? I dunno, there's no "endgame") because other MMOs do that when they release expansions (and yes, Elite is an MMO. Not a classic MMORPG, but something vaguely close to it. It is an MMO inside a galaxy sim). Why do Blizzard and Square Enix add these catch-up features? Because they want people to play their game. The problem you are ultimately trying to solve with these suggestions and in the context in which you've framed your post is player retention.

Anecdote time. I started playing Elite this year, along with several of my friends. We are all in our early-mid 20's and have played a lot of video games. Like, a LOT of video games. We have spent thousands of hours playing League of Legends together, hundreds playing PUBG, Fortnite, Halo and Battlefield. One of us has over 2000 hours in Destiny 2 and maintains 4 max level WoW characters in retail. Another is in a top Horde guild in WoW Classic. Several of them joined me in playing almost 1000 hours of Monster Hunter World. We've all spent our own time playing hundreds of hours in games like Skyrim, Fallout, and Red Dead Redemption. Several of us are big Mass Effect fans and have played all 4 games in the series. One friend and I have joked about adopting a child and naming it "KOTOR 3". My point is, we play games. Including space games.

Of the 8 of us who started playing Elite this year, the number still playing after just 2 months is... 3. The WoW classic guy, our friend who bought Elite on launch because his dad said it was cool and has played it on and off since then, and me. All 5 of those who dropped off have cited the engineering grind as the main issue, and the lack of meaningful activities outside of ship progression as the second biggest issue.

If Frontier wants Elite to be successful, retain players, and make money off them to please their shareholders, they need to do 2 things:
  1. Reduce the repetitive, mind-numbing task of collecting engineering materials. Yes, I'm aware people can "take their time and play the game", but AT MINIMUM there needs to be a system allowing people to easily find the high grade materials they're looking for (WITHOUT third-party tools), have fun collecting them, and do so within a reasonable time frame.
  2. Create and encourage meaningful content aside from ship progression. This could be anything. This could be base building, single-player campaign missions, reworked Powerplay or CQC, ANYTHING. There needs to be an "endgame" that players with fully kitted out Anacondas can actually use their Anacondas for, without having to join a roleplay squadron and play pretend.
This game is fantastic at its core. It is the only space arcade game in a galaxy sim I know of that has any semblance of depth to its systems and makes it feel like I'm flying a spaceship. I like it a LOT more than No Man's Sky. I've never played Star Citizen but there's a reason people call it Scam Citizen. However, the current engineering progression system absolutely neuters Elite. It scares people away. And even if you power through it - then what? Honestly, even after playing almost 300 hours of the game in such a short amount of time, I don't think I would recommend it to anyone I know.

Sorry for the rant. But you're onto something, and the angry responses to your suggestions show us why the game is being held back - too many people don't want it to change. Elite has so much potential to be one of the best games of all time, but it just hasn't had the funding and effort put into it. And the devs don't play the game.

P.S. The last thing I did in game was start on delivering 50 units of Fujin Tea to Broo Tarquin so I could upgrade my beam lasers. Fujin is 3 jumps away and they apparently only sell 6 units at a time. It sucks.

Thanks for the detailed and constructive post. I appreciate it.

Maybe I have missed a couple of things in my original post and got lucky on a couple of items. Your points on the new player experience are true. I hear countless tales of people who go straight to youtube and discover the get rich quick schemes, and then relog their butts off to fully load up on mats. Or fall off the wagon because of the daunting time sink.

My "getting up to speed" comment was more to do with the fact that we're going to have a whole extra progression route with space legs. 3 new suits and a bunch of new weapons that will all require an entirely new set of engineering materials to grind out. So why not reduce the overall number of existing engineering materials and ease up on some of the time sink mechanics to unlock some of the ship stuff. But people here did not like that, oh no.

I empathise with your story, I started playing with a few friends new launch. And I'm the only one who semi regularly logs in these days.

On your comment of Elite needing to be successful, I respectfully counter with this: I assume Elite is successful else we wouldn't be getting an Odyssey expansion and the game would have faded into maintenance mode.

I absolutely agree with your 2 points however, reducing that tedium and giving clearer signposting for how to collect these materials that are essential for progression. And point 2: meaningful content. I guess there is the AX combat, Powerplay does exist (although it is quite niche), CQC, Multicrew, so many of the expansions we've already had have faded into obscurity. Revitalising them could add some elements of "endgame". Regular CQC tournaments for the PvP crowd, more impactful Powerplay for the RPers, engaging multicrew missions for the team players.

It's true that the core systems of this game are fantastic. Nothing comes close to the immersion of flying my ship around, the flight model reacting so well, it creaking and moaning as I approach planets as gravity pulls it around.

And yes, it would appear I've ruffled more than a few feathers with my opinions on how I'd change up the game to make it a little bit more accessible. Can't please everyone.

Ouch on the Fujin Tea - maybe that was the one I was remembering when I was looking at Engineer unlocks. I did it so long ago now... The things we'd do for efficient beams!
 
You're joking, right?

From the beta launch, it took me 7 months of (very) casual play to get from my Sidewinder into a Type 6. There were no Engineers. I then spent another six months messing about in a Vulture and then a Python. After that, people started finding mission stacking exploits and I participated in one of the early ones at 17 Draconis, which got me into an Anaconda and my first half billion. I then subjected myself to a couple of months of casual grind in order to get the rank for a Corvette - I think Horizons dropped around that time. After that the proper "wing massacre stacking" exploits were discovered and in one Christmas holiday I jumped from 0.5 billion to 10 billion.

Compare and contrast to 2018, where I skipped four Trader ranks in a single transaction the very next day after core mining was first introduced. A two hour mining trip in a D-rated Anaconda with no engineering effectively enabled me to buy another 1.5 D-rated Anacondas.

New players don't even know they're born. The game has never been dumber. Sure, I'm all in favour of reworking literally everything so that it's not a tedious grind. But talking about equity for new players as if they're disadvantaged is completely ludicrous.

"Back in my day" - I also played at launch and it took me how ever many months it was to get my first 150M for a D rated trade conda. I've been there.

A few years later I did an afternoon in a mining hotspot and got 400M. Credits are broken as hell and it's too far gone to do anything about them without a galactic economy reset.

Yeah, perhaps my post title being "let new players catch up" may have been a little divisive, and overshadowed the actual suggestions.

But my core argument of reworking some of the more grindy elements of material gathering, I'd like to think it has some merits.
 
My "getting up to speed" comment was more to do with the fact that we're going to have a whole extra progression route with space legs. 3 new suits and a bunch of new weapons that will all require an entirely new set of engineering materials to grind out. So why not reduce the overall number of existing engineering materials and ease up on some of the time sink mechanics to unlock some of the ship stuff. But people here did not like that, oh no.
To get back to this original idea, I do actually think this is an appropriate argument for reducing the time taken for the ship engineering grind. It doesn't have to be a time reduction by 50% (though I'd appreciate it lol), but a reduction nonetheless so we don't just get "current engineering grind x 2". Your reasoning by itself is totally fair.

And yes, Elite is definitely a successful product, but it could be more successful if it was more appealing to a wider audience. If FD make more money they can hire more devs and make more Elite. I'd be interested in seeing that. And surely Lord Braben likes money?
 
To get back to this original idea, I do actually think this is an appropriate argument for reducing the time taken for the ship engineering grind. It doesn't have to be a time reduction by 50% (though I'd appreciate it lol), but a reduction nonetheless so we don't just get "current engineering grind x 2". Your reasoning by itself is totally fair.

And yes, Elite is definitely a successful product, but it could be more successful if it was more appealing to a wider audience. If FD make more money they can hire more devs and make more Elite. I'd be interested in seeing that. And surely Lord Braben likes money?

In my suggestion I don't believe it will speed things up by 50%. And I wouldn't be touching the actual stats of an engineered ship. It would purely be reducing the overall number of different types of engineering materials (120 down to maybe half, or less), so that it reduces the dependency on material traders and increases the chance that you'll be getting the materials you need. You'd basically be skipping a few times of travelling to the trader and down trading those G5 mats you've relogged for, as the trader has in a way reduced the value of searching for individual mats anyway.

I'm all for Elite appealing to a wider audience, maybe I can tempt a few friends back then if that ever happens!
 
I'm not advocating giving every new player a free G5 Anaconda. I'm arguing that streamlining some older content would allow a new player the opportunity to catch up and play on the same level as a vet who's put thousands of hours into this
So the game has to change every 3 months, permitting the folks who joined at the end to catch up with the ones who started at the beginning?
 
I'd actually argue that the Odyssey expansion shows that Elite is a lot less succesful than we would like it to be – at least in the eyes of upper management, directors and shareholders.

The whole idea of "bolt on a generic FPS experience so that we can cashgrab on weaponskins", rather than taking the long-term approach, investing in the improvement and deepening of the core game and capitalising on all the things that make Elite unique to invent new exciting gameplay – doesn't seem like it came from an actual passionate developer, or someone who has faith in this product on the long term.
 
So the game has to change every 3 months, permitting the folks who joined at the end to catch up with the ones who started at the beginning?

No.

But a years old system that requires gathering 120 different currencies could be looked at and rebalance/reduced given that we're about to get a whole new material gathering upgrade system that is designed to be ran in tandem.

People who started at the beginning will still have their experience and skills. New players will still have to work their way to "the top", they just don't have to juggle 120+ currencies and whatever else is going to be thrown their way in Odyssey.


I'd actually argue that the Odyssey expansion shows that Elite is a lot less succesful than we would like it to be – at least in the eyes of upper management, directors and shareholders.

The whole idea of "bolt on a generic FPS experience so that we can cashgrab on weaponskins", rather than taking the long-term approach, investing in the improvement and deepening of the core game and capitalising on all the things that make Elite unique to invent new exciting gameplay – doesn't seem like it came from an actual passionate developer, or someone who has faith in this product on the long term.

I'm fairly sure that the on foot experience has always been part of the Elite master plan to be fair.
 
So how can it be balanced, once again, for the 'new' players, who will be equally disadvantaged against those who have been playing months more - so have the advantage of being further 'advanced' than others?

I wasn't mentioning anything about "previously earned skills, credits, kill count' etc. Just the fact that anyone starting after anyone else is starting the same 'hill climb' as they did - regardless of how simplified any method of acquisition is made.

The premise you started with is reasonable - gathering materials for upgrading is a 'must', these - even now - are simple enough to acquire providing they are not wanted 'NOW!!!!' - but, understandably, there will always be some players who do not want to 'progress' over a period of time, doing things they may have zero interest in.

So, back to my comment, what do we do for the folk who start in 6 months time?
 
Sorry for the rant. But you're onto something, and the angry responses to your suggestions show us why the game is being held back - too many people don't want it to change. Elite has so much potential to be one of the best games of all time, but it just hasn't had the funding and effort put into it. And the devs don't play the game.

P.S. The last thing I did in game was start on delivering 50 units of Fujin Tea to Broo Tarquin so I could upgrade my beam lasers. Fujin is 3 jumps away and they apparently only sell 6 units at a time. It sucks.
No need, you're totally in the right. I've been playing on and off since launch and the grind and lack of things to do outside ship progression are what's caused me to leave Elite every time. Fdev have reduced credit grind a lot (maybe a bit too much since you can pretty much ignore most of the smaller ships now) but engineering is still awful. Both me and my friend, both of use have put hundreds of hours into Elite have bailed because of it. I get that it's just anecdotal, but if you compare the steam charts with the total copies of the game sold it paints a similar picture.

How much Tea does Broo Taquin drink? Those cargo canisters can easily fit a person inside. not to mention Liz Ryder demanding that every CMDR must give her enough landmines to cover a whole moon before she deals with them.
 
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Thing is with the amount of frustration their idea of progression caused they could offer me free stuff and I'd be reluctant to even work out the re-download. I simply don't want to spend any more of my time working some loops - grind or not - and see it nerfed to unuseful in some future update again and get presented a ridiculous treadmill to mitigate their new "difficulty balance". F that.
 
So how can it be balanced, once again, for the 'new' players, who will be equally disadvantaged against those who have been playing months more - so have the advantage of being further 'advanced' than others?

I wasn't mentioning anything about "previously earned skills, credits, kill count' etc. Just the fact that anyone starting after anyone else is starting the same 'hill climb' as they did - regardless of how simplified any method of acquisition is made.

The premise you started with is reasonable - gathering materials for upgrading is a 'must', these - even now - are simple enough to acquire providing they are not wanted 'NOW!!!!' - but, understandably, there will always be some players who do not want to 'progress' over a period of time, doing things they may have zero interest in.

So, back to my comment, what do we do for the folk who start in 6 months time?

The folk starting in 6 months time would still be at the same starting point as a person starting fresh in Odyssey, unless there is another entirely new set of upgrades and currencies introduced between Odyssey launch and then. So there wouldn't be any need to "do" anything at that point.

The entire point of this suggestion was to evaluate just how much stuff there is, and how adding an entirely new progression system in the form of space legs is going to affect the sheer number of systems at play. Existing players will already have had the option to go get their engineered ships and can purely focus on suit upgrading, whereas a new player would have to juggle both systems.
 
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