[Wall of Text] FC Beta 2 - final feedback and thoughts

rootsrat

Volunteer Moderator
I spent about 15 hours in Beta in total, so here's another wall of text if you're bored at work ;) Usual disclaimer, this is just my opinion and it's OK to disagree with it. Also, this is based on the FC's as per Beta 2.

The changes and improvements introduced to Fleet Carriers for Beta 2 definitely made this content better for me than it was in Beta 1, especially the fact that my Fleet Carrier is now an actual Fleet Carrier from the get-go. However overall I am still hugely disappointed, because considering the amount of time we've been waiting for this not a lot was really delivered in terms of new content and in addition what we got just lacks the polish I would expect after such a long time of development time.

Some of my thoughts and ideas, all trying to utilise the things that are already in the game, so could be done with potentially less effort than making something new, while improving the experience as a whole.

THE GOOD
  • Cost and upkeep are now really fair and well balanced IMO.
  • New jump efficiency is now also well balanced.
  • UC now available.
  • Search and Rescue available via Commodities Market.
  • Alien artefacts available via Commodities Market
  • A LOT of the above is on the list of items to trade. This is really amazing and potentially creates good business opportunities.
  • Ability to display animation on an in-game screen to the player - small detail, but boding well for the future of Galnet!
  • A lot of bugfixes.

THE BAD

1.
The lack of Bridge is something I just can't get over. I'm sorry, but after spending 5 BILLION CREDITS I now have my massive flying city, how amazing - a mobile station! ...and I have to manage it from the GARAGE? Staring at a wall through a flat menu? I'm sorry, but no. Not after such a long time since veteran players got any new content, which was delayed twice at that. (A little entitled, yes, but I also think fair.)

This is unfortunately a MASSIVE downer for me.

Solution: I've actually had a look around the command tower, or whatever it's called, on a Fleet Carrier and the bridge is there, the scale is correct, judging by eye - so physically the space is there and it's available. All that was needed is a massive cockpit with multicrew chairs. And if NPC's can't be done yet to fill the space, then separate the captain's chamber from the rest of the bridge. I would accept and understand that.

Just don't put me in the garage.


2. No Fleet Carrier jump view - again, I am just staring at a wall, while my super cool mobile base is jumping 500 LY's. This is another massive downer for me. The view locks down for about 5 minutes or so - 3 mins prep and about 2 minutes for the jump and exit? Something like that. That's a loooong time spent on STARING AT A WALL.

Watching paint dry is literally more interesting, as something at least happens as you stare...

Solution: I thought of something that is potentially easy to implement, as it uses stuff that's already in the game. The jump could be presented on the curved screen - the very same one we see when we buy the Fleet Carrier. For the jump we could see the same external view that is on the Carrier Management screen. Then the usual hyperspace tunnel during the jump and then back to external camera on the destination for exit.

Simple as that. No new things need developing, just stick that Carrier Management view on the curved screen and present it to the player instead of forcing us to stare at a wall.


3. Reversed Sim (tm ;) ) - what I mean by that is that in my opinion the simulation elements were put into the wrong game layer. I am talking about the tediousness of stocking up my Fleet Carrier market. Yes, it's realistic simulation having to bring the 10000 tonnes of gold manually into my Carrier if I want to sell it, but on the other hand I am in the wholesale business now. It's not some farmers market stall with 20 onionheads in a wooden crate on the back of my SRV truck, it's a flying city where I sell SHIPS and MODULES - which by the way are automatically transferred onto my ship.

Somehow I don't have to bring 10 Pythons one by one onto my Carrier, I can just order them, like a normal businessman. Realistically, I would have put an order for those 10000 tonnes of gold and it would have been delivered in bulk onto my Carrier, while I'm enjoying a nice Kamitra Cigar on my brid... I mean in my garage.

Oh, but you can put a buy order for 10000 tonnes of gold I hear you say. Yes, but in practice if I do that and just wait for a random player to first of all - stumble upon my Fleet Carrier, and secondly be willing to bring me 10k tonnes of gold. That would take AGES in normal circumstances, in an organic gameplay.

I am not able to advertise my offer to buy 10k gold anywhere either (more on that in a minute), so the only practical option is to hauk the stuff myself, which is just tedious and completely unnecessary, considering the context of FC being a massive mobile base, a wholesale business. Also every man and their dog will have a Fleet Carrier now that the Squadron-only idea was ditched, so it's going to be GTA Online all over again - everyone will be worried about filling THEIR Carrier with 10k gold, not mine.

That's one part of the "reversed sim".

On the other side, as an example - we have fake NPC ship traffic to produce an illusion of "breathing and living" Fleet Carrier. Why not use those NPC's to actually deliver stuff to our Fleet Carrier too? They could serve a perfect role for that.

Solution then: We have CONVOYS in game. We know they can carry specific cargo. We know they can be semi-persistent. They could be potentially used to simulate an actual cargo delivery for the 10k gold order. I know this is half baked idea due to the modes, but I also know FDEV could make it work if they wanted to.

This would also mean the simulation element of the game is in the right place (IMO) - simulating living and breathing universe, rather than the tediousness, repetitiveness and grind of hauling gazillion tonnes of cargo back and forth between my flying city and the nearby station.


4. No tools to advertise my business - following up on the part about advertising. I think that a random player showing up at my Carrier will be a rare occurrence in practice, considering the 400 billion systems ;)

I would love the ability to advertise my business to other players. Not an "auction house" known from other MMO games, but similar. Again, this idea uses stuff that is already in the game, at least partially.

So we know we can create MOTD type posts for our Squadrons. This functionality also has a drop down menu with options to select. Why not use that and combine it with Galnet, which has not seen a single article for 4 months now?

We could post our buy or sell orders with a few steps process, all predefined, no free text:

  • Select BUY or SELL
  • Select commodity
  • Select quantity
  • Select % of average price (same as when we set it up on the FC market)
  • The current location of our FC (automated and dynamic)

Or even better - automate all of that and make it part of commodity configuration. As the last step a box to tick - do you want to advertise this order? Yes - puts it into the new Bulletin Board section of Galnet.

--EDIT-- From the replies below, for info (thanks!):

Carriers do show up in the in-game trading tools with prices for your Buy/Sell orders shown, in the same way other stations do. So if I'm in the Commodities screen and I look at gold I'll likely see your carrier as the first suggestion in the 'consumed by' station list (assuming you're not too far away and are offering a reasonably profitable price).
It is still a little glitchy in the galaxy map view but the intent is clearly there and it's been bug reported, so fingers crossed :)

5. The need to be in administration system to supply the shipyard and outfitting - this doesn't make sense at all. I understand that for fitting new services and facilities into your Carrier, you need a Flet Carrier Shipyard, so you have to be in the admin system. But for supplying Shipyard and Outfitting? This limitation just doesn't make sense to me at all? Why am I not able to order ships and modules for sale from anywhere?

I would love an explanation for that.


6. Lack of polish and small details
  • The Nav Panel filter list MUST have a separate option for Fleet Carriers. They are currently linked to Stations on the filter list. Please FDEV.
  • The Codex part about Reputation has no information about Reputation. (Only about security).
  • No divider for numbers, as usual. Come on, FDEV... This is basics and you always do it. When I see 13245142465 in my report, that does tell me literally NOTHING, as opposed to 13,245,142,465 or 13 245 142 465.
  • Inconsistent quantity tool when setting up commodity on the market. The quantity does change to 10's and 100's gradually, as you hold the button to select how many tonnes you want to trade. But the "% of galactic average" doesn't and it sometimes takes ages if you want to set high % for a commodity that has a big gap between the extreme prices and the average one. (Similar when buying large quantities of limpets).
  • ...and more


7. No information about Brewer Corporation in Codex. Again. After so much criticism received for the same thing in Bridging the Gap...

I am making this a separate point, as I care deeply about the lore. It was always THE thing that dragged me to Elite. It always had this strange magnetism, it was interesting, intriguing and well written... Unfortunately for a long time now it seems to me that Frontier stopped really caring about the lore of their own game. Stuff pops out of the blue without any reason or back story. Other things contradict itself... (see the link in my signature).

It makes me really sad and having to see that lack of care (I'm sorry if this sounds harsh, but this is how I feel about it and this is genuinely the impression I get) being present time and again, and on a greater scale every time.


8. Inconsistent fundamental assumptions for design of player economy?

This is something that is really bothering me and however I try to look at it - I just don't get it.

What is the point of economy? To make profit, right? Frontier did say in the Lave Radio interview - and they said it straight - that the Fleet Carriers were basically "designed as money sink" and were "NOT designed to make profit". What is the point of introducing a whole new layer of economy, give exclusive control over it to players - and yet also have a fundamental rule of not making a profit within that economy?

I honestly tried to look at it from various angles and I just don't understand how is that supposed to work. What is the player economy for then? Only for players to pump the exploited money into it for no apparent reason? Only because the BGS economy is broken due to lack of attention to money making exploits? Then I think I would prefer for the Fleet Carriers to be something else entirely and instead of wasting time for introducing the player economy (which in the context of what I've said above seems a bit like a waste of time and effort to me), for FC to for example have an impact on BGS. This would at least make it useful in many more ways than now.

It would also gave it an actual purpose that wouldn't be seemingly contradicting with the fundamental design assumptions.

9. "Gold sellers"

Using 2 Fleet Carriers and -1000% / +1000% commodity price margins you can potentially hand over 1,5 billion Credits to another player in a matter of minutes. We have tested that extensively, as gold sellers is something I hate the most in online games and honestly, I think if I have to read all of the "BILLION CREDITS JUST 5 USD BUY NOW AT www.iamanidiot.com" all day long, I might just quit altogether.

I am not sure how profitable Elite Dangerous would be for potential gold sellers, but the ability to easily hand over large amounts of Credits currently exists in the game. This is definitely a downside, albeit an inevitable one with any player controlled market. I just hope Frontier will stomp down if the GS show up in Elite and will have no mercy for them. None of this shadow banning for a week business. Perma them to hell and beyond!

I also hope that the community will show some sanity and stand against them and not use their shady "services".

That's considering GS will actually ever show up in Elite.



THE SUMMARY

That's all from me. Final thoughts... While I do recognise the potential of sandbox fun with Fleet Carriers and I will definitely appreciate the convenience of having a mobile base with all my ships and modules in one place, unfortunately the cons, the lack of polish and attention to small details, the lack of couple of IMO fundamental features (namely the Bridge and lack of any FC jump visibility) and the small amount of content we've received overall - all that in the context of how long we've had to wait for Fleet Carriers, the delays of this content, cutting out other stuff like Galnet and Interstellar Initiatives and delaying other stuff a lot of players have been waiting for (new ice planets) - I just can't not to be very disappointed with Fleet Carriers.

The cons outweigh the pros for me and they do so massively. I wasn't expecting much, but I wasn't expecting this little either. I also hoped Frontier would really polish the details, but in my eyes - they didn't do that either, which just makes the whole thing even more bitter than it already is for me.

Saying all that, I tend to look at the positives and try to enjoy what we have rather than complain about what we don'y have. I will definitely be buying a Fleet Carrier then and I will try to use in the best way I can. But I will be doing that without a smile on my face. Also, from a garage.

Staring at a wall.
 
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I admire your ability to write a post that long and keep it easily readable.

A minor quibble. We are the owners of Fleet Carriers and are paying minions to run and fly the ship our viewpoint for this should be the owners suite with various viewscreens so we can watch the activity in the Carrier or tell the captain where to take us to in addition to the exterior views.
For those riding with us they should have something like 10 Forward to watch from unless they are travelling steerage in which case the hanger wall is more than good enough.
 

rootsrat

Volunteer Moderator
A minor quibble. We are the owners of Fleet Carriers and are paying minions to run and fly the ship our viewpoint for this should be the owners suite with various viewscreens so we can watch the activity in the Carrier or tell the captain where to take us to in addition to the exterior views.
For those riding with us they should have something like 10 Forward to watch from unless they are travelling steerage in which case the hanger wall is more than good enough.
Oh I definitely dig that idea! I was just trying to think of something simple, that could be done more or less using the existing assets with not much effort.
 
The Bridge thing and jump view need fixing IMHO.
I own it. I want to walk on the bridge and say "out of the chair", and then watch the next jump from the bridge.
Am I asking too much?
 
...
6. Lack of polish and small details
  • The Nav Panel filter list MUST have a separate option for Fleet Carriers. They are currently linked to Stations on the filter list. Please FDEV.
  • The Codex part about Reputation has no information about Reputation. (Only about security).
  • No divider for numbers, as usual. Come on, FDEV... This is basics and you always do it. When I see 13245142465 in my report, that does tell me literally NOTHING, as opposed to 13,245,142,465 or 13 245 142 465.
  • Inconsistent quantity tool when setting up commodity on the market. The quantity does change to 10's and 100's gradually, as you hold the button to select how many tonnes you want to trade. But the "% of galactic average" doesn't and it sometimes takes ages if you want to set high % for a commodity that has a big gap between the extreme prices and the average one. (Similar when buying large quantities of limpets).
  • ...and more
TL: DR could be summarised in this single point. Fleet carrier meets the Macro requirement for a Fleet Carrier and ticks all of those boxes but under scrutiny, the small things are seen to be lacking. (jump screen from inside the ship, lack of notice board to communicate to other commanders on the carrier, lack of the ability to find Carriers on the Galaxy map, defence against Gold seller exploitation, being able to buy AND sell the same commodity at the same time, being able to purchase individual ships / modules etc - as you say, there are a lot of 'small' things.

what would be really good would be a Frontier commitment to provide an additional drop in Q3, between the Fleet Carrier drop and the fabled 'New Era'
 
I am not able to advertise my offer to buy 10k gold anywhere either
Carriers do show up in the in-game trading tools with prices for your Buy/Sell orders shown, in the same way other stations do. So if I'm in the Commodities screen and I look at gold I'll likely see your carrier as the first suggestion in the 'consumed by' station list (assuming you're not too far away and are offering a reasonably profitable price).
It is still a little glitchy in the galaxy map view but the intent is clearly there and it's been bug reported, so fingers crossed :)
 
The largest problem with the current implementation is that a carrier's primary design is just a persistent, flying convenience store. This design is going to be a massive headache for FDev as they try to balance out all the issues with the markets and other bugs that come with such a needlessly complex feature. What a wasted opportunity... again.

FDev should have left these as personal fleet carriers and not created them to be a test bed for new era base building. These should have been a new toy for players to use to take our fleets with us as we play the game. These could have simply been large vessels that are similar to ones we already have, but that would aid us in the activities we enjoy. Carriers should have never been designed as persistent mobile stations as their primary function. When base building with all of these market features comes out, carriers could have been awesome platforms for interacting with player bases. One major interaction with fleet carriers in new era could have seeing them used as large cargo transports feeding entire planets, or moving cargo between systems. Configurable load outs would have allowed users to build their carrier similarly to how we build our ships out. If I want to mine, I could build it out as a mining support vessel with large cargo holds, an industrial refinery, and purchased limpet stores and other mining supplies for me and my friends to use on our mining expedition. If I wanted it to be an exploration vessel, I would configure it with massive fuel tanks and other exploration tools that would support me and any friends that wanted to come along. This would have been awesome. It would have been the right amount of new content and new interaction with other players to hold us over until new era and beyond. Imagine the mission potential for carriers. FDev could have implemented new missions that were designed for carriers. It would have been a load of new content using modified versions of their existing systems.... but no.

Carriers do not need to be persistent for other players to benefit from them. If the carrier owner logs off while on an expedition, the carrier is removed from the game.. just like your ship. Hopefully you didn't go with a stranger 5K LYs from home with your 12 LY Mamaba unless you wanted the thrill of possibly being abandoned (which could happen with the current persistent version anyways). The permabases could have waited for new era.

The market component was a bad idea and its complexity obviously became a huge hurdle that chewed up a ton of development time. This appears evident in the lack of actual functionality and the massive focus on markets in this update. This is my overall issue with this game. It seems to happen to everything FDev does when they introduce new content. They can't just make it fun and engaging. It must be a new form of grind that introduces massive technical baggage that is never addressed.

Was this David Braben's vision for Elite Dangerous? The last 4 years of development? This was his vision? Because, that's not what it looks like if you go back and watch the kickstarted and first year ED videos he made talking about the game. What the hell happened?
 

rootsrat

Volunteer Moderator
Carriers do show up in the in-game trading tools with prices for your Buy/Sell orders shown, in the same way other stations do. So if I'm in the Commodities screen and I look at gold I'll likely see your carrier as the first suggestion in the 'consumed by' station list (assuming you're not too far away and are offering a reasonably profitable price).
It is still a little glitchy in the galaxy map view but the intent is clearly there and it's been bug reported, so fingers crossed :)
That's good news indeed.

Did you try mission rewards too ? Like modular terminals or whatever was that for unlocks. So question if you can do missions and sell to others.
No, I didn't test that.

I might have another look in Beta then to see how both of these things work actually. Thanks for the suggestions!
 
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