Dear FDEV. Honest experience with your piece of "economy" balance. From a relatively fresh player.

Dear FDEV. Honest experience with your piece of "economy" balance. From a relatively fresh player.

TLDR: Relatively new player who avoided exploits as much as I could. Unhappy with the fact that risky missions pay less than safe ones, which makes grind boring and exploits attractive. ZERO F's given by Devs so far since 3.0. Will exploit 10/10 next time.

Long part: I currently have close to 600 hours in this game, which I consider being quite some time. I used some guides, read a lot of reddit and almost never participated in exploits (only few runs during passenger boom, no skimmer missions until they got fixed, etc). Why? Because found them kinda lame and cheaty.

So, what I want to tell you - I was wrong. We are 5 patches deep into 3.0 and you still gave ZERO attention to balancing OTHER missions in terms of payouts. They are all across the board without any logic applied to them:

  • Average hauling missions of pricey goods in Python still pay waaay more per hour than Haz Res bounty hunting can in ideal circumstances.
  • Actually anything combat-related pays less than that. (Except maybe for Thargoids, haven't checked)
  • Smuggling weapons or narcotics missions pay much less than legal delivery of silver to the same destination for the same amount
  • I found ZERO skilful opportunities to earn good money in this game. While there are plenty of no-brain ones.
And last drop for me was... Reactive armor for Corvette price. I mean, ok, I spend some time and without exploits earned some money. Bought some small/medium ships and had fun with them. Unlocked engineers. Earned some more. Got my Vette. Than farmed a bit and A-rated it. And what I see next? 450 millions just to have last part for my build. The same I already spent on the whole ship + internals.

High prices are not a problem by themselves, but it gets multiplied by the fact that anything dangerous and interesting pays abysmally small compared to safe alternatives. Together it creates a sad picture of boring, perfectly safe and skilless grind.

So please, can you finally fix your economy? I don't want to do exploits or be bored to death with safe missions in order to progress, I want dangerous and well paying stuff all around.

Suggestion is, obviously, to introduce an approach where dangerous and combat related ways pay more than safe alternatives.
 
+1.

I imagine FDev have tried to keep risk separate from reward because the game is marketed toward casuals as well as hardcores, and if a part of the game were too difficult for some to engage with, they'd complain. Can't please everyone.
That being said, I'd personally prefer if combat were high risk, high reward compared to space trucking (cargo or people) also. Wing assassinations were a step in the right direction (if, I suspect, unintentionally). But I won't be holding my breath for CZ missions to return to their former glory anytime soon.
 
[*] I found ZERO skilful opportunities to earn good money in this game. While there are plenty of no-brain ones.
Min-maxed Painite mining will pay more than almost all other current options, and certainly requires skill since you're dragging a mining ship around a Haz RES, coordinating with a wing, and putting together a map of which asteroids are the best for next time.

There's a couple of high-paying ones which require near-record travel speed between Sol and Colonia to get the top payout rates. That requires careful manual route plotting, good ship design, and a lot of practice with neutron boosting.

(They don't pay any *better* than the no-brain ones, but they're not worse either)

Suggestion is, obviously, to introduce an approach where dangerous and combat related ways pay more than safe alternatives.
One of the problems is that a lot of the earning methods don't scale, or don't scale very well.

Exploration, for instance, doesn't need any equipment you can't fit in a Sidewinder to start getting maximum earning rate. So do they balance exploration payouts for Sidewinders or Cutters? (Do they make exploration payouts higher if you scanned the system in a Cutter? If so, why and how? Introduce a size 4 "very detailed surface scanner" and a size 7 "extremely detailed surface scanner"?)

Similarly for combat. It scales a bit better than exploration, but there's not much you can do with that Corvette that can't be done in the much cheaper FDL, Chieftain or FAS (or the extremely cheap Vulture or Viper III, for the best pilots)

Even trading, where bigger is most definitely better ... a Cutter can only carry ten times as much cargo as a Cobra III, but costs 1000 times as much.

So it's impossible to balance the earnings as things stand. If you're in a Cobra III to Asp sort of size range, the professions are reasonably balanced against each other. After that, combat and exploration stagnate while trade continues to (slowly) grow.

I think the best approach would probably be to massively reduce the amount that the more expensive ships cost, to bring their prices more in line with their actual capabilities - the alternative, making the Corvette actually as good as five FdLs in combat, would require a complete rewrite of the entire game, I think.
 
One of the problems is that a lot of the earning methods don't scale, or don't scale very well.

Exploration, for instance, doesn't need any equipment you can't fit in a Sidewinder to start getting maximum earning rate. So do they balance exploration payouts for Sidewinders or Cutters? (Do they make exploration payouts higher if you scanned the system in a Cutter? If so, why and how? Introduce a size 4 "very detailed surface scanner" and a size 7 "extremely detailed surface scanner"?)

Similarly for combat. It scales a bit better than exploration, but there's not much you can do with that Corvette that can't be done in the much cheaper FDL, Chieftain or FAS (or the extremely cheap Vulture or Viper III, for the best pilots)
For exploration they can add some new mechanics that further enchances payouts. Simple example - planet probing. You haul a lot of probes with you and throw them at planets to get detailed planet composition, test for life presense, etc. This doesn't require you to have a huge module, but the further you want to go - the more space for probes you will need.

For Combat - IMO, they need to revise res sites and beacons completely. Haz Res currently is too simple for large/medium ships. Not to mention wings. What we have now in Haz Res should move to High res, with security and same payouts as Haz res has now. Ships in Haz Res should become more like what we see in Elite assasination missions. With payouts being increased accordingly.

I think the best approach would probably be to massively reduce the amount that the more expensive ships cost, to bring their prices more in line with their actual capabilities - the alternative, making the Corvette actually as good as five FdLs in combat, would require a complete rewrite of the entire game, I think.
That's probably a good idea. Still, it won't solve the problem completely. It will only make it less annoying.
 
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+1

I have pretty much the same concerns with progression.

Even at combat Elite standpoint, Thargoids give you about three times less cr/hr than even non-winged assasinations do, no matter how good you are at it. They are just hardcore side-activity which is not included in progression at the current state of things. You cannot even see how many Goids you had slain.

Progression is pure progress bar filling with some RNG hikes to it. No amount of skill will help you after you aquire basic knowledge. Skill ceiling is very low actually.

If Fdev tries to achieve progression which would not offend even a clinical retard with its "hardcoreness", they will get a bland linear progression, with time wasted being only measure of difficulty. Which we are having now.

How about some "bosses" at Guardian sites with high-yields? Who would ever say anything about credit "exploits" if getting to 300k cr/hr mark would involve clearing a moderate sized CZ of modded ships, along with a capital?

All of this is just due to placeholder and incomplete basic mechanics slowly growing into norm and a "spirit of the game". This have to stop.
 
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+1

I really want some risky missions that are rewarding as well. I wouldn't even mind occasionally losing my cutter, if the missions were challenging, cool and rewarding. But as it stands I haven't lost a proper combat ship on missions in ages, and by all possible metrics I am a bad combat pilot (though it is what I enjoy the most). Last time I died in combat was when I purposefully goofed around in an imperial eagle with guardian stuff strapped onto it.

Having some really challenging battles would be a really nice way to gradually "git gud" for me, and bring some more life to combat, if backed with rewards that were actually worth the risk. Currently if I managed to (somehow) wreck my combat cutter in a wing assassination I'd lose tens of millions, for what? Around 2-5 mil.

High risk high reward missions could also make smuggling actually lucrative. And could be a nice spot to add in a combat cargo mission of sorts for multirole ships, that carried big risks, small payloads and high rewards. Think transporting a Federation Farragut class targeting supercomputer or whatnot, the Imperium/alliance would surely send some proxy forces after you, as hampering federal military buildup would probably be a good idea for their enemies. And these are serious military attackers, not some hodgepodge pirate interlopers.

I'd really like boss fights or longer more difficult and directed combat missions. After a while the usual combat stuff gets really repetetive, and the only way to ratchet up difficulty is to purposefully gimp yourself, and at that point whats the point in engineering and getting the best gear?

EDIT. And of course the difficult high risk, high reward stuff would be optional, no need to nerf currently good ways to make money, just make the risky one's really worth it (as you'd prolly fail occasionally and the rebuy could help rein in any massive earnings). Would also be a thing for some casuals to build up to and aim for, if they are interested.
 
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I've always found it pretty idiotic that I can go around with a fairly nice big ship that can hold hundreds of units of stuff.

The NPCs see me, and offer me "EXCITING opportunities" to earn a whole 10,000 credits for bringing some data somewhere. Or, they see my non-mining-fit ship, and offer me "exciting opportunities" to go mine stuff.

Maybe 1/10 of the mission spam is actually useful, and none of it is worth my time. Nope, I've got to just wander around wasting my time until they like me enough to offer missions that suck less? And even when they do, 95% of my ship capacity is always wasted.

Wooden sailing ships behave more intelligently than that. You're going to Port X, so you bring a load of cargo A, B and C, and supplement that income with a couple passengers that want to go in that direction.

ED misions? You get a mission to basically bring a scrap of paper to Port X. No commodities are worth bringing, or not worth enough to risk lose time getting interdicted. And people who want to go in that direction are REALLY picky about exactly what station they want to end up at. And they offer you plenty of other missions to go mining, when you have no mining laser fit.
 
The economic and risk/reward model of ED is pretty terrible. Especially since FDev are putting their primary efforts into the ship-acquisition and improvement progression. As you reach the upper levels of that there ceases to be any real impetus for any given CMDR to continue grinding away, except for the fact that we all like the idea and concept of the ED universe and we're hoping that our investment of time and money will evolve into something that continues being interesting.

This game must branch out into additional game play opportunities, or it will wither and die: as either people simply get tired of doing the same thing over and over, or a new game comes along that implements the enjoyable piloting experience, but with much broader and deeper game mechanics to keep players engaged.

There are so many endless opportunities for creating game play niches within the universe that would add/drain money and provide huge goal-setting reasons to go earn credits: base building, corporations, stock markets, governments (not the stupidly abstract PowerPlay model, but real in-depth stuff that can influence factions, cause wars, and result in huge swings of prices), R&D, colonization & founding of base/government/worlds, direct investment in business entities outside of stock market activities, blockade running (smuggling that is ACTUALLY difficult, challenging, and impacts the outcome of other events), spying for various factions, etc.

And the game should have limited auto-pilot and auto-nav that allows for AI-chaining of up to three ships that will follow your flagship as simple pack mules, and perhaps do simple lock-and-fire with weapons, but otherwise be slow moving and turning without boosting or reacting as a player could.

For anarchy or dangerous systems there should be defined and scheduled caravans of ships that move into or out of the system in a group for mutual support. (I'm ignoring wings, because I don't know anyone with enough desire to play this game, and finding the time to wing up with people means dedicating serious time to organizing said wings. It's about as hard as keeping a D&D or Pathfinder group running... not worth the effort if you want to play rather casually.) The idea that everyone is just on their own is stupid. Free traders would have beacons that they would gather at, likely guarded by a mercenary installation giving a sphere of safety for gathering, and have to pay to stop in at that installation and join up with a caravan.

See? Many different game play modes just in this bit, that I'm sure requires a good bit of technical design to implement, but it would make *sense* in terms of how humanity would organize to move people and cargo around in fringe systems, where it's currently all just randomly generated bull that we have to laugh about when we actually stop and pay attention to what the NPC AI is doing.

It is only a matter of time before someone writes a game that implements the deeper ecologies and economies that we expect to see. Whoever manages that, and manages to make the experience interesting and fun, will grab the crown of space sim and run with it.

Standard Caveat: No, I'm not talking Eve Online. That's a whole different ball of boring.
 
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