On the 30th November Sandro Sammarco outlined some likely but not confirmed changes to the way Engineering works in the game. These can be seen below and in the Beyond: Core Gameplay Improvements thread. A feedback thread on the forum can be found here.
Issues with the current system
“There are a few of areas that we’d like to improve, in no small way influenced by player feedback”
- Potential for Failure – Whilst it’s cool to have pros and cons in an upgrade system, the statistical level of variety in many blueprints ends up meaning that there is a chance of an upgrade being wrecked entirely, and basically not an upgrade, which undermines the whole process
- Too much Random – There are multiple points where the player is left at the mercy of chance. Whilst some amount of randomness is not a bad thing, and can lead to interesting variety, in our crafting process we have three: the likelihood of correct materials being generated during associated activities, the range of known statistical options, and a final hidden set of statistical options. It can been argued that this is simply too much and makes everything unnecessarily complicated
- Too Long – Elite Dangerous is a game where scale is very important, and very cool. It also means that processes tend to take longer. This includes the engineering loop. The grand scale acts to exacerbate when the results aren’t great and even when they are it can be argued that it’s just too slow a process.
Suggested Improvements to Engineering
“With this in mind, we’re looking to overhaul the system to try to achieve the following goals”
- Guaranteed improvement – We want to make sure that when you upgrade a module the end result is always better. There’s a significant time/resource investment in engineering so we want to make sure that you feel it’s worthwhile before you even begin, so you can make informed decisions on whether to take part or not.
- Increase efficiency – There’s always going to be a significant time cost to upgrading your ship, but we want to look at ways of sometimes mitigating where we think it’s appropriate.
These are the changes that we’re currently investigating.
- We are removing all hidden statistical variables from the upgrade process. Whilst there is still a range of success when you craft, you will be able to see the range before you commit
- One cool thing that secondary hidden statistical pros and cons did was ensure variety. Because we are losing this, we will try to ensure that each module has a set of experimental effects that allow you to tweak your module in a variety of ways, hopefully ensuring that there are a number of different options to aim for
- We are removing any potential for the crafting process to result in an upgrade that is worse than what is currently fitted. Every time you pay for an upgrade, an upgrade is what you will get
- All penalties in blueprints are fixed and only applied once per rank
- You will need to maximize benefits from an upgrade before you can start applying higher rank versions to a module. We still want to reward the process of upgrading modules
- You will be able to craft pinned blueprints at any starport that has outfitting. You won’t be able to gain reputation with the Engineer for doing this, and you won’t be able to fit experimental effects at this point, but it can considerably reduce the upgrading crafting loop
- Experimental effects will no longer have a chance to occur during the upgrade process. Instead, each experimental effect will simply have a materials cost that you can pay to have it fitted to an appropriate module
- This means that there is no way you can lose reputation ranks with an Engineer
- We will institute a materials trader at specific starports. These contacts will allow you to trade (at loss) materials within the same class, allowing you to convert unwanted materials into useful ones
- We will introduce a per material storage cap, probably around the 100 mark, to remove inventory shuffling
- We’ll add quality and quantity indicators for materials in the game world, so you’ll be able to see at a glance how much you have of a material without having to check your inventory
- We’ll add an ignore function for materials (and commodities, incidentally), allowing you to mine and collect more efficiently by preventing collector limpets from picking up ignored items and auto-venting refineries.
“A lot of you will already have engineered items. We will “grandfather” these. This means you can still use them, their statistics and effects won’t be changed.
“However, if you want to apply further upgrades to them, they will have to be converted. Conversion will place them at the top of the previous rank (so a rank 4 upgrade would become maxed rank 3 upgrade) and would change all statistics and effects to represent the new blueprint.”
“In general, we will try to make sure that the new blueprints can max out slightly better than the old system (we want to encourage conversion).”