Beyond: Focused Feedback – Powerplay

At 12:58pm on the 15th May 2018 Frontier opened up the feedback forum to possible changes to Power Play. You can see Sandro Sammarco’s suggestions below and contribute to the discussions here. These suggestions will be reflected on the The Future? “It’s on the list….” page in due course.

“Hello Commanders!

“As well as having a good old chew on Squadrons, we’re loading up a side order for the Focused Feedback Forum, because, frankly, we want to get more feedback! Importantly, this is an additional topic and does not replace the line-up announced earlier for Squadrons, Mining and Exploration.

“We’re considering a package of tweaks to Powerplay and we’d like your thoughts on them. Note that this is not a fait accompli, just something we’re investigating.

“The concept behind these changes is not to completely change Powerplay, but address a few important issues as efficiently and nicely as possible. Some of these changes are subtle, others very significant. The idea is that as a whole they form a rounded update that provides improvements to the core experience of Powerplay.

“As a flash topic, this will be the only thread, so all relevant replies can live in it. Please use the headings listed below with your replies to make it easier for us to process the thread, and of course, please remember the golden rule: your replies should be to us only. Feel free to debate with each other in non-sticky threads.

“What we’re looking for are your thoughts as to the ramifications of these changes based on the way you involve yourself in Powerplay, both positive and negative.

“With that in mind:

POWER PLAY PROPOSAL

Preparation Cycle Split

The first half of the cycle is available for preparation
• The second half of the cycle locks the current preparation values and enables voting

Vote to veto preparation

• Each player can vote to veto or support each preparation
• If a preparation ends the cycle with more veto votes than support votes it is removed from preparation
• Voting requires minimum, rolling time spent pledged and active for a power, somewhere into rank 2

Reasoning: these two changes in tandem are meant to make it easier to prevent bad systems from being prepared with minimal effort. Rather than use consolidation, which must be chosen blind in terms of both the final preparation for systems and the final resting place for the consolidation marker, here Commanders are voting on a fixed list and can choose precisely which systems they want to attempt to veto.

Vote to withdraw from system

• Each cycle players can vote on the 5 least profitable systems, to withdraw or support
• At the end of a cycle if a system has more withdraw votes than support votes it is removed from the power’s control
• Voting requires minimum, rolling time spent pledged and active for a power, somewhere into rank 2

Reasoning: currently there is no way to lose a bad control system other than hoping or colluding with opposing powers that it will end up being forced into turmoil. We think this vote is a legible and relatively safe way of allowing powers to shed chaff, as only systems that at a base level would be unprofitable would be eligible for withdrawal.


Profitability modifier applied to votes and preparation successes

• A system’s base profitability modifies preparation votes, withdraw votes and preparation successes
• Votes and successes for profitable systems are increased by a factor of 10

Reasoning: we think this modifier acts as another barrier against internal sabotage, forcing the saboteurs to work many more times harder to get the same effect as a Commander who has the power’s interests at heart.

Guaranteed undermine if 100% more than fortification

• A control system that is undermined by 100% more than the fortification value will be undermined even if the fortification trigger has been successfully met

Reasoning: We feel that Powerplay rules tend towards stagnation and status quo, which is not something we intended. Despite all the effort in the world, a power that fortifies enough, against values set by the game rather than in opposition to attack, can remain safe. This change allows sheer force of effort (or numbers) to guarantee systems end up being undermined, making deficit more likely. And to stop this happening, a power must directly compete against its enemies.

Overhead removal and slight increase to distance cost modifier

• Overhead upkeep costs are removed making a system’s base profitability static
• Distance modifier to upkeep is increased to maintain some sense of expansion “gravity”

Reasoning: Overheads are a way to prevent rampant expansion of powers. However, the cost is very high, as they cause an unavoidable amount of uncertainty when calculating CC at the cycle change, as well as just being another level of complexity. We think it would be better to remove them, increase the distance modifier to upkeep a bit, and live with powers that can expand more, as with the other changes in this package we hope that the result will be much more direct attack and dynamism caused by powers fighting each other.

Ethos Override 

• Ethos is only checked for the control system and the power
• If the power and controlling faction share the same superpower the power is always strong against the faction

Reasoning: this is a fairly straight forward override to ensure that – for example – Federal powers are always strong against federal factions. The other part of this change, to focus ethos on the control system only, is to make the process legible and focus Commanders in the same place, increasing the chance of conflict.

Missions give Powerplay successes

• Missions for factions in a system that share a power’s superpower award a number of Powerplay successes when completed
• The mission type determines how many successes are given
• Successes can be applied to expansion, opposition, fortification and undermining

Reasoning: one of the complaints of Powerplay is the limited actions available to support your power. We think that liking, in a very simple manner, missions for aligned factions and Powerplay successes allows Commanders increased variety in an efficient manner. The idea is not to replace the standard Powerplay activities, but to compliment them.

Open only

For clarity: Open only is being considered for Powerplay. Not anything else. Also, Open only would still be limited to platform, so no instanced crossplay.

• Powerplay contacts are only available to players in open
• Powerplay vouchers and commodities are destroyed if a player enters solo or private groups

Reasoning: We’ve saved the biggest change for last, as making Powerplay Open only goes way beyond the remit of a tweak. We’ve seen this topic discussed many times and we think it’s time we addressed it directly to get as much quality feedback as possible.

Powerplay is fundamentally about consensual player versus player conflict. We think that pretty much all of the systems and rules would benefit from being played out in Open only, as it would dramatically increase the chance of meeting other pledged players and being able to directly affect the outcomes of power struggles.”

Radio Lave: Mission Q&A

On the 27th March 2018 Radio Lave did an interview with Adam Bourke-Waite of Frontier on the way missions work in the game, what they involve and how they have evolved.  One interesting piece of information is that as of the weekend of 24th March there have been 1,673,246 completed missions. You can find the interview here starting at 18 mins 20 seconds.

Development Updates

There are a few proposed changes following discussion on the forums about how some features should work. They can be seen below in the order they were posted on the forum.

Outfitting Hot Ships

“We want to address the concerns raised over the recent changes to the outfitting of ‘hot’ ships. The intent was to ensure criminals pay appropriately for their crimes, and simplify the existing systems as it was generating a lot of confusion.

However, after receiving your feedback this morning, we believe that there is a possible solution that could satisfy those who felt it was too punitive whilst remaining sensitive to the Elite Dangerous lore.

We propose that outfitting ‘hot’ ships will work in the following way:

  • Outfitting will be available at Anarchy Systems and Starports to those with Wanted status on their ships.
  • Outfitting will not be available in non-Anarchy Systems and Starports for those with ‘hot’ ships (ships that have fines or bounties issued against them).
  • Basic refuelling will be available at all Starports that offer the service regardless of a ship’s legal status.

Thank you for your continued and vital feedback and helping us to improve Elite Dangerous. Please leave your feedback in this thread and we’ll keep you updated with more information.”

Hot Ships, Hot Modules & Outfitting Proposals

Yesterday afternoon we made a forum post in order to address concerns over recent changes to the outfitting of hot ships. For reference, you can see that post here.

After further investigating the matter ourselves, and reading through your feedback, we’ve decided that the proposed solution isn’t as complete or effective as it could be. We’re currently investigating a new proposal, and much like with the Kill Warrant Scanner changes, we’d like to get your feedback on it and engage in constructive and positive discussion with you.

We will be setting up a new section in the Focused Feedback Forum to discuss the proposal and what it addresses. We’ll communicate when the FFF thread goes live, but you can expect to see it sometime tomorrow. The following is a basic summary of the proposal:

• Hot ships can use outfitting everywhere except at ports where the ship has bounties or fines issued against it
• Modules can be taken from a hot ship and placed in storage if a cleaning fee is paid upfront (5% of the module’s cost)
• Clean modules can be fitted to a hot ship, becoming hot modules
• Bounties can be cleared by security contacts until a murder crime is committed, at which point Interstellar Factors must be used

Intermediate Changes

In the meantime, we will be reverting hot ships and outfitting back to how they worked in 3.0.2. This will mean that:

• Hot ships will be able to use outfitting everywhere except at ports where the ship has bounties or fines issued against it
• Modules can be taken from a hot ship and stored as hot modules
• Hot modules can be placed in hot ships
• Hot modules can be cleaned for a fee (5% of the module’s worth)
• Clean modules placed in a hot ship, becoming hot modules

This update mentioned above should be released early next week.

Once again, thanks for your continued support and feedback. The iteration and constructive discussion with the community helps us to develop the best version of Elite Dangerous that we’re all reaching to achieve.

Wing Missions

A quick update on the status of Wing Delivery Missions: we are going to be reducing the units of cargo that these missions can require to 320 – 6120. In addition, we’ll also be increasing the payouts of these missions slightly. Thank you for your feedback and we’ll continue to observe and balance missions if required.

Beyond: Live Streams

As announced by Frontier there will be two live streams (on their YouTube channel) during the week of the 15th January 2018 to go into more details regarding the upcoming changes to Chapter 1 of Beyond. The dates are below:

> Tuesday, 16th January 2018 – 7pm GMT

> Thursday, 18th January 2018 – 7pm GMT

> Tuesday 23rd January 2018 – 7pm GMT

(2pm EST – 11am PST – 5am AEST)

Details will be added to this website as soon as time allows.

Q&A – ‘Missions’ Live Stream

The current situation is that missions are an on going development and have had a couple of overhauls since their inception. The team are currently working on the current 2.2.03 Beta with some reward passes (to get the right pay outs) as well as some fixing certain outstanding issues. The following is a best attempt to transcribe most questions brought up in the live stream.

Q. When will players be able to share winged missions and how will it be rewarded?

A Shareable wing missions are something they want to do, but are not in the immediate roadmap and will not be  in 2.3. A lot of considerations have to be taken into account in about how they will work which in turn raises a lot of questions in multiplayer – which are much more difficult to solve.

Q. What’s the reason for the low number of missions given by a faction?

A. Currently in live version it’s mostly a technical problem. They share an allocation with normal missions. So if there were 40 missions total, they will be shared unequally between passenger missions and normal missions. In the current Beta, they’ve fixed a bug and introduced another bug, which lowers missions numbers but this has been fixed and there should be around 20 missions generated.

Q. Will engineers ever give you missions for rewards you need?

A. For now, no – they will not be able to give you missions because they are not factions. Maybe in the future it will be possible, but 4 engineers do have factions (Quent – Sirius) Those factions who are attached to engineers, could give missions on their behalf.

Q. Have you considered ED community to provide missions outlines?

A. Missions seem very simple, but they are actually more complicated. So giving them to community via a GUI would be a lot of work. They only have so much time and it’s difficult.

Q. Any plans for same system missions rather than having to jump to another?

A. This is currently possible as there is a 0 and 500 light year limit for their generation. However this means that missions are often not generated in the same system. A variant could be made but it would be complicated and would have to work for all variations.

Q. Every missions offers ++ mission increase, not + or +++.

A. This is a known issue. Currently being fixed by designers on internal builds and will be going out in near future.

Q. Missions filters?

A Missions are not generated per player. They are created for everyone who goes to that system for the next 15-60 minutes of time. It could be possible in the future where in theory you could have a filter, but it requires GUI work and it’s not currently a high priority.

Q. I dont seem to be making any enemies, only friends and allies from missions?

A. Failing a mission leads to making enemies. A mission reward pass is currently underway and a recent pass was made to make sure that in an assassination mission killing a pirate lord will give the pirate faction a negative effect.

Q. Passengers missions requiring luxury cabins are hard to come across. Any chance they could be made more common?

A. Yes, they can be and the feedback will be looked at. Problem is that making them too popular will generate too many and will then be given to players who are unable to take them if they have no cabin. This can be frustrating for the player.

Q. Do you feel removing rank locks from missions removed the feeling of progression from the game?

A. No, dont feel it did. Removed some brick walls in terms of missions offered.

Q. For multi stop passenger missions can we be paid for each leg?

A. A big difference with VIP passengers is thatg they get disgruntled if they dont make the complete trip. This is an important part of carrying them and as per real life ‘you’d probably do anything President Obama asked of you if he was in your taxi.’ This make them different to regular missions.

Q. Procedurally chain missions were removed, will they return?

A. These were courier missions. Feedback made them feel that they didnt realise they were providing the kind of experience they wanted. But it was partly a test bed to find out how missions could progress into different areas of the game.

Q. What is limiting factor in introducing new mission types?

A. If you take the example of generating a mission aftger scanning an object – A design would have to be made, be looked at, signed off. Then they’d have to create mission progression elements and then variable generators, then look at creating a new template. Then there’s the side panel, inbox messages, what happens when you abandon the mission – plus there’s testing and GUI time, plus whether they think it actually adds to the game and how it affects other teams schedules and fits into the overall schedule.

Q. Can be accept missions we dont have cargo space for?

A. The main reaspn they dont allow this is because the missions needs to know you can complete it and it doesnt look at every other ship you own in the game before generating the mission. More complicated missions with more variables lead to more edge cases which would create more errors and abandoned missions. These were actually removed some time ago, for just this reason.

Q. Elite only missions?

A. Adam under impressions that there were some in the game and it looks like it’s a bug that will be looked at.

Q. More missions after encountering NPC’s through the inbox?

A. These dont appear hugely often but more of these would generate a higher server load. However, a greater chance of getting these missions is to stay in one place for 15 minutes or longer. At this point a server request is made to generate one. Maybe in the future more will be generated depending on what you scoop – a black box for instance. These only ever happen in populated systems.

Q. Military missions?

A. Aware of desire for something along these lines and they dont have anything to announce soon, but it is being looked at as a possibility.

Q. Is it possible to have more variation for the ‘opposition to a mission’ in terms of the ships sent after you?

A Yes, technically possible but requires a lot of balancing. They could generate wing to come after you, or change the type of ship coming after you but no ETA and guarantees. The logic has to get more complicated based on rank and again more time is required to get it done.

Q. Will missions be added for 2.3 or 2.4?

A. Nothing to announce in terms of passenger missions for 2.3.

Q. Any chance of increasing variety of ways missions brances can change if items are scanned or salvaged?

A. This is always being looked at in terms of the missiosn template system. For example, Nav Beacon scanning.

Q. Missions to pick up crew once your ship is lost.

A. Possible, but a question that goes beyond the teams remit and into multicrew.

Q. Will there be missions that require top tier loadouts?

A That’s the challenge and it’s very difficult. A simple delivery mission has at least 6 variables which creates a lot of possibilities in terms of what can and can’t be generated for a player.

Q. For material missions rewards can you consider increasing their drop rates in missions?

A. This could be done and they will take on board the feedback, but those materials cost money in the form credits you’d get from the missions, which would then generate lower credit rewards.

Q. Can the timelimit for Colonia missions be increased?

A. This was a bug and missions will now only be generated in Colonia.

Q. On the fly missions are fun but rare.

A. Getting in space missions in the future could be coming in the future, but is likely to be a way off.

Q. More missions to give better reputation and influence?

A Yes, they will be looked at once the current credit pass has been looked at. Balancing passes take a long time due to the scale.

Q. Will Jaques station get missions soon?

A. Yes, it will be coming soon, but it needs testing first.

Q. Example of missions generation:

A. Two missions, go from one station, one to a close station one to Hutton Orbital creates a lot of differences due to the scale of the game.

Finally, Passenger missions additional destinations will be made optional for the player.