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Author Topic: Problems with midgame challenge progression and some ideas how to solve them  (Read 2185 times)

Kargul

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After falling in love with this game and playing it for more than 60 hours I 've got some thoughts about it's challenge progression, specifically related to the middle part of my playthroughs.
First, let me explain what I mean by challenge progression. At this moment Starsector offers two kinds of challenges to overcome for the player and diffrent tools to do so. The first kind is internal problems that the player needs to face, and the second are all the different external threats, both in star systems and in hyperspace. Internal problems are mostly related to logistics - fuel, supplies, crew and money management, and external are all your enemies and enviromental dangers like hyperstorms, dangerous stars etc.

At the beggining of the game the most important challenge is getting some initial funds to buy new ships and equipment. It takes some time and the player has many diffrent tools that can be used to achieve this, like early delivery contracts, some small scale trading, smuggling and early salvage. Most external threats need to be solved mostly by running away. It works pretty well and the moment when you finally can buy some new ships and fully equip them is very satisfying.

The problems arise when suddenly you realize that with very few initial investments you are able to basically travel to any system in the Sector, making any kind of gradual progression from the core worlds to the further reaches literally non existent. There's very little point in doing short range scanning intel missions when just having a few tankers is enough to go basically everywhere and do much more lucreative contracts. I've seen some people suggesting that the problem lies in the rewards related to exploration being too big. Personally I think that's the other way around - it's not that the rewards are too good, it's the challenges related to exploration being too easy to overcome.

And that's where we go back to the diffrent kinds of challenges that I mentioned at the beggining. Middle parts of the game simply lack both substantial internal and external challenges that the player needs to overome, making the time needed to reach current endgame simply too short.  I was thinking about this problem for some time and I think that I've got some ideas that can potentially make midgame more satisfying.

First of all I think that existing externall challenges should be made more serious, especially the ones related to exploration. Hyperstorms and in-system enviromental threats like black holes or pulsar beams are, at the moment, mostly an annoyence. They don't really pose any serious threat as long as you've packed enough supplies and fuel. For all the hours I've spent playing the game there was only one situation when I've actually run out of supplies, and it was mostly related to my own stupidity and not any external factors. I think that it would be great to see some more serious effects of all this diffrent threats, especially in the earlier stages of the game. Things like some of the crewman dying because of them, ships without solar shilding getting more seriously damaged when in hyperstorm or under in-system enviromental conditions, addition of some automated defences killing some of your crew when salvaging planetary ruins and orbital habitats/stations if you don't have enough marines (if there are already derelict defense drones in space, I think it would make sense for some kind of automated defences existing directly in ruins and on stations), addition of [REDACTED] fleets scouting the hyperspace around the most dangerous systems.  Also, regarding the most valuable finds like research stations or extensive ruins, it would be nice to have something not allowing to actually get to their riches right away, like hidden access codes that need to be discovered during exploration or bought in bars from scientists or other explorers.

For internal problems, I think that the most important and potentially interesting addition would be some kind of crew morale system, in some ways similar to this form Mount&Blade. What I'm thinking about is a system consisting of a fleetwide and ship specific morale, both related to each other and affecting other parts of the game. The base fleetwide morale could be affected by the total number of crews (so, basically number of ships) or total number of crewmen, or maybe both. Basically, at the beggining of the game the morale system would play very little initial role, because of small size of player's fleet. With the fleet growing it would make morale management more and more important, adding a completely new challenge to the midgame. The morale could be affected by, again, diffrent internal (skills and perks, whether or not the crew is getting payed enough) and external (winning//losing battles and ships, accidents during salvage, crew losses related to enviromental dangers) factors. With the morale falling too low it would be great to see situations like crews panicking during battles, or maybe even defecting to enemies.  It would also make a great way (in addition to supply management) of creating a soft cap for fleet size limit, making it possible to, for a moment, having more ships then currently possible, but adding a risk of actually losing some of them because of mentioned problems.

Of course, all of the mentioned challenges would need a new ways of dealing with them, so for example, making hyperstorms and enviroment more dangerous would make it impossible during early midgame to explore distant/more dangerous systems, forcing players to gradually progress by first doing less dangerous contracts. It would also create a great opportunity for incorporating a system of a player-created stashes, used during far-reaching escapades for refueling and resupplying on the way back, and it would additionally make all the enviromental safety skills/ship mods muuch more important and valuable. The same goes for the crew management, adding a new opportunity for player choices to incorporate new kinds of skills, both for player character and for officers. It would also create a new interesting conflict between creating potentially bigger or more flexible fleets.

TL;DR There's not enough new challenges introduced when player progresses from early to middle parts of the game, limiting the array of new choices the player has and in the effect wasting a great potential for extended gameplay options.

There's a multitude of ways the midgame can be expanded and I can't wait to see what you think about my ideas and what diffrent thoughts you have on the matter.
(Also, I'm sorry for potential spelling/grammar erros, English is not my native language and I'm also ill at the moment :| )
« Last Edit: November 26, 2019, 01:19:28 PM by Kargul »
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Alex

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Hi, and welcome to the forum!

I see what you mean in general, I think. I don't know that I'd define progression in terms of being able to move further and further way from the core, though, hmm. I mean, that's not necessarily wrong, but progression could also take the form of successive expeditions becoming more difficult based on the player's actions/the evolution of the Sector. Either way, though, I think it's a good point as far as the rewards/challenge ratio from exploration, and it bears more thinking about. I don't think I've got anything super specific to say here, except that, yeah, more dangers in hyperspace would be great. I'm not so sure about them being non-combat dangers, but that's just a detail.

As far as crew morale, that feels like it would have to be a very core system and not something that's just tacked on. I'm not sure that's really doable at this point, but there are other systems that could probably be used to accomplish similar goals without adding another major system for the player to manage. For example, the new skill system does something similar-ish already - smaller fleets will receive higher bonuses from fleetwide skills, so, it's in the same vein as far as being something that doesn't affect you early but becomes more of a factor in the midgame. An internal-challenge type system that really makes it more difficult to scale up is appealing in terms of design, though.

Thank you for the suggestions! I appreciate that you've written out your thinking process here, it makes a lot of sense, and even if the conclusions/adjustments/etc might be different, there's a lot of food for thought here, so I'm sure I'll be mulling it over.


(Also, I'm sorry for potential spelling/grammar erros, English is not my native language and I'm also ill at the moment :| )

Your English is excellent! I wouldn't have thought you're a non-native speaker just from reading this. Hope you feel better soon :)

(Re-reading, btw, it's "different" not "diffrent"; assumed it was just a typo but as it's consistent throughout, thought I'd mention it.)
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Kargul

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Thanks for relpying so fast! I 100% agree that the distance itself doesn't really need to be the metric for progression. I've only used it because I was thinking about the game world in the current, static, non evolving way. Player-driven changes and evolution of the Sector is something I didn't consider, and to be honest it's absolutely brilliant concept that I don't think I've ever seen realised in any substantial way in other games. Actually, the only thing that this reminds me of is how in Star Control 2 the galaxy was dynamically changing with time and depending on the actions taken by the player. It would be amazing to see something like that in Starsector. I'm happy that what I've written turned out to be helpful and can't wait to see the game evolving in the future.
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FooF

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If I could expand on the OP's idea a little:

I think what he/she is getting at is the idea of "Gatekeepers" that are like the gear-checks of other games, whereby if you don't have a certain tier of character, (in this case, fleet size/composition) the game is prohibitively hard. For a sandbox game, being able to explore is a boon but I kind of see what the OP is getting at: we have warning beacons for [Redacted] systems but nothing is compelling me to enter outside of my own curiosity.

Quarantined zones, high-hazard systems (not related to [Redacted]), etc. that need "keys" to enter would be interesting though I think I'd prefer to see monster fleets guarding them that would chase you away. If you can overcome the gatekeeper, you can plunder the spoils. The Red Planet and Cryosleeper missions (with their respective Gatekeepers!) are great starts but overworld-type threats could be cool, too.

Likewise, if you ever get around to using the Gates, they could send the player to otherwise inaccessible areas with their own challenges. The Gates requiring a certain number of fleet points to even activate could keep a newbie player from getting in over their head, though other story-driven mechanisms could obviously be used.

 
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intrinsic_parity

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An alternative idea is to make a safe/easy/cheap way to travel between civilized systems, and then make traveling through hyperspace more difficult/threatening. Jump gates are the obvious way of doing this, but any sort of sci-fi wormhole type thing could do. The idea is that you can do basic missions with small rewards staying inside of the safe jump gate network but the big rewards require you to venture out into hyperspace which is now much more dangerous and difficult. Sort of an 'early game playground' idea.
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FooF

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An alternative idea is to make a safe/easy/cheap way to travel between civilized systems, and then make traveling through hyperspace more difficult/threatening. Jump gates are the obvious way of doing this, but any sort of sci-fi wormhole type thing could do. The idea is that you can do basic missions with small rewards staying inside of the safe jump gate network but the big rewards require you to venture out into hyperspace which is now much more dangerous and difficult. Sort of an 'early game playground' idea.

There was another thread regarding hyperspace where "space lanes" were brought up. Basically, safe/easy/cheap ways to travel within the core worlds and then you're on your own paying full fuel cost anywhere outside those lanes. The problem is that once you start making money, fuel isn't terribly expensive and if you tune your fleet toward exploration, the fuel costs aren't that extreme. You'd end up tweaking fuel costs to shoehorn the space lanes in (although, the idea of hyperspace travel within the lanes being extremely cheap/free, with the caveat that your transponder has to be on, would change the core world dynamics pretty drastically).

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Kargul

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If I could expand on the OP's idea a little:

I think what he/she is getting at is the idea of "Gatekeepers" that are like the gear-checks of other games, whereby if you don't have a certain tier of character, (in this case, fleet size/composition) the game is prohibitively hard. For a sandbox game, being able to explore is a boon but I kind of see what the OP is getting at: we have warning beacons for [Redacted] systems but nothing is compelling me to enter outside of my own curiosity.
 

That's pretty much exactly what I've meant. I think that some sort of "Gatekeepers" system combined with Sector evolution mentioned by Alex would create an amazing milestone-style progression during the middle parts of the game. Actually, Starsector already has things like that, with examples being the mentioned Red Planet, Cryosleepers and even the early resource gathering phase before the player is able to do any substantial exploration. I simply think that the challenge behind all this things makes the rewards feel much more valuable.

I think that a good example of this milestone progression is Terraria, where the gameplay loop itself is pretty simple and consists entierly of resource gathering, exploration and boss fights. Terraria's progression structure is very much based on the concept of gatekeepers. Each time when you progress you are faced with a challenge that you need to overcome, and with each challenge come both vertical (opening up of new potential challenges) and horizontal (new tools and resources, new ways of solving problems) progression.
I think what makes Starsector a very unique game is the potential of integrating some system like this, maybe in less limitng fashion, and consistently integrating it in both game lore and narrative. The game taking place in basically what is a part of ruined, decaying super-civilization opens up amazing possibilities for different small stories about legendary spaceships, planets, both planetary and orbital facilities,quarantine zones, space monsters etc. Having all of this combined with the Sector evolving as the player progresses through the game would create absolutely exceptional exerience, something that hardly exists in any currently available videogame. 
« Last Edit: November 27, 2019, 09:36:31 AM by Kargul »
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intrinsic_parity

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An alternative idea is to make a safe/easy/cheap way to travel between civilized systems, and then make traveling through hyperspace more difficult/threatening. Jump gates are the obvious way of doing this, but any sort of sci-fi wormhole type thing could do. The idea is that you can do basic missions with small rewards staying inside of the safe jump gate network but the big rewards require you to venture out into hyperspace which is now much more dangerous and difficult. Sort of an 'early game playground' idea.

There was another thread regarding hyperspace where "space lanes" were brought up. Basically, safe/easy/cheap ways to travel within the core worlds and then you're on your own paying full fuel cost anywhere outside those lanes. The problem is that once you start making money, fuel isn't terribly expensive and if you tune your fleet toward exploration, the fuel costs aren't that extreme. You'd end up tweaking fuel costs to shoehorn the space lanes in (although, the idea of hyperspace travel within the lanes being extremely cheap/free, with the caveat that your transponder has to be on, would change the core world dynamics pretty drastically).

Yeah the hyperspace lanes thing sounds very similar to what I was saying. I think the problem you mentioned is exactly what it is trying to address. Right now fuel has to be cheap enough that the early game isn't too challenging (particularly for new players), but that makes mid-late game fuel management and exploration a bit too easy (IMO) once you've optimized a bit. Cheap/safe travel in a limited area allows new players to explore the core/learn the game without trivializing fuel management too much later on. I don't view increasing general fuel prices as shoehorning in the easy travel so much as making a bigger obstacle for exploration. Basically I think it should be harder to get to the good loot without it being harder to survive early on/as a new player. I also think it makes the loot more satisfying if there is more of a challenge to get it. You might need some more avenues for getting information on loot locations though (maybe bar conversations where you can purchase intel on loot locations or something). Right now you can kinda go randomly exploring and you'll almost always find enough stuff to justify the trip, but with more expensive fuel that could quickly become not true.



I also 100% agree with the OP that what the game is missing right now is externally imposed challenges/reasons to do things. Gatekeepers/bosses do that by requiring you to complete a certain difficult task in order to progress in the game. Usually that sort of stuff is tied to story/content and that's the part of the game that hasn't been added yet so I think the game will get there. I also have confidence based on previous comments by Alex that he has ideas in mind for adding 'driving forces' that push you to become stronger. I'd love to see more cryosleeper/red planet type stuff that pushes you to get stronger. I think those were put in as a tease for things to come.
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Megas

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A way to fix cheap fuel is to remove the Navigation skill.  No Navigation with a big fleet and lots of tugs really hurts by burning lots of fuel (and reducing fleet range on the map).  I eventually gave in and grabbed Navigation after suffering without it for a while.
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Plantissue

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There's very little point in doing short range scanning intel missions when just having a few tankers is enough to go basically everywhere and do much more lucreative contracts.
What more lucrative contracts? Short range scanning missions, special story mission excepted are practically identical to longer ranged scnaning missions. What is the end game? For me it is reaching the point where I can fight the biggest expedition fleets, whilst being able to leave my colonies alone which can support the maintenance of such a fleet. Which is basically about 12-20 million credits. The progression can be satisfying up to that point and afterwards. If you just want to survive whilst building a fleet/increasing money, you can just do procurement missions ad infinitum, safely. You then don't actually ever need a fleet that can fight large fleets.

I don't see the point of a crew morale system. "Internal problems" aren't interesting problems. Morale in Mount&Blade isn't interesting. Mainly it's a way to change how fast your party moves and to limit party size. Negative effects of moral in Mount&Blade is from losing battles, starvation and repeated battles. There's no need for another system on top that replicate the same negative effects from losing CR, running out of supplies and not getting paid.
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Morrokain

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That's pretty much exactly what I've meant. I think that some sort of "Gatekeepers" system combined with Sector evolution mentioned by Alex would create an amazing milestone-style progression during the middle parts of the game. Actually, Starsector already has things like that, with examples being the mentioned Red Planet, Cryosleepers and even the early resource gathering phase before the player is able to do any substantial exploration. I simply think that the challenge behind all this things makes the rewards feel much more valuable.

I think that a good example of this milestone progression is Terraria, where the gameplay loop itself is pretty simple and consists entierly of resource gathering, exploration and boss fights. Terraria's progression structure is very much based on the concept of gatekeepers. Each time when you progress you are faced with a challenge that you need to overcome, and with each challenge come both vertical (opening up of new potential challenges) and horizontal (new tools and resources, new ways of solving problems) progression.
I think what makes Starsector a very unique game is the potential of integrating some system like this, maybe in less limitng fashion, and consistently integrating it in both game lore and narrative. The game taking place in basically what is a part of ruined, decaying super-civilization opens up amazing possibilities for different small stories about legendary spaceships, planets, both planetary and orbital facilities,quarantine zones, space monsters etc. Having all of this combined with the Sector evolving as the player progresses through the game would create absolutely exceptional exerience, something that hardly exists in any currently available videogame. 

^I like where this thread is going. I'll throw my opinions in as well. The above pretty much sums up my thoughts about how I would find the most midgame fun before really setting into the colony game.

I don't know that I'd define progression in terms of being able to move further and further way from the core, though, hmm. I mean, that's not necessarily wrong, but progression could also take the form of successive expeditions becoming more difficult based on the player's actions/the evolution of the Sector.

There was a really old game for Sega Dreamcast called Armada that took this approach. It was simpler than Starsector since it was designed mostly as a pure arcade shooter rather than an adventure game, but was very addictive and fun. You could travel as far from the center as you liked and the enemies seemingly never stopped scaling in size and difficulty. Enemies would also vary in tactics and appearance based on the direction you took.

Starsector is set up that it could very easily work in at least a similar way. It's a simple design as far as scaling goes. Though that's not necessarily the best way in every case, there are some compelling reasons for it.

Mainly, for me, it is about this design being naturally intuitive and that this design allows for loot to also scale with distance. I would appreciate this from a gameplay perspective both because I dislike finding an amazing treasure trove like a weapons cache relatively close to the Core Worlds as far as difficulty consistency goes, and on the other side of the spectrum finding poor loot in a far off system can be a little underwhelming for me considering the relative cost/risk between the two expeditions. The reason why this also makes sense from a lore perspective is that if you as the player can salvage things, so can others and so the closer to the Core Worlds you are, the more picked clean of good technology it gets.

Now that doesn't mean that everything near the Core Worlds needs to be boring and everything on the fringes should be filled to the brim with loot, though, like this design might imply. That's where the gatekeeper idea comes into play. In particular, I think it would make sense for Hegemony fleets to guard the entrances to warning beacon systems. Since according to lore the Core World's public isn't supposed to know about them, it would make logical sense that they would be guarded from scavengers in order to keep a lid on the existence of REDACTED. The defenders would be static guardian fleets (sometimes boss level officers/etc) that would seemingly "resupply" when the player isn't around (handwave handwave). Other kinds of gatekeeping can be added for variety too, of course, but this is a feature already implemented that could be adopted to this idea.

(I also think it would be very cool to be flying by one of these systems and suddenly see the guardian fleet get jumped by an Ordo or something. Maybe that would have to be a rarer occurrence but it would certainly be interesting)

Now, reasons that could make the alternative complicated, at least to my mind:
progression could also take the form of successive expeditions becoming more difficult based on the player's actions/the evolution of the Sector.

I know this is just a general statement and there are probably undecided details, or I am making assumptions about implementation etc, but this sort of difficulty scaling can be really tricky to implement in a way that doesn't inadvertently cause difficulty spikes.

1) The information about what causes these difficulty increases has to be very explicit. That can be hard to do depending upon how isolated the difficulty increase is for the various campaign things the player can do.

Example: In Oblivion, for instance, leveling increased the difficulty of the monsters relative to the player, so as you play the difficulty naturally gets increased. There were two big problems for me with that scaling system. One was that certain quests (Oh I hate you Kvatch!) would scale to become practically unbeatable if you leveled more than once or twice. Two was that if the player didn't know exactly how to increase their own power to match the new enemies, the game got exponentially harder rather than a linear progression of difficulty most players expect. Now I'm definitely not 100% sure on this, but I suspect this could already be happening for players who focus on pirate bounties and then have a harder time with raids and raider bases later on as a result. (I know the bounties scale by beating them, but also iirc this also ties into pirate patrols alongside the standard sector time factor? It's a dim memory of reading something before so please correct me if I'm wrong.)

2) Even if the information about how this works is explicit, having (for all intents and purposes) a "timer" to the campaign's difficulty might cause some players to fall behind the curve or get locked out of features because they didn't invest well enough into them early on. It takes away the ability for the player to plan, because they are on a clock whether literal or in the sense that most actions they perform contributes to difficulty. Some games make this work very well anyway (XCOM, Majora's Mask), but it is a subjective feature that can become polarizing to some players. Just my two cents.  :)

All that being said, I'm not saying its impossible, and this doesn't touch on quests or story arcs causing these kinds of difficulty increases either. Those particular kinds of difficulty levers are usually exempt from the above problems because the context is almost always explicit and the player has the option of when to pull the trigger and increase the difficulty, so to speak. Even that option can cause frustration if the player doesn't realize it locks out or greatly increases the difficulty of other things they didn't expect.

I'm not so sure about them being non-combat dangers, but that's just a detail.

I certainly wouldn't mind a few non-combat hazards like previously suggested superstorms or something, but I wouldn't want to be forced into them unless I was willing to risk it for a great reward.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2019, 06:34:50 PM by Morrokain »
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Kargul

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There's very little point in doing short range scanning intel missions when just having a few tankers is enough to go basically everywhere and do much more lucreative contracts.
What more lucrative contracts? Short range scanning missions, special story mission excepted are practically identical to longer ranged scnaning missions. What is the end game?
Yes, that's true that the intel missions/cotracts of given type are, in their structure, identical to each other, with only difference being pay. I've used this example to point out, that in current context, when the player assembles his/her first exploration-capable fleet there's not really much of a challenge progression going on until the point of creating first colonies. There's simply not much incentives and roadblocks for the player to not go straight for the best exploration-related rewards and jump right into colony managment part of the game. Basically, presently in the game, from the moment you can go anywhere in the Sector you very quickly get to the point when you actually don't really need to explore anymore, because there's not really anything making it worthwhile. Of course, as I already stated, I was writing all of this in the context of the current state of the game, with static Sector and no further gameplay changes in mind. When you take  what Alex and FooF said, about possible implementation of some sort of "gatekeepers" and Sector's evolution into account my initial sugestions become in part redundant, because the problem I pointed out gets already solved, just in diffrent, probably much more interesting way.

Regarding the morale system, well, I don't really agree that all kinds of internal challenges are uninteresting by default, but I guess it really comes down to taste. And again, I 100% agree about Mount&Blade morale system itself not being interesting (it actually always annoyed the hell out of me). What I've meant was that adding some sort of morale system for crews of the ships to Starsector could, in the context of already existing mechanics, possibly create new interesting challenges and rewards, and with them new choices for the player to make. But again, seeing that it doesn't seem possible to integrate such system at this point in the development I don't really see a point in discussing it further.

Ultimately all I wanted to achieve with my initial post was pointing out to a problem of basically a big hole in current in-game progression, mainly because I love the exploration part of the game and I think there is still a great unused potential in it.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2019, 04:05:12 PM by Kargul »
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Plantissue

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I understand what you mean now. It is that you want progression to be tied to exploration distance to be tied with difficulty. Kind of similar to what Morrokain wrote. Which is fine by me even if it doesn't make too much sense story wise currently. I do say that all missions in the game should be like hunting system bounty or personal bounty missions. Want to explore? You will have to fight for it!

Exploring derelict stations is kind of like this already. Every derelict you explore steadily increases in difficulty till a certain point is reached. I don't like the idea of gatekeepers. It sounds really artificial to me and less like living, uncaring universe.

Of course, if you want progression to be scaled with exploration distance, you will have to remove or reduce the extremely lucrative procurement missions. Right now, the most lucrative interaction in the game is trading.
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Morrokain

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Exploring derelict stations is kind of like this already. Every derelict you explore steadily increases in difficulty till a certain point is reached.

Ah, right, good example! This was the kind of thing I'm talking about when I say a more isolated difficulty increase that's based upon specific player actions. It only impacts the next action of the same type/theme by continually repeating it. More problems come with lateral increases from doing one action that simultaneously impacts the difficulty of other actions beyond the theme or type of the originally performed one. So, using your example, if you looted a derelict and suddenly pirate bounties also got harder and you are none the wiser.

One thing to point out is that even with that kind of isolated action-based difficulty scaling there are potential downsides. You've spent half your early to early-mid game trading and now you have a cruiser and couple destroyers? Now early pirate bounties seem trivial for the first few expeditions until they start scaling. That might seem boring and discourage a player from even going that route.

It really feels like a "between a rock and hard place" kind of balance.

I don't like the idea of gatekeepers. It sounds really artificial to me and less like living, uncaring universe.

I will definitely say that out-of-context gatekepers can certainly feel artificial. For me, that isn't a reason to not do it- if it creates better gameplay, but I also think as long as there is a context that makes sense then it ideally wouldn't feel artificial in the first place.

I mean, the scaling difficulty of REDACTED guarding derelicts would feel artificial without the context of the story. Pirates infinitely respawning actually does feel a little artificial right now, but it is serving a purpose. Its probably a temporary purpose until the end game is better fleshed out, but that's kind of my idea in a nutshell: Once gatekeepers go from feeling like pirate raider bases to feeling like derelict salvage, gatekeeping would feel like a natural extension of a dynamic sector.

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Kargul

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I understand what you mean now. It is that you want progression to be tied to exploration distance to be tied with difficulty. Kind of similar to what Morrokain wrote.

Well, I don't necessarily mean that exploration should be the only/main way of progressing in the game, I'm simply stating that as it is right now it can be easily exploited to get tons of money and jump right into colony management, mostly forgetting about it from this point on.

Which is fine by me even if it doesn't make too much sense story wise currently.

And here I must say that I very much disagree. Correct me if I'm wrong, but from what I recall the game literally takes place in ruins of a huge, galactic scale civilization, 306 years after it's collapse. Exploration getting more dangerous and rewarding with distance travelled from currently inhabited space makes perfect sense in this setting. I'm not saying there are no alternatives to this approach, just that in the context of current lore it seems logical to be that way.

Want to explore? You will have to fight for it!
(...)
I don't like the idea of gatekeepers. It sounds really artificial to me and less like living, uncaring universe.
Well, I don't see any reasons for the mentioned gatekeepers to not be literally just that - an entities, or some sort of other challenges that make it necessary for the player to actually fight, in one way or another, to access some very valuable salvage locations, or maybe even some special spaceships. Imagine someting like a legendary spaceship of long forgotten class that can be found drifting in some desolate system that was used by the Domain as a weapon testing playground. Or, for example a uniqe ship like that being in a possesion of another explorer/legendary pirate that you need to fight in order to capture it. I think that that's exactly what FooF had in mind when first talking about this concept, and that's very much what I was thinking about. Especially in the context of challenge progression, addition of some very high reward locations, like some sort of quarantine or weapon testing zones, together with some sort of defences blocking access to them would make a great expansion of current exploration system. What's also so great about all of this is the fact of how easy it would be to actually incorporate it all in game lore/narrative. We already have the setting being remnants of a derelict galactic civilization, so why not expand on this concept?

Regarding the procurement missions, I don't really think that they generate as much money as looting reaserch stations or planetary ruins and selling AI cores directly to factions (Tri-Tachyon specifically). You really can get literally millions of credits very fast just by hopping around black holes and neutron stars when going for a simple scanning of a planet/derelict ship/probe contract.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2019, 07:25:53 PM by Kargul »
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