If you want Elite: Dangerous to be great, support the SEPP
Within the context of a game, I rarely take partisan views. But this is a notable exception.
I remain a huge fan of Elite: Dangerous. I have been a fan of this universe since it came into being in 1984. Throughout all of that Elite provided a sense of escapism, wonder and possibility that had never been seen before.
Even on the primitive 8-bit incarnations of Elite, there were hidden missions and legends to search for.
Today we have a very convincing approximation to a real galaxy, with 400 Billion stars spread across tens of thousands of light-years. The possibilities are truly staggering.
Exploration of this universe is limited to jumping, scanning, landing and driving around. Other than the sheer astonishing beauty of the game and the knowledge that you have gone ‘where no one has gone before’, the rewards are few: short flashes of text, a little cash, a few materials that may come in handy and your name on a remote part of the map that may never be visited again. Glory awaits a few of course, the first pioneers, the first discoverers – but for most exploration lacks the mechanics and tools that might make it utterly compelling.
Game development is always a compromise. You are investing your resources and aiming for maximum playability as a result. Exploration has been largely untouched since the game first launched, reaping only secondary benefits from enhancements elsewhere.
This is a chance to change that.
We know that the universe out there today is mostly procedurally generated. As such it is inevitable that it is largely homogeneous as a result. To make it more interesting requires development time. Such time will only be devoted if there is a clear desire from the fanbase to go out there, enjoy and interact with it.
With content comes speculation, with speculation comes fascination, with fascination comes compelling game play. There is a reason that players back in 1984 went looking for Raxxla. There is a reason why players of FE2 and FFE got involved in the exploration missions and still talk about them today – decades on from when they were first launched.
It made you believe.
Elite: Dangerous is making great strides forward in ambience. It still has a long way to go. A group that actively promotes the exploration view of the game will drive content that will dramatically improve the feel of the game for all players. This is what Elite: Dangerous needs to stand out and be truly great.
If you want lost cities, mysterious wrecks, bizarre planets, ancient legends, secrets hidden in the depths of nebulae, tense dangerous journeys through uncharted star systems and a real sense of pushing back a hidden and dangerous frontier… This is your moment.
This is a call for the explorers, for the lone-wolves, for those who lamented the loss of an off-line game, for those who love a single-player experience far from the core and for those who want to team up and head off in the void in the hope of discovering something significant. This is your chance to shape the future of Elite: Dangerous.
Thus, I encourage you to get behind the SEPP’s drive to become a power in the Dangerous Games. Watch their video, join the cause and work their community goal.
Right on, Commanders!