If you want Elite: Dangerous to be great, support the SEPP

Posted by on Jul 3, 2016 in Progress Report

Let’s find out what’s out there!

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.

And yet.

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.

Verisimilitude.

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!

 

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    10 Comments

  1. The Dangerous Games are a competition to make a power, don’t try to turn it into something it’s not or you will just become disappointed and angry no matter the outcome.

    • Powerplay need a bit of love if it is going to go anywhere. A bit of love for the explorers won’t go amiss either. Not angry. 😉

  2. Alternatively, you could join Deep Recon X and join with like-minded explorers and adventurers WITHOUT painting a target on your back. We have been courted to declare for certain parties in the Dangerous Games, but non-partisanship has been a cornerstone of our organisation since its inception. We believe strongly in the preservation of individual playstyles and allegiances. This also provides DRX unparalleled freedom in our approach to exploration – an approach similar to the academic, scientific world, if you will.
    Suggesting that supporting an exploration-centric faction would result in greater development attention to this facet of the game may be little more than wishful thinking.
    Unless, of course, you know something we don’t. 😉

    • Siding with the power is not the point. Showing the explorers make up a significant chunk of the payer base, and that our voices need to be heard, is…

      There are issues with PP that need to be sorted – why is being pledged to one make you a target with all others? Why are there no “treaties” that allow freedom of trade and movement between powers? Being pledged to an exploration based power should effectively make you neutral, with the goal being to expand into uninhabited systems – this being done through exploration.

      A lot of content that potentially can be added WON’T be added unless the explorers step up and make their voices heard. Supporting SEPP in the Dangerous Games doesn’t mean you have to pledge yourself, to them, it is a show of support for exploration to be taken seriously – something I would presume Deep Recon X, and all the other exploration based factions would be VERY interested in.

      Z…

  3. Unfortunately if you look at the recent finds (primarily in the Pleiades sector). F.D. pretty much pointed to them at the time. I am agreement that there needs to be far more to discover out there. But I also believe that it should be exactly that, “a discovery” and not some narrowing down of an area by F.D. One of the best experiences I have had in the game was discovering an old data relay quite far from the bubble (the first one I discovered). I had no idea what it was from a distance and hearing the sonar increase with a different sound was a really exciting experience… Knowing I was the only player on that planet gave me a real sense of apprehension approaching it and a sense of thrill knowing there was no backup. That is the kind of experience I want to feel again. One where the unknown is truly the unknown…

    • I couldn’t agree more with your sentiments. I do think we’re going to have more to do exploration-wise soon, because FDev have mainly been implementing mechanics rather than content. I expect that to shift, especially in light of Braben’s surprise (disappointment) that we’ve only covered a tiny amount of the galaxy.

  4. Content like that should allready be in the game what incentive is there to explore if the galaxy is just an empty Husk 🙁

  5. There is entirely too much focus on E:D being completed, fully fleshed out, fully scoped and ultimately a done living breathing Galaxy full of discoveries for everyone to find immediately. This is a long run game, this isn’t the ’80s or early ’90s where a game is made in 2 to 3 months and the rest of the development time is dedicated to written materials to make the very basic graphics and limited gameplay more alive and to get immersed into. Instead E:D is, hopefully, going to be developed actively and maintained while getting fleshed out over the next few years. Expecting a lot now will leave nothing later, not to mention that is impossible to do anyway, so why not relax? This is directed to everyone that feels like E:D needs more and needs it yesterday which I see a lot of especially surrounding some unknowns currently in-game or coming in-game.

  6. Whislt I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment that exploration should be one if the prime aspecs of this game I don’t agree with this method of raising awareness of the strength of feeling with Frontier. What you are truly advocating is highjacking a feature of the game, powerplay, which is of little or no interest to explorers in order to further your own vision of the game. The thoughts and vision and time and efforts of the thousands of players engaged currently in the Games be damned. So long as the explorers’ point is made.

    I love exploring so much I once took a sidewinder to Sag A*. I would love to see everything that you outline too but I cannot and will not support stepping on other players to do it

  7. I think what is needed is an official ‘Lore’ to be released by FD, which would be an opportunity for them to seed nuggets of information for the explores amongst us to feed off. Of course, these teasers should lead to discoveries eventually, or there is no point in the first place. But it goes without saying that the clues should be just that….clues. The discovering and working it all out should be left to the player(s).

    And as my esteemed colleague Chris so eloquently put it, this is what DRX is all about. The freedom of exploration, with no alignments or taking sides.

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