Takao reacted to blazemonger in Now that we know a bit more.. What's next? (long read)
I would like to put my thoughts on the CEO change out there as I actually feel a lot of this aligns with what I have been saying would be good for the game for a long time.
Right now, DU was forced into an early public release for what many expect will be funding needs. And it did not work out. The short-term thinking and rushed implementation of features has only done one thing, cause more delays and waste dev time because a lot needs to be redone.
NQ, by means of JC, kept a brave face, and kept saying that all would be well, that there were no signs that they would not be able to meet the end of 2021 target for a full release. The list of features to be done as well as the immense mountain of technical debt, bugs to be squashed, optimization and polish to be done simply make a release in the true sense of the word at best unlikely for the end of 2021.
Now, the vision of JC for the game is great but poses a lot of challenges that are extremely hard if not impossible to overcome. The idea of implementing several vastly different playstyles and preferences in one world by itself is tough, the technical challenges remain huge. JC the visionary could and did dream of his game and how it would all come together while JC the CEO of NQ needed to temper expectations and bring that vision down to a manageable and viable level. And that IMO is where things went wrong.
When I backed the game, shortly after Kickstart ended, I was certain (and had no issue with) that NQ would not be able to hit the December 2018 release as it was clearly unrealistic for a game this scale. When Alpha opening to backers was delayed by several months and we then found ourselves in pre-alpha and under NDA instead at the end of September 2017, it should have been clear it was never going to be possible to get a release done in about 12 months. Yet, it took NQ nearly a year to announce an updated roadmap which pushed release to the second half of 2020. That new release date was clearly still overly optimistic at best seeing the state of the game at the time.
Then a new studio opened in Canada, we can only guess as to why but a combination of using a better tax environment for software development, more access to talent and yes, they speak French there. We do not know the ins and outs of how the management structure worked/works but it seems that much of the decisions were made in Paris still. When the first studio lead left the same year JC moved to Canada.
With some fanfare a new backing round by investors was announced by JC in June 2019 and when looking at the normal timeline for Venture Capital investment this was a pretty standard Round A option that was taken after the initial seed. Crowd funding never played much of a role in all this with the eventual 2.5M or so being spent before it was received basically.
Around November 2019 and honestly very little actual progress later, still under NDA a new roadmap was released pushing the release out for another year to end of 2021. That roadmap still read more as a wish list of features and still seemed very optimistic to me as NQ still had to implement all main features outside of mining and building.
Then, 30th of April 2020, JC announced that the game would come out of NDA and go to public beta with subscriptions instead of the planned closed development up to release for backers only. That was the moment where some of us backers started to see signals that NQ was not doing great and needed to start generating revenue which was never the intention. Meanwhile NQ had been operating on a total budget of around 25Million since end of 2014 so it was only reasonable to assume they were running on debt which in itself is fine as long as you can pay interest and keep paying your bills.
In December the 0.23 patch dropped which caused much discontent and an exodus of players with changes which were really not bad in themselves, but the implementation was terrible and very superficial. NQ, again by means of JC, blamed the need for the changes on the small groups and solo players who did not use the markets and did everything themselves so that needed to change. Add several badly handled exploit fallouts to the mix and the fragile player base shrunk at an alarming rate. To me, this was a massive signal that JC the visionary was not able to separate from JC the project manager or JC the company president/CEO.
JC also said on several occasions that he saw no reason to assume that it would not possible to meet the release date on the roadmap of end 2021, anyone understanding the amount of work left to do and especially the list of feature JC brought in as “coming in the next year” towards the end of 2021shoudl have been a clear sign of the many red flags regarding hitting a 2021 release.
Then, as the next major update came around it was underwhelming at best and NQ had to spin missing their milestone by announcing that 0.24 would arrive in “phases”.
And so, here we are start of April and we know that JC has resigned as CEO with anew CEO being appointed in the person of Nicolas Granatino who also is the CEO of the main investor in NQ. And from here all we can do is speculate on what is next.
My hope is this:
Under new management the potential and promise of DU is acknowledged while at the same time the need for more time is established. A big factor in the assets of the game is the server tech which can be developed and licensed to third parties with potentially considerable revenue. For that reason, Novaquark will be receiving a fresh investment injection with a business savvy and financially qualified CEO at the helm.
To achieve this, the company will need to go through a restructure and cut a lot of mid level ballast. I would really hope that NQ will have the balls to relabel the development to where it is, alpha, and postpone the scheduled release with a TBD new date.
Then spend time to fix what they have, work through the technical debt, stabilize the backend and improve their community facing communication to a point where we do not need details but do find NQ to actually listen and be responsive and not “be heard” and then hear nothing back. So many great suggestions and ideas have been lost because NQ has shown a chronic lack of engagement and interaction at even the most basic levels.
I have always said and still feel that DU has such massive potential and promise as well as will be able to appeal to many different play styles and ideas but NQ as it was, has never really shown the ability to make that happen. I hope that this change is not the end of the company (despite the "letter", I would not disregard that option yet) but a new start in making that potential come alive and a reality.
I really feel NQ (and with it DU) has a chance here to recover and grow. From where we now are and for it to work, NQ needs to do their part in showing progress and improvement in many ways while we, as the community, need to start with giving them the space to do that and then get past what was and work with what is to come..
Let's have a good discussion here and not dwell on the past, we're all here because we have a passion for DU and the only way DU will stay alive is for "new NQ" to be able to make it happen.
Takao reacted to BonemanJones in A Case Against Elements
After completing several ship builds over the past few months and really digging into the voxel editor, I've found that the biggest limiting factor to my creativity has been the checklist of elements that are required for any ship to function.
I'll use engines as an example.
All basic atmospheric engine L's are the exact same size. They all output the same thrust. Same fuel consumption, etc. There is a distinct number of them that I will need on my ship if I want to lift a Container L. But what if I want my ship designed with only one massively powerful engine instead of twelve relatively smaller engines? With the current system of elements that isn't possible.
Elements as they currently exist occupy the role of function while honeycombs occupy the role of aesthetics/armor. For a pure pve ship, using anything but elements is an active detriment to it's functional performance. For a pvp ship, the meta dictates the optimal style/aesthetic (currently a flying cube). This creates a situation where you aren't really designing a ship so much as designing a socket for each necessary component. Effectively a box with a seat in it strapped to some engines. Actual ship design would necessitate many internal components, not just all-in-one elements to be bolted to the hull.
Currently ship design (for any type of hauler) requires the entire back end of the vessel to be a wall of engines to maximize thrust.
I am suggesting a merging of elements and voxels so that you are able to define the size and shape of your elements. Engines would exist in the form of a voxel, and function as such.
The same can be done for containers, fuel tanks, doors, windows, ailerons, brakes, etc.
How would voxel based elements work?
Another game with this build system is Avorion, which fits into the space simulation builder genre (you can look up speed builds on YouTube to get a good idea for how the builder works). You can define an area to function as your engines. With this system you could have the exact same engine footprint. The same weight, thrust, fuel consumption, etc. However, you are now free to style the back end of the ship around one engine instead of many because it's shape and orientation are different. Using my masterful skills of paint I've illustrated a comparison of how things are now versus what I'm suggesting.
These two ships would have identical weight, thrust, fuel consumption etc. because they have the same volume of engines, just spread differently.
Voxel based elements would be manufactured just like elements are currently, but instead of outputting a singular object, it would output a volume of voxels, much like the honeycomb refinery does. One voxel of engine would have a set amount of thrust. A voxel of container, a set capacity etc. The larger the element, the more capacity/thrust/fuel/weight...
What exactly is gained from this?
Most of the benefit of this is aesthetic, but there is some importance to that. Have you guys seen the Facebook ads and YouTube trailers for DU? Most of them are featuring interesting looking ships to showcase what can be done in the game. The reality is that the markets are littered with ships that are nothing more than engines strapped to a container with a stack of wings. There is a distinct "sameness" to most of the ships I see and it's because I'm staring at the exact same engines and wings and hovers on every one of them. I believe this damages the atmosphere of the game, especially for new players looking to see all sorts of cool ships, or build them, and then end up having to meet the same "checklist" of parts and being restricted.
Additionally though, you would be able to make better use of space within a ship. Containers could be long and thin for a specific type of ship or more square to fit where they need to. Most of an engine could be internal so it is longer instead of wider. Larger drive cores could offer reduced cooldowns.
I'd like to hear some of your feedback. Bad idea, good? Waste of time? Let me know!
Takao reacted to blazemonger in NQ please stop listening to players.
What @Kirth Gersen said.. pretty much..
Especially the "making it up as you go" part is a big hurdle. It sometimes feels like NQ is using a lot of time looking up and searching for information on how to resolve problem X instead of having devs able to figure these thing out themselves. That works fine on a small "home project" but at the scale of DU, not so much..
Additionally, NQ has not ever show any willingness to realize a part of their backers/user base is "on to them" in what is described above. The resulting, sometimes direct and harsh, critique is taken as offensive and subsequently NQ will try to silence these voices instead of using the feedback. Their current approach seems to be to insert a group of IMO good CM staff between them and the company as a buffer, not to actually use that to filter and funnel feedback but to shield the company from it and dismiss what comes though.
I'd agree DU is at best an early Alpha at this stage and I think even the two year time frame to get to being feature complete, as far as the base game feature set goes, is optimistic. There is no chance that NQ will deliver a "release state" game in the next 10 months or so unless they cut some serious corners and push out more stuff beyond "release". There is just way to much works to be done in optimization, bug fixing and polish alone to hit that date, let alone add all the new and reworked stuff they say they intend to.
I really think NQ oversold and over promised on their vision, idea and capability and as a result lost their investors which forced them to go public at beta in an attempt to generate revenue to pay interest on their outstanding (increasing) debt and keep the light on in general. There is no way I see they are still budgeting off of the 22 odd million they have on the books as investments and backer pledges collected over the past 6 years. I expect investors realized pretty much what @Kirth Gersen stated above and dropped off, taking their loss (as is often the case in these sorts of investment.. you put money into 30-50 projects and hope 10 of them turn a profit and cover the losses on the rest).
To clarify for those wondering and/or interested; NQ had investment for Seed and Series A rounds but it ended there as investors did not see progress to the level expected for that round. Normally investment on Seed would be 1-2 million (which happened), Series A is around 20 million (which also happened) and would have been expected to bring the game to release with continued growth of revenue and user base. A Series B round would then generally push on with a round of around 60 million which would have aligned with further growing user base and bringing the game to the next level. The latter clearly did not happen in the timeframe NQ set and likely pitched to the investors which is why they took their loss and moved on, the required milestones for a round B was never met and stil is not met. It is possible (but this is purely speculation on my end) there is an option for further investment if NQ manages to release end of 2021 and see growth in userbase and revenue and this may be why they are trying to keep up the idea all is well and they will be able to deliver all they say they will in a stable and release ready product by the end of 2021. As such an investment would potentially clear their debt and give them the funding to press on past release which is possibly what they are trying to achieve. I guess we'll know in a year's time.
Takao reacted to Kirth Gersen in NQ please stop listening to players.
From what I've seen this past year in DU and from my 30+ years of gaming and 10+ years of game development, I can say that:
- NQ is inexperienced with game development and more generally with software development. They're learning both as they go making a lot of mistakes.
- The game is clearly not designed from the ground up to be a game. Like some other projects out there, notability No Man Sky, the starting point wasn't a video game but some cool computer technologies. For DU it was dual contouring voxels combined with classic 3D models (the elements). For NMS it was their adaptive procedural generation system. Usually games are designed the other way around: you plan your gameplay systems and then invent, create or reuse computer technologies to implement these systems. So basically the 'game' aspect of DU is not yet fully designed and finished and they're sill iterating based on what their tech can do it. For short: "we have these cool techs, what game can we make with them ?" instead of "let's make this cool game : which techs do we need to do it ?'.
- the beta is at best an early alpha
- the alpha was a PoC/tech demo
- they clearly don't play their own game, at least not like a normal player would (playing with cheat codes like spawning infinite resources/money or instant travel to anywhere doesn't give you the actual "feeling" a normal player get but rather a distorted one. Designing and iterating the game with that distorted feeling is a very bad thing to do. All seasoned game designers know that. Same for metrics/Excel based game design decisions.
- they don't clearly know what their target audience is.
I think at least 2 more years are required to have a real beta. Doing this in the open with paying customers will not be a good journey.
Takao reacted to blazemonger in [Discuss] We've Heard You!
While I appreciate Naunet posting this, I hear JC talking in this post. And this is where you show us you do not actually understand your own game NQ.
I predicted that this "we heard you" would be a clever spin attempt on the unrest and feedback by not really changing anything and by not actually acknowledging NQ is working backwards. This is all about NQ's fear of losing their player base and they think that will happen because we get bored of the existing gameplay. Meanwhile several streamers have dropped DU from their schedules as their content pretty much dries up with these changes which make it impossible for them to build an interesting and fun experience for their viewership. The statistics do not lie and the count of DU streamers is generally low single digits with low triple number viewer counts and declining.
You heard nothing really NQ, you just decided that you did not explain yourself clear enough because you are right and everyone else just does not understand so you try again..
The ones playing in full autonomy are actually the ones who are the least impacted by these changes; the big orgs. They have stockpiled materials and mass produced components and elements prior to the0.23 rollout due to prior knowledge of the changes.
Big organisator have no need to use the markets. They are entirely self sufficient and inward looking and as such are a major part of why the economy does not start. Amongst other things, we saw that expensive elements were massively bought up as soon as the dev blog dropped (as in almost instantly) and prior to this there was a sudden high demand for L cores with many bought up as well. We now know why. Small groups and solo players do not have a problem using markets if there is supply which really is not the case for many items. The reason is that the big orgs build their own stuff for themselves and may only drop stuff on the markets if they have surplus. Also if someone would start to sell items, they would generally get bought up en mass and put back on the market at higher prices or surplus would be put on the markets at prices which undercut by so much that the small guy's revenue stream pretty much dries up instantly.
Industry at scale is now pretty much the sole domain of the big orgs with deep pockets and the rest is left to pick up the scraps. orgs can and will not determine what is or is not on market and at what price. the changes as they are pretty much lock out the rest as the initial investment is too much with the very limited resources to pay for them and at the same time resources now are pretty much used to buy stuff, not to build stuff.. Ore has become the actual currency in the game. And these latest changes will not make a difference there as te damage is already done.
It just feels like JC/NQ want to build a RL simulator and by pushing that idea, no matter what we bring to the table, problem is that a game first and foremost needs to be _FUN_ .. If I were into what JC wants to achieve I'd study economics and get a job to match. I do not need a second job really.
Overall I'd say you may have heard us NQ, but you failed to listen. You just think you are rights and everyone else is wrong. I've said it before, the industry changes are fine in itself but they should be put in after you facilitate the means to achieve building industry. Your attempt at justification for the changes both misses the point and is quite contradictory to your intent. Here is how I believe this could work and maintain engagement for your player base:
Bring in means to make more money and get set up in game. Develop fun ways to go out and enjoy or create content, gaining assets in the process. Seed the _world_ with valuable items for the markets which will allow PLAYERS to trade with PLAYERS and not seed markets using bots. Create a need/desire to co operate by bringing engaging and challenging events to the game on a permanent basis. Create opportunity for the many smart and creative players by exposing data that drives content creation that aids the game.
And more but these things have been brought up so many times by now it's clear NQ has no intention to consider anything but their own reality bubble vision which entirely originates form what JC wants and not what the players are actually doing, asking for, looking for, talking about.
0.23 spans the cart before the horse, it's actually a pretty cool cart but without the horse the players are left to pull it themselves which turns the game into a grind of massive proportions. Yes what is suggested above will create wealth for players and would make the existing (pre 0.23) game design not viable but guess what, it would create interest and engagement form the community and player base to the point where (I absolutely believe) NQ would be able to bring in the 0.23 changes with a wipe as it is clear that it would not be long for us to rebuild with all the fun stuff to do in game.
I believe many are against a wipe because of the massive grind it would take to rebuild. I also believe that once the game shows the potential to rebuild quickly and grow into the changes 0.23 offers this becomes more of a challenge than a grind and that is where it becomes interesting. More people wil band together and co-operate, the massive benefits and advantages gained from exploits, loopholes and favors for some is cleared and the large orgs wil l still have a big but fair advantage due to their numbers..
Don't "hear" NQ, listen.. It's hard, I know, and it may mean you will have to (further) change your initial and current ideas but you will gain an important thing, a player base which is engaged and active, building tools, setting examples and co-operating in and outside of the game.. Just like I still hope you originally intended the game to be.
DU is too great a promise with too much potential to be stifled and eroded by a false sense of missing your vision, it's not doing that and your game now belongs to the players, you should cater to their needs and wants where you can while using your vision as a guide, not a rulebook.
Takao reacted to blazemonger in NQPlease.. fix the electronics Industry Element model
For months now this model is bugged and will actually move by itself because the "off" and "on" models are not in the same space.
I really hope this is fixed in the coming patch
Takao reacted to Olmeca_Gold in Survivor Bias In DU's Development
When making their plane design decisions during WW2, the US-army once concluded that the most-hit areas of planes should be the parts which must be improved by more armor. This seemingly common-sensical conclusion was proven to be false by the statistician Abraham Wald. The issue was that, the Army's conclusions were drawn from planes actually made home after sustaining damage. One would notice a way different damage distribution and draw very different conclusions, if one actually looked at planes that fell down in combat and didn't survive.
I suggest that a similar error might be beginning to haunt DU's developmental prioritization. NQ is beginning to take the feedback of the currently surviving DU community very deeply to decide which areas of the game they should improve immediately. While this might seem common sensical, it might also be creating a bias similar to the above example.
My (very anecdotal) experience of reading DU community gives me the impression that we have a lot of people here who enjoy making ships and constructs. I know this would be an oversimplication, but let's for the sake of argument categorize these players with othergames they might enjoy. Let's say current DU playerbase has a lot of Minecraft, Satisfactory, Factorio people. This would check out, because voxel building has been one of the most advanced and interesting aspects of DU since early alpha. So people who would enjoy this kind of gameplay came into DU and "survived". The game ended up being interesting to them at the current state.
Meanwhile people who would enjoy PvP, dogfights, exploration, empire building, creating huge organizational (managing real people, not factories) tycoons etc. either didn't come into the game yet, or didn't "survive". Eve, Star Citizen, No Man's Sky kind of players didn't fill DU's current playerbase. And I know many of them dropped out after the weak experience in their areas of interest after beta launch. Ofc, there is greater diversity in player mentality compared to alpha, but still insufficient.
I would argue in its full potential, DU should appeal to all these types for different reasons. But since the game is still in a very early stage, the population of DU is less diverse across these player mentalities and the effects of this bias are greater. Meanwhile, some developmental prioritization decisions are being made by the influence of the existing playerbase, rather than the playerbase DU should be appealing to. Here are some examples how this happens.
1) A feature upvote page was created with no regard to principles like "nobody reads the second page of search results". Then features were upvoted by mostly pre-beta players, cemented on top by the web page's design, and those began taking significant NQ attention.
2) Due to surviving players, ideas like "voxel vertices editor" or "mining bots" are heavily upvoted. These are features which the Satisfactory and Minecraft kind of players would enjoy. They wouldn't enjoy mining so they'd seek ways to build without mining. But DU should be a game which should also appeal to people who like to mine. Bots would devalue their work. Instead of working on an improved mining experience, prioritizing bots is a clear example of survivor bias in development.
3) Similarly, voxel builders are already achieving greatness in DU. Instead of elevating their gameplay further, NQ's developmental prioritization should be getting other gameplays to that level of interestingness and fun.
4) The incoming PvP patch is grounded on solving shipbuilding problems. But meaningful choices in ship design isn't the only balance domain for a fun PvP experience. In a balanced single-shard sandbox sci-fi MMO there needs to be PvP commitment, non-consensual PvP, and a meaningful risk/reward spread. I would argue the lack of warp disruptors, warp bubbles, webs; the ability of PvP'ers to bail out of any fight even after engaging in it, are more important issues than borg cubes. I'm sure it'd be better for more people if NQ solved the core gameplay experience of looking for meaningful PvP for hours and not finding anything, or the ability to bail your ship out of engagements (thus economics, chance of death, consequences not mattering), rather than fixing the shape of my ship.
Of course, in an ideal world, NQ should keep improving all aspects of the game. I am not arguing at all that the game does not need a vertices editor, nor that borg cubes aren't a big issue. I am just saying that NQ should be wary about de-prioritizing important developmental areas which also happen to have no voice in the community since people who would care about these issues aren't even playing yet.
The game is very early and I'm eager to see how things will develop. This post is meant to be more of an early warning to NQ and a conversation initiation. I hope they keep the great work up.
Takao reacted to Kirth Gersen in Let's talk DU quits
That's funny I'm the total opposite here.
I think DU would be a hit if it had a 'solo, offline,standalone' version with a eventually a local server for small co-op. Integrate with Steam Workshop to allow players to share BP and lua and you have a clear winner that could bring cash to develop the mmo.
The MMO choice was (sorry 'is' !) too ambitious and cost too much in term of hosting to allow a free large scale public beta (not sure AWS was a wise choice but I'm biased here). And I'm not sure there are enough potential players for this kind of mmo...
Also technically the game is an mmo but with a too heavy client. Too much is done 'client side' to lower the backend opex but this lead to limitations, cheating issues, and imho very difficult tomorrows.
For instance, I really really wonder how they will fix the 'alf-f4 , ship completely stopped'.
Well time will tell but I'm very worried. Strike a deal with Stadia may be ?
Last point: NQ should really try to use the community to develop parts of the game: open up the file datamining (at least recipe/talents json files, the current locked .ung files is just ridiculous ), add an API/XHR to the client (within lua as a webrequest method+event or make Dual.Exe as a local REST server) , make the whole game UI modifiable (like WoW) and you will see the community will help you code. This will save you dev resources to focus on backend stuff.
Takao reacted to Noddles in Let's talk DU quits
I don't intend to quit the game, but one of the things that has bothered me since I started the game is NQ basically ignoring the playerbase when we explain how mechanics will be used and then implementing shoddy fixes. This happened with PvP, market bots and territory units just to name a few. If you could still see the alpha forums you would see players laying out the problems weeks before the implementation.
Takao reacted to Mordgier in Let's talk DU quits
The definition of a 'beta' has dramatically shifted over the past 15 years - at least in the gaming world - the definition remains:
A Beta phase generally begins when the software is feature complete but likely to contain a number of known or unknown bugs.
15 years ago an MMO beta was a largely finished game. Maybe some end game content missing, some placeholder assets, a few quests unfinished, balance issues and so on...
But you'd get a full vertical slice of the game. Meaning - every single core feature of the game was functional. For example, Anarchy Online went into beta in 2000 and released in 2001. By the time it was beta, the bulk of the game was done - it was buggy, unbalanced and riddled with exploits - but the content was there.
Now you have DU 'beta' - and core features of the game are actually non existent entirely and those that exist are all dysfunctional in some way. There isn't a single thing in the game right now that I would consider ready for release.
DU is by no means a 'beta' in a traditional definition - there is no justification for calling any product that is missing fundamental core features a 'beta'. By definition beta is feature complete, but buggy. DU is at best Alpha. It doesn't matter what NQ choose to call it - it's Alpha. By definition.
So that's why people are complaining. You can't really sell DU as a 'beta' and have so many features not just 'not developed' - but apparently still in the drawing board stages.
All the interviews with JC and the rest of NQ staff have been pretty indicative that they do not have any idea how atmo pvp will actually work, how avatar pvp will work or how territory control pvp will work - I don't mean that they don't have it in game - I mean that they appear to have no idea how it will work at all besides theory crafting how they 'envision' it. It's gotten no further than what JC was talking about during the kickstarter in 2016.
Anyone with any history in development looking at just the planned features on https://upvote.dualuniverse.game/ sees a solid 2 years of work. When those are complete, assuming DU doesn't go the way of Worlds Adrift - then the game will be in Beta - meaning another year of polish to iron out the bugs.
So players have every right to be upset about how incomplete this beta is.
With that said - the harsh reality of life is that games are not developed for free. Given the staff levels and funding, and expected burn rate, it's extremely likely that the decision to launch Alpha in the current state was to create some kind of cashflow - even if only to further use that cashflow to secure loans and investments for future development. I do not blame NQ for launching the 'beta' as is, or for charging for it, AWS doesn't host their servers out of charity and NQ devs do not pay their rent with their passion for game development.
I do think that the bulk of the community gets that point as well - but are still disappointed by the current state of the game.
That's exactly where I am. I am disappointed by DU. I kickstarted, and have 2 paid accounts on top of my 2 pre-paid ones, and will keep the subs going because despite the fact that the game isn't in the state where I want it to be - I realize that it will never get to a state that I want it to be in without continued cashflow. On the other hand I can understand why someone may not wish to pay monthly for a game they don't even log into anymore....
Takao got a reaction from NQ-Naunet in Let's talk DU quits
I baked Dual Universe because I looked for a building game where you can actually build good looking things (so not blocky like in Space Engineers) and do something with them.
I played in Alpha for a little bit, but stopped playing after I was unable to load the game for several month.
After the Beta launch, where NQ again expertly showcased their lack of communication skills, I started playing again, this time with a friend, for several weeks.
We stopped playing DU a few weeks ago, because the need to constantly mine in order to get resources and the total lack of enjoyment in that process combined with my realisation that we couldn't do anything with our L-size ship.
I'm still angry that NQ dared to call this a beta. It's an alpha! Beta means the software is feature complete. 1: NQ is not feature complete. 2: "Feature complete" does not mean a given feature (e.g. CvC) just exists. It means that it's in a working state, where bugs needs to be fixed and the feature might need some adjustments. Not a total rework!
Regarding the feedback from NQ for our suggestions:
NQ can't respond to everything. This does of course not excuse the lack of communication for some of the serious issues.
I would suggest to overhaul and improve the suggestion page:
Clear all votes casted on the page In order to post and vote you have to log in with your NQ account (For NQ internal use) Make an overview of who upvoted what suggestions: What is their playtime? Are they still playing? Alpha/beta backer? etc. Make it easy to comment on the suggestions, e.g. by being able to link the suggestion to a forum thread NQ need to respond to highly upvoted suggestions and talk with the community if their responds is not "We will implement this exactly as suggested" or "We will not because (very good explanation here)"
Some comments/opinions from myself about some game mechanics:
Industry: While the concept is fine (see existence and success of Factorio and Satisfactory), the implementation is terrible. The linking system simply does not work with such many items. I would suggest introducing (covered) conveyer belts (see Space Engineers) which can transport solid items and pipes for gases and fluids. In both cases they just create a network, like in Space Engineers, which just transport everything connected. Throughput and max size per item are of course parameters. PvP: I haven't done it and I will not in the current stage. It must be possible to have a competitive ship that actually looks like a ship and not a cube. Otherwise every trailer where non-cube ships fight are just deceiving and a lie. Several people already posted Please remove the ugly missile launchers and replace them with realistic missile launch bays. What you now have are RAMS and NOT anti ship missiles! Make everyone involved in space CnC decision making watch at least the first session of The Expanse. Thanks. I'm not an expert in physics but why are your railgun rounds exploding on contact? You use railings to make holes in things. And no. using anti-matter ammunition is not an answer, because using that is just so incredibly stupid. Matter will explode when colliding with other matter when traveling at high enough speeds, but I'm not sure at what velocities (are they achievable with such small railguns?) Mining: I hope I don't have to add anything here...
Takao reacted to Supermega in Need for more Voxel Brush shapes, and options.
Disclaimer: All ideas are based on the publicly available info, not under NDA.
Hello, so one of my biggest concerns with the voxel building tools so far, is the lack of support for curved shapes. I really think it would be sad to see an amazing game like this, filled with only Minecraft Box spaceships. Because curved shapes are so impossible to make. So here are a few basic additions I think could really improve on the current voxel building system. I know, more advanced voxel editing are planned like being able to edit control points, and a Voxel Element Library for more complex shapes. But, there are other, more simple things I think that can be done to get curved shapes into the game sooner rather then later. So, the basic idea is to make curved voxel shapes easily available so players would be encouraged to build none box shaped ships and constructs. I did some artwork to help illustrate my ideas. Please feel free to discuss and give feedback on this thread in the comments. Ok, So lets dive right into it.
These pictures are examples of designs that can be made with these shapes.
So, there are several shapes to begin with when using the voxel deploy tool. Here are some important primitives I suggest should be added as voxel brush shapes. Those shapes are Oblate Sphere, Prolate Sphere, Cone, Torus, Elbow Joint.
Why these shapes?
The reason I chose these shapes is because they are nearly impossible to make with with the current tools. An even with advanced editing options, they would still be difficult to get right. So it seems like a no-brainer to have these shapes as starting primitives for the voxel brush. It would make it much easier to start creating curved shaped constructs, and encourage more creative designs.
This picture is of the voxel shapes I think should be added to the voxel brush tool.
Voxel Shape Options
So the next thing is an a expansion on the voxel shapes, by adding parameters before/after the shapes is deployed. For example, having an option like size, and diameter of the TORUS shape before/after you deploy it, or option to set how extreme the elongation is on the SPHERE or CONE before/after you deploy it, and even maybe set the angle of the Elbow joint. So, the way I imagine it would work is, when you select a starting primitive shape, shortcuts like arrow keys, numbers keys are used to set the value of the shape options, then you can deploy it as normal. Also, having an option box that would stay on screen as long as you're using that shape could work too, so that you can continue to change options and deploy new shapes.
This pictures give an example of what changing the options would look like on each shape.
Bevel, Fillet, sharpen edge tool
So, we currently have a tool that allows builder to smooth edges, but to expand on that idea, I think we should also have the option to Bevel, Fillet, or sharpen edges as needs. The issue is that most times the smooth tool does not give the desired result, or maybe you only want to bevel an edge but not smooth it, or maybe you want some edges with a fillet and some edges sharpen. I imagine it working exactly like the current smooth edge tool, except you would be able to Bevel an edge, Fillet an edge, or Sharpen an edge.
This pictures below illustrates how the tool would effect the edge. This is the current smooth tool.
I think this is a simple, but vary important option that needs to be available. Basically we have the option to scale the size of voxel primitives, but we should also have the option to scale voxel primitives on a specific axis (X, Y, Z). This I think would definitely add greater control to create the desired shapes, as well as enhance the freedom of creativity.
So, this thought came to me last minute, but I think its something that shouldn't be overlooked. The ability to start with hollow voxel primitives. Either a voxel brush option to deploy hollow voxels, or solid, and set the wall thickness, or have hollow voxel shapes as a standard starting shape to choose from. I know that there is an option to cut out voxels using primitives shapes, but the main issue is that cutting out voxels gives a very ugly looking result, most times the edges don't look right at all, or you need a hard edge but the cut out has a rounded edge with a messy texture. Also, hollow primitive shapes would improve the speed, and ease of use when building constructs. Especially when working with curved shapes. Trying to hollow out a curved shape would be a nightmare, so starting with a hollow shape would be great.
So my last suggestion is in regard to Voxel Elements. Novaquark mention in this DevBlog that will have a Library of detail, or complex voxel shapes that players could use in their constructs. They mentioned a spiral staircase as an example. Well, here are a few shapes that I think should be included in that database of Voxel Elements.
Pictures of suggested Voxel Elements to add to the Voxel Library.
I know that a voxel point cloud editing system is in development, list on trello Here. That will really open up lots of possibilities for builders. But, in addition to that, having a variety of voxel brush shapes to start with is still needed to give builders alternative options, because sometimes doing things one way just may not work out how you need it to, so having other ways to create shapes is a big help.
I think that covers the general ideas I had. My overall goal is to see more spaceships and constructs that aren't just limited to boxed shapes, and enable creative builders to really unleash their imagination. An I feel adding additional shapes to the Voxel Brush tool would be a good way to accomplish that goal. Please feel free to give feedback in the comments.
Thanks for reading, see you in the next thread.
Takao reacted to Mordgier in Let's talk DU quits
DU makes the common mistake of confusing tedious gameplay with challenging.
For example, getting T4 ore is simply tedious. It's a time sink. There is no skill involved. It's literally just bite down on something and sink in 10 hours looking for nodes. It's time consuming and tedious and the only real 'challenge' is forcing yourself to suffer through the waste of RL time that it is. In short - mining is a time sink.
Industry isn't much different. Anyone can build a giant factory that will produce everything given that they are willing to sink in enough time to produce 500 transfer units. There is no real challenge here either - and that's strange given how countless games have managed to lay the foundation for how industry design games can be challenging by having complex ratios and the like. Factorio, Satisfactory, X3/4, Fortresscraft Evolved - I could go on, but all of these have industry design challenges that DU simply does not. Industry in DU is a time sink - assuming it works right - which it frequently does not with "unknown error" constantly breaking production lines.
So the two most fleshed out features of the game are simply time consuming.
I would say that currently, the only actually challenging aspect of DU is voxelmancy - and ironically - it's the one that should NOT be challenging at all. Anyone should be able to sit down and build a passable looking ship without having to resort to watching hours of youtube videos and hunting for voxel libraries...
Takao reacted to blazemonger in Let's talk DU quits
The game has an extremely high initial bump which, combined with the very rough state of the game's development and rushed move into open and paid "beta" makes it hard to get into. Much of what is missing or what is not working well has been brought up and discussed long before beta started. NQ has never acknowledged any of this and has never shown any indication of being able or willing to adjust their development plans to accommodate this.
Most of the game is very much still in Alpha state, if not pre-alpha. When a "major overhaul of the UI" is announced, what basically happens is a reskin of it. The core UI is very basic and not suitable for several of the intended uses cases, most obviously the talent system. It does not appear there is any central management of the project and it appears "coding" devs are tasked with designing the UI and UX which leads to too much information and overly complex actions with too many clicks and important detail 2 or three levels down where they should be at the surface. The general UI design really has not changed at all, except for a different theme, since pre-alpha.
It's not helpful when, from the occasional communication, NQ paints a picture which wants to tell a story of "everything is great, we're pretty much on track and where we need to be" when the facts in front of us show that that is not the case. And now we hear JC pretty much roll back core promises and vision for the game where "unlimited possibilities" have now become "we will limit what you can do to preserve performance". The amount of work NQ has set up for themselves combined wit he mountain of work that needs to be done to clear technical debt and core issues in the game should be a guide in understanding that it is not possible to get to the state NQ claims the game will be in a year when they intend to "release". The stubborn attitude of not wanting to move the roadmap out and by now plain unrealistic expectation being set by NQ is just not good and will make (new) players tag off and disengage.
I get that much of this will probably be due to the fact that NQ is not in a very good situation financially and needs to work on a very tight and limited budget, but it's hurting the game's progress quite obviously. The amount of work needed to be done to work around the roadblock of "no wipe until absolutely required" for the sake of keeping people subbed is causing ore pain than NQ is letting on. Th underlying tone of NQ having pretty much beg for players to get back to the game or fill out a survey where NQ should and probably does know very well what the pain points are is rather obviously a PR stunt more than anything else.
From podcasts it seems that NQ in general overthinks what we, as the community brings up in the rarae cases there is a response, which is generally only happening on an ad hoc basis when confronted with a live question, and the "solutions" are often overly complex and in effect miss the mark as far as addressing the intended problem. IN general, NQ seems hellbent on reinventing the wheel over and over while solutions are often readily available.
An example is the call for better building tools, NQ will mostly translate this into "we want a vertex editor" and then go into detail on how difficult that is and how much resources it takes. What we actually need is more options to build without resorting to voxelmancy.. More brush options like slopes broken into two voxels, corner pieces and things like that. Making smooth and beautiful ships using voxeltech is great and some designs are amazing but there is no middle ground here between that and basic blocks/boxes. Why can't we have basic shapes like the ones we see in (or instance) Space Engineers? Why is there no single voxel size tetrahedron making it possible to make corners. here's basic block which IMO should be readily available in game (old SE source but valid here)..
The "general" public is not looking for a vertex editor, they just want/need more variation in basic blocks and would be perfectly happy with these. The argument "use a voxel library" pretty much rolls back to my earlier comment about NQ (and a good number of experienced players) not seeing the issue of this being to complex for an entry level player.
What we need is:
In build mode, select voxel placement tool press E to cycle though basic shapes press-hold E to bring up either a radial menu, use scroll wheel to cycle through all available blocks or the option to "click and pick" from a more varied choice of block "brushes"
Another example is power management. It has been discussed with some good suggestions provided since Alpha but NQ never acknowledged any of it or engaged with us on these ideas.
Then, while it's unfortunately a meme by now, the question is a valid one, where is the canopy glass? Why has NQ not ever acknowledged this and why is this element on display in game but not available to players? It is another simple option to make designs easier to make "pretty".
Lastly, it is _very_ disappointing and a tell tale sign of how NQ thinks that the NDA forum section has been archived and is no longer accessible. It means a wealth of information and content which could be reused in beta is now lost. Arguments to maintain access to these clearly, and frankly expectedly, fell on deaf ears as NQ does what NQ does regardless of what we, as a community think. Why make a post in the tone of an invite to discussion when you really just make an announcement?
If you, as NQ, intent to do things your way anyway, why pretend to care enough to ask for our input/feedback. I know this post will no doubt trigger the fanbois in the community once more but he fact I get quite a few messages from community members when I make posts like this saying how they agree tells me I'm not wrong. What we're seeing now is pretty much what happened when Naerais joined and it lasted for maybe a month or two before NQ fell right back to being their usual self. I hope I am wrong and this time NQ will move in a different direction but I reserve the right to expect they won't and it's just a temp band-aid before it's back to business as usual. I'll be happy to be proven wrong though, we'll see.
Takao reacted to Kanone in Let's talk DU quits
Planetary system is not implemented, there are planets but no planetary system, everything is just static, not even the sun is real.
Spaceflight is boring, mining is boring, building is super complicated, PvP is boring, industries are just unnecessarily complicated like TU and the links.
There are also technical problems on both the server and the client.
Surrogates are crap, why can't you steer a ship with them? Reason? So that you need 2nd accounts? And if u use them for a travel the ship will stop.
There are too many glitshes, just the Alt F4 issue, the client calculates the physics, no client = no physics, if you die, the ship stops immediately from 30000 to 0, in pvp too, force respawn, engine stacking, many duplication bugs.
Then there is the social issue, how is there supposed to be a "brisk trade" with these auction houses when you stand at the machine, why should I build buildings that nobody sees in the end because there is no reason to fly to anyone except trade .
The only thing that works really well is wasting time - it works great.
And with the whole background there is a PvP on top which is extremely unfair like XS Cores with L weapons/radar and engine stacking (u can stack all parts).
I can hardly imagine that someone who ignores all the points listed above and then still has the desire to continue after losing his ship in PvP, especially at the beginning, this can be fatal.
Quite simply, the game is far from having a large player base, as it is now, it will lose a lot of people, mostly forever.
Translated with Google if someone asks
Takao reacted to blazemonger in The problems with Planned updates and how they will kill PvP
OP's suggestions are based on the assumption that PVP is a central mechanic which is a goal to achieve and a means to make a living in game or "pay for itself". I'd say that assumption is actually incorrect and while it is obviously perfectly fine and absolutely acceptabel to choose the life of a pirate or bandit in game, this doe snot mean NQ must amend their plan/vision to accommodate that. For the game to "work" elements need to get destroyed and not be indefinitely repairable.
I'd expect a docked ship to not be able to actually engage in PVP while being docked, and so you would need to both fly it and as you refer to M code I'd expect you would need several players per ship to use it effectively. I'd say that this level of co-operation and co-ordination is pretty much what the game is about and so I do not see the problem.
Also, have you seen an L core and how do you see a design which would have a S core cross section on an L core ship? Also as above, you can't benefit from having M core ships docked so you'd be a sitting duck if the L core is not weaponized and operated by a group of players.
Lastly, while energy management was mentioned, I did not hear anything about that coming in with the December patch, it is something planned to come March 2021 at the earliest. We also have no information at all on how that will actually work so any assumptions like you make are at best speculative.
It all sounds like what you see as an issue is not actually there as there is way to much unknown to even make the assumptions you do.
Takao reacted to JohnnyTazer in The problems with Planned updates and how they will kill PvP
Sorry, as for someone with a decade experience pvping in eve, and pvp experience in DU, element destructions is 100% needed. What ive also proposed tho long ago as a forum post, is a robust Salvage talent tree. And im not talking about holding alt and clicking to take elements salvaging. I'm talking about when elements are 100% dead, you can get some RNG and possibly get back some parts that were used to create that. So things do die, but slavagers can still profit some. And with durability it sounds like even if someone loses they wont have completely destroyed every element so still profit to be had.
As for docking I've never done anything with it so dont know.
Takao reacted to GraXXoR in Incoming pvp changes
That is my impression... I believe that beyond flight and interaction physics, voxels and inventory and progressing server backend technology, they have not started on any of the higher level societal structure (beyond RDMS) or overarching strategic gameplay.
It really still feels like early alpha, and the only reason it feels playable at all is more due to its sandbox nature than the level of development gone into it.
Elite Dangerous alpha was pretty playable. The game had exemplary physics, a working Stellar Forge, NPCs were implemented (though weak), trading worked, proto missions were available (sadly, some of those exact same missions are still available to this day), equipment classes and grades, the basics of a crime and punishment system... And a sense of progression... From ship to ship all the way to the mighty Anaconda, or Jump to Jump to the centre of the galaxy, far rim, nearest nebula, etc...
I don't want to compare the two games directly but rather contrast the states of development they were both in during their respective alpha periods.
The elite "premium" beta came out, plus a final beta and then a conformational "gamma" was released during which very little added. Bugs were squashed, values were tweaked, assets were improved but the game was recognisable.
This game has so many things left to implement before it's even concept complete, let alone feature complete. So I don't expect critical details to be implemented or even decided yet, TBH.
Takao reacted to blazemonger in Incoming pvp changes
Silly idea, a small object should be less easy to lock, regardless of radar size. The radar size should maybe increase the lock chance/time, have a longer lock range and in return require more power (once introduced). You also mentioned just now that they said that this depends on both having the same radar.. How woudl the size of my radar affect your ability to lock me.. That is such sideways thinking..
Artificial balance idea unless the lock chance actually changes if the relative position and orientation is taken into account by this.
Another short sighted and knee jerk "solution"
Cores should have a power capacity, weapons/shields/engines/radar/countermeasures should require power. You can fit whatever as long as it stays within the power capacity of the core. You fit large weapons, no or minimal shields or only a small radar operating a limited capacity so you need to get close which opens you up to attack. You may be able to add power by adding batteries but they have limited use and will impact mass and agility with it.
Once more, NQ shows their inability to be creative and really come up with good ideas as well as being oblivious to anything the community may discuss suggest. If these things are al they can come up with after nearly a year since they introduces PVP.. I don't know but it's meager at best..
EDIT: Posted update on this further down after hearing what was actually said and frankly, it's not that bad and actually pretty decent as far as ideas go.
Takao got a reaction from Teufelaffe in Permanent Bubble? They nuts?
A non-pvp zone helps every player:
Non-PvP players know where they can safely move.
PvP players know where they find players that are (more or less) ready for PvP, which is important, because who wants to accedentially engage with another player who doesn't want any pvp?
Takao reacted to SirMaxxx in Warning (and a bit of a whinge) re Support / Refunds etc.
Bought a three month subscription Aug 28th.
Could not get into the game (login timeout) at all.
Contacted support Aug 30th and sent required debug files Aug 31st. as requested.
Heard nothing. Repeatedly contacted support and once, via discord, got into the game for about a minute before it crashed and went back to the timeout issue.
Finally asked for them to cancel my payments and give me a refund as I wasn't getting any response from support (Sept 17)
"Please cancel my payments immediately and refund me the full amount paid"
Sept 30 received an email "Thanks for getting back to us. Sorry to hear you're having trouble playing the game and would like to have a refund. No worries, we'll get this sorted for you."
Today (Oct 28) I received an email
"I went ahead and cancelled your subscription."
note they cancelled the subscription and not the payments.
"Regrettably, scenarios such as this are currently not eligible for a refund."
with a link to the T&C with all the 14 day stuff in it.
I let them know within 2 days it wasn't working - but it has taken them 2 months to respond - but tough, outside the 14 days, buddy!
And in that same email
"If you are interested, I would take a closer look at the issue and would like to request the following data about your device/setup:"
asking for the same files I sent on 31st August that nothing happened about.
I have tried all of the solutions offered in various other posts from folk having similar problems - and as mentioned, one of their support people managed to get me in the game for a minute by doing something (unfortunately when it crashed on my again and went back to the old behaviour, the Discord chap just told me to raise a support ticket.)
So I have asked them to re-instate my subscription until it expires (otherwise how could I possibly tell if they ever fix the problem) but not to allow it to renew.
I have sent the files requested (including resending the old files) in the hope that someone will actually look at them this time.
Incidentally (just in case they're reading) @ng-wokk was the original email support person I sent the files to (and who never responded) and @ng-rocketman is the most recent correspondent.
I offer no advice - just the facts.
I will post again should I hear anything...
Don't hold your breath
Takao reacted to blazemonger in Permanent Bubble? They nuts?
The questions I have are:
Why are "PVP oriented players" so focused on being able to target those who have no counter/recourse? Are you looking for kills more than fight maybe?
Why is it that on a good number of occasions, a ship approaching me on an intercept course would turn tail and run as soon as I start moving in their general direction instead of staying on my intended heading? Are you afraid to actually encounter a fight maybe?
It's been well established by now that, while they may be the loudest, The player base looking for pewpew is in fact the minority. Not meant in a bad way but it is.
It appears to me that based on what many of these complain about, if the creatives and non combatant players would leave, there is nothing left for these players to do or shoot at.
The notion of fleets and escorts in game is not viable as there is n way for a fleet to move as a unit. Also If there were to be escorts, this would in effect do the same as using warp as you would not be interested in engaging due to the fact you may actually lose a fight and you are more interested in the kill.
Non combatant players right now choose the expensive route of Warp drives because there are no counters in the game to avoid being shot at. There is no deflection, jamming, stealth, decoys, flares, chaff. Saying "just bring friend and load guns" is not a viable options as this means losing room for cargo and generally being less cost effective than adding a Warp Drive in the first place. And again, many "PVP players" would actually not engage if they find they may actually draw the short straw in a fight.
DU is not, and was never designed to be, a combat centric game. It plays a role in the game for sure, and is important as a pillar of the game, but it is not what the game is all about and anyone who has the expectation is is, should be or will be choose the wrong game to play.
Territory Warfare will favor the defenders versus the attackers, yes. I have no doubt NQ will implement EVE style mechanics which will prevent offline base raiding and allow for time zone co-ordination when getting into fights.
All that said, and while I personally have no interest in combat at all, I do agree that the choice to now let the existing Alioth/Madis/Thades safezone triangle in place is not good for the game and effectively creates a game within a game. It creates a whole set of new problems which I fear NQ has not considered yet and is a massive surrender of their initial vision for the game towards the creative part of the community, I think because they do not really know how to otherwise safeguard this group remaining in game. What may play into this is that NQ knows that this group is both bigger, gives them more exposure and may well be inclined to spend more money in the coming cosmetics cash shop than the PVP oriented player base which from a business POV does make sense.
Takao reacted to Geckospeed in Fair Warning. And a message to the devs.
I bought the game with the minimum entry package, think it was two months or something. And my request for a refund was denied. My reason being that I can't play the game because graphically it's cancerous and so blurry it gives me a headache just to look at it. How this doesn't warrant a refund when I played it for maybe 10 minutes I don't know, but reflects very poorly on the devs. That being said. I'm not going to do your work for you and submit a technical ticket or report this issue on the forums as it seems others have, and that's not my job.
I leave this as a message of my extreme disappointment with this game as a product, and it's developers service, as well as warning to others who may struggle with hot blurry messes.
Takao reacted to GraXXoR in This game is too easy. Some Thoughts and concerns.
Weren’t loads of things locked back in the early alpha? L space engines, I remember, not being placeable by me at one point.
A problem is mining is too fast because they didn’t want to do automated mining.
they couldn’t make mining realistically slow since you have to baby sit each litre you get.
so instead you get to pull in 200M3 per second per player.
they should have screwed the ridiculous voxel based mining and just had extraction point mining with a low extraction rate that requires a permanent base set up to protect the resources.
means logistics to empty the skips and bring the resources home would have to be thought about and that would have made resource supply lines and pickup routes a thing and made regions of the planets actually valuable and worth fighting for.
the game is broken in that respect.
Takao reacted to blazemonger in This game is too easy. Some Thoughts and concerns.
Too many loud voices are way too attached to their riches, many of which were obtained using unbalanced game options and mechanics which in the process destroyed a good portion of the games ability to facilitate it's development. Not saying ppl exploited anything here, but NQ made some bad choices, were told they were bad choices and went ahead anyway and then found they made some bad choices
Combine this with their focus on revenue and as a result sacrificing their ability to actually balance and restructure as needed (including wipes which are absolutely normal and part of game development at this stage) and you have a recipe for a hollowed out game only a few weeks into it's beta soft launch.
A wipe, once important balance passes are in the game, where we keep our blueprints and see accrued talent points returned to the pool for a respec would be good for the game, it will weed out some of the debris and some of the abandoned structures. It will potentially weed out some who focus more on being able to say they "own all this" and not really partake in the game and at at the same time create an opportunity for NQ to push the game to new players coming in on the subjective idea of an "even playing field" (which is really not a thing but too many think it is so why not make use of that sentiment and gain more revenue through it).
It wil certainly draw some tears form big orgs who invested a lot of time in their infrastructure but those wil bounce back even when they may do a lot of crying about it in the process. NQ setting up a "no wipe unless we really have to" expectation was a mistake but at the same time I really feel that, once the balance passes are done, it very much defendable that they "have to" wipe in order for these passes to take proper effect (which is what I do expect will eventually happen)..
Regarding Talents, there are a lot of talents now which really do not have any effective use. I'd agree it would be good to have certain items locked behind talents and then consecutive levels increase the effectiveness of those elements..
For instance, for Territory Scanner:
"Scanning Calibration" - will increase the range at which you can detect ore, increasing 20% each level where Level 5 also unlocks;
"Territory Scanner Calibration" - Unlock Territory Scanner and reduce scan time by 15% each level, level 4 will also unlock;
"Multi Scan Operation" - Allow for one extra scanner to be operated simultaneously and remotely per level within a total of 7 scanners at L5 allowing a player to scan a tile and it's surrounding tiles with one scan action (3,4,5,6,7 respectively)
And for Warp drives:
"Space Engine Calibration" - increase ability to calibrate and optimize space engine speed with 20% per level, ending at 30K for level5 which also unlocks;
"Warp Drive Calibration" - unlocks Warp Drives and increase ability to calibrate Warp drives before jumping by 15% each level, level 4 will also unlock;
"Warp Cell Efficiency" - Decrease number of warp cells required to travel by 15% per level
NQ pretty much copied the EVE skill system but forgot to understand how that system is really a rather smart chain of skills which provides a logical and sensible progress for players as they get deeper in the game, unlocking abilities as they go and as the player's experience will allow him/her to use such skill effectively. I'd also really like to see NQ introduce skill books like EVE has as it will remove a lot of clutter when skills for which books are not available can easily be filtered out.
Skill books also actually create roles within organizations where you'd have players tasked with keeping org books in stock and distributed as needed.