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Guest Djinnanetoniks

Element Destruction, materials scarcity and territory mechanics

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Guest Djinnanetoniks

So something that I've seen people saying as a potential problem that will be exacerbated by the upcoming addition of Element Destruction is that people are already having a harder time finding high tier materials  than even a month ago. And this makes sense, since wildcat mining with a 2 kT ship is pretty easy for even a moderately sized organization. Load up a ship with 3-4 people and go fly to a moon in the safe zone to scope out any hex that has t3 and above materials in it then go digging for only those orebodies. 5 people can clear out a hex of high tier mats down to 1 km in like what 3 hours tops? Add in the fact that certain ores prefer certain biomes and it makes it so that large swaths can be almost completely depopulated in a matter of days for determined wildcat miners without them even bothering to put down a territory control unit as they will be gone faster than it would take to build.

So we have people feeling like they won't be able to afford to keep up with maintaining their ships once Element destruction comes in without grinding away mining t1-2 ores for hours a day to sell in order to get enough money to buy parts rather than build them themselves with the industry they have spent time building for themselves. And that is a great way to have a bunch of people leave the game once their subscription is over. So people have been asking for renewable ores but this isn't really a great response to the situation as it's pushing too far into a mode of allowing people to simply stay in one place forever without the slow but steady expansion that NQ wants to see happen for people to move out of the safe zones and into contested space so that there can be gameplay involving territory control and similar PvP interactions.

Regenerating ore would remove much of the drive to push out into the farther reaches, so what we need is a way to:
1. Increase the amounts of ores of all types available in the safe zones so that people who start late or prefer a low combat style of play are not penalized unduly for staying in the initial areas while they build up their abilities and capabilities, but also
2. Some form of decreasing benefit to staying that does provide some impetus to move people out and away to make room for new players,
3. AND it can't require too serious an overhaul of the skills or habits that people have already put time into learning as that would alienate people who are the core of the community here. 

Luckily we have an answer for this already in the skill tree: Dredging.

My proposal is 3-fold:
1. reduce the size of all ore nodes in all zones of al planets by at least half, but do not increase or only slightly increase the Number of ore nodes in all zones. This is to prevent there being no cost/benefit considerations for wildcat mining like right now where it is the standard method of getting all materials. Nodes need to stay in the game to maintain the use of the low level mining skills and to act as waypoints for the truly dedicated miners to flex their muscles with the next two parts of the proposal.

2. every hex should be given a % composition of the materials that can be found in said hex. not every hex should have every material so no change there, but the difference is is that all the excess material that is added to each hex (because we need more to maintain the ability for newbies and PvE preferers to stay in their zones if they want to put in the time, because all the excess material that is left in the zone after all the nodes have been mined will be in the dirt/sand/soil/rock that you dig through to reach the nodes.  And to be able to collect this material I propose that you need a Dredging skill/tool instead of simply clicking the "collect non important" button we currently have. to get the material out of the soil/dirt/sand/stone you should have to run it through a new machine called the Sifter or something of that type and you get ore out in ratio equivalent to the average ore composition of the hex that you found from the territory scanner. This mechanic would allow people to stay in one area a lot longer and still not run out of resources But also require a noticeable uptick in the amount of time required to gather resources once the rich ore nodes have been exhausted so players will be forced to weigh the cost/benefit of staying home or venturing out for materials. Plus if you find a hex that is abnormally rich in a valuable material there would suddenly be an incentive to building a territory unit and staking your claim on it so that no one can come in and swipe some of your Cobalt rich dirt. So this would also potentially have the side benefit of driving territory control gameplay out in the PvP zones. some fiddling with that system might be necessary to prevent monopolizing of land in the safezones but I'll let NQ deal with that.

3. There is also the potential of having the dirt/soil/sand/rock near where the ore nodes are still located being richer in those specific materials, thus not completely ruining the late game usefulness of the scanning gameplay that people will have trained up over their time playing. This would mean that there would be definite hierarchies of exploiting a hex properly as you chase the higher concentrations of materials first when you start and then work your way through the less and less rich materials as you have to constantly evaluate whether spending excess time mining for easy, guaranteed gains is more worth your time than gearing up to go prospecting for a rich score out in space.

So basically we would have much easier access to all tiers of materials for people and hopefully remove the growing bottle neck of finding t3+ ores that new/slower players are finding is occuring but also still have a definite mechanism in place to drive people to weigh how much time they are willing to spend on gaining materials and where their personal line is for when moving from safezone to conflict zone is worth it to them.

Let me know your thought! and NQ you are more than welcome to take this idea and slot it into the game, I require no compensation for your use of this idea beyond saying that you got the idea from me :)

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