Please keep in mind I'm not a professional game designer and many of these ideas may not be as viable as I'd like. Also, this is just my opinion. Hope you all enjoy.
How to Make Elite Dangerous Odyssey Successful
Hire More Writers. Add Actual Prewritten Stories. Curate Your Content.
(Odysseus’s journey wasn’t notable just because of his misfortunes. It was also because he encountered many interesting characters who had their own stories that became a part of his.)
Start with Superpower Factions. Each should follow their own theme and should last many hours (the gameplay itself, not actual written/scripted content.) Each will also lead to unlocking ships within that respective faction; no more 20+ hour real world mindless grind for a few ships! Also, incorporate these into Powers and as an intro to Powerplay.
(These would be presented like the tutorials are/have been.)
Zachary Hudson – Weaponry and Power; Militarization and Cold, Hard Credits;
Felicia Winters – Haves vs Have Nots, Encouraging Stability for the sake of Increased Profits for All
Zemina Torval – Wealth, Status, and Imp Slavery,
Denton Patreus – Power and Honor;
Arrisa Lavigny-Duval – Patronage and Service to the Empire;
Aisling Duval – Privilege, the Imperial Media, and Imp Slavery
Edmund Mahon – Travel and Contacts; Cooperation and Protection; How to Lead a Broken Mess of Systems
Ram Tah – Exploration of Thargoid and Guardian Sites. Visiting Eagle Eye sites, Conducting humanitarian operations/rescues, learning to fight Thargoids, etc.
Archon Delaine – Betrayal, Infighting, Loot, Intimidation of Targets, How to deal with civilians, etc.
Smugglers – How to Smuggle, What to Smuggle where, How to deal with Slavery (ethically or “professionally”, etc)
Independent – Ship Progression; Tourism; Meeting Engineers and Powers; leading you through signal sources, etc.
Stories can be connected with existing mechanics and transitions in game. (You already have chained missions in game!)
Example, A salvage job can turn into an ambush where you fight and/or flee. Upon return to settlement, a ground CZ has erupted due to a mass attack by the faction that ambushed you. Together with the base’s troops, you fight back to reclaim the settlement. Upon doing so, you find out the salvaged item contains intel that needs to be delivered out of system. Upon delivery and decryption at an outpost, the intel exposes a local politician who’s been selling secrets to an enemy superpower. You’re then tasked with assassinating them while they’re flying in system. You do so, only to find out the ship they were on was a decoy. The enemy superpower retaliates with a space CZ. Upon successful completion, your command lets you know they’ve tracked down the politician at a small settlement. You’re then tasked with killing them in person once and for all via assassination. You do so. Upon return to the outpost, you’re awarded your choice of a small ship for services rendered. (At every step, CMDRs are rewarded for their efforts. Credits, Mats, etc. There are no time limits for these missions.) Note how this one thing is hours of gameplay. It’s epic, it’s immersive, it’s rewarding!)
Stories should be Instanced so as to protect the integrity of CMDR’s individual choices.
Stop the Abhorrent Grind
10 CZs for one engineer invite? 10 Restores for one engineer invite? This isn’t rewarding and is honestly boring after the first couple.
Instead, weave Engineer progression into main faction stories. (They’re usually allied with a faction of some sort anyway, so this makes sense.) As players do the Stories, they unlock/accrue the items needed to progress their Engineering. This will increase engagement while lessening the grind.
Put loot on individual bodies. Destroyed ships can be looted, individual people should be too. Let us upgrade our suits and weapons with mats we’ve acquired by using our suits and weapons. (Again, this will lessen the grind and makes sense from a gameplay perspective.
Implement Actual Characters
Think SWTOR, Mass Effect, etc. Create Crew Members with unique backstories and motivations that players can recruit at specific places. (You know how Engineers are unique? Like that.)
In addition, rework the current Crew system. Add more procedural generation to these so they aren’t the same dozen or so presets. Put Crew Members in the damn chairs beside you in your ship. Again, not hard to do. (You already do this for Apex and Frontline.)
*If you can’t/won’t create Crew Members for us, Let us do it ourselves with Holo Me. (Think Dragon’s Dogma; add voice options for these similar to Apex and Frontline.)
Create unique Stations for Power Headquarters. Put the Power Leaders in those places. These should be impressive stations that surprise and delight the player with how much different they are from more mundane stations. (Let your art team have fun with these.) Roll them out over time via GALNET events, such as an introduction to these new stations, or as a some sort of public address or broadcast after a successful CG. In keeping with the lore of ED, don’t let/have players be personally addressed by the Power leaders. They’re still much too busy to get to know each and every pilot under their employ. Or even pretend to care about them in some cases. (Think World of Warcraft Faction Leaders; people will come just to “meet” them.)
Rework Costs (Including ARX)
If a ship costs 300,000K, a suit or small arm should NOT cost even close to that. Make it make sense.
As far as ARX, why does one weapon skin cost as much as a 30 piece clothing set? Why does one 30 piece clothing set cost three times more than another 30 piece clothing set? Be consistent! Not being consistent is pretty infuriating!
Create Earnable Cosmetics In Game
Selling Ship Kits, Paint Jobs are Fine.
But STOP Making Suits/Clothing Buyable
Suits, Components, Clothing, etc Should be Craftable and/or Farmable
There should be Suits and Clothing that fit Lore and Factions. Thousands of CMDRs with none of them wearing Imp, Fed,, Alli, Indy, or Raider attire is a waste of worldbuilding and roleplaying opportunities.
Also, STOP pushing out/advertising weapon/ship skins when your base game is broke af. This is tone deaf to an insulting degree.
SERVE YOUR FANBASE. Actually LISTEN to what they want. (THEY WILL PAY YOU TO IMPLEMENT IT.)
Where are Hutton Orbital Mugs for Dashboards? That is not hard to implement. Make it available in the ARX Market. Make it free for anyone who makes the trip.
Offer Lavian Brandy in at the damn bar in Lave. Hell, offer drinks of any kind at every bar throughout the galaxy. Create emotes for CMDRs. Let them sit on chairs and stools.
SHIP INTERIORS. DO THEM. THE DEMAND IS THERE.
Start with small ships only. Make them all have the same preset bunk/sleeping area according to manufacturer. Charge money for them a la Ship Kits. You WILL make bank off of this. Over time, design bigger and better interiors for the bigger ships. Charge money for them a la Ship Kits. You WILL make More bank off of this.
While I personally enjoy Space Legs and ground gameplay more than most, I realize that most players are probably here for the ships, as they are the true focal point of ED. While Odyssey is impressive from a technical standpoint, the “larger” preexisting world of ED suffers from the lack of any new ships. There are “holes” in the current roster that could be filled. A few ideas follow:
First, a new category – following the convention of S, M, L, H hardpoints, now there are Huge ships.
Zorgon Peterson – Panther Clipper LX – 232,000,000
Niche – Trade/Combat Freighter
Struggles to steer left or right but excels at pitching up and down (think Type 7 but faster). Heavy and not easily turned, but adept enough at barrel rolls. Uses asset from concept art. Longer and flatter than Type 9/10, much stronger shield, in line with other ZP offerings. Oversized engines much like FDL and Mamba. Oversized slots intended for cargo. Not “fast” due to size and weight, but faster than expected considering. Slightly undersized Fuel Tank. Jump Range – similar to but less than Anaconda. Single Small ship Hangar included. (Small ship, not Fighters)
Cockpit emphasizes technical readouts (similar to Mamba) related to size and weight with some personal amenities. Windows/canopy more similar to FDL. 3 Seats
Hardpoint Example – 1 H (Center Dorsal, behind cockpit) , 2 L (One on each “wing”, below cockpit), 4 M (2 on Dorsal Midline beside engines, 2 on each side of nose) (See Edit.)
Alternate – 2 H (Center Ventral (orbital weapons), 2 L (toward rear Dorsal) 4 M (2 on each side of nose, 2 on each “wing” below cockpit.) (See Edit.)
Saud Kruger – Narwhal Liner – 281,000,000
Niche – Multipurpose/Exploration
Similar to SK lineup, rolls well but struggles to turn. Slower than SK lineup, but better armored. Massive fuel tank. As far as aesthetic, think more catamaran or littoral combined with cruise ship. (The Feds bought these for their president to project power as much as prestige.) Cockpit not in front like other SK ships, but in the middle of the ship; the idea is the bridge is less exposed there. Normal shield, Efficiently sized Engines, Massive Fuel tank. Healthy jump range. A mix of many modules, about half are large and the other half smaller. This is essentially an all in one armored transport that can fulfill any mission; vehicle hangars, passenger bays, etc. Fighter Hangar enabled.
Cockpit emphasizes Federal efficiency and hardness with SK’s clean curves and minimalism. Windows still blacked out. 3 Seats
Hardpoint Example – 1H (Center Dorsal, rear of the ship.) 2 L (Center Dorsal, both along the length of the ship. 3 M (Near Nose and Center Ventral near Nose), 2 S ( Center Ventral Near Nose.)
Core Dynamics – the Harrier – 59,000,000
Niche – Multipurpose/Combat
Essentially the Asp/DBX to the Asp/DBScout, the Harrier is a longer, better powered, better armed version of the Vulture. Originally sidelined as being considered too expensive for mass production, CD administrators marketed it as a no-nonsense specialized armored transport to more results-oriented and less cost-averse units in the Federal Navy and for Frontline Solutions. Similar in size to the FDL. Thrusters are oversized, esp lateral thrusters. Heavily armored hull tank, but with an appropriately sized power plant this time. Basically a more manuverable, more armored and slower FDL; a Hunter-Killer focused on firepower. Heavily overspecialized. Poor jump range due to heavy armor/mass (less than FDL). Fighter Hanger enabled.
Cockpit emphasizes Federal strength mixed with functional militarism. Multicrew actually useful here. 2 Seats.
Hardpoint Example – 1H (Center Dorsal, behind cockpit, 2 L (on each side, just behind cockpit, essentially where they are on Vulture. 2 M (one on each side of cockpit, on either dorsal or ventral side of “pincers.”) (See Edit)
Example 2 – 3 L (on each side, just behind cockpit, essentially where they are on Vulture) 2 M (one on each side of cockpit, on either dorsal or ventral side of “pincers.) (See Edit)
Core Dynamics – the Hawk – 64,000,000
Niche – Combat
The next generation of Core Dynamics firepower, originally prototyped by Jupiter Division as a surgical strike craft designed to operate in “wolf packs” as blades in the dark, more akin to a scalpel than the hammer that is the Harrier. Meant to destroy targets, acquire intel, and disappear. Reverse engineered from FDL with armored technology pioneered on the Vulture. Well armored (prob on par with Challenger) with a shield comparable to FDL. Slower than FDL, but more manuverable. Appropriately sized power plant, very good heat dispersion, very low heat profile, less good heat capacity. Basically no cargo capacity except for limpets.
Cockpit emphasizes state of the art militarized stealth technology. Blister cockpit similar to Mamba. 2 Seats
Hardpoint Example – 3 L (2 on sides of ship horizontal to cockpit, 1 in front of cockpit) 2 M (on sides of ship, just behind nose, 1 tucked between armor panels on ship nose.) (See Edit)
Example 2 – 1 H (Just behind Cockpit, similar to Fed Corvette) 2 L (on sides of ship horizontal to cockpit) 2 M on sides of ship, just behind nose.) (See Edit)
Gutamaya – Imperial Seer – 39,000,000
Niche – Combat
The only Imperial medium ship, specifically built for combat due to the Nine Martyrs incident. Designed to be a heavily shielded attack craft that can deliver sustained amounts of damage before evading. Meant to defend Imperial Clippers and Cutters by way of preemptive attacks on larger targets that Imperial Eagles may struggle with. Great power plant and capacitor. Shield better than FDL. Armor less than Chieftain. Faster and more maneuverable than most.
Cockpit emphasizes usual Gutamay aesthetic mixed with “stricter,” more military Imperial aesthetic than less stringent Gutamaya ships. 1 Seat.
Hardpoint Example – 2 L, 3 M.