TL;DR: I am going to make a suggestion. And some people are going to hate it. But I believe, that a large number of you will be able to understand my line of thinking, and some of you may even end up agreeing with me. And that is all it needs. Not all of you. Just some of you.
FDev should crowd-fund an ‘overhaul’ of Elite: Dangerous
Let me explain.
After the unsatisfying release of Odyssey, one thing has become quite clear: The additional content that Odyssey brought is not what this game needed. Even when imagining there were no game breaking bugs. Or glaring balancing issues. Assuming everything worked as well as people had hoped… I personally feel it wouldn’t have been enough to unlock Elite’s true potential. And I strongly believe that many people in our community feel the same.
So I asked myself why that is. And I came to the conclusion, that what this game is actually plagued by, is not lacking additional shiny new content. But it is to finally clean up all those smoldering HEAPS of Development Dept that FDev have accumulated over the years.
Things that might seem trivial. And things that most of us just smirk about nowadays, and ignore, but are still things that hurt this game.
- How many liners among the top 1% have you seen recently? Or ships that complain about getting scanned unjustly? Remember how every time you see that statement in your message log in game, something inside of you dies just a little bit more? Because we are all painfully aware just HOW easy it would be for FDev to write additional random dialogue? It would take a decent writer maybe a day or two, to come up with some additional dialogues. And it would INSTANTLY make the game feel significantly more alive and more colorful. The biggest effort in this process would only be to get the quotes translated. But implementing them would be a breeze.
- What about undocking without limpets again? Do you really think FDev is incapable of implementing a menu option, to give you a popup warning as you want to undock, if you have any limpet controllers installed, and have 0 limpets in your cargo? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to get this annoyance out of the game?
- What about the imbalance in the amount of grind and risk it takes to get Combat Elite rank, while you get Trading Elite basically for free, at virtually no risk? Don’t you feel it invalidates Trade Elite status, just by how trivial it is to unlock and makes this ‘accomplishment’ not really feel like one?
- What about you mindlessly farming engineering materials by constantly re-logging in the exact same spot, and then trading the materials down, because even if it feels like an exploit, it is just so much more efficient by a gigantic margin, than doing it the ‘intended’ way? Is this really the engaging gameplay you want from this game?
- What about the imbalance in the potential income of game activities? Remember that the game has smuggling? And don’t you also think it leaves a sour taste, that it is essentially a waste of time? Of course you don't, because you are too busy mining space rocks all day!
- What about damage models for more than just the Anaconda, where it’s so painfully clear that it was just made because it’s ED’s poster girl? Other ships are nice too, you know!
- What about the fact that 90% of missions are pointless, because the rewards are not worth it?
- What about giving us an official ingame option to change our HUD colors?
There are dozens of those examples, that all seem to be so tiny by themselves. But all of them combined can just really sour your gaming experience. And not just can. They do! We all feel it. We all know it. Elite is held back by those things. As insignificant as each of them may be individually. It drags the game down inch, by inch, by inch, to where it is now. Barely just still afloat.
And this all leads us to the big question: Why doesn’t FDev finally friggin fix those things?
And unfortunately, this is where we have to accept the reality, that FDev is a company. And they need to earn money with what they do. This is just how most of our world works.
There is no direct way for FDev to profit off of those fixes. Unless through increased game sales and ARX. Which are way too indirect a means of quantizing the impact of putting the necessary time into “overhauling” the game. Even rolling it all into an additional DLC wouldn’t work, as an overhaul like this would need to be applied to the very foundations of the game, and can’t end up separating the game into two completely different base experiences.
So … this is where all of this has been leading.
The big question.
How can FDev directly profit from FIXING the game?
Not extending it.
Not adding new gameplay.
FIXING what is already there.
And one possible solution is, as I suggested in the beginning of this post: A crowd-funding campaign.
Elite Dangerous was born through crowd-funding. It shows just how significant the commitment of this community to this gaming idea was. And still is! The campaign would obviously be a lot cheaper than the initial one, since it’s “just” fixes, and not making a completely new game.
And I will bet my beloved Anaconda, that a vast number of players out there wouldn’t have thought twice, about rather paying FDev 20 bucks to finally make this game as great as it can be, and unlock all of it's wasted potential, rather than adding Space Legs that get boring after a couple of weeks, served with a side-dish of bugs and performance issues. Heck, I would have, for sure!
And yes. There will be many people out there, that will complain that it’s unacceptable to pay additional money to fix a product that has already been sold and shipped. But here is the beauty of a crowd-funding campaign. If you feel like you don’t want to support FDev in paying for finally fixing the game, then you don’t have to! Feel like 20 bucks is too much? Pay them a fiver instead. Every bit helps. Do you love the game, and are in the lucky position to spare some extra expense to make the game you love finally amazing? You can do that too!
All you have to do is answer this question to yourself: "If FDev would release another DLC that would fix most of the game's long-standing issues; Would I buy it?" Then what keeps you from paying them through crowd-funding instead?
I know it sounds dumb at first. But just roll the idea around in your head for a while.
A crowd-funding campaign, to FIX the game would help FDev finally tackle those long-standing issues without having to worry about the expenses not being worth it in the long run. Because they will have already been paid for. While they will in turn make more money off a game that is now refreshed and worth playing. And we, the community, will be able to freely choose whether or not those efforts are worth it for us. No strings attached.
This game could come full circle.
We made it happen once.
We can make it happen again.
And I believe it is definitely worth thinking about it.
(P.S.: Yes, there is of course a deep-rooted issued with trust towards what FDev is saying, and what they are actually doing. But I really wholeheartedly believe, that FDev wants to be better. They have tried hard, this last year. And I haven't lost hope yet. And most of the long-standing issues are comparatively small, and hard to fuck up. In my opinion at least)
Thank you for reading