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I have played Astroneer quite a bit for now and while it is great fun to play i noticed that there are several factors that make long term playing feel rather grindy and repetative. I could go the easy way and say it's just the lack of content to spend that much time on the game but i realized that there is actually enough stuff in the game already but it simply is balaced badly - as a consequence a lot of items become obsolete. Power: Here the RTG is a big problem. in late game it makes power management obsolete and robs the game of an fun game mechanic: solar, wind, generators and batteries suddenly become all obsolete - effectively these are 4 small, 4 medium and 1 large building that have no use. sure the RTG is supposed to be an expensive late game achievement but in my gameplay Atrox was the 3rd planet i landed on and the first one i unlocked (it made the most sense due to resources). but now unlocking everything else feels trivial and repetitive. yet it doesn't have to be this way: as it is the medium RTG beats all other medium power sources - that's bad. if it was made to be a large building however (like the large solar) with the same power output it would still be great for bases as an infinite power source but it would be difficult to transport - a big trait of all medium buildings. there should still be a (cheaper?) medium version however with significantly less output (25% of the current - exactly enough to power a large rover) that would be inferior to alternatives in raw output but an unconditional and indefinite power source. Another issue is the (medium) Generator: i never build a single one of those. i think their niche should by to provide the highest energy output of all the alternatives (including the battery) as its also the most work intensive power producer for the player. currently there is indeed only limited use for such a building profile however apart from unlocking gateways - but that would still suffice to give it a right to exist.
I have played Astroneer quite a bit for now and while it is great fun to play i noticed that there are several factors that make long term playing feel rather grindy and repetative. I could go the easy way and say it's just the lack of content to spend that much time on the game but i realized that there is actually enough stuff in the game already but it simply is balaced badly - as a consequence a lot of items become obsolete. Mining: The crane: a great feature but ultimately makes no sense to ever build. it gives no advantage to drilling speed of hard rocks over the terrain tool - since it now has drill mods and can use a boost mod on top of that. it also has less range and is immobile while the player can change position easily with the terrain tool. given all the mods that the terrain tool can use and therefore how overpowered it has become difficult to bring the crane back to the game. i wished the devs would make a hard-mode where it's significantly nerfed just so a buffed crane (increased range, allow to use mods) would be the ultimate late game terraforming tool. however the crate would need one important new feature: it should additionally work like a vehicle cockpit so one can drill and drive at the same time. Another cool potential feature could be to give the crane a new attachment to use it as a manlift! when Astroneer was released i was really happy when i realized they introduced different terrain resistances/hardness. but in reality i could research the drill mods relatively quickly and then this new mechanic became completely irrelevant - especially because by the time i had to dig through hard rocks i already was equipped for it. i have to admit for a non-creative playthrough i really dislike the drill mods for the terrain tool and i do not see much ways to fix it. Well, perhaps the least they could do is to massively increase their research costs, especially for the higher tiers. maybe even make the research entirely hidden at the start of the game and make it only researchable trough finding it in a EXO research aids in the right biomes. perhaps another fix could to add a drawback by making it to require some fuel to drill through hard rocks - considering its not even really drilling but remotely sucking up the terrain (i.e. one could argue it needs to be soften up the rocks with something first). and there is also dynamite. it exists but has no reason to - from a gameplay perspective. for one, it cannot be used for mining (it just destroys resources) - and even if it didn't it would be again far inferior to the terrain tool. that's a pity because it would be fun if the game made it such that this would be the preferred way to mine some resources to add more variety to resource acquisition. Then however it would need to be made easier available as the resources required (sulfur) to craft explosives are too difficult to really bother.
A way to control player progression is to have them unlock (research) and build equipment that enables them to explore deeper regions of planets. Tethers could require a "signal-booster" or "stabilizer" when deep underground, let's say one after 250 and a second one after 500 meters of depth, and so on. These "boosters" are essentially gateways between tiers of difficulty for the devs to place rarer resources and more dangerous terrain generation and fauna. If possible this should give big generators a proper use, forcing players to establish underground bases and not relying on the infinite regenerating energy of the surface. The boosters require research and a considerable amount of rare resources - both found always one tier above of the one they are "unlocking" If generators are what keeps you alive (with energy and oxygen) past a certain depth, it would make for some awesome tense moments when you are deep in a cave and suddenly your tethers go dark - and you know you messed up because you did not plan ahead and did neither put enough fuel in the generator nor bring that finally-useful-oxygen-tank with you and you have to rely on finally-useful oxygen and energy deposits in the walls, on your way back. For this to work: The fuel condenser should work like smelter to create fuel from hydrazine crystals or a reasonable amount of oragnic stacks - no more resources from thin air, please! The energetic value of coal should be drastically increased and fuel canisters should also be able to power generators at reasonable energetic values. tl;dr: infinite oxygen and energy trough tethers everywhere is op , please nerf!
Okay, this game as I can see would be great multiplayer but alone it's kind of hard if you don't know what you're doing and the energy usage of the smelter, research, vehicle bay, and etc. Is crazy you fill it up uses it all in one go please fix. Okay, onto other things the ways to die fall, plants that spit poison gas, plants that blow up into poison gas. Now I like the idea of the plants but more variety and animals that when killed you can harvest for biofuel and character customization few games have it especially of this type so add it color picking, size picking, and tool and backpack customization. Overall it is a great game but is lacking expanse and logic(only a little) but if you and character customization and more balanced single player it would be even better. Love you guys and this game :-)