AstroBubba

Mineral Extractor far too OP?

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On ‎27‎/‎01‎/‎2018 at 11:55 AM, Marck said:

Please, do not call for restricting the game, but rather call for opening it up even more. Have faith in the ability of humans to self-control, and to overcome instant gratification instincts; let them be self-determined; that is, after all, what is called "civilization". :)

So are you calling for the cost of all technology to be reduced to 1 byte?  Give people access to everything at the start and trust them to use it responsibly.

As I've said before I believe this easy access to unlimited resources should just come later in the game.  Make players do things the hard way a little longer, then they'll appreciate the rewards all the more when they eventually arrive. 

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48 minutes ago, KungFuStu72 said:

So are you calling for the cost of all technology to be reduced to 1 byte?  Give people access to everything at the start and trust them to use it responsibly.

As I've said before I believe this easy access to unlimited resources should just come later in the game.  Make players do things the hard way a little longer, then they'll appreciate the rewards all the more when they eventually arrive. 

Exactly...  Contrary to other posts, the average player will not play the game for 1,000+ hours (which is honestly kind of ridiculous based on how limited the game is at the moment), and without focus and balance, they will burn-out very quickly and end up being quite dissatisfied with the game.

System Era needs to sell a game to a broad audience, not a few near-obsessed players.  Putting aside wide-open "building" games like Minecraft and PvP-centric building games (Rust, etc), almost all games need challenges, puzzles and sense of growth/direction. 

With respect to a game that centers around "building", Astroneer's building system is far too limited, "modular", and after a while, pointless, and won't hold anyone's interest for any length of time.  It's like having a Lego set with ten parts that don't fit together; there's almost no ability to "personalize" anything, other than where you drop predefined modules.  Terrain modification is fun, but the novelty wears off very quickly, and is more of a tool than a creative outlet.

Astroneer draws heavily on RTS concepts, but doesn't offer the counterbalancing concept of an opponent working in real-time against you.  As I mentioned before, the time it takes to research anything is essentially pointless since elapsed time is not a relevant measurement of anything in Astroneer.  The time it takes to research is just a pointless time-sink with absolutely no impact on the final outcome; it makes no difference if you just sit in your hab/rover and let the research complete while you grab a coffee/go to bed, and that is a blatantly obvious problem.

Basically, the absolute brilliance of Astroneer is the Tether.  The Tether is the constant limiter to exploration; you need to either risk short forays, or set-up long Tether networks to ensure that you survive, and in some cases a misstep can put you beyond Tether reach and a panicked rush ensues. 

The other great concept is how the planets have varying distribution of resources, and should encourage exploration and "remote" base development, but this concept was broadsided with the introduction of tools that create/trade required resources for ones already on-hand.

Edited by AstroBubba

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25 minutes ago, AstroBubba said:

System Era needs to sell a game to a broad audience, not a few near-obsessed players.  Putting aside wide-open "building" games like Minecraft and PvP-centric building games (Rust, etc), almost all games need challenges, puzzles and sense of growth/direction

By stopping people having the inbuilt chose to play how they want you are narrowing the audience which is contradictory to what are saying.

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21 minutes ago, astroneer explorer said:

By stopping people having the inbuilt chose to play how they want you are narrowing the audience which is contradictory to what are saying.

Astroneer, in its current form, is a tech-tree centric RTS-esque experience (gather, research, build, expand, and eventually "max-out"), not a "building" game in any way.  If you don't pursue research, you really won't get very far and it will become tedious after a while.

The building side of the equation is 90% dedicated to leveraging the tech-tree, not "building for the sake of building".  Most "creation" modules, once unlocked, have very limited (or no) use in larger numbers, and most of the rest simply support those modules in some way.

The issue that a lot of forum members don't see is that the progression through the tech-tree should unlock the potential for new and exciting experiences, which it does to a degree, but the game itself is its own worst enemy in that regard.

Astroneer has countless wonders to explore and experience, but there's a disconnect in the execution of the tech-tree concept and the motivation to explore.

Edited by AstroBubba

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5 hours ago, KungFuStu72 said:

So are you calling for the cost of all technology to be reduced to 1 byte?  Give people access to everything at the start and trust them to use it responsibly.

That could indeed be one possible way of opening up the linearity at the start of the game.

5 hours ago, KungFuStu72 said:

As I've said before I believe this easy access to unlimited resources should just come later in the game.  Make players do things the hard way a little longer, then they'll appreciate the rewards all the more when they eventually arrive.

It is fine that you believe that. And you and everybody else can do it the hard way, nothing is preventing that, even if the cost of all technology is reduced to 1 byte. (Simply don't use a technology before you have gathered the amount of Bytes you deem appropriate for it.)

But if you make the hard way mandatory for all players, then it is no longer possible for other players to do it the easy way. You are excluding the players who prefer and enjoy the easy access to unlimited resources. As long as you enjoy the rewards all the more when they actually arrive, it is none of your business whether other players feel the same appreciation or not.

I can already imagine how you are gasping at the consequences of this idea: It might not be common practice for a (video) game to give everything to the player right from the start. Without any direction. Without any rules. But that does not automatically make the idea moot or unrealistic. It is just a different approach that trusts players to get creative with the available tools and apply their own restrictions to find a play style that they enjoy.

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19 hours ago, Marck said:

It might not be common practice for a (video) game to give everything to the player right from the start. Without any direction. Without any rules.

There's an extremely good reason for that...  The vast majority games are not engaging/compelling enough to support completely open-world play (no specific goals/progression/limits), and I'd lump Astroneer right in with them.

Astroneer is far too limited in scope to be a vehicle for expression and exploration alone.  There are nowhere near enough creative and exploration options to keep a wider audience engaged (a la Minecraft).  Astroneer's "building" system supports the Tech-tree, nothing else, there's zero ability to be creative beyond lining things up nicely!  Hell, the pre-release Rust allowed far more creativity in building and expression, even though it was a complete disaster as a multi-player experience, and the PvE experience was too shallow.

Astroneer is all about exploration, and in its current form, working your way up a tech-tree to make that exploration easier/more efficient.  There are significant conceptual disconnects in how the current release addresses progression though the tech-tree, and resource "management", but with a significant effort, it could be a very challenging and rewarding experience for any player, and easily satisfy most game players who like this genre.

Realistically, most games are played about 20-40 hours then put aside as "done", regardless whether or not the player "finished" them.  This is the kind of litmus test that the devs need to reach for, but they have to be exceptionally careful not to include pointless time-sinks (research) to drag-out gameplay.

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Think about this for a moment.. you'd buy a game that is so easy it can be completed in a few hours? Rather than buy a game that is challenging and will take 100 hours? Why?

That's not a game you're buying.. it's a waste of your effort, time and energy.  You're throwing money away, life is about challenge, challenge generates fun and makes you feel pride with each success, if there's no challenge then you don't feel any sense of completion when you beat it. 

Might as well ask for a Creative mode to be added, where you just paint pretty pictures.  I for one want a challenging game, full of peril and hardship.  My time is worth something to me.

Edited by Martin

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Hi, new astroneer player but veteran gamer here.

I don't think that the mineral extractor is OP, heck, I found it the best thing that allowed me to explore. Hear me out. My first game (and planet) went as expected... bad. I harvested resources, did research and explored caverns. After a few hours I manage to have my first land vehicle... and got lost. You know, I thought that since I can see the "home beacon", I can see it from everywhere in the planet, thus I never bother to look back until it was too late. What this have to do with the mineral extractor? Not much, just that even after exploring the planet (after I got lost) I never found those mystic rare raw minerals like lithium or titanium.

My second play went much better. I didn't get lost and made my first shuttle. I launch it with the intention to go to another planet. Funny enough, the first planet I saw was an exotic one. Obviously I went there to find rare minerals, to explore this unknown planet and what not with just a habitat and very few resources. Landed, amazed by the view and terrified that I didn't found a single drop of resin or compound near me. With very little fuel on my ship I went back to space and, oh no, do I have to wait for the planet to be in orbit (I guess I was lucky that the first planet I found was already in orbit and an exotic one)? And to find more fuel to go back to this exotic planet with a load of basic resources that I didn't prepare because I thought that basic resources should be in every planet (because video games)? So, disappointed, I didn't go back to that planet. Instead I finish some research and unlocked the mineral extractor. Oh boy, what a wonderful piece of technology. If I only knew of this thing before I would just brought enough materials for one and duplicate compounds and resins and be free to explore the exotic planet. Yep, I found that going back and forth between planets was not fun in this game, too much waiting.

For me, the mineral extractor wasn't a deterrent for exploration, why? because what I wanted to do was to explore the planet, not to wander looking at my feet hoping to find a drop of compound or resin so I can just explore.

Now, in my third play I plan to bring enough materials for an extractor and one compound and resin to explore the new plant that I might yet to find. 

To close the argument, I find the extractor to be fair enough. I loved the fact that there wasn't compound in that exotic planet, that I had to be prepare, that I had to plan ahead and that I didn't have to do the same thing I did in the first planet: looking for the generic basic resources. Now, I can go an explore without a worry about basic stuffs. And I still hasn't found raw lithium and titanium for this be a problem. And when more planets, technology and resources are added into the game, this mineral extractor might be the right tool to enhance exploration on new planets, where different resources are present and you don't know what to expect. 

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7 hours ago, Chepelink said:

Hi, new astroneer player but veteran gamer here.

I don't think that the mineral extractor is OP, heck, I found it the best thing that allowed me to explore. Hear me out. My first game (and planet) went as expected... bad. I harvested resources, did research and explored caverns. After a few hours I manage to have my first land vehicle... and got lost. You know, I thought that since I can see the "home beacon", I can see it from everywhere in the planet, thus I never bother to look back until it was too late. What this have to do with the mineral extractor? Not much, just that even after exploring the planet (after I got lost) I never found those mystic rare raw minerals like lithium or titanium.

My second play went much better. I didn't get lost and made my first shuttle. I launch it with the intention to go to another planet. Funny enough, the first planet I saw was an exotic one. Obviously I went there to find rare minerals, to explore this unknown planet and what not with just a habitat and very few resources. Landed, amazed by the view and terrified that I didn't found a single drop of resin or compound near me. With very little fuel on my ship I went back to space and, oh no, do I have to wait for the planet to be in orbit (I guess I was lucky that the first planet I found was already in orbit and an exotic one)? And to find more fuel to go back to this exotic planet with a load of basic resources that I didn't prepare because I thought that basic resources should be in every planet (because video games)? So, disappointed, I didn't go back to that planet. Instead I finish some research and unlocked the mineral extractor. Oh boy, what a wonderful piece of technology. If I only knew of this thing before I would just brought enough materials for one and duplicate compounds and resins and be free to explore the exotic planet. Yep, I found that going back and forth between planets was not fun in this game, too much waiting.

For me, the mineral extractor wasn't a deterrent for exploration, why? because what I wanted to do was to explore the planet, not to wander looking at my feet hoping to find a drop of compound or resin so I can just explore.

Now, in my third play I plan to bring enough materials for an extractor and one compound and resin to explore the new plant that I might yet to find. 

To close the argument, I find the extractor to be fair enough. I loved the fact that there wasn't compound in that exotic planet, that I had to be prepare, that I had to plan ahead and that I didn't have to do the same thing I did in the first planet: looking for the generic basic resources. Now, I can go an explore without a worry about basic stuffs. And I still hasn't found raw lithium and titanium for this be a problem. And when more planets, technology and resources are added into the game, this mineral extractor might be the right tool to enhance exploration on new planets, where different resources are present and you don't know what to expect. 

Hey friend, just to let you know if you don’t already, 4 full canisters will create 8 resin or 8 compound from the mineral extractor, plus the sample you put in 

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What you're saying is true, the mineral extractor in its current form does make exploring second and subsequent planets much easier.  It takes away the pain of having to fly resin to your next planet.  But due to it's cheap byte value (500 bytes) it's far too easy to obtain at the start of the game. 

On your third play/save buy the resource extractor as soon as you've sorted your power / research needs and feel free to use / abuse it.  You'll never need to explore and search for resin or compound again.  You'll drive past deposits and simple ignore them, why bother mining the stuff when you can obtain vast quantities with the flick of a switch.  This is where I believe early access to the mineral extractor reduces the need for exploration and the joy / relief of finding a large deposit in the early game.

By making the extractor more expensive we would have to make harder choices.  Do I make base building easier by having access to unlimited resources OR do I make exploring easier by researching the rover?  By the time you're ready to move to another planet you will probably have surplus research to pay the inflated extractor price.

As my closing note, if the mineral extractor cost 10,000 bytes, and it had always cost that much since bytes were first introduced, would people be asking for the cost to be reduced?  Would people risk asking for the game to be made easier?  Would people risk the barrage of replies telling them to "suck it up", "do it the hard way for 5 minutes" and "stop being such a wimp"?

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32 minutes ago, KungFuStu72 said:

This is where I believe early access to the mineral extractor reduces the need for exploration and the joy / relief of finding a large deposit in the early game.

That's pretty much the crux of it, but apply it much further along in the game...

All planets have Compound & Resin, you just have to look for it if you didn't bring any/enough with you.  Having it available for "free" on any given planet makes it completely pointless to have planets that are "resource-poor" in certain ways.

The entire point of having a solar system with different planets that feature different resource biases means that you leverage the strengths and travel around, harvesting what you need and going "home" (if there is one), or off to a new base under construction.

If you don't want to be bothered to go back to Terran and want "hardcore" mode (or if you really need to), you simply have to look for it, and pressing forward on Barren, Tundra and Radiated looking for Compound and/or Resin means that you will travel far & wide, and see lots of interesting things.  When you finally spot that outcrop of Resin on Tundra you will feel the thrill of "victory" since you've beaten the odds and found what the planet was hiding. (yes, caves do have it too, more often than the surface, but those tend to be more time consuming and dangerous!)

Edited by AstroBubba

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21 hours ago, Chepelink said:

Yep, I found that going back and forth between planets was not fun in this game, too much waiting.

The planets orbit around the sun in basic concentric circles.  Don't wait to get from one planet to another specific one.  Look at the way they orbit and then jump between them. 

Tip: Radiated (the closest to the sun) orbits very quickly, so it can be used to quickly get better alignments.

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On 2/2/2018 at 9:18 AM, KungFuStu72 said:

This is where I believe early access to the mineral extractor reduces the need for exploration and the joy / relief of finding a large deposit in the early game.

By making the extractor more expensive we would have to make harder choices.  Do I make base building easier by having access to unlimited resources OR do I make exploring easier by researching the rover?  By the time you're ready to move to another planet you will probably have surplus research to pay the inflated extractor price.

The good: there are interesting ideas and concepts in the game.

The problematic: at this early stage in game development, those ideas and concepts sometimes appear not to fit together, to pull the game in opposite directions and we're no longer sure what the game wants to be about.

Exploration? Isn't that supposed to be one of the main reasons the game exists? Well, no need to, we can get all the resources we need with the mineral extractor and the trade platform. Same with research and base building, no need to go on research chest-hunting expeditions when all we have to do is to mine sediment, convert into byte-rich resources and feed those onto research stations.

Creative mode? Well, it's not really creative mode either as we still need to harvest or grind before we can research or built the most interesting base modules.

The hopeful: looking forward to Research 2.1, with items that instantly grant research points and unlockable blueprints that can only be found out in the world and never be unlocked via the catalog. And scaling base building too.

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On ‎29‎/‎01‎/‎2018 at 2:43 PM, AstroBubba said:

The building side of the equation is 90% dedicated to leveraging the tech-tree, not "building for the sake of building".  Most "creation" modules, once unlocked, have very limited (or no) use in larger numbers, and most of the rest simply support those modules in some way.

The only reason for this is because this game is still just alpha game and there is still tons of content to be added and thought of. so the 'creation modules' my still be used in the future and you still need to remember that this game is very much in progress.

 

12 hours ago, Eoghan said:

at this early stage in game development, those ideas and concepts sometimes appear not to fit together

as you say, something else could be added very soon and if you watch the SES Vlogs like I do you will know they have a lot in store to make things work better.

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I'll say this game is completely different than when it started.  Not different as in better, but just... different.  Somethings are better, some are worse.  The mineral extractor is a good idea, but for it to replace the seek and find aspect of the game was short sighted.  I feel it has ruined an otherwise good game.  If Systemera can figure out how to combine the two aspects of gameplay into a good system, then maybe it will continue on improvement rather than just change for the sake of change which is rarely good.

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17 hours ago, Nargg said:

I'll say this game is completely different than when it started.  Not different as in better, but just... different.  Somethings are better, some are worse.  The mineral extractor is a good idea, but for it to replace the seek and find aspect of the game was short sighted.  I feel it has ruined an otherwise good game.  If Systemera can figure out how to combine the two aspects of gameplay into a good system, then maybe it will continue on improvement rather than just change for the sake of change which is rarely good.

You can't really complain that the mineral extractor ruined an otherwise good game when it's an improvement on trading hydrazine using the trade platform.  People complain, "Oh the trade platform is OP, you don't need to do anything to get resources,this  is totally ruining the game.."  They make us have to spend half an hour digging up dirt to get resources and have one of that resource, "Oh no, the mineral extractor is too OP, you don't need to do anything to get resources,this  is totally ruining the game.."

But if they take it away, "Oh no, I can't find the minerals I need, this  is totally ruining the game."

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5 hours ago, TwoHedWlf said:

You can't really complain that the mineral extractor ruined an otherwise good game when it's an improvement on trading hydrazine using the trade platform....

You're really missing the entire point here aren't you?  Trading Hydrazine was just as bad as the Resource Extractor; it was a poorly thought-out/executed "feature" that the devs. implemented, and later removed.

Overall, the game is not about "building stuff", it's all about exploration and the thrill of discovery.  "Building Stuff" gets you the tools and machines to make that exploration more efficient/fun.  Building cookie-cutter bases with unlimited resources is basically pointless, and gets really dull, really fast. 

The game simply does not offer any significantly engaging "creative" aspect with building, and likely never will, it simply does not lend itself to a Minecraft/Rust, etc. open-concept building system.

Edited by AstroBubba

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22 hours ago, Nargg said:

I'll say this game is completely different than when it started.  Not different as in better, but just... different.  Somethings are better, some are worse.  The mineral extractor is a good idea, but for it to replace the seek and find aspect of the game was short sighted.  I feel it has ruined an otherwise good game.  If Systemera can figure out how to combine the two aspects of gameplay into a good system, then maybe it will continue on improvement rather than just change for the sake of change which is rarely good.

Opinions are like butt holes. Everybody has one.

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1 hour ago, The Touch of Grey Gamer said:

Opinions are like butt holes. Everybody has one.

Normally I have hear it as Opinions are like Belly Buttons...Everybody has one......   But I kind of like your version in this case....... I believe I will adopt your version in my future vocabulary.

1 hour ago, AstroBubba said:

You're really missing the entire point here aren't you?  Trading Hydrazine was just as bad as the Resource Extractor; it was a poorly thought-out/executed "feature" that the devs. implemented, and later removed.

I have to completely disagree with you on this comment and in this case Think  'you' fully missed the point.... Astroneer  is finally in Alpha stage.....It has had its ups and downs since it came out....The Dev team has suffered a couple huge setbacks and fortunately a bunch of advancements all the time still being playable.  There have been a few exploits that have been added and a few that have been retired and I have played hours and hours with each of them...... but back to where I feel you missed the point.  The Trade Platform and the Mineral Extractor being lumped into the same bag of Evil in your opinion.... So What.... I use to be able to generate Hydrazine and Trade it for minerals (All the while being on business calls) for hours at a time. Now I can do the same basic thing with The Mineral Extractor and a bit more Effort.  Be certain that new things will be added to the game and old ones retired that are just as Evil in the future.... Play With It!  

What a bunch of the people that keep pushing Exploration as the only point of the game and that every Base related Platform is BAD! are not factoring in is that the more Exploration you do in the game, the more the game slows down (Especially on less optimum computers) and Even more so with multi player games.  Given time the game will Optimize  much of its code and make this better.   Another point I find appalling is that many players either lack any self control to limit their own play style  or keep pushing Astroneer to be like Minecraft  or any number of other games...... I didn't buy into Astroneer to be any game except Astroneer.... If I wanted to play the other games I wouldn't be posting here.  Create a set of limits on your game play and change the limits from one game to another and see if the fun doesn't come back for you.    I often Play multi Player with One Last Midnight for his YouTube Channel..... Often we have crazy self imposed limits.... And we have a Blast.

I really don't think our opinions are that far apart, but in forums its hard to get the inflexions an context of the writer..... I would say lets all get in a multi player game to the death.... but alas Astroneer has no guns......  :)

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I don't know what to say. Don't get me wrong, I love this game, it has so much potential. But to say it is about exploration when your life depends on a line called tethers that does not allows you to stray too far away from them, well, is weird. I love the surviving aspect of Astroneer, the feeling of being in space as an actual astronaut with your life on, literally, the line. The notion of gravity, cave dwelling and  travel between planets is great. But, exploration? I think is not really a game made for exploration as the main goal, per-se. The goal is to feel like an astroneer stranded in a planet, you vs the universe, survival of the fittest, but not exploration as it is. On the other hand, exploration is the thing that is going to make you achieve that goal. Just think a bit of how this games plays.

The first few hours/minutes you are confined to your base, without having a true feeling of being capable of going anywhere. Worse part, you start without tethers or tether technology. Thus, the first step for this exploration to even begin is to manage to get the freedom-in-lines at any cost. Once you have tethers you can really start exploring around... if you have enough materials to build more tethers. Now, you find a nice hole in the ground or, if lucky, a close crashed ship/satellite, and start exploring it... just as far as your tethers allows you. After a few hours of mining, data mining and energy harvesting you finally manage to built a ship and explore a new planet. You land on a beautiful exotic planet, ready to explore... but first, more tethers in one way or another. Yes, one of the best aspects that make this game so unique and wonderful is also one of the things that kills, more than any other thing, exploration. If you can really say that exploration can be reduced into finding materials for basic stuffs and can be killed by a thing that duplicates materials, well, I feel a bit sorry for this kind of exploration. 

If you stat to reaaaally think about why an item that duplicates items (and not for free, you have to harvest energy and soil first) might kill your sense of exploration you would find that is because the world is not worthy enough of being explored as it is. There are no wonders, lost civilizations, aliens and strange creatures aside from the occasional debris. You don't feel threatened by anything other than a storm or some plants, thus the best option to fulfill the sense of accomplishment is to find resources. To literally watch the ground in hopes to find something. Again, don't be too hard on what I'm saying. I also have a sense of accomplishment when I found some resin or compound, even more when I found things while spelunking. I also think that a item duplicator is a bit too much and that it may be good to tone it down a bit (maybe break the things that can be duplicate into categories in the research tree, with a bit of base expansion). Just that I don't see it as a exploration killer. For me, tethers are more of an exploration killer (and they are) than any other thing in this game. But you know what? I really enjoy tethers. I think that they need to be already researched since the beginning to give the player the sense of freedom that this game is going to have for the most part. But, they are great for the feeling of being an astroneer that this game wants to emulate. They do the job.

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4 minutes ago, Chepelink said:

But to say it is about exploration when your life depends on a line called tethers that does not allows you to stray too far away from them, well, is weird.

Why would you play that way? I don't play that way. Sure I use tethers but to say that I can't stray to far is total bunk.  

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2 minutes ago, The Touch of Grey Gamer said:

Why would you play that way? I don't play that way. Sure I use tethers but to say that I can't stray to far is total bunk.  

Because it is the way you play. Or did I miss something in the game, like a tech, that allows you to have unlimited air supply? (<-Not sarcasm) If yes, I take it back. But as far as I know, there is not. No matter how many air supply tanks you have, you have to return to a tether/base/car or you die. That limits the distance that you can travel, the time that you can mine and the time that you can explore. It ties you to them, no matter what.

English is not my first language, so if I sound rude I apologize.

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but you can travel in a vehicle without tethers

I can be in caves for a very long time without tethers there are plenty of air bubbles as I also have air tanks

Obviously you have to have air and go back to the base or tethers but to state that one's movement is limited to the distance to a tether is just not accurate. I circumvented the planet without a single tether, I think everyone has at this point.   

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I agree with AstroBubba.

And I think separation of survival and creative mode works perfectly in pretty much every other game.

I'm sure there is someone out there who would like to have unlimited oxygen in the base game - and the idea of that actually being implemented, and then someone telling me "just imagine you had to run back to a tether every minute or so" is ridiculous to me. I simply couldn't have that as much as some of you might not want a nerf to - in my opinion - indeed  still unpolished mechanics that allow the game to play itself.

Why not make it an option in a menu, giving both sides what they want? Not forcing any grind onto free explorers, not forcing any "imagine that" on people that gain joy from a challenge.

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I am all for giving both sides what they want. Ideally, Astroneer will support not only two, but as many playstyles as possible. Try to imagine a system that allows each player to configure Astroneer to their preferred playstyle, i.e. to customize the rules that will be enforced in and by the game. That way, Astroneer could come with a default set of rules provided by the developer, and players would still be able to create their own rule set.

I do believe that a mechanic allowing exactly this is possible. Actually, I suggested one several months ago which even offers a way to customize the game rules as part of the gameplay itself, i.e. without having to access any configuration files or menu options outside of the game: Ideas for in-game customization of difficulty and play style using augments

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