Of course I started this thread because I had my own ideas on this
1) The map scatters safe and dangerous systems largely randomly, so you can in practice see basically all the game without ever leaving the Old Worlds.
I don't see the problem of seeing the whole game, because it feels natural that the galactic map is common knowledge. The exploration part can be done on a dedicated 9th sector (that was just discovered) in order not to interfere with existing OXPs and provide a good background story. Alternatively, it could be done in system (far asteroid fields or dwarf planets etc.).
2) The trade goods are pretty boring and don't take system danger into account, and there's really only two economy types and one plausible trade good each way
I'll adopt the point of view of Disembodied, more or less. Make the generic trading barely profitable, and make the cargo contracts more diverse, more colourful and as profitable as generic trading is currently.
The reason why I want to "nerf" one and "buff" the other is that players are greedy
, so they'll go where the money is. But on the other hand, adding something that is even more profitable than the current trading will only result in players snowballing money faster.
3) Ship equipment is by far the most significant factor in quality - a fully equipped Cobra III is virtually impossible to kill, whereas a stock one is a tough challenge to survive in even for a top pilot. (Injectors are particularly crucial in this respect)
4) Ship specs and design is still based around the player only ever actually flying the Cobra III
5) Every ship is multi-role, and most of them are terrible at it. Freighters like the Python and Boa are basically just much bigger versions of the Mamba or Sidewinder - they fly about the same, they're just slightly tougher (and not even that much tougher). Compare with something like Tie Fighter or Freespace where a freighter is very definitely not a slightly bigger fighter.
7) Missiles basically have the same problem the Energy Bomb had, weapon balance in general is still based very strongly on the original.
8. Interactions with NPCs are basically "shoot/flee" or "ignore", and a clean player will be picking "ignore" almost all the time.
9) Game balance strongly encourages keeping clean status - piracy is not really a supported career beyond a very basic being possible, smuggling anything except Narcotics is less profitable than honest trading, and a Fugitive status will clear back down to Offender on one jump.
10) Ships (other than the player ship) are essentially either fully capable or dead.
11) Once a fight is started, it basically must end in the destruction of one side. (Unless you have injectors, and then you can basically leave any time you like)
I propose three ship categories: Fighters, Couriers and Freighters combined with a shifumi (rock-paper-scissor) design:
couriers lose to fighters, fighters lose to freighters, freighters lose to couriers. This must be understood as "usually" or "in general". With skills and equipment a courier can win against a fighter for instance.
Each category has exclusive features:
- fighters can have fuel scoops
- couriers can have injectors
- freighters can have pylons
For couriers and freighters, the idea of the exclusive feature is to provide for the ship a way to escape a lost fight. This "escape" in spirit shouldn't be something that one can use every time. It's more a protection against bad luck than again bad decisions.
Fighters are naturally fast so they should be able to run away in most situations. Their exclusive feature makes them ideal for pirate role or bounty hunting.
As for the equipment I would really consider to remove shield and energy bank upgrades. That leaves us I think with "software" upgrades (ASC, targeting system etc.) and laser upgrades. No cargo bay extensions or passenger berths. Passenger berth are built-in feature of a ship. More generally special features like extra fuel tanks shouldn't be an equipment but a ship feature. That makes OXP ships more attractive.
Replace equipment upgrade with ship upgrade, i.e. buy a better ship. I've not looked into it seriously yet, but I think that the core ships can provide already at least 3 upgrades for each category.
A resell value at 90% or 100% of the original value would be welcome. I would also suggest not to transfer any equipment to the new ship; just refund or resell them.
6) Changes in graphics resolution since the 1980s have meant the particular scale choices and the game mechanics resulting from them which worked then work much less well now.
I think it is referring to "pixel sniping". I propose to make the damage a function of hit distance. Not on all weapons because this is controversial, but as a property (more specifically the rate R in damage=(-R * distance) + base damage). It allows to implement "shotgun-style" lasers (high damage that decreases quickly with distance), and more generally introduces more variety.