Elite Dangerous floats sweeping changes to make its Powerplay mode fully open PvP

Elite Dangerous is considering revamping its Powerplay mode, and it’s not going to make everyone happy, especially solo players.

Powerplay, you’ll recall, is sort of a factional territorial war in the game whereby players ally with powerful NPCs and their space and resources. Most of the proposal for tweaks will go unchallenged; Frontier wants to allow powers to dump systems, avoid internal sabotage, skirt stagnation, encourage conflict – all reasonable.

But the studio also wants to force players in the mode into open PvP and make it impossible for solo players and private groups to profit from the mode (while avoiding both ganking and being ganked).

“Reasoning: We’ve saved the biggest change for last, as making Powerplay Open only goes way beyond the remit of a tweak. We’ve seen this topic discussed many times and we think it’s time we addressed it directly to get as much quality feedback as possible. Powerplay is fundamentally about consensual player versus player conflict. We think that pretty much all of the systems and rules would benefit from being played out in Open only, as it would dramatically increase the chance of meeting other pledged players and being able to directly affect the outcomes of power struggles.”

Reddit has erupted into the age-old wolves-vs.-sheep argument as people point out the “powerplay is all about PvP” idea is not at all how the mode was originally sold and argue over botters, grind, and who exactly belongs in the community.

“Presumably you’ll be offering complete refunds to those players who feel that you are abandoning the ‘all modes are equal’ ethos which has pervaded the game right from its inception,” one player on the forums commented. We haven’t heard about that, but we’ll keep an eye out.

Source: Official forums, Reddit. Thanks, Eddie!
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29 Comments on "Elite Dangerous floats sweeping changes to make its Powerplay mode fully open PvP"

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PhoenixDfire

For myself, I always thought of Power Play as End Game Faction vs Faction game(which does imply PvP of some form). I tried it when it came out but found I was just running leaflets from one system to another, which was boring. However, there are two items in the list of proposals that would get me interested in that part of the game.

1. Missions can provide Power Play successes. This change gives the system much more varied game play instead of just a delivery grind.
2. Open Mode This is controversial and I agree with it as long as the open mode only applies to Power Play and doesn’t slip into other modes.

However, there is a big caveat regarding console players. The issue is that both XBox and PS4 players can only access the Powerplay gameplay if they pay they’re monthly networking subscription, which effectively puts power play (and its rewards) behind a paywall which some people are already calling it pay to win. Ironically it wouldn’t be Frontier that would get paid for having that advantage.

A solution to this could be that a solo or private players could still play powerplay, so they could earn the rep to get the unique Ship Modules, but unless you’re in open, those actions don’t count in the weeks final results.

But the thought of getting an player escort wing together to make a run into a hostile power’s system, where there could be other players waiting for us, does put the dangerous back into Elite: Dangerous.

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Schmidt.Capela

Unless you do a simple network tweak that will allow you to play in Open while being guaranteed to never see another player.

Besides, after the first intercept attempt you can just high-wake out of there (if you survived), put whoever intercepted you in your block list (which prevents you from being put in the same instance as that player), and return to the system to complete your mission. Repeat as needed, and soon none of the active players in the opposite faction will be able to even see you, much less prevent you from completing PP missions without opposition, and all done with in-game features without using any exploits.

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Gabriel Marçal

Ah f**k it… I’ll stay until get my cutter and set my route to Colonia… I expected more Thargoid battle…

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zeko_rena

Damn, I guess I need to get my ass into gear and do the grind then to unlock and buy a whole pile of Prismatic shields and then never touch powerplay again, otherwise I will never end up getting them after this change.

I doubt they will make some form of PVE way that does not effect the powerplay system control itself to earn the gear unlocks…

April-Rain
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April-Rain

I am left confused by elite, so much promise but it just seems like a ship no rudder, or a captain that knows how to navigate.

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Nick // Genghis

Absolutely this. I’ve played since Beta and I haven’t touched it in almost over a year now for this reason exactly. I stepped away thinking, hey they might add something more meaty and engaging (Thargoids were a step in that direction), but that just wasn’t enough to draw me back. I need some serious, end-game, group-based depth and with the way the game handles instancing being P2P and server stability, it’s just not quite anything really worth my time which makes me REALLY REALLY sad as I have over 850+ hours into the game at this point and several hundred dollars. I do have the lifetime account, so I’m not doubting I’ll revisit it at some point, but I wish that there would be something sooner rather than later that really breathes life back into this game for me as a die-hard fan that want’s to see it reach it’s potential.

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BalsBigBrother

I never bothered with Power Play and I don’t see anything in this proposal that will induce me to bother with it in the future either.

Should this proposal (because at this point that is all this is) be implemented as described I would worry about the precedent that it sets and Frontier stepping away from the all modes being equal that was supposed to be a core tenent to their development.

After even a casual glance through what is currently at time of writing 64 pages of feedback there are a lot of folks already asking for the back ground sim to be open only too among other things. Pandora is out of the box and its going to get bumpy. /sigh

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thirtymil

I bothered with Power Play for a while but found it grindy and obtuse. It is, in my opinion, an unnecessarily complex system thought up on a design board but not really tested in a gaming environment.

And that sums up Frontier’s entire approach to Open and PvP to me – when you take into account combat logging, the behaviour of some PvP groups and the various ever-more-complex tweaks to the Crime system – it’s almost like Frontier weren’t awake for the last ten years of player griefing behaviour.

But back to what you were saying – if they’re going to make the background sim Open only, then the least they can do is make Solo offline, self-contained and modable so people can enjoy it how they want.

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SandboxQuint

As a mainly solo player I totally agree with this change, it just makes sense to have a faction based war have open PVP. It allows players to defend their area from other players trying to push in. If anything this might give me a reason to try out some of the Powerplay stuff. Its good to try new things.

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thirtymil

I suspect it’ll be less good to try new things when the new thing is an opposing player with a grade 5 engineered Corvette and many hours of PvP experience :)

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SandboxQuint

Sounds like a great time full of adrenaline and lessons to be learned. As well as motivation to get myself a Corvette, while putting in many of hours of PVP to better my own skills. Failure to succeed is not always a bad thing. Besides the only thing you lose is insurance to replace your ship, which in my case would be a cheap ship. Not nearly as painful as some of the things I’ve lost back in the day in Ultima Online. Its really not much different than paying a repair bill for dying in WoW, albeit a much more expensive repair bill, but a simple tax nonetheless.

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thirtymil

In which case all the best, sounds like it might work out for you.

For me however, the insurance bill on my ship isn’t worth the hours it would take to pay it off compared with the three minutes of PvP that would have caused it.

CapnLan
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CapnLan

The devs along with a portion on the community have been outright hostile toward solo and PG players for quite some time so this doesn’t surprise me. I’ll simply continue not bothering with Power Play as I never cared for it, but I feel bad for my fellow PVE players who did.

UpayaBlossom
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UpayaBlossom

Powerplay PvE players are just as behind this change as the PvPers. At least, the many I know through being a Powerplayer. They find grinding no-challenge, sleep runs boring and almost all haul/undermine in open already. A few powers play private groups, mostly because it is an advantage. It is like a few of the more QoL glitches PPers use to easily get new instances for grinding UMing. Everyone does it, because without it your opponent has a big advantage.

UpayaBlossom
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UpayaBlossom

This is a completely necessary change for Powerplay that DOES NOT effect non-powerplayers in the slightest bit. Powerplay is, inherently, a PvP activity and without PvP it becomes a boring, safe and predictable grind. If you’re PPing in solo it is actually akin to an unfair advantage. Conflict between players of different powers is what prevents Powerplay cycles from just being literally insane grinding without competition.

Without Open Powerplay, targets are often hit 1000% or higher. There is no impact aside from which side can grind more and which side has the better grasp on the bsg to tell people WHERE to grind. You literally CAN’T deploy your combat fleet to prevent an opponent from making progress in a system, it has little-to-no effect on the end numbers.

Powerplay is a mode that absolutely should be Open-only because it is objectively much better that way. And that shouldn’t bother anyone who wants to play solo because Powerplay is not a solo activity to begin with. You have to work in an often large and VERY well-organized group. There are over 200 players online now in the Federal Command discord.

Regardless of anything else, this allows for more dynamic, unpredictable and player-driven outcomes which will create a lot more excitement and interest than before when the weekly grind was posted and whoever grinds the most wins. I mean, one of the only real “tactics” for individual systems is just to withhold turning in your excessive amount of powerplay credit until a few moments before the cycle ticks. I mean, that’s it! Now you can send combat wings to actually interact with enemies.

And a reminder that Powerplay and Crime & Punishment are completely separate systems.

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thirtymil

While I largely agree with the points you’re making, it’s worth noting:

1. This does affect non-powerplayers, because when systems change hand the bonuses for bounties, availability of black markets, etc all change. The cool thing about this system is that it does change the shape of the galaxy. The uncool thing is having an open mode that is PvP all the time and a solo/group mode that allows people to avoid the PvP to do powerplay more efficiently.

2. You don’t have to work in large groups to do powerplay. Lots of people do it for the gear, if the forums are any indication, and that necessitates a lot of grinding and some allegiance-hopping, but nothing really group-oriented.

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Schmidt.Capela

– Download something that introduces extra latency, like this open source tool (or else use something cheap that runs Linux, like a Raspberry Pi, to build an external lag-adding device).

– Add one or two seconds of lag.

– Laugh all the way to the bank when the servers refuse to pair you with anyone else even as you supposedly play in Open.

(Reason: due to the peer to peer architecture, adding to an instance a player that is badly lagging makes the gameplay bad for everyone in the instance. Not isolating those players would be worse for everyone. Also, the way the game works, the only meaningful downside to a couple seconds of lag is making Open play like Solo.)

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Hanthos Taal

What is it with this endless demand that everyone be forced to deal with PvP?

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Tobasco da Gama

PowerPlay is inherently PvP, though. Players support one Power against other player-supported Powers. From the very beginning, as well, pledging to a Power has acted as a consensual PvP flag by granting players from other Powers full license to attack on sight without criminal repercussions.

As much as I hate PvP in MMOs and even though I only ever play E:D in Solo… PowerPlay was obviously designed from the start as an incentive to engage in PvP. Allowing players to do it outside of Open in the first place completely undermined the spirit of the feature, so I can’t really disagree with making it Open-only after the fact.

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Schmidt.Capela

As far as I can tell, the main devs at Frontier — including DB — are PvPers, and believe in a misconception common among PvPers: that everyone, or almost everyone, will get to enjoy open PvP if they only give it a chance. What I get from numerous articles and interviews before launch is that the team expected the vast majority of players to be in Open, while the impression I get from the forums (official and external ones alike) is that solo players vastly outnumber those in Open.

It’s the same kind of cluelessness that got them thinking, before the game’s launch, that players that purchased the game for the promised offline mode would be satisfied with the Solo mode, and thus that removing the promised offline mode could be done without any repercussions.

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Sana Tan

I’m one of those that purchased the game for “exploration” and plays offline mode. Suffice to say I’m utterly disappointed in this game (already uninstalled it), and seeing that they keep focusing in grinding and pvp aspects instead of mending the exploration aspect makes me a little upset, it was quite expensive with the expansion.

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

Here’s you a stick and you a stick. Now go out in the back yard and hit each other.

Now give me money.