Elite Dangerous players agitate for the return of GalNet lore, even if they have to write it themselves

    
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Elite Dangerous players agitate for the return of GalNet lore, even if they have to write it themselves

The trouble with petitions and open letters is that if a studio accedes to one, people are going to keep trying it. That seems to be the case with Elite Dangerous especially, whose last big community push to address grievances was actually recognized by Frontier.

The latest open letter to Frontier comes from an invested community member and Elite podcast host who implores the studio to refocus its attention on the game’s lore and narrative. As readers will recall, Elite announced last summer that it would be reducing the number of lore stories pushed out through GalNet in favor of in-game content. “In the foreseeable future, GalNet articles will concentrate on in-game activity, such as Interstellar Initiatives, the release of new ships and modules, and significant narrative developments,” the studio wrote at the time. “With this change, we will be stopping the ‘off-camera’ narratives that we have previously published via GalNet.”

Of course, Elite players will recall that community goals and Interstellar Initiatives were put on hold at the beginning of the year, with no clear plan for resuming.

The open letter politely and in exacting detail argues that the GalNet posts were essential to the game’s community, even offering specific examples of both lapses in content and of ways the studio could make use of that community to get the job done if the Frontier staff is too swamped. The thread’s now sprawled to 14 pages of feedback from the playerbase, and Frontier Community Manager Stephen Benedetti has stepped in with a statement. In short, it doesn’t seem as if the studio’s output will be changing, as Benedetti cites both the fact that the writing team is hard at work on the big update due later this year and the fact that some players found the GalNet posts confusing rather than flavorful.

“We wanted to expand a little more on the details of what led us to this decision. While the previous narratives that were told through GalNet articles gave an insight into what life was like in the 3300’s, they also gave players an expectation that these stories were unfolding in-game, and that commanders could fly out to the system and see or even engage with what was happening (which they could not). This, in part, contributed to our reason to shift the focus of GalNet articles to in-game narratives and occurrences, over out-of-game ones.

“However, we also want to mention that the narrative/writing team are not solely responsible for writing GalNet articles, but also a number of other duties that contribute to the creation of Elite Dangerous. With the advent of the Fleet Carriers update and the 2020 release, their efforts have been focused on ensuring that all of the text required for it is done in time. Although they are an extremely talented team, they are a small team, which means that we had to prioritise some content over other content, such as GalNet articles. Although we love seeing the incredible content the community news outlets create, editing and implementing it into the game still demands a degree of focus that we do not have currently in scope for the writing team.

“We hope that provides some context to why, at the current time, the plans for GalNet articles are unlikely to change. That said, we have passed this feedback on to the team for consideration and will keep you updated if there are any changes.”

Source: Official forums. Thanks, Stuart!

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juani586
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juani586

@PaulWessen Frontier won’t be the only one massive shocked by this 2020 thing. Their investors have been told to expect it to lift ED sales to £30m in the year. That’s a rise to nearly 3x, and 2x what the whole game earned in it’s own year one. For a first-person shooter addon! Not. Going. To. Happen.

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PhoenixDfire

Not according to their Latest investor Information at Frontier Investor Link. They’re hoping to pull in £80 million for 2021 but that’s across all of their four franchises.

If the leak, which happened last year, is to be believed, then base building is also to be included (which in my opinion really saved No Man’s Sky). That might make all the difference.

If the steam numbers are to believed, the player numbers appear to be steady ( although with this content drought they are falling at the moment). The present new player experience makes the game is a lot more accessible without dumbing it down. So I supposed there are positives out there.

But when the interactive features have been cut so much, it’s hard to keep motivated to play.

juani586
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juani586

Reading Frontier’s web site is reading the wrong place. See the brochures from Liberum, the outfit Frontier has hired to sell company shares. About ED 2020 release it says “new game”. This fits with the fact Frontier’s store has already stopped selling ED and Frontier has trademarked Elite Deadly.

Base building?? Would be a wreck with the game’s lack of persistence, crippling instancing and flaky peer-to-peer networking. It will probably be canned, like Squadron Carriers.

Players numbers steady?? No. Last month was hugely down from same the previous year, which was itself down on the year before that.

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CmdrRavenholdt

We at Radio Sidewinder, just read all this information. I am personally dismayed at this lack of customer care that is being shown. Therefore in response, Radio Sidewinder will air commander generated stories. Hopefully Frontier will do something to alleviate this issue and step up to provide the content we request and deserve.

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Paul Wessen

They said they would be doing bug fixes, they didn’t, they said we’d have fleet carriers, they then blamed us for wanting bug fixes when they delayed the carriers again after the last player appeal. Because we dared hold them to account for the quite frankly pish-poor development process and the product that they kept adding features to while failing to fix their previous mistakes.

They introduced ARX points, a fake currency to buy cosmetic items when there was no need or want for it, which for weeks broke simple aspects of the game that never should have made it to the live server product but again the players have to suffer Frontiers lack of interest in fixing its own mistakes, but introducing a new more expensive cosmetic money gathering system got thier FULL attention.

We were told we’d have the Carriers by Jan 2020 when they last delayed them….. its Feb now still no sign of them, that was literally the ONLY thing being added in 2018-2019. And to top it all off they now cant even be bothered to do some news & lore in game, we’ve had no in game activity for months on end now.

If they honestly think the way they’ve treated their player base is ingratiating themselves for the paid update at the end of the year they’re going to have a massive shock when pre-order sales are down.

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drewwagar

As the author of two official books in the Elite Dangerous universe I can only watch with dismay as Frontier lets the heritage of the Elite series of games wither away. Few other games of any genre have the longevity of story that Elite has, a legacy that spans more than thirty years back to the original “Dark Wheel” story by the late great Robert Holdstock.

That they can’t see how valuable this asset is (and, with a business head on, how potentially exploitable) is truely mind-boggling. Yet, if they don’t begin to curate their lore and do *something* with their narrative, it will be lost in the void.

Over the last few years they’ve diluted the lore with poorly thought out “because gameplay” additions to Elite Dangerous, largely ignored those player groups who dared to “Blaze their own trail” in the game and try to impact the universe as presented. Since last year, ‘off-screen’ narrative, the flavour of the game that set the tone of the universe, has also been completely curtailed.

It’s as if the current management team have forgotten what made the original games so compelling; the sense of being a small cog in a universe that was getting on very well with or without out you. Now that universe is empty and silent. Very sad, but as that forum thread revealed, there is no sign of Frontier reconsidering their position.

Given that Frontier are an excellent financial position, this isn’t a question of resources, so it has to be a conscious decision to abandon the heritage of the game lore and the player contributions to it.

I feel most for the community managers, who are employed to engage with the community and are left trying to bridge the gap between players and senior management, without any tools or content to do so. It is they who have to deal with the abuse, trolling and frustration of the playerbase brought on by the questionable decisions of those above who should know better.

Elite Dangerous had its glory days of lore and narrative between 2014 and 2017, when there were staff involved with the project who cared and understood. They have now either left or been rotated elsewhere within Frontier, to the very great detriment of the game.

Let’s hope that this will change in the future and, once again, we’ll be able to write on, Commander.

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PhoenixDfire

It wasn’t just the fluff pieces of Galnet that the community is worried about. Galnet was firstly pruned of the fluff pieces, to concentrate on news items from Interstellar Initiatives and Community goals. However, they cut both those as well at the beginning of January because they said that the delayed Fleet Carriers and the 2020 New Era needed the dev work, which has meant that apart from the Thargoids returning, there hasn’t been Community Based event for the last couple of months and frontier haven’t exactly been forthcoming about if I.I.’s and C.G.’s are coming back.

There is a lot of frustration within the community about frontier’s radio silence, which has led to that open letter. We’ll probably find out in the next couple of weeks when they are supposed to give more information about fleet carriers.

juani586
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juani586

Frontier dropping the off-camera GalNet to “concentrate on in-game events” like Community Goals, Interstellar Initiatives and “significant narrative developments” might have been OK… except they then dropped all those too. Dead GalNet is now reporting a dead galaxy.

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dreamer

All that money, that big new office building, and a cash shop, and they can’t afford to staff their team to ensure there’s something for players to do during the content drought FDev themselves created?

David Braben, who used to trot out in front of the camera at every opportunity to sell this game and the promise of what was to come has been MIA for a over a year. If he can’t be bothered to show interest, how can players be expected to?

There won’t be much of an audience left by the time the big update comes. We still don’t even know what’s coming, despite the fact that we’ve been made to wait almost two years for it.

I’d be embarrassed for FDev if they had any shame. But with how horribly this game has been managed, it’s clear they don’t.

cmdr_cotic
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cmdr_cotic

I miss these GalNet entries. They were a small thing but added some context to the game and made it feel like there was shit going on elsewhere. Some of the stories were quite interesting and they also gave new or lapsed players a way of catching up on events.
It seems crazy to virtually stop doing them when they went through the effort not so long ago of making them narrated in game, that was a really nice addition, like having an in game podcast to listen to.