Stick and Rudder: Elite Dangerous Odyssey is not bad, but it is broken

And broken can be fixed

    
20

All right. I get it. I understand. The Elite: Dangerous community is pretty rancorous right now, and I can’t say that I blame them. The Odyssey expansion arrived with all of the grace of a comet’s strike, and people absolutely have a right to be upset about that. I don’t know that I’m in that camp myself, but I certainly am a bit disappointed.

Let’s get this out of the way right from the off: Odyssey was absolutely rushed out of the door. If you’ve been following along with my alpha impressions leading up to this point, you know that I had that concern while also remaining hopeful, particularly in the face of the claim from Frontier Developments that the alpha build we were playing was an older version and the launch version would change things.

It didn’t. Not entirely.

While this was certainly all exacerbated by the fact that the servers were utterly steamrolled at the very first few days of the expansion’s release (and also made worse by the way Fleet Carriers apparently work), there didn’t really feel like too many differences between the alpha build I had played and the day one release build. Performance was still choppy, my friends and I were still experiencing some odd instancing problems, and the general complaints I’ve had about the on-foot missions hadn’t changed all that much. Maybe the enemies were a bit smarter, but they weren’t really pressing me, either. Instead, they were kitted out with better gear than me, which feels lazy.

And all of that discounts the problems other players had been experiencing over the past few weeks. I was lucky in that I had only a couple of Orange Sidewinder and Black Adder errors, but there were people who were unable to even touch this expansion for a long time, and that absolutely sucks. I’m counting myself lucky overall, since my launch experience was actually something I could experience. That’s more than others could claim.

While launch day issues are always going to be a thing for MMOs forevermore it seems, the thing that really rankles me the most is that this was all pretty much avoidable. Myself, my friends, and many other members of the Elite community were not really sure that this thing was ready to go and the four week-long alpha test just wasn’t enough time to absolutely iron this out, but FDev hard charged to its release date anyway. Whether it was to pad numbers for the company’s next quarterly presentation or not, I can’t say, but whatever the ultimate reason is, we are now left once more with the rank-and-file devs having to clean up the messy splattering all over the walls from studio leadership.

Above and beyond bugs and performance woes, there are other overall design decisions that make me tilt my head. The new UI for things like the system map don’t upset me quite so much, but they are going to take getting used to. I’m really confused why we can’t outfit our ships from the Inter Astra desk or access the market board from station terminals, instead having to run to the seat of a parked ship to access those features. I also despise how wildly unhelpful on-foot mission threat level numbers are. Does Threat Level 3 mean I’m on par with these foes? Is it middle of the road? Am I best suited to take on Threat Level 1 or 2 missions instead? Who knows, just fly out there, find out, fail, waste your time and credits.

As frustrating as the situation is, though, I still think Odyssey is a good expansion. It’s not a fully functional one, but it is good when it works. I still like getting into (often stupid) trouble with my friends while we’re on foot. I still am interested in chasing upgrades for the weapons I’ve chosen and the suits I own. I really really like the plasma shotgun and want to get better at using it. Eventually, I want to be good at theft and sneaking.

The moment-to-moment experiences that are specific to Odyssey are still a good time all in all, though I will admit that the rewards feel anemic when compared to space missions — the time invested and level of focus needed for most FPS missions feels way higher than your standard space missions, and the reward scales do not feel like they’re appropriate.

One big thing that keeps me hooked and playing, though, is the fact that we’re all sort of on the same footing right now. Sure, there are people who have already pared this down to absolute efficiency, but I get this sort of sense that most people (self certainly included) are kind of grasping around in the dark. And I kind of like that. The biggest reason Elite hooked me in is because I have so much to learn, and now I still have a lot to learn and no massive piles of community guides or tools to answer everything. Which is kind of exciting. Sure, give it a few more weeks and that will all be inaccurate, but this new frontier is nice.

Ultimately, though, the reason that Odyssey still has my attention is pretty much the same when I finished up alpha testing. The expansion adds more things to do for myself and my friends and that’s all I could ever possibly ask for an expansion. So I don’t think it’s bad, but I do agree that it is busted. That can be repaired, though. As unfair and unjust as it is, the devs do seem to be working extremely hard on righting this ship. I’m still able to find delight in Elite, needless warts and all.

Still, I would advise players to wait. Give it a month or so, probably. In the meantime, I’m still going to bask in what’s here.

It’s a big wide universe out there, and the MMO industry is busy filling up the space between the stars – with sci-fi MMORPGs! Join the MOP team here in Stick and Rudder for intermittent voyages into all the big space-trucking, dog-fighting, star-flighting MMOs of the moment.
Advertisement

No posts to display

20
LEAVE A COMMENT

Please Login to comment
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most liked
Subscribe to:
Reader
Knecht_Rootrecht

Wow, the article doesn’t even mention that Odyssey downgraded the planet graphics. How the lighting is broken with planets being either too dark or too bright. Or the game mechanics of on foot missions where a guard wants to scan you and you dont stop right away, you get fined and then shot by an entire settlement of space hillbillies.

Reader
MassivelyMacD

Frankly, I think it takes more than a month to fix the most pressing issues.

Tried the first on-foot mission, used a shuttle (why do I have to sit in the shuttle and watch it fly all the way without being able to skip this?), arrived at the target settlement, found the crate and the moment I opened it my only way out turned into a high-security area with me being unarmed. So I died myself back to the station, tried again, this time to be scanned by an NPC that was not visible on my radar, alerting the whole base and, fleeing to the landing pad for my shuttle, being one-shot by a turret. Third attempt, everything worked, but the settlement was on the night side of the moon and it was so pitch black that it took me some time to even find the way to the landing pad. This is so pre-alpha, there is a lot of work to be done.

Well, at least we have a complete game left to play. Apart from changes in the UI and that dreaded darkness everywhere, the main game is more or less unaffected.

Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Kickstarter Donor
Paragon Lost

Definitely need to get the broken fixed. Ugh. Also, I try to avoid rancors, they aren’t to be trifled with!

rancor.jpg
Reader
Armsman

I’m going to bring up the elephant in the room, but yeah, had this been SC and CIG; I doubt the author of this article would have taken such an understanding tone or attitude towards this kind of release.

SC and CIG have a lot of issues to be sure, and they HAVEN’T done a stellar job at managing SC’s development. That said, more often than not (even on the alpha dev phase where issues are expected); of they determine something they’ve announced and set a release date for really isn’t ready, they’ve postponed or pulled it from their schedule and taken the heat.

Funny thing is- for years, many have held up how FDev has done things with E:D as an example of ‘doing it better’.

Funny thing is: Between their two years delay on the release of Fleet Carriers, and the period of time they stopped doing in game lore updates ( yeah a few paragraphs a month at best) <– although yes, that decision was reversed…and now this disasterous launch (which also greatly and negatively affects those who only have up to 'Horizions')..

Yeah, I'm not seeing the 'does it better' or the somewhat forgiving/conciliatory tone of this particular article. But that's me.

Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Kickstarter Donor
Paragon Lost

Personally I feel that it’s a bad comparison to compare the two companies/mmos at this point.

Reader
MassivelyMacD

Let’s face it: at least it exists (for more than 6 years now).

Reader
Ok_Chip261

for years, many have held up how FDev has done things with E:D as an example of ‘doing it better’.

I have a feeling that’s something to do with one thing Frontier does do better. Give out lots of expensive streamdecks etc. to influencers.

Reader
Ok_Chip261

Let’s get this out of the way right from the off: Odyssey was absolutely rushed out of the door.

Mind if I file that under fan fantasy?

Odyssey has been under development for three years and has had its launch date put back three times. It was released when Frontier decided it was good enough to release. The fact it is crap means it is crap – not that it is “rushed”.

Reader
ghoulas

OK, I tried. I have a lifetime expansion pass from the day I backed this and I hoped in and tried after like 3 years not touching the game. Hoping that I can finally find some fun in ED. And I failed again. The entry point is again way to high for me, so I’m still gonna skip the game I hoped will fill my need for a space sim. Still looking for some casual space flying without needing to invest hours to learn the basics. without needing to start from the beginning every time i make a mistake and I know that this will never happen cause of the space sim community forcing realism on every game that comes out.

So I need to get back to dreaming again and hoping one day maybe…

Karma_Mule
Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Kickstarter Donor
Karma_Mule

Waaaay back when Elite Dangerous was getting ready to launch I sprang for lifetime membership, so I’m gonna get what I’m gonna get. This is a hugely ambitious update for the game and it’s a shame they rushed it.

I did install & fire it up to try out the character designer and REALLY liked it, so that left a good first impression, especially because I only did that and the beginner tutorial. Having seen all the chatter I knew better than to try any more right now.

Got so much to play between ME:LE and ESO Blackwood that I think I’ll let this simmer on the backburner for a few weeks before I check it out in earnest.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Greaterdivinity

there didn’t really feel like too many differences between the alpha build I had played and the day one release build.

Man, this is reminding me of Anthem way too much. “This is a months-old developer build, launch will be so much different!” *Launches with almost all the same bugs and issues present in the demo* shockedpikachu.png

we are now left once more with the rank-and-file devs having to clean up the messy splattering all over the walls from studio leadership

We need more game developer co-ops, I say!

Give it a month or so, probably.

I’m so tired of waiting for launched games/updates to get patched, but seeing as this might be a great way for me to get back into the game I’m waiting for some deep sales. Figure by the time it hits 50%+ off it should be in a pretty good shape.

Reader
Vanquesse V

There’s a roadmap scheduled for friday

Reader
Ok_Chip261

Odyssey’s had a roadmap for years and another one isn’t going to help when the problem is a lack of people who can drive.

Reader
Vanquesse V

This is a roadmap for upcoming improvements to the expansion. I’m pretty sure a few people want a time-frame for when the game can be expected to be in a state where they can enjoy playing it.
What you linked also isn’t a roadmap for odyssey but them announcing a delay.

EmberStar
Reader
EmberStar

What you linked also isn’t a roadmap for odyssey but them announcing a delay.

The article sort of makes it sound like “announcing a delay” *should* have been the roadmap for Odyssey though…

OnO

Reader
Vanquesse V

Odyssey releasing in the state it did is inexcusable, but I’m curious if they have a bunch of stuff “almost ready” or if this is gonna be an ongoing saga of tiny improvements at a glacial pace.
Either way I put in around 90 hours and am moving on to other games. I’ll return once I trust planetary progression to be balanced and conflict zones to not turn the game into a slideshow.

Reader
Ok_Chip261

What you linked also isn’t a roadmap for odyssey but them announcing a delay.

What I linked was a reference to the last roadmap we haven’t seen, following your reference to the next roadmap we haven’t seen.

This is a roadmap for upcoming improvements to the expansion.

Yes, and my point is, it won’t get this mess fixed unless it starts with “Those responsible have been replaced”. Which I think is very unlikely.