It struck me today that most employment opportunities in Elite Dangerous currently boil down to being a mercenary and this, to me at least, is a shame because it of limits the potential of the ‘open’ part of the open world of ED.
Now by mercenary I don’t just mean a hired gun, although if you look at almost any bulletin boards you’ll find no end of kill missions ranging from the more-or-less morally agreeable “Kill pirate scum to increase system security & prosperity” type all the way to the border-line-psycho “kill civilian ships to see the system descend into civil war” type. No, what I also mean is that unless you are the type of Cmdr who is happy to lock their beliefs to one system faction and work to benefit them at the expense of their rivals then you will no doubt find yourself whoring yourself out to multiple factions of opposing views and stances. In effect, whether you are fighting, trading, exploring or even mining, unless you are bound to one faction you are a merc pure and simple and that seems like a shame to me because binding to one faction limits just what you can currently do in the game and the effect that work can have on the universe.
Now maybe the upcoming “Power Play” update will fix these issues but as FD aren’t giving anything away about it no one knows, but what I’d like to see added at some point are the following:
- A deeper way of working with and for a faction and for that work to actually have an impact in the system and therefore the universe. At the moment I don’t get a feel that what I’m doing is having any benefit at all and so is there any need to concern myself with doing it at all?
- Companies and Corporations players can set up and bring other players into work with and for – I have my own RP version in Antfarm Consolidated but it’s just more RP vapour right now. Still, I would love it to be actually in the game and working to influence factions in a system (or systems!).
- Navy jobs to be more than just merc jobs – the navy would want to recruit the best of the best and not have these chosen few working for the enemy as we all can do now with little to no upset. To be honest I couldn’t care less about a military career in the game but damn the RP that would come from those that do would be amazing!
- Missions to be more… more… well, just more of everything really. Currently they are dull, repetitive, dead-end grinding and I want them to be interesting, expansive and dynamically altering to actually make them seem like they are branching and evolving. I don’t think words can express how much I hate the current missions structures in ED but some of those words would be swear words that rhymed with duck.
- Wars to be more war-like with actual changes to a system rather than just a few scattered combat zones and check points because right now a system in conflict is system with a split personality disorder.
- Expansion to be dynamic and… expansive. I want to move with companies and factions as they expand rather than just be stuck in my chosen system supporting my chosen faction by means of taking their dull as ditch water missions forever.
Most of all, and what underpins these rough, quick ideas, is that I don’t want to be a mercenary. I don’t want to spend the rest of my time in ED just selling my cargo hold or my guns to whoever can pay the most. No, I want my participation to be driven by more than money in my account – I want it to be driven by me and my choices. I want Power Play to give me the opportunity to shape the universe instead of the universe just shaping me.
UPDATE (09/04/15): Not long after I posted this the FD main Dev posted this about missions in the Power Play update: https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php?t=135952