Should Egosoft postpone the late-game crisis?

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Preferred outcome re: feature as presented 7.0B? (only vote if you played it)

The crisis is great/good enough the way it is
3
8%
Minor fixes here and there can get it to where it needs to be
3
8%
It needs major work, but I'll just not play it
8
22%
It should be postponed and redeveloped from the ground up
22
61%
 
Total votes: 36

adeine
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Should Egosoft postpone the late-game crisis?

Post by adeine » Mon, 10. Jun 24, 14:25

The tl;dr

For those of you who have played the 7.0 Beta, with 10 days to go until the projected launch date, do you feel Egosoft should release the late game crisis in its current form, or do you think the feature needs to be fundamentally redeveloped?

Please only vote if you've actually played the content, and try to keep this topic positive and to that essential question - this is not really meant to be the discussion of what to do instead or the specific flaws with it, but rather a survey of community sentiment which might prompt action one way or another.


The rationale

I've been wrestling with whether to make this thread or not and I realise it is late (but not too late) to do so. It might just end up being locked/deleted straight away. But I honestly feel this feature is too important to the game for me not to do so anyway. X4 desperately needs good endgame content, and people have been clamouring for something like this basically since the game's launch six years ago; some climactic challenge to put your late game empire to use.

Reading other people's comments in the feedback thread, I think it's fair to say that the majority of beta testers came away with a similar impression of the feature's current state as me: That in its current implementation, it does not meet its intended purpose.

From our limited perspective, it seems clear that those in charge of making decisions at Egosoft have decided to push ahead with the feature as seen in the course of the 7.0 Beta and are committed to launch it alongside the update. I realise it can be hard to determine, as a developer, whether feedback garnered during testing is indicative of the general response to a feature or a vocal minority of those who take issue with it (hence supplying feedback). I do think it is more of the former here (hopefully this poll can bring some actionable clarity to that question, one way or another), and launching the feature as-is jeopardises the legacy of the game.

I know this might sound a little hyperbolic over something that is optional content, but it is literally meant to be 'the' endgame challenge. What might serve as the conclusion to a save game people might have sunk hundreds of hours in needs to get it right.

I believe there is no value in pushing out a rushed implementation that does not achieve what it sets out to do. I genuinely think it is more harmful than not having a late game crisis in the first place (with the vague promise of implementing one down the line, even should that never materialise). If that line on the development checklist is crossed off in a way that doesn't work for the community (and I would argue, the developer) that is something that's difficult to recover from.

How would you even go about it? Remove the feature again (to the outcry of the community)? Add another crisis that better meets what people want (hard to rationalise from a developer standpoint)? Hope that some modder implements a better late-game to redeem how people feel about the whole thing? It's hard to see a positive way forward.

I fully understand that a lot of development time has gone into the feature as it is, and as a 'free' update to the game it probably isn't the highest priority for the studio. Going back and rethinking it from the ground up in a better (and, let's face it, more expensive) way is a tough ask. But I do think there are those at the company who truly love the game they're building and know it is worth it to do things right. X4 deserves that.

And it's in that spirit that this topic exists.

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Re: Should Egosoft postpone the late-game crisis?

Post by Falcrack » Mon, 10. Jun 24, 15:03

I think the major issue that folks have with the crisis currently is the idea of Xenon ships simply spawning of top of player assets. Egosoft is trying to create a challenge for the player by dumping military ships at the player's doorstep, but most players do not simply want an existential crisis for themselves. They want an existential crisis for the galaxy, and to be able to act as the rescuer of the galaxy. Players also want the Xenon to do this following the same set of rules that the game has followed up to this point, that is, ships are not spawned but instead are produced, that the Xenon are pouring out of their home sectors instead of just randomly appearing places.

The Kha'ak are a bit trickier since they have also just sort of spawned, but my understanding is that even in that case, they are being warped in from other corners of the galaxy, and that there is some set rate to how fast they can spawn replacements. If there was a Kha'ak sector we could attack and destroy their stations that spawn ships, like Operation Final Fury in X3, that would stop these frequent raids with large Kha'ak capital ships, that would be more compelling than what we have now.

I think it would be better for Egosoft to delay the implementation of the crisis, listen to player feedback, and implement a better version of it sometime later after 7.0, rather than try to rush implement it to meet their 7.0/Timelines deadline.

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Re: Should Egosoft postpone the late-game crisis?

Post by LameFox » Mon, 10. Jun 24, 15:28

Ideally I'd like them to take it back to the drawing board and come up with something way more immersive and mechanically fun. It's just sad that mods did it better 2 games ago (LU's OCV) and several years ago (ROR) and when Egosoft finally catches on that people like the idea, they come up with something that just feels like an X3 defend mission. It's highly reminiscent of the way they saw people wanting multiplayer and came up with that weird browser game Venture thing.

But I doubt it will happen. If they had the will and/or resources to create such a thing why didn't they do it before? I think the sad reality is the X3 defend mission version is just what we'll get. I have a feeling if I ever turn it on again it would only be to see if it clears an AI faction out of a sector I want, since targeting the player means we can influence it in that way.
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Re: Should Egosoft postpone the late-game crisis?

Post by xant » Mon, 10. Jun 24, 15:44

I like the vague idea behind it, which is to give advanced players something to do, a challenge of sorts. But the execution leaves so much to be desired, nothing short of completely redoing it would make me play it again.

As I said in the feedback thread already, more than once, the game revolves around the idea of being a true simulation. That is its main selling point, and its biggest appeal. It's precisely the reason I could never go back to any of the older X games, or play any other space sim involving anything remotely economic.

Likewise, jumpdrives were removed for a reason. Space feels big again thanks to it, space geography matters, gates matter. The station designer allows you to make some impressive structures, and you can play around with both, space geography and station designs, to customize your experience. Space geography, station design and placement, all that is important and impactful.

So I really don't get why the crisis event has to be so... sorry, for the word, but cheap. Yes, it's incredibly cheap, and feels just so lazy, and poorly thought out. Spawning in ships out of thin vacuum onto player assets breaks everything the game stands for, breaks with its core features, breaks with its entire design philosophy since release. It also introduces a form of player exceptionalism, which shouldn't be present in the game. We're part of the universe, it doesn't revolve around us. So why are we specifically targeted, just because we reached some magical invisible value threshold for military assets?

Then there's the entire balancing of the new Kha'ak capital ships. The game nerfed Terrans from X3AP to X4, because they were too op previously. That's another core philosophy, that there is no perfection. Everything has strengths and weaknesses now. No ship, no weapon can have it all, stats, speed, power, and range. It makes for interesting gameplay, for interesting choices. So why make the Kha'ak, a defeated faction at that, suddenly so strong? I always could put up with their constant spawns, and accept that they have no economy, because they weren't overpowered. But giving them destroyed-sized Asgards with Plasma-strength beam turrets, at no cost?

It's something I would expect from some unbalanced mod. It makes me wonder: just why? Why would you break with your own game philosophy so much? Spawning overpowered ships on you is something I'd never expect from official content. I don't want ships to spawn, I don't want them to bypass space geography, I want them to use their own economies to build stuff, I don't want stupidly overpowered enemies, I don't want such an unrewarding and unsatisfying conclusion to the entire event chain.

For me, there's nothing that can be salvaged about the whole thing. It's not fun, it's an artificial challenge at best, and it's not of the quality I've come to expect and love from Egosoft for over two decades now.

Back to the drawing board it is, otherwise I won't touch it even with a pole the length of an AU.

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Re: Should Egosoft postpone the late-game crisis?

Post by xrogaan » Mon, 10. Jun 24, 18:59

Falcrack wrote:
Mon, 10. Jun 24, 15:03
I think the major issue that folks have with the crisis currently is the idea of Xenon ships simply spawning of top of player assets. Egosoft is trying to create a challenge for the player by dumping military ships at the player's doorstep, but most players do not simply want an existential crisis for themselves. They want an existential crisis for the galaxy, and to be able to act as the rescuer of the galaxy. Players also want the Xenon to do this following the same set of rules that the game has followed up to this point, that is, ships are not spawned but instead are produced, that the Xenon are pouring out of their home sectors instead of just randomly appearing places.

The Kha'ak are a bit trickier since they have also just sort of spawned, but my understanding is that even in that case, they are being warped in from other corners of the galaxy, and that there is some set rate to how fast they can spawn replacements. If there was a Kha'ak sector we could attack and destroy their stations that spawn ships, like Operation Final Fury in X3, that would stop these frequent raids with large Kha'ak capital ships, that would be more compelling than what we have now.

I think it would be better for Egosoft to delay the implementation of the crisis, listen to player feedback, and implement a better version of it sometime later after 7.0, rather than try to rush implement it to meet their 7.0/Timelines deadline.
Xenon are machines. They don't suffer the needs to organics. Thus, they can travel through deep space without requiring food or water. They could also sleep in deep space, or have outposts is places so remotes that it would be difficult from the organics to effectively counter. Think weeks of travel, or something like that. So having Xenons attacking sectors seemingly randomly wouldn't be too far off the capabilities of a machine race. However, if it is as you said, and they just spawn on top of player assets... Then no, I don't even wanna see that stuff.

Though, the AI would probably be incapable of reacting to a xenon invasion as I described it. It would require a stand-in intervention force, and move that force at a moment's notice. Though I remember the Split being wiped out by the xenon in my previous game, unable to do anything against a single L. That because their eco was dead, due to the imbalances necessary for the player to grow their wallets. There are holes in each faction's eco, that the player can fill. For instance, the Boron didn't have enough ore processing plants, which crippled the whole production chain. But they didn't have Xenons as neighbors, so they were mostly okay.

Anyhow, if those imperfections aren't solves and there is a galaxy crisis, then that crisis would wipe everybody but the player.

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Re: Should Egosoft postpone the late-game crisis?

Post by Koizuki » Mon, 10. Jun 24, 20:02

There doesn't seem to be an option for "It needs major work, but I'll still try it out."
Either way, I support (and have brought up myself) the idea of the Xenon pouring out of new, heavily fortified sectors to threaten the entire galaxy, but unfortunately this is likely how it's going to be. We're too close to release for any significant changes, and even from Beta 1 all the way until now, the only significant change we've gotten is a resarch button to start it with. The devs clearly see this as their ideal vision of a crisis, so we'll just have to deal with it as-is.

The AI is definitely capable of responding to threats coming from a gate as that's how it currently works, so long as they have sufficient building materials, but it should be like a firehose of Xenon until we go in and finally 'turn it off' by taking out that CPU ship. Seeing the map suddenly start turning red is at least my own idea of a crisis, rather than the game going "haha, surprise, let's delete part of your fleet and this station in a few minutes!"

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Re: Should Egosoft postpone the late-game crisis?

Post by adeine » Mon, 10. Jun 24, 20:09

Koizuki wrote:
Mon, 10. Jun 24, 20:02
There doesn't seem to be an option for "It needs major work, but I'll still try it out."
It's explicitly aimed at people who have already played it.

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Re: Should Egosoft postpone the late-game crisis?

Post by chew-ie » Mon, 10. Jun 24, 20:13

"It should be postponed and redeveloped from the ground up" as I already stated it at the beta board.

I'm glad though that Egosoft added the opt-in so it doesn't trash my savegames.

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Re: Should Egosoft postpone the late-game crisis?

Post by scryp » Mon, 10. Jun 24, 21:21

I dont know if this would be a major or something they could easy implent but as others also think, would it be much better, not perfect but more enjoyable, if the Xenon Crisis Waves spawn in one of there sectors, and fight thier way out and try to expand.

Same for the Khaak, lets them spawn in one sector with an hive, if you kill the hive they cant spawn there anymore for some time.

Yes it would be much better if they had (for Xenon) to build out of ressources an "invasion Fleet" but i think spawning in there sectors would also work for most people i guess, and it seems much easier to implent / adjust.

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Re: Should Egosoft postpone the late-game crisis?

Post by GCU Grey Area » Mon, 10. Jun 24, 21:47

Falcrack wrote:
Mon, 10. Jun 24, 15:03
I think the major issue that folks have with the crisis currently is the idea of Xenon ships simply spawning of top of player assets. Egosoft is trying to create a challenge for the player by dumping military ships at the player's doorstep, but most players do not simply want an existential crisis for themselves. They want an existential crisis for the galaxy, and to be able to act as the rescuer of the galaxy. Players also want the Xenon to do this following the same set of rules that the game has followed up to this point, that is, ships are not spawned but instead are produced, that the Xenon are pouring out of their home sectors instead of just randomly appearing places.
Could not have put it better myself. For me that major issue is compounded by the fact that spawning enemy fleets on top of 1000+ module stations just results in an extremely unpleasant low fps slideshow (couple of missions in the Venture beta did that & they were simply horrible to fight). Crisis as currently implemented is simply incompatible with the way I like to play X4 - building excessively big stations is one of my favourite things to do. On the other hand, a galaxy-wide existential threat would work absolutely fine for this type of station-focused gameplay - indeed could derive a great deal of pleasure designing & building elaborate fortifications in strategically important sectors.
The Kha'ak are a bit trickier since they have also just sort of spawned, but my understanding is that even in that case, they are being warped in from other corners of the galaxy, and that there is some set rate to how fast they can spawn replacements. If there was a Kha'ak sector we could attack and destroy their stations that spawn ships, like Operation Final Fury in X3, that would stop these frequent raids with large Kha'ak capital ships, that would be more compelling than what we have now.
Agree with this too. Personally fine with Kha'ak jumping in wherever they want, they've been doing that since X2. Also like the idea of an Operation Final Fury type objective to defeat them. However what really bugs me is that their cool new ships are seemingly locked behind the crisis (no crisis, no Kha'ak capitals). Think they should also be implemented as a low frequency random spawn in non-crisis games.
I think it would be better for Egosoft to delay the implementation of the crisis, listen to player feedback, and implement a better version of it sometime later after 7.0, rather than try to rush implement it to meet their 7.0/Timelines deadline.
Would certainly not mind waiting until after 7.0 for a better crisis too.

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Re: Should Egosoft postpone the late-game crisis?

Post by Pesanur » Mon, 10. Jun 24, 22:04

Lorewise, the jump drives of X3 are xenon-tech that the Terrans inverse-researched and used in the X-shuttle and later be reproduced by Terracorp.

As the crisis CPU ship have a jump drive, is safe to assume that also its spawns can have one (the xenon that attack you in the crisis).

What the crisis needs is more lore, as for example, how is that this CPU ship teamed with the Khaaks, for what it launch those massive attacks in the player assets, and someway to interact with it for ending the crisis. For example, destroy it and the Khaaks give you a Ravager, leave it alone, and it give to you the blueprints of the capturable xenon ships, or better, you can select between having a friendly Xenon faction or a friendly Khaak faction (But this means adding new sectors for those factions).

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Re: Should Egosoft postpone the late-game crisis?

Post by Feloidea » Mon, 10. Jun 24, 23:15

What is the point of posting this poll outside the beta forum? Those who playtested the beta can participate in such a poll in the beta subforum and those who haven't and browse this subforum right here are explicitely excluded from the poll. And that's assuming people self-censor and not vote on the poll if they haven't tested it. I understand why you opened the poll, but the execution is misplaced.

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Re: Should Egosoft postpone the late-game crisis?

Post by adeine » Tue, 11. Jun 24, 00:42

Feloidea wrote:
Mon, 10. Jun 24, 23:15
What is the point of posting this poll outside the beta forum? Those who playtested the beta can participate in such a poll in the beta subforum and those who haven't and browse this subforum right here are explicitely excluded from the poll. And that's assuming people self-censor and not vote on the poll if they haven't tested it. I understand why you opened the poll, but the execution is misplaced.
It's not allowed in the Beta forum.

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Re: Should Egosoft postpone the late-game crisis?

Post by rudi_pioneer » Tue, 11. Jun 24, 06:29

It's a very non-X like feature, like everyone said. With galaxy-wide crisis without spawning, there are lots of cool options like hiding in windfall/avarice, remote sectors, etc. But instead, its' just spawning.

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Re: Should Egosoft postpone the late-game crisis?

Post by xrogaan » Tue, 11. Jun 24, 11:00

Come on people. The whole point of the crisis is that it is, indeed, a crisis. Not a mild annoyance you can ignore. The universe is supposed to be threatened, it's not a game of find the Xenon.

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Re: Should Egosoft postpone the late-game crisis?

Post by chew-ie » Tue, 11. Jun 24, 12:50

Come on people. The whole point of X4 is a simulated universe. No ship spawning, instead real troop movement and real strategy involving enemy supply chains.

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Re: Should Egosoft postpone the late-game crisis?

Post by LameFox » Tue, 11. Jun 24, 14:33

xrogaan wrote:
Tue, 11. Jun 24, 11:00
Come on people. The whole point of the crisis is that it is, indeed, a crisis. Not a mild annoyance you can ignore. The universe is supposed to be threatened, it's not a game of find the Xenon.
Well, it certainly didn't achieve anything like that in my testing. It's not even interested in the broader universe let alone threatening to it.
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Re: Should Egosoft postpone the late-game crisis?

Post by Falcrack » Tue, 11. Jun 24, 15:29

xrogaan wrote:
Tue, 11. Jun 24, 11:00
Come on people. The whole point of the crisis is that it is, indeed, a crisis. Not a mild annoyance you can ignore. The universe is supposed to be threatened, it's not a game of find the Xenon.
What most people are asking for is not to make the crisis easier, but to change the way it is implemented, to make it follow the rules of the game more closely.

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Re: Should Egosoft postpone the late-game crisis?

Post by Axeface » Tue, 11. Jun 24, 16:03

I dont think postponing it would achieve anything. It is a shame the feature is something I will never use - much like terraforming, its a huge headline feature that I just am not interested in.
Needs entire rework, something far more dangerous and rewarding. But ripping it out the game now serves no purpose. I'm very wary about the player choice trigger aspect being added at all... it isnt a crisis and it doesnt add difficulty if the player has the choice to trigger it.

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Re: Should Egosoft postpone the late-game crisis?

Post by xrogaan » Tue, 11. Jun 24, 20:57

Falcrack wrote:
Tue, 11. Jun 24, 15:29
xrogaan wrote:
Tue, 11. Jun 24, 11:00
Come on people. The whole point of the crisis is that it is, indeed, a crisis. Not a mild annoyance you can ignore. The universe is supposed to be threatened, it's not a game of find the Xenon.
What most people are asking for is not to make the crisis easier, but to change the way it is implemented, to make it follow the rules of the game more closely.
I don't think you can create a crisis the typical way, not without fixing the AI factions economies. There's also an issue with effectively creating a game over state if the player can't stop said crisis, which then proceed to annihilate everybody. I don't believe egosoft would want this to happen to their players. So the design of the crisis becomes limited by the very same game rules: can't have the AI factions be destroyed and end the game for the player. Thus, the only valid target becomes de facto the player faction.

If I were to redesign the crisis, though, I would make the Xenon assault a temporary feature. Then, once the player beat them, have all the other AI factions turn enemy or plain hostile towards the player as they see it a Xenon attracting threat for the gate network. But that wouldn't work for Egosoft either, because that effectively locks the player into a specific path. :gruebel:

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