A game that doomed itself before even launching

Bob Dole

Active endo
Dec 9, 2020
I know you wanted the game to be different from modern mmo's, and before I list the faults, i just want to say that you are different in a lot of good ways. The problem however is you are also different in all the wrong ways.

You had an amazing idea, and this game certainly scratches an itch for many players. However, that itch is short lasting, and while I don't want to beat a dog while they are down, you need to understand where you messed up.

1) I think every marketer will agree on one thing. If you have a product, you will find it in your best interest to cater to people who want that product. This was your first failure. You might have "THOUGHT" you were catering to people who want space exploration and a star citizen/eve alternative, when in reality you are unintentionally catering to people who want 'rust' in space.(That market doesn't exist btw, and if it does, it's miniscule) I say this because you have no npcs, which means pve is out the window and besides strictly mining, you will find any arguments on that subject to be flimsy at best.)

2) You have no systems in place to cater to anyone in the long term (You don't even have a system in place to find people in deep space, so unless you happen to see someone leaving, and HAPPEN to be close to them, and they HAPPEN to not see you following them, then there is barely an argument for this being a pvp game) This means, you do not have a proper pvp system, and you don't have a pve system. Yes, you are special, you are different, but here is how that plays out. People will join and play the game for a week, and then move on. I actually wrote a thread that this would happen a long time ago, but everyone said 'oh it's alpha' 'oh they are just a indie team' Give me a break.
I don't take pleasure in being right, but here we are.

3) You are relying almost exclusively on the players to make the content, which sounds good in theory until you realize this shrinks your already niche market, making it even more niche. (If a game is best while playing with others, fine. However, with such bare bones single player content, you've directly eliminated the market for people who prefer playing alone.) This was actually the biggest contributor to your downfall. The game can't even get a pass on 'just' having bad single player content, because without players, then there's not even enough to play for more than a week in total(If that)

4) The worst way you are different from other mmo's is your lack of a proper time sink. Eve has the endless skill grind, and runescape has the 1-99, and you tried to copy this system in such a way that it actually boggled my mind when I first saw the patch notes. Instead of being lazy, and copying an already proven system, you went out of your way to lock simple everyday necessities like fuel, or tools behind a progression gate. I think it's not unfair to say that this introduction made the game MUCH worse.

5) The player base is also partly to blame here, they allowed you to hide behind the shield of "Alpha" or "Early access" and directly looked past all your faults. If they were honest with you from the start, perhaps Eve or star citizen would be sweating right now.

I'm not a genius, I wouldn't even call myself smart, however even an idiot like me only needed one glance to see how this game would end, but it's not too late.

Get rid of your laughable skill system, and copy paste a proven one, after that, discuss with your game designers on the player market you are looking to cater to, and put all your resources towards accomplishing a foundation in whatever playerbase that might be (Because not even I know who you are actually trying to cater to anymore) After the bare minimum is achieved, only then should you branch out.

If you continue to build without creating the foundation first, it's just going to crumble down again the moment a gust of wind comes along. <Someone probably>
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Veteran endo
Feb 13, 2020
Most of the criticism you wrote can be compressed into a simple reason:
The game has not been build up enough (answer to 1, 2, ~3, 4 and ~5). You don't go from 0 to a hundred in a single step. Many games have all their development behind closed doors, so the state that SB is currently in never gets out to the players.
That is also why people defend it by saying it is an alpha. It is simply in a way earlier stage than most games would be when players get into contact with them.
That means that many many many systems are simply missing until someone gets around to them. The simplest example would be radiation sensors that would help with finding ships. The heat-mechanics update was in preperation for that, which you can derive from Lauri mentioning radiation mechanics as a way to make regular PvP "more of a possibility".

Of course you could say that this is me "allowing Frozenbyte to hide behind alpha or early access", but I see it more as being realistic. Yes the game has problems and is bare, yes the devs were slow with developing stuff. But much of that is simply because the devs were slow. Something you can't always control in software development, as sometimes how you approach a problem/feature works and sometimes you get half way and notice you won't be able to progress this way due to not noticing certain requirements, interactions or unsolvable bugs due to the implementation.

Now, when we say the devs were slow in developing stuff, could they have focussed on different features?
For the most part, yes, but also no, as sieges, as they envision it, is a core part of the gameplay and getting the core out earlier is better to base all other design decisions on the foundational design.
That then boils down to: is their vision flawed? Maybe. I for one enjoy the aspect of everything I find being player-caused. But I can also agree that the current design does not supply players with many goals to work towards (which lowers the retention of certain player groups). But that again is a lack of development, not of thought, as they had, as part of their youtube marketing, shown off ideas for a faction system, with initially developer factions and later also player factions which could have given a framework in which to act.

So in my eyes it is a case of development issues (placeholder systems, lack of development, issues at development taking more time, underestimating complexity (not always avoidable)), not of design issues, but that is my opinion.

And the research was them messing up, they even said so (somewhere, would have to look), as it was meant to guide players along the way and will probably get replaced with a better system when they get around to development again (same with the tutorial).

Bob Dole

Active endo
Dec 9, 2020
I can see you guys got some funding recently. Please add a time sink or the game is going to die again.

A reminder: building ships and bases doesn't count as a time sink. Ship building and bases are never, ever going to be a proper timesink for a game that doesn't reset monthly like rust does. Meaning, you are never going to get away with things that games like rust get away with. A real time sink is mandatory.

Right now you are like a runescape without the 1-99 skill system. You don't have any player retention whatsoever. Please keep that at the back of your mind at all times.
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Jun 7, 2020
Totally agree with you on needing a real pointer for retention. I would argue that ship building is a sink, but yeah that can also be niche. Def need a real in world reason to play.
My in world reason to play is simply to compete, I mine to fight, design to fight, build to fight, fly to fight, learn to fight, whatever.
Playing to play essentially, which some people don't seem to understand very well. PVP is just fun, everything about it is great. What do people expect from an mmo... a complete hollow experience of "Hi neighbour!" repeated indefinitely, or a competetive environment where every aspect is challenging and engaging.

However I don't agree with your assessment of this being space rust, this game is a lot more forgiving. And for anyone that thinks that they're being pressured into being a victim because they're allergic to a 3 lettered word, my assumption is that they're just plain ignorant.

Wipes definitely keep rust fresh which is key, but this game can leave a lot of excitement behind, right now solely in the form of wrecks/ graveyards.

There's little developing power left in FrozenByte, they're best refining what they have, and implementing the things that pained people the most.
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Learned-to-turn-off-magboots endo
Aug 9, 2019
I think some of your points are valid; not sure about all of them. I made a similar post (not quite as negative) a few years before you.

Since that post, and through to the current planned updates, many things have changed.

* Repairs are now possible to do relatively painlessly.
* They announced PvE (halleluiah!)
* Stations and Capital ships provide stability out of the safe zone.

Other things have not changed, and remain a problem, though to be frank I haven't played enough recently to criticize knowledgably. The biggest missing feature to my mind is detection / stealth gameplay. Because of this, almost all PvP is focused around chokepoints rather than spread out in the universe. This is not particularly interesting for the pirates or the miners.