Warning - Wall of text
There seems to be a constant stream of players that have left the game, or complained about or misunderstood how beacons and fueling them works. It is not hard to find players in the forums that for whatever reason failed to refuel a beacon and came back to the game to find everything was gone. Some are ok with this but others quit the game or leave bad reviews or both. I understand why the system was created. There is a desire to make sure that in a persistent universe, the planets do not become filled with builds belonging to players that are no longer playing the game. As someone that believed in this logic based upon experience in EA, I am finding now that I am not so sure it was the best design decision. I think the intentions were good and correct, but the impact makes it seem more punishing than I think was intended.
If I could redo the entire beacon system now, how would I change it.
1 – I would eliminate campfires as the initial “beacon”. I think they can be confusing and are really an unnecessary step in starting the game. I know I and other players have used campfires in builds, so I would suggest they find another use. Maybe as an easy source to cook basic foods versus the furnace.
2 – Reduce the material needs to make a beacon and make it hand craftable. If this is the only beacon then a player needs to be able to make one before they get their first crafting table so hand crafting is a necessity.
3 – Eliminate beacon fueling. Instead of requiring a player to fuel beacons just require a player to log into the game every so often. If the longest acting beacon fuel lasts 12 weeks then a player needs to log in once every 12 weeks in order to fuel all their beacons. I know some players will complain that we are removing an item that they can sell in stores. I think we would be better off with more players we might get if we eliminate fueling versus the extra items to sell. As far as the existing inventory of fuel. Allow it to be used to extend current beacons beyond 12 weeks to 12 plus the fuel. The fuel would be burned through first and then the 12 weeks will start. The recipes would be removed.
4 – Special treatment for the home beacon. There are players that for legitimate reasons might be away from the game for longer than 12 weeks or just need a longer break from the game. I would propose that the player’s home beacon will last 18 months. If a player logs into the game at least once every 18 months then their home beacon is preserved. Even if a player loses some beacons, they will at least have their home beacon remaining and everything contained in it.
5 –So why still buy gleam club? Gleam club will protect all your beacons and not just your home beacon. So if I buy gleam club then all my beacons are fueled for 18 months between my logging into the game. If I need to protect all my beacons for more than 18 months, offer a second tier of Gleam Club to do that protects all beacons for as long as the player has paid for gleam club. If I need 24 months due to a military deployment or other RL issue then I can buy the second tier of gleam club for 24 months.
6 – I would limit the home beacon to the player’s main character and exclude alts. This eliminates some players having 10 builds protected while others only have one. It helps to limit the clutter created when players leave the game and helps to preserve the value in buying Gleam Club.