~Before I start, I have about 54 hours into Boundless, and I only recently discovered and picked up the game less than a week ago. This time represents a lot of experience with certain features and areas of the game, but not nearly all or even a significant chunk. So, my preferences here are based largely around the experiences thus far. The first half of this gameplay was spent exploring and spelunking a great deal on Solumn; the second half was spent constructing and toying with the machines needed for transportation and creation.
My favorite favorite favorite two (so far) features of Boundless are the hookshot and chisel. The addition of mobility, the aid of farming materials in hard-to-reach areas, and the dual wielding feature combined with the hookshot make it an incredible addition to this type of game, and I find it very difficult to go back to an environment without such a tool. In addition, the chisel is a wonderfully simple way to manipulate creations to allow for even more fun and precision. I would be willing to venture that a good 15-20 hours of my played time thus far is solely to test the extensive capability and use of this little device.
That being said, here are my responses to the 2017 Planning questions:
1. Totally rework a broken MAJOR current feature:
Plot monopolies. I realize this is a design feature currently, and that the devs may want to encourage guilds of players monopolizing large swaths of land and the resources beneath them, however, I am urging caution and would like to see greater restrictions of this.
And besides the mass monopolies, there is absolutely nothing more frustrating to me than seeing a lone beacon sitting somewhere with no indication of progression or building or interaction from its owner in who knows how many days. This is something that is unfortunately a deal-breaker for me. If a beacon goes unused for so many days, have it go back into the player's resources to be used elsewhere.
Real estate is the most valuable resource here in Boundless, and if the current state of the game with its resources being tied to specific regions and/or worlds stays true, the first order of business will be to run around throwing beacons and plot extenders around as fast as you can level mining. I can see people selling or even renting plots of land - which could, admittedly, be an OK thing. But, this can also get out of hand very quickly. We simply do not have the active player base to see any potential unforeseen consequences of implementing such a feature. I would advise steps be taken to limit and curb such behavior, rather than retroactively try to undo problems arising from monopolizing behavior that could potentially shut out players who just want to grab a pretty mountain peak and build next to their friends...who have neighbors who have taken up every mountain peak and interesting landmark in the surrounding area (check the large town on Solumn).
Right off the bat, I can see issues with griefing and (this one being more the case) absent players. Player "JaneDoe123" decides to go play something else for a few months and has a half-made eyesore right in a prime area, or has a few beacons scattered right vertically above where someone wants to extend an underground ice cave, which effectively prevents them from going through with the project because of how the plot system works at the moment. What kind of time frame can players be expected to have to preserve untouched property? Indefinitely - I sure hope not. I can recommend a time frame, but there are all sorts of scenarios where players could reasonably be absent from the game with intentions of coming back to keep working (I am military; 120-day deployments are a thing).
My Suggestion: Maybe have them build a plot preserver that you could feed into the beacon, and you can only build so many before the world begins to reclaim your beacon? I dunno, something so that the player has to premeditate the hold on their property. I'm thinking you would only need to feed a beacon that you aren't currently or recently manipulating, so you could either feed your beacon with preservatives or run to every one periodically to interact with it. Perhaps a 10 day natural preservation, with an item that preserves the beacons in 10 day increments up to a max of 120 days. Plus, you would be able to email a support ticket for extension requests, and should you come back earlier, the bonus extension disappears.
2. Tweak a broken MINOR current feature:
This request is directly tied to my experience with the Township Project currently going on Berlyn. A feature that is pretty badly needed is the ability for town governors/designers to selectively give rights and privileges to members. We need to be able to give members the ability to access items and areas that are relevant to their status and/or contribution. If I'm designing roads and bridges, I shouldn't be able to knock down someone's house. The current system relies heavily upon the integrity of the players, and there is no ability to give players access to items like plinths or machines without revoking access to structures within the same plot - or vice versa.
My Suggestion: (I realize this suggestion is to implement a new feature) I would like to see a guild be able to put down guild beacons, and then leaders within the guild be able to assign guild members subplots to either build homes on or contribute to guild building projects. This also needs to be coupled with access to certain guild features such as storage blocks/shelves, construction/destruction of blocks, supplying plinths, etc.
3. Essential MAJOR feature before 1.0:
At the risk of coming across as an ungrateful child, I would love to see EVEN MORE versatility with the chisel. For example, my last project design was specifically chosen to test the capabilities of the chisel: I tried to replicate in miniature the globe-tree from the game Myst: Riven. I got pretty darn close, but the limitations - while extended by the use of the chisel - lie in the angles currently available. (I realize I could have made it much bigger in order to make it much closer to the design it was borrowing from, but I kinda detest being that guy and hogging the land needed for such a thing. And in any case, a 10x10x10 with "rounded" edges raised on an artificial tree trunk should be large enough to replicate a globe."
My argument for this feature being essential is simple: If the most appealing feature of Boundless is its creation aspect supplied by tools such as the chisel, then fueling this feature can only increase appeal and staying power of the game.
I would love to see the ability to chisel extended to chiseling slighter angles into blocks, perhaps by the ability to use the chisel on slabs and other sub-block types.
4. Add a MINOR feature in next update:
OOH Oooooh! I have a good one. So, dual-wielding is hot stuff. Hookshots and hammers are even hotter. Hookshots and hammers, trying to clear out pitch-black areas in large caves is like trying to assemble a puzzle upside down: it's doable, and you can accomplish it with some effort, but not fun. Can we please have a consumable night-eye/lightsource effect for this purpose?
I don't know what kinds of wearable gear you guys are going to implement, but if sapphire night-vision goggles aren't in the cards, can I beg/buy such a thing?
Bonus Feature Request: MOAR BLOCKS PLEEZ. Might we pretty please with cherry on top have access to natural blocks like igneous-with-iron-deposit for the purpose of crafting and designing? I assume I do not need to brick you (again) with more information and arguments to support this request...