I know this will require a change in tutorial and some of the initial game play but I really felt I should offer a new suggestion that might help solve some of the concerns and other things that came up during some discussion (yes probably a bit too passionate on my part) regarding plots, left over beacons, etc.
As @reapa11 and I explored Andooweem after we opened the perm portal from our Fire Cavern’s hub, I was reminded how beautiful the Boundless landscape is and why I am so passionate on something like landscape plots and developing a community like Eden where nature and simplistic beauty wins over large city feel/buildings. Then we went to Elopor / Berlyn and were completely reminded of beacon spam, left over starter locations (workbench, furnace, and beacon with nothing else but 1 wood/stone on the ground), and reserved plots not even being used around that person’s 1 beacon/crafting bench.
So I thought to myself how ugly this partially finished place was and how I wished I could fix it up even if the person didn’t come back for months. Then the idea hit me… If the new person could start in a simple house that fit in an 8x8x8 area (or maybe 1x2 plots but very small) then the landscape would at least be dotted with finished buildings and not this unfinished junk.
It would still look pretty and feel like the game had many players even if they were not online. That certainly would solve the complaints about beacons everywhere. We would still have them but at least it would be little houses sitting out in the wild dotting the landscape. When I first setup ShadowFax I built a simple 1 plot building that contains everything I need to play in that 1 plot so I know it could work.
I can imagine that as you played the first few levels of the game you had to pick 1 out of a variety of starter buildings. Then you were taught about beacons and could place that building. Inside it would be an initial set of machines (crafting bench, furnace, storage, and workbench) but you have the space for extractor, compactor, etc. Then you get resources to activate those items instead of build them while the later machines are built and placed or even activated if you want. At some point you are taught about plots and can expand your land with suggestions like building a garden, or another workshop, store front, etc.
I could also believe a few simple prefab stores and workshops could quickly be created that you gather resources and then place them. Or maybe even see the outline and have to fill them in. I wouldn’t want this to be excessive in use since I feel free building creativity is key to this game. But, a few suggestions and easy examples I feel gives a better starting experienced.
This does turn the game a bit from complete creative freewill to more of a prefab start, but that certainly lowers the stress and partial completed stuff for those users that only log in and play 1-15 hours and never come back.
Clearly I don’t want to replace people being able to build what they want but I see so many challenges more dedicated players experience because of the drop off rate we have in new players. Plus many new players are SO overwhelmed with just trying to learn the dynamics of the game that building something or fitting into a community in a way that works for everyone just is VERY low on their priority.
Maybe a different tutorial and ramp up experience with help us focus on more important new player dynamics that strengthen community and another game play experiences that are critical to the larger success of the game.
Also honestly going to another planet is important but forcing people to place a beacon there just creates even more of this darn beacon spam across all the worlds. That should be much later in the game roadmap and instead maybe people just collect resources from there but not lay down a plot.
Lastly, to add some community participation we could have a challenge where people could build versions of a 1x1x1, 1x2x1, and 1x2x2 houses (and maybe same for a store example) for a chance to have theirs picked and become part of the actual game release as one of the prefab houses. This would limit so developer requirements to create the actual game elements.
In any event, I know almost all of us hate beacons all over the planets. Removing us having to place a beacon on another planet from the tutorial and first few levels would help cut down on that spam. Also, creating simple prefab houses players start in would make the rest of those places look better until the person shows interest and comes back to build more. And even if what they build next isn’t finished there are still a variety of nicer looking places around too…
Just a thought to show I am just not all about ‘gimme plots’