I was also a bit taken aback when I realised I’ll need gems for compact coal now. I’ve only been playing live for about a week when I restarted on test so I can offer a noob’s view on this…
Peat seems to be the “wood age” fuel where coal is your “stone age” equivalent. As such, it feels okay that you need more tech to compact the coal than peat. I would however agree that maybe soft coal might be compacted with spark but without power?
I’ve only just begun to explore off-world (still unhappy that warp augments are gone and I have to use “old universe” portals from others and I don’t stand a chance against the other creatures yet. It’s a sprint to the nearest unclaimed ground and digging hard to get out of sight before dying.
To this end it’s a b!tch to get down to where the nice resources are and I haven’t even seen gems or a gleam block in the world yet… So I’m left unlocking things I cant quite craft yet, but that pushes me to try and explore and become able to make them.
So in a nutshell yup it’s a pain, but I think it helps to push me outside my comfort zone