Following up on last week’s update revealing the addition of faces and contacts for mission givers and engineers, in this update I’ll expand on the role of engineers and how they factor into crafting. Note that in last week’s update I referred to them as ‘mechanics’, but we’ve since settled on the term ‘engineers’.
Engineers are individuals who provide the blueprints (which describe the materials and items needed for a specific modification) and can then apply them to the weapon or module. They are characters with their own back story, preferences and specialisations. Initially we’re looking at around 30 engineers dotted throughout human space and we will be able to add more in future updates.
One of the reasons that we chose mission givers and engineers first for the characterisation treatment is because in both cases you have an ongoing relationship which can change over time with the character. For the minor factions this is measured by your reputation with that minor faction (although factors like Pilots Federation rank will influence the deference with which they treat you), with the engineers the measure is taken from a variety of stats throughout the game and dependent on the nature of the individual.
For example we have an engineer who is closely aligned with the Federal Navy and so your rank with the navy is his key consideration, so the higher your naval rank the better blueprints he will be able to offer. As well as naval ranks, the Pilots Federation ranks (including combat, trade, exploration and CQC) will influence some engineers. Some engineers will be affiliated with minor factions, so you’ll need to manage your relationship with them as well. Some will use your stats for mining or trading in illegal goods as well as a host of other indicators.
As well as these initial governing factor there is a separate reputation with them, which must be cultivated along the lines of their governing factor to gain their trust and so more capable blueprints.
Not all engineers are immediately available to all players. The factor that governs their relationship with a commander has a minimum threshold that must be reached for them to deal with the player.
Each engineer has a specialisation, meaning that the deal with specific weapon types and modules. This is because they are experts in squeezing a bit more performance than the norm in their particular field. We are looking at having a secondary specialisation for engineers, just to help balancing the distribution of specialisations and of course we can add more engineers in the future. Or even remove ones if circumstances require it!
The engineers are spread geographically to add more geography to the map, but also to fit with the individual’s characteristics. They tend to be reclusive characters who are found at their own, isolated facilities on planet surfaces.
As well as working towards the 2.1 we’re also preparing a minor update to be released next week (assuming testing goes well) with fixes for season one and two clients. We’re also processing the latest batch of player group minor factions (batch 4) and the approved changes and additions should be added to the game next week.