These games are usually very good feedback for me, so I can feel what the game needs and what is bad.
I believe that the current state of the beacons is not good. The problem is, that getting setup of 12 beacons and Assembly 3 resulting in +240% production bonus is bad for different reasons.
- It is hard to get, but it is super effective to use, in the early state, it is very useful to use this assembly manually for different stuff that is expensive (I used it for solar panels/alien science packs/accumulators/modules etc). This is bad, as the motivation to have good and effecient strategy shouldn't force you to go back to semi manual crafting.
Image of 12 beacon setup
- It is too strong, +240% productivity means result count multiplayer = 3.4 If you use this for something with more interproducts, like destroyer robots with these steps:
circuits -> advanced circuits -> defender capsule -> distractor robots -> destroyer robots
This is 5 steps, so the save of resources is 3.4^5 = 454, so the destroyer robot is 454 times cheaper than it would be without modules, this is WAY too much, it kills the need for expansions for resources, high volume logistics and makes the game too imbalanced.
- It breaks the factory, once you get this, it is best to extend this for every expensive piece of production facility, and you make ugly wall of beacons from you factory.
At some point the factory stars looking like this:Beacon wall
The solution I can come up with:
- Remove beacons completely, this is drastical step, but the last game I played without beacons for a change, and for me it was much more enjoyable (although harder) experience.
- Limit beacon count that can affect one building, this seems like a good idea, but it is hard to do in understandable way. Limiting the building of beacons so their influence don't interfere would work, but on the edges, it would still allow 4 beacons to affect one assembling machine.
- Don't allow of production module use in beacons. This is very simple solution, and I like it the most. This would limit productivity modules to be used directly in machines, so regarding the destroyer robot resource count, the multiplayer is 1.6 (+60%), the cost is 1.6^5 cheaper = 10 times cheaper, this is much more reasonable, and can be balanced much more controllable way than with beacons.
I also like this solution, as it makes the use of efficiency/speed modules more attractive, you could make beacons with speed/efficiency modules along your furnace setup to make it work faster/cheaper and similars, this would also allow to make beacons less expensive, and demand less power, as they would not be so overpowered.
I agree with this argument in many cases, but I also believe, that the game is better, if the best strategy doesn't lead to stupid and breaking setups, for example, I would like to do some kind of contest of the freeplay speedrun, and I want to see interesting games there.Let the players play the way they want to, if you don't like beacons, just don't use them.