1.) Speed and productivity modules are useless without beacons.
2.) Speed modules are generally useless without being used in tandem with productivity modules.
3.) Efficiency 3 module is insufficient to be worth a module slot.
4.) Productivity as a whole is lackluster and has overwhelming drawbacks, leading to it being used only on the highest level intermediates.
5.) There is no justifiable reason, gameplay-wise, that productivity can't be used on non-intermediates.
6.) There is no reason other than top level products that productivity can't be used in beacons.
Here's the original module attributes:
Speed: +20% / +30% / +50%
Energy: +50% / +60% / +70%
Energy: -30% / -40% / -50%
Productivity: +4% / +6% / +10%
Speed: -15% / -15% / -15%
Energy: +40% / +60% / +80%
Pollution: +5% / +7.5% / +10%
*can only be used for intermediates
*cannot be placed in beacons
Here's my suggested module attributes:
Speed: +25% / +37.5% / +50%
Energy: +25% / +50% / +75%
Energy: -30% / -45% / -75%
Productivity: +6% / +8% / +10%
Speed: -10% / -12.5% / -15%
Energy: +10% / +15% / +20%
*can be used for all products
*can be placed in beacons - subject to dispute as explained below
You may notice I have suggested an enormous buff to productivity. Let me defend that. First, note that the maximum productivity bonus remains unchanged at +10%. This means that your ever important high-tech science, processing unit, and rocket part productivity is not increased, it only has its penalties decreased. As these final steps in production make up a tiny part of your factory anyway, the energy and pollution penalty on the setup is fairly unimportant overall. Those penalties were doing far more to hinder the already underpowered usage of productivity in lower production steps than they were to hurt your use of productivity at the top end of the chain. I removed the pollution penalty entirely because there's no gameplay reason to justify it, and it makes no sense that improved material efficiency would increase pollution. The pollution output is already increased by the increase in energy cost.
Should productivity modules go in beacons? I feel that it would cause no problems at all, except at the very highest levels of production, and even there it is disputable that it's really an issue. First, I want to tackle my point that they should be allowed on non-intermediate products. There isn't a single non-intermediate product which you produce in large amounts, with which you would gain a stronger benefit from using productivity than you would from simply putting it on rocket part production. It doesn't even come close. Sure, you could get a lot of resources by putting productivity on nuclear reactors or rocket silos, but at some point you'll have as many of those as you can use. You could put productivity on a Power Armor Mk II, but will you ever produce enough to get even one more armor suit? And would you want that? I don't see a need to deny productivity on non-intermediates. A bigger concern would be the high-end intermediates that really do cost a tremendous amount of resources. It starts with processing units, then moves on to high-tech science, and eventually you reach the most expensive intermediate: the rocket part. If you were going to make an argument that certain products shouldn't be allowed to have productivity modules, you should focus on these products.
And so I get to the point about beacons. There is a good case to be made in saying that putting productivity in beacons is bad because it allows productivity stacking on the highest levels of the production chain, potentially saving tremendous amounts of resources. There is also a good case to be made in saying that all other levels of production will get along just fine without productivity in beacons, as you primarily want to mix productivity with other module types anyway. But I think we should stop worrying and learn to love the productivity. When you look at the sheer amount of resource you can gain, it seems like a very large amount, and indeed you would be an idiot not to put productivity at the top of your chain. But if you look at it this way you are deceiving yourself. Resources in Factorio aren't ultimately limited. Using productivity modules doesn't cause an intrinsic gain in the player's net wealth; rather it is a way of improving time efficiency by enabling a mining outpost to be used for longer before another one must be located and set up. But furthermore let's look at how much you can really gain from putting productivity in beacons. You can squeeze probably a logistically viable maximum of 7 beacons around a mk 3 assembler, for a grand total of 18 modules. Using my suggested module attributes above, if you put in 12 productivity 3 modules, you get +120% productivity and -180% speed. With 6 speed 3 modules to counteract this, the final speed is +120% and the energy cost is +670%. Looks like a lot, right? Now if we had instead only used the 4 productivity modules we could fit in the assembler along with 10 speed modules and 4 efficiency modules, we would get +40% productivity, +440% speed, and +530% energy cost. That means the second setup runs 145% faster and costs 18% less energy, and all the first setup gains is about 57% more productivity than the second setup. I'm not saying using all those productivity modules isn't an optimal setup, just that it isn't as game-changing as you might think it is.
But feel free to disagree with me in the comments below.
Quick points on the other elements of my module balance suggestions:
- Speed module 1 gives no decrease in energy efficiency. It only speeds up the machine. Putting these in, you are paying a module slot and the cost of the module as an alternative to simply building more machines.
- Efficiency module 3 now gives a suitable decrease to energy consumption, strong enough to counteract the hefty energy cost of using high level speed modules, or you can just put 1 of these in each machine and have module slot(s) left over for productivity modules.
- Productivity 1 has a more substantial increase in productivity bonus as well as far weaker penalties, so you can safely flood your entire factory with these at all levels if you really want to capitalize on the resource efficiency.
edit: We've been discussing things in the thread and we seem to generally agree that it's not enough to buff everything else, productivity 3--and the way productivity and speed multiply together--needs to be nerfed. The simplest way to accomplish this is to make penalties apply separately from bonuses and multiply with each other. Here's how that would look:
4 productivity-3 modules
4 productivity-3, 4 speed-3
final speed: +20%
comparison with 8 speed-3
So this would mean that productivity modules only increase material efficiency, and always decrease rate of output.
If efficiency modules were done the same way, you would reduce your energy cost with the same number of efficiency modules, regardless of the number of other modules you have in your system. This means that the intrinsic value of an efficiency module grows with more beacons in use. Using this base idea, BlakeMW had a suggestion to decrease the actual energy savings from efficiency while adding a pollution reduction effect so that it costs more modules to eliminate energy cost, but you can get rid of pollution just as easily as before.
eff1: -20% energy usage, -5% pollution (total pollution w/ 1 module: -24%)
eff2: -30% energy usage, -15% pollution (total pollution w/ 1 module: -40.5%)
eff3: -40% energy usage, -30% pollution (total pollution w/ 1 module: -58%)
I think it's a great idea, but let us know what you think in the thread below.