For those unaware, update 0.16.7 has suddenly introduced one rather questionable change:
Thus began a, at the time of writing this point, 7-page discussion in the thread about this update in release section. A bunch of players were quite discontented with this change, in my opinion rightfully so. Initially it came with little to no explanation, and the one that finally came (mostly as part of Friday Facts 222) is unreasonable and doesn't justify the change. Exempt from FFF quoted below:Removed the mechanics of 3 different fluid tanks in fluid wagon, and simplified it so the fluid wagon has just 1 fluid.
Somehow, the latter part of the post sounds disrespectful, in my opinion. The "you just got used to it" part sounds as if the dev team doesn't treat the opinion of players seriously and thinks we don't know what we really want.We made a decision to completely abolish the mechanics of fluid wagon tank separation. We knew that a lot of players would not like it, but this might just be because they got used to it, and because of the argument "if you don't like it, don't use it".
The "if you don't like it, don't use it" is a way of describing an actual good reason for keeping the feature in the game in a way worse light than it really is. That reason being that the existence of the separation feature literally didn't hamper non-users in ANY way whatsoever, with it being off by default. Together with the fact that there were lots of people who used it, the change was beneficial to virtually nobody.
Fluid wagon capacity issue is absolutely irrelevant and has nothing to do with separation. The latter does not prevent simply reducing the capacity of the individual tanks in the wagon.-Fluid wagon capacity is somewhat too big, which means that the fluid trains have to move around very sporadically compared to the trains with items. Making the wagon fluid capacity smaller (we didn't do it yet) and removing the separation, is similar to making the whole fluid wagon as big as one section.
Correction: THREE wagons, not two. And considering how excruciatingly heavy fluid wagons are, you're also going to need an additional locomotive, in total forcing the player previously using this feature to now turn all of his 2-wagon trains to 5-wagon trains, complete with rebuilding all of the stations involved to accommodate for this change. And the latter is also the reason why it's not such a "trivial" solution. If the separation wasn't a problem solver, then at least it was a major convenience, thus giving a solid reason to not remove it.-It was solving a problem that has quite a trivial solution (use two separate wagons). We try to add mechanics mainly for things that don't have a solution otherwise, or the solution is weird.
Like many other many arguments, this one is invalid down at the base, by the sheer virtue of being applicable to literally anything else in the game. While there are indeed benefits to it, the benefits of keeping the feature outweigh them.-We won't have to keep the code alive, we won't have to update the UI of it (in the upcoming GUI update) and fix the bugs related to it. This argument is the smallest, but is also here, as everything has a cost and it is about priorities.
The discussions on the forum spawned some other attempts at justifying the removal, but in my opinion none are good enough to excuse removing a cool feature which WAS used by people and was not damaging the game, nor other players in any way.
The GUI bug
As described in this topic, the GUI of the fluid wagon had a bug where it would not show the amount of fluid properly, with readouts overlapping. Mind you, this is in the GUI, not the tooltip on the right side of the screen - this was displaying the contents properly.
What happened is Kovarex immediately announcing:
At the time, I honestly was convinced it's a joke. Sadly, it wasn't one. Now, I don't want to be seen as some sort of conspiracy theorist, but it looks bizarre how eagerly kovarex jumped at the report of a tiny glitch, promptly nuking the entire feature. It was as if the dev team was already looking for an excuse to remove it...kovarex wrote:Thanks for the report, I solved this bug for the next version by removing the feature of disconnecting wagon parts and so this gui won't exist anymore.
In any case, like anything else this does not make for a reason to remove the entire feature. If removal was more beneficial than fixing, all that was necessary to remove was the readout in the GUI. After all, like mentioned, the wagon shows its contents in the tooltip and honestly, even when using this feature frequently I've never noticed the wagon GUI was actually showing the amount of fluid.
"Just use mods"
Mods pop up frequently in any feature or suggestion discussions. There might as well be a law stating that when a such a discussion about a feature is going, someone eventually will suggest using a mod. In this case however, there are a lot of problems with using mods. I've mostly wrote about them in the post under the update, but I'll repeat here:
-Mods disable steam achievements
-Any environment including mods is detached from vanilla meta, losing relevance in many discussions and potentially causing problems with knowledge sharing, like guides and blueprints for example.
-Mods complicate multiplayer play, especially when there are multiple mods introducing similar feature (pre 0.15 barrel mods are a good example here).
-Since mods are not maintained by official developers, quality and balance of mods vary, and there's always a smaller or bigger delay in the update of mods after any major game update.
Additionally, I believe mods should not even be considered in any discussion about the in-game content, simply because such discussions are suppposed to be positively shaping the game development, and suggestions to use mods do not add anything to the topic, other than an attempt to shut it down. After all, if mods were the solution, Factorio development might as well stop right here and right now - after all, for any given thing, there's always going to be a mod, if given enough time.
Alpha is alpha
There are also opinions that handwave the entire thing by statements that the game is still in alpha phase, and due to that players are somehow not supposed to complain about the decisions developers make "because nothing is set in stone".
This way of thinking is wrong on many levels. The game is here, it's being sold and played, and thus can (and should) be discussed. The fact of it being alpha does not free it from judgement and discussion. If anything, development phase is the time things should be discussed the most, as frequent updates directly dictate the future of the game. I also find the "alpha" label as a bit arbitrary, as the game already has way more content than some of the finished games available around.
In conclusion, I'll be honest, this entire situation is a sour mess to me. Up until now I was recommending Factorio left and right, but now I have doubts. It is at the moment one of my favorite games, if not THE favorite game and I think Wube does wonderful job with creating such a gem. The last update is the first time I'm really disappointed with what devs did. If they can remove a feature completely out of the blue just like that, without any sort of consulting with the playerbase or valid explanation, I really lost my trust in their judgement. Who knows if a month from now there won't be a decision that kovarex enrichment process is too much of a codework and such has to be removed. And so as a christmas gift they left me, and others who used the feature, a save-breaking change and (at least in my case) a necessity to spend several hours on completely rebuilding few of my outposts to accommodate for a 5-wagon train instead of 2.
After seeing that post, now I really have my doubts if player satisfaction is what they are really aiming for.kovarex wrote:This is a great example, of making the mistake of allowing a feature without making sure we really wanted that in the first place. If it never existed people would have zero problems with that.