....This time in the correct forum, rather than the bugs forum where I accidentally posted it earlier....
I've been doing my first proper playthrough of Eternity Port since I played it during the rather short beta, and some things strike me about the nanoforge recipes:
1. A lot of recipes rely on the same few ores. This would be fine, if it were ores that you could find. But orthosteel is pretty rare now, and by the time you've got it....other armors are already available.
2. Nanoforged reactive armor relies on an ore for antimatter fuel rods (Ok, I can see how this might work, but that's a really stupid way to make reactive armor) rather than stuff that's actually worthwhile for 4th level armor. In addition, currently, the recipe is too close to that of nano-blast....which is far superior (and has more antimatter).
3. Nanoforged duralloy relies on Erbium Rods, which I see in about 1 in every 3 games. In a D&O setting. With far more places to look. A source for these starship components should really be added so that tinkers and nanoforging isn't 100% luck based on whether you can make one segment of armor, let alone a full set. Some other armors are worse, but duralloy isn't all that exotic, making this far more annoying.
4. Ithalium nanoforged armor does not actually contain any ithalium. Instead, it's orthosteel (with pteracnium. What are they doing with all this antimatter?) that's presumably painted to look like the real deal. Somehow this gains it 50HP over the real ithalium at level 8 (the light version of the armor) while matching its resistance stats. How bad is ithalium if removing it from the armor results in a net increase in performance?
5. Mining for raw materials is 100% ineffective at any level. At the lower levels, it fails to find enough ores before burning through your fuel. At the later levels, it does this and also fails to collect the required unique items.
-Make nano-reactive more accessible by replacing xenotite requirement with something more accessible. Maybe hydrocarbons or organic acid? Those can actually be used to make explosives....while xenotite can also do that, I believe most starship pilots would prefer their armor with a little less antimatter. Blast plate can probably keep its antimatter, because it at least makes it less easy to get (even though from memory, blast plate is actually just a different way to forge plasteel. I suppose that could involve antimatter though. It was invented by Makayev after all, big explosions are in character).
-Introduce a source of starship components, possibly in the form of another place the player can have them built, but also such that a player can reasonably expect to find the materials before these componants (and the things made from them) become obsolete. This is more important for lower level things: it makes sense if the best armor a faction can make requires things that almost no one has access to, but at lower levels it strains belief. It doesn't have to be easy to use, but it needs to exist. Otherwise, people will simply ignore these recipes all the time, because they're only viable in 1 game out of every 5 to 10.
-On that note, actually....why not introduce it as a global loot chance? These are starship components, and we kill thousands of starships in each game. Having a small chance of any wreck having some salvagable starship parts (erbium rods, cerium electrodes, etc) would introduce a believable source of components into the game. If they're tied to the level of the defeated ship as well, it rewards attacking higher level enemies at an earlier point in the game, rather than running past and backtracking.
-Make nano-ithalium actually be made of ithalium. Maybe a mix of orthosteel (or plasteel) and ithalium, rather than a mix of orthosteel and pteracnium. Ithalium is rare stuff, but it's good armor and justifies the rare ingredients. It also removes any questions about how badly built the real ithalium armor is for having 50 fewer hitpoints while actually containing ithalium. Maybe it's homeopathic?
-Possibly bump it so orthosteel starts showing up earlier? By the time it's turning up, the armors that use it are becoming....not obsolete, but certainly less useful. This is partly down to the RNG of course, but I'm finding it rather obnoxiously hard to find.
-Mining needs to be made viable again, so that the player doesn't have to find everything in random stations. Killing stuff is fine, but if we're going to have mining mechanics, they should at least actually mine things.
Edit: I really shouldn't have written this while tired, but I'm leaving what I wrote alone and adding a bit in while not zonked out with sickness and fatigue. Further testing shows that erbium rods start turning up near Terminus, as does orthsteel. Problem is that you can get level 8 armors (I don't have the 4th tier unlocked yet) far easier than this, much earlier. In my case, I killed a Resurrector destroyer with literally 4 button-presses and got 5 segments of quadrocarbide. 4 more presses, and I got 3 more, and fully equipped my Hercules. Orthosteel is still rare enough that I couldn't make any armors except for special stuff (like etherium) in a full set, but I would never be able to get the special components for such armors because they turn up even later. And that's after being forced to give up and order in orthosteel ore from a trade post. There's a definite problem with the accessibility of the later armors...which makes some sense, but in this case "later" means "all except the first two armors".