In its latest Friday Facts blog post, Factorio developer Wube Software highlighted a major new feature coming to the Space Age expansion: Quality. In Factorio: Space Age, every Item, Entity, and Equipment will now have five possible qualities. The qualities use familiar names: Normal, Uncommon, Rare, Epic, and Legendary. Each successive quality after Normal increases the bonus you get from the higher tier quality. Uncommon will grant a 30% bonus, Rare a 60% bonus, Epic a 90% bonus, and Legendary a 150% bonus.
The intended goal of adding Quality to Factorio is to balance Horizontal versus Vertical growth in the core gameplay. In the current version, players have the challenge of building more mining outposts and production facilities—which is the Horizontal growth. But, also, have to consider improving the efficiency of existing facilities with better machines, smelters, modules, and more, which is the Vertical growth. The newly added Quality to all Items, Entities, and Equipment will add another balancing act to both facets of gameplay.
Alongside the bonus, higher-quality Entities will also have more health and unique bonuses based on their type. For example, higher-quality electric poles will have a larger supply area and wire reach. Inserters will move faster with higher qualities. Turrets and guns will have an increased range, and ammo will deal more damage. For energy production like solar panels, higher quality panels will produce more energy.
Not all qualities are created equally
Wube Software quickly decided that simply adding a ton of higher-tier recipes to higher qualities was not adding much to the gameplay of Factorio: Space Age. So, instead, they decided to create a new type of module: Quality modules. The new quality modules have a special effect which increases the probability of getting higher quality results when crafting in a machine.
At the start, a basic quality module 1 adds a 1% chance to increase the quality of items crafted from the machine it’s put in. But once you insert more modules and increase the quality of the machine and the modules, the chance increases further.
With the new focus on Quality, a lot of useless common items could be made in the process of trying to get the qualities you want. So a new machine is also coming: the Recycler. With this new machine, you can break down the items you no longer want and get something back. By default, you will get 25% of your original ingredients back. Therefore, in typical Factorio fashion, you can create a loop of attempting to create higher-quality items while automatically breaking down and reusing the parts from lesser-quality outputs.
Honestly, I think this is a great new feature. The only worry I could think of, it appears Wube Software did too, hence the addition of the Recycler. This is only the second blog post about Factorio: Space Age and I’m already excited for the expansion. This feature alone already adds a ton of content to Factorio which is a good move.
Factorio: Space Age does not yet have a release date, but Wube Software is aiming for a 2024 release.