Gaining Elite in a Dangerous Universe

FettBaconFettBacon Viscount Icrontian

Elite:Dangerous has quickly become one of my favorite games recently because of its amazing design wide open world (universe). Despite that I've had trouble putting my feelings for this game into words without awesome, amazing, and intense showing up as every 3rd so instead of telling you that I'm going to share my experiences in the game with you and hopefully that will get both my feelings across as well as what to expect.

Everyone who starts this game starts this game the same way, with a Sidewinder and a thousand credits to their name. From there on out it is an open game you can either start trading, being a courier, hunting bounties, mining, or pirating though I wouldn't recommend the combat ones because those thousand credits aren't enough to cover the insurance on your ship if you blow it up. I started off at a small remote outpost in Eravate that didn't even have a market or a ship repair station but they did need some data transported to a hub station in system and promised to pay me a few hundred credits for my trouble. After this I took another small transport mission that would take me to Eta Serpentis so after I loaded up the necessary cargo to meet my quota I also loaded up on fabrics because I noticed they were exported Eta Serpentis as well. After that I started filling up my little Sidewinder with as much cargo as it could carry trying to turn as big a profit as I could on each trip. After a few hours I found myself back in Eravate and I bought myself a Zorgon Peterson Hauler but I'll never forget that little ship that I started out in because its still in Eravate waiting for me to pick it up.

Once I got into my hauler I outfitted it for well hauling in space. I easily had triple the cargo capacity of my un-outfitted Sidewinder and room for a fuel-scoop to boot so that I could travel farther without having to make expensive stops for gas. In my hauler I started clawing my way through trading and courier missions trying to earn enough credits to get myself into a Faulcon DeLacy Cobra which was my dream mid-size ship. Unfortunately in my hauler I was just big enough to pique the interest of pirates and suddenly at about every third or fourth jump I was fighting to avoid interdictions trying to pull me out of super cruise. There were a few times when I was almost to a station when a pirate would hook an interdiction tether to me and pull me out of super cruise and a few of those times it was really scary when they got through my shields to scorch my hull.

Once I earned enough to trade my Hauler for a Cobra I decently outfitted it for some light trading and doubled the amount of cargo I could carry. At this point I wasn't really looking for good trades but just seeing where the universe would take me. After a few jumps I ended up in a system I'd never been in before and saw some weird signal types in my navigation panel labeled "combat zones." Being curious I stopped at a local station and outfitted my ship for combat (the cobra is an excellent multipurpose ship). Almost a million credits later I entered the combat zone and encountered two warring system factions fighting for control of the sector with the port in it. I picked a side on a whim and started picking off a few ships that were fighting on the fringes of the battle. First one here, then one there and suddenly I saw 3 red blips on my radar peel of from the main battle heading in my direction. I quickly scanned them and saw that they were 2 eagles and a viper. Figuring that I outgunned and out defended the two eagles and had a lot more armor than the viper I could handle this if played properly. I decided to take out the eagles quickly so that I could focus on the viper alone and I turned to fight. I took down the first eagle's shields with my pulse lasers only losing a ring of shields to the other eagle and the viper. I glance down at my radar to discover that while dog fighting I ended up almost in the middle of 20 or so enemy ships. Suffice it to say I didn't waste much time pulling in my guns and trying to hightail it out of there. When I activated my Frame Shift Drive I was halfway through my last ring of shields. I was spamming the boost trying to gain distance. My shields went down before I was 25% charged because the other ships were mass locking me in place. Then my drives went and I was helpless and spinning through space. It didn't take much time after that for them to finish me off. After my excursion into the combat zone paying the insurance on my Cobra took half of my credits and to add insult to injury I didn't get to turn in my combat bonds because my ship blew up.

Since my insurance took so much out of pocket I was severely set back and decided to stear clear of combat zones until I had a bit more experience under my belt, but on the bright side I was now ranked as Mostly Harmless instead of just harmless. I made contact with some friends over comms to find out they'd stationed themselves in a faraway system named Amarak. It took me a long time and many many jumps with my fuel tank at least refilled once over by fuel scooping. They offered to share bounties mad while protecting miners from pirates in resource extraction sites. After making a couple million this way I headed over to the main hub of the system and traded in my Cobra for a much more nimble Viper and with the money I'd made bounty hunting I also bought a Lakon Type-6 Transporter. The Viper was a sidegrade to my Cobra offering more maneuverability and better thrusting power due to reduced weight in exchange for lighter armor and a smaller power plant. The Type-6 is a peculiar ship shaped like a brick and made purely for transporting goods from one system to another and despite looking very juicy on a pirates radar they don't have any more firepower than a Sidewinder making them easy prey if they are successfully pulled out of super cruise. I sort of made a home for myself in Amarak protecting the local mining populace when I was on a trade run, accepting larger bounties and assassination missions from local officials with good intentions. It was a peaceful enough life for anyone living on the fringes of Federation space until the news of impending war came.

The ruling faction of the Federation system of Lugh was in dispute between the current Federation allied party (Lugh for Equality) and an Independent party native to Lugh (The Crimson State Group). The conflict was the first of its kind. A war for independence brought about by the actions and encouragement of certain members of the Pilots Federation (laymans terms: Players acted in such a way to bring the CSG's political and economic power to be equal if not greater than that of the LE's causing war in the system). I dragged my feet for several days before leaving my viper behind in Amarak and setting out for Lugh in my Type-6 because it would cross the 150 light year distance faster. On arrival in Lugh I signed up for active duty for the Federation aboard Hartsfield Market and exchanged my Type-6 for a Core Dynamics Vulture. The Vulture is a small ship made up entirely of 2 large guns, a shield generator and a pair of thrusters. Its a ship designed for one thing and one thing only, to blow other ships up.



  • SignalSignal Icrontian

    I don't have $60 to spend on this right now so please post more adventures.

  • drasnordrasnor Starship Operator Hawthorne, CA Icrontian

    Are you playing multiplayer? If so, how bad is the metagriefing and grind and all the things that make massively multiplayer unfun?

  • FettBaconFettBacon Viscount Icrontian

    I do play multiplayer most of the time I popped out of multiplayer for a while in Lugh because some players were overprotective of their combat zones to the point of attacking other players even if they shared allegiances. I expect this to get better in the future when more player caused wars take place. The only other griefing I've encountered is just from the ROA and they are worse than pirates. Most of the time when I'm pirated by a player they tell me to abandon a quarter or so of my cargo that I'm carrying (this helps them by making it legal salvage instead of illegal) and if I do that they let me go without even firing a shot.

    The grind isn't that bad I've been playing 3-4 hours a day for a month and I'm almost ready to get into an endgame ship. If you wanted to get to endgame as fast a possible and didn't care about spoilers/guides you could probably get there in about the time I've been playing. I've kinda just been bumbling around in the dark. With the addition of wings if you start off with another player you can take on bigger bounties and share rewards or gain additional profits from trading via the trade bond system. For example if you went bounty hunting with a bigger buddy you could probably get your first million within an hour (took me like a week).

  • EMTEMT Seattle, WA Icrontian

    This game looks amazing. Above is smuggling, from one of the casters who @FettBacon mentioned.

  • d3k0yd3k0y Loveland, OH Icrontian

    I like games where I can play a trade, I might check this out

  • drasnordrasnor Starship Operator Hawthorne, CA Icrontian

    I can't decide if spamming docking requests trying to get into that last landing pad breaks immersion or increases it.

  • NullenVoydNullenVoyd Orlandish Icrontian

    This looks much more awesome than the Steam thumbnail lead me to believe. Kinda like an FPS EVE with smaller ships?

  • FettBaconFettBacon Viscount Icrontian

    That video is an older version of the game (sometime in beta?) so the UI has improved a lot but damn if you're gonna smuggle you should think about going to an outpost with less security.

    The game trailers are pretty lacking imo. The closest one to showing what the game is like is the Wings trailer and that one fudges a lot of things

  • drasnordrasnor Starship Operator Hawthorne, CA Icrontian

    I'm not digging this game to be honest. I was really hoping for something along the lines of Escape Velocity in 3-D. The game mechanics are there but this game has no plot or story hook. I've done jobs for the local plenipotentiaries that don't lead to anything more; I end up just hauling junk around for chump change which is expected for the first few hours but not the first dozen. Additionally, every space sim game I've ever played has included a minimal set of tutorial missions which expose the player to all of the in-game activities at least once (trade, courier, wing command, hunt and destroy) which this game is completely lacking. The tutorial missions which E:D does have show you how to fly but not how to play. The manual doesn't help either.

    As an example, I picked up a lucrative mission to hunt and destroy a known pirate in the sector; in Escape Velocity this activity would consist of jumping between the systems where the guy is known to be and quickly targeting all the ships in the system (or seeing which one attacks me). The overall activity might take maybe 5-15 minutes to chase the guy down and wax him or get waxed. Similar story in EVE online except for the fact that I wouldn't even need to go chase him down because the agent would just tell me his last known location. In E:D, I tooled around in frame shift trying to ID various contacts for an hour (my best guess at how this activity should be accomplished) before it occurred to me that I couldn't interdict this guy even if I found him. Coupled with the fact that my starter ship is totally incapable of engaging anything and that I've had to flee every AI-initiated interdiction attempt that succeeded I estimated my likelihood of actually being able to perform the mission as nil. I did not have the same interdiction experience as you; they always start shooting at me as soon as I drop out of frame shift drive.

    Steam says I've put 20 hours into this game already with only 25k credits and a vanilla starter ship to show for it. The bulk of the credits came from exploration; selling my map data on one hauler run that had me doing a 28-jump trek. Even EVE has you out of the starter ship in a few hours. I don't think I'm going to give this game much more time.

  • SignalSignal Icrontian

    The game is fun, but as @Drasnor eluded to, it does have an unfinished aftertaste to it.

  • FettBaconFettBacon Viscount Icrontian

    If you want to get moving in the game I'd recommend trading in rare goods you can get into the midgame ships in about half an hour trading those.

    I've heard a lot of people running into problems docking near the starter systems due to a huge new player influx that is causing problems but I'm not sure how to get around that without moving deeper into either federation or empire space.

  • IlriyasIlriyas The Syrupy Canadian Toronto, Ontario Icrontian

    In X2: The Threat and X3: Reunion the first time I got myself an Argon Mercury (Standard, well armed transporter) I ran over 500 tons of Solar Energy Cells five systems over and made enough money to up my next shipment to 500 tons of Argnu Beef.

    After 4 hours of constantly upgrading my cargo I made a windfall on an illegal 'Space Weed' run that required using my Argon Discoverer (Light scout) as interference. I felt like I was reenacting Smokey and the Bandit but in Space.

    The only reservation I have in getting Elite Dangerous is I can't find anything alluding to Space Stations (I always enjoyed making a multi-system megacorp.) and the lack of ships relative to the X series.

  • FargeFarge Icrontian
    edited April 2015

    Drasnor. Quests like that work via unidentified signal sources(USS) that pop up randomly in supercruise. Pop into those in one of the three systems and you have a chance to get the person's actual location. You are right to be wary of fighting a target like that though as they still sometimes give me problems in my fully outfitted Vulture.
    [Edit: There is also a bug currently where, if you get the counter offer from a friend of the target before you find out where the target is, the quest can no longer be completed. It is a pain and has ruined many quests for me. I've taken to only searching for locations in anarchy systems so if a person starts to give a counter offer I can shut them up with copious lasers to the face. This is only a problem for assassination missions though, which newbies probably shouldn't be trying anyway.]

    When I started in this game, I went immediately to bounty hunting and would consider it to be the most entertaining/engaging way of making money at the beginning. Obviously you can't fight everything out there (I avoided fighting 1v1 with pythons, clippers, dropships, and anacondas back then. Vultures and Fer-de-Lances are probably a bit much too now that they exist). Popping into USSs you'll find all sorts of things, but much of the time it will be pirates and haulers. If you find a good system that has an outpost and a black market (That isn't independent), the station will have no outside security allowing you to sell pirated or salvaged goods and clear your fine easy peasy. (And pirates sometimes drop nice things if you shoot them in the right spot) If you are going this route, you'd definitely want a kill warrant scanner, as it will pay for itself in like 4 kills tops. I will agree that the game mechanics aren't explained the best in a lot of cases. (case in point, stay away from strong signal sources unless you are feeling particularly ballsy or suicidal)

    Regarding the story, you really don't any of that from normal missions. This is because you are just a person in a ship in space, a mere speck in comparison to the relevant powers of the galaxy. Sometimes commanders will do enough to be featured in the Galnet news on the right hand side of the station interface, but this requires you to do something noteworthy. (one time two commanders ran into each other by chance 50k light years or so from civilization. Other times they talk about player factions duking it out in systems) The stories that you will find there will point you toward community goals, where you can help change things on the broad political scale. The alliance just had a community goal for exploration where they were seeking a new system for colonization. Elsewhere players trading in a system saved an entire system from being sold into debt slavery. Currently, high ranking imperial citizens are collecting bounties trying to hunt down the people behind an assassination attempt on the emperor. You can also find systems in civil wars and fight for either side in those conflicts. The story is out there, the normal quest system just sucks at conveying that. (Quest revamps are supposedly coming in 1.3)

    Exploration is not something you do to make money in this game, it is more of a labor of love/labor of getting your name on shit by discovering it first. If you enjoyed it, and seeing the galaxy, save up for an advanced discovery scanner and a detailed surface scanner, and a fuel scoop. (and probably a better ship. Asps are 20% off at the station in Tsu for the next 13 days, but that is still almost 6 mil un-outfitted)

    Couple of general hints I can't work into a paragraph:
    Sell your modules before selling your ship, you get 100% back on modules sold, but only 90% back on ship trade in.
    Feel free to experiment with modules for this reason.

    If you have any other questions, leave them here (I'll try to remember to check back) or friend me in game (Farge). I'm ranking up in Imperial space at the moment, but will help however I can.

    And Fett, telling people who aren't having fun with the game to try trading is such a bad idea that I can't even come up with a metaphor.

  • BobbyDigiBobbyDigi ? R U #Hats ! TX Icrontian

    ITT: Walls of Text


  • FettBaconFettBacon Viscount Icrontian

    @BobbyDigi ruining all my wall building fun

  • NullenVoydNullenVoyd Orlandish Icrontian

    Ended up picking this up because I kept looking at it enough, I was clearly interested.

    It occurred to me, and maybe this has been mentioned to death, but this game feels like Microsoft Flight Simulator, in space. I remember logging way to many hours in Flight Sim just learning the basics of taxiing, and proper takeoff and landing procedures. If I look at Elite in the same light, it is exactly what I thought it was, and that's awesome for me.

  • drasnordrasnor Starship Operator Hawthorne, CA Icrontian

    It's been growing on me a bit now that I'm in an Adder and out of that Sidewinder. I can actually make a little cash and the upgrades are worthwhile.

  • FargeFarge Icrontian

    Yeah the sidey sucks. Loved my adder and was sad to sell it when I moved on to the viper. That sadness cleared up real quick though once I started fighting things.

  • NullenVoydNullenVoyd Orlandish Icrontian

    Just came home with a new Logitech Extreme 3D pro stick, which despite some driver oddness, works just perfect with Elite. I'd complain that a new, off-the-shelf control stick should really be able to link with Logitech's gaming software thing for configuring devices, and not need a 5 year old version of the same software to do said funtionality, but that's more a rant left on the "All human progress is a shared illusion that we all keep pissing on." thread that does not yet nor should exist....

    Oh yea, so, it is a VAST improvement over the 16-18 year old Microsoft Sidewinder stick I found at Goodwill a few years back for like $2. Who knew having a hat was so handy?! Ok, the entirety of society knew, but let a guy have his little discoveries. :)

    Now back to slowly mining near the calm red glow of a star, while listening to Frank Zappa's later orchestral works.

  • FargeFarge Icrontian

    Oh man, if you enjoy mining now just wait for the next update. Mining is getting a good deal of love. (Drones for grabbing mineral fragments, drones for scanning asteroid contents, high and low intensity resource extraction sites)

  • NullenVoydNullenVoyd Orlandish Icrontian

    Speaking of a new controller, remember not to leave your boost button somewhere you might accidentally hit while facing a large asteroid. That splat on a random rock next to the sun? That was my new Adder.

    Thankfully insurance was within my budget, but damn. XD

  • drasnordrasnor Starship Operator Hawthorne, CA Icrontian

    @Farge said:
    Yeah the sidey sucks. Loved my adder and was sad to sell it when I moved on to the viper. That sadness cleared up real quick though once I started fighting things.


  • NullenVoydNullenVoyd Orlandish Icrontian

    Cruising for an extraction site to bounty hunt at, maybe mine a bit. The Asp isn't the cheapest, but it can do a decent bit of everything.

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