Unwell in Elite

I've been ill over the past week and when my eyes haven't been streaming and my head not pounding, I've found some solace in Elite:Dangerous. White screens (and daylight FFS) give me a headache prettily readily at the moment and E:D is mostly dark. Which is nice. Here are some thoughts and pics from my travels. Not really a guide but some tips en route.

E:D has it's own kind of grind. In Planetside 2, you grind up your ranks to unlock stuff that makes you better at the thing you love doing. In Gauntlett and Torchlight, you grind up your class. As long as the grind is fun and a challenge, it doesn't feel like a grind. At first, E:D felt like a crazy-hard grind with very little payoff. However, it gets easier and more fun if you multi-skill.

You start with a Sidewinder, which is multi-role. More like Multi-Balls. Too small to be profitable in cargo runs (Room for only 4 cargo) and too weak to survive battles with big ships. You're going to want to upgrade. For Commander Brainwipe, I decided to work toward a Cobra Mk 3, which at 300k (ish) was going to take me forever even maxing out the cargo bay for 3000 profit a run. The Hauler, with its voluminous 8 cargo slots at 50k was a good choice. I called it Whiney because of the terrible noise it made:

I sort of miss Whiney. It was light, easy to fly and the upgrades were easy to come by and cheap. I also quite liked the less-than utilitarian interior and that it only had one seat.

I also decided that I wanted to go to Sol. To see Earth and all the planets and pay my respects to ex-planet Pluto. Poor thing. As I moved across the wonderful star map (it really is brilliant), I realised that I was making just as much money selling star data I'd collected en route. Holding onto it and going a bit further made it much more profitable. Trade wasn't going to get me to 300k very quickly, though.

I started taking missions on the bases I stoppped off on. Go to X, collect Y and then smuggle it back in. Oooooh. Suddenly I was transformed from boring older trader-explorer into a smuggler. Perhaps scruffy. Perhaps a nerf herder. Sadly, Whiney didn't have it where it counts. This got me over the 300k mark and I bought The Cock Goblin (name courtesy of Pete on Facebook), the Cobra Mk III of my dreams.

Except the stock loadout is a bit shit, so I gave it bigger guns shortly after this photo. The upgrades I'd made to Whiney had resale value, so I actually had quite a lump left over. I found myself operating from Daedalus, an orbital around this dirty little rock:

It's cool and slightly odd to be flying around Sol but I do enjoy it. I've been doing missions for the Mother Gaia faction, which is a local outfit that I'm helping to wrest some sort of control. It's simply stats and percentages but it gives a sense of something larger. I also started hanging around anarchy systems and taking out pirates (people marked wanted) because you get a bounty. Not immediately, you understand, you have to go back to base and claim it. I lost count at one point and headed back to see this:

That looks quite a lot when you've scraped together 300k for a new ship but the thing is I risked quite a lot taking on those pirates and fighting them one after another. More risk = more reward. If you solely want to play E:D as a trade game, you're going to be at it for a very long time!

Sooner or later, you're going to go bite off more than you can chew. And if you get away before being completely destroyed, your canopy breaks and you start to run out of oxygen. If you can get inside a base or dock then you'll be OK. However, on one trip back, I got interdicted by the rozzers:

Thank you very fucking much. I managed to charge to the nearest outpost but ran out of oxygen just as I was lining up. Another 10 seconds and I would be in. The rozzers didn't need me for anything, either. Fuckers. I quite like to see NPCs fuck up while inside a docking bay. This is a shot of a HUGE freighter thing loitering too long and being taken out. I didn't have to hang about, I just wanted to chuckle a someone else's misfortune. HA HA.

Best thing about fighting at resource locations is that you're not on your own. The Feds are there too to help out, although they tend not to do a lot of damage. They do take the heat off you a bit and get in the way like bees around a flower. Here's us taking down an Anaconda called Lozvare, which is huge compared to everything else you tend to fight.

Ten minutes of weaving, dodging and narrowly hitting massive rocks, BOOM! 93k?! Thank you very much, I'm off to a station to claim that right now.

The names of captains are quite fun. Here's one that made me chuckle:

Thanks, Dwain, your death pocketed me about 12k.

I enjoy my time hooting around in the asteroid belts (before my headache comes back and I go and lie down). I think it might be a good place for some team-based combat. I can't remember where I'm at, something like WISE 0855-XXXX, which is near Sol. I'll put it in the comments. I hope that it might be a bit like this:


I've been playing too and having a dabble at exploring. So far I have managed a few runs that have been 400LY from Sol. With my latest being ~550LY away. The cash is ok, but I think you need the better scanners to make good money. The run I did while chatting to you Rob netted about 30K Cr when I got back to a station to claim it.

baron's picture

So far I've been on one trade run

took a second and the weight was too much for me to use my jump drive that's when I stopped figuring I need to spend more time figuring it out before I could play it again.

Evilmatt's picture

I think trading is a hard way to start because the Sidewinder isn't geared for it. Doing bounty missions (not all are killer ones) or exploring is much better.

brainwipe's picture

The stock Sidewinder is bad and it should feel bad. However thanks to Rob I managed to get passed the road block that is WTF do I do to get anywhere. I tackled it by bumping up the jump range on the ship as a priority. Doing the can scooping for black boxes and rebel transmission missions are a good way to start getting cash in the vanilla ship. Boost jump range makes that easier and more varied and lets you earn 11k-14k a mission. A few of them, spending the cash on your Sidewinder gets you able to do most things, not quite a shit as before, but earning cash.

I've then gone for exploring based on the back of that, just because its the extension of maxing out my jump range and because I noticed I was earning cash just for flying about. Thought I might see if it could actually be profitable. Not sure if it's worth the effort yet, but it's an enjoyable challenge. Rob has gone for the murder the bad guy NPCs route to get bounties. That means upgrading weapons rather than jump range, but it's still incremental.

I think the jury's still out on ED. It's OK. There's room for improvement and more balancing of things, but also enough of a sandbox to mess about in. For the moment that's enough to keep my interest. Having someone to laugh with as I overheat my ship to near melting because I've flown too close to a star trying to get fuel, just adds to the fun. Solo, you have to make your own story, because the game doesn't supply one.

baron's picture

The thing that bothered me a bit about starting out was you have no resources and a crap ship. You go to the job thing and are completely at the whim of what it offers and so far all I got was cargo runs most of which even though I could take them there was no way I could finish them and get money. It's a huge stumbling block makes you turn away in disgust at such a poorly designed system. For the cargo runs I should be able to see at a single glance what the mission is and if the ship I have is able to do it anything else is just madness.

I'm sure once you have some cash and can get doing something more interesting the game opens up a bit but starting out theres a huge barrier to entry there.

I remember playing X which is a comparable game you also start out in a crap ship but you can quite quickly take a small cargo run it to where that cargo is rare make enough to start the ball rolling take more profitable cargos upgrade and either buy some fleets or start producing goods yourself or go some other route. ED seems to start you with the equivalent of a cardboard box with "AWESUM SPACSHP!" drawn on the side in marker pen it's useless as it is and because of that it makes it very hard to get anywhere.

Maybe other systems are more forgiving to start in with better newbie friendly missions since you have no cash for fuel it makes your starting location somewhat critical in you likelihood of enjoying the game.

Evilmatt's picture