In the words of John Lennon, ‘What have you done? another year over’. Well I will tell you John, I made Elite in Combat.Took me 33 years IRL, but I made it. In all this year has been very eventful. It started out with a journey way out to the Formadine Rift and ended with Aliens attacking a star port. Yes, the Thargoids have made there return after 110 years game time.
In January, to aid in the story behind the Fordimine Rift, I read the Drew Wagar book set in the Elite universe called Reclamation. I was under the impression it was all about the Rift mystery that has been talked about in the game for a while now. Truth is there is about a paragraph devoted to this mystery and nothing else. The main story is a turf war by the Feds & Imps. It’s a nuts and bolts Sci-Fi story and fun so no foul. The Formadine Rift was all about some bases found in three main areas around inhabited space all are approx 10,000ly away and nobody knew what the bases were for. So Chris & I decided to head out to see if we could find these bases and investigate.
I had engineered my Asp Explorer out with a 50ly jump drive which made the tedious tourney much more manageable. Headed out to NGC 7822 Nebula Nebula with Chris on 24th Jan. This area turned out to be rich in black holes which is good news for my credit score as discovering one of these puppies pays out major bank. The next day we explored the very unique IC 1805 sector AV-0 C6-6 which is a lovely blue nebula with a single black hold within it. Certainly the most unique place I had visited in the game to date.
Passing through the Heart & Soul nebula’s we arrived on the 29th Jan at our first Fordimine base ‘Alpha’ at EAFOTS EU-R C4-1. It was a very small base consisting of some what looked like inflatable habitation tents and antennas. There were a few audio logs to scan and listen too. Sounded like everyone at the base went mad. No signs of life.
Things did not get better, on the 1st February was a very dark day indeed. Chris and I had arranged to meet up at 09:00 for a joint exploration of Deta & Beta base. I dropped out of orbit directly above the site, thrusted straignt down then when I started to level of I was still falling like a stone. At that point I realised the world was 1.3 G! Normally these airless worlds have minimal gravity, not this one. So I turned the engines towards the ground and lit the afterburners, too late, I hit the ground at a horrific speed and died. Son of a bitch!!! Re-spawned back at Deciat 8,000 Ly away. Spent 7 hours pretty much solid flying back to Beta. Respect the big G. Lesson learned. Perhaps they will name the crater I made after me.
Two days later we met up again for a joint exploration of the Gamma site at Formidine Rift with Chris. It was all bad news bears messages from this base also. Whatever happened to these bases would not good.
I had originally intended to cross the rift over to the neighbouring galactic spiral arm, however I was a tad bored with exploring by this time and headed back to the bubble. On the 5th February I arrived back at Deciat and sold all my cartographic data. From that exploration of approx 16,000 Ly journey I made 6 million. Lvl2 scans 0, lvl 3 scans 15,000. went from Ranger 82% to 97%. I also finished the Reclamation book.
Whilst back in the bubble I decided to rank up with the engineers and max out my ships modules. I had already unlocked Elvira Martuuk, Lei Cheung, Felicity Farseer, Liz Ryder, Tod McQuinn, Juri Ishmaak & The Dweller. That was seven out of 20. Lots of work to unlock the rest. Around this time I made Pioneer in exploration whilst I worked on my Engineering progression.
At some point around this time the separate mini game ‘Arena’ AKA CQC was removed from the Steam store. It’s a small ship combat orientated game for up to 8 players, no bots. It’s a fun distraction, especially of you are out exploring as you can dip into this without it having any affect on your main game. However the lobby has always been broken and getting a game can easily take 20 mins or as much as a couple of hours. Simply put it’s broken. i guess there were so few people playing that they decided to kill it rather than fix it. Well, it’s still available to play via the main game but with hideous wait times who would want to play?
On the 11th April a new quarterly update was released, 2.3 ‘Commanders’. The main feature of this update was Multi-crew and the ability to personalise your avatar or Holo-me. The multi crew is good fun and as you appear as a hologram on another persons ship you don’t have to first fly to there location to join the crew. Personalising your avatar is also fun and it’s probably the best ever avatar generator I have ever used in any game.
Talking of characeters, the main protaginist from the aforementioned Reclamation, Salomé, was taking part in a run from one system to another in-game and the outcome of that live gaming event would be written into his new book, this was on the 29 April. Unfortunately I was out at a friends that day so did not attend online. The fun thing about this event was that a player with the commander name of Harry Potter intercepted and killed her. Not sure how this will look in his new book.
The 15th May 2017 will go down in history as the day I made Combat Elite. Never did reach this goal on the original game way back in 1984. It had taken me two years and five months to achieve this goal. The me of 1984 would have been very proud.
In may I Joined the major power Li Yong-Rui power for the sole reason of obtaining the Pack Hound Missiles. These missiles simply look cool in the game. They are often called drunk missiles as they fly to there target in a very random manner which makes them much harder for point defence canons to hit. So I guess they have some real advantage in the game, but mostly because they look cool. A month later I ranked up enough to purchase these. Now to put them to good use.
Around this time the story regarding the games main enemy, the Thargoids were making more and more appearances. I had not encountered one however there was evidence for there return. I did visit a destroyed armada of human ships which had all been blown to bits with evidence or organic weapons having been the cause of there demise. Thargoids were known to employ this technology. Indeed a buoy at the site was broadcasting the message ‘Thargoids Return’ in Morse code. Very spooky scene.
At around this time Chris and I visited a recently discovered Thargoid base at HIP 19026: PLANET B 1 C LAT -17.9526:LONG -152.6844. The site is extremely impressive and looks to be something direct from HR Geiger. Managed to get inside and explore a bit but was unable to engage the machine at the centre as it required an Unknown Probe which I did not posses. I did visit a second base a little later at HIP 14909 but again did not manage to start the machine.
Asteroid bases had been in the game for a while now and I accidentally came across my first one, it was called Stargazer in the Pleione system. Looks impressive in a ghetto way. Always good to see these new assets in the game to break the monotony of the main stations. We also have mega ships in the game which are fun to visit. Currently they don’t have any real game play associated with them but hopefully that will change. I would like to see some of them as trading posts for materials or data that you have accumulated. Very often I have large amounts of one commodity that I currently don’t need, it would be nice to trade this for something I do need. Perhaps mega ships could for fill this requirement.
Visited some odd alien Brain trees in the xxx system.
By early August I had finally ranked up with all twenty of the engineers which had taken a large amount of time and was quite a grind for some of them. The good news is that this now opens all the cool modifications to me. This can enhance the capabilities of your ship in many ways and give you an advantage in many areas of game play. Well worth the effort.
On the 26th September 2.4 ‘The Return’ launched. This update is unusual as it does not have any large update, instead it’s going to consist of more Thargoid related story. They will roll out more narrative over the course of this quarter.
My first close encounter with a Thargoid was on Wednesday 27 Sep 17 at HIP 1185 A 4 in the Pleiades sector. Chris and I were jumping around the Pleides sector when I was hyperdicted, dragged out of witch space by this alien critter. It did nothing except for temporarily shutting down my ship and scanning me. Then it jumped away. Was a very eerie encounter indeed. The Thargoids are indeed back.
For the rest of that month I spent time attacking Thargoids in my old Cobra MKIII. I used this ship because it was nice and cheap and expendable. The Goids are tough as old boot and taking one out on your own is near impossible, or was then. Now we have better anti Xeno weapons. I did manage to wing up with a few people to help take one down. Not managed it yet, but not for trying.
After some Goid hunting I left the Pleiades sector to do a bit of space Ubering. Up to this point I think I had made two or three passenger missions just to check it out, it’s pretty unrewarding, a bit like ferrying cargo that has an option to complain. The reason for a change of heart was that there seemed to be serious money in passengers all of a sudden. Therefore I bought a Beluga liner and fitted it out for passengers, totalling about 200 million, then started making money.
I began ferrying people from Ito Orbital in the Rhea system, a tourist economy, to Wohler Horizons in the LQ Hydrae system just approx 13.3ly away. There was a bug in the game that made this route stupid profitable. I was too late to the party to exploit this however. Thankfully even in it’s fixed state it’s still a pretty profitable run, generally making around 8 million a trip. An added bonus to these passenger jobs is that as these are missions. Therefore each accepted mission was counting towards my reputation and therefore I was also ranking up with the Major Factions again. This was something I had not progressed in for about a year. I don’t think there are any real advantages to this as I have access to all the in game ships. Possibly it will give me some new system permits. Perhaps in futire some new super ship will require one of the higher ranks and I will be ready for them.
Having made a small fortune I bought a Fer-De-Lance and kitted it out with some of the new anti Thargoid weapons and set off to see if I could take down an alien. On my way there I winged up with John Ironside who was flying a corvette. Even with both of us attacking it we only managed to get one heart down to about 33%. These Goids have 4 hearts and get more aggressive the more hearts they lose. Evidently the new anti xeno weapons have been nerfed recently. The narrative was that the Thargoids had ‘adapted’. Both Ironside and myself lost a ship in the first encounter. Lucky I had so much money now, no big loss.
A little while later I moved all my ships out of the Pleiades after seeing in the new Frontier promo video that a station was on fire. At this time I had about six ships at Alcazars Hope as I was engineering them up with dirty drives with Professor Pailin at Maia just a short jump away. I was under the impression that if this base was attacked I could lose them all. Run away!
After this tactical retreat I did return in my new FDL and again winged up with John Ironside and a new member of the wing Tomix1132 to take out a heart from a Thargoid Interceptor in HR 1185. Did a fair amount of damage and took one hear out which Tomix ran away with and we lost the instance.
Back to grinding away at the Rhea, LQ Hydrae passenger missions I managed to break above 700 Million credits with approx 2 Billion in assets. Not too shabby. Perhaps I will get a Corvette now.
After many passenger missions I made just over 1 Billion credits. 30 minutes later I bought a Corvette and specked it out to mainly ‘A’ rated equipment. After that my balance was down to just 400 million. Built the Corvette for PvP. With a rebuy of almost 30 million I hope not to lose too many.
Whilst reading the forums I located a new passenger run from Upsilon Aquarii at Allen Hub to LTT 9360 Smeaton Orbital. Although just 11.34ly distant the station at LTT 9360 is some 1.8 million Ls (40min) journey from the prime star. However payout for just a single mission involving a handful of regular passengers can be in the 20 million range after ranking up with all the local factions.
In early December and thanks to the Upsilon Aquarii passenger runs,which are paying out anywhere between 100-140 million a run, I have now made more than 2 billion credits with over 3 billion in assets.
At around this time I visited a crash site for the famous CMDR Jameson. Guessing this crash happened back in 3193 when he delivered the Mycoid virus to the Thargoid hive ship. Looks like the service that sent him out, INRA, stitched him up royally. Wont go into it here as it’s a spoiler.
Got killed whilst exiting a burning INRA station that had been attacked by Thargoids. Dunkirk this was not.
So that wraps up my Elite experience for 2017, quite an interesting year in the game. The universe appears much more alive now and dynamic. Will be very interesting to see where it all goes.
The next year is going to be a revised look at core game play, so no major updates. This is disappointing as we will almost certainly not get landable atmospheric planets which is a huge, huge disappointment. However it also means that the devs will not be focusing on something unwanted by most players like Powerplay. Perhaps another reason for lack of progress is the fact that Frontier are making the new Jurassic World game Jurassic World Evolution. This is a theme park maker game which I will probably end up buying, it is Frontier after all.
In other open world space games, the long anticipated No Mans Sky which was launched in August 2016 it had approx 200,000 players an hour. Within a few weeks it was a fraction of that figure, approx 90% less. In December 2017 it’s around 2,000 an hour. It was a massive disappointment that the lead director Sean Murray went into hiding. The company that released the game, Hello Games, also went dark. People left in droves. This was advertised as a triple A game and prices at £60. It looked interesting but had no game play and the promise of an amazing ending was horribly, horribly a lie. This could be the definitive example of why not to release a game before it’s ready.
Meanwhile another long awaited game Star Citizen has still to launch. It started development around the same time as Elite Dangerous and was originally supposed to be released around the same time in 2014. It, like ED, was crowdfunded and the original goal of just over 2 million was quickly reached. Now 5 years later it’s still being crowdfunded and has now reached a staggering $155 million!!! As every release date has been missed and promises of content changed or dropped lots of backers are asking for there money back. It also looks like they are in a massive law suit with the company they originaly used as the graphics engine. So a lot of thge money for development will probably go to lawyers. Also it looks like Star Citizen is in the wrong and will lose, if so this will eat up more money in there pot.
Perhaps to get round this the company that makes Star Citizen, Roberst Space Industries, is now selling virtual land in its game thats has yet to launch for £96!!! This company has made so much money on a game that so far is still not released. Amazing.
IDEAS FOR UPDATES
Going into this new season it will be interesting to see what happens. I’m in two minds about it, especially having bought the lifetime expansion pass and this new season will be free. Free sounds like an apology for not working very much in this next season. Improving core game play should make everything more fleshed out and fun. Every season I hope to hear about landable atmospheric planets being a thing. Perhaps with Frontiers development of Jurassic Evolution will break the back for Atmos planets, and dinosaurs for these planets, yes please.
Some things I would like to see in the game soon I have listed below, no particular order. Fingers crossed.
- Higher payouts in open to encourage open play.
- Ability for players to place bounties on other players. This will hopefully go a long way to combating trolls, some of which are really inhuman.
- Ability to trade cargo, data & materials between players.
- Customisable HUDs. Not just colour but placement and look.
- Ability to bookmark locations on planet. Makes it MUCH faster and easier to revisit.
- Asteroid fields more dynamic and moving. Greater variety of shapes all moving about, crashing into each other etc.
- Comets. Will be something nice to see and hunt for.
- Atmospheric land able planets! Of course.
- Elite feet. Even if it’s initially just walking around your own ship.
- Preset power modes. ie one preset for stealth, another for combat etc.
- Player reputation scores. Could be set up using a web of trust system.
- More SRV variants.
- Ability to multi-crew with SRVs.
- Filters for passenger missions. ie ability to select one destination and be shown a list of stations where people want to travel to that destination.