Elite Dangerous 2018 – Beyond

Alien Machine

In March I had a go at turning on the Thargoid Device. Unfortunately I did not have an alien probe so could not start it up. I did spend hours orbiting a few ammonia worlds, which is where the probes are supposed to spawn, but nothing. Probably a bug. Have seen from other people what happens when it’s started and sincerely want to achieve this goal. One day.

Decided to try hunting Thargoids in my type-10. Got pretty good at taking out the small scouts. No so good with the larger flower mother ships however. This will all be poor piloting skills, not the ships fault, unfortunately.

Ram Tah

Around this time I winged up with Chris and engaged in the Ram Tah mission. This was a new bit of game play to get data from a Guardian structure on certain planets and moons. Was fun unlocking the puzzle and scanning the orb to gain the blueprint. Little did I know that I would be doing a lot of this sort of thing in the future for a host of Guardian unlocks.

Ross 310 

At the start of April I entered a combat Community Goal at Ross 310. Done lots of these CGs before, however this was the first to have a decal reward. Depending on how many combat vouchers you returned got you a different decal, managed to get silver in this competition. Happy with that. One unfortunate thing was that I lost a crewman in this skirmish, one ranked up to Elite. Hey ho, time to advertise for a new fighter pilot.

Got back into engineering after the new update. This system works much better than the old, less of  a crap shoot and more of a progression thing. Perhaps engineering my Type-10 is a good idea, then taking it to another non-human USS.

By May I was back to running passenger at Allen Hub to Smeatan Orbital to boost my money. This kind of mission was still extremely lucrative. The board hopping is a pain to load up with all the missions, however ultimately worth it for the easy cash.

At the end of May Frontier reduced engineering costs for the weekend. To take use of this I bought a second Anaconda for exploration, named it Disco. Also bought an imperial eagle and engineer it for flat out speed. Named it Razorback, a nod to the Expanse novels.

Dav’s Hope

To get more materials for the engineering I took a journey out to the much fabled Dav’s Hope and collected a ton of new materials. I had heard of this magical place many, many months ago, but never pursued it, should have gone there ages ago, it’s a much faster way to gain high grade mats. Basically just park outside the base then get in the SRV and drive round the base scooping up all the goodies, swap game modes to reset the goodies and repeat. So a bit repetitive but much better than spending hours searching them out legitimately. Dav’s Hope can be found here: HYADES SECTOR DR-V c2-23 (A5) at 44.818 / -31.389. Distance from Sol: 184.45 ly.

With all the new material goodness I flew my fleet out to Shinrarta Dezhra and engineered them all as much as I could. Materials Trader is another great addition to the game. Some of the trading ratios are a bit steep IMHO, 6:1 ratio should be more like 2:1. However at least there is a new way to get the mats you need.

Around this time I heard of a player group called The East India Company that will take Imperial Slaves as payments for materials. Not tried them yet but will definitely give them a go at some point.

Beyond – Chapter Two

On the 26 June Beyond Chapter Two was released. There was no beta. Mind you there was not much of an update, think it was basically a new Alliance Challenger ship, Krait MKII & Wing missions. I bought a new Krait MKII, it’s a great little ship, much fun to fly. Also has room for a Ship Launched Fighter.

At the start of July I finally managed to rank up to Admiral with the feds. This is the highest rand available for that faction. Now I need to do the same for the Imperials.

In August I took lots of Missions for shooting scouts in my engineered T-10 with a new SLF pilot. Way good fun these missions, not good pay though. This is a failing of all Elite combat related play, it simply pays too little. I can run passengers with pretty much no danger and make 50 million credits an hour, on the other hand I could do some combat with a great risk of losing my ship, crew or expensive repair bills for possibly 5 million an hour. For a game play that has such a higher risk it should have a MUCH, MUCH bigger return.

Beyond – Chapter Three

28th of August saw the release of Beyond Chapter 3. Again no beta. Again not much of an update. Think there was another new ship that was ANOTHER variant on the Aliance challenger. Did get some hybrid Guardian SLF which was interesting, these are all behind am unlock wall though that involved some more grind. We also got some new engineers for Colonia.

Guardian Beacon

In September I took my first visit to the new Guardian Beacons in space. At these beacons I obtained three keys for the three new hybrid fighters. These keys then needed to be dropped into certain ground based Guardian sites, along with the usual guardian ground site grind. After unlocking the Hybrid blueprints from the ground sites I still had to gather other materials to unlock the fighters.

Frontier announcement that board flipping was to be removed for next update. This decision is a double edged sword. There should really be no need to board hop.
I recently had to get some Pattern Epsilon Data from the Guardian Ruins to unlock the hybrid fighters. Amongst other things, the fighters needs 26 of these data sets and the only way to get them is scanning terminals at Guardian ruins. These ruins are scattered randomly about the galaxy. Even with a list of where they are it takes several minutes at least to find these places, probably more like 15 minutes with searching, flight time, landing, etc.
Then at each site there will be twenty-ish terminals to scan, probably one in six or seven will result in a successful scan. Driving about on the surface finding these will take approx fifteen minutes. Once this site has been scanned you can’t use it for a week.
The only good news is that each successful scan can get you a couple of epsilon data packets. Say you get six scans per site, therefore you need to find and fly to another site. So to collect 26 scans you need to go to approx 20 different locations, each flight/drive/scan will take 30 minutes. With flying and driving that’s a stunning ten hours of repetitive ‘game play’ for just one unlock.

Alternatively you could park in front of two close terminals, scan them both, board flip, scan the same two terminals, rinse and repeat. Now you can scan 2 terminals every minute and the chance of getting an epsilon or two is now likely in six minutes not 10 hours. Quite the difference. 
So when the boar flipping is shut down things are going to get grindier.

Fleet Carriers & Ice Worlds Cancelled

Frontier also said that ice planets and carriers now NOT coming in chapter 3. Disappointing. Especially for ice worlds. If I had one thing I would want Frontier to add to the game it would be atmospheric planets. The ice worlds although not atmospherics was at least a small step in that direction, now it’s gone. At least for this next update. If this small improvement has been biffed it has me worried for the full blown atmospherics.

Notoriety

By mid September I was running lots of missions at Jameson Memorial for required materials and to get better reputation in that system. Most of the missions I got were assassination of politicians in neighbouring systems which were illegal in the target system.
Therefore ended up with a large bounty on my head, some 50,000 credits. Also I attained a notoriety of 10! Have no idea how I get all this heat off me. The Corvette I was using for these assassination missions is now ‘Hot’. Again not sure how to get this removed. Need to research the new crime and punishment system that was recently introduced. Most people seem to think it’s extremely complicated.

Modified Embedded Firmware

Ran a dozen or so base scan jobs as the telescope bases to get more Modified Embedded Firmware amongst other data. Did take about 8 different bases to get about 10 MEF for beam laser upgrades on corvette. Nice change of pace within the game.

Early October and Started back on passenger missions to make a few credits. This time taking VIP tourists from from Hauser’s Reach in Robigo, some 436.8 Ly away from Sol, then off to Sothis about 60Ly from Robigo to see the tourist beacon ‘Sirius Atmospherics’ close to A5, a terraformed world.
Hauser’s Reach is nicely placed next to a purple gas giant embedded at the edge of the inner most ring. To maximise profit I bought a new Anaconda named ‘Hotel Caliconda’ and stripped out shields etc and filled with cabins. I now own three Anacondas, my first one ‘Old Painful’ was my original PvE build, Then very recently ‘Disco’ my explora Conda which I intended to use later this year when the new exploration updates drop.
As the missions spawn very frequently you don’t need to board hop. However by board hopping you can pick out the higher paying missions that are generally from 2.5 to 2.8 million credits. I used an anaconda with economy, business & first class cabins to take on 10 groups of tourists. Round time to the beacon and back is about 20 mins and for rewards I tend to select the one with materials if available, I’m getting about 15 million each round trip. So a respectable 45 million plus materials each hour. If I selected cash only options I guess it may be more in the 50-55 million PH. Also as one of the factions is Imperial I’m ranking up for imps and as a bonus the Conda jump range is about 35Ly so takes two jumps to get there, and as I plot via non visited stars I get a new system or two to scan there and back, adding to exploration rank very nicely. All in all a real good run. Got to be the best mission for making money, ranking up with Imperials & collecting materials as mission rewards.

During all these many runs I made Elite in Exploration. That makes me triple elite, quite the accomplishment. Also broke three billion in cash, assets just shy of seven billion.

Around this time I signed up with Denton Patreus on Powerplay to ‘eventually’ unlock the Advanced Plasma Accelerators which are a very good PVP weapon.

HOTAS 2.0

Got my new Rhino X56 Pro HOTAS. New button layout, learning to fly all over. Also Throttle extremely stiff, even on loosest setting. Had to take it apart and wipe off all the sticky gloopy clear material to make it nice and smooth.

Ground Guardian structures to unlock some more Guardian weapons and modules. As my main exploration ship is now a Conda I remodelled my old trusty Asp Explorer for more of a guardian base raider. Fitted with 3 PDCs on the top as I found that they work when parked on a surface, therefore when the guardian drones shoot missiles at your SRV the ships defences should take them out. As long as you park close to the site this works very well.
Asp is good as it has space for the PDCs and is a medium size so can normally park close enough to cover the entire guardian site.

I have yet to kill a Thargoid flower ship either in a wing or solo, so hope my newly aquired Guardian weapons and fighters will pimp out my Type-10 for anti Xeno battles nicely.

Because of the impending closure of board hopping I decided to knuckle down and complete all the Guardian and human unlock challenges. Without the board hopping it would take a massive amount of time to complete all these material gathering tasks, so makes sense to do it sooner than later. Still took a few days, but made it. 

VR

On the 24th of October I got an invite to a friends to play on his Vive VR setup and spent the entire day playing  a host of VR games. Unfortunately did not manage to get Elite Dangerous working in VR which was a shame. During all the games I did not feel unwell at all except for one game called Overload, a remake of the 1995 classic Descent. In this game you have a six axis of movement ship that you are flying in tight 3D maze levels which really messes with your brain in VR. I was OK for about 15 to 20 minutes then started to feel queezy and stopped. Know your limits. Was pleased that this was the only time I felt unwell.
It was unfortunate that I did not get to play Elite however I do think that the VR experience is not quite there yet. It was quick to respond in all the games I played with very little lag however everything visually was pretty mushy and blurry. This could have been that it was not set up correctly for me with my poor eyesight and I could not get it on with my glasses. Even so the resolution although OK was nowhere near as good as my 1080p monitor.
I think it would get pretty fatiguing after an hour or so. Also as Elite relies on a lot of third party apps you would find yourself frequently switching between VR and a 2D monitor. If there was some way you could see and use a web browser in game that would help immensely. Again however I’m not sure how readable all this would be. I can see it causing a lot of headaches. So unfortunately I don’t think VR is here just yet and my plans to get VR for Elite is on hold once again.

Unlocked all the human weapons and modules. Only have one hybrid fighter to unlock now. Got these out of the way before board hopping is removed.

First day of November and ranked up to Prince at 15% in Imperial Navy. Got to get to King before the next update.

Power No-Play

Came up with a plan for the Powerplay grind, goes like this:

  • Day 1 (Wednesday) Week 1. Pledge to a power. Do nothing.
  • Day 2 (Thursday, Tick Day): Week 2. Get 100 merits ie 10 collections of 10 merits. 5 hours to achieve this. That way on the next Thursday at 07:00 GMT you will get a Ranking of 2.
  • Day 9 (Thursday) Week 3. Your 100 merits will halve and you will now have 50. However you will have gone up to Rating 2. You can now get 15 merits every 30 mins. Get 700 merits more ie. 47 collections of 15 merits. 23.5 hours to achieve this. On the next tick you will have 755 merits, gaining you Rating 3.
  • Day 16 (Thursday) Week 4. As you have now been pledged for 4 weeks and have a Rating of 3 the Powerplay module is now available. In total that’s 16 days with 28.5 hours ‘gameplay’ and 57 collections.

The above is a lot of work and a lot of time. Came up with a plan ‘B’

  • Join a power. Go and do anything else for 3 weeks.
  • Just before the tick to week 4; buy and deliver 750 merits. At the tick you will be pledged for four weeks and have 750 merits, therefore you will be entitled to purchase the special power weapon.

This second system does cost about ten million credits, however it only takes a half hour of work. During the time from pledging to a power to getting the weapon, which will be at least 3 weeks, you can make way more then 10 million, can do that in one single passenger run.

Attack of the Bots

I read that there a lots of hard core Powerplay people giving up on this side of the game because of bot accounts. Evidently there is a plaque of bot accounts flying Powerplay missions which is totally destroying the work of real players. It looks like Frontier are shutting some of these accounts down, however they seem to be replaced pretty quickly by more bot accounts.
I can imagine if you were playing Powerplay and getting whooped by a bot that would be extremely demoralising. As far as Powerplay appears these days; the only way to win is not to play.
It’s a great shame as it could be a fun mode of play, just needs Frontier to take a good look at improving the gameplay and locking down these bot accounts quickly.

New Toys

On the 8th November I achieved Rating 3 in Powerplay and bought loads of Advanced Plasma Accelerators then engineered them as much as possible. Started practising combat in a newly purchased Vulture, which takes the 2 large APAs nicely. Hope someday soon to take these skills into a PvP arena.

Whilst on a Powerplay role I next aligned to Asling Duval to get the Prismatic Shields. Not going to play Powerplay as intended. Far, far too much work, going to buy my way to Rating 3 this time using my method ‘B’ as outlined above.

Unlocked

By late November I had unlocked the last of the guardian weapons, the Javelin fighter. Now have all human and guardian tech unlocked.
Tried out some PvE using APA mainly in Vulture & newly purchased FDL. Found the flying backwards trick works well for shooting APAs at NPCs. Seems a bit of a cheat, but who said combat was fair.

Around this time I ranked up to King in Imperial Navy. Now the only other main ranking is in Arena. Good to get Imperial navy ranking out the way before board hopping disappears.

December 8th and unlocked Prismatic shields and fitted to all my ships & bought a few new ships to use for storage. Spent well over one billion credits. This is the fourth Power play weapon I’ve unlocked. Now have Imperial Hammers, Pack Hounds, Advanced Plasma Accelerator & Prismatic Shields. More to come.

Beyond – Chapter Four

Beyond Chapter 4 released on the 11th December. This is a much anticipated update that finally addresses some core gameplay which was what the entire season was about. After the update dropped I just about managed to get online to buy a Krait Phantom & Mamba outfited with shiny new Prismatic shields, then left Duval power, then the game crashed. Could not get on again for a couple of days.

Decided to take my new Explora Conda ‘Disco’ out for it’s first deep space exploration mission. With the new Codex in the game it listed some Lagrange clouds relatively nearby. Visited this phenomenon. Whilst out this way I also visited the four mysterious bases in the Hawkins’s Gap. These had a connection with the the Fordamine Rift mystery.

Still no idea at this time as to what the next year will hold. Think the only thing we know is that it will be a paid update. Hope they honour my lifetime pass, it is Frontier, a lot more honest than most companies such as EA or Cloud Imperium Games, to name but two.

Elite Dangerous Yearly Stats 2018

Ideas for next chapter

  • Ability to send out an SOS and have nearby real players or NPCs to jump in to assist for cash reward. Possibly a Squadrons thing.
  • Caves. Would be great fun to be able to explore a procedural created cave system.
  • More interesting terrain detail. Currently the ground is pretty much flat, especially around bases. I get ti that it probably makes sense for a base to be built on a flat bit of land, however tactically it would make base raiding more fun if there was a trickery route into the base. Also rocks generally come in a medium size sorta round or largish sorta flat, not much else. Overhangs, arch formations etc.
  • API to embed external web sites into the cockpit. Access to Inara withing the game would be a great help.
  • Atmosphere Planets. PLEASE!!! This REALY is now overdue. They were in the second game onwards and really should be in Elite Dangerous by now.
  • Ability for users to trade materials.
  • More SRV types.
  • Engineering for SRVs & Fighters.
  • Ability to jettison items such as internal compartments. If you are ever in deep space with limited jump range you can jettison a module to enable you to jump to another system.
  • Option to have ships delivered either fast or slow, with high and low prices. ie If you need your ship double quick then pay double. If not playing till tomorrow then pay much less and have it delivered a few hours from now.
  • More dynamic asteroid fields. Much more verity in size and movement. More like Star Wars Empire Strikes Back asteroid field. Also they still sorta look like plastic. For mining it would be better if rocks colour or texture could give an indication to chemical composition.
  • CGs near the ground. and more reasons for combat near ground.
  • Option to insure fighter pilots in event of there death so they are not lost.
  • Filter missions for required materials. Possibly to Search nearby stations for missions giving required materials.

Entropy1024

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