Elite Dangerous 2015 – Horizons

It has been a year since I purchased the computer game Elite Dangerous and now with the launch of the second season titled Elite Dangerous Horizons I thought I would give a summary of the last year and a look ahead with the new season. My review of the first season can be found here.

Have to say that Elite Dangerous has easily been my go to game for the last year. It’s certainly not failed to deliver on it’s longevity.  In all this time I think I now know why I like it so much, this was something I could not quite nail down in my earlier review. I believe it’s because you can come at the game from any style & speed you want. If you want to have a full on scrap you can, you even have some fun with CQC, Close Quaters Combat, for a real focused and more arcade like PvP dogfighting fun. Then you can just have a relaxing time trading or exploring etc. It’s not like playing something like Titanfall where it’s balls out all the time. Those styles of game are great fun and do have progression of sorts to keep the play fresh and rewarding, however most of the game play is repetitive and death is a minor inconvenience. With Elite Dangerous you are really invested in your ship and don’t want to see it destroyed, even now whenever I see another real player my heart races if it looks like they are going to attack me. With Elite you get to play how you want when you want, sure you can suddenly find yourself in a scrap when you were trying to do a simple, quiet trade run, however it’s all still part of the fun.Elite Dangerous Horizons

I have been playing Elite frequently and I still don’t understand some of the mechanics and have not tried all the options available in the game. This is a good thing and Frontier are adding new elements all the time and improving old ones which can only improve the game, giving it more depth. Lets take a moment to look at the point releases from this last year in season 1.

Community Goals (1.1)   February 2015

Point release 1.1 was launched with some minor updates and the main feature being community goals. This is where players could get behind a large task such as ferrying a certain type of material to a station, or ridding an area of pirates. When you sign up for a goal you get paid varying on your contribution, the more you contribute the more you got paid. It was a good way to bring all the players to one area of the game world. As the game world is a 1:1 simulation of our galaxy you can imagine players could be spread out over a vast area, all 1.4 million of them.

This release also made the route planning easier and added some eye candy such as city lights on populated worlds.

Wings (1.2)   March 2015

Soon after the first point release we got Wings. This added a much needed feature to team up with up to 3 other real players so that you could slave your jumps to each other and make it possible to fly around as a small squadron. It really should have been a part of the game from the initial release, better late than never. It also added a couple of new ships, the Fer-de-lance and the Vulture, both of which are great combat ships. A debug camera was also added enabling ship selfies for the first time.

Powerplay (1.3)   May 2015

powerplayMay 2015 saw the release of 1.3 Powerplay. This added a new group of powers somewhere between the major three powers such as Empire, Federation & Alliance and the minor factions that differ from planet to planet. Joining one of these new powers gave you the chance to build up the strength of the power you were working for and gain more territory and revenue for that power. There were also some special powerups you could unlock by working for a few weeks for a certain power and getting a high enough ranking with them to get a special weapon etc. The whole Powerplay sub game looked initially to be a good thing, but for me it was a lot of work for very little reward. And if you were mainly trading it instantly made you a target for all the other nine powers, which sucks. I have delved into it from time to time but honestly can’t say I feel like it adds very much. Perhaps if the financial reward was raised a lot or the work went towards naval progression etc it may help. However grinding away for weeks just to get a slightly advanced weapon is not worth the effort IMHO. The money you would lose by not perusing other trades such as bounty hunting or trading etc was not worth the effort by a large amount. It also locks you into this one mode of play with little time free to persue other activities as the decay rate in merits is so fast.

Drones were added at this stage which were much needed, especially for jobs such as mining. I have still not tied mining, I will do one day. The drones could be used to collect things such as canisters or rocks, they can also be used to refuel other ships. This latter feature spawned The Fuel Rats, a great group of people who were like the AA of space. I have had to call on there services for the first time on the 10th January 2016 when I found myself in the middle of nowhere with no fuel, a big thanks to CMDRs Marenthyu & Pistou for the rescue.

The Diamondback and Courier ships were also added. Slowly growing the playable ship library.

CQC (1.4)   October 2015

CQCCQC is the name of the 1.4 release, it stands for Close Quarters Combat and I’m pretty sure was made especially for the X-Box players, being that the X-Box version of Elite Dangerous was launched at this time. CQC is a fast paced PVP arcade game. The battles take place as a separate section to the main simulation, it’s essentially a game played in VR within the game, so losing a life does not cost you anything, you just respawn and get back in the fight, just like most games. There are about four small maps and three different modes of play such as Deathmatch, Team Deatmatch and capture the flag. Think of it like Quake in space. I played it a fair bit in the beta and had fun, however it’s a totally different animal to the main game being very dumbed down, more of a games console experience of fight, die, repeat. It can be a fun distraction for a couple of hours and I guess it can sharpen your PvP skills without any penalties.

More ships were added such as the Imperial Eagle, Federal Gunship & Assault Ship.

Ships (1.5)   December 2015

This release was a bit odd as it appeared at the same time as Horizons 2.0. There was nothing major in 1.5, but as the name suggests it added some more ships, five of them. The only other update was some changes in missions and the addition of bobbleheads.

Learning Curve

Elite Dangerous Horizons is not an easy game to master, perhaps master is the wrong word, you may never master it. Learning how to survive and thrive is a big challenge. It’s an extremely complex and vast game, perhaps game is wrong… Simulation. Most simulation/games of this complexity will have an in game tutorial, holding your hand and slowly introducing you to the different controls and dynamics, not here. You are given a little bit of money and a loan ship then you are on your own in this wild west of a galaxy. I can imagine a lot of people are overloaded when they first play and  possibly give up before passing that epiphany moment when you feel you are having fun as opposed to struggling to have fun and understand what you are doing. The Elite Dangerous universe is an unforgiving place, you will not start in a nice star system with nerfed NPCs, there is no easy setting. Of course as it’s a multiplayer game you can also come across a fellow commander who may decide to help you or indeed space you. The learning curve is indeed steep, from understanding the basics such as flying, docking & making money up to how the background simulation works as well as all the various factions and states etc. If you are struggling I strongly urge you to persist, it’s worth the work and there is a great on line community of people that are there to help you get your head around everything. One of my favorites Elite Dangerous Horizons sites is one called Inara where there is a wealth of information to be had.

Ships and Kits

As well as the main game there are many sub games such as ship outfitting where you purchase a basic ship for a specific job you have to do then outfit it with the money you have to maximize its potential. There is a nice balance to the outfitting, put too many weapons on your ship and the power plant will not be able to power all the systems, put too large a power plant and the jump range is then limited and maneuvering is sluggish because of the weight. I think Frontier have spent a lot of time making sure the game play comes first and that there is no silver bullet for any job, you have to constantly tweak things to make your way, modify from one job to the next. As you get more money you can buy better ships and kit them out as required.

I tend to have a mainstay of three ships to play the game, an Asp Explorer ‘Destiny’ which is used, not surprisingly, for exploring. It’s fitted out with long jumps as the primary goal, as a consequence it’s pretty stripped down with no weapons or even shields, it’s all about the range. No shields may seem like you are painting a big kick me sign on your ass, however after a little while in one direction you are out of the core systems and bumping into anyone, player or NPC is very, very rare. I have yet to do a run to Sagittarius A, the super massive black hole at the center of the galaxy, but it’s on my list. I have discovered a black hole ‘S171 21 B’ and an Earth like world ‘Wredguia DL-0 D6-6 8’ in this ship.

For trading I use a Type 9 ‘Big Enuf’ which again has no weapons, but does have shields, if I get attacked it’s all about the running away and surviving long enough for the jump drive to spool up. Most of the internal compartments are fitted with cargo containers to maximize each runs profit. Trading is how I have made the majority of my money in Elite, I think for the first few months it was the only way to make real money, things are a bit more balanced now and other careers are viable options.

Another career I play at is bounty hunter which is why I have bought an Anaconda ‘Old Painless’. This is a huge ship and very powerful, she’s a  predator. I have also fitted it with the Imperial Hammer rail guns which makes it a very hard hitter. Although I feel pretty safe flying about in this beast, if I were to get killed in it, which has happened, the rebuy cost is quite high, something like 11 million. Again the balance in gameplay means that sometimes you may want to fly a smaller ship from time to time, therefore it’s not like when you get to the biggest ship you still have reason to try some of the other ships. Which is where my Cobra MK IV comes in.

The new Cobra MK IV ‘Wedge’ is my fourth ship, it’s a fun multi role ship. I tend to use this for the missions that require landing on planets, which I’m not very good at and the Cobra is quite a cheap ship in the large scale of things so I can afford a few face-plants with this craft. I don’t have much confidence yet landing the T9 or Anaconda without a docking computer, especially on a high G world. I may even have a go at mining in this Cobra, will have to go there at some point.

In time I would like to sell the Type 9 and get an Imperial Cutter which has much more cargo space, 772 Tonnes I believe, if you strip out the shields! It’s also the most expensive ship in the game at approx 209,000,000 Cr. I will have to do a bit more in game work till I can get that, plus there is the huge cost of kitting it out, not much change from three hundred million all told I would imagine. As well as the vast cost you also have to have a rank of Duke or higher with the Empire, Currently I’m a Viscount, a way to go yet. It is good that the game has such a variety of goals to achieve, keeps my interest up. A good resource for ship info and outfitting can be found here at Coriolis Shipyard, an extremely useful third party site.

Elite Dangerous Horizons

In mid December, a year after the initial launch of the game, we get Season Two; Elite Dangerous Horizons. This gives us one of the two major things missing from the game, landing on planets. The second, and still missing part, is getting out of that chair and walking about, which hopefully will be season three.

Landing on planets was not a feature for the first Elite game in 1984, but was in the subsequent games, therefore suspiciously absent from Elite Dangerous. For me the Horizons update was a massive thing, especially after the last two minor releases were focused on frivolous things I was not interested in. I would have preferred it if all that development time to have gone towards Horizons. However, it’s finally here.T9 Diamond City

This initial release of Elite Dangerous Horizons is limited to landing on airless worlds, you can’t land on planets with an atmosphere yet, therefore most of the landable planets are quite bland visually, but more interesting worlds are on the way. Don’t get me wrong, the modelling for planets are fantastic to behold, they do look amazing and realistic, however there is not much to see except for some rocks and the occasional base or discarded containers. I do like Frontiers approach to all these developments, they put game play at the centre then build everything around that with great attention to detail and physical reality.  I would rather the game be made as well as possible rather than get a feature fast and dirty, Frontier do always set a very high bar. By focusing on the airless worlds they have created a good foundation, literally, for the more complex worlds. Evidently the planet modelling engine is a very accurate simulation of how planets are forged, they certainly do look awesome.

In time I hope to see hellish planets such as LV-426 as seen in the movie Aliens, with it’s hostile weather system where the action of just executing a safe landing will be a challenge. Modelling weather is a large undertaking  and I have every confidence that Frontier will, as ever, do a first class job of rolling this out. With an atmosphere also comes clouds, vegetation & water etc. It will make exploration very interesting. Perhaps we will also be able to purchase a submarine to play with. Certainly in the original Elite book ‘The Dark Wheel’ submersible starships were mentioned, not sure if they appeared in any of the games.

The Cobra has Landed

After landing on a planet or moon you are able to go exploring the surface, as the walking around update is not out yet this is achieved by you deploying a Surface Reconnaissance Vehicle or SRV. This six , well technically eight, wheeled buggy can then be driven around, depending on what size of body you land on will greatly affect the way your SRV handles. If you are on a small moon with very little gravity then traction will be an issue, large jumps less so. This makes for some variety when navigating these bodies. The SRV comes with a scanner to forage for materials that can then be used to craft fuel, ammunition, hull repair etc. You are also able to pick up dropped cargo canisters.srv

Peripherals

For me the Saitek X52 Pro HOTAS joystick and throttle has been well worth the investment. I was a bit concerned about purchasing it to play just one game but I can’t imagine flying without it. Well worth the punt even at £100. Which brings me onto another peripheral.

2016 is set to be the year when VR takes off. Elite Dangerous Horizons has been built with VR in mind from day one. Indeed the vast majority of the early backers had the Oculus DK1. I was very much interested in playing Elite with the Oculos, and I still am, sorta. The main issue now is that the price of the unit has risen to about £500, you will also need a very impressive machine to drive the whole VR experience, this is going to drive the price of playing a game in VR to above £1,500, last year. Until recently I was under the impression what I could add the Oculus to my existing gaming PC for a mere £200 or so, now that has changed immensely. It’s not going to be viable to get this for one game, so here’s hoping there will be a host of kick ass VR games in 2016.

Horizons to Come

Elite Dangerous Horizons AvatarSome things that are planned for this second season are, Passenger missions, Avatars, Multi crew & ship launched fighters. All of these, apart possibly from the passenger missions, are of great interest to me. The multi crew aspect could be especially interesting, I’m guessing it may be a bit like Artemis but on a WAN. As well as these addons there will inevitably be other tweaks and improvements plus of course the addition of landable planets with atmospheres. Hopefully on these new planets we will get a vast diversity of weather, vegetation and animal life. Perhaps one day we will be treated to a dinosaur infested world, everything is better with dinosaurs.Elite Dangerous Horizons Multicrew

 

Game Cost

I did pay out recently for the £130 lifetime Expansion Pack deal. I’m guessing each season will be in the £35-£50 range and as Frontier has a ten year plan for the game… well you can do the math. Of course Frontier could go bust at any point, or drop development for ED, subsequently I could lose that money. That’s a real gamble with these online only games, in years past you bought your game on a disk and as long as you had compatible hardware you could run the game. I have many old games on CD, floppy and cassette which if I still had my Amiga, C64 etc I could run these games fine. With games such as Elite Dangerous Horizons if  Frontier were to shut down the servers you would simply not be able to play the game, even in private group or solo. It requires an internet connection and the server back end. Obviously this support could end at any time. However it is David Braben at the helm, he has always produced and maintained good products and I have a lot of faith in him. Plus Davis also seems genuinely keen on Elite and plays often himself.

According to the in game stats; on the 23 Dec 2015, which is just over one year of gameplay, I had been playing for a total of 624 hours, that’s 3 weeks and 5 days!  Some games such as Batman can be completed in 24 hours and they cost about £40, going to see a movie is about £8 these days for a couple of hours entertainment. Therefore I don’t think you can say it was a waste of money, far from it, it’s been fantastic value for money.

Whilst on the subject of money and games it’s interesting to see that other big kickstarter Space sim game by Chris Roberts ‘Star Citizen‘ is still not out and has no firm release date as yet even though it’s had $103,000,000 thrown at it. The game is roumered to be out in 2016 and it will be interesting to see how it compares to Elite Dangerous Horizons. Unfortunately even if it is an amazing game, and all the trailers do look extremely impressive, I shall never buy it, the reason is that it’s modeled on the pay to win system. I’m guessing you will be able to grind away in game to purchase ships with game money, just like ED, however you are also able to use real money to jump the queue and gain an advantage. These Star Citizen ships can cost anything from $20 to an amazing $2,500! Elite does have income from merchandising and there are in game features such as bobbleheads, paint jobs and decals etc, however these are eye candy and not essential to gameplay. Most games for phones now are free with the dreaded ‘In app purchases’ I never buy these. I would rather buy the game outright rather than be bled dry over the course of playing. Star Citizen does have well over a million backers so it does not look like it’s at a loss for interest and source of money. I do wish Star Citizen all the best and hope it’s a big success, it should keep the Frontier team on form with this rivalry, especially if the trailers are an accurate representation of gameplay.

My Wishlist for Elite Dangerous Horizons and Beyond

Variety

I think the biggest thing Elite Dangerous Horizons needs some attention on is the variety. In all the wide galaxy there are only three different types of space station, and these only have two different interiors, they look amazing, however there desperately needs to be more diversity. It would be a bit like driving round GTA 5 when all the junctions, roads and buildings were all the same. As there are three main powers in the game, each with a different philosophy, laws, way of life etc and separated by vast distances and goals, it’s unbelievable to imagine all three powers came up with the exact same designs. Frontier has done a great job of making the Federation and Empire ships with their own style and design, give a little love to the stations. Obviously the sheer scale of Elite Dangerous Horizons is mind boggling, you can’t hand code all that information, it has to be procedurally generated. Having said this there still needs to be some way of expanding the horizon, so to speak.

Legs

Walking around in first person is obviously something I would love to see. It will be a unique game for this as there is no artificial gravity in the game, except for Coriolis effect or gravity via thrust, so when you are in your ship in space you will be floating about, if not under acceleration. I don’t think any other game has ever had to deal with this issue before. When we do get the walking part done the game will truly feel like a real living, breathing place. Here’s hoping it’s going to roll out in season three.

Ten Forward

After we get our legs I would like to see more opportunity to hang out with players in game, perhaps at a bar, then lose our legs :-). As the play area is so mindbogglingly vast you can spend most of your time playing without bumping into anyone. The community goals and Powerplay help with this somewhat, concentrating gameplay in one place. However I believe that when we are able to get out of our chairs ans walk about in stations or outposts and go to a bar etc then the feeling of community will be much better.

To boldly Go

Exploration needs some improvement. There needs to be more variety, there is that word again, with what you can see in the Galaxy. Currently the systems you visit can contain stars, planets, moons, asteroids & occasionally you may come across neutron stars or black holes, but there needs to be more. It’s like the same problem with stations in the game, needs to be mixed up more. You need commets, stars being torn apart by black holes, shattered worlds like Praxis from Star Trek. This kind of eye candy would give you something to look forward to on a long exploration instead of just moronically scanning systems. I think Elite Dangerous Horizons will add a bit more interest as the planets will look much more detailed as well as some small moons being strange potato shapes, which in the earlier game all bodies where perfectly spherical. The ability to scavenge materials from a stellar body to repair your ship via crafting will go a good way towards negating the exploration boredom. The crafting also helps immensely with the repair of your ship, you are now able to fix broken units this was or top up your field repair maintenance unit. This is very good news for explorers.

Instancing

I’m not sure how difficult it is to get everyone in the same instance without incident, but this is an ongoing issue. I’m assuming the servers can handle up to 16 or 32 people in one instance plus a load of NPCs. For each instance the server needs to keep track of who is where, at what speed, paint job on ship, are they shooting, if so where are the beams going, how much damage, where is the damage etc. There will also be the stars planets and other stellar bodies it needs to keep track off, not to mention debris, cargo and other flotsam and jetsam. Often when playing with friends you all go to the same place and you end up with some people that can see each other and others that can’t. Most of the time you can fix it by winging up with the people you want to see, which is a maximum of 3 others, then jump into frame shift and all drop out again, you then should be in the same instance. This is what I had to do recently when I was trying to meet up with the fuel rats for my rescue. So for meeting up with people for some group fun then you often have to spend the first several minutes trying to get everyone in that same instance and once you are all there there is no guarantee it will stay that way.
Even the people at Frontier have this issue, if you watch the Educating Ed videos on YouTube then pretty much every episode some of the time will be spent working around these instancing issues. Again I’m not sure how easy this is to solve or even if it is possible, I’m guessing all massively multiplayer games suffer from this issue to one degree or another.vertigo

Powerplay

Powerplay has a lot of potential and I can see myself getting drawn in if there were a few alterations. Firstly the financial rewards need to be much, much higher. Currently taking out one enemy ship nets you about 400 Cr which is pathetic, outside of Powerplay a wanted ship it could bag you a quarter a million. It’s simply not worth your time. I do understand that the goal of Powerplay is to expand your powers influence and not to make you rich, however as the overall goal of the game is to make money to buy all the nice new ships and modules, then playing Powerplay is not the way to go. It also locks you into a local area of play, which at least does have one advantage of bringing players together.
The decay for merits is also too high. You have to bust a gut to get to rank 3 and then have to constantly work at it to just stay there. To get to rank 4 I believe you would have to quit your day job to get enough time in to achieve this. It also appears that people, like me, do not play Powerplay as it’s meant to be played, ie expanding your power. I have only ever played it to gain access to a locked weapon or raise my bounty rewards etc. Looking at the stats it also appears that most people are doing something similar, if you look at the trigger points for achieving a goal then some systems go way over that trigger point. It’s probably just the easiest route to rank up.

But still they come

15elitebarnaclesSeason two has been confirmed as the season when the Thargoids make a comeback. These insectoid aliens were in the original Elite and normally kicked your arse on every encounter. In season one we had the Unknown Artefacts floating about in space and scanning ships that got close. I believe they always orientated themselves to the system Merope, this was discovered by Canonn Research, a group of people trying to solve some of the Elite mysteries. Now that Elite Dangerous Horizons has dropped and we can explore some of the planets and moons; players have discovered this alien looking barnacle in the Pleiades Sector on MEROPE 5 C at the following coordinates: -026.3496° -156.4044°. This sort of thing helps flesh out the game somewhat and the way they are slowly introducing this alien mystery is fantastic, so much better than simply throwing a switch and they show up. From previous games the Thargoids have always been a tough adversary, perhaps when they show up things will develop into a massive interstellar war, this should give the capital ships something to do. I don’t remember all the back story from previous games but I believe the Alliance got a bit palsy with the Thargoids and had some sort of treaty with them. If true then perhaps I should rank up with the Alliance. Don’t want to be on the wrong side of a shooting war.
Whilst on the subject of aliens; in the original Elite most systems you visited were populated with aliens. If you looked at the system data, just after the scientific info on diameter, atmosphere, gravity etc was a procedurally generated bit of text with something like ‘This world is populated by 8 foot high cat people’. In Elite Dangerous Horizons it appears to be void of any aliens, except for the single Thargoid promise. Possibly when we get worlds with atmospheres this will all change.

Revenge is a Dish Best Served Cold

And it’s very cold in space. In my travels I have been killed by quite a few real players, I have yet to win a scrap with another player, except in CQC which I don’t count. It would be nice to get a rematch with these people as sometimes you were in an unarmed trading ship when he and his wingmen in top specrd out battleships took you out. Having some system in place where you are able to find another player, without friending him, and then set a trap for them would be great. To stop griefing I guess the player you want to target would have to be a wanted target by several other players before you could use this feature. Perhaps when a players bounty rises above a certain amount then people could purchase location info for that player.

Customisation

With the purchasable paint jobs, bobbleheads and decals in game now there is a little bit of customisation to your ship. When we get Avatars we will be able to customise them too. It would be nice to be able to skin your ship with whatever paint job you wanted, ie created in Photoshop. I guess the arguments against that would be that there could be lots of terribly painted ships flying about and the server would have extra workload downloading these custom paint jobs to all players who come within range of you. I still think it would be a good thing to have.

T9 palm trees

We Have a Problem

Having some systems fail because of battle or collision damage makes you worry and having a cockpit window blow out really makes the heart race. Limping back to port before the oxygen runs out is terrifying. I personalty think some other faults on your ship forcing you to make a detour or emergency landing on a planet would be good. Currently every time I land I hit the repair all button and it’s a tiny tiny cost for this, it’s a no brainier. Perhaps this should be raised to make you think twice before fixing all systems. That way you would run the chance of having a system fail in flight helping raise the reality levels and break the monotony of a milk run or trading grind. Perhaps there could even be a sub game based around fixing things in flight, re-routing power or sending out a repair drone. Possibly Frontier have plans to have something like this when we are able to get out of the chair and float down the corridor to swap out a part. I believe this would make for some great game play.

Missions

The missions available from the Bulletin Board are a great place for a new player to make money. As you progress they turn into more of a novelty and occasional change of pace, the main reason they are not, for me at least, a regular place to go is that they are not very profitable. Sometimes you can augment your income by saving up a few missions to hunt pirates in one system, you will of course still get your usual bounty, plus the extra from completed missions, however for me it’s not worth the time to check the BB. Missions, like Powerplay, should pay more. The only real reason for a seasoned player to delve into the BB is for the chance to progress in the Federal or Imperial Navy’s, just like I’m doing now to get me access to the Imperial Cutter. I believe that’s the only way to rank up. Could be wrong.
The dialogue in missions could be fleshed out a bit more, in fact, the dialogue for all areas could be more varied. The NPCs tend to say the same predictable lines every time. I don’t expect them to come out with some pseudo AI chat to pass the Turing Test, however more than a handful of retorts for a certain situation would be great.
It would be nice if we did not have to return to the station where the mission started, just to get paid. It’s the year 3302 after all, can’t the money be transferred electronically? Having said that I do remember hearing that in the Elite universe there is no such thing as subspace for radio, ie if a message was sent from one system to the next it would take years to get there.

 It Began in Africa

As yet I have not visited Sol. To go there you need a permit, to get the permit you either have to rank up to Elite or rank up to Petty Officer or higher in the Federal Navy. The latter is close as I’m currently Midshipman, one rank below.

Stellar Transporter

When you have played Elite Dangerous Horizons for a while you will accumulate a few ships. It’s very handy to have some specific ships kitted out perfectly for the three or four main tasks you perform. What then tends to happen is that these ships end up spread all over the galaxy and there is no way to get them delivered to your location. Say you found a great trade route in your Cobra and want to bring in the T9 to make some real money, currently you would either need to fly the Cobra back to where the T9 is docked, possibly hundreds of light years away, which would take time, possibly an hour or more. Then you would have to make the return trip back in the T9, another hour or so. It makes sense from a reality stance, but is a huge chore. The only other option is, instead of flying back to the T9 in your Cobra, to buy a cheap ship such as a sidewinder and fly that to the T9, then sell the sidewinder. That way at least you have two of your ships at the same port.
What the game could do with is some way of remoting your ship back to your location or having it flown to you by another crew, for a cost, or possibly put in a huge cargo ship like some car transporter.  I would not mind if the ship took an hour or more to get there, even a day. At least this way you could send for the required ship then log off then a few hours later fire the game back and there is your nice T9. I guess if it were delivered in a transporter it would have to be a super massive ship which would in no way make it through the mail slot of a station. They could always park up near the station to drop the ship off, this would make for some cool visuals and add to the variety.

Battleships

Capital ShipI have come across one capital ship in my travels and it looked amazing, was some Imperial ship with a large rotating ring on the back for artificial gravity, impressive. It was not doing anything though, just parked up. Pretty sure there are lots of these big ships in combat situations somewhere, just never come across any. Perhaps I should frequent more war zones, they would certainly spice things up and I have a pretty impressive combat ship now with Old Painless.

Home

It would be nice to have some sort of place to call home in the game or several bases, some secret base on a planet or even possibly the chance to purchase some mining facility to augment your income would be a great addition to the Elite universe, giving you some feeling of belonging. Currently you are just flying about in your ship or driving about in an SRV, to have a base of operation that you could customise and grow would add a great bit of game play to Elite Dangerous Horizons.

News

I still don’t read any of the in game Galnet news which has small stories trying to add to the depth of the game with some form of narrative. For me it fails terribly, it’s about as interesting as watching rolling news on TV. I have tried on may occasions to keep up however it always seems unrewarding. I can never find anything actually interesting there. Most of what I need to know is where and what are the current community goals or where may be having a sale on ships or weapons etc, and for that I can simply go to third party sites such as Inara which do a much better job of collating this information.

Last words

So it’s now 2016 and I have not made Elite status in any of the 4 categories, yes there are now four with the inclusion of CQC. The main one I want to hit is Elite in combat, on the 7th January 2016 I made Deadly in combat, the next rank is the much coveted Elite. As the goals for each rank increase exponentially I’m guessing it will take several more months to get to Elite judging from the last years experience. However I do now have a kick ass combat ship with hours of experience, perhaps my goal will be reached within 2016.

As of the 23rd December 2015 my stats were:

  • GENERAL
    Combat Rank Dangerous: 81%, Trade Rank Entrepreneur: 75%, Explorer Rank Pathfinder: 18%, CQC: Mostly Helpless 53%, Federal Naval Rank: Midshipman, Imperial Naval Rank: Baron
  • BALANCE
    Current Balance: 67,374,353, Current Assets: 404,518,975, Insurance Claims: 24, Total Claim Costs: 52,323,650
  • COMBAT
    Bounties Claimed: 2,861, Profit from Bounties: 94,206,798, Combat Bonds: 1,568, Profit from Combat Bonds: 41,463,954, Skimmers killed: 4
  • CRIME
    Fines Issued: 169, Lifetime Fines: 1,067,105, Highest Bounty Issued: 12,000
  • SMUGGLING
    Black Market Profit: 5,149,440, Commodities Smuggled: 5,715
  • TRADING
    Trading Profit: 323,381,107, Commodities Traded: 303,429
  • MINING
    Profit from Mining: 0, Materials Collected: 69
  • EXPLORATION
    Systems Visited: 1,814, Profit from Exploration: 6,813,204, Level 2 Scans: 560, Level 3 Scans: 1,124, Total Hyperspace Distance: 58,928, Jumps: 6,024, Max Distance from Start: 2,819, Time Played: 3W 5D 1H 28M, SRV Distance Traveled: 60KM
  • CQC STATISTICS
    Profit from CQC: 16,983, Time Played: 3H 37M, Kill/Death Ratio: 0.688, Kills: 53, Win/Loss Ratio: 0.222

Right on Commander!

 

Entropy1024

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