Elite: Dangerous Blog

News and events from the Elite Dangerous galaxy

What's in a name (plate) ?

UPDATED 11:36am

There is another BETA related controversy brewing. In the March 21st LiveStream, Frontier mentioned that the nameplates for ship hulls would be a purchased item.

What’s it all about?

In the next major release of Elite: Dangerous, a new feature will be ship naming. You will be able (in station outfitting) be able to set a name for each of your ships, which will appear on your HUD. You can also set a ship registry ID, which is your station traffic control call-sign. This name will also appear on other CMDRs HUDs when they scan your ship. This name will only appear on other players HUDs if you pay for a nameplate! The controversy is that most players assumed (right or wrong) that the ship name would appear on the outer hull of the ship by default, at no charge.

On yesterday’s LiveStream, Frontier instead said that the exterior nameplate would cost extra!

Now does that mean space credits or real-world wonga? It would appear to be the latter and that has got more than a few commanders hot under the visor!

CMDR Zeeman: I'm normally happy to support the FD store, but I'll be boycotting this, sadly.

 

CMDR BongoBaggins: Other CMDRs cannot see the name of your ship on their scanner unless you've bought a nameplate. That's not cosmetic DLC, its locking game features behind a paywall. It's opportunistic, mean-spirited and churlish, and I won't be naming my ships.

Back in the Design Discussion Forum (where ideas were spit-balled during the design phase of Elite) the agreed details on ship names were:

Ship Naming

  • A ship can be given a name by a commander
  • A ship name can only be registered at a reputable space dock
  • There is a fee to register the name
  • Names are not unique
  • Although ships have unique registration numbers that can be shown
  • Ship names can be changed using the same procedure
  • By default a profanity filter is applied to all ship names (separate from chat filters) “starring” swear words out

The impression at that time was that the naming would cost credits in-game, but now Frontier have said it will be a cosmetic DLC purchase from the Frontier Store.

The most common reaction is disbelief:

CMDR Oryana: I wouldn't mind just a free basic name plate with generic font and no bells and whistles. I'd then probably pay for cooler fonts, or other colors or symbols next to it. The fact that I have to pay to essentially stencil on some letters on my ship is a joke.

Well respected streamer and member of the Elite community Obsidian Ant had this question:

If I buy a paint job for my Asp, I can use it on all my Asps. If I buy a name plate for my Asp, can I use it on all my Asp's? And if not, what happens to the nameplate when I sell that specific Asp?

Personally, I feel that a basic nameplate should be free and that more elaborate stencils should come with a charge, much as each ship has a free basic paint-job and further cosmetic customisation is paid DLC. As for not showing your ship name on other players HUDs unless you've bought a name-plate, well if that is correct, then it's an exceedingly poor and short-sighted decision.

Frontier have not responded on the thread. Frontier responded today at 11:03 (around an hour after I published this article!)

Edward Lewis posted this statement
Hi everyone,

There’s been a number of questions from Commanders regarding ship naming and how ship name plates will work so we wanted to give you a little more information about how these features will work when they’re released.

In-game ship naming

When you have named your ship in-game, your ship name will appear in multicrew grouping and in your HUD. In addition to this, in beta 5, when other people scan you, or target you in space they will be able to see your ship name in their UI. This feature will be available for all players of Elite Dangerous (both base game and Horizons players) including Xbox One, upcoming PS4 release and PC Commanders.

Cosmetic Ship Name Plates

The ship name plates will offer an added layer of cosmetic personalisation for Commanders wanting to wear their name with pride, much like paint jobs and other cosmetics currently available in the store.

Name plates will be made available in themed packs. These packs will contain three designs, each of which will be available in three colours: black, white, and grey. This makes a total of 9 nameplates per pack. After purchase, each pack will be available for use across all of your ships (Ship launched fighters and SRVs don’t have name plates) and each pack of 9 variant plates will be coming into store at just £2/€2.5/$3. This means that purchasing one pack of name plates will allow you to use that style across all of your current and future ships, at the same time and rename each individual ship as many times as you like. We believe this flexibility offers Commanders great value and is a great way to help support the continued development of Elite Dangerous.

Thanks!

So what do you think? Is this a micro-transaction too far? Or have Frontier made the right call?

EDIT: In light of the updated information provided by Ed, I would say that while the lack of a free basic name-plate is a shame, the low cost point for having name-plates across all ships answers most of the complaints. That and the clarification that the ships names WILL be visible to other players on their HUDs.

I just played 2.3 BETA and my head is spinning

No really.

Holo-me seems like one of the most comprehensive avatar creators I've ever seen on a PC game.

I also appreciated the fact while designing my new "look" I was sat in a new chair on the Anaconda bridge, giving me totally new perspectives on the cabin layout.

I will have to try out a few different ships!

The Oculus makes the experience, shall we say somewhat novel, as I can look around my "head".

I haven't quite captured my pure "Mr Potato Head" look, but it's pretty good for a first try.

2.2 Guardians BETA First Impressions

Audio

The first thing I noticed about the game when I got things up and running was the sound. It was, to my ears, louder and the sound had a greater range. Once again, Frontier have tweaked various effects. The sound of the Kill Warrant Scanner has changed. I will have to keep an ear out for what else has changed.

Ship launched fighters and crew

Well, they have packaged and delivered that “BattleStar Galactica” moment perfectly. The fighter launch is amazing! I tried out a Condor and a Taipan fighter and had a fly around – I haven’t tested them in battle yet, since I never got that far from the station. The ships seem a little slower than they did in CQC. The AI crew doesn’t fly my Corvette as well as I do! The pilot just loops around me until ordered to stay put.

The “orders” menu is fairly intuitive. You can instruct the fighter to fly in formation, stay put, attack your target or attack at will. These options can be picked in either the fighter or the mother-ship to control the one you aren’t flying.

You need a minimum Class 5 internal slot for a fighter bay. A Class 6 fighter bay can have two slots and equip two fighters, sadly however, you can only ever deploy one. I did try sending my crew out in one ship and deploying myself in the second, but it didn't work - the crewman just got swapped back to the mother-ship and I was left flying the already-deployed fighter. Ah well!

If your fighter gets destroyed, you or your crew-mate are unharmed, since it is flown on remote. The fighter bay then rebuilds (grows? prints?) the fighter.

The crew you need to fly the fighters are recruited in the new "Crew Lounge". They have varying ranks and the better they are, the more they cost. I think Austin Powers must be in charge of HR there because the first crewman I saw was Ivanna Bonner and depending on how you pronounce it {bon-nar or bone-her}, the name is slightly comical, if inappropriate!

You can have up to three crew mates on payroll, but only one "active".

New Engineers

Pretty much as soon at the station hangar had appeared, so did an invitation in my InBox. A new Engineer! How many others will there be? I'm not sure. We have fifteen so far and Frontier bandied the number thirty around when Engineers were first mentioned. So will we get another fifteen? Or will we get another five per release for the rest of the season? That's my guess.

As I find out what upgrades they perform, who they are and where, I will publish a follow-up to my earlier Engineers article.

New training missions

The entire set of tutorial missions has been reworked and now includes training missions for mining and ship launched fighters. If you're never tried the training missions, well shame on you! Do them. Now!! Also, if you - like me - haven't played any since the game was released, it is worth a retry. They are a good showcase of the game.

I did find there was a bug in the ship launched fighter mission for VR users and I have reported it.

Blimey! That’s a big one!

New stuff has been added to Elite. Space furniture. Things to see and interact with. All that mile wide, inch deep nonsense is so 2014! Within a few minutes of flying around the game, I came across a "Military Installation" which looked like some part of the CQC scenery. It doesn't matter I've seen the models before, the station looked incredible. And huge. It dwarfed anything I've seen before. My Corvette looked like a Viper next to the massive structure.

It was also rather hostile to my presence and didn't like my fighter taking a poodle around too close. My fighter was destroyed and I had to beat a hasty retreat to super-cruise. That'll teach me to switch to debug camera in unknown territory!

The Beluga Liner

As new kid on the block, the Beluga is the latest ship to arrive in the game. It was priced slightly higher than the Type-9, so I would estimate it will sell for around the 90M CR price-point.
The ship is slow, but feels quite agile for its size and handles well. The audio is, as always, amazing. Being an Oculus CV1 user, I got a good look around the ships bridge and it seems a very shiny hybrid of the Anaconda's bridge and the Orca's.

D rated, the ship had a jump range of just over 21 light years.

Ship relocation

The BETA uses a server backup from a month ago, back then my Anaconda was back in SOL at Mars High, so I requested it's relocation to Jameson Memorial in Shinrarta Dezrha, using the new "Ship Transfer" option in the Shipyard menu. All your stored ships locations are listed with a price and transfer time. My Anaconda cost 6,500 CR and took 15 minutes to transfer. Relocation takes place in real time, so if you set off relocation and come back tomorrow, it'll have all been done while you out of the game.

Pink lasers baby! Yeah!

A new option on the ship livery menu in outfitting is Weapon Colour. Will this be another cosmetic digital download option? Looks like it. For those that want a distinctive look for their ships can have it, without shifting the balance of weapons in the game. So pink lasers for everyone darling!

The not-so-good bits

When I ran the game it crashed. A lot. After five quits-to-desktop, Frontier issued an update, which I duly downloaded - however my PC needed a restart before my Oculus drivers recovered from their earlier harsh treatment.

The servers were clearly overloaded by all the players having a go. I think sometimes Frontier underestimate how popular their game is. A lot of lapsed players come back for new releases.

Anyway, so far all my problems stemmed from server stability and the issues from the first point release (let's call it 2.2.1). Late last night I managed a couple of hours of solid game-play with the 2.2.2 version. That's why they call it a BETA test.

Engineers could do BETA

The latest addition to Elite Horizons is the 2.1 engineers update.

Having played with it for the last seven days, I’ve began to get a feel for what it brings to the game.

The engineers are a bunch of solitary individuals who camp out on remote planet bases. These bases are by invitation only. The engineers require an initial “offering” before they’ll deal with you. Once there you can opt to upgrade components of your ship, in exchange for combinations of materials and data. In simple terms, you collect loot to craft better ship components.

Each engineer has different specialties, so some can pimp your FSD while others make your pulse laser blue and "fizzy".

Materials and data

How do you get materials and data? When you destroy another ship, it will explode and eject parts that can be collected (via limpet or cargo scoop).

These can also be found in wreck sites, USS’s and other POI’s in space. They are stored, like materials and are not part of the cargo. Data is obtained whenever you scan an object in space, such as another ship or an FSD wake.

Upgrades

Once you’ve got your loot, you can proceed to the base of the engineer of your choice (shown on the new panel) and exchange them for a spin of the roulette wheel. What? Yep, when you pick your upgrade, there is a sizeable degree of randomness to the result. What’s more, is that any special effects (such as healing lasers or shock blast) is also random chance. Which means, like any fruit machine, you’re more likely to get mixed fruit rather than three cherries. This is why the forums have been up in arms about Random Number Generators (RNG).

Upgrades may go down as well as up

The upgrades you can purchase come in four levels, one being the lowest and four the highest. As you "buy" more upgrades from engineers, higher levels (and other engineers) unlock. You get “referrals” from one engineer to another, while other engineers are unlocked by actions within the game - such as visiting Sag A or getting friendly with a minor faction.

Bigger may not be better though. I applied a level 3 upgrade to my FSD and got a range of 42Lyr, but when I applied a level four upgrade once unlocked, the FSD range went down to 39Lyr! RNG strikes! If I had spent all week hunting materials for that upgrade, I'd be less than happy.

Living la Vida Piñata

Phase two of the beta has unlocked all engineer upgrades - you no longer need materials, just fish; so I have been able to try a number of them and experience the fickle RNG effects. Because the results can be less than great, it might take several attempts. When you only have to hand over a few ton of fish, like now, it’s mildly annoying. When you have to hunt for materials for days for each try, it's going to be at best very frustrating.

Here’s the problem. Materials are random. Data scans (as far as I can see) are also random. I flew around for a week and failed to find enough ingredients for a single engineer upgrade! With only two or three hours to play per evening, having to stop after every ship kill and at every USS to scoop for materials was a major chore. The alternative was to fit every ship with a collector limpet controller and cargo rack (to hold limpets) losing two internal slots. That still didn’t help the fact I couldn’t target the components I needed in any way. There is, as far as I can see, no logic that can be applied, other than collect everything all the time.

Easter egg hunt, or virtual housework?

At this point my feeling is that Engineers will be a lot of trawling around in the dark to get a single attempt at an upgrade with a dubious outcome. I've never needed or wanted to grind in Elite and I don't want to start now.

Either the resulting upgrades need to be less random, so that special effects are influenced by the amount or type of materials and data used, or the materials themselves need some logic to their acquisition. Two randoms don't make a right.

The Engineers is still in BETA and some of this is bound to change. I hope it does, because I want the game to be more of an easter egg hunt and less like doing housework.

Beta than before

The first thing I do with a new BETA of Elite, and I’m sure everyone does this, is to buy all the new ships and weapons. Then go crazy pew-pewing everything in sight. Then I go exploring a bit, then start looking at the mundane stuff.

So what is 2.1 like? Well, so much has changed it is difficult to point at one thing.

Atmosphere

The graphics for planets, both from orbit and on the surface have been visually improved and the performance is better, giving much higher FPS on my GTX 970. Planets look so amazing from orbit, I doubt anyone could see better currently without joining NASA. Stations look a little different too; not sure if some fog has been added, but it looks better.

As you approach stations, traffic control hails you in a wide variety of voices (depending on system), with your ship designation – in my case “Core Dynamics Alpha Romeo India”. It is a small thing, but adds a huge level of immersion into the Elite universe. You feel like you’ve arrived at a space station. And if you cut throttle down and listen carefully, you can hear – very faintly – radio squelch in the background, inaudible conversations between the station and other ships.

Weapons

Obviously there are the new engineer modifications (I’ll get to those) but the main change for both 1.6 and 2.1 are the addition of large multi-cannons and huge multi-cannons, beam lasers and pulse lasers. I fitted my FAS with large multi-cannons and medium pulse lasers, then took it for spin. The multi-cannon performed very well on the ship, but it didn’t feel like it was an overpowered mega-weapon, it just inflicted more damage than the smaller class version. Overall, very satisfactory. Gratifying audio too.

So following that, I switched to my Corvette and tried the huge beams, multi-cannons and pulse lasers. The beams looked damn sexy, but I found the pulse lasers have the most effective results. Mainly because of the new NPC AI.

NPCs

While people on the forums were raging about the NPCs running away, I found that some had a low “cowardice” threshold while others stuck around a little longer before bugging out, but overall, they displayed human-player-like behaviour. When their shields were down, once damage was done, they would run to 6-7km distance and wait for shields to come back up before returning to the fight. If damage got really low, they’d high-wake.

How did this affect combat? Well, my Corvette in the weapon configuration I started with was useless against small ships. As soon as they took damage, they’d run and a Corvette is not a ship you can chase anyone with. The FAS was far more successful, as I could keep ships in range long enough for a clean kill. With this in mind, I changed the Corvette’s weapons for short-burst high-damage weapons and had far more success. So the dynamic is moving towards that you'd see in PvP.

Missions

I have only tried one mission and due to time constraints, I failed it (had to log off and sleep). Yeah, I’m rubbish, I know. The missions are defined far better than ever before, with a detailed overview and list of required equipment. The mission giver was rather obsequious towards me (an Elite pilot) basically being a kiss arse. All this makes the mission feel more tangible.

The job was to kill 7 smugglers, some not-so-wanted mission targets amassed a bounty on my head in Nuenets. So yesterday, I logged on for a bit of bounty hunting in a RES site on the new ice ring RES at Fong Wang and I was interdicted by a bounty hunter NPC – an Elite Anaconda – so I let him shoot first, making HIM wanted and began to fire back. The NPC flew the HELL out of that ship, using shield cells, chaff, missiles, flight assist off. My Corvette had the advantage in both weapon and manoeuvrability, but it was still a battle royale; this guy was my match.
Then security turned up and it was over for him. By then he was on 10% hull anyway and the Viper that showed up distracted the Anaconda enough for me to make the kill.

So if you do something illegal, expect trouble to follow you.

Loot

Now when a ship is destroyed, it isn't just cargo and scrap left floating, but also components which can be traded with Engineers for upgrades. Basically, every enemy is now a Pinata. This means most people are going to want a collector limpet controller on combat ships and the cargo rack for limpets.

Good or bad?

I'd say this is good. With ship AI changes, my game had to adapt. I'd pick an NPC and do enough to make him flee. Then I'd hit another, the finish off NPC 1 while NPC 2 licked his wounds. Overall my kill rate didn't suffer any. While the Corvette lost some of it's effectiveness on small ships, with the right load-out I was okay. Big ships however, took more effort - especially if they had high rank. But that, in my opinion, is how it should be.

In my next post, I'll talk about enhanced thrusters, meeting Engineers and what to do with the loot.

Elite: Dangerous Horizons First Impressions

buggyBefore I get started, I’ve posted an album of screen shots here for you to look at.

So, Horizons.

I thought space was big (not down to the chemists big, but really, really, big) however, planets are bigger.

But I race ahead. First, I started where I’d left off the 1.5 beta in my Imperial Cutter at Founders World. Okay, not the wisest choice for planetary landing ship, but hey, it had just been washed and was good to go! I went into Outfitting and selected “Planetary landing suite”. So far so good. No SRV. What else have they got? SRV transport bay. One of them. Ah, but many Classes of bay with different capacity. Mmm. Okay, grab a basic one and equip SRV. Purchase one shiny new Scarab. And I’m off.

Launching from Shinrarta Dezra, I needed to look for a moon or planet to land on. Open the system map and planets now have a blue crescent icon over the ones I can land on. Nice. Shinrarta A1 it is!

As I approached the planet in super-cruise I thought “What do I do now?” when my HUD changed and an altimeter appeared and subtle beeping noises kicked in. Ooh, shiny! So I get closer, and closer and closer. These planet things are friggin’ big! Dipping my nose made the lower part of the altimeter shade in red. Red looks bad. Don’t do that then.

Now the HUD changes again and I have a vertical descent meter with “OC” and “DROP” on it. When I hit the OC level the ship entered Orbital Cruise – slowing down and the flight model changing. So far, so good. No super-cruise-style dropout loading screen. Then as I hit DROP level, the sound of massive deceleration and the blue shimmer of super-cruise dropout. BANG. And then… nothing, I continue to fly down to the surface. Seamlessly. No jarring load screen. Awesome. Hats off to FD.

It’s at this point, finally paying attention to the increasing number of panicked beeping that my ship is going down much, much faster than it was going forward. Ah, poop. Gravity has me by the HOTAS.

A word of advice here. Cutting throttle works better than desperately mashing thrusters. Just saying. Also, remembering to deploy landing gear is also a wise move.

It was bumpy. But I was down.

As you approach the surface, the radar become a topographical map and it advises you when your ship is over a viable landing spot. Not easy to find in some rougher areas.

I then selected the new lower middle ship panel and selected Deploy from the SRV menu. A rapid switch to the SRV cockpit with a quick fade-to-back-and-back and I’m lowered all Thunderbirds style to the surface. And go.. nowhere; keys don’t work. Time to map those SRV controls to my stick! That done, I’m off and crikey; the Imperial Cutter is huge from the outside!

Driving the SRV is exactly what you would expect driving a dune buggy around Mars would be like.

Getting back in the ship is a process of driving back to the loading bay and positioning your SRV roughly under the orange hologram and clicking “Board Ship” on the lap menu. I decided to take off and fly to the nearest settlement and see what was occurring there.

I set course for Nixon Outpost and landed practically on top of the place. The second landing was less bumpy. Driving my SRV up to the structure it was little more than a tin hut, patrolled by Terminator-style HK drones. I got a 200CR fine for trespass. Oops.

By this time the BETA was buzzing and by virtue of the fact this was the closest planet to Founders World, ships were landing all over the place at my location. It was like a sci-fi alien invasion film! SRV’s everywhere!

I was joined for a while by CMDR SneakTiger from DeadMenWalking, who landed his Federal Corvette far more gracefully than my rocky first attempt. We proceeded to race around the settlement getting the hang of SRV motoring.

I took the opportunity to try SRV jumping and managed to mount a Viper Mk IV (see screenshots).

Damn! This is fun!

At this point I was hailed by Kerrash and after a brief chat, he suggested we try another system where there were rings and other sights to view from a planet. Winged up, I was off again!

Wing beacons work for planets well enough to find your wingmate on the surface and after catching up with Kerrash we landed our craft in a giant crater and went exploring. You can see the breath-taking view in the screenshot that shows the planet’s ring on the horizon, while Kerrash’s SRV races off in the distance. While I was taking photos, Kerrash managed to locate some Materials. As you can see in the cargo-panel screenshot, there are some interesting things you can do with materials, which I hope to try soon.

One thing I did do for the first time was dismiss my ship. As your ship lifts off majestically and tears off into the heavens leaving you behind, you feel very small. And very lonely.

After some exploring for a while, Kerrash suggested finding a station, so we summoned our ships. Again this is a sight to behold, especially with an Imperial Cutter flying itself. First you hear the bang of the ships dropping from super-cruise and then it roars overhead, finding a place to land.

We then took off and headed for a planet-based station – Antonelli Vision – for a second I thought it was Antonachi Vision! Zac almost had a station there!

The station was located on the dark side of the planet so I attempted a night landing. This was the smoothest by far and the view of space across the horizon as I touched down was truly amazing. It brought to mind scenes of Space 1999 from my childhood, Eagles landing on Moonbase Alpha!

My impression of Horizons is that I’ve stuck my head in the water next to the iceberg and realised just how little I have actually seen. This is going to take days just to explore the basics.

Powerplay Beta. The Benefits of Power

powerplay_thumb I previously made a list of all the pros and cons of the ten powers in Powerplay, but I have now had time to compile the other penalties and benefits of each evil overlord.

This is to accompany my previous post here

To quote CMDR Albert...

"Basically if you are a trader, Edmund Mahon is your man for agricultural goods and Li Yong-Rui is your person for High-Tech goods.
Archon "the Undefined" Delaine is your drug dealing pimp and the pirate's friend.

Zachary Hudson (Federation)

Benefits: Bounties awarded are increased by 20% in controlled or exploited systems, increased by your standing level 3, 2 or 1 to 30%, 40% or 50% reduction respectively. In Empire/Alliance & others security 40% less. In Federation security is 20% higher and weapons are 10% off. In controlled systems Imperial slaves are banned, Shipyards all stock Diamondback and Dropship, weapons are 10% off and security is increased by 30%.

Felicia Winters (Federation)

Benefits: Any positive influence change increased by 10% in controlled/exploited systems, increased by standing 3, 2 or 1 to 15%, 20% or 25% respectively. In Federation 20% more security, double production/consumption of basic foods and medicine and imperial slaves are banned. In Alliance/Independent doubled production/consumption of basic foods and medicine and imperial slaves are banned. In the Empire Imperial Slaves are 10% increased in cost.

Arissa Lavigny-Duval (Empire)

Benefits: Bounties awarded increased by 20% in controlled/exploited systems, increased by standing 3, 2 or 1 to 30%, 40% or 50% respectively. In Federation/Empire/Alliance/Independent bounty 20% more and black markets pay 20% less. In controlled systems fines/bounties are doubled, pay outs for bounty 20% extra, security increased and black markets closed.

Zemina Torval (Empire)

Benefits: Trade profit in a controlled/exploited system is rewarded with 5%, increased by standing 3, 2 or 1 to 10%, 15% or 20% respectively. In controlled systems 20% off Imperial slaves and mined materials. In Federation/Alliance/Independent 10% reduction of price on mined materials. Imperial ships available at all shipyards. In the Empire production/consumption of Imperial Slaves is doubled.

Edmund Mahon (Alliance)

Benefits: Trade profit in a controlled/exploited system is rewarded with 5%, increased by standing 3, 2 or 1 to 10%, 15% or 20% respectively. In controlled systems 20% off hull reinforcement/cargo racks and 10% off agricultural goods and equipment. In Federation/Empire 50% reduction of production/consumption and 10% price increase of agri-goods. In Alliance/Independent 10% price increase on agri-foods, 10% price decrease on agri-equipment and 4 times consumption of both.

Denton Patreus (Empire)

Benefits: In Federation/Alliance/Independent 10% off high-value goods to cover new taxes. 30% extra consumption/production of high-value goods. 10% extra paid for high-value goods. In controlled systems Imperial slaves are legal. Imperial ships 10% off.

Aisling Duval (Empire)

Benefits: Any influence change is increased by 10% in controlled/exploited systems, increased by standing 3, 2 or 1 to 15%, 20% or 25% respectively. In Federation/Empire/Alliance/Independent slaves banned and production/consumption of high-value goods increases. In controlled systems imperial slaves are illegal. 10% extra on high-value goods. Security level raised. Increased production/consumption of high value goods.

Li Yong-Rui (Independent)

Benefits: Ship insurance cost is reduced by 5% in controlled/exploited systems, increased by standing 3, 2 or 1 to 10%, 15% or 20% respectively. In controlled systems price paid for high-tech goods 20% extra and all shipyards will stock Cobra, Diamondback, Asp and Python. Outfitting discounted by 15%.

Archon Delaine (Undefined)

Benefits: Bounties/fines incurred are reduced by 20% in controlled/exploited systems, futher by standing 3, 2 or 1 to 30%, 40% or 50% respectively. In Federation/Empire/Alliance/Independent security is halved and black markets pay 20% more. In controlled systems all weapons, slaves, narcotics and medicines are legal with huge increase in production. Always a black market paying an extra 25%.

Pranav Antal (Independent)

Benefits: Positive influence change is increased by 5% in controlled/exploited systems, increased by standing 3, 2 or 1 to 10%, 15% or 20% respectively. In Federation/Empire/Alliance/Independent black markets pay extra 20% but fines 50% more. In controlled systems all black markets closed, fines/bounties are double and all Narcotics, slaves and most medicines are illegal.

Powerplay Beta. Shopping for power

powerplay_thumbI’ve done some research to ascertain some hopefully relevant information about the ten powers. Not just what cool toys they offer as perks to allies, but how far their homeworlds are from Founders World, what their goals are and what trade is like in their neck of the woods. Or not, in one case!

Perks are available to allies after four weeks where they have rating 3 (top 50%).

Trades were calculated using a Thrudd search for profitable trades of 30Lyr or less in a 30Lyr range of the ally homeworld.

What are the pros and cons of each power? I have no clear idea but after running around for Aisling Duval for a few days, I'm out of pocket and don't feel I've gained anything. Clearly the simulation of politics is working perfectly!

Zachary Hudson (Federation)

Ethos: Preparation/Combat, Expansion/Combat, Control/Combat
Perks: Pacifier Frag-Cannon (large frag cannon with decreased damage but increased range and tighter spread)
Homeworld: Nanomam – 82.03LY From Shinrarta Dezhra
Current best trade: 20.01Ly         2255 CR Total

Felicia Winters (Federation)

Ethos: Preparation/Social, Expansion/Finance, Control/Finance
Perks: Pulse Disruptor (medium pulse weapon, causes module malfunction)
Homeworld: Rhea – 56.03LY From Shinrarta Dezhra
Current best trade: 20.26Ly         2304 CR Total

Arissa Lavigny-Duval (Empire)

Ethos: Preparation/Social, Expansion/Combat, Control/Combat
Perks: Imperial Hammer (multi shot rail gun)
Homeworld: Kamadhenu – 135.68LY From Shinrarta Dezhra
Current best trade: 24.24Lyr       1661 CR Total

Zemina Torval (Empire)

Ethos: Preparation/Finance, Expansion/Finance, Control/Covert
Perks: Mining Lance (mining lase capable of inflicting combat damage)
Homeworld: Synteini – 27LY From Shinrarta Dezhra
Current best trade: 19.04Ly         2087 CR Total

Edmund Mahon (Alliance)

Ethos: Preparation/Finance, Expansion/Finance, Control/Finance
Perks: Retribution (small laser beam causes enhanced heat damage)
Homeworld: Gateway – 94.17LY From Shinrarta Dezhra
Current best trade: 29.42Ly         2250 CR Total

Denton Patreus (Empire)

Ethos: Preparation/Finance, Expansion/Combat, Control/Combat
Perks: Advanced Accelerator (specialist plasma weapon)
Homeworld: Eotienses – 123.55LY From Shinrarta Dezhra
Current best trade: 14.95Ly         2376 CR Total

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Aisling Duval (Empire)

Ethos: Preparation/Social, Expansion/Finance, Control/Social
Perks: Prismatic Shield Generator (particularly strong shields)
Homeworld: Cubeo – 196.28LY From Shinrarta Dezhra
Current best trade: 16.42Ly         1970 CR Total

Li Yong-Rui (Independent)

Ethos: Preparation/Social, Expansion/Finance, Control/Finance
Perks: Pack-hound rack (medium seeker missile that fires a salvo of "drunk" missiles)
Homeworld: Lembava – 165.83LY From Shinrarta Dezhra
Current best trade: 9.36Ly           1044 CR Total

Archon Delaine (Undefined)

Ethos: Preparation/Combat, Expansion/Combat, Control/Social
Perks: Cytoscrambler (burst laser, highly effective against shields, but no hull damage)
Homeworld: Harma – 194.25LY From Shinrarta Dezhra
Current best trade: 29.42Ly         2250 CR Total

Pranav Antal (Independent)

Ethos: Preparation/Social, Expansion/Social, Control/Covert
Perks: Enforcer Cannon (reduced fire rate but improved damage)
Homeworld: Polevnic – 181.98LY From Shinrarta Dezhra
Current best trade: None

Powerplay Beta. What's it like?

powerplay_thumbSo three days into the Beta of 1.3 what’s it like? Well, lots of stuff had been tweaked. The sum of which means the game feels subtly different on many levels.

When in super-cruise, your shields now charge at the normal rate and the power management switches now function, so you can switch power around the systems. The audio is, well, enhanced. Travelling in hyperspace there’s a sub-sound like a tunnel echo and in super-cruise your ship makes an electric motor undertone, something like a tube train pulling away or breaking.

The new ships are very cool, but not top of the range examples. These ships fit nicely into the lower-mid range, between a Lakon-6 and an Asp, but are much smaller than I originally expected. More Cobra-sized. The Diamondback carries around 20T of cargo, so NOT a trade-ship.

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The Imperial Courier is at least as sexy as the Imperial Clipper, in looks and sound. The cockpit is reminiscent of a Hawker hunter aircraft (The Red Arrow’s plane). It maxes out at Class 4, so the ships isn’t expensive to upgrade and while set to D rated internals, gets a jump range around 28Lyr with shields, which makes it a fair explorer. Where it really excels is as a fighter craft. Fast and agile, with three medium hard-points, it feels like an Eagle but hits like a Cobra. It doesn’t use much power for systems, so even with 15MW I can put three rail guns on it and make a flying sniper-rifle! Three shot kills are a hoot!

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The Diamondback has four hard-points, two medium and two small, and is a little less agile than the Courier, but with a slightly greater jump range. Even A rated with weapons, it got 23Lyr range, which to my thinking makes it a very good bounty-hunter’s ship.

Navigation now includes the system maps, so you no longer have to fly to every planet to find that one water-world. You can now click on a planet in the system map and navigate straight there. You can even select the system map of a distant star system and plot a route to a planet within the system! You still jump to the star, but your compass is pointing to the right planet when you arrive.

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Mine, Mine, Mine! Limpets (not the greatest name) now allow for prospecting and collecting. Mining is therefore a seriously easier process. Zap away at an asteroid and your deployed collector-limpets fly to the debris, and fly it back to your waiting cargo hatch! Limpets are bought as cargo from the munitions menu and you need a “controller” for collecting and another for prospecting.

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I will go over the political stuff of Powerplay when I have had a chance to work out what the heck it all means.