Elite: Dangerous Blog

News and events from the Elite Dangerous galaxy

I know what you did last weekend

i_know_what_you_didNo, I didn’t run down a homicidal spaceman while at the wheel of my Anaconda and stash his lifeless body in a resource extraction site, only to be stalked and killed along with my implausibly attractive female friends at a later date. The truth is worse….

On Sunday CMDR Albert and myself were all Winged-up and patrolling Tau Bootis for enemies of the Edward Mahon faction in Super-cruise. We’d been lapping the system for a couple of hours. Albert in his Anaconda and me in my “Combat” Python – my Anaconda is set for trade, so while armed, it doesn’t have the extreme shielding and various scanners and shield cells needed for a good scrap.

We’d been knocking anyone marked as “enemy” out of super-cruise with my FSI, scanning them and if they held a bounty, collecting it. With extreme prejudice. Now Powerplay is far less rewarding than real bounty hunting, because killing a faction enemy only gets you 200CR and 15 merits if you are in the right system and they are carrying faction goods and the moon is full etc. Which is why we were scanning for bounty, making sure any combat paid for the ammo and fuel at least.

The odd NPC Asp or Python showed up and they went down easy (the bigger they are the harder they fall) but the real challenge were Wings of small ships, such as a Vulture and three Cobras. A challenge to take down a ship with two or three others pounding your shields. The AI ships are determined little buggers in the latest release.

Time flies when you’re having fun, so before long CMDR Albert had to sign off, European time being an hour ahead and I was left patrolling alone.
It was at this point that the first non-faction human CMDR showed up. After a quick scan in super-cruise, it became obvious that the CMDR in the Fer-de-Lance was pledged to Zachary Hudson, the very enemy we were here to oppose!! After a few maneuverers in super-cruise to get behind the ship, I fired my FSI. The FDL struggled and fish-tailed, but I’d been doing this for hours, so getting the fish landed was a forgone conclusion.

BOOM! Dropped to normal space and the FDL took off away from me like a startled hare! I fired up the KWS and scanned the ship for bounty, by which time it had left me way, way behind. Finally with more than 5km between us, the FDL jumped back to super-cruise, so I span up my FSD and jumped back after it.
The Fer-De-Lance was still in the system and not far ahead, so I got into FSI range and tried again.
BOOM! Back into normal space and this time the FDL turned to fight. I opened up briefly with all lasers then switched to KWS while my turrets continued to fire at the FDL while he tried to get behind me and out of range. However, my Python has Class 6A Thrusters, so I could keep turning fast enough to keep my guns and scanners on the FDL.
After the first pass, the Fer-De-Lance’s shields are down to one ring, but clearly firing a shield cell or two, as they returned quickly to three rings. On the second pass, the FDL’s shields are down to one ring again and then I realise my shields are also down to one ring, so I fired a shield cell.
Sadly, too late as on the third pass, as the FDL’s shields collapse, mine quickly follow.
By this point my grip on the stick of my X52 is leaving finger marks and the adrenaline is really pumping. The FDL’s hull is at 20% when my cockpit blows! Shhhhh out goes the atmosphere and a muted ships computer tells me I will shortly be screwed.
The FDL has realised this is not one it can win, as despite taking damage, my ship is still at 60% hull and firing continually with two sets of pulse-lasers and a C3 cannon, so the ship turns to make a run for FSD and safety.
It’s now or never to finish the FDL off! Boosting like mad to keep up, I keep firing relentlessly... 8%.. 5%, “Frameshift charge detected..”, 3%, 1%, 0% BOOM!

Is this how Luke Skywalker felt killing his first Tie Fighter? Probably.

The bounty? 742,000CR - to quote Monty Python, “He’s a very naughty boy”. So I’ve killed another CMDR. Do I feel bad? A little. Did I enjoy it? Hell yeah!

With the 5 minutes of oxygen I had left I jumped to super-cruise to get urgent repairs. As anyone who has flown with a blown-out cockpit knows, flying without the HUD takes a bit of concentration. But I got there with three minutes of oxygen to spare.

Now you know what I did last weekend.

Elite for the XBOX is good news, right?

funny_gif_collection_19What’s the fuss about? We’ve known for a long, long time (since March) that a console version of Elite would surface, since there’s a market there and Frontier are not a registered charity, so why the vitriol and outrage?

Well, probably for the same reason a parent gets angry when they see their child is playing on a console when their homework isn’t finished.
Elite: Dangerous isn’t finished yet, but Frontier appear to have moved on to platforms new. For some people, that’s a signal that they've been forgotten. They feel like Frontier have walked away without finishing the game.

I don’t think that’s the case, but because Frontier have been very tight-lipped about their future plans, people fear the meaning of this announcement. To misquote some green bloke:-

Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to questionable forum posting..

What do we really know? Not much. Which is the problem.

Well, as I’ve said above, Elite isn’t finished. I’m not talking about the Planetary Landings or Ship Exploration expansions which we know we won't be seeing "SoonTM", but the core game.

  • Ships previously promised and teased are still missing (Panther, Dolphin, Corvette, Beluga, etc.).
  • PowerPlay is (IMO) at a “first draft” state and needs some work.
  • Elements of the game are unbalanced and need review (i.e. Wing combat bounty).
  • Elements are totally missing, such as passengers; without which what is the point of the Orca?.
  • Exploration needs love, mining still has kinks. Private groups are dead if the player who created them stops playing (no way to set another commander as a group admin).
  • Variety is missing. With procedural generation I expected to see not just a different collection of planets in each system, but a variation in station exteriors and interiors everywhere I went. Currently we see generic station 1 or white station with pink holographics on very rare occasions – and that’s it; beautiful, but the same. I had hoped to see stations with dirt, damage and junk outside. I expected to see rich wealthy systems with more neon, bright, tidy interiors with lots of Orcas running VIPs around and in poor systems or mining colonies, I would expect to see dark and dirty interiors with variations in litter, graffiti, faulty pads etc. with lots of type-6’s and type-9’s ferrying goods.
    If I drive 25 miles, I’m in France where they speak another language, drive on the other side of the road and drink coffee so strong you get heart palpitations drinking it. In Elite, I fly 240 light years and the only difference between the interior of the Coriolis I left and the Orbis I arrive at, is the name-plate. Even the pads are the same uniform blue-green colour!
    We need variety. The promise of procedural generation fulfilled.
  • There is no group identity – Wings are transitory and there are no clan tags or playing in Open Play under a group name; you cannot even name your private group (why?). These are elements present in most multiplayer games, and have been for a very long time, so are not unreasonable to expect.

Anyone who’s ever watched any sci-fi like Firefly or Star Trek would expect to see certain elements in a space game that are currently not present in Elite. In 1984 we had Thargoids aplenty, but in 2015 we have three types of signal source, with very predictable content. Where are the salvageable wrecks? Where are the comets? Where are the abandoned ships? Where are the flotillas? Unmapped outposts? Pirate outposts in asteroids like those teased long ago? So much possibility as yet gone unrealised.
We have USS’s but they are random, not procedural so if I find canisters floating near Leesti, I cannot direct my friend with a cargo scoop to go there, because they are not really there, being entirely transient within a single player instance.

You could argue that none of this is essential, but the lack of these things shows.

I have a lot of faith in Frontier and I believe that we will see a lot of these things. When though, is the million dollar question?

So if people get riled at “Call of Spaceship Duty” for XBOX, while I’m not one of them, I sympathise with their frustration rather than ridicule it.

David Braben Speaks - Two Diamondbacks and no module sales tax

Today's 4pm "Ask Me Anything" session with David Braben yielded some interesting snippets.

Firstly, there's now two Diamondback ships - the Scout (56K CR) and the Explorer (2M CR).

The Explorer has a base range of 14Lyr upgradeable (without downgrading shields or going weapon-less) to 32.6Ly!

Secondly, there is not going to be a 10% surcharge on module sales in the next release. The "module sales tax" may come later, but only after consultation it would now seem.

Another helpful bit of information came after this question:
Will Frontier be making official videos covering the ins and outs of Powerplay?
"Yes. Coming SoonTM."


The Scout (rear) and the Explorer (front) are the two Diamondback variants

There are two Diamondbacks. The Diamondback Explorer is the ship we showed in concept art back in April, and the Diamondback Scout is a cut-down cheaper ship made by Lakon for the Federal military.

There is this 10% module sale penalty elephant in the room. What does David Braben think about it?
"There are a few different things here. We should probably have had something in for this at the start, but we need to do something. We understand some of the complaints - particularly about swapping ship load-outs. I also think we should have discussed it beforehand - but given how many things there are in Powerplay, we simply didn't call it out. This is a bone of contention amongst our designers - and we will do something in the future. There should be a cost to this - but that is for another day. So some news - we will be reversing this change shortly (or 'soonTM' as Michael B would say...), so to be clear this aspect will be as it was before in the public release. This is a beta after all, and we want the best experience for everyone."

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.