Elite: Dangerous Blog

News and events from the Elite Dangerous galaxy

Friends, Romans, CMDRS lend me your Engineers

Long term members of the community have been expressing frustration and dismay with the latest update to Elite, like Titus Balls https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php/267381-My-Elite-Dangerous-inflection-point, Thrudd (author of Thrudd’s Trade Tool) https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php/263684-The-Engineers-is-turning-into-a-deja-vu-for-me?p=4070730&viewfull=1#post4070730 and Obsidian Ant https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKeC-FBomCw

This isn’t the AI changes that came into 1.6 and 2.1, what we’re talking about here is the Engineers.

What’s the problem?

To “unlock” most Engineers (so you can visit them) you have to reach a certain level with other Engineers. This means a certain level of grind. Either repeated upgrades to unlock higher levels or some form of trade (if you know what that engineer wants).

To get an Engineer to modify something, you must provide all the ingredients from the blueprint. Initially these are just materials or data, but higher upgrades include commodities (cargo).

Most of which cannot be bought, but must be earned as mission rewards. If you get a reward of cargo you can’t swap to a ship that doesn’t already have a cargo rack fitted. It also means you cannot apply these mods or use any ship that doesn’t have a big enough cargo rack for the items you need to hang on to for upgrades. So you might have to jettison rare cargo, just so you can carry on playing the game. Currently there is no way to locate a mission offering the reward you need, other than just visiting the Mission Board at every station and reading every mission.

Now assuming you do have everything, you go to the Engineer’s (remote) hideout and you request an upgrade, hand over the beans and pull the handle. The lights flash, the wheel spins and you get… numbers. Mass, Integrity, power draw, optimised mass. You have no idea what it all means. So, you won’t find out if your top speed or jump range is better until you apply the upgrade. It’s then you find out if the results are in fact worse. A level 5 upgrade can easily prove worse than a level 3! Now during the BETA when all the Engineers wanted was fish it was inconvenient and puzzling; now when you might struggle for a month to find the items for a blueprint, only to have it produce bad results, it is very disheartening, knowing you've got to start the search again and when you finally get back to where you started, the results may (again) be just as random.

So what?

Engineers is part of a paid expansion and was supposed to add more game play. It shows a lot of promise and the Engineer modifications are interesting, but are let down by an illogical and random delivery system.
Like a chocolate bar stuck half-way out a vending machine, the goods are in sight but blocked by mechanical failure!

It’s easily fixable.

Short term improvements

  • More transparency with upgrades i.e. "Your FSD max range is 12Ly and with this modification would be 14Ly. Apply Y/N?"
  • The ability to deliver cargo/data/materials to an engineer in advance of using blueprints, no longer making it mandatory to have cargo racks for most mods.
  • Change the randomness on modifications so it is within tiered bands, not a 0 to 100% range, so that a level 5 mod should always be better than a level 4, even if it isn't the best. i.e. level 1 = 1-20% improvement, level 2 = 20-40%, level 3 =40-60%, level 4 = 60-80% and level 5 = 80-100%.
  • Find a better way to communicate where materials etc. can be found on blueprints. The Galnet news post was a quick-and-dirty fix.

These would make a significant improvement to the existing mechanic making it more logical, transparent and progressive (rather than pot luck).

In the long term

A player market in materials would allow all players to sell on items not required and you could purchase that oh-so-hard-to-find material or cargo if you have more credits than time. These could be like rare goods, but in reverse. Materials would cost the most (and sell for the most) close to Engineer outposts, but get cheaper further away from Engineers. Materials would gravitate towards where they are needed.

The ability to apply same upgrade to multiple items with the same result. i.e. If I have enough materials for 3 blueprints, I should be able to apply the same upgrade to all three multi-cannons with the same outcome (if done together).

Expand cargo and material storage to all stations (not just Engineers) and add module storage, so you can refit your ship for another purpose without losing the upgraded modules you own.

Tips for Beginners: Fight or flight

beginnersSo you’re in a basic ship without all the toys of combat, or in a trade-ship that simply cannot manoeuvre or fight. What do you do? "Run away" sounds simple enough, but there is more to it than that.

You don't need to "GIT GUD" you just need to "GIT AWAY"


You are minding your own business when a ship flies in close behind you and locks on with a Frame Shift Interdictor. There are three possible options.

  • You submit immediately (cut throttle to zero).
  • You fight it and win.
  • You fight it and lose.

What then?

  • If you submit immediately, your Frame Shift Drive will cool down faster and you won’t go into a flat spin when you drop out of super-cruise.
  • If you fight and win, you can carry on your way, but it is a gamble.
  • Because if you fight and lose, you spin uncontrollably into normal space and your Frame Shift Drive will take a lot longer to cool down before being able to jump once more.

The best option for a guaranteed safe outcome is to submit immediately.

Power management

Having dropped out of super-cruise, you put all power to engines right? Wrong! Put all power to SYS. Your shields will last a lot longer with four "pips" set.

[edit] Your boost speed is no faster at four pips than at two & while your top speed & rate of recharge on the engine capacitor is slightly lower, the shield benefits are worth the trade off.

High wake

When you jump to super-cruise you leave behind a low-energy wake and when you jump to another system through hyperspace, you leave a high-energy wake. You are trying to get away, so does it matter if you jump to super-cruise in the same system or jump through hyperspace to another system? Yes.

If the other ships is bigger than you, it creates a mass-lock, preventing faster-than-light travel (super-cruise) so you cannot jump to super-cruise if your pursuer is close and in a larger ship.
You can however, jump to hyperspace, as this is not affected by mass lock!

As soon as you have been interdicted, get the enemy ships(s) in your rear radar view, hit full throttle, boost as well, then switch to the navigation panel and pick the nearest system in range. Once the ten second FSD cooldown is over, jump.

Run interference

You may have to last twenty five seconds or more between dropping out and jumping safely away.

Got any mines or shock mines? Feel free to share them while your FSD is cooling. They’ll leave a nice surprise in your wake as you run.

Any chaff or a heat-sink? Firing these makes you a harder target for gimballed weapons and missiles. ECM too if you have it.


If the ship that just interdicted you was an Eagle. On its own. And you are in pretty much any ship from a Viper up.

Kill it with fire and laugh. A lot.