Elite: Dangerous Blog

News and events from the Elite Dangerous galaxy

Taking a new player from zero to Python level in a week

dmw-logoLast week at EGX I met a lot of really great people. One person I met was new to Elite: Dangerous, although he knew of the Elite games of old.

CMDR Satvia bought the game at the show and made a note of my gaming community group (www.deadmen.co.uk) as the URL was on my hat.

He popped on our teamspeak channel the following week, after registering with the forums and we started to talk through how to play the game, solve issues with outfitting and where to find things in-game. With all the usual dMw banter!

During the conversation I explained what I had been doing with merits and bounty hunting for Arissa Lavigny-Duval (see my previous post) and Satvia, being more interested in combat, asked if a new pilot could achieve the rank 5 and associated riches with just a basic ship.
Why not?

Challenge accepted!

Satvia threw himself into the task with enormous enthusiasm - first we Winged up and went bounty hunting in a resource extraction site and raised some cash to furnish his ship.

On evening one, we had the Sidewinder fully decked out and ready for long travel. Evening two, Satvia had relocated his ship to ALD space and some more RES hunting brought over a million credits, plenty to upgrade to the slower but hardier Cobra Mk III.

Then the merit hunting began! Slow initially, but with help from CMDR SneakyTiger, CMDR Ranualf, CMDR AgentZigZag from dMw and miscellaneous like-minded commanders in OPEN play, we racked up merits for five days. By Tuesday evening, Satvia had over 8000 merits, with two evenings to go before the PowerPlay cycle, it was a cynch!

When I arrived home from work this evening, CMDR Satvia had posted that he had hit the magic 10,000 earlier in the day!

Here is his video showing him posting the final merits and telling it in his own words!

Getting to Rank 5 in PowerPlay in three days

powerplay_thumbSince PowerPlay was launched I haven't really enjoyed interacting with that aspect of the game. I tried when 1.3 was first released to pledge my allegiance to Edmund Mahon, because his faction primarily awarded people who traded and trading is my core game play style. So, after a brief stint with Aisling Duvall where I attained rank three, so that I could purchase Prismatic Shields, I have abstained from PowerPlay until now...

On Monday I went into the Mobius group team speak server and chatting with some of the friendly commanders there, I was advised that if I was pledged to Arissa Lavigny-Duval I could attain 10,000 merit points in one week and gain rank five easily. With her faction not only would rank five come with a 50 million credit weekly pay cheque, but it would also give me 100% additional bounties when bounty hunting!

To me this frankly sounded easy, but also impossible. A bit like saying "go to the moon it's only a two day drive (if you have a spaceship)". So can it be done? Well, PowerPlay cycles on Thursday, so I had Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday to attain 10,000 PowerPlay points from scratch. Now I'm in full-time work, so only have 3 to 4 hours in an evening to play Elite.

Challenge Accepted!

How does it work? Well, I signed up with Ms Duval’s faction, I then flew to one of the two systems in expansion from the Galactic Powers interface and found a contact in the system named “Crime Sweep”, which is like a combat zone, but the opposing side is always the local system defence who you are there to suppress on behalf of Ms Duval. You just fly around and kill every ship that's red on your radar - don't hit the green ones! Once you've finished in the zone, jump to a Controlled or Exploited system and hand in the combat merits to convert to PowerPlay points. You also get paid at this point, but the reward is 100CR per merit (I think) so it only covers ammo costs really.

One of the key elements to my success was being able to wing up with various commanders in the Mobius Group (too many to thank here) who helped me take down ships at a very rapid pace. Each ship you kill, regardless of size or difficulty, awards you 10 PowerPlay merits. It is therefore easy to wrack up between 1000 and 2000 merits per hour which meant that on my first day - Monday between 7pm and 10pm I gained 3,100 merits. By 11pm on Tuesday I had 6,910 merits and a little after 12pm last night I had managed to attain 10,030 merits! This meant I would have rank five today when PowerPlay does its weekly cycle; now I stand to gain a 50 million credit pay out at the end of the cycle! Not to mention of course double bounties in the coming week!!!

Can it be done? YES! Was it hard? NO. How long did it take you? A little over nine hours. Was it worth it? In my ‘Conda I can make millions per night trading, but not 50M in three days and on top of that I have the bounties I’ll make in the coming week doubled, so YES!

Even a player in a fairly basic Viper could have joined in over the last three days and be looking at a Python-sized payout by the end of the cycle. Now that’s cool.

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.

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


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.


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!


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.


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.

powerplay_mining1 powerplay_mining2

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

The ships in 1.3 PowerPlay

panther_dockingIt's been quiet in the world of Elite: Dangerous. I've been pretty busy playing the game, so I haven't posted much in the last couple of weeks.

However, things are about to change with the (official) announcement this week of what 1.3 "Powerplay" actually contains. One confirmed addition is the new ship the "Diamondback", as teased in last week's Newsletter.
But what about the rest? Where is the Dolphin, Beluga Liner and Panther Clipper? Will the Imperial Courier and Federal Corvette make their début in 1.3?


We've seen lots of teasers for the Courier, from early concepts to interior cabin shots and some 3D designs from January. These show a ship smaller, but more militaristic than the bigger Clipper. Historically the Imperial Courier was a formidable combat vessel, so we should expect this ship to fit into the same role (and presumably the same price bracket) as the Python, being a heavy combat ship rather than a light fighter.

peek_o_the_week_66 peek_of_the_week_65 PeekOfTheWeek_67_ImperialCourier

Then there's the passenger ships. Okay so the Orca is currently redundant. Without passengers to carry, it's a shiny white Lakon Type 6 for 42 Million credits more... But will 1.3 add passengers? If so the other passenger vessels would have a role to play at last.


Plus flying around in a Beluga would look pretty damn cool!

Then there's the big boys. And when I say big, I mean really BIG! The Panther is bigger than a Type-9 Heavy and almost as long as an Anaconda. The original Panther had over 2000T capacity and was heavily armed and armoured. This could well be THE ultimate trader ship. Tough, big and with enormous cargo space.


Then there's the Corvette. Confirmed as being the largest flyable ship in Elite. Will it even fit through the station entrance? Just..

  corvette_newsletter_61 corv_landed

This ship looks to be both military and built for combat. Being a third larger than an Anaconda, it's probably a third more expensive too, so look to be paying 200M CR for this monster!