Elite: Dangerous - The Lost Wing

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Elite: Dangerous - The Lost Wing

Postby Rusty » Thu Apr 16, 2015 7:25 am

Herein lies the discussion and strategy of The Lost Wing, our very own group in the fantastic space simulator Elite: Dangerous!

A reboot of the 1980s/90s classic Elite, which I played the shit out of at the time, players take on the role of a spaceship Commander and take to the stars, lots of them.

The whole milky way galaxy actually. There are 400 Billion stars in this game, all of them visitable, not all of them inhabited or bearing planets, but every last one of them exists and can be seen up close, scooped for fuel, and crashed into burning you and your little ship to cinders.

Play is primarily oriented towards accumulating Credits, the in game currency, which is how one aquires new ships and upgrades which is basically how your character "progresses," and how one can leverage cargo, legal or not, to attempt profitable trade. Right now there are 17 ships, some similar and some wildly different, and most of them named after either snakes or sea creatures.

The other primary activity is development of influence and trust with the varying major and minor factions at play in the various systems in the galaxy, and promoting their agenda or actively harming opposing factions' agendas. This is new to this version of Elite.

Within a given system there can be up to five minor factions, each vying for control. Whichever faction has control determins which major faction the system belongs to, based on the minor faction's allegiance. Minor factions attributes also determine what kind of life the people of the system have and can influence how trade is managed, for example a conservative dictatorship might outlaw Beer, but a liberal democracy might make everything clear through narcotics legal.

Player actions can change the influence levels that each minor faction has in a given system, and can move things towards or away from civil war. After a civil war, the winning side can assume or retain control of the system.

Successful systems can also expand their influence into neighboring systems, creating missions in the stations available to spread their government into their neighbors and subvert them.

The Major factions are the big picture, and determine the flavor of a system as a whole.

The Federation started at SOL, at Earth, which is visitable, but I haven't been there yet. They are democratic but corrupt and highly corporate. Their primary rival, the Empire, split away from them "some time ago," presumably several hundres of years ago, and from the lore, have attempted to restore a more value based society. More things are legal in the Empire than in the Federation, including Slavery, and honor is more important there, but technology is less available. An imperial noble would "rather sell himself into slavery than renege on a debt." I have found that outfitters in imperial systems have basically fuckall for sale. The Empire is, somehow, a hereditary Monarchy, in spite of having come from a federal system. I see what you did there, reversing the English and American roles. Clever. Heh. Ahem.

A newer faction has "sprung up" recently, not sure how recently in fact, called the Alliance. This is, as its name suggests, an alliance between otherwise independent worlds, and is in many cases the only thing those worlds have in common. An Alliance fleet will consist of ships from various representative systems, whereas Federation and Imperial fleets will be from their respective navies.

The other "factions" are really less of factions and are two default statuses. A system is Independent if it belongs to none of the above. I've seen during my play time a system change from Federation to Independent because the minor faction that took over after a civil war wanted independence, so they ceceded.

A system that has no organized government seems to be called "none" in the Galaxy Map view, and the ship will show it as being in Anarchy. Stations in these systems frequently have the most liberal commodities market and are the best bet for finding those hard to find specific mission items, like "oh hey, can you go buy us some slaves to free? We would, but, you know, we want you to do it instead."

Personally, I favor the Alliance, as it seems to provide the benefit of a coordinated government in times of trouble, without the misguided ideas of attempting to govern part or all of an entire galaxy.

That's some of the history and a bit about the factions. Took me a while to dig this up. I'll make a new post to talk about other business.

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Re: Elite: Dangerous - The Lost Wing

Postby Rusty » Thu Apr 16, 2015 7:39 am

Ok, so, a couple people or so are just joining the game, or will be soon. Please post up in here if you are.

I've been playing for a week or so and I've accumulated net worth around 2mil, which sounds like a lot, especially if you're looking at a stock Sidewinder and a pocket full of loose change, but it's not enough to get a "great" ship, it's enough to get a "good" ship and outfit it really well, or to finance cargo operations for trading.

The most profitable trading is in long run rares, which can net in the 10s of millions, probably less for us since we won't have huge cargo capacity.

I enjoy Bounty Hunting, I'm decent at Smuggling but in order to do that well I kinda need wingmen, and the best smuggling is also Salvage, Malcolm Reynolds style, rather than running embargoes. I haven't tried Piracy yet. I've done some legit trading (which is when I did my training for Smuggling,) and without using something small and combat capable like the Cobra, I would again need Wingmen.

I see a few options that would be fun and OK for me.

I can punch the reset button, that "Clear Save" selection in the Options menu. We all start together dirt poor. Same challenges for us to overcome together. How fun is that?

I can liquidate and split everything. We go to an out of the way outpost that has a black market, I turn an appropriate and roughly even of whatever I have at that time into cargo, and jettison it into piles in seperate out of the way areas for each of you, then you go collect it and sell it YAY!, even though as Wing members we all get a split so that's weird.

Or I just keep what I've done so far and build my ships to be support role-ish and help you guys catch up.

When in a "wing" together, like an in-game group, there are benefits.

First is an open mic, so you know, be aware of your mute button.

Bounties are split up for the whole wing. That means if we go bounty hunting, and one of you has a tough ship but the rest of us don't, and you take out a big baddie, we all still get a split.

Trades provide some kind of damn vouchers for everyone. Not sure what the split is, but everyone gets a piece of the action.

There are ways to select your wingman's target.

Even if you're not in the same place at the same time, you can still find each other using the Beacon and supercruise.

You can choose to lock your Frameshift navigation to a specific wingmember's, so that when that person jumps to supercruise or hyperspace, you sort of autofollow them until they drop out.

So, being in a wing is pretty awesome, or at least it seems that way. I dont' relish the idea of getting behind the controls of a transport full of, say, Silver, (which I can frequently trade at 500 credit/ton profit), without a wingman out there watching for trouble.

I'm gonna blow up some shit for a while. There's a civil war happening in nearby system, which means Combat Bonds and potentially Bounties as well. Which means double! Yay!

I'll be back on here later to post a list of things I"ve recently learned that I wish I'd known when I started.

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Re: Elite: Dangerous - The Lost Wing

Postby Rusty » Fri Apr 17, 2015 12:12 am

OK, lessons learned.

Parts in full condition appear to re-sell at original price.

There's on online tool at www.edshipyard.com that let's you fine tune a desired layout for a ship, but that doesn't promise you that you can find the parts you want.

Weak signal sources are usually salvage sites or traps laid by pirates.

Strong signal sources can be groups of ships, battles between system authorities, traps laid by pirates, people under attack, that kind of thing.

Unknown signal sources are where quest encounters can happen, where chances to subvert missions can take place, random stuff is there. Also traps laid by pirates.

However much they promise it, Newtonian physics dont appear to be totally in play, for example, you slow down when you turn off your thrusters. That may be nav assist though, I should experiment with it off just to find out. Still, you have a top speed, which is a lie in space.

Each ship has a top speed and a boost speed. Power has to be directed to the engines over other systems in order to reach that top speed.

Maneuverability is governed by a factor inherent to a ship design and the performance of the thrusters.

The frameshift drive provides for the two forms of faster than light travel: super cruise and hyperspace. Super cruise is used locally within a system for navigating between planets and close stars, I've seen a few systems that have as many as three stars with their own planets and bodies but which counted as one hyperspace destination.

You can super cruise with or without a destination in mind. If don't have a destination targeted, you can exit safely when slow by pressing the button again, or dangerously when fast by pressing it twice and then take some hull damage.

If you have a destination targeted that is in system, you'll need to reach it, then slow down according to your readouts in order to get the safe exit message, then tap the button again. If your target is another system, you'll need to orient towards it and then tap the button to enter hyperspace.

Super cruise can be interrupted by a device called a frame shift drive interdictor. This device must be activated from immediately behind a target in super cruise, and a tug of war is then initiated. If you win, you get away, if you lose, you take some damage and are pulled into normal space with your attacker. If you throttle down instead, you submit to the interdiction and are not damaged when you enter real space. A similar tug of war takes place when you attempt an interdiction of your own.

Ship and object mass plays an important role in gameplay. Each ship type has a base mass listed in tons, all modules, weapons, cargo, and fuel is added on to this. Thrusters, the frame shift drive, and the shields, have performance based on mass of the ship. Each of these systems list an optimal mass and a maximum mass. If your ship is above the maximum mass, the system cannot perform. If it is between the optimal and maximal, the system will work but not at its best if it is equal to optimal, the system will work as advertised. If your ship is below the optimal mass, the system will perform beyond the manufacturers specifications. Thrusters will steer and maneuver better, fsd will jump farther, and shields will be stronger and recharge faster.

Modules and weapons generally come in classes and ratings, though some are fixed to one or two and some only come in one flavor.

The class of a module ranges from 1 to 4 and describes its size, with 1 being small and 4 being huge. Weapon hard points, systems, and internal compartments of ships all come in these varieties and the number of each is a major factor in determining what a ship can be designed to do.

A module also carries a rating from a to e or sometimes even g, which describes comparative quality, but in the specific area of design. So, an A rated powerplant might produce the most power of any in its class, but it may also be the heaviest and is certainly the most expensive.

The starting ship is the sidewinder, a small scout with some e rated hardware on loan, which means that if you buy new parts you don't get the cost if the old parts towards the new ones.

D rated hardware is almost always the lightest hardware in its class, is always fairly cheap, and has a small but valuable performance increase. I prefer d for most systems because I like to keep a low weight profile.

I have in the past used a part from a lower class because of its better weight rating. I used a class 3 power plant in a class 4 slot because at the price it only lacked half a megawatt and weighed a hell of a lot less.

Finally, nav beacons, asteroid belts, resource extraction sites, and conflict zones, are locations that you can go to in order to find pirates, bad guys, and otherwise collect bounty.

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Re: Elite: Dangerous - The Lost Wing

Postby Rusty » Fri Apr 17, 2015 1:27 am

OK, so, if you get caught smuggling enough contraband at once into a station, you get declared an enemy of the major faction, and they shoot you on sight and then even when you pay off your bounty, that faction won't deal with you and you have to win back your reputation one system at a time. Keep in mind that there are 400 billion systems.

First of all, I tried salvage tonight and managed to get 4000 to 5000 credits per ton for rare artworks and ancient artifacts. Compare that to at best 1000 credits per ton for silver or gold in legitimate trade, which also requires huge overhead.

So, first of all, I think we can base a good salvage operation out of an independent system, so that even if we get caught, at worst we are only wanted in that system, not everywhere at once.

Secondly, if I detect a scan in progress and don't have time to avoid it, I'll probably dump my cargo right then and there. The last time I dumped cargo in the vicinity if a space station it was a 100 credit fine. I'm going to test this practice with a legal cargo and a full load, to see if the fine is worse. If its less than a bounty, I'll probably make that my plan. I will probably do this test in open play so as to troll players. You know, cuz and stuff.

So, there are some neat opportunities for making money that are adventurous, daring, potentially lucrative, decidedly sci fi, and to be honest, quite time consuming.

Out beyond the borders of the federation, empire, alliance, independents, and anarchs, are untold billions of uncharted systems with untapped resources and unknown threats, unseen dens of pirates, and the potential for untold wealth in the form of rich deposits of the most valuable minerals.

Exploration data by itself can be sold to the cartography company, but once this is done the information becomes available to everyone. We could, given the right equipment, strike out beyond the borders in search of untapped resources, and then, you know, tap them. The best minerals sell at 13000 to 15000 per ton. Should we find and mine deposits if this, or gold, or other valuable minerals, we would be wealthy beyond our most modest underestimations.

So, those are some options. For starting out, light bounty hunting is good, but beer runs are also good very shortly thereafter. In many systems there are agricultural stations and industrial stations. The aggies make beer, the factories want beer. Badly. The aggies need biowaste, which the factories make in excess. Its a cheap and profitable loop within a system that can get a starting player out if a starting ship fairly quickly.

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Re: Elite: Dangerous - The Lost Wing

Postby Rusty » Fri Apr 17, 2015 9:25 am

Ok, damn I wrote a lot on here last night. So, more about mass that I failed to mention before but which is fairly important, and also some things about stations and docking.

I mentioned how a ships mass affects several systems on board. The frame shift drive is affected by the mass of external objects as well, and this can be inconvenient in travel, or critical in battle.

The amount of time that a given FSD takes to charge up and let you jump to Super Cruise or Hyperspace under normal conditions is based on it's class, rating, your ship, power allocation, blah blah previously discussed. However, nearby objects of mass increase the amount of time it takes to spin up. So, if you're busy mining an asteroid field, and pirates show up in force, those asteroids from which you toil your life's blood are now the reason your FSD is taking so damn long. More importantly, when you're trying to escape from that gigantic Anaconda (the biggest player ownable ship to date) in your Eagle (the smallest) you really need some distance before you do.

Once in Super Cruise, objects of mass, usually planets and other celestial bodies, but also space stations, beacons, and destination points, still have an affect on the FSD, but probably in a good way all things considered. Proximity to these masses has a braking or slowing effect on the FSD. It's not absolute, and I've noticed that near misses cause an actual slingshot effect, in which I slow down as I approach and then accelerate as I pass, say, a star, and approaching a destination head on at full speed does not in any way mean that you'll actually be traveling slow enough to exit super cruise at your destination. You may in fact plow into a planet. Your ship will emergency exit from super cruise if you're about to impact into some thing, similar to how you can get pulled out of super cruise by an interdiction, but your FSD must cool down for I think a full minute, and you do take damage.

It's also important to be aware that once you exit hyperspace you'll be facing directly into the sun and will be just barely in orbit of it. My flight stick has a physical throttle stick as well, and so I usually throttle back as soon as I hit hyperspace. If you're using a keyboard or don't have a discrete throttle, you probably will have to worry about this in a different way.

The exit point for yellow stars is pretty safe, but for Brown dwarves and white dwarves it's near collision-exit, and when jumping to unknown systems, I usually do not assume that I'll be making a safe exit.

According to the developers there are neutron stars and black holes. I haven't seen any yet. I don't know how safe they are to approach. I'll approach anyway. If someone has an idea of where in the milky way galaxy we can find one, from the galaxy map we can zoom out and see roughly where we are, we could mount an expedition to go see one.

Docking. Docking is kind of a bitch. I have a lot of controls mapped to my flight sticks that are largely docking specific because docking happens a lot, and a lot can go wrong. There's plenty of videos about it, those are going to do a better job of explaining it than I can here. I'll just say, practice landing at an outpost, where you don't have to fly through a mail slot first, and if you want to smuggle, practice sneaking into space stations and outposts with legal cargo first, before you risk everything with actual illegal cargo. That's why I haven't been caught yet, because I smuggled every ton of legal cargo that I"ve sold past station security, so even when they scanned me and I 'failed' to smuggle it past them, I wasn't actually doing anything wrong, just something dangerous.

Stealth is all about heat signature. The heat output of your components can be moderated by turning them off in your module control screen. Turning almost everything off is called "running cool," in contrast to the Running Silent command that all ships can accept. When running silent, a ship shuts down its shields and radiator, and starts building up heat internally. above about 80% or so it starts taking damage from heat. It is debatable how effective running silent really is at stealth. Sensors always detect that something is there. When the heat signature and range are below the threshold of the quality of the sensors, the signal on the radar blinks around and shakes, and cannot be selected, and the ship cannot be directly targeted or scanned. Law enforcement craft carry the very best sensors and patrol with meters of the surfaces of space stations, so the chance that a running cool or silent ship remain obfuscated from them for long is nil. I use it to delay detection for a few moments while I get into the space station, a maneuver I have grown very comfortable with in solo play.

Speaking which, it's time for my daily missions, which include my first adventure into open play. I have the credits to rebuild my ship a few times, so I'm going to risk it and go around collecting all the various bounties I picked up last night before doing the intensely stupid experiments I have planned.

I also have a special mission that will waste potentially millions of credits worth of rare goods as a form of non-violent protest against an NPC for doing something awful to another group of NPCs. *sigh* The things I do with my time.

And if you're just now joining the party line, my in game handle is Rusty One Two.

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Re: Elite: Dangerous - The Lost Wing

Postby Rusty » Fri Apr 17, 2015 12:32 pm

So far my fears about Open Play have been unfounded. The radar symbol for a ship controlled by a player is like a hollowed out box. I've seen one. I've been on for hours. Apparently, unless you deliberately meet up with friends, you aren't likely to see any living players. Not because nobody's on, oh there's lots of people on. It's because space is big. Really, really big.

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Re: Elite: Dangerous - The Lost Wing

Postby Rusty » Fri Apr 17, 2015 12:34 pm

I'm making a run looking for what are called "rare goods." These are special commodities that are either special drops from salvage encounters, or are only produced in specific places. They increase in price as you increase distance from where they originate (or were salvaged from, in the case of rare art), plateauing around 170 light years. I went to a station called Kirk dock which was 160 light years from my base of operations and managed to buy the last two tons of Kitten Brand Coffee they had. I hope it was worth it. Now I'm after fireworks from some eccentric who parked his personal space station over 600,000 light seconds from an otherwise vacant star. Fucker.

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Re: Elite: Dangerous - The Lost Wing

Postby Rusty » Wed Apr 22, 2015 1:03 pm

So, it's been a minute since I've posted here and I've learned so much since then.

In news, I was robbed blind by a Player.

He interdicted me while I was hauling 400,000 credits worth of precious metals in my cargo ship, shouted something in spanish, and then blew me out of the sky without ceremony.

While I was on my way to the same station with a half-load of BIOWASTE another player interdicted me, abused me, turned his nose up at my cargo, and tried to kill me. I did survive but only barely. He was a troll.

So I sold my ship, having lost in total around 600k given replacement of the ship and everything, outfitted a Cobra for light cargo duty and bounty hunting, and turned my full attention to the pirate problem.

A couple days of serious bounty hunting later, and I had recouped my losses.

Was I to turn my attention back to honest trade?

NO.

PEACE people.

I outfitted an Adder with an optimized loadout for exploration, kept one weapon while I made for the border, and sold it in Pand, the last inhabited system. I'm making for the galactic core with a wish, a dream, a fuel scoop, and a 3A frame shift drive capable of making jumps a hair over 25 light years.

I'm already just over 1000LY from the border.

IF I survive the trip there and back, I'll get my name posted on the systems I was the first to discover, which there are already a dozen or so of.

I thought mining was tedious. This is tense, but tedious.

I did have a crisis spice things up.

I slip of the thumb caused me to cut power to my thrusters (the whole module, not just 'reducing thrust') which caused me to be forced out of super cruise catastrophically, doing some damage.

You can slow to a "halt" in super cruise (which is actually a speed of 30km/s) and drop back to normal space without a problem, but veer too close to something, get interdicted, or have a catastrophic emergency like manic button pressing, and it does some damage.

Now, normally 5-10% damage to all systems wouldn't be anything to worry about really. Just drop into the local outpost or space station with a handful of credits and get it patched up with one click. But I'm alone out here.

There aren't even random signal sources anymore. Normally, even in uninhabited systems, you get random signal sources popping up. I haven't seen an NPC or a signal of any kind in 1000LY.

I did have the foresight to bring an Auto Field Maintenance Unit with me. A normally ignored module, this device can repair certain systems in-flight at the expense of a quantity of "ammunition," basically each rating and class of AFMU has a max of repairedness it can deploy, and you can refill that amount at space stations. I felt like this would be better than nothing and as it was weightless like the fuel scoop, it was worth it. I keep it powered down unless I'm using it.

But I don't have an unlimited amount of THAT either.

My life blood out here is Life Support, Thrusters, Fuel Scoop, and Frame Shift Drive. I keep most other things turned off, including shields. Using power uses fuel and produces heat, and my most immediate threat right now is heat damage during fuel scooping, followed closely by running out of fuel at a Brown Dwarf or somewhere else that I can't refuel at.

So I repaired the FSD and Fuel Scoop to full, and called the rest of it good at ~90% capacity. The systems won't perform at their best. That's just the way it has to be. I don't know what I"m going to find at the core of the galaxy, only that on the galaxy map, the systems appear to overlap. This, I must see.

In the original Elite game, you could be intercepted in Hyperspace (called "witch space" in that game) by ships of unknown origin. They have remained very true to the original game, even bringing back the original systems you visited. I wonder, will I find something out there besides empty planets and burning stars?

I'll post some screen shots of interesting stars and stuff here in a bit.

More people need to play this game.

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Re: Elite: Dangerous - The Lost Wing

Postby Rusty » Wed Apr 22, 2015 1:36 pm

Elite Dangerous Eye Candy dump

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