In the past week I’ve been racking up some flying hours in my favourite Mal Reynolds simulator: Elite Dangerous. I’ve moved from Sidewinder to Viper Mk IV (I was a premium beta backer), back to Sidewinder when I realised I couldn’t afford the insurance on the Viper or any upgrades, to Hauler. Here are my top tips (mistakes I am cleverly trying to lampshade) for new pilots.
1. Haulers are not built for combat, if you’re successfully interdicted during frame shift travel, you are screwed. This is a question of when, not if.
1a. Don’t carry all of your wealth in goods – I had set aside cash to pay for ship insurance in the event of a catastrophe, but I’d sunk 25,000 credits into cargo that vanished when some punk zapped my poor space Winnebago. I got my ship back, but I had to start from nearly zero credits afterwards.
1b. The shield on the Hauler lasted about five seconds, unless you’re a goof that bumps into every station you dock at, you’ll probably be better off ditching the shield and getting more cargo space instead.
2. Anything further than about 1,000 light seconds from your target sun is probably not worth your time travelling to. I’d been trying to maximise my profit by jumping a few systems away and going to obscure stations, but I’d probably have made more money ferrying biowaste from Sol to Tau Ceti.
3. Fuel scoops are useful, but they slow you down and allow time for pirates to pick up your signal to interdict. Unless you’re a real penny pincher or you’re headed out into the black, they’re probably not worth it for transport runs. Fuel is cheap, time is precious!
4. HOTAS controllers are cool.
5. No, like really cool. I’ve got more buttons than a double breasted suit on my Saitek X52. It makes me feel like I’m a leaf on the wind.
6. Okay, bad analogy.
7. It still stings Joss…
Until next time – See you in the ‘verse!