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Commander’s Log [Cmdr William Gearwright] : [Duval’s Mercy Hospital : [Persephone/Lambardelli’s Legacy] : [3301/30/05]

[Report Summary] Currently recovering from a serious crash in a Persephone hospital. Release date unknown.

[Manifest] n/a.

[Incidents] LRDV Pharos Brightly lost.

[Signed] Cmdr William Gearwright of Antfarm Consolidated, Dulos.


[Private Entry/Decrypted/eckthmp0023-ripa] [embeds enabled] You know that old saying about your life flashing in front of your eyes just before you die? Well for me at least that’s bullshit. For me it was the dash exploding and the sound of my remlok deploying as the entire top of the Pharos’ cockpit was torn open above me. At the time I was just entering the toast rack and the speeding courier’s nacelle ripped me open like I was made of foil. It seems I took a significant blast to the face and chest, the doctors tell me my eyes will grow back in a week or so, but the ejection is what did most of the damage as I bounced off some wreckage and into the docking shield. Apparently brain death is more common than people realise, but I still don’t think I’d recommend it.

Backing up a little, I was heaving into Lambardelli’s Legacy to deliver a hold full of meds for the outbreak relief effort. I was fresh from Diso where I’d been hauling agri-tech in for the Alliance and frankly I was still exhausted from 78UM and Quivira. Something had to give but some rich kid in a brand new Courier smashing into me as I tried to dock was not what I thought was going to happen. The kid got away with nothing but a huge insurance bill but I lost the Pharos, my eyes, both legs below the knees, my whole right arm and portions of my frontal cortex. Fortunately for me the kid’s dad is a high up in the Princess’ court and his insurance has paid for the best medical care available, and given I’m deep in the heart of the Empire right now that means the best across the whole of human space. I’ll be in for a while longer but when I leave I’ll be as good as new, hell! in some cases better. Not only that but I’ll have a new Asp to replace the Pharos and the kid’s dad has had a ship of my choice delivered to Wilson Ring for me, a factory new Diamondback Scout, by way of an apology. All in all I couldn’t have been killed by a nicer chap, really.

The other benefit to my predicament is that convalescence affords a not-inconsiderable time for catching up on current affairs, especially now Galnet has gone round the clock on all platforms (Hell’s Teeth, I’m beginning to hear “Your galaxy in focus!” in my bloody sleep! Still, without it I doubt I’ve have heard about Halsey until I got back to Dulos). Now, I don’t care what anyone says, it’s going to take another bout of brain damage before I believe that that war-monger Hudson didn’t have a hand in Spaceflight One vanishing. On top of that Patreus is still trying to take over the throne in his usual, charmless and openly aggressive manner and damn any poor bastards that get in his way. In favt given the machinations of the Empire, the in-fighting of the Federation, the desperate expansion attempts of the Alliance and the ugly mix of insanity and cruelty of the Independents (i.e. utopian religious freaks and pirate scum) it seems like every bugger and his dog is making a play for power right now. I’ve been in touch with Charybdis (when my messages get past his spam filter, of course) and it seems from his more-guarded-than-usual chat that the lure of a mystery has taken him out into deep space to help with the search for Halsey. To be honest, reading between the lines of his messages that he’s looking into Thargoids. I’m not sure what to make of that. I mean Thargoids! From anyone else I’d assume they were insane, but Char… well let’s just say I hope he’s wrong and leave it at that.

So, out soon(ish) on good-as-new legs with 20/20 eyes and a new ship to play with. I’m heading back to Dulos as soon as the docs sign me out and no doubt the Old Man will have a fair few contracts for me, especially in these uncertain times when every player in the galaxy is trying to fortify and expand to grab more and more power. Still, it pays the fuel bill, doesn’t it.

Commander’s Log [Cmdr William Gearwright] : [ISDV Vestigial Echo : [Zaonce/Zaonce A 1/Ridley Scott Station] : [3301/05/04]

[Report Summary] Sub-contracted to Silver United Solutions based out of Ridley Scott and providing local Police with back-up in the RES sites.

[Manifest] n/a.

[Incidents] Multiple conflicts due to heavy police action against the local ‘Jet gang’ pirates.

[Signed] Cmdr William Gearwright of the ISDV Vestigial Echo (Faulcon DeLacy Cobra Mk3), Antfarm Consolidated of Dulos.


[Private Entry/Decrypted/frelp40062-Wilt441] [embeds enabled] After LTT9494 I found things a little hot in Dulos so the contract from the Old Man to escort Cmdr Paws back in from his epic journey to Sag A* was welcome distraction. I had to fly 250lys out to meet him but it was a profitable trip as I picked of a UC surveyor contract on the side and so more than covered my expenses with a wee bit of stellar cartography (the UC woman said they would pay more for reliable data on Ts which makes me think the Imps are looking at some form of expansion, but who know with them?). The journey back in with Paws was quiet (and profitable!) but once back in Dulos I could feel eyes on me again. Small things such as ship-system intrusion atteempt warnings, random hails from untraceable routers and bogus job offers clogging up my inbox. In the end I asked the Old Man to get me out – maybe memories in Dulos are longer than I thought – and he got me a stint to Zaonce, the banking capital of the entire galaxy and home to those frak-ugly leathery eggs people pay so much for, Odd thing was that instead of requesting I fill up the Pharos he had the Echo made ready and fitted out to take, and give, a beating. The Old Man said it was because Zaonce is undergoing a push back against some nasty local pirates and even though the local SysSec require the usual military & medical supplies they are not beyond popping anyone who looks at them funny, but I wasn’t so sure and I was right to be sceptical because the old swine has subbed me out to the local corp under a general ‘do anything’ contract that has me patrolling the RES near Ridley protecting miners and backing up the 5-0. Still, it’s low risk, high pay and mostly quiet. Well, apart from the Python…

I was checking in with a mining Asp out of Ovid when the pilot started squawking about a wing closing fast. I was 15ks away but I was the nearest ship in a good 60k bubble so I hit burn and screamed in weapons hot. So far I’d come up against ‘Winders, Cobras, Adders, and the occasional Viper but from 6k I could see the arrowhead of a Python silhouetted against the milky light of the ring and I knew this was going to get messy, especially as he had two Eagles with him. I told the miner to throw out some cans and run like hell away from me and head for the cops. Sure enough the Python turned its fat behind to me and slowed to scoop the cans whilst the Eagles chased the Asp deeper into the ring. I boiled the first one quick, peeling shields away and shoving both ‘seekers up his exhaust, it happened so fast I doubt he knew what hit him. The second wheeled around to see what the frak just happened to his buddy but by then I’d FA flipped and boosted back to put some distance between me and the Python. The Eagle fell for it and chased me like a furious wasp. I waited until I was 6k out from the Python before I FA flipped again and hit boost, effectively stopping dead for a second. The Eagle screamed past me and I flipped again, targeting and firing in the same motion. His shields melted and he hit boost to escape but by then it was too late for him as both my ‘seekers were closing on him. Not that I had chance to pat myself on the back as the Echo bucked like a mule beneath me and she began screaming – the Python had a rail gun and had done a good job of introducing its payload to my rectum in a wholly unfriendly manner. I hit boost and pulled some high-G jinxing but the freller had me in his sights so I hoofed power to engines, hit the shield cell and boosted right at him. My shield lit up like a firework party on Six but held together as I screamed under his belly. Another FA flip and I was heating up his shields from behind – the urge to pop off a missile or two was enormous but would have been a waste so instead I held my nerve and selected the power plant location to concentrate my fire on. The freller must have spent his life savings on turrets because even from high behind I was being riddled with tracer fire and depleted tip ammo – I hit my chaff but mistimed a cell boost so caught a line of rounds across the nose – I heard my canopy crack in dozens of places and as my suit began cycling up its risk responses I hoped for a miracle. Which is when the front of the Python’s shields erupted in blue fire and the whole ship swayed and rocked. I checked the Echo’s sensors and saw it was another of sub-conned Cmdrs in an FDL and it appeared he’d brought a lovely big plasma cannon to a knife fight! The Python didn’t know what to do – I was hardly doing any real damage whilst the new guest was causing him some real headaches. In the end he went after the ‘Lance and that was his last mistake. Another plasma bolt dropped his shields and so I began to let his plant have my missiles, all of them because I’m generous like that. The ‘Lance switched to a seriously big pair of rails and it was all over for the Python bar the expected, desperate, far-too-late attempt to jump out, and just like that 100 million credits worth of cutting edge technology became a salvage hog’s wet dream. The 5-0 rocked up just in time to avoid any actual danger and managed to locate a single escape pod – I wasn’t actually sure they were going to pick it up for a while but they did, although I suspect the occupant might wish they had just popped him by now.

So I’m back in Ridley, my rolling contract update just came in and I need to decide if I sign on for another 48 hours or take the Old Man’s new contract, it seems he has a ‘travel opportunity’ for me in an Indie system called Quivira and it does sound rather interesting…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

To: William Gearwright

From: Antfarm Consolidated (Dulos)

Date: 3301/05/03

Subject: Travel Opportunity

Message: Dear Boy! Sterling work for the Silver chaps, good reports all round so keep it up. Things here are much the same, I’ve held off on arranging the school reunion until we know more about dietary requirements. In the meantime you can decide if you renew your sub-contract with the Silvers or if you would like to broaden your horizons with a trip to a currently hot locale, a place very much of the moment you might say. Quivira is a small system deep in the most glorious of glorious space but ever so independent in its quaint ways. I can’t help but think you’d enjoy the night-life there, as well as the weather, both of which can be described as hot, although the locals are rightly defensive about such things. There is a tourist guide on Godel Dock you should meet, he’ll be fully accredited and carry the usual insurance documents so you’ll know you are in the hands of a true independent businessman. If you go I’m sure you’ll find the chance to shore up your system’s defences will do you the world of good.

All the best regards,

HBA

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Maybe I should drop Charybdis a line, I’m sure he’d find something to pique his interest there.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

To: Charybdis

From: William Gearwright

Date: 3301/05/04

Subject: A tourist trap of note

Message: Hello friend, I hope this short note finds you well. I just wanted to let you know about a small hotspot I’ve become aware of called Quivira. It seems there is a blossoming tourist market opening up right now with special rewards for the more independent-minded traveller. I hear Godel dock is the place to meet up with like-minded vacationers and share the extremely lively night-life. If you decide to go, plan your route ahead of time based on the advice of others – empirical evidence would deem it prudent.

Safe travels,

William Gearwright.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Elite Dangerous: A Burro muses on Community Goals in 1.1: Motivation, narrative and reward (UPDATED)

Come hither, handsome Cmdr...

Come hither, handsome Cmdr…

Way back when I was a student with a car there was an older, confident, gorgeous female student who one day asked me to help her move her bed from her old house to her new flat. Being a 20 year old idiot I assumed this was some coded come on that equated to “come and set up my bed and we’ll have wild sex – let me show you the magical ways of an older woman”. I was, therefore, somewhat disappointed and confused when all she wanted me to do was move her bed from one place to another. She made me a cup of tea, we chatted and no nudity was observed or nookie engaged in. I went home befuddled, once again wondering why popular media would mislead me so cruelly about motivation and reward.

Which leads me nicely onto the new Community Goals addition to ED because just like the popular media whispering lies into the stupid brainpan of the 20 year old me, Frontier Developments had convinced me that their new 1.1 release feature would provide me with some great motivation and rewards for playing alongside other people, some of whom would happily blow up my ship and tea-bag my RemLokked face just for a chortle. The reality so far is I’ve travelled over 200ly to run 40t of metals and supplies back and forth over a 10ly route again and again and again and again and I have nothing to show for it at all except profit. At least when I was moving the bed and not getting and of the sex I had the sex to think about – with trading in ED I have none of the sex to think about and all of the bed moving to do. On my own. Again and again and again and again.

OK, you might say, please stop talking about the sex and the bed and stick to the game and the new mechanic – why, dear Burro, do you feel so aggrieved by this? What was promised and not delivered? Give us details and stop thinking about that older student – yes you are, I can see it in your eyes – stop it! Bad Burro, bad!

Huh? Sorry, what? Oh, Elite… right. Well when they* announced these Community Goals I was a little bit excited that we’d have something to do. Then it turned out that these things to do would be hauling stuff from point A to B again and again and again and again and I became less excited but I still held out for some form of narrative structure I could lose myself in and some cool rewards to play with afterwards. So when the patch launched I stopped the rare run I was on and jetted over to Yembo where the first of the new deep space Ocellus stations was being built because I was full of excitement at the prospect of seeing the station taking shape as promised in the trailer. Now to be fair to that trailer, it does indicate that you would only see the station taking shape after enough raw materials had been collected but I still find it odd (and disappointing and dull) that I’m taking ton after ton from one station to the next only for it to vanish into a black hole with nothing to see. GalNet talks of the Yembo shipyards and yet I can find no shipyards in Yembo, just another copy/paste system like the billions of others created by the StellarForge engine. Hell, for the first couple of runs I wasn’t even sure I was doing it right because there is no feedback beyond a number in ship’s transactions tab showing you have increased your contribution and therefore rising up the reward ladder. Not only that but there is nothing in the world to show that anything is happening because the NPCs never mention it; GalNet only reports ‘global’ news and so there is no local colour to the feed; there are no missions on the bulletin board that even mention the damn station or supply line; and there is nothing going on in or out of the station that lead you to feel like it’s actually happening. Hell! there is no need for me to be at Naddodur Terminal at all – I could do exactly the same and experience exactly the same at Brunton Gateway in Dulos or Lave Station in Lave or in any port or outputs in any system in the entire galaxy. There is nothing – NOTHING – in Yembo to show that this event is happening and is part of a wider universe. People mock Eve for being spreadsheet game but this kind of gameplay in ED is little better and just makes ED a button pressing game. Still, at least there are the rewards, right. Right?

Well let me ask you this; when moving a bed** for a beautiful lady*** would you prefer the reward to be a warm fuzzy feeling of a job well done or some hot, rampant sex****? If the answer is the warm feeling please congratulate yourself on being a better human being than me but also please check yourself into the nearest clinic for some form of sex drive malfunction. What does that to do with ED, Burro, you growl sternly? I’m glad you asked, I smile sweetly. Look, if I’m in a game doing a lot of boring tasks in a boring manner for a boring end and in a boring place I’m going to want a fooking good reward at the end, that’s just plain obvious. What constitutes a fooking good reward will, I suggest, depend on what type of player you are but what doesn’t is easier for a player base to agree on and the current rewards on offer are, frankly, pants. I’ve only managed to supply a few hundred tons but I’ve already made C1.5m from doing so (along with various non-associated supply missions and trade runs at the same time) and so I find that my reward pot of C3k to be firmly in the “Not Really Worth It” category. True I’ll also get a small discount on the goods and equipment at this station for a period after the event is completed but both the discount level (and few %) and the length of time (a few days) are too small to make any difference, especially as I’m not planning to stick around this dead-end part of the galaxy once the damn station buggers off to HIP 101110.

So to recap, I’m doing boring trade runs to supply the building of a station I can’t yet see for a set of rewards I don’t actually want or need. On top of that, when the station jumps out to HIP 101110 I don’t think I’ll follow as there is fek all out there (yet) so what would be the point? And on top of that the increase in player activity makes the docking experience in Yembo both scary and costly, not to mention the sodding piracy! When I put it like this even I wonder what is keeping me there and then I realise that in playing the Yembo station storyline my game time has dropped from a usual 2 hours a session to 1 or less and I’m logging out after a single round trip run and going off to watch TV or edit videos instead. The boredom of the Goal has actually reduced my in-game time by 50% or more over just a few days! This is because I don’t want to give up and miss something by leaving to do something more fun because I’ve invested too much time and effort to just walk away, but at the same time I just don’t want to do any more supply runs for the damn Goal so I have no choice but not to play and instead wait until the damn event is over. Now does this sound like engaging gameplay to you? If it does could you please check for signs of a recent head trauma?

Look, these community goals are better than nothing but they need to be better than better than nothing before I’ll bother getting involved again so please Frontier Devs give us some immediate rewards in terms of visual clue to what is happening – let us see what is going on, let the station and NPC chatter reflect what is going on.. Give us some extra depth in the missions we can take on so that we feel as if the Goal actually exists and we can affect it one way or another. And for love of all that is holy give us some great rewards we might actually want and use such as a lot of credits instead of a handful; access to a great or unique upgrade; a decal for our ship; and maybe and some kind of title we can display for all to scan and see. I know these community goals are still being testing so I’m not throwing up my arms and crying about the sky falling in, but I really, really, REALLY hope FD are planning a large scale re-vamp of how they run these bloody things because as they stand they are a boring waste of time. Apart from the docking which is anything other than boring o.0

UPDATE (18/02/15): So the event closed and my hopes that the station would then start a construction phase were dashed when I turned in the mission and was told the station had now flown off to HIP 101110. Still, I was rewarded with C7,500… less than 1% of the profits I’d earnt in the small bit of trading I had done for the community goal. FFS.

*Frontier Developments, who else?

**Sorry, back to the bed again. I’ll try not to mention the sex though.

***Or handsome man, you choose.

****Failed. Sorry.

Commander’s Log [Cmdr William Gearwright] : [ISDV Vestigial Echo] : [Naddoddur Terminal/Yembo 6/Yembo] : [16/01/3301]

[Report Summary] Currently sub-conned to the Explorers’ Assoc. for supplying various construction materials to the Yembo shipyards.

[Manifest] Metals into Naddoddur, Performance enhancers and Separators out to neighbouring systems. Rinse and repeat.

[Incidents] Several interdiction attempts registered by the Echo with a number of pirates driven off or destroyed.

[Signed] Cmdr William Gearwright of the ISDV Vestigial Echo (Cobra Mk3), Antfarm Consolidated of Dulos.


[Private Entry/Decrypted/F56YyY-Roma858690] [embeds enabled] I’d been away on the rare run for nearly two weeks when the message from the Old Man came in a few days ago – I was to turn tail and get the Echo over to the Yembo shipyards without stopping. Turns out UC and EA had finally gotten their act together and were building a new deep space Ocellus, the first in a fleet if the report can be believed. Damn good job I’d taken time to have the FSD upgraded but it was a still a long old slog out to the arse-end of nowhere, nothing but extraction and refinery systems all the way out to the edge of the federation volume. It seems the EA are going to start pushing that edge further out which means lot of money for the Old Man as he subs me to every supply run he can get a contract with. Maybe the Federation has had enough of ‘problem’ systems like Dulos and they are going to get their precious resources from newer, more easily controlled systems. I can’t see the Imps being happy but let’s face it, they are going to be tied up arguing over the throne for the next frak knows how long so what are they going to do? The Alliance are being the Alliance and just hoping they don’t get involved by accident and everyone forgets about them and so as far as anyone is concerned the Feds have a clear run at volume I can only assume has been surveyed as chock full enough wealth to keep all the CEOs and their lawyers bathing in solid gold credits for decades.. In fact the only ones who’ve shown any interest other than traders and frakking pirates are the ‘Firsters’ who think by pushing out we’ll piss off the make-believe Thargoids they keep droning on and on about, but who the hell even listens to those loons? Nope, it looks like this is the start of an extended break away from home for me and the most exciting thing I’m going to see is the arse-end of other haulers rather than the probe-end of any little green men…

[Upgrades] The rare run the Old Man had me on was hella profitable! I have managed to upgrade the Echo’s ageing thrusters to the top of the line versions released by De Lacy last year – the damn thing roars like an Altairian panther now! I’ve also upped the FSD to a re-conned A class model that’s now giving me just shy of 20ly with a full hold. To cope with the extra power demands, I’ve had to invest in a brand new plant too but I had to buy a knock off rather than the de Lacy I’d have liked and even that left me all but broke for a while. Still, the Echo is coming together nicely now and I think after the Yembo job I might look into either a new sensor array or meatier shields, I can’t decide which is more important right now. One thing I won’t be buying again in a hurry is the planetary scanner – the extra 4t of cargo space has netted me more credits in a few around Yembo than it did in the whole of my last rares run – never again!

p.s. I wonder how my family are doing? I’ll send a message tomorrow.