federation

Exploring the Big Black: First Impressions to First Profits to First Death in Elite Dangerous.

I’m enjoying Elite Dangerous a lot but it’s both harder than I imagined/remembered and quite obviously a beta.

Anyone with half a desire to buy it right now should know that whilst the gameplay is fun and the delivery stable (not one crash, freeze or disconnect so far) it’s limited and far from fully implemented. Whilst it’s true that most of the core elements of the game are represented so that you can fight for or against the military, hunt traders or pirates, buy and sell between worlds or simply explore and map the universe, it’s also true that the area allowed for this is a tiny walled-off bubble and as such begins to feel like a fishbowl quite quickly. Still, the gameplay is solid and doesn’t feel like a rushed ‘work in progress’ affair which is what I think is the biggest criticism of Star Citizen’s dogfighting release, so if you are wavering on the edge of buying it I would certainly recommend you jump in. As long, that is, as you don’t expect to be playing the finished game and if you don’t then you’ll enjoy it a lot. One last word of warning, please for the love of all that is holy don’t burn out playing a beta to death – that’s just not a smart thing to do.

With that mini (micro?) review and PSA out of the way what have I been doing in my time exploring the Big Black? Well, trading a fair bit, running away from players whenever I can and discovering the deep, deep joys of talking to my spaceship. Let me explain…

I’ve installed VoiceAttack and for the low, low price of $8 (sub £5 for me) and I can honestly say it’s the best fiver I’ve ever spent. I am now chatting away to my ship like it was an old friend! Well, not really but I am barking orders at it and it’s obeying like the good ship it is and I honestly can not imagine the game without it now – I mean if you’re not meant to talk to a spaceship in the year 3300 then when the hell are you? I hope Frontier Developments builds it into the game at some point, along with appropriate and maybe even editable replies. Ahhh, I can but dream.

Using VA and my Hotas X joystick I’ve been trying to beat the Solar Fluke in the training missions and having some success – it’s going to take a lot of practice but I’m sure I’ll get there eventually. When I get tired of combat training I pop into the multiplayer where I’ve been finding out how trading works. At first I was losing money hand over fist but then a few days ago I had a break through and began to see my profits and savings creep up, nothing grand but I was making my way up the ladder without having to fight anyone.

And then it all went wrong. I was doing ok, I had traded up to 5,500 Credits and keeping my nose clean when I suddenly had a run of bad luck. It started with being shunted back into a station by a player docking in a hauler. By the time I managed to get myself free of his shields and facing back towards the exit my docking window had expired and I was suddenly a wanted criminal. I was fired on inside the station by the station authorities and then again outside (by the station *and* players I think). I escaped and managed to pay off the fine to clear my reputation at the next port but at a cost, wiping out all profit from my last two runs. I congratulated myself on clearing my name, mentally noted down a ‘lesson learnt’ and headed off with a hold full of expensive stock to sell. And that’s when I decided to get clever. Long story short I tried to do a loop the loop through some station super-structure and I hit it hard. Hard and fast. My shields couldn’t cope and my ship exploded. I lost it, the cargo and all my money in one fiery fireballs of fire. Boom. Start again time.

There is a time and a place for hotdogging and work is neither the time nor the place.

I’m in no hurry to get back in and do it all again as I don’t want to burn out in beta and then not want to play the full game in a few months time, but I will start again soon and see if I can get my sidewinder kitted out with some weapons and armour so I can have a go at fighting in the conflict zones that have flared up between the Federation and the Eranin Defence Force.

Elite Dangerous: What a Burro wants from the next Elite game, part two…

In my last post I talked about how I wanted to see an Earth-centric universe in Elite Dangerous and I was really pleased to hear I will be getting just that when the game is released in early 2014. If you pop over to the official YT channel, this fourth fiction diary video mentions it just at over six minutes in and to know that the Federation HQ is on Mars is just amazing. All in all, I’m pretty sure I’m going to be a Fed now 🙂

And my desire to play a Fed leads me nicely on to my next ‘what I want to see in the game’ post. Realistic humans, that’s what. What do I mean be that? Well, simple really. Too often in sci-fi the humans are abstracted to the point where they are pretty much aliens. Their motivations, actions and reactions are so far removed, usually due to the nature of evolving societies and advancing technology, as to bear little resemblance to what I recognise as human. At that point I lose interest in them because I can no longer connect to them and unlike fantasy I read sci-fi precisely to connect to a concept of own potential future.

So when it comes to the humans in Elite Dangerous I want them to be more like us with the same drives and fears, the same desires and goals but I still want them to be more exotic. I want them to be transhuman, altered by tech and by genetic engineering, but fundamentally still human at their core.

Both The Federation & the Alliance sound like my kind of people. a union of utilitarian capitalists on one hand and a loose collective of trading partners on the other – these are people I can understand. But then you come to the Imperials well then those fellas suddenly start looking more like aliens than they do humans, but given that there are only three intelligent races in Elite one of which is humans, another is extinct and the third may not be in the game at release, it makes sense to have something of the ‘other’ in the mix.

Still, no matter how cool Imperial ships are, there is no way I’m handling slaves so it’s the Fed for me 🙂