Flieger, grüß' mir die Sonne, grüß' mir die Sterne und grüß' mir den Mond. Dein Leben, das ist ein Schweben, durch die Ferne, die keiner bewohnt! - Hans Albers, F.P.1 antwortet nicht (Adaptation in the 80s: Extrabreit)

Sunday, 30 November 2014

From bounties to commodities

Ackerman Market, Eravate. My first bounty hunt today went well. I had complemented my Eagle with an interdictor, as well as a kill warrant scanner. On my supercruise out, I sighted a "wanted" Cobra, headed for this station. Some defect prevented the interdictor to fire, even though interdiction range was around 2Mm. As the Cobra dropped into norm space at the station, I managed to scan it, which caused the Cobra to take evasive action. Like this, it would not get anymore into the station´s anti-fire perimeter and I was able to score a kill. Tough bastards, those Cobras, though. In the end, it tried to bargain for its hull integrity by dropping off some cargo. Its destruction yielded me 1987 CR, and gleefully I also scooped in some high value smuggleware - personal weapons for another 4180 CR. A pity though that my cargo racks can only hold 2 tons, as there were 5 out there. They decayed quickly, though, probably rigged with some self-destruction detonators.

I think I should repeat some runs in order to find out about the magnitude of the interdictors defects. Launch!


Another Cobra, but superficial scans show it as clean, so I do not bother. Then a Viper appears on my warp scan. It is wanted. As I approach it, the colleague over there seems to do the same; this results in some pseudo dogfighting while both of us obviously try to get to a firing sollution for our interdictors. At least I can identify the problem which made my interdictor not fire; it was a faulty fire group setting.
Once I realize the Viper´s eagerness to interdict, I let it happen. The disadvantage like this is that he starts in with a firing solution and I have to first outmaneuver him. With an Eagle, though, it is not so much a problem to deal with.




 - "competent" Viper, no problem, as it does not use its advantage of superiour speed







After it is over, I am 4625 DR richer. Unfortunately, some electronic defect marks me as wanted. Back to base, have to correct this quickly. Before I can do so, an Eagle security vessel jumps in and scans me. The resulting chase is a close one. Thankfully, my shields hold, with barely a sliver though, and I am away.
On my way to base, I am tempted by an unidentified signal (US). Lots of ships in there. My first k-scan of a Viper reveals only a clean slate. As I turn towards the next, I get scanned by it in return. This is when I realize that it does not make much sense to go hunting for bounties while with a bounty yourself. The Viper attacks me, but I cannot shoot back as I am the "criminal" in this bugged case. So, jump out, thankfully unharmed.

The wanted fee is 293 CR. The loss of time and effort is more annoying, though. I clear the bounty, at least I think I do, but when I launch I am still wanted. Sigh. Quickly out, loop back in.

Since I somehow made this system to my hunting grounds, I might as well get aquainted with all stations in here. Set course for Cleve Hub. Always scanning for victims, of course, but this time my flight time is eventless.^The most interesting thing to know is the available outfits, of course. As I hate inefficiency, some noting of high supply or demand commodities does not hurt.



 - Maine Hub is a small outpost, and they to like tobacco over there 








 
Bingo. A cargo rack with 4 tons is ready available here. Finally. And that´s it.  Now that I have access to a good range of cargo racks, given all those lucrative haul contracts, I deside to exchange my Eagle for a Hauler. Commodity analysis already indicates some good potential profits, too. But first, I want to continue my analysis. Russel Ring. A Sidewinder tries to interdict me but fails. Mcmahon Dock.  Silverster City. Maine Hub. After this, my first route, plus some fetch missions ( 4 fish, 6 grain), is from Ackerman Market to Maine Hub (both have a black market, too). Should make good profit, bringing Fish or Coffee to Maine Hub.´The only problem is: What is the round trip? No high demand items are eyecatching, so I have to look for medium commodities, too.

I am interrupted by an inderdiction. Did not see it coming, should pay more attention. The Sidewinder starts in firing position and with worries I see my shields going down too quickly in order to make it away. So I engage. The sidewinder will now experience what it is to try a hauler piloted by a former bounty hunter! After a short dance, the sidewinder joins the void, and I happily scoop the two cans of liquor which it lost. Conveniently, Ackerman Market has a black market.

Docking there at high speed in order to avoid scans for my liquor. They pay nicely for repairs. I fill up my 18 ton cargo capacity and launch. In my haste to undock, I forget to analyse the market for a round trip. So it will stay a single trip, but maybe I should take time for an indepth look, now that I know most of the markets in Eravate.



- Ackerman Market, Eravate, is the main trading hub








 
Which makes me discover a 1100 CR profit if I bring tobacco from Ackerman Market to Maine Hub. On my way back, I am interdicted again. This time, it is an Eagle. That might make things difficult. I figure there are no chances to really get away from a nimble ship like this, so I engage. I works well enough, the Eagle pilot is in for a surprise. However, I panick when that ship suddenly launches missiles; boost! This boost carries me out of close range, at the same time reducing maneuverability of my hauler to near zero, thereby giving the nimble plenty of opportunity to line up his guns. My shields are fried and hull down to 80% after this mistake. Then I am back in the dogfight and can finally nail the bastard. The bounty is just 427 CR, but at least enough to pay for the repairs...

Some more runs between Ackerman Market (load tobacco) and Maine Hub (load basic medicines). In my sloppy routine, I do not read a contract properly and mix up agri-medicinces with basic medicines. No freaking system in range sells agri-medecines, I am screwed with that contract. But why should I care, since I just do commodity trading, anyways. It is probably time to look for trans-system routes, as this one is not good enough if I want high profit also on the round trip.

The trips are tense. I evade two more interdictions, and I still have all my wealth invested into tobacco. 13 units and 149 CR left in my pocket. You do not want to be interdicted and shot down in this situation...


After five or six runs, I have enough capital to afford a full load of tobacco. This gives me 18.000 CR profit for a short trip of 290 ls, a sum which would be very time consuming and difficult to earn as a mere bounty hunter in this early stage of the game. However, more is possible, e.g. a round trip with >1000 CR profit each. It will take some time to find one, but it is worth it in the long run.

Next session, as this one has to end. With 109.971 CR, I leave the game rather content.



Low level bounties

Ackerman Market, Eravate. I have 4926 CR, my lucrative bounty missions have expired. Checking my reputations, I am still considered neutral despite this slip up. Options are scarce. I could try to look for an extraction site and go bounty hunting, or at a nav beacon. There is also a news which lists the top bounties flying around in the system or close to it. Or scout a bit around to find maybe more lucrative options. Before I ponder too long, I rather take a hauling contract for 3241 CR to Gidzenko Ring in Chamunda. I first want to wait a bit if more jobs for that direction come in, but then I remember that I do not have cargo space to do so! I am in an Eagle.

Lauch. Jump. I cruise towards the station (by now I am used to some stations being so far out as 2000 ls that I do not note this anymore) and spot a Dropship with wanted status. Naw, not for me, yet. Then I am interdicted. Nice, maybe an opportinity for a bounty! As I drop out, my systems suddenly go offline. WTF? I quickly check the rightmenu with the modules. Yeah, sure, I bought a torpedo pylon, that must have overtaxed the system; I quickly shut it down. As I look up again, I am staring into the laser muzzles of an Imperial Clipper. I quickly boost towards and slighty downwards in order to start a circle-strafing maneuver.

However, something weird happens, and this already happened to me in the past a few times: The Clipper does not come closer. Is he strafing backwards at a such high speed as my boost speed?? Despaired I try to break of with full vertical trust; this makes my advancement towards him slower. No use. The Clipper has opened fire and my shields are down with two shots. A precious few more seconds before boost is available again. That damn Clipper is still in front of me! With the next boost I head straight towards him in order to have all available speed from my "speed pool" on this vector. I still seem not to approach it; the Clipper must have a full power reverse!? Moments later, my Eagle dissolves into hot glowing shards and I have lost 2190 CR to the ship insurance. And my hauling mission.


- this is a Python class ship, not the Clipper which destroyed me, but I guess it would be as deadly to my lowly equipped Eagle...

 




Musing on wtf just happened, I assume that by coming out of supercruise, my speed throttle is reset to low speed. In that case, it is possible that boost accelerates you only for a very brief time, as the flight assisst computer quickly tries to bring you back down on the set speed. If I would have realized this, I could have put the throttle on maximum speed and would have been out of the Clipper´s firing position. Or the Clipper indeed has some faboulous reverse speed of 350 m/s, or the game mechanics are buggy. In the end, I do not really know. Unfortunately, my video capturing does not work still, so I cannot verify my theory about the throttle setting. With a joystick&throttle setup, I guess this kind of mistake could not happen. As I have the throttle set on my mouse wheel and if the system resets my throttle setting from where I left it before the hyperjump, I realize this only when I check explicitly for the speed indicator.

Got to prison, do not pass over start and do not get 3241 CR. Things could go better, you know? Welcome to Elite: Dangerous. I would not want it any other way; a week of pause and I am all noob again, I guess.

Nice new feature: The mission still shows in the rightmenu under transactions and the text informs me that I have failed this mission. I have to manually ackknowledge this by deleting the mission.

Next try. A haul to Levi-Montalcini City in Yakabugai. The board seems to nicely only offer stuff  available if it is within my ship´s range and cargo capacity. I take a haul mission and a tempting  "fetch"-mission for 14.000 CR.

I launch and forget that I should sell this useless torpedo pylon; just eats my ship´s power grid...

The flight is eventless, this time. Short before the station, I get the sound as if interdicted but nothing happens. Maybe somebody actually tried but it is buggy? Anyways, I am there. Finally, I get rid of the overpowered and empty torpedo pylon and can replace it with a third pulse laser. There is also an A1 power distributor, but with 20195 CR too expensive right now; what a pity! Uhm, just to learn from mistakes; I hope the system will gobble this one? Checking back at the outfit screen, actually the answer is, no? Or the screen there is buggy. I says "power use retracted 7,26 MW, deployed 6,43MW, available 6,40MW". Huh? I do not get it and have to test what this could mean.

Unfortunately, my game session gets interrupted and when I am back, the new haul job I had already accepted is gone, too. Sigh.  Only a job to find 3 Indite for this station is still going. While I study the galaxy map, the game crashes into the start menu. A relog ends with an endless spinning sidewinder. Cudos to Psykokow. Then the start button is grey, playing a tutorial mission makes it available again. Being back in the game for 5 minutes and again "server error". I am a bit sore on this since my catastrophical beta2-experience.

Finally logged in, I choose my starting system LHS 3447 to look for the three units of Indite. I have to take two jumps, but it seems to be the closest destination to look for. It is a mixed agricultural/extraction systems, and three of the stations there export minerals. Although the system map does not list Indite, I have learned to not trust its data. Unfortunately, those stations are really really far out, 130.000 ls for the closest one. Sigh. But it gives me ample of time for notes and a study of the system map of this binary star system.Yaping Enterprise. Fairbarin Station. Then Worlidge Terminal. But Yaping Enterprise is an instant hit, with some low supply on Indite. Unfortunately, there are still three stolen computer components in my hold. Sigh. And I got scanned on my way in... checking my fines, I was fortunate to have avoided the scan; I was swooping into the docking area at high speed. So I launch again, but before I again make a voyage of 130.000 ls out here, I rather dump that cargo than jumping to a station with a black market.



 - nice scenery, but a bit difficult on options what to do







 

Dumping the stuff in supercruise, and when I turn back I also do not forget to test my weapon setup. As expected, I am again overtaxing the powergrid. The overdraw is minimal, though, easily compensated by setting the cargo hatch on second priority. Good that I tested it. Now it is just a question whether the module priorities still do reset after each exit from supercruise, as it did in beta.

And, back to Yakabugai, I guess. Some hard earned cash this was. After some pondering what to do, the server kicks me again out. Maybe Frontier included some kind of idle count down? Fortunately I am let log in without trouble this time. Since there is no really lucrative mission here, a trip to the bigger Serebrov Station is in order. No good missions there, either, besides, I want some action now. Before it is not clear whether I get to keep my data and cash, I would rather not engage in the time work of collecting trading information.

Of all the systems I have data about Kremainn is the closest system which has a planet with a metal rich ring. I want some bounty hunting, and extraction sites used to be the places to look for stuff. But then I go spontaneously to Eravate. A hauler yields 300 CR, then an Eagle 3000 CR. Much faster than hauling missions, so far. 562 CR for a Sidewinder, 2400 CR for a Cobra. The latter drops two units of battle weapons, which will increase my wealth rather nicely, too. The hauler before dopped tea, which is also not too cheap, and then my cargo hold is full. Ackerman Market has the black market here, so there I go. 6700 CR bounties, 8000 CR for the stuff. Interesting to note: Tea is in "supply" on the black market, for 1600 CR, but if I wanted to buy it there, I would have to bring something stolen here or I cannot access the black market at all.

My balance is now 30.000 CR. Checking outfit, and oooh I need to refuel since my tank is almost empty. No problem, costs only 178 CR. I want another run like this. Launch.

Long time before something "unclean" gets in front of my guns. But then it is a Viper, 5045 CR. After a while, I spot some laser fire and make hast towards it. A Cobra attacks an Anaconda, which is down to 73%. I smell an opportunity. However, as I circle the Anaconda, the Cobra seems to have let her go. No gunfire from the Anaconda while it is maneuvering away from the Cobra, so maybe this one has no turrets? Hmm... a risk. On the leftmenu, I select the Anaconda´s power plant as a sub target. If I can hit it, it should destroy the Anaconda much faster than whittling down the enormous tanked hull. Fire! My capacitors deplete and the Anaconda shows not much dents. And, worse yet, this one does very well have turrets. Multicannons from the front side catch me, and nimbly going towards the underbelly, I am welcomed by tungsten bullets, too. Damn, all wrong assumptions brought me into this. Moments later, another Eagle is space junk and I pay another 2400 CR to the insurance. 




- one of the many encounters while bounty hunting








It seems I lost my virginity very quickly in this gamma version of the game. I use the occasion to exchange my gimbal pulse laser into a multicannon. Launch!

One unidentified signal on my way has just three security vessels. At the nav point, I identify a wanted Cobra, which is worth 9000 CR. It also drops cargo, and as I look for it after the fray, they are three units of technical blueprints. No idea what they are for, but back at Ackerman Station, they are woth 1800 CR each; and that´s the half value you get only at black markets! As I check the bounty vouchers, to my pleasing eye the voucher from before my destruction is still there! So Frontier alleviated the draconic punishment for getting your ship destroyed. Cash balance: 40.125 CR. Minus 1450 CR, that is, for the ammo from the multicannon. Expensive, at this point in my career.

There is a fetch-contract for 33.000 CR, nine indite. I know where I get it from but I do not have the cargo capacity. I toy with switching to a hauler, but when I check outfits, there are no cargo racks to upgrade even the Hauler to this capacity. Damn. So, launch!

Some two bounty vouchers later, I have somehow caused a security vessel to be a red blip on my radar, but thankfully it does not attack. A bit later, a Sidewinder, no, two of them, attack me. I shoot back and, bingo, I am wanted. Hrmpf. I guess another bug then?

40.000 Credits, the board shows no more bounty missions, so I guess my reputation to do them is screwed since last week, when I let those four lucrative ones slide. Well, I wanted action, so I better look for it. But my impression right now is that it is paramount at first to just travel araound and get a clear picture of all options. I am still looking for some measly 4ton cargo racks!

My cash is enough to afford an interdictor, and with it I launch and hope to catch "wanted" targets already in supercruise. Travelling around in a nav beacon is a bit tedious. And, yes, a wanted Eagle is on counter course, so I adapt my heading. Firing it at long range does not work and I remember from last beta that you have to be pretty close for it to work. Before I can interdict tghe Eagle, however, I am interdicted myself and I let this happen. Strange enough, already in the interdiction phase, two blips on my radar are red. As I drop out, the red Viper attacks without hesitation. I return fire after I confirmed this target being wanted, too. It happens as it does; the instance I shoot it, I am wanted again. Hrrmmm. This Viper delivers also quite a fight. After I am a voucher of 3125 CR richer, I set course back to the station. No sense to bounty hunt around with a bounty on my head as well; I would just be attacked by "clean" targets and probably incur even more bounties on my head.



- boom, and a little bit richer










Another interdiction. A system security vessel. Run. From a Viper? It stays effortlessly at my six and scans me. Then it conforms in the text commlink, "criminal detected, starting attack run". The only way I get away from it is to slow down to "blue" speed, do a U-turn and boost like no tomorrow. Like this, the frameshift drive gets enough distance to quickly engage.

At the station, I check my rightmenu. A little red triangle pointing downwards on my status with the faction "Eravate Network" tells me that I lost repuation with them. So, in conclusion, attacking "wanted" targets nevertheless screws your reputation with the faction the target is affiliated with. In consequence, I guess I should never hunt bounties in Federal systems on federal factions, or I un-welcome myself very quickly from my host system.

Bulletin board again has no missions for a tiny Eagle. I need a better income or this game will be a bit too onesided for my taste. There are hardly any options without some reasonable shopping. Or, more precise, I am so totally clueless on this whole new reputation thing.

As I study the galaxy map, the jump lines form a closed off cluster; at some point the jump distance seems to long for my current ship´s range. And there are no high-tech systems in this cluster, but a lot of industry, refinery and some extraction systems. I think the bist thing would be to find a cluster of rich worlds and start from there. So, first task is: Get the hell out of here. Which means I have to scout around, find a better frameshift drive andm incidentally, earn the cash to afford it.

A bit more of a study, plus google search, and it seems that I am within a huge area of Federation space. If you take Sol as a center, to its south-eastern direction Empire space finally appears. Alliance space is to the north and seems to be the smallest volume. Mind boggling. Totally overwhelming on the scope of the game. But, what to do there? We will see what Frontier is going to offer once the game actually launches.

More has to wait until next time. This session took now almost four hours, anyways.





Thursday, 27 November 2014

Multiplayer?

This is just a hasty update and excursus.

I really wish they would implement shared missions and bounties asap. Right now I so totally crave for some teamplay, after about four monthes of mainly a solo experience in Elite: Dangerous.  Dragon Age: Inquisition with its multiplayer part fills a gap where Elite: Dangerous still has to deliver, namely a support for teamwork and fast paced challenging missions for teams. Or maybe, it has not to exactly to fill it, it is just two different genres to play with. It is a pity that my time is too scarce to serve both games. But that´s life. DAI is already released and Elite still in its gamma, but frankly, both behave like being still in beta stage, so no matter how you look at it, the choice is difficult. Once I start one of them, I am usually hooked for the rest of my game session. I do not remember a situation like this ever before, that two equally very interesting games are out roughly around the same time and making up my mind which one to play was never so difficult for me!

DAI multiplayer is basically a dungeon crawl into one of three dungeon templates which are assembled randomly and consist of five levels each. You are assaulted by one of three different factions; templars, mages or demons. The difficulty level is considerable, especially the last level, which features hordes of enemies and a particular annoying leader, the "endboss". I suspect the perceived difficulty might just be because the game mechanics are not fully explored yet by the playerbase, respectively the required epic weaponry is still not in place.
You have three starting classes and can unlock via random loot up to 12 classes. They are defined via two skill trees each, to be leveled up to a maximum of level 20, so a little bit (although indeed little bit!) variety is possible. You also have a loot mechanic similar to Mass Effect 3 multiplayer, whereby you only find very few items in the dungeon, mainly gold, with which you can then buy supply chests; they give you random of common, rare, epic quality (like a package of trading cards).

So far, I am having a blast. I have now six active characters, one at level 20 and the rest around level 10-14. A first epic item, a staff for my level 20 Keeper, also found its way into my inventory, and I have sufficient high-damage weapons for every class. I usually play one class for about three to four runs and then switch around for some change in play style.

What I like about DAI multiplayer is, that it did largely away with the old and overcome tank-healer mechanic. There are no healing spells. You can carry only two healing potions max per dungeon. There are some classes with "tank" skills, meaning they can take a beating, but all other classes have some form of damage avoidance, too. People tell me that you still need a tanky class in the third and highest difficulty, but I would like to challenge this opinion, once characters are geared up sufficiently and players now better how to play the game mechanics.

There are also some "bads". The slow connects until the run can finally start, some very annoying disconnects which make you loose all XP and loot from the run. There is no dodge or cover mechanic, so the game does not feel as frantic and fast paced as Mass Effect 3 multiplayer does. And, nerdy but true, the mostly ugly to very ugly character faces. E.g. to by classified as "very ugly": the Keeper. Besides, I don´t know why Biowares after decades is still not able to produce proper long haired characters. Well, at least they have now bows with strings, which was not the case in Dragon Age: Origins back in 2010 and made me doubt their overall programming skills). And, last but not least, there is no push to talk for the ingame voicechat, WTF, Bioware did you think if you thought at all!?!? Speaking of which, I am not sure if Elite has a push to talk button? Have to look this up!


Right now, I do not feel like engaging DAI´s apparently huge and Skyrim-eque single-player part. Since Bioware has a record of moreless high quality role playing games, I am sure it is going to be a lot of fun. However, Elite still takes precedence over this venture. This is also why I think that DAI currently just fills the multiplayer gap of Elite: Dangerous for me. BTW, a good space sim multiplayer is offered by SWTOR. It is arena-style. I played it for some time and found it a nice experience. It was just the lack of connection to the game world as a whole which ultimately made it boring for me.

In the meanwhile, I thought about having a blueish paint for my Eagle and a dual rail gun outfit, naming the ship "Blue Fire". Coincidentally, when I looked up the available paint jobs in Frontier´s online shop, a free set of paint jobs for the Cobra was handed out. Unfortunately, the shop acted very buggy so I was not able to browse and buy stuff. What I could see though is that the kind of blue paint job I imagine I want for my Eagle does not exist (yet). There need to be a paint jobs with outlines of Eagle wings included, this should be obvious for an Eagle class spacefighter!


Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Gamma starting

"Disconnect from server" is the first message I get when I finally can start the gamma 1.01 client and choose my only starter option "new commander". A second try lets me in, and I am somewhere in space, namely Threvithick Dock, system LHS 3447, a democratic governed agriculture economy. It is a huge system, the largest I have seen so far; two suns, twelve planets and at least as much moons and overal seven stations.

The system map has become quite informative. Dominating faction as well as all other large relevant factions are listed, with %tage of influence, government type, adherence to which major faction and my status towards them. "Future of LHS 3447" is with a share of 55% the dominating faction, alleged to the Federation. There are four other factions around. Mind boggling, if something like this is the case in every one of the myriad possible larger systems!

Three types of personal ranking are established on the rightmenu: Combat rank "harmless", trade rank "peniless", explorer rank "aimless". This is going to be so much exciting! However, this, 100 CR and a measly Sidewinder leaves me not much to do than to check to bulletin board for some possible income. There is a 133k CR kill mission. I am very sure the target ship "Wraak" will just obliterate me, but the potential jump in wealth is so tempting. And I like challenges, so I accept.

Three locations to look for the ship. Off I go. Wish me luck... First stop: Eravate, 4,17 ly away. Launching, I note that the planets must have again gotten a graphical upgrade. Very detailed clouds to be seen. Being back on a standard monitor with EDtracker seems so weird after my epiphany with the Oculus Rift on the premiere event. Jump!

Uh oh. Endless hyperjump. Almost, but finally, I am spit out. I guess it is now time for going through all unidentified signals I can get hold of! One star, six stations and over a dozen planets, again. Whew. Cruising around for a while, I wonder if it makes sense to waste time like this or rather take a more reliable source of income in smaller bits. Wham, interdiction. I let myself getting caught, maybe it is the cuprit I look for himself. No... a freaking Anaconda!! Do I give boost omygosh, no way I tackle that ship with a starter Sidewinder! Some stray shots get to me until I am back in supercruise. Hull is down 82%.Uff.

After a while without any incidents nor unidentified signals (US), I want to move onwards to LHS 15613. But before I can do so, I am interdicted, and I let it happen again. An Eagle approaches me, "clean" status, and I make sure to maneuver out of his point blank range. I am correct with my hunch as it opens fire. Some frantic maneuvering and my guns not firing, until I check the rightmenu and realize that I am in the wrong firegroup. This remedied, I finally return fire, and some 30 seconds later, that Eagle is toasted. First blood! And a handy bounty voucher of 2069 CR is mine! The voucher is on "Independent Eravate Free", so I check the system map to make sure I am going to land at a station which is actually owned by this faction. Ackerman Market is one of those, so I set course. Wait, wait, an US finally pops up. Enter. A "clean" Orca. Nice to see this new ship type! But onwards I need to go. No possibility to communicate or trade with it.

Ackerman Market has a black market. And suddenly I see that CMDR Finn Lazereyes from my friends list is online. I text chat and try also the overhauled voice comm. It works! And it sounds as awesome as it did in the demo on the premiere event. We agree that everything is super cool and that the friends list probably made us spawn at the same location. And I have this juicy kill contract, maybe we can tackle it together?

We quickly verify that we can drop into each others low energy wakes, which appear as soon as one of us drops from supercruise. (There is only a bug sometimes, which makes the wake target pass by while it still should be way out ahead.) Like this, we can follow each other into US or when one of us interdicts or is interdicted. Finn conveniently already has bought an intderdictor himself. He also states that he has the same kill mission, but has not encountered Wraak for a long time, his mission running out in about an hour.

Instead of going on an extended search, which would probably end with our destruction anyways, we drop into the nav beacon close to the sun and scan for some wanted ships. Unfortunately, the bounties are not shared between us, so whoever lands the killing blow gets the bounty. However, I am lucky when a "wanted" hauler drops some cargo before being destroyed. Finn gets the bounty voucher, I get to scoop 3 units of personal weapons.

After a while, we dock again at Ackerman Market and I can cash in about 2000 CR bounties and 6000 CR on the black market for the three personal weapons. Finn has a bug, his bounty vouchers have disappeared. He wants to restart the game but never appears again online. I also not that server response is very slow and I also get disconnected a few times while browsing the station menu.


You know, I start to wonder where my mercenary pack with the promised Eagle ownership is? Coincidentally, when I stare at the galaxy map, I notice a little ship icon at my starter system. Accessing the ship yard in my current station, the tab on "ship locations" indeed shows me my Eagle! Wohoo!!! I think I am going to fetch it there. But not before I take note of all high and demand  supply commodities here. I might want to do some lucrative trading on occasion.

I still do not know whether another wipe is landing before the final release, so I am not in grind mode now. However, you never know and I just want to act as I see fit and feel fun. Trading is fun if not overdone. Looking up the system map, I see that LHS 3447 imports amongst others hydrogen fuels, the only commodity which is also here in supply. So I load up 6 units. Better than flying with an empty cargo hold, I guess. Before, I also re-outfit my Sidewinder to have an additional 2ton cargo rack instead of the basic discovery scanner.

Arriving in LHS 3447, to my dismay I have to note that Dalton Gateway, the station with the commodities and also my Eage stored there, is 110.000 ls out! Definitely not a good route to take, at least until Frontier has implemented the in-system hyperjumps. This gives me time to study the system map again. You know what? There can be now several stations in a system which have a commodity market. Three other stations import animal meat, something which is in high supply in Ackerman Market. With a bit of luck, this already could pose for a very good trade opportunity!

But first, the Eagle. I want some action before I commit to trading, I need the cash to affort high priced commodities anyways.

Aaand, yep, that´s what I feared. The system map is totally inaccurate concerning the imports and exports. The hydrogen fuel I have loaded is exactly at the same price as in Eravate. Sigh. I hate this, Frontier should know about this bug since long time, and this here is supposed to be the gamma client!


I modify the Eagle´s outfit and exchange the D-scan for a cargo rack, so it has overal 4 tons capacity. I can still upgrade it to 6tons, but the required equipment is not listed here. Then I check the bulleting board and find another assiassination mission. Whopping 184k CR.

In Eravate, an US is scarce, and I am soon interdicted. A competent Cobra opens fire after a short while. Somehow, this Cobra is no match for my Eagle. It used to be more difficult if I remember correctly. A bounty voucher of 5.082 CR is now mine. Good cash, at this early stage! Aaand another interdiction, this time a "master" Eagle, and quickly, I earn a 2782 CR voucher. Keep it coming, I say!

But then I realize that the "wanted" bug is still there, too. I am suddenly "wanted", for 198 CR. I better remove it before anything bad happens to my bounty vouchers and me....What is also still there is the "reversed direction landing" bug, where I have to turn my ship in the opposite direction before the landing pad actually accepts me. Should I ticket it? I doubt they do not know about this, no?

With my now 16.000 CR, I decide to buy a weapon for the still empty third mount. But, no pulse laser is available. I never tried a torpedo, and it is probably the best second option, just in case my assassination contracts should turn out to be larger ships. Unfortunately, I discover then that the ammunition, one freaking torpedo, costs 15k CR! I really hope this thing packs some punch and one shots bigger ships, or all this money for that ammo is not really worth it.

Unfortunately also, my time for this game session is up. As usual when a new build is out and I need to re-orientate myself, I forget to make screenshots, so this blog entry will be a bland one forever.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Premiere Event and the Oculus Rift

Soooo, this was it. THE premiere event for Elite: Dangerous, the first and probably only event of this kind which I have ever attended to. It took my whole weekend, from Saturday 5 am to Sunday 11 pm and, all in all, it was a nice little holiday trip.

The pre-meeting on Saturday afternoon, which we had arranged via the ED forum, especially furthered by CMRD Awesome, was really nice. The Red Lion Pub is a really nice pub, and reminded me as a non-Brit so much of Tolkien´s descriptions of The Hobbit´s cave. Not one of those dark holes in the earth. A Hobbit cave is a warm and welcoming place. The food was delicious, they had free LAN (buggy, though, because the login screen would not pop up), only the bedroom was rather small and the walls a bit too thin (but not so thin that I would have heard the neighbours toilets flushing or something...). During my comfortable flaundering in the Pub during the whole morning, I encountered and had an interesting converstation with a German colleague. It turned out that he is one of the higher level backers and also maintains a German online magazine. A bit later the evening, I also managed to identify and drop of a thanks to CMDR Awesome, who had coordinated a bit our pre-assembly here, and CMDR Slopey whose best price calculator had added quite some fun for me to the rudimentary commodity trading in the Elite beta2 phase. Some very nice chats with some other guys and I also got offered a ride to the event location.

I regretted a bit that I did not have more opportunity to talk to everybody, but with about 100 people present at the pre-meeting and easily over 500 at the event, I quickly got overloaded. And I am also really bad at memorizing names. Tags with our forum- or ingame-aliases would have really been nice! Some people had costumes, with Kate Russel (one of the authors having published a book with a sci-fi novel in the Elite universe) in the lead in a sleek "Top Gun"-style flight suit, some shoulder leather girdle, and an exotic sci-fi pistol as a sideline. Some guys were dressed in kilts, as they had announced in the forums before. It was really the best experience to meet all those like-minded people, to bask in all this collected enthusiasm about this wonderful game, and to put some faces to people whom I read of in the ED forums.

As expected, the time between the event´s door opening and its start from 18:00 to 18:30 was far too tight to accomodate the long line which was quickly formed at the entrance. Some VIP´s got shuttled in first and it the wait was rather cold for some people, including me with my still lingering cold. Getting through the reception proved to be no problem, even without the ticket which hadn´t arrived in time, and I got my silver wristband with the event´s logo imprinted. We then strolled into the main museum hall. I had had a short peek into a side entrance, where some blue light filtered out and a lot of monitors were lighted up, but I was hushed away; this part would open up only a bit later.


The museum hall provided for a very nice scenery. You could almost imagine that some day, a Sidewinder would join the venerable bunch of aircraft in here. Although the partially massive size of the planes here made me wonder whether the size of Elite´s spacecrafts was a bit too small in order to believably be able to best the vast empty space out there. A Sidewinder would probably look more like a bumper car, in direct comparision to the mighty winged steel birds here.

We were provided with some finger food in this hall, but the real event hall was still closed off to us. There was champaign or orange juice, some mini burgers and some wrapped food. Well ok, in my job I already have attended a lot of receptions and evening events with that kind of fingerfood, so I am afraid this was nothing special for me. My personal taste leans towards some more "real" food, be it bread or even a warm buffet. Anyways, I wasn´t here for dinner and there was plenty of food to become satiated.

When I was studying a particular spectacular aircraft, a Concorde, suddenly proud fanfares announced the real start of the event, as some huge hangar doors slowly opened, blue light radiating out of the increasing opening. And I was at the other end of the hall, damn. Some jogging and pushing past more leasurly strolling guests, I got my first glimpse on the Cobra which was positioned between a F-16 and some other birds. It was a rather big model, but of course (the crazy nerd in me might say, sadly!) not original size. It was accompanied with a board as the other plains in here, describing times of service and some sci-fi history mumbo-jumbo, as if it was a true part of the exhibition. What a great start!

Behind the model Cobra, the hall broadened and amongst three more plains, Frontier had stuffed in the basic equipment for the event. A stage in the center of the back wall, two large round tables with about a dozen computer rigs each to the right, some seats and sofas to the left, lefthand behind the seatings was a bar and a souvenir shop. On the right side upwards was a ballustrade where the VIP or gold-wristband guests had their special refuge.

The event started with some welcoming by David Braben, and a schedule on the projection screen behind outlined that there would be a live twitch TV event, an on stage reveal of some kind, a Q&A session and a reading from books set in the Elite universe, by the respective book´s authors. Kate Russel popped in and added a spontane thank you speech for David, handing over some nice presents on behalf of the community. To be honest, and it might be because in my job I have become so tired of speeches and the usual formal stuff on events like this, I was rather disinterested. It is always the same, be it business, birthday or funeral speeches; some shoulder padding, some tries to find entertaining words, yada yada. However, David still has that charming allude of a nerdy being, which always and again here served well to areate any potential evolving stiffness.

In the meanwhile, I was drawn towards the rigs over there and I quickly positioned myself on one of the places, well deserted during David´s and Kate´s speeches. I had seen that this particular rig was running a combat in an asteroid belt in the new Python class spaceship! I love the Pyhton´s design! Sorry, to both speakers, but the nerd broke through (I still listened in half ear, I swear)! However, the setup was unfamiliar and I quickly resigned to make anything out of the myriad buttons on the Saitek setup (I am playing at home with a special assigned keyboard&mouse layout).

Also I wondered whether a new computer monitor at home was in order. The image here was so crisp and colourful in comparision. Only a bit later I learned that the rigs at this table actually offered the game in a 4k-resolution! So, a little bit of the future has already arrived here. After giving up on the labyrinthian Saitek controls, I let go and my eyes drifted to the other table, maybe I would spot a simple mouse&keyboard setup? No, sadly. But then, my eyes widened; a full dozen rigs over there and all of them - guess what - with an Oculus Rift Dk2! Wohoooo! Coming here had payed off exactly this moment!

Quickly I set down on the equally deserted table and put one on. That is, I tried to. My goddamn glasses look similar as to what the fantasy picture on the right of my blog show. Too large; I could not put the Rift on without risking to damage either glasses or my visage. I tried it without glasses, but I am a mole and everything just looked blurry then. You cannot imagine the frustration I felt for a moment there. So, next stop: The bar, get some beer, I needed that now.

The speeches were over by then and I started respectively continued to look around and engage into conversations, learning who from the names I know actually had appreared today. All and thoroughly nice people and nice conversations, which made me relax and enjoy the evening even more, after all the waiting and tension of expectation.

After some talks and beer (free bar, jay!), I couldn´t accept easy defeat and went back to the Oculus Rift table. After some skulking, a free rig emerged. I took the occasion, grabbed that damn Rift and rammed it onto my glasses, go to hell with them! What can I say, it worked out this time. The trick was, for anyone similarly suffering from glasses; put the Rift on your face before you put on the straps, do it invers to as if putting on a cap, i.e.  front to back, then it should work. My nose still has deep marks left and right from the glasses´ increased pressure, but I finally was in the matrix.

Matrix is the right word to describe it. The view is indeed like looking on a matrix/grid of bright spots, like one of those huge advertising tables consisting of thousands of lights. Your brain adapts quickly, and as you start turning your head around, the impression changes to being under a sheet of fly screen with a projector casting the game graphics on it from outside. Some more moments passed, and when I turned my head downwards and behind, I was then totally beamed away to another world consisting of wispy glittering light. I was alone in a Sidewinder´s cockpit, and even though I could still here the muffled noises of 500 fans in that big hall, the event hall´s ceiling had been replaced with the twinkle from cold distant stars shining quietly down into my cockpit, and a hughe bronze-orange planet loomed over me, having replaced the remainder large part of the event hall´s ceiling.

I do not quite understand people complaining about a low resolution. It is true that the Rift does not recreate the experience like on a monitor, it is entirely set aside for me by that incredible feeling of being "in there", which is so totally not connected to the mere resolution.

What surprised me was that the scale of the cockpit and the ship seemed so small; smaller than I had the impression from when playing on a normal monitor. But when I looked down "my" body in that smallish pilot seat, "my" shoulders seemed to have about the same non-bulkyness as my shoulders which I left behind. Turning my head around and looking behind was the moment which made me really being beamed there, that feeling of "presence" fully kicking in. The cockpit was tight as it should be, and it made the following experience immediate, like being observed from out a motor bike´s side car.

I accelerated and started some close-by skimming maneuvers around the asteroids. The feeling of speed was so real. I was whooping and jubilating as if sitting in a rollercoaster as the asteroids´ surfaces zipped close by. Even raming into the surface after a too-tight turn and that uncontrolled fast spinning around was like being in one of those speed carussels on a fairy market and it accordingly made me cackle with exitement.

From "outside" I must have looked like a imbecile; mouth open most of the time, mumbling wows and whews, screeching and whooping, twisting and turning my head around without any apparent reason. Remind me to never play in presence of friends or family like this. My future sim pit will need to be actually a "holodeck" room, with a lock!

After a way to short time, I reminded myself of the line forming behind each rig and hesitantly I let go. I also felt a bit nauseous, after one too many of those loops, like emerging from a real hard core rollercoaster. It was not from a faulty Oculus experience, it was more like from having done real loops.


After resting on one of those chairs in front of the stage, that twitch moderator jumped on the stage and made us practice cheering for the life event. I am sorry, we are not in the USA where people seem to like nothing more than standing in a hall, wave USA flags and cheer and scream for their favourite acting politician in the front no matter what nonsense this guy spews forth. I guess some colleagues around felt similar, because the exercise felt a little bit strained.

Which prompted me to leave that area. You can imagine how I beleagured the table with the Oculus grids for the rest of the night, logging back into the matrix at every possible occasion. In between, I was turned into an Oculus preacher, talking and nudging other participants towards trying out the experience themselves. And such passed by the twitch life event with me hardly noticing. From the scant bits of audio I gained, I had a rather "meh" expression. Apparently, it was just another round of advertising the game to, yeah, to whom? To people not having come here, to new potential buyers? I felt a bit miffed; I sacrificed a whole weekend of playing the gamma, quite a bunch of cash and free time to come here, for being used as statist-cattle for some advertising flick? Nono, not for me, sorry.

So I eagerly waited for the third event, the reveal. After some ale and another bunch of nice talks (there also were more Germans here than I had expected from the scarce feedback in the German part of the ED forum), David jumped on the stage and Kerrash (a so called "Ambassador", i.e. player who can participate with the companies PR) occupied an on-stage grid. The big screen lighted up and some combat zone started. When suddenly that black cloud of lightning formed, I honestly thought for some moments that a Thargoid vessel would appear. However, it was "only" a large cruiser, presumably from the Empire. Kerrash was voice communicating with some other players, coordinating action in order to shoot down the cruiser´s gun towers and grids and a brief and intense space battle ensued. The voices were distorted and really sounded cool, like you would imagine in a proper sci fi fighter movie. I am looking forward to try out this cool form of in-game mumble myself.

So the reveal was the appearance combat missions vs cruisers and the group voice chat. The second part came a bit after the action closed (way to short and looked a bit staged but not too coherent, unfortunately). David again grabbed the micro and announced an app. Wohooo! Wohoo? Well, for me more of a "meh". Not my cup of tea, unfortunately. Firstly, I do have a tablet, but it is Windows RT, a strict working tool. Virtually no game apps are supported there. Secondly, if they already do out-of-game tools, I would have preferred something browser based where I can actually influence something in game. As it looks like, this app will only display information, nothing more. Now, an app with the galaxy map, so you can plan and plot exploration or trading courses while on workpl... ahem... travelling, that would be something!

Anyways, some people were happy, some less, me a bit more amongst the ones to be labeled as "unimpressed", as all reveals seemed to be nothing really new and surprising for a long term backer or beta player. Gamma is out and my grid at home is in urgent need of an according client update and of heavy overuse of the new installment... A heavy competition for the event, considering my nerdy nature and the unfortunate timing of the event! ;)
Therefore I had more things expected, like, a a preview and play of a feature which is still far out in the making, or something similar exciting for somebody who is already intimate with most aspects of the game.

So, back to the bar, and back to the Oculus Rift. I should have ordered one already. Being blind to the controls while wearing the mask, I strangely found it quicker to get acquainted with the complicated layout of the Saitek joystick buttons. With only my touch senses, it somehow became easier to try out and find the right combinations. Just the landing gear button eluded me over two more sessions, preventing some more fancy maneuvers around the "docking" tutorial scenario. After three more sessions, also those looping-induced nausea vanished. I guess, with the real pressure from accelleration missing, my brain was quick to adapt and find a stable orientation to coordinate with my inner ear.

It is hard to be cool as a nerd. In between, in the breaks from the Oculus, people started to point out the marks which the Oculus mask left on my face, next morning´s mirror also pointed out how my glasses were already warped, hung more than sat, on my nose, and the deep pressure points on both sides of my nose still hurt today. But you know what, it was so totally worth it!

After some beer in between, my mood became finally party-ish again and I started to miss a proper dance floor. But the program was tight, anyways, and the Q&A session started. Man that was probably the most satisfying part of the event, after the Oculus Rift, of course. David, Mike and (didn´t get his name) sat there and answered virtually every question threwn at them. Exhaustingly. Fantastic to behold their engagement and patience, even when confronted with an already drunk guy´s philosophizing whether which "welcome" lettering on a Coriolis Station was actually considered to be up...

Finally, even myself got to fire off a question. It was about the stealth mechanic, if what we have is what we get, or if they have more plans and ideas about it. I in particular had in mind this one video from Isinona, which gives the (currently wrong) impression that stealth is an important part of the game.

Unfortunately, this was at a point where the microphones had overheated and did not really work anymore. The answers thus drowned and were lost in the museum hall´s huge and buzzing atmosphere. David again said something too-PR´ish, if not "soon (TM)", but somerthing like, he was never really content and always would like to add more to the game, he then mumbled something about specific stealth equimpent coming at a later stage. Mike said something but sadly, I did not get it at all.

While I was very satisfied with the extend of the Q&A, I wonder why it must be that they need to dodge some questions like if they were politicians or football pros. It was most notable when asked what they would do better now from experience if they would be at the start of the kickstarter. David started about probably more trying to describe and stick to the vision and not so much to details, but he got interrupted and thus reigned in by Mike who confidently stated that they would do it again as they did, feeling that it was a tremendous success so far. Well, he is right, but this was not asked.
I guess it is about business. They cannot admit or speak open in some things because it would piss off an investor, launch a nay-sayer´s avalanche or simply risk misinterpretation. For me it is kind of sad; I felt almost like in a small family of like-minded people, and that would have warranted a truly open talk.
The stuff got better once the questions went into nerdy details and stuff about the future planetary landing, and in my impression the third Frontier guy there acted most open, knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the stuff he would answer. And, yes, city lights on the night side of settled planets would be a really cool thing to have!

After that, back to another beer and another Oculus Rift session. By now I had aquainted myself enough to the controls that I started the tutorial fight with the Crimson Triumph, the famous first stumbling stone for many newbs, where you really have to show some improved piloting. It was a fantastic experience again with the Oculus. It is so different when you can actually follow the enemy ship though the canopy view until it is far behind you and adapt your heading for the shortest interception/firing position. So much better than triangulating mentally the direction of the target hologram in the cockpit and the red blip on the radar. After about felt 50 circling loops later, the Crimson Triumph exploded and I again felt that slight rollercoaster-nausea. Not a problem, I was deeply satisfied and still wanted more. Too much beer might have also played a role.

Anyways, the evening had progressed so far at this point that it was actually early morning, 12.15 am. After having listened to some of the book readings, I suddenly felt deadly tired, as German time actually was 1:15 am and I had been on my toes since German time 5 am. My friends who gave me the ride felt similar, so we decided to leave with all the fabulous impressions we got. At the pre-meeting we had discussed doing an after-meeting at the Holiday Inn´s bar, but due to over tiredness, this point was moot by now.

I regretted not having talked to more people, still wanted to thank Mobius for his outstanding and lasting commitment on forging signatures for the community, still wanted to pat Mike on the shoulder and tell him to relax and sometime laugh&joke a bit on the forum, too, still get to know Sandro Sammarco and congratulate him on the nice design compromise he found for the "flight assist off" mechanic. I still wanted to shake Davids hand, but that poor guy was still doing autographs from after the Q&A until now and I felt he deserved some rest at some point without another overexited and probably too drunk fan aspirating in his ear. I wouldn´t wanted to have an autograph, anyways, however, a drop by and a nice hello here in my blog probably would have been an appropriate alternative, no? Well, it is not a very public blog I do here anyways and I better might want to keep it that way. From my experience, I have the distinct impression that becoming too public or famous can warp your "trueness" and "honesty", as you, probably also subconsciously, start to tailor to the expectations of the reader/audience and not to you own true needs/wishes which made me start this blog, after all. I call it "the politician´s curse", but I can see how it is deeply affecting private economy, too. Not sure if easy to explain this way.

Well, I think I wrote way too much, wasn´t even sure if I had the patience to do a report about me on the premiere event, but here it is. Despite all of my rambling, and the many points where I felt they could/should improve in the future, I had quite a blast in attending, thouroughly enjoyed it and the enthusiastic and fantasticly friendly community.

On the next morning, there were quite a bunch of them doing breakfast in the Red Lion and we got to talk a bit. I regretted that we had not an even more open round, as some people preferred to sit for themselves. Everyone´s own taste, I guess. But, thanks a lot, dear Psykokow, for the Coke and the chocolates! And all the other nice people. Despite all travels and the huge time commitment, I feel very relaxed and enthusiastic. I feel so refreshed that I think this short weekend served to replace many a weeklong holiday for me!

For anyone who might have missed me: I was the guy with a light brown leatherjacked, later with a lavender jumper and a scarf (and probably some marks and slightly warped glasses from repeatedly forcing on the Oculus Rift mask).

A heart felt thank you, all people involved, the heavy working staff at Frontier the community, it was simply wonderful and I already miss you all!

And now I am finally looking forward to download and start the gamma client! Whohooooo!


Friday, 21 November 2014

Last signal from before beta3.9

As I listen to these very old, very 80s melodies, I feel compelled to log in and do some swooping as I saw it in my first ever science fiction movie.
The pictures that fits to the songs are akin to that one part of the series where they travel back in time and witness the creation of our solar system. Something like this:


... and, some action with the swooping. So back to the conflict zones around Eranin I go! Maybe I can even find a CMDR as a partner to practice some wingman maneuvers?

On my way there, I stumble upon another rare sight. An absolutely huge gas giant around the secondary star in Cephei Sector KH-V B2-4. I scan it and it says: Gas giant with water based life! A rare discovery indeed I would say!



 - a garantuan gas planet with water-based life in form of amoeba, says the planet´s description after a detailed surface scan




 


Later, when I finally arrive at Chango Dock, I-Bootis, I will find that this data is not so much valuable, after all. Also, the value of the data has not changed despite having it brought halfway across the current galaxy. Ah, well. Everything is going to be deleted and different again on Thursday, a fact that I almost regret, now that I have made myself a little bit acquainted with the environment.

My first plan is to buy a second ship, rigged for combat. The Viper is my natural choice. I have come falling out of love with the Eagle; it now looks more like a goose than an eagle to me. However, my attempts to find proper - at least class D - outfits are unsuccessful. I jump to all the industry and high tech worlds around the cluster where I traded and took notes from. After about an hour of jumping around and searching, I giveup and decide to go for combat in my Asp. After all, it has six weapon mounts and should pack quite a punch!

Finally arriving at I-Bootis, there is a combat mission which requires me to destroy 3 targets in Eranin. Accepted! Dropping into the high conflict zone at Eranin 2, I chose side with the Federation (I am in the meanwhile at "friendly" status with them) and engage a Cobra. A second Cobra joins the dance, and I find myself quickly whittled down to 54% hull; oh my! Have I become that rusty or is the Asp indeed not only slower but does not turn nearly as well as a Cobra?

After that, I seem to get a grip and manage to engage only single opponents. Thus the third to sixth opponent are not problematic anymore. A bounty voucher of 1000 CR each complements the package.

Docking at Chango Dock, I-Bootis, I cash in the mission, but there is no follow-up combat mission. On top, the bounty vouchers are only cashable in Eranin, why is that? So off to Azeban City, Eranin, I fly. The bulletin board there offers two very lucrative missions; both require me to destroy a criminal named "War Essence", totaling 360.000 CR. Accepted! I know this opponent from earlier sessions, he flies an Anaconda and I once tried to smoke it with an Eagle. Unsuccessfully, of course. But now, I am in an Asp and should be able to do better!



- I try to dive under the star´s plasma arc, but I get dropped out of supercruise before I can so so








Supercruising out, I let myself get distracted by the many CMDR ships zipping around. Deploy inderdictor, fire! CMDR Anthon in his Cobra has "wanted" status and thus is my first victim. While I very well manage to win the interdiction struggle, my impresion is he does not seem to even try to escape there. Moments later, I know why; he just hits boost and jumps away before I have even his shields down. I interdict him a second time, with the very same result. Then he is gone from my supercruise radar, probably transferred into a different island/instance of the game.

CMDR Initar in a Sidewinder is not so lucky and I manage to shoot him low into hull, but then I let him go. It is not really a fair fight and I just wanted some PvP practice, which I got. I chat this to him before he vanishes into supercruise, nor sure if he saw it.

After two unidentified signals, my intended victim War Essence makes his appearance. It is not in an Anaconda anymore, but in a Federal Dropship! And, man, that thing circles like the Red Baron himself! He easily outcircles me before we even open fire, then he opens fire first and about a minute of  circling, my ship unceremoniously goes boom. Consider this my personal firework at the end of beta3.05!

I had one or two Dropships in gunsight before, but none had circled so tightly as this one. Or I was just having a bad moment? Lots of trading grind does not make you automatically a good pilot, after all...



- my last view of War Essence before the ca-boom










The insurance wants a whopping 711.000 CR and, unfortunately I have only 670.000 CR to offer. So I am very happy to note that the game implemented a credit line of up to 200.000 CR which finances the difference 45k as a loan! From now on, 10% of my income will go to pay off that loan. A get a specific Han Solo feeling and hope he Hutt Cartel is not involved here (you never know!).

Making this loss quickly up via a bit of trading has suddenly also become impossible: No cash to afford the goods first hand! Now I really feel like Han Solo. I am back launching with haul missions in my log @10k CR. Distracted and musing about how quickly your fortune can turn if you do not play carefully, I somehow hit boost in the station, and while I swear that I was aligned with the exit, still my upward drift from the landing pad was not finished. This accellerates me fast towards the station wall. Nonononono....

But lucky I am this time, as I started from a landing pad in the far end of the station, which allowed my ship to sufficiently slow down. So my hull "just" goes down to 64% hull. Weirdly enough, from then on my ship computer complains my canopy is at critical status. This message now accompanies the rest of my travels, every time when I drop from supercruise, even after I repaired everything which the station menu let me repair.

A trip to Aulin, then a bundle transport missions Keries totalling 15k CR. Man, do I feel poor in a ship which I cannot afford to loose anymore. It feels.... like being a newb back in EVE Online.... ;)

In Kerries, there are only "steal goods" missions. But I was looking for combat!?! Anyways, the evening is short and I have to log out. And thus ends beta 3.05 for me.

It was an intensive time with this beta version, much less annoying than beta2, with an intensive grind, and the reward to fly an Asp, plus some very nice exploration experience. Some not so succesful combat shows that this game has not lost any challenge even after now three monthes of playing. I am content.

Since beta3.9 will last only for two days, I do not plan to use my time on it and rather take a peek at the new Dragon Age: Inquisition. I am particularily interested in the multiplayer part and how it compares to the fantastic experience of Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer.

Addendum, after doing so for one night-and-a-half:
Dragon Age multiplayer turns out to be still a bit unstable, with much more skill variety, but somehow not the same "Wow"-effect I had with Mass Effect. Controls are slightly different, combat animations are more delayed and thus difficult to time when being targeted yourself and in general the classes do not seem to offer much new. To be overly negative: I can have roughly the same experience with the group finder in Neverwinter.



- .. aaaand a first little peek into beta 3.9, shows an entire clean slate; back to the beginnings, a final time!








Tomorrow is the premiere event, and although I am still feeling a little sick, I totally intend to participate at this unique opportunity!

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Baubles, shiny baubles

Going the all-shooter way seems such a waste, there is so much out there to discover. At least once, I want to traverse the "galactic pill", so I plot course on the lower part of it. Onwards, sideways!

COL 285 Sector MZ-D B 13-2. A long name for a system with only one star. But this one is strawberry milkshake coloured.


COL 285 sector WF-N C7-30. Another strawberry star, no, two of them. This colour seems to stand for stars which are still very young, "Tauri-class" stars. Both have asteroid rings only, one is metal-rich. A pity I do not have the mining equipment with me anymore.




 - suddenly yearning for strawberry icecream









COL 285 Sector WF-N C7-26: Three yellow stars, so I can finally fill up by dangerously empty fuel tank. My D-scan reveils 20 objects. Some planets have metal rich rings. Lots of moons, a chore to scan each of them, as you have to fly very close to do so.

COL 285 sector JS-T D3-91: A larger white-yellow star. 12 objects are reveiled via D-scan. System map shows the planets as with clouds. Maybe earthlike and worth more money? I need to scan them to find out. BINGO! D3-91 3 is an earth like world! I am curious how much value is going to be behind this discovery! According to all I have read, this system should be a jackpot, because all other planets so far also read as "mineral rich". Earth-like, metal rich, what more do you want from a system?


Although no game mechanic exists to support this behaviour, like starship Enterprise I go into close orbit and imagine I could beam down and set foot upon this far away world. Sigh.

Bingo again: Number 6 is earth like. Wohooo! it was very small, so I had to approach very close and almost skipped it due to this. A small earth like planet. As I get into orbit, the surface glitches a bit, but then I think I can see a lush and green surface, I imagine forests and lakes. Amazing and very, very beatiful. I stop here and fetch a coffee, having to celebrate this lucky find a bit. This system should really be worth a fortune, so far out, almost at the end of the galactic pill.



- definitely Earth-like











I would make my home here, if the game supported things like your own outposts and planetside installations. This is what fascinated me about EVE online. I really hope that one day, Frontier can bring this kind of furniture into the game!

It is almost a pity that this system will be also reshuffled in the next beta client, probably having then a total different setup. But I should check, than back anyways; you never know.

The occasional random Sidewinder ship appears on my supercruise-radar and I am tempted to inderdict and shoot them down ... this system is MINE, my preciousss...

The last one, number 9, has a ring and I even spot a Sidewinder headed there. A secret pirate station? Of course not, the game is not that refined yet. But for sure an extraction side. Maybe a bit of bounty hunting? Well, misestimated. It is an ice ring, and that sidewinder just seemed to have behaved erratic. I spot its hypejump wake very close to the planet. Either I got dropped into normspace or jumped away from here. I do not think that there is any secret behind it, just some irrational NPC scripting. What a pity...





- NPC ships sometimes choose weird places for their travels






 
I am almost at the end of the traversable area, the "galactic pill". COL 285 sector RZ-0 C6-20: A intensive orange star greets me. God, I could make screenshots of every star, they are so gorgeous, each of them! And, my D-scan unveils 41 freaking objects! Mainly some really huge gas giants with a lot of moons. There are chances that moons can be earth like, I think, but the large number of required scans puts me off. I already have had my big stroke of luck, so I leave the system as is.



- this one is not Earth-like but nevertheless looks very nice; I am in a huge game of baubles!







The galaxy map shows a very deep red star close by. COL 285 sectorRZ-0 C6-8. Engage! Nope, not deep read, just two strawberry stars. Just ahead, one of the farthest out systems, shining violet in the galaxy map. However, as I arrive in COL 285 sectorJS-T D3-35, it is just four stars around the big white main star, and one planet. Not much to be gained here, but I am out here, so far away.
 


 - more baubles











One more system, I am hooked. COL 285 sector JS-T D3-92. D-scan, then a look into the system map: One planet has an earth like appearance, so probably worth investigating. But this time, I am not as lucky. Just another metal rich world.


Mission accomplished. Now it just remains to go back into civilised areas and sell the data. I was sure I read somewhere that Frontier did not yet implement the feature where you can sell the data multiple times, to different factions. Let´s see. I check the galaxy map for systems with a colour code for a faction. The first, an independent system, is 80 ly away.

Careful now, need to keep an eye on my fuel tank, to not get stuck in a system with only non- scoopable white, strawberry or whatever star! Plotting the course back seems to be more difficult now. Some far gaps are there which I somehow had not noticed on my way in. But there is no way that I would take the same route back!

I am finally close to Igororay, a small independent extraction system. I wonder now, is my data worth less in a poor system and should I rather look for a rich system first? Better be cautious. Aurandvill is two jumps away, Federal, and I spot a trade stream going from it. No system data, though.

HIP 113517 is on the way. Wow, what a nice big white-yellow star! 9 Objects. Some of them look bluesih i.e. earthlike. I have to check them. Nope, high metal planets only. Oh well.



- it seems every star with a tint of yellow or orange in it is suitable for fuel scooping






 

Aurandvill reveals one outpost after my D-scan, Creighton Station, about 3.000 ls out there. At last, after long travels, back in civilisation! I affect some repairs and call Universal Cartographics. And, yes, some profits at last.

My "jackpot" system yields 323.593 CR. A bunch of other systems at least 17.000 CR. This is still not the amount a good trade route can bring, but at least some recognition of my effort. But I do not cash the stuff in. This beta has near endet. Better see if and how that price still degrades. I wonder how much the data was worth initially, at the start of this beta?

For this game session has ended, and it was a nice little travel. Without that jackpot find, though, I admit it would have been not so thourougly satisfying. A little bit of a reward per game mechanics seems to be necessary for me.


Monday, 17 November 2014

Soldier of un-fortune

So, five days have passed since my last game session. One or two tries, but the server was unfriendly and quickly kicked me out and leaving me a red button to contemplate over. Naw, no patience these days.

Also, as already mentioned, my motivation for the game took a little hit these days, mainly because of two reasons. Firstly, next beta, which, if I understand correctly, is also the gamma, or "preview release edition", is going to impact in about 120 hours, including a wipe, so not really something to achieve until then. Moreso, I feel a slight disappointment about the fast release on 16 December, as it seems that no more features are going to be added until release. While the game already transports a fantastic experience, to travel amongst the stars, to steer your own vessel, your own space truck (tm), there is still so much stuff missing, if you believe the design discussion documents and all that grandeur-ish scope which was alluded to (and I do not mean the stuff which was foreseen from the very beginning for later expansions). Yes, Mr. Braben, Elite: Dangerous still seems to be a pretty empty house. It is painted very nicely, but where is the furniture and the curtains?

Another newsletter and some nerdrage in the ED forums about a cancelled feature aka "offline mode" also somewhat spoils my excitement for next weekend´s premiere event. I would rather prefer a completely happy crowd, as it was mostly the case throughout all beta iterations so far. I can see the point from both sides. Probably the communication could have been better handled than hiding this kind of relevations in a letter from D. Braben to the fans, which seemed to be a weird mix of self shoulder padding and further ambiguity (not even clear if the now promised 30 ships are on release or later at an unspecified point in time, which was probably bound to happen anyways if the game is going to be successful on the market).

No matter, the premiere event next weekend will still be my first and only one of that kind and I try hard to not have too high expectations. It would be a pity to be disappointed with all that time, hazzle and money invested to actually get there. Frontier promises a lot of very cool things, though, so keeping my fingers crossed! I really hope for to finally experience Elite: Dangerous with an Oculus Rift setup; it would be an obvious thing to have some rigs ready for the guests.

Oh, and thirdly, rather unrelated, some more exciting games (see, that was ambigous, too!) are going to make an appearance. Assassins Creed: Unity and Dragon Age: Inquisition, to name the most prominent ones for me (the former is already out, but I do not have the time to play it and rather wait for a video with the complete cutscenes - better than many a cinema).

[Addendum:
Just to quote my statement which I did on Drew Wagners blog, lest I probably wont find it again.

"In my impression, Frontier seems to be a bit torn between the pressure of the close release and having been lauded up into the clouds due to the fabulous impression of the alpha and beta phases so far.
This makes their newsletter phrasing a bit difficult to process for me as an average reader. On one hand, they want to advertise and point out all the greatnesses of their game (which imo is not really necessary, the game really speaks for itself!), on the other hand they have to manage expectations, which indeed soar high, maybe too high (which, due to the former, they are not doing such a great job with).
In this volatile situation, cutting a feature which obviously has been very important for some players (if you take the refund-poll in the ED forums as an indicator, probably about 10%) impacts like a bomb.
Since I am not affected by the no-offline-issue, I prefer to stand politely at the side lines. I am rather worried about a host of other things which concern other “promised” features (look at the design archives in the forum!) and the game´s longeviety in general (refer e.g. to the endless “endgame” discussion). I am trying to not see this incident here as a foreboding of things to not-come."]


Nevermind. Log in.



 - So, where am I, what am I doing here?










As usual after a longer absence, I need so time to re-aquaint myself with location, ship status, activity mapping. For example, without looking up my previous blog notes, I have no idea why I have come to and am starting in BD +75 58. No matter.

A neighbouring system catches my attention, purely because of the cool sounding name "Hsyen Baji" and it being a high population extraction system. Never saw a high pop extraction system so far. Close to it, there is also another cool named system "Ts´Ao Tikalam" with high population and high tech. And there is Kalkyrielobring; you know what, tonight´s motto is to visit cool/weirdly named systems!



 - Kalkyrielobring. Got that?











And, yep. Kalkyrielobring doesn not only sound cool, it also consists of a cool brown dwarf, literally, which does not even flare but looks more like a garantuan gas planet. The whole system seems reddish, even the ring of the only big gas giant a bit farther out. Since I do not have scanners anymore on board there might be more out there. Yep, there is for example a "wanted" Type 6 spaceship about 3.500 ls out in seeming nothingness. Let´s see if I can interdict it!

I arrive still in time, the reason being that the NPC caught itself in the gavitational proximity of the gas giant, which I do not have data for for a lack of any scanning equipment. And again, my interdiction equipment does not work. "Out of range", even though I am within a mere millions of meters. Weird. I am too impatient to wait until my prey has cleared the gravitational well in order for my interdictor to hopefully work again. So I drop into an unidentified signal.



 - As it turns out, interdicting a victim which is close to a planet is a chore; maybe a valuable lesson?





 


A Type 9 freighter waits for me, and it wants to sell or buy red crystals. However, there is no communication or trade option to do trade with it. Instead, I note that one of my few "friends" back from beta1 pop up in the friends-list. CMDR Finn Lazoreyes, and he indeed spots the dim chat lines and replies. We have a brief chat about the current status; turns out he is in the starting systems and bounty hunting and he reports most alliance members to be spread far an thin throughout the galactic pill. From that converstation, I also gain that the interdictors are indeed influenced by gravitational wells, so their range is ultra short when very close to a planet. Go figure.


In the meanwhile, I jumped back to BD+75 58, because I realized I had some bounty vouchers there. Arriving there, however, I do not find any station; nor planets. No scanner yields no stations, go figure. I try to follow some ships but none leads me to a station. A lone hauler drops from supercruise and I follow the wake he left. As I start to scan his cargo, it almost instantly jumps away, seemingly through the closeby planet. I scan the wake and follow; my jump direction is exactly the opposite direction, but the hauler is indeed also there in "Dyaushis". Yes, it is the night of funny system names.



- That hauler jumped right through the planet, I swear!









 Docking at the trading outpost here, there is nothing to note, all is low supply or demand. I think it is time to get back some scanning equipment. Wake scanning and all this pirating does not make seem to make sense, except for the feeling of being a pirate. Combat experience and bounties are higher and faster to get without it, anyways.

Jump to LHS 1101, the system which started my successful road of trading in order to get the Asp which I am still flying now. On my way to Bondar City, I spot an NPC Asp. Those ships usually have a high bounty associated, plus it is a challenge to have an equally strong opponent. I stick to its six and fire my interdictor once in range. However, this is the first NPC to elude me. The red "escape" bar rises really fast, even though I manage to stick my target to my reticule for most of the time. I am baffled.

Reangaging supercruise after the cooldown, but the Asp has vanished. There is an Impereal Clipper, but not wanted. A pity, I did not have this kind of a challanging opponent yet!

Docked at Bondar City, LHS 1101, I spot a haul mission for 128k CR, but I am not sure if the target station, "Buchli Station", is not one of those small outposts where I cannot land. Before I can verify this via the galaxy map, the mission board has refreshed and the potential opportunity is gone. I finally outfit my ship with an advanced D-scanner and a detailed surface scanner, needing to sell all other scanners in order to have the cash to do so. I just keep the interdictor, so I can pull out some wanted ships on my travels.

Next jump, back to BD+75 58, to finally cash in my bounty voucher. Unfortunately, the system continues to elude me, or rather, pull my leg. Even with the advanced scanner, there is no station in this system. Apparently those vouchers are not cashable, then.



 - hunt for a Federal Dropship










Instead, I look around for "wanted" ships and finally spot a Federal Dropship. Good! A challenge, and probably not too difficult, as the pilot is rated as "harmless". Interdiction works out and dropping out, I have the usual unavoidable ramming of the victim. I stick on target and open fire. Damn, the power settings have weapons on zero. Some precious seconds fiddling with the system and the Dropship used this moment to spin me towards its frontal guns. my shields are gone and my hull is at 84% before I can apply vertical trust and get out of this predicament. Moments later, the Dropship explodes under the combined energy of both beam lasers and four multicannons. The bounty is just average; 4000 Credits. And, of course, no cash because I am still in that darn stationless system. Great. Time to move on.


If there was time, but my game session has to end. As a summary, this session had me play the soldier of fortune, just following my ship bow´s directions and not really getting something out of it. But it felt good to be back under the stars!



- Awesome setting; now, scanning for a plot...










Still a bit missing a conclusion, I jump a few systems further down into the void. Cephei Sector KR-" B 1-2: Empty. Balmus: 12 objects. Suraci: Industrial, all scanned. Cephai Sector MX-U B 2-8:8 objects. I am starting to scan then, and stop. What am I doing here and why am I doing what? I am missing sense and purpose. Better wait for a new start, then? Or fly back to the core systems and have some combat practice? To be seen next time!

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Some interdiction practice

Back from another long weekend, and the backlash of having gone too quickly back to work after - better: during - sickness. Back to bed, it is.

The internet whispers and shows things to me. Many new and old games pass by and I do not have the time to visit them. There are upgraded versions of both Baldurs Gate epics, playable on today´s rigs. Dragon Age: Inquisition is coming out on 20 November, and it includes, alongside single player campaign which advertises as very Skyrim-eque, also a multiplayer mode which should be able to rival the marvelous multiplayer from Mass Effect 3. The old Dragon Age: Origins is for free. Some games I never have the time or committment to play through have nevertheless an exciting story. For example, Assassins Creed. I played just the first one, but I watched all the cutscenes on youtoube. Sometimes I wonder why normal cinema movies cannot be that exciting! The story arc about Ezio is fantastic, and Edward from Black Flag equally fascinating to follow around through the cutscenes.

Elite: Dangerous has evolved to patch 3.05. Release date is 16 December, an incredible soon date. Sooner even the end of this beta, as on 22 November we will get into the gamma phase, now named preview edition. This will mark the end of my beta travels in this blog and I cannot help and noticve how this realisation is strangly sapping my motivation to still make something out of the beta game...

Log on. Where am I? A huge beautiful blue marble planet hangs in front of me. My nav system denominates Ross 318-7. I have got a small fine and some bounties in Federation space. My balance is 874.853 CR. 608 kills. My firegroups are a mess, brain needs to adapt again.



 - the magic of Ross 318 7










First thing to do: Go to Volkov Station, cash in the bounties, clear the fine. I always only visited Koch Hub, the system´s commodity market. On my way, a "wanted" ship distracts me and I try to interdict. Somehow, that thing does not fire. Then, an unidentified signal (US) distracts me. The first sidewinder in it is wanted. Then there is also a "wanted" Cobra. Jeez I am bad; I shoot it down to 1% and then it manages to evade me for 2 full minutes and bringing me down to 81% before I can finally destroy it! Somehow, I do not get well along with a mix of gimbal and non-gimbal weapon. OTOH, I would not want to relay on one weapon type exclusively.

I switch "report crimes agains me" off in the rightmenu; I would not want any system vessels to arrive and steal my kill while I hunt for bounties.

Next US has an Asp close to me. Scan: Wanted. Fire! Another ship quickly joins my attack. Which makes it easy. A bounty of 16.084 CR is mine. Cool! Bring it on!

There is a wanted hauler; an occasion to try out the hatch limpet controller. Unfortunately; I am interdicted myself before I can get close to it (it was 1200 ls out and approaching).  Then I am at the six of a wanted Cobra. My interdictor fires off only when I get very close, around 0,4 ls. The combat is fierce. This Cobra sports turrets, and for a while, I fly in a bad position and they whittle my shields down. Then I am back on my firing position and another 3000 CR bounty voucher is mine, but not after loosing 5% hull to those damn turrets.

My voice attack gets worse everytime I switch from Elite to my blog notes, which I do take in parallel to playing. So I am basically back to a full keyboard control. Annoying.

It is time to dock, to repair and cash in. Repairs cost 6000 CR, reloading ammo 5000 CR. Couting this against 26.000 CR of bounties, and it is a good deal.

There is that bug again; a wanted Asp comes into target an I can interdict it. After some hassle I got it destroyed, for a bounty of 10.000 CR. But at the same time, I suddenly am marked as wanted, too. I try to make a video with shadowplay, but somehow shadowplay does not work. Maybe because I play in windowed mode? Alt-tab was not working when I played full screen last time (which in fact was beta 3.02, so things could have changed).



 - "wanted", and I do not know why










Having cleared my bounty at Volkov Station, I want to scan an also departing Cobra. Damn, i knew it; these firegroups! Instead of the scanner, I activate the cargo hatch breaker. With a freshly stamped wanted upon me and three angry red blips behind my, I hyperjump to Anlave and dock at Suri Park. The bounty is only 300 CR, thank god. But I should really practice my skills in order to avoid such mishaps in the final game.

Launch. There is a hollow square on my radar. A CMDR in a hauler. He jumps before I can identify him. His wake trace is 14 km out and I want to scan it. Then a second hollow blip launches from the station; a Lakon Type 6, and I turn again around. I manage to identify CMDR Smacker, but the cargo scan fails because he boosts out of range and jumps. I scan the wake, he is on his way to LP 30-55. Jump! Arriving at the sun, I quickly flip through targets. There he is, on his way to Reis Station. I have difficulties approaching him, as he flies maximum speed. Then suddenly I see him veer off. Another blip is close to him, which means he is probably being interdicted. Indeed, that other blip is a security vessel. Great, this gives me enough time to approach CMDR Smacker until he manages to disentangle himself from the security vessel´s interdiction.

Next thing this poor commander knows is another interdiction attempt, this time by me. It works! He hardly veers out of my focus, probably because the Asp is much more maneuverable than his Type 6. Once we drop into normal space, I immediately scan him. Wow, 48 autofabricators! Before this can really sink in, I already have opened comm channels and send him greetings, together with a promise that I did not want to harm him. Moments later, he is again in supercruise. I am a bit annoyred about myself; this would have really been a cool occasion on some real player pirating! Why did I not use it? However, I also wonder how on earth I could have made it through his shields in time; the brief time before he was so quick again away would probably have not sufficed at all. Maybe I was just too far and should have mass-locked him by sticking close to him? Too late now to test! Damn, such a perfect occasion will not come again so easily. The only problem is that I still struggle with activating the right firegroup and click the correct mouse button. I need much more practice!

A devious plan flashes in my mind. Didn´t I write about a high profit gold route coming from Alrai? How about I start to lie in wait there for some unsuspecting CMDRs? Ok, engage hyperjump!

Arriving in Alrai, at first I see no ships. Then, a surprise; the security vessels are green! I must have risen in reputation. Just by buying gold and selling some goods here. Cool. The rightmenu shows four factions, and I am "friendly" with "Alrai General Inc". Hopefully, my pirating attempts here do not screw my reputation! But first, there is a deadly wanted sidewinder beckoning me. It proves to be no problem, but yields only a 214 CR bounty voucher. Aaaand; I am wanted again!! For 200 CR. Sigh.




 - station is green; the surrounding security ships only when actually in range of my scanner






An US is my next stop. Cargo floating in space; domestic appliances. I scoop them, but do not remember if Becquerel Station here in Alrai has a black market. Will check when docking.

Again in supercruise, a Type 6 is wanted. Interdict! I shoot his shields down and fire the cargo hatch breaker. With some patience, I manage to hit him with one out of six tries. Apparently, you have to be very close to the target and at a course, which allows the limpet missile to get close and actually dock with the target. A pity my shadowplay is not working, as I had a wonderful perspective on the process of one of my limpets docking as such. The result, however, is underwhelming. One measly can of cargo gets dumped, bertrantide. As I try to scoop it, the Type 6 is even so stupid to attack me instead of jumping away. Some more tries, inclusive a cargo scan, and I see also 15 battle weapons in its cargo hold! I want them! But nothing makes the Type 6 relinquish them and he finally blows while I still try to shoot down the cargo hatch. Mission failed. 524 CR bounty voucher, and this time no increase on my own wanted status.

I wonder if pirating practice in the current beta still makes sense. This experience showed me that there are still some bugs which impede a proper use of the "tools of trade", or at least still some fine tuning to be done. Hrm, maybe also the quality level of my breaker was not up to the task? Questions, questions.

An US pops up. Enter. A system vessel (green blip) and a Cobra which identifies as "wanted". Fire! Frameshift charge detected. Quick! But, too late, the Cobra jumps away. Before I can scan the frameshift wake, a scan message pops up and I am fined for 5.032 CR. Damn, I had totally forgotten my "stolen" cargo! And to top it all off, the security vessel, an Eagle, is opening fire! I make a hasty retreat and am once more grateful to have invested in vastly improved thrusters and power couplings, for a near permanent boost. I wonder if that interlude also cost me reputation from my precious green-friendly faction.

I check the commodity market at Becquerel. Gold is still in high supply, but not as high as it was last week (now at 9013 CR buy). So, somebody finally found out about this route here? To finish this session, I do one last run, to LFT 1446 again. I also want to see if my reputation has increased over there, too. On my way there, I jettison the 8 stolen domestic appliances; they are not worth the hassle and won´t pay for the fine I already incurred for them, anyways. Cut your losses in time. A lesson I once did not heed in real life and payed for it very very dearly.

A "wanted" Cobra is in my sight, and I finally reach it shortly before Bosch Settlement. I interdict it right at its six. However, I am kicked out of supercruise because our little dance brings us too close to the planet and my target is lost and away.



 - blinding to stare right into the supercruise exhaust of my target during an interdiction attempt





 

Well, guess what. Gold is down to 9596 CR in Bosch Settlement, so my route has almost dried up. Still some money, but just a third of the profit which used to be last week. Ah well, I do not really need to trade anymore, anyways. Also, I am not with "friendly" status here. Load superconductors, still high supply and fly back. They sell at 7028 CR; also not the high profit I used to have. Things change quickly. Or I have more readers of my blog than I thought!

This is it for me tonight. Not sure how to continue. Trading is checked, mining and exploration I did a bit, interdicting and frameshift scanning I did, bounties I hunted a few. Maybe I downgrade or buy a second ship, a Viper, and go back to around Eranin and do some combat missions? We will see, next time.