The Elitist, Part One: How To Make Money In Space

Elite: Dangerous was recently updated with some new features. Brendan takes us on a journey through space in this new series, where he will be exploring faraway stars and getting into trouble with the space police.

My first mistake was packing my cargo hold full of stolen explosives. My second mistake was trying to fly that cargo full of explosives, at high speed and with my engines off, through a tiny opening in a giant space station. By the time I realised my trajectory was all wrong, I had already belly-flopped into the metallic surface of the station, hundreds of metres away from the gateway I had intended to speed through. I exploded on impact. Such is the fate of many pilots who try to emulate the Isinona Manoeuvre.

The Isinona Manoeuvre is best documented here in YouTube form by the pilot it is named after. Basically, in Elite: Dangerous, you will sometimes find yourself with a cargo hold full of stolen goods. And you will sometimes want to get those goods into a station with a strong security presence, to sell them on the black market for (sometimes) major dollar. The problem is you will more than likely be scanned by the station’s customs officials.

Description of custom officials: militant, well-trained, of murderous intent. Holders of advanced pulse weaponry, class 1.

One way to avoid detection is to use the Isinona Manoeuvre. This involves lining your ship up with the port from approximately 10km away, shutting off all your engines, turning off flight assist, and waiting for your ship to go cold. With a low enough heat signature, the NPC customs at the station won’t detect you. Now, the tricky part. You turn on your engines long enough to fire your afterburner so you tumble at full speed towards the gateway, then quickly turn them off again and pray for the following:

i) that you go ‘cold’ again before you reach the 5km mark, where you will be within scanning range.

ii) that you do not go wide of the port’s gateway, by more than a few degrees.

iii) that permission to dock, hastily requested mid-manoeuvre, is granted.

At the last second (and I really mean at the last second) you must flick your engines on and adjust yourself, steering neatly (terrifyingly fast) into the port. Even if you do make it through the tiny gap, you will have to brake as hard and quickly as possible, or you will smash into the back wall of the station’s innards. Of all the things I can tell you about the manoeuvre, this is probably the most important: make sure it is worth trying. Isinona made it look a lot easier than it is.

Explosives, for example, are worth dirt. On the black market I imagine they go for even less. It was stupid of me to even try it. I could also have just travelled to a lawless port and done my shady business there. What’s worse, I did not have the insurance money to buy back my hard-earned Cobra Mk III. It was the dumbest thing I have ever tried in Elite. No surprise I went back to pan-handling for lost gold around Freeport – a station without laws or pesky custom officials. And since Freeport does not police its visitors it didn’t take me long to become rich again. I bought myself a gorgeous Lakon Type-6 Transporter to celebrate the end of my life of petty smuggling.

This was how you make the big money in Elite. Transporting huge quantities of expensive goods and hawking them for extortionate rates. I could make 91,000 credits in a single trip, enough to buy two Eagle fighter craft and have some pocket money left over. I felt I had seen most of what the game had to offer, so I placed my Thrustmaster T Flight Hotas to one side, hung up my headphones and retired from space.

Last week, however, Frontier released their newest version, Beta 2.0, adding exploration mechanics and 500 new systems to the space sim’s sprawling galactic arm. The bloom of new stars, planets and outposts, as well as the addition of a shiny new explorer’s ship – the Asp – has tempted me back to the year 3300. I’m ready to resume my life of grey morals and space voyeurism. Only this time: no mistakes.

(My first mistake was thinking that there would be no mistakes)

On starting up again I found myself destitute. The 400,000+ credits I had saved up were gone and I sat not in the comfortable, glass-surrounded seat of Lakon’s most reliable space-lorry, but the cramped, scuzzy chair of a starter pilot’s Sidewinder. Oh yes, I had forgotten. There had been a character wipe.

Of course there had been a character wipe. This is how Early Access works. If you check the Elite Dangerous forums, you will see the lunatic loyalty of the Elite backer in his or her native habitat. In one thread they were asked how they would feel if there was a server wipe with this latest update. The responses were all positive. The forum was full of people posting smiley emoticons, saying things like: “Do it! Wipe us out!”

I was not so happy, only because I had been driven down to a mere 1000 creds and how was I supposed to buy the shiny new Asp with that? I sat in my Sidewinder and frowned. The ship was resting in Azeban Orbital, one of the new outpost stations, so I felt safe enough to alt-tab out of the game where I could look at Elite’s wiki page on ships — the equivalent of flipping through a catalogue of new cars while pulled over in a services depot. There she was, the Asp Explorer.

One hundred tonnes of cargo space, 345 metres per second at maximum boost, a 13 light-year jump range, and a steal at —

6.6 MILLION CREDITS!?

I closed my catalogue. This was not going to be easy. The most I have ever had in my account at any time was just over a million credits, which I used to buy my beautiful space truck, the Type 6 Transporter. I might have to go back to pan-handling after all.

Pan-handling is when you spiral around space at random, near a station without laws, and investigate any ‘unidentified signals’ you come across. Often these are other ships, sometimes hostile, sometimes not. But every once in a while you will drop out of super cruise (Elite’s mid-range drive mode, faster-than-light but slower-than-interstellar) to discover a cache of containers. It could be one container, or it could be ten. The contents of the crates are things like coltan, explosives or, ugh, bauxite. But what you are really looking for is gold, which goes for approximately 4,500 credits per container on the black market. Patience can be rewarded with mad hawls of 45,000 credits, if you are in a ship with a large enough cargo bay.

I don’t know if anyone else calls it ‘pan-handling’, just like I don’t know if anyone else calls it ‘the Isinona Manoeuvre’ but having made a lucrative career out of flying around, listening to the radio, and scooping up gold wherever it erratically appears, it seemed to me to be a logical comparison. I would find the gold in pockets of space around the rings of a rocky, Independent planet called Anahit. As ever, my heart thought of the containers I found as “salvage”. My cargo monitor read “stolen”. Still, there was a strange satisfaction to my job as a fortune-seeker in the galactic gold rush. Before the beta 2.0 update, I had a proven method of money-making. I had a routine.

Step 1: Drop out of super cruise at an unidentified signal.
Step 2: Assess the containers. If gold: continue. If bauxite: swear blindly and start jump.
Step 3: Approach a container slowly and cautiously to 500m.
Step 4: Check for signs of a trap. Signs of trap include: Three ships falling out of super cruise, messages of hatred broadcast from aforementioned ships, laser fire.
Step 5: Approach to 100m. Repeat Step 4.
Step 6: If not a trap, deploy scoop and collect booty. If a trap, full power to engines, thrust foward, afterburner, steer away from ships, engage jump drive, sweat, pray.

So, I took off from Azeban Orbital in my Startwinder and resolved to go back to pan-handling until I had enough for something a little more exciting. I stopped off in Azeban’s local space station to pick up some courier missions for the ride. Transporting some precious metals to Freeport would get me a tasty 10k, so I took it. Freeport was the station I did most of my pan-handling around, so when I arrived there and dropped off the goods I was in the right neighbourhood. I headed out wearing my gold rush face, ready for an hour or so of sweet, patient trawling.

Results of trawling: Terror, panic, multiple encounters with the pirate known as Vox Despairo, absence of gold or anything of value.

The game’s update seems to include the reduction of valuable loot in that sector of space, or possibly everywhere. The only thing I ran into was the NPC Vox Despairo in his fearfully-equipped Anaconda (the heaviest, meanest, most expensive ship in the game). You can try and negotiate with Vox Despairo if you like, but since he is an NPC I am guessing he will not listen. You could try dumping some cargo to appease him. But I don’t think he will care about cargo. His Anaconda don’t want none.

Time and again this brute would appear when I investigated an unknown signal. Twice, I barely escaped with my life, as a lethal missile homed in on me as I jumped. The second time the missile was only metres away from impact when the drive kicked into gear and I didn’t know until the game’s server lag caught up with itself, whether I had been hit or not.

Making money was going to be a lot harder from now on. I sped away from Anahit and its rings, leaving Mr Despairo free to slaughter some other Klondike Kid. Perhaps this was a good time to check out the game’s new exploration mechanics? I headed for the lawful systems nearby and did some petty delivery boy stuff between I Bootis and the Aulin system. This involved taking some new PCs or something (‘Computer Components’ the game calls them) to the tech-crazy consumers of the Aulin Enterprise. I reach the spaceport and drop off the stuff like a disgruntled DHL employee. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Please sign here.

There are still ‘unknown’ planets, according to the galaxy map, and you can get money for scanning and returning the data to a buyer in a station. I don’t know how much the data is worth yet but I am eager to find out. Every starter Sidewinder comes equipped with a ‘Basic Discovery Scanner’. However, looking around in the undercarriage of Aulin’s docking bay (ie. flicking through the ‘outfitting’ menu) I stumble upon a ‘Detailed Surface Scanner’, which the summary tells me is a more advanced piece of equipment. It’s going for 10,000 credits? Why, that’s just the amount of money I made delivering this parcel of high-spec graphics cards. Sold!

I pick up the device and it replaces my basic scanner. I mark a course for a nearby system that looks to still be unexplored and leave the station with a smile. By the time I reach the uncharted solar system I am brimming with anticipation to use my new gadget. I drop out of super cruise around the ‘unknown’ star and look to my console to use the scanning device.

Nature of scanning device: unresponsive, inoperable, functionally worthless.

It would appear I have made a mistake. Flipping through my ‘catalogue’ I discovered that the Basic Discovery Scanner — the scanner all new pilots start with — is the device you really need when arriving in an unknown system. The piece of kit I had was an add-on, not a substitution. To make matters worse, I had seen nowhere that sold the original device, so the only way of getting it back would be to purposefully destroy myself. That may seem counter-intuitive, but in the world of Elite: Dangerous, the starter ship is always free. So selling back the Surface Scanner and killing myself made sense in money terms too. It was the financially responsible option. I dropped off in Bolg, sold the useless Scanner, and went back into space to suffocate myself. I turned to my console where I switched off engines, weapons, shields and finally, the life support system.

“Oxygen depleted in 5:00,” said a message on my screen.

I waited for the clock to tick down. Time went by slowly. Was this the right way to go out? Choking in a tin can in the middle of nowhere? It seemed, now that the timer was on 2 minutes, 45 seconds, to be somewhat wasteful. Why not go out in a blaze of glory? Why not go start a fight with someone? I flicked the engines on, the shields, the life support. Next stop, that unidentified signal source.

I dropped out of supercruise and looked around. My sensors showed three, four, no, five ships. Groups this big are seldom working together. A ship came alongside me and one of them began a scan. It was a Federation security vessel. This was a checkpoint. The cop said I was clean and told me to move along but I was not for moving. There were at least two ships who weren’t security vessels and I wanted to see whether they were worth shooting at. I scanned one of them.

Results of scan: Phil McCaffry, novice pilot, wanted.

Hoooo boy. This is it. I deployed my weapons, lined him up and let loose. In a fraction of a second the scene turned violent and chaotic, as the security men in their Vipers came down against Phil and two of the other ships. My sensors blinked red and yellow. With the pigs on my side, Phil’s accomplices would be too busy to fire on me. Phil’s shields gave way under my pulse lasers. Maybe I would come out of this alive after all. Maybe dying wasn’t the answer!

CLANG.

Suddenly my ship flew out of control, sparking and spinning all over the place. What the hell just happened? A red notice appeared in my info panel.

“WARNING: 200 CR BOUNTY GAINED: ASSAULT OF SECURITY VESSEL.”

Ah. One of the pigs had accidentally flown into me and collided, knocking my shields to one-third their normal strength and marking me out as the perpetrator of a purposeful assault. This was not good. The security vessels began to call for back up, thinking they were under attack. I found Phil McCaffry and blasted him, almost as an afterthought, into bits. Then began to turn away from the fight. I had changed my mind! I didn’t want to die anymore!

I fired up full thrusters, and put power back to engines. But it wasn’t enough. My shields wouldn’t recharge, and now both the Feds and the crims were shooting at me. My cockpit began to spark and smoke. The computer’s voice spoke constantly about this failure, that failure. Hull at 65%. Hull at 23%. My screens disappeared. The cockpit went dark, the colour of a car guts. A flash of memory went by, the time I tried the Isinona Manoeuvre.

I exploded.

I would later wake up in a brand new Sidewinder multipurpose spacecraft, free of charge.

Specifications of spacecraft: One cargo bay (four tonnes), two pulse lasers (on loan), one Basic Discovery Scanner.

I looked at my bank balance. About 20,000 credits.

That’s only 6.58 million credits short of an Asp.

Next time: Actual exploration.

This article was funded by the RPS Supporter program.

72 Comments

  1. Lobster9 says:

    Neat article, and nice shout-out to Isinona’s youtube, his videos are fantastic. I tried docking with FA-OFF a few times, and wrecked a good dozen Sidewinders.

    I hope we see a bit of an overhaul to the trading system at some point, it feels a little weak compared to other activities since 2.0 went live.

    • SupahSpankeh says:

      Regards trading, there are two fan favourites on the forums.

      1) Trading has been deliberately weakened to get people taking missions/doing exploration.

      2) Trading is fine, but the prices/availability are cloud/server based so you have to go to remote areas to turn a profit.

      • Dante80 says:

        A little search can help. From the beta2.0 announcement thread..
        link to forums.frontier.co.uk

        “Reduced trading commodity restock rate to be 10% of its previous speed, it should now completely refill a market between 40 hours and 10 days”

        Yep, it was nerfed for testing the beta2.0

  2. Premium User Badge

    Lexx87 says:

    Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

    I want this, but I don’t want to pay £50 for it especially as i’ve £200 steam credit i’d rather buy it with.

    When’s the normal releaseeeeeeeeeeee

    • Hex says:

      How the hell do you get Steam to give you credit?

      • welverin says:

        Sell things on the Steam Marketplace.

        • Hex says:

          Pppppppppppppppffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt.

        • Premium User Badge

          lurkalisk says:

          Steam… marketplace? Mind = Blown.

          Seriously I have no idea what that is. Guess i missed a day in pneumatics.

          • bonuswavepilot says:

            I find the gradual accumulation of trading cards just by playing stuff, which I immediately sell, means that every few months I have accumulated enough steambucks to buy a cheap indie title. Hurrah for pretend monies!

    • Arithon says:

      Since they’re distributing their game independently with their own servers, it seems unlikely it will be seen on Steam. Steam have very narrow restrictions on content and their cut, otherwise why would be see Origin & UPlay?

      • Premium User Badge

        phuzz says:

        But you can buy games on Steam that use uplay and Origin

      • Premium User Badge

        Zamn10210 says:

        I might be wrong, but the range of games on Steam doesn’t seem especially narrow.

      • Smoky_the_Bear says:

        I guess it depends if they think they have enough widespread coverage or not. Steam increases visibility of a title hence makes it worth it for most games despite the valve cut. Also there are a lot of people who are against buying games that aren’t on steam because they want it in their list so their games are all in one place.
        I’d guess we might see Elite on steam some time after launch so that all the day one buyers aren’t giving 15% of their money to valve, then they can open it up to more people on Steam after that.

  3. sendmark says:

    Isinona has a lot of great videos, unfortunately FA Off got nerfed hard last update, hopefully they can find a middle ground as the Newtonian physics offered the chance to do some really cool things.

    This Beta is very much about missions, trading seems to have been broken to encourage use of the bulletin board to earn credits. It’s still been fun to play, but I’m taking a break until Beta 3 for now.

    • fredc says:

      Trading does still work, but either by design or as an unintended side effect, not really within the original beta 1 systems, where there are usually none or a mere handful of units of profitable loads. If you get out into the new systems, there are lots of runs with profitable loads and tens of thousands of units of cargo available.

    • Eggman says:

      Wait, what happened to FA off?

      • Premium User Badge

        Harlander says:

        Previously, disengaging Flight Assist allowed you to move at the ship’s boosted speed indefinitely. Now, your speed will slowly bleed back to the maximum normal speed of the ship (the speed you’d go at full throttle with full power to engines, IIUC).

        • ironman Tetsuo says:

          You can deactivate the Thruster Module just as you reach top boost speed to maintain that velocity. FAOFF wasn’t nerfed, it was tweaked, and a skilled pilot will still win with FAOFF Vs an opponent with FAON.

          • Armante says:

            Thanks for the reminder. I don’t often use FAOFF, mostly when approaching stations and platforms, so the change hadn’t affected me much. I’ll be sure to try this out.

          • Premium User Badge

            Harlander says:

            The FAOFF when approaching stations trick isn’t as necessary now you come out of SC a lot closer.

          • sendmark says:

            Tha tboost trick was removed, yes, and it needed to be. However what is also gone is the ability to freeze up with thrusters off and still fly in using the Newtonian Physics. Instead they’ve pushed players more to use Silent Running only. That is a bit of a shame, as is the loss of flying one way while facing another for any sustained period of time.

          • ironman Tetsuo says:

            The screen Icing up was only meant for when launching a heat-sink but because the temperature code was slightly bugged it allowed ships to reach 0% heat and trigger the effect unintentionally. The Devs are aware of the confusion it caused when the bug was corrected and that a lot of players liked the effect so they’re considering letting the windscreen ice up at temperatures slightly above 0%. With good heat management you can keep your craft at around 6-8% heat which is good enough to lose scans/locks beyond 500m.

            To say heat management is now redundant because of the tweaks to Silent Running is not true though, a good pilot who heat manages well will be able to stay in silent running longer than a pilot that doesn’t. It’s also still possible to cruise along at incredibly low temperatures by using a combination of FAOFF and module management, it’s not been taken out of the game just the process to achieve it has slightly changed and if anything it has made it a much better mechanic.

  4. dongsweep says:

    I really enjoyed your article. I have wanted this game for a long time but based on your article I think it is safe to say I will enjoy this game in beta. Time to purchase this game and dream of Rift releasing.

    • Armante says:

      Go get it, it’s awesome. I picked up a Saitek X52 Pro before getting the beta, and intend to get the CR1 of Oculus, provided the resolution is high enough. Most I’ve ever spent to play one game, and to me it’s worth it.

      From a humble Sinclair ZX Spectrum 48K a mere 30 years later to the beast that’s powering it now in glorious HD, with the amazing sound design. Gaming heaven.

  5. Smashbox says:

    My thought process:

    Damn this looks just about fully-baked! I’ll go buy this right now and then send a link to this story to my friend so that he’ll play with me. Ooh, available now on their site, but it’s still a beta. Oh well.

    75 dollars!?!

    I guess I won’t be playing this.

    When does it actually come out?

    • fredc says:

      It’s not “fully baked”. The engine works well, especially in solo, but there is a huge amount of content and balancing still to come, and I don’t even mean landing on planets etc.

      The price is high to balance keeping beta numbers down with funding development.

      The nice thing about Elite in beta is that it isn’t story-driven (at least not at the moment), so you aren’t spoiling anything by playing the beta.

    • A Gentleman and a Taffer says:

      It’s scheduled for 2014 release. There’s a 3rd beta phase at the end of October. My bet is another month and then release, David Braben has been adamant the last few times it’s been asked that they’re well on track for 2014. To be honest they’re probably ready now, just tweaking and fine tuning through beta feedback. The way it should be done (ignoring the price of entry)

      • slerbal says:

        Oh! You said “tweaking”. I thought you said “twerking”. Now *that* was not an image I wanted :D

      • K_Sezegedin says:

        So hard to believe they’ll make 2014, – but I guess they know what they’re talking about.

        Yet so many gameplay systems still have to go in and be tested from mining to interactive interdictions.

        Supercruise is still allegedly a placeholder, exploration mechanics seem a bit vestigal, – even fuel scooping is yet to see the light of day.

      • Jools says:

        Frontier has been like the poster child for how to do this sort of development right, but I do wish they’d be a little more communicative about their roadmap and future plans. There’s a lot of stuff in the design archive that’s not fully implemented or not implemented at all, and FD’s silence ends up seeming like an implicit acknowledgment that it’ll all be there before release. If that’s the case, then I don’t see how they’re going to make 2014 when barely one third of the planned playable ships are even in the game and none of the dynamic universe stuff that’s supposedly core to the experience is really functioning.

        I do have faith in David Braben and his team so I’m not really worried, but their silence can be kind of frustrating.

  6. shagen454 says:

    I’ve spent a lot money money on shit games this year. ArcheAge, Wildstar, Day Z… the list goes on.

    This game is definitely worth the $75.00 for the beta. It really is incredible and will not disappoint if you’re into games like this. Last game I played like this was Privateer 2 & the original Privateer (never played the original Elite). It is a high price tag… but I do not regret it. I’m glad they got my money because it’s so worth it in helping them to keep advancing this game further into the future.

    Just to be able to witness the impeccable sound design, or zoom in & out of the galaxy map is worth the price of admission, watching approaching systems is incredible whether you zip past or hit jump spot on. I haven’t fanboi vented in a long time: This game is fucking brilliant!

  7. A Gentleman and a Taffer says:

    I cannot, cannot, cannot, cannot WAIT for this game. It sounds more and more amazing everytime I hear about it. Much as I cannot wait II refuse to pay extra for a beta, so am patiently waiting for the full release (still this year, apparently) and getting more excited by the week. Got the joystick. Got the nofacetrackir working. Just need the game now. Come on!

  8. Hex says:

    Yes, but can you walk.

    Oh my shit. I just watched the…Isinona? Maneuver? Whatever. I just watched it.

    Oh. My. Shit.

    I almost don’t care if you can walk. That was the first time one of these space sim jobbers game me an inkling of what it is people appreciate about them.

  9. Behrditz says:

    Youre really making that maneuver harder than it needs to be. Once you get close enough to need maneuvering, just turn on silent running mode before you turn your engines back on. You dont have to wait until the last second. On top of that, scanning takes a bit longer than youre probably thinking.

    As for dying, you turn the air off and wait five minutes? That has to be the worst way to do it. Thats so slow and it gives you time to think about dying. Just hit that self destruct button. BOOM!

  10. Stijn says:

    This actually made me interested in the game, which doesn’t happen often (as it’s really not the genre I usually enjoy). Looking forward to the next articles.

  11. PoLLeNSKi says:

    Some bastard just stole £50 from my bank account… you RPS, I point my finger at you!

  12. Bursar says:

    I quite fancy this, but one problem. Despite being right handed, in 25 years of flight and space sims I much prefer the control stick in my left hand. Are there any decent left handed joysticks that work well with Elite?

    • Dante80 says:

      This one works with both hands and its worth every penny imo.

      link to thrustmaster.com

      • Fishpig says:

        I’m a lefty and the T16000m is a fine stick, only weakness being the small built-in throttle but you get used to it. Mine was a birthday gift, and leads inexorably to my “eye-gougingly stupid thing I did in Elite:Dangerous” story…
        I’d worked my way up to a T6 playing with just keyboard, avoiding combat, and trading like billy-oh. Came home slightly worse for wear after birthday night out and thought I’d break out the new stick. After configuring it, my reduced impulse control helped me decide that buying a Cobra and spec’ing it for combat was the very thing to do. But I didn’t have enough money for the gun I wanted, so *obviously* a high value trading run with my new ship was in order.
        Coming into dock, blurry space-credit signs obscuring my vision, realised I hadn’t put my undercarriage down…now, which of my dozen buttons did I assign to that function? Not the first one I pressed; that one jettisoned all my very expensive cargo inside the station and earned me a fine. Nor the second; that was the afterburners which slammed me off the landing pad.
        Docking permission withdrawn, and silent running engaged during my panicked button pushes, I boost my overheating ship toward the exit (afterburners increasing my excess heat as I go) and swoosh through the docking port like a much soberer man.
        Outside, my ship is starting to be damaged by the excess heat, but I can’t find the damn button I need to turn off silent running. Even though I’m playing solo entering the option screen doesn’t pause, and my poor cobra blows up before I can scroll through the control settings and find the off button. Because of the money invested (and thrown away) in cargo, I don’t have the insurance money so end up back in a Sidewinder, and after paying the fine I have less than the 1000cr you usually start with.
        I may be the only person who was actively *glad* there was a character wipe soon after, otherwise I would still be kicking myself.

        • derbefrier says:

          the T16000 seems to be a highly recommended stick. I have been thinking about going duel joystick and this is the stick i am looking at to compliment my X52

    • Alt Muller says:

      A left-handed friend of mine asked me the same question at the launch of beta 1. I recommended him Saitek Cyborg Evo, an inexpensive but great stick I’d had a lot of fond memories of playing X^3 with, that can also be customized to hold with your left hand by reversing the palm support. Unfortunately this model is no longer manufactured, but he was able to get a used one in good condition and is now happy with it.

  13. supermini says:

    Really good article.

  14. anutron says:

    So, here’s how to earn about $10K in the game in 40 seconds (this is the current version, 2.06)

    • Dr_Barnowl says:

      Hopefully that “take the mission, steal the cargo” exploit will be removed in the next beta (on the 28th) ; it should cause damage to your reputation to the degree that no-one will ever trust you with cargo again….

      • K_Sezegedin says:

        Yeah in Beta 1 they’d fine you heavily for borking a mission that inovlved cargo, to discourage the player from ‘losing’ the containers.

        A curious removal from Beta 2.

  15. lowprices says:

    It’s probably a silly question but: How well does this control with keyboard and mouse? Never played a space sim before, but everything I read about it makes it look like it should be the first, but I’m also not sure I want to spend God knows how much on a peripheral for it.

    • Arithon says:

      If you played Descent, X-Wing or Freespace with a mouse, then this is much the same. You may need to increase sensitivity and/or invert Y axis to taste, but all controls are configurable. I’ve been playing since July with a pre-1999 Logitech Wingman and keyboard.
      Keyboard /mouse is good, joystick is immersive and HOTAS joystick is the dogs doo-daas! (played with Saitek X52 Pro at EGX and Occulus Rift DK2 was nice as well! – while I’m dreaming)

    • ironman Tetsuo says:

      I really struggled at first but after some persistence and a lot of tweaking (the controls are very customisable) I found a setup I felt comfortable with, but it was at least a few hours of testing to get right. Now after a few weeks practice I feel really comfortable with M&KB although I do intend to upgrade to a HOTAS when money permits.

    • Maximum Fish says:

      I played for a while with mouse and keyboard, and like ironman Tetsuo said, after some initial configuring (don’t let the default mouse controls scare you, they’re terrible but easily corrected) I found it to be extremely playable. Actually to the point that I hesitated to buy a joystick for fear that I would not like the controls as much. I was incredibly super wrong though. I got the Thrustmaster T flight for super cheap ($30 US) and can’t emphasize enough how much more fun the game is this way.

  16. JohnnyPanzer says:

    Thanks for the great article!

    Elite has been sneaking around in the back of my head for a while now, but I’ve never felt the actual NEED for it until I read this piece. I threw my money at it right away and am downloading the game as I write this.

    Thank you again for the tip, I’ll post an update with my thoughts if anyone would be interested…

    • Armante says:

      My bet is you’re going to love it. I got into the beta a few weeks back, and have no regrets at all.
      The wipes can be a pain once you start getting somewhere, but you are testing the software after all, not playing a final release. The thing is that that is easy to forget, as it feels very complete already. Can’t wait for full, final version. I imagine I may well play this for years to come.

      And that Steam back catalogue of 300+ games.. I may well never play them.

      • Maximum Fish says:

        It’s funny, speaking of Steam back catalogs, I’ve got so many really good games that I’ve been meaning to play (I’m just now playing Arkham City), but every time I have a spare hour and sit down at my computer with that intent, I look at the joystick and think, ‘well, I guess I’m playing Elite again after all’.

  17. Chalk says:

    Screenshots don’t do this game justice! :) It really does have some stunning visuals:

  18. Premium User Badge

    reddog says:

    That docking manoeuvre looks like something that would make me feel like I’m playing a game instead of immersing myself into a believable world. Which is sad, because graphics-wise and with all the virtual cockpit awzomness, etc, Elite looks like it could be very immersive indeed.

    I understand that in games there’s bad realism and good realism, but the thing happening in that video just doesn’t make sense. In the year 3300, they have all this amazing technology, but the spaceport authority somehow can’t detect you or stop you from docking if you shut down your engines? They just congratulate you for being such a clever space person?

    • BillyBantam says:

      As I understand it the sensors are automated,and look for the heat signature of your ship. No heat signature means they can’t see you, which means they don’t scan you.

    • SanguineAngel says:

      For me it’s the sort of thing that, in the first instance would add to immersion as you reveal a flew on the in-game docking system and exploit it. However, if the system fails to adapt to such an obviously exploited flaw (I am sure officials on those stations would notice it happening after a couple of times) then it reveals the static nature of the universe and the illusion would be shattered a little bit.

  19. fishmitten says:

    Collecting bounty vouchers at Resource Extraction Sites is also a good (and perhaps more exciting) way of earning credits. I was pulling in 20-30k per trip (limited only by my multicannon ammo) over the weekend at the LHS 3006 sites.

  20. Love Albatross says:

    This seems like a lot of effort to make money. Here are two easier ways:

    Method 1 (the fun way): go to LP 98-132 nav beacon, and shoot anyone that shows as Wanted. Easy targets (Sidewinders, Asps, cargo ships) can net up to 20k each, not including any cargo you happen to scoop. Anacondas can go for 40k a kill, but are much harder. Turn your bounties in at Freeport.

    Method 2 (tedious but more lucrative): locate two systems with opposing governments next to each other and run propaganda between them. Each job only gets 2-4k but there’s no limit to how many you can take and you can pick them up from every stop in a system. So once you’ve been to all the stations in one, jump to the next system, then work your way through every one of their stations dropping off messages and picking up new jobs for the return trip. As a bonus there are often simple cargo jobs on offer which even a Sidewinder can handle, and if you upgrade cargo space on something like a Cobra you can get tens of thousands for a single delivery mission on top of everything else.

    • sendmark says:

      Two other points to add to your methods.

      For method 1 a kill warrent scanner can also be used on those wanted ships, or any ships even showing as clean, a lot of them will have additional bounties in other systems, normally Federation. I find it’s normally another 50% on top, and the basic kill warrent scanner is fine, no need to buy any of the pricier ones.

      For method 2: the bulletin boards refresh every 5 minutes, which can help you to stockpile even more missions to do in one dock.

    • Lanessar says:

      Not sure why you would do method 2, seems like a pretty low payout. Even multiples.

      Let’s assume a Sidewinder, 4-slot bay. Best immediate return would be to make trading runs for silver between Ross 860 and Wolf 654 (or similar source of silver). Take a cargo hold of 4t silver, you can trade in 1t to the mission board and make ~20K. That’s a 10-16K profit. Per tonne. Just keep refreshing the board, the mission will return (“wanted! silver desperately needed!”), or at worst, you wait for the mission board to re-pop (happens every 5 minutes on the dot).

      You can also switch it up to gold from 82 MU Herculis when you get the moneys. I’m probably not doing the “most efficient” route/method, but it’s certainly faster than 2-4K courier missions.

      • Love Albatross says:

        100k for a round trip between Aulis and Ithaca. Not bad for the time it took.

  21. wondermoth says:

    “Description of customs officials: militant, well-trained, of murderous intent. Holders of advanced pulse weaponry, class 1.”

    Someone’s been reading Flann O’Brien. Although, if you’re going to rip off someone’s style, you couldn’t choose a better author.

    • Brendy_C says:

      More like RE-reading!

      One of my top 5 authors. Been enjoying At Swim-Two-Birds for my second time over the past week and I just thought to myself: I MUST STEAL THIS MAN’S TRICKS.

  22. derbefrier says:

    I have had this for a while but haven’t spent a lot of time with it. Think when the new beta comes at the end of the month I might spend some serious time with it. I have been playing star Citizen but Arena matches get old after a while I am ready to explore and trade and shit.

  23. buzzmong says:

    What’s there is ok at the moment, but I do wish Braben hadn’t had the gall to jump on the beta bandwagon. Beta 3 for example is adding the ability to own multiple ships, and by conventional definition, if you’re still adding big features, you’re in alpha.

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      It seems more like the conventional definition of alpha/beta/etc. is “whatever the person doing the release wants them to mean”.

      Not particularly useful if you want a term to actually mean something, but there you go.

    • Iskariot says:

      Who cares what it’s called. This game is utterly brilliant already. No ,matter in what phase it is.

    • iainl says:

      Is the ability to have a “garage” with more than one ship in it at once a major new feature at the code level, then? I can see how it would impact your experience significantly, because you can keep the right ship for the right sort of job available, but I don’t see it being something that’s going to start bringing about masses of new bugs if it’s something they’ve planned for.

      • buzzmong says:

        I’d say the notion of having multiple ships stored across the universe (not just in one central hanger), the systems revolving around recurring payments for hanger fees (and what happens if you don’t/can’t pay), and probably a whole host of small system changes and additions to support a player owning multiple ships would count as a “big” feature, yes.

  24. Xipheas says:

    With regards to people concerned about the alpha / beta (“bee ta”!) status of the game, please note that there is a gamma phase also planned. These therefore are clearly planned stages for Frontier, but are not intended to fit with any other company’s definitions of those terms.

    Oh, and buy Elite. It’s awesome.

  25. Zenicetus says:

    One caveat for anyone thinking of buying the game now, or who has just bought it. Don’t get too invested in your progress, because it’s sounding like there may be another wipe for Beta 3 on Oct. 28, and we know there will be at least one more wipe when the game goes to Gamma stage just before release.

    So, now is the time to try all sorts of crazy stuff that you may not want to risk, once you have a “real” character and start moving up through the various ships and upgrades. Have fun, and don’t get too invested so you’re ready for the upcoming wipes back down a starting Sidewinder.

    WRT income in this beta, I’ve been doing okay with a mix of stacking courier missions and bounty hunting in extraction zones (asteroid fields around ringed planets). Trading is still possible, but you need to be in the more remote systems, and build “rep” by taking repeated mission assignments from the same sub-factions on the bulletin boards, to get better deals.