I did it. I took the plunge. I have purchased Elite: Dangerous. I got a fancy HOTAS joystick, well, not so fancy, as in didn’t cost hundreds of pounds, and this persuaded me to use the rest of some money that came my way on my birthday to get Elite. It’s odd, I could get it any time I wanted, but it feels like this money is ‘free’ money and if it didn’t work out what the hell.
It’s safe to say it’s worked out. I played it virtually all last weekend from Saturday morning through to 0400 Sunday morning and then back on at around 1100 Sunday through to midnight. At the moment, it has me hooked. The odd thing is? It shouldn’t. I should be avoiding this game like the plague.
I should detest Elite: Dangerous, and that’s why I was reticent to buy it. Is it game that doesn’t present a narrative to you? Check. Is it a game that sort of involves making your own entertainment? Check. Is the galaxy mindbogglingly epic in terms of its incompressible size but largely ’empty’? Check. Is it a game that is, when you strip of all the atmosphereaway, a 100% pure grind-fest? Check. I should detest this game on a level that would be hard to calculate. Despite all this I don’t. I’m loving making 360 lightyear round trips to earn 300K credits to upgrade my current ship and look forward to which new model to buy next. What will I do in that ship? At the moment, probably more of the same. I may get bored at some point, but I suspect by the time I do I’ll have got my money out of it in terms of time. It may also be true other things will grab my interest in the game as time goes on.
At the moment I’m enjoying the trading as I feel it is consolidating my position and security in the game. I feel I need a certain amount of cash to secure the vessels I want and as a cushion against the dangers of open play. I’ve had a bit of help, as I was boosted out of my starter vessel when my brother dropped off some rare cargo for me to sell. This has helped, as it allowed me to jump over the possibly endless hours or weeks of small profit trading. I’m now in a Hauler and trading rare goods for a good amount of credits. I could have got my next ship after one of those runs, but I’m choosing to not leap from ship to ship with little reserves.
A point may be reached when more and more cash becomes pointless. At this point I’m interested in how the new Powerplay expansion plays out, as it provides context to the various activities you can perform. The activities of the players push the agendas and expansion of various powers and this will hopefully make the game a bit more dynamic. It may even bring players together to achieve bigger objectives either directly or through the invisible hand of a guiding purpose.
I’m intrigued by exploration. Literally picking a point off out in the middle of nowhere, out from the borders of currently expanded territory, and hit the frame shift drive. You read some of the forums of people doing this and it seems really cool. It seems the galaxy is simulated on a level that is much deeper than the glorious visuals you’re presented with. They speak of the galactic plane, discovering black holes, different types of stars, etc. Elite is also great at evoking the atmosphere of being ‘out in the blackness’ of space, and that’s when you’re in explored space. The evocative feeling of not even knowing what’s out there until your scanners find it and you go and look has a certain…romantic allure.
I’m slowly transitioning to Open Play, though I might never get 100% there for a 100% of my actual play time. Elite is unique in the sense that it allows players to switch between solo, group and open lenses of its galaxy. The galaxy is the same and any changes impact everyone, but the game does allow someone to trade their way into lots of money in a galaxy full of only NPC pilots. Once they’re rich beyond avarice they can start playing in Open Play. This is cool, but odd, as usually games stop such lines being straddled.
I started in private, as the last thing I wanted was to be jumped by other players while just learning the game. This might not have happened. Possibly all such players aren’t in the starting zones as they have bigger ships and more profitable cargoes to pirate in other parts of the galaxy. I was happy doing that and then I discovered the Mobius group of 9K pilots and counting. Mobius is basically a private group with some basic rules that essentially turn the Elite galaxy into a PvE server. I’m not playing all the time in that Private Group – so in theory there is up to 9K other pilots out there (at a maximum). Not bumped into any of them, but I guess space is big…..
I have been tempted to give Open Play a shot, just so I can fly back to my start area and possibly help a few new people out with some rare goods. A bit of payback, but I’ve not done that yet. I’m not stupid, I’d fly all the way there safely in my Mobius Private Group, first….