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From Rares to Commodities

Elite continues apace, just when things become routine another challenge comes along. The first thing to get out of the way is the fact I’ve consolidated my vessels. I’ve sold the Cobra and the Hauler as they’re not going to be used. I’d have sold the Sidewinder, but you get it for free so it has a zero value. I am now operating primarily out of a Lakon Type 6 for trading and my Diamondback Scout when I feel like blowing other vessels up. I’ve also got all my vessels in the same space and I have the George Lucas space station at Leesti as my base.

Item number one. I’ve nearly completed my outfitting of a Diamondback Explorer. It’s just waiting for the money to fit the scanners it needs. I headed down this road because I want to give exploring a go, the difficulty I’m getting into is the fact it precludes doing anything else. Since playing the game with relatives seems to be dying a death this might not be as a big a deal. I could take it on a short run as an experiment. What I’m aware of is it is quite a few credits sitting in storage. I’ve not checked but the Frame Shift Drive itself is 5M so I’m guessing it’s over 10M.

Item number two is I’ve shifted from the Cobra to a Lakon Type 6 for the bigger hold. I’m now operating with a 100 cargo capacity. This puts it at the borderline between rare trading and commodity trading. I’ve still been working off a few rare trading routes, which is fine, but I want to shift to commodities to see how that works out. I suspect, on the Type 6, it’s a matter of which works for you, but if I upgrade to a larger trading vessel I’m well into commodity territory due to bigger holds and drives with much less jump range. It’s been difficult so far finding a commodity route that is worth the time. You really need items that generate 1K profit per tonne and aren’t that far apart (otherwise you might as well be running rares). Harder to find than I thought it would be. I’ve started experimenting with online tools and I’m going to see how that works out.

Beyond these current vessels for trading, combat and exploration I’m not really sure what to do next.

I think up until now the direction has been appealing and the vessels have, by and large, been affordable. All the vessels have initial purchase cost under 2M, all of them but the Diamondback Explorer have been 1M or less. They cost more to outfit, but the initial price is probably indicative of the outfit cost. I am now in the territory of vessels that are 17M+ just to buy in a virtually unusable state. There is also a bit of a why do I want them factor other than to get them, which didn’t feel the case with the purchases so far.

The main issue is my Type 6 will cap my ability to generate money, so I need to decide to do something with that if I want to progress at all. The logical next step is the Type 7 but that just seems as boring as hell. Twice as big a hold, smaller jump range and it looks awful. It does allow me to earn twice as much money per run but it would well and truly restrict my style of play to shorter commodity runs as branching out into rares for variation just would not be an option as I’d not fill the hold and the number of hops across the route would be radically increase in number. The Type 9 is more of the same. Even bigger. Even slower.

What’s the end goal?

This is a good point. The natural tendency is to gun for one of the 50M ships, a Python or an Anaconda (which is a whopping 146M without any outfitting). The Type 9 itself is 76M so it’s actually less than the Python straight out of the shop.

I probable want to own a perfectly kitted out Python or Anaconda. I’m not really sure why, other than the fact it seems to represent a certain point in the development of the game. Hell, it’s not like you can even fly about in it just to show people you have it as meeting other player ships is quite rare (though I admit I’m not in Open Play, but a group with 9K pilots in it). So, what I’d be doing with those ships is a bit of a mystery. I probably do need to be trading Type 9 levels of earning capacity to afford these ships though and the Type 9 then necessitates the Type 7, etc. I suspect I’m for a period of grinding out trades, while the game has not felt like that so far.

I’ll be honest, trading in a Type 9 is something I can get into. The sheer balls of its size appeals. It is like a vast, lumbering whale plying the space lanes. It sends a signal you’ve made it as a trader, you’ve ceased to be the ‘white van man’ of the space lanes and you’re one of the big traders. It also has the advantages of looking really, really cool. It’s actually one of the best looking ships in the game, which is saying something for a trading vessel. It looks like a bulked up Defiant off of Deep Space Nine. In all honestly, it looks like some ‘bring the hurt on combat vessel’, a slugger that can take and dish out epic punishment. It’s a bit weird that its design is for trading. The only problem I have with it is getting to a good, short run trade route with a Type 9 would be an epic journey, but that’s the same with the Type 7.

I just have to grind out the crappy looking, and middle ground status that is the Type 7 to get to the Type 9. Despite liking the look of a Type 9, at that point I’d not be sure what to do with the money I was earning!

I may avoid the decision. I may jump into the Diamondback Explorer and head off into unexplored space to see what that is like. It allows me to do something else that by its very nature puts the other avenues totally off the agenda. Shake things up a bit. When I return there may be another vessel progression option? Or I may find the Type 7 easier to stomach as a stepping stone to the ‘balls out’ trading option of the Type 9.

That Type 9 does look cool though. It can generate loads of money that can sit in the bank. Doing nothing.

About Ian O'Rourke

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