We went on another Saturday exploration in Elite: Dangerous yesterday, I pulled my Asp Explorer out of the dock and my brother jumped into his Type-6 with a plan to hit the Horse Head Nebula and the Witch Head Nebula en-route.
It’s All About The Scoop
Last time we did this we nav-locked and jumped together as a wing, because we wanted to master wing-based jumping and because it wasn’t that far. In a brief discussion, before setting of, we decided to jump via individual routes but meet up at key points along the way. This is because lining up for a synchronised jump delays jump cycle time, and if you’re making over 30 of them to get to your final destination, etc.
This revealed some interesting factors.
The obvious one was my number of jumps on the route was always 2 – 3 hops shorter than the Type-6 as I had a jump range over 30 ly while the Type-6 was running at 29. This wasn’t the key indicator influencing speed though. I was getting to my route destination a good deal faster, like over 10 minutes (probably longer), because of the difference in our fuel scoops. I have my fuel scoop in a 6 slot, he had his in a 3 slot. The difference in scooping speed and the ability to keep your fuel topped up radically transforms your journey speed on longer distances.
If anything has sold me on whether I’d do my next long exploration trip in an Asp Explorer or a Diamondback Explorer it is the ridiculous slot 6 fuel scoop. It doesn’t so much scoop as almost suck the star dry at prodigious speed like some nefarious super weapon.
The Witch Head Nebula
We got to the Witch Head Nebula and I noticed something for the first time. What is absolutely beautiful is how the nebula appears as you fly away from the star. I never really noticed this on our first trip, but it was beautiful this trip. The vista of space is black and slowly goes pink and then the colours appear in all their glory.
The Witch Head Nebula itself was okay, but nothing really substantially more spectacular than the last one we went to. I was looking for something quite different.
The Horse Head Nebula
I’ll be honest, it was the Horse Head Nebula that was my goal for the day, the Witch Head just made sense as a visit because it was on the way. While my brother ‘ran out of time’ I continued on to the Horse Head and it really was worth it. The nebula we’d been to at this point pale in comparison to the Horse Head which really starts to allow you experience the awesome images you see other people showing on various social networks.
There is something strangely soothing about being out in the relative middle of nowhere in Elite, especially in the beauty of a nebula. It makes no sense. It’s just a game. You’re not really hovering in the beautiful, but cold and dangerous depths of space, but the artistic grandeur of the game is suitable inspiring that it does feel rewarding.
It’s a strange beast.
The Orion Nebula
I was intending to return home, setting off on the journey with the intention of making it back before going out on the evening. Then I spotted the Orion Nebula, which looked beautiful on the galaxy map, and decided to take a small diversion. It was well worth it, as it was another astounding vista.
I did also spot the California Nebula as I was zooming around the galaxy map but decided not to take other side trip as it was later and I wanted to get back to know space before I had to go to bed.
I’m currently not sure what form future exploration trips will take. We’ve been doing 1.5K ly distances or less on a weekend and returning in the same session or the next one. Horizons also comes out in the December and I’m not fully sure yet how that will change the nature of the game.
I’d like to go a bit further out again, but doing that is quite a big decision, as it essentially cuts me off from everyone else while I’m doing it.