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Combat, Community Goals and Epic Exploration?

I’ve started to scale back my actual play of Elite, but not because I’m not still enjoying the game, but because I’m waiting for Horizons to be released. Once Horizons is released I’ll be hitting it again big time. I’ve been doing new and different things in Elite up until this scale down though.

I’ve said this before, but what’s great about Elite is just as you get a bit bored with one aspect of the game others rise to take your interest. In this case, it’s combat and community goals. Combat specifically has given me a whole new part of the game to get to grips with and the community goals have been surprisingly interesting despite the fact I’d normally view that sort of thing as a con.

Power The Lasers, Load Up The Multi-Cannon

By and large I’ve avoided combat in Elite. If I get interdicted during trading I just submit and then boost and run. When I’m exploring you’re in the middle of nowhere and the maths ensures you’re unlikely to meet anyone. I play in my own private group or I play in the Mobius group both of which preclude PvP between other commanders.

Then I re-purchased my Python with the intention of it being combat specified and my brother got back into the game. We’ve been doing hazardous resource extraction sites in a Wing, and it’s pretty sweet.

A long time ago, back in the 90’s, there was a series of Lucasfilm games. They began with Star Wars: X-Wing (1993), following on with Star Wars: TIE Fighter (1994) and X-Wing v TIE Fighter (1997). There may even be others but I can’t remember them. They were great games and I played then..a lot. Combat in Elite is like a massively multi-player version of that. It’s also more involved and the graphics are substantially improved.

I’m still mastering the whole experience, but I’m enjoying it. The trouble I have is I just don’t get anywhere near as much out of my ship as other people seem to even with similar specifications, as far as I can tell. This is so much the case I never actually get much out of entering combat solo, I need to do be doing it with other people so I don’t lose….easily. I tend to stick to Resource Extraction Sites as I can control who attack and engage with in those zones. I never go close to a Combat Zone as, no matter what I do, I just can’t handle the lack of any control over what attacks me (as it’s basically any ship on the other side).

The other problem is it’s an expensive business. I’ve not made a profit from it yet as I’ve lost my Python three times which is about 13M credits and there is no way I’ve made that back from combat bounties. It’s also expensive to upgrade your ship to the best it can be. Don’t get me wrong, my Python is currently very combat capable, but it can always be better. As an example, I could really enhance the armour plating on my ship but it’s over 100M credits just for that! The re-buy cost of that would then be ridiculous.

I doubt it will ever be my main focus of the game, but I do it enjoy it as a social activity.

Community Goals That..Work

In every way community goals should be something I dismiss as a con. They’re meant to keep you playing and on any objective measure of return on time, in terms of in game resources, you’re time is better spent doing something else. I can earn more credits doing big commodity trades than I can from the community goals.

They work because they do engender a sense of community.

This probably works because the game is normally quite lonely. Even playing in Mobius you rarely bump into anyone during general play. When a big community goals kicks off it brings in a whole concentration of commanders. You arrive at a station and the instance feels like it has its full 32 complement and there is a sort of self-organised traffic control going on as ships come in and out. It was brilliant seeing so many commanders in one place. You get to chat, self-organised over where to get the needed commodities from, etc. It make sit feel like a universe that is lived in and that’s great.

The community goal(s) I’ve focused on recently are particularly good as the goals build towards the construction of a remote space station in a nebula. I’ve never seen so many T-9’s and Anacondas in one place ferrying what are epic levels of cargo. Clever stuff. I suspect it will be one of the first short sojourns once Horizons comes out, as we’ve been to that nebula before, but now it’ll have the station in it.

The Future is Epic Exploration

I’ve done a 4K light year exploration trip that spanned the gap between two spiral arms and I really enjoyed it. I’ve done a few sub-1K lightyear ones since to see the odd nebula. The plan was to focus on exploration once Horizons comes out, which is only natural.

If you’re going to land on worlds they might as well be distant ones!

The idea was to go to some more distant nebula, some being 4K light year away, but this time towards the galactic core rather than away from it. I started thinking bigger. Don’t I want to see the skies of the galactic core from the surface of planets? Once you admit that you might as well go to Sag*A?

Then I found the Distant Worlds Expedition that is being organised. An epic journey to travel across the Milky Way to the other side through the core. This is about as big an exploration trip as you can undertake, it’s ridiculously long, some 65K light years. It looks like they are setting a circa 10 week journey time based on way points, from which exploration trips can expand out and return to. It’s going to be a minimum of a six month commitment as you have to get back. Well, you don’t really, depending on your goals, but I plan to (or go further if my ship is still in a fit enough state).

It would give me purpose though, and if I made it I’d be in both the Sag*A and 65k LY clubs.

I have a small feeling I’m going to do it. It’ll be challenging, like some epic community goal. There is every chance I won’t make it, but I want to give it a go!

About Ian O'Rourke

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