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Distant Worlds – Scouting The First Waypoint

As part of my preparations for Distant Worlds I’m going to do some 1-2K light year explorations, pick up materials, land on worlds and practice the rhythm of long distance FSD travel. I could do a lot of this in the bubble of explored space, but I might as well add in the experience of being some distance, if not astronomical, from explored space.

Flying Hard, Flying Fast

There is a rhythm to long distance FSD travel, especially when you have a A6 fuel scoop. That thing doesn’t just take fuel from stars it counts as a Star Wars super weapon it sucks energy from suns so fast. They key thing with this prodigious scoop is that it scoops so fast you can top up the fuel from your last jump just by doing a brief fly by the star as part of your re-positioning move to jump to the next location.

The impact of this is you always sit at a full tank or pretty much at a full tank with not that great a hit on your travel speed. It’s quite a therapeutic rhythm and it allows me to do 1K light years in 30 minutes.

You don’t really see much while travelling this way. Enter system, re-position with a sneaky super scoop, meanwhile scan the system for celestial objects, jump out. It means you know what’s in the system but you’ve not done any detailed scans of any of the celestial bodies. If this was all your exploration trip consisted of it would be pretty pointless.

The key thing is going to be using the Distant Worlds structure to my advantage. Travelling to key points along the route is just that: travelling. I’ll need to do some more interesting sightseeing and exploring utilising the rendezvous points as a base camp. As a result, it’ll be a like a series of fast travels, followed by branching out a number of light years and then doing more detailed work in that area.

The Baron First Waypoint

The 1K light year journey I used as an experiment was the trip to Shapley 1, the first rendezvous point on the Distant Worlds Expedition. It’s an interesting location because of what does and doesn’t exist there.

The first surprise, though I should have known if I’d read the expedition threat correctly, is there isn’t anything at Shapley 1. No planets. Just two stars in quite distant orbit of each other. I guess I was expecting a planet to land on. What is there is a massive Wolf-Rayet class star and its companion K class star. The system has a nebula around it as if something has exploded and the nebula is the blue carona that remains.

It was interesting to see, but it’s still left me in a total mystery as to where the actual rendezvous point is at the first way point. I’m sure we’ll find out closer to the day.

The Christmas 3303 Nebula Tour

In order to get some frequent flyer miles in and some landing practice, along with some materials harvested, I’m going to do one the nebula trips over Christmas. This starts off with the California Nebula and then scouts around the Pelican, North American, Elephants Trunk, Cave and NGC 7822 Nebulas. These nebulas are in a different direction to the Distant Worlds Expedition, so it’s handy to visit them now and it gives the preparation for the big trip a focus.

Increasing Confidence, Let’s Go!

I’ll admit, while I’m under no illusion these trips are in any way serious preparation for a 3-month trip of 65K light years, they do fill me with confidence. The main reason being I feel I can travel fast and reliably as long as I don’t play the game half asleep. This really increases my confidence I may see it to the end, unforeseen disasters aside.

After all, that 65K is just 65 of those 30-minute, 1K light year burst runs, right?

I also quite like the model of bursts of travel and then spending some time exploring in an area and then moving on. I can make that work. I also think it’s the only way to manage a trip of that length as you have to find a balance between speed rushing it and seeing very little but getting to your end point or stopping at so many places along the route you never actually get there!

It’ll also be a trip in which you should see other people. It’s going to be really interesting making such a long trip yet, hopefully, still seeing other players on your sensors. This will be pretty amazing. You can play the game in the settled bubble and rarely see another player so seeing others at the rendezvous points so far out, talking and keeping each other going is going to be great.

It’s been an interesting experiment. It’s made me look forward to the start of the expedition. In the mean time I’m going to enjoy knocking those nebula off the to visit list.

About Ian O'Rourke

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