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Distant Worlds – The Great and the Scary

To say today has been a good day on the Distant Worlds Expedition is an understatement. I decided to spend some of the day exploring out from the first base camp, as three days are provided for whatever activities people want to arrange. I decided to go ‘east’, plotted a 500 LY distance and started exploring.

I expected to just log data. Not seeing anything too spectacular. I was very wrong.

The Exploration Awesome…

There is a routine to exploring. You hit the system, do the system wide scan. You then check to see if its been explored before, if it has then I move on leaving it at the system scan. If not, the next step is to see what planets exist within 1K LS of the star. I sometimes branch out further than that, but it’s a good marker. You also check for anything with the colour scheme of a water or earth-like world. You then start flying towards the planets and depending on their size the detailed scanner will kick in and report back on the full, planetary details. Once you’ve scanned everything, hit the next system. The vast majority of the time you get the same metal, ice and whatever else rocks.

The above is what I was expecting to break up some of the scanning, as you don’t even have to have some of the worlds in visual range to complete the detailed scan. I thought the odd planet might break up the scanning routine. I may find the odd thing worth landing on based on what I might see in the sky, say a moon close to an impressive planet.

In truth, you hope for a world that can support human life and carbon-based life forms, the Class M worlds of the Star Trek vernacular. The miracle is today I came across three.

The first came as a total surpise, I scanned the system and looked at the various planets. One of them looked like it could be Earth-like. I wasn’t convinced though, as in my head I only expected to find a couple in the whole trip yet I was potentially looking at one two days into the expedition! I went straight to it, the scanner eventually kicked in and bam: water world. Brilliant. The beauty of it was…awesome. It’s weird because I sort of new what to expect but at the same time I didn’t. I’d seen pictures of them, but there is nothing like finding one. It’s only a bloody game, but it was thing of absolute beauty. Some people say you never forget the first one you find. I can now understand why.

Obviously, I thought that would be it. It wasn’t though, in the next but one system the same happened again and this one turned out to be an Earth-like world with continents and everything. Two in the space of a couple of jumps. I’m not sure what odds that runs at but it must be pretty long. This was only beaten by the fact that, before the trip was out, I came across another water world.

It was, without doubt, a very surprising afternoon in Elite terms.

…Then It Got Scary!

I bottomed the ship when landing at the first base camp, bringing my hull down to 40%.

First. Rewind.

After finding the wealth of life supporting worlds I decided to head back to the bubble and sell the data, not so much because I wanted the money, as it didn’t seem to amount to much, but because I really wanted my name on these planets. Whatever happens in the future I’m not overly bothered about but I wanted that great afternoon marked for prosperity.


I got a load of first discoveries, which was really cool. I also got first discovery on the three water and Earth-like worlds, an example is shown above.  The trip back to occupied and space and the return to the way point went fine, until I got back to the base camp.

It was a lack of concentration. I was listening to Critical Role, which is manageable when exploring, but I shouldn’t have continued when on planetary approach. I was having problems finding the base camp despite it being an epic crater visible from some distance in space. Then the dog wanted something and I was interacting with her. The result? Lack of appreciation of speed and bumping the ship off the surface. Nasty.

The problems then continued as I headed back again and repaired the hull. Then on the journey back again, the third trip on the route in the day, I cut too close to a sun when scooping and blasted 2% off the hull. Okay, not that big a deal, but leaving with hull damage so early in the journey is something I just can’t stomach so I headed back..again.

It’s safe to say if this had happened at a point at which I couldn’t just return to a station my will to go on would probably have been severely dented. In reality, it’s only the first point that offers easy access to repair facilities.

Simple mistakes are the biggest risk to the voyage. It can just happen so easily. I really need to instil a level of discipline and do everything carefully. Never play too much. Have breaks. It’s just not worth the disappointment of not getting to the end.

…And It Just Got Really Scary!

Yes, that just happened while sorting out the posting of this. The fact I was updating the blog meant I only just half caught it. I was about to tell someone off for doing some mad SRV jump over my ship, but another pilot informed me a Cutter nearly hit me then exploded. The Cutter is massive, like bigger than Anaconda massive. It’s a pity I didn’t get to see the whole thing (the crash was also behind me). I nearly got totally taken out.

I was on the top of the mountain at the base camp. I’ve moved off the mountain. Close call.

Next..The Lagoon Nebula

The next way point is at the Lagoon Nebula, which is pretty good as I like my nebulas. It is 3750K LY from the first way point so it’s a significantly longer trip than the first hop. Hell, the furthest I’ve been from Sol on a previous exploration trip was 4K LY from Sol. The second way point will pass that line.

I’ve done some checks and people are suggesting there isn’t anything significant to see on the way, so it’s going to be a continuous motion to get there, check out the nebula and then spread out from there. I’ve yet to decide if I hang around for some sense of a launch or decide I’m done and just set off early.

About Ian O'Rourke

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