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Distant Worlds – Accident At Drakes Ridge!

Distance: 8.2K LY from Sol, Hull Integrity: 99%

It’s been a strange week for Distant Worlds. I’ve played it a lot less across WP4 and WP5, which is where I am currently at. I think this is only natural as the first three waypoints have been quite intense in terms of playing time. There was a lot of sights to see, it was all new and it’s also true to say some of the sights have been bunched together.

The time I have spent playing, I’ve spent talking to people at the waypoints and doing some actual exploration scanning!

Welcome to Waypoint Four

There are a range of activities going on around the fleet. One of those activities are people going off ahead of the fleet and selecting the base camps for each waypoint. I’m not sure what the guidelines are rules are, but I assume one of them is to make them interesting in terms of approach, landing and the visuals while you are sat there.

They are doing a great job.

As you can see from the two images ago, the base camp for WP4 are on top of a mountain, which is on the edge of a massive crater. It was good because of the view and also great because it was a bit challenging to land on. Not so bad for me, being in an Asp, but some of the larger ships were certainly having some problems.

Getting Some True Exploration In

The time I’ve spent on Elite around WP4 and WP5 have been spent loitering at the waypoint of actually doing some real exploration. There is a certain fascination with exploration scanning, in a rather dry ‘will there be a planet capable of supporting carbon-based life-forms way’.

Basically, you enter a system. You honk it, basically a long distance scan which makes a ‘honk’ sound when it completes. While doing this you’ve probably skilled the star and refuelled. Then you quickly check the system to see if there is anything within reasonable range, which for me is less than 1K LS out. If there is anything that looks like a water world or an Earth-like, bigger win. Then you fly through the system doing detailed scans.

Move on. Repeat.

It is strangely hypnotic, but you’re usually doing something else while doing it. Listening to music, at least, possibly watching some TV on another computer, etc. This process is essentially why my voyage so far has been more focused on seeing sights as I find that and taking images much more interesting. It also shows the brilliance of the Distant World’s community effort as exploring primarily exists of this lonely ass process. It only getting broken up by the odd juicy Earth-like or a good image if you happen to hit something interesting or get close enough to a planet to see if it’s interesting.

Ironically, some of the more interesting ones, such as big gas giants with rings, you can scan from further away!

You do have to concentrate though. I had a moment when I wasn’t concentrating and a bypassed a moon just a bit too close and I was pulled out of super cruise violently and lost 1% of my hull. It’s these simple mistakes that put an ever increasing risk on the expedition!

Welcome to Waypoint Five

I love WP5. Every so often you come across planets that seem to have a different atmosphere, though in truth they have no atmosphere otherwise we’d not be able to land on it. That ‘atmosphere that is not there’ tends to manifest in the planet having a hanging haze in the non-existence air.

WP5 is a haunting green and it’s very atmospheric. It’s got all sorts of people talking about hearing strange sounds and scouting the planet for aliens, but I think a lot of this stuff is a mixture of both active imaginations and the grand hope that Frontier will pull something epic on the fleet like the discovery of the eponymous Thargoids.

I don’t think any of that is going to happen, though it would be great if it did.

A very atmospheric waypoint though.

Another Near and another Actual Crash

Way back at waypoint two I was nearly wiped off the face of a mountain by a Cutter that crash landed. It hit the planet like a crashing jumbo jet, scraping my shields as it flew over me only to impact the surface and explode behind me.

It’s happened again, along with a total wipe out when an Asp crashed. In true Russian car cam style we have a video of the event. You could say this was always a potential problem as the WP5 is at a 1G world, which isn’t particularly problematic, but all the others have had virtually no gravity.

In the video above the focus of the eye is on the rapidly approaching Cutter as it does some sort of lateral manoeuvre that it nearly loses control of but just manages get a handle on before it severely damages an Anaconda. Instead it brushes it’s shields and all is well.

That is until the true disaster takes place in the background. An Asp just impacts the surface, bouncing of an another Asp and then it explodes. The green hue of the planet even gives it a sort of found footage, Cloverfield quality. This resulted in two pilots having to re-join the fleet. The sad thing is, some credits aside, I’d have rather been the guy who crashed, at least he only has to travel one way. The damaged bystander has to do 8.2K there and back, unless he chooses to self-explode.

At the moment, the most dangerous moments in the game have been at the waypoints.

Leaving Home Behind

Waypoint is a big deal, as the launch from WP5 represents us ‘leaving home behind’. We are 8.2K LY from Sol at WP5 and WP6 is 4.3K LY away. It’s the biggest single journey the fleet has made between waypoints and represents the future of the expedition.

While WP5 might have allowed people to return to civilization, though I think I’d already passed that point, once we leave it gets more and more erroneous and serious error is more likely to represent an end to that pilots trip.

It also increases the work effort, it’s been particularly leisurely so far. It takes about an hour to do 1K LY so that’s a four hour effort to get to WP6. We are leaving on Sunday and the rendezvous is Thursday evening, so that’s an hour a day (or slightly less if you put some time in on Sunday). It’s going to be interesting to see how fast I get there and whether it will isolate ‘other activities but travel’ to the weekend.

It’s still going well. I still think it’s a fantastic community experience. Not looking forward to the peculiarities of navigating through the core, but more on that later.

About Ian O'Rourke

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