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Distant Worlds – The Honk and Jump to WP8

Duration: 29 days. Distance: 20.6K LY from Sol. Hull Integrity: 96%

It’s been a while. Two whole weeks. The experience has moved on from being one of sightseeing to being a honk and jump experience. Honk and jump being a reference to scanning the system for celestial bodies and then jumping to the next one on the route.

Basically, it’s involved hauling myself from one waypoint to another. The distant between waypoints has grown to 4.2K LY per hop, which means putting in 3-4 hours into the game just to get the lightyears in between the waypoints. The prime rendezvous’ are also closer together, hitting Thursday and Sunday rather than being a week apart.

This isn’t all of the reason I’ve done less in the game, I’ve just had a period when I’ve played it less. This is only natural after binging during the first stage.

Space Sickness At Waypoint Six

I arrived at waypoint six and had my usual frustration trying to find the base camp. It’s complicated, due to the way the game works the full navigational tools only kick in when you’ve dropped out of orbital cruise and by that time you need to be on top of your destination or you’ll have too many kilometres at normal, atmospheric speed to travel. I asked someone on the surface to wing me in,

I liked the base camp it was on the edge of a massive canyon area which itself had high mountains in. I had a fly through it as well as a bit of a scout around in the SRV. I did some exploring from out of the base camp, but it wasn’t that interesting. No high value planets regrettably.

wp6basecamp-6

When I returned to the base camp there was a bit of space sickness going on. The instance I ended up in was highly populated, probably the most populated I’ve been in on the trip. All of its occupants seemed to be engaged in creating a starship tower. I wasn’t interested in joining in, but it was interesting to see as a strange way of occupying your base camp time. It probably was some record, if a number of stacked ships or the height of a stacked ship Jenga tower is some sort of record.

WP7 And The Edge of The Core

The journey to waypoint seven was frustrating. It was was frustrating because I started to experience the frustration of the core and I lost 1% hull due to my own stupidity.

I’d always heard passing conversations that the core was a pain to navigate, but I never really understood why. A part of me assumed it might have been a pain to navigate once, a bit like at one point you couldn’t do 1000 LY routes on the route planner. I learned on my way to waypoint 7 it’s the density of stars that are the problem.

wp7journey-1

As can be seen in the picture above I’m getting closer to the core so that ribbon you see in the distance in occupied space is quickly becoming the space you actually occupy. The density of stars in the core is ludicrous. The navigator starts to take minutes to plot routes. The other option is to plot smaller routes each time. This method can involve plotting a route every 100 LY which is very frustrating. This means I’m looking forward to stage three as we see some great sights, but the navigational pain might be a bit of a trial.

I did decide to do a repair operation at waypoint seven. I like to see my modules at 100%. In order to maximise my jump distance my ship is underpowered, meaning I can’t have all my modules turned at once so things a prioritised. This is fine as you don’t need them all on at once. A repairing operation involves turning the automatic field repair unit on and then turning things off so they can be repaired. The repairing went well but after I’d done it I kept getting alerts that things had been turned off due to consuming too much power. It was turning the right things off but I’d had it configured before so that it didn’t go over 100% and so I didn’t get the warnings.

The frustration over these alerts is important for later.

Holy Neutron Star WP8!

I lost a further 3% hull on the way to waypoint eight, 2% of it was due to a new experience while 1% of it was due to my own stupidity.

I was getting annoyed with the warnings that modules had been turned off due to my ship going over 100% power. I decided to run through the modules and fix it as things had been configured so it worked without the warnings. While doing this I stupidly turned the module for super cruise off while still in super cruise so I crashed out causing 1% hull damage. It was incredibly stupid. I should have dropped out to normal space before doing anything to do with module priorities or turning things on and off. I was annoyed with myself as soon as it happened.

For a while people have been discussing on Skype, and at previous waypoints, the gold from heaven that are neutron stars. Basically, you get a lot of money for scanning them. I’d never encountered any. Yet everyone was talking about going places full of these golden opportunities and farming neutron stars to get their exploration rating up (when they hand it all in on return).

I’m still not sure where these previous fields of dense neutron stars where, but I’ve started to encounter them naturally as move closer to the core. It really preys on my mind that I’m losing out here. I’d love to be Elite in exploration by the time I get back but I really don’t think it’s going to happen. This is a pity, as it probably means I’ll never be Elite. If I’m going to be I really need to start farming neutron starts. The trouble is, it feels just a bit too much like the sort of MMO activity I don’t like. As a result, I haven’t done it so far.

The additional 2% hull I lost came down to my first encounter with a neutron star. I didn’t realise how far out the ‘danger zone’ of these neutron stars goes. It seems you’re basically within its ‘orbit line’ upon entering the system so you have to handle your exit very carefully. This ignorance meant I crashed out of super cruise. Always turn away from the neutron star and travel away before doing anything else!

As for waypoint eight? The base camp was different to some of the others as instead of being on an elevated point or on the edge of a canyon the base camp was actually in a canyon. I landed there and then did literally nothing else until I left. I didn’t even attend the prime rendezvous. I didn’t even load Elite up that evening. This was a first. I always attend the prime rendezvous.

The land and leave was an appropriate end to the ‘get the light years in and nothing else’ approach to stage two.

Bring On The Big Sights!

While stage two might have been done with a sense of disengagement, I’m looking forward to stage 3. It moves us into the core proper and has the fleet pass two big black holes and reach Sagittarius A* at the centre of the galaxy. This is one of those key moments, reaching a location in the game not many of the player community has reached. There are also numerous nebula and a trip to the top of the galaxy. A jaunt to the top of the galaxy from the core is one of the things I’ve always wanted to do in the game.

On this basis I’m hoping my actual play of the game picks up again.

About Ian O'Rourke

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