Location: Outer Rim Vacuous, Distance from Sol: 14,181 Light Years, Hull: 97%
I’ve mentioned a few times how I’ve reached peak Elite and I was a bit sad I could no longer find purpose in the game. I’d ridden the ship ladder as far as I wanted to go with it. I’d done the Distance Worlds Expedition which was an epic journey across the galaxy.
Safe to say I was pretty much done, though I did try a self-motivated journey around the edge of the galaxy but that ended very quickly.
We now have some good news!
Distant Worlds 2 Is Announced
Yes, that is right, Distant Worlds 2 has been announced. That’s the good news. The bad news is it’s been announced a year in advance! What? This is because the best expeditions do take a bit of planning and also the organisers always like to time the expeditions around new content.
They don’t just want to do a repeat, they want the experience to be new and different due to new game content and game play and exploration elements are due to be added as part of the later round of updates in 2018.
I could just sit out of the game until then? Or I could take part in an expedition with the same goal as my ill-fated journey around the edge of the galaxy!
The Circumnavigation Expedition
The Circumnavigation Expedition has a small fleet of circa 100 registered vessels making a circumvention of the galaxy in a clockwise direction. The goal being to follow the outer reaches of the outer spiral arms as much as possible depending on individual jump ranges.
The expedition will take a year. That’s right. You heard it correctly. It will take a year of real time. It doesn’t have to. It could be done faster, but we’ve sort of agreed on circa 10K light years every two weeks. When that pans out it’s about a year.
Will I finish the whole trip? Who knows, but it will hopefully be fun while I’m doing it and has the benefit of way points, meet-ups and a Discord Server which my quickly cut short individual endeavour to do the same thing did not have.
As you’ve probably already worked it has the benefit of concluding around the time Distant Worlds 2 will start.
The Trusted Vessel
The vessel making the trip is Magellan. It’s not an Anaconda, which probably accounts for most of the ships making the trip, but an Asp Explorer. While I may be envious of the jump distances on some of those Anaconda’s in the fleet I know two things: I’ll not go through the engineering grind to to max the jump distance and I prefer the small Asp for exploring (which does have an engineered jump drive).
It’s also the vessel I did the Distant Worlds Expedition in so I’m attached to it. This is also the reason why I didn’t swap to a Diamondback Explorer which has less internals but you can squeeze a bit more jump distance out of it. I like the internals of the Asp.
I am pleased with my choice and am looking forward to returning with Magellan looking suitably shabby due to the epic journey. This is something I didn’t get to see on the Distant Worlds Expedition as I believe the paint job on the ship severely minimised the impact.
The Journey to a Distant Star
The trip to the first way point, and start of the circumnavigation, at 3 Geminorum, was some journey, this is because all distances from Sol are based on direct flight. This is not possible, especially when you are crossing between outer spiral arms, which can have vast spaces of almost nothing.
In order to make the journey less arduous I didn’t go direct and went to the Daedalus Crossing were there is a stretch of denser stars between the spiral arms. This allowed me to use the navigation computer to plot a route completely across the arms rather than having to go manual and increase my jump range with synthesis materials due to the scarcity of stars.
The journey was punctuated with a few life supporting planets which are always joy to find as they shine their blue, green and white colours out into the depths of space like priceless jewels.
The final stages to 3 Geminorum were more difficult, involving manual plotting and the use of synthesis material that are in short supply, but we made it. I also made sure I have enough to fly back out via the same route. It remains to be seen how much time will need to spent harvesting synthesis materials during the expedition.
Welcome to 3 Geminorum
3 Geminorum is the southern most, non-procedural star in the Elite Dangerous representation of the Milky Way Galaxy. Its sits above the galactic plane by circa 600 light years. Since it sits on the edge of the southern most spiral arm it represents a great starting point.
The system is home to a Class A blue-white super giant star, which is an oddity this far out in the darkness of space. It’s reached the end of its ancient life and has begun expanded and getting ever closer to the first celestial body to orbit it.
This far out, the brightness of the galactic core and ever denser spiral arms, seems so distant.
The system is replete with planetary bodies surrounded by rings. I did take a jaunt to the closes planetary body to the main star and had an investigation around its rings under the glow of the blue-white super giant. It was pretty impressive, though I do prefer the yellow colourations of the less mature stars.
Having arrived early at the way point I now await the fleets launch out along the outer spiral arm so we can begin our journey circumventing the galaxy.
The Geyser Field
There are features within Elite Dangerous that have been added that I’ve either not fully engaged with or not seen at all. One such feature is the addition of geysers on planets. They were added ages ago but I’ve not played enough to land on enough planets to see one. As you can imagine the planets can be quite lare so even if geysers exist your chancing of just coming across one are pretty remote.
There is a whole load of actual science around this stuff but these seem to be relatively inactive ones just slow releasing steam what seems to be steam. There are also more pressurised geysers that release water of sufficient consistency to launch an SRV high into the ‘air’ on low gravity worlds.
The primary cool effect of these geysers was the way the clouds of steam obscured the primary blue white super giant star which allowed for some great photo opportunities.
The very first stage of the journey is done, albeit it is essentially a journey to the starting blocks. It’s been good so far. It always feels good playing Elite Dangerous when there is a purpose to it, some sense of narrative (the vast journey) and people to discuss it with. We shall see if I see the expedition all the way through. It’s a year long. It’s quite possible the expedition itself may not go the distance as the organisers themselves may not see out the year.
It is a long time.
Hopefully it will be fun while it lasts, but it will be great to say I’ve circumvented the Milky Way!