Elite: Dangerous Blog

News and events from the Elite Dangerous galaxy

A year in Elite Dangerous

ships_thumbWell that went quick. This time last year I was driving up the motorway to RAF Duxford with my youngest son to attend the Elite Dangerous launch event. A year a lot has changed, not counting protest goats and bobbleheads.
In January we had the 1.1 update which added some of the elements missing from the launched game (like decals) along with additions to GalNet and the new feature of Community Goals. We also saw the introduction of the sexy Imperial Clipper and the not-so-sexy Federal Dropship.
In March we had 1.2 “Wings” update which added the PvP’ers favourite Fer-de-Lance and the bulldog of space, the Vulture. As the name suggested, this update added the ability to join three friends in a group with a means of finding each other and travelling as a group. This had more than its fair share of troubles due to instancing. While mostly behind us, instancing still occasionally rears its invisible head and blocks us from seeing each other. 1.2 also added shield boosters & cell banks, changing the combat mechanic. The price of fuel levelled out, rather than scaling up with the value of your ship – previously a ton of fuel would cost 100’s of times as much for a Type 9 as it did for a Viper.

Between these updates Elite hit the Steam sales platform for the first time, bring the game to a wider audience, followed by its first release on the Apple Mac in May.

Not until June did the next major update for the PC surface and this one, the 1.3 “PowerPlay” proved controversial. Many couldn’t see what it was for. Basically Frontier’s version of space power struggle & politics got, at best, a lukewarm reception. Since its launch PowerPlay has proved to be Marmite - with some people loving its benefits, while others ignoring it totally, or railing against it in the forums. On a positive note, 1.3 brought two new ships – the DiamondBack in Scout and Explorer flavours and the Imperial Courier; a long-range combat ship. I was indifferent to PowerPlay, but have since changed my stance and think it has its place.
In September we got the 1.4 “Close Quarters Combat” as did the Xbox one, taking the game to its third platform. With 1.4 we had a new arena combat mini game added. Personally I have found CQC fun in short bursts, but lacking any lasting appeal; I just want to get back to my “real” spaceship. In the core game, 1.4 added a greater variety to missions, including the new salvage mission type and new types of extraction site for mining and bounty hunting. The Imperial Eagle (the poor man’s Clipper) was added to the game, along with the Federal Assault Ship and the Federal Gun Ship.
And so, on to today and the next update – 1.5 “Ships” which brings us an extra ship for CQC (The Imperial Fighter). It also adds the Asp Scout, Viper Mk IV and Keelback, plus the Imperial Cutter; the largest ship in the game so far and the Federal Corvette a hardened battleship with everything, except half-decent jump range (12Lyr) which is it’s Achilles heel. The Cutter is fast and sexy, but turns like an oil tanker. Also these ships both require the 12th naval rank in the Federation and Empire, so not just any riff-raff can buy them (me included right now!). The core game has been given a lot of polish and missions have expanded again in number and type. Integration with version 2.0 have been added to the game, so what I would describe as “feature bleed” is taking place, giving core players access to some of the goodies Horizons players will see.
Now Elite is about to launch into its second year or Season, and we’re starting with Horizons, the biggest update yet! My X52 pro shows no signs of dust and I haven’t played more than a couple of hours on any other game all year. My main concern now being that I have the cash for a headset and the graphics card needed to play Elite in VR next year.

Multi-crew, player avatars, maybe even a PS4 version of Elite? Prepare 2016 for launch…

Elite Dangerous Ship Sizes to scale (updated)

ship_size_smallSome updated ship size data started floating around on reddit yesterday, along with some awesome 3D renders of ships. Thanks to Prefim/Mat Recardo for these.
So I updated the pixel-to-metre scaled ships chart and here it is. Sizes are based on the table below.


It's not the size of your ship, it's what you do with it!

Ship Dimensions (in metres)

Ship Length Width Height
Adder 31.5 28.8 9.6
Anaconda 152.4 61.8 31.0
Asp 56.5 51.3 19.7
Cobra 27.1 44.0 7.9
Eagle 31.2 29.7 7.1
Federal Dropship 73.9 52.3 21.7
Fer de Lance 73.6 51.6 15.4
Hauler 28.6 26.2 10.4
Imperial Clipper 106.7 103.7 24.8
Lakon Type 6 48.4 27.2 15.0
Lakon Type 7 81.6 56.1 25.4
Lakon Type 9 Heavy 117.4 115.3 33.2
Orca 130.4 50.8 22.7
Python 87.9 58.1 18.0
Sidewinder 14.9 21.3 5.4
Viper 29.8 24.0 8.6
Vulture 43.1 34.7 12.3


There's also a really cool video render of the ships to scale as well

3-2-1, and you are back in the room. Have 5M CR!

Just an update from yesterday; after putting a long 4,500 light years under my belt last night (from 6pm) at just before 10pm I touched down at Zeta Trianguli Australis, by adopted home world, and cashed up my Cartographic exploration data.

A cash payout of 5.5M CR was a nice end to the evening.

I'm going to do a bit of trading now until I feel the pull of deep space once more!

So I'll go no more a roaming!

exploring_hyper-space-smallI've been out of it this week. Well, several thousand light years out anyway.

I popped into my Stealth-fighter-skinned exploration Asp and headed out for parts unknown on Friday of last week. The idea was to head into the centre of the galaxy, as all my previous explorations had been outward rather than inward. The furthest I had been previously was 2,000 Light Years, making a total round trip of over 4,000Lyrs.

Initially I found all the systems I visited had been previously explored, but by the time I was out of inhabited space by around 500 Light Years, I started to find the odd unexplored planet – usually 100,000Ls distant from the hyperspace exit point! Gradually it became every third jump that I found a system unexplored, then every other jump, then I was in uncharted space.

This system was the largest I found, with 70 astronomical objects.

Just to say a little bit about my ship. My Asp is equipped with two heat sinks, no weapons (weight) and two auto-repair modules as well as a class 6 Fuel Scoop. When out in the deeps of space, scooping takes up a lot of time, so if you’re going out there, buy the biggest one you possibly can. My Asp has a jump-range of 34.16 Light Years. Something that sets it above the capability of most non-explorer ships. Only an Anaconda can jump further (so far).

After two days of jumping, scooping and scanning systems I had reached 8,000 Light Years from home. Nearly there right? Wrong! 18,000 Light Years still to go. Plus, due to a couple of sun-related collisions my hull was at 96% and my power plant was damaged.
Now, while auto-repair can fix most systems, it cannot fix hull damage and it can’t fix the power plant, because you can’t take it offline. With the damage to the power plant, I couldn’t raise the MW to run my heat-sinks, so I had to shut them down. With such a large distance still to go, I had to make a decision whether to forge on and hope for the best or turn back and return (alive) with all the massive amounts of scanning data I had amassed.

So last night, I turned my Asp around and headed back. Buy only stopping for fuel every third jump and scanning the star while my ship slurp hydrogen from the star, I made much faster time. I managed to put 4,000 Light Years under my belt in the course of three and a half hours.

Ironically after coming so far, it wasn’t until I had turned back, I found my first undiscovered earth-like world. I shall call this planet “Muffet” after my childhood pet guinea-pig which itself was named after the robot dog in BattleStar Galactica.


Within another thousand light years I had discovered a second. I haven’t thought of name for that one yet. I’ve found more than a few Water-World’s, but as my fellow CMDR Kalen said, “No sign of Kevin Costner anywhere!”.

When I finally parked up my ship last night, I was still around 4,500 Light years from my home system.


I have to get back to Quivira to collect my 6,000,000CR payout from the last community goal!

Parking issues

in-my-space_thumbYou sir, are in my space!

I popped into Ballandin Gateway yesterday evening and took my Fer-de-lance into the outfitting to swap some internals around.

When I surfaced, I came face to face with an Adder, in my spot. And I quite literally mean “in” it – his ship was embedded in the nose of my FDL!

I have no idea what happened, but I guess he was inbound to my pad when I returned to the surface. Is this an example of failed A.I. or a warts-and-all simulation of real like parking issues?


We exchanged insurance details and my paint work has been subsequently repaired. Although I’m sure that someone has “keyed” the side of my Anaconda…

No good crying over spilt insurance

fdl_moneyAfter Sunday's Anaconda crash, I didn't have any chance to play, having been away on business - ironically I drove through Cambridge, probably only a few miles from Frontier on Monday and Wednesday. Didn’t see their offices on the route I took though!

My funds were just under 11 million, having been depleted by 6M after crashing the Anaconda, so the objective was to revitalise the bank account.

Last night was my first day back in the game since Sunday and first play with my new GTX 970 graphics card. I got the Oculus wired into the new card and ran up Elite with the graphics options on Ultra and the resolution set to 2560x1440 down-sampled. I cannot describe how sharp it looked and how fast it ran! The best I can say, is it’s like the super-realistic video you see shot with 48fps. Anyway, enough about how shiny my rig looks; back to the game!

I took out my Anaconda and started doing a Palladium run from Gliese 868 to LHS 3802 which netted around 1M CR per return trip. On my first leg, CMDR SneakTiger logged on and came on dMw’s teamspeak, so I suggest he join me as he was trading. We joined a Wing in Gliese and started doing the run together. At the end of each leg, as soon as both of us were in the station vicinity, I could sell my cargo and Sneaky got a dividend of 20K and I got a dividend of 6K (his 100T Type 6 doesn’t carry as much as my 420T Anaconda). The dividend payments are a bonus, like an extra few tons of cargo every trip. We did three runs, then Sneaky had log off, so I flew back to Zeta Trianguli Australis to pick up my Fer-de-lance. By this point I was up to 14M CR.

I went over to Lugh and found when docked at Ballandin Gateway, that the Trade Community Goal had completed while I was away, so I cashed it in collected 2M CR. Now I had 16M CR. Kerrching!
Also, while I was out of commission, the Spear of Lugh had continued without me and I had dropped out of the top 40% into the top 70%. That wouldn’t do at all! I launched my FDL out to the high intensity combat zone and started picking fights with Anacondas and Pythons. After around twenty minutes in “the zone” I had racked up 200K CR combat bounty, so I returned to Ballandin to reload and cash in.
Three days of missed TV was calling, so I logged off and called it a night. After the evening’s trading and combat I was 5.3M CR up on the night.

I see this morning that the Spear of Lugh mission is now over, so when I log on tonight, (if I’m still in the top 40%) I might be 12.5M CR better off, so despite my setback of last weekend, I’m still quids in.

That A rated thruster for my Python will cost 14M CR at Jameson Memorial, so the money won’t sit in the bank for long…

The Six Million Credit Man

sleepingOr… How I crashed my Anaconda.

Over the weekend I had been doing a mix of Wing trading with other members of dMw getting lots of trade dividends and spending some time shooting ships at Lugh, racking up credits with the “The Spear of Lugh” community goal.


I had bought an upgrade to my Python (Class 5B thrusters) which hit my bank account by 5 million credits, so with the bank balance at 8 million, I needed to do some trading to bring my account back to the 12 million mark, so I would have twice my Anaconda re-buy value.

Over the course of Saturday and Sunday I went from 8M CR to about 16.5M CR, which was great, because with the mixture of combat and trading I was doing, nothing was too repetitive and it only took a few hours on the day.

Sunday evening, everyone else had logged off and I was a bit tired, but I had a 600CR fine at a station around 50Lyr away, so I set sail for “one last trip” to go and pay the fine.

Leaving the station at Gliese 868 I was on too high a throttle setting and realised it too late I also had upward momentum!  Frantic use of thrusters failed to arrest my collision with the edge of the station exit and boom! No more Anaconda and six million credits then left my account to re-buy the ship (thankfully with no cargo on board).


So, the moral of the story is always have your insurance, but if you don’t want to NEED it, don’t fly tired; you make mistakes. Really costly ones.

Shield recharge times in Elite: Dangerous

shields_thumbAfter a bit more research I have found some of the theory behind shield recharging.

The value of 0.9 MJ/s on a 3E Power Distributor on a Cobra is the rate at which systems recharge shields. The default shield generator is a 4E with 93.58 MJ total strength. In theory therefore, a 4E shield should take 104 seconds (93.58 / 0.9) to recharge.
A class 3A Power Distributor pumps out 1.3 MJ/s, so the same shield with an A rated distributor should take 72 seconds.

Until I’ve tested this theory, I cannot be certain, but it follows that the increase in shield from the boosters would make the recharge time increase based on your power distributor’s ability to fill it back up.

Shield recharge times
Boosted shield recharge times

As you can see, if this is correct, the Cobra with 4A Shields and a 3A Power Distributor should recharge in 97 seconds. With a 0A Shield Booster, the shields are raised to 150.6MJ so will then take 116 seconds to recharge on the same ship (19% longer).

My Fer-De-Lance with 5A Shield Generator, 6A Power Distributor and four 0B Shield Boosters will therefore take four minutes and three seconds to restore shields!

My next quiz question is are shield cells based on a percentage or a fixed number of MJ? If the latter is true, then the more Boosters you use, the less effective even the best Shield Cells will become.

How do shield boosters work?

shield_booster_thumbNew in 1.2 Shield Boosters are a bit of a mystery to me at least, or were until today anyway.

They increase your shields (says so on the tin) but what does that actually mean?

Well, your shield strength is rated in Mega Jules (MJ) so, for instance if you are in a Cobra with a class 3E Shield Generator the shield is rated 61.6MJ and the best shields are a 4A, rated 125.5MJ.










Cobra Mk. III














You can see a full table of shield ratings here on Reddit.

shield_boostersWhat the shield booster does is multiply that figure by its “multiplier” value. If you bought a 0E Shield Booster which has a multiplier of 1.04, then your shields maximum strength would go from 125.5MJ to 130.52MJ.

What's more is they stack; if you buy more than one (two are possible in a Cobra) the multiplier values are all added. The way it does this is to calculate the increase percentage and adds that – an A rated shield booster is plus 20% (1.2) so two is plus 40%. The Cobra’s shields with two 0A Shield Boosters got from 125.5MJ to 175.7MJ!

What’s the catch? The first is power consumption. The Shield Boosters suck power like Frankenstein’s monster! The 0A Shield Booster draws 1.2MW. The second catch is recharge time. If you lose shields, the time they need to recover is much longer. How long? I haven’t been able to get a solid number yet.

Another factor for considering shield booster is cost and weight. Top end shields are expensive and heavy.

CMDR jgm on the Frontier forums has noted


I could take a 5D shield and add two 0C boosters and end up with a better shield than a straight 5A at a fraction of the cost, with lower mass and power usage.


Shield Generator


Power usage

Shield strength







5D + 2 x 0C Shield Boosters





This gets you better shields at 4% of the cost and a little over half the weight!

My 5A Fer-De-Lance shield generator has four 0B Shield Boosters, taking the shields from 478.8MJ to an eye-watering 779.16MJ!

Who wants to be a millionaire

wings_logoI was watching MaxUrsa's twitch stream last night in combat with his wing and I thought to myself "that looks like fun". So I took my Fer-de-lance into the same system, and found my way to a resource extraction site. When I exited super cruise I found there were a lot more NPCs than there used to be in 1.1; there were dozens more than I could count, so I had no trouble finding wanted ones to shoot.

Before long I was engaged in combat with an Anaconda, but luckily it was already busy shooting somebody else, so I had no trouble taking down his shields, and with my B4 Canon destroying its hull.


Soon a group of federal ships and joined me and were attacking the wanted ships around me, even a federal Anaconda had joined the fight!


Small ships like sidewinders and cobras are fairly easy to take down in the Fer-de-Lance, so I concentrated on Pythons, Asps and Anacondas. After around 20 minutes I realised my bounty amounted to in excess of a million credits. Time flies when you're having fun!