This is the blueprint for the Gutamaya Imperial Cutter.
This ship requires the Imperial Navy rank of Duke for a player to purchase it in the game.
First introduced in version 1.5 Ships expansion.
Following the release of 1.5, I have been beavering away at getting my Imperial rank to that of Duke, so I can buy an Imperial Cutter as a trade ship.
Gaining rank was easier in 1.4, but with the revised mission structure post 1.5, many of the previous “hot” locations are now no good for ranking up.
I had, in 1.4, been carrying out long-range trade missions from Fehu – these paid really well and gained me rank in the process. I had elevated myself from Viscount, to Count (the fangs chafed) and then Earl, then 1.5 was released and I stalled. The game now policed missions more carefully, which meant mission stacking was far less likely – no more two-of-the-same missions. The progress bar now spelled out how far I had progressed, but as they say “the watched pot never boils”.
So I relocated to another system I had visited by chance, CD-41 359. There is only an outpost there, but the Bulletin Board had a rich mix of short-distance courier missions and more critically, high reputation donation opportunities. So loading up my Asp “The Cousteau” with missions I set off and got delivering. This meant in the hour or two I had each evening, I could push my rank up another 1 or 2 percent.
Two medium reputation missions seem to give around 1.5% (estimated) so any high reputation smuggling (don't get scanned) missions were a bonus.
It took several weeks to make the next rank, Marquis – although I had other problems which impacted my time. This contrasted sharply with my efforts to make Baron early last year, when I loaded up my Cobra, flew down to Iota Hydri and made that rank in two days!
During the period November to January, I had a faulty power supply on my PC which caused a shutdown under load, so I replaced that in early December and I also had been experiencing communication errors with Elite servers, which meant I never got more than a couple of hours play before being thrown out of the game. These have been resolved just this week, by changing the MTU setting of my network card to prevent the game straining my BT Home Hub beyond its capabilities.
So I finally got the oh-so-precious "Naval Ascension Opportunity" and made the rank of Duke on Sunday and as I returned to my current home base at Shinrarta Dezhra, it felt like I had run the proverbial marathon. But it was worth it.
Frontier have rather quietly announced the next major update to Elite: Dangerous after Close Quarters Combat Championship (1.4) will be called "Ships"
When is being released?
After CQCC in September, but before "Horizons" which is being released in "Holiday season" (late November to early December), so some time in October or early November.
What else is in the update?
Well, ships. Clearly.
The update will take the number of unique ships (excluding variants we assume) to over thirty. We already know Horizons will bring the Cobra Mk IV and 1.4 will add the Dropship Mk II, the Federal Gunship and the Imperial Eagle.
There are still a number of ships hinted and teased to date we haven't seen confirmed for any release and they are:
The Panther Clipper - large trade ship. This ship from the earlier Elite Frontier game had huge cargo capacity and formidable defences.
The Imperial Cutter - a large ship which we know little about, but would speculate is an Empire equivalent of the Python, somewhere between a Courier and Clipper or perhaps larger than a Clipper? The concept art we've seen appears to show what became the Imperial Clipper, so will we see a Cutter or not?
The Federal Corvette - the largest flyable ship to be in the game, almost a third larger than an Anaconda. A slow moving weapons platform.
The Dolphin passenger vessel and Beluga Passenger liner - which with the Orca, are Elites passenger transport vessels.
With the introduction of these passenger ships it would follow that passenger transport would become a career path in Elite as well. Something many have waited for.
What else might we see?
Big on the wish-list is ship-in-ship transport and deployment. With SRV's being launched from all ships in Horizons, the idea of a "launch bay rack" for Class 6 & Class 7 internals sounds more plausible. And rather appealing.