Elite: Dangerous Blog

News and events from the Elite Dangerous galaxy

Glyph remarks

CMDR ISOKIX kindly presented pointed out a list of translations [created by CMDR Zebarmy of Canonn Research] for the imagery displayed on the Guardian's Obelisks. The glyphs displayed on the lighted areas of the stone show what items are needed in order to unlock the information they contain.

This diagram will act as your "magic decoder ring".

This stone requires a Thargoid Sensor and a Thargoid Link to unlock it.

So good luck in the void and I hope this information pays off. You'll be uncovering the hidden history of The Guardians in no time.

Canonn have a detailed description of what you need to do here along with maps and other advice on everything needed for Ram Tah missions.

Work in progress

I've not posted much lately. Why? I've been busy working on materials for the Vehicle Codex and the Codex itself.

Currently I'm drawing vectors of outfitting icons to use on my new Codex data sheets. You can see the difference between the ones I've drawn as vectors (top) and the bitmaps taken from screenshots - which I do not want to use in the final document.

Below is a work in progress of the Lakon Type-10 Defender - obviously there are still icons to finish AND the internals are changing with version 3. I thought I'd give my readers a peek into what's coming next.

Lakon Spaceways: Type-10 DEfender

Elite Dangerous Ship Blueprints 3.0 Update

Update 13th February 2018: I've added the Alliance Chieftain, Type-10 Defender, Stinger-2, S4 Sentry, S9 Goliath, Thargoid Cyclops, Marauder and Sensor - every blueprint has been refreshed and military internals have been added where they were missing.

With the addition of the Dolphin, I have republished the full set with a few additions. There are size corrections on the Viper Mk III and I've added ZIP copies of all the JPEG version of each language. Additionally, the remaining translations have been applied, so this is the most complete set to date.

Thanks to CMDR Noxa on reddit for finding out who manufactures the Corilios station.

Thanks also to all the others on Twitter, Reddit and the Frontier forums who have been spotting errors and mistakes and letting me know. It's been very helpful to have so many people proofreading this lot! As you can imagine, while most of this work has been done in my lunch hour, there have been a few nights where I burnt the midnight oil and almost certainly copied numbers from the wrong spreadsheet column!

Thanks to CMDR Aidan Abacus & the CMDRs of www.elitedangerous.de for German translations. Thanks to CMDR Nicou, CMDR Aymerix & CMDR Duita Rider of www.elite-dangerous.fr for French translations. Thanks to CMDR Nyra, with the help of CMDR Kimanuel and CMDR XPi2, from Corsarios de Heimdal for Spanish translations.

  Craft Manufacturer 1920x1080 4096x2305
Stinger-2 Attack Skimmer Achilles Corporation
S4 Sentry Skimmer Core Dynamics
S9 Goliath Skimmer Core Dynamics
Scarab SRV Vodel
F63 Condor Federal Fighter Core Dynamics
GU-97 Imperial fighter Gutamaya
Taipan Independent Fighter Lakon Spaceways
Sidewinder Faulcon DeLacy
Eagle Mk II Core Dynamics
Hauler Zorgon Peterson
Adder Zorgon Peterson
Dolphin Saud Kruger
Imperial Eagle Gutamaya
Viper MK III Faulcon DeLacy
Cobra Mk III Faulcon DeLacy
Viper Mk IV Faulcon DeLacy
Diamondback Scout Lakon Spaceways
Cobra Mk IV Faulcon DeLacy
Type 6 Transporter Lakon Spaceways
Diamondback Explorer Lakon Spaceways
Imperial Courier Gutamaya
Keelback Lakon Spaceways
Asp Scout Lakon Spaceways
Vulture Core Dynamics
Asp Explorer Lakon Spaceways
Federal Dropship Core Dynamics
Type 7 Transporter Lakon Spaceways
Alliance Chieftain Lakon Spaceways
Federal Assault Ship Core Dynamics
Imperial Clipper Gutamaya
Federal Gunship Core Dynamics
Orca Saud Kruger
Fer De Lance Zorgon Peterson
Python Faulcon DeLacy
Type 9 Heavy Lakon Spaceways
Beluga Liner Saud Kruger
Type-10 Defender Lakon Spaceways
Anaconda Faulcon DeLacy
Federal Corvette Core Dynamics
Imperial Cutter Gutamaya
Majestic Class Interdictor Gutamaya
Farragut Battle Cruiser Core Dynamics
Coriolis Station Brewer Corp
Thargoid Sensor Thargoids
Thargoid Marauder Thargoids
Thargoid Cyclops Thargoids

 

Hail to the Chieftain!

Tonight's Elite:Dangerous livestream gave us the most complete information about the chieftain so far.

"It's Between the Python and the Federal ships"

Firepower

  Fixed Small Medium Large Huge
Hard points 0 3 1 2 0

The hard-point placement is all along the centre-line and combined with its agility, this makes it a perfect ship for fixed weapons.

The medium hardpoint is on the underside of the cockpit. This means most of your firepower is on the top of the ship.

Outfitting

  Core internals Class Base fitting
Power Plant Power Plant 6 6E
Thrusters Thrusters 6 6E
Frame Shift Drive Frame Shift Drive 5 5E
Life support Life Support 5 5E
Power Distributor Power Distributor 6 6E
Sensors Sensors 4 4E
Fuel Tank Fuel Tank 4 4C

 

Optional internals Base fitting
Class 5 ?
Class 5 ?
Class 4 ?
Class 2 ?
Class 2 ?
Class 4 [military] Empty
Class 4 [military] Empty
Class 4 [military] Empty

 

   
Utility slots 4
Mass lock factor ?
Crew 2
Fighter Bay Capable No
Cargo (Maximum without shields) 88T
Hull mass ?
Pad size Medium
Cost T.B.C.
Armour 504T
Maximum jump range [unladen] 20Ly

 

I’ve seen stations on fire off the shoulder of the Pleiades

In case you hadn’t noticed, we’ve been attacked by Thargoids – the alien insect race with bio-mechanical spacecraft – who’ve been probing us, building planet bases and destroying ships around the Pleiades sector for months.

Now, they’ve gone a step further and attacked three stations

  • Oracle station in Pleiades Sector IR-W D1-55
  • Titan’s Daughter in Taygeta
  • Liman Legacy in HIP 16753

The stations are in a bit of a state.

Frontier released a video (sadly on YouTube and not in the game) which shows news reports and panic as people on the stations are needing to be evacuated. It’s a cool video and sets up the atmosphere of a system under attack.

So what can you do?

Not many commanders have the money or resources to pimp out a full anti-xeno ship (although CMDR Gluttony Fang has written an excellent post on the forums on how to do exactly this) which means your war-effort must be offered in other ways.

Rescuing the poor people on these stations and ferrying them to the rescue ships is something non-combat commanders can do. You will need to equip your ship first.

  • Heat-sinks - the damaged stations are very hot because of fires and the failure of the heat dispersal systems.
  • Passenger cabins - economy class cabins of any size! Store those cargo racks and armour, then fit some rescue seats!
  • A fuel scoop - it's a long trip from the bubble and you're not going to help anyone if you run out of fuel and need rescuing yourself.

With your ship fitted out, you'll need to jump down to the Pleiades Sector IR-W D1-55 system (which is the nearest to the bubble). You can see all the stations damaged or under repair in the galaxy map. Go to the last TAB and look at the bottom of the list. Frontier have sneakily added two new options, "Show Damaged Starports" and "Show Repairing Starports".

I suspect we're going to see a lot of these on our galaxy map SoonTM. Why?

Big bad just got bigger

CMDR CookieJarviz posted this image of the newly encountered "Medusa" class Thargoid ship (Threat level 7). Walk away. Slowly...

CMDR Alan Marchman posted an amazing photo of one on Reddit. Needless to say, you don't want to get THAT close!

Fly safe out there commanders, because we're not alone!

Not shooting the breeze

Having been working on Aegis CGs for weeks, I felt like a break. It's all very well humping AEGIS' leg for new toy guns, but there's more to Elite: Dangerous than shooting stuff and I wanted to see some of the new content of 2.4.

Blistering barnacles

First I went seeking one of the recently discovered barnacle forests. The original forest was located on the C2 Moon of the Hyades Sector AQ-Y D81 system, so I prepped my Asp Explorer and set off to see vistas new.

The forest is located in a valley on the moon's surface at LAT 8.89 LONG -153.8 and as you approach all you see is a area filled with a green mist.

I landed at the outer edge of the formation. There is one slightly more prominent barnacle at the centre of the forest and then others arranged in a fractal-like geometric web out from the middle.

I deployed my neon-green SRV and drove into the field. The green mist was less visible at ground level, but the usual whale-song noises we have come to experience at the barnacle sites were also accompanied by something more menacing and quite creepy.

As I moved around the barnacles and scanned structures and scavengers (yes these strange insect-like droids are found here) there were also noises coming from underground. The sounds gave the distinct impression that a LOT more was going on down below out of sight and I was looking at the tip of the iceberg.
Is the forest a bio-organic shipyard? You have to wonder. Either way the noises reminded me of the film "Tremors"; something was definitely moving around underground.

I harvested some materials from shooting a couple of Scavengers and some meta alloy from a few of the "ripe" outer barnacles. Then I packed up my SRV and left the planet. Way too creepy to stay!

Only humans can make a tourist site out of an accident

Next stop on my "tour" was the crashed Thargoid scout ship. I needed LOADS of screen shots to get what I needed for drawing the blueprint, so a visit was a must.

I plotted the route to HIP 17125 and this time took my Anaconda to LAT -65.8 LONG 48.8 on the A 3 A moon. The crash site is visible from quite a long way up in orbital cruise, so it wasn't too hard to find.
I had brought the Anaconda so I could scout ahead with the SLF, so I launched in a F63 Condor to survey the crash site from the air.

Once my Anaconda had caught up, I docked the SLF and landed, then deployed my SRV.

The crash site is basically a giant skid-mark ending in a pile of rocks with a flying saucer sticking out!

There are no scavengers at the site - everything is dead. I looked around and drove some way from the site looking for additional debris or signs of what might have brought the Thargoid ship down, but there is nothing else to see.
You can scan the wreck, but this is a bit of challenge as the SRV will only perform a scan when you are close to the top of the Thargoid and that requires some acrobatics in your SRV to accomplish!

One thing to look at is the top of the ship. I've not shown it here, because [SPOILERS]. Go and see it for yourself.

Space 3303: Moonbase INRA

My next stop was the most recently discovered 8th INRA (Intergalactic Navy Research Arm) base. Being military (and possibly a Thargoid target) I took my Corvette this time.

I landed at the base accompanied by Sir Clip in his Asp. The base is abandoned. A haunted house in space.

The two silos that once contained the Navy's bio-weapon that defeated the Thargoids (or so we thought) stand like dark monuments.



The base itself though, is not entirely dead. There are four data-points around the base, which when scanned, reveal audio logs which tell of the fate of those who manned the station. The only shame is that these logs are not dated, so we don't have any context of when these events occurred.

As I flew away from the site I couldn't help, but wonder why there were not signs of what took place. No wreckage human or Thargoid is there and nor are there any signs of weapons installations. The whole experience raised more questions than it answered.

What this visit has done is make me want to visit the other seven bases and try to put more of the picture together. Rumour has it that there are twelve bases in all, so we have yet to find the other four.

 

FD Power Survey

Last May I published an article on what ships players owned. I got my data from the Inara website because while it couldn’t cover everyone, it has large enough numbers to be representative.

Last year the most popular ship in terms of ownership numbers and as a first-choice primary vessel was the Asp Explorer.

Have the 2.1, 2.2, 2.3 and 2.4 updates and the addition of two new passenger vessels changed that?

Short answer is “yes”. The Asp Explorer while still the most popular ship to own, has fallen 0.66% from 12.92% to 12.26% and has been supplanted as the most popular primary vessel by the Anaconda. This would appear to show that the player-base has become more affluent over the last year and a half.

Here is the division of ship ownership as 2.4 has launched.

The least popular ship last year was the Orca, but following the addition of passenger missions in the game, that has changed. Now the least popular ship is the Asp Scout, meaning Asps occupy top and bottom place! The Orca is now more popular than the Asp Scout, Federal Dropship and Federal Gunship. The most popular passenger vessel is the recently added Dolphin. This would appear to show most players are only putting a toe in the passenger mission waters.

Clearly the addition of content has shifted the dynamic.

Thargoids might shift them again. With the requirement for four Class 2 hard-points for AX Missiles and space required for “standard” weaponry as well, will the changes brought by 2.4 cause a resurgence in the popularity of the Federal Dropship? We shall see. Let’s face it, nobody is going to make war on the Thargoids in a Beluga Liner!

Top of the Pops

Well, ship-pickers, who are the winners and losers in our chart? Where have the biggest gains and losses been seen?

The top 5 winners are the Anaconda, who has jumped a whopping 2.21%. The Dolphin which has gone from nowhere to 1.29%, making it more popular than the Type-9 was last year. The Imperial Cutter has gone up 1.11% to 3.10% showing the player-base are getting rank as well as credits in game. Then the Beluga line takes the number four spot from nowhere with 1.08% and finally at number five, the Federal Corvette with 3.10% rising 0.80% from last year.

Last year the most popular ships were the Sidewinder, Anaconda, Python and Cobra Mk 3 – all multi-role – with the two exceptions of the Vulture (a pure combat vessel) and the Asp Explorer which is primarily an explorer.

This year we’re seeing that the Fer-de-Lance has crept up to push the Sidewinder out of that group, indicating that the player-base is not only wealthier, but more inclined toward combat.

Who are the biggest losers?

The poor Vulture, despite hanging on in the top five most popular ships, lost the most players with a 2.12% loss. Have players moved to the FDL to avoid the Vulture’s weak cockpit? Or did they just get rich enough to buy the combat ship they wanted all along?

At number two on the “loser list” is the Cobra Mk III! Yep, the iconic ship is falling out of fashion. It lost 1.75% of the player-base in the last 18 months.

The third ship we’re learning not to love is the Imperial Clipper, with ownership falling by 1.24%. That means more people have ditched their Clippers than the total number of players who own Keelbacks!

Our fourth biggest looser is the Federal Assault Ship. This craft has lost 1.20% of the player-base. Why? This ship was popular as a combat vessel with PvP and PvE alike, but it looks like those players are moving on to vessels new.

The fifth biggest loser was the Diamondback Scout dropping 0.84% from 2.32% to only 1.48%. Why? As a small combat ship, it just doesn’t seem to compete with the cheaper Cobra and Vipers.

Some worthy changes to note. The Orca, Keelback and Gunship have all doubled in popularity. The Keelback has clearly benefitted from being the smallest vessel to have Ship Launched Fighters. The Orca has seen a surge due to passenger missions. Why has the Gunship gained? I can only speculate that it’s combat role is raising its profile.

Have ship paint jobs kept up with what's popular in-game? Last year there was a disconnect between what was owned and what paints you could buy in the store.

The short answer here is "no". There are disproportionate amounts of paints available for the Eagle and Viper, while the popular Asp Explorer has far fewer paints, especially considering it's the number one ship in the game for the last two years! Now, as I said at the start, Inara numbers are only representative of a selected portion of the player base - all be it as big portion. Does Frontier check their own numbers before prioritising paints for one ship over another? I'd hope so, but the current numbers don't seem to bear that out.

Better luck next year!

Shhh! I’m Huntin’ Thargoids

Following the addition of the “Experimental” weapons to the game yesterday on completion of the Aegis Community Goal, I decided to swing down to Merope and find myself some Thargoids.

On the way out, I purchased a shiny new Research Limpet Controller at Jameson Memorial in Shinrarta Dezrha and set off down to Merope.

OTHER PLACES YOU CAN GET RESEARCH LIMPET CONTROLLERS
Brestla, i Sola Prospect
LHS 3980, Schlegel Keep (15% discount)
Howard, Messerschmid Bastion

You can obtain Xeno Scanner and AX Missile launchers from any planetary station with outfitting in a High Tech or Refinery system.

After docking at the Planet Base, Alcazar's Hope I switched from my exploration Anaconda into my far speedier Imperial Courier and (using storage) switched the limpet controller to the smaller ship. Then I went a huntin’!

The nearby system of HIP 19072 was full of “non human signal source” points, so I dropped into one and found a couple of wrecked Imperial Cutters, the wreckage still burning, surrounded by a green fog. But no Thargoid ship.

I returned to super-cruise and continued my Thargoid hunt. At the next Non-Human Signal Source, I dropped out to find this one occupied. I got close enough to scan him and he scanned me. Lots of whale song and rumbling, but still in the green.

Then the Thargoid ship proceeded to ignored me and continued to scan the wrecks floating around us.

Feeling emboldened, I proceeded to scan the Thargoid with my Xeno Scanner - this took about the same time as a Kill Warrant scanner does. The petal ship began to pulse and chatter and the lights on the ship turned red.
A swarm of small missile-like ships circled the perimeter of the vessel, then dived at me, causing hull damage and reducing my shields. It turns out the flight suit doesn't help with the fear-response!

I tried to flee, but there were two problems. The first was the Thargoid vessel cruised at over 300m/s and my ship was badly damaged already, so I didn’t have best speed. Cruise wasn't fast enough to outrun it and boost was offline due to module damage.
The second issue was that the Thargoid ship has a mass-lock of 30 (at 27 the Imperial Cutter has the largest mass lock of any human ship) so nobody can jump away from a Thargoid!

The end result was predictable. Shields went down like a tissue curtain and the Thargons pounded my hull to zero in waves.

Not disheartened, although about 300,000CR worse off, I went into station outfitting and equipped my Courier with Module and Hull reinforcement and tried again.

I didn’t attempt to scan the next vessel I encountered, instead I just shot a Research Limpet from 2km away.

At first the Thargoid seemed unconcerned, but when the limpet began “extracting” a sample, the vessel turned red and steamed straight at me. It is worth noting that once attached, the limpet takes several minutes to “sample” the target and you cannot go more than 4km away from the limpet (and by extension the angry Thargoid), or the limpet will self-destruct. The extraction progress is shown on your HUD in a similar fashion to the FSD cool-down.

This lead to a cat and mouse situation, where I was flying at maximum speed avoiding energy blasts from the petal ship, all the while chased in circles by an angry swarm of Thargons. Too far and the limpet is gone, too near and the Thargoid inflicts devastating damage to your ship. Eventually, the toll was too great.

Driven away, with only three percent hull, my limpet went boom and I took the “Brave Sir Robin” option of running away.

At this point I decided the Thargoids had been getting it way too easy. Now it was my turn to bring the pain! Now I would chase them away!

Back to Alcazar's Hope for repairs and swapping the Limpet Controller for three Class 2 AX Missile turrets. This put my ship at the limit of its power plant but hey, you can’t have enough guns, right?

Back out into the black and found my next encounter.

I got close enough and scanned the Thargoid with Xeno Scanner, this revealed (on the subsystems panel) that the ship had four “hearts”. To disable the Thargoid, you need to destroy these.

You'll see (above) each Thargoid has a designation logo. These seem to have a number of variants. If you see one of these not shown below, could you take a screenshot and post it on Twitter to me (@ACHunt)? Thanks.

But, the scan itself triggers a hostile response from the Thargoid, like saying “Combat log” to a griefer, they are easily triggered! Going all gung-ho, I opened up with all three missile racks at once! Take that Thargoid scum!

At this point I realised that the vulnerable “hearts” of the vessel were at the back of the ship and the Thargoid, no matter how fast I moved, remained facing me. They make an Eagle look less agile than a Type-9!

This meant all my missiles exploded harmlessly on the front of the vessel. It was like throwing snowballs at an angry bear. There are no screenshots of this part of the encounter as I was too busy dying.

After my second rebuy screen of the evening, I decided to call it quits and come back another day with reinforcements.

If I ruled the (Elite) Galaxy

How I’d change Elite Dangerous

This article is not about new stuff; I’m not calling for atmospheric landing or EVA from ships. Nor is it a demand to Frontier to do things differently. It is just an opinion piece on how I would alter the current features of the game for “season 3” to make them more accessible if these decisions were mine to make.

Close Quarters Combat Arena

CQC was the arena-based PvP vehicle for the game, launched alongside the XBOX release of ED. It has, I think it is fair to say, flopped totally. Nobody plays CQC. It’s very hard to find a game.

How would I change it?

I would move the CQC system into the main game. Arenas would be large stations located in systems around the galaxy. You would fly your main ship to their location and dock to play. Human players would join the arena they dock at in their instance.

There would be AI opponents (bots) that would be hot-swapped with human players as they join and leave. This would then offer CQC in solo and all other modes of play, making it feel part of the game, rather than a bolt-on. By using the existing instancing, the matchmaking would no longer been needed.

Arenas would offer cash rewards and these would vary, depending on system state and faction. For example, a system in boom might hold a “championship” with larger rewards.

Players could also opt to watch competitions from an “observation room” in the arena station. Initially this would be a variation of the ship cockpit with player-controller view screens and a window onto the arena play area – basically overview + one or more controlled cameras.

CQC rank would be removed and instead players would be rated on a dynamic league table. Players would be invited to systems to play, based on their current rank.

Engineering materials

Currently (and I know this from bitter experience) finding materials and data for engineers can be a mind-numbing trudge through endless USS points looking for a single material or data item, waiting for the great god of random numbers to grant you those three cherries in a line. I hate random number generators.

Without excellent tools like EDEngineer, Inara and Eddb I’d have given up all together!

How would I change it?

Commanders would be able to pin multiple engineer blueprints for a “shopping list”. This would highlight the data and materials you have in your inventory as “required” or “not required”, so you can discard unnecessary cargo.

Your shopping list would then become a trigger for the game. Now, at the next USS or Nav Beacon or Station, you might be approached by an AI who would offer a mission with an item on your shopping list as a reward or as the mission itself.

“Go to system X and return with Y and I will give you data A”

“There’s a trader outside station X in system Y that will exchange data/material A for commodity B”

By doing this, the materials and data are then made part of the existing mission system and you would feel like you are playing the game, rather than wandering aimlessly waiting for a random timer to complete. Also, station missions would offer cash or the choice of a pinned material for reward.

Surface prospecting suffers from randomness the same way, even when you know there is 75% chance of arsenic on the surface, you can be driving in circles shooting rocks for hours and find none. It’s not fun.

Instead ships would have an “advanced surface scanner” and you would fly around in orbital cruise to map near-surface locations of elements; iron ore, sulphur deposits. Only impact craters would be a pick-n-mix like the current state of affairs. With the surfaced mapped, you would set surface waypoints and take the mining SRV to drill for the required elements or materials. The map would only be held while in orbit. After that, you’d rely on the waypoints you added entirely.

This leads into exploration.

Exploration

Currently there are three system scanners (useless, next to useless and infinite honk). And a detailed surface scanner that can see the far side of planet, when your SRV can’t manage more than a burst of static for radar, not consistent or helpful.

How would I change it?

The basic and intermediate system scanners would detect planets and moons in their range and all stars in the system, but would also display “estimated” orbit lines for objects not in range, but detected through gravitational lensing and radial velocity. Explorers would have to search the orbits for the planetary bodies causing the effect.

Planet scanning would be carried out by orbiting the planet - three types of surface scanner (basic, intermediate and advanced) – these would set the width of area scanned and you would need to scan the whole planet. The GUI would show a 3D graphic of the planet as you scan. This scan would detect the presence of elements.

Detailed surface scans would be carried out using the same scanners in orbital cruise. These scans would detect the location of material deposits on the surface. It would also spot extra-terrestrial objects on the surface.

System bookmarks in the galaxy map would have groups (folders) and surface way points could be bookmarked and used for a heading in SRV and ship Heads Up Display.

The Scarab SRV is fine for pew-pew, but we need purpose-built SRV types for exploration and mining.

The mining SRV “Cicada” (a beetle that digs) would be the mining SRV for extracting minerals, liquids and gases from the ground in areas discovered using surface scanning. This would follow the same method as space mining. Refinery and cargo, but the Cicada would be larger than the Scarab and require cargo transferred to the ship before it could fold for transport. I can also deploy ground-mining limpets (already seen in game) which can be harvested later.



The survey SRV “Coleoptera” scans the surface in a large radius for mineral deposits. This could be used instead of the surface scanner in orbital cruise. Because it is used on the surface, it can detect gas, water and oil deposits under the surface as well.

Explorers would find a planetary body, survey the surface from orbit, provide a detailed survey from low orbit (orbital cruise) and geological surveys from SRV. All saleable information, scaling in value.

The same information then could be bought in Universal Cartographic by miners, so they can get straight to the drilling. The game should treat the data as a commodity. i.e. if nobody has surveyed Moon 3C then the data won’t be available. First survey gets biggest pay out. Repeat surveys get general fee.

Crime and punishment

2.4 is seeking to improve the current lawless nature of the open game. It’s currently a case of “play in private/solo or accept you will be griefed”. Not ideal. Great news for the tiny minority, but bad news for the majority of players and the game itself. After all, how many griefed players, especially new players, never come back to the game? Only takes one rotten apple to spoil the whole barrel.

How would I change it?

In the original Elite, if you murdered someone, the police were on you like flies on dung, so being wanted meant retreating to an anarchy system, or get killed in short order.

I see no reason not to go back to that. Trade should pay more in lawless systems, so players have an incentive to go there. Risk plus reward.

“Report crimes” would be a setting made on the options menu which cannot be altered during play. So no changing your mind about a PvP fight when you start losing and getting the cops to fight for you.

In secured systems, if a commander attacks another (CMDR with report crimes on) or an AI and they are not wanted/in a powerplay faction/in a combat zone (i.e. no in-game reason for an attack), then a police response should be immediate.

What’s more if you are wanted, the police would interdict you in the same way that the powerplay AIs already do when you join a PP faction.

The police response would be proportional to your bounty and ship size, so if you accidentally shot a ship in a Nav beacon and you are in a Sidewinder, then an Eagle or Viper would chase you after a minute or two.
If you have been murdering other ships and you are in a Fer-De-Lance or Corvette, then the police response would be much faster and the ships chasing you would be Anaconda and Vulture wings, dispatched within a minute or less of you leaving super cruise.

Basically, you’d be looking at an escalating response to wanted status, as you commit more crimes. First system wide, then faction wide.

The only way to not be constantly harassed is to pay your bounty or leave for a lawless system.

The only way to kill ships and not get dead yourself at the hands of the feds, is if they are PvP willing with Report Crimes off (which would show on your scanner) or if they are in an Anarchy system.

With the balance redressed, Open would have a lot more players. Players should be choosing which systems to avoid, not which play mode.

I would also add a fine for “ungraceful exit” of the game during combat (terminating Elite.EXE or ALT-F4) – so called “combat logging”. The fine would last seven days before you could pay it off. A second offense extends the period to two weeks. A third will carry a wanted bounty for a month “FOR ILLEGAL USE OF TELEPORTATION TECHNOLOGY”. If your PC crashes or your network fails, you will have to avoid all combat in the game until your fine clears, or face the same consequences as if you committed murder.

Piracy tools

Currently to be Robin Hood (or robin’ anyone) you need an interdictor, a manifest scanner and a hatch breaker controller.

What we don’t have is any tools to disable a ship without destroying it.

How would I change it?

I posted about piracy before, as I think (far more than CQC) it should be a recognised career with a rank.

The key element is, while victims are threatened with destruction, a good pirate would rarely have to follow through on the threat. A successful pirate gets their booty without killing the traders.

Currently that is very hard to do, as nearly every weapon available will destroy a ship long before any module is disabled, so any attempt to knock out the targets FSD will likely kill them instead.

What is needed is a “FSD hack” utility module that can be used to “reboot” an FSD on a target ship once their shields are down.

Yes, these could be abused by griefers, but the revised karma system would make their life impossible after a handful of murders by using these, just as any other weapons.

Interplanetary Bounty Hunting

Currently you get bounty missions, assassination missions and can trawl Navigation Beacons and Resource Sites for NPCs to kill for cash.

But there is no mechanism for hunting criminals directly.

How would I change it?

Players and NPCs in the “most wanted” list in any system would be traceable. You would have to sign on at the station they’re wanted by to hunt them (through the mission board). You would then get updates on your transaction panel every time they are scanned by feds in space or super cruise in any system, or dock at any station. For human players, this would cover all game modes and state which mode they were playing in on the updates.

“CMDR Harry Potter just docked at Guest City in Zeta Trianguli Australis OPEN”

“Mrs Trellis of North Wales was spotted near the Nav Beacon in Eravate”

Private Groups

Currently private groups are a nightmare to administer (just ask the guys at MobiusPvE) and the GUI isn’t very helpful when you want to know which one friends are in. And if you want to name an Elite Private Group you have to buy an extra copy of the game, just to create the group name you want.

How would I change it?

The group member list needs a filter. Really. How hard can a text filter be to implement?

The GUI should display the name of the Private Group your friends are playing in, so the friends list says "Private Group (Dead Men Walking)".

Private groups need the ability to nominate more than one admin and name the group. So player Jameson can create a private group and while they remain the owner of the account, other nominated CMDRs can administer the group. The group should also be re-nameable. So it can be "Jameson's Eagles" instead of "Jameson".

Admins of the private group should be able to send group messages (like server messages appear currently).

Ship Transfer

Moving ships between stations was a feature that was offered as a choice between instant or delayed transfer and the community voted for delayed transfer "for thar immershun".
But it costs a fortune to move ships and takes an age. For example a move between two systems 41Ly apart that takes (at most) two jumps and pad to pad takes a CMDR 8 minutes, will take 24minutes for ship transfer and cost 500,000CR for my Anaconda (which makes that in a single jump). It's slow AND expensive. Disproportionately so.

How would I change it?

The ship transfer menu should offer TWO options. Delayed ship transfer which will put your ship on a transport that calls on the hour every hour, or 3D printed ship transfer which is instant. The instant transfer should cost the same as the current process, while the delayed transfer should be a low fee based on pad size (small = 1,000CR, medium = 5,000CR, large = 100,000CR).
The instant transfer will take a minute while your ship is printed. The delayed transfer would be view-able in game.

When the feature was first confirmed, I suggested that a mega-ship would hyper-space in (like capital ships do) at regular intervals outside major stations and your ships would be transported from there into the station, so you would call (or send) a ship, and on the hour, a mega-ship would take/deliver your ship. You'd see the mega-ship jump in. You'd see it unload and you'd be notified your ship had arrived.

There's nothing about either option that does anything the game does not already do. It does more for "mah immurshun" on both counts than the current method.

Opening another possible avenue here, if the mega-supply-ship had tugs with cargo as well and dropped in outside the 10km zone to unload, there would be the option to add cargo piracy and ship theft to the piracy career path.

 

LaveCon 2017

LaveCon 2017

I couldn’t stay at the Sedgebrook Hotel for this year’s LaveCon, as my budget was rather limited, so instead my sons and I jumped into the car early Saturday morning and made the long drive from Maidstone in Kent, up around the southside of the M25, up the M1 to Northampton. We arrived a little after 9.20am. The hotel is on Country lane the “other side” of Northampton town from the M1, so it is quite rural.

Checking in

We walked into the main hotel lounge/bar where for the past few years, the convention reception desk (manned by volunteers) was located. Neither of my boys (Alistair 17 and William 15) had been to a convention before, so they were rather excited to get their badges and lanyards.

After looking at the event schedule for day, we decided to sit in on the welcome introduction in the main hall. The Lave Radio presenters welcomed everyone and ran through the list of activities and events, with the associated banter and heckling “MUG!”.

In 2015, the LaveCon event featured a live Episode of “Dockers” in which a David Braben-like character would smash a 1Direction mug every time the audience shouted “mug”. As a result, “for the mug” became a trademark phrase of the Hutton Truckers player group. There’s a lot more to the story and the Hutton Orbital guys can tell it better, but no LaveCon is now complete without some yelling of “MUG!”.

When the presentation was complete, the first thing we did was go out to the convention desk and sign up for a 12pm game of Artemis Starship Bridge Simulator. More on that later…

The LAN Room

As we had a little time to kill, we wanted to explore, so I took the boys to the far end of the hotel block where the Local Area Network gaming area was set up; the LAN Room.

Last year, I ran a virtual reality shipyard in the LAN room, so this year it was a bit strange being spectator!

My older son soon found the multiplayer projection screen which was running Gang Beasts! and Speed Runners. Alistair is seriously competitive, so he jumped straight in.

William was enticed to have a go at being a fuel rat. What's a fuel rat? The fuel rats are an in-game group within the Elite universe who will fly to anywhere in the galaxy to rescue ships that have run out of fuel. Their motto is "We have fuel, you don't". Playing on an X52 setup much like my own, William performed a real-life in-game rescue of a stranded commander. Flying six jumps out to a stranded Cobra, he manoeuvred around the star to leave super-cruise in the same location and deliver enough fuel-limpets to get the other ship safely back to a station. If you want to know about joining the fuel rats (or getting rescued by them) their website is here.

Before very long, I had to cut them short, as it was already 5 minutes to 12pm and our Artemis game was due to start. We made our way to the “top” end of the hotel in the older part of the building and sat down in the Artemis room.

Artemis

Imagine the bridge of the Starship Enterprise. Now imagine it manned by uncoordinated buffoons, with no clue what they are doing. Then you’ll have the general idea of Artemis.

There are six or more ship positions. The Captain, who can see everything, but can do nothing. Then the Helm, Weapons, Engineering, Science and Communications who can carry out their own isolated tasks, but cannot see the whole picture and rely on the Captain to command and co-ordinate.


"Captain Will" took his position with brother Alistair on weapons and myself on Helm, with other attendees on the remaining stations. This year, there was a lighting rig connected to the game, so raising shields turned the room blue. Red alert caused flashing red lights and so on. Very atmospheric!


We were fairly disastrous in our mission, having survived, but running out of fuel and leaving our starship helpless and adrift after all our space stations were blown to dust by space pirates and only managing to kill our pursuers by circling a minefield. It was a lot of fun though.

Bar snacks!

By the time the Artemis game was done, it was gone 1pm so we headed to the bar area and ordered food. The boys had a game of pool while we waited for lunch to arrive and then tucked into some very nice fresh-made pizzas and an angus steak burger, both with chunky chips.

William took a few slices of his pizza home and had them hot for breakfast on Sunday!

The lounge area had leather sofas and coffee tables all over, with a huge selection of board games for anyone to play. The room also had tea and coffee machines with a fridge full of soft drinks underneath. We didn’t go thirsty! The lounge was full of people at all times, chatting, gaming and socialising as well as propping up the bar.

We finished lunch just before 2pm, so we headed into the main hall for the Frontier Q&A presentation.

Frontier Reveals more about 2.4

The boys and I got a seat near the front and we waited for the fun to start. Which it did almost straight away.

David Braben (who did not attend) had a personal message for the LaveCon attendees, but no amount of sweat from the back room. Could get it to play! We either got picture or fluctuating audio, but not both at the same time. After five or six attempts and a long delay, Ed and Zac decided to skip it and start the proceedings. We never did hear what Mr. Braben’s message was… ...the men behind the curtain looked stressed!


Edward Lewis announced that those attending would receive three new ship skins exclusive to LaveCon. These were for the Python, Type-9 Heavy and Imperial Cutter.



After some clapping and cheering, the Frontier panel were introduced by Ed and the presentation began. The video is available here.

Sandro Samarco kicked off with a talk about the coming Thargoid menace in 2.4.

We will be getting new weapons and modules to combat the Thargoids. But it won’t just be about pew-pew! Sandro Samarco said (from my notes) that we would need to study and explore their ecology, science and technology. That they would be truly ALIEN in their responses to us.

He then flashed us some concept art and renders of new devices and weapons. I can only theorise, but the first item looks like a defensive utility module item, so maybe a Thargoid EMP shield? The other weapons looked like rocket or missile launchers; high velocity projectiles that would not be defeated by EMP, I would hazard to guess.



Thagoid EMP defence?


Hull repair limpet?


Anti-Thargoid missile or rocket launcher?

Sandro confirmed that we would be getting hull repair limpets in 2.4 and a new sythesis for making them while out in deep space.

Adam Woods announced a of quality-of-life feature for the menus in 2.4 - filters for the inbox. Another screenshot appeared to show a four-part chained mission.

Steve Kirby announced that there would be a new search & rescue menu in stations, where salvage and recovered cryo pods can be handed in for reward. This means they are no longer black market items.

Finally Sandro announced some changes to crime and punishment for 2.4, first the Sidewinder exploit will be removed. Now when you die with a bounty on your head, the rebuy will always be the cost of your most expensive ship. So if you've been naughty in your Corvette, dying in a Sidewiner will now cost 30M CR, not 300!
If you kill a human player, in addition to the normal bounty you'd get for an NPC, you will also have a Pilot's Federation bounty added to the tally.
And a little good news; if you have been destroyed and lack the cash for rebuy, you can now sell your other ships remotely to make up the rebuy cost.

After Frontier's presentation, there was then the annual Q&A session.

Because of D-d-d-d-david Braben's message overrun and the general enthusiasm in the hall, the Q&A had barely started at 3pm when our second game of Artemis was booked! So the boys and I sneaked out of the hall early. I knew from the past two LaveCon's, no amount of squeezing would get any more info out of Frontier's panel, so I wasn't too worried I'd miss anything. I had this confirmed later by another CMDR.

Second Game of Artemis

When we arrived at the Artemis room, it was of course deserted! Another person joined us, an author who was doing a reading for one of the writers panels. Her name was Anna Smith Spark.
After a few minutes, the Artemis game organisor managed to tear himself away from the Frontier Q&A and get our game started. Anna told us that she had no experience of computer games, but we did no better or worse than we had done in the earlier game. We ended up adrift and out of fuel....

Where's my Krait?

The CMDR who managed the Artemis sessions was busy building a paper spaceship during our game and I recognised it as a Krait. He made a small one first with A4, then proceeded to use copious amounts of whiteboard paper to construct a 18" version (seen part completed below).

I asked him what it was for and he explained that he presented a Krait model (in one form on another) to Frontier every year to remind them that his favourite ship from the original game was still missing from Elite: Dangerous.

This year it turned out to be Ed Lewis's turn to get ambushed which was why he didn't look happy to have been gifted with the model!

Game Cab

Back down in the LAN room, while Alistair was busy slaying everyone at Gang Beasts (did I mention he was competitve?) Will was trying out the GameCab Elite setup. GameCab are a UK company that makes custom desks for gaming. Their website is here. The desk was really cool, with side-pods, a pull-out keyboard rack and built-in chair vibration and Will claims "very comfy", so this is on my "man-cave" list for when I am not broke!
They were at LaveCon last year, so I'd seen the setup before, but I thought it would cost £1,000s but actually the basic setup was £400, which did surprise me. That's less than a mid-range video card! Anyway, this year they had a new USB keypad with custom Elite keys. Drop landing gear? There's a button for that!


The games room

Between the main lounge and the VR room, was the games room. Every RPG and board game you've ever heard of was laid out in there and quite a few I've never heard of! Another thing they had was glitter tattoos. Yep, LaveCon has everything! William and Alistair both got them, while I demostrated my poor eyesight with Elite Darts. Two "nil point" and a "100" scored! Terrible.

Virtual Reality Room

William wanted to try out some VR games with motion controllers, as we have a rift but no motion controllers. Alistair had a crack at Elite on one PC while Will gave Job Simulator a go.

Alistair had a successful mission, but found watching William playing job simulator more entertaining!

Saying goodbye

We had been sat behind Kate Russel at the Frontier presentation and Will wanted to catch up with her to get a selfie. He'd met her at the 2014 Elite: Dangerous premiere event, where she'd been great and in 2015 I'd managed to have her sign a copy of her book, "Mostly Harmless" for him, which he loved. We managed to catch up with her and Will got his selfie.
This time Kate wasn't armed and Will was a bit taller! Liek I said at the start, the Elite community is great.