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.