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.