Flieger, grüß' mir die Sonne, grüß' mir die Sterne und grüß' mir den Mond. Dein Leben, das ist ein Schweben, durch die Ferne, die keiner bewohnt! - Hans Albers, F.P.1 antwortet nicht (Adaptation in the 80s: Extrabreit)

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Second day in space!

Difficult day. The Elite:Dangerous beta client was not reliably connecting me to the server, so I cannot access the online world in the menu. After some repeated tries, I managed to get online thrice. Here is what transpired during those three sessions.


- the most standard class space station, random screenshot from internet

My spacecraft is again floating in front of Azeban station. I try again to complete the mission which I accepted yesterday and engage supercuise towards Eranin 2. A lot of player ships zip around, very cool. I have still to map a key that I can flip-target through all of them an see if I recognize sb from the forums. Also a lot of unidentified signals, but no conflict zone. I suspect that the mission has been wiped in the meanwhile, either the expiry time of 4 hours also ticks while being offline or because of the beta server hickups. Ans yes, so it is; the left menu does not list anything under the tab "missions". So an unidentified signal, it is.

The first zone holds a Sidewinder and an Eagle for me, both yellow. I look at what the scan shows up. Strange, the Sidewinder has "wanted"-status, which means according to the descriptions I read in the forums that I can attack without penalty. Which is what I decide to do.
Unfortunately, I forgot to deploy the weapon hardpoints, and the first good firing position is lost before my weapons are on target. I realize a nice little detail: My sidewinder has two pulse lasers, not only the one players received in the pre-beta versions. A not so nice little detail: The Eagle switches to red, too, and attacks me! Since I am already hounding the Sidewinder, which is largely taking evasive actions with some attempted jousting situations, I stick to it. The Eagle gnaws at my shields in the meanwhile, but thankfully the shield now comes back online much quicker than it did in the combat missions pre-beta, so I can conserve my hull at 100%.
I destroy the Sidewinder and I receive a bounty voucher of 400 credits. Nice! In the combat mission, bounties were mostly lower, around 100. Now the Eagle. Wait. It still shows "clear"-status. After brief pondering I decide to not open fire and disengage, because I do not want to get the "wanted"-status myself, with so many PvP-happy players around. Escaping is easy, full pips on engine, three boosts while I commabr the ship to take evasive maneuvers and I am free to engage supercruise. Wait, does not work, what is wrong? Oh, hardpoints still deployed... all those details. And gone I am.

- Eagle class small fighter spacecraft, random internet photo (note that the cockpit look is also from an Eagle)

The second zone I drop into has an Eagle waiting, which switches to hostile after some moments. Combat it is, and only after some close circling around each other, I get into a firing position, but it is clearly more difficult to catch an Eagle compared to the Sidewinder I encountered before. Thanks to my training in the combat missions, I wear the Eagle down without loosing my shield. However, once the Eagle is very low into hull, it is boosting away and before I catch up, it warps away. Dang. What a waste of time. Alright, to the next conflict zone we warp, but not before the server kicks me out and it takes a longer interlude of launching and re-launchig the game, writing and updating a ticked and a forum thread, until the red button graciously turns white again.

In the third zone, there are two ships, with the yellow neutral status. A switch in my brain fires wrongly, and for a brief moment I act like during those 20 hours of combat missions pre-beta I and attack immediately. Congratulations, those were system security ships and I have now earned "wanted" status. And they are in Eagles. One Eagle was already difficult, and I am still distracted by my mistake, so the Eagles hammer my shields down and hull is suffering severely too. The pulse lasers draw a lot of energy and I barely manage to scratch one Eagle's hull before its shields come up again. What, wait, my hull is at 15%? Oh noes! Setting engines to maximum, I take flight, computer, evasive action please! Barely, barely with exact 4% hull I enter supercruise. Whew!

Lucky escape!? I hope? Not that dying and getting a new starter ship for free would be cheaper than having to repair my ship all the way from 4%? I do not come to solve this question, as the server hickups again and I am out of the game.

After some time, I am let in again. I am back in front of Azeban. Welcome, this position feels almost home now! And as a bonus, my hull is back at 100%. Server hickups can have advantages. So no need to dock, and I enter supercruise once more. Stop. I still have "wanted" status. Ok, turn around, dock and pay the pilot federation a little fine of 300 cr to get rid of it. Ready to go now. Ah, no. The bounty voucher, I need to cash it in. Ready to go now? I hope so!

There are plenty of unidentified signals, they seem random, and they never appear in the left menu so that I have to target them as they pop into view. The first zone I decide to visit has some white targets; they are freight containers and they contain leather. Time for some scooping! After my cargohold is full with four units, I decide to sell them in Azeban. Docking is not very difficult, and I already confidently go in with blue speed. Having landed, I discover that I cannot sell the leather as trade goods. I remember having read about this in the ED forum; those free floating containers are probably marked as stolen. What now? Contrary to the previous clients, this station does not have anymore the black market contact. I call up the galaxy map and ponder where the next one could be. Yes, maybe the Anarch system just 5 ly away, LP-98-132, and the distance is barely enough to make it in one jump with a full cargo hold.

On my way I get interdicted for the first time. Thankfully, interdictions are a lot less frequent than during my little stay in the glitched combat version some days ago in pre-beta. It is a single Eagle. No problem to survive, but unfortunately again a problem to finish it; the Eagle warps away, deja vu.The travel in the Anarch system is uneventful and I am lucky: The station with the name Freeport has a black market. Great, I get 19 credits per Unit. What a fortune... After a quick look around in this station, I decide that nothing is really worth to buy. They have endless supply of fuel cells, but they cost just 1 credit below the galactic average; too risky I think.

Instead, on my way out, I drop by another unidentified signal. Cargo, again. I manage to scoop one Barium and suddenly all remaining cargo disappears. Hickup. I decide to turn around and stell another one unit of stolen good. Before I arrive at Freeport the server kicks me out again and the red button is mercyless. That is when I start to create this blog. I am overall very content with an interesting second night in a fascinating game.


Some interesting observations from in-between:

- Supercruise seems sometimes to accelerate unhealthily fast, especially when already close to the target planet. Maybe a kind of a gravity hole or slingshot effect? I found the best way to counter this is to fly a full circle; while at 180 degrees to your destination, speed drops extremely fast back to normal levels. Maybe I can perfect this kind of maneuver for even faster travels?

- supercruise, random screenshot from the internet; this guy seems to approach the planet a bit too fast and to close 

- The forum gave me insight into a newly changed flight mechanic. If you go to maximum speed and boost and then switch flight assist is off, your ship will hold this maximum speed! This makes for far faster approaches to stations than ever before. And it is more newtonian spaceflight-like. I totally love it!

Did I already write how gorgeous the galaxy map is? Yes? Aww, never mind! It is just that I also played EVE online for some time, and the UI compare really like a stable next to a castle. Ok off we go!

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