After almost 70 hours clocked in Elite: Dangerous, I fully expect to have exhausted the game and getting bored. Not so yet. A good sign. And this game session did not disappoint, not at all...
The plan for this session was to squish the annoying crash-bug which I experienced last session, to re-arm my Anaconda´s turrets with multicannons and finally to jup to LP 98-312 and take on what ever this anarchy system throws at me.
From a research in the ED forum I know that the crash bug is caused by a faulty set up of the point defense systems. I can see now the signs and could have realized this earlier myself; when I am in supercruise, my HUD shows a point defense gun deployed. I remove all point defense systems, launch, deploy and retract weapons, enter into supercruise, and behold, no more deployed status in my HUD. The tip from the forum is to first by all weapons, then supercruise away from the station instance and set the firegroups, and only then install the point defense system.
Part 1 and 2 of my plan work out, but it takes time. I travel from Asellus Prime to Aulin (computer components, ~150k Cr.), to Asellus Prime (terrain enh., 156k Cr.), I Bootis (autom. fabricators, ~130k Cr.) before the bug is gone and everything is set up accordingly. I drop in various unidentified signals (US), but no more crashes and I still have a full armament of point defense systems. Great! A first combat test takes place against a "wanted" Cobra which is not immediately taking flight. The fight lasts 2 seconds and I cash in a 550 Credit bounty. Onwards to LP 98-132 I jump!
I drop into some US, which yields me two times some pirates who take flight before I can destroy them (NPC ships are clearly not affected my mass lock as players are), some containers of coltan, gold and grain. The latter I use to practice high speed cargo scooping (scooping while in blue speed range), which totally fails.
Then the game finally becomes dangerous again. A large "wanted" Lakon Type 9 with three Eagles as an escort (I did not verify in time, assuming wrongly that they are the usual security vessels; wroooong, this is an anarchy system!). I fire my plasma gun and score one or two hits, firing also my lasers in between the fire pause. Then inexplicably, the plasma gun is overheated. My C6 burst lasers are also quickly out of capacitor and the fight drags on while four ships are giving my Anaconda a heavy beating. I check the ship`s heat, it´s fine. For the rest of the fight, I cannot use the gun anymore despite several tries. WTF!? Later, I theorize that the plasma launchers need *all* weapon capacitors to have sufficient energy, but I did not test this yet. This must be a bug, and if not, it reduces the supposed mother of all guns to a mere one-time tool for an alpha strike.
I survive with 69% hull. It was a hot fight and I managed to capture it on video, see below. However, somehow I feel I should have done better. My C6 burst lasers constantly ran out of capacitor energy, despite having 3,5 pips in weapon energy, and I needed a relatively long time to destroy that Lakon Type 9. My multicannon turrets were firing but they seem not as effective as the beam turrets were; I still would not switch back to the beam turrets because it would effectively block all other weapons due to the ship overheating. Time for a repair in dock.
Repairs cost me ~50.000 Credits, which is partially compensated by ~33.000 Credits from the black market for my container loot. Add to this the fact that in an anarchy systems you apparently do not get bounties for "wanted" ships, this play style is certainly for the fun of it, but not for profit. It might be different in a small cheap Sidewinder, with some lucky gold loot along the way.
As I am lifting off from Freeport´s launch pad, I suddenly notice a rare sight; four hollow blips on my radar, zipping around in high speed. This reeks like PvP, very much so. Yay, finally! I scan every ship before I leave the station and already select and target my hopeful-to-be prey. It is CMDR Tyr in a Viper. I approach his Viper and open fire, 20 seconds later the Viper vanishes. Way to go, CMDR...
Next! CMDR Emon Azzaamen just leaves the dock high speed in an Eagle; I stick to him and open fire. He boosts away and tries to evade but my C6-lasers are good for mid- and long range and I get him into hull. He vanishes or jumps. Hrm, ok, I still think he could have delivered a fight with a better tactic of sticking close and trying to stay behind me; Eagles are very nimble and should have been able to pull this off.
Next! CMDR Gwendis Ryder (difficult to note all whats happening including names in the now very fast paced game!). She is in an Anaconda and warily targeting and pointing towards me, already from long range. I try to circle-approach her, but I get impatient and open fire before I am in a favourable position. I receive the bill almost immediately; a whole swarm of missiles at near close range. Ouch. However, I note that my point defense systems are indeed working; I see greenish pulses of light emitting from my ship and some missiles seem to explode before they impact on my ship. Despite this, I am not sure if I can win this fight; if my armor can soak all her ammo, it should be a win. I know from my own experience how fast your missile stock depletes when you really need them; a C2 missile launcher holds 18 missiles, which means three volleys, a C4 holds 12, so only two volleys. And indeed, the third volley has passed and my ship is still at 88%. Way to go, I did the right bet to install reactive armor (which is supposed to be especially good versus all kind of bullets, figuring that most PvPlers would install cannons and multicannons and missiles)!
However, I still did not figure out that and why my plasma gun does not
fire and I try several times to blast her out of the sky; unfortunately,
that damn cannon just jams. I waste precious seconds in trying. As I prepare to comfortably whittle down my opponent elsewise, she vanishes. With my experience of plenty of vanishing players, I have to assume that this is an intentional move from my oh so courageous colleagues in order to avaoid defeat. You know what? You cannon avoid it, by vanishing you are de-facto defeated, because you admit that your combat strategy (or your skill to apply it) failed. I don´t care if you save 300k insurance cost or not and I wonder why you care, given the ease by which you can farm Credits in this beta (two or three trade runs with an Anaconda, one with the Lakon Type 9, is not too much of a hassle, no?).
So far, I feel like the falcon swooping down on a heard of chickens which scatter in panic.
Having suffered some damage, I head for repairs in the dock. As I request landing, I get attacked by another player. Yep, that´s my courageous colleages as I came to know them in the meanwhile, attacking a already weakened opponent for an easy kill. I do not have the time to target him in order know who this is (Frontier, pls give us a means to do so pls! e.g. an emergency message "attacked by yz"), but I do not give him the pleasure of success. I accelerate and dive at full speed through the docking entrance; those hours of trading and parking exercise pay off.
At this stage, I start do make mistakes. For example, I dock and want to repair, but in my hectic to scribble the events and names down on my paper, reload ammo, I totally forget to actually repair my ship! I only realize this after the game when I analyse the video and I cannot help but laugh at myself! As I launch again, there is already a red blip on radar. I conclude that this is the player who attacked me during docking. Ah, welcome back, courageous CMDR Tyr! Let´s see if you fare better now!
Leaving the docking entrance, I do my second big mistake. I boost towards his Viper and immedeately open fire; he is at mid range and in a good firing position. However, I forgot about the no-fire zone. Actually, I kind of did not forget, but I assumed that there is none around a station in an anarchy system. Wrooooong! [Edit: By hindsight, people in the ED forum say the station does only shoot if attacked itself; maybe this happened later, because of a stray shot of my turrents? I also forgot to set them to "fire at target". Either way, my mistake.]
Things go down quickly from here on. First of, CMDR Tyr stays with me, good. Second, he plays his cards now way better than the first time. He has C2 pulse lasers and gimballed C4 multicannons (C4 are at the Viper´s "belly" so it is easy to discern when close).
He approaches and I first wonder why he sticks to me right in front of my nose. Easy kill. Staying frontal to an Anaconda would have been reckless, if I had had a different weapon setup, say, gimballed multicannons plus missiles (the latter of which I had, but totally forgot to use, third mistake), or just would have cool-headedly handled my plasma gun instead of going reckless with all guns blazing (yes, I can feel me being full of adrenaline). But he probably realized that my C6 lasers and C2 t-multicannons do not cut it at close range. And indeed, as I fire my C6 burst lasers at him in close range, the gunfire just passes left and right of my target, he is practically sitting in between my gun´s muzzles. Very annoying because this should not happen at this distance!
He wins the fight and I go down in flames, I had him probably at about 92% hull. The kill screen shows I was killed by Freeport. But to be fair, he played well enough. I say this because there was a decisive phase of a few seconds, where my hull suddenly dropped from about 76% to 20% . I replayed this several times and wonder how this was possible, because after this brief moment, my hull seemed to absorb his multi cannons much better and longer again. By hindsight, I conclude that CMDR Tyr did either target a subsystem or had a lucky shot at my ship´s "glass chin", the cockpit, or his lasers did an extreme amount of extra damage because my ship had reactive armor. Or I just received a hit from the station´s mighty gun at this point.
Either way, here is the video (remembered to capture too late, so starts with CMDR Rider), and I consider myself rightfully as the looser, as by hindsight while replaying the video I identify my big mistakes in this encounter. This experience costs me a 350.000 Credit insurance fee. I was confident that I would not encounter the insurance bug anymore, because Frontier indicated in the forum that this happens likely only when you buy and install weapons to fast in a row. Since then I consciously pause 4 or 5 seconds before I buy and install the next weapon.
Way to go! If it goes on like this, I might as well end up writing my blog, analysing videos and uploading them, etc, taking more time than actually playing Elite: Dangerous. It was an exciting game session again, and I log out being very content.
Addendum, totally unrelated:
Found this nice explorer´s overview in the forum. All that you wanted to know about each system.