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)

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Good bye Beta1

It has been an exciting time. Never before has a game inspired me so much to actually start writing about. And this is "just a beta"! I played it like a full grown game and it (almost) lived up to that. It is a joy to "fly in space" and the amount of choice and execution of choice worked (almost) flawlessly.

Of course, there were annoyances;
- the "hidden loading screen" when you enter and leave supercruise
- the suboptimal networking, which caused a very unsatisfying co-op or PvP game play
- some gamecrashing bugs
- the infamous insurance bug, which could cause you to loose your hard-worked fortune
- the gimbal-bug, rendering this powerful weaponry ineffective

But I think this was already all the nitpicking.

As this was my first experience in Elite: Dangerous, it will be always connected with the fondest memories about this game. Like "vanilla" WoW, participation in this beta1 will probably also be glorified as a hallmark of true "veterans".

I have only good words at this stage, less than I thought I wanted to write about it, but I think my 48 posts since the launch of beta1 speak on their own behalf.

Bye, beta1!

My last game session in beta1 yesterday was spent with PvP in the I-Bootis high conflict zone. I chide myself for not having noted all the CMDR names who I encountered, and some of them I already remembered from previous encounters.

At first I was back in my trusty Cobra, trying stealth combat, but had to realize that CMDRs did spot me way too quickly and consequently had an easy time shooting me down. There was one very exciting combat with a CMDR in a Viper, who won after I managed to get him down to 54% hull. He boosted away in his Viper, came back in stealth, which caused me to miss two full salvos of my 2xC4 cannons. He did not miss and the victory rightfully belongs to him! (It did not help that I started the fight with alreay only 57% hull, might have been decisive here). Good fight!
As a sidenote, I received the killing shot when he was already past me and I saw his Viper in profile; talk about laggy networking! I really hope this kind of stuff will be history from tonight onwards.

There were other fights were I got shot down before I even could see or identify the attacker. Indeed, sometimes the beta-client took about 30 seconds until it really showed anything, thereby leaving me in empty space, followed by an instant destruction when agressive CMDRs were around.

After some time, I switched to an Eagle, but after some tries I had to admit that there might be a reason why I see no CMDR fighting in one of those. They are simply too slow and have inferior weapon mounts. I really hope that the Eagle will get a buff in the new beta client! The only memorable moment was when I managed to stick to and stay at an CMDR´s Anaconda´s back, thanks to the Eagle´s superiour nimbleness; however, due to the poor weapon loadout, the Anaconda managed to jump away in time, despite of any masslock of me being close!

Even when there weren´t any CMDRs around, the NPC ships gave me a hard time, too. I still could manage two of them (with some loss of hull strength), but having three of them focus on me ended always in my destruction. Of course, the toothless Federation Fighters excluded. I like this, because this means that PvE combat will not become boring, thus I hope that Frontier will not tune down the current difficulty level. However, NPCs also cheat a bit; the initially present ships were never to my downfall, it was rather the respawn, usually directly behind me, which immedeately attacked me. Accordingly, my opposition of both factions at the same time did work out, as long as there were no respawn. It was not rare that there were three or four ships jumping in directly behind me and instantly opening fire on me. I had to go back to choosing sides in order to stay on the battlefield a bit longer, and even then those reinforcements got me quite some times.

All in all, during the last three game sessions, I engaged almost only in PvP/PvE. In those three nights, I never managed to shoot down any other CMDR, but was shot down plentyfully (and I suppose gleefully) by many a Viper commander. I might be not skilled enough, it might be the stupid networking issues of the beta1 client, it might be that I almost exclusively encountered - and refused to fly myself - the (overpowered) Viper with a (definitely overpowered) 4-cannon loadout (the famous "Shotgun-Viper"). But I hope this practice as an underdog made me a better pilot, and I hope to profit from this practice, once the playing field is going to be more balanced.

However, I have to admit, at the end of last game session, I felt a bit of frustration and indeed toyed with the thought to get back into a shotgun Viper. I am glad that the new beta client arrives in time, with new things to explore, because I suspect my playstyle lead me already again down to that kind of brainless gameplay which I wanted to avoid. Ultimately, beyond the fleeting joy of the moment, spending your time in conflict zones only, solo, is a waste of time, bar of any notable achievement.

For tonight, I really hope that Frontier gets the thing quickly installed, not so late as last time, when I had to wait until 10pm until the beta1 client was finally ready. Can´t wait!!!

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