The beta2 seems to be like a totally new programme; the severe problems of getting it working make you feel there was not any beta before, where they could have already had collected sufficient experience to make it work at least with the basics. Forum posts suggest that Frontier is testing something which required a lot of players to log in at the same time; probably a system whereby players in the same system are sorted together on the same island.
The good side of the forced break is, I get to think a bit about "the plan". Exploring? Trading? Missions? Pirating? Bounty hunting? Reading a bit about the first feedback in the ED forums, it seems that Missions got beefed up quite a bit, whereas for trading seems to be more difficult to find sources of good supply (others say it is still valid if you know where to look for).
Exploring seems to be a mixed bag. Apparently, a first "D-scan" of a system when you arrive (using a scanner in the firegroup), can yield good funding if the system has a lot of valuable objects in it. An individual surface scan of each object is apparently done automatically by targeting an object, the closer to it the better the results. However, the money earned from this seems to be not so much. As pointed out in the forum, this way seems to be more realistic, but not necessarily more rewarding in terms of gameplay. It might even out in the middle to long run, when unexplored systems get farther and farther away and individual object scans of closer systems are easier to cash in because of shorter travel times. While pondering on this, I found a new link which might help get into the art of exploring; and this and this.
So, what´s my plan? It is difficult. My generic feeling towards every new game is "I want to do it all". Starting with what I find particular interesting:
- Ship equipment system (but needs cash to start playing around with, so by necessity not priority No1)
- independent freelancer-style of play (well, hardly a plan, could include virtually every occupation)
- skills and tactics (points towards something with combat)
- awesomeness of space (points towards exploration)
- optimal progression curve (i.e. need to find activity which actually gives income and advances Elite ratings, in order to be able to access also the more expensive aspects of the game)
Doesn´t help me much to find my game goals for this version of Elite. With regards to the last point, I might want to start with missions, and trade and explore alongside, according to where the mission leads me, as much as possible. I should probably concentrate on getting cash, so I can get to an optimal outfit as soon as the hazy information on all new option get clarified by many a pioneer reporting back to the ED forums. I do not want to heavily invest in long-term things, as this is still a beta. So, as a conclusion, right now I am ok with the plan of just going out and indeed doing a little bit of everything, until I have developed a feeling about each of the new aspects of the game.