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)

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Viper time!

The cash from last session was enough to afford a Viper (~67k Credits) plus some basic weaponry. First, the two loaned pulse lasers had to do, together with some C1 gimbal multicannons (C1 is what used to be C2 in beta1, it is just a change of the label). Unfortunately, the loaned lasers sit in the C2 slots (which were labelled C4 in beta1).

Combat is much better in a Viper still. Superiour speed is an importand factor, but the multicannons also proved to be so much more powerful than the pulse lasers! I easily got my first five kills in a conflict zone before I got careless and focused by four enemies. Thanks to my new superior speed, I managed to escape this for the first time (39% hull)!

Getting back into the conflict zone, I see a CMDR Backer#something, and he circles weirdly around and seems to ignore me. After about 30 seconds, I know why, because only then and suddenly my radar lits up with a myriad of dots, I was in the middle of a skirmish! Damn networking delays, I really had hoped Frontier had improved this for this beta! Of course I got immedeately focussed by five ships, and again, thanks to the Viper´s superiour speed, I managed to get away, with 9% hull.

Sucessful further "warzone" missions net me 30k Credits. This enables me to equip now 4 C1 multicannons. Much more punch! Zoom in to 1km distance, make sure you are in firing position for all four weapons (i.e. you still need to have the enemy close to your targeting reticule), and fire away!

Then I choose a hunting mission for "Mistral". Incredibly lucky, a differently named mission has the same goal, so I can cash in double for one kill. Great! "Mistral" turns out to be an Eagle, and it is perfectly doable in a Viper. Mission reward is overall 70k Credits. Yay! While I hunted for "Mistral" through several unidentified signals, I absently noted that I never yet had gotten interdicted, all the while I read complaints about too many interdictions. Maybe they only happen in the farther out, less civilised systems?

After all this combat, I yearn for a change. Also, there seem to be less and less combat missions. Some more juicy transport missions need a farther hyperjump range (Viper has only about 6ly) and more cargo. I could buy more cargo racks for the Viper, but I suspect the jump range with a full cargo hold would then me bring almost nowhere anymore. In Asellus Prime, there was a better C3 frameshift drive, going up to 150t mass (Viper has about 80t as is), but it costs 500k Credits. I do not want to grind combat in order to get there.

So I buy a hauler. I want to, that is, but, "server denied request". Research in the ED forum shows, it is a common bug. So I decide to test what I can test in a Viper, namely extraction zones. There are so many in beta2, and bounties are to high that it probably is equivalent to a mission-based income, so that I suspect Frontier wants us to test combat in extraction zones, between all those new shinly asteroid types.

First drop from supercruise makes me instantly collide with an asteroid. Ooops.

 - some little glitches

Getting finally there, I am right about the level of income. About 20 minutes in there lets you encounter four to six wanted ships, netting 10k-20k Credits. I encounter again the "red but don´t shoot it or you are wanted" bug, which makes me need to disengage very quickly from about 8 Federal fighters into supercruise. This, in turn, lets me again encounter a supercruise bug, it disengages immediately after engaging because presumable still too close to the asteroid ring. because of the above bug, I am again "wanted", but it does not show in the display. After paying off the bounty, the display then suddenly shows I am "wanted", but actually I am not. There are also some graphical glitches when you approach a ring. I get killed once by security vessels until my brain finally realizes I should not run repeatedly into an established bug. Until then I had collected about 40k Credits worth of bounties.

I found it a bit annoying, that, apparently, as soon as a firefight starts, security vessels jump in. There were cases when the whole radar was full with security vessels. Thankfully, I was now weary about the above mentioned "turn red" bug and they left me alone. Also, whenever somewhere a firefight started, the chat would be spammed with messages from the "wanted" ship, but I never am able to poinpoint it on the radar. With some luck, you can see laser fire and boost in that direction and still try to grab the kill, but this spamming is as irritating as is to be not able to target and identify about half of the ships on your radar. Also annoying is that the new supercruise "wakes" are shown as white squares, same as ships which are very far out and cargo. Frontier should definitely introduce different symbols here. (So much stuff still to do and they want to release in December? I am pretty sure a lot of things to be done will remain until then!)

One last time in the zone, I decide to tackle a "wanted" Anaconda. Havin learned from last time in my Eagle, I am confident that with a Viper and four C1 gimbal multicannons, it should be doable. I start to get at his six, open fire, and for some good time, I manage to stay exactly at his six. Not too high above, because then the upper beam turret get you. Not too low, or the lower turrets get you. A lot of carefully timed vertical thrusts are necessary. BTW, the vertical thrust seems to be much more powerful than it used to be. Maybe a bug? Regardless, at some point I get distracted because I forgot to target the "power plant" subsystem, try to do this, and consequently get out-turned by the Anaconda. Now I am pretty sure that the turrets are much more powerful than before. Even my Viper with three blips in shields could not withstand them for long!

After this death, back in Beagle´s Landing, I am suddenly able to sell my Viper into a Hauler. Damn, I did not expect it and gone is my Viper (can be bought only in Aulin so far). But ok, now I want to test the transport missions. Not the "fetch me" missions, because I already learned in my first session that trying to find a particular goods can be a pain in the ass.

I stack a few missions, which all include to transport small amounts of cargo to several different stations. My plan is to have a round trip route and collect and stack as many missions as possible for that round trip. Let´s see if this is the new kind of beta2-trading. On my first trip to Dahan, the client crashes when coming out of hyperspace. Since it is again already very late and I stop my session here.

All in all, this beta2 prooves to feature much harder combat, and you know what, this is something I definitely like! I am still a bit miffed about all the new inconvenciences and shotfalls in terms of gameplay and choice, but I am determined to try out everything I can and which is not too tedious. Maybe I even will  try the "fetch" mission types, if colleagues would provide me with some basic location data. It is definitely a too tedious gameplay for me to fly to every station and note down their (maybe even randomized?) supply of commodities. No fun. So let´s see what transport missions offer, and after this, I may have more cash and see what exploring is about.

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