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)

Friday, 21 November 2014

Last signal from before beta3.9

As I listen to these very old, very 80s melodies, I feel compelled to log in and do some swooping as I saw it in my first ever science fiction movie.
The pictures that fits to the songs are akin to that one part of the series where they travel back in time and witness the creation of our solar system. Something like this:

... and, some action with the swooping. So back to the conflict zones around Eranin I go! Maybe I can even find a CMDR as a partner to practice some wingman maneuvers?

On my way there, I stumble upon another rare sight. An absolutely huge gas giant around the secondary star in Cephei Sector KH-V B2-4. I scan it and it says: Gas giant with water based life! A rare discovery indeed I would say!

 - a garantuan gas planet with water-based life in form of amoeba, says the planet´s description after a detailed surface scan


Later, when I finally arrive at Chango Dock, I-Bootis, I will find that this data is not so much valuable, after all. Also, the value of the data has not changed despite having it brought halfway across the current galaxy. Ah, well. Everything is going to be deleted and different again on Thursday, a fact that I almost regret, now that I have made myself a little bit acquainted with the environment.

My first plan is to buy a second ship, rigged for combat. The Viper is my natural choice. I have come falling out of love with the Eagle; it now looks more like a goose than an eagle to me. However, my attempts to find proper - at least class D - outfits are unsuccessful. I jump to all the industry and high tech worlds around the cluster where I traded and took notes from. After about an hour of jumping around and searching, I giveup and decide to go for combat in my Asp. After all, it has six weapon mounts and should pack quite a punch!

Finally arriving at I-Bootis, there is a combat mission which requires me to destroy 3 targets in Eranin. Accepted! Dropping into the high conflict zone at Eranin 2, I chose side with the Federation (I am in the meanwhile at "friendly" status with them) and engage a Cobra. A second Cobra joins the dance, and I find myself quickly whittled down to 54% hull; oh my! Have I become that rusty or is the Asp indeed not only slower but does not turn nearly as well as a Cobra?

After that, I seem to get a grip and manage to engage only single opponents. Thus the third to sixth opponent are not problematic anymore. A bounty voucher of 1000 CR each complements the package.

Docking at Chango Dock, I-Bootis, I cash in the mission, but there is no follow-up combat mission. On top, the bounty vouchers are only cashable in Eranin, why is that? So off to Azeban City, Eranin, I fly. The bulletin board there offers two very lucrative missions; both require me to destroy a criminal named "War Essence", totaling 360.000 CR. Accepted! I know this opponent from earlier sessions, he flies an Anaconda and I once tried to smoke it with an Eagle. Unsuccessfully, of course. But now, I am in an Asp and should be able to do better!

- I try to dive under the star´s plasma arc, but I get dropped out of supercruise before I can so so

Supercruising out, I let myself get distracted by the many CMDR ships zipping around. Deploy inderdictor, fire! CMDR Anthon in his Cobra has "wanted" status and thus is my first victim. While I very well manage to win the interdiction struggle, my impresion is he does not seem to even try to escape there. Moments later, I know why; he just hits boost and jumps away before I have even his shields down. I interdict him a second time, with the very same result. Then he is gone from my supercruise radar, probably transferred into a different island/instance of the game.

CMDR Initar in a Sidewinder is not so lucky and I manage to shoot him low into hull, but then I let him go. It is not really a fair fight and I just wanted some PvP practice, which I got. I chat this to him before he vanishes into supercruise, nor sure if he saw it.

After two unidentified signals, my intended victim War Essence makes his appearance. It is not in an Anaconda anymore, but in a Federal Dropship! And, man, that thing circles like the Red Baron himself! He easily outcircles me before we even open fire, then he opens fire first and about a minute of  circling, my ship unceremoniously goes boom. Consider this my personal firework at the end of beta3.05!

I had one or two Dropships in gunsight before, but none had circled so tightly as this one. Or I was just having a bad moment? Lots of trading grind does not make you automatically a good pilot, after all...

- my last view of War Essence before the ca-boom

The insurance wants a whopping 711.000 CR and, unfortunately I have only 670.000 CR to offer. So I am very happy to note that the game implemented a credit line of up to 200.000 CR which finances the difference 45k as a loan! From now on, 10% of my income will go to pay off that loan. A get a specific Han Solo feeling and hope he Hutt Cartel is not involved here (you never know!).

Making this loss quickly up via a bit of trading has suddenly also become impossible: No cash to afford the goods first hand! Now I really feel like Han Solo. I am back launching with haul missions in my log @10k CR. Distracted and musing about how quickly your fortune can turn if you do not play carefully, I somehow hit boost in the station, and while I swear that I was aligned with the exit, still my upward drift from the landing pad was not finished. This accellerates me fast towards the station wall. Nonononono....

But lucky I am this time, as I started from a landing pad in the far end of the station, which allowed my ship to sufficiently slow down. So my hull "just" goes down to 64% hull. Weirdly enough, from then on my ship computer complains my canopy is at critical status. This message now accompanies the rest of my travels, every time when I drop from supercruise, even after I repaired everything which the station menu let me repair.

A trip to Aulin, then a bundle transport missions Keries totalling 15k CR. Man, do I feel poor in a ship which I cannot afford to loose anymore. It feels.... like being a newb back in EVE Online.... ;)

In Kerries, there are only "steal goods" missions. But I was looking for combat!?! Anyways, the evening is short and I have to log out. And thus ends beta 3.05 for me.

It was an intensive time with this beta version, much less annoying than beta2, with an intensive grind, and the reward to fly an Asp, plus some very nice exploration experience. Some not so succesful combat shows that this game has not lost any challenge even after now three monthes of playing. I am content.

Since beta3.9 will last only for two days, I do not plan to use my time on it and rather take a peek at the new Dragon Age: Inquisition. I am particularily interested in the multiplayer part and how it compares to the fantastic experience of Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer.

Addendum, after doing so for one night-and-a-half:
Dragon Age multiplayer turns out to be still a bit unstable, with much more skill variety, but somehow not the same "Wow"-effect I had with Mass Effect. Controls are slightly different, combat animations are more delayed and thus difficult to time when being targeted yourself and in general the classes do not seem to offer much new. To be overly negative: I can have roughly the same experience with the group finder in Neverwinter.

- .. aaaand a first little peek into beta 3.9, shows an entire clean slate; back to the beginnings, a final time!

Tomorrow is the premiere event, and although I am still feeling a little sick, I totally intend to participate at this unique opportunity!

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