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)

Thursday, 6 November 2014

My long way up to an "Asp" spaceship

After a long weekend away, I had a series of game sessions in-between naps, but never the energy to properly document them beyond some scetchy key words. Now, at the end of my little sickness period, here my attempt at consolidating my notes, divided into one "session" per day, up to the moment I could finally afford an Asp. (And I did wonder if I would actually make it to one in this beta...)

(These notes may be over-long, but I intentionally write it down so, because I assume that later in my computer gamer´s life I would wonder how the early days with Elite: Dangerous acutally took place.)

I was sitting in an upgraded Lakon Type 6 freighter, with all the toys for mining and exploring on board, the plan was: Explore and scan more systems, preferably in an undiscovered-yet pocket of the galaxy, and establish trade routes!

The mining game mechanisms were nice to see during my last sessions, but felt a bit too monotone and tedious to continue. So, check it off. Bounty hunting and dogfighting was already in beta2 constrained to the starting cluster around Eranin. However, I wanted to go out and see what is out there, so this part was  to be postponed until I had done so. Exploration, missions and commodity trading was left. The plan at this early stage of the game had to be to establish knowledge about my environment. Which means, I had to explore systems and find about money making opportunities therein. After all, I wouldn´t want to be limited to a Lakon Type 6 for the rest of the beta3 until end of December!

My exploration tour took me as follows (in brackets the payments I got for delivering the data to Universal Cartographics, clearly showing that exploring at this stage is certainly not for making money):

- LP 103-254, just one white dwarf (yielded later 1400 Cr for the data)

- Core Sys Sector HHV B2-8: 1 yellow star, 2 brown dwarfs 85.000 ls out (yielded later 2600 Cr for the data)

- Core Sys Sector HHV B2-8: 9 objects, a scan of three of 7 planets reveil them as ice planets. I scanned those because planets in the habitable zone could be valuable. But nothing found, so moved on. (yielded later 3000 Cr for the data).

 - scanning... scanning... scanning...


- Hambula: All objects are already identified in my map (probably because I buy all data in every station I can get), it is a high population industry system. There is only one Station: Qureshi Hub. It has all ships except the new Impereal Clipper. And it looks like all equipment I could ever wish for a fighter ship like the Viper or Eagle! And a high supply of virtually every industrial commodity. Maybe useful for later trade routes?

- Eta Cephai, a "must" to stop. This system had fascinated me in the beta2 client, mainly because of the impressive star, and I was curious what had changed now in beta3. Aha, for starter, it is now an industry system instead of agriculture. Moreso, there is no station anymore, even though the system info in the galaxy map registers a population of 54 mio people!? There is an asteroid ring, high metal, which tempted me to check if mining would be more profitable. I dropped from supercruise 54 km out from the nav point, at 30 km the first chunks of rock appeared. Some mining lead me to the same lowly amounts of ore per asteroid; no higher value ores, only low percentages per chunk. Which made me regrett the loss of time and resume exploration.

 - Eta Cephai still has that fascinating mix of orange and blue and green; here as seen from afar fromout the asteroid belt

- Alderamin: An now empty system.(later nevertheless yielded 2644 Cr for the data)

- Hyperion: A high population agricultural system, maybe good for a trade route? But I wanted to continue my exploration before adapting my ship outfit for a full scale trading.

- G232-70: 7 objects/planets (yielded later 2026 Cr)

- LFT 1748: Wow, 47 objects (yielded later 6800 Cr)! My advanced D-scanner really was a good investment; imagine I had to "hand explore" them with a measly basic D-scanner! There were also 2 outposts revealed. I wanted to start to take notes on supply and demand of commodities and need to check for traderoute. However, at Longyear Port, my docking requests were constantly denied. Do pirate-look-type outposts have problems with me? I ticket. Only later I am made aware of the fact that the "unsanctioned outpost" in fact does not have landing pads for Lakon type 6 spacecraft and other larger ones. Oh my.

- LHS 535: 12 objects (yielded later 1900 Cr)

- Sopdu: 10 objects (yielded later 3700 Cr). 1 outpost, according to the system map it exports gold, cobalt, indium. Going all my way to the 2000 ls far away outpost in order to verify, all metals except palladium were in low supply only. Noteworthy was gold, with a 9900 Credits demand price.

While already being here, I took a bunch of lucrative hauling mission missions to Wolf 54. Arriving there, I started to use my new fuel scooping equipment by skimming the stars on my course. Fuel scooping is a lot of fun, and it never gets old yet for me! Making my way to the station, I managed to disengange from supercruise with 648 km/s! Some more tests later showed that I can indeed now disengage from up to 999 km/s. Very handy.

Unfortunately, the game glitched a bit and all missions were gone on arrival; inclusive the cargo!? Damn. I only realized later that it was a glitch because my cargo space still behaved like it had the cargo, and a bit later again, the hauling cargo also reappeared in my hold; of course, much too late, as stolen goods. I could not repeat the glitch, so I refrained from filing a ticket.

- Batara Kala: Two yellow stars, nothing more.

- LHS 1101: a high population industry system, all objects already explored. Maybe a good trade root with/from Hyperion, the agricultural system I explored earlier? The ship yard at Bondar City has an Asp, a Dropship, all ships, except for the Impereal Clipper. I noted a high supply amongst others of crop harvesters, marine equipment, basic medecines, computer components.

These findings were enough for me to quit the exploration part and start the commodity trading. I re-outfitted my Type 6 to a pure freighter by getting rid of the mining equipment and all scanners. Only then I discovered that, dammit, there were only up to small cargo racks offered here... So I was only able to load 41 units of crop harvesters and move on.

- At Ivens Ring, Hyperion (three stations in that system, but I am generally only interested in the one trading station), the crop harvesters bring me 533 Cr profit/unit, all in all 20k Credits. I could finally upgrade my ship´s cargo capacity to 73 tons.

From here on, I slowly started to establish a methodology on taking notes. No way around it if I wanted to get to the better or best-profit routes. The first format of my notes looked like this:

"supply: tea1449 coffee1289 fish(high)443 tobacco 4953
demand animalmeat1601 clothing 459 consumer tech 7493 domapp 646"

Still lacking proper notes back from LHS1101, I chose to bring back tea, only to discover at Bondar City that they brought only a measly 248 Credits/unit profit!? Just about 10k Credits. Ridiculous! I realized that I have to seriously invest in taking notes. For efficiency´s sake I decided to limit my notes to "high" demand or supply commodities. If there was a need for a round trip, I could inquire medium quantities at a later stage. So, for LHS 1101 it went like:

"Supply: MarineEq3763 CropH1846 PowGen367 WatPur229 BasMed187
Demand: SuperCond6683 ConsTech7055 PerfEnh+PrgCell7055

And before I grinded down on a single route at this point, I decided that the time would be worth it to explore the prices in a handful of systems, in order to have a proper overview. Onwards to Sopdu again, taking notes, then to Moffit Settlement in Andoe, a high tech system with a huge and beautiful blue white star. The station is 1300 ls away and thus takes a bit of flight time.

This was where my first game "session" ended. Back from a long weekend, a little bit recovered from my sickness, I continued and reinforced the trade-scouting.

On my way to Moffit Settlement, I was interdicted for the second time in this beta3, but this time I had enough time to note and take part in the new "escaping minigame". I successfully manged to evade the interdiction tether by sticking very close to the escape vector reticule.

Finally at Moffit Settlement, I noted that the station has long piers, careful! I once had a collision with those, back in beta1 and will not forget the lesson. The shipyard offers all ships. A good base of operations, if it weren´t for the long flight time towards here.

"supply: Perfendh6196 ReactArm1730 robotics1831 landenr4990 autofab3503 gallium4702 basmed187 progcells 6196
demand: agrimed1010 ressep5835 gallium4702 palladium13191 ConsTech7257"

I loaded performance enhancers and plotted course back to LHS1101. On my way, to my dismay, I discovered that somehow I had incurred "Wanted" status for Federation space. And, as it had to happen, right in front of the docking station, a scan from the security vessels popped up. Boost! In a very tight maneuver, I managed to survive this panic reaction and slow down in time before colliding with the far end of the docking area. Whew.

The performance enhancers yielded me 741 Credits profit/unit, overall 50k Credits. Minus 12k bounty and fines, but from where? Three of those are labelled "none". This was the point where I discovered that this had to be from those missions which glitched and had disappeared from my logs; the stolen goods in my cargo hold, suddenly visible again, testified this. Luckily, there is a black market in LHS1101 and I was able to sell the stuff.

I bought "Clothing187" and continued to IvensRing, Hyperion, which has "Clothing324", so overall about 10k Credits of profit. My notes were still a bit inconsequential at this time. For Hyperion, I noted;

"supply: fish443 coffee1289 tea1449 
Demand ReactAr2229, agrimed1148, basmed324, progcell7024"

Jetting back to Andoe, my fuel scooping took me a bit too close to the star and I got emergency dropped from supercruise. Re-engaged, the ship heated up even more and I took some serious damage down to 79% hull.

- white stars burn hot...


Arriving at Moffitt Settlement, my notes are:

"20k Cr. profit.
supply: progcells6822 (Damn!), supercond6265
demand coffee1316 tea1492 fish667"

Also, I was lucky to actually take the time to look for and find a class A4 frameshift drive. This gave a considerable boost to my Type 6´s range, 27,38 ly empty and 18,80 ly fully laden. The price of 1,6 mio Credits is a lot but totally worth it. I also repaired my fried ship, which was cheap, for 2000 Credits.

In order to expand my data about commodities, I loaded superconductors and made way to Ross318, an industrial system. Koch Hub again is far out, 1400ls. And my supconductors sold for only 6650 Credits, netting me only 20k Credits profit. But the main goal was to take notes, anyways;

"Supply gallium4693 indium5416 lilthium1333  cropharv2214 marineeq4343
Demand fish899 constech6650"

Loaded with crop harvesters, I plotted onwards to Wolf 46, only to find there was no demand! Which also made me discover that I can sell anyways, if at a los of 69 Credits/unit. My notes go as;

"demand: marineq4826
supply fish596 wine204 beer116 animalmeat 1294"

Looked not so great, on first view. But, with this and a comparision with my previous notes, actually it made my first high-proftit trade route to be born. Load marine equipment in LHS 1101 for 3763 Credits and bring them to Wolf 46 to sell for 4826 Credits. But what to bring for the round trip? This is where I expanded my notes to "medium" supply commodities for LHS 1101;

"demand: beer234 wine319 tea1717 coffee1461 fish787 leather234
supply: marineeq3763 cropharv1846 powgen367"

So: Overall About 100k Credits  profit for marine equipment and 15k Fish on the round trip.

After four runs, my concentration faltered and I missed the docking entrance and splashed right into Bondar City (LHS 1101). This translated into minus 123.000 Credits for the lost goods, minus 130.000 Credits for the ship insurance, effectively neutralizing my two latest two round trips. Sigh, shit happens. Here, take a nap.

After that, I needed a little change of routine. The bulletin board offered a bunch of hauling missions to Bhotega, really worth it with overall 190k Credits. As I arrived there, the "request denied" problem made me loose all that potential cash. Bhotega´s trading station is an "unsanctioned outpost", which cannot let a Type 6 ship dock. No way to know this before you arrive there, but I am sure this will be fixed in the final game. This episode relieves me of 86k Credits via fines for the abandoned missions. Fortunately, I manage to sell all the now "stolen" cargo for 83k Credits back in on the black market in Bondar City.

- Du kummst hier ned rein!


Trying to go for a different trade routes, I wanted to bring consumer tech to Koch Hub, in Ross318, only to discover that I did my notes wrongly; consumer tech was in supply there, not in demand. I then expanded my trade scouting to Stein 2051, bringing some indium with me from Ross 318. A peek into Slopey´s new best price calculator gave me the tip; however, subsequently, the data seemed not very accurate and typing the input into the tool was very tedious, at least in my sickened state, so I abandoned the tool again.

In Stein 2051, I noted

"supply: gallium4702 copper441 titanium824 perfenh6196 supercond6196 robotics1504"
And, man, I was tired of all that scouting and writing and experimenting. At the end of this second session, I had 1,758 mio Credits, and it feld as hard earned cash indeed.

- grind, but always with some beautiful sights


 My third and last of the "sessions" this week became easier and better to manage, as as well healthiness and aquaintance and routine settled more and more in.

First, I had to deal with a fine of 19k Credits. This happened due to a 170k-Credit hauling mission to Reis Dock, in LP 30-55; I brought some beer (supply 116 Credits) along, which sold allright, but only on the black market (182 Credits). Beer was illegal here. So, the fine came from a last-second scan from a security vessel while I speedily entered the docking area. My notes for Reis Dock in LP 30-55;

"Supply: Supercond6198 progcells6182 indium5426 tantalum3534
Demand: powgen700"

With all my notes so far, this made me discover my second bigger-better profit trade route. Superconductors (6196 Cr.) to Anlave (7328 Cr.). After some research, a retour of autofabricators (3242 -> 3798 Cr.), yielded alltogether. 90k+40k Credits profit, and at a distance of 5ly only. Wonderful! Grind here I come!

 - those Imperial snobs think they can skip the line?


Quite some runs later: Almost there, 1 mio Credits left in order to purchase the Asp. Some frequent sightings of CMDR Genophix in an unshielded Cobra made me suspect he was on the same trade route. And indeed, a bit later, the profits seemed to dwindle a bit.

A short detour and break for some missions, also to test if the new reputation system actually works. The faction "Blue Creative" in Suri Park, Anlave system, sounded cool, and offered some earnings. "Bring some semiconductors for 80k Credits", they said. Problem was, none of the industry systems I knew so far had semiconductors. None in Alrai, none in LHS 140, none in LFT 1446 (which has Bosch Settlement a whopping 13.000 ls out from the main star!). Finally, at  Lubin Port, LHS 215, there was a low supply semiconductors! Funny, since I was primarily looking for industry systems, and I find them at last in a high tech system. I took this tour also as an occasion to combine the search with research for new trade sources.

 - if Frontier would just correct the "oval-effect" (right hand); according to ticketed feedback, a problem of the "field of view" setting


 Aside to this mission business, all the data to be gathered on that crusade made me rethink the way I took notes about the commodity markets. After some long pondering, I had to concede that, once again, reminder of old days in EVE Online, a spreadsheet was required, to keep a semblance of an overview. Shudder.

I took a while to set up a format and get used to it. Trying to keep it as simple and short as possible, I simply noted down per row the system, station, commodity, and the price in either the column for supply or dor demand. From time to time, I would analyse the spreadsheet by filtering each commodity and thus looking "manually" for the biggest span between supply and demand.

The result of all this work was, after a long session of flying around (but, conveniently, with some missions to pay for it):

LHS140 -> Alrai (Indium) = 140k Cr.
Alrai -> LHS140 (Gold) = 140k Cr! Yippijay!

Before I started to grind that shiny bigger-better new route, I wanted to finish my ongoing test about whether and how quickly missions do raise my reputation. So I took another bundle of missions from "Blue Creative". I extended my portfolio from the hauling missions also to the fetch-type missions, as I felt I had sufficient notes now on the supply structure around here.

A little sloppiness in my notes made me mis-write one fetch mission; they wanted 7 instead of 6 beer. So off I go again. However and conveniently, this concidenced with a new batch of missions from the same faction. So I went again and got beer and wine from Wolf 46, superconductors from Stein 2051. Moreso, I had the foresight to fill up the rest of my cargo hold with superconductors, which turned out to be a good idea because I was able to fulfill four more fetch missions for superconductors in Suria, Anlave system, on the spot.

After this mission business out of the way, I started grinding my newfound trade route.

- skimming the planet´s ring helps slowing down your approach in supercruise

Result of all the work in this session: No notable raise in reputation yet. Cash after working the new trade route: 3,1 mio Credits. ASP, HERE I COME!!!! And, bye, bye, Lakon Type 6 you served me so well!

As that particular game session already ran late, so I just took a quick peek on my shiny new ship:
A range of 13,12 ly emtpy / 11,31y full laden, lots of empty internal compartments, and again no cargo racks to buy here. So a quick trip to Alrai, I could afford an upgrade to 8ton and already one 64ton cargo rack, overall a 125t-cargohold. The cockpit view is fantastic! Makes the free head turning with my EDheadtracker really and once more the fantastic experience which it is. The Asp´s handling, too, is only positive, even without thruster upgrades, it feels as if piloting a fully upgraded Type 6.

- this screenshot was taken when I had already given the Asp´s drive an upgrade


More and improved business awaits, in the next session.

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