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)

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Getting back on track

Not sure if I am now finally done with Dragon Age: Inquisition, but here I am, back in THE GALAXY (tm), a much better descriptive name than Elite: Dangerous, as it indeed is a virtual world of an unpreceeded massive scale. I am very happy that this game exists. Although my motivation to play this game has taken a hit since launch. The "big final game" with all advertised features you can imagine has not happened; the improvements are gradual. Surprise.
"There are two kinds of scientific progress. The methodical experimentation and categorisation which gradually extend the boundaries of knowledge; and the revolutionary leap of genius, which redefines and transcends those boundaries. Acknowledging our debt to the former, we yearn nonetheless for the latter."
- Academician Procor Zakharov, Adress to the faculty
Also, having played Elite: Dangerous on an Oculus Rift during the Premiere Event did kind of spoil me. This game deserves an Oculus Rift, it is absolutely mind blowing with it. My only caveat would be that I could not take notes easily anymore, with the Rift strapped on my face. But, oh, how I want that thing on my face again!

Serebrov Station, Yakabugai system. From one or two gameplay videos which also happen around this cluster, I gather that I am operating in a starting area for aspiring Commanders. That explains also the high number of CMDR Sidewinders I see zipping around in supercruise.

My last session was a try to get back into my old trading routine and I had to realize that most trade date from the pre-launch had become invalid. Also, the chore of having to note each commodity´s price in order to find the best profit was not really in-line with my motivation. So, let´s dust of my trusty ol´ Eagle!

An upgrade to an A3 thuster is available here, but it causes a power grid issue. Pondering a while if I should downgrade my A3 shield to compensate, it finally hits me that an also available upgrade to an A2 powerplant will just provide enough; if I prioritise combat modules from those not needed then (cargo hatch, frameshift drive, interdictor).

Now, where was that ring planet with its extraction sites? I want to also dust off my combat piloting skills. Potriti? Huh, the galaxy map doesn´t display any data. I can´t even select the system. Weird. As a work around I make a route to another system of which the first nav point is Potriti.  As I arrive there, only two planets and two outposts are in shown my nav system, it is incomplete.

I am docking at one of the two outposts and check if I can buy the cartographic data for this system. It is weird that I cannot, in fact there is no data at all to be bought. Weird. The News say that the system BD +03 2338 is target of a military engagement by the Federation. I could combat there and probably earn good money. Checking the galaxy map; this system is 174 ly away, which would require roughly 15 jumps to only get there. No, thanks.

As I cruise bit around, clueless as to my next steps, some unidentified signals (US) show up. A freighter, he offers to buy bulk tech, but I am not clear what commodities those should be. Besides I am in my Eagle, so scrap that option for now.

- out there and no clue

Another US sports a Federation Anaconda and a wanted Anaconda, which jumps out allright. Back in supercruise, I am interdicted and I miserably fail to evade; it seems to have become more difficult. It is only a security ship, though. I drop into another US which consists plenty of ships. I spot overall  three with "wanted" status and engage. A weird bug happens as my pulse lasers do not fire even though the according sound plays. So I am left with my single multicannon. Thankfully, my targets are low skilled and I am able to attain two 1500 CR vouchers. I dock back to an outpost and, as it does not sell fixed pulse lasers (and I want only the fixed laser version for an Eagle) swap the guns around, maybe that solves the bug. Then I make back to Yakabugai, it is no use flying around in a system without sufficient navigational data.

Shortly after arriving, I am inderdicted and again do not manage to evade. A pirate in an Asp; and me still just with one multicannon; swapping them around hardpoints did not help. Well, I like challenges, right? My Eagle is super nimble with A-class thrusters and powerplant and power couplings and only light alloy armor. And indeed, I have absolutely no problem to stick close to the Asp without getting into its firing arc even once. Since my multicannon is gimballed, as soon as its shields are out, I select the Asp´s power core as a sub-target. The Asp finally explodes at 48% hull. A nice 15k-CR bounty voucher is my reward.

Docking again at Serebrov, there again are no fixed pulse lasers to be found. Also, this weird problem with my galaxy map bugs me and, on top, it makes no sense to fly without proper data about the system. Should I buy a scanner? An advanced version would cost 1.5 million Credits and would guarantee a single scan reveiling 100% of a system. Should I sell my Lakon? No, better not. It is already upgraded and I do not want to loose the time I had spent searching for the equipment.

On a whim, I go back to trading. Checking my notes from the four stations which I had typed into Slopey´s little programme during last session, it shows that autofabricators from LTT 7548, Boltzman Station to Yakabugai, Levi Montalcini City will yield roughly 90k CR and bringing back gold from there again the same (~980 CR profit per good). From my experience in the beta game, this is already an upper middle profit range, so I go for it. On a positive note, even though my data is two weeks old, it still is very accurate, so I do not need to re-note prices so quickly again. Thank god!

 - space trucker tourist view

Some experimenting needs to be done before I can fine tune my load to 95 tons for a one-jump trip. I can thus sell a 2-ton-rack and decide to add a fuel scoop instead to save the fuel costs of about 1500 CR per trip. It turns out that I also a bit rusty at fuel scooping; I go far too fast too close to the sun and am rewarded with an emergengy drop and a hull at 90% when I am finally through the escape vector. Ai. Fortunately, this turns out to be only ~5000 CR repair costs, huff. My next try is more cautious and I can determine that I can scoop about 30 units/second and have a constant system heat of 95%. But this is slow to fill my fuel tank. Maybe a better scoop is in order.

The rest of the session is spent with space trucking. I am back in the flow, my feeling for the ship controls slowly come back so my maneuvers become faster. One difficult moment has me crashing into the station wall because my speed was way over the "blue" range and made my steering too sluggish. Thankfully, Frontier seem to have toned down the harsh punishment of "splash"; my shields hold, huff.

Some runs later, my docking requests are repeatedly denied, several CMDRs lie in wait arount the outpost, too. A relog helps sometimes, but not always. Well, if it is a bug it thankfully does not appear too often.

 - staff is asleep

Once I have 1.8 million credits spare cash, I stop my routine and switch back to the Eagle. Out goes the interdictor and in comes an advanced scanner; and while I am at it, also a surface scanner since I do not really need that cargo rack anyways. My Eagle is now a good recon scout with optimal combat capacity.

Equipped like this, I travel to Alrai Sector DL-Y D85, the system which I had to use as a intermediate jump until I had figured the right amount of mass to do singulare jumps along the 15.7 ly between LTT 7548 and Yakabugai. I was curious then what the system contains; for once, it has a beautiful brown dwarf. I am pretty sure that Frontier has cranked up the graphic detail again.

- a gem

As another reason for my scan, I assumed that maybe with the scanner, those systems are finally again selectable in the galaxy map. My advanced scanner reveils about a dozen objects. Even though I do have the surface scanner, I feel to lazy to scan all their surfaces. Weird enough, I still cannot select this system in the galaxy map; I still have to use the work around vie the route finder. Then it hits me, how dumb I have been. Those systems are not selectable because I am in the map view and had filtered it for only high-population systems! Accordingly, other systems would not show and be not selectable. Once more, this proves to be a noob moment in my not so promising career in Elite: Frontier...

I slowly remember now my last session in beginning of February (I really should have re-read my blog entry...) that I wanted to find and focus my trade on high population systems. Jumping to Boltzman Station, I finally find two new shiny fixed pulse lasers and can remove the old buggy ones. Next step is to do some recon, maybe find new trade occasions, and pay a visit to abd-11 4932. The main hub is Morikov Station: Indite is sold for a good price. But I cannot identify a profitable round trip yet. Shatalov Gateway (an outpost in BD-11 4932) has also a market and holds a little surprise: a demand for imperial slaves at ~15k CR! I should remember this.

Time is up. Log out.

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