Hopefully this won’t be a horrendously long post … but it probably will be. Included in this (probably rambling) post will be a list of links with explanations of how those links will help you get the most out of Elite: Dangerous. The “backdrop” for the post, though, is my current long term plan, which I’m calling “The Grand Tour”.I think that’s why this game is currently my biggest obsession, and why I’m kind of ignoring my previous obsession: It’s an open universe game with a large Galaxy to explore, with certain points of interest that can take some significant planning to get to. But it’s not something you can just “jump right in to.”
So First, A Little Self Promotion
I’m a Fuel Rat. We exist because Elite: Dangerous is a very unforgiving game and early on it can be incredibly easy to run out of fuel and not be able to get anywhere … or worse, be on the edge of dying. So I wrote a page about how you can avoid this eventuality, or if you do find yourself unable to jump to the next system, how to not make your situation worse.
Next, How To Get Started
Well, I’m a trader/explorer at heart, so those of you looking to kill other players will find this guide to be the antithesis of your chosen path. For the rest of you, beyond getting familiar with the controller and doing some of the training missions (one of which most people find nigh impossible, so don’t worry if you don’t get past it), you need to know how to make money. The good news is that there’s a post on Reddit that offers excellent advice on how to go from the starter ship all the way up to an Anaconda, the biggest playable ship that doesn’t require a rank (and my current primary ship).
The game does have its downsides. In my opinion, it’s way too easy for things to become horribly unbalanced, and Open Play can easily become a terrible place for the player that doesn’t mind running into other players, but doesn’t want to be instagibbed by someone who has spent a large portion of their time engineering their ship just for that sole purpose. Solo Play is an option, but that would eliminate the ability to play with friends or run into the random other (but otherwise peaceful) player. That’s why there is a Private Groups option, and the Mobius group has founded (for all platforms) the Mobius PvE group. Signup options vary a little between platforms, but once your in the group, you don’t have to worry about some random rail jockey pulling you out of Supercruise while attempting to deliver a load of Community Goal goods. The NPC pirates are still there, but they should be either avoidable or conquerable (though as you get more kills under your belt, they might become more difficult to counter).
Advanced Trade Planning/Information Gathering
I could probably write a post five times longer than this one will be about the next thing I’m going to mention: The Elite: Dangerous Database (eddb.io). I spend way too much time looking at this site, and it’s one of the reasons why Elite: Dangerous is best played with a laptop sitting next to you. There are data collection methods (unfortunately, PC only … love you PC guys that do this!) that allow players to take game data and export it to information stores (not run by the game developer) that can then be browsed/searched for information. Have a source and destination and want to see if there’s a product that gain you a few credits by buying low and selling high? There’s a search function for that. Want to find a trade loop near you that will net you some easy credits? There’s a search function for that. Looking for a specific module for your ship and want to get it from the cheapest location (hint: LYR)? There’s a search function for that. Want to participate in the Trade Community Goal but have no idea where to find the resources at the best prices close to the goal system? Head over to eddb.io‘s “Find Commodity” function.
The only issues you might run into with eddb.io is that it is reliant on time. Elite: Dangerous is a living universe, and prices can change over time. If no one visits the station or system in a long period of time and updates the system/station information in eddb.io, the pricing/availability information can be stale. However, the age of the information is usually indicated on the search results page.
If you get nothing else from this post, get this: Your enjoyment of the game will be greatly increased if you become familiar with this site.
LATE EDIT: List Of SubReddits
- Elite:Dangerous – The main one.
- ElitePS – PS4 focused.
- EliteCG – “Community Goals” – if you need to know something about this week’s Community Goals, this is the first place to look.
Planning Your Ship Build
There’s a great site I’ve been using more and more to plan ship purchases and changes to ship configurations: Coriolis. You can choose any ship and then choose what modules you’ll put on that ship, and see what jump ranges and other options you might have available to you with that configuration. If you have anything engineered on your vessel, you can put those modifications into your Coriolis build and see what the results might be. Want to take your tanky Anaconda, strip it down, and convert it to an “Exploraconda“? You can do that, and you’ll see how your jump range (among other stats) shift based on the changes.
Shout-Out To The Wiki
Any time you’re Googling for Elite: Dangerous information, you’ll likely end up on the Elite: Dangerous Wiki. I’ve found a vast majority of the articles and site arrangement very accurate and informative. Kudos to the site managers and content contributors!
My Grand Tour/Route Planning
Thank you very much for making it this far. It’s a long post, I know.
So right now I’m in the middle of Imperial Rank grinding; I’m at “Earl”, trying to make my way to “Duke”. The reward for this is the right to spend an insane amount of money on the best trader (and arguably, prettiest) ship in the game: The Imperial Cutter. Once I have her set up and established, providing I’m not completely broke, I’ll be focusing on taking my Anaconda (“404 Not Found”) and making her initially an exploration focused ship (though eventually she’ll be renamed something like “Full Service”, and be the ultimate Fuel Rat ship). I’ll be making the trip from the Bubble to Sagittarius A*, the black hole at the center of the galaxy. From there, it turns out I’m not too far from Colonia, the furthest area of human settlement from the Bubble. Then, I’ll return to Fuelum.
Traveling On The “Neutron Star Highway”
This is going to take some tricks to avoid it taking 500+ jumps. But it turns out that you get a distance boost when you “supercharge” your Frame Shift Drive with a White Dwarf (+50% I think) or a Neutron Star (200% I think). Do it right, and you get a lot farther along in your path, but also a tiny bit of damage to your ship (which will add up, but there are ways to repair your ship even way out in the black). And while the game now allows for planning routes of 20,000 Lightyears in length and includes the ability to plan for boosted jumps, the trip from the start at Fuelum to Sagittarius A* will be over 25,000 Lightyears (which doesn’t even take in to account the trip to Colonia/Rodentia, and the probably another 22,000 LY back to Fuelum), and apparently there are some issues with the route planning logic in the game … so your best bet for long distance route planning is to use Spansh’s Neutron Router. You just feed the site your jump range, a source, destination, and how much you’re willing to “fudge” your path to get to a boost star (in other words, you might have to not go so “direct” to get a longer jump that will save you a few hops, and Spansh provides you a tweak of how much you’re willing to go “not straight” to get to a boosting star), and it will give you a route to follow. NOTE: It’s very possible your need for fuel is not taken into account for this process, so it’s up to you to make sure you don’t run out of fuel on the journey! In other words, you might have to deviate from this path to find a fueling star once and a while.
Even with Spansh’s Neutron Router, the trip to Sagittarius A* alone is likely to take well over 200 jumps. And with the desire to do a little exploration (most of the systems I get to will be “Unexplored”, and likely a few will included “Undiscovered” bodies), it will take weeks to months. But I want to make the trip once, just to say I’ve done it (and also to probably reach “Elite” in Exploration).