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First Impressions — Elite: Dangerous [Part One]

Elite: Dangerous First Impressions

Elite Dangerous is an interesting game that has even managed to make hauling scrap from one system to another immersive and fun. At the moment, the game features an absolutely massive number of star systems that is set to become even bigger in time for the official launch in December. The game isn’t without its flaws and there is a lot of room for improvement in the game’s systems beyond what they are now. That said, the core gameplay which includes exploring space, mining, and engaging in interstellar dogfights are very much worth doing. 

Cargo Liberation is a Space Sim Tradition

It’s 10:30 PM. I’m sitting in my computer room with a bowl of sour gummy worms on my right and a big glass of iced tea on my left. On my screen is my latest addiction, Elite: Dangerous. I’m pretty new, having just gotten my hands on a copy about a week ago. A week sounds like a long time with the lack of in-depth tutorials and the rather barren information I’ve found — I’m still learning a lot in-game. It’s a new feeling for me since I usually resort to a game’s Wiki-page whenever I wanted to know how to do anything in a game.

Commander’s Log: Stardate 11073300

Tonight I’m floating in an asteroid belt, watching another ship peacefully mine away. This sight reaches back into my past and scratches an itch I’ve not felt in ages. The itch to pirate. It was my favorite pastime back in the days of EVE Online. I’d maraud people in minimum security space — if they paid they got to live, and if they didn’t I’d see what of value I could pull from their wreckage. With this helpless hauler in front of me, I began to feel what I’d thought had been lost.

I hold my position a few kilometers off his bow, just barely peaking over an asteroid. Most of my systems are powered down — I’m a ghost on scanner, if even that. My heat signature is close to nil. The ship is registered to one Commander Backer with a string of numbers after it. He’s likely a novice — most vets have already had their name changed to something more suitable to them. This Commander Backer has just finished mining the particular asteroid, scooping the few rocks that meandered off it into his hold.

He vectors his ship towards a more distant asteroid. I look over to starboard and flick on my various sub systems, diverting power to the weapons system, and my shields start recharging as I follow my prey. I don’t think he knows I’m here yet. I deploy my weapons: four pulse lasers. A mix of multicannons and lasers would be better for most fights but lasers don’t eat ammunition and are great against shields. Which, at this point, is all I really care about.

Four barrels raise up from the hull of my ship. I lock onto my target, who is about to commence mining. I open fire. Four lasers lance out in quick bursts. The hauler’s shields flare a bright blue as my crimson beams strike it. They visibly flicker, and the iridescent casing collapses under the onslaught of light.

Backer is in full panic as he lights up his drive and flies away from my fire. SURGE DETECTED — the notification flashes up on my heads-up display. He’s powering up his frame shift drive to escape. I’m not really concerned though — his shields are down and that is all I really care about.

I cycle my weapons and deploy my hatch breaker. I activate it and the hatch breaking drone shoots out. I see it track towards the enemy ship, orient, and latch upon the ship’s cargo hatch. The drone’s electronic disruptors disable the ship’s cargo bay locks. The other part of the drone’s electronic warfare package fires off, and cargo tumbles out freely as Backer orients his escape vector to jump away.

The hauler vanishes in a storm of energetic particles and EM radiation, leaving behind the cargo containers of his hard-earned —my hard-earned— minerals. I deploy my cargo scoop and begin to collect the day’s catch.

To Be Continued…
Elite Dangerous First impressions

The Cobra Mk3, a pirates best friend.

I’ll be covering Elite: Dangerous more as the game’s mid-December launch date approaches. So far I can say that the game, while not feature complete, has its core gameplay firmly established. Regardless of what you like to do in space, be it trade, mine, hunt, pirate, or engage in factional warfare, you’ll find that Elite: Dangerous does it well. It’s managed to get me interested in darkening the space lanes of another galaxy once again — something I’d thought I’d lost when I quit playing Eve Online in 2010. See you in space and remember: your cargo isn’t worth your life.

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About The Author
Jeremy Effinger
Jeremy Effinger
I am 26, a bibliophile, an amateur chef, and a gamer. I've gamed on the NES, SNES, PS1 and PS2 platforms, before switching to PC as my primary gaming platform. These days I tend to fill my gaming time playing Dota 2, and various RPGs of the WRPG or CRPG variety. I also enjoy the occasional shooter, open world game, 4x strategy games, stealth, and turn based games. I'm also an avid table top gamer and have been playing the same campaign weekly for the last four years.