12 July 2015

Pathfinder 60

Checking out a binary system in the Asp Explorer
Having just returned from a week-long mission in the Asp Explorer, it's time for a stock-take in Elite Dangerous. Departing LHS 317 a week ago, an initial outbound leg of 881 light-years to trailward took me to HIP 42822, followed by a detour above the galactic plane to Wregoe OT-J B38-1 and onwards to the farthest point of the journey, the binary G and M-class star system of Wregoe KX-J D9-10, around 1100 light-years from Federation space. As usual for my exploration runs, I failed to find a single Earth-like planet, but as a consolation I managed to scan four new water-worlds for the interstellar cartographers. I also chanced upon my first black hole, and as any pilot worth their salt would do, I approached as close as possible to get a good look.
First visit to a black hole
In this particular exploration mission - which was admittedly small by hard-core travellers' standards - I visited 137 systems and performed 589 Level 3 scans, moving from an exploration rank of Pathfinder 37 to Pathfinder 60. With a healthy haul of high metal content planets discovered along the way, the trip netted me just under 5MCr. My usual approach to exploring is a once-over-lightly method - the main priority is keeping moving towards the ultimate destination (in part because I must confess I do get a bit bored on exploration missions). The main star is always scanned, and then if the rest of the system hasn't been visited before, I target the innermost planets - as long as they look likely to be high metal content planets or 'better'. Anything beyond 1000 light-seconds has to look pretty interesting for me to venture out to scan it. Gas giants I target only if they're within about 1500 light-seconds, because their mass means they generally can be scanned from around 500 to 1000 light-seconds out. I only scan moons if they're orbiting the last planet I'm visiting in the system, because then it doesn't matter how deep I go into its gravity well. Icy planets 5000 light-seconds out at the edge of the system, or entire star systems orbiting secondary stars 100,000 light-seconds out? No thanks, some completist can scan you.

One of four Water Worlds discovered on this trip
I can see that if I really want to progress as an explorer I'll have to venture much further afield, but I doubt I can cope with the time commitment of a massive expedition to the galactic core. Wherever my next exploration adventure takes me, it will certainly be in the new Diamondback Explorer, to take it for a test run.

Pretty ringed HMC planet
Now I'm back in Felicia Winters' territory the intention is to strike out in a new direction. Don't tell my faction paymasters, but the idea is to take my Vulture on a jaunt into neutral space and then defect from Winters' cause, becoming a true freelancer once more. (The Powerplay dynamic hasn't really grabbed me, and it makes flitting around inhabited space less easy). Then I'll head over to the Empire to start rising up the ranks of the Imperial Navy so I can fly an Imperial Courier for the first time. If I like it, there's the chance to stay longer and work my way up to a sufficient rank to fly the Imperial Clipper too.

Asp Explorer back at Bacon City, Carnoeck
See also:
Games: Elite Dangerous: realising childhood sci-fi dreams, 27 April 2015
Games: The occasional jaw-dropping beauty of Elite Dangerous, 2 April 2015
GamesA thing of beauty, 26 March 2015
Post a Comment