Friday, November 17, 2017

Elite Dangerous Fun per hour

Its been months since I've posted or uploaded a video. Today its time to rectify that! I've got a video uploading now that should appear HERE that has my newbie pilot Tamarid complete a combat Community Goal in a stock hauler, quite possibly the worst combat ship in the game. As in my previous couple of videos, its about spending an hour or so in a High RES site "assisting" the local police ships for bounties. If you watch the video you'll see a couple of failures and visits to the rebuy screen but I still managed to pull in ~850k credits under less than ideal circumstances.

I've flown many different ships in High RES sites both pre and post the release of ED patch 2.4 with fairly consistent results. If you get an instance with lots of the larger, higher ranked ships it is possible to pull in around 1.8 million per hour just following the police ships around and sniping their targets before they pop. With worse luck for ship spawns, its still easy to get 1 to 1.5 million per hour. These values are almost entirely dependent upon the type of ships that spawn and not at all on your combat prowess or the type of ship you fly.

Patch 2.4 seems to have changed spawn rates in High RES somewhat. It seems that the nicer, high value instances are significantly rarer than before, often requiring 4-5 instance resets to get a worthwhile one. As such my average credits/hour seems down a bit at the low 1 million per hour range rather than nearer 2 mil that I was consistently getting pre patch. Police spawns seem to be more frequent and often with larger ships which can both help and hinder things. It is not uncommon for 2 out of 3 ships from a hostile wing to be popped before you get a chance to safely engage them.

When I fly a combat focused, A-rated ship that can actually fight I am still making money within the same range - 1 to 1.8 mil. Survivability is a lot better in a proper combat vessel than in a hauler or a little toy Sidey but I'm not really seeing much increase in kill rate or the rewards that go with it.

Perhaps paradoxically, using a ship launched fighter slows things down. The added DPS is welcome but the micro management of the fighter actually reduces the income per hour. My npc pilots are still pretty green though so not too good in a fight.

All this stuff about RES sites is because it is reliably the fastest way to get started making money as a brand new commander. Missions at the early stage of the game tend to be less than 100k each so you could get something like 400k per hour if you are really lucky.  The forums and Reddit talk a fair bit about Road to Riches, which is an exploration based way to get 10-20million per hour early in the game - but you really need about 3 mil cash to get started.  Trading and passenger missions are both fairly rewarding but you still need something to get started with. The starter sidey, or any of the early ships smaller than the Cobra III simply dont have sufficient space to earn the big sums.

The current money making method seems to be running passenger transport missions. You need a ship with a lot of economy class seats and a pair of favorable systems. Rhea to LQ Hydrae was one such pair but has been significantly nerfed about a month back. It worked because the station in LQ Hydrae is a significant distance from the star and the mission system gives you a bonus payout for travel time. Before it was nerfed, a large ship could pull in about 200 million credits per hour.
The factors that made this work so well are still there, but you are instead looking for places that are more than 1 million lightseconds from the main star. Youtuber Down To Earth Astronomy has a video that details such a system and there are others listed in the comments.
The big money comes with big ships and high faction rep but there are other systems that can be done with smaller ships and less reputation.

I suspect it is possible to go from zero to a trade-fit Anaconda in about 6 hours. Once you have the anaconda you can make large sums per hour quickly.

1: take the starter sidey to a local High RES. Collect about 2 mil in bounties.
2: Buy a type 6, equip as many economy passenger cabins as possible.
3: fly to your pair of systems and board flip to get at least partially filled with decent paying missions.
4: upgrade ship as its possible. A type 7 or a python may be a slightly better ship than the t6 for bulk passengers.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Elite Dangerous RES farming

I've been reading the newbie questions in various Reddit threads. There seems to be a common pattern amongst many of these postings over the couple of months I've been reading and that is the difficulties beginners face getting money early on. A Commander may post something like "I've been playing for a few weeks now, making good money trading in Eravate. I've now upgraded to an Adder and want to try some combat....". This and similar tales has me rolling my eyes.

OK, so the player is new and cant possibly know the various things that are wrong with that statement. I made much the same mistakes myself early on my first runthrough. So long as they are having fun and learning new things, its not even "wrong" - its just terribly inefficient and uninformed!

When Ol' Grandpa Cryptography first started, trade in the sidewinder with your starting 1000 credits may well have been a sensible option. I did a few runs in LHS 3447 before realising that the travel times in that system are terrible and moving on to Eravate. Even so, I'd be trading stuff between Ackerman Market and Russell Ring for ~200cr per ton. In a Sidey with at best 6 tons of cargo it took a LONG time to get anywhere. Back then, a few months after the game released, mission rewards were poor and bounty hunting combat was fairly unforgiving. Trade, on a decent sized ship, was considered the best way to make money. Not so now!

The very first newbie mission offered to a new player offers a 10,000 credit reward for a data delivery to a nearby system. This mission is worth doing, but more for what it teaches you about flight and travel than for the credit reward. There are far more lucrative missions available right at the start. My video series "A New Start"  (Part 1 here) shows several missions early on in the 70 - 100k range, all easily completed in the starter sidewinder. Later missions, with appropriate big ships and lots of local faction reputation, can run into the tens of millions but you wont get access to those for a while!

Missions are not the fastest way to start though. Earlier postings on this blog, over a year ago now, show how I started CMDR Maya Ulniian off with combat in nearby RES sites. All of that is still very much valid but there have been several rounds of game changes and nerfs since. Fdev also changed the layout of the LTT 15574 system somewhat too.

I've made another video where I take an almost stock standard Sidewinder into the High intensity Resource Extraction Site (High RES) for about an hour to collect just short of 1.8 Million credits, with almost no risk. I'm no great pilot either. If you can complete the first few combat tutorials from the game's start menu you should be more than capable of similar performace. That Adder mentioned above costs 87k for the base unit and maybe 200k for a decent set of upgrades - which you can get in a single lucky kill in the Sidey in a high RES.

The video is linked (here).
Start with the non-horizons ship, "at a random Federal system". Every time I've selected this, its started in LHS 3447.
Do the starter mission if you feel like it. 10k is useful, but not essential.
Fly to LTT 15574, usually via a jump through Kini.
Land at Haxel port. If you die, this will now become your respawn location.
Launch back out into space.
From your left panel, select one of the LOW RES sites. These are in the rings of the local gas giant. Fly out there in supercruise. See my year old blog post for some further information about flying in Low Res. 

Low RES sites have significantly less dangerous enemies, but the bounties are also much reduced. You are going there just to dip your toes into RES combat.

Keep the RES site targeted via the left panel and when flying around in the asteroids, stay within 15 - 20 KM from the beacon. This is the zone where ships spawn in. Beyond 20km, there will be few if any new ships arriving.

Use either the left panel, contacts tab, or keyboard/controler to cycle through nearby ships. Fly around to face towards them until a scan completes and you know if they are a valid WANTED target, or clean. Also try to identify the system police ships - usually called "Federal Security Service". Follow a WANTED target around until either it attempts an act of piracy against a mining ship, or gets scanned by the police. Either action will trigger combat between any nearby polcie and the wanted ship. Once combat is well established, you can start shooting at the wanted ship. There is no need to shoot a lot, just a few times to make sure you have landed a hit. The police ships will do most of the damage and hopefully will take all of the hits!

If you come under fire, put 4 pips into system and 2 into engines then boost past the hostile ship. Placing 4 pips in system very significantly strengthens your shields so should help you survive long enough to get out of the fire. Try to stay behind the hostile ship, and certainly stay out of the front arc of the ship where its guns can reach you. Bigger ships often cary turrets which have almost 360 degree fire so watch out for them.

Hopefully you've tagged the ship but not enough to attract its attention away from shooting at the cops. Be sure to hit the ship at least once more as its hull goes below 20%. So long as the final blow isnt done by another player not in a wing with you, you should get the bounty voucher credited to your name. Let shields regenerate then go on to the next wanted target. When you have gathered enough in bounties, head on back to the station to hand them in via "contacts" in the station menu.

When you are comfortable with combat in the Low RES, fly on out to Yaping Dock, land there to reset your respawn pont, then fly on in to the High RES at the local ring system.

Combat in the High res is the same as at the low, just generally with bigger ships with bigger bounties. A sidewinder is pretty much no match for any of the larger ships alone, so be very careful to let the cops take al the heat first! Police often fly in wings of 3 or 4 ships, often with an Anaconda and several vipers. Follow these guys around and the Annie will take most of the damage.
Bounties in a Low Res are generally on the order of a few thousand through to about 60 thousand per kill. Big ships in a High RES are usualy 140k through to 500k per kill.

Since every time you enter a RES site the types of ships spawning in can change, it is possible that you get poor spawns of smaller, weaker ships. If so, either log out to the main menu of the game, then come back in, or take a short trip back into supercruise fly out and then back in to the RES site to reset the spawns. A good value spawn will have type 7 and type 9 ships as clean miners, with bigger ships  as pirates. Look for enemy Pythons, Dropships, Anacondas and Fer De Lances. Imperial couriers are also nice but usually have turrets, so be careful.

I usually fight in a High RES for about an hour, or 2 million in bounties before flying back to the dock. Any longer and you risk making a mistake and losing the lot - bounty vouchers are lost if your ship gets destroyed. You have to periodically hand them in at the station to get the cash credited to your account. Dont get greedy and lose the lot with a stupid mistake.

Anyway thats enough for now. Go watch my video series for more!

Fly dangerous,
CMDR Cryptograpy
CMDR Maya Ulniian
CMDR Tamarid

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Elite Dangerous Humbled

Inspiration came to me one day in the form of a cheap offer on Elite Dangerous with Horizons was only $40 instead of the usual $60. I initially resisted as I already had three accounts, but after I linked the offer into one of the Discord channels and a certain someone had difficulties redeeming their purchase, I caved and bought a fourth account.
There were difficulties activating it as Humble gave steam keys, but my main Elite account is already linked to steam and my Humble account email is already used for both Steam and Frontier. I ended up creating accounts on steam and frontier using an aliased version of my email and eventually got the codes assigned and all linked correctly.

I'd been planning for a while to make some form of tutorial, either blog posts or videos and this brand new commander could serve as a good platform for that. What I didn't realise was that the "certain someone" above had somewhat similar ideas with their account and was starting the very next day.

Commander Ascorbius (Youtube) was about to begin a series of 10 one hour live streams to demonstrate that Open play was viable for newbies. The main twist on this was that he was streaming AND doing it with an IRONMAN condition - any character death that took him to the re-buy screen instead earned a complete wipe of the saved game and a revert to flying the basic Sidewinder. Hes a far braver man than I!

Since I am about 10 hours ahead due to time zones, I had a head start and played about 3 hours on my Sunday evening on the new account. At this stage I did not know the details of what Ascorbius was planning so all I did was play in open. I figured I'd get a small head start and could then more or less parallel his experiences without the danger of trying to stream anything. It was Tuesday evening for me before I caught his first recorded stream (Link to session 1) and realised that I was roughly 3 sessions in already by equivalent game play. I forget some of the details now but in my initial session I had concentrated mostly on missions. I had fairly generous RNG and had multiple well paid missions to the same stations frequently so had enough money to go from the sidewinder to a mostly c-rated Cobra MK III before stopping. Net worth was about 2.5 million in that time.

Due to real life getting in the way, my next play session was only after Ascorbius had recorded his 5th 1-hour stream, wherein he'd had to invoke the Ironman clause and wipe his saved game. This time I was somewhat more ready and had installed OBS software to capture my game play session. The result is 5 roughly half-hour segments of video "lets play" crossed with tutorial as I also reset my saved game and started anew.

Part 1 covers the basics and first mission.
Part 2 Part 3 and Part 4 have plenty of information as I complete more missions.
Part 5 has some combat out in a High Resource Extraction Site.

I had less generous RNG luck with the mission boards and was heavily distracted by recording everything so had a net worth under 2 mil by the end of these videos.

My next encounter with Ascorbius was during his 9th stream where I actually got to watch live.  I believe he invoked Ironman again at the end of the 8th session so I again reset my save to follow along, this time "live". I was watching and occasionally commenting on his stream on one monitor while playing elite on my other. I thought I was recording as well but that wasn't the case unfortunately. In just under an hour of play, mostly involving combat in the High RES site, I earned 950,000 credits. Its a lot easier to do this when not streaming for sure!

I have since tinkered with my settings on OBS and I think any future recordings should have a lot better sound quality especially as I've now filtered out all the ambient sounds.

Enough for now,
CMDR Cryptography

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Elite Dangerous Session 10 to Session N

Hello again. CMDR Maya Ulniian here. Its been almost a year since I graduated from pilot school and took up a mysterious offer of a sidewinder starship and a career as an independent pilot. I had meant to detail each of my exploits along the way but that has clearly fallen by the wayside.

So, what have I been doing? Well, a lot of the time, I've been living vicariously through watching CMDR Cryptography. He's been working as a pilot for a lot longer and has amassed a significant fortune as well as a large fleet of different ships so has a lot more fun options than I do. This makes the motivation to advance my own position somewhat low, especially as I am also now essentially financially independent. For quite a while now I have been flying an Asp Explorer, configured for general mission running and trade. I still have my Diamondback Scout and Vulture but truth be told I've moved on from combat as the primary money making method.

For a time I was running anti-skimmer missions in a couple of systems. The missions were relatively common for a while and the particular systems I was working from tended to target the same planetary factions so I was able to stack up many missions for which the same targets counted for all different employers. Someone on Galnet pointed out that simple dumbfire missiles made killing skimmers even easier than doing it the "right" way in my SRV, so I blew through quite a lot of missions pretty quickly this way. All the factions that I was working for soon had me at allied status and the payouts were often in the several million per mission.  I did lose a couple of ships due to poor piloting near the ground but that barely made a dent in the progress I was making.  Somewhere along the line, the bases I was attacking hired some muscle and I often had to evade a defending fighting ship. Fighting them close to the ground was generally not wise, but a quick flyby was often enough to get them to follow me away from the base and I then lost them in some nearby canyons. There would then be enough time to come back to the base and nuke any remaining skimmers in relative peace.

Eventually, the economic conditions in the systems changed and skimmer kill missions dried up. I looked for similar opportunities elsewhere for a while but gave up after a few false starts. There are other places offering stacked skimmer destruction missions but I was fairly bored of them by now. By chance, I ended up in the Eleu system, which is the home system of the Social Eleu Progressive Party, a minor faction of pilots who support initiatives for exploration. They took part in the Dangerous Games back when I was a young pilot but unfortunately lost out to EG pilots, who became the 11th major powerplay faction. Perhaps worse, EG pilots were installed in systems very close to Eleu and that caused a certain amount of disruption to SEPP's control of local systems. I started running missions for SEPP and reached out to their public comms channel for guidance on how best to work for their interests in the region - or at least not muck it up! 

I have basically made the Eleu region my home for several months now. I am allied with SEPP and most of the other local factions so mission running in this small bubble of systems is pretty lucrative. Probably two-thirds of my net wealth has now come from running missions in this area.
My money generating capacity now is such that I feel no pressure to really work on it in any concerted fashion. I can get more money in an hour or two than the cost of a ship capable of generating money at a decent rate, so its pretty much self sustaining. This means I have no fear of losing ships and can do fun things like race an Eagle through planetary canyons or inside stations.

As mentioned before, I now spend a lot of my time watching CMDR Cryptography instead. He's got a selection of big ships and swarms of smaller ones. We have both been grinding out Federation rank as part of mission running activities and have only got a couple more ranks to go before being able to get access to the Corvette. The grind is real, and harsh, so this is only happening as a side activity to whatever else we are doing. I still intend to go on a longish exploration voyage, probably to Sag A* via Colonia sometime soonish but that is a time commitment I've not yet been able to do.

Until next time,
CMDR Maya Ulniian, 30th March 3303.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Free to play games..

does F2p games make more money then Payed games what happens with microtransactions is it worth it to pay more money for some skins or payed transfers does having microtransactions start at a young age why is it that the young age is more into microtransactions then saving money and working towards a better life ? when will people just say no to these scams to pump more money out of us free to play games seem to just pump out ex packs and skin to bring people in and it seem to work but when that main amount of people are just the young aged folks it dosent seem to go for the older folks maybe it just me but most of the young people are using their parents credit cards if it fair for the parents to pay for their addiction so when it comes down to it Microtransactions will they stay around to suck more blood out of us or will people catch on and say no more..

yours great fully


Sunday, July 31, 2016

When days get slow and get boring....

i have been slowing right down im not sure if the lack of games that are poorly made or the game with huge money that still fall flat but gaming needs to get back into the golden Age when game made you cry where you fell in love with the person or you had a secret romance ( cough Tali from mass effect ) .. are game like these suppose to be ignored can we go back to games that takes 30 hours  but we love them so much we played them for 60 hours when we wanted to finish every little bit what about time  when we dream about games.. not like now were everything is same old same old we as people need to tell the gaming companies that we wish a game had this or that we as gamers need to yell post and talk how a game should be and maybe the love that we have in the games we play maybe the companies to say yes and we have a new Golden Age were we as people matter again.. but the way its going it seems that a good or great game will only come out every year instead of every month...

thanks if you made it this far

your friend


Saturday, July 30, 2016

A day in the life of a gamer..

my gaming life has slowed down i no longer playing wow i dont see my self going back but when crypt and i play No Sky Skies  im going to really enjoy it. its strange when you look at it gaming has really slowed down there one game a month that is really good but all the other games are really bad its like finding a gem in a pile of mud. when you think about it even AAA games are getting bad even with a lots of money ? when a indie game has more fun then AAA games why is that when everything is getting Stranger but im think wow has lost alot of people. Legion will bring back some people but from what i have seen it will bring back a few people but its mostly a reskin of older games i also heard that its has WoD Re skin like the follower system which alot of people never liked.

Well that my life as a gamer

thank you

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

A break in the Rhythm

Good intentions were no match for a heavy dose of Real life!  No blogging and very little gaming for several days has derailed my plans for regular updates here.  Even the little Elite Dangerous I managed was almost more of a setback than advancing the cause. One of the real life interruptions came while I was out farming at the High RES again. I went AFK during a relatively quiet time and came back 20 minutes later to the rebuy screen. I’m not sure exactly what happened but I suspect my ship was either shot at by or collided with hostile ships. I had left it stationary well above the asteroid field, “safe” from danger. Clearly that was not the case.  Rebuy cost was just under 1 million and adds a third destroyed ship to my history.
Since Elite Dangerous requires a certain degree of concentration and has no easy pause button, I’ve played more Diablo on my season 6 mage.  I was around level 40 after my last serious gaming session and over the last 5 or so days in short bursts I’ve managed to get to 70 and collect the first 4 parts of the free set. I have no decent legendary items at level 70 yet so am still struggling on Torment 1 or 2 for the most part.
Just last night I managed to get my Eve online characters updated and sorted out my buggy client. My trade character is slowly ramping back up with the buying and selling and my other characters now have more skills in the training queue. My accounts are so old now that I’m struggling to find untrained skills that will ever be useful, or that I can afford. I have level 5 mastery in pretty much all sub-capital ships and am now held back by the expensive skill books remaining. If I actually played the game more I’d be able to afford them!

Hopefully this evening’s game session is somewhere back to normal and I can progress decently in Elite Dangerous.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

A close encounter

There is no Elite Dangerous flying to report on tonight. Its after midnight, so I’m technically late posting to the blog which I usually get done by about 10 pm.  Instead, I have a cautionary tale of the modern age – A close encounter with an internet link spiral! These unnatural phenomena warp time and space and can easily suck in the unwary web surfer. They can start from the most innocent place but soon descend into depths unknown from which you may never return!

Tonight’s link spiral actually started in the most beautiful way possible – I was trying to find music on youtube that my preschool aged daughter had performed to at today’s Mothers Day celebration at kindergarten. (Mother’s day here is this coming Sunday, 8th May).  All the kids were dancing to “I’m a Believer”, the version from Shrek. This lead to the original version by The Monkees and the remake by Smash Mouth. Then of course we watched the Shrek in the swamp karaoke, which is a medley of a whole bunch of songs. My kids loved dancing along.
The list is (From Wikipedia) :
"Just the Way You Are" by Billy Joel
"Like a Virgin" by Madonna
"Baby Got Back" by Sir Mix-a-Lot
"Feelings" by Morris Albert
"YMCA" by The Village People
"Do You Really Want to Hurt Me" by Culture Club
"Stayin' Alive" by Bee Gees
"Who Let the Dogs Out?" by Baha Men
"Dance to the Music" by Sly & The Family Stone
"Happy Together" by The Turtles

Then, after the kids went to bed, I got sucked in watching several more
Such as
Culture Club - Karma Chameleon
The Black Eyed Peas - My Humps
MC Hammer - U Can't Touch This

But then some Elite Dangerous parodies appeared:
Here is a Link to CMDR Hugh Mann’s ED playlist.  I particularly liked “Let Me Interdict You” and “Livin La Vida Imperia” as well as “Uptown PvP” but all of them are very good.

... and then I remembered I had a blog to write and some game to play!
Of course I’ve been sidetracked again somewhat while finding all the links for this post. Maybe I haven’t fully reached escape velocity yet.

CMDR Cryptography, lost in 1990's techno videos!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

D3 Season 6 and other pursuits

Instead of playing Elite this session, I started up a season 6 character on Diablo III.  I played a bit on season 5 as a witchdoctor so took mage this time around.  Even with my fairly limited play time I’ve zoomed through the levels pretty quickly.  Level 30 in a bit over 3 hours compares pretty favourably to my original characters which are 20+ hours in and only barely in the 30’s. I’ve seen a season 6 preparation guide which says I’m doing it slowly – they are at 70 already in a bit over 3 hours. I’m still having fun my way and am not in any real hurry.

I’ve also played a little bit of Defiance in ½ to 1 hour bursts over the last week or so. Shooters aren’t my usual game but I’ve quite enjoyed this one in the year or so I’ve been dabbling casually. Prior to restarting my blogging I’d spent about 70% of my gaming time in SWTOR where I have multiple max-level alts.  Since I’ve not even started the current expansion story line yet, there’s plenty of content for me there and I expect I’ll pick it back up soon.

World of Warcraft however isn’t of much interest to me now. I’m still subscribed and log in a couple times each month but Legion may well be the end for my time in Azeroth.  My account was opened in the final months of Vanilla and has been subscribed continuously since then.  It was still new and fresh to me throughout the Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King expansions. I initially liked Cataclysm’s storyline and most gameplay changes but I began to find that the dramatic changes to most every zone broke my immersion into the world and it no longer felt like home. The introduction of goblins, worgen and later the pandas further broke my connection to the world. 

Some of the gameplay changes also reduced my connection to my characters, especially the nerfing of talent trees in later expansions. Making levelling content trivially easy hasn’t helped either. Warlords of Draenor was better in that for a while there I actually cared about the story but that soon wore off with all the scripted cut-scenes and confusing massed battles where I had no idea of objectives. Allied npc’s that simply face-roll the content for you doesn’t help much either. If simply spamming your basic attacks on random enemies still wins the event there’s not much incentive to care. Legion had better bring back some of the spark!

Its patch Tuesday for many games as I write this – right in peak evening game time here in east Australia so I’m not sure which I’ll play after posting.  Back to Elite for tomorrow most likely!
-        ~Cryptography