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

Elite Dangerous Session 9

Hello again. CMDR Maya Ulniian here.  Over the weekend I actually got the time to run quite a few sorties out to the RES. I started with an A rated “golden” Diamondback Scout and finished with an almost completely upgraded Vulture. My current limitations are not really money but the engineering capabilities of Haxel Port in LTT 15574. Some scenes from my recent trips should highlight the changes.

Balance at end of last report, as well as current balance. I’ve almost doubled wealth with only 154 more kills. High end ships make it a lot simpler.


Balance at end of last report, as well as current balance. I’ve almost doubled wealth with only 154 more kills. High end ships make it a lot simpler.

A famous victim.  No idea what an imperial Baron was doing in a federal dropship!

A couple of combat shots. When taking out an anaconda you need to be up close!



The view of a flyby of a pair of moons not far from the ring system. These two moons are very close to each other and I believe landing is possible on both.


My new vulture speeds up money gathering significantly. Those large size weapons hit a lot harder than the small and medium on the Viper or Diamondback Scout making short work of any subsystems.  My original goal was to get 12 to 18 million to spend on an exploration ship but I’m considering pushing for a much better ship around the 50 million mark.  Grinding at the RES is probably the fastest way at least for the short term.
Back to the grind for now!
CMDR Maya Ulniian, 2nd May 3302

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Elite Dangerous Session 8

Hello again. CMDR Maya Ulniian here.  Silent running in a ship that uses lasers extensively is not terribly effective. I had the opportunity to test it out for a short time in my latest visit to the RES. My shields had been wiped out in a combat against a python when a Federal Drop Ship dropped in. Ducking and weaving seemed to avoid most damage long enough for me to finish off the python but once I turned on the FDS my ship was unfortunately directly in the line of fire.  With shields gone anyway there was little lost in activating silent running mode.  I am not sure if it helped to avoid incoming fire initially, since we were basically head on to each other but I feel it broke his tracking once I got around to his flanks. As soon as I opened fire myself however I rapidly overheated. An all multicannon loadout would probably have fewer issues.

Somewhere along the line I managed to pick up a wanted flag so I eventually had to run when a couple of police ships joined in. The FDS was almost dead before I made the jump.  That was basically the end for this session as I docked up, repaired and waited out the bounty timer before returning to LTT 15574 and Haxel Port ready for next time.

I have sold off the Viper and re-invested the surplus back into the DBS. I now have a “golden” A-rated ship  that flies pretty nicely! With the weekend ahead of me I can look forward to finishing off with this ship and probably switching to a Vulture. 

A quick look at my statistics says I’ve amassed 284 confirmed kills at an average of a bit over 28,600 credits per bounty. Smaller ships are just a lot easier to kill!

Until next time,
CMDR Maya Ulniian, 29/30th April 3302

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Elite Dangerous Session 7

Hello again. CMDR Maya Ulniian here. I spent the last session alternately flying the Viper and the Diamondback Scout. There is little to pick between them as a RES grinding ship.  The DBS’s weaker shields are more than compensated by higher armour and better agility. Both ships are fast enough in raw speed and boost that they can run from most enemies.  Weapon loadout is the same on either ship, being 2 small and 2 medium hard points. The larger powerplant of the DBS allows for more flexibility but both ships are capable of running all-laser configurations without too much heat trouble. 

One thing I did note with either ship is that gimballed pulse lasers seem to do more damage to subsystems than gimballed beams. I had less luck with multicannons but also flew fewer sorties with them active. My half-baked theory on pulse being better than beam is that each shot has a chance to penetrate armour into the module below. The beam laser’s continuous fire is treated as only one shot but the pulse laser gets half a dozen shots in over a similar time period. Burst lasers generate lots more heat than pulse, so I haven’t been flying with them.

Since I am still a pretty poor marksman I’ve not really tried rail guns or plasma accelerators.  They generate high heat so are more likely suited on the DBS than the viper. Missiles and cannons/frag cannons I passed over due to ammo limits. 

One interesting thing I saw when checking out GalNet articles for the DBS was a commander who flew with no shield, maximum armour and 4 multicannons. He made use of the DBS’s excellent heat management to fly in silent running mode, which makes the ship extremely hard to target. I am not sure that this is a viable configuration for RES hunting but repairs are relatively cheap so I may try it out.

Anyway, time to get back out in the black!
CMDR Maya Ulniian, 28 April 3302

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Elite Dangerous Session 6

Hello again. CMDR Maya Ulniian here. So much for plans!  On a whim, I picked up a shiny new Diamondback Scout after watching some online combat footage. I had only a little over 2 million in cash so plenty of compromises had to be made. My original fit was something like this:

That configuration is a joy to fly. The shield is pretty weak but with very high agility and weapons that fire almost continuously it barely mattered. The existing Viper with mostly A-rated modules should outclass this midrange DBS but I was having so much fun I didn’t care! I ended my first run of bounty hunting with just under 1 million in bounties and barely 5% hull damage.

Four pulse lasers, backed by the A rated distributor and 3 or 4 pips in weapons are capable of almost continuous fire.  I feel that the larger powerplant manages heat a lot better even though it’s only C class. Speed, boost, total shield and armour are fairly similar but the agility of the DBS at 8/10 is amongst the best available.

Time to get back out there!
CMDR Maya Ulniian, 27 April 3302

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Elite Dangerous Session 5

Hello again. CMDR Maya Ulniian here. Not a whole lot of interest to report. I’ve continued making trips to the Hi RES in my Viper Mk III and picking off worthwhile bounties. There have been no close calls or particularly challenging fights, mostly because I’ve been cautious with target selection. I only fight against enemy wings if they are either weak or there are plenty of police ships nearby. My small agile viper makes short work of most any ship.

I have tried several different weapon loadouts. I initially flew with 2 * small beam and 2 * medium multicannons. This was pretty effective, but didn’t seem greatly faster at killing the big ships. I’ve also tried various combinations of beam and pulse lasers, some of which cause heat and power management issues. My current laser loadout is 1 small beam, one medium beam on the left side and a small and medium pulse on the right side. The smaller class 1 weapons get the most use because they are top mounted – the class 2 gear has to wait until I pull up to get line of sight on a target.

My next move will probably be either a top of the line Diamondback Scout for a little over 7 million (ship plus insurance)

or a mid range Vulture something like
for about 8.5 mil.

Both of these are pretty fun to fly.  The Vulture is better at killing big high value ships but is a little more vulnerable than I am used to in that configuration. I’d need about 18 million for my preferred loadout.  I really should go back and try a Viper Mk IV with money no longer the limiting factor and see if I can fly it any better this time round. The Cobra Mk III is also an option, but since I’m purely a combat pilot at this stage a fighter ship is probably the better choice. 

Until next time!
CMDR Maya Ulniian, 26 April 3302