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!
CMDR Maya Ulniian